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Project MK-ULTRA: The C.I.A’s Experiments With Mind Control

It’s no secret that the government of the United States have done some shady things in it’s past.

The people of America are kept in the dark about the horrible things their country is doing over seas and even here at home. Wake up, America. You are no longer free.

In the 1950’s and 60’s, the C.I.A was running experiments on human beings. Experiments were often conducted without the subjects’ knowledge or consent.

Project MK-ULTRA was the code name for the illegal CIA human experimentation program, run by the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence. The project involved the use of many methodologies to manipulate individual mental states and alter brain functions, including the administration of drugs and other chemicals, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as various forms of torture.

The project’s intentionally oblique CIA cryptonym is made up of the digraph MK, meaning that the project was sponsored by the agency’s Technical Services Staff, followed by the word Ultra (which had previously been used to designate the most secret classification of World War II intelligence).

Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MK-ULTRA files destroyed in 1973. Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the small number of documents that survived Helms’ destruction order.

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.”

The C.I.A focused mainly on LSD, which came to dominate many of MKULTRA’s programs.

Once Project MKULTRA officially got underway in April, 1953, 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 or informed consent, a violation of the Nuremberg Code that the U.S. agreed to follow after World War II.

Efforts to “recruit” subjects were often illegal, even though actual use of LSD was legal in the United States until October 6, 1966. In Operation Midnight Climax, the CIA set up several brothels in San Francisco, CA to obtain a selection of men who would be too embarrassed to talk about the events. The men were dosed with LSD, the brothels were equipped with two-way mirrors, and the sessions were filmed for later viewing and study.

Some subjects’ participation was consensual, and in these cases they appeared to be singled out for even more extreme experiments. In one case, volunteers were given LSD for 77 consecutive days.

Declassified MKULTRA 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.” Experiments were conducted with drug induced hypnosis and with anterograde and retrograde amnesia while under the influence of such drugs.

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.

The MKULTRA project was started on the order of CIA director Allen Welsh Dulles on April 13, 1953,largely in response to alleged 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.

In 1964, the project was renamed MKSEARCH. 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.

One 1955 MKULTRA 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:

  1. Substances which will promote illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public.
  2. Substances which increase the efficiency of mentation and perception.
  3. Materials which will prevent or counteract the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
  4. Materials which will promote the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
  5. Materials which will produce the signs and symptoms of recognized diseases in a reversible way so that they may be used for malingering, etc.
  6. Materials which will render the induction of hypnosis easier or otherwise enhance its usefulness.
  7. Substances which will enhance the ability of individuals to withstand privation, torture and coercion during interrogation and so-called “brain-washing”.
  8. Materials and physical methods which will produce amnesia for events preceding and during their use.
  9. Physical methods of producing shock and confusion over extended periods of time and capable of surreptitious use.
  10. Substances which produce physical disablement such as paralysis of the legs, acute anemia, etc.
  11. Substances which will produce “pure” euphoria with no subsequent let-down.
  12. Substances which alter personality structure in such a way that the tendency of the recipient to become dependent upon another person is enhanced.
  13. 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.
  14. Substances which will lower the ambition and general working efficiency of men when administered in undetectable amounts.
  15. Substances which promote weakness or distortion of the eyesight or hearing faculties, preferably without permanent effects.
  16. 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.
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