Am I the only one that finds it ironic that it was the CIA and the SFPD during Operation Midnight Climax that introduced San Francisco to LSD, and now they're spending all sorts of money to ostensibly find those underground LSD labs and destroy them?
Some points, though:
(from here, which was linked to in the article)
Unknown to those present at the meeting, Gottlieb had aquired a quantity of LSD and secretly wanted to test it. Spiking Olson's drink with the LSD, he passed the bottle around and sat back waiting for results. Olson, an outgoing personality who loved practical jokes, soon began to suffer jarring side effects. One of those present at the meeting, Ben Wilson, later recalled that Olson 'was psychotic'.
This is misleading. Gottlieb slipped everyone LSD at that outing. Including himself, I believe. Olson was the only one who suffered a psychotic break.
It's pointless for me to pick apart kpaul's article point by point, but that he links to this piece alone should be enough to destroy any credibility that the article as a whole may have. Richard G. Gall is being extremely selective about the points he does and does not mention, and many of the things he says are misleading almost to the point of being lies. Others simply are lies. I've read a lot myself about MK-Ultra from widely varying sources, and its goal was never specifically that of "mind control" even if such a term *could* be reasonably defined. The CIA has been researching all sorts of drugs for all sorts of reasons more or less since the agency was first chartered. They're probably the single biggest reason that mind-altering substances are both easily available in this country, and criminalized.
The project had grown out of an earlier secret programme, known as Bluebird, that was officially formed to counter Soviet advances in brainwashing.
There were never any "Soviet advances in brainwashing". The concept of "brainwashing" was actually coined by a journalist. The identity of that journalist now escapes me, but it was purely a scare tactic designed to make people even more afraid of the evil godless Red Commies over in backward Soviet Russia where the party finds YOU! (sorry. had to.)
In reality the CIA had other objectives. An earlier aim was to study methods 'through which control of an individual may be attained'. The emphasis of experimentation was 'narco-hypnosis', the blending of mind altering drugs with careful hypnotic programming.
This was never a serious goal of the CIA. It was never more than idle wishful thinking. In reality they were probably (using some basic logic) trying to determine if these drugs were in any way useful in an interrogation environment. There's really no such thing as a "truth serum". The trick is this: Make John Q Public believe there is such thing as a truth serum, then if you need to interrogate him, give him LSD or something else that will distort his perception of reality. While he's under the influence, stage some kind of terrifying eye-candy coupled perhaps with constant background laughter and the repeated phrase "You told us everything". The next day, when he comes down, resume interrogation tactics, under the assumption that he already told you everything. Now he'll probably spill everything he knows, since he assumes he already did and you're just trying to get him to repeat it. This scenario is just off the top of my head, so forgive me if it sounds crude.
The scope of the project was outlined in a memorandum dated January 1952 that ominously asked: "Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature such as self preservation?" The race was on to create a programmable assassin!
Journalism of the lowest caliber. What the author fails to mention are all the responses that such a memorandum would have received. Such as "That is not feasable, mister Director. Let the scientists worry about the science." or something to that effect. The program, as already indicated ad nauseam, was never seriously intended to do any of these incredible things such as create some kind of "programmable assassin". But the phrase certainly generates readers, does it not? Programmable assassin! Programmable assassin! Programmable assassin!
A crack CIA team was formed that could travel, at a moments notice, to anywhere in the world. Their task was to test the new interrogation techniques, and ensure that victims would not remember being interrogated and programmed. All manner of narcotics, from marijuana to LSD, heroin and sodium pentathol (the so called 'truth drug') were regularly used.
Once again, you have truth peppered with flat out lies. "Crack CIA team" certainly has a sensationalist ring to it, neh? Of course the author never explains what "programmed" means. Nor is it explained how THC, LSD, heroin, or sodium pentothal can make a person forget that they were abducted, subdued, interrogated, and "programmed". But it does invoke vivid images of sane people walking into a warehouse, and coming out zombie killers. If only such things were really possible!
Despite poor initial results, CIA-sponsored mind control programmes flourished. On 13 April 1953, the super-secret project MK-ULTRA was born. Its scope was broader than ever before, and only those in the top echelon of the CIA were privy to it. Official CIA documents describe MK-ULTRA as an 'umbrella project' with 149 'sub-projects'. Many of these sub-projects dealt with testing illegal drugs for potential field use.
Point by point:
So of all the substances mentioned, only heroin would actually have been an illegal research chemical in 1953.
- The programs were not "mind control programmes".
- What is the "top echelon" ? Is that to say that everyone who worked on the project, down to the lowest lab assistant was in the "top echelon" ? The statement is ambiguous, and therefore meaningless.
- It had 149 sub-projects. Okay. So what?
- It's noteworthy that few of the relevant drugs were illegal in 1953, so the author is guilty of a false anachronism.
- LSD wasn't made illegal until 1966 or 67, depending on if you mean in the state of California or federally.
- Cannabis was made illegal in 1937, but that never included research purposes.
- Heroin (diacetylmorphine, since 'heroin' is actually a brand name) was made illegal in 1924, but that has certainly never stopped the CIA from procuring it, trafficking in it, or involving it in research.
- Sodium Pentothal (thiopental, since 'pentothal' is actually a brand name) is a barbiturate, and is currently a Schedule IV substance. Schedule IV is defined as "low potential for abuse", "currently accepted medical use in treatment", and "may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence". That means that it's still quite legal for most purposes.
- The article also doesn't yet mention that mescaline, methamphetamine, and various other amphetamines were also looked into:
- Mescaline was researched by the Navy in 1947 under the code name "Project Chatter". They got the idea from the Nazis, who gave it to prisoners at Dachau and recorded the effects. It wasn't made illegal in the US until 1970. If you are a member of the Native American Church you can still legally consume it today under special conditions.
- Not only were amphetamine and methamphetamine totally legal during MK-Ultra, but American soldiers were given amphetamine (and you may remember reading about this fairly recently, in the Air Force, too) as standard issue during the Korean War. Today, amphetamines and methamphetamine are Schedule II. This means they are still valid research substances.
Others dealt with electronics. One explored the possibility of activating 'the human organism by remote control'. Throughout, it remained a major goal to brainwash individuals to become couriers and spies without their knowledge.
This is a total lie. This is the speculation of a previous bad journalist repeated as fact by a bad journalist.
When it was formed in 1947, the CIA was forbidden to have any domestic police or internal security powers. In short, it was authorized only to operate 'overseas'. From the very start MK-ULTRA staff broke this Congressional stipulation and began testing on unwitting US citizens.
For once, the author has a valid point. But he makes up for it by suggesting that this kind of blatant disregard for the Constitution is somehow unique to the CIA, when in fact every branch of the government is equally guilty of it since the beginning of World War 1.
One particularly odious project was run by Dr Harris Isabel, Director of the Public Service Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky - a facility specializing in drug abuse. Asked by the CIA to discover a range of 'synthetic' drugs, Isabel began experimenting on captive black inmates. Anxious to please his CIA bosses he daily fed his guinea pigs large doses of LSD, mescaline, marijuana, scopolamine and other substances. In exchange for participating in the experiments, the inmates received injections fo high quality morphine, sometimes getting 'shot-up' three times a day, depending on their co-operation. Brought before the Senate subcommittees in 1975, Isabel saw no contradiction in providing hard drugs to the very addicts he was employed to cure.
My knowledge of this event is somewhat thin. Someone feel free to give me evidence to the contrary, but I believe Isabel only used lifers and volunteers as guinea pigs, and thus had no obligation to society to "cure" them of anything.
Following public outrage, the CIA announced it had ceased its mind manipulation programmes.
More bad journalism. This suggests the CIA itself agrees or agreed that the project ever involved "mind manipulation" when in reality this is just the term the author is using in an intentionally misleading way. The CIA *did* announce that it had put MK-Ultra to bed at this point, however. And...
Victor Marchetti, a CIA veteran of 14 years who turned 'whistle-blower', exposed this to be untrue.
Indeed it was discovered that they hadn't even slowed down their research despite public outrage. They simply directed attention away from it more effectively. What, they should stop potentially useful research just because it got some bad publicity? Psh. Yeah, and I bet you think if you voice your outrage at Echelon it'll get shut down, too.
In 1977, Marchetti said the CIA claims to have ceased were a cover story. Under scrutiny, the agency were quick to downplay the success of MK-ULTRA - claiming no real advances were achieved.
They claimed no real advances were achieved because... no real advances ever WERE achieved. It's not a fucking vast conspiracy at this point. They genuinely never got any kind of truth serum, or mind control drug, or anything out of this. Surely some useful data on the structure and function and possible implementation of various drugs was gained, but that's only to be expected.
Miles Copeland, another long-serving CIA officer disputed this. Speaking to a reporter, Copeland revealed that 'the congressional subcommittee which went into this sort of thing only got the barest glimpse'.
Have you ever tried explaining research chemistry to a congressman? If so, you'll understand why they only WANTED the barest glimpse. If you haven't, it should still be easy for you to infer why a congressman wouldn't give two shits about the particulars of this project and just want the bottom line. This is a common courtesy, not a coverup.
Another source within the intelligence community says that after 1963, CIA efforts increasingly focused on psychoelectronics. Narcohypnosis had been drained dry.
Ooh! Another big intimidating word! Psychoelectronics! Keep them coming, Gall!
(He does keep them coming, but since the rest of this article does not deal with MK-Ultra, I'll stop here. I think I've made it more than clear how much salt you should take before you pass judgment on anything Gall or kpaul for that matter claim in these articles.)