1974 --  MAE  AND  THE  SLA


By Virginia McCullough

This five part series is dedicated to writer Tom O'Neill
who pestered me until I found the missing footnotes.

As curator and custodian of the Mae Brussell Collection I have received many requests for the footnotes to the Mae Brussell's article Why Was Patricia Hearst Kidnapped? which was written in February 1974 and published in the July 1974 issue of Mae Brussell's Conspiracy Newsletter. (Click. This newsletter was produced by Paul Krassner and published by The Realist.  It is a tribute to Paul Krassner that he recognized Mae's genius and published her article just as it was written without editing.  By staying true to her original work, Krassner gave readers a flavor of Mae's many radio shows and allowed the "Queen of Conspiracies" to demonstrate the uniqueness of her mind.  Unfortunately for Paul Krassner. Mae's mind downloaded an article thirty-nine pages in length, consuming the entire July 1974 issue of The Realist.

The constraints of time, space and money placed on Paul Krassner are best described in his Editorial Quack-Quacks on page 40 of that issue:

The documented facts and research-inspired questions weaving their way in and out of various categories like a symphony of counter-espionage have sparked off a certain sense of urgency that made me decide to devote this entire issue of The Realist to Mae Brussell's material.  It also serves as the second issue of her Conspiracy Newsletter, which will begin regular publication -- twice a month, by subscription only -- in October.  You'll find a coupon in the lobby.

In order to allow this issue to remain on newsstands and in bookstores for a longer period of time -- and to catch up with post office mailing requirements -- the nest issue of The Realist will be sent to subscribers only in September.  And then, in October, the 10th Anniversary issue, only six years late.  

 Krassner then goes on to discuss what stories and authors will appear in the October issue.

And, finally, "The Rise of Sirhan Sirhan in the Scientology Hierarchy," the mere announcement of which has resulted in a lawsuit for three-quarters of a million dollars, for libel and conspiracy.  It's at the Interrogatories stage now, with questions such as : "Have you ever spoken with or received communication from Sirhan Sirhan, his immediate family or his duly authorized agents or attorneys?"

Which I've refused to answer, on the grounds that it's privileged information, except for the incident when one of Sirhan's attorneys, Luke McKissick, was belting my charge of CIA involvement in the killing of Bobby Kennedy, and he said, in front of several witnesses, "The CIA -- look, I'll admit the LAPD has its own assassination squad -- but why do you have to bring the CIA into everything?"

Anyway, I don't think the case will actually come to court, because those eight words are simply not libelous, particularly in view of William Burroughs' contention that Scientology has been infiltrated by the CIA.  Nor do I expect Watergate conspirator James McCord to fulfill his threat of a libel suit for stating that he was in Dallas when President Kennedy was killed.  His own lawyer, Bernard Fensterwald, former head of the Committee to Investigate Assassinations, admits that McCord is  bluffing.

Meanwhile, since The Realist accepts no advertising and is subsidized by this Zen Bastard's other projects, it might be appropriate here to solicit publishers for Tongue Fu and Other Things ("Tongue Fu" will be serialized in The Whole Earth Epilog); my autobiography, Winner of the Slow Bicycle Race (excerpts of which will appear in Playboy); The Trial of Schmucko Marx (a novel inspired by Lenny Bruce).

It would also be nice to hear from a paperback house about my previous book, How a Satirical Editor Became a Yippie Conspirator in Ten Easy Years, and from film producers interested in screenplay versions, of Schmucko Marx (for actor Robert Blake); The Conversion of Patty Hearst (a collaboration with Mae Brussell);  my porny flick for senior citizens, Gum Job (a synopsis of which appeared in Ken Kesey's Spit in the Ocean); plus the possibility of animated cartoons based on "Thomas Eagleton Seagull" and "Tongue Fu".

Sorry about all this.  I don't usually discuss business at an orgy or recrimination.

---Paul Krassner
July 21, 1974

P.S.  Lack of space prevents inclusion of the footnotes from Mae Brussell's material in this issue. (Click - The Realist, Editorial Quack-Quacks. page 40)

This then is the background behind the "missing" footnotes for "Why Was Patricia Hearst Kidnapped?".  These newly discovered footnotes will be included in part four of this series.

In January 2000 a judge dealt a blow to the defense of former radical-turned-housewife Sara Jane Olson by ruling that the 24-year old unsolved killing of a woman during a bank robbery orchestrated by members of the SLA would go to trial and the entire violent history of the SLA would be admissible during the upcoming trial.  On February 7, 2000 Newsweek ran an article written by Mark Miller entitled "A 'Bloody' Army on Trial".  The sub-title further explained the article's contents: "A court plans to relive the '70's revolution and bring back Patty Hearst".  (Click.)

During the two years that followed, the publicity about the SLA and Sara Jane Olson continued to escalate. (Click. - The First Domestic Show Case Terrorist Trial of the 21st Century)

Witnesses to events a quarter century ago were aging and dying.  (Click.) and (Click.)

Olson's attorneys quit and/or were replaced. (Click.)  All the while Olson loudly proclaimed her innocence, often angering the judge and her own attorney's.  Finally Olson ended up with the infamous J. Tony Serra who implored the judge "Don't let them turn this trial into a circus.  Don't let them try the SLA ideology.  We're not here, Judge,  to defend the SLA.  We're not here to defend the ideology, or political strategy or activities of the SLA."

Serra is San Francisco's virtuoso anti-establishment lawyer who has spent his life defending society's outcasts.  The 1989 movie True Believer, starring James Wood and Robert Downey Jr.,  is based on Serra's life.  In that movie Serra is depicted as "a hard fighting, never-say-die, defense attorney" who tenaciously defends his client  fashioned after Serra's real life client Cho Soo Lee.   Serra's other  clients have included Black Panther leader Huey Newton and Russell Little of the SLA.   And in the year 2001 J. Tony Serra was representing Sara Jane Olson pro bono.

How did Serra REALLY represent Sara Jane Olson in the trial charging her with attempting to bomb Los Angeles police cars 25 years ago?  One must keep in mind that Olson desperately maintained that she was innocent of these charges.  It was her theatrical attorney Serra who "screamed at Sara in front of her family that she would be fucking insane to not take the deal (a plea agreement with no guarantee of what the sentence would be).  He (Serra) was grand, persuasive, overpowering, insistent, cursing, demanding, telling her she cannot win a trial in a climate of surging patriotism." (Click. - Law of the Bungle)

As soon as the Olson trial was over and sentencing meted out, a new cast of SLA characters were introduced and arraigned for the April 21, 1975 murder of housewife and mother Myrna Opsahl.  That murder took place during the robbery of the Crocker National Bank in Sacramento, California.  (Click.)  Amazingly, J. Tony Serra again took center stage when the court agreed to allow him to represent one of the defendants, alleged SLA member Michael Bortin. (Click.)  Certainly no defense attorney was more familiar with the court files and history of the SLA than the infamous J. Tony Serra.  Perhaps expediency of justice demanded his repeat presence in spite of the apparent conflict of interests.  Perhaps it was just necessary to have a consistent control agent or director if the play was to come to the proper ending.

Now 2002 is a repeat of 1974.  The same players fill the stage, the same violence is being orchestrated and the same producers are force feeding the same audience.  As Mae Brussell said in "The Mind of Mae Brussell" by Paul Krassner:

"So these are not just feelings I have," says Mae.  "That speech was greeted by Congress with thundering silence -- and money -- government funded programs paid for with our tax dollars.  We are witnessing pockets of violence, because they are now able to electronically, surgically and hypnotically kill citizens.  The army alone spent $26 million in projects to alter human behavior, and they not only did it with electrode implants but with LSD plus electrodes.  They alter minds so that people act without knowing why.  They can make someone murder a whole family and then kill himself."

And that is where the prison system comes in.  It is like a farm team to develop "talent" for the outside world.  "You can't just take anybody off the street and make him decide to walk up and shoot people," Mae insists.  "But take people who have had no love or affection, who are in prison, who in adolescence broke a school window and the court put them away.  You lock them up -- heterosexuals with homosexuals -- you break their spirit, dehumanize them, take away chances for education, increase their feelings of inferiority.  If you have hostility combined with this lack of opportunities, you begin nurturing a situation where children or young adults like Charles Manson or Gary Gilmore -- people with high intelligence but a lot of misery -- sit smoking and watching TV, covering up their anger, and become very ripe for indoctrination.  These are the people that they select for electronic or hypnotic control.  Hitler was gassed and told his mother had cancer, that a Jewish doctor let her he transferred his various hatreds.

"The case of Donald DeFreeze is identical to Adolf Hitler's.  Colton Westbrook, a mind-control expert who worked with [CIA Director William] Colby in Southeast Asia, helped DeFreeze with the Black Culture Association at the Vacaville prison in California.  DeFreeze was told he would be a new black leader to replace Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.  Later, he was shot and burned to death with all-white associates, no blacks, in the company of agents from the Defense Department - no different from Hitler or Lee Harvey Oswald."  

So said Mae about the SLA in 1974.

Virginia McCullough ©  5-7-02

1974 MAE  AND  THE  SLAIt was a very good year.  Part 1 Part 2  Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

Click. To view documents, articles from the Mae Brussell Archive