Monday, February 26, 2018

Was the CIA behind TLB?

Was the CIA behind TLB?

“Though I’m grateful for Vincent Bugliosi’s helter-skelter motive and the convictions it brought, I don’t buy into it for a second.  There’s something more, some deeper motive for the killings.”
- Doris Tate, mother of Sharon Tate, from the book Restless Souls.

I have no direct evidence that someone was controlling Charlie or telling him to start HS. Even if true, I don't know how such a control would be exerted.  On the other hand, there is more than enough circumstantial evidence that strongly suggests that Manson and Family were being 'managed' somehow by higher forces associated with the Government.

--The unusual nature of Charlie's PO in San Francisco
Somehow Charlie was assigned to Dr. Roger Smith, the world's most educated and overqualified parole officer, known for his lenient- to- non-existent supervision, and who apparently never had any other parolee to supervise other than Charlie.  His next job was to manage the "Amphetamine Research Project" run out of the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic.

 Dr. Roger Smith, aka "Jubal"

--The Researchers
The Family was a 'research' subject by the National Institute of Mental Health, via the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, while up in the Haight, at Spahn, and at Barker, whose researchers, while following the Family around, apparently didn't notice all the crimes being committed by the group.  And who were apparently never of interest to the investigators or Bugliosi, as there is no known interview of them.

--A 'Hands-off' policy on Charlie and Family before TLB

A poster on another forum neatly encapsulated the evidence:
poster LynyrdSkynyrdBand   April 5, 2013 seems perplexing that the Family could continue to function with so many of the group already known to, and wanted by, various branches of authorities.
The 16 August raid would net: Lutesinger - wanted for questioning regarding a recent murder. Grogan - an escapee from a local mental institution placed there after being charged with exposing himself to children (also with three recent arrests for Grand Theft Auto).
Good(e)- recently freed earlier that week on a charge of fraud. Manson - on federal parole, who had recently been questioned regarding separate assault, rape and murder investigations, and in addition was already on three years parole for his 28 July 1967 conviction for interfering with a police officer... Atkins - who was placed on probation after her 22 June 1968 drug possession (then and at the raid giving the same alias), and after her 30 September 1966 conviction for possessing a concealed weapon, she was also given parole for receiving and concealing stolen property before being extradited back to California to face federal charges of interstate transportation of stolen vehicles. DeCarlo was awaiting the appeal of his 1967 conviction and sentencing to five years for importing 11kg of marijuana across the USA-Mexican border in 1966, as well as an assault charge for his and Manson’s attack on DeCarlo’s wife, and the illegal registration of a fire-arm.

"It's like Manson had God on his side when all these things are going down, or else somebody was watching every move he made, somebody was controlling from behind the scenes. Somebody saw that no parole hold was placed. .. somebody very high up was controlling everything that was going on and was seeing to it that we didn't bust Manson."
   --Preston Guillory, ex-LASO Deputy who participated in the Spahn Ranch raid

One could also add the curious, unexplained failure of the Crowe homicide detectives to quickly implicate Charlie, and the curious, unexplained failure of the Hinman homicide detectives to go to Spahn to investigate.

Manson himself seems to have been aware of his 'special' status when he was released:

Charles Manson Now, by Marlin Marynick
"So, I go outside, and I go over to the music and the Grateful Dead is playing, and they put me on the witness program. Not because I snitched on somebody or betrayed a trust. ...but they've got me on the Federal Witness program. They say, "Leave this man alone, do not put him in jail in any direction whatsoever, he's the devil, and we can't control him, and we can't whip him, we can't beat him." "

"I was on the witness program, the State of California should of never bothered me. They should have stood down off of me. I didn't have anything to do with that, that wasn't my play. .. What happened there wasn't my play, it wasn't in my lane."

If Charlie thought he had immunity, either real or imagined, how might this have influenced Charlie in his decision to commit the life crimes?

--Intelligence operatives around the TLB case

There seem to be a large proportion of intelligence agents/covert operators associated with TLB:

Ed Butler   CIA
Propagated an op-ed piece in August 1969 titled “Did Hate Kill Tate,” in which he eerily presaged public awareness of Charlie's own Helter Skelter philosophy by blaming the deaths on the Black Panthers, even throwing in a reference to the Beatles.  He had previously recorded Lee Harvey Oswald before the JFK assassination to paint him as a Castro sympathizer..

Los Angeles County District Attorney Evelle Younger  ex-FBI, ex-OSS, Air Force Reserve Intel

Los Angeles County Sheriff Peter Pitchess  ex-FBI

Prosecuting Attorney Bugliosi  Army Intel?
(We know he was in the Army, but try to find out what his military occupational specialty was.)

Lt Col Paul Tate  Army Intel
I'm NOT suggesting he was involved, but the fact remains he was an intel guy.

Manson Family Documentarian Laurence Merrick(born Le'ev Lahav)  ex-IDF, Mossad?

Private Investigator Reeve Whitson  CIA?
-Excerpt from Sharon Tate - A Life by Ed Sanders
"Hatami told me he has no memory at all of Manson coming to the front door of Cielo Drive, but that the memory was suggested to him by an investigator named Reeve Whitson, who worked for both Col. Paul Tate and the prosecutor Vince Bugliosi."
The only reference to a Reeve Whitson online is to a CIA operative active in central America in the '80s.

LAPD James Jarrett  ex-Special Forces, CIA
Sinister spook/provacateur hovering around the edges of the TLB case.  May have been the source of the stolen "case of grenades" to be used in an alleged escape attempt by Charlie towards the end of the trial.

--The Role of the FBI in the investigation

There was a small FBI file on Manson, consisting mostly of newspaper clippings, which basically seems to proclaim that the FBI wasn't interested in the case, but there is evidence the Feds were far more involved than they are saying:

  -Statement by Millie McCormack, secretary in the Inyo County District Attorney's Office when Charlie and Family were arrested at Barker:  "Once an F.B.I. agent was showing her how he drew his gun from the holster."

  -Statement of Becky Binion, saying the FBI came into her father's Las Vegas casino to seize a photo of the Family taken there.

  -Statement by Debra Tate that she was interviewed by the FBI.

  -Message In A Shampoo Bottle By Mary Tannen 
"After the killings, the police and the F.B.I. went to see Torrenueva (hairstylist in Sebring's salon)."
Robert Hendrickson:
"I would like to add: It is entirely possible that the Manson Family was infiltrated by the F.B.I.
AND that Helter Skelter was influenced by same. YOU only have do some research into the F.B.I.s dealings with the Black Panthers to understand just how far the F.B.I. would go and MURDER was NOT a stop sign. It might also explain WHY Col Tate's hands were TIED."

--The Motive:  Killing the Counterculture

Cui Bono?
When solving a murder, one of the things investigators asked themselves is 'Cui Bono'-who benefits from this crime?  The only beneficiaries of TLB(other than home alarm companies and gun shops) were those in the establishment who wanted to demonize and neutralize the threat from the counter-culture, which arose as potent reaction to the Vietnam War.  And the CIA, of course, are the "go to" guys when conducting covert psy ops to make it happen.

  OPERATION CHAOS The CIA's War Against the Sixties Counter-Culture
Operation CHAOS... was the code name (CIA cryptonym) for an American domestic espionage project conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency from 1967 to 1974, established by President Johnson and expanded under President Nixon...

And, by all accounts, it worked:
The 1960s, the decade of love, came to an abrubt and bloody end when Charles Manson's 'family' murdered actress Sharon Tate and her friends. ... They were the murders that ended the 1960s, the decade of love, in a bloodbath that shocked the world.
--"The Manson murders sounded the death knell for hippies and all they symbolically represented," Bugliosi told the Observer last week. "They closed an era. The 60s, the decade of love, ended on that night, on 9 August 1969."

INTERVIEWS WITH BOBBY BEAUSOLEIL 1998-9  By Michael Moynihan for Seconds Magazine
Q:  These people had been freaked out about the entire youth culture for years, and aside from maybe a few drug casualties or a few minor incidents, they didn't have anything which they could really trot out in order to show how terrible this all was—and now they did. 
A:  Well, exactly. They were looking for that thing that could be used to hurt the movement, or to put it to bed, to rest—to kill it essentially. They wanted to kill the youth movement, and the Manson cases were ideally suited for that. If any one event can be said to represent the end of the counter-culture movement, it was that event. It was used as a tombstone, in a social context. It marks where the youth movement of the '60s was buried. It's really a tragic thing.

Can the "Helter Skelter," "Drug Burn," or "Copycat" theories of motive explain the curious facts of this case?  No, but the CIA theory can.  That's why I believe in it.


"For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known."
    --Luke 12:2

Sunday, February 25, 2018

No Scents Makes Sense

Thanks to MamapoohBear16 for the chuckle...

Monday, February 12, 2018

Randy Starr and The Creeping Terror

The saga of the Tate-LaBianca murders is more massive and complex than any novel by James Michener. The story spans years, locations, and events, and the cast of characters is perfect for the tale. They are varied, individual, interesting, and often quirky (to say the least). Even their names are perfect.  And certainly one person fitting into this murder-tinged mosaic would have been Randy Starr, the black-clad, one-armed cowboy/stunt man who worked at Spahn’s Movie Ranch when Charles Manson and his associates lived there in 1968 and 1969

Randy Starr was born as Joseph Vance Randall on December 13, 1931 in Illinois, USA. Not much is known about his early life, but upon reaching maturity he entered the United States Marine Corps and served as a Private First Class during the conflict in Korea from 1952 to 1954. Upon leaving the service he returned to the midwest. It was there, in Iowa, that Starr was involved in a farming accident wherein his left arm was run over by a tractor. The arm was rendered fairly useless as a result, and it dangled mangled at his side for the rest of his life.

Book from the Randy Starr series of boys adventure books published in the 1930s. It is not known if Joseph Randall was exposed to these books as a child and subsequently adopted the protagonist’s name as his movie alias. 

Although hindered by the loss of one arm Randall didn’t shy away from physical activity, and he eventually made his way to Los Angeles, changed his name to Randy Starr, and pursued a career in the movie and television industries as a bit actor and stunt man. When not  involved with some entertainment project Starr supported himself by working as a ranch hand at Spahn’s Movie Ranch. Starr was living in a trailer at the ranch when Charles Manson and his friends first appeared in the summer of 1968, and he would be present during their entire residency there, including when the murders of the summer of 1969 occurred.

Randy Starr

Randy Starr with George Spahn

Randy Starr publicity propaganda. An associate later wrote, “Randy's stunt gimmick was being dragged or dropped somewhere from a rope around his neck. Being dragged on the ground by a galloping horse was his signature stunt.”

Like everyone else at Spahn’s Ranch, Randy Starr was questioned by law enforcement officers investigating the Tate-LaBianca murders. And Starr made significant contributions to the case against Charles Manson. First, he said that the rope found at the Cielo Drive murder scene was “identical” to rope he had seen in the back of Manson’s dune buggy. More importantly, he identified the .22 caliber Buntline revolver used in the Tate murders as a gun he had once owned before giving it to Manson in exchange for a truck.

Starr testified at the Grand Jury that he saw Manson with a sword in late July of 1969, shortly after the Gary Hinman ear-slashing murder, and that Manson told him, “I cut a guy’s ear off with this.”

Starr also figured in the case during the famous visit to Spahn’s Ranch by Terry Melcher on May 18, 1969 when Melcher came to listen to Manson and his friends play music and sing with the possibility of arranging something professionally. Manson and the others played by the stream in the area behind and below the main ranch set. According to a later newspaper account, “When the group returned from the stream, [Melcher] said there was a strange encounter with a Hollywood stunt man who live at the ranch Randy Starr. He had a six-gun strapped to his waist.

“‘It was a little scary,’ [Melcher said]. ‘It looked like, you know, Dodge City and Marshall Dillon. Randy was going to draw on somebody and Charlie intervened. I think he hit Randy in the stomach and grabbed the gun. I’m glad he did.’”

While Randy star will likely be most remembered for the bit part he played in TLB, he also had a (very) minor show business career on his cosmic resume. A search of his name in the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb) results in a list of three cinematic projects that Starr worked on, one of which, The Creeping Terror, was supposedly partially filmed at Spahn’s Movie Ranch. From IMBd: “The Creeping Terror (1964), on which [Starr] was assistant director, was shot in part at the Spahn Ranch outside of Los Angeles, which was home to the notorious Manson Family, headed by the infamous Charles Manson. Starr later joined the "family", and after the Tate-LaBianca murders it was shown that Starr provided Manson with the gun used in the killings.”

Credit from The Creeping Terror listing Randy Starr as an Assistant Director

Given the inaccuracy of the blurb’s description of Starr’s relationship to “the notorious Manson Family” I wondered if the film was indeed shot at Spahn’s or whether this was just another Mansonian mirage. To find out, I took a look at the film myself. (You can too; it’s here. You can also read some detail about this ill-fated cinematic project in its Wikipedia entry here.)

The Creeping Terror is generally regarded as one of the worst movies ever made, and after viewing the film I would have to concur. Some movies are “good” bad, but this one is just bad bad. Pick any aspect of the production — writing, acting, directing, music, special effects — it’s all bad. (In fact, it’s bad enough that the folks at Mystery Science Theater 3000 had a go at it.) One particularly odd feature is that since the original soundtrack was apparently lost or destroyed a narrator explains much of the dialogue that is clearly going on but cannot be heard. The film’s only redeeming quality is that it is just over an hour long.

Al Lewis (the same name as the actor who played Grandpa on The Munsters television program) is listed in the credits. I didn’t see him when I viewed the film, but I will not watch it again to see if he’s there. Perhaps one of our readers can confirm Grandpa’s presence and add that factoid to the endless encyclopedia of TLB trivia. (Terror is not listed among Lewis' IMDb credits.)

Al Lewis as Grandpa Munster

(Since Manson was incarcerated at the McNeil Island federal penitentiary in 1964 when Terror was filmed it would have been impossible for him and Lewis to have connected at that time. But Lewis eventually did meet Manson, as he recalled in this 2010 article: "In California in [the late sixties] the estimate was that there were at least half a million runaways from the age of eight on, drifting to California. Every Friday I used to have about fifty [to] sixty kids who would wait for me on Sunset Boulevard and I'd take them all to dinner. All runaways. That's how I met Charlie Manson. He wanted to be in the music business. He babysat my three kids ... I met him in front of the Whiskey-A-Go-Go on Sunset Boulevard. He sat for four or five hours, he amused the kids, he brought the guitar and he played, no big deal, no sweat.”)

One interesting feature of Terror is a perhaps prescient “Hootenanny” scene of a young man with a guitar playing for a group of pretty young girls in a meadow. (Like their real-life 1968-69 counterparts, they are all devoured by a monster.)

Many scenes occur at a location described as “Lovers Lane,” which was the actual name of the road leading from the main western set to the back ranch house when Manson and his friends lived there. Is this a case of life imitating art?

Although there is no sign of the western set, many of the outdoor scenes in Terror look like they could have been filmed at Spahn’s, especially near the end. But then, just when you’re thinking, “Yeah, that looks like it could be the ranch,” at the 108.50 mark the characters unmistakably drive past the Outlaw Shacks. No question; case closed.

Above and below, the Outlaw Shacks in The Creeping Terror and Will You Die For Me?

Randy Starr had two more films to his credit after The Creeping Terror. Both were released posthumously. The first was Machismo: 40 Graves for 40 Guns, released in 1971. Starr appears in this film as a bit player described in credits as a “roper.”

Movie poster for Machismo: 40 Graves for 40 Guns

Starr’s last cinematic moment was in Hard On The Trail, which was released in 1972 and is described in IMBd as “a hardcore pornographic film.” I was not able to find this film, so I can't say whether it is actually “hardcore” or is more of a Ramrodder type of soft-core breast fest.

Above and below, movie poster for Hard On The Trail and Randy Starr’s billing

Randy Starr died unexpectedly on August 4, 1970, shortly after the trial of Charles Manson and his co-defendants began. Starr had been anticipated as an important witness for the prosecution because his testimony could have placed the murder weapon (gun) used at the Polanski residence in Manson’s hands. Although the sudden death appeared mysterious and suspicious initially, it was soon revealed that Starr died of “acute purulent meningitis due to or as a consequence of left otitis media and mastoiditis, acute.”  (In other words, he died of an ear infection that spread to his brain.)

Randy Starr’s obituary in the Los Angeles Times

From the Van Nuys Valley News

Upon his death Randy Starr reverted to his original identity and was buried at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in Lemay, Missouri (2900 Sheridan Street, St. Louis, MO)  Section 1, Site 2262.

Randy Starr’s military grave

(Thanks to Deb S. for the clarifying info on the arm!)