Friday, October 18, 2019

Don't trust Tulsi: Of cults, candidates and spooks

Hillary Clinton suggests that the Russians hope to initiate a third-party candidacy starring Tulsi Gabbard. Although Gabbard has ruled out such a run, I think Hillary's theory makes sense. Some data backs the idea.

Hillary's accusation has caused a volcano of Clinton-hate to erupt. It's always cute to see right-wingers act aghast when someone they don't like offers a conspiracy theory. I grin when I think of what rightists might make of this post.

One of the under-appreciated oddities of this election season is that two Democratic candidates have ties to disturbing religious cults. One candidate may be considered her cult's current leader, while the other is well-positioned to assume the leadership role. One of these cults has undeniable connections to the CIA. Vaguely "spooky" rumors waft around the other cult as well, though I've seen no hard indications of an Agency link. Nevertheless, this sect has a very unnerving -- and possibly criminal -- history.

Yes, I know that the previous paragraph must sound rather Alex Jonesian to you. Read the evidence before you judge.

Tulsi: The lady SIF. Let us look into the spiritual background of Tulsi Gabbard.
Tulsi’s father, Mike, joined the Hare Krishna movement in 1973, when living in American Samoa. In 1983, the Gabbard family moved to Hawai’i and became involved with Chris Butler a.k.a. Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa, who had split from the Hare Krishnas to form his Scientific Identity Foundation (SIF), the financial arm of his cult. Tulsi’s mother served as secretary/treasurer of the SIF until 2000.

In the summer of 2019, Tulsi told the NY Times that she is still guided by Butler who she considers her guru.
In the 1980s, the Soviets claimed that ISKCON (a.k.a. the Hare Krishna movement), then making inroads into the USSR, had CIA links. Although most people scoffed at this idea, similar claims came from people within the movement. (The same source claims that KGB agents infiltrated ISKCON. I have no doubt that they did. Soviet intelligence probably scoped out on every unusual group operating within their borders.)

Nobody is claiming that ISKCON was run by the Agency. But it seems likely that spies for competing services infiltrated the group, just to see what the hell was going on. Eventually, they used the organization as a cover. It was (and is) pretty common for field agents to pose as religious figures.

In the late 1970s, a sub-sect splintered away from ISKCON: The Science of Identity Foundation, or SIF. This movement -- largely based in Hawaii, with branches in California and the Philippines -- is far more troubling than the parent organization. The leader of SIF -- the group's L. Ron Hubbard, if you will -- is a bizarre figure named Chris (sometimes spelled Kris) Butler. 

This Hawai'i Free Press article is revealing. In what follows, "Gabbard" refers to Tulsi's father, Mike.
The genuine soul-searching Gabbard expressed in this letter marked an early stage of his family’s journey into the dizzying world of Kris (aka Chris) Butler’s Science of Identity Foundation (SIF), a secretive sect headquartered here in Kailua, on O'ahu’s Windward Coast. As covered earlier in this series, the SIF network is a complex web of political grooming, shady international financial connections, and alleged cultism. Three long-time, high-ranking Butler followers who have served as SIF financiers – Allan Tibby, Joseph Bismark, and Patrick Bowler - have faced international criminal allegations of money laundering, syndicated estafa (racketeering), and drug smuggling, respectively. In 1977, Honolulu Advertiser investigative reporter Walter Wright uncovered Butler’s underhanded involvement in a Hawai'i political party called Independents for Godly Government, which Butler's followers financially floated with mysterious funds.
When Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, died in 1977, Butler styled himself Srila Prabhupada and tried to take over the entire organization. He didn't succeed, but SIF prospered as a spin-off sect -- no robes, no shaved heads, no oaths of celibacy, but more-or-less the same cosmology. Butler's right-hand man -- his Peter, his Paul, his John the Baptist -- was Mike Gabbard; Tulsi's mother Carol became the treasurer.

In the 1980s, Butler recorded a rambling lecture which became well-known to all SIF devotees.
Butler discussed his broken childhood dream of becoming a Major League Baseball player. He claimed his family was driven out of Louisiana and tracked by the CIA when he was a "baby," due to the family’s communist and civil rights stances
Chris Butler and Mike Gabbard became ultra-paranoid about gays, with Gabbard producing a graphic video titled Stop Promoting Homosexuality. Many SIF burnouts speak about this vitriolic anti-gay crusade, which seemed particularly disturbing to Hawaiians. (Island cultures tend to be tolerant of homosexuality.) Until recently, Tulsi herself espoused anti-gay views.

The Butlerites employed grim (and familiar) cult indoctrination techniques. In the following excerpt, "Koviak" refers to Ian Koviak, who was an SIF adherent between the ages of 12 and 16.
Koviak and four other former students of the SIF boarding school all say they were regularly hungry and sleep deprived while at the school. They also all say they spent at least four hours a day chanting, often in a dark room. They say Butler disciples Ramon “Toby” Tamayo and Allan Tibby (aka Acharya das) led the school. The men emailed school pictures and old school newsletters to Meanwhile in Hawai'i. In one of the newsletters, Patrick Bowler – a long-time Butler disciple and SIF financier who was arrested in 1997 for running a major international hashish smuggling ring – is listed as a cash contributor to the school.
How likely is it that no-one in the Gabbard family knew about that hash ring? Remember: Tulsi's mother was the treasurer.
The students were taught that, “Fag**ts are taking over and doing disgusting things,” the man said. He also told Meanwhile in Hawai'i that he reported sexual abuse at the school and was accused by school leaders of lying.

A fourth man who attended the school for a year in the early '90s said, “We were taught Butler and [his wife] Wai Lana were the only true messengers of god, and serving them would be the ultimate mission in life.”

“They strip you of your individual identity,” the fourth man said while recalling his memories of the SIF boarding school. “They humiliate you, try to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. You weren’t allowed to talk to any outsiders. You were not allowed to contact your family.”
On occasion, Tulsi has downplayed or denied membership in SIF. I don't believe her.
The men who attended the boys’ boarding school all say there was also a SIF girls’ boarding school in the Philippines at the time. They all believe current U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) attended the SIF girls’ school as a teenager in the '90s.
For more, go here:
Butler, is sly and devious, and answers to no one. He operates his cult like a mafia don or drug lord- he compartmentalizes everyone, so no one person, knows his every move. He has perfected the art of manipulating yet staying invisible, while his minions carry out his directives. The obligations of a disciple to protect their guru at all costs, keep his incriminating behavior safe. A fear of one’s own spiritual suicide, restrains his disciples, from speaking out anything against Butler.

These days, the cult attacks center around internet manipulation, bolstering pro-Tulsi propaganda, scrubbing the internet of any anti-cult dialogue or editorials. Ex-disciples have their Facebook account are routinely hacked into, so Butler can find out just who is disseminating cult secrets, or attacks on word press websites that speak the truths of his cult history.

A handful of brave individuals currently face defamation lawsuits with demands of money and retraction of any of their negative comments, videos, statements placed on the internet. The cult cries religious vilification, whenever they are challenged with the truth.
Also see here:
"Science of Identity has always been a highly politically involved organisation in Hawaii,” the journalist Christine Gralow told me. Her investigations have traced the connections between Butler, his foundation and political candidates. “Science of Identity uses tactics nearly identical to Scientology to attack and silence critics, journalists and former members through attempted character assassination, restraining orders, psychological warfare, and even false police reports,” she said. “It’s no wonder so many former Butler devotees do not want to be publicly named in the media.”

The SIF has had an extensive influence on Gabbard. Her association with the organisation began with her parents, and extended into her education and her entry into politics. Through it, she met both her first and second husbands, and several members of her present congressional office staff.
MUCH OF GABBARD’S EARLY FUNDING, especially before she won the 2012 primary, came from people with traceable connections to the SIF—her family, Rick Reed, the Penaroza family, her future in-laws, and employees of Down to Earth and other SIF-linked businesses, who collectively gave over a hundred thousand dollars.
Can the story become more disturbing? Oh yes.

Tulsi Gabbard has also been supported by backers of Narendra Modi, the fascist currently running India. Specifically: Much of her money has come from "American affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh—the parent organisation of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party."

The BJP is every bit as fascist as Putin himself. Never forget that.

I could write a good deal more about Tulsi and her connections to both a destructive cult and to international fascism. We may expand upon this theme in future posts. Right now, let's turn to the other oddball candidate who has shared a debate state with actual Democrats.

Marianne Williamson. Part of what follows was adopted from an earlier post.

Are you ready for a real jaw-dropper? Try this.
William N. Thetford, professor of medical psychology, carried on several CIA-funded research projects in the early 1960's at Columbia, President McGill revealed Friday. McGill, in a letter to Professor Charles Thurston, chairman of the university senate executive committee, said he strongly suspected Thetford "knew the ultimate source of his support."
What's that? You say your jaw did not drop? That's because you don't know the rest of the story.

William Theford and his wife, Helen Schucman, later created -- or channeled -- a new Bible, offering an "improved" Christianity. The name of this book: A Course in Miracles. Thetford is a frequently-encountered character in that text, where he is called "Bill."

(I'm speaking of the original text; apparently, his role was minimized in the rewrite.)

The current leader of the ACIM movement is presidential candidate Marianne Williamson.

I'm well aware that conspiracy buffs of the lazier sort accuse every non-mainstream religious movement of being affiliated in some way with the CIA's notorious MKULTRA program. But in this case, we have hard proof. Marianne Williamson -- currently a Democratic presidential candidate -- is, in fact, the leader of a sect originated by MKULTRA scientists. I can responsibly make that statement in print, on TV and in any courtroom, and I will not be proven wrong.

Columbia University -- where Donald Barr (father of current Attorney General Bill Barr) was an administrator -- employed Helen Schucman as a professor of Medical Psychology at the time of her Agency involvement. Both Thetford and Schucman received funding directly from the Agency. This is not open to question; I have the documentation and will place it online, if readers are interested.

They researched "conversion hysteria," an older term for the loss of one of the senses due to psychological factors. Perhaps the most famous victim of conversion hysteria was Adolf Hitler, who briefly went blind after World War I. (In fiction, the most famous victim is Tommy, the deaf, dumb and blind boy who sure plays mean pinball.)  

While working for the CIA's mind-alteration program, Schucman began "channeling" the text now known as A Course in Miracles, which supposedly represents the exact words of none other than Jesus Christ. (Oddly enough, the text kept getting rewritten. I guess even Jesus offers mediocre first draft copy.) I have no way of knowing whether her revelations resulted from her research with Thetford.

Incidentally, an official website for A Course in Miracles has published apologetic commentary about the research done by MKULTRA scientists.

In 2004, journalist Randall Sullivan wrote an interesting book called The Miracle Detective, about the strange Catholic subculture which has formed around claimed Marian apparitions. While researching this work, Randall interviewed Father Benedict Groeschel, a famous priest who had known Helen Schucman. Groeschel offered some astounding insights into her attitude toward that book.

The words below the asterisks are Sullivan's. To aid readability, I've added paragraph breaks. (One of my problems with Sullivan's book is his penchant for longer-than-the-Nile paragraphs.)

*  *  *

[Father Groeschel] was certainly no less perplexed by what he had witnessed more than 30 years earlier, when he had been present at the inception of a book now considered to be the "New Age Bible." He had been a graduate student in psychology at Columbia University during the late 1960s when one of his professors, a woman named Helen Schucman, had written -- "which is not to say authored" -- A Course in Miracles. Helen Schucman was nearly sixty when they met, and Groeschel, who was then almost forty, knew her not only as a teacher but also as a friend.

"Helen was a very scientific lady," he recalled, "a Jewish intellectual who considered herself to be an extreme agnostic, though not quite an atheist, and very skeptical about everything having to do with religion or spirituality." Schucman also was witty and engaging, and Groeschel, who was writing his dissertation on the relationship between science and theology, found her to be one of the most stimulating conversationalists he had every encountered.

The older woman became a good deal more fascinating to him when she announced in 1969 that she was taking dictation from a disembodied voice she knew only as the "Son of God." It had all started one day when she was riding the subway uptown and experienced a vision, Schucman explained: A beautiful light suddenly filled the car and shone on the faces of the people all around her. A short time later, she felt compelled to begin writing page after page of blank verse that eventually grew into A Course in Miracles.

Groeschel still could vividly recall his "dizzy astonishment" as the professor explained that she knew the meaning of each sentence she was writing, but had no idea what was coming next. "The interesting thing is that it scanned," the priest remembered. "It was written in iambic pentameter, and some of the passages were quite beautiful."

The result was a series of discourses by the "Son of God" in which the narrator/teacher/protagonist came across as the figure Jesus Christ might have been if born a Hindu rather than a Jew. Sin, sacrifice, and suffering all were dismissed as illusory, the maya (though this word was never used) of those chained to earthly existence. Only forgiveness is real, and all things, even the most heinous acts, are forgiven, the "Son of God" says again and again, without any need for penance or punishment. He eventually came to understand the book as the product of "an intellectual experience called 'sequential words,'" Groeschel said. "It's actually very common and probably the least impressive of all these things. St. John of the Cross nailed it. He said, 'They're calling the words of God the thoughts that they address to themselves.' Now, there's an ice-cold glass of hot water."

What Groeschel found to be at once most thrilling and confusing about Helen Schucman's process was that, during the time she wrote A Course in Miracles (a book that any number of fundamentalist Christian ministers have called the most dangerous ever published), she became intensely attracted to the Catholic Church, attended Mass regularly, and was devoted to the Virgin Mary. Only under close questioning did Schucman admit that, many years earlier, she had briefly been a Christian. This had resulted from an "accidental" childhood visit to Lourdes, where she had been so moved that she received baptism upon her return to the U.S. She also had prayed the Rosary for years afterwards, Schucman claimed, until she adopted scientific skepticism as her creed, and lived by it for most of her adult life.

When he suggested she apply for membership in the Catholic Church, Schucman replied that this was unnecessary because, as a Jew, she had been Catholic before "you Gentiles came along and made all these rules." No less fascinating to the priest was the sharp distinction between Schucman's own stated convictions and the content of A Course in Miracles.

"I hate that damn book," she often told him, and regularly disavowed its teachings.

Groeschel continued to try to "open the doors of the Church" to Schucman, but his influence was subverted by her husband. William Thetford, also a Columbia professor, was a mysterious character, and "probably the most sinister person I ever met," the priest recalled. Only after he retired from teaching did Thetford's Columbia colleagues (who knew him best as a rare-books expert) discover that all during the years they worked with him, the man had been employed as an agent of the CIA -- one who was, among other things, present at the first fission experiment conducted by physicists assigned to the Manhattan Project. Thetford also was "the most religious atheist I have ever known," Groeschel recalled, and conceived a great enthusiasm for A Course in Miracles, personally arranging for its publication.

Schucman was embarrassed, Groeschel remembered, and confided to the priest her fear that the book would create a cult, which of course it did. Groeschel initially read the Course as "religious poetry," but grew steadily more negative in his assessment of it as the years passed and sales of the three volumes passed into the millions of copies.

From his point of view, A Course in Miracles served to undermine authentic Christianity more effectively than just about any other work he could recall, and while he was inclined to reject the position of St. John of the Cross that "these things are diabolical unless proven otherwise," doubts had crept in over the years.

Most troubling to him by far was the "black hole of rage and depression that Schucman fell into during the last two years of her life," the priest explained. She had become frightening to be with, Groeschel recalled, spewing psychotic hatred not only for A Course in Miracles but "for all things spiritual." When he sat at Schucman's bedside as she lay dying, "she cursed, in the coarsest barroom language you could imagine, 'that book, that goddamn book.' She said it was the worst thing that ever happened to her. I mean, she raised the hair on the back of my neck. It was truly terrible to witness."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

JFC. What a post, Joseph.

I needn’t remind readers here of the propensity of those mind control experimenters to secretly dose their colleagues with LSD.

I once looked at the horrible ACIM, It is, as a physical book, as ugly as it is boring. Horrible materials, typography, oh, well, etc. It never occurred to me to read the thing.