Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mary Alice Doesn't Lay Here, Anymore

After her 1975 arrest, Patricia Hearst had several sessions with Dr. Jolyon West, a key figure involved with MK-ULTRA, the CIA’s mind control program. Later, Dr. West testified openly in her defense. But these initial meetings were secret. What could they have been up to? Was he trying to undo the Symbionese Liberation Army’s brainwashing? Was he brainwashing her into being a good girl for the first time in her life? Or, was he coaching her on how to mimic someone who had just been brainwashed?

In preparation for her trial, the prosecution assigned Dr. Harry Kozol to examine Hearst in order to evaluate her brainwashing claim. But she stormed out of his office just minutes into the session, yelling that he accused her of dirty things. He only asked about her feelings concerning SLA member Willie Wolf. At that point, according to Dr. Kozol, she went ballistic, vehemently denying that she had anything to do with her own kidnapping, and that she was a victim, and how she never wanted to be involved with this in the first place.

Hearst’s best friend, Patricia Tobin, playfully mentioned to Patty the rumors that she helped in the planning of her own abduction, because she thought that her sister would be the intended victim--a teasing that prompted the same severe overreaction that Dr. Kozol witnessed. According to her fiancé, Stephen Weed, when the SLA entered their apartment, she screeched, “It’s not supposed to be me,” or words to that effect.

Why would Hearst plan her sister’s kidnapping? Better yet, why would the Hearst family offer their daughters to be used in such a manner?

First question first. If Hearst planned her sister’s kidnapping, with the full knowledge that she would be subject to rape, it might have been because Patty had already made her own sacrifice to the cause.

“Where?” you ask.

Most likely, at The Vacaville Medical Facility in California.

When Willie Wolf’s father heard that his son had gotten mixed up in a band of paramilitary left-wing yahoos, he couldn’t believe it. So he hired Lake Headley, a top-notch private investigator, to find out what the hell Willie was doing. On May 4, 1974, thirteen days before the younger Wolf’s death at the hands of the LAPD, Headley concluded his investigation, and filed a sworn affidavit of his findings. In the quaint language of legal mumbo jumbo, he found (more like came to the opinion, but that’s legal mumbo jumbo for you) that the SLA was, in fact, an ongoing domestic operation of the CIA. He further found:

"That Patricia Campbell Hearst and her parents disagreed bitterly over Patricia's political and personal relations. That a love affair between a black man and Patricia Hearst did take place prior to her relationship with her fiancé Steven Weed. That Mrs. Randolph A. Hearst subjected her daughter to extreme pressure to change her personal and political relationships."

Patty was eighteen years old when Mary Alice Siem made her trips to Vacaville. Like every other guest, she needed a photo ID to get in and out. So, if you’re wondering what Siem looked like in that photo, imagine Hearst at eighteen and you’ll have an exact match.

(Figure 1. Mary Alice Siem and Thero Wheeler, Prison IDs)

(Figure 2. Patricia Hearst, c. 1973)

(Figure 3. Patricia Hearst, 1974 SLA Publicity Photo)

Hearst has three rather distinct facial features. The first are her eyes. They’re very intense. The most distinctive feature, however, is the nose. If you look at Hearst’s face straight on--doesn’t matter how old she was at the time--you will see that her nose angles noticeably to her right, and has sort of a button tip, almost as if there’s a tiny bump on it. You will also note that her chin points in the opposite direction at about the same angle. These three elements also appear (reversed) in Siem’s photograph. Moreover, the woman looks considerably younger than twenty-three.

Paul Krassner, a freelance reporter who often wrote for The Berkeley Barb discovered that the real Mary Alice Siem dropped out of UC Berkeley during the middle of her sophomore year, and left the bay area in 1972. Hearst, he speculated, “borrowed” Siem’s identity in her absence.

Several years ago, Siem’s prison ID photo was pretty easy to find on the Internet. But as I wrote in a previous post, a lot of information about the SLA has sunk into the memory hole. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to find the above photo anywhere else (I’ll jump up and down with joy if you can). I am saying, however, that I can no longer find it, whereas three years ago it was just a mouse click away.

As to the second question, it’s helpful to remember how things were during the first half of the 1970s. Protests spurred a paranoid President Nixon to order illegal surveillance on political opponents in a series of actions that culminated in the Watergate scandal, and his own disgraceful resignation. Police departments began hiring public relations firms in order to repair their reputations, damaged from years of aggressive action against peaceful protestors. The CIA had gotten caught red-handed illegally tapping the phones of dissident American citizens, and would be called before the Senate, House and the Oval Office in three official investigations. The company was also implicated in Watergate, and former CIA officers Victor Marchetti and Philip Agee had begun to chronicle the Agency’s criminal activities. The death of J. Edgar Hoover in 1972 had allowed a number of Special Agents (most notably William Turner and W.C. Sullivan) to spill the beans on his nearly fifty-year reign of terror.

Simply put, the period between 1972-1974 was a desperate time for many of the elite in government and the private sector. Desperate times entice desperate measures. Perhaps it’s beyond the pale, but for all I know maybe a bunch of mucky-mucks formed a plan to discredit the progressive movement, and drew straws to see who would be the pointman for the attack. Maybe the Hearst family drew the short straw. Although that’s purely speculative, obviously, conservative columnist William F. Buckley cryptically wrote during the middle of the SLA debacle that Patty should be sacrificed “in the name of Christ.”

Enemy of the Republic has pointed out that there is a western cultural mythology of the sacrificed princess that extends back to antiquity--an idea that makes perfect sense were some kind of occult organization a participant in the plan.

In 1974, many speculated that Hearst's conversion to the SLA came about through some kind of sexual seduction, either by Willie Wolf, or the group's leader Donald "Cinque" DeFreeze, especially after Headley's investigation found that Patty had been having some kind of affair with a black man. As Mary Alice Siem, Patty might have visited Cinque's conjugal trailer. Noting the end of Black Abductor, in which the kidnapped victim saves her beloved kidnapper from annihilation, one must also remember that Dr. Gerald Vale refused to identify the black male corpse as DeFreeze. Speculating that Hearst was heartbroken over Cinque's death, Berkeley Barb reporter Paul Krassner penned a number of joke headlines that he didn't have the heart (or guts) to put into print (my favorite: "Patty Frigid after DeFreeze").

Of course, another scenario seems possible. Maybe the black man Hearst visited as Siem was not DeFreeze, but Thero Wheeler, the special forces veteran. Wheeler was romantically linked to Mary Alice Siem, even in prison--the reason many websites used to pair their pictures together. After his escape, many sources, including Marilyn Baker, linked Siem with Wheeler. However, if Hearst actually posed as Siem, then it would appear that her allegience was to him and whatever his assignment might have been. The fact that she completely wrote him out of her 1982 autobiography, despite the numerous eyewitness accounts and the police sketch that finger him as her second kidnapper, certainly raises my eyebrow.

The teenyboppers of the 1960s had already grown up, and the powers that be probably gave up on them, at least temporarily. The purpose of the fiery destruction of the SLA, the Helter Skelter murders, along with the slaughter of Kent State and Jackson State students in broad daylight was to keep the children of the 1970s from developing the same revolutionary fervor adopted by their elder siblings, encouraging them instead to indulge in some of the hedonistic tangents associated with it, namely sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

As Krassner put it, the movers and shakers wanted to send parents a message: “Destroy the seeds of rebellion in your children, or we will have it done for you.”


Blogger gary said...

I didn't know that Dr. Jolly West had seen Patricia Hearst. He also saw Jack Ruby, and reportedly Timothy McVeigh.

4:25 PM  
Blogger X. Dell said...

I heard that West saw McVeigh. I haven't seen a definitive source for it, but that would be rather interesting, although not exactly unexpected.

5:05 PM  

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