Project MKUltra

Project MKUltra, (sometimes stylized as MKULTRA or MK-ULTRA), was the code name for a covert, illegal human research program, run by the Central Intelligence Agency Office of Scientific Intelligence. This official U.S. government program began in the early 1950s, continuing at least through the late 1960s, using mainly U.S. and Canadian citizens as its test subjects.1) 2) 3)

The published evidence indicates that Project MKULTRA involved the use of many methodologies to manipulate individual mental states and alter brain function, including the surreptitious administration of drugs and other chemicals, sensory deprivation, isolation, and verbal and sexual abuse.4)

Project MKULTRA 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 MKULTRA files destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms' destruction order.5)

In recent times most information regarding MKULTRA has been officially declassified. It was first made available through a Freedom of Information Act request in 1977 that uncovered a cache of some 20,000 documents relating to project MKULTRA and leading to the Senate Hearings of 1977.6)

Program Aspects

Racial Skew

Demographic data found in MKULTRA documents show that blacks were especially targeted in some abusive MKULTRA experiments.7)

History

MK-ULTRA chief Stanley Gottleib was at issue, hired to run its Technical Service Staff (TSS) to develop poisons to assassinate political opponents, truth serum drugs for interrogating spies, and mind control techniques to create robot assassins or unwitting double agents. He used Nazi scientists and their state of the art methods, perfected on concentration camp victims. Some were known as programmers, skilled professionals in the art of breaking down and controlling the human mind.

oseph Mengele did similar work, experimenting extensively with children and adults using mescaline, electroshock therapy, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, torture, rape, starvation, and trauma bonding. He was so successful with the latter technique that survivors expressed strong affection for him.

The CIA and US military copied the Nazi methodology through numerous programs, including MK-ULTRA, MK being an abbreviation for words “mind control” in German. According to obtained documents, it works best when severe trauma (such as rape) occurs by age three, the result often causing the personality to split or dissociate (called dissociative identity disorder or DID) to repress painful memories.

Therapists can cause multiple personality disorder (MPD) by mind manipulation, but early in life trauma makes victims especially vulnerable. Gottlieb focused on LSD for mind control and exotic poisons and drugs for political assassinations.

Under Operation Paperclip, 9,000 Nazi scientists and technicians were recruited to help undermine the Soviet Union.

On December 22, 1974, Seymour Hersh exposed MK-ULTRA in a New York Times article. Headlined, “Huge CIA Operation Reported in US Against Antiwar Forces, Other Dissidents in Nixon Years,” it documented illegal activities, including secret experiments on US citizens during the 1960s and earlier. Church Committee Congressional investigations followed, headed by Senator Frank Church, on abusive intelligence practices, replaced by the Pike Committee five months later. The Rockefeller Commission, under vice president Nelson Rockefeller, also examined the domestic activities of the CIA, FBI, and military intelligence agencies.

By summer 1975, it was learned that CIA and Department of Defense had conducted illegal experiments on willing and unwitting subjects as part of an exhaustive program to influence human behavior through psychoactive drugs (including LSD and mescaline) and other chemical, biological, psychological, and other methods.

Origins of CIA Mind Manipulation Practices

CIA became interested in Montreal Dr. Ewen Cameron's work at McGill University's Allan Memorial Institute. With full knowledge of the Canadian government, he was funded to perform bizarre experiments on his psychiatric patients, including keeping them asleep and isolated for weeks, then administering large doses of electroshock and experimental drug cocktails, LSD and PCP angel dust among them.

Though clearly unethical, Cameron believed by blasting the human brain with an array of shocks, he could unmake impaired minds, rebuilding them with new personalities cleansed of their previous state. It was voodoo science and failed, but CIA gained a wealth of knowledge it's used to this day.

In 1951, the Agency engaged McGill's director of psychology, Dr. Donald Hebb, and others to conduct sensory-deprivation experiments on volunteer students. They showed intense isolation disrupts clear thinking enough to make subjects receptive to suggestion. They were also formidable interrogation techniques amounting to torture when forcibly administered.

These early experiments laid the foundation for CIA's two-stage torture process - sensory deprivation followed by overload. University of Wisconsin historian Alfred McCoy documented them in his book, “A Question of Torture CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror,” calling them “the first real revolution in the cruel science of pain in more than three centuries.”

CIA developed and codified them in manuals, used extensively in Southeast Asia, Central America, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and at secret black sites globally. McCoy referred to an offshore information extraction mini-gulag during the Cold War and War on Terror. Out of sight, nothing is banned, including physical harshness and psychologically crippling mind control methods that turn human beings into mush.

Gerald Ford's 1976 Executive Order EO 11905 “establish(ed) policies to improve the quality of intelligence needed for national security (and) establish(ed) effective oversight to assure compliance with law in the management and direction of intelligence agencies and departments of the national government.”

The EO prohibited “experimentation with drugs on human subjects, except with their informed consent, in writing and witnessed by a disinterested party, of each such human subject,” according to guidelines issued by the National Commission. Subsequent Carter and Reagan directives banned all human experimentation. Nonetheless, they continue, in violation of the Nuremberg Code that prohibits

  • medical experiments without the voluntary consent of human subjects - “without coercion, fraud, deceit, and the full disclosure of known risks;”
  • those “where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur;” and
  • only ones expected “to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study….”

Conducting human mind control experiments are clearly illegal and unethical. They're more sophisticated than ever today, and claims that MK-ULTRA experiments were halted in the 1970s were false. Renamed they continue and much more.8)

Congressional Investigation

Joint Hearing Before The Select Committee On Intelligence and Subcomittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources - US Senate 95th Congress - August 3, 1977 9)

1)
Richelson, J. T. (2013, August 15). Science, Technology and the CIA. The National Security Archive; The George Washington University. https://archive.ph/so726
2)
Project MKULTRA, the CIA’s Program of Research into Behavioral Modification. (1977). In The New York Times. Joint Hearing before the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United State Senate, Ninety-Fifth Congress, First Session. https://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/national/13inmate_ProjectMKULTRA.pdf
3)
The Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, Foreign and Military Intelligence. (1976, April). Church Committee report, no. 94-755, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. page 392. Assassination Archives and Research Center; United States Congress. https://archive.ph/DHDc
4)
Project MKUltra. WikiSpooks. Retrieved January 1, 2022, from https://archive.ph/3zEBE
5)
An Interview with Richard Helms. (2007, May 8). Central Intelligence Agency. https://archive.ph/QTtcB
6)
Mind Control. WantToKnow. Retrieved January 1, 2022, from https://archive.ph/y8EGi
7)
August 11, 2022 | Kit Klarenberg | Mint Press News | NEW RESEARCH FINDS CIA USED BLACK AMERICANS AS DRUGS EXPERIMENT GUINEA PIGS
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