An Open Letter from the friend's of Dr. Timothy Leary.
I see you're using Internet Explorer, which is not compatible with this site. Seric strongly suggests downloading Firefox. I'm sure you'll like it better:
Firefox blocks pop-up windows.
It's more secure against viruses and spyware.
It keeps Microsoft from controlling the future of the internet.
It's better for web designers and developers.
Features like tabbed browsing make reading webpages easier.
Click the button on the right to download Firefox. It's free.
Continue without Firefox >>
The following is an open letter from the friend's of Dr. Timothy Leary, defending his name from the dis-information distributed by the mainstream media after his death.
FBI AND MEDIA KICK A MAN WHILE HE'S DEAD: An Open Letter from the Friends
of Timothy Leary
"Those who want to gnaw on his bones never knew his heart"
-- Ken Kesey
"He stood up bravely for freedom of speech and behavior and deserves to be
remembered for that."
-- Winona Ryder
Recent media coverage about Timothy Leary's "cooperation" with the FBI
brings into focus the Orwellian character of today's tabloid media
Focusing on documents selectively released by the FBI, and initially
published by the "true crime" webzine, The Smoking Gun, a news story picked
up by the Associated Press presented as shocking news the fact that Leary
testified about the radical left in 1974 in the hopes of speeding up his
prison release. Young readers, or those with a short historical memory,
were led to believe that Leary was a secret FBI collaborator, hiding behind
a mask of countercultural anti-authoritarianism. We refer the Associated
Press and all other conscientious reporters to newspapers and periodicals
from this period. We also refer them to the final chapters (39-41) of
Leary's own autobiography, Flashbacks (Tarcher/Putnam, 1983). Leary found
his interaction with the Feds important enough to make it the closing
chapter. He was certainly aware that it was no secret. Trumpeting the fact
that Leary answered the agency's questions as "news" is utterly dishonest.
"I feel my neurons perking up and snapping to attention as the fog of
mass-media disinformation turns to high-definition clarity."
-- Susan Sarandon
Journalists who wish to investigate this situation further will be rewarded
with a complex adventure story of a heroic man whose rights were
consistently violated by various government agencies, who served 4-1/2
harsh years in prison and another 1-1/2 years in exile, and who finally
evaded several lifetimes' worth of further prison sentences while doing
negligible damage to friends and acquaintances.
"For those whose image of Dr. Leary has been formed by shallow and often
malicious reports in the press..."
-- Tom Robbins
Here are a few salient facts:
* Timothy Leary faced about 100 years in prison. Twenty years were for a
total of less than half an ounce of marijuana; another five for escaping
from prison. That alone would have put him away for the rest of his life.
But in addition, he faced 75 years on some bizarre conspiracy charges
around global distribution of LSD. Of his thirty "co-conspirators,"
twenty-nine were unfamiliar to him, and conspiracy charges were eventually
dropped. In contrast, the leaders of the Weather Underground received fines
and suspended sentences when they finally turned themselves in, due to the
disclosure that the FBI had committed illegal acts against them.
* Nobody was seriously injured by Leary's interaction with the FBI, with
the exception of a former attorney, who received three months in prison
after being set up on a cocaine bust by a girlfriend of Leary working on
the outside, not from Tim's testimony. The lawyer has never come forward to
express any anger toward Leary. Two other former lawyers of Leary were
placed at risk, as were his estranged wife and his archivist, but nothing
came of it because of the absence of corroborating testimony from people
who Tim well knew had been underground for years.
* The Weather Underground, the radical left organization responsible for
his escape, was not impacted by his testimony. Histories written about the
Weather Underground usually mention the Leary chapter in terms of the
escape for which they proudly took credit. Leary sent information to the
Weather Underground through a sympathetic prisoner that he was considering
making a deal with the FBI and waited for their approval. The return
message was "we understand."
* While in exile, Leary was illegally kidnapped by US agents in Afghanistan
(which had no extradition treaty with the U.S.) and brought back to
America. On returning to prison, he was thrown into "the hole" in Folsom
Prison. His bail was five million dollars, the largest in U.S. history.
President Richard Nixon had earlier labeled him "the most dangerous man in
* When Leary first agreed to talk to the FBI about those involved in his
escape, the agents were so dissatisfied with his testimony that they put
him out on the "main line" at a Minnesota prison under the name "Charles
Thrush," a songbird. This was a blatant attempt to label him a snitch and
get him murdered by prisoners, or at least to scare him into giving the FBI
the kind of answers they wanted.
* After his testimony, Leary remained in prison for close to two years.
* His release had as much to do with Nixon's downfall over the Watergate
scandal, the fact that the FBI had been exposed for illegal activities
against radical groups, and the transition from Ronald Reagan to Jerry
Brown as governor of California, as it did with any useful information the
FBI might have received from him.
* There are lots of FBI files on Tim Leary. The government has released a
select number of them, which were clearly chosen to hurt his reputation.
The FBI is still doing its best to slow down the release of Leary's full
file, according to investigators who have made Freedom of Information Act
* "Tim was a Chieftain. He stomped on the terra, and he left his elegant
hoof prints on all our lives."
-- Hunter S. Thompson
"Tim knew he had to make the same sort of rollover when he was in the belly
of the beast. He also knew he wasn't telling the Feds anything they didn't
already know. And he figured it the same way I did: our true allies and
comrades would understand.
I have no need to associate with doubters. When the priests in the Star
Chamber promise to stop pouring hot lead in your ear if you'll confess to
being in league with Satan, you do what you have to do. Those citizens who
think you are being a traitorous coward have never had hot lead poured in
Tim Leary was a great warrior, funny and wise and clever and, above all,
courageous. I judge myself blessed to have battled alongside a
revolutionary like this blue-eyed battler. Those who want to gnaw on his
bones never knew his heart."
-- Ken Kesey
The Friends of Timothy Leary:
R. U. Sirius
Larry "Ratso" Sloman
Robert Anton Wilson