MK-Ultra, the CIA’s venture to achieve mind control with a series of disturbing human experiments, many of which involved subjects who didn’t know they were being tested, the full truth of the MK-ULTRA victims will never be known.
The top-secret project led to the death of many people, countless lawsuits, and the Presidential Order for Transparency. The experiments were intended to develop procedures and identify drugs such as LSD that could be used in interrogations to weaken individuals and force confessions through brainwashing and psychological torture.
Unfortunately, many of the documents and results associated with the project were destroyed before they could be investigated. Project MK Ultra was undertaken by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and lasted from 1953 until about 1973. Details of the illicit program didn’t become public until 1975, during a congressional investigation into widespread illegal CIA activities within the United States and around the world. In 1994 a Congressional subcommittee revealed that up to 500,000 unwitting Americans were endangered, damaged or destroyed by secret CIA and military tests between 1940 and 1974. Given the deliberate destruction of all the records.
The idea of brainwashing also provided many Americans with a compelling, almost comforting, explanation for communism’s swift rise–that Soviets used the tools of brainwashing. Fear of brainwashing and a new breed of “brain warfare” terrified and fascinated the American public and spawned many movies and Tv series.
Dr Sidney Gottlieb, chief chemist at the CIA, who was to be the mind behind MK-Ultra, his work was completely unknown to anyone outside of the program. Gottlieb’s approach was to first find a way to destroy the existing mind and then find a way to insert a new line of thought. Gottlieb decided, therefore, to hire Nazi scientists The CIA found that German military physicians working at Dachau and Auschwitz had been experimenting with barbiturates, morphine derivative, and mescaline for interrogation purposes since 1943 but later moved to more unknown drugs such as the LSD.
Gottlieb additionally tested in universities across the US, setting up fraudulent philanthropic foundations to fund research on LSD at institutions such as Yale, Harvard, UCLA, and Georgetown.
A CIA informant noted in a 1979 interview:
“I think every last one of us felt sorry to attempt this kind of thing, we knew we were crossing a line. Every decent kid knows he shouldn’t steal, but he does it sometimes, we knew damn well that we didn’t want anyone else know what we were doing.”
The Uppers and Downers experiments are one of the most disturbing on record
Subjects would be hooked up to two IVs, one with barbiturates and the other with amphetamines. Barbiturates would be administered until the subject was nearly unconscious. They would then be stopped, and amphetamines would be delivered to wake the subject up again. The idea was to ask the subject questions once in this state of babbling to try to get the truth out of them. Most of the experiments were way over a normal dose and would leave the patients with paralyzing psychosis or unfortunately most subjects died from the drug interactions, so this type of testing was discontinued.
One other disturbing string of experiments conducted by MK-Ultra staff was titled ‘Operation Midnight Climax.’ The operation involved setting up specially designed apartments or hotels so that MK-Ultra staff could watch as female sex-workers (hired by the CIA) would bring home CIA agents and spike their drinks with LSD. The experiment was used to see if government secrets would be spilled whilst on the drug.
Some say the experiments were a success and had many operatives and involvement in pop culture/entertainment industry.