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Book Review:

Mass Control:
Engineering Human Consciousness

by, Jim Keith

In his final, posthumously published effort, Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness, Jim Keith takes aim at a most dangerous and deserving target, the many-headed beast of "Mind Control" or, as it has oft been soft-pedaled to the masses, "Behavior Conditioning". This many-headed beast, contends the late Mr. Keith, has appeared throughout recent history in a multitude of guises--from everything to Nazi influenced Eugenic programs to hot tub "sensitivity training" sessions at Esalen--all of which theoretically culminated in such "test subjects" as those sacrificed at Jonestown, Waco, and Rancho Sante Fe. All of the above, Keith surmised, were the end products of earlier Tavistock Institute and MK-ULTRA mechanizations.

Another means of mass control, Keith posited, is the American education system, which over time has become more a means of dumbing down the masses, than an actual method of imparting the fundemental skills needed to produce freethinkers and "productive citizens". In Mass Control, Keith documents this de-evolution quite exhaustively, beginning in the mid-1800’s with John Dewey’s "progressive education" programs and leading all the way to its current manifestation, Bill Clinton’s Goals 2000. Goals 2000--as Keith profusely illustrates--is, in reality, more a means of hindering individuality and regimenting society, than an actual answer to our rapidly declining educational system, beset--as it is--by rampant illiteracy and the indoctrination of students into a pattern of social conformity. These factors--along with the current tendency of "educators" to medicate high strung youths with mood altering drugs such as Ritalin--has created an atmosphere where Columbine-like tragedies are becoming a common occurrence.

In Mass Control, Keith presents his case in chronological order, and in logical progression, beginning with the aforementioned eugenics programs and "social engineering" of Tavistock, along the way nurtured by Dr. Mengele’s concentration camp mescaline-torture experiments, all of which invariably set the stage for an Orwellian wet dream perfected in the laboratories of Sandoz, the Vacaville Medical Facility, and Stanford Research Institute. This journey through the "looking glass" gathered much of its momentum from early MK-ULTRA experiments, and the infamous "battle for men’s mind" that gave Allen Dulles such an ungainly hard-on. As to be expected, the evil spirit of Dr. Jose Delgado is summoned forth to add texture to Keith’s recounting of those halcyon days in the annals of remote mind control technology, and its ultimate mission to devalue the human soul and turn men into meat machines, leading us to our final destination: Aldous Huxley’s "Brave New World", brought to you in Technicolor via brain implants, ELF radiation waves, and Dr. Michael Persinger’s "Magic Helmet". Toss a little Project Monarch into this virtual reality nightmare--with a dash of HAARP and a hint of techno-nerds re-wiring the circuits in our heads--and what inevitably stands before us, as Keith so eloquently describes, is a …"New Man, his mind and body stolen from him, soul reduced to the impulses of the animal he thinks he is. His conception of reality is a dance of electronic images fired into his forebrain, a gossamer construction of his masters, designed so that he will not under any circumstances perceive the actual. His happiness is delivered to him through a tube or an electronic connection. His God lurks behind the electronic curtain; when the curtain is pulled away we find the CIA sorcerer, the media manipulator, the cyberneticist, the weaver of the Dreamscape."

Like all of us, Jim Keith was far from perfect, and made his own mistakes along the way, in life and on the printed page. One part guerilla ontologist, and one part dharma combatant, Jim straddled that wobbly fence between skepticism and true belief, trying to make some sense of the burbled mash that is "conspiracy theory", and more often than not arriving at a cogent analysis of those furry things that go bump in the night, be they paranormal poltergeists or intelligence agency spooks. There were other times--according to detractors, as well as colleagues--when Jim perhaps garbled the facts a wee bit, or possibly even mangled them to conform into his own version of reality. On this account, SteamShovel Press editor, Kenn Thomas--Keith’s friend and occasional collaborator--has posthumously taken his old friend to task for his treatment of Timothy Leary in Mass Control. Allegations of Leary’s involvement in MK-ULTRA experiments have long been bandied about through the conspiracy research community, and it is this frequent spectre that Keith once again conjures up in Mass Control, although--in my opinion--the jury is still out on this subject, and will most likely remain so until some smoking gun suddenly appears on scene via an FOIA request, or some other revelation of that nature. The case of Leary as "agent provocateur" can be argued from now until the cows come home, and at this point it’s merely conjecture, albeit based on a systematic "connect the dots" approach Jim Keith used, much in the same manner as Mae Brussell, and other conspiracy researchers of their ilk.

In Mass Control, Keith makes the point that Tim Leary copped to being on the CIA payroll, but in the final analysis this is probably not a statement anyone can readily hang their hats on. Ever the cosmic prankster, chances are Leary had tongue firmly planted in cheek when he admitted such to researcher Walter Bowart. This is not to suggest that Keith doesn’t bring up some salient points regarding Leary’s many connections to the movers and shakers in the early LSD/MK-ULTRA scene; a motley coterie of intelligence agency spooks and "spychiatrists" who provided Dr. Tim with his colorful array of mind-warping wares, ostensibly turning on a generation with that now-famous slogan: "Turn on, tune in, and drop out". It can also be argued that the long-term effects of all this acid on the heads of America’s hipsters led the "peace and love" generation toward a feeling of general malaise and political apathy, which eventually transformed into a Yuppified ideal driving Porches with cellphones plastered to their ears, talking to God-knows-who, and losing touch with their inner voice in the process. For yours truly, LSD seemingly opened my eyes to the infinite wonders of the Universe--or so it appeared at the time, though I often wonder if I--like countless others--wasn’t played the fool in some gross charade of Goliath proportions. According the Mr. Keith, LSD was most likely used by intelligence agencies as a clever diversion; a means of diluting the wellspring of 60’s political activism, and replacing it with some wish-washy brand of self-realization that equals pure delusion. What more--according to the thesis of Mass Control--any of us even remotely connected to the 60’s counterculture were, in essence, used as blind laboratory rats in a huge behavior modification program; a grand experiment where such tools as "psychedelic drugs" and "sensitivity training" were among the vast arsenal used to blow our unsuspecting minds. In this respect, Keith paints a most compelling picture, and whether or not we choose to accept his conclusions, we would be foolish to, at least, not consider them. Personally, I find it hard to argue with this proposition, although I would contend that the Leary’s and Kesey’s of the world might very well have turned the tables on their MK-ULTRA "handlers", using the CIA’s own weapons against them in this epic "battle for men’s minds". As one studies this material, it must be noted that Jim Keith spoke from vast experience, having lived for a time in the Haight during the height of the 60’s psychedelic scene, dropping a tab or two of Owsley Blue along the way, and even having an occasional run-in with an alien gray. Later, Jim was exposed first hand to what some have termed a "brainwashing cult", when he was an executive officer within the Church of Scientology. Through it all, he maintained his perspective and profound sense of humor. And while Jim was serious about his work, he nonetheless refused to take himself "too seriously", which is the exact folly many "conspiracy buffs" fall prey to, believing so deeply in any one conspiracy theory that they ultimately fall victim to that very same conspiracy.

As anyone who has become intimately involved in conspiracy research can readily attest, once we begin burrowing deep down into that rabbit’s hole, it indeed has its own insidious tendency to suck us in ever further, sometimes to the point of no return. Some think this is what happened to Mae Brussell--and possibly Jim Keith, for that matter. If this is indeed the case, Jim probably would have gotten a perverse kick out of the whole thing; only fitting, it seems, for someone who spent the last couple decades of his life chasing tangent spectres such as Project Monarch, Alternative 3, and the elusive Men-In-Black. As Kenn Thomas noted: "If Jim Keith did not die as a result of a conspiracy, then I'm sure he would want us to make it look that way!" Granted, Jim was in no hurry to shed the mortal coil, but in so passing I’m sure he would have had no qualms about leaving behind a "conspiracy murder" mythos as his legacy. For those who knew Jim, the $64,000 question these days is whether or not he was actually killed by a conspiracy, and if so, exactly which one? The most popular rumor in this regard revolves around Keith’s final article for Nitro News, the results of which--certain theorists contend--sealed Jim’s fate, due to his naming of the physician who declared Princess Diana pregnant at the time of her death.

Personally, I doubt that it was any single conspiracy that did Jim in, but more likely (if, indeed, a conspiracy was responsible) the sum of all his far-reaching research over the years, culminating in his final two efforts, Mind Control, World Control and Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness, in which Keith perhaps put all the pieces of the "mind control" puzzle together more meticulously than anyone before him. Whatever the case, these two books certainly stand up there with other essential works in the field, such as Operation Mind Control, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, and The Control of Candy Jones.

In reality, Mass Control probably isn’t the last "new book" we’ll see from Jim Keith, as rumor has it there are several other unpublished manuscripts laying in wait for future publication. In word and deed, Jim lives on, a clear and distinct voice trying to muddle his way through the maze, a single flickering candle in a dark tunnel, helping to guide us through the madness of our times.

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