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MK Ultra and the Murder of Frank Olson

by Oui Thu Sep 22nd, 2022 at 12:45:05 PM EST

By chance saw a documentary on National Geographic ... beyond the shadows of the Korean War and occupied Germany, the United States and Great Britain joined in the Fort Detrick program of medical experiments, torture and death of the Top Secret CIA MK ULTRA. Beyond human comprehension and none were held accountable.

I jotted down some names and events and quickly came to understand links to mind blowing propaganda of a new Cold War. Why does it remind me of today's global crisis of chaos and permanent war?

The Gerald Ford "apology" to Mrs. Olson in 1975 ... briefing the president with advice from counsel of the Justice department. The Rockefeller report and a letter written by Don Rumsfeld to Dick Cheney ...

The original documents located in Box 6, folder "Intelligence - Olson, Frank" of the Richard B. Cheney Files at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library


Code Named Artichoke

A documentary broadcast on German ARD directed by investigative journalist Egmont Koch

This film traces my harrowing experience in seeking the truth about the death of my father, Frank Olson, who died in November of 1953 after falling from a hotel window in New York City. At the time of his death the government told the family only that Frank had had an "accident." Twenty-two years later the US government revealed (without notifying the Olson family) that an unnamed scientist had died from a fall from a New York hotel window after having been secretly and unwittingly drugged with LSD by the CIA. Though this revelation ultimately resulted in the only Presidential apology ever made to a family in the Oval Office, this version of the story also turned out to be untrue. Frank Olson did not die as the result of an accident, nor was he an LSD suicide. He was the victim of a ghastly murder. "Code Name Artichoke" traces the long journey of a son to discover the truth about what happened his father, CIA scientist Frank Olson.

The mind-blowing history at Fort Detrick

Former U.S. President Gerald Ford apologizing in 1975 to the family of Frank Olson, who died in 1953 after the CIA gave him a dose of LSD. /AP

"I had to be toilet trained," McDonald said. "I was a vegetable. I had no identity, no memory. I had never existed in the world before. Like a baby."

Yet, of all the 180 doctors and researchers who took part in these illegal experiments, few had expressed any suspicion or remorse. The one who did turned up dead.

Frank Olson was a biochemist and father of three children who worked in the Biological Warfare Laboratories at Fort Detrick. He was one of the MK Ultra scientists who regularly traveled between "black sites" in Europe to observe different human experiments. After a 1952 visit to the Camp King, a notorious CIA safe house in Germany, he was particularly shaken by the cruelty to which Soviet prisoners were subjected to, according to Talbot.

"He had a tough time after Germany ... drugs, torture, brainwashing," Olson's former colleague at Detrick, researcher Norman Cournoyer was quoted as saying. By the time he returned from Germany, Olson had suffered a "moral crisis" and was ready to give up his science career to become a dentist, according to Olson's family. Yet, before he could change his life, the scientist himself had unknowingly become one of many unwitting victims of MK Ultra.

A week before Thanksgiving, Olson was invited to a weekend retreat in a secluded CIA facility at Deep Creek Lake in Maryland. One night after dinner, Olson and other unsuspecting scientists were given LSD-laced drinks, after which he began to hallucinate wildly. The ordeal ended a week later, when he crashed through the 10th floor window at the Statler Hotel in Manhattan. The scientist's death was hastily concluded by CIA officials as suicide. However, Olson's children could hardly accept the "narrative" and began their own investigation into the tragic end of their father.

After decades back and forth with the U.S. government and investigation by Frank's son Eric and Nils, including an exhumation autopsy, substantial evidence have weighted toward the possibility of the scientist's murder. After examining Olson's remains, Forensic pathologist James Starrs pointed out several key inconsistencies that contradicted with the official narrative suicide. Despite having landed on his back, the skull above Olson's eye had cracked, suggesting a blunt force to the head prior to crashing through the window.

"The death of Frank Olson on 28 November 1953 was a murder, not a suicide," Eric Olson declared. "This is not an LSD drug-experiment story, as it was represented in 1975. This is a biological warfare story. Frank Olson did not die because he was an experimental guinea pig who experienced a `bad trip.' He died because of concern that he would divulge information concerning a highly classified CIA interrogation program in the early 1950s, and concerning the use of biological weapons by the United States in the Korean War."

"There's Something Rotten in Denmark:" Frank Olson and the Macabre Fate of a CIA Whistleblower in the Early Cold War

Errol Morris' 2017 film, Wormwood, chronicles the Shakespearian tragedy in which Frank's son Eric gives up a promising career as a psychiatrist to pursue the truth about his father's death. At the end, he comes close to uncovering the identity of the killers, though maverick reporter Seymour Hersh will not reveal his "deep throat" source who told him that Frank had been murdered. The Olson case remains significant today because it exemplifies the harsh treatment towards whistle-blowers whose threat stems not only from the information that they may leak or threaten to leak, but also from the fact that they challenge the legitimacy and authority of the state far more gravely than any political radical or criminal.5 That the American public has remained fascinated with the Olson case over sixty five years later reflects a deep- seated mistrust in government institutions. American national identity has long been predicated, and the pursuit of overseas empire legitimated, on the belief that the American democratic system is morally virtuous compared to illiberal rivals like China and Russia and that agents of the government would never kill their own citizens like in those nations.

CIA accused of poisoning French village with LSD in mind-control tests | Sydney Morning Herald - March 2010 |

Time magazine wrote at the time: ''Among the stricken, delirium rose: patients thrashed wildly on their beds, screaming that red flowers were blossoming from their bodies, that their heads had turned to molten lead.''

Eventually, it was determined that a baker had unwittingly contaminated his flour with ergot, a hallucinogenic mould that infects rye grain. Another theory was that the bread had been poisoned with mercury.

However, H.P. Albarelli Jr. an investigative journalist, claims the outbreak resulted from a covert experiment directed by the CIA and the US army's top-secret Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

The scientists who produced both the theories of accidental poisoning, he writes, worked for the Swiss-based Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company, which was then secretly supplying the US army and CIA with LSD.

Mr Albarelli came across CIA documents while investigating the suicide of Frank Olson, a biochemist working for the Special Operations Division who fell from a 13th floor window two years after the cursed bread incident. One note transcribes a conversation between a CIA agent and a Sandoz official who mentions the ''secret of Pont-Saint-Esprit'' and explains that it was not ''at all'' caused by mould but by diethylamide, the D in LSD.

A post @EuroTrib - The secret of Pont-Saint-Esprit | by marco on Mar 12th, 2010 |

Medicine: St. Anthony's Fire, illness in French village | TIME Magazine - Sept. 10, 1951 |

By Monday, 70 houses in the village had become tiny hospitals, with most of their families in bed. Then the doctors found their first clue: every one of the patients had eaten bread from the shop of Baker Roch Briand. All eight of Pont-Saint-Esprit's bakeries were ordered temporarily shut.

Red Flowers & Molten Lead

That night the first man died in convulsions. Later, two men who had seemed to be recovering dashed through the narrow streets shouting that enemies were after them. A small boy tried to throttle his mother. Gendarmes went from house to house, collecting pieces of the deadly bread to be sent to Marseille for analysis. Among the stricken, delirium rose: patients thrashed wildly on their beds, screaming that red flowers were blossoming from their bodies, that their heads had turned to molten lead. Pont-Saint-Esprit's hospital reported four attempts at suicide.

What was the mysterious madness? Pont-Saint-Esprit speculated that the village idiot had hexed Baker Briand's flour, that the flour had been packed in fertilizer sacks, that rats in the grain elevator had contaminated the flour. The police knew better. They had traced the flour back from Briand's bakeshop through the government-controlled flour depot to a mill near Poitiers, nearly 300 miles away.

The Parasite

Last week the word came back from the police laboratory: "We have identified a vegetable alkaloid having the toxic and biological characteristics of ergot, a cereal parasite." Pont-Saint-Esprit had been stricken by ergot poisoning, a medieval disease as old as its proud bridge, so old that it had almost been forgotten. [Ergot is derived from the old French word "argot", meaning the cock's spur]

Ergot Alkaloids and their Hallucinogenic Potential in Morning Glories

The nootropic or psychotropic effect of ergot alkaloids are often referred to as hallucinogenic, which holds true for lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). It has been pointed out, however, that ergot alkaloids (such as lysergic acid amides) may have a pronounced narcotic component or result in a hypnotic state in the case of ergot alkaloids present in seeds of Argyreia nervosa.

Pont-Saint-Esprit Fort Detrick LSD experiments 1951 Sandoz manufacturing

The Secret History of Fort Detrick, the CIA's Base for Mind Control Experiments

Today, it's a cutting-edge lab. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was the center of the U.S. government's darkest experiments.

In the spring of 1949 the Army created a small, super-secret team of chemists at Camp Detrick called the Special Operations Division. Its assignment was to find military uses for toxic bacteria. The coercive use of toxins was a new field, and chemists at the Special Operations Division had to decide how to begin their research.

At the same time, CIA had just established its own corps of chemical magicians. CIA officers in Europe and Asia were regularly capturing suspected enemy agents and wanted to develop new ways to draw prisoners in interrogation away from their identities, induce them to reveal secrets and perhaps even program them to commit acts against their will. Allen Dulles, who ran the CIA's covert-operations directorate and would soon be promoted to direct the agency, considered his mind control project--first named Bluebird, then Artichoke, then MK-ULTRA--to be of supreme importance, the difference between the survival and extinction of the United States.

In 1951, Dulles hired a chemist to design and oversee a systematic search for the key to mind control. The man he chose, Sidney Gottlieb, was not part of the silver-spoon aristocracy from which most officers of the early CIA were recruited, but a 33-year-old Jew from an immigrant family who limped and stuttered. He also meditated, lived in a remote cabin without running water and rose before dawn to milk his goats.

Gottlieb wanted to use Detrick's assets to propel his mind control project to new heights. He asked Dulles to negotiate an accord that would formalize the connection between the military and the CIA in this pursuit. Under the arrangement's provisions, according to a later report, "CIA acquired the knowledge, skill, and facilities of the Army to develop biological weapons suited for CIA use."

Getting to the bottom of horrible crimes committed in the name of the United States, looking for the facts and still being stonewalled by devious replies  ... over 25 years later.

PROJECT MKULTRA, The CIA'S Program of Research in Behavioral Modification

Joint Hearing
before the
Select Committee on Intelligence
and the
Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research
of the
Committee on Human Resources
United States Senate
Ninety-Fifth Congress
1st Session
August 3, 1977

Senator KENNEDY. Just talking about the two safe houses on the east and west coast as being the sources for the unwitting trials, now, the importance of this and the magnitude of it, I think, is of significance, because we have seen from your records that these were used over a period of 8 or 9 years, and the numbers could have been considerable. You are unable to determine, at least in your own research, what the numbers would be and what the drugs were, how many people were involved, but it could have been considerable during this period of time.

It would certainly appear to me in examining the documents and the flow charts of cash slips that were expended in these areas that it was considerable, but that is a judgmental factor on it, but I think it is important to try and find out what the Agency is attempting to do to get to the bottom of it.

Now, the principal agent that was involved as I understand it is deceased and has been deceased for 2 years. The overall agent, Mr. Gottlieb, has indicated a fuzzy memory about this whole area. He has testified before the Intelligence Committee. Yet he was responsible for the whole program. Then, the Director had indicated the destruction of the various materials and unfamiliarity with the project.

Now, you have indicated in your testimony today that there are two additional agents on page 9 of your testimony, you indicated there are two additional agents which you have uncovered at the bottom of it, and you say, the names of CIA officials who approved or monitored the various projects. You talk about the two additional agents in your testimony.

Now, I am just wondering if you intend to interview those agents to find out exactly what is being done. I suppose, first of all, shouldn't the project manager know what was being done?

Admiral TURNER. Our first problem, Senator, is that we have been unable to associate an individual with those names at this point. We are still burrowing to find out who these people are. We haven't identified them as having been CIA employees, and we don't know whether these were false names.

Senator KENNEDY. You are tracking that down, as I understand it?

Admiral TURNER.  Yes, sir.

Senator KENNEDY. You are tracking that down, and you have every intention of interviewing those people to find out whatever you can about the program and project?

Admiral TURNER. My only hesitation here is whether I will do this or the Justice Department.  

Yet expecting Russia and China to be holier-than-thou ...

With modern science and the efficiency of California's Big Tech in Pentagon military programs, all tools are used to control the masses and undermine democracies and elections as we thought we knew.

Project MKULTRA and the Search for Mind Control: Clandestine Use of LSD Within the CIA | April 2016 |

In 1963, the CIA Inspector General published a report on MKULTRA. Although not released to the public until later, the document outlines the basics of the program but did contain some censored sections. Written in the original charter, MKULTRA sought the, "research and development of chemical, biological, and radiological materials capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior." The documentation of research was kept to a minimum and knowledge of the project was incredibly limited. Testing on unwitting civilians began in 1955, while universities, hospitals, state and federal institutions, and other research organizations began conducting research of their own. In order to fund research in a manner that was secret the CIA created the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, also known as the Human Ecology fund, which served as a front organization to disguise CIA funds. Secrecy allowed for more academic freedom and connections to more professors, psychologists, and scientists without top secret security clearance.13 This allowed for research to be conducted without individuals or their respected institutions to be directly linked to the CIA. In some cases they were completely unaware their work was being used in an attempt to enhance national security. Grants and other funds were given to individuals and institutions through what seemed to be a neutral party. Physicians, pharmacologists, psychologists, and psychiatrists alike believed their research was being used to further the knowledge within the field of psychology. However, their results were used to further CIA investigation into behavioral modification and mind control.

CIA's MKUTRA failed in the assassination of Cuba's Fidel Castro, however the program was successful, their Manchurian Candidate murdered Democratic candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968.

The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate"
The CIA and Mind Control - By John Marks

My earlier diaries ...


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