Leonard Cohen’s Secret Life, MKUltra, & Cultural Engineering


You don’t know me from the wind 
you never will, you never did 
I’m the little jew 
who wrote the Bible

In a recent 4-part, 5-hour podcast conversation with the author Ann Diamond, Diamond talks about the art scene in Montreal in the 1960s and 70s and how closely tied it appears to have been to McGill University, the Allan Memorial Institue, and the MKUltra program which Dr. Ewen Cameron was implementing there, involving possibly tens of thousands of children and adults. Diamond first met Cohen in 1979 and they had an intermittent affair for several years. Her testimony suggests that Leonard Cohen (like Diamond herself) was one of the many MKUltra subjects (though whether voluntary or not is unclear, most weren’t). Others whom Diamond names are filmmaker Allan Moyle (Pump Up the Volume), actor Stephen Lack (Scanners), and Oscar-winning film artists Arthur Lipsett and Ryan Larkin.

Based on her testimony and the evidence Diamond presents, Leonard Cohen and countless others were part of a much larger social phenomenon which has been mostly forgotten or buried since that time. In Diamond’s view, Cohen’s first career was as a solider of fortune and intelligence operative, and certainly, Cohen’s quasi-military activities in the 1960s and 70s (he was in Cuba two weeks before the Bay of Pigs, and signed up for the IDF during the Yom Kippur war) suggest something significantly different from the lover-poet-sage which cultural history (and a dozen or more recent hagiographies) insist we see him as. Not to mention Cohen’s early association with Jacob Rothschild, who sent Cohen to the Greek island of Hydra in 1959.

What if the saintly sage Cohen, whom so many admire, revere, and even worship, is a counterfeit of the real thing? If so, he is a very good counterfeit. The MKUltra team apparently don’t mess around, and Cohen may just be their proudest accomplishment, from that period at least, in terms of a successfully engineered “lifetime actor” with an extremely high public profile. He is an almost flawless representation of the good (and successful!) poetic soul, the man of high art and sensual lusts who is both a worldly success and a spiritual servant. Holy mount Zion! In the halls of rock n’ roll, he’s practically the Messiah.

Yet all the while working for the Man?

Read the full article here.