News Of The Weird, Prototypes and Experiments

MKULTRA, LSD, Mind Control

Mind control is one of those themes that is a staple of science fiction. An evil scientist creates a device that causes people to do things that are against their normal ethical and/or moral standards. A foreign government reprograms a POW to help in its overthrow of a major world government. Even the Jedi and Sith can control the weak minded.

Mind control is also one of those areas where fiction and reality cross paths. What sounds like a fantastic and impossible method of controlling people has actually been tested and, in limited cases, used. The US and foreing intelligence agencies have a long history of researching mind control. Going all the way back to WW2, the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was established to take over Operation Paperclip, a program intended to procure as many German scientists including those with expertise in brainwashing. From Operation Paperclip, the US proceeded on to Project CHATTER which was a program by the Navy to research drugs that would be useful during interrogation. Project ARTICHOKE, started in 1950, which studied hypnosis and drugs that could put a person in a more weakened and pliable mental state. Finally, in 1953, the CIA started Project MKULTRA.

MKULTRA is probably one of the most infamous of the US attempts at finding a way of mind control. MKULTRA was, in part, a response to alleged Soviet, North Korean and Chinese programs attempting the same thing. The problem with MKULTRA is that the US has laws, and it operated well outside of the law. Using LSD and many other techniques, the US was trying to figure out a way to crack POWs and, even better, control world leaders.

Experiments for this project are where the legal problems began. Often times, the test subjects were unwitting participants. In some cases, the CIA set up brothels in San Francisco to entrap men that would be unwilling to go public with what happened because, well, having to pay someone for sex is pretty darn embarrassing. Even those that did volunteer for the experiments were often unclear on what it was they were volunteering for. Eventually, the CIA decided that breaking the law in the US was not going to be good for public relations, so they started experimenting on Canadians.

In 1973, MKULTRA ended and all files on it were ordered to be destroyed. Some 20,000 documents that had been misfiled were not destroyed and, following a Freedom of Information Act request in 1977, were discovered. This, of course, led to a Senate investigation.

The moral of the story is this: mind control is the realm of sci-fi and dictatorial regimes.

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