The Military Men who ‘Shook Up’ the Radio

Whether or not you engage with mainstream pop culture or not, there is little to no chance that at some point you have been aware of ‘the music charts’. In many ways they have defined generations over the past 60 odd years, with hits of the day dominating the airwaves. The advent of commercial radio in the last century makes this a relatively modern phenomenon, up until that point in history music was a localised experience for people, not something so freely available or pumped in to generations as a soundtrack to the ages.

In July of 1940, Billboard produced the first music popularity chart, and for the most part those results were consolidated from record sales and radio plays. The ‘Top 40 Chart’ that dictated which popular songs would receive the most airplay, was actually implemented by a rather unlikely but somewhat unsurprising source all together. It remains a mainstay of modern music pop culture, across all genres. The person who implemented this particular format was a man called John Elroy McCaw.

In 1941, McCaw was running a radio station called KELA in Centralia Chehalis. He recruited a then budding radio broadcaster Les Keiter who, at the time was working in Spokane. After a meeting and a stay at the Lewis and Clarke Hotel, which McCaw also owned, a deal was struck and Keiter was to start as assistant sports director from September 1, 1941. In his autobiography, Keiter states how he was just beginning to learn the ‘real ropes’ of the business when on December 7th of the same year, Pearl Harbour was attacked. Keiter went off to join and serve in the US Navy Reserves. McCaw went to join the Army, but in a special branch, namely the Office of Strategic Services or ‘The OSS’, commonly known and understood to be the precursor to the CIA. They would later reconnect post war, and work together once again.

During his time at the OSS, McCaw was engaged in operations in Japan and according to his son Bruce, was engaged in something called Operation Javaman, which would target the Kanmon railway tunnel connecting Kyushu and Honatu with missiles from Javaman ships. This would have devastated the logistics of transport between the regions and isolated the most south westerly island, where the allied forces intended to land and launch an attack. The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki rendered the project unnecessary. McCaw had been serving in the OSS with John Shaheen, the architect of Javaman.

According to the writings of Roger Hall in his book ‘You’re Stepping on my Cloak and Dagger’, during his time in the O.S.S, Commander Shaheen was also put in charge of ‘The Reports Declassification Section’. This was a unit with a purview on furnishing American journalists with selected information to promote the deeds of the O.S.S during the war in an attempt to justify the spending on all of the operations they had engaged in. Naturally these were heavily sanitised versions of cherry picked minor events and wins, leaving out the more salacious materials for a number of researchers to put together years later. Hall writes “Most of it went one of two ways; It was either written in our offices and released to the press, or the writers came in, were given access to the material, and then wrote stories which had to be cleared by the section. Whenever possible pictures were furnished to illustrate the copy. Which is where I came in. My assignment entailed seeing all the hitherto top-secret O.S.S motion pictures and deciding what could be clipped out and used for still shots in newspaper and magazine articles. ‘Deadline Johnny’ Shaheen ran the place as though it were straight out of The Front Page.” Shaheen was also an advisor on the film ‘O.S.S’ directed by Irving Pichel, a Jewish Communist who was later part of the ‘Hollywood Nineteen’, blacklisted from working by the House Un-American Activities committee for refusing to name Communist conspirators in the industry, and was then later found to be a bona-fide member of the Communist Party.

In later years, John Shaheen would attempt to start a newspaper called ‘The New York Press’, but was unsuccessful in his attempts. Where he was successful, however, was in retaining his government contacts, one of which was a lawyer he once employed who would later go on to become the President of the United States; Richard Nixon. He was a contributor to his campaign and was later appointed a ‘Special Ambassador to Columbia’ by him, and from their became one of Bill Casey’s ‘Hardy Boys’ spy network as a financier of sorts, going so far as to set up the ‘Hong Kong Deposit and Guaranty Bank’ years later in 1981. Cohorts in this little ‘financial endeavour’ included Herminio Disini, then purported ‘bag-man’ of Phillipine President Ferdinand Marcos. Ghanim Al Mazrui; a cousin of Adnan Khashoggi, who owned 10% of the BCCI was another director of the bank. Ghanim was also an advisor to former chief of Saudi Intelligence Kamal Adham. Linked to another Hong Kong based, BCCI connected bank Tetra Finance Ltd. The purpose of these banks was to attract petro dollars from Arab oil interests. For an example of this you can read an excerpt from a 1985 court documents from the case Hong Kong Deposit & Guaranty Co. v. Hibdon, here. Clearly Shaheen was engaged as the shady finance wing of some of the darker elements of the US government and beyond, the above is a lovely example of just how the money shifts around. He made an absolute fortune in oil ventures, and from the banks and colleagues he had, it is very easy to see how and why. Back in the 1950’s however, he worked with former OSS cohort John Elroy McCaw when McCaw decided to go back into radio after the war. McCaw had set up an organisation called ‘The Gotham Broadcasting Company’ which he used to purchase the radio station WINS where, according to author Bruce Wasserstein;

“He converted New York station WINS to the country’s first rock station in the middle 1950s, and within 9 years flipped the station for twenty times more than he had paid. At his height, Elroy McCaw owned interests in dozens of radio, television and cable television companies.” During this time McCaw was still very much involved in government activities, serving on the National Security Council advisory board, and the sale of WINS would later fall to Westinghouse, but not before he had made a massive success out of it.

Alan Freed at WINS

Notorious Jewish gangster Morris Levy, owner of the famed Jazz Club ‘Birdland’ and other endeavours didn’t pass up the chance to get involved with the hustle and success that was WINS. This is yet another one of many examples when the intelligence agencies would be in bed with organised crime. Levy even had a show in the namesake of his club ‘Birdland’ where they would broadcast gigs to give the authentic feel of the music coming live from a jazz club, straight to your car, bar or living room. This was fantastic advertising for the club, and indeed the records that were released under his label.

Birdland

As the phenomenon television grew during the early 1950’s, the need for content on the radio to become more attractive to listeners in competition resulted in radio stations being dominated by music, rather than the previous fanfare of actors reading stories for a show.  The major networks such as ABC, NBC and CBS made the transition to television, which allowed the new more local stations to thrive, sometimes resulting in local disk jockeys becoming minor celebrities. One such disc jockey was Alan Freed, who today is known as the father of Rock’n’Roll, allegedly having coined the term. Freed had become interested in radio at university, and when serving in WW2 he worked as a disc jockey for the armed forces, and also as a photographer for the Army Signal Corps. He had developed chronic sinusitis and left after only 8 months. He looked for further work in radio and found it at a radio station in New Castle, Pennsylvania called WKST where he played classical music. Later in life he moved to Cleveland where he met the owner of a record store; Leo Mintz. Freed had already been playing what was then known as ‘Race Records’ on his shows with increasing enthusiasm. Mintz had noticed that local teenagers were interested in the new raucous music that was coming from a lot of newly formed record labels and bands. There is some dispute on the coining of the term Rock’n’Roll, where according to several sources including the Cleveland Jewish News article entitled “Mintz and Moondog Made Rock’n’Roll;  ‘Alan Freed turned to Mintz and said, “Leo, this music is so exciting, we’ve got to call it something.” Mintz replied, “Alan, you are rolling tonight…you’re rocking and rolling…call it ‘rock and roll!”’ Mintz and Freed had caused an absolute storm by staging the first ‘Rock and Roll’ concert known as the ‘Moondog Coronation Ball’ on March 21st of 1952 where according to BBC reports an estimated 20,000 people turned up to a venue which could hold only half of that. People were breaking the windows just to enter the venue, and those with tickets could not get in for the overcrowding. Soon a riot erupted and the musicians only played a few songs. A man was stabbed in the melee of the chaos and riot police, along with fire trucks and hoses dispersed the crowd. The son of the venues owner, one Mr. Sutphin recalls entering the arena the next morning to find it strewn with whisky bottles. According to Terry Steward, the president of the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; “These songs were filled with double entendres, lyrics like, ‘she just loved my 10-inch record of the blues’… Many of the churchgoing black families were just as upset as the white families with this music being played for their children.” This event served as a tipping point of sorts for the genre of music, and whilst the FBI would put Freed under surveillance for his mischievous efforts, others were paying attention in a more advantageous way…

Both Morris Levy and John Elroy McCaw recognised this phenomenon, and especially the success of Freed in regards to his overtly charismatic, and highly successful music promotion. Levy invited Freed to New York in 1954 where he employed him at his record company ‘Gee Records’, which he had founded with record promoter George Goldner, they would later form Roulette Records which turned out to be in fact a front for a heroin smuggling operation. They had specifically set up the Gee label not only to attract Freed, but to get an early start in the Rock and Roll market, peddling bands such as Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. Levy was purportedly not that trusting of Freed, and was allegedly coerced in to selling his portion of the record label back to Levy in one drunken misstep of an evening. Freed was then employed by McCaw for WINS, where he peddled the mobster’s records, along with many of his own he had brought from his days with Mintz. From a small operation in a record store, Freed how had a vehicle to turn early adopters of this rambunctious new trend into the ‘early majority’ of trendsetters.

‘The Chasm’ represents the hurdle from having a product become niche and innovative to opening up to a wider audience. Today in culture, Instagram influencers and celebrities of all stripes are used as an accelerating tool to bring a product or an idea to a wider audience. They are simply the delivery system. So too was the radio, when this music was now widespread, prevalent and pumped in to institutions it could be rather hard to escape from. Much like today’s tech or cultural innovations, the youth of the populous is always targeted for such changes. There was initial pushback, of course. Conservative Americans in the 1950’s would be considered ‘Far-Right Extremists’ by today’s standards for their moral convictions and deeply conservative views. Parents and Preachers would rail against the music and the potential damage it was going to do to their children, steering the vigour and energy of the youth to a lifestyle which was deeply antithetical to the values they had tried to instil in their children.

One Reverend Jimmy Snow declared; “These men come down here from New York and Florida to find out my reasons on Rock and Roll music and why I preach against it, and I find that it is a contributing factor to our juvenile delinquency today, I 100% believe that. Why I believe that is that I know how it feels when you sing it, I know what it does to you, and I know the evil feeling you feel when you sing it. I know the lost position that you get in to and THE BEAT. Well, if you talk to the average teenager today and you ask them what it is about Rock and Roll music that they like, they will say it is The Beat! The Beat! The Beat!” No wonder there are now headphones marketed with that title as the selling point, today…

Freed’s endeavours proved to be enormously fruitful, not hampered by the fact that he would expand his media outreach in to several motion pictures such as ‘Rock Around the Clock’, ‘Rock, Rock, Rock’, ‘Mister Rock and Roll’, (one might start to notice a pattern, here…), ‘Don’t Knock the Rock’ and ‘Go, Johnny Go!’. In 1956 Freed was hosting “Alan Freed’s Rock and Roll Dance Party” on the CBS Radio network. The president of CBS at the time was one William S. Paley, a man who got his chops serving in the Psychological Warfare Division of the Office of War Information during WW2. Freed was also awarded a weekly prime time series on ABC called ‘The Big Beat’ which was promptly cancelled after singer Frankie Lymon danced with a white girl from the studio audience, which according to reports angered both the public and ABC’s advertising network affiliates. ABC Television would also run the more ‘family friendly’ program ‘American Bandstand’, which was the visual version of the ‘Top 40’ format of music programming invented by John Elroy McCaw. The show not only made a star out of the host Dick Clarke, but served as a major national launching pad for many musicians in the decades to follow, so many that one would be hard pressed to think of a wildly popular music group who didn’t perform on the roster.

According to the History Engine; “One of the leading historians of American Bandstand, Matthew Delmont, in his book ‘The Nicest Kids in Town’, claimed, “American Bandstand’s daily images encouraged teenagers to imagine themselves as a part of a national audience enjoying the same music and dances at the same time.” Delmont also explained: “by representing the show’s teenagers consuming all of these products, American Bandstand constructed a national youth culture centred on simultaneous consumption” that imitated the larger consumer culture of America in 1957.”

Dick Clarke managed to stay on television, but thanks to his antics of pushing the boundaries too far too soon, Freed mostly stuck to radio. This, however did not stop him from engaging in more antics, namely of the more profitable kind which would once again put him on the radar of the FBI. This was known as ‘The Payola Scandal’, whereby record companies would pay off DJs in order to have their music receive more airtime, overriding the seemingly ‘organic’ audience fuelled popularity of many songs. Funnily enough, Dick Clarke actually was tangled up in a scandal of this sort in his very early career, but he co-operated with authorities, gave up his stakes in the record companies, ‘played his cards right’ and upgraded from radio to television. Freed, however took it further, going so far as to have his name put on records as a songwriter in order to receive royalty credits. According to former record executive and powerhouse Henry (David Epstein) Stone;

“Alan Freed saw me and called me in, and in those days you had to pay him $1000-$5000 to get a record played…And I always had a good relationship with him. All the other guys looked around like…”Motherfucker. What the hell, man?” All these powers sittin’ there and Henry Stone walks in and Alan Freed goes like this, waves his hand, and says “C’mon in,” and he takes my record and puts it right on. “Mexico Bound,” pa pa padda pa. It wasn’t that big, but it was a doo wop and he put it right on the air. For nothin’. So people can say what they want about Alan Freed, but as far as I’m concerned he was a pretty good guy. Actually, I know for a fact, ’cause Leonard Chess told me himself that they put Freed’s name down on “Goodnight My Love” by the Moonglows as a songwriter. Leonard was very close with Alan Freed, and helped him to get into NYC from Cleveland. Songwriter credit is an old perk, but Allen Freed never had nothing to do with writing “Good Night My Love.”

Stone would go on to be a driving force in other genres in the years to come including Disco, and also worked with Morris Levy first as a distributor for his operation with Goldner, and later on labels such as Sunnyview. As for Freed, the Payola scandal was one too many, and much akin to the chewed up and spat out nature of most who engage with ‘The Beast’ that is talent in the world of entertainment, Freed ended up dying penniless and alone.

During the 1950s Les Keiter had re-connected with John Elroy McCaw and served as sports director at WINS–AM in New York until to 1963, mainly hosting the pre- and postgame shows for Yankees broadcasts. He later went on to call famous boxing fights featuring Muhammad Ali in 1964, and moving first to Philadelphia then Hawaii. Also in 1964, the ownership of the New York Yankees changed hands and the team was purchased by William S. Paley’s CBS umbrella. The company appointed another OSS veteran; Edmund Michael Burke who’s time in the O.S.S had seen him carrying out one of John Shaheen’s wartime schemes; namely “The MacGregor Mission” which involved kidnapping an Italian Vice Admiral Eugenio Minisini in order to acquisition a vital piece of technology that would help the Americans with detonating their torpedoes. After the war, Burke had worked as a Hollywood Advisor on O.S.S methods, then went back to the newest iteration of the O.S.S; the CIA working in both Albania and Germany. Following the CIA (in an official capacity) he reconnected with another alumnus of John Shaheen’s ‘MacGregor Mission’ Henry Ringling North and his brother John to work with their travelling circus; ‘The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’, commonly referred to at the time as ‘The greatest show on earth’. Here he would rub up against hassle from Jimmy Hoffa’s Teamster Union before his career with CBS, the Yankees and later owning them with George Steinbrenner and further serving as the president of the Madison Square Garden Corporation until his resignation at age 65.

It’s a small world, after all.

As for John Elroy McCaw, he continued to be quite the airtime magnate, and in 1968 he went on to be the chairman of Rand Development, a global policy think-tank that had been created in 1948 and since its inception has hired over 30 Nobel laureates. During the 1960’s it had employed Paul Baran and several others who were working on the systems which would later become the World Wide Web. This gave McCaw and his family insights way ahead of the public for what was to come in the realms of technology. For his efforts in music, Rock and Roll had ‘evolved’ from the governmental ‘cultural think-tank’ and drug den that was the ‘Laurel Canyon Scene’ and thus the throngs of ‘Hippiedom’ was now well on its way to dominating American music culture. There was an underground press covering this ‘counter-culture’, but it was heavily legitimized by the efforts of Rolling Stone magazine, started by Ralph J. Gleason in 1967 who, just like William S. Paley of CBS, had hardened his ‘propaganda chops’ in Psychological Warfare for the Office of War Information during the war. Unfortunately for McCaw, he did not live to see the full fruits of what his ‘Top 40’ Rock and Roll investments had wrought, when he died the year following his appointment at RAND in 1969. His widow Marion faced near bankruptcy, for all of John’s success he had accrued mountains worth of lawsuits leveled at him, and with the help of none other than William Henry Gates Sr she managed to settle most debts and continue the family business, including her arts philanthropy that mostly dealt with the Seattle opera. Her sons Bruce, Keith, Craig and John continued the family business, going on to form ‘McCaw Cablevision’. Craig McCaw followed his father’s footsteps in terms of dominating the airwaves; his focus was on cellular communications which he acquired by entering an FCC held lottery on cellular licenses, and then buying up the rest that others had purchased. In its infancy, cellular communications were rolled out first by the military. ‘Mobile Subscriber’ Equipment was the adopted moniker of the tech, and it was first rolled out in Operation Desert Storm to cover an area spanning nearly 29,000 square miles. That initial MSE tech has since been replaced with the far upgraded and secure network known as Warfighter Information Network-Tactical or (WIN-T). The brothers sold McCaw Cellular to AT&T for $11.5 billion in 1994, after which they moved on to wireless technologies. In the 1990’s, they went on to work with the progeny of Gates  Sr; Bill Henry Gates III, initially on a project called Teledisic, which had a purview on installing a vast number of low orbit satellites to form a large communication web. Despite costing an estimated $9Bn in investment capital; it was ultimately scrapped. Their company ICO Communications later became Pendrell, based in Seattle and have been buying up a serious amount of technology patents. According to Geekwire; “Pendrell, a Kirkland company formerly known as ICO Global Communications and led by telecommunications billionaire Craig McCaw, announced today that it recently purchased 1,300 U.S. and foreign patents. The patents are tied to a number of technologies, from wireless handsets to video streaming to security to e-commerce software.”

With the advent of wireless devices and especially smartphones, these vast cellular networks built on the legacy of the man who introduced the top-40 are now the vehicle from which more music than ever is spread and pumped directly in to the minds of the youth of today. Like father like sons, this family has come to dominate the airwaves, but in a way that would not only make their father propound, but has collectively put them at number 65 on the Forbes Rich List.

As for the ramifications of having this music so readily and directly available, believe it or not the Top 40 format still thrives, even when people have absolute freedom to decide whatever they want to listen to on their personal systems. As for publically, in shops, public workspaces and more the radio stations still use the format dictated by the record companies in one form or another. Scandals akin to Payola in the 60’s keep appearing, with the most recent accusation coming, from of all places, ‘rapper’ ‘Takeshi 69’, when fresh from confessing to a slew of criminal charges including armed assault, conspiracy to murder and racketeering has recently accused Billboard of engaging in its very own ‘pay for play’ scandal.

Repetition of music can also be a fantastic weapon. In fact, in more recent years it has been, recent stories have broken citing the use of the likes of Britney Spears and Bruce Springsteen, played ad nauseum to detainees of facilities such as Guantanamo Bay. By no means is that one of the worst forms of torture that the US government has engaged in. The line between an aversion to liking something new and having it become unbearable was a phenomenon studied by Wilhelm Wundt back in the late 1800’s where he observed a clear curve in someone’s propensity to grow to like something with further exposure to it, and when that sensation is repeated to a point where the subject develops a deep aversion to it. It would appear that McCaw hit the sweet spot with his ‘Top 40’ formula, but at what point does the music do damage to the fabric of a nation? On the positive side it can provide a soundtrack to an era, and bring people closer together from all walks of life with a common and mutual understanding in the form of musical tastes. At worst it strips the identity and potential creativity of a generation had they been left to develop their own cultures and music, rather than have had it pumped in to the public consciousness at every turn.

At what point does it stop short of torture? Just enough that it becomes a mainstay of the public consciousness. For all of the books written on the rebellious nature of Rock’n’Roll in its many forms, and how much these artists were (and still are, across genres) ‘sticking it to the man’, The ‘Man’ was actually heavily endorsing them, and still does to this day. Rather funny when you think about it…

The Jazz Farm

In 1899, a doctor in Germany by the name of Schneiderlin recommended the use of Morphine and Hyoscine for alleviating pain during surgical procedures. Another gentleman, Richard von Steinbuchel proposed the usage of such substances to ease the pain of childbirth in women. This was an induced state known as ‘Twilight Sleep’, and the method was slowly tested and implemented by the medical community. This idea spread to America, where they opted to use Scolpamine, Morphene and Chloroform for the childbirth itself, and through tests they found that a cocktail of Scolpamine and Henobane rendered the women into a somewhat subdued delirium, with side effect such as amnesia and disorientation. The medical practitioners also noted another side effect of the concoction; the women were blunt, candid and offered answers to questions truthfully. This remarkable revelation prompted one Dr. House, years later to come up with the bright idea of using this process when interviewing criminal suspects. The practice proved to be so effective, that even the mere threat of Scolpanime at one point became a guarantee of confession in and of itself, without the drug ever having to be administered.

This would not be the first, and definitely by no means the last time that government authorities would experiment with drugs on civilians, criminal or otherwise. By now it is rather well known that from the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency has a storied relationship with drugs and human experiments, none more infamous than MK-Ultra. What is not so widely known about this program is that it was implemented on many Jazz musicians during the birth of the Bebop era and beyond. It is no secret that Jazz musicians had storied relationships with narcotics, especially heroin, but there were forces beyond the obvious street dealing peddlers and thugs feeding the culture. The evolution of the more classical, big band swing style of the ‘Jazz Age’ era was replaced by something far more expressive and radical, and not entirely natural. However, from the timeline of the music we have prescribed to us for our collective consumption, we are told as much. Unfortunately, even if the process itself appeared natural, there were government and other forces fostering and nurturing its growth, regardless of the welfare of those who practiced it.

Much akin to the purity of an artistic endeavor such as music, some programs were started with good intentions, and for the betterment of those who engaged and that of others. When nefarious elements get introduced, however, this can have disastrous consequences. Two examples of this were the Narcotics Farm Projects, and the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments. The latter of the two was actually part of a health program pioneered between the mutual efforts of one Julius Rosenwald and Booker T Washington. Rosenwald had read Washington’s book ‘Up From Slavery’, and cited it as one of the most life changing books he had ever read. He endeavored to pour a good chunk of his wealth accrued from his successes with business such as Sears, Roebuck & Co and built over 5000 schools for black children. These were known as ‘Rosenwald Schools’, and featured such storied cultural alumnus such as John Lewis, Maya Angelou, Eugene Robinson, George C Wolfe and others. Rosenwald and Washington found common ground on many things, including the lack of healthcare for black people in America. In 1915 Washington passed, but Rosenwald still stuck to his plans. By 1926 one of the more pressing matters for the black community was Syphilis, especially in the south. At one point the CDC reports that during the late 1920s up to 35% of black people had been observed with the disease. In 1929 the cure rate was less than 30%, and post the wall street crash and with the onset of the depression, Rosenwald funding for the treatment of cases, and by his death in 1932 this had fallen to the Government. Again, something that started out with good intentions devolved in to something profoundly inhumane which is still referenced today. The true ethical quandaries of the Tuskegee Syphilis experiments became such a grotesque violation of human rights when, post 1947, it had been found that penicillin was the correct treatment for people afflicted with the condition. Nevertheless, these men were never informed of the treatment, nor cured of their affliction. This story was broken in 1972, and in 1973 there was a supreme court case regarding the matter which resulted in reparations being paid to the families of the afflicted. Another story broken in 1973 was in regards to what had become of the Narcotics Farm project…

Towards the mid-late 1920s narcotic addiction was becoming what was then known as a ‘public health crisis’, something which would be a drop in the water compared to what it is now. As a result, thousands of people were being imprisoned for non-violent drug offenses, a trend that continues to this day. Prisons began to buckle under the weight of overcrowding, and in some cases there were not enough cells to house patients leaving prisoners to double up or sleep in the hallways. From the document Establishment of Two Narcotic Farms, Hearings Before the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Seventieth Congress, First Session, on H.R. 12781, H.R. 13645, April 26, 27, 28, 1928’; “The committee was greatly impressed by the presentation of evidence covering the present conditions  existing in penitentiaries at Atlanta, Ga; Leavenworth, Kans; and McNeil Island, Wash. These penitentiaries are severely overcrowded, the total cell capacity being 3,778; whereas on April 1, 1928 there were 7,598 men crowded within these walls. Two prisoners are in many cases quartered in cells which were built for 1, and 6 and 8 prisoners are crowded in cells designed to hold 4…

…To pack men as though they were animals is a brutal manner of treatment even for convicts. Something must be done to relieve the stress of this inhumane situation. We are told that since 1915 the number of convictions in the Federal courts has multiplied four-fold. No doubt the attempted enforcement of prohibition has largely contributed to this result. When one contemplates this deplorable state in these prisons of the nation, and is told that there are now 1,559 addicts in these three Federal prisons, the necessity for adopting the bill which we report needs no argument.”

For some comparison, here are some modern day statistics according to the American Centre on Addiction;

“Of the 2.3 million inmates crowding our nation’s prisons and jails, 85% were substance-involved; 1.5 million met the DSM-IV medical criteria for substance abuse or addiction. Another 458,000 had not met the strict DSM-IV criteria but had histories of substance abuse and were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs at the time of their crime, committed their offense to get money to buy drugs, were incarcerated for an alcohol or drug law violation, or shared some combination of these characteristics. In 2006, alcohol and other drugs were involved in:

  • 78% of violent crimes
  • 83% of property crimes
  • 77% of public order, immigration or weapons offenses and probation/parole violations

Alcohol was implicated in the incarceration of more than half of all inmates in America; illicit drugs were implicated in three-fourths of incarcerations.”

This Narcotic Farm project, including the Tuskegee study was sanctioned by then Surgeon General of the United States; Hugh S. Cumming. Funnily enough, his son; Hugh S. Cumming Jr would go on to become the first ever Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in the U.S. Department of State. The initial project cost $4,000,000, and would consist of one major facility in Lexington; Kentucky, and another in Fort Worth; Texas. The latter of the two was a much smaller project, and turned in to more of a Navy hospital, but it has no research program, nor anywhere near the capacity (1,500 beds) of the main Narcotics Farm which later would affectionately be known as the ‘Narco Farm’, or sometimes even just ‘The Farm’.  Initially headed by Dr. Lawrence Kolb, who introduced a pilot ‘three phase’ program (withdrawal, rehabilitation & therapy, release), life at the Farm was relatively uneventful, if not for the odd famous attendee such as actor peter Lorre, but there would be more of those to come. This would be during the tenure of the main chief examiner of Lexington who replaced Kolb, one Dr. Harris Isbell. Isbell would introduce programs of his own, especially when his experimental drug research at the Farm from 1953 onwards was sponsored by the CIA as part of their MK-Ultra Project. There is a documentary regarding the facility with a cursory overview of events there, but leaves out the parts where Isbell would perform tests such as keeping someone in LSD for 77 days straight… He had no shortage of human subjects to test on, when the facility was part ‘prison for drug addicts’ and part ‘voluntary drug clinic’. Other so-called ‘volunteers’ were in fact motivated to go there in lieu of federal sentencing. It has been said that many musicians from the club scenes in the cities would check themselves in to the Narcotics farm just to be able to play with ‘some of the greats’, and there were many ‘greats’ who attended The Farm. Among them  were; Benny Green, Bernie Kolb, Chet Baker, Elvin Jones, Ray Charles, Red Rodney, Jackie MacLean, Joe Guy, Kenny Drew, Lee Morgan, Jimmy Heath, Peter Littman, Wayne Kramer, Sonny Sitt, Sonny Rollins, Tadd Dameron, Sam Rivers and Sammy Davis Jr.

According to Lexington born writer Rebeecca Gayle Howell;

“Still yet, for the jazz musician, Narco became an elite artist’s workshop, a three-month retreat where hours of creative cross-pollination were sponsored by the federal government. Some checked in just so they could learn from the masters. Heroin helped an otherwise severely competitive stage of prodigies relax into their most concentrated Jungian state, that under-mind from which improvisation springs. But at Narco, competition for gigs vanished. The musician no longer needed to worry about food or housing or nightclub owners. All he had to do was arrange for his fix and endure his convalescence. Have an outsider visit you with a gift. Have an outsider throw a packet over the wall. Sleep, wake, eat, get what you need, and play.

Soon, a theater seating a thousand was made available for their purpose. Patients, nurses, doctors, and guards all came together on Saturday nights for the show. The town, too. These concerts, free and open to the public, made Narco the best underground night spot in Lexington. The phenomenon struck a chord with metropolitan jazz-heads and before long they began flying into our then hangar of an airport for a one-night fix of mind-altering music. History has called it “The Greatest Band You’ve Never Heard,” as all recordings, even the one made when Narco patients played Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, have been disregarded, destroyed, lost among the years.”

This appears to be a rather over-enthusiastic encouragement from the staff at the Narco Farm, nurturing the musicians to take as many drugs as they could, witnessing  the bursts of creativity that could occur from such a stint. The cocktails of drugs that these musicians received were quite literally in the testing stages, right there on the farm, and would later go on to serve as the chemical inspiration for the radical cultural movements that were yet to follow. Hippies, beatnicks, fusion, the wildness of the 60s and onwards would be the wider scale testing grounds of these drugs. The Farm was the ultimate petri dish…

Many of the musicians who went through the Farm lived somewhat tortured existences, and many died many years before their time. Many would also leave a lasting musical imprint on the fabric of America. In the case of Lee Morgan, it was not long after a stint for Morgan at The Farm and less than a month after the JFK assassination when, as legend has it, in a recording studio he retired to the WC for quite some time. When he returned, he has scrawled musical notations on pieces of toilet paper. From those notations was the bones of the title track for his upcoming seminal album; The Sidewinder. The album would go on to be the best selling record for the Blue Note record label at the time, and it has been said that this success helped to save Blue Note from bankruptcy. ‘The Sidewinder’ has been used in many adverts for America most notably the World Series 1964 Chrysler Adverts, over which there was a legal dispute. Songs from the album have also appeared in Better Call Saul, Get Shorty, Unaccompanied Minors, Mr. Dynamite, I Called Him Morgan, Magic City, and more.

‘I called Him Morgan’ is an interesting yet tragic documentary which regales the tragically short life of the musician. It features over dubs of the last known recordings of his wife, Helen. In her recollection she actually chuckles as she recounts that the gun she murdered Morgan with was the gun he had bought her for self-protection, which is not only ironic, but her whimsical tone was somewhat disturbing. She goes on to explain having felt a profound sense of disbelief. She ended up pleading guilty under advisement from her lawyer to charges of manslaughter, for which she only received 2-5 years of probation. Incidentally, her first husband, a bootlegger of whom she remembered fondly with her description “He took a liking to me, and I took a liking to the money”, died not 2 years after marrying her. Apparently he drowned…

Nevertheless, some friends of Lee Morgan still thought rather fondly of her, and forgave her for her actions citing that she at one point had ‘Pulled him out of the gutter’ and turned his life around. Well, that is what they say on camera, at least… To this day Lee Morgan is still revered as one of the ‘greats’ and his contribution to the fabric of music in America has not gone unnoticed. It would be hard to find someone who hasn’t heard either his music, or music by someone who had been influenced by him. For such a short life and a high octane drug habit, this alumnus of the Narcotics Farm has achieved a staggering amount, and he is by no means alone. It is remarkable what can happen to a musician’s mind when you experiment with all kinds of drugs on them, not to mention keeping them in your pocket with a heroin habit. Lee Morgan is a perfect example of such a musician, because the ‘Lexington Cure’ never cured him, in fact it simply gave him enough juice to be more creative and manage his addiction in such a way that would promote his creativity; and thus ‘The Sidewinder’ was born.

For any Jazz musician who went to the Lexington facility, staying clean was going to be no easy task, especially when they got back on to the club scene. Not only was the CIA helping to fund human experiments in the Narco Farm, but from the days of the OSS, the CIA had become deeply embedded with organised crime in the United States. From their inception, they engaged in vast amounts of drug smuggling to fund their black budget projects. Many of the Mob connected companies that would serve as money laundering facilities and drug trafficking enterprises for organised crime were record companies and their dealers would roam the Mob-connected Jazz clubs. The most famous example of this was Morris Levy’s ‘Roulette Records‘, which was seized as a drug smuggling front operation for Heroin after years of surveillance on the part of the FBI. Musicians like Sonny Sitt, who attended the Farm were releasing albums with the label. In fact, the Roulette Records roster is a veritable who’s who of Heroin addicted Jazz musicians, something which must be some kind of fantastic coincidence…

For all of the work ethic that the ‘Lexington Cure’ purported to offer such as farm work, woodwork and auto repair, they also encouraged patients to engage in leisurely activities for the majority of their day. If you had a group of poorly behaved children in a classroom, it would be wise to set boundaries, keep them to a schedule, set them tasks and discipline bad behavior with the odd part of leisure time. The Lexington approach to the same children would be to simply throw ‘arts and crafts’ in to the room, leave them piles of all you can eat candy with absolutely no direct adult  supervision, and say; “Have at it, kids! We’re just here to observe!”. There was some progress, but with recidivism rate of 93% all evidence suggests that the people funding and curating the Lexington experience were simply there to observe the effects of drugs on addicts, and had absolutely no interest in finding a ‘cure’.

In December of 1964, there were hearings regarding organised crime and illicit drug trafficking. In a testimony by Dr. Isbell he argued that there is no assurance that doctors supplying drugs to addicts would reduce the ‘illicit’ market. He also went further, contrasting that the question of narcotic addiction in Great Britain to America, speculating that the reasons for differing rates of addictions were ‘probably historical and sociological’. Perhaps if US Government agencies weren’t flooding their own country with narcotics, that would be a better ‘reduction method’ than a set of onerous laws, and might answer some of those ‘historical and sociological’ questions….  It would be interesting to know if Dr. Isbell knew that the supply chain for both illegal and legal drug routes came from the same source, namely his paymasters. It goes back to that fantastic line in the Spike Lee movie; ‘Boyz in the Hood’, where Lawrence Fishburne’s character remarks on the supply chain of  drugs affecting his local community; “How you think the Crack Rock gets in to the Country? We don’t own any planes, we don’t own no ships, we are not the people who are flying and floating that shit in here.” An astute observation,  considering that in the years that followed, investigative journalist Gary Webb’s ‘Dark Alliance’ series exposed the CIA’s involvement in the trafficking of Cocaine during the Iran Contra Affair, ultimately fueling the crack epidemic. At the time of its publication the claims were fiercely contested, not surprisingly by the very same government agencies implicated in the allegations, but also by their lapdogs in the mainstream media. For his efforts, the late great Gary Webb allegedly chose to end his life with two shotgun shells to his head. As is often the case with journalists of his caliber, his death was ruled a ‘suicide’.

In Marjorie Senechal’s publication ‘Narco Brat‘, she details the life and times of growing up on the Narco Farm. Many families had similar recollections, but Senechal’s experience is rather interesting, as she was the daughter of  Dr. Abraham Wickler, one of Dr. Harris Isbell’s Research Partners. Incidentally, he left in 1963 to join the University of Kentucky. Years later Isbell followed his lead. The publication is a fascinating peek in to life on the farm and can be read here, but one vastly interesting facet is the admissions of Isbell, a man notorious for refusing to give interviews to most publications;

“Prisoners (but not volunteers) could get marijuana, even heroin, at the Addiction Research Center if they participated in experiments there.

M.S. Were you able to shape the research program the way you wanted?

H.I. At the time I came along, all of a sudden there was an outbreak of new drugs. These were being developed by the pharmaceutical companies. The first and most important of these was methadone; that was one that I ran into right away. It was being made by pharmaceutical companies around the world; they were looking for substitutes for morphine so that they could sell it instead, because morphine was highly regulated. They started that, and after methadone there was a flood of these new synthetic pain-relieving drugs. No telling how many there were. The government wanted us to test them out, to see whether they were addictive. So that’s what we had to do, whether we wanted to or not.

To test the drugs, researchers needed human subjects. Narco prisoners soon learned through the active prison grapevine that they would be paid in the drug of their choice.17

M.S. And what about LSD? Did the government ask you to do research on that?

H.I. Well, actually, it was the CIA that asked me to look into it and all the other hallucinogens, of which of course LSD was the most potent. And remains the most potent. I knew that a lot of our guys liked it, some hated it, and those that liked it would take all they could get. But I didn’t see where there’d be any source. But the crazy chemists, you know, suddenly took care of that, they started making it.

After the CIA’s involvement in LSD research became public, I asked Dad (Wikler) whether he’d known about it. He didn’t reply.

Dad was a co-author of some of the published LSD research. But, it seems, only Dr. Isbell, the director of the A.R.C., had the security clearance to know that the CIA had funded and directed it.”

Perhaps the most stunning admission from Isbell came during the Senate hearings in 1973 headed up by then Senator Edward Kennedy. There is some irony to that, considering that in 1962, Edward’s brother Robert F. Kennedy had publicly praised Isbell as “an extraordinarily able director and coordinator of multidisciplinary research” and “an outstanding investigator in his own right whose work in clinical pharmacology has exerted far-reaching influences on medical practice”. Almost a decade later, Isbell would confess to the Subcommittee Hearings to another Kennedy that “Yes, test subjects were addicts who were paid in drugs” and “Yes, I have been working on this project with the CIA since about, 1953”. What makes this admission stunning is the moment he confesses to CIA involvement. Sitting next to him was a black former patient, who up until that point had been answering rudimentary questions at the hearing, and up until that point had thought this was a rather mundane affair. The look of betrayal on the former patient’s face is really something to behold, and when you understand that this man had placed his life in the hands of a man, who had been working for ‘The Man’ all along. The same ‘Man’ who had infiltrated the civil rights movement, the same ‘Man’ pumping drugs in to once quiet and safe communities. He had been nothing more than a guinea pig to these people, and clearly had had no real inclination of that having been the case. Lexington, after all was heavily marketed to addicts as a haven to find a cure and get clean. Instead, these people had dosed him up with God only knows what, causing him to at many points, lose absolute control of his mind, claiming at one point in the testimony “I would eat these Graham Crackers and start seeing elephants on the walls!”. Isbell did not elaborate much further in the hearing aside from answering rudimentary questions, but by then the cat was out of the bag.

The official classification for the project at Lexington was MK-Pilot , one of the sub-projects for the infamous CIA MK-Ultra program. A cursory description of the project on documents was to ‘find a suitable alternative to codeine’, but later this was found to be a very small portion of what actually happened there. Not only was there a healthy stream of funding from the CIA funnelled through the Navy, the doctors at Lexington had no shortage of companies willing to test out their new wares on witting and unwitting subjects. Not only were the patients subjected to tests with LSD, but they were collectively dosed a smorgasbord of over 800 different compounds, a fact of which can be seen in the now declassified documents in the CIA archives. These substances included, but were not limited to; Alcohol, Barbituates, Buprenorphine, Clonidine, Codeine, Cocaine, Cyclazocine, Demerol, Dilaudid, Heroin, LSD, Mescaline, Methadone, Nalorphine, Naloone, naltrexone, Miltown, Equanil, Seconal, Marijuana, Buprenophine, Benzodiazepines and more. Companies that were willing to peddle their wares were; Abbot Labs, Burroughs-Wellcome, Ciba, Endo, Hoffmann La Roche, Lederle, Eli Lilly, Merck, Parke-Davis, Schering, Smith, Kline and French, Squibb, Upjohn, Winthrop Sterling, Wyeth. These are only the ones available and listen in medical journals online, but they have all gone on to completely dominate modern healthcare. The Narco Farm was an excellent testing ground for what we know today as ‘Big Pharma’. According to conservative estimates on Wikipedia, the revenue of these companies (and the ones they were acquired by) comes to a (very) conservative estimate of collectively 670 billion dollars.

In later years, Ciba would merge with Sandoz Laboratories, (the company who famously furnished the ‘Acid Guru’ Timothy Leary with LSD) to become Novartis. Hoffmann La Roche is one of the more interesting cases. It is known that Aldous Huxley was one of the chief proponents of LSD, but more pertinent was his brother, Julian Huxley. Aside from his affiliations in eugenics and with the formation of the United Nations, Julian had a friend in Luc Hoffmann, of Hoffmann La Roche. Perhaps it was some supreme altruism on their parts that they sought to form an organisation together, an organisation which is still in operation today; The World Wildlife Federation. From the outside, and with stunning amounts of PR, this would seem to be a very friendly endeavor, but when you consider that a eugenicist and a drug manufacturer formed an organisation that would give them unfettered access to unlimited amounts of biological materials, the operation looks a slight more dubious. In fact since their inception, the rates of extinction in species, according to their own data have drastically spiked. This could of course be their own manipulated data as a push for funding, but it is certainly something which deserves a closer look.

Since 1963 Hoffmann La Roche has been one of the leading producers of Valium. It was born of a compound known as RO5069 or, Librium. It was brought to the USA by a doctor called Leo Sternbach, went on to be a researcher at La Roche.  As of 2011, over 14.7 million prescriptions for Valium alone were filled in the USA, not including the plethora of other mood suppressants and ‘anti-depressants’. According to the Scientific American, one in six Americans are on some form of psychiatric drug, the very same sorts peddled by these companies. Are one in six Americans this mentally unstable or crazy? To quote Dave Chappelle; “The worst thing to call somebody is crazy. It’s dismissive. “I don’t understand this person. So they’re crazy.” That’s bullshit. These people are not crazy. They strong people. Maybe their environment is a little sick.” For all of the rhetoric peddled by the US government regarding the War On Drugs, it would appear that they are the greatest enablers. It is of great benefit to them to have a duped masses, fed misinformation via a tightly controlled network of media and culture enablers. If they ever begin to notice that the world they live in has a deep sickness to it, they are the ones labelled as ‘sick’, and put on mood correcting concoctions of chemicals.

The clinical trials at Lexington paved the way for these companies to thrive, and in years that followed, the restrictions on drug testing in America have been eased up so much to the extent that the public are now the guinea pigs. It is no surprise that every drug commercial on American television is absolutely littered with caveats regarding ‘side effects’. Not only is this to help the companies wriggle out from under potential criminal liability, but it is also a major indicator that the drugs are still in the ‘testing phase’. Section 522 of the FDA’s code is something called ‘Post-Marketing Surveillance’, which is also known as the 4th phase of clinical testing, which can also be found on the CDC guidelines when it comes to monitoring the efficacy of vaccines. In short, after controlled studies within the companies, the drugs are then released to the public at large as part of a wider ‘test group’. Physicians will prescribe (often with financial incentives) a new ‘FDA Approved’ drug to their patients, but their patients are now unknowingly part of the drug companies’ clinical trials. Is it any wonder that what is classified as ‘medical malpractice’ or ‘medical error’ is now the third leading cause of death in America? Much like the doctors at Lexington, doctors today seem to be absolutely fine with simply ‘rolling the dice’ when it comes to the welfare of those they are bound by the Hippocratic oath to protect, perhaps most pertinent decree of which is; “I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.”

Today the drug industry is plain and out in the open. There is a running joke that the biggest drug dealer in the world is the CIA, and there are more than a few grains of truth to that statement. A modern example of America’s military might securing narcotics today is rather blatant when it comes to the war in Afghanistan. Like every war in the last century or so, the reasons for engaging in such a horrific endeavor were built purely on lies and deception. Whilst needless deaths and conflict have raged for decades, only a few stood to gain from the murderous campaign. The family who has benefited most from the war is currently under scrutiny for its role in America’s current opioid epidemic are the Sacklers. Raymond Sackler has funded the Neo-Conservative Israeli backed pro-war think tank ‘The Foundation for Defence of Democracies’, which has in turn churned out propaganda through publications such as ‘The Long War Journal’, curiously named as such when the war was not yet as long as Vietnam… Nevertheless, the reach of their propaganda is rather vast. According to their Wikipedia for the Long War Journal; “FDD’s Long War Journal has been used as a source by media organizations or quoted in press publications including the New York Times (two of which were on the newspaper’s front page), Reuters, Associated Press, United Press International, Sunday Times, The Hindu, Cable News Network, the Times of India, The Australian, CTC Sentinel, Time, The Nation, Washington Times, and The Atlantic. Marc Thiessen used the journal as a source in a March 15, 2011 opinion piece for the Washington Post. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Thomas E. Ricks cited FDD’s Long War Journal reporter Nathan Webster in Ricks’ Iraq-related book, The Gamble.”

…That is a vast amount of reach. Alarming, almost how much influence one think tank can have in regards to not only American but world-wide opinions regarding the war. What is more alarming is that when you consider that these drug merchants were funding this think tank, and that men who fought in Afghanistan would more often than not come back with crushing PTSD, many of whom become addicted to opioids and many of whom sadly commit suicide. According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs;

“Among U.S. adults, the average number of suicides per day rose from 86.6 in 2005 to 124.4 in 2017. These numbers included 15.9 Veteran suicides per day in 2005 and 16.8 in 2017.”

Those numbers put together, when you can see the bigger picture, is the most tragic kind of irony there can be. A very small amount of people benefit from the suffering of so many, and they peddle the world with coping mechanisms, without fixing the real problem. Much like the doctors at Lexington, the powers that be can be quite the accelerating forces, and have used the population as lab rats; insofar that we have almost reached that dystopian nightmare that was Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’. If we began to pay attention to the real causes of our sicknesses, we might just be able to do something about it. The first step to solving any problem, is to acknowledge it. But further, to really see the root causes, without the smoke and mirrors or indeed, wonderful expressionist music that may be an expressive outcry, but a cry for help nonetheless.

Follow the White Bunny

It shouldn’t be politically incorrect to denounce an organisation which employs rapists, exploits children as young as ten in sexual ways, advocates for pedophilia as a sexual preference and has been nothing but a venerable carousel of women’s exploitation for decades. Yet say anything against Playboy and it is playfully shrugged off as a few bad apples in a slightly racy publication, besides, it has intellectual articles, political features and supports the arts, don’t you know?

In a time where not only lewd imagery of women was taboo, so too was Jazz to an extent. As such, Playboy and Jazz have had a very public and storied relationship, from the first iconic interview with Miles Davis by Alex Haley in 1962, to the establishment of the on-going ‘Playboy Jazz Festival’, first in 1959, and then every year from 1979 to the present, for which serial rapist Bill Cosby was the Emcee until his retirement in 2012. When approached about the Cosby allegations, the Playboy estate maintained that they had no knowledge of these allegations with Hugh Hefner himself saying “I would never tolerate this kind of behaviour, regardless of who was involved”. This is a fascinating dismissal considering that much of the accused behaviour was perpetrated on Playboy property, and that Hefner was named by victims as a ‘Co-Conspirator.’

Bill Cosby’s relationship with Jazz has been a lifelong love affair, he is billed on some releases, including a collaboration between himself and Quincy Jones from recording sessions in 1969 called;  ‘Quincy Jones and Bill Cosby: The Original Jam Sessions 1969.’ The two men billed for the album do not actually perform; which is a theme that Jones managed to maintain throughout much of his career. The music was a series of outtakes of recordings for The Bill Cosby Show, and boasted a billing of highly talented musicians such as Les McCann, Monty Alexander and Eddie Harris. The Bill Cosby Show itself did a fine job of presenting Jazz musicians to a wider American audience, featuring the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey and Max Roach. A long-time proponent, on early rise to fame he remarked on being able to watch and be recognized by one of his musical heroes; Grant Green. In turn Cosby became somewhat of a figurehead to many, and through his storied comedic and televised career he became a cultural icon for many Americans.

Not all heroes wear capes, but some have a history of rapes.

In 1953 two separate projects were launched. On June 9th CIA Head of Technical Services Sidney Gottlieb gave the green light for use of LSD in the infamous ‘MK-Ultra’ Experiments, one of which was ‘Operation Midnight Climax’, whereby men were lured by prostitutes in Marin County and subsequently dosed with LSD to test the effects for the purposes of sexual blackmail. In December of that year Playboy was launched, a far mre public endeavor seeking to push the limits of what is morally acceptable in America, and by extension many other nations by pushing the boundaries of decency and advocating for female exploitation under the guise of ‘free speech’. The similar sexual nature of both projects notwithstanding, the CIA and Hugh Hefner would later share the use of a bank in the Bahamas, known as ‘Castle Bank and Trust’. Initially it was set up by a former member of the OSS turned CIA asset; Paul Heliwell. The bank would largely be used for funneling monies for covert CIA operations, along with providing services for the likes of Moe Dalitz, John Fogerty and the Pritzker Family.

Hugh Hefner was a University of Illinois Psychology graduate, who in university had already been publishing somewhat racy materials, influenced heavily by Alfred Kinsey and his infamous ‘Kinsey Report’ on sexuality in males and females, which asserted among many salubrious things that ‘Children are Sexual From Birth’. Years after the publication was released and the media hype around it had shifted from sensationalism, it found its way into informing a lot of the sexual education which is still taught in schools today. A reflection of these teachings is also evident in Kinsey’s association with Harry Benjamin, the endocrinologist who was influenced by Magnus Hirschfield’s works on Transgenderism in the former Weimar Republic, work which Benjamin continued in America… Many have come to the horrible conclusion of a particular table in the Kinsey Report regarding infants; the infamous ‘Table 34’, which purports to have measured the ‘rate of orgasms in children as young as two months old over the course of 24 hours’ as atrocious a crime as one can commit. There were hundreds of children cited in the study, mostly infants, and the methods to which these ‘results’ were reaped do not bear thinking about. Kinsey used this and other methods, many times interviewing rapists and allegedly employing pedophiles to gain these results and present them as ‘the norm’ to the American people. And yet the Kinsey Report has become a staple of American culture, even garnering attention from Cole Porter where he referenced it in the song ‘Too Darn Hot’.

In-keeping with Hugh Hefner’s fascination with Alfred Kinsey, he also sought to fund two controversial and self-proclaimed ‘sex researchers’; Masters and Johnson, who have since been dramatically serialized in a Showtime series known as ‘Masters of Sex’, whereby their entire body of research was just that; studying people have sex. The experiments ranged from the somewhat mundane to the thoroughly profane. They received a fair amount of funding from Playboy, and even featured writings in several of the publications. They were known to have partied at the infamous mansion itself on occasion. Between the Playboy Foundation and Hefner’s own foundation, funds have also been allocated to ‘Pro-Choice’ organisations such as NARAL, Planned Parenthood and The Guttmacher Institute; initially an offshoot of Planned Parenthood but now a standalone organisation which is also funded by the World Health Organisation and the World Bank. It stands to reason that the same people peddling promiscuity would be funding institutions that actively eliminate not only the moral ramifications of such lifestyles, but the potential lives of others to support it.

Along with these organisations, Kinsey’s methods and outcomes have been rightly scrutinized over the decades. The ramifications of Kinsey’s popularity and its knock on effects were by no means the first or last case of a professor manipulating the results of a study to suit a warped hypothesis. Take the case of Philip Zombardo and his famous ‘Stamford Prison Experiments’, where he sought to prove that ‘evil’ can be a result of the conditions of an environment and power over others. Decades after the fact, a TED Talk and a feature film later, it was discovered thanks to a release in Stamford University Archives and testimonies from the students who were paid for the experiment that Zombardo had been actively coaching the guards of his faux prison to act with increasing brutality towards the prisoners.  One student who had been observed to have had a ‘breakdown’ admitted that he feigned so in order to simply get out of the experiment, and that he was not in fact having a psychological episode as a result of the experiment.

During his early time at Stanford, Zombardo used his influence as a faculty member to invite saxophonist Stan Getz to become the Artist in Residence for the newly built Braun Music Centre on the campus. It had turned out that the two had attended the same high school; James Monroe (NYC) within years of each other. Zombardo was so enthused about Getz’s arrival that he had business cards made for him, and from the remarks he made to the Stanford Historical Society in 2017 this was a well spent, productive period of about 6-7 years, and that Getz enjoyed his tenure as an artist in residence immensely, even going to far as to invite other prominent musicians to the campus. A Stamford colleague of Zombardo, David Rosenhan has also been exposed in recent years to have acted fraudulently, thanks to the tireless works of writer Susannah Callahan. This fraudulence led to the closure of many psychiatric hospitals and a revision of the profession itself. This in turn set back the profession by decades, to see the results of that look no further than the mental health epidemic currently plaguing not only California, but many other parts of America, and indeed the world today.

The prevalence of pornography over the decades from many publications was widespread, but none have been more influential than Playboy. It is part of the modern fabric of America, and has been ‘graced’ with a venerable who’s who of so called ‘elite’ endorsements, all of whom have bolstered the profile and credibility over the decades. With each celebrity endorsement, public figures who were otherwise adored were now overtly sexualised. The acceptance of this over the decades, naturally, has led to porn being freely available to all, thanks in most part to the organisations push for legality, but as the saying goes ‘If you want something for nothing, you will get nothing for something’. The darker side of this is that the Porn industry has ushered in a new age of sex trafficking, whereby many of the women engaged in the practice are being actively trafficked against their will. At no point can a viewer assert whether or not the practice they are watching is wholly consensual, nor would they be able to surmise the levels of narcotics a woman has imbibed to stand the humiliation and pain. Heavy eye-makeup and tears see to it that pupil dilation is hard to spot, and the eyes are not exactly the first parts of anatomy on the screens that the viewer’s gaze would be drawn to, nor the welfare of those involved. Sadly, in some cases, the concern for welfare is quite the opposite.

For all of the ‘Sexual Health’ research that Playboy have been funding through the decades, their core message and sexual-boundary pushing publication has indirectly (or some could argue; intentionally) led to one of the largest epidemics of detrimental addiction in modern men today. This in turn has led to excessively degrading moral standards, infidelity and skyrocketed rates of divorce. Another strange adage to the phenomenon is that never in the history of mankind has there been such a widespread accepted behavior of men pleasuring themselves to not only the sight of so many women (including ones outside of their commitments), but sexually touching themselves to the sight of other men’s erect members penetrating them. This is an entirely contemporary trend, and the ramifications of that have not yet been fully scrutinized. The nature of porn addiction on the other hand, has been to some extent. With excessive watching and repeatedly diminished stimulation, the brain chemistry can be altered causing ‘hypofrontality’, which to may seem a somewhat unfamiliar word, but is effectively the term for the effects of addiction on the pre-frontal cortex; most commonly associated with the cravings of drug addicts.Much like drug addicts, the behavioral shift in the user renders them into somewhat of a juvenile state, especially in men where they are prone to sulking and mood-swings, cold silent treatments to friends and family, a propensity for lies and many other guilt-based behaviors. To many these will appear to be symptoms of depression, but the addiction runs far deeper than that. It is a modern epidemic among many modern men, spawned from an industry that parades itself as a ‘liberation’ movement, but is in fact quite the catastrophic opposite.

The reality of the lives of the women who have passed through the walls and pages of the Playboy enterprise have been far more tragic. Some former playmates have ended up meeting their maker in the most bizarre ways imaginable. One Jasmine Fiore was found in a suitcase with her fingers and teeth removed as not to leave any identifying marks, however the perpetrator forgot to remove her breast implants which bore a serial number and therefore identified her. Another; Dorothy Stratten, was shot in the face by her former pimp/lover who then proceeded to rape her and then blow out his own brains. The pair was later found by horrified friends. She had been named Playmate of the year in 1979, the same year the Jazz festival returned to the publication. The first Playboy bunny, the infamous Marylin Monroe who went on to court politicians, musicians and even had dealings with the US military at Lookout Mountain base in Laurel Canyon also met an early fate. To quote another iconic Laurel Canyon alumni who also met an early fate; “No one gets out alive”.

Hugh Hefner at one point dedicated his time and resources to getting some children out of a warzone alive. In 1975 both he and Cardinal Terence Cooke, Archbishop of New York put their support behind ‘Operation BABYLIFT’; a process implemented by the US Government at the end of the Vietnam War. The operation sought to rehouse children safely in the wake of the abject horrors of war they had been subjected to, but not in Vietnam or anywhere close. It was a forced diaspora. According to the ‘official’ records, some 2,500 children were airlifted out of the region and rehoused and adopted by families both in the USA and elsewhere. However, thanks to cables released by Wikileaks we find that Peking officials alleged that these were mass ‘abductions’, and that they were airlifting at least 750 children out of the city each day. Further still, that the operation was denounced as ‘kidnapping on a vast scale that served evil political aims.” Hefner went so far as to offer up his plane, and he and the Cardinal were there to receive the Children at LaGuardia Airport.

What on earth would a prolific Pornographer of women and children and a Catholic priest have to do with ‘rescuing’ thousands of Vietnamese orphans and ‘re-homing’ them thousands of miles away? It appears that politics can make for strange bedfellows, or perhaps something else. The fallout of the Operation has led to several lawsuits, and also documentaries of those who sought to return to Vietnam with a view on ‘finding their roots’.

As it stands Playboy is not quite the powerhouse it once was (although the Jazz festival continues), Hefner took the company private in 2011 and over the years its corporate hegemony over the collective libido of the western world has somewhat diminished. However, the legacy of what it spawned has had dire consequences for the public at large, giving way to a far more debauched, promiscuous and miserable culture than that of the 1950s zeitgeist it sought to subvert. We as a society could do well to learn from these former orphans in regards to reconnecting with our own roots, taking a page out of their books, rather than lusting over the remnants of rags peddled by those who kidnapped them.

The True Architects of the Great American Songbook

Hundreds, if not thousands of biographies have navigated their way through the advent of Jazz in the 20th Century. They meticulously detail, often with overt romanticism, the lives and times of Bebop and beyond. If one were to look at Jazz in a historical context from these narratives alone, one would be content with the belief that Jazz was a revolutionary struggle against the powers that be, that Bebop was an organic evolution of radical thinking in radical times. However, the birth of Bebop was a largely chemical endeavor enabled by heroin-laced virtuoso’s, a fact that is in no way surprising. The forces surrounding that narcotics trade and ‘culture of cool’ however, can be. Bebop is considered to be a rebellious musical outcry of an oppressed community, however, it was encouraged, funded and medicated by the very same forces those musicians and their cultural counterparts were ostensibly opposing.

As such, a very different picture begins to emerge when you study and identify the players behind the scenes of the industry, from the doctors and social scientists to the machinations of the military industrial complex and their counterparts in the media. This study is no way an indictment on Jazz itself per-se, this is an examination of the surrounding forces driving it, and also a reflection on how Jazz can and has been used as the propaganda arm for many organisations with nefarious dealings. Not to mention the chemical influence many institutes have had on the players themselves; from harrowing human experiments in a government facility in Lexington, Kentucky on many prominent musicians, to the relentless importation of heroin and other substances made possible by an unholy alliance of government agencies and criminal enterprises. Many of these organisations were also funding and nurturing the advent of not only Jazz, but many facets of culture that are still prevalent today.

It is important to note that the actions of individuals are not representative of an entire group. Many good people from all walks of life work in many of the organisations that will be discussed on this site, and for the most part this is the rule of thumb, but as the saying goes; ‘the path to hell is paved with good intentions’. As such, many of these organisations attract well-meaning individuals, but as we will find, the larger picture paints a rather different portrait. Much like the relationship between governmental intelligence agencies, often times ‘the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing’, leading many to chase their own tail to find that sometimes the criminals they are hunting are counterparts within their own ranks. It is not unusual to look around at the state of the world today and wonder how things have come to pass, in fact an entire industry has spawned to examine and debate such topics. Across all media platforms we are fed an endless carousel of ‘hand-wringers’ and ‘talking heads’ debating surface level issues in society; whichever pre-selected flavour of the month the ‘outrage mob’ wishes to eschew. Games of identity politics paraded around by people who live in urban sprawls, who feel they identify more with the concept of an identity based ‘community’ than they do with the actual neighbors on their own street. This constant pantomime is tantamount to a matador’s ‘Brega’, serving simply to deflect attention from far greater crimes being committed both overseas, and on native populations by the very same people dictating the mainstream narratives.

We in the ‘West’ have allowed these various subcultures and forms of entertainment to collectively, and very effectively, divide us in to social and cultural ghettos, distracting us from the crimes against humanity our governments and various organisations commit both on ourselves, and to people the world over. Unprecedented levels of homelessness, endless wars fueled by lies and deception, unfathomable rates of opioid addictions, the collapse of social cohesion and untold epidemic levels of modern slavery under it’s less salacious title of ‘human trafficking’ are occurring every day… And no one bats an eyelid.

It is no secret that the Bebop movement and all popular music forms following it were shrouded in stories of drug use, mysterious deaths, violence, promiscuity, avant-garde thinking, revolutionary acts, protests and more. What has been kept rather well hidden, however, is the endorsement and orchestration of such events to occur from many of the ‘Powers that Be’. Or, to quote Vladimir Lenin; “The best way to control the opposition, is to lead it ourselves”. This site seeks to reveal those characters long forgotten in history, but far more influential on the events of the last century than the standard narrative would have previously revealed.

Over the years, industries have emerged based around studying this group of Jazz musicians of the Bebop era and beyond, many films, books and documentaries have been released. The Hollywood Machine has no shortage of those who wish to interview the children of these ‘Jazz Giants’, and have them re-live the trauma they endured as the child of often hot-headed junkies for the silver screen. In fairness, families are not left with much choice after the record companies consume the rights and royalties to aforementioned works from their relatives. This is not an unusual practice in the industry, and the same practices can be seen across all manners of celebrity and public figures from sports to politics and more. Aside from the VH1 ‘Gatekeeper’ style methods of telling those ‘cookie-cutter’ stories, this offering is a somewhat different approach…

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.