National Commentary

‘Helter Skelter’ For 2019

The latest round of mass murders in El Paso and Dayton awfully portend the escalation of a domestic terrorist war against the very democratic institutions of the U.S. itself. They point not to a race war, per se, but an all-out war against our nation, fought from within.

When all the major U.S. intelligence agencies have acknowledged that a hostile foreign power has been insinuating itself in an unprecedented way into the domestic affairs of the U.S., what are we to make of this? It is doubtful such powers are content to limit their activities to placing political ads on social media in the way that the Mueller Report documented with such depth.

They were certainly involved in trying to skew the outcome of elections here, including, of course, the presidential election of 2016, and as all the U.S. intelligence agencies have also confirmed, to redouble such efforts in the same manner in 2020 (and 2019 in Virginia, although Virginia caught wind of the ease with which non-papertrail voting machines could be hacked and mandated a swift move to all papertrail machines in 2017, such that the flipping of 17 state delegate districts to the Democrats was preserved).

But what about the domestic terror threat here? What about the rise of the white supremacist right, enabled by Trump, that led to the Charlottesville riot of two years ago when hundreds of hate-filled neo-Nazis descended for torch-laden marches and rallies spewing foul racist epithets, and leading to the murder of one counter-demonstrator and the accidental deaths of two state helicopter operators.

What about the profiles of the killers in El Paso, especially, and Dayton, and others who have been caught in more recent days planning terrorist mass killings?

How coincidental that Hollywood has just released a blockbuster film, Quentin Tarrantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” a fanciful but historically-accurate framing of the grizzly 1969 Manson cult murders of actress Sharon Tate in the Hollywood hills of L.A.

What’s the connection with today? How about the totally-crazed and seemingly brainwashed behavior of the Manson cultists, including their complete lack of emotion or remorse for their heinous acts?

Do they remind anyone of the mental state of white nationalist domestic terrorists like the El Paso killer and the likes of those who descended on Charlottesville?

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Manson murders, author Tom O’Neill has penned an intriguing new book, “Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties.” The book is a major step beyond the best-seller on the Manson killings by the case’s late Prosecuting Attorney Vincent Bugliosi that he titled “Helter Skelter,” which he wrote in the 1970s.

O’Neill interviewed Bugliosi extensively, and developed some serious misgivings about Bugliosi’s conclusions regarding the motive for the killings, pointing to Bugliosi’s thoughts on how Manson turned his docile followers into remorseless killers. “Even with the LSD, the sex, the isolation, the sleep deprivation, the social abandonment, there had to be ‘some intangible quality … It may be something that he learned from others.” Something he learned from others!

O’Neill’s original content comes from his research into the files of the late Dr. Louis Jolyon “Jolly” West, a psychiatrist who ran the CIA’s top-secret MKULTRA experiments into the impact of LSD on mass, often unsuspecting populations in the 1950s and 1960s. Long and short, West was among the “others” that Manson learned from.

When O’Neill talked with professor Alan Scheflin, an expert on MKULTRA, he asked, “Was it possible that the Manson murders were an MKULTRA experiment gone wrong?” Scheflin answered, “No, an MKULTRA experiment gone right.”

Today, can it be that the use of drugs and powers of suggestion are creating a new and much broader application of the goals of MKULTRA for an escalation of a white supremacist domestic terror upsurge in the U.S.? Could there somehow be a connection with the ongoing saturation of so many opioids into white-dominated rural areas of the U.S.

Is anyone in a position to recognize this, much less stop it?

Nicholas Benton may be emailed at