Issue #48 - 1998
Secret & Suppressed: Alex Constantine by Adam Parfrey
"The C.I.A. and the Mafia coordinated activities because the Mafia wanted a piece of the music business and the C.I.A. wanted to do away with politics in popular music — so they had an incentive to join forces."
If the Hippie psychedelic drug extravaganza began with the C.I.A. (see Acid Dreams by Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain), and the F.B.I. conducted a snitch operation against Leftists in the Sixties and Seventies (COINTELPRO), could Rock & Roll have been left alone?
No, we're not buying into the Lyndon LaRouche conspiracy theory which posits that The Beatles and Grateful Dead were unholy inventions of the Tavistock Institute in England, designed to clutter and confuse youthful minds and take them away from Mozart and nuclear fusion.
The following interview with ALEX CONSTANTINE, author of Psychic Dictatorship In The U.S.A., and Virtual Government: C.I.A. Mind Control Operations In America, concerns his research for a book named Operation Chaos. Constantine seems interested in the unholy convergence of music biz mobsters — who find some figures worth far more dead than alive — and intelligence agencies anxious to experiment with mind control on fresh, controllable young brains. And beneath all this is the right-wing intelligence agencies' fear of a loud and emerging Leftist movement, a movement particularly situated within Rock & Roll music.
SECONDS: You're working on a book called Operation Chaos, which concerns the subtext and subrosa events of Rock & Roll and what goes on in terms of government intelligence operations and assassinations of individuals in Rock, Blues and Jazz. Why do you believe the assassinations have come to pass?
CONSTANTINE: There have been Congressional testimonies from C.I.A. operatives who admitted, without providing details or names, that they have "driven some of these musicians to their deaths." They admitted they had performed surveillance, mail openings, phone taps. The main musicians of the period reported being followed by the F.B.I. John Lennon went on national television and complained he couldn't leave the house without being followed by FBI operatives.
So, you have this testimony that they had "driven some of these musicians to their deaths." Well, what does it mean that they had driven these musicians to their deaths and exactly who was it that they had driven to their deaths? It's a small step to say the C.I.A. actually assassinated some of these musicians. If you begin to look into some of the details surrounded the deaths of Mama Cass Elliot, Phil Ochs. Jimi Hendrix — up to the modern period with Michael Hutchence, whose death was extremely mysterious — you began to ask a lot of questions about how exactly these people died. In fact, some of them were driven to their deaths. To give you an example, Phil Ochs developed a multiple personality. He was a part of a group I called the "Baez Contras" who surrounded Joan Baez. It's known that Joan was used in C.I.A. mind control experimentation at a very early age. She was subjected to trauma-based programming, which is still in use today in the creation of multiple personalities. If you look at the latest record by Joan Baez, she thanks her multiple personalities on the back of the record. Then you have her friend Phil Ochs, who was equally adamant in his opposition to the U.S. government and covert operations — and he developed a multiple personality by the name of John Train. It wasn't until ten years later that the name "John Train" surfaced as a C.I.A. operative working on Wall Street. As a matter of fact, Lyndon LaRouche complained about an agent named John Train who supposedly led him to his present jail sentence. During the 1960s and Seventies, John Train of the C.I.A. had the job of disrupting the Left, which was the sole purpose of Operation Chaos. So how was it that Phil Ochs came to have a multiple personality with the name of an actual C.I.A. agent? We know Phil Ochs was found hung in 1976 and it was his alternate personality that did the hanging that actually assassinated the host personality.
The F.B.I. and C.I.A. came together in Operation Chaos; it was an inter-agency program that drew upon the entire intelligence apparatus of the U.S. government. As I say, it was the largest covert project in American history.
SECONDS: Could you provide more informational support on the idea that Joan Baez was involved?
CONSTANTINE: Yes. She's admitted in private letters to two organizations for mind control victims that she had been submitted to trauma-based programming as a child.
SECONDS: What's trauma-based programming?
CONSTANTINE: The C.I.A. found they could take a young child, subject that child to extreme trauma, forcing the child to withdraw within himself. That's called disassociation and at that stage you can begin to program the child by creating altered personalities. Often the altered personality lives in the area of the body that is tortured. So if the child is tortured in the shoulder, for instance, he may have a multiple personality that lives in the shoulder.
SECONDS: How would a child he tortured?
CONSTANTINE: With electric shock.
SECONDS: Joan Baez's family was —
CONSTANTINE: Her father was the head of Operations Research at Cornell University, which is known today as being the home base for all MK-Ultra contracts during the 1950s.
SECONDS: What does "Operations Research" mean?
CONSTANTINE: I'm not sure, but that was his title. Cornell was the home of all mind control experimentation conducted by the C.I.A. It was the also the home of the Human Ecology Fund, which is well known as the contract base of MK-Ultra. The C.I.A. handed out contracts to Ivy League universities and behind the fences of these colleges around the country there were scientists conducting over one hundred and twenty different sub-projects in the field of mind control.
SECONDS: So we have Phil Ochs and Joan Baez —
CONSTANTINE: In a small circle of Folk singers, what are the odds that two of them would have multiple personalities? Now Joan Baez reaches the age of seventeen and hits those coffeehouses with her guitar and begins associating with a young man named Bob Dylan who, if you recall, has a motorcycle accident in 1966. This is three months after Joan Baez's brother-in-law had a fatal motorcycle accident. How was it this came about? Those are questions I want to ask about these musicians and their tragic lives. In the case of Phil Ochs, it's easy to understand why he was targeted by Operation Chaos. He was at the Chicago convention — remember "Pig For President"? That was his pig. He was one of the organizers of the Chicago event. His career was on the rise up to the Chicago convention; then after the convention it went into steep decline. He was blackballed by the radio stations; he had a difficult time getting record contracts; his career nose-dived from 1968 until his death.
SECONDS: What other musicians were assassinated?
CONSTANTINE: There's a whole slew of musicians who were vocally political and opposed the Central Intelligence Agency. Joan Baez had gone to Chile and rallied against the C.I.A. — and the youth movement in general had targeted the Central Intelligence Agency for its role in the Vietnam War and bringing the United States into it. You had Fascism openly condemned on campuses; they were burning Nixon in effigy — this is why Operation Chaos geared up. To put down the youth movement entailed assassinating political leaders and musicians who spoke openly against the Nixon regime. The clearest example I know is Brian Jones. The killer of Brian Jones was a man by the name of George Thorogood — not the musician — who actually confessed on his deathbed. This was twenty years after the event, but there were also witnesses that very night Jones died — three or four witnesses — who all described the same thing. All of them received death threats, some were told to leave the country and keep their mouths shut or they'd be next. They had an incentive to keep quiet until the death of George Thorogood, at which time they came forward and were interviewed by a reputable historian by the name of A. E. Hochner, who published the interviews with the witnesses — and they all corroborate the information that was provided by George Thorogood. What they described is that Brian Jones — who was not on drugs that night, although drugs are often given as the cause of his death — was an expert swimmer but drowned in his own swimming pool. How did this come about? According to the witnesses, his head was held underwater first by one man and when he struggled, two others jumped in the pool and held Brian Jones's head underwater until he drowned to death. To back up, why was Brian Jones targeted? A C.I.A. operative arrived in the lives of the Stones. He claimed to be a James Bond figure and he turned up with a valise full of every drug you can imagine. At this point the Stones still hadn't done LSD. They woke up one morning at the home of Keith Richards and here was this character slipping LSD into their tongues as they were waking up. They didn't know exactly what was happening but they swallowed the drug and the police arrived that very afternoon. Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were arrested and thus began their political problems.
SECONDS: What was this the name of this C.I.A. operative?
CONSTANTINE: His name was David Schneiderman and he was The Rolling Stones's LSD supplier — for one night. When the police arrived, Schneiderman was allowed to leave the country and he flew back to California. They rounded up Mick Jagger and Keith Richards but the problem was neither of them had any drugs on them or on the premises. So they had a difficult time nailing down a conviction and Jagger and Richards were set free. Who's Schneiderman? According to Mick Jagger, he was "a sinister American from California" and [reads] "he had so many passports no one was certain of his origin. Schneiderman brought to Keith Richards's home a suitcase that contained every herb and chemical to stab or stroke the mind, along with choice LSD from San Francisco. Schneiderman had let us believe he was bending the law all over the world. He was on a James Bond thing, the C.I.A. or something."
SECONDS: What did Jagger and Richards say about the death of Brian Jones?
CONSTANTINE: After the murder, they were outspoken about the fact that it was a murder. Keith Richards gave an interview in which he talked about this strange group of workmen spending time at Jones's house. They pretty much took over the house, got into his bank account and ran Brian Jones's life. Richards believed it was the same workmen that had killed Brian Jones and he was absolutely right.
SECONDS: What about Jimi Hendrix?
CONSTANTINE: He had a manager named Michael Jeffrey who claimed at the time he had worked for the intelligence services and he also bragged he had close connections to Mafia figures. Michael Jeffrey had served in the Middle East and openly declared he took part in assassinations and kidnappings. According to my own investigation, Jimi Hendrix was kidnapped at one point by the Mafia and Michael Jeffrey sent in a crew to free him. Jimi Hendrix wasn't fooled for a minute. He knew Michael Jeffrey had engineered this kidnapping as a way of winning Hendrix's loyalty. Hendrix was very aware his money was being siphoned. If you follow the money, you find the money from the band's performances and recordings was being siphoned through the Cayman Islands and ended up in Chase Manhattan Bank.
When Hendrix died, there was a lot of squabbling about the money and to this day it has never been all accounted for. It's very clear Jeffrey had no interest in Hendrix's music, so why is it he had come into Hendrix's life? Hendrix depended entirely on Michael Jeffrey for income; he didn't even have any spending money. Jeffrey pretty much controlled his entire life and in some ways sabotaged his entire career. You may remember his famous booking with The Monkees, due to Michael Jeffrey's finagling. Also. Jeffrey tried time and time again to bring Hendrix into Mafia circles. Hendrix was aware the money was being siphoned off and had initiated court action and was in the midst of it when he died. Others had tried to establish how he died and it's very difficult because every one of the central witnesses in the case gives a different story about what happened that night.
According to Monica Danneman, the woman he was cohabiting with at the time, he had two glasses of wine, took nine sleeping pills, went to sleep and the story is he choked on his vomit and died. The nine pills are often attributed to the death of Hendrix — the problem is it was a reasonable dose of a mild sedative. He had tried two or three of these pills before and they had no effect on him. He was an insomniac of the highest order and needed some sort of medical aid to get to sleep, so he took nine capsules out of a bottle of forty-two, thinking they'd put him to sleep. Mitch Mitchell hired a private investigator to establish exactly how it was that Hendrix died. He turned up the coroner's report which indicated Hendrix had drowned. According to the chief surgeon in the case, who directly contradicted statements made by Monica Danneman, Hendrix was brought into surgery. There was indeed vomit in his throat but that was cleared and Hendrix was still alive. According to the surgery, once his throat was cleared great vines of red wine came gushing out of Hendrix's stomach. How did the wine get there? Is this what the coroner meant when he said Hendrix drowned? Is it possible Hendrix was held down while gallons of wine were dumped down his throat? This is all inconclusive but we know he did not choke to death on his vomit that's a myth.
"To put down the youth movement entailed assassinating political leaders and musicians who spoke openly against the Nixon regime."
SECONDS: What about Danneman? Was she involved?
CONSTANTINE: Some fans and friends contend Monica Danneman may have had something to do with his death, but the fact is she dearly loved Hendrix and spent the rest of her life painting portraits of him and her own death was mysterious. Others around Hendrix died in mysterious ways, including Michael Jeffrey, who died in a plane accident a couple of years later. It's funny how in assassinations, witnesses and the perpetrators happen to die. This is a pattern that has been established in C.I.A. assassinations.
SECONDS: Why go after Jimi Hendrix?
CONSTANTINE: He had declared openly in teen Rock publications he was in opposition to the Vietnam War. The Black Panthers had tried to politicize Jimi Hendrix and in order to allay their aggressiveness, he had stated that the Blank Panthers should go to Washington, D.C. and hang certain political figures. He advocated resistance to the Nixon administration and therefore became a political target.
SECONDS: Weren't there a lot of people in the music world that advocated a strong response to Nixon?
CONSTANTINE: Yes, and the most political didn't survive into the mid-1970s.
SECONDS: We're talking about these Sixties figures, but were there people before and after them who also were assassinated?
CONSTANTINE: Yes. You can go back to the mid-1950s when strange tests begin to occur, especially of Black Blues musicians. Then you have figures in the mid-1960s like Bobby Fuller. Bobby Fuller wrote "I fought the law and the law won" and in 1966, a year before Operation Chaos kicked into gear, he was found with his stomach full of gasoline, and his body had been set aflame in his car. It had been ruled a suicide, but that's impossible as indicated by the severe beating he took before his death. It's certain he was murdered. Rock & Roll had created waves socially, and certain parts wanted nothing to do with Rock & Roll and resented its existence. This goes all the way back to Nazi Germany when the Nazis descended upon the Swing kids and assassinated musicians for partaking in what the Nazis called "nigger kike music." Something of this reactionary attitude survived in the United States, especially during the Vietnam War, when Rock & Roll became synonymous with politics. Operation Chaos was created in 1967 and exposed in 1970 in several newspapers, along with the COINTELPRO. Both were forced to burrow deeper and they continued to survive. COINTELPRO is still with us and so is Operation Chaos but they're not known to the public. Should they be exposed again, they'll simply fire some personnel and burrow down again.
SECONDS: Can we bring this up to date?
CONSTANTINE: I mentioned Michael Hutchence and according to Rolling Stone, Hutchence was found with a broken hand, bruises and lacerations over his body, a split lip and yet somehow he contrived to hang himself with a belt from a doorway. It seems to me it's impossible to hang yourself with one broken hand.
SECONDS: Why was he targeted?
CONSTANTINE: What could the C.I.A. have against a man like Michael Hutchence? Well, he was involved in a documentary about East Timor, which was essentially a C.I.A. machination that ended in a hundred thousand deaths including some American reporters. The reporters had to be murdered first so that word of the slaughter wouldn't leak out. They managed to keep it under wraps for many years and Michael Hutchence was about to release a documentary on it. It's possible there were other motives for his murder.
SECONDS: Is there Mafia involvement in these assassinations?
CONSTANTINE: I'm sure you've heard of Operation Underworld during World War Two in which military intelligence forged an alliance with the Mafia in order to fight Mussolini. After the war, the C.I.A. held on to some of the key Mafia assets, including Meyer Lansky. Sam Giancana said the C.I.A. is one side of the coin, the Mafia is the other. They're often used in political assassinations, like the killing of John Kennedy and others and when Operation Chaos was born, the C.I.A. and the Mafia coordinated activities because the Mafia wanted a piece of the music business and the C.I.A. wanted to do away with politics in popular music — so they had an incentive to join forces.
SECONDS: What about your other books, Psychic Dictatorship In The U.S.A. and Virtual Government?
CONSTANTINE: Psychic Dictatorship covers various subjects but the theme is mind control, a subject I delve into further in Virtual Government. Psychic Dictatorship talks about everything from the dangers of Nutrasweet to black bag operations of the C.I.A. to brain telemetry and electronic harassment. Virtual Government deals specifically with mind control, trauma-based programming, killings in the postal system, and so-called "psychic warfare," which was a front for mind control experimentation.
SECONDS: John Alexander has a hook on psychic warfare
CONSTANTINE: My nemesis, John Alexander, has been very much an advocate of electronic weapons, and as far as I'm concerned, is at the core of covert operations.