MindNet Journal - Vol. 1, No. 29a * [Part 1 of 2 parts]
     V E R I C O M M / MindNet         "Quid veritas est?"
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Editor: Mike Coyle 
Associate Editors: Walter Bowart
                   Alex Constantine
                   Martin Cannon
Assistant Editor: Rick Lawler
Research: Darrell Bross
Excerpted from:
Psychic Dictatorship in the U.S.A.
By Alex Constantine
Portland, OR : Feral House, 1995
Chapter Five
Pages 97-111
"What is that Odor?"
Mystery Fumes, the Poisoning of the Los
Angeles County Commission for Women's Ritual Abuse Task Force &
the Los Angeles Times
Introduction: Cults, Chemo-Terrorism and the CIA
After the deadly March 1995 subway gassing in Japan, 1,200 police
and military troops raided the "sixth santium" of Aum Shinri Kyo,
one of the country's 17,000 religious cults, in the shadow of
Mount Fuji. Sporting chemical gear, they cut their way into the
Kamikuishiki warehouse with circular saws and oxyacetylene
torches. On the first floor, police stumbled upon a "Perfect
Salvation Initiation," a yogic ritual that employed electrical
skull caps to deliver four- to ten-volt shocks to the novitiate
in an attempt to open his chakras, the body's centers of
spiritual energy. Among the healing rites practiced by the sect
was the imbibing and vomiting of whole gallons of water,
electrical jolts and the "Christ Initiation," an arduous regimen
of enemas and scalding hot baths.
        Former members of the sect, according to a Los Angeles
Times report, "paint a chilling picture of psychological
indoctrination ... sleep deprivation, mind control techniques and
enforced isolation from the outside world. Access to family and
friends - even newspapers and TV - is prohibited"1 The cultists
exhibited an alarming degree of mind control. Police freed a
screaming woman from a stainless steel pod, and fifty cult
members were found sprawled unconscious in a chapel on the second
floor, six others in a drug-induced coma.2
        Police announced that the stockpile of noxious chemicals
discovered at the compound was the source of the nerve gas
released in a Tokyo subway, killing ten people and injuring
5,000, with 70 in critical condition. Sadly enough, the
neurotoxic effect of the gas is likely to be severe. Medical
research has shown that acute exposure to toxic levels of sarin
(a poison developed at chemical laboratories in Nazi Germany as a
war gas) produces prolonged changes in brain function.3 It was
the first use of a chemical warfare agent on a large group of
people by a non-military group4 (though the apocalyptic sect is
believed to have had a hand in an unexplained sarin "leak" in the
Japanese Alps in 1994 that left eight dead and sickened 212.5
"Birds dropped from the sky," one abashed correspondent wrote
from Tokyo. "Dead dogs and cats lay in the gutters, and dead carp
and yabbies floated to the surface of an ornamental pond"6).
        It was not the first time that a cult has been accused of
waging chemical warfare on unsuspecting civilians. In Los
Angeles, for example, a series of mysterious attacks on members
of the local County Commission for Women's Ritual Abuse Task
Force in 1992 led to complaints of nausea, blurred vision,
dizziness, headaches and elevated blood pressure. Eight of these
cases had been independently confirmed by blood tests - yet,
incredibly, Los Angeles Times coverage made light of the victims,
blaming the outbreak of symptoms on the fertile imaginations of
professional paranoiacs.7 After all, allegations of abuse at
McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach had been debunked. The
expert opinions of reputable academics had shown that organized
cult activity in southern California was non-existent, the
zaniest of "urban legends."
        Hadn't they?
        Surely the task force was laboring under another bout of
cult "hysteria." The Times reassured the community that, once
again, a few fevered brains had made monsters where none existed.
The newspaper adhered to its position even when Dr. Catherine
Gould, chairwoman of the ritual abuse task force, fired off a
letter of rebuttal, pointing out that the allegations were backed
up by blood-test reports verifying that members of the group had,
contrary to the Times report, been exposed to organophosphate
        The Times did not print the letter. Dr. Gould, a licensed
clinical child therapist, countered that she had found it
shocking a major metropolitan newspaper would "deliberately
bypass the available data in favor of a series of emotional
charges which essentially amount to a chorus of 'it couldn't be
true.'" She also bemoaned the newspaper's "pattern of biased and
inaccurate reporting" on ritual child abuse, a tendency to side
with perpetrators of SRA and promote the small minority of
psychologists - only one out of ten, in fact - who deride
recovered memory therapy and have largely succeeded at
discrediting therapists who work with children abused by mind
control cults.9
        This small but unremittingly "skeptical" school
constitutes the pool of academic psychologists available to
defense attorneys. They have received much play in the press,
champions of the false memory theory of ritual abuse - though
most are not licensed to practice child therapy. Ubiquitous in
the media, this clutch of academic psychologists includes
Drs. Richard Ofshe, Margaret Singer and Elizabeth Loftus of the
False Memory Syndrome Foundation, all of whom have made lucrative
careers testifying on behalf of accused pedophiles. The
therapists who actually treat the young victims are not sought
out by reporters. This inequity, biased in favor of the false
memory brigade, amounts to blanket censorship of all qualified
professionals on the subject of ritual abuse. The press has thus
become the sole domain of a small minority of defense
        Lopsided media coverage of ritual abuse amounts to a
virulent form of disinformation. The perpetrators and their hired
guns in academia have a monopoly on the molding of public
opinion. They are not representative, but they are quoted time
and again by the press.
        Their bona fides are often in CIA mind control
experimentation. These include UCLA's Louis Jolyon West (LSD
experiments) and Berkeley's Margaret Singer (brainwashing
studies), both "experts" on cults. Dr. Ofshe, who turns up
constantly in the newspapers to call recovered memory therapy a
"quack" science, writes monographs on mind control strongly
influenced by Dr. West's academic writing. Dr. Martin Orne, an
original board member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation,
studied hypnotic persuasion at the University of Pennsylvania for
CIA and Naval Intelligence paymasters.
        What the Los Angeles Times neglected to tell its
readership is that CIA behavior control scientists and the cults
have formed an alliance.
        The Agency uses the cults to further the techniques and
technology of mind control.10 In exchange, the CIA provides
behind-the-scenes legal assistance and public relations. A
perpetrator of ritual abuse, when nabbed, is often treated to
friendly press coverage. In contrast, ritually abused children
and their therapists have been targeted for harassment because
they threaten perps, cults and the Agency alike with exposure.
Competent psychologists are, in the public print, made to appear
greedy, incompetent opportunists practicing a medieval science
based on quack theories of memory. Stories critical of those in
the field of ritual abuse often bear an uncanny resemblance to a
CIA disinformation campaign - and that, if the truth be known, is
no accident.
        Despite public pronouncements to the contrary, the CIA is
still very actively engaged in mind control research. Communities
around the world have been converted into laboratories. Cults in
their midst are led by operatives trained in the techniques and
technology of behavior control. And media disinformation conceals
the work of this mind control fraternity. In January of 1992, Dr.
Gould recalled in her letter to the Times, "I became aware of a
strange pattern of illnesses [affecting] both Los Angeles
therapists treating ritual abuse patients, and individuals
engaged in support and advocacy work on behalf of ritually abused
children and adults." The afflicted complained not only of a
general malaise that might be expected to accompany a demanding
career, but also such unusual symptoms as numbness in the face
and extremities, blurred vision, muscle tremors and weakness,
memory loss and even "incontinence."
        The first to complain of symptoms saw a physician, who
diagnosed her as suffering from diazinon poisoning. (Diazinon,
like the sarin unleashed in Japan, is an organophosphate.11)
Independently, another member of the task force had a blood test
performed at Kaiser Hospital in Los Angeles and was handed the
same diagnosis. A third member of the group, an SRA survivor, was
examined at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center and told that
she had "organophosphate poisoning." Yet another member, a
therapist suffering a constellation of toxic symptoms, bought a
pesticide detection kit. She tested samples of food from the
kitchen one evening when she discovered that her home had been
broken and entered. A half dozen of the food samples proved
positive for pesticide poisoning.
        The therapist (requesting anonymity) claimed in a letter
to the task force, "our home has been broken into several times,
even during the day when witnesses were on the property.
Neighbors inform us of continual nighttime surveillance. We have
been followed several times by a variety of vehicles. On at least
three occasions the interior of our home has been splattered with
blood, and two birds have mysteriously died."12
        Concerns were raised at the panel's March 1992 meeting
that some people engaged in helping ritual abuse survivors escape
cult influence might be victims of pesticide poisoning. By that
time, a number of therapists suffering from symptoms of
organophosphate poisoning had contacted their physicians.
        Satanic cult survivors on the task force also exhibited
symptoms of toxification, including a young woman and incest
survivor - referred to here as M - who received the following
recorded message from her sister shortly after taking a blood
        I talked to mom this morning - she's very upset! She said
she had a phone call yesterday about a meeting and that she
wanted to tell you that any files, any medical reports that you
go or that anyone else goes looking for will not be found. We
know what you're up to and you're not going to get away with it.
I repeat, anything you look for - medical files, reports - will
not be found. Don't do this.... I'm telling you this to beware -
you're treading on thin ice - mom told me to tell you'd better be
        You'd better watch who you talk to. Watch what you say,
because you're marked and you know that. We know what school
[your child] goes to. You'd better be there for him. You'd better
watch out for him. Anything can happen.
        Have a nice day!
        Medical reports from clinics across the county vouch for
members of the task force who reporting toxic effects. Still, the
L.A. Times took the position that they were suffering paranoid
        The adamant editors of the Times turned up their noses
not only to the medical reports, but also to a number of letters
from other therapists of ritually abused children in Los Angeles
- they, too, exhibited symptoms of organophosphate poisoning.
        One mother of two, after leaving a local cult, contacted
Gould's task force in November, 1992 about the L.A.Times story:
"I was alarmed, since I had all the symptoms last year, as had my
children." Another mother wrote to say that in February, 1985 she
discovered that her youngest daughter had been sexually abused in
a daycare center in the San Fernando Valley. Her daughter's
intense emotional trauma persisted, though she frequented a
therapist for over a year. Then the toxic siege began ...
        In 1988 I started to experience physical problems. I was
severely tired much of the time. It felt as if I had been
drugged. Soon after that I started to have occurrences of
tachycardia (rapid heart beat), headaches, shortness of breath,
loss of memory, blurry vision, sweats, and at times I noticed a
strange odor in my clothing, not to mention the female problems I
was having. Doctors tested me every which way and yet every test
was negative.
        They told me I was suffering from stress. I argued that I
felt drugged, that I had some kind of chemical imbalance. They
insisted it was stress, and I was referred to various stress
programs, given tapes to listen to and forced to leave a very
lucrative job.
        In July 1989, I was put on disability. Today I am
considered permanently disabled.
        Early in 1992 it was suggested to me that I might be a
victim of pesticide poisoning. Truth is I didn't believe it. I
was afraid my doctor would think I was crazy. I eventually did go
to him and asked his opinion. I was surprised at what he told me
in a phone conversation the next day. He had consulted with two
other doctors, and it was their opinion that I was suffering from
chronic pesticide poisoning.13
        Having amassed a bulky file of medical documentation to
establish that members of the task force had been poisoned, Dr.
Gould was still reluctant to contact the local press until she'd
gathered enough evidence to convince even the most obstinate
skeptic. In Los Angeles, the legal victory of Ray Buckey on
molestation charges, after a five-year travail of public debate,
had prompted a heated backlash against child therapists.
        The task force was still collecting medical evidence and
discussing possible courses of action when Stephanie Sheppard, a
cult survivor, broke ranks and phoned the L.A. Times and a local
television station to "blow the lid" off the group's "psychotic"
belief they'd been poisoned.
        Ms. Sheppard's admission was made to therapist David
Neswald prior to a meeting of the panel. Dr. Neswald recalls that
Sheppard "apparently mistook me for Dr. Papanek and called me out
to the hallway to speak privately."14 The agonizing irony in the
confusion of identity is that Dr. Paul Papanek has long been a
medical champion for the spraying of technical-grade malathion
(an organophosphate and known neurotoxin) in densely-populated
Southern California neighborhoods, a practice he commends as
safe and effective to rid the region of periodic medfly
infestation, despite growing evidence that the insecticide has
adverse, often severe effects on human health.
        A mother of two, referred to here as N.R., once sought
advice from the task force when she suspected her two daughters
had been abused. She struggled with an undiagnosed illness for a
year before it occurred to her that the cause might be a poison.
She phoned the task force office and was referred to Stephanie
Sheppard, then acting "contact person" on questions concerning
toxins. Sheppard, the woman complained, "proceeded to question me
at length," and gave several "lectures about how all of these
symptoms I was having could be from other causes, including
'getting old' (I am forty)." N.R. became "very suspicious of her
intentions and did not wish to talk to her again."15
        After a routine blood test, Ms. R.'s physician received
not one, but three phone calls from Stephanie Sheppard. She asked
how the tests had come out, and informed him that she seriously
doubted anyone on the task force had been poisoned. When
Stephanie rang N.R., "I told her that I had found out that she
had called my doctor and that I was very angry. Her voice took on
a tone that was obviously aimed at shaming me for questioning
her. I told her in a strong voice not to call again and I hung
up." Alarmed, she called the clinic, only to discover that
Stephanie had called there repeatedly for a copy of the blood
test results. (As it happens, the test proved negative. This
means little, though, because Mrs. R. learned later that it was a
test capable of detecting only high levels of toxicity from
recent exposure.)
        Ms. R. complained to the task force that her doctor had
"no experience with ritual abuse. Now she certainly has a
first-hand experience of cult attempts to sabotage all exposure
of their violent harassment techniques. I am totally outraged."
She characterized Stephanie Sheppard's intrusions as "a total red
alert" to "infiltration."
        But the quickest cuts, the harshest treacheries, were yet
to come - from the Los Angeles Times.
        British journalist Piers Brendon, in The Life and Death
of the Press Barons, found in the course of researching the book
in 1983 that "as an integral part of the country's power
structure, the Times tends to overlook its public
responsibilities."16 But then, dodging responsibility is
something of a tradition in the press, Brendon observed: "The
First Amendment was drafted on the understanding that newspapers
would be voices crying in the wilderness. It did not matter how
raucous or even how deceitful they were."
        The very paragon of this principle is the L.A. Times.
        Catherine Gould is cautious of the press. She and other
therapists working with ritual abuse victims have been repeatedly
besmirched for shattering the spell of public denial woven by the
media around any mention of ritual child abuse or cult mind
[Continued to part 2]
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