The project's intentionally obscure CIA cryptonym is made up of the digraph MK, meaning that the project was sponsored by the agency's Technical Services Staff , followed by the word Ultra which had previously been used to designate the most secret classification of World War II intelligence. They often conducted experiments without the subjects' knowledge or consent. Subproject 54 was another MKUltra effort and was the Navy's top secret "Perfect Concussion" program, which was supposed to use sub-aural frequency blasts to erase memory.
However, the program was never carried out. It refers to the study of an assortment of mind-altering substances described as follows: Substances which increase the efficiency of mentation and perception. Materials which will promote the intoxicating effect of alcohol. Materials which will produce the signs and symptoms of recognized diseases in a reversible way so they may be used for malingering, etc.
Substances which will enhance the ability of individuals to withstand privation, torture, and coercion during interrogation and so-called "brain-washing". Materials and physical methods which will produce amnesia for events preceding and during their use. Physical methods of producing shock and confusion over extended periods of time and capable of surreptitious use. Substances which produce physical disablement such as paralysis of the legs, acute anemia, etc.
Substances which will produce a chemical that can cause blisters. Substances which alter personality structure in such a way the tendency of the recipient to become dependent upon another person is enhanced. A material which will cause mental confusion of such a type the individual under its influence will find it difficult to maintain a fabrication under questioning. Substances which will lower the ambition and general working efficiency of men when administered in undetectable amounts.
Substances which promote weakness or distortion of the eyesight or hearing faculties, preferably without permanent effects. A knockout pill which can be surreptitiously administered in drinks, food, cigarettes, as an aerosol, etc. A material which can be surreptitiously administered by the above routes and which in very small amounts will make it impossible for a person to perform physical activity.
Army Chemical Corps and the Central Intelligence Agency's Office of Research and Development to find new offensive-use agents with a focus on incapacitating agents. LSD and other drugs were often administered without the subject's knowledge or informed consent , a violation of the Nuremberg Code the U. The aim of this was to find drugs which would bring out deep confessions or wipe a subject's mind clean and program him or her as "a robot agent.
The men were dosed with LSD, the brothels were equipped with one-way mirrors , and the sessions were filmed for later viewing and study. They told subjects they would extend their "trips" if they refused to reveal their secrets.
The people under this interrogation were CIA employees, U. Long-term debilitation and several deaths resulted from this. Sidney Gottlieb, the chemist who directed MKUltra, had other ideas; he thought it could be used in covert operations. Since its effects were temporary, he believed one could give it to high-ranking officials and in this way affect the course of important meetings, speeches etc. Since he realized there was a difference in testing the drug in a laboratory and using it in clandestine operations, he initiated a series of experiments where LSD was given to people in "normal" settings without warning.
At first, everyone in Technical Services tried it; a typical experiment involved two people in a room where they observed each other for hours and took notes.
As the experimentation progressed, a point arrived where outsiders were drugged with no explanation whatsoever and surprise acid trips became something of an occupational hazard among CIA operatives. Adverse reactions often occurred, such as an operative who received the drug in his morning coffee became psychotic and ran across Washington, seeing a monster in every car passing him.
The experiments continued even after Dr. Frank Olson , an Army scientist who had not taken LSD before, went into deep depression after a surprise trip and later fell from a thirteenth story window.
In one case, seven volunteers in Kentucky were given LSD for seventy-seven consecutive days. However, by the CIA and the army developed a series of superhallucinogens such as the highly touted BZ , which was thought to hold greater promise as a mind control weapon.
This resulted in the withdrawal of support by many academics and private researchers, and LSD research became less of a priority altogether. The person would begin babbling incoherently, and it was sometimes possible to ask questions and get useful answers.
Hypnosis[ edit ] Declassified MKUltra documents indicate they studied hypnosis in the early s. Canadian experiments[ edit ] Donald Ewen Cameron c. Cameron had been hoping to correct schizophrenia by erasing existing memories and reprogramming the psyche. These research funds were sent to Dr. His "driving" experiments consisted of putting subjects into drug-induced comas for weeks at a time up to three months in one case while playing tape loops of noise or simple repetitive statements.
His experiments were often carried on patients who entered the institute for minor problems such as anxiety disorders and postpartum depression, many of whom suffered permanent effects from his actions. Cameron was also a member of the Nuremberg medical tribunal in — McCoy writes "Stripped of its bizarre excesses, Dr. Cameron's experiments, building upon Donald O. Hebb 's earlier breakthrough, laid the scientific foundation for the CIA's two-stage psychological torture method," which refers to first creating a state of disorientation in the subject, and then second creating a situation of "self-inflicted" discomfort in which the disoriented subject can alleviate their pain by capitulating.
A cache of some 20, documents survived Helms' purge, as they had been incorrectly stored in a financial records building and were discovered following a FOIA request in These documents were fully investigated during the Senate Hearings of That report prompted investigations by the U. Congress , in the form of the Church Committee , and by a commission known as the Rockefeller Commission that looked into the illegal domestic activities of the CIA, the FBI , and intelligence-related agencies of the military.
In the summer of , congressional Church Committee reports and the presidential Rockefeller Commission report revealed to the public for the first time that the CIA and the Department of Defense had conducted experiments on both unwitting and cognizant human subjects as part of an extensive program to find out how to influence and control human behavior through the use of psychoactive drugs such as LSD and mescaline and other chemical, biological, and psychological means.
Much of what the Church Committee and the Rockefeller Commission learned about MKUltra was contained in a report, prepared by the Inspector General's office in , that had survived the destruction of records ordered in Sidney Gottlieb, who had retired from the CIA two years previously, was interviewed by the committee but claimed to have very little recollection of the activities of MKUltra. The committee noted that the "experiments sponsored by these researchers [ Subsequent orders by Presidents Carter and Reagan expanded the directive to apply to any human experimentation.
On the Senate floor in , Senator Ted Kennedy said: The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over thirty universities and institutions were involved in an "extensive testing and experimentation" program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens "at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign. Frank Olson , was attributed to Olson's being subjected, unaware, to such experimentation, nine days before his death.
The CIA itself subsequently acknowledged that these tests had little scientific rationale. The agents conducting the monitoring were not qualified scientific observers.
It was learned that not only had the CIA funded Dr. This revelation largely derailed efforts by the victims to sue the CIA as their U. Cameron died on September 8, after suffering a heart attack while he and his son were mountain climbing. None of Cameron's personal records of his involvement with MKUltra survived, since his family destroyed them after his death. General Accounting Office report[ edit ] The U. General Accounting Office issued a report on September 28, , which stated that between and , DOD and other national security agencies studied thousands of human subjects in tests and experiments involving hazardous substances.
The quote from the study: Between and , the program consisted of projects involving drug testing and other studies on unwitting human subjects Deaths[ edit ] Given the CIA's purposeful destruction of most records, its failure to follow informed consent protocols with thousands of participants, the uncontrolled nature of the experiments, and the lack of follow-up data, the full impact of MKUltra experiments, including deaths, may never be known.
Olson, a United States Army biochemist and biological weapons researcher, was given LSD without his knowledge or consent in November, , as part of a CIA experiment and committed suicide by jumping out of a window a week later.
A CIA doctor assigned to monitor Olson claimed to have been asleep in another bed in a New York City hotel room when Olson exited the window and fell thirteen stories to his death. In , Olson's death was described as a suicide that had occurred during a severe psychotic episode. The CIA's own internal investigation concluded that the head of MKUltra, CIA chemist Sidney Gottlieb, had conducted the LSD experiment with Olson's prior knowledge, although neither Olson nor the other men taking part in the experiment were informed as to the exact nature of the drug until some 20 minutes after its ingestion.
The report further suggested that Gottlieb was nonetheless due a reprimand, as he had failed to take into account Olson's already-diagnosed suicidal tendencies, which might have been exacerbated by the LSD.
They maintain that Frank Olson was murdered because, especially in the aftermath of his LSD experience, he had become a security risk who might divulge state secrets associated with highly classified CIA programs, about many of which he had direct personal knowledge. Among Olson's concerns were the development of assassination materials used by the CIA, the CIA's use of biological warfare materials in covert operations, experimentation with biological weapons in populated areas, collaboration with former Nazi scientists under Operation Paperclip , LSD mind-control research, and the use of psychoactive drugs during "terminal" interrogations under a program code-named Project ARTICHOKE.
Although the government aggressively, and sometimes successfully, sought to avoid legal liability, several plaintiffs did receive compensation through court order, out-of-court settlement, or acts of Congress. Previously, the CIA and the Army had actively and successfully sought to withhold incriminating information, even as they secretly provided compensation to the families. One subject of Army drug experimentation, James Stanley, an Army sergeant, brought an important, albeit unsuccessful, suit.
The government argued that Stanley was barred from suing under a legal doctrine—known as the Feres doctrine , after a Supreme Court case, Feres v. United States —that prohibits members of the Armed Forces from suing the government for any harms that were inflicted "incident to service. The medical trials at Nuremberg in deeply impressed upon the world that experimentation with unknowing human subjects is morally and legally unacceptable.
The United States Military Tribunal established the Nuremberg Code as a standard against which to judge German scientists who experimented with human subjects Justice Sandra Day O'Connor , writing a separate dissent, stated: No judicially crafted rule should insulate from liability the involuntary and unknowing human experimentation alleged to have occurred in this case. Indeed, as Justice Brennan observes, the United States played an instrumental role in the criminal prosecution of Nazi officials who experimented with human subjects during the Second World War, and the standards that the Nuremberg Military Tribunals developed to judge the behavior of the defendants stated that the 'voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential In another lawsuit, Wayne Ritchie, a former United States Marshal , after hearing about the project's existence in , alleged the CIA laced his food or drink with LSD at a Christmas party which resulted in his attempting to commit a robbery at a bar and his subsequent arrest.
While the government admitted it was, at that time, drugging people without their consent, U.