a reply to: Heisenburg
Here is an excerpt I just ran across:
The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: Mind Control Research
Ostensibly, the agency began its MKULTRA project with the search for nothing more than the perfect truth serum. Such a drug would set intelligence
light years ahead, and deal with the headaches posed by defectors, spies, and double agents. In its quest for The "Truth Drug", the CIA would use in
the 1950s just about every chemical that the counterculture would turn to a decade later - Albert Hoffman's '___', Gordon Wasson's 'Magic Mushroom'
psilocybin, and marijuana. It was thought that such drugs could 'destabilize' the personality enough to elicit confessions or even whole changes of
belief structures (deprogramming.) Then came the revelations from Korea of American soldiers producing taped confessions renouncing "the wars of
imperialist regimes" and their citizenship. A Miami Herald article written by a CIA disinformant attempted to solve the mystery of how red-blooded
American boys could turn against their country. And it coined a new word taken from a Korean translation: "brainwashing."
The CIA had always used the same methods of coercion as the KGB: sexual entrapment; blacklisting; 'framing' people for uncommitted crimes; or outright
physical torture. But there was no foolproof method for assuring that confessions were true; no polygraph test was 100% certain, and even then the
information could be 'planted.' Along with the technological supremacy of the United States came a belief in the omnipotence of science. So the CIA
was eager to test the powers of technology in new realms. Spy sattelites and electronic bugs were great information gatherers. But the realm of 'human
intelligence' still demanded more innovations. Further, new chemical agents could facilitate covert warfare: the CIA thought that "dusting" a crowd
with '___' could pacify them; and they experimented with other drugs that might alter the emotions, including the hallucinogen BZ which created
paranoid delusions and rage toward the nearest people. In a paramilitary situation, use of such tactics could be devastating.
For a while, the CIA thought that '___' might be the ultimate Spook Drug. They tested it on unsuspecting army privates; put it in the food of federal
prisoners; gave it to people visiting prostitutes in hotel rooms; (while watching from behind a see-through two-way mirror in the next room -
Operation Twilight Climax) and even put in drinking water, 'just to see what would happen.' Methods of delivery were often comical: such as the time
when they tried to spray a convention of foreign dignitaries with an '___' aerosol, with little success (it dissipated too quickly.) Eventually, they
found it too 'unpredictable,' but one maverick agent, Ronald Stark, may have been instrumental in getting '___' onto the street black market, and
thence making it a staple for the 'counterculture' of the period. Martin A. Lee and Norman O. Solomon note the curious cultural politics of '___' in
their recent book, and point out the curious connection of the CIA to some of the early acid gurus at Millbrook.
It is always the case in the echelons of national security that when the enemy is believed to have a capability that it becomes a priority to beat
them to the punch. Hence, the CIA attempted to create its own Manchurian Candidate, someone who could literally be 'reprogrammed' to kill Communist
leaders or even have his ideology and loyalty switched. In its search for mind control, the CIA found willing allies in the academic behaviorist
psychological establishment. Tired of controlling salivating dogs, running rats, and flying pigeons, the behaviorists were beginnning to look into the
possibility of controlling human behavior. J.B. Watson and his successor B.F. Skinner looked toward a Clockwork Orange world where antisocial behavior
could be completely eliminated. Delgado impressed the world by stopping a bull in its tracks with a pair of electrodes and a handheld transmitter;
what was on everybody's minds was... what next?
The head of the American Psychological Association, a behaviorist named Donald Cameron, was internationally recognized for his work in 'psychic
driving'. He was searching for a technique of wiping the mind 'clean', making it a tabula rasa , so that new beliefs could be implanted. Originally he
was only interested in using this technique to 'cure' the mentally ill. But the CIA's head of TSS (Technical Support Services), Sid Gottlieb, saw
other possibilities, as did his colleague Morse Allen. Cameron used a variety of techniques ranging from sensory deprivation (also taken up eagerly by
countercultural figures, including John Lilly) to electroshock, hallucinogens, isolation, and bombardment by radiofrequency waves, to 'treat' his
subjects. The CIA could provide Cameron with what he was lacking: subjects. People from marginal sectors of society like prisoners, drug addicts,
prostitutes, the homeless, and deviants. It was assumed that these people had nowhere to turn to and were the least possible security risk.