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Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes

I'd rather end the year on a positive note, but that's turning out to be a challenge. I've been starting to write new blog posts since the last one. It's hard to recover from a massive downer like finding more evidence that Leonard Cohen was involved in her death. Believe it or not, I recoil from these revelations - but that doesn't stop them from coming. And not because I go looking for the dark side. It just seems to pop out at me when I least expect it, by some process that has a life of its own, beyond my conscious control.

So I've been quiet lately - but it's not for lack of trying. I'm in fact sitting on three new posts. All are the result of rereading Marianne Ihlen's memoir So Long, Marianne, and finding it loaded with references that nobody seems to have followed up. Some are definitely clues, offering strange insights into what was really going on back in the late 1950s and early 60s, when a fascinating cast of characters came together on Hydra. They included LSD guru John Starr Cooke - vocal supporter of Marianne's marriage to novelist Axel Jensen who was Starr's protegé. Then Axel ran off with American artist Patricia Amlin - who later made a famous documentary about the Mayans.

Back on Hydra, Marianne joined the drug culture through a circle of women like author and traveller Olivia de Haulleville, niece of Aldous Huxley.

For some odd reason all these Hydra acquaintances seem to have deep connections to the elite circles that funded and promoted the dubious "counterculture" movement -- and we're talking Rockefelllers, Hitchcocks, Mellons and Rothschilds -- because that's the sort of crowd that took over Hydra and turned it into a haven for drug dealers, diamond smugglers, mercenaries, and retired spooks.

Looking at old photos of Hydra life, Jackie Kennedy also shows up, along with Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn -- as a reminder that this tiny Greek island has been a hub for jetsetters and glitterati -- and that despite its reputation as a simple paradise of the Aegean, it was anything but unspoiled.

So I'll start there -- with the caveat that these new leads (at least, new to me) are wormholes that can end up taking us places we aren't quite ready for. Like the Beat Hotel, in Paris. Or London at the dawn of Scientology. Or Tangier, Morocco where Paul Bowles was setting up shop. Or Cuernevaca, Mexico where the counterculture was being cooked up by a raunchy assortment of alchemists and intelligence agents. All these roads were lit by a drug-fuelled revolution that many thought was real.  And even today, we live in the aftermath - the ruins of a dream that turns out to have been more of a scheme to take over the world on behalf of the most reactionary people on the planet.

And how is Leonard Cohen connected into all this? Where all this leads, involves the world I grew up in -- the world of MKULTRA mind control, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the murder of John F. Kennedy -- all of which were happening as my generation was coming of age, and while Marianne and Leonard were meeting as young adults on a Greek island and living their romance -- which I suspect was not always as romantic as we have been told.

In an interview with Alison Gold a few years back, Marianne admitted that she "was a part of Leonard's secret life." She didn't elaborate, but what was she referring to? Is there anything in her memoir to suggest such a thing? Not to my knowledge. She leaves us guessing. But she had to know all kinds of things that couldn't be said in the open. As we've seen, she had to know about Leonard's double, and what he was doing on Hydra. She also had to know about Leonard's arrest in Havana, six months later - and the fact that she never even mentions it, is proof that she knew exactly what couldn't be talked about. So, what else did she know? Chances are, a whole lot.

Well, that's the thread I'm attempting to follow, while avoiding the pitfalls the official story and the deaf cheers of clueless fans who believe it. But every now and then, I get a little prompt from Leonard himself. This morning it came in a dream. A real one. The kind you wake up from feeling the way you do after visiting a friend.

In the dream, Leonard was lying in bed, surrounded by his children and grandchildren, and I was somewhere off to the side, conscious that I had not spoken a word in quite some time. I was also aware that the reason Leonard was bedridden was because of something I had recently said that had affected him. He'd been hoping I would correct the negative impression my words had left on his family -- and I agreed to try, even though I felt as numb and disappointed about all this as he did. But in the dream, we were both in agreement that something had to be done to straighten out the record, and soon.

In reality, i.e. in my conscious waking life, I'd gone to bed the night before, after having an important realization. I think that's why Leonard showed up in my dream this morning: to encourage me to come out and say it, before it vanished.

So here it is, but it doesn't begin well. Over the past few weeks, since it was the anniversary of JFK's murder, I've been reading articles and looking at some YouTube videos about Dallas, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the various theories out there about who really killed Kennedy. There's general agreement out there, in case you didn't know, that Oswald was a patsy -- although his degree of innocence is disputed, most people who study this saga are convinced he could not have killed the President. And there is general agreement that the real killers are a shadowy group comprised of the Italian Mafia, Cuban anti-Castro extremists, the CIA, and a branch of the Jewish Mafia that can be linked to a Montreal branch that happened to employ many of families who lived in the same neighbourhood young Leonard Cohen grew up in.

This is something I talked about with Jasun Horsley in a recent podcast - in which I refer to the book Dope, Inc which investigates the Montreal-based Bronfman family -- and their links to a conspiracy theory about a company called PERMINDEX which may have ordered the hit on Kennedy, in league with Israelis working for Mossad.

It came as a shock to me to learn that Leonard's family owed their livelihood to an international firm with ties to Israeli intelligence, and that made a living off drugs, human trafficking and assassination. And yet it didn't really come as a surprise, as I had heard Leonard sing the praises of the extremist Stern gang, on a tour that ended in Tel Aviv in November 1980. The Stern gang were Jewish terrorists who committed mass murder in the cause of Israeli independence, and Leonard had made no secret of his admiration for men like Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon, and Mossad's Yitsak Shamir -- all of whom wanted Kennedy dead in 1963 because he opposed their nuclear weapons program.

Still, I never got the impression that Leonard could have hated Kennedy. If you were to ask me to guess how he felt about JFK's assassination, I would have said his feelings boiled down to guilt and ambivalence -- because a lot of details point to his having known about the plan to kill the President.

It's been termed a ritual assassination, connected to the pagan rite of "The Killing of the King." America, and the world, have never recovered from this traumatic event - even decades later, we still talk about it as a turning point with hellish consequences that spill over into our daily lives. In a sense, we're all living under the spell of this dark event.

But as I was mulling all this over yesterday, I suddenly remembered a speech Leonard gave in 1964 to a group of Jewish leaders in Montreal. The actual text of this speech has been lost, but his notes remain in the archives of Toronto's Fischer Library, along with news stories describing the outraged reaction of the audience.

Now, just to be clear: I'm of the opinion that Leonard Cohen associated with some of the very same gangs and individuals who invaded Cuba in April 1961, and later assassinated Kennedy in November 1963. This sounds like another wild accusation, but there's no honest way around it. In the early sixties, Leonard was employed by the CIA. His whereabouts at the time of Kennedy's death are, as far as I know, hard to determine. I thought I had read somewhere that he was in New York that week, at a launch for The Favorite Game - which had just been published in London.

I do know he tended to place support for Israel above every other political allegiance.

But in 1964, he went out of his way in addressing a group of Jewish businessmen, to attack the morals of that community. And specifically, he attacked the Bronfmans, who at one time employed the poet A.M. Klein as a speechwriter. "He became their clown," Leonard told the audience. You can hear the clank of jaws dropping as he went on to castigate the very same elite that had paid for his recent trip to Cuba.




You can listen to the speech, with its poetic and Biblical digressions, but you will miss the point unless you understand he was addressing the people who, half a year before, had aided the plot to kill Kennedy. And the point is, he knew it, which is why he spoke in parables about a dead poet who had once served them.

That takes a certain amount of courage. It also explains the overheated reaction he got from the assembled business community - because obviously there were people in the audience that night who knew exactly what the 30-year-old Cohen meant when he said the Jewish community no longer honoured its prophets, and raised plaques to names like "Bronfman and Beutel."

Then he talked about himself, making it plain he wasn't going to follow in Klein's footsteps and end up depressed, suicidal, and alone.

"The prophet follows the idea wherever it goes, and ideas, by their very nature, like to travel to dangerous places. The chase, then, is a lonely sport, and the community, observing the prophet, becomes suspicious. Most people would rather visit lifeless and antiquated things in air-conditioned museums than seek thrills in steaming swamps, running the risk of getting bitten by something wild."

He had been to some steaming swamps, training with professional killers, and he had traveled to dangerous places. And now he was back in Montreal, facing a community that supported murder from a safe distance. They no longer recognized their hero.

So he had nothing left but his story - which he soon began to tell in songs.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

You Want it Darker: Janis Joplin, revisited


I've been here before, but let's add another layer to this mystery, shall we?

Leonard Cohen interview, backstage, Glasgow 1976.

1976 was the year Cohen began announcing at concerts that Janis Joplin was the woman immortalized in his song(s) Chelsea Hotel #1 and #2.  It was also the year he gave this little interview, much of which is hard to hear because of the background noise, and the interviewer's Glasgow accent.





At around 8:30, the Scottish interviewer asks him to talk about about Joplin.

Leonard answers:

"There was something in her voice that was unmistakable.  'I don't mean to suggest that I loved her the best' ... I mean, I knew her. She wasn't my best friend or anything but I bumped into her often in hotels  around the States ... I love her music ... (sounds of liquid being poured, glasses and bottles clinking) ...

"I remember I was at a hotel with her in Los Angeles ... I think it was the Landmark Motel... and she was being given an award by one of those magazines like Melody Maker or some American equivalent of Melody Maker. I think it was Down Beat.. and I was there when they handed her the prize and she was like a kid, she'd gotten the prize as best woman singer of the year and it was like Christmas.. and it was real... I mean ... She was there..."

There's a lot wrong with that story. It also includes an astonishing confession.

1. The Landmark Motel was where Janis Joplin died. 

She moved into Room 105 on August 24, 1970 and stayed there til the night of her death on October 4, 1970. During those weeks, she was mainly working in the studio recording her second album Pearl.

2. While Joplin was getting settled at the Landmark, Leonard Cohen was far away in Europe.

He was wrapping up his tour in the UK (notably with a concert at the Isle of Wight on August 31). Then Jimi Hendrix died, in London. Leonard flew to America a few days later and recorded Songs of Love and Hate in Tennessee during the week of September 21. So if he 'bumped into her' at the Landmark in L.A., it could only be after September 25, in the ten days before she died.

3. The "award" he says she received - for which he claims he was present - was imaginary. 

She never received an award in her lifetime. The April 4, 1968 issue of Down Beat did feature Joplin on the cover but there's no record of any award. At the 1971 14th Annual GRAMMY Awards she was post-humously nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, for Me and Bobby McGee and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for her album Pearl.  Carole King swept the awards that year. Ironically, it wasn't until 2005 that she finally received the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award at the 47th annual GRAMMIES.

Melody Maker's readers voted Joplin "World's Top Female Singer" for 1969 in their readers' poll, according to this front page story from October 10, 1970, which appeared five days after her death.


 
Melody Maker's 1969 annual reader poll awards were held at the Savoy Hotel in London but there is no evidence Joplin attended to pick up her prize. Her only solo trip to England had been six months earlier when she played the Royal Albert Hall on April 21, 1969, to rave reviews in the press. 

By contrast, 1969 was a bad year for Leonard whose second album, Songs From a Room, went generally unnoticed and unloved. 

In 1976, either he was confused, or he made up a story to cover a serious slip: he'd just admitted to the interviewer that he'd been with her at the Landmark which is associated with her sad end.


According to reports at the time, including in Rolling Stone, Joplin was found dead between the bed and the night table in her room at the Landmark Motor Hotel after failing to show up at the recording session on October 5. There were needle marks in her arm. Her mouth was bloodied and her nose was broken. Presumed cause of death: heroin overdose, self-administered.

According to one account, she left the downtown club where she had been partying with band members and friends, and went back to her hotel in the company of a taxi driver and "a fan."

Leonard Cohen's affair with Joplin remains legendary. Meanwhile, Chelsea Hotel #1, the original version, was rarely performed, if at all, after 1972. It's worth a listen. The rambling conclusion, about fishing beside a stream in Tennessee, compares Joplin to the one that got away. It leaves a strange impression: that he was in the room with Joplin as she rode "the Midnight Train' to her death.




On his 1979 "Field Commander Cohen Tour" I listened from the rear of the stage as Leonard retold the story. That time, too, he stumbled: "We fell into each other's arms and -- after she died --" The audience gasped, there were some giggles. Not missing a beat, a smiling Leonard recovered, and quickly had them in stitches. "It wasn't my embrace that killed her. My kiss is poisonous, but it's not deadly."

Good old Leonard. It wasn't the only time he had tantalized an audience with the hint of Kill and Tell. Back home in Montreal, as a young poet in the 1950s, Cohen had gained notoriety with a poem entitled "Ballad" about the ritual murder of a woman in a downtown rooming house, written ironically so as to suggest the poet-narrator was in fact the murderer.

Scholar Ruth Wisse, who studied with him at McGill, commented on this poem in her article "My Life Without Leonard Cohen":

'Leonard Cohen's Montreal ... was my very own, at once familiar and made mythic in marvelous phrases.

"My lady was found mutilated / in a Mountain Street boarding house...." Rushing to meet a friend at Ogilvy's, at the corner of Mountain Street and Ste. Catherine, I wondered behind which familiar door the lady's purple blood was staining the sheets.'  

 
Ruth Wisse avoids directly stating what, at the time, must have been a haunting suspicion: how did the twenty-something student know so much about a grisly murder on the street where he lived? The fact is, Leonard Cohen had a reputation for being dangerous and crazy, that ran alongside his growing fame as a musician.

We should all wonder at the way he fooled us with "marvellous phrases" -- and why we let him get away with it. He still stalks the streets of downtown Montreal, but now he's even larger than life, than he was when he was alive. 

Kelley Lynch, his former manager, described to me how, in 1988, Cohen would ask her to lock him in at night, after work, when she left his Montreal house. This, he said, was because he had an uncontrollable urge to "go out and kill people."


Of course, I'm not accusing him of murdering Joplin - there's no proof, and he had no motive. Unless he was some sort of contract killer, working for the CIA. A distinct possibility.

But no one nowadays would think of accusing Leonard Cohen (post-humously) of sexual abuse, violence against woman, or worse. Least of all his obsessed fans. After all, Leonard is now our heavenly guide to living in an 'imperfect world.'  That clever cliché disguises the reality: we're struggling to survive in the aftermath of a program of mind control designed by the very same crowd that gave us Leonard Cohen as our flawed Messiah. It's pop psychology for the brain-dead and those too lazy to think. 
Speaking of "crack":  The 'crack in everything' that we now celebrate as some divine gift, is a religious-sounding euphemism bandaging a gaping wound. It's a kabbalist metaphor for the controlled schizophrenia of modern life in a world dominated by organized crime.  It can't be healed with more drugs.

This is not the human condition - it's slavery built on a lie.  And it's not our mission unless we choose to accept it.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST WITH JASUN HORSLEY  http://auticulture.com/liminalist-134-5-loyal-lodge-ann-diamond/










Monday, November 13, 2017

Meet Leonard Cohen's Mystery Double



Just when I thought I'd reached the end of the trail in my quest for 'truth and closure", yesterday I stumbled on this LIFE Magazine image purporting to be of Leonard on Hydra in the fall of 1960. The caption states: "Leonard Cohen walking on a street near his vacation home in Hydra, Greece, October 1960. James Burke/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images."

In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the terrace of Leonard's house on Hydra - with the front door on the left and the library door on the right. However the man holding the keys is not Leonard. He looks like an actor hired to impersonate Cohen for the LIFE feature with the photo spread that was shot in October 1960, but never actually ran in the magazine. Longtime Hydra resident and Australian novelist George Johnston had written for LIFE, and allegedly was about to be interviewed, but for unknown reasons the feature was cancelled. Or so they say at the Leonard Cohen Forum where the photos were first unveiled in 2011.

Many photos were shot on Hydra, all dated October 1, 1960. Very few that I have seen are of George Johnston. Many, on the other hand, show Leonard playing his guitar, standing at the wharf in Kamini with Marianne and a group of friends, or riding a mule up the trail to the monastery of Prophitis Ilias. You might be forgiven for thinking LIFE travelled to Hydra to document the world of Leonard Cohen, who at the time was an obscure young poet with only one book to his credit, published by a small press at McGill - whereas George Johnston was an internationally acclaimed novelist and former war correspondent, who also happened to be a friend of Cohen's.
George Johnson on Hydra.

Marianne on mule-back, but that's not Leonard behind her.

The real Leonard Cohen, with Marianne, George, Charmian (R-L)




The real Leonard with Charmian Johnston.

That mule-back photo above is fake, but not very clear. So here's one that's even more fake, supposedly of Marianne and Leonard on that same outing in 1960. Absolutely fake. It's not either of them. Were they making a bio-pic with actors? What was going on?

The road to Prophitis Ilias. The Double rides ahead of an unknown woman.

Doesn't quite make sense, does it? Many of the LIFE photos of Leonard Cohen taken that day are of him, but others are of the unidentified Doppleganger who, to my knowledge, has never been outed until now. Just take a look and see for yourself. 

In the first place, this interloper is handsomer than Leonard. He's also slightly hairier, better built, with a less expressive face. His hands - particularly his thumbs - stand out as thicker and less elongated than Cohen's. He reminds me a bit of Keanu Reeves - in his facial blankness, that is. Taken altogether, he looks like an upgraded version more in line with standards of male perfection.

This raises lots of questions, but the biggest one is what's he doing on Hydra pretending to be Leonard Cohen in 1960? Why would a Canadian poet who isn't famous yet be gifted with a Double? What were they thinking and planning back then, that we've never been told about? What agenda had come into play?


More than anything I've come across so far, this Double demolishes the official Life Story that has built up around Leonard, as propagated by  biographers like Sylvie Simmons and Ira Nadel. That narrative goes that Leonard wrote and sang his way, slowly, step by step, to gradual fame that first blossomed in the mid-sixties and then, through a combination of lonely discipline, devotion to his craft and a winning personality, made it to the heights of the music world, becoming one of the great composers of the last century. All true, up to a point -- but some of it isn't.

No one who is not famous has a double who stands in for him for photos in LIFE Magazine - and Leonard, definitely, was not famous in 1960. But he had powerful friends, like Jacob Rothschild, and CIA director Allen Dulles. So who was this handsome mystery man holding the keys to Leonard's house? He appears to have come for the shoot, after which he is never seen again. Except on Leonard's Greek drivers' license (which according to Marianne Ihlen also served as a residence permit) where he appears in the characteristic military-style shirt and haircut we associate with our poet. And there's "Leonard Cohen - Kanadas" and the date of birth 1934 - for all to see.

If this were a real Greek residence permit, it would need to have an entry and exit date -


Sorry, but that's not Leonard - that's the Man with Keys on the Terrace. His ears are too flat, his features too regular. Even in his most flattering photos, Leonard never looked like that. 
 

Leonard, early 1960s.
The real Leonard never needed a Greek driver's license because he lived on Hydra, which had no cars, only donkeys, horses and mules. When he travelled into Athens by boat, he took cheap local taxis to get around; buses or trains if he wanted to travel to places like Delphi or Epidaurus.

False Leonard -- let's call him "Flennard" -- needed a car in the autumn of 1960 - if only to drive Marianne back to Norway where her 9-month-old son was parked with his grandmother. Marianne recounts this long trip north, through Yugoslavia and across the Alps and over to Paris, in her memoir So Long, Marianne. It's almost like a scene in a movie, with the lovers traipsing around Paris, at one point Marianne even threatening leap to her death from a window, until Leonard (or Flennard) embraced her, and she "cried herself out." On arrival at Marianne's mother's house, he did the "gentlemanly" thing by checking himself into a hotel for the night. 

Where was Leonard? I'm guessing he took off sometime after the hootenanny photos were shot, and spent time in the CIA training camps where Allen Dulles' CIA Cuban invasion team were training for the Bay of Pigs fiasco the following April.

I'm also guessing the unwanted publicity Leonard received in April 1961 may have had something to do with why the LIFE feature and photo spread never saw the light of day.
Different impostor? Note the 'hidden hand." 

Leonard told a friend, "I have a double who does all the bad things." 

I'd go on to speculate that a Double was created in 1960 for at least two reasons. One, because someone at LIFE headquarters had decided to invest in Leonard's future career as a pop star and they wanted a better-looking image for their pages.

Two, because he was heading off on a dangerous mission and, in case he was killed during the failed coup, arrangements had to be made to deposit his pay in some offshore bank account and compensate his loved ones?

The real Leonard was often elusive, but having his own Doppelganger at age 25? He wasn't even famous. Had he signed up for secret work that required him to disappear?

Think of this: he'd only been on Hydra six months when the LIFE magazine crew arrived. His date of arrival was April 13, 1960. By May, he'd established a cover: he'd met Marianne and her five-month old son, Axel Joachim. By August, Leonard was babysitting baby Axel, while Marianne was away in Athens. Then, in a strange sudden move, Marianne put her 8-month old son on a plane to Oslo. On September 27, Leonard bought the house at the top of Donkeyshit Lane for $1500, paid for with an inheritance from his grandmother. While he wrote, Marianne says she divided her time between his house  and her own place behind the port in Kala Pigadia. But three days after the house was bought, on October 1, LIFE Magazine shot photos of Leonard playing in a hootenanny at Douskos' Taverna. The double shows up in the series, with Marianne riding mules up Kala Pigadia. 

That's definitely Marianne at the head of the mule train in the photo - she was there, yet nowhere in her memoir does she mention being there when those photos were shot. Why the secrecy? And why was LIFE creating a fake story around a group of artists on a Greek island?

There's the double, holding the key, coming out of Leonard's front door on Hydra, wearing Leonard's trademark clothing.  Had Leonard already left for America on October 1? .

Instead of the LIFE shoot, Marianne Ihlen describes an uneventful autumn together with Leonard on Hydra that year - minus her baby son, who was with her mother in Oslo. What was the point of sending her baby away, just as life had settled into a comfortable routine? She says she and Leonard left the island in November and drove north to Paris in the Karmann Ghia she and Axel had bought the year before. But the face in the photo on his Greek driver's license is not Leonard -- it's the double. 


Therefore he, not Leonard, probably drove Marianne back to Norway in November.  It would be easy to introduce the stranger to her mother as 'Leonard.'

Otherwise, that autumn, there would have been two Leonards on Hydra -- needless to say, it would have aroused suspicion.

That's weird, to say the least. It's not what we have been told. Marianne must have gone along with the whole charade, including the trip north with the faux Leonard. An unpublished poem in her memoir appears to describe the real Leonard's sudden departure by night:

For M.

I stayed awake to see you sleep
Some faces die of sleep
Mouths go limp
Gone eyes leave a corpse behind
Maybe I could say goodbye
But you were perfect
You were whole
Your mouth was saying
I won't ever hurt you
Eyelids saying
Be live be still
I got as far as the window
Something was wrong
The houses were too white
Cliffs too steep
What were the yards doing so clear
I wheeled around
I knew I had made a mistake
I tried to walk I ran
Everywhere I bumped my head
I was picking up prayerbooks
I kissed your sleep

1960



(Previously unpublished poem by Leonard Cohen)


 ************

Leonard Cohen had landed in London for the first time, in December 1959, moved into a boarding house where he began to write a novel, and soon got introduced to Jacob Rothschild.

That same autumn, Lee Harvey Oswald, future alleged assassin of John F. Kennedy, defected to Russia where he would remain for two and half years. Oswald likely was a double agent employed by the CIA to spy on the Russians. He arrived in Moscow on October 16, 1959.



This card, which connects Oswald to the CIA, was used to forge a selective service card for Oswald's double, Alex James Hidell, while Oswald was in Russia as an American civilian defector. Later he worked in New Orleans, posing as a left-wing Castro supporter, while hanging out with anti-Castro extremists. While Oswald was in Russia, in 1960-61 his alleged double was involved with activities connected to the Bay of Pigs invasion, including collecting armoured vehicles for CIA-sponsored landing on Cuba in April, 1961,


In April 1961, almost exactly a year after he had landed on Hydra, a bearded Leonard Cohen was arrested in Havana, Cuba, as a suspected CIA agent. This must have been the real Leonard Cohen, because he wrote a poem about his experience. He was released and escaped the country on a plane he managed to sneak onto at the airport. The incident got into the newspapers, embarrassing for Leonard. He claimed to have been in Havana as a tourist - although at the time he was short of money and could not afford to live on Hydra. His arrival in Cuba just happened to coincide with the American invasion.

***********




FURTHER RESEARCH:
H.P. Albarelli Jr. on Oswald's childhood in MKULTRA 


  
Two Went to Sleep

Two went to sleep
almost every night
one dreamed of mud
one dreamed of Asia
visiting a zeppelin
visiting Nijinsky
Two went to sleep
one dreamed of ribs
one dreamed of senators
Two went to sleep
two travellers
The long marriage
in the dark
The sleep was old
the travellers were old
one dreamed of oranges
one dreamed of Carthage
Two friends asleep
years locked in travel
Good night my darling
as the dreams waved goodbye
one travelled lightly
one walked through water
visiting a chess game
visiting a booth
always returning
to wait out the day
One carried matches
one climbed a beehive
one sold an earphone
one shot a German
Two went to sleep
every sleep went together
wandering away
from an operating table
one dreamed of grass
one dreamed of spokes
one bargained nicely
one was a snowman
one counted medicine
one tasted pencils
one was a child
one was a traitor
visiting heavy industry
visiting the family
Two went to sleep
none could foretell
one went with baskets
one took a ledger
one night happy
one night in terror
Love could not bind them
Fear could not either
they went unconnected
they never knew where
always returning
to wait out the day
parting with kissing
parting with yawns
visiting Death till
they wore out their welcome
visiting Death till
the right disguise worked

Leonard Cohen ~ 1964

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Liminalist # 134: Comparative Mythologies (Leonard Cohen’s Deep Background, with Ann Diamond)

 


 





Part one of a return conversation with Ann Diamond, on the second part of her Leonard Cohen book, Jasun’s book about John de Ruiter, being entwined with one’s subject, working towards forgiveness, Leonard Cohen celebration month, a Silvie Simmons event, Cohen wall murals and Masonic hand signals, hero worship & scapegoating, Hollywood pedophilia, erasing Kevin Spacey, a systemic reaction, removing the “bad apples,” comply or die, examining our conscious motives for writing an exposé, setting the record straight, breaking the trance state, the emperor’s clothes, the appeal of getting close to power, Cohen’s unknown dark side, the allure of mystery, putting the good side forward, concealing the shadow, metaphors that reveal and conceal, a perfect man, deep background, the Cohen archives, looking for clues in the discards, erasing traces, Cohen’s advancement through secret society ties, an unpublished novel, a trophy collector, a CIA cult, the Process Church in Montreal, John Roland Stahl and pedophilia, ritual murder on Mount Royal, the Op Café, Italian clean-up crews, a series of inflammatory charges, intuition vs. logic, the essence of contradiction, putting down the dark side, a heap of slag for the alchemical process, programmed to self-sabotage, tipping one’s hand to the handlers, narrative reversals, the limits of journalism, a useless source, the question of credibility, choosing one’s target audience. 



Friday, October 20, 2017

To Hell, and Back

I have no objection to going to Hell. But it can get mind-boggling, trying to reconcile all these opposites. Especially with computer problems that lasted into September.

So I'm behind in my deadline: September 30, 2017.  The day I was hoping to publish Part Two of the Leonard Cohen saga. The day Marilyn Manson was crushed by a toppling scaffold while singing "Sweet Dreams are made of this..."

Instead I spent the week reading about Hugh Hefner, who died on September 27. Then came Manson's accident, and the fall of Harvey Weinstein. Hollywood seems to be undergoing some sort of purge.

Meanwhile in Montreal, we have the ongoing apotheosis of Leonard Cohen. Two sides of the same coin. It's definitely closing time and I will definitely be wrapping up my story, just a little late.

Thank you for visiting and reading. There's more to follow at Occupy Leonard Cohen.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Op Cafe 1967

In 1967, Paul McCartney was dead and the Beatles released Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, on which we were introduced Paul's replacement, sometimes known as "Billy Shears" (seen here on right).

The new Paul looked nothing like the old Paul - I remember we all noticed he had aged, and grown a long face, but we were young at the time and could not imagine such a complicated deception. 

That Paul was replaced is undeniable fact, in my opinion. Just compare faces. The real Paul McCartney had died in the fall of 1966, under suspicious circumstances. By 1967 an enormous psy-op was underway that would target and transform my generation.

So what else happened in 1967?

Well, for one thing I had turned 16 and was living with my parents in a suburb of Montreal. Some of my friends were being drawn to the downtown scene, including the coffee houses and clubs where folk music was now the rage.

Also, Leonard Cohen moved back to Montreal that year (Marianne Ihlen moved there from Greece along with him) and was living not far from McGill University - a pattern he continued throughout his life. He had rented a modest flat at 3657 Aylmer which happened to be a few doors awat from a new coffee house, The Yellow Door, at 3625. The Yellow Door was a McGill social outreach project which became a Montreal institution. It's still there today.
Leonard was getting into music. This was even announced in the 1966 documentary, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen" - a strangely fawning NFB film by Donald Britten that bent over backwards to make Cohen appear to be a rising star, although he was 32 and past his due date by sixties standards. It was also announced on CBC by the lovely future Governor General herself, Adrienne Clarkson. That's how I saw Leonard for the first time, at age 15. He sang "The Stranger Song" and I was mesmerized. On that show, Leonard look a bit like Paul McCartney, eitherbecause everybody was trying to, or to appear younger, or because he wanted to associate himself with the British invasion.


He'd missed the boat as a novelist, and poetry was hardly a money-earner - but anything Leonard did garnered publicity in Canadian media circles. In retrospect, people might say he had a knack for self-promotion, and knew the right people. Which is true but it's not the whole story. Leonard always managed to put himself in the public eye, despite his famous humility, but there were also people in the background who wanted him to be visible.

In those days, he could be seen humbly perched on the steps of the Op Cafe around the corner from his new apartment on Aylmer. The Op Cafe  (later The Image) became a hippie hangout in about 1967, the summer of love, and attracted kids to downtown Montreal. Take a look at these photos from Kristian Gravenor's Coolopolis blog. Note how these photo feature some "alienated youth" who were growing their hair long, forming motorcycle gangs, exploring drugs and free love on the streets of North America. See the guy with the guitar. I think that's Leonard on the steps of the Op - whose somewhat tacky logo is clearly visible behind him.



In fact that block of flats had been bought up by the Nerenberg family whose son, Mark, was the director of the Yellow Door - that's a coincidence, I guess, but Montreal is small and tight like that and the same people show up everywhere owning everything.  A few years later, just after the 1970 October Crisis, I would move into a student coop two block east on  another street bought up by the Nerenbergs who were our slum landlords. I even joined the Milton-Parc Citizens Committee to fight their plan for demolition of cheap housing in our neighbourhood in order to build the giant complex known as La Cité, which now stands on the very site of the Op Café. 
Another Nerenberg - Albert - a McGill Daily editor and journalist who covered the 1990 Oka Crisis for the Montreal Mirror, came on my Facebook page about three years ago. He and his sock puppet troop took great offense to something I'd posted and were so aggressive I had to block them. Well, actually, all of them appeared to be Albert Nerenberg operating under fake identities. A self-described Laughologist, and professional hypnotist specialized in "mind control" and neurolinguistic programming - Albert was also involved with an internet site called Disinfo - but all this is another story. 
Back to that photo of Leonard on the steps with guitar and Beatle haircut. I think I discern the moustache he sported at the time. It's slightly blurred, like the photo which shows him serenading the alienated youth, seen sitting on the pavement because in those days no one cared if you sat down the the sidewalk especially if there was folk music in the air. Two hippies in the foreground appear to be doing their homework - they probably go to McGill which is a few blocks to the west. A filthy kerb with buses going by is a great place to write a term paper while taking in some hypnotic guitar playing. 

All this is happening around the corner from Leonard's new flat which is next to the Yellow Door  which is owned by McGill and down the street from the Allan Memorial Institute, also owned by McGill, home of Dr Cameron and his MKULTRA subproject 68 - on drugs, hypnosis and sleep. Do you notice any connections here? What are the chances that this new hangout was also connected to McGill? Doesn't "The Op" sound like a name these scientists might give to a café? 

It's 1967, not that long after Dr Cameron's McGill-based experiments had been shut down, and also around the time the notorious pshrink died suddenly of a heart attack while climbing a mountain - after which his files were seized by the CIA because they revealed he was experimenting on children in Montreal.
And as I keep telling you, Leonard was also a product of MKULTRA - he even said so at various times to various people. And here we see him humbly (albeit "hypnotically") serenading passersby on the steps of the Op Café, and at the threshold of a long career in music. He has been appearing in films (like The Ernie Game, where he also hypnotically serenades a group of stoned young people at a Westmount party) and on national television. He is recognizable to some Montrealers. That photo looks like it could have been snapped by a passing photographer who also recognized him.

Two other photos taken around the Op Café look professionally posed, and totally phony. Perhaps that's why they were never released. But they seem to tell a story. Thanks to Kristian Gravenor for sharing them!


Let's start with the one of the girl with perfect hair and Mary Quant outfit, whom I happen to recognize as the niece of a famous Canadian painter who painted those mysterious horses galloping at night down train tracks - you must have seen them. They're hanging in the National Gallery and elsewhere across Canada. In 1967, she was 14. 

Here she's artfully posed between two hungry-looking hippies with some fellow who looks like a plainclothes cop coming down the steps behind her. The message seems to be: underage girls, bikers and cops all come together on Park Avenue for a photo shoot to let Montrealers know there is a place called The Op Café where you can find all three.
 
These photos are a bit embarrassing. Why is this child - who looks older than 14 in the photos -- seen staring into the eyes of a young "biker"  who could be an actor or male model. Look at her hand tightly gripping the handle of his chopper. What is going on here?

A drug deal maybe? or is the precocious teen negotiating a price for sex? It looks as if the photographer took pains to set up the angle and position the actors for dramatic effect. And why were these fake photos taken - to announce a fake hippie scene going on down the Op Café? I'm guessing so.
The fact that there are no photos of real hippies or real young people milling around what was supposedly a very popular hangout, suggests that these staged photos were part of the operation - like the kind the CIA scientists used to set up in communities where they were operating special houses for experiments involving sex and LSD.




But maybe I'm just a suspicious old lady -- maybe I see things that weren't even there. Maybe I only imagine that's Leonard on the steps with his Beatle hair and oversize guitar and hint of a moustache? In those days Billy Shears aka Billy Campbell aka "Faul"  also wore one to disguise the fact that Paul was dead and he had replaced him.

A while back when I stumbled on that old interview and performance by Leonard on CBC TV in May 1966 - a few months before Paul's alleged death - I was struck seeing Leonard dressed up in that turtleneck under a jacket with a Beatle haircut (no moustache). Leonard told me more than once that he "never liked the Beatles" - but he adopted their image in his drive for recognition, and it worked.
Is that strange or ? Why would he do that, at the same time he was claiming not to know them or their music in another interview, saying he had only listened to their album Revolver on which liked the last song, "Tomorrow Never Knows" which many say is about Paul's death...

Close your eyes, float downstream... it is not dying....

Odd, that "floating downstream toward death" theme also comes up in the second part of Chelsea Hotel #1 - about the death (by heroin overdose) of Janis Joplin...

I guess what I'm saying is, there are many things in this story that don't quite add up, and suggest that in 1967 we witnessed the beginning of a very long-running hoax. In which Leonard was to play the role of the Anti-Beatle.