Sidney Gottlieb was given full control by the CIA to conduct experiments that sought to control the human mind to compete with the Soviet Union.
In the early stages of the Cold War, the CIA believed that the Soviet Union had found a cure or a technique to allow control of the human mind. That prompted the agency to launch a top secret program, codenamed "MK-ULTRA", to find a drug that could compete with the Soviet Union in this area.
The MK-ULTRA program lasted from the 1950s to the early 1960s, founded and run by chemistry doctor Sidney Gottlieb. This is arguably the longest study in the history of human mind control skills.
Gottliev during the time of the CIA. Image: AP.
Some of Gottlieb's experiments were funded by secret universities and research centers, others took place in prisons in the US, Japan, Germany and the Philippines. Many research subjects were reluctant to be subjected to psychological tortures ranging from electric shocks to the use of high-dose hallucinogenic drugs (LSD) to serve Gottlieb's project.
"Gottlieb wanted to create a way of capturing the human brain and discovering it was a two-part process. The first step was to erase the existing mind, then find a way to insert new information into the subject's brain." This chemistry is heavily focused on first step research, "said journalist Stephen Kinzer, who spent years investigating the CIA program.
CIA scientists knew about the existence of LSD when pursuing the project. This became an obsession for Gottlieb, then MK-ULTRA program director, to the extent that he was considered to have brought LSD to the United States.
In the early 1950s, Gottlieb arranged for the CIA to spend $ 240,000 to purchase the entire LSD supply worldwide. These drugs were taken to the United States and sent to hospitals, clinics, prisons and many other organizations with fake documents. Gottlieb asked them to conduct research studies on LSD, user reactions and how to use it to control the mind.
Among the volunteers who participated in the experiment, many felt comfortable after using LSD and told their friends despite not knowing the name of the drug. This caused a backlash, when LSD addicts led a wave of opposition to the social values that the CIA sought to protect.
Whitey Bulger was a prisoner who volunteered to experiment with LSD when it was informed that it would help find a cure for schizophrenia.
He used LSD every day for more than a year, before realizing that the experiment had nothing to do with schizophrenia and that he was the only test subject to human reactions to this drug. Bulger wrote about his experiences using LSD, describing it as "horrible" and almost drove him crazy.
Bulger when he was new to prison and when he was old. Image: US Marshall.
MK-ULTRA is basically a project of a series of cruel experiments on human bodies conducted by Nazi Germany and Nazi Japan during World War II. The CIA not only uses research material obtained from the opponent, but actually employs the same person who conducted the experiment to develop the program.
Gottlieb and the CIA also set up secret prisons throughout Europe and East Asia, mainly in Japan, Germany and the Philippines. Because these places were under US military control in the early 1950s, Gottlieb didn't have to worry about legal issues.
CIA officers in Europe and Asia capture enemy spies and suspects and take them to secret prisons. These prisoners were subjected to all experimental methods such as forced drug use, electric shocks, exposure to high temperatures and isolation of all senses. They are also constantly questioned to test their resilience and help the CIA erase their minds.
Gottlieb was free to act without supervision, the CIA leaders did not want to know about his experiments. MK-ULTRA Program Director is recruiting all subjects in the US and around the world, using all kinds of violence to the point of causing death without worrying about anything.
CIA director Richard Helms, a sponsor of Gottlieb, was removed in 1972 by US President Richard Nixon. Helms was also the only person in the CIA who knew about Gottlieb's work, so they sought to destroy all related records. to the MK-ULTRA project. However, some evidence remains and is enough for historians to find out what Gottlieb did.
The top-secret nature of the project made it impossible for researchers to determine the number of deaths during the experiment. Gottlieb later concluded that an attempt to control the human mind was not feasible. After the termination of the MK-ULTRA project, he led another CIA program to manufacture poison and high-tech equipment for spies.
Duy Son (Follow NPR)