How does MKultra


MK ULTRA (also MKULTRA) was the code name for a secret mind control research program by the CIA that ran from 1953 through the 1970s.

The aim of the project was stated to be to develop a perfect truth drug for use in interrogating Soviet spies during the Cold War, as well as to explore the possibilities of mind control. In part, the work also overlapped with research in other US programs on biological weapons. The scientific director was Dr. Ewan Cameron, Dr. Sydney Gottlieb. The experiments, which were mostly harmful to life, were carried out without the knowledge or consent of the test subjects. This included hospital patients and prison inmates, including Ken Kesey, the author of the book "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". These projects emerged against the backdrop of anti-communism during the McCarthy era in the USA in the 1950s.

Beginnings [edit | Edit source]

MKULTRA was started on the orders of CIA Director Allen Dulles in April 1953. It was the successor to the ARTICHOKE and BLUEBIRD projects and was operated mainly in the USA and Canada, but also in Europe. Officially, this was primarily a reaction to mind control techniques allegedly used by the Soviets, Chinese and North Koreans against US prisoners of war in the Korean War, known as "brainwashing". The Stalinist show trials of the 1930s and the trial of the Hungarian Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty in 1949, in which the accused apparently under the influence of drugs and torture had signed confessions and accused themselves in court of acts that they had not committed, also formed an important motivation.

In addition to the will to use similar methods on its own prisoners, the CIA was also interested in being able to manipulate foreign rulers with such techniques. Later there should have been several plans to influence the Cuban head of state Fidel Castro.

Goals and implementation Edit source]

According to the CIA, the primary goal was that "Prediction, regulation and control of human behavior". One of the few examples known to the public is the interrogation method used by the British Army on prisoners in Northern Ireland. It was named "UDIT" (Ulster Depth Interrogation Techniques) and published according to reports and data from the UK Home Office in 1972 (by the University of London psychologist T. Shallice). The British commander responsible for the UDIT method was killed in a "terrorist attack by the IRA" while on vacation in Osnabrück in the 1980s.

MK actually stands for "Mind control", here deliberately written with a" K "because the research allegedly went back to German experiments of the Third Reich. In contrast to the American and Russian, however, no German research in this direction can be proven. Joseph Goebbels, Head of the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, was a master of his trade, but historically brainwashing was apparently only researched after the war in America and later in the USSR.

Activities [edit | Edit source]

According to the then CIA director Admiral Stansfield Turner, MKULTRA comprised 149 sub-projects, of which at least 14 were certainly human experiments, a further 6 projects were experiments on ignorant people and 19 projects possibly involved human experiments. The effects of drugs (e.g. alcohol and LSD), poisons, chemicals, hypnosis, psychotherapy, electric shocks, gas, pathogens, harvest sabotage, artificial concussion, operations, etc. were researched. The experiments were carried out at 44 universities, 12 hospitals, and 3 prisons 15 unspecified "research institutions" (Heiner Gehring: Enslaved brains, 2001, Kopp-Verlag). It has been proven that numerous test persons sustained severe physical and psychological damage during the experiments, including death (see below The Olson Affair). The practice of abductions for experimental purposes has been confirmed, at least for the MKULTRA project, by the CIA itself (A. Collins: In the sleep room. The story of the CIA brainwashing experiments in Canada, Lester & Torpen, Toronto, 1988 and H.M. Weinstein: Psychiatry and the CIA: Victims of Mind Control, American Psychiatric Press, Washington, 1990).

Participation of former concentration camp doctors Edit source]

As part of the Paperclip project, the USA deployed numerous German scientists, including former German concentration camp doctors, who have been shown to be involved in the experiments on a large scale. They were allowed to continue their human experiments, which were interrupted by the end of the war, as part of MKULTRA in Germany. This is explained in detail in the ARD documentary "Cover name Artichoke - The secret human experiments of the CIA" (see web links) and in a book based on it ("Egmont Koch and Michael Wech: Cover name Artichoke", Goldmann, 2004). These included:

  • Dr. Samuel Rascher, who during the war had put Russian and Polish prisoners of war in large tubs with cold water between 2.5 and 12 degrees Celsius in the concentration camp and documented their death.
  • Professor Kurt Blome had carried out human experiments with bacteria and viruses and experimented with plague pathogens on humans.
  • Dr. Walter Paul Schreiber infected concentration camp inmates with typhus and malaria and injected phenol as a method of execution.

The MKULTRA bacteriologist Dr. Frank Olson was often in Europe on a professional basis and witnessed the human experiments carried out by the former Nazi scientists. It is believed that these experiences sparked a serious personal crisis that eventually led to his violent death.

Protocol of an experiment [edit | Edit source]

Harold Blauer died on January 8, 1953 after receiving multiple high doses of a synthetically manufactured variant of the drug mescaline as part of MKULTRA experiments at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. His widow filed a complaint after his death, and during the trial the authorities covered up the real cause of death. The following protocol describes the course of the fatal infusion that led to circulatory collapse and heart failure. Quoted from: Egmont Koch and Michael Wech: "Code name Artichoke", Goldmann, 2004, p. 136.

  • 9.53 a.m. Injection begins, restless movements, protest against the injection.
  • 9.55 a.m. Injection ends.
  • 9:59 am [...] very restless, has to be held by the sister, not responsive [...] wild rowing with the arms, heavy sweating [...]
  • 10.01 am [...] patient sits up in bed, complete stiffening of the body [...] snoring breathing 32 / min, pulse 120 / min, teeth clenched, foam at the mouth [...] rolling eye movements [...]
  • 10.04 am [...] cramping of the back muscles [...]
  • 10:05 am [...] stiff extremities, pupils slightly dilated, does not react to light [...]
  • 10.09 am [...] general reddening of the face and chest [...] continued profuse sweating [...] tremor of the lower extremities, foam at the mouth [...]
  • 10.10 am [...] still snoring breathing 28 / min, irregular [...] stiffened jaw [...]
  • 11:05 am [...] occasional rearing up, violent arm and leg movements [...] talking confused about "Murphy", mostly incoherent, temporarily accessible [...]
  • 11.12 am [...] increased restlessness, interrupted stiffening [...]
  • 11.17 am [...] does not speak any more [...] falls into a coma, still restless [...]
  • 11.30 am strong, snoring breathing [...]
  • 11.45 am [...] calm, deep coma.

According to the protocol, the experiment ended at 12:15 with the death of the test subject.

Shredding [edit | Edit source]

Since most of the documents were deliberately and illegally destroyed in 1972 under the then CIA director Richard Helms, it is almost impossible to trace the entire project with its more than 150 individual research projects and the associated CIA programs. However, there are enough files to reconstruct the essential structures and numerous programs. Several state investigation commissions dealt with MKULTRA (see Official investigations). Some of the documents received have now been made available to the public (see Web links).

Official investigations Edit source]

There were several official commissions of inquiry into MKULTRA in the USA. In 1975, the Rockefeller Commission set up by President Gerald Ford investigated the events, which among other things led to the discovery of the so-called Olson affair (see below). In 1977 the Church Committee of the United States Congress dealt with the Enlightenment, with Senator Edward Kennedy playing an important role on the committee. Numerous victims of human experiments were heard as witnesses.

In the Church committee report, Edward Kennedy wrote in August 1977:

The CIA's deputy director stated that over 30 universities and institutions were involved in "intensive testing and research programs" involving drug trials on ignorant people "from all walks of life, from the US and elsewhere." Numerous tests included the administration of LSD to "ignorant people in everyday situations". At least one death reported by Dr. Frank Olson, was a consequence of the experiments. The agency itself admitted that the tests had hardly any scientific meaning. The agents used to oversee the experiments did not have any scientific qualifications.

The Olson Affair Edit source]

In 1975 the Rockefeller Commission to Investigate Illegal CIA Activities in the United States found evidence of mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of MKULTRA scientist Dr. Frank Olson in 1953. Officially, Olson died after a self-inflicted fall through the glass of a closed window on the 10th floor of a New York hotel. The bacteriologist was involved in the development of biological weapons such as anthrax and had extensive knowledge of the human experiments within the framework of MKULTRA.

According to the ARD documentary "alias Artichoke" (see web links), on his last trip to Europe in August 1953 in Berlin, Olson saw people being tortured in experiments until they died. He was deeply shocked by the practices within the framework of MKULTRA to colleagues. Private records suggest he was considering leaving the project.

According to the CIA documents examined in 1975, when Olson died, he was under the influence of the hallucinogenic drug LSD, which the CIA had given him as an "involuntary test subject". This sparked a scandal in the United States. The US government under Gerald Ford quickly settled the matter by paying the widow $ 750,000 and a personal apology from the president to avert an impending judicial investigation into the case, which might have revealed secret documents about MKULTRA . The widow received a number of documents from then-CIA director William Colby that support the drug suicide version. Richard Cheney, then Chief of Staff in the White House, and Donald Rumsfeld were instrumental in preparing this quick solution to the affair.

Evidence of murder / the death of an ex-CIA director Edit source]

The son Dr. Eric Olson had his father's body exhumed in 1993 and autopsied by a team of experts, with clear indications of a murder and against the official suicide version. Manhattan District Attorney Stephen Saracco opened an investigation. However, the CIA and the US Department of Justice blocked the investigation. After months of negotiations, Saracco won the right to have several witnesses questioned by a grand jury. Among other things, he planned to summon the 1975 incumbent CIA director William Colby. However, shortly after the planned summons became known, he died under unexplained circumstances during a night excursion in his canoe. Contrary to his usual habits, he hadn't worn a life jacket and hadn't told his wife about his unusual excursion either.

The proceedings in the Olson case were finally closed after more than eight years of investigation without filing a lawsuit. Many believe that Olson was murdered by the CIA as a potential security risk. Some former colleagues have also expressly spoken out against the suicide thesis (see web links and external references). One of the possible reasons cited is that the US had always denied the development of biological weapons and feared that it would suffer a setback in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union due to possible revelations by Olson. There is also speculation as to whether Olson was aware of the possible use of biological weapons in the Korean War. The Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai had accused the USA of the operation, but the latter had vehemently denied the accusation.

Related topics Edit source]

Part of the blog

the blog

why is it not a technology

Literature Edit source]

  • Egmont R. Koch and Michael Wech: "Code name Artichoke", Goldmann, 2004, ISBN 344215281X
  • U.S. Congress, The Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, Foreign and Military Intelligence, report no. 94-755, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. (Washington, D.C .: GPO, 1976), 394.
  • Martin Lee, Bruce Shlain: Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond
  • The Frank Olson Project - a website published by Frank Olson's family on the circumstances of Olson's death
  • Ted Gup: The Coldest(The Washington Post, Dec. 16, 2001, page W9.
  • Bart Barnes: CIA Official Sidney Gottlieb, 80, Dies, The Washington Post, Mar. 11, 1999, p. B5.
  • Mark Jenkins: Mk Ultra(The Washington Post, Sept. 25, 1998), page N15.
  • Brian Mooar: New Study Yields Little on Death of Biochemist Drugged by CIA, The Washington Post, Nov. 29, 1994, p. B3.
  • Brian Mooar: Tests contradict U.S. Story of Man's Suicide; Family Suspects CIA Killed ResearcherThe Washington Post, Jul 12, 1994, B1.
  • Laura A. Kiernan: Canadians Sue U.S. Over CIA Tests Of Behavior Modification Methods, The Washington Post, Dec. 12, 1980, p. A44.
  • The CIA's Attempt At Mind Control: Bad Trips? The Washington Post, Feb.15, 1979, p. C2.
  • Bill Richards: Book Disputes CIA Chief on Mind-Control Efforts, The Washington Post, Jan. 29, 1979, p. A2.
  • Anne Collins: In the Sleep Room: The Story of CIA Brainwashing Experiments in Canada, Lester & Orpen Dennys (Toronto), 1988.

Web links [edit | Edit source]

  • Website with over 300 released secret documents
  • CIA compilation of approved MKULTRA documents, download from a private US website
  • Discoverer of the secret CIA project MKULTRA dies
  • U.S Department of Energy website: Supreme Court Dissents Invoke the Nuremberg Code: CIA and DOD Human Subjects Research Scandals
  • U.S Department of Energy website: The Records of Our Past
  • ARD documentation Code name artichoke - The secret human experiments of the CIA focusing on the investigation into the death of Frank Olson
  • Excellent article on the CIA's involvement in Frank Olson's death, the murder investigation, and the death of ex-CIA chief William Colby
  • Interview with C. Mullen, a woman who as an adult remembers the experiments and abuses in her childhood that took place as part of MKULTRA experiments.
  • MKULTRA Documents:
  • H.P. Albarelli Jr .: Government-linked 'suicide' probed,, September 8, 2002.
  • "Abuse of Hypnosis and Other Trance Techniques", [1] e-book
  • "Bill Clinton Apologizes to Victims of Secret Human Attempts," Video
  • FAZ Mind ControlRemotely controlled by Walt Disney