Drugs Used as Weapons Against Us

Drugs Used as Weapons Against Us

New Movies Allude to CIA’s Use of Drugs Against Protesters, Activist Musicians including Lennon, Hendrix, Rolling Stones, Cobain and Tupac.

 This article originally appeared in The Free Press, October 2015. 

Kill the Messenger and Freeway Ricky Ross on CIA Cocaine Trafficking


Within the past year, a movie on the late journalist Gary Webb, Kill the Messenger, gained distribution in movie theaters. Webb gained international notoriety in 1995 for writing a series of articles for the San Jose Mercury News that became one of the first articles to ever go “viral” on the newly popular internet that year. Webb’s article covered his investigation’s findings that the CIA had been trafficking crack cocaine into the U.S. with the aid of Nicaraguan Contras.

While journalists such as Newsweek’s Robert Parry had first written had first written about this story, Webb reached a much larger audience than any other journalist. He said that the CIA was using the cocaine trafficking to help fund the Contras, and to help them overthrow the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Webb also appeared to at least imply that the CIA was directing the inexpensive crack cocaine into African American communities, fueling gang wars over drug dealing turf.

In the U.S, the CIA assets sold very inexpensive cocaine to drug dealer “Freeway” Ricky Ross. In the recent documentary, Freeway: Crack in the System, Ross gives his perspective, backing Webb’s documentation of how Ross got cheap cocaine from the CIA’s right-wing Latin American assets. The CIA had worked for decades to set up Latin American assets who aided in cocaine trafficking and overthrowing democratically elected governments.


Black Mass, American Ultra, and the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy


In September, a new movie, Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp playing Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, revealed that after Bulger was imprisoned as a teenager for small crimes, he went through volunteer experiments taking 50 hits of LSD over a period of time, to get out of prison early. Boston’s CBS local news team produced an investigative report that Bulger’s prison experiment was part of the CIA’s MK-Ultra program and CBS quoted Bulger’s journal from that time describing, “horrible LSD experiences followed by thoughts of suicide and deep depression.”

Before the Hollywood movie Black Mass was released in September 2015, director Joe Berlinger released a documentary, Whitey: USA vs. James J. Bulger, that stated that many Boston FBI agents appeared to act as an extension to Whitey Bulger’s murderous drug dealing gang lording over all of Boston. It also documented how the Justice Department aided in allowing Bulger to stay untouched for at least a decade while he ran his operations.

This summer, American Ultra, a seemingly typical Hollywood action spy thriller stated how the CIA’s MK-Ultra program started in the 1950s and continues today. It also revealed how U.S. intelligence used LSD and hypnosis to train assassins. Four years ago, headlines worldwide echoed Robert F. Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan’s statement that the government should release him from prison as he was a victim of CIA “mind control.” Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Daniel Brown, a hypnosis expert, studied Sirhan at length and reached the conclusion that he had been hypnotized to carry out his actions in 1968.

MK-Ultra researchers have found that CIA scientists used Scopolamine and other psycho-hypnotic drugs to aid in accomplishing these kinds of operations. CIA consultant Dr. Milton Klein told ABC News that he believes he could make a hypnosis subject carry out violent actions, including murder.


Danny Collins and Not Fade Away Heralds CIA Targets Lennon, Stones


The 2015 movie release Danny Collins is based on a real life musician that Beatles star John Lennon reached out to with a letter in an attempt to inspire him. This movie included several Lennon songs, coming out five years after a top British music writer, Phil Strongman, published a book, John Lennon, stating that the CIA had used MK-Ultra-type work to aid in Lennon’s assassination. Another top British writer, attorney Fenton Bresler, had worked as a crime columnist and consultant for many national British newspapers when he investigated John Lennon’s murder in the 1980s. Bresler also found that the CIA mentally conditioned Mark David Chapman to murder Lennon in 1980.

The CIA appeared to target Lennon earlier than that. Ernest Hemingway’s longtime editor, A.E. Hotchner wrote Blown Away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties. In that book, Hotchner revealed that as part of their MK-Ultra operation, the CIA sent agent Robert Lashbrook to London in 1965 with spies, funds and LSD to give the drug to many British musicians. Evidence suggests that it was no coincidence that George Harrison’s dentist risked his career to place LSD in Lennon and Harrison’s coffee without their knowledge that year. This infuriated Lennon, and Harrison said he’d never heard of the drug.

Hotchner’s revelatory book also documented how the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger received his first hit of LSD from David Snyderman (alias David Schneidermann, David Jove). Several hours after taking this first hit in 1967, police raided the party where it occurred, the Stones guitarist Keith Richards’ home, and arrested the Stones band members but not Snyderman. A London Daily Mail article revealed Snyderman was working for both the FBI and Britain’s MI5 as part of that operation against the Stones.

Blown Away further revealed how when Brian Jones began sobering up in 1969, and threatened to further his anti-Vietnam War activism (like Jagger), he was killed. Hotchner reported that, shortly before his murder, Jones had gained confirmations from his friends John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix about forming a new group. Similar to Jones, Lennon opposed the war and died after he sobered up, in 1980.

MK-Ultra documents reveal how the CIA did use LSD as their top weapon for what they called “unconventional warfare.” All the best evidence points to the CIA’s making American and British communities some of their largest battlefields for this type of warfare. The CIA used drugs as weapons against their domestic opponents in the antiwar movement, such as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).


Jimi and Intelligence Murders of Sober Political Musicians


The murder of Lennon and Jones revealed a pattern that applies to many political musicians. U.S. and British intelligence manipulated musicians to start using drugs to promote them to masses of young activists and potential activists. Then, when these musicians started sobering up and getting more into activism, evidence supported that intelligence murdered many of them.

Evidence of this pattern continued after the murder of Brian Jones, when legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix died in 1970. Hendrix died after top biographers said he had started sobering up and becoming more political after Martin Luther King’s 1968 assassination. By 1970, Hendrix dedicated his last album to The Black Panthers and attempted to form an organization opposing the Vietnam War.

A 2014 film, Jimi, only covered one, pre-1968, year of Hendrix’s life. Still, it brought Hendrix back into the spotlight just five years after his former roadie claimed that Hendrix’s manager, Mike Jeffery, made a drunken confession of having murdered Hendrix. Author David Comfort detailed Jeffery’s previous work for MI6, Britain’s CIA. Much evidence supports that he continued working for MI6 when he had Hendrix murdered 48 hours after the guitar legend fired him.


The Black Panthers and Evidence of CIA Targeting with Drugs


A recent movie, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, showed the primarily 1960s group as an excellent, national community organizing group that carried guns to help defend themselves against rampant police brutality. It also detailed some of the FBI’s attempts to “neutralize” The Black Panthers. The movie only fell short in not detailing key tactics used against top Black Panther leaders, some of which involved drugs.

For example, regarding the murder of Chicago Panther leader Fred Hampton, Hampton’s family lawyer and biographer, Jeffrey Haas, said that evidence supports that undercover FBI agent infiltrator William O’Neal drugged Hampton the night police murdered him in his bed, in 1969. In the 1980s, Legs Saunders entered beleaguered former New York Panther leader Afeni Shakur’s life and got her hooked on cocaine. Evidence suggests that Saunders worked in a CIA network of cocaine dealers. The New York Times called his boss, Nicky Barnes, “Mr. Untouchable.” Barnes had worked with Frank Matthews, who also worked untouched for years. Professor Clarence Lusane documented in his book, Pipe Dream Blues, how Matthews’ network was indicted (and mysteriously disappeared pre-trial) but the charges were dropped on nine of his codefendants due to their CIA ties.

Police had arrested Black Panther national cofounder, Huey Newton, in 1967, and the courts released him in 1970. Los Angeles Panther leader Geronimo Pratt and former National Panther Secretary of Communications Kathleen Cleaver said Newton stated that Panther Elaine Brown “kept cocaine and sexy women” around him regularly, aiding his addiction to the drug. The heralded film, All Power to the People!, interviewed Panther national cofounder Bobby Seale and others attesting to Brown’s undercover agent status, and the help she received from other undercover agents around Newton.


Soaked in Bleach and Kurt Cobain’s Death


By late January of 1994, Rolling Stone magazine touted Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain as a happy, extremely influential musician who had beaten his heroin problem, partly by solving his intense stomach ailment. When Cobain was found dead after allegedly killing himself on April 5, 1994, many ended up questioning how he really died. By the spring of 2015, the film Soaked In Bleach (weeks after the Cobain film, Montage of Heck) opened up in various theaters around world highlighting a police detective-turned private detective, Tom Grant, who presented taped recordings of Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, Cobain and Love’s lawyer, Rosemary Carroll, among others. Grant’s tapes and the movie’s many expert witnesses support that Love helped orchestrate Cobain’s murder.

While Soaked In Bleach shows a mass of evidence supporting this notion, a previous film, award-winning director Nick Broomfield’s Kurt and Courtney, presented some of first incredible evidence in 1998. Eldon Hoke said Love offered him “$50,000 to blow [Cobain’s] head off and… make it look like a suicide.” Hoke passed a top examiner’s polygraph test twice in regards to that statement, yet police never investigated Love. Hoke died several days after making the statement for Broomfield. Journalists Max Wallace and Ian Halperin claimed Seattle police Det. Antonio Terry was bucking his superior’s orders not to investigate Cobain’s death as a murder, and Terry subsequently became the first police officer to be murdered in Seattle in nine years.

Over the last two decades, investigators have presented vast amounts of evidence that Cobain was murdered. Tom Grant has offered most of his evidence to the Seattle Police Department as well as his former colleagues in the Los Angeles Police Department. Why they, nor the FBI, have acted on this information may lie in the evidence that a higher-level agency—the CIA—had a hand in this operation.

Former CIA Operations Director John Stockwell blew the whistle on his agency in reporting his own heroin trafficking for the CIA, from Vietnam into the U.S. Stockwell also detailed how his fellow agents continued that trafficking through the late 1980s, from the Afghanistan area into the U.S. Did the CIA psychologically profile certain musicians who might be susceptible to making demand of heroin match their supply?

A vast array of biographical sources on Courtney Love suggest that she played a part in making that the case, including information obtained from direct interviews and a book written by Love’s father, Hank Harrison. Harrison was involuntarily estranged from his daughter for almost a decade, and states that when she reached out to him as a teenager, he took her in but found she had turned into a heroin addict and prostitute. When 17 years old, Love traveled for weeks with Steve O’Leary, who Harrison reports admitting on his death bed as having worked for the CIA. Love followed through with the MK-Ultra actions in, what Love and Death authors Wallace and Halperin described as bringing a thousand hits of LSD to the Liverpool music scene at that age, along with many other drugs to various American music scenes. She then, by all accounts given in Everybody Loves Our Town, influenced Kurt Cobain to use heroin daily for the first time in his life.


Tupac Converts Gangs to Activists Costing CIA & Banks Billions of Dollars


Particularly after the huge success of the biopic on the rap group N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton, filmmakers are battling to finish biopics on the legendary rap artist Tupac Amaru Shakur. Many in the black community revere the rapper, partly due to his history. One-time Harlem Black Panther leader Afeni Shakur named her Panther comrades, Geronimo Pratt and Assata Shakur, Tupac’s godfather and godmother. By the time Tupac was 17 years old, he was the youngest-ever elected National Chairman of the New Afrikan Panthers—a group trying to replicate The Black Panthers—that was active in eight cities.

Tupac’s most serious activist undertaking involved what his business manager, Watani Tyehimba, confirmed. Tyehimba, a former Black Panther, confirmed to this writer that Tupac was only pretending to be a ‘gangsta’ in order to appeal to gangs and politicize them. It was part of the gang peace truce movement started by Tupac’s extended Black Panther family that got the Bloods and Crips gangs to call peace truces, stop drug dealing, and start getting involved in activism. Calculations by former Wall Street insider, Catherin Austin Fitts, detail how this movement cost money laundering banks at least tens of billions of dollars.

Thus began the murder attempts of Tupac, first by police and then with police foul play involved. In Oakland, police choked Tupac unconscious and beat his head on a curb. In Marin City, police watched strangers shoot at Tupac and they only arrested the rap star. In Atlanta, witnesses reported how purportedly off-duty police used a gun stolen from an evidence locker to shoot at Tupac. In New York, journalist Cathy Scott published how police refused to accept a surveillance video showing the gunmen that put two bullets in Tupac’s skull, which he miraculously survived. And finally, a police detective found evidence that fellow officers helped orchestrate Tupac’s murder in Las Vegas. Journalist Randall Sullivan published how the detective’s superior had stated that these cops could be considered “covert agents.”

In conclusion, Tupac’s life and death appeared as a special case due to his lifetime of family activism. Still, Tupac’s disclosed marijuana problem, followed by his reported sobering up in his last months of life has it fit the general pattern of political musicians. Once again, U.S. intelligence appeared to manipulate a musician into promoting drugs. Then, when he started sobering up and getting more into activism, he was murdered.


99% and MK-Occupy, Show U.S. Intelligence Targeting Occupy Movement

            Occupy Wall Street started as a protest in a park in New York City’s Wall Street financial district. It grew to form the Occupy movement to protest social and economic inequality worldwide. The film, 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film, opened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013, and gained a limited release that year. It presented many of the movement’s ideas, such as the idea that 1% of the wealthiest Americans were taking more and more from 99% of the people. It also presented police officers’ violent reactions towards their movement. FBI documents would later reveal FBI tactics in their work coordinating the crackdown on the Occupy Movement, along with an unchecked plan to murder Occupy organizers.

Another film, MK-Occupy Minnesota, was a low-key film capturing a police unit using a different tactic against Occupy activists in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Police lured activists with bribes to use various drugs in a warehouse and then interrogated them about the activist group while they were high. Investigations found police conducted these activities throughout the state, and likely most other states, under the cover of their national Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) unit.

The filmmakers obviously gave a nod to MK-Ultra, with the implication that that U.S. intelligence continued MK-Ultra tactics started in the 1950s and 1960s, through this DRE program today. Such programs support that U.S. intelligence has continued to use drugs as weapons against the “99%” in general, and particularly to use drugs against activists. It is hoped that everyone starts sobering up, at least to this reality, in order to help stop it.


John Potash is the author of Drugs as Weapons Against Us: The CIA’s Murderous Targeting of SDS, Panthers, Hendrix, Lennon, Cobain, Tupac and other Activists.