If you ever want to explore the role of intel in spreading LSD around the globe, Ronald Hadley Stark might be a good place to start since he was one of those super spooks who could dance through raindrops and not catch a drop. And he’s also got an interesting British component for those fascinated by possible MI6 ops. Stark seems to have picked up his style while visiting Tavistock. At one point he tried to recruit fellow Tavistock associate R.D. Laing into playing the role of psychedelic messiah leading world revolution. Laing wisely rejected that part, so Stark went off to America to seek out Timothy Leary, who was a spook at heart himself, always playing all sides against the middle and attempting to navigate the ladders of intrigue and power.
Leary had been thrown out of his cushy retreat at the old Mellon mansion in upstate New York horse country, and had landed penniless in Laguana Beach, seeking refuge in the heart of hippie culture. Hippies, you see, were birthed on the West Coast beaches, offspring of surfing, marijuana, rock’n’roll and Jack Kerouac.
The real hippie messiah was Johnny Griggs (on the right with flower in ear), who created a wild west scene free from police intervention in a canyon near Laguna Beach, a community where every third house was used to stash kilos when necessary. Griggs had been a typical juvenile delinquent into cars, motorcycles and guns, but transformed after one acid trip, throwing away his revolver and preaching universal love from that point on. He had a heart chakra that could bowl you over and he created the Brotherhood of Eternal Love based on Leary’s advice. The Brotherhood was very spiritual and very successful financially, although many members took a dislike to Leary when he began hitting on their wives behind their backs. Leary was a martini drinking meat eater, while the Brothers were non-drinking vegetarians, and deep into the worship of Mother Earth. Leary copped their style, not the other way around. Suddenly, Leary was wearing silk robes with a flower behind his ear. Yeah, he even copped the flower from Griggs’ ear.
Suddenly Griggs dies mysteriously of a build-up of fluid in his lungs after injesting a synthetic drug provided by a underground chemist. Leary, meanwhile, is jailed on trumped-up charges and given a lengthy sentence. That’s when Stark shows up at the Brotherhood hideout with more LSD than anyone even thought existed on the planet, way more than any underground chemist would make at one time because sentences are based on doses and we are talking millions of doses of Orange Sunshine. This happened in 1969, just around the time street acid became cheap and plentiful, although many would soon long for that old Owsley acid, finding the new versions too speedy and mentally unsettling. Stark wanted to use profits from Orange Sunshine to bust Leary out of jail, a mission he paid the Weather Underground to carry out, leading to speculation that revolutionary group may have been fomented by intel to incite violence and demonize the peaceful hippie counterculture.
Stark schooled the Brotherhood on how to make big money and operations expanded considerably. He had a manual he always carried, a novel by Robert Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Stark identified with the revolutionary leader Professor Bernardo de la Paz, someone modeled on autarchist Robert LeFevre, although I see shades of Adam Weishaupt. Knowing how easy it is to penetrate and subvert revolution from within, the Professor employs the familiar cell system: “Organization must be no larger than necessary — never recruit anyone merely because he wants to join. As to basic structure, a revolution starts as a conspiracy; therefore structure is small, secret and organized as to minimize damage by betrayal—since there are always betrayals.” Of course this has always been standard operating procedure for all intelligence organizations. The Professor was also a whiz in code-making, something Stark also apparently excelled in.
We’ll never know all the various drug operations, revolutions and terror events Stark may have been involved with, but he was a global character and connected with remarkable people wherever he went. He ended up in jail in Italy for a few months, although he may have been placed there to provide surveillance on a terror-drug group inside, or just to better school that group on operations procedures when they were released, or maybe he was busted for real by an anonymous phone call while holding several hundred kilos of cannabis in his hotel room. If so, that was the only betrayal Stark ever suffered from, the only time he felt a raindrop. In any event, Stark was eventually able to talk himself out of that prison by convincing a judge he worked for the CIA. Or maybe it was the sudden death of the previous judge who’d denied that plea that was so convincing?
At one time, Stark had access to a brownstone near Washington Square Park, in a hidden and very exclusive alley, completely private and heavily secure. David Rockefeller lived across the street. Inside, the walls were covered with the paintings of old masters. I suspect this belonged to Richard Mellon Scaife or his younger cousin Billy Mellon Hitchcock, Leary’s benefactor for a time. I don’t think we’ll ever get to the bottom of who Stark was. But he did have some connection to The Process Church of Final Judgment, that British splinter group from Scientology that became the spookiest of all the weird cults in the late sixties, heavily involved with Hitler worship. And the Process influenced the recently released Charlie Manson upon his arrival in the Haight, straight out of prison, and Manson soon began spouting apocalyptic dogma. That was Process Church speak Charlie was spouting, mixed in with bits of Scientology and satanism.
There seems to be another world out there, completely hidden and comprised of spooks and their mind control robots, and they conduct operations through cut-outs like the Process Church. But people like Stark will always be just burn layers no matter how high they climb the ladder. They’ll never be accepted inside the oligarchy. I find it strange Heinlein wrote a book supposedly referencing Robert LeFerve, a right-wing, pacifist revolutionary, someone who created a small private school that graduated both Kerry Thornley and Charles Koch.
Was Stark a Tavistock robot and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress a key to his programming? We’ll likely never know for certain.