SPS is for Saul Paul Sirag (Interview with fly agaric23)

When I recorded this interiew in 2000 A.D. on minidisc recorder I had no way to transcribe and upload the results, and there was no wikipedia to enhance the wisdom of Saul. Big thanks to Jack Sarfatti, please spend a moment at his new website:

FLY interviews Saul Paul Sirag:

FLY: Robert Anton Wilson?

SAUL: Yeah, i first introduced him to Jack,

SAUL: Yeah, well he learned about this Bell’s theorem stuff from Jack and me, i introduced Jack to Wilson, that was when he was living in Berkeley.

FLY: Oh, the trick top hat

SAUL: what?

SAUL: The trick top hat’, oh, yeah, the trick top hat, yeah that’s the next one i think, and the third one is called ‘homing pigeons’, trick top hat is the one that has references to both Jack and Me as coming up with futuristic kind of physics that changes things drastically and so on.

FLY: That’s interesting as John Lilly just recently spoke about the…erm…form of law

SAUL: Laws of form?

FLY: yeah, and the trick top hat relates to that somehow?

SAUL: I’m very interested in the Laws of form also, yeah he talks about it in both his fiction and he has written a lot of non-fiction too of course, and maybe more none-fiction than fiction actually, although, you know he’s one of these people that mixes the two together a lot, kind of like Borges’ the Argentinean writer, well, B draws a fine line between lit. criticism that is not fiction and the fiction that he’s criticizing, B’s criticism is so speculative and interesting that it reads almost as fiction, you know.

FLY: I like the idea of exploring our unreality’s. At the back of the book “Secret Chamber by Robert Bauval” there’s an appendix in which the author mentions Wilhelm Reich and something he calls Cosmic ambience. Terence Mckenna is quoted at length, talk of probing into unreality’s, but now were realizing that’s our reality too.

SAUL: One of the most important pieces of criticism that’s really fascinating, and it’s about that famous British poet – William Taylor Coleridge – and you see what’s interesting about that poem is that Coleridge calls it a – fragment of a poem – the reason he calls it a fragment is that he actually dreamt’ the whole poem, he woke up and just started writing it down, but he got the first part of it written down, and a visiter came and visited, and he forgot the rest of it, so he calls it a fragment of a poem anyway, its a beautiful poem all by itself, but here’s the weird thing that Borges points out – there really was a Khan who was a builder – and he was the grandson of Genghis Khan; who was just a conquerer, but Kubilai Kahn was a builder. What Coleridge never knew is that Kubilai Kahn really did order a pleasure dome to be built, and that was enough, but what wasn’t known in Cooleridge’s time is that it itself was an incomplete building, and that was discovered by archeologists after Cooleridge’s time, eh, so what Borges says is there’s a kind of archetype, a vast archetype thats trying to get in through our reality, the first time its comes in the form of a building Kubilai Kahn wants to build, and for some reason its not completed, and the second time it takes the form of a poem about Kubilai Kahn’s building, and that’s incomplete too, because of this guy who walks in and disturbs his memory of the dream. So then Borges speculates that it will try to come in a third time, and he thinks that the form will be different, in some way. My feeling about that is that the form, having my own prejudices about forms, is that the form is what Mathematicians have discovered, a beautiful set of structures, they call it the Coxeter graphs, named after the canadian H. S. M. Coxeter, who’s still alive in his 90’s still doing math very accurately, and he invented these graphs in the 1930’s to classify hyper-dimensional crystal structures, well that already sounds like Kubilai Kahn and Coleridge – and then in the 40’s totally independent of Coxeter’mathematicians work because it was in a totally different part of mathematics, a Russian mathematician named Dinken, invented the same set of graphs to classify very different kind mathematical objects, something called; lie algebras and lie groups. Then in the 60’s a french mathematician called Rene’ Thom invented a whole new field of mathematics called Catastrophe theory, which deals with dynamic systems that can undergo drastic changes due to a very small change in the parameters that they are dependent on, thus the word catastrophe, but catastrophe is to be taken in a neutral sense, that is to say a lot of catastrophes are good.

In fact what RT was trying to model was the changes that living systems go through, he wanted a mathematics to deal with living systems, especially development and growth and so on; which is very difficult to deal with mathematically.

Well then a Russian mathematician named V.I Arnold looked at Rene Thom’s work and said Thom just delt’ with a lower, small set, 7 of them in turned out, of catastrophe structures, but actually there is an infinite series and they are classified by these same graphs, so then of course the obvious idea that Arnold had was that the must be a whole bunch of other mathematical objects that can be brought into this classification scheme and so he set that up basically as a program for his students and himself to work on over the years and a lot of other mathematicians have been involved in this. And it has the feel of an archeological dig like their digging up this vast…. see because, Here’s why, its because all these mathematical objects are related to each other by way of these graphs, the graphs form a kind of bridge between different types of mathematical objects, that’s a very powerful thing to be able to do in mathematics because what’s very difficult to see with one type of math object and if you have a bridge between the two and you can switch back and forth and get a much broader and much more accurate feel for what’s going on.

And so the idea now is that the mathematicians are wondering what the vast underlying object is that the whole set of graphs ultimately refers to and that object is this archeological structure in some sense, and its being dug up, its not a ruin its not something that’s incomplete because its mathematical, its – gotta’ be whole – so to speak. And a very interesting thing from the point of view of science is that all the math objects that have been brought into the classification scheme with these Coxeter graphs are of great use and interest in physics. In fact especially in unified field theory type physics, that’s cutting edge now, like string theory, uses all these kinds of objects usually without the physicist realizing that they’re grabbing objects that are related to each other by way of these graphs, because for the most part they don’t know about the history of these discoveries and that it’s kind of ongoing, sort of at the cutting edge of mathematics, a kind of unification in mathematics concurrently with a unification of the forces of physics, and these two programs are intimately interrelated, and so what i think is that this vast underlying object that underlies all these graphs, is simply reality – reality in all its forms – you know.

A physicist is going to want to call it physics, because they want to bring everything into the physics program, someone else might want to call it something else, like life or something , it has the feeling of a living breathing creature, its a bit like Phil Dick’s idea of VALIS: Vast Active Living Intelligence System, and yeah, ironically he claimed that the definition is in some Soviet encyclopedia of some distant year, and of course the soviet Union is long gone, but still the idea of VALIS is still valid i feel.

FLY: valid VALIS!

SAUL: Laughs.

FLY: I’m also interested in the parable between the yang-mills field theory and the work of the mathematician Ramanujan.

SAUL: Yeah, oh yeah, see that’s related to this ADE stuff too. It all is. Yang-mills fields was first a generalization of the electromagnetic field, the em field is mathematisized in a sense, by a simple group which is a circle called U1, a unitary one group, and its a communicative group, in other words the way in which you rotate a circle does not matter, 30 degrees plus 60 degrees equals 60 plus 30 degrees, so it doesn’t matter, and that;s a communicative group, and in the language we use today we say thats the gauge group of electromagnetism.

But what Yang and Mills did back in the 1950’s, 54 i think was the year, generalized the group into a bigger group that deals with rotations ultimately rot’ in a 3d space, and thats the gauge group; they were trying to model the strong force, but it turned out to be the right group for the weak force, then in the 60′ there was the unification of the st and weak force by simply putting U1 and SU2 together as a bigger gauge group, work by Weinberg, Salem and Glashow, and this had certain experimental implications, like the existence of certain particles that were then found which verify the theory, but in fact there are still parts of the theory we are still trying to verify, like the Higgs particle, which hasn’t been found yet, and thats part of the theory, and we think that eventually it will be found, but generally these gauge groups are groups that are classified by the ADE groups, now SU actually is an ADE classification, simply the very first rung on the ladder so to speak, in order to bring in the other forces like the strong for force they have to go to a larger gauge group, put all 3 forces together, weak the strong and the electromagnetic force, they had to go to SU5, which is a 3 dim group, that work was done in 74 i guess, by Glashow and Geogee, the same Glashow that did the work on electro-weak theory.

But then in order to bring in gravity which is a lot harder to do because gravity entails Einstein’s theory of general relativity which is so different from Quantum mechanics, these other forces are modelled by way of the rules of general relativity, which are very different, almost opposite from the rules of Quantum Mechanics, so it’s very hard to put these theories together; to assume sub theories, or some bigger theories. But thats been done now with superstring theory. Yeah, since 1984 superstring theory has been proven to be a viable consistent quantum gravity theory, and thats what started a sort of bandwagon effect in physics and when lots of young physicists got interested in studying strings.

But the gauge groups involves in string theory are huge groups, like E8 x E8. There are 3 groups, which is interesting, an infinite A’s, An Infinite D’s and then only 3 E’s, E6 E7 and E8, the dimensionality is huge. E6, is a 78 dimensional group, E7 is a 133 dimensional group and E8 is a 240 dimensional group, and they use 2 copies of it. They have an E8 x E8 version of superstring theory, they have 496 dimensional group actually, and the E8 x E8 gives you 16 very special dimensions which they use to interpolate between the 26 dimensional superstring theory and the 10 dimensional theory in a very clever way. And all this is an out-growth of what you mentioned – the yang-mills theory of 1954 – it’s an out-growth of other developments too, but that was a key development in 1954 and i just wanted to plug that in and see how that fits into the ADE scheme itself, you see?

FLY: I see a parallel between the superstrings and the strings on an instrument

SAUL: Yeah, well it is like strings on an instrument in this sense, that the harmonics, what we call vibrational states, quantized vibrational States are exactly harmonics, auk, and string harmonics are what we used to call particle states, OK, that’s how string theory corresponds to particles, and the way the correspondence works is by way of the gauge groups that are classified by these ADE graphs so the ultimate tool is simply these graphs, which go way back into the 30’s to Coxeter’s work, not knowing the way these things were be used in the future but he really started something there and Dinken in Russia you know, the same graphs, classifying “Lie algebras which are the algebras of the gauge groups as we use them in physics now and he had no idea that development was going to happen, he was a pure mathematician not a physicist, even physicists in the 40’s should not foresee that development.

And you mentioned RAM earlier, and some of the more esoteric discoveries of RAM are actually very fundamental parts of super string theory and special membrane theory, and so people thought of RAM’s work as not only been rather fantastic of course, its amazing he came up with those identities, allot of his work involved saying “this is equal to that, and the two things are so deferent that, you know, you might never in a thousand years think that was true, they’re still working on proving RAM’s ideas, and a lot of people are working on that now in mathematics. But a lot of his ideas are being brought into physics by Super-string theory funnily enough.

FLY: One of the things i found really interesting in the work of Buckminster Fuller was the isotropic vector, (Vector equilibrium you mean?) yeah… i’m looking for relationships between the superstrings and Bucky’s work…

SAUL: The vector equalibrium is an object that has 12 vertices, ok, and actually that object, is one of these crystallographic objects, in fact that crystallographic object exists exactly in what i call the reflection space, or you could call it a crystallographic space of the SU(4) group. OK, and in fact of course; those 12 vertices actually correspond to what we call; eigen values of the S4 group which correspond to what we call the gauge particles, or the force particles. You see; there’s two types groups of particles in quantum theory these force particles and matter particles.

One of the fundamental ideas in particle theory is that matter particles interact by exchanging force particles, and mathematically the way that works is that in these gauge group structures you have two different types of crystallographic structure, you have the matter c.s and the force c.s, and in the case of SU(4) the matter crystallographic structures are like tetrathedra, you have two tetrahedra making a cube and those exactly correspond to the eigen values of the quarks and anti-quarks, and the electrons and the neutrinos. OK. So those are all matter particles, but then there are actually 15 force particles involved because SU4 is a 15 dimensional group but 3 of the force particles have zero eigen values, and 12 of them have none zero eigen values and those eigen values exactly correspond to the vertices of what Bucky fuller calls the ‘vector equilibrium’. So that object is being used but in a totally different way to what he thought of it.

Fly Agaric: yeah.

Interview with Saul Paul Sirag, in North Beach, San Francisco: 27/05/2000. Recorded and transcribed by Steven “Fly Agaric 23” Pratt.


“In 1936 Coxeter moved to the University of Toronto, becoming a professor in 1948. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1948 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1950. He met Maurits Escher and his work on geometric figures helped inspire some of Escher’s works, particularly the Circle Limit series based on hyperbolic tessellations. He also inspired some of the innovations of Buckminster Fuller. –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxeter

A Fuller explanation: the synergetic geometry of R. Buckminster Fuller
By Amy C. Edmondson

Toward a science of consciousness: the first Tucson discussions and debates
By Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak, Alwyn Scott

Ramanujan: essays and surveys
By Bruce C. Berndt, Robert Alexander Rankin

The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science …
By Lee Smolin

Strings, conformal fields, and M-theory
By Michio Kaku




The search for a unifying theory was interrupted by the discovery of the strong and weak nuclear forces, which could not be subsumed into either gravity or electromagnetism. A further hurdle was the acceptance that quantum mechanics had to be incorporated from the start, rather than emerging as a consequence of a deterministic unified theory, as Einstein had hoped. Gravity and electromagnetism could always peacefully coexist as entries in a list of Newtonian forces, but for many years it seemed that gravity could not even be incorporated into the quantum framework, let alone unified with the other fundamental forces. For this reason, work on unification for much of the twentieth century, focused on understanding the three “quantum” forces: electromagnetism and the weak and strong forces. The first two were unified in 1967–68 by Sheldon Glashow, Steven Weinberg, and Abdus Salam as the “electroweak” force.[7] However, while the strong and electroweak forces peacefully coexist in the Standard Model of particle physics, they remain distinct. Several Grand Unified Theories (GUTs) have been proposed to unify them. Although the simplest GUTs have been experimentally ruled out, the general idea, especially when linked with supersymmetry, remains strongly favored by the theoretical physics community

In current mainstream physics, a Theory of Everything would unify all the fundamental interactions of nature, which are usually considered to be four in number: gravity, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, and the electromagnetic force. Because the weak force can transform elementary particles from one kind into another, the TOE should yield a deep understanding of the various different kinds of particles as well as the different forces. The expected pattern of theories is:

Theory of Everything


Electronuclear force (GUT)

Strong force

Electroweak force
SU(2) x U(1)

Weak force


Electric force

Magnetic force

In addition to the forces listed here, modern cosmology might require an inflationary force, dark energy, and also dark matter composed of fundamental particles outside the scheme of the standard model. The existence of these has not been proven and there are alternative theories such as modified Newtonian dynamics.


A is for AILM

The following writing is a rough start to a complex project. Please beware of mistakes and blunders. James Joyce’s (Alma Livia Plurabella), and her multi-incarnations within Finnegans Wake – have become guide dogs to the old local mystery of who put bella in the witch-elm. — steve fly

“The interdependence of vine and elm was sanctified by a reference in the early Christian book of revelation, The shepherd of Hermes. – Robert Graves.


The unsolved mystery (05/2009) of why, and who put BELLA (the name given to the mystery women) in a wych-elm trunk, has provoked the stourbridge swimmer into writing a long and sprawling thingymagig’ due to the synchronistic geographical location where the swimmer picks liberty cap mushrooms, a place called Wychbury Hill – where i spent my youth exploring.

Please say me how sing you
them. Seekhem seckhem! They arise from a clear springwell in
the near of our park which makes the daft to hear all blend. This
place of endearment! How it is clear! And how they cast their
spells upon, the fronds that thereup float, the bookstaff
branchings! The druggeted stems, the leaves incut on trees! Do you
can their tantrist spellings? I can lese, skillmistress aiding. Elm,
bay, this way, cull dare, take a message, tawny runes ilex sallow,
meet me at the pine. – J.J, F.W. Pg. 571.

The swimmer visited the scene of the unsolved crime numerous times in various – states of mind – but in my youth the childish kid didn’t take the murder mystery seriously, and found no interest and so no mystery; up until now, since recently discovering that Margaret Murray was assigned to the case and that Aleister Crowley is rumoured, by some, to have links with the murder, and with everything else spooky in the 20th century, it sometimes seems to the paranoid – perpetuated in Robert B. Spence’s new book.

According to Murray the murder had the signs and symbols of “black Magic” “Witchcraft” and “ritual murder” (Since the right hand of the body was found 20 ft. from the corpse of a roughly 30 year old women, whose body was also stuffed into an Elm tree, and whose mouth was stuffed with taffeta) The more the drummer looked into this mess the more I sensed the shadow of Hannibal Lector behind my shoulder. This unsolved murder seemed to have the hallmarks of a deranged psychopath, or even a group of psychopathic people, or people who want you to think they are psychopathic killers – that were trying to send out a Magickal message for some as yet unknown reason? Occult spies and disinformation loops abound. SOE were blazing up Europe.

“It was reported that agents that were supposed to return from the Netherlands met with various calameties and so could not return. Further, in 1943, two Dutch agents did manage to escape from captivity, but their claims on returning to Britain were dismissed and they were arrested for suspected counter-espionage. —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Englandspiel

Some sources hint that maybe Bella was simply a Dutch/German spy who parachuted into the area and was then caught and killed in a way that sent a message of terror to the enemy, via the public newspress? THIS LINK gives a brief overview, i will refrain from posting my full essay until i have checked through it a little more carefully. This local mystery and open unsolved case presents itself as a great challenge to me, anybody ever heard of this before? “Who put bella in the wych-elm?” Now my nightmare on Elm street, in some sense.

“After 60 years the question is still chalked on walls around the area. WHO PUT BELLA IN THE WYCH ELM? Other unsolved murders have not caused such a reaction. For several years I have been asked to give talks about the mystery and have bookings into 2008. Plays have been written and an Opera. Two television programmes have been made during the last twenty years. It is a fascinating and sad story with links to the war. The most intriguing aspect is that the evidence changed and a veil of secrecy was drawn so tightly around the event that those who were there became silent, and the police refused to open their files even for television reporters…60 years later. — BELLA – Joyce M. Coley. History Into Print books. 2009.

The swimmer had been to Hagley Wood and around the wychbury Hill area dozens of times over the last 17 years, and find it one of the most beautiful and scenic of vistas, looking out over the blackcountry and the industrial skyline towards Birmingham.

The witch had his own private illegal coven atop wychbury hill and hosted an annual black mass that includes psilocybin, sex and Finnegans Wake, but the swimmer was doing these unthinkable acts long before my renewed interest in the unsolved – and still open – murder case, concerning the womens body that was mutilated and stuffed into a tree with taffeta stuffed into her mouth. A black magic ritual murder according to some royal inquisitors, and the rumours fly in all directions, but now the writer and researcher has settled into some literature on the subject – picked up in support of my local library; the book was on the recommended purchase display shelf – and it was this book that got my pulse racing and my mind spinning, how did the Bella mystery tie into my novel and some of my previous investigative research into the history of our local area and some of the more interesting characters that lived and died there.

“Luccombe oaks,
Turkish hazels, Greek firs, incense palm edcedras. The
hypsometers of Mount Anville is held to be dying out of arthataxis but,
praise send Larix U’ Thule, the wych elm of Manelagh is still
flourishing in the open, because its native of our nature and the
seeds was sent by Fortune. – James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, pg. 235.

The yogi feels that its important here to take things steady, not go jumping to any conclusions, at fatal mistake in any area of research, and hopefully the language can pay tribute to continued thinking, revised ideas and intelligent processing of any new data. James Joyce is once quoted roughly as implying that if Dublin were to be destroyed somehow, then in that case his book – Ulysses – maybe used to reconstruct the entire city down to the finest detail, making Dublin the center of the Universe, as Alan Moore is doing to Northhampton with his experimental magickal novel called Jerusalem. I aspire to draw at-tension with my research based around Stourbridge, the black country and the local DUDLEY area.

At the ford
of Slivenamond. Oakley Ashe’s elm. With a snoodrift from one
beerchen bough. And the grawndest crowndest consecrated
maypole in all the reignladen history of Wilds. Browne’s Thesaurus
Plantarum from Nolan’s, The Prittlewell Press, has nothing alike
it. For we are fed of its forest, clad in its wood – 503

The river Stour has been a feature within some of my early experimental poems, as has Cedric Hardwicke, Frank Foley and other legendary local historical forces, as a foundation upon which to layer my current experiences and to gauge the changes around me. Finding Stourbridge referenced in the two great masterpieces of 20th century literature – The Cantos of Ezra Pound and Finnegans Wake by James Joyce is just one treasure dug up from trawling back through time and using the new research tools available to revise and update history a little, by adding some links, footnotes and alternative models. And so the mystery of Who put Bella in the Mych-Elm and why remains an open case, and presents itself to me as a grand opportunity to share some of the strange and weird pathways my research has lead me over the years, by presenting different models and maybe even going so far as to synthesize some of them – so as to show how deep the wych-elm trunk goes…

The swimmer is an independent researcher and poet – swimmer – looking to make some fun, sense and reason from the dark, secretive and spooky mystery that may unlock the keys to horror stories – X’rated tales and goulish facts – that would turn a Tory green, then black, then grey. For instance, if you are to talk of paranormal, you are led to define – normal – and spooks, spirits, ghosts, witches, states of mind, states of being etc, all follow suit, and any half awake researcher in the field will have come across Aleister Crowley, of course, and so here is your Hannibal Lector ladies and gentleman, here is a character whom at the least spices up any good ghost story due to his extensive systems of practical techniques and devices for navigating states and altered states of consciousness, and his exotic precise and defined magick language of Magick.

“So Aleister Crowley and the wych-elm murder, how do they connect, and what kind of daemonic forces would conspire to stuff a women into a tree trunk and sever off her right hand? Richard Spense hints that Crowley’s Cornwall coven connections maybe the link, regurgitating Donald McCormick in his book – Murder by witchcraft 1968.

Although Spense provides a fantastic array of speculative journalism and jigsaw juggling in secret agent 666, and has opened up a fascinating area of study, and that he dedicates over a page of his 2008 published book shows how the question of Bella and the Wych-Elm features in modern publishing and historical studies, and also how bad the authorities are at giving a straight answer, let alone a document, files or piece of useful information, casting a suspecting eye upon those in power at the scene of the crime, and bringing back the old Trust No One motto, but we live in the open source information age now where a stranger is your best friend, really, where – maybe trust everyone – seems a wiser and more cheerful choice, think for yourself, and question everything, especially authority too.

Spense features a short passage in his book that had also crossed my mind before, and in fact was a large challenge for my novel in which i had agent Frank Foley and Aleister Crowley together as Fo Li in Berlin, August 1st 1936. A novel i started in august 2008 partly inspired by the Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony and Jamie Hewlett’s interpretation of the Chinese classic: MONKEY, journey to the East. So the small paragraph that mentions Frank Foley, who lived and died in Stourbridge after his spy career goes like this:

Not surprisingly, greta sequeirra’s activities hint at intelligence work. During the late 1930’s she made trips into the third reich and helped facilitate the escapes of “a number of jewish doctors.” As mentioned, another benefactor of jews fleeing Germany was Crowley’s attorney; Isidore Kerman. Gretas risk was all the greater
because she herself was of Sephardic Jewish ancestry. As it happened, the SIS station chief in Berlin, Frank Foley, was engaged in similar secret rescue efforts. Foley had been stationed in Berlin since the early 20’s, which means that Crowley’s name must have come across his desk a few times, each an opportunity for a deeper acquaintance. Foley recruited and ran an intelligence network of Jewish businessmen (like Weinberg).”Richard Spense. Agent 666. Pg. 233

Spence leaves out the fact that it was, in fact – Frank Foley – who interviewed Rudolph Hesse and was possibly involved with altering Hess’s consciousness against his will with swiss drugs. Whether or not Crowley was also brought into these interrorgation by Ian Flemming remains vague, but you can be sure they were digging deep in the trick bag they had stolen from the likes of Crowley, Gurdjieff, Blavatsky and other occult practitioners who seem to me to have been trying to advance individuals and society by way of non-violent means and as an alternative to the big three brain wash cults of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Disinfostrology, and disinfopsychology were deployed by intelligence agencies, but to what extent we can never really know, all we can do in some sense i guess, is study the hoaxers and tricksters in hope of recognizing an original. And although the dark and terrible torture methods used by military intelligence (so called) against humanity may have been hacked together from previous research in various occult areas, they by no means reflect the character i have come to know as Aleister Crowley. To compare Frank Foley and Alesiter Crowley, for example, makes a good exercise in historical investigation, compare the wiritngs by them and about them, how have they influenced the 21st century, and how are they celebrated in modern culture. Remember what Dr. Wilson say’s about Crowley biographers – no two seem to be able to agree about anything. Crowley, Rudolph Steiner and Frank Foley have some criss-crossings.

How to define the difference between the characteristics of James Bond and Guy Fawks? Ian Flemming and Aleister Crowley? The “V” meme has been successfully pirated by Alan Moore once more and drives home the strong case that Crowley encouraged Winston “smith” Churchill to adopt the “V” for victory hand signal, plus the thumbs up hand signal as moral boosting gestures for Britain and allied forces. Churchill was both a freemason and member of the ancient order of druids, and a great wartime leader.

“Very wrathful was the vine? Whose henchmen are the elms; i exalt him mightily To rulers of the realms.—THE BATTLE OF THE TREES.

The league of extraordinary gentleman, as conceived by Alan Moore, and the X-Men as conceived by Grant Morrison are two prime examples of the kind of magickal historicism and creative research into any “Occult Bureau” that may have been founded that i like, and think is shaping the future og historical research, practical magick and language charged with meaning to the highest possible degree. My writing is trying to more or less, look at the BELLA mystery, the closest mystery to my birthplace, through the eyes of an X-man, or a member of the league, an Illuminatus! and a rambling poet.

Alan Moores “Murray Group” for example – roughly organized at the turn of the 20th century and described in his excellent Black Dossier – seems to me to be intersecting with the occult intelligence warfare and disinformation projects developed by some secret intelligence agencies over the last 100 years – and all certainly influenced by the big three of western occultism – G.I Gurdjieff, Madame Blavatsky and Alesiter Crowley. Trying to avoid these figures and their work when intelligently discussing occultism, astrology, metapsychology and the thousands of fields of study developed under the umbrella of the new age of practical magickal awakening and union with nature, very generally speaking – will invariably lead to the common waffle of sensational journalism and communication’s of low information content, verging on disinformation when put into the context of this writing about BELLA.

I have at least tried practical magick, within the tradition of the Golden Dawn to express that i think that it works. You do certain things, move, speak and think in some way or other and certain things follow, in some way or other. Much depends upon the language used to communicate the results of practising Magick, i struggle on with my own tradition and this article a proof that i know what i am doing.

of stone, belgroved of mulbrey, the still that
was mill and Kloster that was Yeomansland,
the ghastcold tombshape of the quick
foregone on, the loftleaved elm Lefanunian
abovemansioned, each, every, all is for the
retrospectioner. Skole! Agus skole igen! 1
Sweetsome auburn, cometh up as a selfreizing flower,
that fragolance of the fraisey beds: the phoenix,
his pyre, is still flaming away with
trueprattight spirit: the wren his nest is niedelig as the
turrises of the sabines are televisible. – J.J, F.W. Pg.


Upon reading the book i picked up from Stourbridge library “BELLA: AN UNSOLVED MURDER by Joyce M. Coley” roughly one month ago (April 24th 2009) i was reminded that the famous fraudulent Egyptologist, and Occult POP criminologist – Dr. Margret Murray – swooped in to investigate the Bella mystery. But then, jumping to conclusions and after some web research i discovered that Alan Moore was probably more directly referencing Mina Murray from Bram Stokers Dracula, so Margret Murray seemed less likely as the origin of “The Murray Group” but, Alan sure as hell would have done his homework on Dr. Margaret Murray i rekon, as she more or less was a part of the public face of the witch cult hypothesis and maybe the kind of group that would manipulate Occultism into an intelligence asset to fight dirty secret wars – a paranormal espionage program, you might say.

Precisely the area of study that the BELLA mystery falls into, due to the strange media manipulations surrounding the open, unsolved muder case, disinformation, secrecy and dogma prevail. I make no mighty claim to knowing any concrete facts about this case, and even less about the characters and greater geo-political events underway at the time-space crossroads of Wychbury Hill 1941.

And they crowned her their chariton queen, all the
maids. Of the may? You don’t say! Well for her she couldn’t
see herself. I recknitz wharfore the darling murrayed her mirror.
She did? Mersey me! – J.J, FW Pg. 208

In my humble opinion Margret Murray was a poor researcher and precursor to the pop science phenomena we spread all over the mediasphere today, maybe Margret Murray was the tip of an Iceburg floating beneath British intelligence and black propaganda campaigns to influence the Occult obsessed Nazi’s, Tsars and spook community. I should add here that the other criminal psy-cop brought into to investigate the BELLA murder was Professor James Webster, another POP cop of the day, who brought widespread media attention to the murder.

And this is just the surface to the mystery, the public figures that made statements and public comments about the Bella Murder that were replicated and distributed widely, and without much counter argument. And the newer publications about the BELLA murder continue this tradition of disinformation and shoddy journalistic research, writing and small mindedness. Everyone of them missing some of the major components to the case that relate to the geographical location and slowly emerging information about Britain’s role in black occult propaganda – and misinformation operations during the timeframe.

And there were
left now an only elmtree and but a stone. Polled with pietrous,
Sierre but saule. O! Yes! And Nuvoletta, a lass.
Then Nuvoletta reflected for the last time in her little long life
and she made up all her myriads of drifting minds in one. She
cancelled all her engauzements. She climbed over the bannistars;
she gave a childy cloudy cry: — J.J, F.W. Pg. 159

The two characters the researcher would like to propose as holding keys to this case not only have surnames that rhyme! but also they both attended the same boys school that is visible with the naked eye from atop Wychbury Hill, about roughly 23 miles away in Malvern. Some may find it interesting that the dirty rotten spymaster recently portrayed in Robert De Niro’s brave new movie “The Good Shepherd” – James Jesus Angleton also attended this school, as did J.F.C Fuller, another Occultist with some Nazi sympathies and the recently deceased Oliver Selfridge, who among other things introduced the notion of “daemons” to computer programming and A.I studies.

Imagining A. Crowley and J.J Angleton at the same school, possibly able to view whychbury hill with their naked eye’s seems worth a mention here, as does the famous mental health institute that experimented with LSD in conjunction with MI6 in the early to mid 1950’s called POWICK, a seemingly sinister sister operation to the Canadian LSD experiments conducted by the evil Dr. Cameron, (no relation to TORY leader David Cameron, according to current data,) and possibly the round table meetings involving Andrija Puharich during the 1950’s in the U.S. that still attract similar controversy and information gaps due to the burning and destruction of documents, files and data.

Coincidently – Frank Foley – whom interviewed Rudolph Hess resided in nearby Stourbridge during these illegal LSD experiments, Crowley was dead and Angleton was founding the CIA – passing on everything he had learned from spies and espiocrats, Jesuits, skull and bonesmen and alchemical tricksters. Three very different pursuits. Please google TSOG: THE THING THAT ATE THE CONSTITUTION. by Dr. Robert Anton Wilson to follow the story up to the present day, and if your lucky get a lesson in neuro-semantics, relativity theory and 21st century independent investigative journalism at its finest.

It was the kind Dr. Wilson, who in answering a question about Crowley and Ian Flemming that i put to him at his home in Santa Cruz, who sums up the kind of cloak and dagger misinformation campaigns running riot through the mediasphere during the second world war, and afterwards:

“Dennis Rawlins – who wrote Occult thrillers and really believed in them, he seemed convinced that every conspiracy that he could think up himself for British intelligence was not only the work of enemy intelligence but of Satanic intelligence! – Dr. Robert Anton Wilson, interview with fly, Capitola 10th September 2002.

Satanic intelligence sounds just about right for our BELLA mystery murder, although i am not going into the semantics of Satan here, the two words seem to ring true for Crowley, Angleton and Foley – with their respective differences of meaning, but still Satanic Intelligence and its semantical distortion seems to be a force at play around the BELLA wych-elm operation/murder. At this point i would like to pay some tribute to the infinite amount of other possible reasons for BELLA’s murder and strange symbolic necrophilic abuse such as: an angry husband’s revenge over infidelity, a crazy serial killer and prototype of Hannibal Lector, a giant HOAX perpetrated by a disinformation ring involving planted evidence, deliberate deception and fakery, possibly orchestrated by MI6, and/or a giant HOAX perpetrated by German spies using the same deliberate deception, making the murder only appear to be ritualistic for example, as a counter-espionage trick to distract the enemy and the public.

A few small minded sap heads have suggested that Gypsies committed the murder from camps around the area at the time – not only the deranged idea of Gypsies being involved in the BELLA murder unsettle me, but the way this minority opinion, and others are perpetuated in modern British culture today by some newspuss critters who resemble the model of Joseph Goebbles media attacks upon “groups” of huma beings, and similar massive Big Brother psychology, a psychology of fascism and a multi-media network using language as a deadley weapon to enslave the people it claims to inform, trapping them inside nouns, hooked by categories, nulled by names.

Try typing in “Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm” – into your search engine, or read a book on the matter and you’ll probably be ready to quit the mystery then and there. But please continue, do a little of your own research and see what picture emerges for you, and beware of cheap imitations, in the world of counter-espionage even Wikipedia may not be friendly.

“Will art have the right to a second, interminable existence, like the secret services that, as we know, haven’t had any secrets to steal or exchange for some time but who still continue to flourish in utter superstition of their usefulness, perpetuating their own myth. — Baudrillard, The Conspiracy of Art. 1996.

Another area of interesting study for the purpose of understanding some of the characters i feel may shed light on the BELLA mystery is Anthroposophy, and Rudolph Steiner’s Occultism. Like Witchcraft, Steinerism has many branches and interpretations, often quoted and used in conflicting contexts depending upon the devilish practical usage. I know very little of Rudolph Steiner and his teachings and what i do know i picked up from Stourbridge library – his book on colour theory and one called Life after Death.

A strong Steiner community and a large Steiner school in Stourbridge may seem suggestive to some conspiranoid young minds here – in the context of the BELLA mystery – as both Crowley and Foley studied Steiner in various degrees and forms, and because – Madame Blavatsky the great Occultist – was instrumental in the foundation and development of Anthroposophy and Steinerism.

On a personal note i find the Steiner methods, writings and systems good, generally for society and culture – for the most part – and they seem to exhibit fabulous teaching practices, but, the philosopher may disagree with much of Steinerism too, a healthy skepticism when compared with the 8 circuit model of consciousness as described by Leary and Wilson for example, and some works by Aleister Crowley – such as “Magick in Theory and Practice” and “777” and “The book of lies”.

If you can detach the research methodology and creative art work from the personae/myth, and strive to peer through the magical veils, maybe detaching yourself and taking upon yourself multiple points of view, and multi-ordinal terms and word-image phrases, so as to communicate your change in perception and update your operating system into the 21st century. Let computers come to conclusions and human beings tell tales tall. But lets not allow our computers to tell us conclusive history, only alternative histories, wherever possible, a hollywood singularity seems a model of perpetual hell to the DJ.

all rubbeling gnomes
I pushed, gowgow: Cassels, Redmond, Gandon, Deane,
Shepperd, Smyth, Neville, Heaton, Stoney, Foley, Farrell, Vnost with
Thorneycroft and Hogan too: sprids serve me! — J.J, FW Pg 552

From Crowley the swimmer gets a sense of a free gift to humanity in the methodology and practice for finding oneself, and others if you wish – a methodology for personal advancement, self-programing and re-programming, this single factor makes Aleister Crowley a teacher and hero, when compared with the other characters surrounding the BELLA mystery and also as a place to begin a criticism of anthroposophy and Steinerism, in the information age.

Crowley and Steiner had much common ground due to esoteric interests and the German Rudolph Steiner and the English Aleister Crowley found themselves pulled into the vortex of the first world war and away from the research they were passionate about pursuing. Some of Steiner ideas were carried through to the 30’s and were bastardized and beaten up to become one contributing model for German Occult supremecy, which when developed by the third Reich outlawed and attacked other Occult foundations, and any competition, any schools and any Occult institutions such as the Golden Dawn, O.T.O, freemasonry, Steiner groups, Fourth way schools, shamans, mystical gypsies etc, were banished, only the white supremacy of the arayan Nazi super race and their occultism was tolerated. The yogi would like to mention here again his detachment from these ideas, and remind the reader of his role as a reporter, trying to present new and orderly information.

The elm that whimpers
at the top told the stone that moans when stricken. Wind broke
it. Wave bore it. Reed wrote of it. Syce ran with it. Hand tore
it and wild went war. Hen trieved it and plight pledged peace.
It was folded with cunning, sealed with crime, uptied by a harlot,
undone by a child. It was life but was it fair? It was free but was
it art? The old hunks on the hill read it to perlection. It made
ma make merry and sissy so shy and rubbed some shine off Shem
and put some shame into Shaun. – J.J, F.W. Pg. 94.

Steiner, for example forwarded bio-dynamic farming which is a precursor or the popularized bio-organic farming all the rage these days, but with the added holistic principles of a kind of bio-dynamic language, dynamic psychology and then a kind of spiritualism, all wrapped up together. A rather beautiful and utopian socio-cultural system that attempts to marry science and religion into a unified system with differing results.

But a “school of spiritual science” which Steiner called his new group at the Christmas gathering of the Anthroposophical society in 1923 sounds to my heed like a less interesting “League of extraordinary Gentleman” – the league being best model i can think of for looking at these events – through the lens of graphic novels and film sequences and in movie spaces, here we can build ideas for historical research, to model the disinformation operations in multiple layers – are the Steiner school’s teaching film? keeping true with the double cross system? to smear the new research and historical scholarship oozing out of this revolutionary format and communication vessel we call interactive global internet.

Like the popular X-Files franchise and fad in the late 1990’s, people are interested in how the government handle paranormal and spooky phenomena, and pretty much view intelligence agencies and black operatives as forces largely responsible for cover ups, secrecy and unsolved mysteries, when not blaming hostile extraterrestrials or some other gene pool than their own. Steiner set up an early spook school, like Crowley, but like the difference between scientology and the Branch Davidian’s Steiner’s school became recognized and institutionalized more rapidly than Crowley’s school, which was under constant scrutiny and attack form all sides and even the Gurdjieff schools, that offer another medium between Steiner and Crowley’s seperate systems of western enlightenment and awakening.

Any hostile forces against these new religious science systems may have wanted to paint Occult practice and esoteric knowledge with a black stick by setting up a ritual “black propaganda magic” mystery. Which may or may not have also served as a coded message, spread worldwide through the telegrah to further the complex misinformation campaigns being fought by the allied intelligence spooks to influence mystical Nazi’s and Tsar’s such as Rudolph Hess.

Esch so eschess, douls a doulse! Since Allan Rogue
loved Arrah Pogue it’s all Killdoughall fair. Triss! Only trees
such as these such were those, waving there, the barketree, the
o’briertree, the rowantree, the o’corneltree, the behanshrub near
windy arbour, the magill o’dendron more. Trem! All the trees
in the wood they trembold, humbild, when they heard the
stoppress from domday’s erewold.
Tiss! Two pretty mistletots ribboned to a tree, up rose
liberator and, fancy, they were free! – J.J, FW, Pg. 588.

The Hess connection to the BELLA mystery has already been explored a little by others, but none have mentioned the rather telling fact that Frank Foley moved back to Stourbridge after his service, that included interviewing Hess for MI6, easily his most famous assignment, that may or may not have included characters such as Aleister Crowley and G.I Gurdjieff, but certainly included Ian Flemming, John Masterman, Wild Bill Donovan and James Jesus Angleton.

What’s good for the gorse is a goad for the garden. Lethals lurk
heimlocked in logans. Loathe laburnums. Dash the gaudy
deathcup! Bryony O’Bryony, thy name is Belladama! But enough of
greenwood’s gossip. Birdsnests is birdsnests. — J.J, F.W. Pg. 450.

So coming back to why and who put BELLA in the wych-elm and why i can now outline the following scenario’s, and add that the question why has taken up the majority of this article, the question of who requires a much more focused and difficult time consuming study which i will leave to the forensic departments, private detectives and/or any independent researchers who would like to get their feet wet.

Do your own research into the mystery and the new leads i am providing, please think for yourself, and continue by providing at least five alternatives and possible suspects based upon your intuition that i have not disscussed, this exercise is a great tool sometimes when writing and thinking about history, especially when dealing with the double-cross bureau and ambiguity, the dambiguation as Ezra Pound might say.

1. Richard B. Spence, in his new book “Secret Agent 666” claims that Crowley’s name must have gone across Agent Frank Foley’s desk in Berlin a few times during his 20 year period there, adding that Crowley’s attourney would have been included in those Jewish Business people, among others that Agent Foley helped escape and relocate in other areas of Europe to both relative freedom and often clandestine spy work, in return for that freedom.

Remember here also that Foley was so well trained in trickery and deception that he was running his own Gestapo units in and around Germany, right under their noses. Maybe BELLA was a bad choice for relocation and was discovered and falsely identified as a spy, when really she was a refugee fleeing a war torn village, and was ritualistically murdered and used to send a message to other spies who might try and infiltrate an enemy. I do not intend to mean that Foley put Bella in the wych-Elm, but maybe Frank Foley knew BELLA, maybe she was on his books, or her real name had gone across his desk?

2. The sensationalist and dogmatic coverage of the murder mystery in the news press, and the fact that one of the most controversial and dogmatic popular figures surrounding Occultism Margret Murray was assigned to the case raises serious concerns for me and combined with the lack of compliance of the authorities, police, intelligence, historical archives, corporate manipulated media etc. Over 60 years, i must confess that the cover up’ or the false trail theory takes on more weight, as if the bastards are perpetuating their own myth.

3. In the conspiracy of ART by the great philosopher Jean Baudrilard he writes about intelligence agencies perpetuating their own myth-secrets when they run out of real secrets worth playing for, but this is also the essence of counter-intelligence, and great poetry; perpetuating your own myth-secret current, but the one aims to deceive and the other to inform.

I believe that we are all often caught up in this shadowy world of symbol manipulation and spook activity, most often by way of alphabetic deceptions and semantical shackles and chains put on us by the surrounding mediasphere, where often thinking outside of the box results in accusations and attacks from fanatical fundamentalists who feel that they know the real real truth about god, history and even mystery! Look again, re-check your facts, are they tied up with a spooky publishing house?

4. The time frame of the estimated murder of BELLA – who mouth was stuffed with taffeta which is used for parachutes – and the flight of Rudolph Hess to Britain circa may 1941. Maybe BELLA knew about the HESS flight or the plan to meet with Lord Hamilton, or was just used as a dupe, somehow signalling that HESS should take flight to the UK? Or maybe the discovery of the body and the subsequent newscasts about the Murder mystery sent a related message to the enemy? After all there is an old tale about containing a witches power within an elm tree.

5. “In about 1967, a new, far more virulent strain arrived in Britain on a shipment of Rock Elm logs from North America, and this strain proved both highly contagious and lethal to all of the European native elms; more than 25 million trees died in the UK alone. By 1990-2000, very few mature elms were left in Britain or much of northern Europe. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_elm_disease

6. “each type of elm has its own specific folklore and customs attached to it. This is seen with the Tenor, Bass and Alto elms in Humberside or so the so called ‘dancing elms’ in Devon which feature heavily in May Day dances. Unfortunately, these trees have now succumbed to Dutch elm disease. — Long ago, medieval welsh archers used to make their bows out of the elm tree (English archers preferred Yew). — http://www.jatet.co.uk/elm.html

Alma Luvia, Pollabella.
P.S. Soldier Rollo’s sweetheart. And she’s about fetted up now
with nonsery reams. And rigs out in regal rooms with the ritzies.
Rags! Worns out. But she’s still her deckhuman amber too.
Soft morning, city! Lsp! I am leafy speafing. Lpf! Folty and
folty all the nights have falled on to long my hair. Not a sound,
falling. Lispn! No wind no word. Only a leaf, just a leaf and
then leaves. The woods are fond always. As were we their babes
in. And robins in crews so. It is for me goolden wending.
Unless? Away! Rise up, man of the hooths, you have slept so
long! Or is it only so mesleems? On your pondered palm.
Reclined from cape to pede. With pipe on bowl. Terce for a
fiddler, sixt for makmerriers, none for a Cole. Rise up now and
aruse! Norvena’s over. I am leafy, your goolden, so you called
me, may me life, yea your goolden, silve me solve, exsogerraider! — J.J, F.W Pg. 619

And so here the swimmer hopes to stop the wheels of rumour that perpetuate the myth-history of Intelligence spooks spreading confusion, fear, superstition and misinformation in their own interests, to sell some papers, a book or two, or to boost up the viewer ratings of Big Brother, or maybe – cover up – the facts with more soil, burying good reason, open inquiry and the impulse to share information in the hollow earth, down underground with the dirty truth.

The skeptical swimmer has looked into the Bella mystery, and the Frank Foley story because they are local phenomena to his home and birthplace, that both of these are related to disinformation programmes unnerves the paranoid a little, especially when so many other people fail to notice this link.

For example i have not heard or seen anyone mention the name Frank Foley in conjunction with the BELLA mystery murder, at all at all, yet for me that seems one of the most obvious places to start looking into the local wartime spy killing phenomena, why not, the historian asks why is this so and extends the question about why the movie about the life of Frank Foley is forbidden to get a public release based on censors – reported to be concerning a national security threat! something 60 years old and still alive today? anti-gravity devices? LSD? Rudolph Hess?

These questions may not be concerned with WHO put BELLA in the wych-elm, but i feel that they certainly raise a similar question regarding WHY? The WHY would somebody cut off a womens hand and stuff her in a tree turnck and the WHY and HOW secrets relating to 60 years ago could still be deemed important enough to pose a security threat 60 years later? I repeat that i have no doubt that this is an intelligence game, and so from here i would recommend either douglas Hofstadter or Aleister Crowley himself, for further guidance in how to process language and operate your nervous system. Also see Dr. Wilson.

Ascend out of
your bed, cavern of a trunk, and shrine! – J.J, F.W, Pg. 601

Adam “Whyshampoo” Pollybella. A.A, SECTION “Y”.


Spymistress: the life of Vera Atkins The greatest female secret agent of WWII. By William Stevenson.

Sisterhood of spies: the women of the OSS. By Elizabeth P. McIntosh

The witch-cult in western Europe: a study in anthropology. By Margaret Alice Murray

Groves: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases. By Icon Group International, Inc.

Outside stories, 1987-1991 By Eliot Weinberger

Spytime: The Undoing of James Jesus Angleton. By William F. Buckley, Jr.

The Malvern Register, 1865-1904
By Malvern School

TSOG. – Dr. Robert Anton Wilson. (New Falcon Press)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jptVSUX0ekU (Powick choir)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eGFyEo33eI (Cia docu)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaJF4GLQnLk (Interview with Spence.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kw4a9_tm7hY (WW2 SIS docu.)


, produced THOUSANDS of articles for magazines and some-but-not-all of them are floating around in cyberspace – testament to the great neuro-semantic fun house of BOB’s wisdom language. The following is the first of what the conspirablogger wishes will be many more HYPERLINKED INTERPRETATIONS of some of RAW’s essays, already available on the web.

With the May 2009 release of the movie, from the book – Angels and Demons – off the back of the blockbusting success of the movie, from the book – THE Da Vinci Code, – and the DAN BROWN industry booming like Obamamania, the content of the RAW bookbusta’ essay from 1987′ THE PRIORY OF SION Jesus, Freemasons, Extraterrestrials, The Gnomes of Zurich, Black Israelites and Noon Blue Apples seems relative and accurate with its dissection of the information, and the intelligent inferences hinted at with BOB’s unique hologramic prose, i.e think again, look again, re-access your data, revise and update. Think for yourself and question authority, who is the programmer, the meta-programmer?…the meta, meta…

Assembled in 1987, and published in the magazine GNOSIS – this essay shows BOB tackling the great Octopus head on and the least the dealer can do is pass it on, with some new additional HYPERLINKS, that update many of the terms and references made mostly simply using wikipedia.com


–steve fly agaric

p.s please consult other works by RAW on a somewhat lighter tone, for a slight change of channel…

Special thanks to alt.fan.rawilson for continuing to host some of the greatest writing in the English language, and all who are keeping RAW’s wisdom in circulation.

Jesus, Freemasons, Extraterrestrials, The Gnomes of Zurich,

Black Israelites and Noon Blue Apples

by Robert Anton Wilson
from GNOSIS Issue #6: Secret Societies (Winter 1987-’88)


return to RAW Fans

The Priory of Sion first came to the attention of Americans with the publication in 1981 of Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh, a book so sensational and wildly speculative that many readers decided to believe nothing in it. Some even doubted the existence of the Priory of Sion, the alleged 800-year old secret society which is the main topic of the book. Other, of course, were eager to swallow everything in Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and there is now a wide subculture, mostly in occult and witchy circles, who fervently believe that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and their descendents are alive and well in various royal families of Europe; the allies or supporters of this “holy bloodline” make up the backbone of the elusive Priory of Sion, according to Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh.

Personally, I did not have an immediate yes-or-no reaction to this new Christian “heresy.” I have long believed that Aristotelian either/or logic is inadequate to deal with the “real,” or sensory, or existential, world (since such logic only applies to the abstractions or fictions created by Jesuits, Randroids, Marxists and other metaphysicians). I therefore did not believe or reject all of Holy Blood, Holy Grail as a lump or package deal. I wondered how much of it could be verified and how much of it could be refuted and how much would remain at least temporarily in the “maybe” state of quantum particles – like a coin tossed in the air and tumbling about before coming down to rest in a definitive Heads or Tails position.

In checking out the historical scenario of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, I found that the largest part of it belongs in the Maybe category. That is, most of it is speculation that can neither be proven or disproven by any of the techniques recognized by historians who attempt to practice scientific method. Of course, there are “high Maybes” and “low Maybes.” The genealogies relating the von Hapsburgs or Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands to the Merovingian kings of the dark ages seem to be high Maybes; although there is a certain degree of uncertainty in all gene pools, the intermarriages of European royalty have been zealously documented for many centuries (since property and inheritance are involved in determining who was the son of which royal house). Dozens and scores of other matters-such as the membership of Sir Isaac Newton in the alleged Priory – are very low Maybes; the arguments cited by Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh are neither conclusive nor even plausible, and amount to what the chaps at M.I.T. call “hand waving.” The attempted genealogical links further back, from the Merovingians to Jesus of Nazareth, are even lower Maybes and without exaggeration can be called wild guessing.

I decided to investigate other books on the Priory of Sion mystery in search of further data, if there was any to be found and if the whole saga was not made up almost entirely of “hand waving.” Since I have dozens of other interests, I have not devoted the whole of the past six years to studying this question, but I have done a lot of reading, much of it in books not available in the United States (since I live in Europe). I can begin stating my conclusions by saying, like a famous editor, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Priory of Sion.” Whether the Priory is 800 years old or has any link to Jesus, however, are still questions that remain in the the quantum “maybe” state; the coins in that case have not landed yet, or have not landed where I can see them.

The Gnomes of Zurich and the Priory

The European literature on the Priory of Sion is much more voluminous than is realized by those who have only read Holy Blood, Holy Grail. It is also much more diverse and, as you will shortly see, various authors have attempted to expose or explain the Priory with a variety of theories, some of which make the Jesus/Magdalene bloodline story rather tame by comparison.

To begin with a source that is merely speculative, mysterious, and a bit sinister, but at least makes sense – before plunging into the books that are very, very, very mysterious wildly speculative and make no sense at all – in 1973 there appeared in Basel, Switzerland, Les Dessows d’une Ambition Politique by a Swiss journalist named Mattieu Paoli. The thesis of this book was fairly mundane, with only a few eldritch touches. Paoli had discovered the existence of a secret Freemasonic society of some sort made up of French intellectuals and aristocrats, because some of the literature of this secretive group was being distributed within Switzerland in a very restricted way. This literature, in fact, was circulated only to members of the Grand Loge Alpina, the largest and most influential Freemasonic group in the Swiss cantons. Of course, European ears prick up with curiosity at the first mention of the Grand Loge Alpina. Among Continental conspiracy buffs, the Grand Loge Alpina has a reputation for unspecified mischief rather akin to that of the Bohemian Club in America. That is, although not even the most avid critic has ever clearly demonstrated that the Grand Loge Alpina engages in criminal or even unethical behavior, it is known to include some of the richest men in Switzerland and the genera] assumption is that, like the Bohemian Club, it is some sort of “invisible government,” or at least a place where the Power Elite meet to discuss their common interests. In a general sort of way, the GLA (an abbreviation for the Grand Loge Alpina which I shall use occasionally to avoid monotony) is more or less the group that English Prime Minister Harold Wilson once characterized as “the Gnomes of Zurich” – the cabal of bankers and financiers who, Wilson claimed, have more power than any rival coalition in Europe.

Another shady rumor about the Grand Loge Alpina – which is worth pursuing a bit, since Paoli first discovered the French secret society through its connection with the GLA – is that the GLA has heavily infiltrated the Vatican Bank, in collaboration with the definitely criminal and conspiratorial P2 (or Propaganda due), the Italian “Freemasonic” group which controlled the Italian secret police in the 1970s, took money from both the CIA and KGB (and apparently double-crossed both), had over 900 agents in other branches of the Italian government and has been accused of every possible felony from massive bank fraud to assassination and terrorism, to laundering Mafia drug money through the Vatican Bank and its affiliates, to plotting a fascist coup. The source of the claim that the Grand Loge Alpina infiltrated the Vatican Bank and aided or abetted the dirty dealings of P2 is David Yallop’s sensational book, In God’s Name, which is accurate as far as I have been able to check it but contains literally hundreds of assertions which cannot be checked because Yallop claims he cannot divulge his sources without risking their lives. A large part of Yallop’s book, therefore, also remains, for non-Aristotelians like me, in the quantum “maybe” state. (For the curious: two books dealing with the frauds and felonies of the Vatican Bank and their links with P2 and the Mafia, which document all their claims and do not quote unidentified sources, are Richard Hammer’s The Vatican Connection and Penny Lernoux’s In Banks We Trust.)

A digression about Freemasonry itself is probably obligatory at this time. Contrary to popular impressions, Freemasons do not belong to one global brotherhood with a unified system of dogma and ritual. The world is, in fact, full of Freemasonic lodges that do not recognize other Freemasonic lodges as “Fellow Craft” or “real Freemasons” at all.

There are two types of split within the Freemasonic brotherhood – political and metaphysical. The political split dates back to the French Revolution, when all Freemasonic groups were anti-Papist and “radical” (inclined to replace absolute monarchy with either Constitutional monarchy or with a Republican or even Democratic form of government). This radical spirit began to splinter when British Freemasons saw the Continental lodges moving too far to the Left, and arranged that, in the U.K. at least, the Grandmaster of all Craft lodges would always be a member of the Royal Family, thereby guaranteeing a conservative flavor to the Grand Lodge and other Anglo-dominated Craft groups such as Scottish Rite and the Royal Arch. Most Continental lodges, however, are still basically radical (e.g. the Grand Orient Lodge in France and Italy).

The metaphysical split occurs within both the conservative and radical Craft groups. It divides Freemasons into those who, on one hand, joined Freemasonry for practical purposes (business contacts or covert political action) and only give lip service to the “mystical” goals of Freemasonry without knowing or caring much about what those “mystical” goals are; and, on the other hand, the “occult” lodges which practice Freemasonry quite consciously as a system of initiation similar to the ancient Mystery schools, Gnosticism or Sufism. To make things more complicated, some see the initiatory rituals of the Craft leading to pantheism or even a kind of transcendental humanism, while others see the rituals as leading back to a more traditional theism or even theocracy. To know that the Priory of Sion is Freemasonic or an offshoot of Freemasonry is not really to know much about its actual inner tradition.

Freemasonry has been repeatedly condemned by the Vatican, and all Freemasons are officially excommunicated. The Presbyterian Church of Scotland also recently announced that no man can be a Freemason and a Christian at the same time. This hostility from the ultra-orthodox is justified (in its own internal logic) because Freemasonry was based, originally, on the rather Sufic doctrine that all religions are somewhat distorted remnants of a true Revelation that can only be rediscovered through gnosis (inner experience) by one person at a time. (It is the purpose of Freemasonic ritual to convey this gnosis by techniques of drama and shock somewhat similar to those of shamanism, Sufism, the Gurdjieff schools or Tibetan Buddhism.) Conservative lodges in Christian countries, however, still use the Bible as centerpiece of the Craft altar. (Moslem Freemasons use the Koran.) The Orleanist lodges have reversed the gnostic tradition and are totally agnostic; they use a book of blank pages on their altar, and seem to share the Firesign Theatre’s celebrated doctrine, “We’re all Bozos on this bus.”

The Rights and Privileges of Low-Cost Housing

Returning to Mattieu Paoli and his discovery of the links between the Grand Loge Alpina and the unknown French Freemasons: M. Paoli’s attempts to learn more about the latter group read like comic opera – but so does much of this epic. The French group had a magazine (limited in circulation only to its own members and those of the Grand Loge Alpina.) It was called Circuit, and, although Paoli does not make much of this, the cover of the first issue he saw depicted a map of France with a Jewish Star of David superimposed upon it and something that looks much like a spaceship or UFO hovering above. (I know that I am pushing the paranoia buttons of both anti-semites and the more demoniac UFO theorists, but I also believe that this is precisely the intent of the Priory of Sion, which seems to have a flair for gallows humor.) This strange magazine, Circuit, was devoted entirely to astrology and other “occult” subjects but was attributed to the Committee to Secure the Rights and Privileges of Low Cost Housing – a group which Paoli was unable to locate anywhere and which nobody else has ever been able to track down either.

At this point readers of normal skepticism will begin to share my suspicion that the Priory of Sion at least has its own brand of humor. In fact, the very name Priory of Sion may be intended to spread panic among those weird people who still believe in the Elders of Zion conspiracy. Paoli eventually tracked down the publication offices of Circuit. It was produced, not at the fictitious Committee to Secure the Rights and Privileges of Low Cost Housing, but at the very real and powerful Committee for Public Safety of the de Gaulle government in Paris. The Committee for Public Safety, named after the similar group during the French Revolution, was managed by two close friends of President de Gaulle – Andre Malraux, novelist, art critic and Nobel prizewinner in literature; and one Pierre Plantard de Saint Clair, about whom we will shortly learn more and understand less.

Paoli, who had noted that de Gaulle had contributed an article to Circuit, found other reasons to suspect that the de Gaulle government was aware of, and sympathetic to, the goals of a shadowy Freemasonic lodge called the Priory of Sion – which, by then, he had determined was the real group behind the masquerade of the Committee to Secure the Rights and Privileges of Low Cost Housing. The rest of Paoli’s book is devoted to demonstrating that the Priory wielded considerable power in Gaullist and conservative circles; Paoli speculates, backed by fairly plausible evidence and inference, that the Priory intends some major shift to the Right in French and possibly European politics, or some form of Christian Socialism to rival and undermine the spread of Marxism.

It is probably only a coincidence, but I cannot resist adding that Paoli was later shot as a spy in Israel.

Extraterretrials and Rains Of Frogs

Also in 1973 appeared La Race Fabuleuse by Gerard de Sede – a book which, if you are willing to believe it, explains the Star of David and the spaceship which Paoli had noted on the cover of Circuit. In a word, La Race Fabuleuse is the kind of book loved by those who are wild about von Daniken and Velikovsky. It deals with a secret society – never called the Priory of Sion explicitly, although de Sede later admitted to Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh (the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail that he was indeed writing about the Priory in La Race Fabuleuse. By and large, the book deals with unsolved mysteries of French history and is full of intriguing puzzles and novel ideas.

For instance, the town of Stenay has the Devil’s head on its coat of arms, and frogs are often reported falling from the sky there. If that’s the kind of thing that turns you on, de Sede is your main man in the Priory mystery. Other strange data in La Race Fabuleuse include stuff like this: The last Merovingian king, Dagobert II, was murdered by persons unknown on December 23, 689, in the Ardennes forest, which is named after a Stone Age bear-goddess. Arcadia in ancient Greece was named after a bear-goddess, too, and Nostradamus is a pen-name which means one devoted to “Our Lady” – a term which usually, in France, refers to the Virgin Mary. One whole chapter argues that the “prophecies” of Nostradamus are not predictions about the future at all (that was a mask to slip his quatrains past the censors) but coded revelations about what really happened in the past and was excluded from official history. We are offered a new theory about the Man in the Iron Mask, but that is left unfinished and we are led instead into the mystery of why Louis VX was obsessed with Poussin’s painting. The Shepards of Arcadia, which brings us back to that bear goddess again. After a while, one realizes that de Sede is not explaining anything but dropping hints that lead in dozens of directions and one suspects the whole book may be a complicated hoax.

Then de Sede does explain; alas, his source cannot be revealed and is hidden behind the title and initial, “Marquis de B.” Marquis de B can neither confirm nor deny that de Sede is quoting him correctly because he (the Marquis) was murdered in the Ardennes forest, just like Dagobert II, and on the anniversary of Dagobert’s death – December 23, 1971. Anyway, if you are still with me, the reason Dagobert and the mysterious Marquis were murdered is that they both belonged to a secret Society made up of persons descended from the Tribe of Benjamin in ancient Judea; and the Tribe of Benjamin was not exactly like the orthodox Hebrews at all. In fact, the Tribe of Benjamin intermarried with extraterrestrials from Sirius, became superhuman due to this exotic genetic strain, and then migrated to Greece, and then to France…

Whether or not one is inclined to believe a yarn like that on the basis of the weird data offered, what is even more intriguing about La Race Fabuleuse is that, even if one believes in these Jewish-extraterrestrial French nobles, that theory only explains some of the historical enigmas de Sede has presented to us. What about those frogs falling out of the sky at Stenay, and why are two forests named after bear goddesses made part of de Sede’s narrative, and who the help are the gang that keeps murdering off these Supermen, and why can’t the Supermen protect themselves better? (For that matter, the head of Satan on the coat of arms of Stenay, with which the book begins, is never explained either.) As the French themselves say, it gives one ferociously to think.

Treasure, Codes and Moon Blue Apples

In a later book, L’ Or de Rennes-le-Chateau, de Sede does not answer any of these questions, but provides us with more wild theories and even more strange data. Briefly, a priest manuscripts in an old church in the Provencal town of Rennes-le-Chateau. (Like Stenay, the town with the head of Satan on its coat of arms, Rennes-le-Chateau was the home of a castle of the Merovingian dynasty, to which the murdered Dagobert II belonged.) You are going to love this if you have any sense of humor at all. De Sede does not decode the Sauniere parchments, but the code is so simple a child might guess it. The manuscripts have some letters raised above the others. Read these letters only and get the message found by the ingenious authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail.


The conjunction of Dagobert and Sion, of course, seems to authenticate the medieval origin the Priory claims for itself (although nobody, to my knowledge, has carbon-dated the Sauniere parchment, which might be a late forgery.) I cordially invite you make what you can of the rest of the secret message. Cabalists are especially likely to find something of interest in the 681. Others will be emotionally drawn to conjecture about the “daemon” and the “horse” (not house) of God. Personally, I am aesthetically fond of the noon blue apples as a topic for speculation when I can’t get to sleep at night…

The damned thing about this is that there may indeed have the priest who found the parchment, Father Sauniere, became quite wealthy by unknown means, and that has kept “the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau” a topic of keen interest among French conspiracy buffs and puzzle addicts for nearly a hundred years now.

Later, however, Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh were to offer another explanation of Father Sauniere’s wealth. But I will come to that…

Surrealism and Catholic Traditionalism

This is as good a place as any to mention the short and undated Le Cercle d’ Ulysse by Jean Delaude. This pamphlet does not bother us with demons, horses of God or frogs falling from the sky, and doesn’t have a single noon blue apple. It states bluntly that the Priory of Sion is a conservative Catholic secret society devoted principally to the cause of making Archbishop Lefebvre the next Pope. Delaude also claims that the Grandmaster of the Priory is the Abbe Ducaud-Bourget (Lefebvre’s leading disciple), who succeeded the surrealist poet Jean Cocteau, who had been Grandmaster until 1963. (Holy Blood, Holy Grail produces documentary evidence that Cocteau was indeed a Grandmaster of the Priory or, at least – one suspects everything at this point – that somebody did a good job of forging Cocteau’s name on a Priory document.)

While the noon blue apples have a Cocteauean or surrealist flavor to them, it does appear that the Sauniere parchment really did exist at least as early as the 1890s, so I reject the theory proposed by my wife at this point, which is that the Priory is the last and greatest of all surrealist pranks. No: Cocteau may have given his own flavor to the enterprise, but the Priory clearly has a pre-Cocteau origin, even if it doesn’t necessarily date back to copulation between ancient Benjaminites and UFOnauts from Sirius. (Still: it was Cocteau who said “The poet must always be a shady character” and “One must run faster than beauty, even if it seems one is running away from it.” I find these remarks helpful in trying to intuit what the hell the Priory is really all about.)

As for Archbishop Lefebvre and the Abbe Ducaud-Bourget – linked to the Priory by Delaude, remember? – these are two extremely right-wing gentlemen indeed, leaders of what is called the Catholic Traditionalist movement, and many have not been shy about hurling the word “fascist” at them (Oddly, Lefebvre was a member of the pro-fascist Action Francaise group in the 1930s, but Ducaud-Bourget was part of the anti-Nazi resistance in the 1940s.) For our purposes Lefebvre and Ducaud-Bourget can be characterized as the leaders of that very conservative faction of the Catholic church, not yet excommunicated, which is in such total rebellion against the “Liberalism” (as they see it) of the Vatican that their lack of excommunication may be the most interesting (and enigmatic) thing about them.

Archbishop Lefebvre has long proclaimed that “Freemasons and Satanists” have taken over the Vatican, although that expression is a bit redundant in his case, since Catholic Traditionalism regards all Freemasons as Satanists (an opinion shared by some Protestant Fundamentalists). Abbe Ducaud-Bourget was the first of the many speculators to claim that the sudden death of Pope John Paul I (JP-I) was murder. Still, the Vatican tolerates these heretics within the Church. One of their British supporters told The Guardian newspaper that Lefebvre holds a “weapon” over the Vatican, but declined to say what the “weapon” was. Naturally, Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh think it has something to do with the sex life of Jesus.

Father Juan Krolm, the chap who tried to kill Pope John Paul II (JP-II) at Fatima a few years ago, was ordained and trained by Archbishop Lefebvre, but later became even more of an extremist. Amusingly, at his trial, Father Krohn said he had no guilt about trying to kill “the Antichrist” – his name for JP-Il – and that the only shame in his life was what he called “sins of the flesh.”

According to Father Malachi Martin, S.J. – another heretic – Archbishop Lefebvre was responsible for sending inflammatory documents to the previous Pope, JP-I (the one whose death has aroused more conspiracy theories than anybody’s since that of John F. Kennedy). In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, Father Martin says this Lefebvre material included documentation of Freemasonic affiliations of various Cardinals, together with sexual scandal, including photos of some Vatican officials with their girl friends and others with their boy friends. Unless I misread him, Father Martin seems to imply that it is a strange coincidence that Pope John Paul I’s death followed so quickly upon his receipt of this expose material from Archbishop Lefebvre.

Whatever one thinks of that speculation, and the claims about the “murder” of JP-I attributed to unnamed sources in Yallop’s In God’s Name, there is no doubt that Mino Pecorelli, editor of the expose newspaper L’Osservatore Politico, did send JP-I a list of P2 and Grand Loge Alpina members on the staff of the Vatican Bank just before that Pontiff’s sudden demise. What happened to Pecorelli leaves little room for speculation. He was shot dead on a street in Rome, quite definitely by professional assassins. If you must speculate, Signor Pecorelli was shot through the mouth – the sasso in bocca, traditional Mafia punishment for informers.

The Sex Life of the Late Redeemer

For the sake of the few who haven’t read the much-discussed Holy Blood, Holy Grail, it is well to review a few of the counter-claims of the egregious work. The authors, Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh, argue that, while Paoli may have been an independent investigator, de Sede and Delaude appear to be members of the Priory of Sion and that their works are not intended to reveal much of the truth but just to arouse curiosity, controversy and mystery, and also to prepare the intellectual climate in France for whatever astounding political or religious revolution the Priory intends in the near future. Specifically, Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh claim there is no evidence that Archbishop Lefebvre and his right-wing crowd have any link with the Priory; they assert that that asserted linkage is a Priory joke at Lefebvre’s expense. They also reject the extraterrestrial yarn, and replace it with their own lovely yarn that the Priory is descended from Jesus and his unacknowledged bride, Mary Magdalene.

It is worth mentioning at this point that the alleged romantic alliance between Jesus and Magdalene is not the invention of Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh. The Gnostic gospels – all as early and historically as plausible as the orthodox gospels – imply such a relationship several times, and Jesus is described as kissing Magdalene romantically in one celebrated text. It is also true that celibacy was regarded by orthodox Jews of Jesus’s time much as it is regarded in the post-Freudian world of today: namely, as a rather kinky, unmanly and somewhat reverse life-style. Finally, Jesus is called “Rabbi” even in the orthodox gospels and no man could be a rabbi in orthodox Judea at that time who was not married. These facts are well known to occultists and freethinkers and have even been discussed, albeit gingerly, by a few liberal Christian theologians. What is unique about Holy Blood, Holy Grail is the claim that the offspring of Jesus and his bride are alive and among us today; but even that has a kind of precedent. That odd little cult, the British Israelites, have always claimed that the royal family of England is descended from the House of David – although they never claimed the descent was by way of Jesus, of course.

The shock that orthodox Christians feel at the concept of Jesus as husband and father is distinctly odd in historical perspective. The leaders of the other major patriarchal religions – Zoroaster, Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius – were all family men. As for the pagan gods: some were family men, but some were also notorious fornicators. Christian sex-denial is a very strange and eccentric departure from the norms of world religion, in which fertility is generally considered sacred and venerated as one of the main manifestations of divine grace and beauty.

Be that as it may, at this point two suspicions cross a mind as baroque as mine. First, if certain books in French may be Priory propaganda disguised to look like outside investigations, as Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh claim, could their own Holy Blood, Holy Grail be more such propaganda, similarly disguised? And second, why do the authors, like de Sede, drag in many subjects which do not fit their own solution to the mysteries? Are they hinting or blandly raising smoke screens or are they just disorganized in their thinking? (For instance, they spend almost as much space as de Sede on the bear-goddesses of Greece and France, but this has no logical connection with their Jesus/Magdalene theory any more than it has with de Sede’s Sirius theory. They also spend a lot of time on Poussin’s painting, The Shepherds of Arcadia, without ever really explaining its importance, although I think perhaps they are hinting that the grave in the painting is that of the son of Jesus and Magdalene, who evidently died in Rennes-le-Chateau in southern France.)

Concretely, at least Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh did manage to get an interview with a member of the Priory of Sion, and one who even admitted he was the Grandmaster of the whole lodge. This was the shadowy Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair whom some of you may remember co-managed the Committee for Public Safety (under de Gaulle) from the office where the Priory’s magazine, Circuit, was published. M. Plantard was marvelously esoteric in his conversation with Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh. He neither confirmed nor denied their theory that he is descended from Jesus and Magdalene. He explained that the “treasure” in the Father Sauniere parchment was “spiritual” rather than “material” and added the helpful (or deliberately obscure) comment that this spiritual treasure “belongs to Israel” and will be returned there “at the proper time.”

Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh think the “treasure” is the royal bloodline of David and Jesus, which flows in the veins of M. Plantard and his young son…

Bankers, Anarchists and the Hollow Earth

Since Holy Blood, Holy Grail appeared in 1981, Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh brought forth in England, in 1986, The Messianic Legacy, a book which attempts to support their Jesus/Magdalene bloodline theory with more evidence, most of it speculative. (As I was about to mail this off to the editors of GNOSIS, I learned that this book has just been published in the U.S. by Henry Holt & Co.) Naturally, some further tidbits come to light. Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair gave these intrepid researchers several more interviews, all hermetic at best and downright dishonest at worst; then he abruptly announced that he had resigned as Grandmaster of the Priory and was not allowed to inform them of the name of his successor.

The door, in short, was closed in the faces of the investigators and they were left out in the cold trying to make what they could out of the gnomic utterances M. Plantard had granted them. Some of his leads, however, did allow them to document, rather convincingly, that the Priory of Sion is not an exclusively French/Swiss product but has powerful branches in England and the U.S., seemingly linked to parts of the banking industry… which reminds one of Paoli’s linkage between the Priory and Swiss banking, leading to grubby and sordid notions of what sort of mystery we are actually exploring here.

For those who find International Banking Conspiracies too corny (or too right wing), there is always the alternative of Michael Lamy’s Jules Verne: Initiate et Initateur (1984). According to M. Lamy, Veme was not only an initiate of the Priory of Sion but of the Bavarian Illuminati as well, and the Priory itself is, in many respects, a regrouping and a new false front for the Illuminati. The Priory’s politics are Orleanist, which Lamy clarifies as “aristocratic-anarchistic” – i.e. Nietzschean. (Think of Verne’s characteristic heroes.) The real delight, however, is the secret of Rennes-le-Chateau, the mysterious town where Father Sauniere found the parchment about Dagobert, Sion, the treasure and those noon blue apples, and where there is a grave that looks like the one in Poussin’s enigmatic painting.

The secret is – ready? – that the earth is hollow, of course (didn’t you always suspect it?) and that in a Church at Rennes-le-Chateau is a secret door leading down to the underworld, which is inhabited by a race of immortal superhumans. You see? Verne hinted at this, various times, in several of his novels.

Actually, the church mentioned by Lamy really exists and even if nobody else has found the hidden door leading down to the hollow earth, it is certainly one of the weirdest churches in Christendom. Among other things, it has a motto over the door saying `THIS PLACE IS TERRIBLE.” It also has, among the Stations of the Cross, one showing a child clad in what might be Scottish plaid among the crowd watching Jesus carry his cross. Another Station can be interpreted as showing conspirators removing the late Redeemer from the grave during the night, as if to fake the Resurrection. You will be delighted to know that this church is officially dedicated to Mary Magdalene.

Father Sauniere, who was responsible for these un-Papist details of decor, was a member of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light in Paris, a group which at various times also included Gerard Encausse and Aleister Crowley. Encausse, under the pen-name “Papus,” wrote one of the most influential modern books on Tarot; he later went to Russia and became involved with the mystic Rasputin who wielded considerable influence on the Czar and his family before the Russian Revolution. Crowley wrote another influential book on Tarot and became Outer Head of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a secret society almost as inexplicable (to outsiders) as the Priory of Sion. Curiously, both the Priory and the O.T.O. are linked, by various commentators, with the Knights Templar, the medieval secret society which is also claimed to be the origin of Freemasonry by many Masonic historians.

The Illuminati and the Knights of Malta

I’m sorry, but at this point I cannot resist throwing in one of those odd coincidences that I keep stumbling upon in researching secret societies. Holy Blood, Holy Grail claims, with some evidence, that Father Saunier’s weird church in Rennes-le Chateau (near an old Knights Templar fortification, by the way) was built with money’s the eccentric priest received from the Archduke Ferdinand von Hapsburg (who, they also claim, gave the other money that led the town to believe Sauniere had found a treasure). A hundred years earlier, the Emperor Joseph von Hapsburg legalized Freemasonry in Austria, abolished Catholic schools which he replaced with modern secular (or non- denominational) schools and was the hero of Beethoven’s first major work, the Emperor Joeseph Cantata, in which he is hailed as “bringer of light” and “foe of darkness and superstition.” According to Maynard Solomon’s biography, Beethoven, the Illuminati paid Ludwig to write that bit of music propaganda for the von Hapsburg “Illuminated Monarch” (as he was often called). It almost makes one wonder if the von Hapsburgs are kingpins in some occult group at least two centuries old, as the Priorty books imply.

Of course, Holy Blood, Holy Grail includes genealogies which allege that the von Hapsburgs are descended from Jesus and Mary Magdalene. However, the connection is through Dagobert and the Merovingians, so if you would rather believe de Sede’s thesis, the von Hapsburgs are actually descended from ancient Hebrews and extraterrestrials from Sirius. Whichever theory you prefer, or even if you doubt both of them, it is interesting that the von Hapsburgs have held the honorary title of Kings of Jerusalem for nearly 800 years.

The current scion of the clan, Dr. Otto von Hapsburg, is President of the League for the United States of Europe, a group which has played a large role in creating the European parliament and is steadily working toward greater unity between the European nations. He is also a member of – hold your breath – the Bilderbergers, which gives him two odd links with Bernhard of the Netherlands. Prince Bernhard was the founder and prime mover behind the Bilderberger society, and the same Prince Bernhard is, according to the Baigent-Lincoln-Leigh genealogies, descended Merovingian kings and hence from either Jesus or those ancient astronauts from Sirius.

On the other hand, Dr. von Hapsburg is known as a fervent anti-Communist and is a Knight of Malta – i.e. an officer of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), the most right-wing of all Catholic secret societies.

Other known members of SMOM have included Franz von Papen (the man who persuaded President von Hindenberg to make Hitler the Chancellor of Germany), William Casey (the CIA chief who died during the Irangate hearings), General Richard Gehlen (Hitler’s Chief of Intelligence who later became director of covert operations in Soviet Russia for the CIA), General Alexander Haig, Alexandre de Marenches (former chief of French intelligence), William F. Buckley Jr., Clare Booth Luce (who was, of course, a Dame, rather than a Knight, of Malta), Licio Gelli (founder of the P2 conspiracy which laundered cocaine money for the CIA’s favorite Latin American dictators by way of the Cisalpine Overseas Bank whose board of directors included Vatican bank chief Bishop Paul Marcinkus), the late Roberto Calvi of Banco Ambrosiano, who co-owned the Cisalpine Bank and was so mysteriously found hanging from a bridge in London on June 18, 1982, and the late Michele Sindona, lawyer for the Mafia and manager of Vatican financial affairs in the U.S., who was convicted of 65 counts of bank fraud in New York, convicted of murdering a bank examiner in Rome, and died in prison while awaiting trial on further charges relating to the P2 bombings in Italy in the 1970s. (See Lernoux’s In Banks We Trust for details on P2, the CIA and the banking industry. See Covert Action Information Bulletin No. 25, Winter 1986 for more on SMOM and its role as Vatican secret police.) English journalist Gordon Thomas claims, in The Year of Armageddon, that the Knights of Malta serve as couriers between the Vatican and the CIA.

Lest the naive begin to think all this makes some kind of sense in terms of a rational paradigm involving Catholic and other conservative interests plotting to accomplish rational political-economic goals that seem desirable to them, every part of this jigsaw except the Knights of Malta is hostile to the Vatican and has often been officially condemned by the Vatican. The Illuminati, the Ordo Templi Orientis, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, P2, and the Priory of Sion are all included in the Vatican’s general condemnation (reiterated for over 200 years now) against all Freemasonic lodges. All of these occult offshoots of Masonry seem to include in their systems certain Hermetic and Sufic ideas that have been condemned as heresy by the Vatican, and the books I have summarized seem to demonstrate that all these secret societies wish to replace the Vatican with some form of mystic Christianity with distinctly Gnostic overtones.

Jungian and Rastafarian Connections?

The Cult of the Black Virgin, by Ean Begg, leads us further from clarity and deeper, much deeper, into the murk. To begin with, Begg ‘s biography on the back of the book informs us that he is a former Dominican monk and currently a Jungian psychotherapist – a suggestive background for a man who has written the most philosophically dense Priory of Sion book to appear thus far. Basically, Begg deals with one of the great unsolved mysteries in European archaeology and in Catholic history – the existence of well over 400 statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary in European churches, in which “the Mother of God” (as Catholics call her) is clearly and unambiguously depicted as Black or Negroid.

Of course, the disciples of Marcus Garvey in general, and the Rastafarians in particular, argue that Jesus and his family (and the ancient Israelites in general) were Black; but these statues are not a Rastafarian propaganda project. Most of the Black Virgins in European churches have existed for several hundred years and some seemingly have been around since at least the birth of Christianity. You will not be surprised to learn that Ean Begg attributes them to the Priory of Sion, which he holds is at least as old as the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail claimed in their wildest passages.

Why did the Priory go around planting evidence that Jesus’s mother was Black? If they wanted to implant some proto-Rastafarian racial doctrines about “God’s chosen people” being Black, why didn’t they make Jesus and Joseph and the disciples Black, too, while they were about it? Begg does not answer these questions. In fact, he does not answer any questions, but raises more questions instead. He spends a lot of time quoting familiar arguments that the Black Virgins were originally idols of the Egyptian goddess, Isis, which the Christians co-opted; but he shows that this doesn’t explain all the Black Virgins, many of which were created in recent centuries and not imported from Egypt.

Begg goes on to give us an especially tender version of Jung’s theory of the Anima – the Ideal Female image in every male psyche – and tells us legends in which Isis and Mary Magdalene function as incarnations of the Anima. He seems to be hinting at the theory that Magdalene was the wife of Jesus, but he never states that explicitly. He also implies, repeatedly, that the Black Virgins are not Virgins at all but portray Magdalene, an aspect of the Anima which he suggests a more important to Western man than the Virgin archetype. Many digressions deal with the Tarot, which Begg tries to persuade us is chiefly a guide to the inner mysteries of the Priory of Sion. (Encausse and Crowley, members of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light which included Father Sauniere, were also authorities on the Tarot.)

After taking us all around Robin Hood‘s barn, Begg leaves us with two strong impressions or hints: we need to understand Jung and we need to understand Sufism. Somehow, Jung, who considered himself a Gnostic, and Sufism, which some claim is an Eastern branch of Gnosticism, are the true keys to the Black Virgins and to the Priory of Sion’s ultimate mission on this planet. Many hints seem to imply broadly that Begg writes not as an outsider but as an initiate of the Priory’s mysteries.

It is of some interest that Begg confirms the claim of the new book by Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh (The Messianic Legacy) that M. Plantard de Saint-Clair is no longer the Grandmaster of the Priory of Sion and that the identity of the current Grandmaster is not to be revealed to the profane.

Atlantis and the Vagina of Nuit

The latest and most remarkable book in this whole bizarre area is Genisis by David Wood. That is not a misprint but a Joycean or hermetic pun; we are back again to the Magdalene-Isis connection. Wood is the kind of writer who usually deals with ley lines, and he has gone over the area around Rennes-le-Chateau drawing lines and making diagrams like a pixilated Pythagoras. What he has found is that the Church of Mary Magdalene is connected in a complex pattern with every other major church or primitive megalith in the area and the lines connecting them make up a pattern which Mr. Wood calls “the vagina of Nuit.” It looks about as much like a vagina to me as Ronald Reagan looks like the Guggenheim Museum in New York; but I am of the cynical school of cartographers who believe any seven spots can be connected into a ley-line pattern if you use a small enough map and a thick enough pencil. Mr. Wood, however finds staggering revelations in the genitalia of this early Egyptian sky-goddess.

It is impossible to give a coherent account of the argument of Genisis for the same reason it is hopeless to try to explain Dali’s Debris of on Automobile Giving Birth to a Blind Horse Biting a Telephone a Rationalist. Isis is one aspect of the Earth Mother, and Nuit is another aspect, and for some reason the Knights Templar, who were accused of sodomy by the Church, did not really commit sodomy but instead cut off their penises and saved them in special chalices (for reasons that make sense to Mr. Wood but not to me), and this somehow or other proves that France was originally colonized from Atlantis, and the human race as a whole (not just some royal families) is of partly extraterrestrial origin, having been the product of interbreeding between proto-humans and the Space Brothers who appear as the sons of God in Genesis, and the genetic engineer who raised us above the animal to the human level got himself included in the Bible, much maligned, as Satan, and… well, it gets wilder and hairier as it goes along.

For what it is worth, I can comment that Aleister Crowley – once a member of the same Hermetic Brotherhood of Light that included Father Sauniere – believed that the world was astrologically predestined to experience a revival of the worship of Nuit. Crowley also believed any vagina was the vagina of Nuit to a Tantric magician who knew how to turn his beloved into an incarnation of the goddess. Crowley’s sexmagick, however, did not involve amputating the penis but rather prolonging coitus to the state of hypnoidal trance. Nuit was also Black, like the mysterious “Virgins” in Ean Begg’s book. And de Sede hinted, way back in La Race Fabuleuse, that the head of Satan on the coat of arms of Stenay is somehow crucial to the Priory of Sion mystery.

And the Beat Goes on…

Before attempting to conclude or summarize all this, I have two personal anecdotes to add to the tale. The first is a report from Frederic Lehrman, the dean of Nomad University in Seattle, who visited Rennes-le-Chateau a year ago and looked over some of the sites mentioned in the Priory literature. Lehrman met a young man who was also interested in the whole mystery and who had made a major discovery. He had actually found a hidden sheaf of papers, inside a hollow statue in the Temple of Magdalene (or so he said.)

The papers were not in code, like those found by Father Sauniere in the 1890s and they did not deal with Merovingian kings or noon blue apples. They were stories from a German newspaper dated 1904 and did not refer in any way to any of the subjects connected to the Priory in any previous literature.

Perhaps some joker placed those old German news clippings in the statue to bewilder the next researcher. (But how would a casual joker guess that a statue was hollow?) Perhaps the Priory did it as another of their merry pranks. Perhaps there really is some deep code in those news stories and the young man will find it reveals the secret of the Alchemical Furnace or who shot Kennedy, or where Moses was when the light went out, or something like that.

My second anecdote is even more ambiguous. At a seminar in Hof-am-Frankenwald in Bavaria – the old stomping grounds of the Illuminati – I actually met a man who I’ll call Fiitz, who was a member of the Priory of Sion (or so he alleged). He came from Holland and was very much the Amsterdam New Age type, which is not unlike the Marin County New Age type. He told me that all the books on the Priory were inaccurate and that the true initiates of the Prior found them all hilariously silly.

On the grounds that maybe Fritz really was a member of the Priory of Sion and not a put-on artist, I paid very close attention to everything he said during the seminar weekend. He was pro-Green (in Europe that means ecological, decentralist and anti-Marxist radical.) He was keen on space colonies, negative on life extension, shared the Bucky Fuller-Werner Erhard-Bob Geldof vision that we can abolish starvation in this generation, and seemed unconvincing (to me) when agreeing with some local Theosophists about the evils of psychedelic drugs. He used the word “pneumocracy” to describe his ideal society and explained that this means “rule by the Spirit.” (That we are entering the age of rule by the Spirit was the “heresy” of Joachim of Fiore, 13th century founder of a stream of radical millenarianism in Europe.) All of Fritz’s attitudes would seem to be typical of what I know of left-wing occult Freemasonry in Continental Europe.

Due to my unfortunate sense of humor and my inclination to mischief, I tried a little test on Fritz when the weekend was over. When I shook his hand, I formed a certain series of grips and whispered a formula I shall here hide behind the metathesis, “Bob Saw Jupiter’s Moons.” He looked startled and responded with the correct counter-sign and the words I shall disguise as “Tuba Concerto.” I cannot say more about this for reasons of discretion, but I can vouch for Fritz’s initiation into one of the higher levels of orthodox Freemasonry or else into one of the “occult” Freemasonic lodges that share these grips and magick formulae. This adds some credibility to his claim of membership in the Priory of Sion, or at least to some personal knowledge of the Priory. (Even if he belonged to a different occult lodge, those grips would entitle him to visit in any occult Freemasonic lodge on the Continent, and would probably get him into Priory meetings.)

In conclusion, I think we have a high B.S. factor in all the public revelations about the Priory of Sion. I offer five alternative theories which all make sense to me at various times, although I am far from totally convinced by any of them.

1. The Priory is a left-wing occult group in the tradition of the Grand Orient lodge and the Illuminati. Its intent is to overthrow the political power of the Vatican and recreate Gnostic
Christianity. Its long-range politics (within this model) are still mysterious. Gnostic cults have varied from theocratic autocracy and downright tyranny to Dionysian and or Discordian anarchism.

2. The Priory is, like P2 in Italy, actually a front for the Sovereign Military order of Malta (SMOM). Its function is to serve as another Vatican secret police organization and pretend to be Freemasonic, so that if the members are caught in any high crimes the Freemasons will be blamed instead of the Knights of Malta. (This actually seems to have worked in Italy. Although the ringleaders of P2 – Gelli, Calvi, Sindona – were all Knights of Malta, hardly anybody knows that who hasn’t researched P2 thoroughly, and most people think of P2 as “a Freemasonic conspiracy.”)

3. The Priory really is a front for Archbishop Lefebvre and Catholic Traditionalism. It intends to abolish Liberalism, Rationalism, Socialism and Modernism in general, and usher us back into the medieval world of an absolute Papacy and no more damned heretics anywhere. All the seeming evidence that appears to contradict this is part of a smoke screen and intended to dupe those who would not otherwise cooperate in such a reactionary program.

4. The Priory is made up of Totally Enlightened Beings who happen to be very rich bankers and love art and artists. They enjoy playing mindfuck games on other, un-Enlightened financiers and on groups that imagine they are Enlightened but aren’t.

5. What we have here is just another commercial “conspiracy,” or “affinity group,” with an unusually Continental flavor of art and culture about it. Cocteau ‘s membership seems well documented; almost as well documented is that of Claude Debussy, the composer; Malraux could hardly have been ignorant of what was going on in the office he shared with Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair. By and large, Continental politicians and businessmen are more “cultured” and “intellectual” than their American counterparts, and think it prestigious rather than “queer” to have artists among their friends: Europe does not share the American delusion that artistic/philosophical interests are unmasculine and make one unfit for positions of power. The Priory of Sion might be what the Bohemian Club could have become if America’s ruling class were not terrified that any intellectual interests on their part would make them look like “sissies.” In short, the Priory could be a club of rich and powerful men who also enjoy occult and historical romanticizing: the aristocratic equivalent of the Society for Creative Anachronism or Dungeons and Dragons.

Whichever theory you prefer, or if you like a sixth theory of your own, the whole Priory of Sion saga seems to shed a new and (I would say) surrealist or psychedelic light on the famous remark by Ishmael Reed: “The history of the world is the history of the warfare between secret societies.”

Robert Anton Wilson is the author of numerous books including the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, The New Inquisition, and Cosmic Trigger (Falcon Press, Los Angeles CA). ______________________ originally posted to alt.fan.rawilson by Mike @ http://www.everythingisnt.com

C is for Cannabullshit

Canabullshit. Who distributes it, how? where?
who benefits? Fairness, openness, tollerance?
Good for all humanity?
What Science? who’s Scientific research?
Business between who? faith-based research? profit?
Non profit.

Freedom to farm? Freedom to distribute? Competition? Where?natural vs. Sythetic? Medicinal Marijuana and Industrial HEMP? Citizen Cane? H.J Anslinger? why? The 1937 Marijuana tax act? The war on some people who use some drugs? who? Prohibition? Legalization?

I have lots of questions and not many answers, in fact i have no answers, the solution, i guess, lives within the language used as communiction. The following then, are copied and pasted from some recent news articles (so called) – i also provide some wiki links so that if you like you can look deeper into the matter.

Cannabis, like other drugs, but unlike other drugs too, can be commodified, packaged and retailed, patented and sold to the highest bidder. But the sacred experience – the high and the altered states of consciousness will remain the shared space of like minded individuals, priceless, formless – what you might call spirit.

The war on some people who use some drugs is a war on language. To fight back is to write back, i guess?

–steve “fly” agaric.

Although its capital is notorious among stoners and college kids for marijuana haze–filled “coffee shops,” Holland has never actually legalized cannabis — the Dutch simply don’t enforce their laws against the shops. — http://www.dailyevergreen.com/story/28633







Learn from Dutch drug policy

Decriminalizing marijuana may work better than the War on Drugs

Chase Gunnell

The Daily Evergreen

Published: 04/23/2009

AMSTERDAM ­– This isn’t a column filled with cliches about Amsterdam’s infamous drug culture, nor is it an account of the greatness of legally buying marijuana. Not wanting to add any skeletons to the closet of a future political career, I’ll leave my personal experiences on the sidelines for this one.

But during my visit to Amsterdam, I hoped to use this column as an inquiry into how the relaxed Dutch laws have provided a progressive solution to the problem of drug use and trafficking. Amid America’s vastly ineffective War on Drugs, the discussion of legalizing and taxing marijuana for revenue in several states and Mexico’s bloody drug battles spilling across our border, it’s a topic the U.S. can no longer afford to ignore.

First, a simple overview of Amsterdam’s soft drug laws: For customers who are at least 18, possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana or hashish is decriminalized, but these products can only be consumed in specially licensed “coffee shops.” Unlicensed sale or trafficking of cannabis products is prohibited. Additionally, coffee shops may only keep a limited supply on hand at any time and cannot openly advertise their drugs. Hard drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and recently, hallucinogenic mushrooms, remain illegal and heavily punished.

Amsterdam’s marijuana laws are by no means straightforward, but rooted in the ideas that adults can decide for themselves the choices of their own health, and that simple prohibition is not an answer to society’s woes. Instead, they have provided tangible results. And positive results are something America’s drug policy is sorely lacking.

Walk into The Bulldog, Amsterdam’s first marijuana café, and you will see people lighting up everywhere, at tables with friends, at the bar with a newspaper and coffee. But you won’t see marijuana advertised. The drug menu is on the counter behind a black screen, only to be revealed at the push of a button by those in the know.

One of the highest priorities of the country’s policy on soft drugs is to limit their visibility and nuisance to the general population. By shepherding cannabis consumers into designated cafes and outlawing advertising, those who choose to get high can be left to do so without disturbing those who’d prefer to refrain.

The concept of checking IDs seems unknown in Europe. I’ve seen girls who look to be 16 drinking in bars all over the continent. But upon entering any of Amsterdam’s smoking parlors, be sure to have ID ready as patrons are regularly carded. This practice of working to prevent minors from smoking goes hand-in-hand with another success in Dutch drug policy – significantly lower percentages of users.

A 1999 study by the University of Amsterdam found that only 15.6 percent of Dutch people age 12 and up had tried marijuana, compared to 32.9 percent of Americans. At first glance, it wouldn’t seem that decriminalizing a drug would lead to a decline in use, but in regulating marijuana, taxing and making it harder for minors to reach, that’s exactly what the Dutch have successfully done.

Whether you’ve chosen to steer clear of drugs, or you spent Monday’s 4/20 as high as a kite, it’s widely apparent that America’s drug war is not working. Like alcohol before it, prohibition is an utter failure.

It’s time to rethink our country’s marijuana policies. The demand for the drug needs to be taken away from violent cartels and the supply out of the hands of children. And those responsible adults who choose to indulge should have regulated and taxed means to do so, just like alcohol or tobacco. Immediate and outright legalization may not be the answer, but America’s marijuana laws could take some serious advice from the Dutch.


Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work?

By Maia Szalavitz Sunday, Apr. 26, 2009.

Pop quiz: Which European country has the most liberal drug laws? (Hint: It’s not the Netherlands.)

Although its capital is notorious among stoners and college kids for marijuana haze–filled “coffee shops,” Holland has never actually legalized cannabis — the Dutch simply don’t enforce their laws against the shops. The correct answer is Portugal, which in 2001 became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

At the recommendation of a national commission charged with addressing Portugal’s drug problem, jail time was replaced with the offer of therapy. The argument was that the fear of prison drives addicts underground and that incarceration is more expensive than treatment — so why not give drug addicts health services instead? Under Portugal’s new regime, people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker and legal adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal punishment), instead of jail.

See the world’s most influential people in the 2009 TIME 100.

The question is, does the new policy work? At the time, critics in the poor, socially conservative and largely Catholic nation said decriminalizing drug possession would open the country to “drug tourists” and exacerbate Portugal’s drug problem; the country had some of the highest levels of hard-drug use in Europe. But the recently released results of a report commissioned by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, suggest otherwise.

The paper, published by Cato in April, found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.

“Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success,” says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. “It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does.”

Compared to the European Union and the U.S., Portugal’s drug use numbers are impressive. Following decriminalization, Portugal had the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%. Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.

The Cato paper reports that between 2001 and 2006 in Portugal, rates of lifetime use of any illegal drug among seventh through ninth graders fell from 14.1% to 10.6%; drug use in older teens also declined. Lifetime heroin use among 16-to-18-year-olds fell from 2.5% to 1.8% (although there was a slight increase in marijuana use in that age group). New HIV infections in drug users fell by 17% between 1999 and 2003, and deaths related to heroin and similar drugs were cut by more than half. In addition, the number of people on methadone and buprenorphine treatment for drug addiction rose to 14,877 from 6,040, after decriminalization, and money saved on enforcement allowed for increased funding of drug-free treatment as well.

Portugal’s case study is of some interest to lawmakers in the U.S., confronted now with the violent overflow of escalating drug gang wars in Mexico. The U.S. has long championed a hard-line drug policy, supporting only international agreements that enforce drug prohibition and imposing on its citizens some of the world’s harshest penalties for drug possession and sales. Yet America has the highest rates of cocaine and marijuana use in the world, and while most of the E.U. (including Holland) has more liberal drug laws than the U.S., it also has less drug use.

“I think we can learn that we should stop being reflexively opposed when someone else does [decriminalize] and should take seriously the possibility that anti-user enforcement isn’t having much influence on our drug consumption,” says Mark Kleiman, author of the forthcoming When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment and director of the drug policy analysis program at UCLA. Kleiman does not consider Portugal a realistic model for the U.S., however, because of differences in size and culture between the two countries.

But there is a movement afoot in the U.S., in the legislatures of New York State, California and Massachusetts, to reconsider our overly punitive drug laws. Recently, Senators Jim Webb and Arlen Specter proposed that Congress create a national commission, not unlike Portugal’s, to deal with prison reform and overhaul drug-sentencing policy. As Webb noted, the U.S. is home to 5% of the global population but 25% of its prisoners.

At the Cato Institute in early April, Greenwald contended that a major problem with most American drug policy debate is that it’s based on “speculation and fear mongering,” rather than empirical evidence on the effects of more lenient drug policies. In Portugal, the effect was to neutralize what had become the country’s number one public health problem, he says.

“The impact in the life of families and our society is much lower than it was before decriminalization,” says Joao Castel-Branco Goulao, Portugual’s “drug czar” and president of the Institute on Drugs and Drug Addiction, adding that police are now able to re-focus on tracking much higher level dealers and larger quantities of drugs.

Peter Reuter, a professor of criminology and public policy at the University of Maryland, like Kleiman, is skeptical. He conceded in a presentation at the Cato Institute that “it’s fair to say that decriminalization in Portugal has met its central goal. Drug use did not rise.” However, he notes that Portugal is a small country and that the cyclical nature of drug epidemics — which tends to occur no matter what policies are in place — may account for the declines in heroin use and deaths.

The Cato report’s author, Greenwald, hews to the first point: that the data shows that decriminalization does not result in increased drug use. Since that is what concerns the public and policymakers most about decriminalization, he says, “that is the central concession that will transform the debate.”

Dutch court upholds ‘magic mushroom’ ban

Apr 14, 2009

THE HAGUE (AFP) — Dutch “magic mushroom” vendors lost a court appeal Tuesday against a December 1 government ban on the hallucinogenic recreational fungi.

“The magic mushroom ban is not unjust,” the Appeals Court in The Hague said, dismissing a challenge by the owners of the so-called “smart shops” that sold the drug.

“The effect of the ruling is that the magic mushroom ban, effective from December 1, 2008, remains in place.”

The ban was introduced by Health Minister Ab Klink, who believes consumption of the fungi “can lead to unpredictable and risky behaviour”.

It followed the death in 2007 of a French teenager who had taken mushrooms before jumping to her death from an Amsterdam bridge, reigniting a national debate over tolerance of the substance.

The ban, approved by lawmakers, forbids the cultivation and sale of 186 species of “shrooms” or “paddos”, which also grow naturally in the wild.

The dried variety has been illegal in the country for several years.

“We are deeply disappointed,” Paul van Oyen, a spokesman for the magic mushroom vendors’ association VLOS, told AFP. “The court is allowing the minister to get away with lies.”

VLOS maintains there is no proof that magic mushrooms are dangerous and is demanding compensation for the loss of income.

Before the ban, there had been six magic mushroom growers in the Netherlands, 180 smart shops, and a few hundred employees in an industry with an annual turnover of 15-20 million euros (20-26.5 million euros), according to the VLOS.

Authorities say about 90 percent of the 1.5 million to two million doses consumed in the Netherlands every year were bought by foreign tourists.

“We will not pursue this in the courts,” said Van Oyen. “It is too expensive. We will retire to lick our wounds.”

The magic mushroom ban is seen as part of a hardening stance on recreational drug use by the traditionally liberal Dutch, who have also been closing some cannabis-vending coffee shops.


Coffee shops in Limburg turn members only

Published: 24 April 2009 16:51 | Changed: 24 April 2009 17:14

From our correspondent

Starting next year, all coffee shops in the Dutch province of Limburg will become private clubs; only registered members will be able to buy soft drugs.

The new rule is an attempt to curb nuisance from the sale of cannabis and the drugs tourism from neighbouring countries. The private club idea originated with Maastricht mayor Gerd Leers

pril 17, 2009

Marijuana: good medicine for Sonoma?

Walt Williams | Special to the Sun

It is Friday evening, you are done with a hard week of work and you are looking to relax. You pull into the local liquor store and select your grade of marijuana from the list next to the counter. The clerk weighs out the buds, charges you $30 for an eighth of an ounce, and off you go.
Fiction? Maybe not if AB 390 passes. Democratic State Assembly member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) introduced legislation last month that would legalize marijuana and allow the state to regulate and tax its sale. Ammiano says it could take up to a year before it comes to a vote for passage. A few days after the bill was introduced, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced that states should be able to make their own rules on medical marijuana and those federal raids on pot dispensaries in California would cease. Ammiano explained, “If we’re hemorrhaging money and doing all this wink-wink, nod-nod all these years, it’s about time we start harvesting this. And admit to the fact that it’s going to be around and if we regulate and tax it, and decriminalize it, we could not only have an economic benefit but a policy benefit.”

Financial impact
Marijuana is California’s biggest cash crop, responsible for an estimated $14 billion in annual sales. The possible tax windfall for the state is estimated at $1.3 billion in revenue (about 1.5 percent of the budget). “The state of California is in a very, very precipitous economic plight. It’s in the toilet,” said Ammiano. “It looks very, very bleak, with layoffs and foreclosures and schools closing or trying to operate four days a week. We have one of the highest rates of unemployment we have ever had. With any revenue ideas people say you have to think outside the box, you have to be creative, and I feel that the issue of the decriminalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana fits that bill. It’s not new, the idea has been around, and the political will may in fact be there to make something happen.”
It is estimated that legalizing pot will also save the state an additional $1 billion per year by ceasing to arrest, prosecute and imprison non-violent offenders. Retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray explained, “We couldn’t make this drug any more available if we tried. Not only do we have that problem, along with glamorizing it by making it illegal, but we also have the crime and corruption that go along with it. Unfortunately, every society in the history of mankind has had some form of mind-altering, sometimes addictive substances to use, misuse, and abuse or get addicted to. Get used to it. They’re here to stay. So, let’s try to reduce those harms, but right now we couldn’t do it worse if we tried.”

Marijuana as medicine
When California voters passed Proposition 215, The Compassionate Use Act, in 1996 it morphed pot from contraband to medicine. Jewel Mathieson, wife of Sonoma Mayor Ken Brown, is a member of the Sonoma Patients Group and has been very active in the movement to establish a medical marijuana dispensary in the city of Sonoma. “I understand the city process; I’ve watched a lot of projects so I understand why it takes so long. I just want to provide safe access to local patients who can’t drive. There is lots of education needed about this topic, but no one came to our educational forum.” The Sonoma Patient Group operates one of the three dispensaries in Santa Rosa.
In California and twelve other states, medical marijuana is available for anyone suffering from such ailments as cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, epilepsy, insomnia, depression, post-traumatic stress, PMS and alcoholism. There are marijuana dispensaries nearby in Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Guerneville, Fairfax, Vallejo, and Novato. In Sonoma, a draft ordinance to allow dispensaries with city limits has been approved by the planning commission and is on the agenda for the May City Council meeting.
David Goodison, Sonoma Planning and Community Development Administrator, said in a report from the March planning commission meeting, “There are supply questions. Must the pot be supplied by a member of the cooperative? Who grows it? Is it safe? How is it checked? How will it be offered? How do you regulate potency?” These are big questions, as marijuana comes in many forms with varying levels of the active ingredient, THC. Sonoma planning commissioner Robert Felder cast the one vote against moving the ordinance forward, explaining, “I see a deeper issue. I would not like to see a center in the city of Sonoma. It adds a dimension to the city I just don’t want to see.”
Others agree.
The Dutch have reduced the number of coffee shops that sell marijuana particularly near schools and is considering various measures to limit “drug tourism.” In August of last year, California Attorney General Jerry Brown ordered a crackdown on medicinal pot clubs that are selling the drug for big profits. “The voters wanted medical marijuana dispensaries to be used for seriously ill patients and their caregivers – not million-dollar businesses,” Brown said.
In most dispensaries, according to Mathieson, “Cleanliness, purity and safe access are stressed; we inspect the properties and have longstanding relationships with vendors. We maintain an organic product free of pesticides and common impurities like dog hair. We have a grading system, as do most dispensaries, with different quality levels to suit patient needs.”
Legalization for recreational use
A Rasmussen poll in February showed 46 percent of Americans are opposed to legalization, with 40 percent supporting and 14 percent unsure. Many opponents to legalization say that it will compound substance abuse problems, that it is a gateway drug that leads to use of harder drugs and that legalization would send the wrong message to children.
David Ford, the local marijuana proponent who has written two books and lectured to millions about the benefits of marijuana, says, “In ten thousand years of use there is not one recorded death from the overdose or toxicity of cannabis. Compare that to alcohol that kills more than 100,000 Americans each year. Nicotine products kill more than 400,000. And FDA ‘safe drugs’ in the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) cause the death of 100,000 each year and puts 1 million Americans in the hospital annually due to toxicity or overdose.” Ford is totally for the legalization of what he calls “nature’s tranquilizer” but he is against use by kids. “Legalization would get drug dealers out of the business, free up prisons from minor offenders, and stop the demonization of marijuana and hemp. What I tell people is to have an open mind and learn.” He encourages people to visit his website for more information.
In 1937, the federal government passed the Marijuana Tax Act and the Marijuana Transfer Tax Bill prohibiting cultivation, industrial and medical use of marijuana and hemp. Defined as a Class 1 narcotic and classified in the PDR as a hallucinogen, marijuana consumption is considered to cause psychological effects including alterations of mood, memory, motor coordination, cognitive ability, and self-perception. It may impair sensory perception, concentration, and information processing. It enhances the senses of touch, taste and smell. In higher doses it can lead to delusions, paranoid feelings, anxiety and panic. It increases the heart rate and systolic blood pressure and is three times more potent when smoked as when taken orally.
Opponents say legalizing pot will only add to social woes. “The last thing we need is yet another mind-altering substance to be legalized,” says John Lovell, lobbyist for the California Peace Officer’s Association. “We have enough problems with alcohol and abuse of pharmaceutical products. Do we really need to add yet another mind-altering substance to the array?” Many think easy availability will lead to a surge in use similar to what happened with alcohol when it was allowed to be sold in venues other than liquor stores, and others worry about a possible increase in use of methamphetamine and “crack” cocaine once marijuana itself is legalized.
This issue continues to play out on the local political stage. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors declined two years ago to authorize a medical marijuana dispensary just outside city limits, but the Sonoma City Council is expected to consider that prospect, inside city limits, very soon.

Poll shows a majority of Californians support legalize marijuana

May 4, 6:09 PM

Bottom of Form

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco.

For the first time ever in a statewide Field Poll, a majority of state voters expressed support for legalizing and taxing marijuana. A poll released last week showed 56 percent of Californians support legalization.

Earlier this year, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) introduced legislation that would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. The Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education act (AB 390) would create a regulatory structure similar to that used for beer, wine and liquor, permitting taxed sales to adults while barring sales to or possession by those under 21.

“With the state in the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move toward regulating and taxing marijuana is simply common sense. This legislation would generate up to $1.3 billion in much needed revenue for the state, restrict access to only those over 21, end the environmental damage to our public lands from illicit crops, and improve public safety by redirecting law enforcement efforts to more serious crimes, Ammiano said. “California has the opportunity to be the first state in the nation to enact a smart, responsible public policy for the control and regulation of marijuana.”

The poll bolstered the call for legalized marijuana that has stirred since Ammiano introduced his legislation and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the government would no longer raid and prosecute legal marijuana medical dispensaries.

“One of the most respected research firms in the country has confirmed other recent polls and our sense of the groundswell that followed the introduction of AB 390 by Assemblymember Ammiano,” said Stephen Gutwillig, California State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Californians are ready to end decades of failed and wasteful marijuana prohibition. Just as we led the nation in the compassionate adoption of medical marijuana, this state will set the standard for common-sense regulation, generating substantial new revenue for California and enhancing public safety.”

Though Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he would not sign legislation legalizing marijuana, the state’s ongoing billion-dollar fiscal crisis is making the idea of taxing legal marijuana to raise revenue, while reducing the strains of the grossly overcrowded prisons, more worthy of consideration for other legislators and voters.

“We are seeing a real sea-change in public attitudes; public opinion has reversed itself; this year marks the first time that polls have shown a majority for legalization; the economic crisis is making people question whether it makes sense to spend more money on marijuana prohibition,” said Dale Gieringer of NORML.

Last month a San Francisco supervisor said the time had come for the city to consider legalization as well.


Mexico’s illegal-reefer madness

In the face of a crisis in drug-related violence, Mexico should reconsider its policy criminalizing marijuana.

By Isaac Campos
May 4, 2009

Last month, Mexico’s Congress convened a special forum to consider marijuana policy reform as a remedy for that country’s current crisis of violence. The forum bucked a century of staunch prohibitionist history in Mexico, a history that has contributed to the continued criminalization of marijuana use throughout North America.

From early on, marijuana was portrayed in Mexico as a frightening substance that produced madness in its users. In 1897, Revista Medica, one of Mexico’s leading scientific journals, reported that marijuana produced “pleasant visions and hallucinations,” an “expansion of the spirit that leads to exaltation” but also an “impulsive delirium” with often fatal consequences: “It is true that in other regions the delirium that is produced by marijuana is a turbulent one, but in our country it reaches the point of furor, terrible and blind impulse, and leads to murder.”

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Although use of the drug was not widespread at the time, the plant was increasingly seen as a national menace and, in 1920, was banned. Gradually, the idea that marijuana was dangerous seeped into the United States, fostering American notions of “reefer madness” and eventually helping to inspire marijuana prohibition here as well (in 1937).

Since then, Mexico has continued to be tough on marijuana, even in the face of softening U.S. attitudes toward the drug. The last time widespread sentiment for marijuana policy reform emerged in the U.S., it was Mexico that leveled some of the harshest criticism against the trend. “We don’t accept that marijuana is less important than heroin,” Mexican Atty. Gen. Pedro Ojeda Paullada declared in 1974.

A few years later, a scandal over use of the herbicide paraquat on Mexican marijuana fields produced a similar response from Ojeda’s successor, Oscar Flores Sanchez. Paraquat spraying, which often failed to completely destroy the targeted crops, led to the sale of poison-soaked pot to unknowing consumers in both countries.

Public outcry in the U.S. inspired congressional action that threatened to eliminate funding for the program if the paraquat spraying continued. Behind closed doors, Flores went ballistic, warning that if the United States refused to back Mexico’s war on marijuana, Mexico might go soft on heroin, the major U.S. priority of that era.

Mexico is now being forced to reevaluate these policies. Ironically, decades of being “tough” on drugs has produced a new link between marijuana and violence, but of a different kind. Indeed, the nation’s “drug-related” violence today might more accurately be termed “drug-policy-related” violence.

The mafias behind the current tsunami of killings — more than 6,000 last year — are a product of the extraordinary black-market profits that drug prohibition generates. And because 60% of the profits earned by Mexican traffickers come from marijuana sales, legalization in both Mexico and the U.S. would deliver a potentially debilitating blow to these powerful gangs.

Unfortunately, the Mexican public remains overwhelmingly opposed to marijuana legalization, with only 14% in favor, according to a February poll by Parametria, a public opinion research firm based in Mexico City. According to CBS News, by contrast, nearly 40% of Americans say they would favor legalization if the drug could be taxed and proceeds used to fund state budgets. Given those numbers, it is hardly surprising that many Mexican legislators chose not to attend last month’s forum.

Indeed, full legalization apparently had few supporters at the forum in April. Instead, many delegates backed half-measures, such as the formal decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Such measures, though a significant departure from the past, nevertheless promise to do very little to alleviate Mexico’s current crisis of violence.

Although decriminalization would free up law enforcement to concentrate on trafficking, this would merely exacerbate the fundamental paradox at the heart of drug policy — that by raising prices, law enforcement increases the economic incentive to traffic in drugs.

Thus, unless decriminalization is accompanied by a successful program of “education” that persuades people to abstain from using a drug that is relatively innocuous in comparison with, say, alcohol or tobacco, it won’t do much to stem the violence. Education efforts should instead focus on undermining old prejudices that prevent meaningful reform in Mexico and the United States.

Last month’s forum at least opened a dialogue among Mexicans. That is certainly a step in the right direction. But if we hope to use legislative reform to reduce Mexico’s drug-policy-related violence, Mexico and the United States need to go all the way on marijuana legalization.

Isaac Campos is an assistant professor of history at the University of Cincinnati and a visiting fellow at UC San Diego’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies.


VANCOUVER — B.C. Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell said Sunday night’s debate was a good discussion, but he doubted it will change anyone’s minds.

“It was actually a pretty good opportunity for people who wanted to follow the discussion,” he said.

Campbell accused James of mis-stating the Liberal positions on the budget, such as cuts to police and prosecutors, when the Liberals have added resources to fight gang crime.

“I thought we were trying to answer directly to those viewers,” he said. “I heard some mis-information there, and so I can’t imagine that she would want to deliberately mislead.”

“We are increasing the prosecutors to fight gangs,” he said. “We are increasing the number of police that are fighting gangs. The opposition voted against it.”

Campbell said he wants $1.9 billion in administrative savings, to protect healthcare and education in the economic downturn.

Campbell didn’t know how many people would watch a TV debate on a sunny evening, but he said those who did were informed by the exchanges.

“This is a really critically important election,” he said. “There are literally thousands and thousands of jobs at stake, based on the decision of May 12.”

NDP Leader Carole James said that Campbell showed he was out of touch with, and disrespectful to, working families, on the minimum wage, the loss of forestry jobs in the B.C. Interior.

James defended going after Campbell’s record over the past four years, rather than sticking with the answers to viewers’ questions.

“I think it was important to really put Gordon Campbell’s record out for the viewers to be able to see,” she said.

James said she put the question to Campbell on what he would change in the B.C. Rail scandal, but was not surprised that he didn’t answer it.

“Once again, he didn’t answer anything, didn’t say that he would have done things differently,” she said. “I just we don’t have to hope for another election to get answers.”

James said she heard more from Campbell last night than she did in the entire Spring session of the Legislature, when, she recalled, Campbell rose only twice to answer NDP questions.

“It was a little nicer than Question Period, because Gordon Campbell actually had to have an opportunity to respond,” she said.

“It was a good opportunity for viewers to see the record,” she said of the debate. “Viewers had a right to know.”

“The issues I hear on the campaign trail were the questions that came forward from viewers,” she said.

“I think that showed that people are really engaged in this election.”

“I think it was a great opportunity for people to be able to see the issues first-hand, to see that there are very alternatives in this campaign.”

James said it was “nice” to have Green Leader Jane Sterk in the debate, but the election is between two parties, not three.

“It’s very clear in this election there are two parties running for government,” said James. “I appreciated having Ms. Sterk there. I think she offered a number of issues and a number of ideas.”

Green Leader Jane Sterk said B.C. should be legalizing drugs, and the government should be controlling their production and distribution.

“Prohibition is the primary cause of the violence we see in the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in the province,” said Sterk.

Sterk said marijuana should be legal, as well as other substances she did not name.

“I believe that everything should be controlled, in terms of both its production and distribution,” she said.

“That’s the only way we are going to rid our streets of this.”

“Get them out the hands of the bad guys, and it would provide us with a whole bunch of tax revenue.”

The State of California is talking about getting $1.5 billion Cdn. in tax revenue by taxing the sale of cannabis in liquor stores. And in Europe, Portugal and the Netherlands have seen their rate of problem substance abuse and recreational drug use have gone down.

Sterk said police officers and several police chiefs also support her ideas, and 65 per cent of British Columbians, according to a weekend opinion poll.

“It’s creating this condition where we have this violence inherent in our system,” she said. “It’s not safe for police officers.”

Sterk said the two big parties in the provincial election would not be discussing policy if it wasn’t for the Greens.

“It would all be about the leadership qualities of the leader of the NDP and the leader of the Liberal Party.”

“It’s their strategy to pretend the Green Party doesn’t exist, because they don’t want us to be successful at getting seats in the legislature,” she added. “Quite frankly, I think it’s tiresome. The Green Party is 25 years old.”

Sterk said 10 per cent of British Columbians support the Greens, but the Greens get no seats because of an “unfair voting system.”

The Greens support a single-transferrable voting system (STV). “We don’t have a two-party system,” she said.

“We have a multi-party system.”

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service


Apr. 30, 2009
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

EDITORIAL: Grass is greener

On the campaign trail last year, Barack Obama expressed refreshing opposition to the Gestapo-like tactics the Bush Justice Department had used to undermine the popular will on the issue of medical marijuana.

Despite voters in a dozen states — including Nevada — having overwhelmingly approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the DEA continued launching heavy-handed raids and prosecutions (particularly in California).

“I think the basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors (is) entirely appropriate,” Mr. Obama told the Medford (Ore.) Mail Tribune a year ago. “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.”

Despite that, two days after President Obama was sworn in, DEA agents raided a South Lake Tahoe medical marijuana dispensary, seizing five pounds of pot and a small amount of cash. No arrests were made.

Presumably the new president, who had other matters on his plate, was not consulted before the SWAT team donned its bulletproof vests that winter day. Finally, on April 22, new Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. outlined a shift in the enforcement of federal drug laws, saying the administration will effectively end the Bush administration’s frequent raids on distributors of medical marijuana.

Speaking with reporters, Mr. Holder provided few specifics but said the Justice Department’s enforcement policy would now be restricted to traffickers who falsely masquerade as medical dispensaries and “use medical marijuana laws as a shield.” Mr. Holder said the new approach was consistent with statements made by President Obama in the campaign and was based on an assessment of how to allocate scarce enforcement resources. He said dispensaries operating in accord with California law would not be a priority for the administration.

The remaining distinction — nonprofit “co-ops” are fine, while “drug dealing for profit” is still illegal — is a little silly. In a free-market economy (the only kind that really works), the willingness of those in need to pay for a medicine is the surest guarantee that entrepreneurs will keep supplies — and quality — high enough to meet demand.

That said, Mr. Holder’s announcement is a big step in the right direction.

Not only does the move put this administration in closer compliance with what Mr. Obama promised on the campaign trail, it also combines common sense with at least a partial rehabilitation of the 10th Amendment, that long-neglected article of the Bill of Rights that makes it clear that any regulation of drugs and medicines — because such matters are not mentioned in the delegation of powers to the federal Congress — remain matters where sovereign authority rests with the several states, or with the people themselves.


Norm Stamper

Retired Seattle police chief, member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Posted April 20, 2009 | 11:01 AM (EST)

420: Thoughts on Pot vs. Alcohol from a Former Police Chief

As 5:00 p.m. rolls around my interior clock starts chiming. I’ll have an ice-cold, bone-dry martini, thank you. Jalapeno olives and a twist. If the occasion calls for it (temperatures in the twenties, a hot political debate on the tube) I may substitute two fingers of Kentucky sour mash. Four-twenty? Doesn’t resonate. But with April 20 approaching and Waldos of the world gearing up to celebrate their favorite day of the year, it’s not a bad time to consider, yet again, the pluses and minuses of alcohol vs. cannabis.

First, a disclaimer: I am a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, but I don’t officially represent the organization in this forum. That said, I can’t very well check my affiliation, or beliefs, at the keyboard when I sit down to blog for HuffPost. We at LEAP are current and former cops and other criminal justice practitioners who have witnessed firsthand the futility and manifold injustices of the drug war. Our professional experiences have led us to conclude that the more dangerous an illicit substance–from crack to krank–the greater the justification for its legalization, regulation, and control. It is the prohibition of drugs that leads inexorably to high rates of death, disease, crime, and addiction.

Back to booze vs. pot. How do the effects of these two drugs stack up against specific health and public safety factors?

Alcohol-related traffic accidents claim approximately 14,000 lives each year, down significantly from 20 or 30 years ago (attributed to improved education and enforcement). Figures for THC-related traffic fatalities are elusive, especially since alcohol is almost always present in the blood as well, and since the numbers of “marijuana-only” traffic fatalities are so small. But evidence from studies, including laboratory simulations, feeds the stereotype that those under the influence of canniboids tend to (1) be more aware of their impaired psychomotor skills, and (2) drive well below the speed limit. Those under the influence of alcohol are much more likely to be clueless or defiant about their condition, and to speed up and drive recklessly.

Hundreds of alcohol overdose deaths occur annually. There has never been a single recorded marijuana OD fatality.

According to the American Public Health Association, excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of death in this country. APHA pegs the negative economic impact of extreme drinking at $150 billion a year.

There have been no documented cases of lung cancer in a marijuana-only smoker, nor has pot been scientifically linked to any type of cancer. (Don’t trust an advocate’s take on this? Try the fair and balanced coverage over at Fox.) Alcohol abuse contributes to a multitude of long-term negative health consequences, notably cirrhosis of the liver and a variety of cancers.

While a small quantity, taken daily, is being touted for its salutary health effects, alcohol is one of the worst drugs one can take for pain management, marijuana one of the best.

Alcohol contributes to acts of violence; marijuana reduces aggression. In approximately three million cases of reported violent crimes last year, the offender had been drinking. This is particularly true in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, and date rape. Marijuana use, in and of itself, is absent from both crime reports and the scientific literature. There is simply no link to be made.

Over the past four years I’ve asked police officers throughout the U.S. (and in Canada) two questions. When’s the last time you had to fight someone under the influence of marijuana? (I’m talking marijuana only, not pot plus a six-pack or a fifth of tequila.) My colleagues pause, they reflect. Their eyes widen as they realize that in their five or fifteen or thirty years on the job they have never had to fight a marijuana user. I then ask: When’s the last time you had to fight a drunk? They look at their watches.

All of which begs the question. If one of these two drugs is implicated in dire health effects, high mortality rates, and physical violence–and the other is not–what are we to make of our nation’s marijuana laws? Or alcohol laws, for that matter.

Anybody out there want to launch a campaign for the re-prohibition of alcohol? Didn’t think so. The answer, of course, is responsible drinking. Marijuana smokers, for their part, have already shown (apart from that little matter known as the law) greater responsibility in their choice of drugs than those of us who choose alcohol.


Alchohol awareness month

April 22, 9:39 AM. Bottom of Form

April is alcohol awareness month, and since drinking is the focus of many of this column’s articles, its important to understand the affect alcohol has on our society as a whole, and how to prevent the abuse of what can be an extremely harmful substance.

According to The Journal of Studies on Alcohol,

  • The alcoholic-beverage industry relies on heavy and addicted drinking for the
  • largest share of its profits. Hazardous drinking (5 or more drinks at one sitting)
  • accounts for more than half of the alcohol industry’s $155 billion market, and more than 75% of the beer industry’s market.

While Seattle offers plenty of outdoor activities for singles to get involved in, many singles still gravitate towards bars to meet people. So how do you know when you’re drinking too much? Alcoholscreening.org has a questionnaire anyone can complete who wants to know if they are drinking too much.


Alcohol, drug offenses keep police busy

Some attending proms are among those arrested

By Mitchell Kline • THE TENNESSEAN • May 5, 2009

FRANKLIN — Police in Franklin made 26 arrests between Friday and Sunday for alcohol and drug offenses.


Four were juveniles and 14 were between the ages of 18 and 20.

All of the arrests came from regular patrol operations, according to the Franklin Police Department. Some cases were tied to after-prom parties.

Seven men, all under 21, were charged with underage consumption of alcohol while attending a gathering at 667 Watson Glen Drive on Sunday at approximately 1:15 a.m.

About an hour later a 16-year-old girl and three men under 21 were caught drinking a bottle of rum in a vehicle driven on Mack Hatcher Parkway, near South Royal Oaks Boulevard.

At approximately 4:20 a.m. the same day, an officer stopped a driver for speeding and for failing to signal a turn. The driver and two other men under 21 were charged with underage consumption of alcohol.

A woman staying at the Cool Springs Marriott was charged with public intoxication at 9:20 p.m. Sunday after allegedly yelling at other guests and throwing candy at them. Officers first escorted the woman, Rhonda Mullins, 38, of Elizabethton, Tenn., to her room, then 30 minutes later were called back to the hotel when employees reported she was creating another disturbance.

There were two people charged with possession of marijuana on Saturday. One was a 17-year-old Franklin boy who an officer observed failing to yield near the intersection of Highway 96 and Jordan Road. The second was a 16-year-old Franklin boy who was observed blocking traffic then driving erratically on Natchez Street. Officers detected the odor of burnt marijuana and found marijuana in the vehicle.

“The Franklin Police Department will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to keep impaired drivers off of our roadways,” Sgt. Charles Warner said.


Marijuana legalization no joke, guest says

by Mark Silva

Cinco de Mayo celebrations get underway this evening at the White House, on the eve of Cinco de Mayo.

If President Barack Obama wants to have some fun with one of his guests — the way the president did with the question of legalizing marijuana in a recent online “town hall” at the White House — he might consider a little side-debate with Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan in the East Room tonight.

“As most things in life, you need two to tango,” Sarukhan said in a recent appearance on CBS News’ Face the Nation. He was talking about combatting the flow of drugs and weapons across the border. Host Bob Schieffer asked if legalizing marijuana would help.

“This is a very divisive issue,” Sarukhan replied. (See his overall comments above, and see the specific ones here:)

“There are proponents and opponents on both sides of the border… Those who would suggest that some of these measures be looked at understand the dynamics of the drug trade, that you have to bring demand down…. But there are many others who believe that by doing this you would only fan the flames… This is a debate that has to be taken seriously, that we have to engage in on both sides of the border…. It is a debate that has to be taken on with seriousness.”

Obama wasn’t talking too seriously about it in the most recent on-line chat that he conducted at the White House. He interrupted at one point to note what one of the most popular questions was, judging from the votes that had been recorded online.

“We took votes about which questions were going to be asked. and I think 3 million people voted or ….3.5 million people voted,” Obama said. “I have to say that there was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy… and job creation.

“And I don’t know what this says about the online audience,” Obama said to laughter, “This was a fairly popular question. we want to make sure that it was answered. The answer is, no, I don’t think that is a good strategy… to grow our economy.”


Legalization can financially stabilize economy

Letter to the editor

Heather Healy, healy.9@wright.edu, HST 103

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Published: Sunday, May 3, 2009

Updated: Sunday, May 3, 2009

If the U.S. government were to legalize marijuana, I believe that it would help financially stabilize our economy. The U.S. government is making about $7.7 billion from the sale of cigarettes alone. Imagine how much our government could add to this by legalizing the production and sale of marijuana.

Drug reporter Bruce Mirken states, “The alcohol poisoning death rate in the United States is shockingly high, consistently between 300 and 400 a year. It’s zero for pot.” This proves that alcohol, which is legal for anyone over the age of 21, is far more dangerous than marijuana. Legalizing marijuana does not mean that the government would have no control over the sale and use. I believe that there should be regulations such as an age limit to buy, and strict DUI laws.

Our country is at a loss for jobs and by legalizing marijuana it would produce many different jobs. Farmers and factories will benefit from the legalization. In Nevada alone, over 5,000 people were arrested on marijuana related charges in 2005. We as tax payers are wasting our money on locking up people who just have possession charges, instead of saving it and putting it towards our country’s debt or any other money related problems. I asked for someone else’s opinion, so I interviewed a daycare provider/owner. This was her take on the issue:

“My personal opinions of “pot” are as follows. I believe with the country of United States being in the trouble that we are, a productive way to ease a lot of the problems would be to legalize the growing and production of marijuana. Pay farmers with land sitting empty to grow this product, and organize factories to manufacture cigarettes of marijuana, just like regular cigarettes. The government could tax the sale and distribution of this product, and common businesses like gas stations and carry outs could benefit from the sale. Even those with actual medical problems that need marijuana (like glaucoma) would no longer have to get a prescription for pot. The taxes would ease the country’s deficit, would put farmers back to work, put factories back in small towns, and ease the burden in prisons from the pot sales. Most studies have proved pot is no more harmful than alcohol, and alcohol has been linked to many body diseases that kill humans every day (as well as cigarettes). Make laws that are similar to alcohol intake. An example would be drinking and driving. Enforce the same penalties for driving under the influence, which most states currently have already. This is my opinion only,” said Deanna Troutwine, aged 46 mother of five and not a current pot smoker.


The debate on legalization of marijuana is getting attention today in St. Louis. Many are saying in these tough economic times, taxing legalized pot could be a way to bring in more money. But others say it’s not a good idea.

For decades the term 4/20 has been a hush, hush code word for smoking pot. Now 4/20 is going mainstream. Venues are hosting 4/20 parties for those trying to proclaim an end pot prohibition.

“We’re not saying that 13 and 14 year olds should be able to go out and get marijuana cigarettes, there should be age restrictions but it should be available if you need it.” Christine Hall – Marijuana Advocate

Supporters claim cannabis could be the cure all for the economy.

“We could legalize and tax and put restrictions on it and we could introduce an entirely new industry in the United States.” Curtis Wells – Marijuana Advocate

Others say they need dope to get through the day. When Mark Pederson’s prescriptions couldn’t give him relief from chronic pain. He turned to pot.

“The pain from the fibromyalgia started to go away immediately and the migraines became less and less severe.” Mark Pederson – Cannabis Patient Network

And now he’s piping up about what he says are benefits from medical marijuana. Pederson is among a growing group of vocal supporters who want to see pot decriminalized, if not legalized. But Dan Duncan of the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse says their claims are puffed up.

“The smoke contains cacinogenic carbons which seems to be ignored by people who use it.” Dan Duncan – Nat. Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse

Duncan says marijuana is addictive and dangerous. However, he does think reform is coming.

“We probably are seeing a trend toward decriminalization and I don’t think that’s all bad because we don’t need lots of people locked up for using marijuana.” Dan Duncan

In fact, this petition to decriminalize marijuana is circulating around the city of St. Louis.


The Point: Marijuana should be legal, and left alone

Long-ago pothead favors repealing the laws, but now regards reefer- toking as not-such-a-good idea.

By Mark Bowden

Inquirer Currents Columnist

I knew when I saw my father sitting at the kitchen table that I was in trouble.

I was a teenager, returning home late from a night out with my friends. I was high. As we did most nights, my friends and I had been smoking pot. It was 1970. Nearly everyone I knew my age smoked pot.

My father was usually asleep long before I got home. I took a quick inventory of my state of mind and concluded that so long as my conversation with him was casual and brief there was a chance he wouldn’t notice that I was cockeyed stoned. One of the virtues of pot, or so I thought then, was this ability to play it straight. Fear was especially useful. It could straighten out your thinking in a hurry.

As was his style, he confronted me head-on.

“Mark, do you smoke?” he asked.

I could not lie to my father. Even to this day, I’m not sure why exactly; I hope it was because I respected him and knew he did not lie to me.

“Yes,” I told him, and then braced myself.

He was furious, but not about my marijuana use. He had not even considered the possibility of an illicit drug. He was worried that I was smoking cigarettes! I nearly swooned with relief.

I was not a cigarette smoker. They gave me a headache and left a god-awful taste in my mouth. They were addictive and caused cancer. No way. My father had been a heavy smoker in his youth, and he had quit cold turkey when the first of the surgeon general’s warnings had come out. So he could not comprehend why one of his own sons would even consider flirting with the habit.

I did not disabuse him. While I might not have been able to look my father in the eye and lie, I was expert at withholding the complete truth. I bore the cigarette scolding manfully, expressed agreement and contrition, and gave the old man my word I would never smoke another cigarette. I have kept that promise.

It took me a little longer to stop smoking dope. Having raised five children of my own and entered upon grandfatherhood, I can report two things: (1) I think we ought to repeal laws against marijuana possession; (2) I no longer think smoking pot is a good idea.

Tomorrow, April 20, or 4/20, has become an unofficial national holiday for lovers of weed. There are supposedly 420 chemical elements in cannabis, or something like that. The reasons for 4/20 becoming the toker’s special day are suitably confused, about as certain as most trains of thought under the influence. The revelry both celebrates the substance and protests its illegality. I’m with them on the latter issue, not so much on the former.

Marijuana smoking is, if anything, more commonplace today than when I was a wannabe hippie 40 years ago. My sons, now grown, tell me that it was easier for them to get pot in high school in Chester County than it was to get beer. Generations of Americans have grown up getting high, long enough for everyone to know that all the old horror stories about its use are ridiculously exaggerated. No one I knew who smoked dope as a kid – and, as I said, just about everyone I knew did – turned into a heroin or cocaine addict.

I do know some folks who became alcoholics, and a number of them are no longer around. I believed then and I believe today that alcohol is a far greater public health and safety threat than marijuana. Tobacco, also legal, is an even greater curse.

Yet the war on weed rages on. Thirty-seven years after a special commission formed by Congress and President Richard Nixon concluded that punitive marijuana laws cause more social harm than the drug itself, nearly half of the drug arrests in this country are for pot. The numbers grow annually. More people were arrested for pot possession in America last year than ever before in our history, more than 800,000. In Pennsylvania, possession is a misdemeanor, and the possible prison sentence goes from 30 days to a year, depending on whether the amount is more or less than 30 grams. Although there are horrific exceptions, most of these offenders, unless they were involved in serious drug trafficking or some other illegal activity when arrested, do not go to jail for simple possession. Still, what a tremendous waste of money and manpower! One of the strongest arguments against such misdemeanor drug laws is that they are completely ineffective.

More than that, the prohibition of marijuana gives police an undue amount of leverage over average citizens. When something as widespread as pot possession is illegal, police can use it as an excuse to harass whole classes of otherwise law-abiding citizens. It should come as no surprise that the majority of those possession busts were young black and Latino men, even though surveys show that most of the marijuana users in this country are white.

I stopped smoking dope many years ago. I have always urged my children not to use it, just as I have counseled them to avoid using other drugs and getting drunk. The effects of pot use are more subtle than drunkenness, which leads many to conclude that marijuana is a less dangerous intoxicant than alcohol, but its very subtlety poses a unique threat. Because you can go to class high, go to work high, drive high, and otherwise function with apparent normality, it is easier to abuse marijuana constantly than alcohol, and that “normality” you feel isn’t the truth. Marijuana doesn’t make you out of control. It just makes you stupid. And while I haven’t surveyed the most recent medical reports, I suspect the health effects of inhaling pot smoke are likely to be at least as harmful as the substance that so concerned my dad.

For me, as with most users, getting high was a symptom of boredom and rebellion. Once I grew up and found work that I loved, competitive work that demanded real effort and mental clarity, I realized that the effects of getting high, the confusion and silliness, were a disadvantage. When I had children, the responsibility I felt for them weighed on me in a nice way, but also in a way that ruled out getting high. Weed began to induce less joy than worry. What if, feeling temporarily silly and indifferent, I failed my family in some way, large or small?

I know I am not alone in this. These are the kinds of decisions adults in our society make every day about their health, their responsibilities, and their happiness. Lots of people don’t agree with me, including some of my friends. That may make them misguided, in my view, but it certainly shouldn’t make them criminal.










“flip yourself head over heels, as if swinging over a waist-high horizontal bar in front of you. Now your heart is on the same side as the mirror-person’s heart-but your feet and head are in the wrong places, and your stomach, although at approximately the right height, is upsidedown. So it seems a mirror can be perceived as reversing up and down, provided you’re willing to map yourself onto a creature whose feet are above its head. It all depends on the ways that you are willing to slip yourself onto another entity. — Douglas Hofstader. The Mind’s I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul (co-edited with Daniel Dennett)”

“If a nonspinning inertial observer looks along his axis of symmetry, he sees his coaxial nonspinning inertial peers apparently nonspinning with respect to himself, as we would expect. – Godel_metric

“QIUP – Quantum Inseparability Principle, named by Nick Herbert: the impossibility of existentially separating observer and observed. –- Dr. Robert Anton Wilson Quantum Psychology. New Falcon Press. Page. 107.

“I also updated the piece to depict a modern market area, a supermarket or shopping mall, filled with glass panels (shamelessly achieved by the use of a paper edge). Instead of the three views culminating in exit points to organic backgrounds or nature, I chose to make the whole space an interior, with backgrounds of a shop, car park and a public sliding-door entrance. The figures are also modernised; cash machine, struggling pensioners, drunks, maintenance orderly and shoppers. — http://www.schudio.co.uk/blog/2009/m-c-escher-tribute-2-of-3

“as if everything were not in displacement, detour, transference, metaphor everything is in the love potion of seduction… —Jean Baudrillard writes in Dust Breeding, 2001.

“We used to think that physics described the Universe. Now we know that physics only describes what we can say about the Universe. — Niels Bohr. Quoted from “Quantum Psychology. RAW.”

“The matrix is the kind of film about the matrix that the Matrix could have produced — Jean Baudrillard.

“Consciousness is not only a way out of the evolutionary impasse, says Hilbrandt, but also an escape from the snares of Godelization, for by means of paralogistic contradictions this solution has sidestepped the contradictions to which every system that is perfect with respect to logic is subject. So, then, the universum of the personoids is fully rational, but they are not fully rational inhabitants of it. — “Non Serviam” from A Perfect Vacuum: Perfect Reviews of Nonexistent Books by Stanislaw Lem. Copyright 1971 by Stanislaw Lem; English translation copyright 1979, 1978 by Stanislaw Lem, Reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.”



Maud Marian the market lady of Misrule,
Who went over to the dark side with the evil sheriff Knottingbacon.
Deserting Robin for his rival. Super-Grass.
Selling out to the big Merry Corporate Gangsters
And the evil Merry Sheriff. Selling INN/ INN FACTO.
To live life without security is a life not worth living
Was the motto of these cannibullshitters.

Mary Merry Mad Maude paired off with Merddin (MERLIN)
And became christianized as a male Robin Hood.
Merry Mary Mad England, engrossed with MARY worship.
Mary Hill seems a kind of corporate Mary Hell,
A place where aggressive corporate dogs pull your mind apart,
Displaying jewels, drugs and every kind of must-have product
All the most popular, slick, stylish, hell-brands.
We must jump through the flames naked. No Bags. No product. NO LOGOS?
Operate your own Nervous system better. Write? — http://acrillic.blogspot.com/2008/05/christmas-maybe-merry-but-mayday-seems.html