Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday Globe Special: Acid Trip

No thanks.

"Nicholas Sand, 75, chemist sought to bring LSD to the world" by William Grimes New York Times  May 14, 2017

NEW YORK — After being trained by the lab partner of Owsley Stanley, America’s premier LSD chemist, Nicholas Sand, a Brooklyn-born son of a spy for the Soviet Union, set about producing vast quantities of the purest LSD on the market. His most celebrated product, known as Orange Sunshine for the color of the tablets it came in, became a signature drug of the late 1960s, touted by Timothy Leary as the finest acid available.

The goal was simple. “If we could turn on everyone in the world,” he said in the documentary “Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD” (1992), “then maybe we’d have a new world of peace and love.”

It's a wonderful concept; unfortunately, it was also a way of thwarting that very effort.

It did not work out that way. Orange Sunshine was Mr. Sand’s ticket to a life on the run. For years he raced to stay a step ahead of federal agents, and after being convicted on drug and tax-evasion charges, he hid in Canada for two decades under an assumed name. Eventually, after being arrested and unmasked, he was returned to the United States, where he served six years in prison.

I'm thinking he had help until it proved to be good public relations to nail him. I will explain further below.


He was born Nicholas Francis Hiskey to Clarence and Marcia Hiskey. His father was a chemist and, since his college days, a committed communist. He was recruited by Soviet intelligence during World War II while working on the Manhattan Project, from which he was expelled after US investigators saw him meeting with a Russian agent. 

Oh, wow, man! Far out!

When Nick, as he was known, was a young boy, his mother, an activist for a time with the party, divorced her husband, took back her maiden name, Sand, and gave it to her son.

Mr. Sand graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1959 and two years later married Maxine Solomon, a childhood sweetheart.

After working for a year on a kibbutz in Israel, the couple returned to New York, where, taking night courses, Mr. Sand earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Brooklyn College in 1966.

After taking his first psychedelic drug, mescaline, in 1962, he taught himself chemistry and set up a lab in his mother’s attic to make dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. Although it produced only a brief high, it was much easier to formulate than LSD. Brisk demand prompted a move to larger premises in a Brooklyn loft, where he created the fictitious Bell Perfume Labs.

Are you kidding me?

An invitation from Richard Alpert, Leary’s former Harvard colleague, brought him to Millbrook, a farm in Dutchess County, where Alpert, Leary, and others had started a psychedelic community. After 1966, when LSD became illegal, Millbrook created the Original Kleptonian Neo-American Church, whose clergy members, known as Boo Hoos, administered sacraments in the form of psychedelic drugs. Mr. Sand was designated the “alchemist” of the new religion, as well as of Leary’s church, the League for Spiritual Discovery, whose initials spelled LSD.

Glad I didn't worship at that altar.

The glory days lay just ahead. In 1967, Stanley encouraged Mr. Sand to shift his operations to California. To help him get started, he offered him the services of his lab partner, Tim Scully, who proved to be a brilliant teacher.

From a lab in Windsor, north of San Francisco, the two partners turned out 4 million doses of Orange Sunshine, the first step in a planned production of 750 million doses — the right amount, they decided, to precipitate a psychedelic revolution.

Federal and state law enforcement officials had other ideas. By late 1971 Mr. Sand was being investigated by a joint force of federal narcotics and tax agents. He eventually created a large lab in Port Coquitlam, near Vancouver, to make LSD and other psychedelic drugs on a grand scale. In 1996, Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers raided the lab and in the course of their investigations discovered that their suspect, now using the name David Roy Shepard, was a fugitive from justice in the United States.

Looks to me like he was allowed to operate until, you know, breaking news, government getting the job done. Wolf?

The drug haul was stupendous, the case big time.

In 1998, he pleaded guilty to manufacturing drugs in Canada — he had been found with enough acid, he said, “to dose the whole of Canada two times over” — and was sentenced to nine years in prison, to run concurrently with his US sentence.

He was given leniency? Wow, man!

Mr. Sand died April 24 at his home in Lagunitas, Calif. He was 75.... 

Probably was tripping at the time.


Good thing he didn't dump it someone's water supply, 'eh? Yippie! (How come all the protest and resistance organizations in the West are organized by Jews?)

That gets us to the meat of the trip, and what I am about to type is non-controversial in the least. You can turn on the History Channel and see it, the name Frank Olson comes to mind, and you can do your own research if you doubt me. The thing is, back in the 1950s it was the CIA that experimented with LSD in the hopes that they could create mind-controlled and programmed assassins (MK-Ultra and the outgrowths of those programs). The program failed. They discovered that people didn't despise communism and took a pox on both your houses approach. That doesn't mean it didn't still have its uses. They put the stuff on the shelf for a while, and when it was advantageous they ramped up production (through Mr. Sands it appears). Think of the timing. The Free Speech movements on campus were crystallizing into a massive antiwar effort. What better way to throttle and ultimately destroy that effort than get everybody taking acid? Kind of hard to get organized then. Be lucky if you can keep two thoughts straight, I would imagine. And it's not that far-fetched given the Gary Webb expose of CIA drug-smuggling into South Central -- or the DEA of today, for that matter (never mind the legal drugs). Besides, the 1960s antiwar protests ultimately failed -- same as 21st century antiwar protests. The war finally ended in 1975, and not because of protests but because it was becoming to costly to government and big business. As we can see today, that is not a problem this time. Americans are accepting of the endless wars, and maybe even celebratory of them at this stage. That is certainly the impression one gets watching the ma$$ media.

Now it's time to sit back and listen to some tunes!