I recently put my foot in it. I stepped, as they say, on a hornet's nest. All hell broke loose and verbal fury was loosed upon me. Here's what happened.
Some months ago, a chap called Jan Irvin, who runs Gnostic Media, put out a request for funds to help him pursue a project concerned with unveiling a sinister Elite/CIA/NWO conspiracy. Mind you, this was not just any old sinister Elite/CIA/NWO conspiracy. This one involved, allegedly, a vast labyrinthine PSYOPS involving psychedelic mushrooms, Gordon Wasson, Aldous Huxley, The Esalen Institute, Teilhard De Chardin, 2012 eschatology, Alan Watts, Terence McKenna, and all manner of other psychedelic spokesmen and counter-culture luminaries. The gist of it is that the whole hippy psychedelic movement was stage managed by the CIA/Elite/NWO and that the malign manipulations of these ultra-powerful puppet masters stretch back further even than Albert Hofmann's infamous LSD trip bicycle ride (Irvin even thinks Hofmann's bicycle trip was a "fabrication" and "BS"). Thus, Irvin is attempting nothing less than a total rewrite of psychedelic history. Believe me, with everything being bent into an infernal conspiracy shape, it's scary bad trip stuff. Of course, one might simply dismiss all this as the lunatic fringe, yet Irvin is backed and supported by numerous fans and supporters. Indeed, he has already managed to raise 3,000 bucks to fund this latest work.
What originally got me involved were Irvin's insinuations about Gordon Wasson. Recall that Wasson was the ethnomycological scholar who published a groundbreaking article about psilocybin mushrooms in Life magazine in 1957. This article was just as significant as Aldous Huxley's 1954 book The Doors of Perception in sparking the West's interest in psychedelics. Wasson was instrumental in channeling the psilocybin mushroom's mind expanding influence from the backwaters of Mexico to the very heart of the West. If you have ever experienced "magic mushrooms," then you have Gordon Wasson to thank — at least in part.
Now, the conventional view of Wasson is that there was indeed a connection with dodgy mischief-makers — in this case the thin-tied, shade-wearing CIA. But this connection was minor and indirect. The conventional view, which has been well documented, is that the CIA got an agent to infiltrate one of Wasson's mushroom hunting trips to Mexico. Here is what I wrote about it in my book The Psilocybin Solution:
"In his book The Search for the Manchurian Candidate,' John Marks tells us of the CIA's covert involvement with our hero Wasson. In its relentless and arguably psychotic search for ever-more effective weaponry, the CIA had, by the 1950s, initiated a massive twenty-five million dollar long-term program called MKULTRA. True to its suspicious-sounding name, Project MKULTRA involved finding chemical and biological materials for use in "mind kontrol" and other psychological unpleasantries. Despite the morally questionable nature of such an unsavory federal project, its dogmatic pursuit meant that it was soon to pick up on rumors of sacred Mexican mushrooms. After learning of Wasson's 1955 experiences with the mushroom, an unscrupulous chemist named James Moore immediately began to work undercover for the conspiratorial agency. Presumably dollars changed hands surreptitiously. At any rate, in 1956, Moore craftily wrote to Wasson informing him that he knew of a foundation willing to finance another Mexican trip in order that he and Wasson bring back some of the legendary mushrooms. Moore innocently claimed that, as a chemist, he simply wanted to study the chemical structure of the mushroom's active constituents. The foundation was the CIA-backed Geschwickter Fund for Medical Research, and they were offering a two-thousand dollar grant. Would Wasson be interested?
Understandably, Wasson took the bait, and so it came to pass that the CIA's secret quest for the sacred mushroom became Subproject 58 of the MKULTRA program, possibly representing the most crass approach to psilocybin to date. It was as if the CIA were lobbing stones at angels. Fittingly, it transpired that the double-dealing Moore was well out of his comfort zone in Mexico and loathed the entire episode. Wasson later recalled that Moore had absolutely no empathy for what was going on. Whereas Wasson was sensitive to the customs of the native Mexican Indians and respectful of their cultural beliefs about the mushroom, Moore was there merely as a CIA pawn.
Once again, all those who were in Wasson's party took part in a mushroom ceremony hosted by the shaman Maria Sabina, though it was Moore alone who had a bad experience. Despite this, Moore was still able to bring back some of the fungi to the United States in the hope of isolating the active ingredient. Thankfully, however, he was beaten in his pharmaceutical pursuit by Roger Heim, an eminent French mycologist and coworker of Wasson, who managed to grow a supply of the mushroom from spore prints that he had taken in Mexico. Heim sent his newly cultivated samples to Albert Hofmann of Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland, and it was Hofmann, a highly distinguished chemist who had originally synthesized LSD, who, in 1958, first isolated and then named the entheogenic alkaloid within the mushroom. Psilocybin was thus officially born, a name devoid of the weaponry connotations the CIA would invariably have conferred upon the substance had they successfully isolated it first."
The thing to bear in mind is that Wasson did not know that he was being duped by the CIA. It is also worth driving home the point that all these events took place during the paranoid anti-Communist McCarthyism Cold War era of the 1950s, when the CIA had an active interest in mind control drugs for use in espionage. However, things never worked out that well for the CIA, as psilocybin cannot be used as a mind control "truth drug." As users will know, psychedelic drugs are more like de-conditioning agents that can make one challenge orthodoxy and cultural control structures. Indeed, that is probably one principal reason why psilocybin has been demonized and illegalized by the authorities. If you wish to control someone and extract information, or get them to do your dirty espionage work or whatever, then the psilocybin mushroom is not a tool for your arsenal.
Despite this long accepted story in which the CIA briefly tried to subvert the psilocybin mushroom, Irvin has been asserting, in no uncertain terms, that Wasson was not duped at all, but was an actual CIA agent himself, and part of a cunning and elaborate "Elite" conspiracy. Irvin even tries to tie in Wasson with the assassination of JFK. And this is but the tip of his conspiratorial thesis!
It was the attack on Wasson's reputation that first roused my attention. I came across Irvin's project overview and appeal for funding many months ago via Facebook and thought it was nuts. I decided not to look further — in the same way that I stay away from certain other far out' ideas that are rife on the Internet these days and which zip around Facebook and the like.
Then, through the independent efforts of some new contacts (chiefly Jonny Enoch), I found myself being asked to go on 3Fourteen Radio, which is part of the popular Red Ice Radio network. Not being a follower of Red Ice, I knew very little about them (as Jonny Enoch has pointed out on a recent video, I am more interested in studying natural history than conspiracy theories). In any case, I went on their show not simply to have a go at Irvin, but to talk about my own work (books, films, music). However, given that Red Ice had recently interviewed Irvin about his Wasson-based conspiracy ideas, I mentioned that I would listen to his interview and comment upon it when they interviewed me. For some reason, I felt I had to do that. But I left listening to Irvin's two hour interview till the night before my own interview because I sensed that it would "work me up," and thus wanted to delay being subjected to it for as long as possible.
I should here point out that having read most of Gordon Wasson's books (including the esteemed Mushrooms, Russia and History along with The Wondrous Mushroom: Mycolatry in Mesoamerica) whilst researching for my psilocybin book, I had developed a deep respect for Wasson. I was always particularly impressed with his literary skills and his passion for all things "psilocybinetic." Regardless of the fact that Wasson was originally a bigwig banker, he was a dedicated scholar of psilocybin history. I particularly admired him because he presented the psilocybin mushroom to the West in such a reverent and passionate way — and this includes his vivid descriptions of psilocybin induced visions. It was as if fate had chosen Wasson to spread word of psilocybin because he would undertake such an auspicious task with the due care and attention that it deserved. Here is a typical example of his vivid prose concerning the nature of the psilocybin experience:
"As your body lies there in its sleeping bag, your soul is free, loses all sense of time, alert as it never was before, living an eternity in a night, seeing infinity in a grain of sand. What you have seen and heard is cut as with a burin into your memory, never to be effaced. At last you know what the ineffable is and what ecstasy means…. The bemushroomed person is poised in space, a disembodied eye, invisible, incorporeal, seeing but not seen. In truth, he is the five senses disembodied, all of them keyed to the height of sensitivity and awareness, all of them blending into one another most strangely, until the person, utterly passive, becomes a pure receptor, infinitely delicate, of sensations."
Back to this Red Ice interview involving Irvin. The night before my audio date with Red Ice, I finally listened to Irvin's two hour interview (at the time of writing, it is here: ). What he said had a decidedly frictional impact upon my psyche, as I suspected it would). I certainly didn't buy into his ideas. I smelled that something was not quite right, not right at all. I checked a few web pages and a few video interviews, but I did not check out his full Wasson conspiracy essay (which is very long and very detailed). Basically, my BS detector alarm had gone off, so I saw little point in working through that essay (at least at that juncture).
It seems to me that a man's legacy is the work he leaves behind. Wasson's chief legacy is his books and articles about psychedelic mushrooms, in particular psilocybin mushrooms. If you read his books, you get a feel for the man, a sense of the intent behind the words. So when someone starts making slurs about the character of someone you rate, you obviously take notice and may feel obliged to stand up for their honor (for want of a better word). The reader should also note that in the aforementioned interview, Irvin also intimated that philosopher Alan Watts had a handler' and was, like Wasson, linked to this huge NWO/Elite conspiracy. Anyone who is familiar with Watts' talks and videos will know this is a Pythonesque assertion.
So then…. a tad "worked up," I went on the radio show (currently here: ). Some way into the interview, I made my feelings known about what Irvin had said in his two hour interview. I used a few expletives (but carefully placed I thought). As far as I recall, I did not direct those expletives at Irvin's person, but rather at his intent and his research conclusions. In any case, the following week was like the Blitz. It was crazy. So much was written — Facebook and forum threads longer than time itself. Hate mail and hate messages of the most foul and vicious kind were sent to me and even started showing up on my Youtube videos. The shit had well and truly hit the fan. Apart from swearing every which way and making threats at people, Irvin even transcribed a fair whack of my interview and created a web page dedicated to highlighting my apparently lying fallacious mind (at the time of writing, it is here: http://www.gnosticmedia.com/into-the-mind-of-simon-g-powell-a-study-in-fallacious-logic/).
I have now, finally, read Irvin's essay on Wasson (at the time of writing, it is here: http://www.gnosticmedia.com/magic-mushrooms-and-the-psychedelic-revolution-beginning-a-new-history-or-the-secret-history-of-magic-mushrooms-by-jan-irvin-144-2/). Here is a brief quote typifying his rhetoric in this essay: "We've seen a cover?up of a mind control and propaganda campaign regarding mushrooms and the field of ethnomycology that reaches to the highest levels of the U.S. government, intelligence, and banking, and may tie directly into MK?ULTRA. We've also seen a concerted effort to cover up the origins of one of America's wealthiest banking families — the Morgans. We've seen ties to the American fascists. And what's worse, we've uncovered a possible cover?up of a conspiracy to commit the murder of a U.S. president — John F. Kennedy."
That is pretty sensational stuff! Who on earth would have thunk it? I will not reply to every detail of the essay (or his Red Ice interview). That would take forever as Irvin covers so much ground and invokes so many, many names (apparently he spent five or more years developing these conspiracy ideas). The error of Irvin's reasoning process can be traced to the unwarranted conclusions he draws. It is my opinion that this is the crux of the matter. In other words, Irvin promotes guilt by association. Because Wasson knew a certain person, and because that person knew someone else, and because that person did something really bad, then Wasson must have been in on it.
For instance, Irvin makes the point that Wasson knew George De Mohrenschildt, who himself knew Lee Harvey Oswald. Yet that does not mean Wasson was conspiratorially involved in the assassination of JFK (as Irvin repeatedly alludes). How many commissions and hearings were there concerning the assassination of JFK? How many investigators looked into it? Heaps and heaps — investigating the JFK assassination was an industry unto itself! Yet, as far as I know, Wasson was never called in to testify or account for himself or whatever. Certainly, he was never arrested and put on trial, and his name is not usually mentioned in significant connection with the JFK assassination. So what if Wasson's phone number was in De Mohrenschildt's notebook? There were probably hundreds of names in there. Both he and Wasson were bigwigs, knew one another, and moved in similar circles (Wasson was a high ranking banker). But if we play the guilt by association game, we can, of course, go aha!' and condemn Wasson. It would be akin to condemning Irvin himself for some heinous crime simply because of an email he got from someone, or because a link could be made between him and an associate who committed some crime. Guilt by association is a dangerous game to play.
Here is another pertinent retort to Irvin, this time addressing Irvin's interpretation of a certain letter that he read out during his Red Ice interview. Let me quote from Tommy Decentralized, whose contrary interpretations of this letter were deleted by Irvin on Irvin's website. Tommy writes:
"Jan Irvin read a letter on Red Ice radio that, allegedly, is a letter by George Kennan to Gordon Wasson, from April, 1953. It appears the letter sent to Wasson by Kennan, is Kennan rejecting an offer to be recruited into the CIA. Irvin assumes Wasson must be a high level CIA agent for knowing about the CIA's recruitment efforts. The reality, however, is that Wasson, Allen Dulles [another guilt-by-association figure mentioned in the letter], and Kennan, were all friends. They had worked together previously via The Ford Foundation — which used grants for Russian students to come to the US to study, a focus being on the liberal arts. By 1953, however, Kennan wrote new strategies concerning the containment of communism. Kennan had a "change of heart" by the time that letter was sent. Kennan no longer felt that a secret intelligence was needed, and that it would be better to talk with Russia and China. He also felt that communism could be contained by promoting education and capitalism to neighboring and third world countries. Kennan was made head of the Free Russia Fund that focused on exchange students with Russia. Kennan also felt that the US should support anti-communist countries as well and that there was no need for the CIA. In my opinion it was these new strategies for the containment of communism that Kennan proposed to congress, that Kennan was referring to in the letter that Jan read. It doesn't make sense that Kennan would work indirectly for the CIA, because by 1953, when the letter was sent, Kennan opposed the existence of the CIA. Kennan also regretted many of the talks he had given and papers he had previously written that were being misconstrued in the Cold War conduct. Therefore I feel Jan Irvin's speculation that the letter meant Kennan would secretly work for the CIA is false."
In other words, Irvin draws unfounded inferences from this letter, yet makes those unfounded inferences seem real, for he states outright in the interview that Wasson was an agent for the CIA. Repeating such unwarranted allegations to listeners who may know little about Wasson, Kennan, and all the other names dropped by Irvin, might well make those listeners simply take Irvin at his word. An endless stream of names, letters, documents, connections, and citations — it all sounds terribly convincing and so it must be true!
On a similar note, much is made by Irvin concerning the Century Club in New York (see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_Association). According to Irvin, this club was a front' for the CIA, a place where the CIA/Elite could conspire about mind control and world domination. Again, Irvin asserts this outright as if it were an established fact. Yet there is no conclusive evidence for this allegation at all. Over 100 years old and still going strong, the secretary there apparently sent Irvin a list of historical Club members, and this showed that many of them were members of the Office of Strategic Services (the OSS was a WW2 intelligence gathering organization). So what? The Century Club was for high powered New York socialites. Movers and shakers. Given that governmental organizations and secret services have thousands and thousands of staff, many of them are likely to be members of exclusive clubs. But just because someone was once in the OSS does not make them a sinister conspirational miscreant who graduated to the CIA.
And even if there were lots of CIA people at the Century Club, what of it? They had to hang out somewhere. It should also be borne in mind that back in the paranoid Cold War days of the 1950s, the CIA might well have been deemed an asset by the general public. If CIA agents were working behind the scenes to stop the dreaded Communist threat, many Americans would have thought of them as patriotic heroes as opposed to the way we may think of CIA agents today. In any case, one could doubtless find a way to link a randomly chosen Century Club member to, say, the arms industry. Or to Nazi Germany. Or to pharmaceutical giants. Or to Middle Eastern oil barons. Or right wing Fundamentalist Christians. Or any dodgy group or person that you care to think of. It means very little. Unless you are intent on making it mean something by way of guilt by association.
For the record, and from reviewing Irvin's copious work, I don't doubt that Wasson mingled with CIA people and other intelligence operatives. I guess he must have, as they moved in similar circles. As stated, the Cold War and the socio-political climate was different in the 1950s. People in positions of power and influence would have been talking about the relationship between the USA and the Soviet Union. Wasson may even have openly discussed his visionary mushroom encounters with CIA people. But, from direct experience, he would have well known that psilocybin would not be any good as a "truth serum" for espionage purposes. So when Irvin reckons that the aforementioned CIA infiltration of one of Wasson's trips to Mexico was but a red herring to act as a cover and throw off future investigators, and that Wasson was James Moore's superior at the CIA. Irvin is actually bending over backwards trying to fit everything together (like forcing jigsaw pieces into a spurious pattern). If the CIA wanted to get their hands on the active ingredient of the mushroom, there was no need for convoluted cloak and dagger operations and double bluffs and such. Just send a man out to infiltrate Wasson's mushroom hunting party (as happened) and then bring back some mushroom samples. And if that fails to deliver up the active ingredient, then go straight to Sandoz after Sandoz has managed to isolate it. Pretty straightforward really. No need for twisted double bluffs to foil people fifty years hence.
There is also the question of the material Irvin garnered from both the Century Club and the CIA archives and which he uses to build his case. Is this lax security or what? Are we to conclude that the slick shenanigans of the Elite/CIA/NWO have been defeated by the Freedom of Information Act and/or obliging Club secretaries that are only too willing to photocopy personal letters dealing (allegedly) with shifty covert CIA operations? After apparently masterminding the entire psychedelic movement (as Irvin claims), are the Elite/CIA really that weak and stupid that they forgot to shred personal letters and documents? Did Wasson miss the CIA lesson on how to cover his trail? Or do these tracks, trails and clues exist only in Irvin's mind? In fact, one could equally play Irvin at his own game and argue that the big stack of documents that the CIA and the Century Club allowed Irvin easy access to were, in actuality, fake and purposefully designed to confuse him, thereby throwing him off the real trail. After all, if history is little more than Illuminati-orchestrated mind control as Irvin believes, why would he himself be immune from its omnipotent, sinister influence? Maybe he himself is being played.
Another indication that all is not what it seems is the letter Irvin wrote to the Gordon Wasson Archives at Harvard asking for access to the material held there. The Harvard curators asked about the nature of his research and Irvin told them, in candid detail, what his aims were. Irvin wrote:
"I'm especially interested in missives that would show Wasson to have intentionally created the psychedelic movement via his ties to [Henry] Luce through the CFR and Century and the head of the CIA."
Given the curious nature of Irvin's request, it is perhaps understandable that the Harvard curators wanted nothing whatsoever to do with him, and thus they flatly denied him access. Here is what Irvin says about this unsurprising brick wall reaction:
"Of course this was the response I was expecting I'd get. Myself and several professors interested in investigating this matter had discussed this topic and how I should proceed. If I were granted access to the archives, then great, I'd be able to verify a handful of the other, less important materials. If, on the other hand I was denied access, then I'd just publish their refusal to grant access and bring attention to the issue. In fact, publishing their notice of refusal to grant access is almost better than giving me access, as it shows a probability that there is a concerted effort to keep people out of the Wasson archives if they aren't likely to perpetuate the Wassonian legends and myths."
This is telling. It sounds like Irvin orchestrated the block against him in order to support his unfounded conspiracy ideas. Yet, if Irvin had just played the game and said he was doing basic biographical research (or gotten someone else to approach Harvard), he could have gotten access to Wasson's personal documents with ease and could then have found more evidence to blow open Wasson's alleged secret CIA operations! If Irvin really, really cared for the truth, and really, really thought people in the psychedelic community were being hoodwinked, he would have said anything to access those records that he apparently believes to be so important. Yet he didn't, did he? He approached Harvard in such a way that he knew they would block him.
Things become even more odd. To support his allegations, Irvin has made use of "Brain software," which allows a user to show how everything is connected. To be sure about it, the issue here is the interconnectedness of people and organizations, something that Irvin is nigh on obsessed with (he has an impressive memory for names and associations). It is precisely these connections and associations that constitute Irvin's finger of guilt. Yet, just because there are connections between people and organizations, does not mean that sinister Illuminati conspiracies are afoot. I am here reminded of the movie Six Degrees of Separation, where the viewer learns that everyone is connected to everyone via other people. Indeed, I wonder if Irvin has ever considered exploring "Brain" connections with himself at the centre, or with controversial mushroom author John Allegro at the centre? If one were really intent on making conspiracy connections, the results might prove interesting.
Another point to make is that Irvin and his followers repeatedly invoke the Trivium, an ancient psychological system designed to facilitate knowledge acquisition and effective reason. The Trivium is wielded like a powerful amulet by Irvin's followers (some critics have called it a "fetish"). The assumption is that those who do not use the Trivium cannot see as clearly (i.e. see the big mind control conspiracies) as those, like Irvin and his followers, who do use it. In fact, as Tommy Decentralized has pointed out (before Irvin once again deleted his posts), the Trivium can rightly be used to debunk conspiracy theories! And, as Irvin has pointed out elsewhere, the Trivium can even be used to mislead people.
At the end of the day, what everything really boils down is interpretation. I have heard Irvin speak of the so-called "grammar" of the Trivium (the who, what, where and when) as being akin to bricks. And that once the bricks have been established, a house can be built. But the truth, it seems to me, is that Irvin is building something according to the dictates of his imagination as opposed to revealing an objectively existing building. This is to say that he takes all these bricks (people, places, associations — the who, what, where and when) and then builds a vast conspiratorial architecture that is not actually there at all. So it is not an objective house of bricks that Irvin has constructed, but rather a paranoid house of cards.
All this suggests that Irvin is using his beloved Trivium in an erroneous manner. Here is an astonishing quote of Irvin's from his two hour Red Ice interview: "Anybody who tells you that logic goes first is a sophist and is trying to trick you." Say what? Anybody who does not use the Trivium and applies their own brand of logic and common sense when making a judgment about an issue is out to trick others? That contention sounds mighty paranoid and elitist to me!
If I am correct about all this (and I should point out that I have told Irvin that I will issue a public apology if his conspiracy ideas about Wasson, Alan Watts, McKenna, et al, turn out to be true beyond all reasonable doubt), then what we have here is an outbreak of conspiracy-based paranoia, hitherto more usually found in other areas of the socio-collective psyche. In point of fact, Irvin's take on reality is remarkably similar in kind to the scurrilous, fear-mongering paranoia whipped up by Lyndon LaRouche (check out LaRouche's sordid nuttiness on Wikipedia). The danger with paranoia is that it promotes an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. The psilocybin mushroom then becomes clouded and muddied. People may miss the point. And what is the point? The point is the actual psilocybin mushroom itself, the very fungal organism lauded and spread by Wasson over half a century ago and later cultured and further spread by McKenna. It is the potential ability of the psilocybin mushroom to empower an individual and boost their consciousness that is the key thing we are in danger of missing amidst all this fear-mongering. The virtuous effects of psilocybin (particularly their eco-psychological effects) is what the psychedelic community should be promoting, not fear and mistrust. Hence, the psychedelic community is obliged to make a stand on this issue. But that's just my opinion. Make of it what you will.
To conclude, I offer a germane quote from Jonathan Ott concerning the capacity of psilocybin to afford ecological/biospherical sensitivity. In Pharmacotheon Ott writes:
"I firmly believe that the contemporary spiritual use of entheogenic drugs is one of humankind's brightest hopes for overcoming the ecological crisis with which we threaten the biosphere and jeopardize our own survival, for Homo sapiens is close to the head of the list of endangered species. We need to recapture the mysterium tremendum of the unio mystica, the millennial awe our ancestors felt in the divine presence, in the sublime majesty of our marvelous Universe, in the entheogenic "bemushroomed" state the sage Gordon Wasson described."
NOTE — this essay dealt chiefly with Irvin's take on Wasson. Examining his most recent video where he repeatedly calls Terence McKenna a "wilful idiot," and where he makes disturbing allegations against the Esalen Institute, Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, and others, needs to be dealt with by someone else. Indeed, I have, by now, really had enough of all this. Thus, in the Comments section below, I expect others involved in the recent heated debates to step in and make their opinions known (at the time of writing, that most recent video is here: ;feature=share&list=UU_lvvd3d3K7NgLtWstl6YNg)
ADDITIONAL — thanks to Joe Rogan, Tommy Decentralized, Jonny Enoch, and those others who offered me words of support when things were getting really heated.
ADDENDUM (10/10/12) – The author I quoted from at the start of the essay namely John Marks (author of The Search for the Manchurian Candidate) was, I assume, the man who first found out about the CIA guy who infiltrated Wasson's 1958 trip to Mexico. I have just discovered that there is a Wiki page about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Marks
It occurred to me that if anyone could have found out about whether or not Wasson was indeed a CIA spy, then it would be this John Marks fellow. Indeed, as Wiki states: "Marks' award-winning 1979 book The Search for the Manchurian Candidate describes a wide range of CIA activities during the Cold War, including unethical drug experiments in the context of a mind-control and chemical interrogation research program. The book is based on 15,000 pages of CIA documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and many interviews, including those with retired members of the psychological division of the CIA, and the book describes some of the work of psychologists in this effort with a whole chapter on the Personality Assessment System."
That sounds like much more extensive research than Irvin undertook. Yet no evidence, as far as I recall, that Wasson was a CIA agent.
Finally, Andrew Rutajit has been in touch and stated that it was a fantastic article and that he was in full support of me. Andrew once worked with Irvin at Gnostic Media and they are also co-authors. Andrew also requested that he would like his name to be added to those, mentioned above, who have been supporting me.
Image by AJC1, courtesy of Creative Commons license.