ABOUT PROJECT MKULTRA
Project MKULTRA (also known as MK-ULTRA) was the code name for a CIA mind-control research program that began in the 1950s. There is much published evidence that the project involved not only the use of drugs to manipulate persons, but also the use of electronic signals to alter brain functioning.
It was first brought to wide public attention by the U.S. Congress (in the form of the Church Committee) and a presidential commission (known as the Rockefeller Commission) (see Revelation below) and also to the U.S. Senate.
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. 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.
Central Intelligence Agency documents suggest that the agency considered and explored uses of radiation for the purpose of mind control as part of MKULTRA. Other early efforts focused on LSD, which appears to have formed the majority of research as time went on. Experiments included administering the drug 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, usually without the subject’s knowledge.
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 1967). 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 brothels were equipped with one-way mirrors and the “sessions” were taped for later viewing.
Some subjects’ participation was consensual, and in these cases, the subjects appeared to be singled out for even more horrific experiments. In one case, a selection of volunteers were given LSD for 69 days straight.
LSD was eventually dismissed by the 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 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. This treatment was discarded as it often resulted in the death of the patient from physical side effects of the drug combination, thus making further interrogation impossible. Other experiments involved heroin, mescaline, psilocybin, scopolamine, marijuana, alcohol, and sodium pentothal.
There is no evidence that the CIA (or anyone else) has actually succeeded in controlling a person’s actions through the “mind control” techniques that are known to have been attempted in the MKULTRA projects. The file destruction undertaken at the order of CIA Director Richard Helms in 1973 makes a full investigation of claims impossible.