U.S. Intelligence Operatives Appear to Have Intentionally Groomed Mass Murderer Charles Manson – Daniel Borgström 5/1/24

Source: CovertActionMagazine.com

The Sharon Tate murders were as bizarre as they were bloody, and the story behind the story is even stranger.

Journalist Tom O’Neill spent 20 years researching, interviewing and digging in his effort to get to the bottom of it. His book, CHAOS: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties, co-authored by Dan Piepenbring, is an account of O’Neill’s personal odyssey as well as a presentation of his findings which unfold, page after page, in tragedy, weirdness and irony.

Charles Manson’s hit-team killed ten people, perhaps more. That was in California, back in the summer of 1969, while the U.S. Armed Forces were busily slaughtering millions of Asians in Vietnam. And in opposition to that war, hundreds of thousands of Americans marched in mass protests—the anti-war movement.

Even GIs and military veterans were speaking out against the war. The counterculture movement was in full bloom, having started for at least since “the summer of love” two years earlier. Woodstock, an historic occasion which drew 400,000 people to a music event in Upstate New York, also took place the year of the Manson murders in that same month of August.

War, anti-war, and counterculture—it was all going on when Charles Manson and his “family” suddenly stole the show and took center stage with that series of infamous killings. First there was the Gary Hinman murder, then the Sharon Tate killings, followed by the LaBianca murders. Two more victims about whom we do not often hear were Donald Shea, a caretaker at the Spahn Ranch, and Filippo Tenerelli, who was found dead in a Bishop, California, motel.

The FBI’s COINTELPRO and the CIA’s CHAOS programs were also in play—part of intelligence’s covert war on dissent. Several shadowy characters, apparently CIA operatives, turn up in this story and appear to have crossed paths with Charles Manson. Among them was Dr. Louis Jolyon West of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind-control project. Another was Reeve Whitson who somehow knew of the Tate killings 90 minutes before anyone else did, and reported it in a phone call to Tate’s photographer. O’Neill devotes a chapter to each of them.

Thirty years had passed since the killings when O’Neill began work on his project in 1999. Several of the key players had already died, but Charles Manson was still in prison, and memories of the killings remained painfully alive. The topic was initially assigned to O’Neill as a magazine article, and the editor gave him three months to complete it.

However, as he launched into it, interviewing dozens—eventually hundreds—of cops, DA lawyers, clerks, Hollywood personalities, drug dealers and others, he found there was far more to the story than he had ever imagined.

He missed his deadline, then his next deadline, and the one after that. The project became his obsession, and the digging and research continued on through 20 long years of plowing through troves of documents: court records, old newspaper files, FOIA requests, and interviews. Research can be frustrating, and clearly it was. “Behind every solid lead, quotable interview, and bombshell document, I put in weeks of scut work that led to dozens of dead ends,” O’Neill tells us. His book finally came out in 2019….

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