Skilluminati Research

Ronald Hadley Stark: The Man Behind the LSD Curtain

Posted Dec 02, 2010 36 comments

Hippie Mafia Wanted Poster

"...revolutions are not won by enlisting the masses. Revolution is a science for the few who are competent to practice it. It depends on correct organisation and above all, on communications." -- Robert Heinlen

Ronald Hadley Stark LSD11/30/11 -- The curse of doing research out here in Weirdoland is that the really fascinating people are nearly impossible to do research on. For instance, when you're covertly running the world's largest LSD manufacturing and smuggling operation for the CIA, you're not going to be doing interviews in Newsweek or publishing an autobiography. That's precisely the problem with Ronald Hadley Stark, who is one of the most insane characters in the history of LSD -- and that's really saying something, don't you think?

This article has been updated considerably since I first published it. Stark's life story is beyond belief, so I think it's important to be meticulous. There are, no doubt, still hundreds of errors here.

For anyone unfamiliar with the tangle of political, scientific, cultural and covert forces behind spread of LSD, this article could get confusing. Ronald Stark is a central figure in David Black's book ACID: A Secret History of LSD, but the best overall introduction to this material would be Acid Dreams, by Lee & Shlain. It's short and very readable, laying out the overall history in clear terms. For more serious seekers, I highly recommend HP Albarelli's masterpiece, A Terrible Mistake, which is meticulously documented and considerably broader than mere LSD history.


The Super-Context

Stark had been working with US intelligence agencies for at least 9 years by the time of his most infamous moment, a legendary meeting with the "hippie mafia" drug syndicate called The Brotherhood of Eternal Love. (no joke.) They were looking for a new supplier and Stark kicked off the meeting by showing them a kilogram of liquid LSD -- for US readers, that's 2.2 pounds of acid. Needless to say, his resume was persuasive. He claimed to have a dedicated lab in France, but it's his political philosophy that really makes Stark such an interesting character:

"He had a mission, he explained, to use LSD in order to facilitate the overthrow of the political systems of both the capitalist West and communist East by inducing altered states of consciousness in millions of people. Stark did not hide the fact that he was well connected in the world of covert politics."

The Brotherhood was sufficiently impressed to bring Ronald Stark into the fold, and what followed was the Golden Era of cheap, high-quality LSD. From 1969 through 1973, Stark and the Brotherhood dosed a generation and got away with it, too.


According to a figure quoted by everyone and verified by nobody, Stark made 20 kilograms of LSD in his career. Hippie lore generally gives Owsley Stanley the crown of the Acid King, but by Stanley's own estimates, his total production was a half kilogram. That might not sound like much -- but it adds up to over 5 million hits of acid. You can see why the Army and Navy were so interested in this compound: it is unusually powerful as drug molecules go.

Although the LSD story is closely associated with the Sandoz pharmaceutical corporation in Switzerland, most of the CIA's supply was actually domestic. Since at least 1954, the Eli Lilly Company was working under secret contract to keep the various MKNAOMI and ARTICHOKE research projects stocked up with magic mindfuck juice. The figures on their total LSD output are classified.

David Black: "Before clinching the deal with the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, Stark had been making some contacts in England among the radical psychiatry movement of R.D. Laing and the Tavistock Institute."

Obviously this was a big money business, and organized crime involvement was inevitable. Since small batches of LSD have a literally exponential commercial profit margin, technical expertise was highly rewarded. Consider the case of Clyde Apperson, a specialist in quickly setting up a fully functional manufacturing lab just about anywhere. More importantly, he could take them down even faster. For set-up, Apperson would charge $100,000 in cash -- take downs were only $50,000. He was finally busted working in the infamous abandoned missile silo with William Leonard Pickard in 2000.


Everyone's always getting busted, though. The history of LSD is full of incredibly intelligent men making highly stupid decisions. Yet through it all, from Operation Julie to the Sand-Scully case, Ronald Stark just kept on trucking. He was a calculating cameo artist: always on the scene, never holding the bag.

Until he suddenly was: "Whatever game Stark was playing took an abrupt turn in February 1975 when Italian police received an anonymous phone call about a man selling drugs in a hotel in Bologna. A few days later at the Grand Hotel Baglioni they arrested a suspect in possession of 4,600 kilos of marijuana, morphine, and cocaine. The suspect carried a British passport bearing the name Mr. Terrence W. Abbott. Italian investigators soon discovered that "Mr. Abbott" was actually Ronald Stark."-- Source: Acid Dreams, pg. 213

Ronald Hadley Stark AKA Terrence W. Abbott

Terrence W. Abbott was holding a genuine British passport, number 348489A, which was issued in 1973. The story of how he got it will never be told -- British intelligence refused to release his files. The FBI refused to share their files on him with the DEA's investigation, and the US State Department has actively interfered with many foreign attempts to extradite or prosecute Stark. The man led a charmed life.

"...the picture of Stark's activities began to broaden with the discovery of a vial of liquid and a cache of papers kept in a Rome bank deposit box. The vial was sent for forensic examination. The scientists reported back that they could not precisely identify the drug it contained. At best, they put it close to LSD. Perhaps it was the synthetic THC Stark had dreamt of creating; the papers included formulae for the synthesis. There were also plans for the bulk purchase of hemp seeds and calculations for shipments, investments and plant installation. Some of the papers went back to the Brotherhood days but they gave no details of his LSD operations after the Belgian episode. They did show that his range of interests in the drug world had expanded to include narcotics. There were details of the synthesis of cocaine." Source: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love


Stark's time in Italy is the strangest and bloodiest chapter of his odd history. Although most accounts frame his 1975 arrest as a "bust," one commentator who does not is worth mentioning here: Phillip Willan. His view of Stark is shaped not by LSD folklore, but through earnest journalism and research into the history of political terrorism in Italy. The Ronald Stark that Willan presents is not a drug lord getting taken down, so much as an intelligence asset deliberately changing venues.

Willan: "Stark's arrest in Italy was prompted by a mysterious phone call to the police and he seems quite happy to go to prison, where his time was gainfully employed in winning the confidence of captured Red Brigades leaders, given that he turned down the opportunity of bail in August 1978."

Stark was no mere snitch, though. He was actively setting up infrastructure, teaching the principles of operational security and preaching the virtues of the "cell" structure. "He also provided them with a cryptographic system for coded radio communications," Willan says, although it should be assumed that Stark was also passing that system on to his secret employers. Prison records show that he met with Italian police and intelligence agents many times while he was networking there. It was in Italy that a large part of Ronald Stark's operation collapsed into the visible world. The facts that emerged are an education in covert warfare and intelligence operations.

Some Heavy Dudes

Howard Marks | Mr Nice

"...his preferred to keep his range of contacts ignorant of each other's activities. Oftentimes he concealed the fact he was an American. His European associates were not privvy to his affairs in Africa, and those in Asia knew little about his work in the states. The brothers, for example, had no idea he was running a separate cocaine ring in the Bay Area." -- Acid Dreams, pg 250

Researching Roland Stark, I was reminded of people like Porter Goss, Henry Karl "Andijra" Puharich, or Barry Seal: it is unreal how much this guy got around. He stayed in close contact with the founders of "The Process Church of the Final Judgement," which is another hub in the Dark Network of occult history.

They began as a splinter group who broke ranks from Scientology, which meant they were waging spiritual war with L. Ron Hubbard from 1965 through 1974, which was a pretty bad year for "The Teacher," Robert DeGrimston. He was booted from his own cult and his wife divorced him on her journey to starting a successful chain of "Best Friends" animal shelters. (No joke.)


All of which sounds way more lurid than it was. Stark was ultimately a drug dealer so beyond being Very Interesting, his link with the Process Church doesn't imply any shared philosophy...and doesn't exclude it, either. The oddball sociologist William Sims Bainbridge studied the group for months, and he didn't exactly make it sound like a blood magick sacrifice: "there was no violence and no indiscriminate sex, but I found a remarkably aesthetic and intelligent alternative to conventional religion." Then again, the Solar Temple was full of wealthy and sophisticated people who held refined parties and had very high-level conversations right up until the mass murder, mass suicide thing.

(For considerably more detail on the Process, refer to the Bainbridge essay Social Construction from Within: Satan's Process.)

Timothy Leary TANSTAAFL

Timothy Leary was a perfect avatar for the Age of Horus: playful, brilliantly creative and blissfully unaware of the bad consequences he was unleashing. Although there is little evidence to tie Leary himself to the drug smuggling and merchandising activities of the Brotherhood, there is no question he quickly became the spiritual center of the group. For what it's worth, Leary himself downplayed their significance:

LEARY: "The whole concept of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love is like a bogeyman invented by the narcs. The brotherhood was about eight surfer kids from Southern California, Laguna Beach, who took the LSD, and they practiced the religion of the worship of nature, and they'd go into the mountains. But they were not bigshots at all. None of them ever drove anything better than a VW bus. They were just kind of in it for the spiritual thrill."

Maybe so -- but probably not. In September 1970, Leary escaped from prison in a complicated deal exposing just how serious the Brotherhood network had become. Money from Ronald Stark was paid to the Weather Underground, which is the precise point where the "hippie mafia" became connected to actual hippie terrorists. Leary himself wound up in Algeria under the (very) armed watch of Eldridge Cleaver, himself in exile. A year later, Leary and his wife were in Switzerland, living under the protection of the arms dealer Michel Hauchard. For a story about spiritual thrills, there's definitely a lot of guns involved here.

Weather Underground Wanted Poster

At one point, though, maybe the Brotherhood really was just a group of hippies with a couple trunks full of weed. The Weather Underground were harmless student activists for awhile, too. Once Stark was brought into the Brotherhood, he quickly took change of the entire operation, establishing secure shipments and managing every aspect of their finances. "Stark warned them that buying real estate openly, as they had done, was much too risky -- but his lawyers could remedy the situation by hiding ownership in a maze of shell companies."

This is a repeated pattern in Stark's operations: he is always ready to create an organization where none exists. After Owsley got busted and the Brotherhood went international, many of the original bay area chemists got wise to what Stark was really doing. "We were definitely very gullible in believing the stuff he told us," as poor Tim Scully would later observe.

The Brotherhood got plugged into Stark's global underground very quickly: massive marijuana imports from the Middle East, shadow bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, and he was somehow micro-managing everything. Once he had flooded the West Coast with Afghan weed, Stark turned his attention to New York City, which was completely unprepared for the sheer quantity the Brotherhood supplied. From distribution to organizing street-level dealers, Stark was there, establishing Ordo Ab Chao is his own specific way.

Howard Marks Mr Nice

Skilluminati readers may already be familiar with Mr. Nice, the Welsh arms trader and Hashish entrepreneur who paved the pipeline that brought Afghanistan's finest exports into the hands of hippies and other connoisseurs all around the world. His real name is Howard Marks and his pioneering work in cultural exchange was the foundation for everything from the Cannabis Cup to Afghanistan's ongoing civil war, although of course neither was actually Howard's fault. Unlike Stark, he's made a modest living telling colorful and contrite stories of his drug dealing days. Part of the Mr. Nice gig, of course, is that he swears he's never used violence or trafficked in "hard drugs" -- which was probably an even bigger factor in his early retirement than getting busted by the DEA. Afghanistan, of course, got very heavy very quick and Mr. Nice was steamrolled out of the picture in short order.

Howard Marks was very much a hippie. Ronald Stark was something else altogether.

Giorgio Floridia

Giorgio Floridia | Ronald Hadley Stark

Most of what's known about Ronald Stark today is through an Italian magistrate named Giorgio Floridia, who released Stark from Italian prison in 1979. After Stark had gotten himself caught in 1975, he busied himself trying to convince anyone and everyone that he was operating with the blessings of the United States government. Four years later, he finally managed to persuade Floridia, who cited "an impressive series of scrupulously enumerated proofs" that Stark had given him.

At his appeals trial Stark changed identities once again, this time passing himself off as "Khouri Ali," a radical Palestinian. In fluent Arabic he spelled out the details of his autobiography, explaining that he was part of an international terrorist organization headquartered in Lebanon, called "Group 14." Stark's appeal failed, and he was sent back to jail.

But Italian police took a renewed interest in his case after they captured Enrique Paghera, another terrorist leader who knew Stark. At the time of his arrest Paghera was holding a hand-drawn map of a PLO camp in Lebanon. The map, Paghera confessed, had come from Stark, who also provided a coded letter of introduction. The objective, according to Paghera, was to forge a link with a terrorist organization that was planning to attack embassies.

Floridia also claims Stark worked for the Defense Department from 1960 on, and recieved paychecks from Fort Lee, in New Jersey. It is worth considering that Stark might have exaggerated his role and connections, and even fabricated evidence, in presenting his case to the magistrate who was in a position to free him. Either way, it worked. Stark was released on parole....and disappeared days later.

In terms of Floridia's motivation, it's worth considering the fate of the guy who came before him:

In June 1978 a Bologna magistrate, Graziano Gori, was assigned to investigate Stark and his astounding web of associates. A few weeks later, Gori was killed in a car wreck.

That, of course, might be the most "impressive proof" of all.

Somehow Not the End

Hegelian Dialectic LSD Social Engineering

Ronald Stark turned up in Holland in 1982. There's not a lot of published details, but it clearly involves 16 kilos of hasish and a Lebanese cover identity. He was busted en route to New York City. He got deported the next year and apparently died in custody -- because when Italy requested that he be extradited on terrorism charges, the US replied with a copy of Stark's death certificate.

(You guessed it -- "heart attack.")

His paper trail comes to an end here, although the reader can be forgiven for assuming his crusade continued covertly. There was certainly no retirement for a man like Stark. His mission was too important, too huge for a mere career.

Zbigniew Brzrzinski and Menachem Begin plays chess at Camp David

...but then again, what was his mission, after all? Is it a mistake to place any stock in what he told the Brotherhood of Eternal Love? Perhaps not. Although Ronald Hadley Stark was many things to many people, the sole constant that emerges is Revolution. From the Weather Underground to the Red Brigades, from the PLO to the IRA, Stark was consistently moving in circles where the overthrow of government and the liberation of the people were central themes...circles that today would be considered "Terrorist." Certainly, Stark manipulated and lied to his contacts every step of the way, and it's safe to assume the speeches he gave to the Palestinians and Italians were much different from the picture he was painting in 1969 for the Brotherhood.

It's worth revisiting, though: " order to facilitate the overthrow of the political systems of both the capitalist West and communist East by inducing altered states of consciousness in millions of people." Now, Hadley's chosen network makes it pretty clear that he viewed automatic rifles and firebombs as equally valid tools for "inducing altered states of consciousness," and it's unlikely that a realist like Stark honestly believed that LSD was going amount to much more than a profitable business. Setting that aside, overthrowing both capitalism and communism sounds like an authentic statement of Stark's overall goals, or at least one that fits his sketchy and fast-moving modus operandi.

Ronald Hadley Stark LSDStark was an infiltrator, creating back channels for communication between intelligence and police agencies and the underground movements that were trying to fight them. The fact he was so successful and so prolific is what makes him a remarkable character. Throughout his documented life, Stark is relentlessly working with, for and against dozens of competing players. He travels constantly, juggles multiple identities and stays actively involved in multiple conflicts simultaneously.

Looking over his strange, tangled career, it's hard to avoid thinking that LSD was really not the point. The single biggest producer of raw LSD the world has ever known was not a True Believer, he was just passing through on his way to bigger and better things. His work for US intelligence agencies had less to do with blowing minds than establishing connections. Vast quantities of acid was perhaps more of a bona fide, a calling card to establish himself as a legitimate criminal figure.

Which brings us, finally, full circle.

The Last Vial

A Harsh Mistress

In 1966, Putnam & Sons published a new novel from Robert Heinlein named The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. The plot concerns a worker's revolution on a Lunar colony, organized by a small group of people with considerable assistance from a self-aware supercomputer that controls the colony's infrastructure. Written in a distinctively abbreviated "Moonspeak," the book goes into remarkable detail about secure, secret communication networks. Stark was seldom without a copy and spoke highly of it around the world. Perhaps the closest we can ultimately get to unraveling his motives and beliefs is within the pages of a sci-fi story, rather than the life he left behind.

It's impossible to write about the character of Ronald Stark without discussing the character of Professor Bernardo de la Paz. As the brains behind the Lunar revolution, the Professor has several extensive monologues about the design principles behind covert operations. "Revolution," the Prof says, "is an art I pursue, rather than a goal I expect to achieve."

The end of the novel is pure Chinatown. The revolution gets subverted like revolutions always do, and Heinlein was really writing a love song about The Frontier itself. Revolution is the flame that extinguishes itself, for simple and practical reasons: "Every new member made it that much more likely that you would be betrayed," as the Prof puts it.

"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. One solution is the cell system and so far nothing better has been invented."

Covert Cell Structure

The Professor goes on to propose a mandala of three-member cells, all reporting through a single Leader node back towards the center. This compartmentalized approach allows the founders to both monopolize information flow and insulate themselves against exposure. The concept is simple and effective, and it has been proven here in the real world for decades, from terrorist networks to intelligence agencies to evangelical Christians. It is staggering to think of how much Ronald Stark was connected to, assuming he rigorously pursued the Professor's blueprint, as Art for Art's sake. It is sobering to realize that the long, wide trail of covert history I've outlined here was just a couple of cells that got busted, part of a larger picture that is gone completely here in 2010.

His greatest achievements were the successful conspiracies, the completed operations that will never get traced back to his careful planning and constant hard work. There are too many huge gaps and unanswered questions to leave much doubt that Ronald Hadley Stark had a very impressive batting average. He was in a line of work where invisibility is the goal, and his true legacy is hiding behind headlines we will never understand, out here in the herd.

pg 77 "Correctly organized and properly timed it is a bloodless coup. Done clumsily or prematurely and the result is civil war, mob violence, purges, terror. I hope you will forgive me if I say that, up to now, it has been done clumsily."

Further Reading

Sorry, no LSD recipes here. Handy safety test: if you need to google the instructions, you're not qualified to perform them. Don't play with fire, kids.

LSD Lab | DEA Bust

Be sure to check out the Cult of the Dead Cow's review of Acid: A New Secret History of LSD" -- full of further information on Stark.

The always-excellent Gary Lachman offers a sober and detailed take on The Process Church.

If you want to learn more about the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, that's good: you should. There's an outstanding book on the subject, predictably titled The Brotherhood of Eternal Love I recently read a new book on the subject, Orange Sunshine, which wasn't nearly as good.

Finally, for deep background on WTF Ronald Hadley Stark was doing in Italy during those mysterious final years of his life, Philip Willan's book is essential: "Puppetmasters: The Political Use of Terrorism in Italy ."


Filed in: 5GW Project

Next entry: An Invocation Against the Inevitable

Previous Entry: The Revelation of the Method


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  • 1. Thirtyseven on Jul 13, 2007 at 7:10 PM permalink

    From Acid: A New Secret History of LSD

    “In his talks with the Brotherhood, Stark impressed them with his knowledge of scams: smuggling drugs in consignments of Japanese electrical equipment, his use of business fronts in West Africa, and moving money through a maze of shell companies set up by his lawyers on various continents.

    However, [Stark] projected himself as interested in a lot more than money. He had a mission, he explained, to use LSD in order to facilitate the overthrow of the political systems of both the capitalist West and communist East by inducing altered states of consciousness in millions of people. Stark did not hide the fact that he was well connected in the world of covert politics. He intimated, for example, that he had contacts with the Tibetan freedom fighters loyal to the Dalai Lama and with the Japanese Mafia who could help smuggle LSD into Tibet and dose the Chinese occupiers… however, the Idylwild hippies could not have possibly guessed that Ron Stark operated on four continents and compartmentalized his international activities so that those he did business with - be they American hippies, Lebanese warlords, corporate lawyers, British scientists, Japanese Mafioso or Italian train-bombers - would have little knowledge of his ‘other’ activities. He could speak ten languages fluently and had the ‘bottle’ [of LSD], cunning, charm, and knowledge to pass himself off in various situations as a businessman, chemist, doctor, art collector, drug dealer, political activist and even as a Palestinian guerilla.” (p. 20-21)

  • 2. Chewie on Jul 14, 2007 at 2:54 PM permalink

    “They were looking for a new supplier and Stark kicked off the meeting by showing them a kilogram of LSD—for US readers, that’s 2.2 pounds of acid, baby.”

    Holy shit, that’s one hell of a way to kick off a meeting.  A kilo has to be enough to dose a small country!

  • 3. Thirtyseven on Jul 14, 2007 at 3:01 PM permalink

    Actually, that’s apparently over 10 million hits—so, more like a medium country.

  • 4. Alan Cabal on Jul 14, 2007 at 6:34 PM permalink

    Schrodinger’s Acid Connection, heh. Don’t even attempt to collapse the waveform on THIS one…

  • 5. Terry on Jul 17, 2007 at 1:00 PM permalink

    I like the new look! I haven’t been here for awhile, it seems you have changed your rss feed from an internal link to a feedburner one, so I wasn’t alerted to the new posts. I was going to change my feed for my site to feedburner, but I’m not so sure now. Is there an option to set up that lets subscribers to the old feed know automatically that there’s a new url?

    Anyway, great post!

    I heard of this guy through the Psychedelics Encyclopedia, that mentions him only briefly, saying that he was behind the Orange Sunshine acid and had brought over 35 million hits from Europe.

    I did a few searches at Google books and came across a Senate Judiciary Committee report titled “Hashish Smuggling and Passport Fraud: ‘The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’.” It has a few snippets about Stark in there, saying he was a chemist from New York who was worth $1,400 in April 1964 and by 1968 was worth 1.2 million; was a close associate of Nicholas Sand and was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in 1973.

    One book that I have, however, goes into detail on his time in Italy - Philip P. Willan’s Puppetmasters: The Political Use of Terrorism in Italy. From pp. 308-313, Willan has a lot to say on Stark. He was arrested in Bologna on drug charges in Feb. 1975, and was connected to the masterminds behind the Via Fani massacre and the kidnapping of Aldo Moro. We’re talking P2 (Propaganda Due) and Gladio intrigue. While in prison he cavorted with members of the Red Brigades (Renato Curcio and Pietro Bertolazzi) and gained their friendship; told stories of his Palestinian terrorist connections (PFLP), his alias “Ali Khoury,” and that he wanted to form “an international terrorist organization free of Marxist-Leninist ideology, an ideal vehicle for acts of controlled political provocation” (Willan 310). He even supplied his Red Brigade contacts with a “cryptographic system for coded radio communications.”

    Stark played both sides and seems to have been adept at dialectics. Besides the left-wing terrorists, Willan says, “documents confiscated at the time of his arrest show that he had been in touch with Silvo Lima, Andreotti’s political ally allegedly linked to the Mafia, and with Prince Gianfranco Alliata di Montereale, linked to freemasonry and the Mafia and implicated in the Borghese coup attempt. ... evidence of contact with Graziano Verzotto, an associate of Sindona’s ...A confiscated letter to Wendy Hansen [from Stark], American vice-consul in Florence, expressed the view that circumstances were not yet ripe for a military coup in Italy. Most interesting of all, though, was evidence that he had been in touch with Vito Miceli, former director of Italian military intelligence. A complex and never fully resolved tale involving Miceli leads back, by a roundabout route, to the Moro affair” (Ibid. 312).

  • 6. anti_material on Jul 18, 2007 at 1:28 PM permalink

    Very good work.  After this, eye spent the rest of the day reading that Lords of acid article and researching the brotherhood of eternal love.  very deep stuff.
    Im thinking about starting a new chapter

  • 7. lars on Jul 21, 2007 at 10:03 PM permalink

    My grandfather was Stark’s chemist and david black doesn’t believe in “drugs”. Stark is a lying prick thief is he had anything to do with the klan (cia).  eG: telling some california surfer bums, acid thieves themselves, that if they want to make it the labs were in france because he had legit (ie not klansdestine, all non cerimonial nonorthodox rye is punishible by execution hoffmann was as stupid as these kids) precursors set up for anyone who wanted to make it has nothing to do with the fact that all of it was made in the united states between 1945-7...lavender, sunshine was leftover precursors from THE production run like it was more vintage silver, its all the same thing, sponsored by aldrich, the precursor supply for all of science.  now in saying that, do you now twist the word sponsored to mean that some dea klan wizard will call up aldrich asking if they know anything? the scientist who designed the legal lsd like amphetamine complex will tell you the same thing, he knew nothing about it personally and stark came much too soon for the security drugs we were cooking for the still legal world of drugs so noone would have any problems destroying their natural ketamine. fuck owsley, he ran around like he was in a legal acid videogame until he destroyed the whole earth by personally having acid made illegal. . taking our catalog of 4000 or whatever compounds and having a tickertape parade as if you were the supreme dragon himself by calling yourself klan is about the stupidest thing i have ever seen anyone do, especially since stark was just riding a wave while there was a demand. all those people looked like idiots. my dad was the head of the black panther party as we had antiracism security drugs.  fuck this place called earth I don’t even have any.

  • 8. lars on Jul 21, 2007 at 10:08 PM permalink

    there is grain from all over the world in that acid...the prebuddhist order of the 5 grains, grain from africa, north at least where it was found that i know of, indian buffalo grass, indian rye, dozens of american grasses such as california rainbow grain from india, the czech acid is in it, the blue green osscillating wheat yes. anyway I know the doctor who made the lavender components and some of their analogs
    burmese purple, south america, 1500’s belgian geomancy aka orowheat, boston, england’s largest grain mill was involved.
    i hate living in this world

  • 9. Phillippe on Jul 24, 2007 at 4:08 PM permalink

    You mentioned Barry Seal as having “got around”. Yes, he did, on the CIA’s payroll - $20 million worth of payroll, to be exact. Most of us aren’t seen as having that much potential to challenge the ruling elite, so instead of duffel bags full of $100 bills or secretive bank accounts, we get pillaged and churned through the film industry.

  • 10. norman douglas on Jul 25, 2007 at 1:31 AM permalink

    isn’t the process church of the final judgment credited with the liner notes for the original funkadelic albums, “maggot brain” and “america eats its young?” does this mean that p-funk is mind control? is george clinton [and bootsy collins and bernie worrell] on somebody’s payroll we don’t know about? have they been faking the funk?

    somebody help me!

    and please think about the children!


  • 11. Thirtyseven on Nov 30, 2010 at 5:22 PM permalink

    I really appreciate all the awesome comments...I’ve re-opened the comments and I’ll be fixing up this article and adding a lot more material. I originally wrote this to introduce Robert Heinlen’s book “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” yet I never mentioned it once.

  • 12. GW Bully on Dec 02, 2010 at 2:46 AM permalink

    Great stuff. Seeing this 5GW stuff get laid out in detail was surprising. I remember you made a point somewhere else about how 5GW operatives are “not sane” in any conventional sense, monomania and manic focus, and Stark really drives that point home. What a strange and difficult life!

  • 13. Dr Price on Dec 07, 2010 at 7:21 AM permalink

    The man had dozens of names, much like the contemporary (and pseudonymous) Pierre Lafitte. The fact we’ve (you’ve) uncovered so few of them is a strong indicator of his overall mission integrity.

  • 14. Zaphod Beeblebrox II on Dec 07, 2010 at 2:05 PM permalink

    It is amazing isn’t it, how many CIA-LSD books there are. Remember “Storming Heaven” ---- I think you wrote about it on Brainsturbator??

    Also, have you read “The Harvard Psychedelic Club” yet? I have it on my desk here but have yet to crack her open.

  • 15. Kairos Pointer on Dec 07, 2010 at 2:06 PM permalink

    What a headfuck! Your writing is really improving man. Glad you are back.

  • 16. Ivan Trump on Dec 08, 2010 at 2:29 PM permalink

    I co-sign the Albarelli recommendation, that book was truly monumental.

  • 17. Carlos Sinclair on Dec 09, 2010 at 7:47 AM permalink

    Could be the most amazing post I have read this month. I had never heard of this guy and I’ve read a lot of articles on the history of LSD before. Amazing.

  • 18. Frank on Dec 10, 2010 at 11:17 AM permalink

    Brilliant post! - Thank you for all the work you have done in putting this together.
    Really Impressive

    Let me be honest, I am one of the crackpots who believe, that most of the New Left and the defeatist chemico-hedonist revolt of the 60s and 70s was a highly orchestrated KGB active measures campaign designed to weaken US war efforts and prepare the ground for Soviet victory.

    So when I read about all the things Stark did, I cannot help but paraphrase Winston Churchill:
    “Stark is a riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma… but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest”

    - So I guess my question is, can you point out anything in all the things that stark did, which did not benefit the soviet union?

    Secondly, it seems to me atleast, that the sheer size of Starks operations, affiliations, language skills etc. could be an indication of him simply being a highly accomplished agent for the soviets working in the various areas that was assigned to him?

    I find it hard to imagine the CIA deliberately handing out 35 million hits for free to the american youth during a draft. Especially when numerous high-ranking soviet intelligence defectors such as Ladislav Bittman have reported how the KGB would constantly try and blame the CIA for everything under the sun, in order to force declassification of documents.

    In case you are interested in communist experimentation and military testings of LSD and other psycho-active substances, I have found some material on it, although it is admittedly very scarce.
    elaborated in his book

    If you know of additional material, please let me know!

    The framework of soviet active measures is probably best layed out be defector Yuri Bezmenov in below lecture

    All the best, and thanks again for you marvelous work!


  • 19. massimo on Dec 17, 2010 at 1:03 AM permalink

    italians and americans should know more about what their governments did in the past, too much strange things happened from Kennedy murder to Moro , too much innocent blood.

  • 20. Juliana on Dec 23, 2010 at 6:01 AM permalink

    Amazing, I never knew all this secret history behind LSD. And I always thought Timothy Leary was so famous because HE was the guy who produced all the LSD. Been tripping for years and never knew a thing about it I see.

  • 21. Joshua Herman on Dec 23, 2010 at 7:38 AM permalink

    Is there any material referencing his Muslim ID? I would love to know more about that chapter of his career...makes me wonder how many of the old guard in these classical terrorist orgs were high-risk agents who managed to embed themselves early in the game.  Infiltration was such an art form for Stark I cannot help but somewhat admire him, despite the fact he is a spook, a liar and probably a killer to boot!

  • 22. Justin R. on Dec 24, 2010 at 11:35 AM permalink

    Damn good article. Really has wetted my appetite for more on this Stark character. Utterly entrancing slice of conspiracana.

  • 23. Alice Slaughter on Dec 26, 2010 at 12:44 AM permalink I just need to know WTF to do with all that!! Too much to think about. Stark was determined to be a science fiction character. And I think he pulled it off.

  • 24. Josiah on Dec 28, 2010 at 11:22 PM permalink

    Jesus Crap—SYNTHETIC THC?? The 80s would have been a VERY different place if Stark had never gotten caught…

  • 25. Nick L on Dec 29, 2010 at 6:55 AM permalink

    Interesting read.  I read The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, but I’ve also extensively studied CIA activities from that time period.  It sounds like maybe Stark started as a drug chemist in Little Italy which is mafia territory. The CIA was involved with the mafia at that time, and also with the famous “French Connection” of New York heroin dealers, as told in E. Howard Hunt’s deathbed confession about the Kennedy assassination.  So it also makes sense that Stark worked at the intersection of mafia-CIA interests, maybe paying for mafia protection, but also doing investigatory work for the CIA, and receiving their protection and support as well. 

    His credentials as a big time LSD dealer and association with the Brothers bought him contact with New Left movements dedicated to inciting communist revolution around the world.  The communist threat was the sole preoccupation of the CIA at that time, so it seems more likely Stark was seeking out information on the activities of the Weather Underground, the Red Brigade, and others than that he was dosing college students on behalf of the CIA.  LSD sales were a profit driven business though, as it was for the Brothers, and the CIA may well have also shared in some of the profits. 

    I also took orange sunshine by the way, and yes it was a teeth grinding rush, but probably just because it was a really strong dose, 300 mics.  I’m sure the Brothers sampled all the acid they sold and would have flagged anything they thought was actually tainted with something like strychnine.  All JMHO.

  • 26. Nihilizo on Dec 29, 2010 at 10:46 PM permalink

    “Jesus Crap—SYNTHETIC THC?? The 80s would have been a VERY different place if Stark had never gotten caught… “ ---Haha. Haven’t been keeping up much, have you? ...I’d love to see how the world of research chemical drugs has played into the political scene like LSD did back in the day…

  • 27. Snorky on Dec 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM permalink

    Surely you mean the author Robert A. Heinlein as opposed to Heinlen.

  • 28. Thirtyseven on Dec 30, 2010 at 3:13 PM permalink

    @ Snorky

    Excellent deduction work. You want a job doing research?

  • 29. Nick L on Dec 31, 2010 at 1:01 AM permalink

    I should also point out there was a lot of LSD around besides orange sunshine also called barrel acid because the distinctive orange pills were barrel shaped.  I remember window pane which was tiny transparent squares, probably gelatin of some kind.  There was blotter acid, and there was Clear Light, which if I remember correctly was tiny white pills.  There was also real mescaline, something that was supposed to be psilocybin in powdered form, and the infamous PCP, which was called something else then, but was soon found out to be PCP.  That’s because there was also a radio show called the Pharmchem Report, that listeners could send samples of illicit drugs in to have them tested in a lab for contents and impurities.  Then, with peaceful music playing in the background, a low voiced announcer would report on the results of the tested drugs, including their physical appearance and purity.  The purpose was ostensibly to warn listeners of any bad batches of street drugs on the market, but the results were also an advertizement for good quality branded contraband. 

    The point is there was acid, hash and everything else available from multiple sources, and noone, not the CIA, the mafia, the Brotherhood or the KGB had a monopoly on any of it.  LSD went viral and noone could stop it.  The mafia probably wanted in because noone wanted to use heroin anymore. Th CIA probably wanted to know if violent revolutionaries were using LSD to brainwash initiates into blowing up buildings, a lot of which was also going on at the time, and nobody had a monopoly on that either.  Stark was probably government, but the government was just along for the ride like everyone else.

  • 30. J on Apr 13, 2011 at 7:44 AM permalink

    Really great read thanks so much! And all the comments have been interesting as well.

    Where did the picture above of the LSD crystal, (I’m assuming) dated 1989 and the picture seems to be titled Jacobs LSD Bust, come from? I’m interested to know more or see other pics…

    Anyway, thanks for sharing the research!

    Light and Love,

    Shamanic Harmonics
    Psychedelic Art & Jewelry Laboratory

  • 31. Old Crow on Sep 08, 2011 at 1:25 PM permalink

    Justin, you should write a book about these shape-shifters like Stark. David Myatt would be another good study. This reads like a chapter from a book I really need to have. Thanks.

  • 32. Culbert on Sep 25, 2011 at 1:26 PM permalink

    I am actually writing a paper on this subject and this is the only decent article I can copy. I mean, find. Thanks man.

  • 33. Clausewitz on Sep 26, 2011 at 8:46 PM permalink

    David Headley comes to mind.

  • 34. chiller on Oct 22, 2011 at 11:29 AM permalink

    Interesting character, maybe cheech marin modelled the character Cheech after STark.

    I wonder if he had all his mindpower speaking 10 languages fluently etc. already before he took lsd or he gained some supernatural gifts from his lsd Use.

    Further the ‘’russian interest’’ point is interesting, if it turns out that he only targeted western countries with his lsd-revolution.

    But on the other hand if he was a commie why would he target the chinese in Tibet ?

    Maybe he was posessed by some entity wich controlled his body for its grand scheme for humanity.

    Maybe he wil be the next hollywood-movie subject ?

  • 35. captain fantasy on Mar 21, 2012 at 10:42 AM permalink

    ^the stuff about the soviets being to blame for the drug explosion of the 1960s is pure hokum.  fear of the ‘other’ - the scary, godless USSR ‘enemy’.  it must’ve been them, right?  reds under the bed and all that.
    such claims ignore the fact that human beings have ALWAYS been interested in altering our consciousness through various means.
    the “war on drugs” was only ~30 years old in the 1960s - and the hypocrisy of banning traditionally non-white, non-christian drugs was becoming clear to a generation that was less hindered by the rigid social constraints of their forefathers.

    the prohibition of all drugs (except alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals) was never going to successfully eradicate the desire of people to use utterly incredible substances like the various psychedelics.

    i imagine that anyone who thinks LSD was distributed in the developed world for the sake of corrupting america’s youth has never experienced the wonders of such a chemical.
    yes, i am aware the soviets experimented with drugs and mind-control techniques, but LSD is the sort of drug that hardly needs to be promoted, it is truly a wonder.  it spread across the world by word-of-moth by those in the know, and soon enough it broke through to a mainstream consciousness.
    big money was to be had - but i guess nobody would want to admit that such a hedonistic and rebellious historical period could be caused by good ol’ american free market capitalism?!
    i think there were definitely some powerful forces involved in disseminating LSD to the wider public, but i think commie cold war paranoia is a cop-out (at best).  The US government and intelligence forces smuggled cocaine into america in the 1980s, and heroin in the 60s/70s so it is not exactly outside of normal conduct for those creeps.

    keep seeking meaning - the answers are not in simple explanations.
    this is a fantastic article, by the way.  a very, very fascinating topic indeed - i’m very grateful to be shown those links to further reading. 
    thank you so much smile

  • 36. Pirate Jay on Dec 22, 2012 at 1:05 PM permalink

    Call me dumb but how the fuck does LSD connect to Gladio? Just suitcases of money, right?

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