— Excerpt from the book ALIEN INTERVIEW, edited by Lawrence R. Spencer
Editor’s Note: The most famously publicized evidence of the use of mind-control operations is the CIA project, “MK-ULTRA”:
“Project MK-ULTRA, or MKULTRA, was the code name for a covert CIA mind-control and chemical interrogation research program, run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence, that began in the early 1950s and continued at least through the late 1960s. There is much published evidence that the project involved the surreptitious use of many types of drugs, as well as other methodology, to manipulate individual mental states and to alter brain function.
Project MK-ULTRA was first brought to wide public attention in 1975 by the U.S. Congress, through investigations by the Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller Commission. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MK-ULTRA files destroyed in 1973.
Although the CIA insists that MK-ULTRA-type experiments have been abandoned, 14-year CIA veteran Victor Marchetti has stated in various interviews that the CIA routinely conducts disinformation campaigns and that CIA mind control research continued. In a 1977 interview, Marchetti specifically called the CIA claim that MK-ULTRA was abandoned a ‘cover story.’.
On the Senate floor in 1977, Senator Ted Kennedy said:
The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over thirty universities and institutions were involved in an ‘extensive testing and experimentation’ program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens ‘at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign.’ Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD to ‘unwitting subjects in social situations.’ At least one death, that of Dr. [Frank] Olson, resulted from these activities. The Agency itself acknowledged that these tests made little scientific sense. The agents doing the monitoring were not qualified scientific observers.
A precursor of the MK-ULTRA program began in 1945 when the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was established and given direct responsibility for Operation Paperclip. Operation Paperclip was a program to recruit former Nazi spies, scientists and experts in torture and brain washing, some of whom had just been identified and prosecuted as war criminals during the Nuremberg Trials.
Several secret U.S. government projects grew out of Operation Paperclip. These projects included Project CHATTER (established 1947), and Project BLUEBIRD (established 1950), which was later renamed to Project ARTICHOKE in 1951. Their purpose was to study mind-control, interrogation, behavior modification and related topics.
Headed by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, the MK-ULTRA project was started on the order of CIA director Allen Dulles on April 13, 1953, largely in response to Soviet, Chinese, and North Korean use of mind-control techniques on U.S. prisoners of war in Korea. The CIA wanted to use similar methods on their own captives. The CIA was also interested in being able to manipulate foreign leaders with such techniques, and would later invent several schemes to drug Fidel Castro.
Experiments were often conducted without the subjects’ knowledge or consent. In some cases, academic researchers being funded through grants from CIA front organizations were unaware that their work was being used for these purposes.
In 1964, the project was renamed MK-SEARCH. The project attempted to produce a perfect truth drug for use in interrogating suspected Soviet spies during the Cold War, and generally to explore any other possibilities of mind control.
An MK-ULTRA program tagged “Operation Teapot” involved the testing of pregnant women with radiation, among other things. Also under this program, U.S. army soldiers were dosed with LSD to study the effects of panic.
Another MK-ULTRA effort, Subproject 54, was the Navy’s top secret “Perfect Concussion” program, which used sub aural frequency blasts to erase memory. During this program LSD’s corollary effect on controlled and channeled mass panic was discovered.
MK-ULTRA head Sidney Gottlieb was involved with both Operation Teapot and Subproject 54. The U.S. government officially denied involvement until 1995 when an official apology was issued to the pregnant women and to the affected U.S. army soldiers. However no apologies were offered to the affected U.S. Navy soldiers or to a group of Oregon prison inmates, whose testicles were irradiated without their knowledge. Compensation for medical treatment resulting from these experiments has been disputed and remains tied up in arbitration more than 40 years after the fact. Since 1995, most of the associated files have been reclassified as Top Secret.
Because most MK-ULTRA records were deliberately destroyed in 1973 by order of then CIA Director Richard Helms, it has been difficult, if not impossible, for investigators to gain a complete understanding of the more than 150 individually funded research sub-projects sponsored by MK Ultra and related CIA programs.
The Agency poured millions of dollars into studies probing dozens of methods of influencing and controlling the mind. One 1955 MK-ULTRA document gives an indication of the size and range of the effort; this document refers to the study of an assortment of mind-altering substances described as follows:
- Substances which will promote illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public.
- Substances which increase the efficiency of mentation and perception.
- Materials which will prevent or counteract the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
- Materials which will promote the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
- Materials which will produce the signs and symptoms of recognized diseases in a reversible way so that they may be used for malingering, etc.
- Materials which will render the induction of hypnosis easier or otherwise enhance its usefulness.
- Substances which will enhance the ability of individuals to withstand privation, torture and coercion during interrogation and so-called “brain-washing”.
- Materials and physical methods which will produce amnesia for events preceding and during their use.
- Physical methods of producing shock and confusion over extended periods of time and capable of surreptitious use.
- Substances which produce physical disablement such as paralysis of the legs, acute anemia, etc.
- Substances which will produce “pure” euphoria with no subsequent let-down.
- Substances which alter personality structure in such a way that the tendency of the recipient to become dependent upon another person is enhanced.
- A material which will cause mental confusion of such a type that the individual under its influence will find it difficult to maintain a fabrication under questioning.
- Substances which will lower the ambition and general working efficiency of men when administered in undetectable amounts.
- Substances which promote weakness or distortion of the eyesight or hearing faculties, preferably without permanent effects.
- A knockout pill which can surreptitiously be administered in drinks, food, cigarettes, as an aerosol, etc., which will be safe to use, provide a maximum of amnesia, and be suitable for use by agent types on an ad hoc basis.
- A material which can be surreptitiously administered by the above routes and which in very small amounts will make it impossible for a man to perform any physical activity whatsoever.
Historians have learned that creating a “Manchurian Candidate” subject through “mind control” techniques was undoubtedly a goal of MK-ULTRA and related CIA projects.
A secretive arrangement granted a percentage of the CIA budget. The MK-ULTRA director was granted six percent of the CIA operating budget in 1953, without oversight or accounting.
CIA documents suggest that “chemical, biological and radiological” means were investigated for the purpose of mind control as part of MK-ULTRA.
Early efforts focused on LSD, which later came to dominate many of MK-ULTRA’s programs.
Experiments included administering LSD to CIA employees, military personnel, doctors, other government agents, prostitutes, mentally ill patients, and members of the general public in order to study their reactions. LSD and other drugs were usually administered without the subject’s knowledge and informed consent, a violation of the Nuremberg Code that the U.S. agreed to follow after WWII.
Efforts to “recruit” subjects were often illegal, even discounting the fact that drugs were being administered (though actual use of LSD, for example, was legal in the United States until October 6, 1966). In Operation Midnight Climax, the CIA set up several brothels to obtain a selection of men who would be too embarrassed to talk about the events. The men were dosed with LSD, and the brothels were equipped with one-way mirrors and the “sessions” were filmed for later viewing and study.
Some subjects’ participation was consensual, and in many of these cases, the subjects appeared to be singled out for even more extreme experiments. In one case, volunteers were given LSD for 77 consecutive days.
LSD was eventually dismissed by MK-ULTRA’s researchers as too unpredictable in its effects. Although useful information was sometimes obtained through questioning subjects on LSD, not uncommonly the most marked effect would be the subject’s absolute and utter certainty that they were able to withstand any form of interrogation attempt, even physical torture.
Another technique investigated was connecting a barbiturate IV into one arm and an amphetamine IV into the other. The barbiturates were released into the subject first, and as soon as the subject began to fall asleep, the amphetamines were released. The subject would begin babbling incoherently at this point, and it was sometimes possible to ask questions and get useful answers.
Other experiments involved heroin, morphine, temazepam (used under code name MK-SEARCH), mescaline, psilocybin, scopolamine, marijuana, alcohol, and sodium pentothal.
Declassified MK-ULTRA documents indicate hypnosis was studied in the early 1950s. Experimental goals included: the creation of “hypnotically induced anxieties,” “hypnotically increasing ability to learn and recall complex written matter,” studying hypnosis and polygraph examinations, “hypnotically increasing ability to observe and recall complex arrangements of physical objects,” and studying “relationship of personality to susceptibility to hypnosis.”
The experiments were exported to Canada when the CIA recruited Scottish psychiatrist Donald Ewen Cameron, creator of the “psychic driving” concept, which the CIA found particularly interesting. Cameron had been hoping to correct schizophrenia by erasing existing memories and completely rebuilding the psyche. He commuted from Albany, New York to Montreal every week to work at the Allan Memorial Institute of McGill University and was paid $69,000 from 1957 to 1964 to carry out MKULTRA experiments there.
In addition to LSD, Cameron also experimented with various paralytic drugs as well as electroconvulsive therapy at thirty to forty times the normal power. His “driving” experiments consisted of putting subjects into drug-induced coma for weeks at a time (up to three months in one case) while playing tape loops of noise or simple repetitive statements. His experiments were typically carried out on patients who had entered the institute for minor problems such as anxiety disorders and postpartum depression, many of whom suffered permanently from his actions. His treatments resulted in victims’ incontinence, amnesia, forgetting how to talk, forgetting their parents, and thinking their interrogators were their parents. His work was inspired and paralleled by the British psychiatrist Dr William Sargant at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, and Belmont Hospital, Surrey, who also experimented extensively and very damagingly on his patients without their consent and was equally involved with the Intelligence Services.
It was during this era that Cameron became known worldwide as the first chairman of the World Psychiatric Association as well as president of the American and Canadian psychiatric associations. Cameron had also been a member of the Nuremberg medical tribunal only a decade earlier.
In 1973, CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MK-ULTRA files destroyed. Pursuant to this order, most CIA documents regarding the project were destroyed, making a full investigation of MK-ULTRA all but impossible.
In December 1974, The New York Times reported that the CIA had conducted illegal domestic activities, including experiments on U.S. citizens, during the 1960s. That report prompted investigations by the U.S. Congress, in the form of the Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller Commission that looked into domestic activities of the CIA, the FBI, and intelligence-related agencies of the military.
In the summer of 1975, congressional Church Committee reports and the presidential Rockefeller Commission report revealed to the public for the first time that the CIA and the Department of Defense had conducted experiments on both unwitting and cognizant human subjects as part of an extensive program to influence and control human behavior through the use of psychoactive drugs such as LSD and mescaline and other chemical, biological, and psychological means. They also revealed that at least one subject had died after administration of LSD.
The congressional committee investigating the CIA research, chaired by Senator Frank Church, concluded that “[p]rior consent was obviously not obtained from any of the subjects”. The committee noted that the “experiments sponsored by these researchers … call into question the decision by the agencies not to fix guidelines for experiments.”
In Canada, the issue took much longer to surface, becoming widely known in 1984 on a CBC news show, The Fifth Estate. It was learned that not only had the CIA funded Dr. Cameron’s efforts, but perhaps even more shockingly, the Canadian government was fully aware of this, and had later provided another $500,000 in funding to continue the experiments. This revelation largely derailed efforts by the victims to sue the CIA as their U.S. counterparts had, and the Canadian government eventually settled out of court for $100,000 to each of the 127 victims.
U.S. General Accounting Office Report
The U.S. General Accounting Office issued a report on September 28, 1994, which stated that between 1940 and 1974, DOD and other national security agencies studied thousands of human subjects in tests and experiments involving hazardous substances.
The quote from the study:
… Working with the CIA, the Department of Defense gave hallucinogenic drugs to thousands of “volunteer” soldiers in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In addition to LSD, the Army also tested quinuclidinyl benzilate, a hallucinogen code-named BZ. Many of these tests were conducted under the so-called MKULTRA program, established to counter perceived Soviet and Chinese advances in brainwashing techniques. Between 1953 and 1964, the program consisted of 149 projects involving drug testing and other studies on unwitting human subjects…
Extent of participation
44 American colleges or universities, 15 research foundations or chemical or pharmaceutical companies and the like, 12 hospitals or clinics (in addition to those associated with universities), and 3 prisons are known to have participated in MKULTRA.
Considerable evidence supports the contention that Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski participated in CIA-sponsored MK-ULTRA experiments conducted at Harvard University by Henry A. Murray, a professor in Social Relations, from the fall of 1959 through the spring of 1962. Kaczynski was a precocious, though impressionable, sixteen-year-old when he began his participation; his assigned code name was “Lawful.” He emerged, years later, as a terrorist and has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“Merry Prankster” Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, volunteered for MK-ULTRA experiments while a student at Stanford University. Kesey’s ingestion of LSD during these experiments led directly to his widespread promotion of the drug and the subsequent development of hippie culture.”
[iii] …”Dark Ages”…