Ye have locked yerselves up in cages of fear -- and, behold, do ye now complain that ye lack FREEDOM!
Ye have cast out yer brothers for devils and now complain ye, lamenting, that ye've been left to fight alone.
--"Epistle to the Paranoids," The Gospel According to Fred by Kerry Thornley
Kerry Thornley wrote those words in the mid 1960s and within 10 years he had become a clinical paranoid himself, in the judgement of almost all of his friends, including Dr Robert Newport. a psychiatrist who had known Kerry since high school. The moral of this seems to me: take great care which nut cases you dare to mock, for you may become one of them.
I do not write in any spirit of smugness or superiority. I became somewhat paranoid myself, for a while there, or at least experienced acute anxiety attacks. For several months I literally could not leave my house without looking around to see if Kerry crouched behind a bush waiting to shoot me.
You see, he had become convinced that I worked for the C.I.A. and served as one of his "manangers" or "brainwashers," but I thought I worked as a freelance writer and considered myself his friend. As his letters to me grew increasingly hostile and denuciatory, I began to fear that he might have graduated from "weirded out" to "dangerous."
This now seems sillly to me -- certainly, an over- reaction -- but the violence and paranoia of the Nixon years made everbody in this country feel a bit jumpy. A Black Panther leader in my part of Chicago seems to have gotten shot by the local police while sedated; the extreme Right and extreme Left both had wild conspiracy theories about everybody else; anti-war meetings, anti-segregation meetings, even pot-legalization meetings all had people making nervous jokes about who the government had infiltrated among us to report on our Thoughtcrimes. The government not only appeared irrational and out of control, but so did a large part of the population.
I finally moved to
Looking back, I feel amused and humbled. Like Kerry, I had satirized the paranoids before the sheer number of them frightened me into acting just like one of them.
I remember my last phone conversation with Kerry, during which he announced that just a week earlier I had come to
Finally, Kerry relented -- a bit. "Well, maybe you believe that," he said. "But that means your bosses have been fucking with your head and implanting false memories in you too!"
How do you argue that you haven't had your head altered? "Look," I said, "I'll put my wife Arlen on. She'll tell you I haven't left here in months. "
"That won't prove anything," he said with the calm certitude of a Grand Master announcing checkmate. "They probably fixed her head too."
I don't remember the rest of the conversation. I felt lost in an Escher painting.
A few weeks, or a few months, before or after that conversation, the police found a young woman raped and murdered two doors from the house where Arlen and I lived. A few days before or after that atrocity I attended a meeting of the Physics/Consciousness Research Group in which the assembled Ph.D.s serously discusssed a quantum model in which the universe contains only one electron, and everything else, including this seemingly solid Earth, our own bodies and our "minds" [if we still think we have "minds"] results from the virtual interactions of virtual particles, or of probability waves.
So Arlen and I packed up and moved to a land where the wierdest critter, a six-foot-tall white rabbit, seldom roams far from the fens and farmlands.
I'm only kidding -- not.
-- Madonna, Truth or Dare
But let us,as the Chinese say, draw our chairs closer to the fire and examine this soberly.
All the above happened because Kerry and I, with a few others, invented a new religion; and because Kerry and I and a hell of a lot of others dared to doubt the official "lone nut" theory of the JFK assassination.
Perhaps I should say something about the religion before getting into the even murkier waters of the politics.
We called the religion Discordianism and its central catma* declares "All affirmations are true in some sense,
*Other, and hence lesser, religions have dogmas or absolute beliefs. Discordianism only has catmas or relative meta-beliefs. You'll learn more about that in the book which follows
false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense." We owe this Divine Revelation to Gregory Hill [Malaclypse the Younger], the chief architect of Discordian atheology.
In my ministry I have added a rider promising that if you repeat this catma 666 times you will achieve Supreme Enlightenment, in some sense.
Many people consider Discordianism a complicated joke disguised as a new religion. I prefer to consider it a new religion disguised as a complicated joke.
Others consider Discordianism an American form of Zen Buddhism. I think Kerry held that view most of the time.
Whether one considers Discordianism a joke, a new religion or Yankee Zen, it emphatically does not belong in the same arena as Aristotelian logic or criminal law, yet the life of Kerry Thornley dragged it into those precincts and I can find no way to disentangle them in disccussing him. Everybody who ever looked into "the Thornley case" feels a strong need for basic either/or answers to such questions as: Guilty or Innocent? Sane or Insane? Victim of the C.I.A. or victim of his own delusions?
All I can say consists of a devout wish that logic could stretch to include a maybe,or a phalanx of probabilities, between the Aristotelian yes and no, and that our law could include the Scotch "not proven" between guilty and innocent.
I think it entirely posssible that Kerry went bananas on his own, due to genetics and/or traumatic early imprints and/or Too Damned Much LSD and/or other causes unknown, with no help from the C.I.A. at all. I also think it entirely possible that the C.I.A. did subject Kerry -- and his Marine Corps buddy Lee Harvey Oswald -- to some form of "Manchurian Candidate" mind control and that his seemingly "psychotic" words and actions represented an intelligent man's attempts to break the strings of his puppet masters and find his way back to a world that made sense again.
In short, I regard all his brilliant satires and all his "psychotic" rants as true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.
For instance, you will read in this book about Kerry's "delusions" concerning fascist manipulations of the C.I.A. and/or Naval Intelligence. Pure nonsense, right?
Wrong. Let me illuminize you a bit.
Nazi worms began to infest the
Gehlen seems not only a master spy but a wizard negotiator. Within a week, he got out of his Nazi uniform and into a U.S. Army General's uniform; the
You see, their leader and Gehlen's major "asset," General Andrei Vlassov, had a fervent belief, not just in common or garden Tsarism but especially in the "mystical Tsarism" espoused in the later half of the 19th Century by the anti-Semitic novelist Dostoyevsky and even more by Konstantin Pobedonostsev, an advisor to two Tsars [Alexander III and Nicholas II].
Pobedonostsev, popularly called "The Grand Inquisitor" because of the vast platoons of spies, snoops, agents provocateur and informers he unleashed upon the Russian people , combined theological obsessions with reactionary politics, always an explosive and nefarious mixture.
"Mystical Tsarism" deserves a whole book in itself. especially since it now rules our own country; but we must remain brief here. This holy religion, or superstition -- as you will --has two major tenets: (1) The Tsar is guided by God and can do no wrong (2) Science "is" cold and inhuman, faith "is" warm and human; therefore we should ignore reason and guide ourselves by faith in the Tsar, our "Little Father," who receives his orders directly from a gaseous vertebrate of astronomical heft called "God."
I don't think any of Pobedonostsev's crew actually believed in the Tooth Fairy, though.
Gen. Gehlen and Gen. Vlassov formed what became the Gehlenapparat, the CIA's main source of info on Soviet affairs; Gehlen became the fulcrum of the CIA's "Soviet penetration" sector, working under James Jesus Angleton, Chief of Counter-Intelligence, breeder of prize orchids, lover of the arts, and a devout Catholic.
Since the U.S. government based its foreign policies on CIA reports, and the CIA based its Soviet reports on Gehlen and some other former Nazis, plus a crew of Mystical Tsarists, as filtered and interpreted by a Papist intellectual, the U.S. government's ideas and actions became increasingly "wierd, " bizarre and frightening, in the view of the rest of the world. The results seem very sad and very funny. In a nutshell, most of the planet thinks we've gone batshit crazy. "Tsarists and Nazis and spooks, oh my!"
As Harry Browne, Libertarian Party candidate for president in 2000, wrote in July 2003, "The whole world is now afraid of
Although James Jesus Angleton served as Gehlen's alleged supervisor, data indicates that the Gehlenapparat engaged in many activities, including kidnapping, extortion, murder etc. about which Angleton either did not know or devoutly did not want to know.
But James J. Angleton seems to me a pathological case of some sort himself; he often hid his middle name because it revealed his half-Hispanic genes. An exceptionally intelligent and sensitive student of modern literature while at Yale, Angleton adored Ezra Pound, T.S Eliot, I.A. Richards, e e cummings and other SuperStars of Modernism; he met most of them personally. They collectively influenced Angleton's fascination with multiple perspectives, Byzantine ambiguity and the eternal uncertainty of all inferences and "interpretations."
These modernist tendencies, which also appeared in science and philosophy at the same time, blossomed into obsessions and, perhaps, raging madness when Angleton systematically applied them to the spy-game. After all, modernism really begins with Wilde's "The Reality of Masks" and Yeats's hermetic theory that the world we know emerges from interactions of Mask, Anti-Mask, Self, and Anti-Self: which may or may not fit all of us or all the world but certainly fits the world of spooks and snoops that Angleton created.
Records indicate that the Oswald who enlisted in the Marines was 5'11". Comrade Oswald, who went to
-- Richard Belzer, UFOs, JFK and Elvis
Another CIA officer, Edward Petty, described Angleton as "a lone wolf" and "a strange bird"; every other source I have found bluntly calls him "paranoid." He suspected everybody else in the CIA, and in "our" government generally, of being KGB moles, and he operated with so much modernist ambiguity and hidden trapdoors that, in Petty's words, "nobody really knows" what he was doing most of the time. In short, he became as esoteric as the poets he admired, and remade the C.I.A. and, increasingly, our whole nation into a theatre of impenetrable mystery.
A.J. Weberman, a leading Kennedy assassination buff, thinks Angleton personally organized the JFK hit, an idea also strongly hinted at by Norman Mailer's documentary novel, Harlot's Ghost, in which Angleton appears as "Hugh Montague." If James Jesus really arranged the JFK assassination, he had probably identified Kennedy as the top Soviet mole of all,at least to his own satisfaction.
Why not? Angleton had Tsarist agents in all sorts of nooks and crannies of the Soviet system, and he knew the KGB was smart enough and tireless enough to reciprocate by planting their own Masks and Anti-Masks in his own backyard, or maybe under his bed at night. According to Edward Jay Epstein, J.J.A.s endless search for Soviet moles nearly destroyed the C.I.A. itself. Certainly, everybody in "the Company" learned to distrust everybody else.
Imagine a U.S. Caine with not one Queeg as captain, but a whole crew of Queegs, each worrying about what the others might be plotting. Angleton created that ship of shape-shifters in the C.I.A. and then by osmosis it spread through the government, evolving into the Tsarist Occupation we now endure.
In short, the government cannot trust us, because it can never know with absolute certainty what mischief we may hatch; and every sentence we speak into a bugged phone may have as many possible meanings as Eliot's "The rose and the fire are one."
"Trust No One," the motto of X Files, seems the only safe rule in the world Angleton created.
We even have a Tsar of our own now, who supervises American medicine. Allegedly, this official knows what drugs, herbs etc. you should use for your medical problems better than your doctor knows, and our Tsar knows this without doing any physical examination, blood pressure readings, other scientific tests etc. that your doctor does, and often from a distance of 3000 miles -- without even looking at you.
This makes sense if and only if we have a devout faith that our Tsar, like the Russian Tsars, recives guidance directly from "God;" the government accordingly spends more and more of our tax money financing "faith-based organizations." Without faith we might relapse into scientific or rational thinking.
Tsarism represents an intermediate form between European monarchism and Asian despotism, being, possibly, closer to the latter of these two.
How much of this did I dream up the way Kerry Thornley [I still insist] imagined my own C.I.A. activities? For objective info on the Gehlenapparat, and Nazi /CIA links, see The Yankee and Cowboy War by Boston University historian Carl Oglesby [Berkeley Medallion, NY, 1977] On fascist/CIA/Mafia links, excellent books include The Strange Death of God's Banker by Foot and della Torre[ Orbis, London, 1984] and The Calvi Affair, by Larry Gurwin, of the Financial Times [Pan, London, 1984]
CIA/Mafia "ghost banks" and their strange links with real banks, including Chase Manhattan, are discussed amply in In Banks We Trust, Doubleday, NY, 1984, by Penny Lernoux.
For CIA involvement in general -- and Angleton's personal involvement -- in the JFK hit see http://webermancom, probably the largest site on the World Wide Web.
Our most recent Tsar's responsibility for barbaric war crimes -- as bad as any of Thornley's "fantasies" -- appears well documented in "Overwhelming Force," by Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, 22 May 2000.
Or -- you can find most of the data on Tsarist/fascist infiltrations of "our" government, in one form or another by simply surfing the web. Set your search engine for "Rheinhold Gehlen," "Cisalpine Bank,""Licio Gelli," and "Gladio" to start with and follow the links where they lead you. I promise you will find the journey as startling as anything in this book.
I have no certitude about how "crazy" to consider Kerry Thornley on any given day of any year, but I don't believe he ever became a simple damned fool. He unnderstood the government of this country better than 99% of its citizens.