Timothy Leary on Nick Sand

Question: After moving west to California in the late 60s, you became connected with a group called the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. In 1973, Nicholas Sand, a chemist for the Brotherhood, was arrested in St. Louis for operating two LSD laboratories. Indictments in California around the same time also named Ronald H. Stark, who allegedly operated an LSD lab in Belgium. In the book Acid Dreams, the authors name Stark as being a CIA informant. In retrospect, do you believe the CIA was involved in putting acid out on the street to preempt a possible political revolution?

Leary: I don't know about that. But it's a matter of fact that most of the LSD in America in the late 50s and early 60s was brought in by the CIA and given around to hospitals to find out if these drugs could be used for brainwashing or for military purposes.

You talked about Nicholas Sand. The whole concept of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love is like a bogeyman invented by the narcs. The brotherhood was about eight surfer kids from Southern California, Laguna Beach, who took the LSD, and they practiced the religion of the worship of nature, and they'd go into the mountains. But they were not bigshots at all. None of them ever drove anything better than a VW bus. They were just kind of in it for the spiritual thrill.

Nick Sand was a very skillful chemist. He made LSD that the Brotherhood used. He was a very talented chemist.

The guy Stark. I was accused of heading this ring. I never met Stark. Never knew he existed. I heard he's a European money launderer. But that was not relevant to what was going on out here. What is relevant to your question is ... yes, the CIA did distribute LSD. As a matter of fact, the DEA (the Drug Enforcement Agency) is out there right now setting up phony busts, setting up people, selling dope. And it's well known that during the Reagan administration Ollie North was shipping up tons of cocaine to buy money to give to the Contras and the Iranians.

The CIA has always used drugs very cynically. They run opium poppy plantations in the golden triangle of Thailand and Burma because it helps the anti-communist group there. The CIA doesn't care about drugs, they're just interested in playing their game of power and control, and in the old days, anti-communist provocation.

Nicholas Sand