Late Night: A Spooky TalePosted: November 29, 2010
Those of us who remember the revelations of the Church Committee in the 1970s are at least somewhat familiar with the CIA’s Project MK ULTRA, a ghastly program that sponsored research on human subjects carried out by respected professors at prestigious universities.
Some 2 years ago, the Senate Health Subcommittee heard chilling testimony about the human experimentation activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over 30 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.”
One example is the CIA-sponsored work of famed personality psychologist Henry Murray at Harvard. Murray used Harvard students to carry out “research” in which he attempted to break down an individual’s defenses:
Henry Murray’s experiment was intended to measure how people react under stress. Murray subjected his unwitting students, including Kaczynski, to intensive interrogation — what Murray himself called “vehement, sweeping, and personally abusive” attacks, assaulting his subjects’ egos and most-cherished ideals and beliefs.
MK ULTRA researchers also famously dosed numerous people with LSD to see how they would react. Murray himself used LSD–he and Timothy Leary were on the Harvard psychology department faculty at the same time–and Murray may have administered the drug to his student subjects, one of whom was named Ted Kaczynski. That’s right, the man who later became the Unibomber.
Anyone who remembers this history could not be surprised by the collaboration of psychologists with the CIA in developing techniques of
torture “enhanced interrogation” during the Bush years.
And now, all these years later, according to Raw Story,
A group of military veterans are suing to get the CIA to come clean about allegedly implanting remote control devices in their brains.
A 2009 lawsuit (.pdf) claimed that the CIA intended to design and test septal electrodes that would enable them to control human behavior. The lawsuit said that because the government never disclosed the risks, the subjects were not able to give informed consent.
Bruce Price, one plaintiff in the lawsuit, believes that MRI scans confirm that the CIA placed a device in his brain in 1966.
Recently, US Magistrate Judge James Larson ordered the CIA to:
produce records and testimony regarding the experiments conducted on thousands of soldiers from 1950 through 1975.
Dakinikat may be interested to know that much of this “research” was carried out at Tulane University.
According to the attorney for the Veterans, Gordon P. Erspamer:
papers filed in the case describe “electrical devices implanted in brain tissue with electrodes in various regions, including the hippocampus, the hypothalamus, the frontal lobe (via the septum), the cortex and various other places.”
Tulane claims they can’t produce any documents because they were lost during Hurricane Katrina.
This all sounds nuts, I know. But Jeff Stein, who writes the “Spy Talk” column at the Washington Post writes:
It’s not just science fiction — or the imaginings of the mentally ill.
In 1961, a top CIA scientist reported in an internal memo that “the feasibility of remote control of activities in several species of animals has been demonstrated…Special investigations and evaluations will be conducted toward the application of selected elements of these techniques to man,” according to “The CIA and the Search for the Manchurian Candidate,” a 1979 book by former State Department intelligence officer John Marks.
“[T]his cold-blooded project,” Marks wrote, “was designed … for the delivery of chemical and biological agents or for ‘executive action-type operations,’ according to a document. ‘Executive action’ was the CIA’s euphemism for assassination.”
The CIA pursued such experiments because it was convinced the Soviets were doing the same.