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The Death of Cass Elliot and Other "Restless Youth"

The late Mae Brussell, a mercurial encyclopedia of political research in Carmel, California, reached some startling conclusions in an unpublished manuscript entitled "Operation CHAOS".

By August, 1967, Special Operations Group went after the youth.  By July, 1968, Operation CHAOS, identical to Chilean "Chaos," went after the "restless youth." This wasn't a study. It was an attack.

Mid-summer of 1969, one month before the Manson Family massacres, Operation CHAOS went into the most tight security [mode]. They had perfected enough LSD to cause every violent act or symptom associated with the violence in Los Angeles or at Altamont.  It was identical to giving poison candy at Halloween. LSD was the moving force, the cause for the Sharon Tate-La Bianca slaughters. It was fed at the Spahn Ranch for a steady diet.

July, 1968, explicit orders went out to proceed, accompanied with instructions to neutralize segments of our society, including those restless youth. By 1969, the 555, Special Services Staff of the FBI, combined with the Justice Department, and with CIA's Operation CHAOS

August, 1969 was the Sharon Tate-La Bianca slaughter. [1]

What Manson called home was a relic of Hollywood's past. The Spahn Ranch was the backdrop for movies made by Tom Mix, William S. Hart and John Mack Brown. Parts of Howard Hughes's The Outlaw were shot there. But the ranch had one more claim to historical significance. Next to George Spahn's property stretched the Krupp Ranch, owned by one of the wealthiest families in Nazi Germany, a ranking sponsor of Hitler's aggression and its accompanying atrocities. The chief US prosecutor at the International Court determined that "both Krupps, Gustav von Bohlen as well as Alfried, are directly responsible. They led German industry, violating international agreements and  international law. They employed forced labor, dragged and forced into Germany from almost all countries occupied by Germany ... These workers in Krupp's care and in Krupp's service were undernourished and overworked, misused and inhumanely treated." Thousands in the Krupp-owned concentration camps were worked to death. [2]

The Krupp Ranch has since been transformed into a blooming commercial Bavarian beer garden. Howard Hughes purchased some 500 acres of Krupp-owned land in Nevada after his move to Las Vegas. [3]

Much has been made of Manson's interactions with the Process Church of the Final Judgment in Los Angeles, a religious organization that worshipped a buffet of Jehovah, Lucifer and Satan. "Release the fiend that lies dormant within you" was one Process teaching. "Learn to love fear" was another.

A Process newsletter from London, written by "Soror H" shortly after the Tate-LaBianca murders, celebrated Manson and claimed him as a fellow Process Satanist.

Manson went astray where others in the PROCESS have succeeded. He was sucked into the whirlpool of Fame and Fortune and when he didn't cut it, he decided to cut it up. He testifies to those areas many of us deny exist. Perhaps the fascination is that he carried out his ideas in action, and showed many of us what it's like to actually commit the crime we'd like to commit.

Manson was clever in his choice of beliefs: the whole Beatles Helter Skelter thing was, of course, a model to instill the PROCESS into his followers, who were more likely to respond to such "turned-on" symbols than the more traditionalones. The whole thing was a scam; a guru trick, but Manson's intention was to open up the occult centres of perception by a unique, pop-based outlook influenced primarily by the PROCESS. [4]

Manson, the aspiring rock artist, and his family of tripping satyrs socialized with established recording artists in Los Angeles. He lived for a year with Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, who would drown in twelve feet of water in 1983. Bobby Beausoleil, convicted for the torture-murder of Gary Hinman, was a devotee of Manson's. The rock group Love, founded by Beausoleil's musical companion Arthur Lee (of the signature multicolored glasses), was not a band of laughing survivors.  Since the Manson episode, a curse has dogged their heels. Guitarist Bryan Maclean and bass-player Ken Forssi are dead Tjay Cantrelli, born John Barberis, a sax player and flutist, is also presumed dead, at least this is the most probable conjecture. Johnny Echols has disappeared and is also thought to be deceased. Michael Stuart, drummer,  changed his name to conceal his identity and his whereabouts are unknown. Arthur Lee, convicted in 1995 to 12 years at the Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California, for firing a handgun into the air, is fiercely reluctant to discuss the group's past, and so are survivors of Love's many incarnations. But the prison sentence is unreasonably harsh -- considering that a fan visiting Lee at his home on Mulholland Drive confessed to firing the pistol himself, and that the fan suffered such remorse over the conviction that he developed a bipolar disorder and was hospitalized.  William Cenego, the fan, insists that the forensic test for gun-powder residue on Lee's hand was negative. "I think Arthur had an incredibly unfair trial," Cenego laments. "It's almost not accurate to describe it as a trial."[5]

The death of Dennis Wilson was questioned by Mae Brussell in her weekly "Worldwatcher's International" broadcast on KAZU-FM, Monterey, California, on January 16, 1984:

There's [an] article in the San Francisco Chronicle ... that said: 'Dennis Wilson was responsible for one of the group's darkest secrets. 'Me and Charlie, we started the Family."' He said he'd founded the Manson  Family. He made a record with Charles Manson. On the 20/20 album, Dennis Wilson is credited as author ...

Bill Oster was the fellow who allegedly owned the yacht where he drowned. [Oster:] "He appeared to be clowning [Wilson] when he dove into 12 feet of water. He did not surface after the dive. He poked his hand above and waved. I saw the body slip. I thought he was clowning. I knew he had to come up for air."

The Los Angeles Herald said that "His wife called at the boat at 4:30." That would be the exact time he was going under.  A woman answered and she was "kind of rude."' She said: "We've got some trouble here"  and slammed down the phone. That would be the exact time that he was bubbling and waving and nobody jumped in for him. And at 5:30, one hour later, according to another account, he was picked up.

Two days before the drowning, Wilson had signed into St. John's Hospital to "be clean of alcohol and drugs." A man and a woman visited him. Wilson became agitated and signed out of the unit. He was taken immediately to the boat. 

Medical examiners found a gash on the drummer's forehead:

The coroner said [the gash] "didn't contribute" to his death. He died as a result of "drowning." He has a hit on the head and drowns in 12 feet of water.

Wilson's friends check him out and supplied him with alcohol, and he has a hit on the head and drowns in 12 feet of water. He was buried at sea. This assures that there will be no autopsy after that bang on the  head. He's fed to the sharks ... that's the old Grenada trip they're using. And there's no way now to ever know what caused that bang on his head, or how deep it was ...

In Sharon Tate's home there were video movies of military VIPs. I know there were, but who was on those tapes? They belonged to the LAPD. Would Dennis Wilson know who was on those tapes? He was  close to that scene.

Ed Sanders notes that Manson met Abigail Folger, the wealthy coffee heiress found dead among the carnage on Cielo Drive, at the home of Mama Cass Elliot. [6]

"Gibby," Maury Terry learned, "had more money than she knew what to do with. She was into finding herself and new directions, and  she was always investing in things." She doled out cash to Manson on occasion. Then stopped. "Manson turned against her when she refused to layout any more bucks for him."

When Manson lived in San Francisco, Folger loaned $10,000 to the Straight Theater at Haight and Cole Streets. Manson then lived on Cole Street, on the same block as the Process Church. On September 21, 1967, the Magick Powerhouse of Oz performed at the Straight in celebration of the "Equinox of the Gods." Bobby Beausoleil was the lead guitarist at this august function.

Folger also funded Timothy Leary, filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and the Process Church of the Final Judgment in the establishment of the "Himalayan Academy," not far from the Esalen Institute. The Leary Lab was chock-a-block with pricey brain-scanning gear, oscilloscopes, and advanced bioelectronic hardware. Manson was a hanger-on at the Himalayan Foundation. In fact, he first encountered the Process there, joined the openly Satanic sect, according to Terry, "and later convened with the group in Mill Valley and at a dwelling in San Anselmo occupied by a well-known personage aligned with the LSD scene. Both cities are in the Bay area." [7]

Folger, a financier of a covert CIA lab, knew another regular of Mama Cass's entourage, Bill Mentzer, currently serving a life term for the murder of fledgling Hollywood producer Roy Radin, a partner in The Cotton Club. He never lived to see the movie -- Robert Evans, a partner with the deceased in the film and a friend of Henry Kissinger, did.

Mama Cass

The nucleus of this pathological parade, Cass Eliot, nee Ellen Naomi Cohen, born in 1941 and raised in Washington, D.C, was a German baronness by marriage. Her second husband, Baron Donald von Weidenman, a German nobleman, is currently an artist living in New York.

Cass was one of a famed quartet, The Mamas and The Papas, sometimes described as America's first hippies. The quartet formed in New York City in 1963 around songwriter John Phillips. Holly Michelle Gillian Phillips, born in Long Beach, California on June 4, 1945, gave up a modeling career to sing with Phillips and married him in 1962. The Journeymen, as they were then known, also included Scott McKenzie, who would join the surviving Mamas and Papas in 1985.

Cass moved with the group from the East Coast to Los Angeles in 1964, and they were signed by Lou Alder's Dunhill label. The Mamas and Papas split up in 1968. Michelle Phillips set out on a successful acting career, appearing in Dillinger and Valentino. She was a regular on Knots Landing. Michelle married actor Dennis Hopper for eight days in 1970. John Phillips and Dennis Doherty, the Papas, also went solo with mixed success. Cass Elliot, however, launched a highly successful career. She produced seven albums and several singles before her death in 1974.

Cass' beau at the time of her fatal heart attack was Pic Dawson, then under investigation by Scotland Yard for international drug smuggling, and the son of a State Department official under Henry Kissinger.

Cass had recently finished two weeks at the London Palladium The coroner's report was not conclusive. She "probably choked to death," but there was also "a possibility of heart attack." 

In his career biography of Cass Elliot, Jon Johnson published twelve photocopies from her FBI file, released after an FOIA request.  The pages are almost entirely obscured by black ink (?). Hoover's Bureau surveilled Cass at the request of Alexander P. Butterfield, a retired Air Force commando and Nixon's chief security advisor.

"She reportedly has associated with drug addicts," the FBI report mentions, "and individuals opposed to the President's Vietnam policy."

One report marked "urgent" and "confidential" states that Cass Elliot attended a fund-raiser in Hollywood attended by Jack Nicholson and Ryan O'Neal, among other celebrities. The event was hosted by the Entertainment Industry for Peace and Justice Committee (EIPJ). The FBI file gossips that "between dates with Henry Kissinger, Marlo Thomas also attended the EIPJ meet with  Barry Diller." Tuesday Weld, Burt Lancaster and Jane Fonda, among others, also attended the fund-raiser.

Cass had political ambitions. "I think that I would like to be a senator or something in twenty years," she told Mike Douglas. She attended a variety of Democratic Party functions, participated in a Madison Square Garden rally sponsored by Rose Kennedy. "I saw in the Democratic Convention in Chicago that there were more people interested in what I was interested in than I believed possible. It made me want to work ... there would be room in an organized movement of politics for me to voice myself." (Johnson). 

Paul Krassner, editor of The Realist, a fixture of the "underground" press, suspects Cass was the target of political foul play. "Cass Elliot was a friend," he says. "I believe she may have been killed. She knew an awful lot about the incredible criminal links between Hollywood and Washington and Las Vegas ... She was also a friend of Sharon Tate's. On the night Bobby Kennedy was killed, [Cass] had dinner with Sharon and Roman Polanski at the home of film director John Frankenheimer in Malibu Beach."'

Pathologists in London refused to specify the cause of death at a public hearing. They did, however, mutter fatuously that she may have "choked" to death. The most-ludicrous-explanation award went to Dr. Keith Simpson, whose autopsy detected a "left-sided heart failure. She plainly had a heart attack." He claimed, to cries of outrage from the medical community, that a section of Elliot's heart muscle had actually "turned to fat." The coronary lapse was attributed to "stress."  Johnson:

The conclusion was termed "improper" by a Vanderbilt University heart specialist immediately after it was made public ."It is true that obesity is related to high blood pressure and stroke, but there's no correlation with a heart attack," disputed Dr. George V. Mann. "He's stating an old-fashioned dogma, a Victorian concept of fatty degeneration that has gone out in modern times. Old time pathologists tend to look at deposits of adipose tissue around the surface of the heart and associate it with a heart attack, but a heart attack is due to limitation of blood supply to the heart muscle with the result that some of the muscle dies."

Whatever the underlying cause, the verdict remained unchanged. She died of a massive heart attack. [9]

Blood tests detected no drugs or alcohol in her system -- but then this is the same report that arrived at ersatz "Victorian" conclusions.  She took to her grave knowledge of drug trafficking by Pic Dawson, a State Department official's son, and any information that Manson and Mentzer may have shared with her -- exactly as Abigail Folger was silenced on Cielo Drive, taking with her any knowledge she may have had of the Himalayan Institute and related federally-sponsored  "human guinea-pig farms." 



1. Mae Brussell "Operation CHAOS: The CIA's War Against the Sixties Counter-Culture," unpublished ms.

2. State Archives Administration of the German Democratic Republic, Brown Book: War and Nazi criminals in West Germany, East Germany: Verlag  Zeit im Bild, 1965, pp 41-2.

3. Brussell.

4. Soror H., undated Process newsletter, London, vol. 2, no 1, 1970.

5. Sara Scribner, "Love Hurts," New Times (Los Angeles weekly), March 11, 1999, pp 15-21.

6. Maury Terry, The Ultimate Evil: An Investigation into America's Most Dangerous Satanic Cult, New York: Dolphin, 1987, pp. 494-95.

7. Ibid, pp 495-96.

8. Paul Krassner in Craig Karpel, "The Power of Positive Paranoia," Oui, May 1975, p 111.

9. Jon Johnson, Make Your Own Kind of Music: A Career Retrospective of Cass Elliot, Hollywood Music Archives Press, 1987, pp 71-72.

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