Let's see - who practices waterboarding? ...
Maybe, "skeptical" Good Germans will argue, Hendrix waterboarded HIMSELF ... that is, after giving up their hold on the "heroin overdose" swag passed off by the media in the wake of the virtuoso's demise, and the host of shrugged equivocations I've heard over the years that most proles smugly pass off as truth these days to avoid facing reality ...
It's explained to me, a naive nabob, "Hendrix choked on his own vomit." And this is so - it's right there in the testimony of doctors who treated Hendrix in his terminal hour. I ask: "What did he choke on?"
A: Red wine. His stomach and lungs were FULL OF RED, RED WINE. His body rejected it. He threw up, choked to death. That's the long and short of it.
Hendrix DROWNED and he doesn't live today.
Chapter seven from "The Covert War Against Rock"
by Alex Constantine
"I don't believe for one minute that he killed himself. That was out of the question." — Chas Chandler, Hendrix Producer
"I believe the circumstances surrounding his death are suspicious and I think he was murdered." — Ed Chalpin, Proprietor of Studio 76
"I feel he was murdered, frankly. Somebody gave him something. Somebody gave him something they shouldn't have." — John McLaughlin, Guitarist, Mahavishnu Orchestra
He didn't die from a drug overdose. He was not an out-of-control dope fiend. Jimi Hendrix was not a junkie. And anyone who would use his death as a warning to stay away from drugs should warn people against the other things that killed Jimi—the stresses of dealing with the music industry, the craziness of being on the road, and especially, the dangers of involving oneself in a radical, or even unpopular, political movements. COINTELPRO was out to do more than prevent a Communist menace from overtaking the United States, or keep the Black Power movement from burning down cities. COINTELPRO was out to obliterate its opposition and ruin the reputations of the people involved in the antiwar movement, the civil rights movement, and the rock revolution. Whenever Jimi Hendrix's death is blamed on drugs, it accomplishes the goals of the FBI's program. It not only slanders Jimi's personal and professional reputation, but the entire rock revolution in the 60's.
—John Holmstrom. "Who Killed Jimi?"(1)
As the music of youth and resistance fell under the cross-hairs of the CIA's CHAOS war, it was probable that Jimi Hendrix—the tripping, peacenik "Black Elvis" of the '60s—should find himself a target.
Agents of the pathologically nationalistic FBI opened a file on Hendrix in 1969 after his appearance at several benefits for "subversive" causes. His most cutting insult to the state was participation in a concert for Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden, Bobby Seale and the other defendants of the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial,(2) "Get [the] Black Panthers," he told a reporter for a teen magazine, "not to kill anybody, but to scare [federal officials]....I know it sounds like war, but that's what's gonna have to happen. It has to be a war....You come back to reality and there are some evil folks around and they want you to be passive and weak and peaceful so that they can just overtake you like jelly on bread....You have to fight fire with fire."(3)
On tour in Liesburg, Sweden, Hendrix was interviewed by Tommy Rander, a reporter for the Gotesborgs-Tidningen. " In the USA, you have to decide which side you're on," Hendrix explained. "You are either a rebel or like Frank Sinatra."(4)
In 1979, college students at the campus newspaper of Santa Barbara University (USB) filed for release of FBI files on Hendrix. Six heavily inked-out pages were released to the student reporters. (The deletions nixed information "currently and properly classified pursuant to Executive Order 11652, in the interest of national defense of foreign policy.") On appeal, seven more pages were reluctantly turned over to the UCSB students. The file revealed that Hendrix had been placed on the federal "Security Index," a list of "subversives" to be rounded up and placed in detainment camps in the event of a national emergency.
If the intelligence agencies had their reasons to keep tabs on Hendrix, they couldn't have picked a better man for the job than Hendrix's manager, Mike Jeffrey. Jeffrey, by his own admission an intelligence agent,(5) was born in South London in 1933, the sole child of postal workers. He completed his education in 1949, took a job as a clerk for Mobil Oil, was drafted to the National Service two years later. Jeffrey's scores in science took him to the Educational Corps. He signed on as a professional soldier, joined the Intelligence Corps and at this point his career enters an obscure phase.
Hendrix biographers Shapiro & Glebeek report that Jeffrey often boasted of "undercover work against the Russians, of murder, mayhem and torture in foreign cities....His father says Mike rarely spoke about what he did—itself perhaps indicative of the sensitive nature of his work—but confirms that much of Mike's military career was spent in 'civvies,' that he was stationed in Egypt and that he could speak Russian."(6)
There was, however, another, equally intriguing side of Mike Jeffrey: He frequently hinted that he had powerful underworld connections. It was common knowledge that he had had an abiding professional relationship with Steve Weiss, the attorney for both the Hendrix Experience and the Mafia-managed Vanilla Fudge, hailing from the law firm of Seingarten, Wedeen & Weiss. On one occasion, when drummer Mitch Mitchell found himself in a fix with police over a boat he'd rented and wrecked, mobsters from the Fudge management office intervened and pried him loose.(7)
Organized crime has had fingers in the recording industry since the jukebox wars. Mafioso Michael Franzene testified in open court in the late 1980s that "Sonny" Franzene, his stepfather, was a silent investor in Buddah Records. At this industry oddity, the inane, nasal, apolitical '60s "Bubblegum" song was blown from the goo of adolescent mating fantasies. The most popular of Buddah's acts were the 1910 Fruitgum Company and Ohio Express. These bands shared a lead singer, Joey Levine. Some cultural contributions from the Buddha label: "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy," "Simon Says," and "1-2-3 Red Light."
In 1971, Buddha Records' Bobby Bloom was killed in a shooting sometimes described as "accidental," sometimes "suicide," at the age of 28. Bloom made a number of solo records, including "Love Don't Let Me Down," and "Count On Me." He formed a partnership with composer Jeff Barry and they wrote songs for the Monkees in their late period. Bloom made the Top 10 with the effervescent "Montego Bay" in 1970. Other Mafia-managed acts of the late 1960s were equally apolitical: Vanilla Fudge ("You Keep Me Hangin' On," "Bang, Bang"),(9) Motown's Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Curtis Mayfield.(10) In the '60s and beyond, organized crime wrenched unto itself control of industry workers via the Teamsters Union. Trucking was Mob controlled. So were stadium concessions. No rock bands toured unless money exchanged hands to see that a band's instruments weren't delivered to the wrong airport.(11)
Intelligence agent or representative of the mob? Whether Jeffrey was either or both—and the evidence is clear that a CIA/Mafia combination has exercised considerable influence in the music industry for decades—at a certain point, Hendrix must have seen something that made him desperately want out of his management contract with Jeffrey.
Monika Dannemann, Hendrix's fiancé at the time of his death, describes Mike Jeffrey's control tactics, his attempts to isolate and manipulate Hendrix, with observations of his evolving awareness that Jeffrey was a covert operator bent on dominating his life and mind:
Jimi felt more and more unsafe in New York, the city where he used to feel so much at home. It had begun to serve as a prison to him, and a place where he had to watch his back all the time.
In May 1969 Jimi was arrested at Toronto for possession of drugs. He later told me he believed Jeffrey had used a third person to plant the drugs on him—as a warning, to teach him a lesson.
Jeffrey had realized not only that Jimi was looking for ways of breaking out of their contract, but also that Jimi might have calculated that the Toronto arrest would be an easy way to silence Jimi.... Jeffrey did not like Jimi to have friends who would put ideas in his dead and give him strength. He preferred Jimi to be more isolated, or to mix with certain people whom Jeffrey could use to influence and try to manipulate him.
So in New York, Jimi felt at times that he was under surveillance, and others around him noticed the same. He tried desperately to get out of his management contract, and asked several people for advice on the best way to do it. Jimi started to understand the people around him could not be trusted, as things he had told them in confidence now filtered through to Jeffrey. Obviously some people informed his manager of Jimi's plans, possibly having been bought or promised advantages by Jeffrey. Jimi had always been a trusting and open person, but now he had reason to become suspicious of people he didn't know well, becoming quite secretive and keeping very much to himself.(12)
Five years after the death of the virtuoso, Crawdaddy reported that friends of Hendrix felt "he was very unhappy and confused before his death. Buddy Miles recalled 'numerous times he complained about his managers." His chief roadie, Gerry Stickells, told Welch, "he became frustrated...by a lot of people around him."(13)
Hendrix was obsessed with the troubles that Jeffrey and company brought to his life and career. The band's finances were entirely controlled by management and were depleted by a tax haven in the Bahamas founded in 1965 by Michael Jeffrey called Yameta Co., a subsidiary of the Bank of New Providence, with accounts at the Naussau branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Chemical Bank in New York.(14) A substantial share of the band's earnings had been quietly drained by Yameta. The banks where Jeffrey opened accounts have been officially charged with the laundering of drug proceeds, a universal theme of CIA/Mafia activity. (The Chemical Bank was forced to plead guilty to 445 misdemeanors in 1980 when a federal investigation found that bank officials had failed to report transactions they knew to derive from drug trafficking.(15) The Bank of Nova Scotia was a key investor in the Bank of Commerce and Credit International, BCCI, once described by Time magazine as "the most pervasive money-laundering operation and financial supermarket ever create," with ties to the upper echelons of several governments, the CIA, the Pentagon and the Vatican.(16)
BCCI maintained warm relationships with international terrorists, and investigators turned up accounts for Libya, Syria and the PLO at BCCI's London branch, recalling Mike Jeffrey's military intelligence interest in the Middle East. And then there were bank records from Panama City relating to General Noriega. These "disappeared'' en route to the District of Columbia under heavy DEA guard. An internal investigation later, DEA officials admitted they were at a loss to explain the theft.(17)
Friends of Hendrix, according to Electric Gypsy, confiscated financial documents from his New York office and turned them over to Jimi: "One showed that what was supposed to be a $10,000 gig was in fact grossing $50,000."
"Jimi Hendrix was upset that large amounts of his money were missing," reports rock historian R. Gary Patterson. Hendrix had discovered the financial diversions and took legal action to recover them.(18)
But there was another factor also involving funds.
Some of Hendrix's friends have concluded that "Jeffrey stood to make a greater sum of money from a dead Jimi Hendrix than a living one. There was also mention of a one million dollar insurance policy covering Hendrix's life made out with Jeffrey as the beneficiary." The manager of the Experience constructed "a financial empire based on the posthumous releases of Hendrix's previously unreleased recordings."(19) Crushing musical voices of dissent was proving to be an immensely profitable enterprise because a dead rocker leaves behind a fortune in publishing rights and royalties.
Roadies couldn't help but notice that Mike Jeffrey, a seasoned military intelligence officer, was capable of "subtle acts of sabotage against them," reports Shapiro. Jeffrey booked the Experience for a concert tour with the Monkees and Hendrix was forced to cancel when the agony of playing to hordes of 12-year-old children, and fear of a parental backlash, convinced him to bail out.
As for the arrest in Toronto, Hendrix confidantes blame Jeffrey for the planted heroin. The charges were dropped after Hendrix argued that the unopened container of dope had been dropped into his travel bag upon departure by a girl who claimed that it was cold medicine.(20)
In July, 1970, one month before his death, at precisely the time Hendrix stopped all communications with Jeffrey, he told Chuck Wein, a film director at Andy Warhol's Factory: "The next time I go to Seattle will be in a pine box."(21)
And he knew who would drop him in it. Producer Alan Douglas recalls that Hendrix "had a hang-up about the word
'manager.'" The guitarist had pled with Douglas, the proprietor of his own jazz label, to handle the band's business affairs. One of the most popular musicians in the world was desperate. He appealed to a dozen business contacts to handle his bookings and finances, to no avail.(22)
Meanwhile, the sabotage continued in every possible form. Douglas: "Regardless of whatever else Jimi wanted to do, Mike would keep pulling him back or pushing him back....And the way the gigs were routed! I mean, one nighters—he would do Ontario one night, Miami the next night, California the next night. He used to waste [Hendrix] on a tour—and never make too much money because the expenses were ridiculous."(23)
The obits were a jumbled lot of skewed, contradictory eulogies: "DRUGS KILL JIMI HENDRIX AT 24," "ROCK STAR IS DEAD IN LONDON AT 27," "OVERDOSE." Many of the obituaries dwelt on the "wild man of rock" image, but there were also many personal commentaries from reporters who followed his career closely, and they dismissed as hype reports of chronic drug abuse. Mike Ledgerwood, a writer for Disc and Music Echo, offered a portrait that the closest friends of Jimi Hendrix confirm: "Despite his fame and fortune—plus the inevitable hang-ups and hustles which beset his incredible career—he remained a quiet and almost timid individual. He was naturally helpful and honest." Sounds magazine "found a man of quite remarkable charm, an almost old-world courtesy."
Hendrix biographer Tony Brown has, since the mid-'70s, collected all the testimony he could find relating to Hendrix's death, and finds it "tragic" but "predictable":
"The official cause of death was asphyxiation caused by inhaling his own vomit, but in the days and weeks leading up to the tragedy anyone with an ounce of common sense could see that Hendrix was heading for a terrible fall. Unfortunately, no one close to him managed to steer him clear of the maelstrom that was closing in. Brown sent a report based on his own investigation to the Attorney General's office in February, 1992, "in the hope that they would reopen the inquest into Jimi's death. The evidence was so strong that they ordered Scotland Yard detectives to conduct their own investigation." Months later, detectives at the Yard responded to Sir Nicholas Lyle at the Attorney General's office, rejecting the proposal to revive the inquest.(24)
The pathologist's report left the cause of death "open." Monika Dannemann had long insisted that Hendrix was murdered. At the time of her death, she had brought media attention to the case in a bitter and highly-publicized court battle with former Hendrix girlfriend Kathy Etchningham. On April 5, 1996, her body was discovered in a fume-filled car near her home in Seaford, Sussex, south England. Police dismissed the death as a "suicide" and the corporate press took dictation. But the Eastern Daily Press, a newspaper that circulates in the East Anglian region of the UK, raised another possibility: "Musician Uli Jon Roth, speaking at the thatched cottage where Miss Dannemann lived, said last night: 'The thing looks suspicious. She had a lot of death threats against her over the years....I always felt that she was really being crucified in front of everybody, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.' Mr Roth, formerly with the group The Scorpions, said Miss Danneman 'is not a person to do something to herself.'" Roth threw one more inconsistency on the lot: "She didn't believe in the concept of suicide."
Devon Wilson, another Hendrix paramour, in Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell's view, "died under mysterious circumstances herself a few years later."(25)
Red, Red Wine
Was Hendrix murdered while under the influence? Stanton Steele, an authority on addiction, offers a seemingly plausible explanation: "Extremely intoxicated people while asleep often lose the reflexive tendency to clear one's throat of mucus, or they may strangle in their vomit. This appeared to have happened to Jimi Hendrix, who had taken both alcohol and prescription barbiturates the night of his death."(26)
Evidence has recently come to light clarifying the cause of death—extreme alcohol consumption aggravated by the barbiturates in Hendrix's bloodstream—drowning. Hendrix is said to have choked to death after swallowing nine Vesperax sleeping tablets. This is not the lethal dose he'd have taken if suicide was the intent—he surely would have swallowed the remaining 40 or so pills in the packets Dannemann gave him if this was the idea—as Eric Burdon, the Animals' vocalist and a friend of Hendrix, has suggested over the years.
Hendrix was not felled by a drug overdose, as many news reports claimed. The pills were a sleeping aid, and not a very effective one at that. The two Vesperax that Dannemann saw him take before she fell asleep at 3 am failed to put him under. He had taken a Durophet 20 amphetamine capsule at a dinner party the evening before. And then Hendrix, a chronic insomniac with an escalated tolerance level for barbiturates, had tried the Vesperax before and they proved ineffective. He apparently believed nine tablets would do him no harm.
At 10 am, Dannemann awoke and went out for a pack of cigarettes, according to her inquest testimony. When she returned, he was sick. She phoned Eric Bridges, a friend, and informed him that Hendrix wasn't well. "Half asleep," Bridges reported in his autobiography, "I suggested she give him hot coffee and slap his face. If she needed any more help to call me back." Dannemann called the ambulance at 18 minutes past eleven. The ambulance arrived nine minutes later. Hendrix was not, she claimed, in critical condition. She said the paramedics checked his pulse and breathing, and stated there was "nothing to worry about."
But a direct contradiction came in an interview with Reg Jones, one of the attendants, who insisted that Dannemann wasn't at the flat when they arrived, and that Hendrix was already dead. "It was horrific," Jones said. "We arrived at the flat and the door was flung wide open...."I knew he was dead as soon as I walked into the room." Ambulance attendant John Suau confirmed, "we knew it was hopeless. There was no pulse, no respiration."(27)
Alex Constantine's Blacklist: Attending Physician: Jimi Hendrix was WATERBOARDED to Death w/Red Wine