Secrecy is the original sin

From Truthout:

Largely because of his advocacy of psychedelic drugs, Tim Leary became a high-profile political prisoner whom Nixon called “the most dangerous man in America” (the same label Nixon used to describe Daniel Ellsberg). Leary was sentenced to ten years in prison for possession of .0025 grams of cannabis.

After escaping from prison in 1970, he became the object of an international manhunt. Finally captured in Afghanistan, he was kidnapped by the CIA – there was no extradition treaty between the two countries – and brought back to face four more years in prison, including long stretches in solitary confinement, before he was released in 1976. The following is an excerpt from a text he wrote in maximum-security Folsom Prison, California, in May 1973. — Michael Horowitz

Timothy Leary writing at the time of Watergate:

When you think about it, secrecy is the cause of the whole flap. Ellsberg and Russo published some secrets. Leaks in the White House. The plumbers steal Ellsberg’s psychiatric secrets. And bug the Democrat’s phone calls. The entire White House is involved in cover-up. The hearings center on cover-up of the cover-up.

Secrecy is the enemy of sanity and loving trust. If you keep secrets, you are an insane paranoiac. Concealment is the seed source of every human conflict. Secrecy is always caused by guilt or fear. [Gordon] Liddy’s parents were guilty about sex. And Nixon’s parents. It drives them crazy when he secretly suspects that she’s keeping secrets so he hires a private detective and vice versus.

Let’s break out of the huddle. Before [FBI Director] J. Edgar Hoover there were no secret police in this country. Before World War II there was no C.I.A. and America was amazingly unconcerned with secrecy. The hidden sickness has become lethally epidemic in the last forty years.

Now comes the electronic revolution. Reveal-ation. Bugging equipment effective at long distances is inexpensive and easily available. Good. Liberals want stiff laws against bugging. It’s the wrong move. Legalize everything. Legalize bugging. Let’s forget artificial secrets and concentrate on the mysteries.

I can tell you bugging is nothing to worry about. I’ve been tapped, surveilled, tailed for ten years. In Algeria everyone knew of at least three taps on all international calls — Algerian, French and C.I.A. The Algerians knew every move we made. That’s why they liked us. I was called in once by the Swiss Secret Service about some threats on my life. They offered me body guards. I looked at the chief agent and laughed. “Moi! Merci, non.” The agent laughed with me. “Professor, the Swiss police never sleep. We watch over you twenty-four hours a day.” Any real true intimate secrets are preserved in the tender codes of love. Privacy is woven with electric threads of contact that cannot be INTERCEPTED. Love has nothing to hide.

Secrecy is the original sin. Fig leaf in the Garden of Eden. The basic crime against love. The issue is fundamental. What a blessing that Watergate has been uncovered to teach us the primary lesson. The purpose of life is to receive, synthesize, and transmit energy. Communication fusion is the goal of life. Any star can tell you that. Communication is love. Secrecy, withholding the signal, hoarding, hiding, covering up the light is motivated by shame and fear, symptoms of the inability to love. Secrecy means that you think love is shameful and bad. Or that your nakedness is ugly. Or that you hide unloving, hostile feelings, Seed of paranoia and distrust.

Those who love have no need to hide their actions. As so often happens, the extreme wing is half right for the wrong reasons. They say primly: if you have done nothing wrong, you have no fear of being bugged. Exactly. But the logic goes both ways. Then F.B.I, files, and C.I.A. dossiers, and White House conversations should be open to all. Let every thing hang open. Let government be totally visible. The last, the very last people to hide their actions should be the police and government.

We operate on the assumption that everyone knows everything, anyway. There is nothing and no way to hide. This is the acid message. We’re all on cosmic T.V. every moment. We all play starring roles in the galactic broadcast: This Is Your Life. I remember the early days of neurological uncovering, desperately wondering where I could go to escape. Run home, hide under the bed, in the closet, in the bathroom? No way. The relentless camera “I” follows me everywhere. We can only keep secrets from ourselves.

And none of the legal experts get the point of Watergate. [Special prosecutor Archibald] Cox chasing leaks from his own staff.

We recall the classic political scandals involving secrets: Dreyfus, Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs. The heroic figures around whom Watergate revolves, Tony [Russo] and Dan [Ellsberg]. Brave Russian dissenters uncovering the secret that everyone knows about Soviet repression.

I laugh at government bugging. Let the poor, deprived, bored creatures listen to our conversations, tape our laughter, study our transmissions. Maybe it will turn them on. Perhaps they’ll get the message our love-shine transmits: there is nothing to fear.

From Neuropolitics, 1977.

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3 thoughts on “Secrecy is the original sin

  1. Vince J.

    Check this at

    “U.S. teenager tortured in Kuwait and barred re-entry into the U.S.”

    By Gelnn Greewald

    Excellent article which illustrates what the US has become.

    OBAMA=War Crminal

  2. Christopher Hoare

    O’Leary has an interesting take, but I feel the cart is before the horse. The US government agencies wouldn’t be so fearful of the loss of their secrecy if they did not have real evil to hide.

    And it’s not over with the leak of 250,000 documents — the focus today is on maintaining the huge dog and pony show of media BS to divert the public’s attention from the details contained in the revelations. Anything to keep the focus away from the actual crimes revealed in the documents.

  3. Norman

    On the surface, this might sound absurd, but consider that by now, how many of the over 2 million people who are cleared to read these so called secret or confidential wires and God only knows how many other types, have already been downloaded to some gadget or other, stashed in a tidy safe place, with the purpose of being an insurance policy? Add them all up, which I’d wager are not the same on each device, that the whole trove of said files might encompass the complete originals? I wouldn’t count out even the ones thought of as having been destroyed, of having twins some wheres. It really doesn’t reason that human kind would blindly follow so called protocols set up for secrecy, without initiating some way to retrieve anything that might insure that persons survival. In this day & age, whether Government or business, has shown a callus disregard for humans who work in the lower ranks, this same callousness now extends to the top, having the mantra of “if I go, I’m taking as many with me, as I can”. There is no so called loyalty of oath, regardless what service one is in.

    One other point, only sheer stupidity should the Government or Business complex think that their files are safe. Consider how many outside technicians work on a continual basis repairing, up grading, replacing all those records? Consider also, as with the F.B.I.’s, just how many times theirs have been supposedly up graded, only to find out that the up grades are useless, thereby returning to the outdated system. How many back doors probably exist today? How many files have been downloaded? How many have been compromised?

    Wikileaks isn’t the only outlet that have files from both the Government/Business complex, but is just the one letting them out to the World, at the present time. Rest assured, there are others waiting in the wings, some will be stopped, others will take their place. At some point, the Business establishment will learn that screwing those on the lower rungs if favor of the higher ups, was the wrong move to make. Unless the trend is reversed soon, nothing will be secret!

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