MK-ULTRA

MK-ULTRA

This CIA mind-control project was so horrible that all records were ordered destroyed.

In 1964 Richard Helms, director of the CIA, ordered records of all 150 individual projects of MK-ULTRA destroyed. The program, initiated on the orders of CIA chief Allen Dulles on April 13, 1953, and conducted by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, had mind control as its principal objective. Rumors and half-truths about new mind-control techniques being used by Soviet, Chinese, and North Korean interrogators on U.S. prisoners of war panicked the CIA into a search for its own sure-fire method of questioning captives.

Many researchers believe that the “MK” in MK-ULTRA stood for “Mind Kontrolle,” with a German spelling of the English word control because many German doctors who were masters of mind control were snatched by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), later CIA, to work on a number of insidious projects. Hitler’s chief of intelligence against the Russians, General Reinhard Gehlen, arrived in Washington in 1945 and spent months working with William “Wild Bill” Donovan, director of the OSS, and Allen Dulles to reorganize the American intelligence program into the Central Intelligence Group in 1946, then, in 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency under Dulles’s leadership. General Gehlen shared the behavior-modification research of Dr. Josef Mengele at Auschwitz and the brainwashing experiments conducted at Dachau with hypnosis and mescaline.

In 1947 the U.S. Navy developed Project Chatter in response to the Soviets’ supposed success with “truth drugs.” In 1950 Allen Dulles approved Project Bluebird to discover mind-control methods; in 1951, Bluebird was renamed Artichoke and assigned the problem of utilizing hypnosis and drugs to resist interrogation. The CIA conducted hundreds of experiments with hypnosis and with mescaline, peyote, and other hallucinogenic drugs before they had some success with LSD in MK-ULTRA in 1953.

At first “acid” seemed to fill the bill. Dr. Gottlieb used the drug himself as a frequent guinea pig. It has been said that Gottlieb, born with a clubfoot and a stutter, compensated by becoming an expert folk dancer and earning his Ph.D. from Cal Tech. In order to rush the studies of how effective LSD might be on a wide variety of individuals with vastly differing personalities, Gottlieb ordered experiments on mostly unsuspecting CIA agents, military personnel, prostitutes, mental patients, and members of the general public.

Further research by Gottlieb became quite sadistic. Perhaps his own use of the drug released his inner sadist, for some of the experiments with LSD seem more like torture than scientific inquiry. On occasion Gottlieb would lock volunteers in sensory deprivation chambers while they were on LSD. In one extreme case volunteers were dosed with LSD for seventy-seven days straight. Because MK-ULTRA’s records were destroyed, there is no existing document revealing how many of these unfortunate individuals were driven insane.

An alleged May 5, 1955, MK-ULTRA document that found its way into wide circulation has specific orders to find a mind-altering substance that would accomplish the following effects:

  • induce illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public;
  • produce the signs and symptoms of recognized diseases in a reversible way so that they may be used for malingering, and so on;
  • render the use of hypnosis easier or otherwise enhance its usefulness;
  • enhance the ability of individuals to withstand privation, torture, and coercion during interrogation and “brainwashing”;
  • produce amnesia for events preceding and during [the drug’s] use;
  • produce shock and confusion over extended periods of time;
  • be able to be used surreptitiously;
  • produce physical disablement, such as paralysis of the legs;
  • produce pure euphoria with no subsequent let-down;
  • alter personality structure in such a way that the tendency of the recipient to become dependent upon another person is enhanced;
  • cause mental confusion of such a type that the individual under its influence will find it difficult to maintain a fabrication under questioning;
  • lower the ambition and general working efficiency when administered in undetectable amounts.

There is no evidence that MK-ULTRA or later CIA experiments actually succeeded in accomplishing many of the above mind-control techniques, but since the files of the program were destroyed, no one can definitely say that MK-ULTRA didn’t succeed in numerous instances of mind control or in the creation of zombielike assassins. In 1964 MK-ULTRA was renamed MKSEARCH, supposedly a refined search for the perfect truth serum.

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