The Sham Counterculture

It has been a while since I posted. Major life changes, a short illness and a sad loss. Starting again from square one. That sort of thing. Onward and upward. Resilience is a learned skill.

With the Beatles’ Sargeant Pepper album turning fifty, this month, the sixties counterculture is back in the news and the album itself once again at the top of the charts, bathed in a thick layer of rose-tinted nostalgia. While undoubtedly a great work of art, what it presaged may have been a campaign of pure population manipulation, for political and commercial ends, according to the book “Drugs as Weapons Against Us” by the author John L. Potash. Some of the artists may have been unwitting tools in a deeper plan with a darker agenda; caught up in it, rather than the orchestrators of it. Others were evidently knowing accomplices who regarded their fans with pure contempt.

The hippie counterculture meant something to me. It represented hope for a more peaceful, harmonious, inclusive world that respected diversity, rather than tried to eliminate it. The prominent musicians of that period were heroes of mine and I aspired to make music for people, just like they did. It was a guiding light and a goal, in my life. To be confronted with substantial evidence that all may not have been as it seemed is pretty uncomfortable. All the more reason why it should be taken seriously.

The idea of social justice seems so obviously, self-evidently desirable, to most rational human beings, so it’s hard to imagine anybody could actively, tenaciously pursue social injustice, yet that’s precisely what the oligarchs in our society do and they’re serious about it. They’re willing to apply much more violence, to uphold inequality, than any leftist activist group would ever dare contemplate. Their targets? Any activist with leftist, humanist views – the sorts of positions that most would regard as virtuous common sense. The oligarchy’s project is to farm us like domestic animals, for gain, not protect us from harm and allow us to live good lives, to our fullest human potential. Their project is essentially insane and this is the reason most rational people fail to give it its due credence.

According to Potash, the sixties hippie culture was CIA sponsored, organised and funded. Far from being a grass-roots movement of enlightened idealists, it was a covert, purposeful campaign to neuter threats to the reigning, privileged oligarchy, replacing activism with apathy. Because these oligarchs are “old money”, obtained initially from the opium trade of the eighteenth century, they know the power of attacking the collective mind with psychoactive, addictive drugs, they have no qualms about doing so (having gotten away with it for over a century) and they profit from the extended distribution and consumption of the opiates they still control. 

Far from wanting people to eschew drugs, as was the official government line, the counterculture was little more, in truth, than a big marketing campaign, on behalf of the oligarchy, to make mind-altering drugs mainstream, which is what they have become. Consequently, an entire generation has subjected themselves to induced psychoses, rendering them compliant and ineffectual at bringing about genuine social change. Meanwhile, the power and wealth of the oligarchy families has amplified exponentially.

The mainstream media played along, having long been infiltrated by the CIA, almost universally, as evidenced by revelations that have emerged about Project Mockingbird. They played their dutiful part in glamorising drug use, by their adulation of the rock stars that appeared to promote it. It was the advertising wing of the big opiates marketing campaign, all orchestrated by the CIA. Its sole purpose was to get an entire generation hooked and de-politicised.

The implications are staggering and sobering. The music of the counterculture wasn’t offered to you because it represented innovation, fresh ideas, revolution, mind-expansion, imagination, quality or edification of the audience. Those pulling the strings treated rock, jazz and folk musicians of the period and their devoted audiences with sheer contempt, as if they had a legitimate right and licence to do so; smug in their assumed, conservative, opulent, privileged superiority. Here was a class of wealthy and powerful people asserting their sense of their own self-importance over an entire population of ordinary young adults. They’re still doing it.

When you consider the documented degree of influence the CIA exerted over the record companies, radio stations, even the promotion and organisation of music events like Woodstock and Monterrey, you come to understand that successful artists weren’t selected and promoted on the basis of their artistic merit and their ideals. Instead, their designated role was to promote mind-affecting drugs. What was never admitted was that the mind alterations were long-lasting, fast-acting and permanent, leading to life-long cognitive impairment and disability. We were being programmed to eat substances that would turn us insane, by degrees. Why? So we wouldn’t make trouble for the oligarchy, while simultaneously enriching them.

The only reachable conclusion is that the music industry was and is a wholly rigged game. It has nothing whatsoever to do with artistic merit and never was. For those of us aspiring to make exciting, original, contemporary music, unless we could bring audiences closer to drugs, we were never going to get a break. Thinking we might be successful on the strength of our musical output alone, it turns out, was delusional. Art was comprehensively hijacked and subverted.

We were sold a false bill of goods. The marketing campaign promised that mind-altering substances would lead to enlightenment and contentment. Where did all the peace and love go? Where are the fruits of all the LSD-fuelled consciousness expansion? The cupboard is bare. We got nothing. We’re as subject to right-wing, conservative, reactionary ideas of conquest and machismo as we ever were – perhaps even more so. The wars haven’t ended, but the scale of civilian atrocities has markedly increased. The wealthy and powerful are wealthier and more powerful than ever.

The book is full of credible evidence. Take this direct quote from Los Angeles Police Department narcotics detective Michael C. Ruppert, for example: “As a matter of national policy, set at the National Security Council—the White House—elements of the CIA, in concert with elements of the military, and other federal agencies, have dealt drugs to Americans for at least three decades. Major defense contractors have also engaged in such traffic.”

The extent to which psychoactive substances have been used to further political and wealth accumulation agendas has been historically severely underestimated. Best-selling author Norman Ohler has unearthed a little-known element of WWII history: how drugs like cocaine and crystal meth played a crucial role in the successes and failures of the Third Reich. Adolf Hitler was hailed by his admirers as an exemplar of good health – a non-smoking, teetotal vegetarian. In fact, he was receiving regular injections from his doctor, Theo Morell. These injections contained a cocktail of methamphetamines, animal hormones, and opiates. They kept Hitler in a continuous state of chemical euphoria, and his war generals became convinced their Fuhrer had a secret weapon that would win them the war. If this could be done to the ruler of what was supposed to be a thousand year Reich, you have to wonder who really pulled the strings. Is it beyond imagining that the old money dynasties, whose wealth was built on opiates, were somehow implicated? Author Antony C. Sutton has written extensively on the matter.

If drugs have been used as weapons against us, as Potash asserts, then it follows that there is no sincere, well-intentioned war on drugs. That’s a big marketing campaign to bamboozle us too. There is only a war on drugs users. At the top of the drug pushing heirarchy, the oligarchs are to be found, according to the author. 

Another quote from the book, attributed to the late investigative writer and political analyst Carl Oglesby, states: “What we have to contemplate nevertheless is the possibility that the great American acid trip, no matter how distinctive of the rebellion of the 1960s it came to appear, was in fact the result of a despicable government conspiracy.… If U.S. intelligence bodies collaborated in an effort to drug the entire generation of Americans, then the reason they did so was to disorient it, sedate it, and de-politicize it.”

When I was a kid, one of my favourite bands was from Melbourne; a place I barely knew. There was a song on their debut album “Living in the Seventies” about the protests concerning the Vietnam war. The song was “Whatever Happened to the Revolution?” The response to the titular lyric call is, “We all got stoned and it drifted away”. In the context of the Carl Oglesby quote, the lyric has a disturbing ring of truth.

It came to light that the FBI also ran a programme of domestic counter-intelligence against musicians. The following quotation Is taken from a section on the FBI Cointelpro strategy. The memorandum detailed many tactics used against political musicians. It instructed agents: “Show them as scurrilous and depraved. Call attention to their habits and living conditions, explore every possible embarrassment. Send in women and sex, break up marriages. Have members arrested on marijuana charges. Investigate personal conflicts or animosities between them. Send articles to the newspapers showing their depravity. Use narcotics and free sex to entrap. Use misinformation to confuse and disrupt. Get records of their bank accounts. Obtain specimens of their handwriting. Provoke target groups into rivalries that may result in death.”

If that FBI quote doesn’t in some way characterise the story of the vast majority of bands and musicians that have made it big, since the sixties, I don’t know what does. It says something about how the authorities, under instruction from the oligarchs, view both the artists and their audiences. Their contempt is barely concealed. Can you name a single music artist, with activist leanings, that hasn’t been enmeshed in one (or many) of these psycho-drama traps? Are you sure that those disruptive events happened to those musicians’ lives as pure happenstance, or could agents provocateur have had something to do with it?

The middle, heavy section of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody says:

“So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye? So you think you can love me and leave me to die?”


Perhaps it was an unintended consequence of the brain-damaging CIA drugs marketing campaign, but the result of providing a means for drug-promoting or debauchery-positive musicians to create their music is that they somehow created artistic works of genuine, lasting beauty. Far from being disposable heroes, making ephemeral, worthless art, they instead, against the odds, left us with some monumental works of artistry that have stood the test of time.

What remains, after all the dirty tricks, manipulation, thought control and debilitation, is the love and passion. Their work had integrity and authenticity. Dead rock stars are admired for that. We came together, as a community, in appreciation of that art. The music, against the script and unexpectedly, gave us solidarity, which we have so far failed to use in the service of obtaining social justice. Shame on us.

The faceless, secret agents, on the other hand – losers to a man (or woman); mere tools of wealth and power – are largely forgotten, having left no creative legacy whatsoever. They’re the real nowhere men, who wasted their lives in the service of upholding illegitimate privilege. They have blood on their hands and nothing to show for it. They might as well have never been born, for all they made of their potential.

The trail of dead musicians, whose suspicious deaths, at the prime of their lives, were never thoroughly investigated, because people were only too willing to believe the “hopeless junkie” stereotype promulgated by the mainstream media, is quite chilling. Think of the artists we lost. Imagine the art they might have yet produced. Consider that they may have, in fact, been murdered, to keep us all in line, craving security and protection from people that were actually a mortal threat to us. This never ended. It’s with us still.

Potash has written quite a chilling and disturbing book, which changes forever how we regard popular culture and the music industry. Even if shown to be true, though, few would believe it. Even writing it down makes no difference. It seems too fantastic to believe, despite the weighty evidence presented. Most just don’t want to know. People simply want to be left in peace. The oligarchs, in reality, have won. They’ve achieved what they wanted. It all turned out the way it was planned.

As an artist confronted with an industry whose sole purpose appears to be to create widespread political apathy and cognitive impairment, in order to keep us all under control, living in comparative misery, what should you do? Fight it? Comply with it, for fame? Can you dance with this devil? Many literally died trying.

My advice is to make your art for the joy of sharing an aesthetic experience. Forget stardom. It’s not worth being seen as a threat to entrenched interests. Leave them to it. Make your music, share it and call that your accomplishment. Don’t become a marketing tool for a dark agenda.Young artists ought to have a reasonable expectation of their lives and careers not being interfered with, or ruined, by people determined to protect their wealth and privilege. Sadly, if the book is correct, that’s not an expectation that can be met by the present-day music industry. You’re best off avoiding it altogether.

In response to a question about a particular high-profile groupie, the musician Julian Cope said, “Free us from Nancy Spungen-fixated, heroin A-holes, who cling to our greatest rock groups and suck out their brains.”

Australian historian Carl Trocki, an expert analyst of South East Asian affairs, noted: “Opium created pools of capital and fed the institutions that accumulated it: the banking and financial systems, the insurance systems and the transportation and information infrastructures…. Drug trades destabilized existing societies … they have the power to undercut the existing political economy of any state. They have created new forms of capital; and they have redistributed wealth in radically new ways.” This is the true business of the oligarchs and why they spend a small fraction of that wealth to control popular culture and the mainstream media completely. This is why they need to convince you to both consume their product and leave the entire business edifice they have created alone. This is how and why they farm you.

At some point, the oligarchs will overplay their hand, without anybody else doing anything. Nobody will even need to lift a finger. The revolution will inevitably come because their plan is unsustainable, given its scale. They’re trying their luck. Attempting to quell rebellion against the unacceptable, through violence and subterfuge, only delays the inevitable. Their time is running out and all the rest of us need do is watch and wait. They’re on a path to self-destruction.

Meanwhile, the music they funded to distract and damage us has given us solidarity with each other. Fans are a community. As the fiftieth anniversary re-release of Sgt. Pepper’s so amply demonstrates, we are many and they are few. Share the love. We should take back our art and our popular culture and use it to edify and enlighten, rather than degrade, abuse and prey upon people.

Obsessed as they are with power, control and wealth accumulation, the day will come when the oligarchs will realise they need the rest us to save them. They need to keep us ignorant, entertained, divided and, above all else, subservient. What if we do the opposite and, through music, become aware, engaged, united and, above all else, sovereign and dignified?

We, the ordinary, common people, simply want to live in a peaceful world, where kindness, freedom, integrity and happiness abound, instead of corruption, deceit, scarcity, hatred and greed. We don’t have to take the drugs. We need not accept degradation as inevitable.

The choice is ours.


About tropicaltheartist

You can find out more about me here: There aren’t many people that exist in that conjunction of art, design, science and engineering, but this is where I live. I am an artist, a musician, a designer, a creator, a scientist, a technologist, an innovator and an engineer and I have a genuine, deep passion for each field. Most importantly, I am able to see the connections and similarities between each field of intellectual endeavour and apply the lessons I learn in one discipline to my other disciplines. To me, they are all part of the same continuum of creativity. I write about what I know, through my blogs, in the hope that something I write will resonate with a reader and help them enjoy their own creative life more fully. I am, in summary, a highly creative individual, but with the ability to get things done efficiently. Not all of these skills are valued by the world at large, but I am who I am and this is me. The opinions stated here are my own and not necessarily the opinion or position of my employer.
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