Several interesting news items from the past few weeks caught my eye, but I'd like to take a look at one that brings a couple of things we've talked about full circle:
The Boston Globe has a lengthy piece on the Tsarneav brothers
Of note here is the fact that -- like Aaron Alexis -- Tamerlan Tsarneav claimed to have heard voices. Specifically the article states:
“He believed in majestic mind control, which is a way of breaking down a person and creating an alternative personality with which they must coexist,” explained Larking. “You can give a signal, a phrase or a gesture, and bring out the alternate personality and make them do things. Tamerlan thought someone might have done that to him.”
The "majestic mind control" Mr. Larking refers to is most likely what's known in conspiracy lore as "Monarch mind control." Monarch mind control first appeared in conspiracy literature in the 1980s & 1990s, exclusively through the work of Fritz Springmeier, Cathy O'Brien, and Brice Taylor. The trio form a mobius-strip of reference: each using the other as support for the validity of their own claims.
Proponents of the Monarch mind control theory place it as a sub-project of the verified CIA program known as MKULTRA. There were a number of sub-projects under MKULTRA, the overall goal of each being the control of a person's mind to varying degrees. Much of what we know about MKULTRA comes from the revelations of the Rockefeller Commission and the Church Committee but -- by the CIA's own admission -- much of the data regarding MKULTRA was destroyed on order of DCI Richard Helms.
It has been alleged by some that MKULTRA was merely the tip of a larger iceberg. It is a plausible theory, but it should be noted that no one has been able to provide any evidence of the existence of a Project Monarch within MKULTRA or any other CIA endeavor. The now copious amounts of information regarding Monarch mind control on the Internet all ultimately rely on the Springmeier-O'Brien-Taylor claims, which are spurious, at best. The S-O-T books are engaging reads, filled with innuendo about the famous and powerful, bizarre claims about shadowy cults, and pornographic details about the experiences of the victims. They are also filled with factual, grammatical, and logical errors. O'Brien claims she was used as a "human recorder" yet cannot provide a single date for any of her claims, nor can she provide the name of anyone involved except for well-known celebrities and politicians. An excellent summation of how to take such books can be found here at PopCultureKeys, but the final word on the Monarch theories goes to the late, great Jim Keith, who puts a finer point on it in his seminal Mind Control World Control:
"The answer to the O'Brien-Phillips-Wheeler-Springmeier school of conspiracy research is, of course, compiling evidence, not just hashing together allegations, fantasies, innuendos, and things once heard at a revival meeting. But that would seemingly ruin the fun. The worst thing about these sorts of researchers is that their false reports and delusory connections muddy the water for anyone trying to get to the truth about mind control."
But wait, it gets weirder.
Monarch mind control wasn't the only conspiracy theory that Tamerlan Tsarnaev believed. According to reports, he was a veritable disciple of disinformation; believing in the litany of the outer fringes of conspiracism. According to the AP story on him, Tsarnaev's views on 9/11 were culled from the Conspiracy Cinema film Zeitgeist, which, in addition to being filled with inaccuracies, was a thinly-veiled recruiting film for Jacque Fresco's Venus Project, a planned technocratic utopia. Furthermore, Tsarnaev allegedly was influenced by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the now-century old and decisively debunked anti-Semitic text.
Tamerlan seems to have been influenced by the person who gave the quote above, a Mr. Donald Larking, a 67-year old disabled man who was cared for by Tamerlan's mother. The influence went both ways, as Tsarnaev converted Larking (a life-long Catholic) to Islam, and Larking's contribution to Tamerlan's life was introducing him to a very particular strain of right-wing conspiracism. Larking is credited with getting Tamerlan a subscription to the American Free Press. American Free Press is a conspiracy-themed alternative news outlet with a white supremacist bent. A quick scan of their website's homepage reveals that they aren't shy about their anti-Semitic views and even have a news category labelled "Israel/International Jewry/Zionism."
The AFP is the relaunch of the now-defunct Spotlight published by the also defunct Liberty Lobby. The Liberty Lobby was the most successful venture of white supremacist Willis Carto. Carto's Lobby was at odds with the John Birch Society, which Carto's group considered too liberal. However, like the JBS, Liberty Lobby and Carto were rife with ties to domestic intelligence agencies. Liberty Lobby worked with former CIA/OSS agents Victor Marchetti, Mitch WerBell III, and others, and despite their public feuding with the JBS, tended to share many of the same associates. LL also shared the JBS' penchant for railing against the CIA while regularly doing business with them.
Like the John Birch Society, Liberty Lobby is intimately tied to the JFK assassination, albeit after the fact. Watergate Plumber E Howard Hunt sued Liberty Lobby in 1978 for alleging he was involved in the Kennedy assassination. He lost. Liberty Lobby was represented by JFK conspiracy theorist Mark Lane, who despite being Jewish himself defended the country's largest publisher of Holocaust denial literature. It bears noting that Lane was a former military intelligence officer and had been the personal attorney of Jim Jones and was present at Jonestown until minutes before the suicides. Lane is the primary proponent of the "Grassy Knoll" theory to the exclusion of all others and is largely responsible for the strain of conspiracism that is content to ascribe events to persons unknown rather than attempting to bring actual perpetrators to justice.
The ultra-conservative elements of American politics have historically taken a deep interest in conspiracy theories and particularly into guiding those theories in directions beneficial to them. In 1967, Birch Society member John Steinbacher released It Comes Up Murder, which is the modern genesis point for the Illuminati conspiracy theory favored by Springmeier, et al, countless Internet denizens, and, apparently, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. It Comes Up Murder was a rehash of the Birchers' beliefs, with "Illuminati" substituted for "Communists," just as "Communists" had previously taken the place of "the Jews." Steinbacher and fellow Bircher and conspiracy theorist par excellance Anthony J. Hilder showed up in Los Angeles on June 5 1968, just a few hours after the assassination of RFK to hold a press conference to blame an Illuminati-Communist conspiracy for the killing. Timing is everything, huh?
Researchers Bill Turner and Jonn Christian dug into the Hilder-Steinbacher union and found that their return address for their Illuminati pamphlets was the same as the "Eugene Bradley Defense Fund." Eugene Bradley was sought by Jim Garrison in the JFK assassination, but then-governor of California Ronald Reagan blocked his extradition. Bradley (aka Braden) was arrested in the Dal-Tex Building on 11/22/63 and was released because he gave police a different name than the one he had an extensive criminal record under. Bradley was also picked up by LAPD for questioning after the RFK assassination.
[Just to make these coincidences even more bizarre: Hilder's claim to fame in conspiracy circles is a 1967 record album he made of a speech on his Illuminati conspiracy theory. The record was made by Ed Butler, the same CIA-front man that released recorded Oswald's "Self-Portrait in Red."]
Undoubtedly, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was first exposed to the idea of Monarch mind control via the Internet. Unbeknowst to him, however, when his friend Larking introduced him to the murky world of right-wing conspiracy theories, he was coming full circle to where these ideas originated.
Perhaps it is just a coincidence that Tamerlan found a friend to guide him directly toward the same strain of conservative conspiracism that has plagued the discipline for over fifty years now. Perhaps its not just a coincidence.