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FTR#1306 Where’s Nuremburg?

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FTR#1306 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: Exper­i­ment­ing on human beings with­out their knowl­edge and/or con­sent is for­bid­den by the Nurem­burg code. Nonethe­less, the U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment has been doing just that as a mat­ter of course in the years since World War II.

Hav­ing import­ed many Nazi Ger­many’s and Impe­r­i­al Japan’s war crim­i­nals, the U.S. was on track to insti­tu­tion­al­ize exper­i­ment­ing on unwit­ting human sub­jects by the end of the Sec­ond World War.

This pro­gram doc­u­ments some of the exper­i­ments and the pro­grams which gave rise to such oper­a­tions:

Points of Dis­cus­sion and Analy­sis Include: CIA researched the occult in what Hank Albarel­li spec­u­lates may have been a research project inspired by the Nazi Ahnenerbe; The agency researched var­i­ous ways of caus­ing can­cer and the effects of var­i­ous lev­els of stress on those suf­fer­ing from the dis­ease; Both the CIA and the Army researched the effects of radi­a­tion on human beings in a vari­ety of clan­des­tine exper­i­ments; The CIA’s “Human Ecol­o­gy” research projects embraced a wide vari­ety of exper­i­men­tal projects designed to learn how to con­trol and mod­i­fy human behav­ior; Ver­mont-based doc­tor Robert Hyde was among the pre­mier researchers to test LSD on human sub­jects, some in projects the details of which have not been ful­ly dis­closed.

1. “The Occult Side of MKULTRA”

A Ter­ri­ble Mis­take: The Mur­der of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Exper­i­ments by H.P. Albarel­li; Trine Day [HC]; Copy­right 2009 by H.P. Albarel­li, Jr.; (ISBN-13) 978–0‑9777953–7‑6. ISBN (10) 0–9777953‑7–3; pp. 288–291.

2. Can­cer and MKULTRA

A Ter­ri­ble Mis­take: The Mur­der of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Exper­i­ments by H.P. Albarel­li; Trine Day [HC]; Copy­right 2009 by H.P. Albarel­li, Jr.; (ISBN-13) 978–0‑9777953–7‑6. ISBN (10) 0–9777953‑7–3; pp. 292–293.

3. MKULTRA and Radi­a­tion Exper­i­ments

A Ter­ri­ble Mis­take: The Mur­der of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Exper­i­ments by H.P. Albarel­li; Trine Day [HC]; Copy­right 2009 by H.P. Albarel­li, Jr.; (ISBN-13) 978–0‑9777953–7‑6. ISBN (10) 0–9777953‑7–3; pp. 293–296.

4. MKULTRA and Human Ecol­o­gy

A Ter­ri­ble Mis­take: The Mur­der of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Exper­i­ments by H.P. Albarel­li; Trine Day [HC]; Copy­right 2009 by H.P. Albarel­li, Jr.; (ISBN-13) 978–0‑9777953–7‑6. ISBN (10) 0–9777953‑7–3; pp. 296–298.

 5. Dr. Robert Hyde and LSD

 A Ter­ri­ble Mis­take: The Mur­der of Frank olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Exper­i­ments by H.P. Albarel­li; Trine Day [HC]; Copy­right 2009 by H.P. Albarel­li, Jr.; (ISBN-13) 978–0‑9777953–7‑6. ISBN (10) 0–9777953‑7–3; pp. 298–300.

 

 

Discussion

15 comments for “FTR#1306 Where’s Nuremburg?”

  1. How big was the US’s secret MK Ultra pro­gram? Big in terms of the num­bers of peo­ple involved, but also big in terms of the ambi­tions? Those are just some of many dis­turb­ing ques­tions raised by the fol­low­ing Truthout arti­cle from last month about the ongo­ing efforts to under­stand one of the dark­est chap­ters of the MK Ultra pro­gram: child exper­i­ments. Yep. It turns out kids were tar­get­ed by utter­ly bru­tal MK Ultra-inspired brain­wash­ing exper­i­ments. Large num­bers of kids. With many who did­n’t sur­vive and end­ed up in unmarked graves.

    It’s a lit­tle known chap­ter of Amer­i­ca’s MK Ultra pro­gram and we’re still only just learn­ing about it, decades lat­er. That’s thanks to the ongo­ing legal efforts of a group known as the “Mohawk Moth­ers”, rep­re­sent­ing the large num­ber of indige­nous Cana­di­ans who were one of the main groups of vic­tims in this pro­gram. Specif­i­cal­ly, indige­nous chil­dren sent to Canada’s noto­ri­ous­ly cru­el board­ing schools for its indige­nous pop­u­la­tion. A sys­tem of schools that was so bru­tal that a 1907 study found that near­ly a quar­ter of the stu­dents did­n’t sur­vive until grad­u­a­tion. Flash for­ward to the 1950s, and that sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly abused Cana­di­an indige­nous stu­dent pop­u­la­tion appar­ent­ly rep­re­sent­ed an enor­mous research oppor­tu­ni­ty. An oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn about not just the roots of crim­i­nal behav­ior but all behav­ior dis­or­ders.

    A pro­gram was then set up with McGill Uni­ver­si­ty, the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal in Que­bec, and the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment to fun­nel indige­nous chil­dren into these med­ical exper­i­ments. An impor­tant piece of con­text here is that over 1,300 unmarked graves have been dis­cov­ered in recent years at five of Canada’s indige­nous board­ing schools. The Mohawk Moth­ers have, in turn, suc­cess­ful­ly sued ear­li­er this year to grant arche­ol­o­gists and cul­tur­al mon­i­tors per­mis­sion to begin the process of search­ing for unmarked graves at the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal.

    Unmarked graves that are like­ly hold­ing the bod­ies of the vic­tims of these secret exper­i­ments devel­oped in part­ner­ship with the CIA. That’s the oth­er part of this sto­ry. Because it turns out this entire indige­nous chil­dren mass ‘behav­ioral mod­i­fi­ca­tion’ pro­gram was devel­oped in part­ner­ship with the New York State prison sys­tem as part of a pro­gram designed to under­stand recidi­vism and reduce crim­i­nal behav­ior. But as we’re going to see, the New York prison pro­gram went far beyond just try­ing to avoid recidi­vism and includ­ed the ambi­tious goal of shed­ding light on “all behav­ioral prob­lems” and that it had the poten­tial to “bridge the research gap between juve­nile delin­quen­cy and adult crim­i­nal­i­ty.”

    But as we’re also going to see, the behav­ioral mod­i­fi­ca­tion pro­grams set up by New York’s prison sys­tem as part of this part­ner­ship were focused on pop­u­la­tion in par­tic­u­lar: black pris­on­ers. And as we’re also going to see, the behav­ioral mod­i­fi­ca­tion they devel­oped focused specif­i­cal­ly on pris­on­ers guilty of “overt acts that incite, agi­tate, and pro­voke oth­er inmates to mil­i­tant, rad­i­cal, and anti­so­cial activ­i­ties.” Which sure sounds a lot like they were try­ing to brain­wash pris­on­ers with an pen­chant for civ­il rights orga­niz­ing. Keep in mind that these pro­grams were devised in the late 50s and ear­ly 60s, right as the civ­il rights move­ment was grow­ing to point where it could­n’t be ignored.

    So how exten­sive­ly did the exper­i­men­ta­tion US pris­on­ers get? Well, in a hint at anoth­er unre­solved mega-scan­dal, the arti­cle notes how the Atti­ca prison riot in New York in 1971 includ­ed accu­sa­tions by the pris­on­ers that author­i­ties were sur­rep­ti­tious­ly drug­ging them and try­ing to turn them into ‘zom­bies.’ A gov­ern­ment pan­el lat­er not­ed that the pro­gram the pris­on­ers were com­plain­ing about evoked “the spec­tre of the reso­cial­iza­tion, rethink­ing, and brain­wash­ing camps of total­i­tar­i­an soci­eties.”

    It was short­ly after the Atti­ca riots that the New York prison sys­tem’s part­ner­ship with McGill seemed to come to an end. Around the same time, the Dan­nemo­ra State Hos­pi­tal was rebrand­ed the Adiron­dack Cor­rec­tion­al Treat­ment Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter, and became home to a “new” behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion ini­tia­tive called the Pre­scrip­tion (Rx) Pro­gram. The head of that pro­gram, Wal­ter Dun­bar, had recent­ly left the Cal­i­for­nia prison sys­tem to become New York’s deputy cor­rec­tions com­mis­sion­er. Dun­bar’s name sub­se­quent­ly appears mul­ti­ple times in FIOA-released CIA doc­u­ments that reveal how the agency dis­cussed agency-spon­sored nar­cotics research on incar­cer­at­ed peo­ple in the Vacav­ille Med­ical Facil­i­ty, a Cal­i­for­nia prison that inspire the New York prison system’s part­ner­ship with McGill.

    So we have a sto­ry involv­ing sys­tem­at­ic mass child abuse, child death, and brain­wash­ing, cou­pled with CIA-spon­sored prison exper­i­ments seem­ing­ly tar­get­ing black pris­on­ers with civ­il rights ambi­tions. It’s one of those sto­ries that so awful, and with such mas­sive poten­tial impli­ca­tions for today, that we have to expect that it’s going to be sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly ignored. As usu­al for sto­ries that are too hor­rif­ic to con­tem­plate:

    Truthout

    New Docs Link CIA to Med­ical Tor­ture of Indige­nous Chil­dren and Black Pris­on­ers

    While we may nev­er know the full truth, we owe it to those harmed and killed to illu­mi­nate their sto­ries.

    By Orisan­mi Bur­ton, Truthout
    Pub­lished June 22, 2023

    The doc­u­men­tary record of “mind con­trol” exper­i­ments con­duct­ed by the Unit­ed States and oth­er gov­ern­ments dur­ing the Cold War is just the tip of the ice­berg, and our col­lec­tive igno­rance is by design. In ear­ly 1973, as the fall­out from the Water­gate scan­dal exposed the need for greater con­gres­sion­al over­sight of U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies, the head of the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency (CIA) ordered the destruc­tion of all doc­u­ments relat­ed to MK Ultra.

    Launched in the wake of the Nurem­berg Tri­als, which exposed the extent of Nazi atroc­i­ties car­ried out in the name of sci­ence, MK Ultra involved a range of grotesque exper­i­ments on unwit­ting test sub­jects with­in and beyond U.S. bor­ders. New­ly revealed evi­dence expos­es pre­vi­ous­ly hid­den links between MK Ultra exper­i­ments on Indige­nous chil­dren in Cana­da and impris­oned Black peo­ple in the U.S.

    On April 20, 2023, a group of Indige­nous women known as the Kanien’kehà:ka Kah­nis­tensera (Mohawk Moth­ers) achieved a mile­stone in their ongo­ing law­suit against sev­er­al enti­ties, includ­ing McGill Uni­ver­si­ty, the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment and the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal in Que­bec. The par­ties reached an agree­ment where­by arche­ol­o­gists and cul­tur­al mon­i­tors would begin the process of search­ing for unmarked graves, which the Mohawk Moth­ers believe are buried on the grounds of the hos­pi­tal.

    Over the pre­ced­ing two years, approx­i­mate­ly 1,300 unmarked graves, most of them con­tain­ing the remains of Indige­nous chil­dren, have been dis­cov­ered on the grounds of five of Canada’s for­mer res­i­den­tial schools. Through­out the 20th cen­tu­ry, the res­i­den­tial school sys­tem — like the Indi­an Board­ing School sys­tem, its U.S. coun­ter­part — sep­a­rat­ed thou­sands of Indige­nous chil­dren from their fam­i­lies, stripped them of their lan­guage and sub­ject­ed them to var­i­ous forms of abuse amount­ing to what a truth and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion com­mis­sion called “cul­tur­al geno­cide.” But as these hor­rif­ic rev­e­la­tions demon­strate, the harm wasn’t only cul­tur­al — a 1907 inves­ti­ga­tion found that near­ly one-fourth of school atten­dees did not sur­vive grad­u­a­tion.

    In Octo­ber of 2021, new evi­dence sur­faced link­ing dis­ap­peared Indige­nous chil­dren to MK Ultra exper­i­ments con­duct­ed by CIA-spon­sored researchers. A white Win­nipeg res­i­dent named Lana Ponting tes­ti­fied in Quebec’s Supe­ri­or Court that in 1958, when she was 16 years old, doc­tors from the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute, a for­mer psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal affil­i­at­ed with McGill and the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal, held her against her will, drugged her with LSD and oth­er sub­stances, sub­ject­ed her to elec­troshock treat­ments, and exposed her to audi­to­ry indoc­tri­na­tion: play­ing a record­ing telling Ponting over and over again, that she was either “a bad girl” or “a good girl.”

    Ponting also tes­ti­fied that “some of the chil­dren I saw there were Indige­nous,” and that she befriend­ed an Indige­nous girl named Morn­ingstar, who endured many of the same abus­es, with the added indig­ni­ty of being harassed because of her race. Dur­ing a reprieve from her drug-induced haze, Ponting recalls sneak­ing out at night and hap­pen­ing upon “peo­ple stand­ing over by the cement wall” with shov­els and flash­lights. She and oth­er chil­dren had heard rumors that bod­ies were buried on the prop­er­ty. “I believe that some of them would be Indige­nous peo­ple,” Ponting told the court.

    Not only does her tes­ti­mo­ny cor­rob­o­rate what anoth­er Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute sur­vivor told his­to­ri­an Dono­van King a decade ear­li­er, but in 2008, the Squamish Nation includ­ed the psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal in a list of poten­tial sites con­tain­ing unmarked graves.

    The CIA, along with the U.S. and Cana­di­an mil­i­tary and pow­er­ful U.S. char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tions, are direct­ly impli­cat­ed in this ordeal. Accord­ing to John Mark’s 1991 book The Search for the Manchuri­an Can­di­date and Steven Kinzer’s 2019 book Poi­son­er in Chief, in 1977, in response to a Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act (FOIA) request, CIA archivists uncov­ered a pre­vi­ous­ly hid­den box of MK Ultra finan­cial records reveal­ing, among oth­er things, that the Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute was home to MK Ultra “Sub­pro­ject 68.” Under the lead­er­ship of psy­chi­a­trist Ewen Cameron, whom Ponting accused of rap­ing ­her, exper­i­ments in this sub­pro­ject sought to “depat­tern” people’s minds using vio­lent meth­ods Cameron termed “psy­chic dri­ving.”

    Although Cameron is among the most infa­mous MK Ultra doc­tors, he was not alone at McGill. As his­to­ri­an Alfred McCoy has shown in his 2006 book A Ques­tion of Tor­ture, the sen­so­ry depri­va­tion research of Don­ald Hebb, a McGill psy­chol­o­gist, was also covert­ly spon­sored by the CIA.

    ...

    But what the Mohawk Moth­ers and their allies have found is com­pelling, par­tic­u­lar­ly for me: I have spent the last sev­er­al years research­ing the his­to­ry of “behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion” pro­grams in U.S. pris­ons. My forth­com­ing book Tip of the Spear: Black Rad­i­cal­ism, Prison Repres­sion, and the Long Atti­ca Revolt (avail­able in Octo­ber 2023), uncov­ers the roots of the mod­ern prison abo­li­tion­ist move­ment and state efforts to destroy it dur­ing the 1960s and 1970s. It details a lit­tle-known pro­gram of prison-based sci­en­tif­ic exper­i­men­ta­tion that inter­sects with the Mohawk Moth­ers strug­gle.

    In 1966, New York Gov. Nel­son Rock­e­feller, whose fam­i­ly foun­da­tion helped estab­lish the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute, launched a part­ner­ship where­by a team of McGill con­sul­tants were brought to New York to estab­lish pro­grams and con­duct research at the Dan­nemo­ra State Hos­pi­tal for the Crim­i­nal­ly Insane, accord­ing to Cana­di­an psy­chi­a­trist Bruno Cormier’s 1975 book The Watch­er and the Watched. Locat­ed in a remote ham­let 25 miles south of New York’s north­ern­most bor­der with Que­bec, the insti­tu­tion con­fined pris­on­ers who were trans­ferred from oth­er state facil­i­ties after being deemed “insane” by prison doc­tors.

    The offi­cial pur­pose of the col­lab­o­ra­tion was to devel­op new meth­ods for pre­vent­ing recidi­vism. How­ev­er, the pro­gram host­ed “exper­i­men­tal stud­ies of var­i­ous aspects of crim­i­nal behav­ior,” not­ed a report from 1968. The fol­low­ing year an attendee of a con­fer­ence about the pro­gram not­ed that a large num­ber of its par­tic­i­pants were Black.

    An affi­davit authored by anthro­pol­o­gist Phillippe Blouin in sup­port of the Mohawk Moth­ers iden­ti­fied the late psy­chi­a­trist Cormi­er as a per­son of inter­est. Blouin locat­ed cor­re­spon­dence between lead “Sub­pro­ject 68” psy­chol­o­gist Cameron and Cormi­er, who worked as a clin­i­cian at the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute dur­ing the 1950s and 1960s. Authored between 1957 and 1963, the exchanges per­tain to a pro­pos­al for a Pilot Cen­tre for Juve­nile Delin­quen­cy, which would include lab­o­ra­to­ries “for psy­cho­log­i­cal stud­ies, for work in genet­ics, for endocrino­log­i­cal inves­ti­ga­tions, for soci­o­log­i­cal stud­ies, both with­in the unit and also for field work.”

    Com­ment­ing on the pro­pos­al, Cormi­er sug­gests that the center’s purview should not be lim­it­ed to reha­bil­i­ta­tion. He stress­es that “research of this kind should bring light on all behav­ioral prob­lems” and that it had the poten­tial to “bridge the research gap between juve­nile delin­quen­cy and adult crim­i­nal­i­ty.”

    Not long after this exchange, New York offi­cials select­ed him to lead the Memo­r­i­al Institute’s part­ner­ship with the New York prison sys­tem. The man who helped make this hap­pen was a Ger­man physi­cian named Lud­wig Fink, who became assis­tant direc­tor and sub­se­quent­ly direc­tor of the Dan­nemo­ra hos­pi­tal after prac­tic­ing psy­chi­a­try in Iran and India dur­ing the 1940s. By 1969, Fink and some of the McGill con­sul­tants had trained prison guards in hyp­no­sis and aver­sion ther­a­py tech­niques, result­ing in scenes that an observ­er called “quite revolt­ing both for those who watched and those who took part.”

    The direc­tor of a think tank called the Nar­cot­ic and Drug Research Insti­tute described Fink’s “Ther­a­peu­tic Com­mu­ni­ty” pro­gram in ways that are eeri­ly sim­i­lar to Cameron’s efforts to oblit­er­ate human con­scious­ness in order to rebuild it anew. It “takes you back to a kind of kinder­garten lev­el and then brings you back up,” he told Con­gress. Else­where, Fink cites the auto­bi­og­ra­phy of Mal­colm X and laments the “grow­ing num­ber of aggres­sive, assertive black males” behind prison walls.

    The Mohawk Moth­ers affi­davit men­tions Ernest G. Pos­er, a psy­chol­o­gist, whose research at McGill inves­ti­gat­ed “cross-cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences in tol­er­ance to phys­i­cal pain using decep­tive means and what seemed like tor­ture instru­ments.” It indi­cates that Pos­er “stud­ied patients’ reac­tions to hyp­not­ic sug­ges­tion dur­ing metho­hexi­tone-induced sleep,” a prac­tice that brings Ponting’s expe­ri­ence of being “brain­washed” to mind. Pos­er, a col­league of McGill psy­chol­o­gist and sen­so­ry depri­va­tion researcher Hebb, was also exper­i­ment­ing on incar­cer­at­ed peo­ple in New York. In 1968, he he inves­ti­gat­ed whether pris­on­ers deemed “sociopaths” suf­fer from an adren­a­line defi­cien­cy that pre­vents them from learn­ing from “fear-pro­duc­ing expe­ri­ences.”

    To find out, he and a grad­u­ate stu­dent named Deb­o­rah G. Sittman inject­ed them with adren­a­line and sub­ject­ed them to elec­tric shocks. Wil­frid Der­by, a stu­dent of Pos­er and Hebb, pro­posed an exper­i­ment in which mul­ti­ple pris­on­ers would be strapped to an elec­tro­con­vul­sive ther­a­py device and told they were in a com­pet­i­tive sit­u­a­tion where the “los­er” would receive the shock lev­el set for him by his oppo­nent.

    Between Sep­tem­ber 9 and 13, 1971, near­ly 1,300 incar­cer­at­ed peo­ple rebelled in New York’s Atti­ca prison. Most of them were Black, but a few, such as John Bon­core “Daca­jew­eiah” Hill were Mohawk.. New York’s part­ner­ship with McGill appears to have end­ed short­ly after the upris­ing and the bru­tal state-orches­trat­ed mas­sacre that fol­lowed it. At rough­ly the same time, the Dan­nemo­ra State Hos­pi­tal was rebrand­ed the Adiron­dack Cor­rec­tion­al Treat­ment Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter, and became home to a “new” behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion ini­tia­tive called the Pre­scrip­tion (Rx) Pro­gram.

    Mul­ti­ple let­ters pub­lished by pris­on­ers’ rights orga­ni­za­tions accused prison author­i­ties of sur­rep­ti­tious­ly drug­ging their food and water and of attempt­ing to turn them into “zom­bies.” A gov­ern­ment pan­el not­ed that the pro­gram evoked “the spec­tre of the reso­cial­iza­tion, rethink­ing, and brain­wash­ing camps of total­i­tar­i­an soci­eties.”

    Accord­ing to Wal­ter Dun­bar, who had recent­ly left the Cal­i­for­nia prison sys­tem to become New York’s deputy cor­rec­tions com­mis­sion­er, the Rx Pro­gram focused on pris­on­ers guilty of “overt acts that incite, agi­tate, and pro­voke oth­er inmates to mil­i­tant, rad­i­cal, and anti­so­cial activ­i­ties.” Such state­ments link the pro­gram to plan­ta­tion dis­cours­es that pathol­o­gize Black resis­tance, while impli­cat­ing prison author­i­ties in the use of behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion tech­niques for polit­i­cal ends: coun­terin­sur­gency.

    Notably, Dunbar’s name appears mul­ti­ple times in a cache of doc­u­ments released via FOIA by the CIA. The doc­u­ments dis­cuss agency-spon­sored nar­cotics research on incar­cer­at­ed peo­ple in Vacav­ille Med­ical Facil­i­ty, a Cal­i­for­nia prison that helped inspire the New York prison system’s part­ner­ship with McGill.

    The state-spon­sored exper­i­ments of the Cold War era employed a range of scan­dalous meth­ods to test whether human thoughts and behav­ior could be pre­dictably con­trolled. The out­come of this research and the fate of its vic­tims remain obscure, but a com­mon thread runs across dif­fer­ent exper­i­men­tal con­texts. Researchers tar­get­ed and assault­ed vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions who were inca­pable of grant­i­ng con­sent and who were viewed as dis­pos­able. Their alle­ga­tions were unlike­ly to be tak­en seri­ous­ly and their avenues for redress were lim­it­ed because they were insti­tu­tion­al­ized and from mar­gin­al­ized groups: Indige­nous peo­ple, Black peo­ple, poor peo­ple, dis­abled peo­ple, chil­dren, pris­on­ers, women and girls. This sci­en­tif­ic vio­lence was shaped by liv­ing lega­cies of colo­nial­ism and slav­ery, vio­lence that con­tin­ues to find expres­sion in the ongo­ing “war on ter­ror.”

    ...

    ————

    “New Docs Link CIA to Med­ical Tor­ture of Indige­nous Chil­dren and Black Pris­on­ers” By Orisan­mi Bur­ton; Truthout; 06/22/2023

    “Launched in the wake of the Nurem­berg Tri­als, which exposed the extent of Nazi atroc­i­ties car­ried out in the name of sci­ence, MK Ultra involved a range of grotesque exper­i­ments on unwit­ting test sub­jects with­in and beyond U.S. bor­ders. New­ly revealed evi­dence expos­es pre­vi­ous­ly hid­den links between MK Ultra exper­i­ments on Indige­nous chil­dren in Cana­da and impris­oned Black peo­ple in the U.S.

    A pre­vi­ous­ly hid­den link between the CIA’s MK Ultra exper­i­ments and the sys­tem­at­ic abus­es of indige­nous Cana­di­an chil­dren and black US pris­on­ers in the 60s and 70s. That sounds like an absoute­ly explo­sive sto­ry. The kind of sto­ry that echoes the kinds of crimes that led up to the Nurem­berg tri­als.

    And we’re only real­ly learn­ing about this his­to­ry now thanks in large part to a series of legal vic­to­ries by the ‘Mohawk Moth­ers’ who final­ly got per­mis­sion to gain access to the umn­marked graves at the grounds of Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal. Grave that are pre­sum­ably part of the much larg­er of lega­cy of bru­tal­i­ty inflict­ed upon Canada’s indige­nous chil­dren. So bru­tal that a 1907 sur­vey found near­ly a quar­ter of stu­dents in this sys­tem did­n’t sur­vive until grad­u­a­tion. It was the per­fect sys­tem for pro­vid­ed med­ical research sub­jects who could be exper­i­ment­ed on in secret. But as FOIA doc­u­ments reveal, this was­n’t a Cana­di­an-only scan­dal. By the 1960s, the CIA’s MK Ultra pro­gram was already work­ing in part­ner­ship with this secret sys­tem of child med­ical tor­ture under the guise of behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion research. Behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion research that appears to have been con­duct­ed as part of a larg­er effort to apply MK Ultra research to not just treat­ing crim­i­nal behav­ior but pre­vent­ing it. It was an MK Ultra pro­gram for young devel­op­ing minds:

    ...
    On April 20, 2023, a group of Indige­nous women known as the Kanien’kehà:ka Kah­nis­tensera (Mohawk Moth­ers) achieved a mile­stone in their ongo­ing law­suit against sev­er­al enti­ties, includ­ing McGill Uni­ver­si­ty, the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment and the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal in Que­bec. The par­ties reached an agree­ment where­by arche­ol­o­gists and cul­tur­al mon­i­tors would begin the process of search­ing for unmarked graves, which the Mohawk Moth­ers believe are buried on the grounds of the hos­pi­tal.

    Over the pre­ced­ing two years, approx­i­mate­ly 1,300 unmarked graves, most of them con­tain­ing the remains of Indige­nous chil­dren, have been dis­cov­ered on the grounds of five of Canada’s for­mer res­i­den­tial schools. Through­out the 20th cen­tu­ry, the res­i­den­tial school sys­tem — like the Indi­an Board­ing School sys­tem, its U.S. coun­ter­part — sep­a­rat­ed thou­sands of Indige­nous chil­dren from their fam­i­lies, stripped them of their lan­guage and sub­ject­ed them to var­i­ous forms of abuse amount­ing to what a truth and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion com­mis­sion called “cul­tur­al geno­cide.” But as these hor­rif­ic rev­e­la­tions demon­strate, the harm wasn’t only cul­tur­al — a 1907 inves­ti­ga­tion found that near­ly one-fourth of school atten­dees did not sur­vive grad­u­a­tion.

    ...
    The CIA, along with the U.S. and Cana­di­an mil­i­tary and pow­er­ful U.S. char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tions, are direct­ly impli­cat­ed in this ordeal. Accord­ing to John Mark’s 1991 book The Search for the Manchuri­an Can­di­date and Steven Kinzer’s 2019 book Poi­son­er in Chief, in 1977, in response to a Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act (FOIA) request, CIA archivists uncov­ered a pre­vi­ous­ly hid­den box of MK Ultra finan­cial records reveal­ing, among oth­er things, that the Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute was home to MK Ultra “Sub­pro­ject 68.” Under the lead­er­ship of psy­chi­a­trist Ewen Cameron, whom Ponting accused of rap­ing ­her, exper­i­ments in this sub­pro­ject sought to “depat­tern” people’s minds using vio­lent meth­ods Cameron termed “psy­chic dri­ving.”

    Although Cameron is among the most infa­mous MK Ultra doc­tors, he was not alone at McGill. As his­to­ri­an Alfred McCoy has shown in his 2006 book A Ques­tion of Tor­ture, the sen­so­ry depri­va­tion research of Don­ald Hebb, a McGill psy­chol­o­gist, was also covert­ly spon­sored by the CIA.

    ...

    But what the Mohawk Moth­ers and their allies have found is com­pelling, par­tic­u­lar­ly for me: I have spent the last sev­er­al years research­ing the his­to­ry of “behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion” pro­grams in U.S. pris­ons. My forth­com­ing book Tip of the Spear: Black Rad­i­cal­ism, Prison Repres­sion, and the Long Atti­ca Revolt (avail­able in Octo­ber 2023), uncov­ers the roots of the mod­ern prison abo­li­tion­ist move­ment and state efforts to destroy it dur­ing the 1960s and 1970s. It details a lit­tle-known pro­gram of prison-based sci­en­tif­ic exper­i­men­ta­tion that inter­sects with the Mohawk Moth­ers strug­gle.
    ...

    And when it comes to the evi­dence of wide­spread deaths as a result of these secret exper­i­ments, it’s not just the cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence of all the unmarked graves. There’s eye­wit­ness accounts, like that of Lana Ponting, who was only 16 when was was invol­un­tar­i­ly sub­ject­ed to this treat­ment and wit­nessed an appar­ent grave dig­ging inci­dent. This was 1958, when many more years of this secret col­lab­o­ra­tion still to come:

    ...
    In Octo­ber of 2021, new evi­dence sur­faced link­ing dis­ap­peared Indige­nous chil­dren to MK Ultra exper­i­ments con­duct­ed by CIA-spon­sored researchers. A white Win­nipeg res­i­dent named Lana Ponting tes­ti­fied in Quebec’s Supe­ri­or Court that in 1958, when she was 16 years old, doc­tors from the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute, a for­mer psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal affil­i­at­ed with McGill and the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal, held her against her will, drugged her with LSD and oth­er sub­stances, sub­ject­ed her to elec­troshock treat­ments, and exposed her to audi­to­ry indoc­tri­na­tion: play­ing a record­ing telling Ponting over and over again, that she was either “a bad girl” or “a good girl.”

    Ponting also tes­ti­fied that “some of the chil­dren I saw there were Indige­nous,” and that she befriend­ed an Indige­nous girl named Morn­ingstar, who endured many of the same abus­es, with the added indig­ni­ty of being harassed because of her race. Dur­ing a reprieve from her drug-induced haze, Ponting recalls sneak­ing out at night and hap­pen­ing upon “peo­ple stand­ing over by the cement wall” with shov­els and flash­lights. She and oth­er chil­dren had heard rumors that bod­ies were buried on the prop­er­ty. “I believe that some of them would be Indige­nous peo­ple,” Ponting told the court.

    Not only does her tes­ti­mo­ny cor­rob­o­rate what anoth­er Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute sur­vivor told his­to­ri­an Dono­van King a decade ear­li­er, but in 2008, the Squamish Nation includ­ed the psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal in a list of poten­tial sites con­tain­ing unmarked graves.
    ...

    And as we can see in a series of exchanges between Doc­tor Ewen Cameron and Cana­di­an psy­chi­a­trist Bruno Cormi­er writ­ten between 1957 and 1963, part of the osten­si­ble jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for these exper­i­ments went well beyond crim­i­nal behav­ior and should includ­ed all behav­ioral prob­lems, in the hopes of “bridge the research gap between juve­nile delin­quen­cy and adult crim­i­nal­i­ty.” And it just hap­pened to be the case that a large por­tion of the US pris­on­ers involved with this pro­gram were black. So we have this secret exper­i­men­tal col­lab­o­ra­tion focused indige­nous Cana­di­an chil­dren and black US pris­on­ers with an agen­da of learn­ing about any and all “behav­ioral prob­lems”, from chil­dren to adults:

    In 1966, New York Gov. Nel­son Rock­e­feller, whose fam­i­ly foun­da­tion helped estab­lish the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute, launched a part­ner­ship where­by a team of McGill con­sul­tants were brought to New York to estab­lish pro­grams and con­duct research at the Dan­nemo­ra State Hos­pi­tal for the Crim­i­nal­ly Insane, accord­ing to Cana­di­an psy­chi­a­trist Bruno Cormier’s 1975 book The Watch­er and the Watched. Locat­ed in a remote ham­let 25 miles south of New York’s north­ern­most bor­der with Que­bec, the insti­tu­tion con­fined pris­on­ers who were trans­ferred from oth­er state facil­i­ties after being deemed “insane” by prison doc­tors.

    The offi­cial pur­pose of the col­lab­o­ra­tion was to devel­op new meth­ods for pre­vent­ing recidi­vism. How­ev­er, the pro­gram host­ed “exper­i­men­tal stud­ies of var­i­ous aspects of crim­i­nal behav­ior,” not­ed a report from 1968. The fol­low­ing year an attendee of a con­fer­ence about the pro­gram not­ed that a large num­ber of its par­tic­i­pants were Black.

    An affi­davit authored by anthro­pol­o­gist Phillippe Blouin in sup­port of the Mohawk Moth­ers iden­ti­fied the late psy­chi­a­trist Cormi­er as a per­son of inter­est. Blouin locat­ed cor­re­spon­dence between lead “Sub­pro­ject 68” psy­chol­o­gist Cameron and Cormi­er, who worked as a clin­i­cian at the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute dur­ing the 1950s and 1960s. Authored between 1957 and 1963, the exchanges per­tain to a pro­pos­al for a Pilot Cen­tre for Juve­nile Delin­quen­cy, which would include lab­o­ra­to­ries “for psy­cho­log­i­cal stud­ies, for work in genet­ics, for endocrino­log­i­cal inves­ti­ga­tions, for soci­o­log­i­cal stud­ies, both with­in the unit and also for field work.”

    Com­ment­ing on the pro­pos­al, Cormi­er sug­gests that the center’s purview should not be lim­it­ed to reha­bil­i­ta­tion. He stress­es that “research of this kind should bring light on all behav­ioral prob­lems” and that it had the poten­tial to “bridge the research gap between juve­nile delin­quen­cy and adult crim­i­nal­i­ty.”
    ...

    And if it was­n’t clear that mod­i­fy­ing the behav­ior of the US’s black pop­u­la­tion was a key goal of this research, note the obser­va­tions of Ger­man physi­cian Lud­wig Fink who was involved with these exper­i­ments and lament­ed the “grow­ing num­ber of aggres­sive, assertive black males” behind prison walls while ref­er­enc­ing Mal­colm X’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy. Again, this was hap­pen­ing as the civ­il rights move­ment in the US was in full swing:

    ...
    Not long after this exchange, New York offi­cials select­ed him to lead the Memo­r­i­al Institute’s part­ner­ship with the New York prison sys­tem. The man who helped make this hap­pen was a Ger­man physi­cian named Lud­wig Fink, who became assis­tant direc­tor and sub­se­quent­ly direc­tor of the Dan­nemo­ra hos­pi­tal after prac­tic­ing psy­chi­a­try in Iran and India dur­ing the 1940s. By 1969, Fink and some of the McGill con­sul­tants had trained prison guards in hyp­no­sis and aver­sion ther­a­py tech­niques, result­ing in scenes that an observ­er called “quite revolt­ing both for those who watched and those who took part.”

    The direc­tor of a think tank called the Nar­cot­ic and Drug Research Insti­tute described Fink’s “Ther­a­peu­tic Com­mu­ni­ty” pro­gram in ways that are eeri­ly sim­i­lar to Cameron’s efforts to oblit­er­ate human con­scious­ness in order to rebuild it anew. It “takes you back to a kind of kinder­garten lev­el and then brings you back up,” he told Con­gress. Else­where, Fink cites the auto­bi­og­ra­phy of Mal­colm X and laments the “grow­ing num­ber of aggres­sive, assertive black males” behind prison walls.
    ...

    And, final­ly, we get to anoth­er mega-scan­dal wait­ing to be exposed here: how all of this relates to the Atti­ca prison riot of 1971. Because as we’ve learned, not only did the pris­on­ers accused the prison author­i­ties of secret drug­gings but a gov­ern­ment pan­el found that the prison ran a pro­gram that evoked “the spec­tre of the reso­cial­iza­tion, rethink­ing, and brain­wash­ing camps of total­i­tar­i­an soci­eties.” And it was short­ly after the riot that we find the part­ner­ship between McGill and the New York Prison sys­tem came to an end.

    At the same time, the Dan­nemo­ra State Hos­pi­tal was rebrand­ed the Adiron­dack Cor­rec­tion­al Treat­ment Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter, where a “new” behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion ini­tia­tive called the Pre­scrip­tion (Rx) Pro­gram was start­ed. A pro­gram that focused on pris­on­ers guilty of “overt acts that incite, agi­tate, and pro­voke oth­er inmates to mil­i­tant, rad­i­cal, and anti­so­cial activ­i­ties.” Which is basi­cal­ly the descrip­tion of a coun­terin­sur­gency pro­gram, where calls for civ­il rights was pre­sum­ably the ‘insur­gency’. And, lo and behold, the man behind the new ‘Rx’ pro­gram, Wal­ter Dun­bar, shows up in CIA doc­u­ments that dis­cuss CIA-spon­sored nar­cotics research on incar­cer­at­ed peo­ple in a Vacav­ille Med­ical Facil­i­ty that inspired the New York prison system’s part­ner­ship with McGill. It’s just one mega-scan­dal on top of anoth­er:

    ...
    The Mohawk Moth­ers affi­davit men­tions Ernest G. Pos­er, a psy­chol­o­gist, whose research at McGill inves­ti­gat­ed “cross-cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences in tol­er­ance to phys­i­cal pain using decep­tive means and what seemed like tor­ture instru­ments.” It indi­cates that Pos­er “stud­ied patients’ reac­tions to hyp­not­ic sug­ges­tion dur­ing metho­hexi­tone-induced sleep,” a prac­tice that brings Ponting’s expe­ri­ence of being “brain­washed” to mind. Pos­er, a col­league of McGill psy­chol­o­gist and sen­so­ry depri­va­tion researcher Hebb, was also exper­i­ment­ing on incar­cer­at­ed peo­ple in New York. In 1968, he he inves­ti­gat­ed whether pris­on­ers deemed “sociopaths” suf­fer from an adren­a­line defi­cien­cy that pre­vents them from learn­ing from “fear-pro­duc­ing expe­ri­ences.”

    To find out, he and a grad­u­ate stu­dent named Deb­o­rah G. Sittman inject­ed them with adren­a­line and sub­ject­ed them to elec­tric shocks. Wil­frid Der­by, a stu­dent of Pos­er and Hebb, pro­posed an exper­i­ment in which mul­ti­ple pris­on­ers would be strapped to an elec­tro­con­vul­sive ther­a­py device and told they were in a com­pet­i­tive sit­u­a­tion where the “los­er” would receive the shock lev­el set for him by his oppo­nent.

    Between Sep­tem­ber 9 and 13, 1971, near­ly 1,300 incar­cer­at­ed peo­ple rebelled in New York’s Atti­ca prison. Most of them were Black, but a few, such as John Bon­core “Daca­jew­eiah” Hill were Mohawk.. New York’s part­ner­ship with McGill appears to have end­ed short­ly after the upris­ing and the bru­tal state-orches­trat­ed mas­sacre that fol­lowed it. At rough­ly the same time, the Dan­nemo­ra State Hos­pi­tal was rebrand­ed the Adiron­dack Cor­rec­tion­al Treat­ment Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter, and became home to a “new” behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion ini­tia­tive called the Pre­scrip­tion (Rx) Pro­gram.

    Mul­ti­ple let­ters pub­lished by pris­on­ers’ rights orga­ni­za­tions accused prison author­i­ties of sur­rep­ti­tious­ly drug­ging their food and water and of attempt­ing to turn them into “zom­bies.” A gov­ern­ment pan­el not­ed that the pro­gram evoked “the spec­tre of the reso­cial­iza­tion, rethink­ing, and brain­wash­ing camps of total­i­tar­i­an soci­eties.”

    Accord­ing to Wal­ter Dun­bar, who had recent­ly left the Cal­i­for­nia prison sys­tem to become New York’s deputy cor­rec­tions com­mis­sion­er, the Rx Pro­gram focused on pris­on­ers guilty of “overt acts that incite, agi­tate, and pro­voke oth­er inmates to mil­i­tant, rad­i­cal, and anti­so­cial activ­i­ties.” Such state­ments link the pro­gram to plan­ta­tion dis­cours­es that pathol­o­gize Black resis­tance, while impli­cat­ing prison author­i­ties in the use of behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion tech­niques for polit­i­cal ends: coun­terin­sur­gency.

    Notably, Dunbar’s name appears mul­ti­ple times in a cache of doc­u­ments released via FOIA by the CIA. The doc­u­ments dis­cuss agency-spon­sored nar­cotics research on incar­cer­at­ed peo­ple in Vacav­ille Med­ical Facil­i­ty, a Cal­i­for­nia prison that helped inspire the New York prison system’s part­ner­ship with McGill.
    ...

    We have all the ingre­di­ents for a mega-sto­ry. A mega-sto­ry about a mega-scan­dal too big to han­dle. The kind of mega-scan­dal that vic­tims’ fam­i­lies will prob­a­bly have to wage on their own. Because if there’s one thing soci­eties at large don’t do well, it’s self-reflec­tion in the face of their own mon­strous­ness. And the more stones we over­turn in this sto­ry, the big­ger and more mon­strous it gets. Espe­cial­ly the stones sit­ting atop all those unmarked child graves.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 31, 2023, 5:02 pm
  2. Fol­low­ing up on the ongo­ing law­suit in Cana­da over the secret CIA-spon­sored exper­i­ments car­ried out on indige­nous chil­dren in Cana­da as part of the larg­er MKUl­tra pro­gram affil­i­at­ed with Mon­tre­al’s McGill Uni­ver­si­ty and the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute, here’s a pair of arti­cles flesh­ing out the accu­sa­tions. Like the fact that they allege the brain­wash­ing exper­i­ments actu­al­ly start­ed in 1943, four years before the cre­ation of the CIA. The suit also alleged that the activ­i­ties con­duct­ed from 1948 to 1964 were indeed part of the CIA’s MK Ultra pro­gram. So Canada’s role in the US’s brain­wash­ing exper­i­ments appar­ent­ly pre­dat­ed MK Ultra. That’s part of what makes this par­tic­u­lar law­suit so poten­tial­ly sig­nif­i­cant.

    At the same time, as we’re also going to see, McGill was just one of 89 known insti­tu­tions affil­i­at­ed with the MK Ultra pro­gram between 1957 and 1964 alone. So while McGill and its affil­i­ates do appear to be a kind of epi­cen­ter for this research, it’s also still just the tip of the ice­berg:

    The Cana­di­an Press

    U.S. argues for immu­ni­ty in MK-ULTRA mind con­trol case before Que­bec Court of Appeal

    Sid­hartha Baner­jee ·
    Post­ed: Mar 30, 2023 6:17 PM CDT | Updat­ed

    A pro­posed class-action law­suit over infa­mous brain­wash­ing exper­i­ments at a Mon­tre­al psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal was before Que­bec’s high­est court Thurs­day, as vic­tims attempt­ed to remove immu­ni­ty grant­ed to the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment.

    The U.S. gov­ern­ment suc­cess­ful­ly argued in Que­bec Supe­ri­or Court last August that the coun­try could­n’t be sued for the project known as MK-ULTRA, alleged­ly fund­ed by the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment and the CIA.

    U.S. lawyers argued that for­eign states had absolute immu­ni­ty from law­suits in Cana­da between the 1940s and 1960s, when the pro­gram took place.

    But sur­vivors (and their fam­i­lies) of the exper­i­ments at Mon­tre­al’s Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute — which includ­ed exper­i­men­tal drugs, rounds of elec­troshocks and sleep depri­va­tion — appealed that deci­sion.

    On Thurs­day, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment told the Que­bec Court of Appeal that the coun­try should be immune from pros­e­cu­tion and that any law­suit against the U.S. gov­ern­ment should be filed in that coun­try.

    The court case stems from a class-action law­suit filed against McGill Uni­ver­si­ty — which was affil­i­at­ed to the psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal — Mon­tre­al’s Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal and the Cana­di­an and U.S. gov­ern­ments after Mon­treal­ers alleged­ly had their mem­o­ries erased and were reduced to child­like states.

    Class-action lawyer Jeff Oren­stein said Thurs­day he believes Canada’s 1982 State Immu­ni­ty Act, which out­lines how for­eign states can be sued in the coun­try, is retroac­tive and can apply in this case.

    He said the 1982 act allows for­eign states to be sued in cas­es of bod­i­ly injury.

    “But this took place in the 1950s and ’60s,” Oren­stein told reporters, regard­ing the psy­cho­log­i­cal exper­i­ments. “And so the excep­tion had not been in effect dur­ing that peri­od so (the U.S.) argued that the old law would pre­vail and the old law was absolute immu­ni­ty.”

    “What we’re claim­ing is the law is ret­ro­spec­tive, that you can look back even before the act was passed and apply it today,” Oren­stein said.

    He not­ed there were also exemp­tions dur­ing the 1950s and 1960s for com­mer­cial-activ­i­ty law­suits, adding that the Mon­tre­al exper­i­ments involved a fund­ing arrange­ment between pri­vate par­ties.

    “Even under the old law, you would be able to pur­sue in Cana­di­an courts,” Oren­stein said.

    He also said the case could be heard in Que­bec. “We don’t think that Cana­di­an cit­i­zens who are injured on Cana­di­an soil are required to go to the Unit­ed States to sue.”

    ...

    Last­ing impact of MK-ULTRA

    The class-action request, filed in Jan­u­ary 2019, alleges that the gov­ern­ment of Cana­da fund­ed psy­chi­atric treat­ments by Dr. Ewen Cameron at the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute between 1948 and 1964 that were alleged­ly part of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA pro­gram of covert mind-con­trol. It has not been autho­rized yet by a judge.

    ...

    ———-

    “U.S. argues for immu­ni­ty in MK-ULTRA mind con­trol case before Que­bec Court of Appeal” by Sid­hartha Baner­jee; The Cana­di­an Press; 03/30/2023

    “U.S. lawyers argued that for­eign states had absolute immu­ni­ty from law­suits in Cana­da between the 1940s and 1960s, when the pro­gram took place.”

    Absolute immu­ni­ty. That was the US gov­ern­men­t’s argu­ment in this law­suit. An argu­ment that the US gov­ern­ment suc­cess­ful­ly made last August. But with the sur­vivors and their fam­i­lies con­tin­u­ing to appeal the rul­ing, it’s still pos­si­ble the US gov­ern­ment may ulti­mate­ly end up hav­ing to defend its MKUl­tra exper­i­ments in a Cana­di­an court, depend­ing on how this appeals process plays out:

    ...
    The U.S. gov­ern­ment suc­cess­ful­ly argued in Que­bec Supe­ri­or Court last August that the coun­try could­n’t be sued for the project known as MK-ULTRA, alleged­ly fund­ed by the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment and the CIA.

    ...

    But sur­vivors (and their fam­i­lies) of the exper­i­ments at Mon­tre­al’s Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute — which includ­ed exper­i­men­tal drugs, rounds of elec­troshocks and sleep depri­va­tion — appealed that deci­sion.

    On Thurs­day, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment told the Que­bec Court of Appeal that the coun­try should be immune from pros­e­cu­tion and that any law­suit against the U.S. gov­ern­ment should be filed in that coun­try.

    The court case stems from a class-action law­suit filed against McGill Uni­ver­si­ty — which was affil­i­at­ed to the psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal — Mon­tre­al’s Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal and the Cana­di­an and U.S. gov­ern­ments after Mon­treal­ers alleged­ly had their mem­o­ries erased and were reduced to child­like states.

    Class-action lawyer Jeff Oren­stein said Thurs­day he believes Canada’s 1982 State Immu­ni­ty Act, which out­lines how for­eign states can be sued in the coun­try, is retroac­tive and can apply in this case.

    He said the 1982 act allows for­eign states to be sued in cas­es of bod­i­ly injury.

    “But this took place in the 1950s and ’60s,” Oren­stein told reporters, regard­ing the psy­cho­log­i­cal exper­i­ments. “And so the excep­tion had not been in effect dur­ing that peri­od so (the U.S.) argued that the old law would pre­vail and the old law was absolute immu­ni­ty.”

    “What we’re claim­ing is the law is ret­ro­spec­tive, that you can look back even before the act was passed and apply it today,” Oren­stein said.
    ...

    Of course, the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment is a defen­dant in this case too, so it’s not like we can expect the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment to cheer this law­suit on. There’s going to be foot drag­ging every step of the way.

    And note how Dr Cameron’s work was alleged­ly part of the CIA’s MK Ultra pro­gram as ear­ly as 1948. Keep in mind the CIA only start­ed in 1947. So this part­ner­ship was one of the CIA’s found­ing pro­grams:

    ...
    The class-action request, filed in Jan­u­ary 2019, alleges that the gov­ern­ment of Cana­da fund­ed psy­chi­atric treat­ments by Dr. Ewen Cameron at the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute between 1948 and 1964 that were alleged­ly part of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA pro­gram of covert mind-con­trol. It has not been autho­rized yet by a judge.
    ...

    And we still only know a frac­tion of what is to be learned about this his­to­ry. A his­to­ry that, as the fol­low­ing McGill Tri­bune arti­cle notes, start­ed as far back as 1943, when Dr Ewen Cameron appar­ent­ly first served as the found­ing direc­tor of the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute at McGill’s Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal. And as the arti­cle also notes, McGill was just one of 89 insti­tu­tions that the CIA fund­ed in its MK Ultra exper­i­ments between 1957 and 1964 alone:

    The Tri­bune

    McGill hit with class action law­suit for alleged mind con­trol, brain­wash­ing exper­i­ments from 1943 to 1964

    by Ghaz­al Azizi on April 12, 2023

    Con­tent Warn­ing: Descrip­tions of med­ical abuse, phys­i­cal abuse, and psy­cho­log­i­cal tor­ture

    Charles Tan­ny vis­it­ed the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute, a research and psy­chi­atric cen­tre oper­at­ed by McGill’s Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal, in August 1957. He was referred to the Allan after expe­ri­enc­ing pain in his face, a con­di­tion his fam­i­ly doc­tor believed was psychosomatic—Charles suf­fered from trigem­i­nal neu­ral­gia, a neu­ro­path­ic condition—rather than a psy­cho­log­i­cal one.

    Near­ly sev­en decades lat­er, Charles’s daugh­ter, Julie Tan­ny, is now the lead plain­tiff in a class action law­suit against McGill, the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal, the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment, and the U.S. Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency (CIA). Tan­ny, along with hun­dreds of oth­er plain­tiffs, alleges that the Allan con­duct­ed psy­cho­log­i­cal exper­i­men­ta­tion on uncon­sent­ing patients between 1943 and 1964.

    From 1957 to 1964, the CIA fund­ed 89 insti­tu­tions that researched mind con­trol and brain­wash­ing tech­niques in a project known as MK ULTRA. Sub­pro­ject 68, one of 144, took place at the Allan under the super­vi­sion of psy­chi­a­try pro­fes­sor Don­ald Ewen Cameron. Tanny’s law­suit alleges that the exper­i­ments start­ed in 1943 when McGill hired Cameron as the found­ing direc­tor of the Allan, years before the CIA’s involve­ment.

    Cameron, whose research focused on the caus­es of men­tal ill­ness­es such as schiz­o­phre­nia, believed that men­tal­ly ill patients could be “depat­terned” through pro­longed comas, large dos­es of psy­che­del­ic drugs such as LSD, and extreme elec­tro­con­vul­sive ther­a­py (ECT). After “depatterning”—which result­ed in mem­o­ry era­sure, acute con­fu­sion, and/or los­ing blad­der and bow­el control—Cameron believed patients could be re-taught healthy behav­iour through “psy­chic dri­ving,” a process dur­ing which patients were sedat­ed and sub­ject­ed to tape record­ings of a sin­gle sen­tence on repeat. Tan­ny, who obtained her father’s med­ical records in 1977, says her dad was put into an insulin coma and kept asleep for 23 out of 24 hours every day, while a back­ground audio record­ing played end­less­ly. The con­tent of the record­ing was not dis­closed in his med­ical records.

    “After the first months, he asked to see my moth­er, so they wrote in his file that he still had con­nec­tions to his for­mer life […] so they put him back into treat­ment for anoth­er month,” Tan­ny told The Tri­bune. “After the sec­ond month, they said that it looked like this was as far as they could take him.”

    Charles, Tanny’s father, was also sub­ject to extreme ECT shocks, alleged­ly admin­is­tered two to three times per day at 20 to 40 times the nor­mal volt­age at the Allan. Tan­ny says that when Charles returned from the Allan after two and half months of exper­i­ments, he had no rec­ol­lec­tion of his three chil­dren.

    “My father was a very devot­ed father [….] Every week­end, he took us to Bel­mont Park we went fish­ing, he built us a skat­ing rink, very attached. And after the exper­i­ments, there was zero rela­tion­ship. He was extreme­ly detached, and that nev­er changed,” Tan­ny said. “There’s one com­mon thread with a lot of peo­ple who were depat­terned: They came home quite phys­i­cal­ly vio­lent and angry. And in my father’s case, he went from a very lov­ing and gen­tle man to some­one who used to hit me reg­u­lar­ly.”

    Lana Jean Ponting spent a month at the Allan in April 1958. She was admit­ted because of a court order her par­ents received after run­ning away from her house at 15 years old. Now 81, she remem­bers her time at the Allan vivid­ly.

    “When I got to the Allan, it was a scary-look­ing build­ing,” Ponting said in an inter­view with The Tri­bune. “When I went in there, I noticed a strange chem­i­cal smell. Dr. Cameron assured my par­ents that he would take care of me. I remem­ber going to sit in Dr. Cameron’s office, he took me to a room where I had one pil­low, a mat­tress, and a blan­ket. He told me to stay in the room. The nurse came in with a pole and a bag with some­thing in it. She told me to lie down and she put a nee­dle in my arm. I felt fun­ny. And so it began.”

    Ponting, who has been on med­ica­tion since the exper­i­ments to off­set the side effects, suf­fers from flash­backs and nev­er spoke of her time at the Allan with any­one, not even her hus­band. She only recent­ly uncov­ered that she was a vic­tim of the exper­i­ments after her broth­er noticed an ad about the class action law­suit in The Mon­tre­al Gazette.

    Since piec­ing togeth­er her mem­o­ries of the Allan with her new­found knowl­edge of the exper­i­ments, Ponting has tes­ti­fied in the Kanien’kehà:ka Kah­nis­tensera (Mohawk Moth­ers)’s ongo­ing law­suit against McGill. The Moth­ers sus­pect the university’s New Vic site, for­mer­ly the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal, holds unmarked Indige­nous graves. In an affi­davit that was enclosed with a note from her doc­tor attest­ing that she is of sound mind and body, Ponting says she saw dig­ging at night as a patient.

    “I would sneak out of the Allan at night when I could. I actu­al­ly saw peo­ple with shov­els. I could see them because their lights were so bright. And I noticed that [the shov­els] had red han­dles, I will nev­er for­get the red han­dles,” Ponting said.

    While most of the plain­tiffs are the rel­a­tives of vic­tims, Ponting is one of the few liv­ing child sur­vivors.

    ...

    While the class action was filed in 2019, it has yet to be cer­ti­fied—the process through which a law­suit is approved by a court before pro­ceed­ing to tri­al. In March 2021, the Unit­ed States Attor­ney Gen­er­al filed a motion to be dis­missed as a defen­dant, claim­ing it had immu­ni­ty from law­suits in Cana­da at the time of the alleged exper­i­ments. The motion was heard and lat­er won in 2022. The plain­tiffs have since filed an appeal, which was heard at the Que­bec Court of Appeals on March 30, 2023.

    Jeff Oren­stein, the plain­tiffs’ lawyer, says the State Immu­ni­ty Act, which deter­mines how for­eign states can be sued in Cana­da, is ret­ro­spec­tive and can apply to cas­es before the Act was passed. Oren­stein argues that when Cana­da draft­ed the Act, it took direc­tion from sim­i­lar doc­u­ments in Europe, the U.K., and the U.S. While the British and Euro­pean doc­u­ments clear­ly indi­cate that their immu­ni­ty acts are not retroac­tive, both the Amer­i­can and Cana­di­an immu­ni­ty acts do not estab­lish whether they apply to instances pri­or to the poli­cies’ adop­tions. Oren­stein sees the lack of a spe­cif­ic ret­ro­spec­tiv­i­ty clause in the Act as an inten­tion­al choice.

    “Any­one who was a Cana­di­an who was injured on Cana­di­an soil for per­son­al injury has juris­dic­tion in Cana­da, with­out a doubt. And so, if the Act applies, there’s not much else to decide. Clear­ly, we have juris­dic­tion in Que­bec,” Oren­stein told the Tri­bune. “If Cana­da didn’t recopy [the ret­ro­spec­tiv­i­ty clause], they obvi­ous­ly intend­ed it to apply to things that hap­pened in the past.”

    As Tan­ny and Oren­stein await an appeals deci­sion from the judges, they are opti­mistic that they will win based on the ques­tions the judges asked dur­ing the March 30 hear­ing.

    “The judges seemed to be quite inter­est­ed in the ret­ro­spec­tiv­i­ty debate,” Oren­stein said. “It is a seri­ous ques­tion that I think will take them some time to work through [….] They’re going to want to take their time to real­ly write a very seri­ous, rea­soned judge­ment, know­ing that it might end up in front of nine judges in Ottawa [at the Supreme Court].”

    After the U.S.’s sta­tus as a defen­dant is decid­ed, the remain­ing defen­dants, includ­ing McGill, will have to present their defences for the class action to be cer­ti­fied, a process that Oren­stein esti­mates could take years.

    In a state­ment to Glob­al News in 2019, the McGill Uni­ver­si­ty Health Cen­tre (MUHC), which was born from the merg­er of the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal with four oth­er hos­pi­tals in the city, rec­og­nized Cameron’s exper­i­ments but denied respon­si­bil­i­ty, claim­ing that Cameron act­ed inde­pen­dent­ly and was not an offi­cial MUHC employ­ee. The plain­tiffs amend­ed their appli­ca­tion to list McGill as a defen­dant instead of the MUHC. The Tri­bune con­tact­ed McGill in light of its involve­ment in the law­suit, but was referred to the MUHC, who declined to com­ment, cit­ing the ongo­ing nature of the suit.

    ———-

    “McGill hit with class action law­suit for alleged mind con­trol, brain­wash­ing exper­i­ments from 1943 to 1964” by Ghaz­al Azizi; The Tri­bune; 04/12/2023

    “Near­ly sev­en decades lat­er, Charles’s daugh­ter, Julie Tan­ny, is now the lead plain­tiff in a class action law­suit against McGill, the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal, the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment, and the U.S. Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency (CIA). Tan­ny, along with hun­dreds of oth­er plain­tiffs, alleges that the Allan con­duct­ed psy­cho­log­i­cal exper­i­men­ta­tion on uncon­sent­ing patients between 1943 and 1964.

    The secret CIA-spon­sored MKUl­tra pro­grams alleged­ly end­ed in 1964. But note the start­ing year: 1943, before the CIA even exist­ed and before the end of WWII. It’s the kind of detail that sug­gests a lot more is hid­ing under this rock. Also note the scale of the secret exper­i­men­ta­tion: 89 insti­tu­tions were fund­ed by the CIA between 1957 and 1964 alone. Keep that in mind as we watch the law­suit about just one of those insti­tu­tions play out:

    ...
    From 1957 to 1964, the CIA fund­ed 89 insti­tu­tions that researched mind con­trol and brain­wash­ing tech­niques in a project known as MK ULTRA. Sub­pro­ject 68, one of 144, took place at the Allan under the super­vi­sion of psy­chi­a­try pro­fes­sor Don­ald Ewen Cameron. Tanny’s law­suit alleges that the exper­i­ments start­ed in 1943 when McGill hired Cameron as the found­ing direc­tor of the Allan, years before the CIA’s involve­ment.
    ...

    And note the inter­est­ing defense McGill used when this law­suit first hit back in 2019: the uni­ver­si­ty acknowl­edged the exper­i­ments hap­pened by claimed Dr Ewen Cameron was act­ing inde­pen­dent­ly and not as an employ­ee. It’s the kind of detail that sug­gests there could be some very inter­est­ing addi­tion­al con­nec­tions to Dr Cameron to a larg­er net­work of military/intelligence brain­wash­ing-relat­ed gov­ern­ment pro­grams at this time:

    ...
    In a state­ment to Glob­al News in 2019, the McGill Uni­ver­si­ty Health Cen­tre (MUHC), which was born from the merg­er of the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal with four oth­er hos­pi­tals in the city, rec­og­nized Cameron’s exper­i­ments but denied respon­si­bil­i­ty, claim­ing that Cameron act­ed inde­pen­dent­ly and was not an offi­cial MUHC employ­ee. The plain­tiffs amend­ed their appli­ca­tion to list McGill as a defen­dant instead of the MUHC. The Tri­bune con­tact­ed McGill in light of its involve­ment in the law­suit, but was referred to the MUHC, who declined to com­ment, cit­ing the ongo­ing nature of the suit.
    ...

    Also note part of the dynam­ic at work here in all the appeals and legal delays: there’s hard­ly any liv­ing sur­vivors left alive. It’s most­ly the dam­aged fam­i­ly mem­bers who are remain­ing:

    ...
    Lana Jean Ponting spent a month at the Allan in April 1958. She was admit­ted because of a court order her par­ents received after run­ning away from her house at 15 years old. Now 81, she remem­bers her time at the Allan vivid­ly.

    “When I got to the Allan, it was a scary-look­ing build­ing,” Ponting said in an inter­view with The Tri­bune. “When I went in there, I noticed a strange chem­i­cal smell. Dr. Cameron assured my par­ents that he would take care of me. I remem­ber going to sit in Dr. Cameron’s office, he took me to a room where I had one pil­low, a mat­tress, and a blan­ket. He told me to stay in the room. The nurse came in with a pole and a bag with some­thing in it. She told me to lie down and she put a nee­dle in my arm. I felt fun­ny. And so it began.”

    Ponting, who has been on med­ica­tion since the exper­i­ments to off­set the side effects, suf­fers from flash­backs and nev­er spoke of her time at the Allan with any­one, not even her hus­band. She only recent­ly uncov­ered that she was a vic­tim of the exper­i­ments after her broth­er noticed an ad about the class action law­suit in The Mon­tre­al Gazette.

    Since piec­ing togeth­er her mem­o­ries of the Allan with her new­found knowl­edge of the exper­i­ments, Ponting has tes­ti­fied in the Kanien’kehà:ka Kah­nis­tensera (Mohawk Moth­ers)’s ongo­ing law­suit against McGill. The Moth­ers sus­pect the university’s New Vic site, for­mer­ly the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal, holds unmarked Indige­nous graves. In an affi­davit that was enclosed with a note from her doc­tor attest­ing that she is of sound mind and body, Ponting says she saw dig­ging at night as a patient.

    “I would sneak out of the Allan at night when I could. I actu­al­ly saw peo­ple with shov­els. I could see them because their lights were so bright. And I noticed that [the shov­els] had red han­dles, I will nev­er for­get the red han­dles,” Ponting said.

    While most of the plain­tiffs are the rel­a­tives of vic­tims, Ponting is one of the few liv­ing child sur­vivors.

    ...

    After the U.S.’s sta­tus as a defen­dant is decid­ed, the remain­ing defen­dants, includ­ing McGill, will have to present their defences for the class action to be cer­ti­fied, a process that Oren­stein esti­mates could take years.
    ...

    Final­ly, in rela­tion to the appli­ca­tion of this kind of research for the pur­pose of cre­at­ing con­trol­lable brain­washed assas­sins, note one of the con­sis­tent long-term effects of this ‘treat­ment’: the patients became far more vio­lent and angry:

    ...
    Charles, Tanny’s father, was also sub­ject to extreme ECT shocks, alleged­ly admin­is­tered two to three times per day at 20 to 40 times the nor­mal volt­age at the Allan. Tan­ny says that when Charles returned from the Allan after two and half months of exper­i­ments, he had no rec­ol­lec­tion of his three chil­dren.

    “My father was a very devot­ed father [….] Every week­end, he took us to Bel­mont Park we went fish­ing, he built us a skat­ing rink, very attached. And after the exper­i­ments, there was zero rela­tion­ship. He was extreme­ly detached, and that nev­er changed,” Tan­ny said. “There’s one com­mon thread with a lot of peo­ple who were depat­terned: They came home quite phys­i­cal­ly vio­lent and angry. And in my father’s case, he went from a very lov­ing and gen­tle man to some­one who used to hit me reg­u­lar­ly.”
    ...

    Did any of the exper­i­men­tal, still large­ly secret research at McGill dur­ing this time involve the process of try­ing to cre­ate con­trol­lable assas­sins? Some sort of ‘psy­chic dri­ving’ process of cre­at­ing a con­trolled killer? It sure would be inter­est­ing to know the answer.

    Also note that it was just a before after this arti­cle was pub­lished that the Mohwak Moth­ers struck an agree­ment with McGill Uni­ver­si­ty to allow for the arche­o­log­i­cal work to be done on the sus­pect­ed child grave sites at the hos­pi­tal. Step by step we’re get­ting clos­er to learn­ing the truth behind these pro­gram. Of course, this the kind of truth soci­ety gen­er­al­ly lacks the abil­i­ty to han­dle. Imag­ine the Jef­frey Epstein scan­dal X 1000. So we’ll pre­sum­ably get­ting clos­er and clos­er, and until some­how some­thing hap­pens that blocks mean­ing­ful dis­clo­sure and then even­tu­al­ly the sur­vivors and fam­i­ly mem­bers get old and die, and soci­ety col­lec­tive­ly for­gets this ever hap­pened and/or is repeat­ed­ly told there’s noth­ing to be wor­ried about and every­thing is fine. Kind of like a patient in a drug-induced coma. An infor­ma­tion coma induced with our best inter­ests in mind, of course.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 4, 2023, 4:58 pm
  3. What do they have to hide? Bod­ies. The bod­ies of child vic­tims left in unmarked graves. At least it’s hard not to sus­pect that’s what McGill Uni­ver­si­ty and Société québé­coise des infra­struc­tures (SQI), the Que­bec gov­ern­ment agency that man­ages infra­struc­ture, after learn­ing about the fias­co that’s emerged in recent weeks at the site of the Roy­al Vic­to­ria hos­pi­tal where human remains in unmarked graves appear to have been detect­ed. As we’ve seen, those sus­pect­ed unmarked graves have become the focal point of a legal bat­tle being waged by the ‘Mohawk Moth­ers’ rep­re­sent­ing the indige­nous fam­i­lies whose chil­dren were used in the MKUl­tra exper­i­ments con­duct­ed there from the 1940s-1960s, with McGill push­ing to build a new hos­pi­tal on the site, poten­tial­ly destroy­ing all evi­dence of the unmarked graves — and hor­rif­ic exper­i­ments that sent them to those graves — in the process.

    As we’re going to see, it all seemed like the exca­va­tion process all par­ties agreed to in an April set­tle­ment was going smooth­ly. In June, we got reports that three cadav­er dogs all picked up the sent of human remains at a par­tic­u­lar Roy­al Vic­to­ry loca­tion. Ground pen­e­trat­ing radar was brought in an allowed to exam­ine the area. By mid-July, we told the ground-pen­e­trat­ing radar had com­plet­ed its data col­lec­tion and a report would be ready in about a month.

    And then, a week and a half lat­er on July 25, some­thing very strange hap­pened: a group of Mohawk Moth­ers were sud­den­ly harassed by the secu­ri­ty firm hired by SQI and told to get off the site. and that they weren’t allowed to be there. They were, in fact, allowed to be there by court order. When one of the Mohawk Moth­ers got their phone out to record to encounter, secu­ri­ty staff took the phone and delet­ed the clip. At that point, anoth­er took their phone out and cap­tured the rest of the inci­dent on video, with one secu­ri­ty guard telling them “I think you guys need a life...Go get a life. Go get a hus­band. Go get some kids. Go have some kids.” Keep in mind that this was a group of women between 51 and 83 years old. In the end, the Mohawk Moth­ers left the site.

    So that hap­pened. An appar­ent psy­cho­log­i­cal attack on the Mohawk Moth­ers. An attack that worked. And it all hap­pened right when it appeared they were just on the cusp of find­ing evi­dence of unmarked graves.

    On August 3, McGill and SQI issued state­ments that both decried the July 25 inci­cent and also announced that the ground-pen­e­trat­ing radar found nine poten­tial unmarked graves. As we’re going to see, the Mohawk Moth­ers claim they had no com­mu­ni­ca­tion about these find­ings before those announce­ment were made. Beyond that, they assert that McGill and SQI have uni­lat­er­al­ly sus­pend­ed the pan­el of expert inde­pen­dent arche­ol­o­gists who were man­dat­ed under the court order to over­see the exca­va­tion process. That’s par­tic­u­lar­ly notable since, as the Mohawk Moth­ers point out, that pan­el advised that a foren­sic spe­cial­ist be brought after a woman’s dress and a pair of children’s shoes, some­thing SQI has refused despite the fact that the pan­els rec­om­men­da­tions are con­sid­ered bind­ing under the set­tle­ment. As one researcher put it, “The dress was found just a few inch­es inside the ground and then put in a plas­tic bag but it has to be a tam­per-proof bag for it to stand in a crim­i­nal court. There are many chances that it is pos­si­ble that this comes to a crim­i­nal court and this chain of cus­tody has to be pre­served for this pros­e­cu­tion to be suc­cess­ful.” Beyond that, we are told that piles of dirt near where the cadav­er dogs detect­ed remains have been left to sit in the rain since that July 25 inci­dent. In oth­er words, even if evi­dence of human remains is found any inves­ti­ga­tion into how they go there still might be ‘cov­ered up’ from legal per­spec­tive thanks to the botch­ing of this exca­va­tion process.

    So what does McGill and SQI say in response to these accu­sa­tions? Well, SQI claims that the archeologist’s pan­el had the man­date to sub­mit two reports of rec­om­men­da­tions, one being sub­mit­ted on May 8 and the oth­er on July 17. SQI added that they were “very sat­is­fied by and grate­ful for the work accom­plished by the experts.” So that appears to con­cur with with the Mohawk Moth­ers are claim­ing. SQI con­sid­ers the arche­ol­o­gist pan­el’s author­i­ty to have expired, appar­ent­ly on July 17. And then we week lat­er we get that bizarre harass­ment inci­dent and here we are, with evi­dence rot­ting in the rain. It’s all a reminder that, no mat­ter how much gets exposed, even exposed human remains, there seems to always be a way to keep the coverup going. Don’t trust your lying eyes. Or the cadav­er dogs:

    APTN News

    Cadav­er dogs sniff out poten­tial human remains near old Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal site

    By Emelia Fournier
    Jun 29, 2023

    Cadav­er dogs have detect­ed poten­tial human remains on McGill Uni­ver­si­ty grounds where a group called the Mohawk Moth­ers believe unmarked graves exist.

    On June 9, 2023, three cadav­er dog teams from the Ottawa Val­ley Search and Res­cue Dog Asso­ci­a­tion scoured the grounds under the super­vi­sion of arche­ol­o­gists, dog han­dlers and two Kanieke’haka cul­tur­al mon­i­tors.

    All dogs sig­naled that they detect­ed human remains in front of the Hersey Pavil­lion, which was the site of the old Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hospital’s nurs­es’ sleep­ing quar­ters.

    “Giv­en that three sep­a­rate dog teams indi­cat­ed the same loca­tion inde­pen­dent­ly with a TFR, we are con­fi­dent that the odour of human remains is in this area,” said the report.

    This was part of the arche­o­log­i­cal pro­ce­dures man­dat­ed in a set­tle­ment agree­ment reached in ear­ly April between McGill Uni­ver­si­ty, Quebec’s infra­struc­ture soci­ety, the McGill Uni­ver­si­ty Health Cen­tre (MUHC) and the Mohawk Moth­ers, or Kanistansera, six women from Kah­nawake.

    The Kanis­tensera allege that unmarked graves of vic­tims of the MK-ULTRA mind con­trol exper­i­ments from the 1950s and 1960s may be found on the grounds of the Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal and the old Allan Memo­r­i­al insti­tute, where McGill plans to build the New Vic project, a ren­o­vat­ed facil­i­ty.

    Since the site was detect­ed, arche­o­log­i­cal pro­ce­dures have been halt­ed and the par­ties involved in the agree­ment have returned to the nego­ti­at­ing table to deter­mine how to han­dle these new devel­op­ments.

    McGill has been attempt­ing to go for­ward with the New Vic project, which would revamp the old Roy­al Vic­to­ria site – which neigh­bours the AMI where CIA- and Cana­di­an-fund­ed psy­chi­atric exper­i­ments took place from 1957 to 1964.

    The Kah­nistansera allege that there is a strong pos­si­bil­i­ty that bod­ies of Indige­nous chil­dren who they say were vic­tims of botched psy­chi­atric exper­i­ments are buried on the grounds of the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute (AMI), a for­mer psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal which is owned by McGill.

    After a set­tle­ment agree­ment was reached in April, arche­o­log­i­cal works began to deter­mine whether human remains were present on-site.

    Kanis­tensera alleges insuf­fi­cient onsite secu­ri­ty

    At the case man­age­ment hear­ing June 29, the Kanis­tensera and the spe­cial inter­locu­tor on unmarked graves’ legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion, Julian Fal­con­er, stat­ed that the set­tle­ment agree­ment was not suf­fi­cient to address these new devel­op­ments.

    Sec­tion 17 of the agree­ment states that if a dis­cov­ery is made, “McGill, SQI and the Kanien’keha:ka Kah­nis­tensera will seek the advice of the Pan­el [of arche­ol­o­gists] as to how to move for­ward.”

    ...

    “As required the work has been stopped, secu­ri­ty is patrolling, and fences have been put up,” said Doug Mitchell, McGill’s legal rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

    Mitchell also stat­ed they had filed a per­mit to begin arche­o­log­i­cal works to ver­i­fy if human remains were present on the site of con­cern.

    While McGill and SQI said they were fol­low­ing the pro­ce­dures out­lined in the agree­ment by fol­low­ing the advice of the pan­el of arche­ol­o­gists, Fal­con­er said “the [arche­ol­o­gy] pan­el express­ly stat­ed they don’t have exper­tise on secu­ri­ty rec­om­men­da­tions” to pre­vent the site from being dis­turbed.

    Addi­tion­al­ly, the Kanis­tensera said their cul­tur­al mon­i­tors have not seen the promised 24-hour sur­veil­lance of the site in ques­tion at McGill. One cul­tur­al mon­i­tor, Karonhia’nó:ron Dal­las Binette of Kane­sa­take, said that dur­ing the arche­o­log­i­cal foot sur­vey of the site of the old Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal in May, he and the arche­ol­o­gists noticed recent­ly dis­turbed ground behind the Ross Pavil­lion.

    “There were arti­facts that were dis­turbed, main­ly relat­ed to a dump behind the Ross Pavil­ion, but grounds being dis­turbed,” said Karonhia’nó:ron.

    “There was evi­dence of non-autho­rized per­sons being able to freely walk around the Roy­al Vic­to­ria and Allan Memo­r­i­al site,” he said.

    Karonhia’nó:ron said that on June 9, “while the [cadav­er] dogs were work­ing, pedes­tri­ans were able to encroach on their space. This didn’t affect the work of the dogs, but just in terms of respect­ing the site arche­o­log­i­cal­ly. More needs to be done to pro­tect the integri­ty of the land and people’s spir­its.”

    The Kanis­tensera con­test­ed McGill’s claims that there has been suf­fi­cient secu­ri­ty increased after the find­ings of the snif­fer dogs.

    Coop­er­a­tion ‘not what it could be’ says archives firm

    There are also con­cerns over the speed of hand­ing over archival records. In the set­tle­ment agree­ment, the MUHC, McGill, and the Library and Archives Cana­da are sup­posed to expe­dite access to rel­e­vant archival records on those who may have attend­ed the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute and been sub­ject to the MK-ULTRA exper­i­ments to Know His­to­ry, an inde­pen­dent his­to­ry firm.

    How­ev­er, the pan­el has only been con­tract­ed for six months to advise on arche­o­log­i­cal works on the pro­posed New Vic site.

    “If you don’t have access to the records in a time­ly way, then con­clu­sions are taint­ed by that. You’re oper­at­ing essen­tial­ly in the blind. And so this accel­er­at­ed time­line has meant the need for accel­er­at­ed access to records and that’s not hap­pen­ing,” said Fal­con­er in a post-hear­ing inter­view with APTN News.

    While MUHC, McGill and Library and Archives Cana­da stat­ed they were in the process of hand­ing over records, Fal­con­er said he had received com­mu­ni­ca­tion from Know His­to­ry that coop­er­a­tion was “not what it could be.”

    “What the defen­dants described in the case man­age­ment meet­ing was their inter­pre­ta­tion of how things are pro­gress­ing,” said Fal­con­er. “What I can tell you is we are get­ting reports direct­ly back from Know His­to­ry that sim­ply don’t sup­port that, as we indi­cat­ed in court.”

    Judge Gre­go­ry Moore gave the Kanis­tensera three options: to expand the pan­el to include exper­tise in site secu­ri­ty; to revis­it the medi­a­tion process between the defen­dants and plain­tiffs and pos­si­bly mod­i­fy the set­tle­ment agree­ment; or to begin a lit­i­ga­tion process against the defen­dants.

    The Kanis­tensera have until July 14 to decide how to pro­ceed.

    —————

    “Cadav­er dogs sniff out poten­tial human remains near old Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal site” By Emelia Fournier; APTN News; 06/29/2023

    “All dogs sig­naled that they detect­ed human remains in front of the Hersey Pavil­lion, which was the site of the old Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hospital’s nurs­es’ sleep­ing quar­ters.”

    It was a con­cur­rence of cadav­er dogs. All three dogs detect­ed human remains. That was the state of affairs back in the last week of June. The kind of find­ing that was so sig­nif­i­cant it trig­gered a return to the nego­ti­at­ing table to deter­mine how to pro­ceed:

    ...
    Since the site was detect­ed, arche­o­log­i­cal pro­ce­dures have been halt­ed and the par­ties involved in the agree­ment have returned to the nego­ti­at­ing table to deter­mine how to han­dle these new devel­op­ments.

    McGill has been attempt­ing to go for­ward with the New Vic project, which would revamp the old Roy­al Vic­to­ria site – which neigh­bours the AMI where CIA- and Cana­di­an-fund­ed psy­chi­atric exper­i­ments took place from 1957 to 1964.

    ...

    At the case man­age­ment hear­ing June 29, the Kanis­tensera and the spe­cial inter­locu­tor on unmarked graves’ legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion, Julian Fal­con­er, stat­ed that the set­tle­ment agree­ment was not suf­fi­cient to address these new devel­op­ments.

    Sec­tion 17 of the agree­ment states that if a dis­cov­ery is made, “McGill, SQI and the Kanien’keha:ka Kah­nis­tensera will seek the advice of the Pan­el [of arche­ol­o­gists] as to how to move for­ward.”
    ...

    And as part of those nego­ti­a­tions, the Mohawk Moth­ers note how the pan­el of arche­ol­o­gists advised that they did­n’t have the exper­tise on how to secure the site giv­en these new find­ings. It’s a secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion made all the more seri­ous due to the obser­va­tions that unau­tho­rized per­sons were appar­ent­ly dis­turb­ing the grounds dur­ing this exca­va­tion process:

    ...
    While McGill and SQI said they were fol­low­ing the pro­ce­dures out­lined in the agree­ment by fol­low­ing the advice of the pan­el of arche­ol­o­gists, Fal­con­er said “the [arche­ol­o­gy] pan­el express­ly stat­ed they don’t have exper­tise on secu­ri­ty rec­om­men­da­tions” to pre­vent the site from being dis­turbed.

    Addi­tion­al­ly, the Kanis­tensera said their cul­tur­al mon­i­tors have not seen the promised 24-hour sur­veil­lance of the site in ques­tion at McGill. One cul­tur­al mon­i­tor, Karonhia’nó:ron Dal­las Binette of Kane­sa­take, said that dur­ing the arche­o­log­i­cal foot sur­vey of the site of the old Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal in May, he and the arche­ol­o­gists noticed recent­ly dis­turbed ground behind the Ross Pavil­lion.

    “There were arti­facts that were dis­turbed, main­ly relat­ed to a dump behind the Ross Pavil­ion, but grounds being dis­turbed,” said Karonhia’nó:ron.

    “There was evi­dence of non-autho­rized per­sons being able to freely walk around the Roy­al Vic­to­ria and Allan Memo­r­i­al site,” he said.

    Karonhia’nó:ron said that on June 9, “while the [cadav­er] dogs were work­ing, pedes­tri­ans were able to encroach on their space. This didn’t affect the work of the dogs, but just in terms of respect­ing the site arche­o­log­i­cal­ly. More needs to be done to pro­tect the integri­ty of the land and people’s spir­its.”
    ...

    Last­ly, note the time­frame issue at work here: the pan­el of inde­pen­dent his­to­ri­ans at Know His­to­ry who were con­tract­ed to advise on arche­o­log­i­cal works on the pro­posed New Vic site are only con­tract­ed for six months. And the process of hand­ing over archival records on who may have attend­ed the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute was “not what it could be.” It’s a reminder that there’s a ‘wait­ing out the clock’ dynam­ic at work here:

    ...
    There are also con­cerns over the speed of hand­ing over archival records. In the set­tle­ment agree­ment, the MUHC, McGill, and the Library and Archives Cana­da are sup­posed to expe­dite access to rel­e­vant archival records on those who may have attend­ed the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute and been sub­ject to the MK-ULTRA exper­i­ments to Know His­to­ry, an inde­pen­dent his­to­ry firm.

    How­ev­er, the pan­el has only been con­tract­ed for six months to advise on arche­o­log­i­cal works on the pro­posed New Vic site.

    “If you don’t have access to the records in a time­ly way, then con­clu­sions are taint­ed by that. You’re oper­at­ing essen­tial­ly in the blind. And so this accel­er­at­ed time­line has meant the need for accel­er­at­ed access to records and that’s not hap­pen­ing,” said Fal­con­er in a post-hear­ing inter­view with APTN News.

    While MUHC, McGill and Library and Archives Cana­da stat­ed they were in the process of hand­ing over records, Fal­con­er said he had received com­mu­ni­ca­tion from Know His­to­ry that coop­er­a­tion was “not what it could be.”

    “What the defen­dants described in the case man­age­ment meet­ing was their inter­pre­ta­tion of how things are pro­gress­ing,” said Fal­con­er. “What I can tell you is we are get­ting reports direct­ly back from Know His­to­ry that sim­ply don’t sup­port that, as we indi­cat­ed in court.”
    ...

    So that was the state of the exca­va­tion process back at the end of June. There were frus­tra­tions, but progress too. Progress that con­tin­ued as the ground-pen­e­trat­ing radar search of the areas where the sus­pect­ed remains were detect­ed was com­plet­ed by mid July. Although, as we’ll see, their results weren’t slat­ed to be released for anoth­er month:

    APTN News

    Ground-pen­e­trat­ing radar search wraps up at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty

    By Emelia Fournier
    Jul 13, 2023

    Tech­ni­cians have com­plet­ed their ground pen­e­trat­ing radar search at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty in Mon­tre­al to help deter­mine if there are his­tor­i­cal unmarked graves of Indige­nous chil­dren.

    The work took place in front of the Hersey Pavil­lion at McGill, where cadav­er dogs detect­ed the scent of decom­pos­ing bod­ies, accord­ing to a report by the Ottawa Val­ley Search and Res­cue Dog Asso­ci­a­tion.

    These arche­o­log­i­cal pro­ce­dures were sparked by Kanien’keha:ka Kah­nis­tensera, also known as the Mohawk Moth­ers – a group of women from Kahnawá:ke, Que., who allege there are unmarked graves on the site from child vic­tims of botched psy­chi­atric exper­i­ments that were part of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA pro­gram.

    “We’re doing what we said we’re going to do, and we’re look­ing for our chil­dren,” said Kahentintha, a Mohawk moth­er over­see­ing the work.

    “And we’re using the lat­est high-tech gad­gets that exist.”

    The analy­sis of the data won’t be avail­able for anoth­er month or so, said Peter Takacs of Geoscan, the com­pa­ny doing the GPR scans.

    ...

    Takacs said the raw data is not very use­ful on its own.

    “What that might be needs to be analysed by local experts, arche­ol­o­gists, you know, any­one who can give you more infor­ma­tion about what it could be,” he said.

    “You can’t just look at the ground pen­e­trat­ing radar data and say there are unmarked graves. You need to know the local geol­o­gy, the his­to­ry of the site, so it’s a very com­plex sort of analy­sis.”

    ———-

    “Ground-pen­e­trat­ing radar search wraps up at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty” by Emelia Fournier; APTN News; 07/13/2023

    “The analy­sis of the data won’t be avail­able for anoth­er month or so, said Peter Takacs of Geoscan, the com­pa­ny doing the GPR scans.”

    The data was col­lect­ed, but we weren’t yet ready to hear about their find­ings, which will take anoth­er month. And no mat­ter what they found, fur­ther on the ground analy­sis was going to be required either way:

    ...
    Takacs said the raw data is not very use­ful on its own.

    “What that might be needs to be analysed by local experts, arche­ol­o­gists, you know, any­one who can give you more infor­ma­tion about what it could be,” he said.

    “You can’t just look at the ground pen­e­trat­ing radar data and say there are unmarked graves. You need to know the local geol­o­gy, the his­to­ry of the site, so it’s a very com­plex sort of analy­sis.”
    ...

    That was the fair­ly opti­mistic sound­ing update we got sev­er­al weeks ago. Then, a cou­ple of weeks lat­er, we got a much less opti­mistic update: the Mohawk Moth­ers were dri­ven from the exca­va­tion site in a bizarre inci­dent involv­ing the secu­ri­ty crew hired by SQI, the Que­bec gov­ern­ment agency that man­ages infra­struc­ture. And then all the offi­cial exca­va­tion work at the site ground to a halt:

    The Globe & Mail

    Mohawk Moth­ers harassed by secu­ri­ty at for­mer Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal

    Patrick White
    Pub­lished July 28, 2023

    A group of Mohawk women over­see­ing a search for human remains on the grounds of a for­mer hos­pi­tal in Mon­tre­al say secu­ri­ty staff ver­bal­ly abused and evict­ed them from the site despite a court order autho­riz­ing the work.

    The women are mem­bers of Kanien’keha:ka Kah­nis­tensera, or Mohawk Moth­ers, a group that has been fight­ing in court since 2015 to halt a McGill Uni­ver­si­ty expan­sion project at the for­mer Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal until it can be searched for buri­als.

    ...

    In Octo­ber, 2022, a judge grant­ed an injunc­tion on con­struc­tion until arche­o­log­i­cal work could be com­plet­ed. Ear­li­er this year, the Moth­ers struck a court-autho­rized set­tle­ment with McGill and Société québé­coise des infra­struc­tures (SQI), the Que­bec gov­ern­ment agency that man­ages infra­struc­ture, to car­ry out an arche­o­log­i­cal search at the loca­tion.

    But the Mohawk Moth­ers said any good­will cre­at­ed by the set­tle­ment has been undone by the actions of secu­ri­ty per­son­nel con­tract­ed by SQI. On the after­noon of July 25, three secu­ri­ty guards approached five of the women on the Roy­al Vic­to­ria grounds and told them to leave.

    “The one secu­ri­ty guard was very hos­tile,” said one of the women, Kweti­io, who goes by a sin­gle name. “She told us we weren’t allowed to be there. I said actu­al­ly we are allowed by court order.”

    When some­one tried to record the encounter on a phone, secu­ri­ty staff seized the device and erased the clip, Kweti­io said. That’s when anoth­er per­son on the scene start­ed a sec­ond video record­ing.

    The video, viewed by The Globe and Mail, shows one of the Moth­ers object­ing to their treat­ment, say­ing to the secu­ri­ty per­son­nel, “I think your com­pa­ny needs to reassess its work­ers.”

    “I think you guys need a life,” respond­ed a female secu­ri­ty guard to the assem­bly of elders, who range in age from 51 to 83. “Go get a life. Go get a hus­band. Go get some kids. Go have some kids.”

    One of the elders, Kahen­tinetha, said that Indige­nous chil­dren had been mur­dered on the site, “and now you’re ben­e­fit­ing from these mur­ders.”

    “Exact­ly, we’re ben­e­fit­ing from it, that’s cor­rect,” the guard respond­ed in the video.

    The elders, along with two cul­tur­al mon­i­tors hired as part of the set­tle­ment to ensure that the arche­ol­o­gy work com­plies with tra­di­tion­al pro­to­cols, can then be seen leav­ing the grounds.

    “I’m still in shock,” said Kweti­io in an inter­view with The Globe. “What hap­pened here? Nobody will tell us.”

    In an e‑mailed state­ment, SQI said the encounter was an iso­lat­ed inci­dent and sin­gled out one of the guards. “[SQI] con­demns all forms of racism and aggres­sion and con­sid­ered the com­ments and behav­iour of this offi­cer in par­tic­u­lar dur­ing the inci­dent to be unac­cept­able.”

    The guard who made dis­mis­sive com­ments to the women has now been sus­pend­ed pend­ing fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion, accord­ing to a state­ment from the Que­bec divi­sion of Com­mis­sion­aires, the secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny that employs the guards.

    McGill Uni­ver­si­ty spokesman Michel Proulx called the inci­dent unfor­tu­nate and said the insti­tu­tion looks for­ward to con­tin­u­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Mohawk Moth­ers.

    “We’re con­fi­dent the SQI, which is respon­si­ble for secu­ri­ty on the site, is tak­ing the appro­pri­ate steps to address the sit­u­a­tion,” he said in an e‑mailed state­ment. “We’ve been work­ing close­ly with the Mohawk Moth­ers and the SQI in a spir­it of mutu­al respect and col­lab­o­ra­tion, and we will con­tin­ue to do so.”

    Kim­ber­ly Mur­ray, the fed­er­al­ly appoint­ed Spe­cial Inter­locu­tor for Miss­ing Chil­dren and Unmarked Graves, was one of the inter­venors in the case that led to the set­tle­ment agree­ment. She said the heat­ed encounter could have been avoid­ed if SQI and McGill had cho­sen a vet­ted secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny with cul­tur­al com­pe­ten­cy train­ing and a sol­id back­ground in the search effort tak­ing place on the site.

    “What they have done is com­plete­ly con­trary to what is sup­posed to be a col­lab­o­ra­tive approach as per the set­tle­ment agree­ment,” she said.

    Kweti­io said that the old­er Moth­ers won’t feel com­fort­able return­ing to the site unless secu­ri­ty per­son­nel changes.

    “We are not sat­is­fied return­ing yet because we have asked ques­tions about peo­ple employed there, and about get­ting them cul­tur­al train­ing, and haven’t received answers,” she said. “They need to speak to us in a cul­tur­al­ly appro­pri­ate man­ner. We need to have this resolved as quick as pos­si­ble because we need to find our chil­dren.”

    ————–

    “Mohawk Moth­ers harassed by secu­ri­ty at for­mer Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal” by Patrick White; The Globe & Mail; 07/28/2023

    “But the Mohawk Moth­ers said any good­will cre­at­ed by the set­tle­ment has been undone by the actions of secu­ri­ty per­son­nel con­tract­ed by SQI. On the after­noon of July 25, three secu­ri­ty guards approached five of the women on the Roy­al Vic­to­ria grounds and told them to leave.

    It was bizarre and unex­plained when it hap­pened on July 25, and remains bizarre and unex­plained today. What prompt­ed the secu­ri­ty per­son­nel hired by SQI — secu­ri­ty who obvi­ous­ly knew who they were — to not just harass the Mohawk Moth­ers, but to do so in a remark­ably cru­el man­ner, yelling at them to “Go get a life. Go get a hus­band. Go get some kids. Go have some kids”:

    ...
    “The one secu­ri­ty guard was very hos­tile,” said one of the women, Kweti­io, who goes by a sin­gle name. “She told us we weren’t allowed to be there. I said actu­al­ly we are allowed by court order.”

    When some­one tried to record the encounter on a phone, secu­ri­ty staff seized the device and erased the clip, Kweti­io said. That’s when anoth­er per­son on the scene start­ed a sec­ond video record­ing.

    The video, viewed by The Globe and Mail, shows one of the Moth­ers object­ing to their treat­ment, say­ing to the secu­ri­ty per­son­nel, “I think your com­pa­ny needs to reassess its work­ers.”

    “I think you guys need a life,” respond­ed a female secu­ri­ty guard to the assem­bly of elders, who range in age from 51 to 83. “Go get a life. Go get a hus­band. Go get some kids. Go have some kids.”

    One of the elders, Kahen­tinetha, said that Indige­nous chil­dren had been mur­dered on the site, “and now you’re ben­e­fit­ing from these mur­ders.”

    “Exact­ly, we’re ben­e­fit­ing from it, that’s cor­rect,” the guard respond­ed in the video.

    The elders, along with two cul­tur­al mon­i­tors hired as part of the set­tle­ment to ensure that the arche­ol­o­gy work com­plies with tra­di­tion­al pro­to­cols, can then be seen leav­ing the grounds.

    “I’m still in shock,” said Kweti­io in an inter­view with The Globe. “What hap­pened here? Nobody will tell us.”

    ...

    Kim­ber­ly Mur­ray, the fed­er­al­ly appoint­ed Spe­cial Inter­locu­tor for Miss­ing Chil­dren and Unmarked Graves, was one of the inter­venors in the case that led to the set­tle­ment agree­ment. She said the heat­ed encounter could have been avoid­ed if SQI and McGill had cho­sen a vet­ted secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny with cul­tur­al com­pe­ten­cy train­ing and a sol­id back­ground in the search effort tak­ing place on the site.

    “What they have done is com­plete­ly con­trary to what is sup­posed to be a col­lab­o­ra­tive approach as per the set­tle­ment agree­ment,” she said.
    ...

    Was the motive to lit­er­al­ly ter­ror­ize the Mohawk Moth­ers so much that they are afraid to return? Because that’s what hap­pened with a num­ber of the old­er Moth­ers. Mis­sion accom­plished:

    ...
    Kweti­io said that the old­er Moth­ers won’t feel com­fort­able return­ing to the site unless secu­ri­ty per­son­nel changes.

    “We are not sat­is­fied return­ing yet because we have asked ques­tions about peo­ple employed there, and about get­ting them cul­tur­al train­ing, and haven’t received answers,” she said. “They need to speak to us in a cul­tur­al­ly appro­pri­ate man­ner. We need to have this resolved as quick as pos­si­ble because we need to find our chil­dren.”
    ...

    Again, what prompt­ed such a seem­ing­ly ran­dom out­burst of cru­el­ty? We nev­er got an expla­na­tion, which is part of what makes it all the more sus­pi­cious. And that brings us to the anoth­er update to this sto­ry: both SQL and McGill put out August 3 state­ments acknowl­edg­ing that the ground-pen­e­trat­ing radar iden­ti­fied 9 poten­tial grave sites. The next day, we got the fol­low APTN News report, describ­ing how the Mohawk Moth­ers are now accus­ing McGill of active­ly con­trol­ling the whole process in vio­la­tion of set­tle­ment, and poten­tial­ly oper­at­ing in a man­ner that will taint crime scene evi­dence for use in court:

    APTN News

    Mohawk Moth­ers say McGill Uni­ver­si­ty try­ing to ‘con­trol’ process of search for unmarked graves

    By Emelia Fournier
    Aug 04, 2023

    Arche­o­log­i­cal dig at old Mon­tre­al hos­pi­tal on hold after inci­dent with secu­ri­ty guard.

    A spokesper­son for the Mohawk Moth­ers, or Kah­nis­tensera, says the group feels pushed aside in the search for unmarked graves on a site owned by Société Québé­coise des Infra­struc­tures, or SQI. McGill says it leas­es part of the prop­er­ty.

    “The process can no longer by any means be con­sid­ered Indige­nous-led, as the SQI and McGill attempt to con­trol the whole process, reduc­ing the role of Indige­nous peo­ple to per­form­ing cer­e­monies on the site,” said Kahen­tinetha, one of the Moth­ers who added that they feel blind­sided by the com­mu­ni­ca­tions that hap­pened with­out con­sult­ing them.

    Quebec’s infra­struc­ture soci­ety, or SQI, and McGill both put out state­ments on Aug. 3 say­ing nine poten­tial gravesites were iden­ti­fied through ground pen­e­trat­ing radar, or GPR, with­out con­sult­ing the Kah­nis­tensera.

    They exclud­ed the infor­ma­tion that, accord­ing to Geoscan’s report, “It is pos­si­ble that some of the unknown fea­tures may be unmarked graves, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the case of old­er buri­als with­out coffins and also pos­si­bly child-size graves.”

    ...

    “The only way we can find out is to be right there, because we are not told and I don’t know why the mate­r­i­al goes to them, and then they dis­trib­ute it in the way they want and even­tu­al­ly we get a copy of it,” she said. “It seems like this is vio­lat­ing the court order.”

    They were present on-site when arche­ol­o­gists also dug up a woman’s dress and a pair of children’s shoes, the style dat­ing back to around the 1940s.

    But the arche­ol­o­gist pan­el appoint­ed in the set­tle­ment agree­ment said that they need to appoint a foren­sic spe­cial­ist to han­dle these items, some­thing the SQI has refused, said researcher Philippe Blouin.

    “That has been refused now, offi­cial­ly, even though it was a rec­om­men­da­tion from the pan­el, and their rec­om­men­da­tions are sup­posed to be bind­ing, as per the set­tle­ment agree­ment. It’s been refused by the SQI,” he said.

    In an email state­ment to APTN News, the SQI stat­ed that a bioarche­ol­o­gist is present when arche­o­log­i­cal works are under­way – but did not say whether they were trained in han­dling poten­tial­ly crim­i­nal evi­dence.

    “The dress was found just a few inch­es inside the ground and then put in a plas­tic bag but it has to be a tam­per-proof bag for it to stand in a crim­i­nal court. There are many chances that it is pos­si­ble that this comes to a crim­i­nal court and this chain of cus­tody has to be pre­served for this pros­e­cu­tion to be suc­cess­ful,” said Blouin.

    Blouin said they also have left par­tial­ly cov­ered piles of dirt to sit in the rain since July 25 that was dug up where snif­fer dogs detect­ed the scent of human remains in ear­ly June.

    “The piles have not been sift­ed through, and that was also a rec­om­men­da­tion from the pan­el that was not respect­ed by the SQI to sift through these piles that were extract­ed from the site where the search dogs sniffed a tar­get to sift through them imme­di­ate­ly because the human remains could be inside these piles.”

    Kahen­tinetha said that in the midst of these rec­om­men­da­tions being ignored, “Despite pub­licly stat­ing their sup­port for the process and com­mit­ment to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, McGill and SQI have uni­lat­er­al­ly deemed the panel’s man­date ter­mi­nat­ed.”

    This would mean that arche­o­log­i­cal works would con­tin­ue with the firm Ethno­scope, but they would be guid­ed by McGill and SQI, rather than a pan­el of expert arche­ol­o­gists. The SQI stat­ed that the archeologist’s pan­el had the man­date to sub­mit two reports of rec­om­men­da­tions, one being sub­mit­ted on May 8 and the oth­er on July 17. The SQI said they were “very sat­is­fied by and grate­ful for the work accom­plished by the experts.”

    The set­tle­ment agree­ment states, “SQI, McGill and the Kanien’keha:ka Kah­nis­tensera agree to be bound by the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Pan­el as to the Tech­niques and agree to be guid­ed by the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Pan­el as to the spe­cial­ists to car­ry out the tech­niques and analyse the rel­e­vant data, but McGill and SQI retain dis­cre­tion to retain oth­er providers with the appro­pri­ate qual­i­fi­ca­tions and exper­tise if the cir­cum­stances war­rant.”

    The Kah­nis­tensera also don’t want to return to work until they have mohawk secu­ri­ty guards after a secu­ri­ty guard appoint­ed by a pri­vate com­pa­ny hired by SQI kicked them off the grounds on July 25.

    “We need to have our own peo­ple to do the secu­ri­ty. and we do have a group in Kah­nawake ready to come and do it, and we’re work­ing on bring­ing them in.”

    Arche­o­log­i­cal digs have been sus­pend­ed since that inci­dent.

    The SQI and McGill both said that dia­logue is under­way with the Kah­nis­tensera. In an email state­ment to APTN, the SQI did not say whether they’d hire a Mohawk secu­ri­ty form, but said the agents assigned to the site would receive “aware­ness train­ing about Indige­nous real­i­ties includ­ing a por­tion on res­i­den­tial schools and miss­ing chil­dren” as well as “a spe­cif­ic train­ing on Mohawk cul­ture pro­vid­ed by the Moth­ers.”

    ...

    ———–

    “Mohawk Moth­ers say McGill Uni­ver­si­ty try­ing to ‘con­trol’ process of search for unmarked graves” by Emelia Fournier; APTN News; 08/04/2023

    ” Quebec’s infra­struc­ture soci­ety, or SQI, and McGill both put out state­ments on Aug. 3 say­ing nine poten­tial gravesites were iden­ti­fied through ground pen­e­trat­ing radar, or GPR, with­out con­sult­ing the Kah­nis­tensera.”

    It’s not hard to see why McGill and SQI are very unhap­py with the Mohawk Moth­ers. With nine poten­tial gravesites already iden­ti­fied, we can be con­fi­dent there’s a lot more under this rock. And that’s part of what makes the tim­ing of the appar­ent unrav­el­ing of the set­tle­ment agree­ment with the dis­cov­ery of these unmarked graves so hard to ignore. As the Mohawk Moth­ers describe, they did­n’t even know about the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of those nine unmarked graves until McGill and SQI issued those pub­lic state­ments. Beyond that, the arche­ol­o­gy pan­el of experts’ rec­om­men­da­tion on appoint­ing a foren­sic spe­cial­ist is being ignored too. It’s like the pre­tense of tak­ing this seri­ous­ly was sud­den­ly dropped once bod­ies were found:

    ...
    “The process can no longer by any means be con­sid­ered Indige­nous-led, as the SQI and McGill attempt to con­trol the whole process, reduc­ing the role of Indige­nous peo­ple to per­form­ing cer­e­monies on the site,” said Kahen­tinetha, one of the Moth­ers who added that they feel blind­sided by the com­mu­ni­ca­tions that hap­pened with­out con­sult­ing them.
    ...

    “The only way we can find out is to be right there, because we are not told and I don’t know why the mate­r­i­al goes to them, and then they dis­trib­ute it in the way they want and even­tu­al­ly we get a copy of it,” she said. “It seems like this is vio­lat­ing the court order.”

    They were present on-site when arche­ol­o­gists also dug up a woman’s dress and a pair of children’s shoes, the style dat­ing back to around the 1940s.

    But the arche­ol­o­gist pan­el appoint­ed in the set­tle­ment agree­ment said that they need to appoint a foren­sic spe­cial­ist to han­dle these items, some­thing the SQI has refused, said researcher Philippe Blouin.

    “That has been refused now, offi­cial­ly, even though it was a rec­om­men­da­tion from the pan­el, and their rec­om­men­da­tions are sup­posed to be bind­ing, as per the set­tle­ment agree­ment. It’s been refused by the SQI,” he said.
    ...

    Also note how the August 3 com­mu­ni­ca­tions by McGill and SQI left out details from Geoscan’s ground-pen­e­trat­ing radar report, like the fact they may have seen could be child-size graves:

    ...
    They exclud­ed the infor­ma­tion that, accord­ing to Geoscan’s report, “It is pos­si­ble that some of the unknown fea­tures may be unmarked graves, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the case of old­er buri­als with­out coffins and also pos­si­bly child-size graves.”
    ...

    And then we get to this very dis­turb­ing alle­ga­tion: it’s not clear that the evi­dence being uncov­ered is actu­al­ly being han­dled in a tam­per-proof man­ner, mean­ing what­ev­er is uncov­ered might not be admis­si­ble in court. Beyond that, the uncov­ered dirt piles were just left to sit in the rain ever since July 25, the date of the inci­dent between the secu­ri­ty and the Mohawk Moth­ers. So one of the direct out­comes of that bizarre harass­ment is that the evi­dence that we just get­ting uncov­ered is poten­tial­ly now get­ting destroyed by the ele­ments:

    ...
    In an email state­ment to APTN News, the SQI stat­ed that a bioarche­ol­o­gist is present when arche­o­log­i­cal works are under­way – but did not say whether they were trained in han­dling poten­tial­ly crim­i­nal evi­dence.

    “The dress was found just a few inch­es inside the ground and then put in a plas­tic bag but it has to be a tam­per-proof bag for it to stand in a crim­i­nal court. There are many chances that it is pos­si­ble that this comes to a crim­i­nal court and this chain of cus­tody has to be pre­served for this pros­e­cu­tion to be suc­cess­ful,” said Blouin.

    Blouin said they also have left par­tial­ly cov­ered piles of dirt to sit in the rain since July 25 that was dug up where snif­fer dogs detect­ed the scent of human remains in ear­ly June.

    “The piles have not been sift­ed through, and that was also a rec­om­men­da­tion from the pan­el that was not respect­ed by the SQI to sift through these piles that were extract­ed from the site where the search dogs sniffed a tar­get to sift through them imme­di­ate­ly because the human remains could be inside these piles.”
    ...

    So what do McGill and SQI say about these accu­sa­tions that they were just ignor­ing the set­tle­ment that requires them to fol­low the rec­om­men­da­tions of the expert pan­el of arche­ol­o­gists? Well, here’s where it gets extra con­fus­ing. The Mohawk Moth­ers claim that McGill and SQI “uni­lat­er­al­ly deemed the panel’s man­date ter­mi­nat­ed.” And accord­ing to SQI, the archeologist’s pan­el had the man­date to sub­mit two reports of rec­om­men­da­tions, one on May 8 and the oth­er on July 17 (a week before the inci­dent with secu­ri­ty). The SQI added that they were “very sat­is­fied by and grate­ful for the work accom­plished by the experts.” That sure sounds like SQI is admit­ting that it no longer views the pan­el as hav­ing any author­i­ty over the process:

    ...
    Kahen­tinetha said that in the midst of these rec­om­men­da­tions being ignored, “Despite pub­licly stat­ing their sup­port for the process and com­mit­ment to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, McGill and SQI have uni­lat­er­al­ly deemed the panel’s man­date ter­mi­nat­ed.”

    This would mean that arche­o­log­i­cal works would con­tin­ue with the firm Ethno­scope, but they would be guid­ed by McGill and SQI, rather than a pan­el of expert arche­ol­o­gists. The SQI stat­ed that the archeologist’s pan­el had the man­date to sub­mit two reports of rec­om­men­da­tions, one being sub­mit­ted on May 8 and the oth­er on July 17. The SQI said they were “very sat­is­fied by and grate­ful for the work accom­plished by the experts.”

    The set­tle­ment agree­ment states, “SQI, McGill and the Kanien’keha:ka Kah­nis­tensera agree to be bound by the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Pan­el as to the Tech­niques and agree to be guid­ed by the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Pan­el as to the spe­cial­ists to car­ry out the tech­niques and analyse the rel­e­vant data, but McGill and SQI retain dis­cre­tion to retain oth­er providers with the appro­pri­ate qual­i­fi­ca­tions and exper­tise if the cir­cum­stances war­rant.”
    ...

    Final­ly, note how the Mohawk Moth­ers are demand­ing that a Mohawk secu­ri­ty firm be hired fol­low­ing that inci­dent before they will return. Some­thing that SQI does­n’t appear ready to do. Again, don’t for­get the ‘wait­ing out the clock’ dynam­ic at work here. The clock is tick­ing:

    ...
    The Kah­nis­tensera also don’t want to return to work until they have mohawk secu­ri­ty guards after a secu­ri­ty guard appoint­ed by a pri­vate com­pa­ny hired by SQI kicked them off the grounds on July 25.

    “We need to have our own peo­ple to do the secu­ri­ty. and we do have a group in Kah­nawake ready to come and do it, and we’re work­ing on bring­ing them in.”

    Arche­o­log­i­cal digs have been sus­pend­ed since that inci­dent.

    The SQI and McGill both said that dia­logue is under­way with the Kah­nis­tensera. In an email state­ment to APTN, the SQI did not say whether they’d hire a Mohawk secu­ri­ty form, but said the agents assigned to the site would receive “aware­ness train­ing about Indige­nous real­i­ties includ­ing a por­tion on res­i­den­tial schools and miss­ing chil­dren” as well as “a spe­cif­ic train­ing on Mohawk cul­ture pro­vid­ed by the Moth­ers.”
    ...

    Let’s hope the Mohawk Moth­ers can regain access to that site as soon as pos­si­ble. But let’s also accept the real­i­ty that the evi­dence that we being uncov­ered has prob­a­bly already been either destroyed or at least taint­ed to the point where it not longer admis­si­ble in court. We may not like to admit it, but that vicious secu­ri­ty guard was kind of speak­ing on behalf of soci­ety. The coverup must con­tin­ue. An increas­ing­ly col­lec­tive coverup, the more we learn.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 9, 2023, 5:21 pm
  4. Fol­low­ing up on the ongo­ing MK Ultra law­suits in Cana­da and the research uncov­er­ing relat­ed pris­on­er exper­i­ments tak­ing place in New York state pris­ons dur­ing this peri­od, includ­ing pris­on­ers at Atti­ca, here’s a pair of sto­ries about pris­on­er exper­i­ments at Atti­ca that flesh out this sto­ry. The exper­i­ments described in the fol­low­ing arti­cles don’t appear to be part of any MK Ultra pro­gram. But much like the MK Ultra exper­i­ments, these were NIH fund­ed and con­duct­ed with the pris­on­ers’ informed con­sent. Specif­i­cal­ly, exper­i­ments involv­ing the lep­rosy bac­te­ria. Yes, pris­on­ers were exposed to lep­rosy. And as we’re going to see, that ‘informed con­sent’ was real­ly ‘bare­ly informed con­sent’ and it’s not clear at all that pris­on­ers real­ized what they were get­ting exposed to as part of this research. It’s a sto­ry under­score just how much offi­cial back­ing this eth­i­cal­ly com­pro­mised research had at the time.

    That was all revealed in 2017 thanks to Heather Ann Thomp­son, the author of the 2016 book “Blood in the Water” about the Atti­ca upris­ing. That book men­tions some sort exper­i­ment con­duct­ed on pris­on­ers thanks to high­ly com­pro­mised ‘informed con­sent’. But it was­n’t clear what the exper­i­ments were about. Those details were revealed to Thomp­son in 2017 after a read­er dis­cov­ered a 1972 med­ical jour­nal arti­cle describ­ing the lep­rosy exper­i­ments.

    It’s also the kind of sto­ry that invites the ques­tion of ‘what else is under this rock?’. And that brings us to the twist to this sto­ry: New York state prison offi­cials were cen­sor­ing Thomp­son’s book from the prison sys­tem until 2022, when prison offi­cials relent­ed in the face of Thomp­son’s law­suits to get the ban lift­ed. And while state prison offi­cials ulti­mate­ly agreed to lift the ban by only remov­ing a two-page map of the prison, it’s worth not­ing that the book was banned from a num­ber of oth­er New York state pris­ons too. In oth­er words, it’s very unclear that the big dan­ger posed by this book was real­ly the map of the prison. And that’s part of what this is real­ly one of those, ‘what else is under this rock?’ kinds of sto­ries. Because it sure seems like New York state prison offi­cials know what else is under this rock. And real­ly don’t want to see it turned over:

    The New York Times

    Atti­ca: It’s Worse Than We Thought

    By Heather Ann Thomp­son
    Nov. 19, 2017

    DETROIT — Last year I pub­lished a book, “Blood in the Water,” that offered the first com­pre­hen­sive account of the upris­ing at New York’s Atti­ca Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty in 1971 and its lega­cy. Though this protest against sys­tem­at­ic abuse and abysmal liv­ing con­di­tions — in which near­ly 1,300 pris­on­ers took over the facil­i­ty, and law enforce­ment ulti­mate­ly shot 128 men, killing 39 — was a cul­tur­al and polit­i­cal touch­stone of the 1970s, much of the sto­ry was cov­ered up. Atti­ca is a pub­lic insti­tu­tion, but its records are not eas­i­ly acces­si­ble. With no statute of lim­i­ta­tions on mur­der, state offi­cials had much to pro­tect.

    So I had to dig, for 13 years, to uncov­er what had real­ly hap­pened. But even more than a decade of research didn’t turn up every­thing.

    Recent­ly I received a mes­sage from a free­lance writer, Eric Beau­mont, who had a ques­tion about a para­graph in my book that men­tioned a doc­tor con­duct­ing exper­i­ments at Atti­ca on pris­on­ers. It read:

    The doc­tor knew that he need­ed vol­un­teers for his ongo­ing research, but find­ing a sta­ble pop­u­la­tion of vol­un­teers was “not easy,” there­fore he was most grate­ful when he got per­mis­sion to use Attica’s men. Because becom­ing a test sub­ject offered the men in Atti­ca some need­ed mon­ey, more than a few agreed to be exposed to the test virus. Although the doc­tor made sure the pris­on­ers signed an informed con­sent agree­ment, as he lat­er con­ced­ed, one “could argue about how informed they were.”

    Who was this doc­tor, Mr. Beau­mont asked, and did I know any­thing more about the exper­i­ments that he had been con­duct­ing?

    I could at least answer the first ques­tion eas­i­ly. The physician’s name was Michael W. Bran­driss. How­ev­er, despite hav­ing filed numer­ous Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act requests with the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, as well as with the hos­pi­tals and the New York Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions that allowed him to work on their premis­es, I could nev­er estab­lish what exact­ly Dr. Bran­driss was test­ing.

    The next day, Mr. Beau­mont mes­saged me again. He had found an arti­cle from a 1972 med­ical jour­nal, writ­ten by Dr. Bran­driss and two oth­er physi­cians. Its title: “An Eval­u­a­tion of Trans­fer Fac­tor as Immunother­a­py for Patients with Lep­ro­ma­tous Lep­rosy.”

    At first glance, it seemed to me that this had lit­tle bear­ing on Atti­ca. In an inter­view that Dr. Bran­driss had giv­en on con­duct­ing exper­i­ments at Atti­ca, he had said that his research was on a virus, and lep­rosy isn’t caused by a virus. More to the point, it was hard to imag­ine that any man in Atti­ca would have been com­fort­able par­tic­i­pat­ing in a med­ical test that had to do with some­thing as awful as lep­rosy.

    I should have known bet­ter.

    As the fine print of that 1972 arti­cle read: “We are indebt­ed to the inmates of the Atti­ca Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty who par­tic­i­pat­ed in this study and to the war­den and his admin­is­tra­tion for their help and coop­er­a­tion.” This esteemed physi­cian, a man work­ing for two of New York’s most respect­ed hos­pi­tals and receiv­ing gen­er­ous research fund­ing from the N.I.H., was indeed con­duct­ing lep­rosy exper­i­ments at Atti­ca.

    But which of Attica’s near­ly 2,400 pris­on­ers, I won­dered, was the sub­ject of exper­i­ments relat­ing to this crip­pling dis­ease, with­out, as Dr. Bran­driss admit­ted, ade­quate con­sent? Might it have been the 19-year-old who was at Atti­ca because he had sliced the top of a neighbor’s con­vert­ible? Or a man impris­oned there for more seri­ous offens­es? Either way, no jury had sen­tenced them to being a guinea pig in any exper­i­ment relat­ing to a dis­ease as painful and dis­fig­ur­ing as lep­rosy.

    And what about the hun­dreds of cor­rec­tions offi­cers and civil­ian employ­ees work­ing at Atti­ca? Even if no one in this extreme­ly crowd­ed facil­i­ty was actu­al­ly exposed to this dread­ed dis­ease, one in which “pro­longed close con­tact” with an infect­ed patient is a most seri­ous risk fac­tor, were these state employ­ees at all informed that med­ical exper­i­ments being con­duct­ed on the men in their charge?

    This is not the first time pris­ons have allowed secret med­ical exper­i­ments on those locked inside. A 1998 book on Holmes­burg Prison in Penn­syl­va­nia revealed that a doc­tor there, Albert Klig­man, had been exper­i­ment­ing on pris­on­ers for years. After the book appeared, near­ly 300 for­mer pris­on­ers sued him, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia and the man­u­fac­tur­ers of the sub­stances to which they had been exposed, but none of the defen­dants was held account­able.

    ...

    ———-

    “Atti­ca: It’s Worse Than We Thought”
    By Heather Ann Thomp­son; The New York Times; 11/19/2017

    “As the fine print of that 1972 arti­cle read: “We are indebt­ed to the inmates of the Atti­ca Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty who par­tic­i­pat­ed in this study and to the war­den and his admin­is­tra­tion for their help and coop­er­a­tion.” This esteemed physi­cian, a man work­ing for two of New York’s most respect­ed hos­pi­tals and receiv­ing gen­er­ous research fund­ing from the N.I.H., was indeed con­duct­ing lep­rosy exper­i­ments at Atti­ca.”

    Secret lep­rosy exper­i­ments on ‘coop­er­at­ing’ pris­on­ers. Fund­ed by the NIH. That’s what Heather Ann Thomp­son stum­bled upon only after years of research­ing the prison and even pub­lish­ing a book on the Atti­ca upris­ing that men­tioned exper­i­ments on the pris­on­ers with virus­es. It was only after pub­lish­ing that book in 2016, that a read­er con­tact­ed her about a 1972 med­ical jour­nal arti­cle that fleshed out that med­ical exper­i­men­ta­tion mys­tery. It was­n’t a virus. It was the lep­rosy bac­te­ria. And as Thomp­son had already learned, these lep­rosy exper­i­ments were con­duct­ed with pris­on­er con­sent that was any­thing but informed. So we had secret med­ical exper­i­ments on pris­on­ers involv­ing lep­rosy con­duct­ed under a cor­rupt­ed con­sent sys­tem. And this was all large­ly kept in the dark for over four decades and only some­what acci­den­tal­ly spilled out into the pub­lic thanks to Thomp­son’s book and that curi­ous read­er:

    ...
    Recent­ly I received a mes­sage from a free­lance writer, Eric Beau­mont, who had a ques­tion about a para­graph in my book that men­tioned a doc­tor con­duct­ing exper­i­ments at Atti­ca on pris­on­ers. It read:

    The doc­tor knew that he need­ed vol­un­teers for his ongo­ing research, but find­ing a sta­ble pop­u­la­tion of vol­un­teers was “not easy,” there­fore he was most grate­ful when he got per­mis­sion to use Attica’s men. Because becom­ing a test sub­ject offered the men in Atti­ca some need­ed mon­ey, more than a few agreed to be exposed to the test virus. Although the doc­tor made sure the pris­on­ers signed an informed con­sent agree­ment, as he lat­er con­ced­ed, one “could argue about how informed they were.”

    Who was this doc­tor, Mr. Beau­mont asked, and did I know any­thing more about the exper­i­ments that he had been con­duct­ing?

    I could at least answer the first ques­tion eas­i­ly. The physician’s name was Michael W. Bran­driss. How­ev­er, despite hav­ing filed numer­ous Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act requests with the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, as well as with the hos­pi­tals and the New York Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions that allowed him to work on their premis­es, I could nev­er estab­lish what exact­ly Dr. Bran­driss was test­ing.

    The next day, Mr. Beau­mont mes­saged me again. He had found an arti­cle from a 1972 med­ical jour­nal, writ­ten by Dr. Bran­driss and two oth­er physi­cians. Its title: “An Eval­u­a­tion of Trans­fer Fac­tor as Immunother­a­py for Patients with Lep­ro­ma­tous Lep­rosy.”

    At first glance, it seemed to me that this had lit­tle bear­ing on Atti­ca. In an inter­view that Dr. Bran­driss had giv­en on con­duct­ing exper­i­ments at Atti­ca, he had said that his research was on a virus, and lep­rosy isn’t caused by a virus. More to the point, it was hard to imag­ine that any man in Atti­ca would have been com­fort­able par­tic­i­pat­ing in a med­ical test that had to do with some­thing as awful as lep­rosy.

    I should have known bet­ter.
    ...

    And while it’s not clear what exact­ly these exper­i­ments may have had to do with the MKUl­tra-relat­ed exper­i­men­ta­tion that we now know was also tak­ing place at the prison, it’s the kind of anec­dote that rais­es obvi­ous ques­tions about what oth­er kind of ‘con­sent-lite’ exper­i­ments may have been going on at that prison at this time. And that omi­nous ques­tion brings us to this per­haps reveal­ing fol­low up sto­ry on Heather Ann Thomp­son’s Atti­ca rev­e­la­tions: her book “Blood in the Water” was banned from Atti­ca and mul­ti­ple oth­er New York State pris­ons. A ban that was only lift­ed last year, with prison offi­cials agree­ing to dis­trib­ute the book upon request, although with a two-page map of Atti­ca excised from the book for “secu­ri­ty rea­sons.”

    So if the map of the prison was the appar­ent secu­ri­ty risk, what’s the excuse for cen­sor­ing it from oth­er New York State pris­ons? That’s unclear, but it’s worth not­ing that the New York state prison pol­i­cy regard­ing giv­ing pris­on­ers access to book is “to encour­age inmates to read pub­li­ca­tions from var­ied sources if such mate­r­i­al does not encour­age them to engage in behav­ior that might be dis­rup­tive to order­ly facil­i­ty oper­a­tions.” Pub­li­ca­tions should not describe lock-pick­ing tech­niques, for exam­ple, or incite dis­obe­di­ence toward law enforce­ment per­son­nel. So you have to won­der: was the scan­dalous con­tent of Thomp­son’s book deemed too inflam­ma­to­ry for New York’s pris­on­er pop­u­la­tion? We nev­er real­ly got an answer. We just know that New York state prison offi­cials were very alarmed by the con­tent of that book:

    The New York Times

    Prison Offi­cials Remove Ban on Atti­ca Book, Except for 2 Cru­cial Pages

    In response to the author’s First Amend­ment law­suit, offi­cials said the alter­ation was nec­es­sary for “secu­ri­ty rea­sons.”

    By Ben­jamin Weis­er
    Aug. 1, 2022

    New York offi­cials are cut­ting and insert­ing pages in a book about the state’s most noto­ri­ous prison in an attempt to resolve a fes­ter­ing First Amend­ment dis­pute.

    The his­to­ri­an Heather Ann Thomp­son won acclaim for her Pulitzer Prize-win­ning “Blood in the Water,” a deeply report­ed inves­ti­ga­tion into the dead­ly 1971 Atti­ca upris­ing and its lega­cy. But since the book’s pub­li­ca­tion in 2016, one group had been for­bid­den from read­ing it: peo­ple incar­cer­at­ed at the Atti­ca Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty and oth­er New York state pris­ons. Ms. Thomp­son sued in March, seek­ing to reverse the ban.

    Last week, the state attor­ney general’s office wrote to a fed­er­al judge in Man­hat­tan, say­ing Ms. Thompson’s law­suit should be dis­missed. The office said that cor­rec­tions offi­cials had decid­ed that New York’s “incar­cer­at­ed pop­u­la­tion” could now see the paper­back edi­tion of “Blood in the Water” — with one excep­tion.

    A two-page map of the Atti­ca Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty, which appears at the front of the paper­back, will be excised for “secu­ri­ty rea­sons,” the state lawyers wrote. The reverse side of one of the removed pages, which con­tains a list of the peo­ple who died in the upris­ing, will be includ­ed as an insert­ed pho­to­copy, the lawyers said.

    If a pris­on­er has ordered a hard copy of “Blood in the Water,” on which the map appears on the back cov­er, the depart­ment will pro­vide a redact­ed paper­back ver­sion instead, the lawyers wrote.

    The dis­pute comes as par­ents, school offi­cials and law­mak­ers around the coun­try are increas­ing­ly demand­ing that books on top­ics like sex­u­al and racial iden­ti­ty be removed from libraries and cur­ricu­lums. Offi­cials have tried to jus­ti­fy book bans in pris­ons by argu­ing that cer­tain types of infor­ma­tion, like instruc­tions on build­ing a weapon or on how to escape, may be legit­i­mate­ly denied.

    New York pol­i­cy is “to encour­age inmates to read pub­li­ca­tions from var­ied sources if such mate­r­i­al does not encour­age them to engage in behav­ior that might be dis­rup­tive to order­ly facil­i­ty oper­a­tions.” Pub­li­ca­tions should not describe lock-pick­ing tech­niques, for exam­ple, or incite dis­obe­di­ence toward law enforce­ment per­son­nel.

    ...

    In research­ing her book, Ms. Thomp­son, a pro­fes­sor of his­to­ry and African Amer­i­can stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan, spent more than a decade dig­ging into court records and car­tons of arti­facts and oth­er files, and inter­view­ing for­mer cor­rec­tions offi­cers, rel­a­tives and oth­er wit­ness­es.. The book runs 571 pages with more than 100 pages of foot­notes.

    Ms. Thomp­son, in an inter­view, said she had received let­ters from many read­ers of “Blood in the Water” who were incar­cer­at­ed around the Unit­ed States or who had served sen­tences, and still oth­ers who worked inside pris­ons.

    “There’s been a deep curios­i­ty about what hap­pened in Atti­ca,” Ms. Thomp­son said, “There’s been a real, hon­est, gen­uine desire to know what hap­pened all those years ago.”

    “There’s been not a hint from those peo­ple that this is in any way incite­ful or biased,” she added.

    Ms. Thompson’s law­suit seeks, among oth­er things, an order for­bid­ding the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions and Com­mu­ni­ty Super­vi­sion from block­ing the book’s dis­tri­b­u­tion, and a sys­tem by which Ms. Thomp­son would be noti­fied should the agency cen­sor a copy she sends to a pris­on­er.

    The law­suit says that in addi­tion to Atti­ca, oth­er pris­ons where her book has been sup­pressed are the Bed­ford Hills, East­ern, Franklin, Great Mead­ow, Mohawk, Orleans, Otisville, South­port and Ulster cor­rec­tion­al facil­i­ties.

    On Mon­day, her lawyers wrote to Judge Edgar­do Ramos, argu­ing that the law­suit should not be dis­missed.

    With­out a judge’s order, there was noth­ing to assure that the cor­rec­tions agency, known as the D.O.C.C.S., “will not return to their old ways,” wrote her lawyers, Antony P. F. Gem­mell of the New York Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union and Bet­sy Gins­berg, direc­tor of the civ­il rights clin­ic at the Ben­jamin N. Car­do­zo School of Law.

    Thomas Mai­ley, a cor­rec­tions spokesman, declined to com­ment on the pend­ing lit­i­ga­tion but said that since May, paper­back copies with the map removed have been allowed.

    Ms. Thomp­son, in her inter­view, not­ed that one of the key issues that sparked the Atti­ca upris­ing was cen­sor­ship by cor­rec­tions offi­cials.

    “The men inside of Atti­ca were often not allowed to read the let­ters that were sent to them,” she said. “They were often not allowed to read the books that would come to them in the mail. And one of the things that they just asked for was a basic recog­ni­tion that they were human beings, and they had a right to read.”

    Ms. Thompson’s law­suit men­tions sev­er­al instances in which she was not noti­fied when a copy of her book was blocked from reach­ing peo­ple at Atti­ca or oth­er state pris­ons.

    In Feb­ru­ary 2019, she sent a copy to Lenny Emil­iano, who at the time was housed at Atti­ca and who was told by a cap­tain there that he would not be get­ting the book.

    ...

    Kevin Mays, who was housed at Otisville when he heard Ms. Thomp­son speak about her book on the Bri­an Lehrer radio show, was twice blocked from receiv­ing copies that his wife had sent, the law­suit says.

    The suit describes Mr. Mays, who had been con­vict­ed in armed rob­beries, as a “vora­cious read­er” who for more than 20 years worked in the prison law library. He said in a phone inter­view that it was impor­tant for incar­cer­at­ed peo­ple “to be able to wrap their mind around how one of the most hor­rif­ic acts of vio­lence in New York State actu­al­ly occurred” and to “learn from those things so it doesn’t hap­pen again.”

    He said he final­ly got to read the book after leav­ing prison in 2019.

    ———–

    “Prison Offi­cials Remove Ban on Atti­ca Book, Except for 2 Cru­cial Pages” by Ben­jamin Weis­er; The New York Times; 08/01/2022

    “The his­to­ri­an Heather Ann Thomp­son won acclaim for her Pulitzer Prize-win­ning “Blood in the Water,” a deeply report­ed inves­ti­ga­tion into the dead­ly 1971 Atti­ca upris­ing and its lega­cy. But since the book’s pub­li­ca­tion in 2016, one group had been for­bid­den from read­ing it: peo­ple incar­cer­at­ed at the Atti­ca Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty and oth­er New York state pris­ons. Ms. Thomp­son sued in March, seek­ing to reverse the ban.”

    It’s hard to see how this cen­sor­ship move was­n’t going to illic­it some sort of pub­lic blow back. Ban­ning Atti­ca’s prison pop­u­la­tion from read­ing a book about abus­es at Atti­ca is just bad form. And yet, for what­ev­er rea­son, offi­cials deemed this book to be a big enough threat to secu­ri­ty that it had to be banned. And not just banned from Atti­ca:

    ...
    Last week, the state attor­ney general’s office wrote to a fed­er­al judge in Man­hat­tan, say­ing Ms. Thompson’s law­suit should be dis­missed. The office said that cor­rec­tions offi­cials had decid­ed that New York’s “incar­cer­at­ed pop­u­la­tion” could now see the paper­back edi­tion of “Blood in the Water” — with one excep­tion.

    A two-page map of the Atti­ca Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty, which appears at the front of the paper­back, will be excised for “secu­ri­ty rea­sons,” the state lawyers wrote. The reverse side of one of the removed pages, which con­tains a list of the peo­ple who died in the upris­ing, will be includ­ed as an insert­ed pho­to­copy, the lawyers said.

    If a pris­on­er has ordered a hard copy of “Blood in the Water,” on which the map appears on the back cov­er, the depart­ment will pro­vide a redact­ed paper­back ver­sion instead, the lawyers wrote.

    ...

    New York pol­i­cy is “to encour­age inmates to read pub­li­ca­tions from var­ied sources if such mate­r­i­al does not encour­age them to engage in behav­ior that might be dis­rup­tive to order­ly facil­i­ty oper­a­tions.” Pub­li­ca­tions should not describe lock-pick­ing tech­niques, for exam­ple, or incite dis­obe­di­ence toward law enforce­ment per­son­nel.

    ...

    Ms. Thompson’s law­suit seeks, among oth­er things, an order for­bid­ding the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions and Com­mu­ni­ty Super­vi­sion from block­ing the book’s dis­tri­b­u­tion, and a sys­tem by which Ms. Thomp­son would be noti­fied should the agency cen­sor a copy she sends to a pris­on­er.

    The law­suit says that in addi­tion to Atti­ca, oth­er pris­ons where her book has been sup­pressed are the Bed­ford Hills, East­ern, Franklin, Great Mead­ow, Mohawk, Orleans, Otisville, South­port and Ulster cor­rec­tion­al facil­i­ties.
    ...

    Were prison offi­cials wor­ried that pris­on­ers at these oth­er facil­i­ties were going to send the map of Atti­ca to Atti­ca pris­on­ers? If so, that seems like some insane para­noia, espe­cial­ly since the book is avail­able every­where else in the world. And if not, then what’s the rea­son for the cen­sor­ship at all these oth­er facil­i­ties? Con­cerns about more ques­tions that might get raised? Per­haps ques­tions about pris­ons beyond Atti­ca? Prison offi­cials aren’t say­ing. At least not for­mal­ly. But from an ‘actions speak loud­er than words’ per­spec­tive, they’ve been scream­ing from the rooftops and demand­ing the pub­lic take anoth­er look at this chap­ter of his­to­ry.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 14, 2023, 4:37 pm
  5. Book em Dan­no. Yes, Don­ald Trump might actu­al­ly be going to jail. Along with his 18 oth­er co-con­spir­a­tors thanks to the his­toric indict­ment filed on Mon­day by Ful­ton Coun­ty DA Fani Willis over the scheme to over­turn Geor­gia’s 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion results. And as many have not­ed, should any of them end up in jail, it’s going to be the rather noto­ri­ous “Rice Street” jail in Atlanta where they’ll be stay­ing.

    So with the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Don­ald Trump, and poten­tial­ly many oth­er fig­ures in his orbit, will end up behind bars in an Atlanta prison, it’s worth not­ing some of the noto­ri­ous his­to­ry asso­ci­at­ed with Atlanta pris­ons. In par­tic­u­lar, the his­to­ry of MKUL­tra exper­i­ments car­ried out at the Atlanta fed­er­al pen­i­ten­tiary in the 1950s and 60s. MKUl­tra exper­i­ments that includ­ed none oth­er than Whitey Bul­ger. And as we’ve seen, not only was Bul­ger giv­en heavy dos­es of LSD in over 50 ‘ses­sions’ as part of this ‘pro­gram to under­stand schiz­o­phre­nia’, but he was repeat­ed asked ques­tions like “would you ever kill some­one?” dur­ing these ses­sions. Ses­sions that left his brain so dam­aged that he was unable to to sleep more than a few hours with­out wak­ing up with night­mares. And that was still the case decades lat­er.

    Inter­est­ing­ly, as we’ve also seen, Bul­ger claimed he had an immu­ni­ty deal with then-deceased top fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor, some­thing the US gov­ern­ment denied. Inter­est­ing­ly, Bul­ger’s defense attor­neys based his legal defense on that appar­ent immu­ni­ty deal, and com­plete­ly ignored the MK Ultra angle as part of his defense, despite attor­neys point­ing out that this would have made for an excel­lent insan­i­ty defense.

    That’s all part of the his­to­ry the Atlanta prison sys­tem. And sure, it’s only tan­gen­tial­ly relat­ed to the sto­ry of Don­ald Trump and his co-con­spir­a­tors poten­tial­ly hav­ing to spend some time at a coun­ty jail. But when you have mega-scan­dals that have been cov­ered up for decades and large­ly ignored by the pub­lic, any rea­son to bring this sto­ry up is a good rea­son. Espe­cial­ly when it’s direct­ly relat­ed to an ongo­ing law­suit over cov­ered-up child deaths that were also part of this mega-scan­dal. So with that in mind, here’s anoth­er review of what we know about the MK Ultra pro­gram, includ­ing the Atlanta fed­er­al pen­i­ten­tiary, which was just one of the rough­ly 80 uni­ver­si­ties, research insti­tu­tions, and hos­pi­tals known to have played a role in this sprawl­ing research pro­gram:

    The Col­lec­tor

    Project MKUl­tra: CIA’s Secret Brain­wash­ing Exper­i­ments

    Project MKUl­tra was a secret human mind and behav­ior con­trol pro­gram launched by the CIA.

    Jun 26, 2023 • By Amy Hayes

    As World War II came to an end, con­cerns grew over the Sovi­ets using US pris­on­ers of war in mind and behav­ior con­trol exper­i­ments for inter­ro­ga­tions. The Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency (CIA) respond­ed by launch­ing Project MKUl­tra. From the late 1940s to the late 1960s, intel­li­gence agency offi­cials con­duct­ed behav­ior and mind-alter­ing exper­i­ments on human sub­jects to fig­ure out how to com­bat a so-called “truth serum” that was believed to be used on US pris­on­ers of war by the Sovi­ets. More than 100 exper­i­ments were con­duct­ed under Project MKUl­tra by the CIA, with many car­ried out unbe­knownst to the human sub­jects or insti­tu­tions involved.

    [see screen shot of Office mem­o­ran­dum to the Direc­tor of Cen­tral Intel­li­gence dis­cussing Project Blue­bird oper­a­tions, 1950, via CIA Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act Elec­tron­ic Read­ing Room]

    ...

    Launch­ing Project MKUl­tra

    High­ly clas­si­fied pro­grams that includ­ed the study of chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal agents pri­or to MKUl­tra includ­ed Oper­a­tion Paper­clip, Project Blue­bird, and Project Arti­choke. Oper­a­tion Paper­clip was imple­ment­ed in 1945. The oper­a­tion was led by the new­ly estab­lished Joint Intel­li­gence Objec­tives Agency. The main objec­tives of the pro­gram includ­ed recruit­ing for­mer Nazi sci­en­tists, some of whom had stud­ied tor­ture and brain­wash­ing tech­niques.

    Project Blue­bird was anoth­er chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal agent research pro­gram that became a pre­cur­sor to Project MKUl­tra. Project Blue­bird was autho­rized in 1950 to inves­ti­gate poten­tial threats of ene­mies who had the abil­i­ty to extract sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion through unknown means. It also incor­po­rat­ed stud­ies on mem­o­ry enhance­ment, spe­cial inter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques in the form of drugs and hyp­no­sis, and the poten­tial of defen­sive means to pre­vent Agency per­son­nel from relay­ing sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion to ene­mies when under hos­tile con­trol. The pro­gram was renamed Project Arti­choke in 1951. Project MKUl­ta was autho­rized on April 13, 1953 under Direc­tor of Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Allen Dulles, who suc­ceed­ed Wal­ter Bedell Smith. The CIA’s Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Staff (TSS) chief, Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb, was select­ed to run the pro­gram.

    Goals of Project MKUl­tra

    Although Project MKUl­tra start­ed out as a research pro­gram to for­mu­late defen­sive mea­sures against ene­my mind and behav­ior con­trol inter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques, agency offi­cials quick­ly began explor­ing offen­sive mea­sures. The pro­gram encom­passed sev­er­al objec­tives that involved exper­i­men­ta­tion with var­i­ous drugs, psy­chother­a­py, hyp­no­sis, and oth­er ways to alter human behav­ior. Some of its main goals were to iden­ti­fy sub­stances that caused illog­i­cal and impul­sive think­ing, sub­stances to coun­ter­act the effects of cer­tain drugs, how to induce hyp­no­sis, and ways drugs could be admin­is­tered in a secre­tive man­ner.

    Anoth­er objec­tive that would lat­er appear in oper­a­tions to make assas­si­na­tion attempts against Fidel Cas­tro includ­ed devel­op­ing a knock­out pill that could be sur­rep­ti­tious­ly admin­is­tered in food or drink. Ear­ly exper­i­ments cen­tered on the admin­is­tra­tion of LSD to wit­ting and unwit­ting human sub­jects to exam­ine how it altered behav­iors. The CIA lat­er explored oth­er drugs such as bar­bi­tu­rates, mor­phine, hero­in, scopo­lamine, alco­hol, and mar­i­jua­na. Elec­tric shock, hyp­no­sis, and even mag­ic were oth­er avenues that were researched and test­ed. Exper­i­ments were car­ried out in mul­ti­ple phas­es. By the time the pro­gram was shut down, the CIA had imple­ment­ed 149 sub­pro­jects under Project MKUl­tra.

    Exper­i­ments Con­duct­ed

    The exten­sive­ness of Project MKUl­tra and the exper­i­ments con­duct­ed may nev­er be ful­ly known because most records on the pro­gram were destroyed upon its ter­mi­na­tion. How­ev­er, thou­sands of pages of Project MKUl­tra files were mis­placed in the bud­get and fis­cal records, which were dis­cov­ered after an inves­ti­ga­tion on MKUl­tra was launched fol­low­ing its ter­mi­na­tion. These files offer details on some aspects of the pro­gram and exper­i­ments con­duct­ed. The exper­i­ments were car­ried out in var­i­ous set­tings. The US Army also coor­di­nat­ed with the CIA to con­duct exper­i­ments.

    A num­ber of exper­i­ments were con­duct­ed at edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions and pen­i­ten­tiaries. In the 1950s and ‘60s, pris­on­ers in the Atlanta, Geor­gia fed­er­al pen­i­ten­tiary were used as human test sub­jects for Project MKUl­tra. One of the pris­on­ers, Far­rell V. Kirk, claimed that he was giv­en dos­es of var­i­ous drugs which caused him to attempt sui­cide. Anoth­er pris­on­er, Don Rod­er­ick Scott, suf­fered brain dam­age from the tests the researchers con­duct­ed.

    Some of the ear­li­est exper­i­ments con­duct­ed took place at the Nation­al Insti­tute of Men­tal Health’s (NIMH) Addic­tion Research Cen­ter in Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky. The facil­i­ty was once known as the Lex­ing­ton Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter, which housed drug addicts who were arrest­ed for drug vio­la­tions and were ordered to serve their sen­tences at the facil­i­ty. The human test sub­jects used in these exper­i­ments did give their con­sent, but their reward for par­tic­i­pat­ing is grim. The sub­jects were giv­en hal­lu­cino­genic drugs so researchers could study their behav­iors, and they were reward­ed with their desired drug to which they were addict­ed for par­tic­i­pat­ing.

    Crim­i­nal­ly insane patients at the Ionia State Hos­pi­tal in Michi­gan were unknow­ing­ly pulled into the CIA’s human mind con­trol exper­i­ments. They were giv­en var­i­ous deriv­a­tives of LSD and mar­i­jua­na and were inter­ro­gat­ed by doc­tors while under the influ­ence. The Detroit Free Press report­ed on the exper­i­men­ta­tions in 1977. Between 1957 and 1960, more than 140 patients at the hos­pi­tal unwit­ting­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in MKUl­tra exper­i­ments.

    The CIA also took inter­est in for­eign researchers who had knowl­edge of areas that Project MKUl­tra was con­cerned with. For exam­ple, the CIA recruit­ed Don­ald Ewen Cameron, who was a Scot­tish psy­chi­a­trist that for­mu­lat­ed the psy­chic dri­ving pro­ce­dures. Psy­chic dri­ving involved putting patients into drug-induced comas and play­ing dif­fer­ent mes­sages on repeat to the sub­jects for extend­ed peri­ods of time. Cameron com­mut­ed from New York to the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute in Mon­tre­al, Cana­da each week to car­ry out the exper­i­ments. The CIA allo­cat­ed $69,000 for the exper­i­ments con­duct­ed in Cana­da.

    Human sub­jects were admin­is­tered LSD and par­a­lyt­ic drugs, and some went through extreme elec­tro­con­vul­sive ther­a­py. Pri­or to the exper­i­ments, a num­ber of the patients went to the insti­tu­tion for anx­i­ety dis­or­ders and depres­sion. Some sub­jects were put into a drug-induced coma for more than a month. The patients unsur­pris­ing­ly suf­fered great­ly as a result of the exper­i­ments. Many expe­ri­enced severe amne­sia and con­fu­sion. Exper­i­ments like the ones pre­vi­ous­ly described took place from the ear­ly 1950s through the late 1960s. Many of the exper­i­ments were con­duct­ed on vul­ner­a­ble indi­vid­u­als, with and with­out their con­sent. Project MKUl­tra exper­i­ments were con­sid­ered top-secret, and only staff involved in coor­di­nat­ing and con­duct­ing the sub­pro­jects and exper­i­ments were aware of these events.

    Sub­jects and Insti­tu­tions Involved in Project MKUl­tra

    The exact num­ber of human sub­jects, vol­un­tar­i­ly or invol­un­tar­i­ly, involved in Project MKUl­tra is large­ly unknown since most files were destroyed. How­ev­er, numer­ous edu­ca­tion­al and research insti­tu­tions were involved in the exper­i­ments. Some of the human sub­jects includ­ed the CIA’s own per­son­nel. Oth­ers includ­ed pris­on­ers, men­tal patients, and ran­dom sub­jects. The insti­tu­tions involved didn’t know they were par­tic­i­pat­ing in the CIA’s MK-Ultra pro­gram until it was lat­er revealed to the pub­lic in the 1970s. The CIA con­tact­ed a num­ber of these insti­tu­tions to inform them that a num­ber of exper­i­ments con­duct­ed in their facil­i­ties in the 1950s and 1960s were on behalf of the CIA’s top-secret human mind and behav­ior con­trol pro­gram.

    The CIA set up fund­ing orga­ni­za­tions to keep their involve­ment in the exper­i­ments unknown. George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty was giv­en a $32,858 grant to con­duct research on sleep and insom­nia for MKUl­tra in 1956 and 1957. An addi­tion­al $20,000 was grant­ed to the uni­ver­si­ty for bio­elec­tri­cal response pat­terns exper­i­ments in 1960 and 1961. The Soci­ety for the Inves­ti­ga­tion of Human Ecol­o­gy was one of the fronts that the CIA estab­lished to anony­mous­ly grant fund­ing to insti­tu­tions for exper­i­ments. Oth­er insti­tu­tions that unknow­ing­ly con­duct­ed exper­i­ments under MKUl­tra includ­ed: the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin, Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, Den­ver Uni­ver­si­ty, Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty, and Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty. The list goes on, amount­ing to approx­i­mate­ly 80 uni­ver­si­ties, research insti­tu­tions, and hos­pi­tals.

    The Death of Frank Olson

    There is only one firm record of death that occurred as a result of a Project MKUl­tra exper­i­ment. Dr. Frank Olson was a civil­ian bio­chemist and bio­log­i­cal weapons researcher for the US Army’s Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Divi­sion (SOD) at Fort Det­rick, Mary­land. He had met with CIA researchers and oth­er men in the SOD at a cab­in in Deep Creek Lake, Mary­land on Novem­ber 18, 1953.

    The CIA researchers, includ­ing Project MKUl­tra head Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb and CIA offi­cer Dr. Robert Lash­brook, asked the men to par­tic­i­pate in con­sum­ing a sub­stance for obser­va­tion. Records indi­cat­ed that the men agreed to con­sume the drug, despite not know­ing what kind of drug it was. How­ev­er, SOD Lt. Colonel Vin­cent Ruwet, who was also present at the cab­in, claimed he had no rec­ol­lec­tion of being asked if they would con­sume a drug. Accord­ing to CIA records, the type of drug was revealed to the men about 20 min­utes after they had con­sumed it. They were giv­en LSD in Coin­treau liquor, which caused them to have a reac­tion and not be able to car­ry on a seri­ous con­ver­sa­tion.

    Dr. Olson had strug­gled with bouts of depres­sion in the past, and con­sum­ing the LSD trig­gered a depres­sive episode. His fam­i­ly mem­bers and col­leagues expressed con­cerns about Olson act­ing strange­ly in the days fol­low­ing his con­sump­tion of LSD. Olson was expe­ri­enc­ing severe depres­sion, para­noia, and schiz­o­phrenic episodes. He was tak­en to Dr. Harold Abram­son in New York City to receive psy­chi­atric assis­tance.

    Fol­low­ing a night of what Lash­brook described as Olson act­ing almost like his nor­mal self, Lash­brook and Olson went to stay at the Statler Hotel. Lash­brook had wok­en to the sound of a win­dow break­ing. Olson had jumped from the tenth-sto­ry win­dow of their hotel room and fell to his death on Novem­ber 28, 1953. Olson’s fam­i­ly mem­bers were noti­fied, but they weren’t giv­en a clear expla­na­tion of his cause of death. It wasn’t until Project MKUl­tra was uncov­ered and made pub­lic that they were able to pry more infor­ma­tion out of the CIA on how Olson actu­al­ly died. Upon the inves­ti­ga­tion of the CIA’s activ­i­ties in MKUl­tra, it was deter­mined that Frank Olson’s death was direct­ly caused by con­sum­ing the LSD. Olson’s fam­i­ly even­tu­al­ly received a $750,000 set­tle­ment and for­mal apol­o­gy in 1976 for his wrong­ful death.

    Ter­mi­na­tion of Project MKUl­tra & its After­math

    CIA Direc­tor Richard Helms ordered that all files relat­ed to Project MKUl­tra be destroyed in 1973. How­ev­er, numer­ous files on Project MKUl­tra were mis­placed in the bud­get and fis­cal files, which allowed inves­ti­ga­tors to gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the kind of activ­i­ties the CIA was involved in dur­ing Project MKUl­tra. Some of the human sub­jects or their fam­i­lies did receive com­pen­sa­tion once details on Project MKUl­tra were released to the pub­lic; how­ev­er, some were deter­mined inel­i­gi­ble for com­pen­sa­tion.

    The Church Com­mit­tee and Rock­e­feller Com­mis­sion inves­ti­gat­ed the CIA’s Project MKul­tra pro­gram. They com­piled their find­ings into a report, which detailed the types of activ­i­ties that the CIA per­formed, includ­ing human exper­i­men­ta­tion with drugs, psy­chother­a­py, hyp­no­sis, and oth­er unortho­dox meth­ods to study altered human behav­ior for defen­sive and offen­sive pur­pos­es.

    The lack of cau­tion and com­plete dis­re­gard for the law when con­duct­ing many of the Project MKUl­tra exper­i­ments led to Con­gress pass­ing var­i­ous laws to pre­vent these occur­rences in the future. Fol­low­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion, the Church Com­mit­tee sug­gest­ed to Pres­i­dent Ger­ald Ford that human exper­i­men­ta­tion with drugs should only be accept­able when the sub­ject has giv­en full informed con­sent in writ­ing, along with the pres­ence of an unas­so­ci­at­ed third par­ty to be a wit­ness to the exper­i­ment. The Nation­al Com­mis­sion on Human Sub­jects of Bio­med­ical and Behav­ioral Research was also giv­en more con­trol and autho­rized to cov­er all fed­er­al­ly fund­ed human exper­i­men­ta­tion research.

    ———-

    “Project MKUl­tra: CIA’s Secret Brain­wash­ing Exper­i­ments” By Amy Hayes; The Col­lec­tor; 06/26/2023

    Anoth­er objec­tive that would lat­er appear in oper­a­tions to make assas­si­na­tion attempts against Fidel Cas­tro includ­ed devel­op­ing a knock­out pill that could be sur­rep­ti­tious­ly admin­is­tered in food or drink. Ear­ly exper­i­ments cen­tered on the admin­is­tra­tion of LSD to wit­ting and unwit­ting human sub­jects to exam­ine how it altered behav­iors. The CIA lat­er explored oth­er drugs such as bar­bi­tu­rates, mor­phine, hero­in, scopo­lamine, alco­hol, and mar­i­jua­na. Elec­tric shock, hyp­no­sis, and even mag­ic were oth­er avenues that were researched and test­ed. Exper­i­ments were car­ried out in mul­ti­ple phas­es. By the time the pro­gram was shut down, the CIA had imple­ment­ed 149 sub­pro­jects under Project MKUl­tra.

    149 MKUl­tra sub­pro­jects. What’s under that rock? We’ll nev­er real­ly know, thanks to the destruc­tion of records. But as the piece notes, MKUL­tra was­n’t even the first pro­gram of this nature. Project Blue­bird autho­rized in 1950, renamed Project Arti­choke in 1951, had a sim­i­lar focus. Also recall how the exper­i­ments in Cana­da report­ed­ly start­ed as far back as 1943 when Dr Ewen Cameron was hired by McGill as the found­ing direc­tor of the Allen Memo­r­i­al Hos­pi­tal. So when we see that eye-pop­ping 149 sub­pro­jects, keep in mind that this was a secret research agen­da that had been oper­at­ing in secret for close to three decades by that point. And spread across a large num­ber of insti­tu­tions, with approx­i­mate­ly 80 uni­ver­si­ties, research insti­tu­tions, and now known to have par­tic­i­pat­ed. It’s a hint as the lev­el of secre­cy and com­part­men­tal­iza­tion that went into the whole MK Ultra enter­prise:

    ...
    Project Blue­bird was anoth­er chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal agent research pro­gram that became a pre­cur­sor to Project MKUl­tra. Project Blue­bird was autho­rized in 1950 to inves­ti­gate poten­tial threats of ene­mies who had the abil­i­ty to extract sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion through unknown means. It also incor­po­rat­ed stud­ies on mem­o­ry enhance­ment, spe­cial inter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques in the form of drugs and hyp­no­sis, and the poten­tial of defen­sive means to pre­vent Agency per­son­nel from relay­ing sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion to ene­mies when under hos­tile con­trol. The pro­gram was renamed Project Arti­choke in 1951. Project MKUl­ta was autho­rized on April 13, 1953 under Direc­tor of Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Allen Dulles, who suc­ceed­ed Wal­ter Bedell Smith. The CIA’s Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Staff (TSS) chief, Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb, was select­ed to run the pro­gram.

    Goals of Project MKUl­tra

    Although Project MKUl­tra start­ed out as a research pro­gram to for­mu­late defen­sive mea­sures against ene­my mind and behav­ior con­trol inter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques, agency offi­cials quick­ly began explor­ing offen­sive mea­sures. The pro­gram encom­passed sev­er­al objec­tives that involved exper­i­men­ta­tion with var­i­ous drugs, psy­chother­a­py, hyp­no­sis, and oth­er ways to alter human behav­ior. Some of its main goals were to iden­ti­fy sub­stances that caused illog­i­cal and impul­sive think­ing, sub­stances to coun­ter­act the effects of cer­tain drugs, how to induce hyp­no­sis, and ways drugs could be admin­is­tered in a secre­tive man­ner.

    ...

    The exact num­ber of human sub­jects, vol­un­tar­i­ly or invol­un­tar­i­ly, involved in Project MKUl­tra is large­ly unknown since most files were destroyed. How­ev­er, numer­ous edu­ca­tion­al and research insti­tu­tions were involved in the exper­i­ments. Some of the human sub­jects includ­ed the CIA’s own per­son­nel. Oth­ers includ­ed pris­on­ers, men­tal patients, and ran­dom sub­jects. The insti­tu­tions involved didn’t know they were par­tic­i­pat­ing in the CIA’s MK-Ultra pro­gram until it was lat­er revealed to the pub­lic in the 1970s. The CIA con­tact­ed a num­ber of these insti­tu­tions to inform them that a num­ber of exper­i­ments con­duct­ed in their facil­i­ties in the 1950s and 1960s were on behalf of the CIA’s top-secret human mind and behav­ior con­trol pro­gram.

    The CIA set up fund­ing orga­ni­za­tions to keep their involve­ment in the exper­i­ments unknown. George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty was giv­en a $32,858 grant to con­duct research on sleep and insom­nia for MKUl­tra in 1956 and 1957. An addi­tion­al $20,000 was grant­ed to the uni­ver­si­ty for bio­elec­tri­cal response pat­terns exper­i­ments in 1960 and 1961. The Soci­ety for the Inves­ti­ga­tion of Human Ecol­o­gy was one of the fronts that the CIA estab­lished to anony­mous­ly grant fund­ing to insti­tu­tions for exper­i­ments. Oth­er insti­tu­tions that unknow­ing­ly con­duct­ed exper­i­ments under MKUl­tra includ­ed: the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin, Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, Den­ver Uni­ver­si­ty, Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty, and Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty. The list goes on, amount­ing to approx­i­mate­ly 80 uni­ver­si­ties, research insti­tu­tions, and hos­pi­tals.
    ...

    Also note how these exper­i­men­tal pro­grams were report­ed­ly con­sid­ered top-secret even at the insti­tu­tions them­selves, with only staff involved with the projects being aware of their true pur­pose. It was a wide­ly dis­trib­uted yet hyper-com­part­men­tal­ized project:

    ...
    The CIA also took inter­est in for­eign researchers who had knowl­edge of areas that Project MKUl­tra was con­cerned with. For exam­ple, the CIA recruit­ed Don­ald Ewen Cameron, who was a Scot­tish psy­chi­a­trist that for­mu­lat­ed the psy­chic dri­ving pro­ce­dures. Psy­chic dri­ving involved putting patients into drug-induced comas and play­ing dif­fer­ent mes­sages on repeat to the sub­jects for extend­ed peri­ods of time. Cameron com­mut­ed from New York to the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute in Mon­tre­al, Cana­da each week to car­ry out the exper­i­ments. The CIA allo­cat­ed $69,000 for the exper­i­ments con­duct­ed in Cana­da.

    Human sub­jects were admin­is­tered LSD and par­a­lyt­ic drugs, and some went through extreme elec­tro­con­vul­sive ther­a­py. Pri­or to the exper­i­ments, a num­ber of the patients went to the insti­tu­tion for anx­i­ety dis­or­ders and depres­sion. Some sub­jects were put into a drug-induced coma for more than a month. The patients unsur­pris­ing­ly suf­fered great­ly as a result of the exper­i­ments. Many expe­ri­enced severe amne­sia and con­fu­sion. Exper­i­ments like the ones pre­vi­ous­ly described took place from the ear­ly 1950s through the late 1960s. Many of the exper­i­ments were con­duct­ed on vul­ner­a­ble indi­vid­u­als, with and with­out their con­sent. Project MKUl­tra exper­i­ments were con­sid­ered top-secret, and only staff involved in coor­di­nat­ing and con­duct­ing the sub­pro­jects and exper­i­ments were aware of these events.
    ...

    The still vast scale of this secret research agen­da also under­scores the rel­e­vance of Frank Olson’s death and the vital need for some sort of pub­lic account­abil­i­ty when it comes to the unfold­ing inves­ti­ga­tions into child grave in Cana­da: despite grow­ing evi­dence of child deaths as a direct con­se­quence of these exper­i­ments, the CIA has only ever admit­ted to a sin­gle death. That of Frank Olson’s. It’s an absurd coverup for a hor­rif­ic mega-crime:

    ...
    There is only one firm record of death that occurred as a result of a Project MKUl­tra exper­i­ment. Dr. Frank Olson was a civil­ian bio­chemist and bio­log­i­cal weapons researcher for the US Army’s Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Divi­sion (SOD) at Fort Det­rick, Mary­land. He had met with CIA researchers and oth­er men in the SOD at a cab­in in Deep Creek Lake, Mary­land on Novem­ber 18, 1953.
    ...

    And then we get to this detail about the Atlanta prison sys­tems role in this agen­da: pris­on­ers at the Atlanta fed­er­al pen­i­ten­tiary were not just used in MK Ultra exper­i­ments, but they were appar­ent­ly reward­ed with drugs for their par­tic­i­pa­tion:

    ...
    A num­ber of exper­i­ments were con­duct­ed at edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions and pen­i­ten­tiaries. In the 1950s and ‘60s, pris­on­ers in the Atlanta, Geor­gia fed­er­al pen­i­ten­tiary were used as human test sub­jects for Project MKUl­tra. One of the pris­on­ers, Far­rell V. Kirk, claimed that he was giv­en dos­es of var­i­ous drugs which caused him to attempt sui­cide. Anoth­er pris­on­er, Don Rod­er­ick Scott, suf­fered brain dam­age from the tests the researchers con­duct­ed.

    Some of the ear­li­est exper­i­ments con­duct­ed took place at the Nation­al Insti­tute of Men­tal Health’s (NIMH) Addic­tion Research Cen­ter in Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky. The facil­i­ty was once known as the Lex­ing­ton Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter, which housed drug addicts who were arrest­ed for drug vio­la­tions and were ordered to serve their sen­tences at the facil­i­ty. The human test sub­jects used in these exper­i­ments did give their con­sent, but their reward for par­tic­i­pat­ing is grim. The sub­jects were giv­en hal­lu­cino­genic drugs so researchers could study their behav­iors, and they were reward­ed with their desired drug to which they were addict­ed for par­tic­i­pat­ing.

    Crim­i­nal­ly insane patients at the Ionia State Hos­pi­tal in Michi­gan were unknow­ing­ly pulled into the CIA’s human mind con­trol exper­i­ments. They were giv­en var­i­ous deriv­a­tives of LSD and mar­i­jua­na and were inter­ro­gat­ed by doc­tors while under the influ­ence. The Detroit Free Press report­ed on the exper­i­men­ta­tions in 1977. Between 1957 and 1960, more than 140 patients at the hos­pi­tal unwit­ting­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in MKUl­tra exper­i­ments.
    ...

    And that brings us to the fol­low­ing Wash­ing­ton Post arti­cle from back in 1982 by Jack Ander­son about some of the details we were only learn­ing for the first time at that point about the Atlanta prison MK Ultra pro­gram thanks to a law­suit by four for­mer pris­on­ers. All four claimed to have expe­ri­enced flash­backs and oth­er symp­toms for years fol­low­ing the exper­i­ments.

    As Ander­son notes, this was the first time the CIA had ever been forced to answer ques­tions about MK Ultra pro­gram in a judi­cial pro­ceed­ings. As a result, some rather shock­ing admis­sions were made. Like the fact that the CIA hoped the “psy­choac­tive chem­i­cals” it was test­ing would work on the vic­tim’s mind and emo­tions to “release him from the restraint of self-con­trol.” That sure sounds like a pro­gram for cre­at­ing an assas­sin.

    The CIA was also unable to pro­duce any writ­ten con­sent forms, and admit­ted that no fol­lowups were made of the human guinea pigs. It was an inter­est­ing admis­sion. On the one hand, it was be just a waste of poten­tial research val­ue NOT to fol­low up with these patients. On the oth­er hand, if the CIA did admit to fol­low­ing up on its exper­i­ments, it would also pre­sum­ably have to pro­vide some exam­ple fol­lowup reports. Which may have been filled with reports about the long-term con­se­quences of these exper­i­ments like flash­backs and night­mares years lat­er. And that obvi­ous­ly would­n’t have been great to dis­close in this law­suit. So who knows how exact­ly to inter­pret those admis­sions.

    Impor­tant­ly, as the arti­cle notes, it’s not like MK Ultra was the final iter­a­tion of this secret exper­i­men­ta­tion agen­da. Suc­ces­sor pro­grams like MK-SEARCH and par­al­lel pro­grams MK-BURN were also set up. It’s a reminder that this was nev­er just an “MKUL­tra” sto­ry. It’s big­ger than that:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Lawuit Force CIA Con­fes­sion On UK-ULTRA

    Jack Ander­son
    August 28, 1982

    More than six years ago, I first exposed the hor­ror of UK-ULTRA, the CIA’s super­secret pro­gram that used unwit­ting vic­timrs as liv­ing test-tubes for bizarre, mind-alter­ing drugs. The night­mare still isn’t over for some of the tor­tured guinea pigs.

    Bits and pieces of the sto­ry have come out over the years in var­i­ous forums. But now, for the first time, the CIA has been forced to acknowl­edge in a judi­cial pro­ceed­ings the ter­ri­fy­ing scope of its exper­i­ments.

    The CIA con­fres­sions were extract­ed in writ­ing by Atlanta attor­ney Thomas E. Mad­dox Jr., who rep­re­sents four of the pris­on­ers who were exper­i­ment­ed on in the Atlanta fed­er­al pen­i­ten­tiary in the 1950s and 1960s. The vic­tims, in their 50s, are seek­ing $500,000 apiece in dam­ages from the gov­ern­ment.

    ONe of the plain­tiffs, Far­rell V. Kirk, was used as a chem­i­cal mix­ing bowl even though the CIA knew he was men­tal­ly unsta­ble. After being dosed with a vari­ety of drugs, Kirk attempt­ed sui­cide by burn­ing and hang­ing, and once tried to gnaw an arm off.

    A sec­ond vic­tim, Don Rod­er­ick Scott, says he suf­fered per­ma­nent brain dam­age from the tests. A third, John R. Maole, is a fugi­tive, and the fourth, James T. Knight, is still in prison. All four say they suf­fered flash­backs and oth­er sev­er symp­toms for years after they were drugged by the CIA.

    Here are some of the shock­ing admis­sions made by the Jus­tice Depart­ment on behalf of the CIA, under ques­tions by the vic­tims’ attor­ney:

    * MK-ULTRA­’s pur­pose was “research and devel­op­ment of chem­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal and radi­o­log­i­cal mate­ri­als [for use] in clan­des­tine oper­a­tions to con­trol human behav­ior.” The CIA hopes the “psy­choac­tive chem­i­cals” would work on the vic­tim’s mind and emo­tions to “release him from the restraint of self-con­trol.”

    * The pro­gram was also intend­ed to devel­op an “anti-inter­ro­gra­tion” drug to counter Sovi­ety truth serum, or pos­si­bly to scram­ble a CIA agen­t’s brain so that an con­fes­sion to his cap­tors would be use­less.

    * MK-ULTRA and its suc­ces­sor pro­gram, MK-SEARCH, were ter­mi­nat­ed in part because the drugs and oth­er tech­niques proved “too unpre­dictable in their effect on human beings.”

    * Nev­er­the­less, the CIA prusued anoth­er chem­i­cal pro­gram, MK-BURN, until at least 1970. One of its researchers was Dr. Carl Pfeif­fer, who also worked on MK-ULTRA. Pfeif­fer has sworn he was mere­ly try­ing to find a cure for men­tal ill­ness. That is what the Atlant con­victs were told.

    ...

    * The CIA can pro­duce no writ­ten con­sent forms, and admits no fol­lowups were made of the guinea pigs. Nor­mal­ly there weren’t even doc­tors on hand the night after the con­victs were drugged. Some pris­on­ers were so hopped up they had to be giv­en more drugs “to attain sleep.”

    * Two vic­tims were trans­ferred to a med­ical facil­i­ty “because of appar­ent men­tal prob­lems,” but the CIA denies this was because of “an adverse reac­tion” to its drugs, which were intend­ed to dupli­cate psy­chosis.

    * Though expense records were kept meticulously-$349,445.10 for the Atlanta sub­pro­ject-the over­all records were ordered destroyed in 1973 by Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb, a top CIA sci­en­tist. Pfeif­fer destroyed the records in 1972.

    Foot­nate: The CIA refused com­ment. Got­tlieb told my asso­ciate Les Whit­ten the Atlanta project “was in keep­ing with the kind of exper­i­ments being dont at that time.” Pfeif­fer “does­n’t ordi­nar­i­ly take calls,” accord­ing to a voice at his New Jer­sey office.

    ———–

    “Lawuit Force CIA Con­fes­sion On UK-ULTRA” by Jack Ander­son; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 08/28/1982

    “Foot­nate: The CIA refused com­ment. Got­tlieb told my asso­ciate Les Whit­ten the Atlanta project “was in keep­ing with the kind of exper­i­ments being dont at that time.” Pfeif­fer “does­n’t ordi­nar­i­ly take calls,” accord­ing to a voice at his New Jer­sey office.”

    What hap­pened at the Atlanta fed­er­al pris­ons was­n’t out of the ordi­nary, at least by the stan­dards of the rest of the MK Ultra exper­i­ments tak­ing place dur­ing this peri­od. That was the shock­ing state­ment made by none oth­er than Sid­ney Got­tlieb in response to this report. In oth­er words, what these four pris­on­ers expe­ri­enced was typ­i­cal. Which pre­sum­ably means the years of hor­rif­ic PTSD-like symp­toms were prob­a­bly also typ­i­cal:

    ...
    Bits and pieces of the sto­ry have come out over the years in var­i­ous forums. But now, for the first time, the CIA has been forced to acknowl­edge in a judi­cial pro­ceed­ings the ter­ri­fy­ing scope of its exper­i­ments.

    The CIA con­fres­sions were extract­ed in writ­ing by Atlanta attor­ney Thomas E. Mad­dox Jr., who rep­re­sents four of the pris­on­ers who were exper­i­ment­ed on in the Atlanta fed­er­al pen­i­ten­tiary in the 1950s and 1960s. The vic­tims, in their 50s, are seek­ing $500,000 apiece in dam­ages from the gov­ern­ment.

    ONe of the plain­tiffs, Far­rell V. Kirk, was used as a chem­i­cal mix­ing bowl even though the CIA knew he was men­tal­ly unsta­ble. After being dosed with a vari­ety of drugs, Kirk attempt­ed sui­cide by burn­ing and hang­ing, and once tried to gnaw an arm off.

    A sec­ond vic­tim, Don Rod­er­ick Scott, says he suf­fered per­ma­nent brain dam­age from the tests. A third, John R. Maole, is a fugi­tive, and the fourth, James T. Knight, is still in prison. All four say they suf­fered flash­backs and oth­er sev­er symp­toms for years after they were drugged by the CIA.

    ...

    * Though expense records were kept meticulously-$349,445.10 for the Atlanta sub­pro­ject-the over­all records were ordered destroyed in 1973 by Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb, a top CIA sci­en­tist. Pfeif­fer destroyed the records in 1972.
    ...

    And as the CIA had to admit dur­ing these pro­ceed­ings, this isn’t just about MK-ULTRA. There was MK-SEARCH and MK-BURN too. And that’s just what we’ve heard about so far:

    ...
    * MK-ULTRA and its suc­ces­sor pro­gram, MK-SEARCH, were ter­mi­nat­ed in part because the drugs and oth­er tech­niques proved “too unpre­dictable in their effect on human beings.”

    * Nev­er­the­less, the CIA prusued anoth­er chem­i­cal pro­gram, MK-BURN, until at least 1970. One of its researchers was Dr. Carl Pfeif­fer, who also worked on MK-ULTRA. Pfeif­fer has sworn he was mere­ly try­ing to find a cure for men­tal ill­ness. That is what the Atlant con­victs were told.
    ...

    And then we get to these chill­ing details on what exact­ly they were try­ing to accom­plish: goals like releas­ing peo­ple “from the restraint of self-con­trol” and/or induc­ing a state of psy­chosis. Appar­ent­ly with­out fol­lowups on the exper­i­ment sub­jects. And this was all done under the aus­pices of ‘cur­ing men­tal ill­ness’:

    ...
    Here are some of the shock­ing admis­sions made by the Jus­tice Depart­ment on behalf of the CIA, under ques­tions by the vic­tims’ attor­ney:

    * MK-ULTRA­’s pur­pose was “research and devel­op­ment of chem­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal and radi­o­log­i­cal mate­ri­als [for use] in clan­des­tine oper­a­tions to con­trol human behav­ior.” The CIA hopes the “psy­choac­tive chem­i­cals” would work on the vic­tim­r’s mind and emo­tions to “release him from the restraint of self-con­trol.”

    * The pro­gram was also intend­ed to devel­op an “anti-inter­ro­gra­tion” drug to counter Sovi­ety truth serum, or pos­si­bly to scram­ble a CIA agen­t’s brain so that an con­fes­sion to his cap­tors would be use­less.

    ...

    * The CIA can pro­duce no writ­ten con­sent forms, and admits no fol­lowups were made of the guinea pigs. Nor­mal­ly there weren’t even doc­tors on hand the night after the con­victs were drugged. Some pris­on­ers were so hopped up they had to be giv­en more drugs “to attain sleep.”

    * Two vic­tims were trans­ferred to a med­ical facil­i­ty “because of appar­ent men­tal prob­lems,” but the CIA denies this was because of “an adverse reac­tion” to its drugs, which were intend­ed to dupli­cate psy­chosis.
    ...

    Giv­en that the MKUl­tra pro­gram oper­at­ed out of the Atlanta fed­er­al prison sys­tem was appar­ent­ly focused on induc­ing psy­chot­ic out-of-con­trol behav­ior in patients, it’s worth recall­ing one of the most noto­ri­ous sub­jects of those exper­i­ments: Whitey Bul­ger. And as we’ve learned, Bul­ger did­n’t just claim to have expe­ri­enced night­mares night­ly as a con­se­quences of those LSD exper­i­ments con­duct­ed on him back in the 1950s. Bul­ger also claims that they would ask him ques­tions like “would you ever kill some­one?” while he was dosed with LSD.

    It was the kind of infor­ma­tion that defense attor­neys argue real­ly should have been used as part of Bul­ger’s legal defense over charges relat­ed to his decades of mur­der and vio­lence as a mob boss. And yet, for what­ev­er rea­son, his attor­neys nev­er brought it up in tri­al and instead argued that Bul­ger was enabled by had ben­e­fit­ed from a high­ly cor­rupt police force. Intrigu­ing­ly, Bul­ger insist­ed to his dying day that he received crim­i­nal immu­ni­ty from a deceased fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor who once head­ed the New Eng­land Orga­nized Crime Strike Force.

    So we know Bul­ger was part of those Atlanta fed­er­al prison MK Ultra exper­i­ments. Exper­i­ments that seemed to have the goal of under­stand­ing how to cre­ate a drug-induced assas­sin. And then Bul­ger pro­ceed­ed to spend decades engag­ing in mur­der and vio­lence, pos­si­bly with the impres­sion that he had received some sort of crim­i­nal immu­ni­ty. It’s the kind of sto­ry that rais­es some awful ques­tions about what oth­er kinds of ‘build-an-assas­sin’ spin-off pro­grams did the CIA cre­ate that we have yet to learn about:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    After learn­ing of Whitey Bul­ger LSD tests, juror has regrets

    By MICHAEL REZENDES
    Pub­lished 3:53 PM CDT, Feb­ru­ary 22, 2020

    EASTHAM, Mass. (AP) — One of the jurors who con­vict­ed noto­ri­ous crime boss James “Whitey” Bul­ger says she regrets her deci­sion after learn­ing that he was an unwit­ting par­tic­i­pant in a covert CIA exper­i­ment with LSD.

    Bul­ger ter­ror­ized Boston from the 1970s into the 1990s with a cam­paign of mur­der, extor­tion, and drug traf­fick­ing, then spent 16 years on the lam after he was tipped to his pend­ing arrest.

    In 2013, Janet Uhlar was one of 12 jurors who found Bul­ger guilty in a mas­sive rack­e­teer­ing case, includ­ing involve­ment in 11 mur­ders, even after hear­ing evi­dence that the mob­ster was helped by cor­rupt agents in the Boston office of the FBI.

    But now Uhlar says she regrets vot­ing to con­vict Bul­ger on any of the mur­der charges.

    Her regret stems from a cache of more than 70 let­ters Bul­ger wrote to her from prison. In some, he describes his unwit­ting par­tic­i­pa­tion in a secret CIA exper­i­ment with LSD. In a des­per­ate search for a mind con­trol drug in the late 1950s, the agency dosed Bul­ger with the pow­er­ful hal­lu­cino­gen more than 50 times when he was serv­ing his first stretch in prison — some­thing his lawyers nev­er brought up in his fed­er­al tri­al.

    “Had I known, I would have absolute­ly held off on the mur­der charges,” Uhlar told The Asso­ci­at­ed Press in a recent inter­view. “He didn’t mur­der pri­or to the LSD. His brain may have been altered, so how could you say he was real­ly guilty?” At the same time, Uhlar says she would have vot­ed to con­vict Bul­ger on the long list of oth­er crim­i­nal counts, mean­ing he still would like­ly have died in prison.

    Uhlar has spo­ken pub­licly about her regret before but says her belief that the gang­ster was wrong­ly con­vict­ed on the mur­der charges was rein­forced after read­ing a new book by Brown Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor Stephen Kinz­er: “Poi­son­er in Chief: Sid­ney Got­tlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Con­trol.” The book digs into the dark tale of the CIA’s for­mer chief chemist and his attempts to devel­op mind con­trol tech­niques by giv­ing LSD and oth­er drugs to unsus­pect­ing indi­vid­u­als, includ­ing col­leagues, and observ­ing the effects.

    “It was encour­ag­ing to know I wasn’t los­ing my mind, think­ing this was impor­tant,” Uhlar said. “It told me, this is huge. I mean, how many lives were affect­ed by this? We have no idea.”

    Gottlieb’s secret pro­gram, known as MK-ULTRA, enlist­ed doc­tors and oth­er sub­con­trac­tors to admin­is­ter LSD in large dos­es to pris­on­ers, addicts and oth­ers unlike­ly to com­plain. In Bulger’s case, the mob­ster and fel­low inmates were offered reduced time for their par­tic­i­pa­tion and told they would be tak­ing part in med­ical research into a cure for schiz­o­phre­nia.

    “Appealed to our sense of doing some­thing worth­while for soci­ety,” Bul­ger wrote in a let­ter to Uhlar reviewed by the AP.

    But noth­ing could have been fur­ther from the truth.

    “The CIA mind con­trol pro­gram known as MK-ULTRA involved the most extreme exper­i­ments on human beings ever con­duct­ed by any agency of the U.S. gov­ern­ment,” Kinz­er said. “Dur­ing its peak in the 1950s, that pro­gram and it’s direc­tor, Sid­ney Got­tlieb, left behind a trail of bro­ken bod­ies and shat­tered minds across three con­ti­nents.”

    After Bul­ger was found guilty by Uhlar and the oth­er jurors, a fed­er­al judge sen­tenced him to two life terms plus five years. But his life behind bars end­ed a lit­tle more than a year ago, at age 89, when he was beat­en to death by fel­low inmates short­ly after arriv­ing in his wheel­chair at the Hazel­ton fed­er­al prison in Bruce­ton Mills, West Vir­ginia. No crim­i­nal charges have been filed.

    Although much had been writ­ten about the CIA’s mind con­trol exper­i­ments before Bulger’s tri­al, Uhlar said she knew noth­ing about them until she began cor­re­spond­ing with the renowned gang­ster fol­low­ing his con­vic­tion.

    Uhlar start­ed writ­ing Bul­ger, she said, because she was trou­bled by the fact that much of the evi­dence against him came through tes­ti­mo­ny by for­mer crim­i­nal asso­ciates who were also killers and had received reduced sen­tences in exchange for tes­ti­fy­ing against their for­mer part­ner in crime.

    “When I left the tri­al, I had more ques­tions,” she said.

    After Bul­ger start­ed return­ing her let­ters, Uhlar noticed he often dat­ed them with the time he had start­ed writ­ing in his tight cur­sive style. “He always seemed to be writ­ing at one, two, or three in the morn­ing and when I asked him why, he said it was because of the hal­lu­ci­na­tions,” Uhlar said.

    When Uhlar asked him to explain, Bul­ger revealed what he had already told many oth­ers: that since tak­ing part in the LSD exper­i­ments at a fed­er­al prison in Atlanta, he’d been plagued by night­mares and grue­some hal­lu­ci­na­tions and was unable to sleep for more than a few hours at a time.

    “Sleep was full of vio­lent night­mares and wake up every hour or so — still that way — since ’57,” he wrote.

    “On the Rock at times felt sure going insane,” he wrote in anoth­er let­ter, refer­ring to the infa­mous for­mer prison on Alca­traz Island, in San Fran­cis­co Bay, where he was trans­ferred from Atlanta. “Audi­to­ry & visu­al hal­lu­ci­na­tions and vio­lent night­mares — still have them — always slept with lights on helps when I wake up about every hour from night­mares.”

    The mob­ster also recalled the super­vis­ing physi­cian, the late Carl Pfeif­fer of Emory Uni­ver­si­ty, and the tech­ni­cians who would mon­i­tor his response to the LSD, ask­ing him ques­tions such as, “Would you ever kill any­one? Etc., etc.”

    That ques­tion struck a nerve with Uhlar. After hear­ing from Bul­ger about MK-ULTRA, “as if I should have known about it,” she vis­it­ed him at a Flori­da fed­er­al prison on three occa­sions to dis­cuss the exper­i­ments and start­ed read­ing every­thing she could find about them.

    At one point, she reviewed the 1977 hear­ings by the U.S. Sen­ate Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence, which was look­ing into MK-ULTRA fol­low­ing the first pub­lic dis­clo­sures of the top-secret pro­gram.

    The hear­ings includ­ed tes­ti­mo­ny from CIA direc­tor Stans­field Turn­er, who acknowl­edged evi­dence show­ing that the agency had been search­ing for a drug that could pre­pare some­one for “debil­i­tat­ing an indi­vid­ual or even killing anoth­er per­son.”

    “That’s just hor­ri­fy­ing, in my opin­ion,” Uhlar said. “It opens up the ques­tion of whether he was respon­si­ble for the mur­ders he com­mit­ted.”

    Accord­ing to at least two of the sev­er­al books writ­ten about Bul­ger and his life of crime, asso­ciates includ­ing cor­rupt for­mer FBI agent John Mor­ris said they assumed Bul­ger would use the LSD exper­i­ments to mount an insan­i­ty defense, if he were ever caught and tried.

    But in 2013 Bulger’s Boston attor­neys, J.W. Car­ney Jr. and Hank Bren­nan, unveiled a nov­el defense in which they admit­ted Bul­ger was a crim­i­nal who made “mil­lions and mil­lions of dol­lars” from his gang­land enter­prise, but was enabled by cor­rupt law enforce­ment offi­cers, espe­cial­ly those in Boston office of the FBI.

    Nei­ther Car­ney nor Bren­nan would com­ment on their deci­sion — attor­ney client priv­i­lege out­lasts a client’s death. But Antho­ny Car­di­nale, a Boston attor­ney who has rep­re­sent­ed numer­ous orga­nized crime defen­dants, said he would have opt­ed for an insan­i­ty defense, in part because of the abun­dant evi­dence against Bul­ger.

    “I would have had him come into court like Har­vey Wein­stein, all disheveled, and in a wheel­chair,” he said.

    Still, Car­di­nale acknowl­edged there would have been chal­lenges to pre­sent­ing an insan­i­ty defense, includ­ing the fact that Bul­ger spent 16 years out­wit­ting sev­er­al law enforce­ment agen­cies, before he was cap­tured in 2011 in San­ta Mon­i­ca, Calif., where he’d been liv­ing qui­et­ly with his long­time girl­friend while on the FBI’s Ten Most Want­ed List.

    ...

    To his dying day, Bul­ger insist­ed he’d received crim­i­nal immu­ni­ty from a deceased fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor who once head­ed the New Eng­land Orga­nized Crime Strike Force.

    John Bradley, a for­mer Mass­a­chu­setts fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor and assis­tant dis­trict attor­ney, agreed that defense lawyers would have faced high hur­dles wag­ing an insan­i­ty defense, not­ing that most end in con­vic­tions.

    “The flip side is that jurors are some­times swayed by moral­i­ty more than legal­i­ty,” he said. “The whole shtick that the gov­ern­ment played a role in cre­at­ing this mon­ster, uses him as an infor­mant and then goes after him — that’s an argu­ment that could affect one or two jurors.”

    And it only takes one to vote not guilty on all the crim­i­nal charges to pro­duce a hung jury, Bradley not­ed, forc­ing pros­e­cu­tors to decide whether to retry a case.

    Giv­en Bulger’s decades as a crime boss who cor­rupt­ed the Boston office of the FBI, pay­ing cash and doing favors in exchange for infor­ma­tion that helped him thwart mul­ti­ple inves­ti­ga­tions, a retri­al would have been a near cer­tain­ty. Nev­er­the­less, Car­di­nale said, a hung jury in the Bul­ger case “would have been a mon­ster vic­to­ry” for the defense.

    Even if Bul­ger were con­vict­ed on the oth­er crim­i­nal charges and received a sen­tence that would have kept him behind bars for life, a refusal to find him guilty on the mur­der charges would have meant anguish for fam­i­ly mem­bers of his vic­tims.

    “As in any case involv­ing a trag­ic mur­der, a con­vic­tion of the per­pe­tra­tor helps fam­i­ly mem­ber obtain clo­sure and move on with their lives,” said Paul V. Kel­ly, a for­mer fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor who has rep­re­sent­ed the fam­i­ly of one of Bulger’s mur­der vic­tims. “An acquit­tal of Whitey Bul­ger on the mur­der charges would have just caused addi­tion­al pain and anguish.”

    Uhlar has writ­ten about the Bul­ger tri­al in “The Truth be Damned,” a fic­tion­al­ized account she pub­lished in 2018 and adver­tis­es on her web­site. She also gives occa­sion­al talks on the tri­al at com­mu­ni­ty cen­ters and libraries.

    ...

    ————

    “After learn­ing of Whitey Bul­ger LSD tests, juror has regrets” By MICHAEL REZENDES; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 02/22/2020

    “Her regret stems from a cache of more than 70 let­ters Bul­ger wrote to her from prison. In some, he describes his unwit­ting par­tic­i­pa­tion in a secret CIA exper­i­ment with LSD. In a des­per­ate search for a mind con­trol drug in the late 1950s, the agency dosed Bul­ger with the pow­er­ful hal­lu­cino­gen more than 50 times when he was serv­ing his first stretch in prison — some­thing his lawyers nev­er brought up in his fed­er­al tri­al.

    Over 50 LSD dos­ing ses­sions. Very heavy dos­es of LSD, pre­sum­ably. The kind of treat­ment that per­ma­nent­ly dam­aged his mind, leav­ing Bul­ger unable to sleep more than a few hours or so. Ever since those exper­i­ments in 1957. Don’t for­get Sid­ney Got­tlieb’s state­ments about how the pro­gram in Atlanta was typ­i­cal of what was being done else­where. How many peo­ple did this pro­gram leave with per­ma­nent night ter­rors?

    ...
    After Bul­ger start­ed return­ing her let­ters, Uhlar noticed he often dat­ed them with the time he had start­ed writ­ing in his tight cur­sive style. “He always seemed to be writ­ing at one, two, or three in the morn­ing and when I asked him why, he said it was because of the hal­lu­ci­na­tions,” Uhlar said.

    When Uhlar asked him to explain, Bul­ger revealed what he had already told many oth­ers: that since tak­ing part in the LSD exper­i­ments at a fed­er­al prison in Atlanta, he’d been plagued by night­mares and grue­some hal­lu­ci­na­tions and was unable to sleep for more than a few hours at a time.

    “Sleep was full of vio­lent night­mares and wake up every hour or so — still that way — since ’57,” he wrote.

    “On the Rock at times felt sure going insane,” he wrote in anoth­er let­ter, refer­ring to the infa­mous for­mer prison on Alca­traz Island, in San Fran­cis­co Bay, where he was trans­ferred from Atlanta. “Audi­to­ry & visu­al hal­lu­ci­na­tions and vio­lent night­mares — still have them — always slept with lights on helps when I wake up about every hour from night­mares.”
    ...

    And then we get to this high­ly alarm­ing detail about these exper­i­ments: they kept ask­ing him ques­tions like “would you ever kill any­one?” after giv­ing him these extreme dos­es of LSD. That does­n’t sound like a pro­gram to cure schiz­o­phre­nia. That’s a pro­gram designed to fig­ure out if they can induce a drug-induced state of mur­der­ous­ness:

    ...
    The mob­ster also recalled the super­vis­ing physi­cian, the late Carl Pfeif­fer of Emory Uni­ver­si­ty, and the tech­ni­cians who would mon­i­tor his response to the LSD, ask­ing him ques­tions such as, “Would you ever kill any­one? Etc., etc.”

    That ques­tion struck a nerve with Uhlar. After hear­ing from Bul­ger about MK-ULTRA, “as if I should have known about it,” she vis­it­ed him at a Flori­da fed­er­al prison on three occa­sions to dis­cuss the exper­i­ments and start­ed read­ing every­thing she could find about them.

    At one point, she reviewed the 1977 hear­ings by the U.S. Sen­ate Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence, which was look­ing into MK-ULTRA fol­low­ing the first pub­lic dis­clo­sures of the top-secret pro­gram.

    The hear­ings includ­ed tes­ti­mo­ny from CIA direc­tor Stans­field Turn­er, who acknowl­edged evi­dence show­ing that the agency had been search­ing for a drug that could pre­pare some­one for “debil­i­tat­ing an indi­vid­ual or even killing anoth­er per­son.”

    “That’s just hor­ri­fy­ing, in my opin­ion,” Uhlar said. “It opens up the ques­tion of whether he was respon­si­ble for the mur­ders he com­mit­ted.”
    ...

    So why did­n’t all this come up as part of Bul­ger’s legal defense against the crimes of decades of mur­der and vio­lence? We have no idea. But the fact that his defense attor­neys went with the defense that he was enabled by a cor­rupt police force, and that Bul­ger does claim he was grant­ed legal immu­ni­ty, is itself a very inter­est­ing detail in this sto­ry:

    ...
    Accord­ing to at least two of the sev­er­al books writ­ten about Bul­ger and his life of crime, asso­ciates includ­ing cor­rupt for­mer FBI agent John Mor­ris said they assumed Bul­ger would use the LSD exper­i­ments to mount an insan­i­ty defense, if he were ever caught and tried.

    But in 2013 Bulger’s Boston attor­neys, J.W. Car­ney Jr. and Hank Bren­nan, unveiled a nov­el defense in which they admit­ted Bul­ger was a crim­i­nal who made “mil­lions and mil­lions of dol­lars” from his gang­land enter­prise, but was enabled by cor­rupt law enforce­ment offi­cers, espe­cial­ly those in Boston office of the FBI.

    Nei­ther Car­ney nor Bren­nan would com­ment on their deci­sion — attor­ney client priv­i­lege out­lasts a client’s death. But Antho­ny Car­di­nale, a Boston attor­ney who has rep­re­sent­ed numer­ous orga­nized crime defen­dants, said he would have opt­ed for an insan­i­ty defense, in part because of the abun­dant evi­dence against Bul­ger.

    “I would have had him come into court like Har­vey Wein­stein, all disheveled, and in a wheel­chair,” he said.

    Still, Car­di­nale acknowl­edged there would have been chal­lenges to pre­sent­ing an insan­i­ty defense, includ­ing the fact that Bul­ger spent 16 years out­wit­ting sev­er­al law enforce­ment agen­cies, before he was cap­tured in 2011 in San­ta Mon­i­ca, Calif., where he’d been liv­ing qui­et­ly with his long­time girl­friend while on the FBI’s Ten Most Want­ed List.

    ...

    To his dying day, Bul­ger insist­ed he’d received crim­i­nal immu­ni­ty from a deceased fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor who once head­ed the New Eng­land Orga­nized Crime Strike Force.
    ...

    Was an immu­ni­ty deal actu­al­ly cut? We’ll prob­a­bly nev­er get a con­clu­sive answer. Like most of this his­to­ry.

    We’ll see if Don­ald Trump or any of his co-con­spir­a­tors end up spend­ing time in the Ful­ton Coun­ty jail. Either way, it’s all anoth­er rea­son to bring up this large­ly for­got­ten chap­ter in his­to­ry. A chap­ter that, for all we know, is still going under new secret pro­grams. That’s one of the con­se­quences of nev­er real­ly inves­ti­gat­ing this: we have no idea if it real­ly end­ed. So let’s hope it’s tru­ly over. But let’s also be thank­ful Don­ald Trump was nev­er a part of the orig­i­nal pro­gram. The researchers look­ing to turn pris­on­ers into mur­der­ous mani­acs would have had a lot to work with.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 16, 2023, 5:04 pm
  6. In light of the unfold­ing sto­ry of the Mohawk Moth­ers and the pur­suit of jus­tice over Canada’s grue­some MKUL­TRA-affil­i­at­ed pro­gram focused on indige­nous chil­dren for decades and the quest to have sus­pect­ed unmarked graves of these vic­tims revealed and exam­ined, it’s worth recall­ing anoth­er unfold­ing sto­ry of grue­some MKUL­TRA-affil­i­at­ed exper­i­ments on chil­dren we’ve been learn­ing more about in recent years. That would be the CIA-affil­i­at­ed exper­i­ments involv­ing Dan­ish orphans. As we saw, while those exper­i­ments were osten­si­bly focused on study­ing the emer­gence of schiz­o­phre­nia, they appear to be much dark exper­i­ments in many cas­es that were attempt­ing to actu­al­ly induce schiz­o­phre­nia in these chil­dren.

    And that brings us to anoth­er unfold­ing chap­ter in this dark his­to­ry: Den­mark’s mys­te­ri­ous brain col­lec­tion. Near­ly 10,000 brains in all, col­lect­ed between 1945 and 1982. It’s con­sid­ered to be one of the most valu­able col­lec­tions of brains on the plan­et thanks, in part, to the fact that it was col­lect­ed before much mod­ern med­ical psy­chi­atric meth­ods were devel­oped. Meth­ods that rely heav­i­ly on antipsy­chot­ic drugs. This col­lec­tion of brains tak­en from peo­ple suf­fer­ing a vari­ety of men­tal ail­ments — from depres­sion to bipo­lar dis­or­der — pre-date that drug-inten­sive peri­od of med­ical inter­ven­tion.

    And yet, as we’re also going to see, very lit­tle has actu­al­ly been done with this col­lec­tion in terms of med­ical research. Or at least that we’ve been told about. The brain col­lec­tive report­ed­ly faced finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and stopped the col­lec­tion of new brains in 1982. But it was­n’t until the 1990s when the Dan­ish pub­lic learned about the exis­tence of the col­lec­tion, trig­ger­ing a pub­lic med­ical ethics debate that played out for years. That’s part of the sto­ry here: the brain col­lec­tion was a secret for over four decades and we’re told very lit­tle was done in terms of research on the brains. Is that accu­rate? Or was there secret research being done? That’s all part of this still unfold­ing sto­ry.

    But it appears much more research is on the way thanks to the fact that the Dan­ish med­ical estab­lish­ment has appar­ent­ly con­clud­ed the ethics debate and deter­mined that much can be learned from the col­lec­tion. As such, the data is going to even­tu­al­ly be made avail­able to researchers, includ­ing the affil­i­at­ed med­ical records asso­ci­at­ed with the patients. It’s going to be very inter­est­ing to see what kind of scrub­bing those records get.

    And while we haven’t heard any indi­ca­tion that this brain col­lec­tion was some­how affil­i­at­ed with the secret CIA schiz­o­phre­nia exper­i­ments on Dan­ish orphans, it’s hard not to sus­pect some over­lap. What are the odds these secret med­ical exper­i­ments run­ning for decades under the aus­pices of ‘study­ing men­tal ill­ness’ weren’t some­how con­nect­ed? It’s just one of the many unan­swered ques­tions sur­round­ing a chap­ter in secret med­ical exper­i­men­ta­tion that we still only bare­ly under­stand:

    CNN

    10,000 brains in a base­ment: The dark and mys­te­ri­ous ori­gins of Denmark’s psy­chi­atric brain col­lec­tion

    By Saman­tha Bres­na­han, Dr. San­jay Gup­ta, Susanne Gargiu­lo and Sandy Thin, CNN
    Updat­ed 6:45 AM EST, Fri Novem­ber 11, 2022

    CNN —

    For years, there had been whis­pers. Rumors swirled; sto­ries exchanged. It wasn’t a secret, but it also wasn’t open­ly dis­cussed, adding to a leg­end almost too incred­i­ble to believe.

    Yet those who knew the truth want­ed it out.

    Tell every­one our sto­ry, they said, about the brains in the base­ment.

    A fam­i­ly secret

    As a child, Lise Søgaard remem­bers whis­pers, too, though these were dif­fer­ent – the fam­i­ly secret kind, hushed because it was too painful to speak it out loud.

    Søgaard knew lit­tle about it, except that these whis­pers cen­tered on a fam­i­ly mem­ber who seemed to exist sole­ly in one pho­to­graph on the wall of her grandparent’s house in Den­mark.

    The lit­tle girl in the pic­ture was named Kirsten. She was the younger sis­ter of Søgaard’s grand­moth­er, Inger – that much she knew.

    “I remem­ber look­ing at this girl and think­ing, ‘Who is she?’ ‘What hap­pened?’” Søgaard said. “But also this feel­ing of a lit­tle bit of a hor­ror sto­ry there.”

    As she grew into adult­hood, Søgaard con­tin­ued to won­der. One day in 2020, she went to vis­it her grand­moth­er, now in her mid-90s and liv­ing at a care home in Hader­slev, Den­mark. After all that time, she final­ly asked about Kirsten. Almost as if Inger had been wait­ing for that very ques­tion, the flood­gates opened, and out poured a sto­ry Søgaard nev­er expect­ed.

    Kirsten Abildtrup was born on May 24, 1927, the youngest of five broth­ers and her sis­ter, Inger. As a child, Inger remem­bers Kirsten as qui­et and smart, the two sis­ters shar­ing a close bond. Then, when Kirsten was around 14 years old, some­thing began to change.

    Kirsten expe­ri­enced out­bursts and pro­longed bouts of cry­ing. Inger asked her moth­er if it was her fault, often feel­ing that way because the two girls were so close.

    “At Christ­mas, they were sup­posed to go on a vis­it to some fam­i­ly mem­bers,” Søgaard said, “but my great-grand­moth­er and father, they stayed home and sent all of their chil­dren away except for Kirsten.”

    When they got back from that fam­i­ly vis­it, Søgaard said, Kirsten was gone.

    It was the first of many hos­pi­tal­iza­tions, and the start of a long and painful jour­ney that would ulti­mate­ly end in Kirsten’s death.

    The diag­no­sis: schiz­o­phre­nia.

    The brain col­lec­tors

    Kirsten was first hos­pi­tal­ized towards the end of World War II, when Den­mark and the rest of Europe were at last on the verge of peace.

    Like so many places, Den­mark was also grap­pling with men­tal ill­ness. Psy­chi­atric insti­tu­tions had been built across the coun­try to pro­vide care for patients.

    But there was lim­it­ed under­stand­ing of what was hap­pen­ing in the brain. The same year peace came to Denmark’s doorstep, two doc­tors work­ing in the coun­try had an idea.

    When these patients died in psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals, autop­sies were rou­tine­ly per­formed. What if, these doc­tors thought, the brains were removed – and kept?

    Thomas Erslev, his­to­ri­an of med­ical sci­ence and research con­sul­tant at Aarhus Uni­ver­si­ty, esti­mates that half of all psy­chi­atric patients in Den­mark who died between 1945 and 1982 con­tributed – unknow­ing­ly and with­out con­sent – their brains. They went to what became known as the Insti­tute of Brain Pathol­o­gy, con­nect­ed to the Ris­skov Psy­chi­atric Hos­pi­tal in Aarhus, Den­mark.

    Doc­tors Erik Strom­gren and Larus Einar­son were the archi­tects. After rough­ly five years, said Erslev, pathol­o­gist Knud Aage Lorentzen took over the insti­tute, and spent the next three decades build­ing the col­lec­tion.

    The final tal­ly would amount to 9,479 human brains – believed to be the largest col­lec­tion of its kind any­where in the world.

    Near­ly 10,000 brains on the move

    In 2018, pathol­o­gist Dr. Mar­tin Wiren­feldt Nielsen got a call. The brain col­lec­tion, as it would come to be known, was on the move.

    A lack of fund­ing meant it could no longer stay in Aarhus, but the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Den­mark in the city of Odense had offered to pick up the man­tle. Would Wiren­feldt Nielsen be inter­est­ed in over­see­ing it?

    ...

    The yel­low­ish-green plas­tic buck­ets hous­ing each brain, pre­served in formalde­hyde, were placed into new white buck­ets that were stur­dier for the trans­port, and hand-labeled in black mark­er with a num­ber. And then the brains, give or take a few (no one knows where buck­et #1 is, for exam­ple) made their way to their new home in a large base­ment room on the university’s cam­pus.

    “The room wasn’t actu­al­ly ready when they moved it down here,” Wiren­feldt Nielsen said. “The whole col­lec­tion was just stand­ing there, buck­ets on top of each oth­er, in the mid­dle of the floor. And that’s when I saw it for the first time … That was like, okay, this is some­thing I’ve nev­er seen before.”

    An eth­i­cal reck­on­ing

    Even­tu­al­ly, the near­ly 10,000 buck­ets were placed on rolling shelves, where they remain today – wait­ing – rep­re­sent­ing lives, and a range of psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders.

    There are rough­ly 5,500 brains with demen­tia; 1,400 with schiz­o­phre­nia; 400 with bi-polar dis­or­der; 300 with depres­sion, and more.

    What sep­a­rates this col­lec­tion from any oth­er in the world is that the brains col­lect­ed dur­ing the first decade are untouched by mod­ern med­i­cines – a time cap­sule of sorts, for men­tal ill­ness in the brain..

    “Where­as oth­er brain col­lec­tions … (are) maybe spec­i­fied for neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases, demen­tia, tumors, or oth­er things like that – we real­ly have the whole thing here,” Wiren­feldt Nielsen said.

    But it has not been with­out con­tro­ver­sy. In the 1990s, the Dan­ish pub­lic got wind of the col­lec­tion, which had been sit­ting idle since for­mer direc­tor Lorentzen’s retire­ment in 1982.

    It would kick off one of the first major eth­i­cal sci­ence debates in Den­mark.

    ***

    A his­to­ry of The Brain Col­lec­tion

    1945

    The Insti­tute of Brain Pathol­o­gy is found­ed, con­nect­ed to the Ris­skov Psy­chi­atric Hos­pi­tal in Aarhus, Den­mark

    1945–1982

    Near­ly 9,500 brains are col­lect­ed with­out per­mis­sion from deceased psy­chi­atric patients across the coun­try

    1982

    The head of the brain col­lec­tion, Knud Aage Lorentzen, retires. Nobody takes his place, and the col­lec­tion sits untouched in a base­ment

    1987

    The Dan­ish Coun­cil of Ethics is estab­lished

    1991

    After the Coun­cil of Ethics says the brains can be used with cer­tain restric­tions in place, SIND (Denmark’s nation­al asso­ci­a­tion for psy­chi­atric health) demands the brains be buried – spark­ing one of the first major eth­i­cal sci­ence debates in Den­mark

    2005

    Dan­ish sci­en­tist Karl-Anton Dorph-Petersen takes over the collection’s dai­ly main­te­nance at Aarhus

    2006

    The Coun­cil of Ethics goes against polit­i­cal and reli­gious demands by rul­ing it is eth­i­cal­ly sound to use deceased psy­chi­atric patient brains for research with­out get­ting the con­sent of rel­a­tives. This time, SIND agrees

    2017–2018

    A lack of fund­ing threat­ens the brains, and the col­lec­tion is saved by mov­ing it to Odense, where Dr. Mar­tin Wiren­feldt Nielsen takes over

    ***

    “There was a dis­cus­sion back and forth, and one posi­tion was that we should destroy the col­lec­tion – either bury the brains or get rid of them in any oth­er eth­i­cal way,” said Knud Kris­tensen, the direc­tor of SIND, the Dan­ish nation­al asso­ci­a­tion for men­tal health, from 2009 to 2021, and cur­rent mem­ber of Denmark’s Eth­i­cal Coun­cil. “The oth­er posi­tion said, okay, we already did harm once. Then the least we can do to those patients and their rel­a­tives is to make sure that the brains are used in research.”

    After years of intense debate, SIND changed its posi­tion. “All of a sud­den, they were very strong pro­po­nents for keep­ing the brains,” Erslev said, “actu­al­ly say­ing this might be a very valu­able resource, not only for the sci­en­tists, but for the suf­fer­ers of psy­chi­atric ill­ness because it might prove to ben­e­fit ther­a­peu­tics down the line.”

    “For (SIND),” Kris­tensen said, “It was impor­tant where it was placed and to make sure that there would be some sort of con­trol of the future use of the col­lec­tion.”

    By the time it moved to Odense in 2018, the eth­i­cal debate was large­ly set­tled, and Wiren­feldt Nielsen became care­tak­er of the col­lec­tion.

    A few years lat­er, he would get a mes­sage from Søgaard. Was it pos­si­ble, she asked, that he had a brain there belong­ing to a woman named Kirsten?

    Search­ing for Kirsten

    In the search for what hap­pened to her great aunt Kirsten, Søgaard real­ized there were clues all around her. But piec­ing togeth­er what exact­ly had hap­pened to her grandmother’s sis­ter was slow, filled with dead ends and false starts.

    Yet she was enthralled, and began offi­cial­ly report­ing her jour­ney for Kris­teligt Dag­blad, the Copen­hagen-based news­pa­per where she worked – even­tu­al­ly bring­ing it to light in a series of arti­cles.

    At one point, Søgaard decid­ed to focus on a sin­gle word her grand­moth­er had told her, the name of a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal: Oringe.

    “I opened my com­put­er and I searched for ‘Oringe patient jour­nals,’” she said. After putting in a request through the nation­al archives, “I got an email that said, ‘Okay, we found some­thing for you, come have a look if you want.’ … I felt this excite­ment … like, she’s out there.”

    That excite­ment was short-lived. At the nation­al archives, they placed a most­ly emp­ty file in front of her. It wasn’t much to go on, but it con­firmed Kirsten’s diag­no­sis of schiz­o­phre­nia.

    With­out anoth­er sol­id lead, Søgaard won­dered where to go next. Then, almost in pass­ing, as they looked through old fam­i­ly pho­tos togeth­er, her moth­er said some­thing that she’d nev­er heard before.

    “She said, ‘You know, they might have kept her brain,’ and I said, ‘What?!’” Søgaard told CNN’s Dr. San­jay Gup­ta at her house out­side of Copen­hagen. “And she told me what she knew about the brain col­lec­tion.”

    Liv­ing with schiz­o­phre­nia

    At age 95, Søgaard’s grand­moth­er, Inger, could still clear­ly pic­ture vis­it­ing her lit­tle sis­ter Kirsten in the hos­pi­tal, after the symp­toms she first start­ed expe­ri­enc­ing at age 14 con­tin­ued to progress.

    Upon one vis­it, Inger remem­bered, “(Kirsten) was lying there, com­plete­ly apa­thet­ic. She was not able to speak to us. … Anoth­er day we went to vis­it her, and she was gone from her room. They told us she had thrown a glass at a nurse, and they had sent her to the base­ment, to a room where they (restrained) her with belts. And we were not allowed to go in, but I saw her through a hole in the door; she was lying there, strapped up.”

    Inger felt con­fused and scared, she said, because it could have been any­one, includ­ing her, that might get “sick.”

    At Sankt Hans, one of the largest and old­est psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals in Den­mark, Dr. Thomas Werge walks the same grounds he did as a child, when his own grand­moth­er was hos­pi­tal­ized there. Now, he runs the Insti­tute for Bio­log­i­cal Psy­chi­a­try there, where he and his team study the bio­log­i­cal caus­es that con­tribute to psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders.

    A 2012 study found that rough­ly 40% of Dan­ish women and 30% of Dan­ish men had received treat­ment for a men­tal health dis­or­der in their life­times – though Werge esti­mat­ed that num­ber would “almost cer­tain­ly” be high­er if the same study was done today. (By com­par­i­son, that same year, less than 15% of US adults received men­tal health ser­vices.) Among the oth­er Nordic coun­tries, includ­ing Swe­den and Nor­way, Werge said the num­bers would be com­pa­ra­ble to Denmark’s, as there are “sim­i­lar [uni­ver­sal] health care sys­tems and stan­dards for admis­sion.”

    “Men­tal (health) dis­or­ders are all over,” he added. “We just do not rec­og­nize this when we walk around among peo­ple. Not every­body car­ries their pain on the out­side.”

    For schiz­o­phre­nia, there are no blood tests or bio­mark­ers to sig­ni­fy its pres­ence; instead, doc­tors must rely only on a clin­i­cal exam.

    ...

    The stan­dard treat­ment since the mid-1950s has been anti-psy­chot­ic drugs, which typ­i­cal­ly work by manip­u­lat­ing dopamine lev­els: the brain’s reward sys­tem. But, Werge said, it can come with a cost.

    “Schiz­o­phre­nia and psy­chosis are linked to cre­ativ­i­ty,” he said. “So, when you try to inhib­it the psy­chosis, you also inhib­it the cre­ativ­i­ty. So, there’s a price for being med­icat­ed … What­ev­er caus­es all these prob­lems for humans is also what makes us humans in the good sense.”

    Brain #738

    Though there haven’t been many sig­nif­i­cant sci­en­tif­ic break­throughs regard­ing an under­stand­ing of the dis­ease, researchers have con­firmed that genet­ics and her­i­tabil­i­ty play a sig­nif­i­cant role.

    Accord­ing to Werge, the her­i­tabil­i­ty esti­mate is as high as 80% – the same as height. “It’s not a sur­prise to peo­ple that if you have very tall par­ents … there’s a lot of genet­ics in that,” he said. “The genet­ic com­po­nent is equal­ly large in most of the men­tal dis­or­ders actu­al­ly.”

    ...

    When fam­i­lies reach out about pos­si­ble rel­a­tives in the brain col­lec­tion, “that’s an eth­i­cal dilem­ma that we need to take into con­sid­er­a­tion,” Wiren­feldt Nielsen said. In Søgaard’s case, she received approval for the Dan­ish Nation­al Archives to check the set of black books that con­tain the names of every per­son whose brain is in the col­lec­tion.

    There on the list was Kirsten’s name.

    “I got an email back [from the Nation­al Archives], and they scanned the page where Kirsten’s name was, and her birth­day, and the day they received the brain. And in the col­umn out to the left, there was a num­ber,” Søgaard remem­bered. “Num­ber 738.” She imme­di­ate­ly wrote an email to Wiren­feldt Nielsen, ask­ing if that num­ber cor­re­spond­ed to the buck­et with Kirsten’s brain.

    “I said, ‘Yes, that’s it,’” Wiren­feldt Nielsen recalled. But he also said he couldn’t be sure the buck­et was there because a few are miss­ing for unknown rea­sons. He ven­tured down to the base­ment stor­age room to ver­i­fy it was there.

    On one of the rolling shelves sat buck­et #738.

    Kirsten’s brain.

    When Søgaard first saw it, she felt com­pelled to hug the buck­et.

    “I had learned a lot about Kirsten,” she said. “I feel some kind of con­nec­tion … (and) I know the pain that she felt, and I know what she went through.”

    The ‘white cut’

    What Kirsten went through was anoth­er extra­or­di­nary beat in this incred­i­ble sto­ry, and the long his­to­ry of psy­chi­atric care in Den­mark.

    As part of her treat­ment, Kirsten received what’s known com­mon­ly in Den­mark as “the white cut.”

    In med­ical terms: a lobot­o­my.

    The pro­ce­dure was an inte­gral part of the country’s psy­chi­atric his­to­ry. Dur­ing the time the brain col­lec­tion was run­ning from the 1940s until the ear­ly 1980s, Den­mark report­ed­ly did more lobot­o­mies per capi­ta than any oth­er coun­try in the world.

    “It’s a very poor treat­ment, because you destroy a big part of the brain,” Wiren­feldt Nielsen said. “And it’s very risky, because you can kill the patient, basi­cal­ly – but they had noth­ing else to do.”

    Treat­ment options were lim­it­ed, and in many ways extreme. Seizures were induced by plac­ing elec­trodes on either side of the head; insulin shock ther­a­py meant patients were admin­is­tered large dos­es of insulin, reduc­ing blood sug­ar and result­ing in a comatose state; and the lobot­o­my, either tran­sor­bital – using a pick-like instru­ment insert­ed through the back of the eye to the front lobe – or pre­frontal.

    The pre­frontal lobot­o­my was pio­neered by a Por­tuguese neu­rol­o­gist, Anto­nio Egas Moniz. Now con­sid­ered bar­bar­ic, he actu­al­ly won the Nobel Prize for the pro­ce­dure in 1949.

    A tool is insert­ed into the frontal lobe, scrap­ing away tracts of white mat­ter – the rea­son behind the “white cut” moniker. “Emo­tion­al reac­tions … are locat­ed at least in part in the frontal lobe,” explained Wiren­feldt Nielsen, “so they thought that just by cut­ting (there), that could sort of calm the patient down.”

    In Kirsten’s case, Inger said there were glimpses of “the old Kirsten” before she got the white cut – but after that, she was gone. In 1951, the year after her lobot­o­my, Kirsten died.

    She was just 24 years old.

    A promise for the future

    On a met­al table in a small, stand­alone build­ing on the grounds of Oringe psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal, Kirsten’s brain was removed, set into a small plas­tic buck­et, placed in a wood­en box, and shipped – by reg­u­lar mail car­ri­er – to the Insti­tute of Brain Pathol­o­gy at Ris­skov, to join the brain col­lec­tion.

    Søgaard saw the met­al table, where a white wood­en block still sits on one end – where the heads were placed – and upon which small marks are still vis­i­ble today. This is where the skulls were opened.

    Despite the graph­ic reminders, in report­ing out this sto­ry both for her­self, and for the news­pa­per, “it was impor­tant (for me) to not write a sto­ry that was a hor­ror sto­ry,” she said, adding it was easy to look back and say, “How could you do that?”

    “I don’t think the doc­tors want­ed to do bad. I think they actu­al­ly want­ed to do good. … I think the most eth­i­cal thing you can do is to make sure that you know exact­ly what you can do with these brains. And that’s what they’re doing now. They’re try­ing to find out, ‘How can they help us?’”

    There have been stud­ies using the col­lec­tion over the years, includ­ing a dis­cov­ery in 1970 of what is now known as famil­ial Dan­ish demen­tia, and a new study is ongo­ing, focused on mRNA in the brains, by Dan­ish researcher Beti­na Elfv­ing.

    For the most part, the brains rep­re­sent untapped, enor­mous poten­tial. Yet the one in buck­et #738 has already done some­thing extra­or­di­nary, thanks in large part to Søgaard her­self. She worked to break the cycle of stig­ma sur­round­ing men­tal health dis­or­ders by shar­ing her most per­son­al, inti­mate fam­i­ly details with the world.

    “(My grand­moth­er) expressed grat­i­tude,” Søgaard said. “She also said, ‘I feel like I’m mov­ing clos­er to my sis­ter now.’”

    ———-

    “10,000 brains in a base­ment: The dark and mys­te­ri­ous ori­gins of Denmark’s psy­chi­atric brain col­lec­tion” by Saman­tha Bres­na­han, Dr. San­jay Gup­ta, Susanne Gargiu­lo and Sandy Thin; CNN; 11/11/2022

    “Thomas Erslev, his­to­ri­an of med­ical sci­ence and research con­sul­tant at Aarhus Uni­ver­si­ty, esti­mates that half of all psy­chi­atric patients in Den­mark who died between 1945 and 1982 con­tributed – unknow­ing­ly and with­out con­sent – their brains. They went to what became known as the Insti­tute of Brain Pathol­o­gy, con­nect­ed to the Ris­skov Psy­chi­atric Hos­pi­tal in Aarhus, Den­mark.”

    Half of all psy­chi­atric patients in Den­mark who died between 1945 and 1982 had their brains added to this col­lec­tion. Unknow­ing­ly and with­out con­sent. Near­ly 10,000 in all. An invalu­able col­lec­tion of med­ical data extract­ed under high­ly ques­tion­able means. That’s the med­ical ethics dilem­ma Den­mark faces. A giant col­lec­tion of brains gath­ered under such eth­i­cal­ly ques­tion­able cir­cum­stances that no one was sure what the right thing was to do with them:

    ...
    But there was lim­it­ed under­stand­ing of what was hap­pen­ing in the brain. The same year peace came to Denmark’s doorstep, two doc­tors work­ing in the coun­try had an idea.

    When these patients died in psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals, autop­sies were rou­tine­ly per­formed. What if, these doc­tors thought, the brains were removed – and kept?

    ...

    Doc­tors Erik Strom­gren and Larus Einar­son were the archi­tects. After rough­ly five years, said Erslev, pathol­o­gist Knud Aage Lorentzen took over the insti­tute, and spent the next three decades build­ing the col­lec­tion.

    The final tal­ly would amount to 9,479 human brains – believed to be the largest col­lec­tion of its kind any­where in the world.

    ...

    There are rough­ly 5,500 brains with demen­tia; 1,400 with schiz­o­phre­nia; 400 with bi-polar dis­or­der; 300 with depres­sion, and more.

    What sep­a­rates this col­lec­tion from any oth­er in the world is that the brains col­lect­ed dur­ing the first decade are untouched by mod­ern med­i­cines – a time cap­sule of sorts, for men­tal ill­ness in the brain..

    “Where­as oth­er brain col­lec­tions … (are) maybe spec­i­fied for neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases, demen­tia, tumors, or oth­er things like that – we real­ly have the whole thing here,” Wiren­feldt Nielsen said.

    But it has not been with­out con­tro­ver­sy. In the 1990s, the Dan­ish pub­lic got wind of the col­lec­tion, which had been sit­ting idle since for­mer direc­tor Lorentzen’s retire­ment in 1982.

    It would kick off one of the first major eth­i­cal sci­ence debates in Den­mark.
    ...

    But then, after years of debate, the Dan­ish nation­al asso­ci­a­tion for men­tal health (SIND) sud­den­ly arrived at a con­clu­sion: the col­lec­tion should indeed be stud­ied. And that end­ed the debate over whether or not the destroy them. They weren’t to be destroyed and instead moved to a new home at Odense:

    ...
    “There was a dis­cus­sion back and forth, and one posi­tion was that we should destroy the col­lec­tion – either bury the brains or get rid of them in any oth­er eth­i­cal way,” said Knud Kris­tensen, the direc­tor of SIND, the Dan­ish nation­al asso­ci­a­tion for men­tal health, from 2009 to 2021, and cur­rent mem­ber of Denmark’s Eth­i­cal Coun­cil. “The oth­er posi­tion said, okay, we already did harm once. Then the least we can do to those patients and their rel­a­tives is to make sure that the brains are used in research.”

    After years of intense debate, SIND changed its posi­tion. “All of a sud­den, they were very strong pro­po­nents for keep­ing the brains,” Erslev said, “actu­al­ly say­ing this might be a very valu­able resource, not only for the sci­en­tists, but for the suf­fer­ers of psy­chi­atric ill­ness because it might prove to ben­e­fit ther­a­peu­tics down the line.”

    “For (SIND),” Kris­tensen said, “It was impor­tant where it was placed and to make sure that there would be some sort of con­trol of the future use of the col­lec­tion.”

    By the time it moved to Odense in 2018, the eth­i­cal debate was large­ly set­tled, and Wiren­feldt Nielsen became care­tak­er of the col­lec­tion.

    A few years lat­er, he would get a mes­sage from Søgaard. Was it pos­si­ble, she asked, that he had a brain there belong­ing to a woman named Kirsten?
    ...

    And then we get to what made this col­lec­tion so eth­i­cal­ly dicey: not only were these brains col­lect­ed on patients with­out their con­sent, but it appears that Den­mark had a par­tic­u­lar­ly aggres­sive his­to­ry of treat­ing men­tal ill­ness with the most extreme ther­a­pies, with Den­mark per­form­ing more lobot­o­mies per capi­ta than any oth­er coun­try in the world at this time. Lobot­o­mies that, in the case of the 24 year schiz­o­phrenic patient Kris­ten, hap­pened not long before her unex­plained death. How many of the near­ly 10,000 col­lect­ed brains were there col­lect­ed on patients who died under mys­te­ri­ous or unex­plained cir­cum­stances?

    ...
    The stan­dard treat­ment since the mid-1950s has been anti-psy­chot­ic drugs, which typ­i­cal­ly work by manip­u­lat­ing dopamine lev­els: the brain’s reward sys­tem. But, Werge said, it can come with a cost.

    “Schiz­o­phre­nia and psy­chosis are linked to cre­ativ­i­ty,” he said. “So, when you try to inhib­it the psy­chosis, you also inhib­it the cre­ativ­i­ty. So, there’s a price for being med­icat­ed … What­ev­er caus­es all these prob­lems for humans is also what makes us humans in the good sense.”

    Brain #738

    Though there haven’t been many sig­nif­i­cant sci­en­tif­ic break­throughs regard­ing an under­stand­ing of the dis­ease, researchers have con­firmed that genet­ics and her­i­tabil­i­ty play a sig­nif­i­cant role.

    Accord­ing to Werge, the her­i­tabil­i­ty esti­mate is as high as 80% – the same as height. “It’s not a sur­prise to peo­ple that if you have very tall par­ents … there’s a lot of genet­ics in that,” he said. “The genet­ic com­po­nent is equal­ly large in most of the men­tal dis­or­ders actu­al­ly.”

    ...

    The ‘white cut’

    What Kirsten went through was anoth­er extra­or­di­nary beat in this incred­i­ble sto­ry, and the long his­to­ry of psy­chi­atric care in Den­mark.

    As part of her treat­ment, Kirsten received what’s known com­mon­ly in Den­mark as “the white cut.”

    In med­ical terms: a lobot­o­my.

    The pro­ce­dure was an inte­gral part of the country’s psy­chi­atric his­to­ry. Dur­ing the time the brain col­lec­tion was run­ning from the 1940s until the ear­ly 1980s, Den­mark report­ed­ly did more lobot­o­mies per capi­ta than any oth­er coun­try in the world.

    “It’s a very poor treat­ment, because you destroy a big part of the brain,” Wiren­feldt Nielsen said. “And it’s very risky, because you can kill the patient, basi­cal­ly – but they had noth­ing else to do.”

    Treat­ment options were lim­it­ed, and in many ways extreme. Seizures were induced by plac­ing elec­trodes on either side of the head; insulin shock ther­a­py meant patients were admin­is­tered large dos­es of insulin, reduc­ing blood sug­ar and result­ing in a comatose state; and the lobot­o­my, either tran­sor­bital – using a pick-like instru­ment insert­ed through the back of the eye to the front lobe – or pre­frontal.

    The pre­frontal lobot­o­my was pio­neered by a Por­tuguese neu­rol­o­gist, Anto­nio Egas Moniz. Now con­sid­ered bar­bar­ic, he actu­al­ly won the Nobel Prize for the pro­ce­dure in 1949.

    A tool is insert­ed into the frontal lobe, scrap­ing away tracts of white mat­ter – the rea­son behind the “white cut” moniker. “Emo­tion­al reac­tions … are locat­ed at least in part in the frontal lobe,” explained Wiren­feldt Nielsen, “so they thought that just by cut­ting (there), that could sort of calm the patient down.”

    In Kirsten’s case, Inger said there were glimpses of “the old Kirsten” before she got the white cut – but after that, she was gone. In 1951, the year after her lobot­o­my, Kirsten died.

    She was just 24 years old.
    ...

    Inter­est­ing­ly, as the fol­low­ing EuroNews arti­cle notes, it’s not just the brains that are going to be made avail­able to researchers. The asso­ci­at­ed med­ical records are report­ed­ly going to be made avail­able too. Med­ical records from a time when psy­chi­atric patients had lit­tle to know rights. Which should make for some poten­tial­ly very inter­est­ing records giv­en the cir­cum­stances, assum­ing they aren’t heav­i­ly scrubbed in advance of release:

    EuroNews

    Inside the base­ment in Den­mark hous­ing 10,000 brains har­vest­ed from men­tal health patients

    This brain col­lec­tion in Den­mark con­tains near­ly 10,000 col­lect­ed between 1945 and 1982.

    By Rose­lyne Min with AFP
    Pub­lished on 18/03/2023 — 13:15•Updated 15:06

    An oppor­tu­ni­ty to find treat­ments for men­tal health con­di­tions or a reminder of a dark peri­od of his­to­ry? Den­mark’s “Brain Col­lec­tion” is both.

    In the cold, grey base­ment of the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Den­mark is a room with near­ly 10,000 white plas­tic buck­ets with scrib­bled num­bers on each one.

    ....

    The mas­ter­mind behind the grand col­lec­tion was a promi­nent Dan­ish physi­cian Erik Ström­gren and an Ice­landic researcher Lárus Einar­son.

    They found­ed the Insti­tute of Brain Pathol­o­gy in 1945 in Ris­skov, west­ern Den­mark, hop­ing that future sci­en­tists and doc­tors will be able to exam­ine the brains again at a lat­er time when sci­ence has advanced.

    A total of 9,479 brains were col­lect­ed from psy­chi­atric patients diag­nosed with demen­tia, schiz­o­phre­nia, mania, and depres­sion.

    The brains — extract­ed dur­ing autop­sies — were sent from state men­tal hos­pi­tals across Den­mark by post. They were then sit­ting in the box­es for a few weeks before being sliced into pieces and put in formalde­hyde solu­tion for preser­va­tion.

    Work on the col­lec­tion stopped due to finan­cial rea­sons in 1982 and was even­tu­al­ly moved to anoth­er city, Odense, in 2017.

    The spec­i­mens have been kept with books of records that con­tain infor­ma­tion about each patient, the so-called “brain jour­nals”. Researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Den­mark are cur­rent­ly work­ing to digi­tise these records so a wider com­mu­ni­ty of sci­en­tists have access to them.

    Experts say the col­lec­tion offers great insights oppor­tu­ni­ties to researchers. Not only does it allow researchers to sam­ple cas­es from dif­fer­ent demo­graph­ic groups but also to inves­ti­gate the effects of mod­ern psy­chi­atric treat­ment since some of the brains are from peo­ple who nev­er received any mod­ern med­ical inter­ven­tion.

    A dark episode in Den­mark’s his­to­ry

    Some experts, on the oth­er hand, are keen to empha­sise that the large-scale brain col­lec­tion was only fea­si­ble since “the patients in psy­chi­a­try had very few rights”.

    “You could get treat­ed with­out say­ing yes to that par­tic­u­lar treat­ment and patients were seen as not as equal to oth­er Danes at the time,” said Jes­per Vaczy Kragh, Senior Researcher in the Copen­hagen Cen­tre for Health Research in the Human­i­ties (CoRe).

    “Most of the Dan­ish insti­tu­tions were part of the state psy­chi­a­try so these were state men­tal hos­pi­tals and there were no peo­ple from the out­side who were ask­ing ques­tions about what went on in these state insti­tu­tions,” added Kragh.

    Autop­sies are less com­mon­ly car­ried out nowa­days because we have scan­ning tech­niques that allow us to know what has hap­pened in the body, but also because “the way of think­ing about indi­vid­ual rights have rad­i­cal­ly changed”.

    “In the old days, an autop­sy was a nat­ur­al part of dying in a hos­pi­tal,” Mar­tin Wiren­feldt Nielsen, the head of the “Brain Col­lec­tion” at the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Den­mark, told Dan­ish news­pa­per Kris­teligt Dag­blad.

    “Today we think of the indi­vid­ual as invi­o­lable. That we can decide every­thing, or at least most, about what hap­pens to us our­selves. At that time, nei­ther the patients them­selves nor their rel­a­tives were nec­es­sar­i­ly asked for per­mis­sion for an autop­sy. It was just done,” he added.

    When the Dan­ish Ethics Coun­cil ruled in the ear­ly 1990s that the brains could be used for research, even though they were tak­en with­out the con­sent of the patients or their fam­i­lies, Den­mark saw one of the first major eth­i­cal debates in its his­to­ry.

    The debate has since set­tled down, but books and films about con­di­tions at state-run men­tal insti­tu­tions have con­stant­ly remind­ed Danes that the gov­ern­ment owes those patients an apol­o­gy.

    At the begin­ning of March 2023, the new Dan­ish gov­ern­ment con­clud­ed that those pre­vi­ous­ly placed in spe­cial care should receive an apol­o­gy lat­er this year.

    A total of 27,500 peo­ple were reg­is­tered in var­i­ous health­care insti­tu­tions between 1933 and 1980 in Den­mark. The insti­tu­tions were not pris­ons but often times the patients couldn’t leave.

    An inves­ti­ga­tion car­ried out in April 2022 revealed that a large num­ber of the patients had suf­fered assaults dur­ing the peri­od.

    It is believed that the patients had to under­go — among oth­ers pro­ce­dures — forced ster­il­i­sa­tion and lobot­o­my.

    Among those who are expect­ed to receive an apol­o­gy are 500 Dan­ish women who had under­gone forced ster­il­i­sa­tion and abor­tion at an insti­tu­tion on an island called Sprogø between the 1920s and 1960s.

    ———–

    “Inside the base­ment in Den­mark hous­ing 10,000 brains har­vest­ed from men­tal health patients”
    By Rose­lyne Min; EuroNews; 03/18/2023

    Work on the col­lec­tion stopped due to finan­cial rea­sons in 1982 and was even­tu­al­ly moved to anoth­er city, Odense, in 2017.”

    The brain col­lec­tion was­n’t halt­ed due to eth­i­cal con­cerns in 1982. It was finan­cial. The eth­i­cal con­cerns came lat­er, as Den­mark came to grips with a sys­tem that gave these patients almost no rights in a sys­tem with almost no out­side over­sight. And, final­ly, it appears that the Dan­ish gov­ern­ment is poised to issue a for­mal, albeit very belat­ed, apol­o­gy to these psy­chi­a­try patients some time this year:

    ...
    A dark episode in Den­mark’s his­to­ry

    Some experts, on the oth­er hand, are keen to empha­sise that the large-scale brain col­lec­tion was only fea­si­ble since “the patients in psy­chi­a­try had very few rights”.

    “You could get treat­ed with­out say­ing yes to that par­tic­u­lar treat­ment and patients were seen as not as equal to oth­er Danes at the time,” said Jes­per Vaczy Kragh, Senior Researcher in the Copen­hagen Cen­tre for Health Research in the Human­i­ties (CoRe).

    “Most of the Dan­ish insti­tu­tions were part of the state psy­chi­a­try so these were state men­tal hos­pi­tals and there were no peo­ple from the out­side who were ask­ing ques­tions about what went on in these state insti­tu­tions,” added Kragh.

    ...

    At the begin­ning of March 2023, the new Dan­ish gov­ern­ment con­clud­ed that those pre­vi­ous­ly placed in spe­cial care should receive an apol­o­gy lat­er this year.

    A total of 27,500 peo­ple were reg­is­tered in var­i­ous health­care insti­tu­tions between 1933 and 1980 in Den­mark. The insti­tu­tions were not pris­ons but often times the patients couldn’t leave.

    An inves­ti­ga­tion car­ried out in April 2022 revealed that a large num­ber of the patients had suf­fered assaults dur­ing the peri­od.

    It is believed that the patients had to under­go — among oth­ers pro­ce­dures — forced ster­il­i­sa­tion and lobot­o­my.
    ...

    Final­ly, note how it’s not just the brains that are going to be made avail­able for researchers. The asso­ci­at­ed med­ical records are appar­ent­ly going to be made avail­able too. And while the brains them­selves may not hold records of patient abus­es — at least beyond lobot­o­mies — the records could end up being very reveal­ing. And that’s why it’s going to be very inter­est­ing to see how much scrub­bing of those records takes place before their made avail­able:

    ...
    The spec­i­mens have been kept with books of records that con­tain infor­ma­tion about each patient, the so-called “brain jour­nals”. Researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Den­mark are cur­rent­ly work­ing to digi­tise these records so a wider com­mu­ni­ty of sci­en­tists have access to them.

    Experts say the col­lec­tion offers great insights oppor­tu­ni­ties to researchers. Not only does it allow researchers to sam­ple cas­es from dif­fer­ent demo­graph­ic groups but also to inves­ti­gate the effects of mod­ern psy­chi­atric treat­ment since some of the brains are from peo­ple who nev­er received any mod­ern med­ical inter­ven­tion.
    ...

    Were any of these brains tak­en from the orphans par­tic­i­pat­ing in the CIA’s secret exper­i­ments that appear to have been focused on induc­ing schiz­o­phre­nia? Let’s hope the med­ical doc­u­men­ta­tion asso­ci­at­ed with these brains con­tains that kind of infor­ma­tion. We’ll see. Either way, it’s a grim reminder that one of the best ways to learn about these kinds of high­ly scan­dalous state secrets is to some­how crack open an over­lap­ping high­ly scan­dalous state secret, and go from there. One dark rev­e­la­tion at a time.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 19, 2023, 2:52 pm
  7. What’s under this rock? Yes, there’s anoth­er ‘rock’ in the ever-grow­ing list of eth­i­cal­ly bar­ren secret gov­ern­ment-run Cold War psy­cho­log­i­cal exper­i­ments. This time in Den­mark. Again.

    First, recall the CIA-affil­i­at­ed exper­i­ments involv­ing Dan­ish orphans. As we saw, while those exper­i­ments were osten­si­bly focused on study­ing the emer­gence of schiz­o­phre­nia, they appear to be much dark exper­i­ments in many cas­es that were attempt­ing to actu­al­ly induce schiz­o­phre­nia in these chil­dren. And then secret­ly track them for years as adults. Also recall the still mys­te­ri­ous ‘brain vault’ of the brains of men­tal­ly ill Dan­ish patients — brains col­lect­ed between 1945 and 1982 — that under­scored how lit­tle rights the men­tal­ly ill had in Den­mark at the time. Final­ly, recall the ongo­ing court case involv­ing the ‘Mohawk Moth­ers’ in Cana­da and the sys­tem­at­ic exploita­tion of indige­nous chil­dren for use in CIA-affil­i­at­ed psy­cho­log­i­cal exper­i­ments, with an appar­ent focus on under­stand­ing how to bet­ter con­trol minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tions.

    Well, we can now add the ‘Green­land orphans’ exper­i­ment to the list of eth­i­cal­ly ques­tion­able Cold War era psy­chol­o­gy exper­i­ments being con­duct­ed by the Dan­ish gov­ern­ment. And as we’re going to see, while there’s no clear ties between this exper­i­ment and the CIA-affil­i­at­ed child schiz­o­phre­nia exper­i­ments, it’s hard to ignore the par­al­lels. Par­al­lels that include how few offi­cials answers have been made avail­able. In oth­er words, while we’ve now learned quite a bit about this exper­i­ment, it’s still very much a secret pro­gram. A secret even to the orphans who par­tic­i­pat­ed.

    The exper­i­ment, start­ed in 1950, was osten­si­bly about cre­at­ing a kind of youth intel­li­gentsia among Green­land’s native Inu­it pop­u­la­tion. The idea was to find orphans, bring them to Den­mark to give them an edu­ca­tion that includ­ed teach­ing them Dan­ish (as opposed to the native Green­land lan­guage they all spoke), and then return them to Green­land, where they would hope­ful­ly serve as “role mod­els for Green­land”, which was still a Dan­ish colony at this time.

    22 chil­dren par­tic­i­pat­ed in the pro­gram. They were tak­en from Green­land to a Den­mark for a year. Ini­tial­ly, they stayed at a Save the Chil­dren hol­i­day camp, but were then sent to fos­ter homes. As part of the exper­i­ment they were restrict­ed from speak­ing their native Green­land lan­guage. After a cou­ple years in Den­mark, they were returned to Green­land where they were raised in an orphan­age that was giv­en cus­tody over them. Once back in Green­land, the chil­dren, who had already for­got­ten their native lan­guage by this point, were report­ed­ly dis­cour­age from inter­act­ing with the locals. Over time, they were effec­tive­ly viewed as out­siders and most even­tu­al­ly returned to Den­mark to live out the rest of their lives. Around half the par­tic­i­pants end­ed up devel­op­ing men­tal health and sub­stance abuse pro­grams lat­er in life. Many were unem­ployed and led hard lives. The goal of cre­at­ed “role mod­els for Green­land” was a com­plete bust. At least assum­ing that was the goal.

    And, of course, it gets worse. It turns out not all of them were orphans. Yes, they had dif­fi­cul­ty find­ing orphans for the pro­gram and decid­ed to also recruit kids from sin­gle-par­ent house­holds. And for those chil­dren tak­en from a house­hold, the exper­i­ment still involved sep­a­rat­ing them from their fam­i­lies basi­cal­ly for the rest of their lives. And as the arti­cle reminds us, when colo­nial occu­piers ask the peo­ple they are occu­py­ing to ‘vol­un­teer’ their chil­dren, it’s not real­ly a vol­un­tary act. It also sounds like many fam­i­lies did­n’t real­ly have an under­stand­ing of what they were vol­un­teer­ing their chil­dren for, but were instead told they were going to get a good edu­ca­tion.

    In one account, Helene Thiesen, tak­en at age 7 to Den­mark, was allowed to briefly meet her fam­i­ly upon her return to Green­land a cou­ple years lat­er but found she could­n’t even speak to her fam­i­ly any­more. That trau­mat­ic reunion was allowed to last about 10 min­utes, at which point she was told she was forced to go to an orphan­age were she would be liv­ing away from her fam­i­ly dur­ing the rest of her time in Green­land. Brief meet­ings with their bio­log­i­cal fam­i­ly mem­bers were still allowed peri­od­i­cal­ly, but it was the fos­ter fam­i­lies in Den­mark that they were encour­aged to main­tain ties with over time. These non-orphans were effec­tive­ly turned into orphans for the pur­pose of this exper­i­ment.

    It also turns out that 6 of the 22 chil­dren nev­er even returned to Green­land but were instead adopt­ed by their fos­ter fam­i­lies. It’s anoth­er detail that rais­es major ques­tions about what the actu­al pur­pose of this exper­i­ment was in the first place. An exper­i­ment that was kept secret from the kids them­selves. As Helene Thiesen describes, she only dis­cov­ered all of this was part of a social exper­i­ment decades lat­er when an acquain­tance who learned about it informed her.

    So giv­en that we have this bizarre social exper­i­ment osten­si­bly to cre­ate a crop of ‘elites’, but car­ried out in a man­ner that destroyed these kids’ lives and result­ed in men­tal ill­ness­es in many cas­es, we have to ask: was this part of that broad­er ‘MKUl­tra for kids’ panoply of secret MKUL­TRA-affil­i­at­ed exper­i­ments tak­ing place at the time?:

    CNN

    How a failed social exper­i­ment in Den­mark sep­a­rat­ed Inu­it chil­dren from their fam­i­lies

    Sto­ry by Tara John,
    Jan­u­ary 14, 2022

    Sev­en-year-old Helene Thiesen peered out from aboard the pas­sen­ger ship MS Disko, know­ing she was set­ting sail from Green­land to a place called Den­mark. What she could not under­stand is why her moth­er had cho­sen to send her away on that unhap­py day in 1951.

    “I was so sad,” Thiesen, now 77 years old, recalled to CNN. Rigid with sor­row, Thiesen was unable to wave back to her moth­er and two sib­lings, who were watch­ing from the har­bor off the coast of the Green­land cap­i­tal, Nuuk. “I looked into (my mother’s) eyes and thought, why was she let­ting me go?”

    Thiesen was one of 22 Inu­it chil­dren who were tak­en from their homes not know­ing that they would end up being part of a failed social exper­i­ment. Aged between 5 and 9 years old, many of them would nev­er see or live with their fam­i­lies again, becom­ing for­got­ten about and mar­gin­al­ized in their native land.

    At the time, Green­land was a Dan­ish colony, and Green­lan­ders were suf­fer­ing from high lev­els of pover­ty, low qual­i­ty of life and high rates of mor­tal­i­ty, said Einar Lund Jensen, a project researcher at the Nation­al Muse­um of Den­mark.

    Denmark’s aim was “to cre­ate lit­tle Danes who would become the intel­li­gentsia; role mod­els for Green­land,” said Jensen, who co-authored a recent gov­ern­ment-com­mis­sioned report inves­ti­gat­ing the exper­i­ment.

    The Dan­ish gov­ern­ment felt com­pelled to mod­ern­ize the arc­tic colony, hop­ing to hold onto their inter­ests as post-war decol­o­niza­tion move­ments swept through the globe. They took up an idea from human rights orga­ni­za­tion Save the Chil­dren Den­mark of bring­ing Inu­it chil­dren to the coun­try in order to recov­er from what were per­ceived as their bad liv­ing con­di­tions, he said.

    The assump­tion at that time was “Dan­ish soci­ety is supe­ri­or to Green­landic soci­ety,” he added.

    After a year and a half in Den­mark, most of the chil­dren were returned to Green­land to live in an orphan­age run by anoth­er char­i­ty, the Dan­ish Red Cross, in Nuuk — sep­a­rat­ed from Green­lan­ders and their fam­i­lies and banned from speak­ing their moth­er tongue. CNN has reached out to the Dan­ish Red Cross for com­ment.

    Seen as strangers by Green­lan­ders, many of the chil­dren returned to Den­mark when they became adults. Up to half of the group devel­oped men­tal ill­ness or sub­stance abuse prob­lems in lat­er life, Jensen said. Many were unem­ployed and led hard lives, Thiesen said.

    The Dan­ish gov­ern­ment “took our iden­ti­ty and fam­i­ly from us,” Kris­tine Heine­sen, 76, who, along with Thiesen, is one of the six Green­landic social exper­i­ment sur­vivors alive today. Walk­ing in a ceme­tery in Copen­hagen where some of her friends from the exper­i­ment are now buried, Heine­sen admits her life has been decent since her days in the orphan­age. “But I know many of the oth­er chil­dren suf­fered more grow­ing up, and I think because we’re only six left of 22 — that tells the sto­ry very well,” she said, wrapped in a Green­landic fur-lined coat.

    Save the Chil­dren apol­o­gized in 2015 for the part they played in the social exper­i­ment. The Dan­ish gov­ern­ment issued an apol­o­gy five years lat­er, after pres­sure from cam­paign groups, but has refused to com­pen­sate those who are still alive, said the lawyer of the vic­tims, Mads Krøger Pram­ming. He filed a com­pen­sa­tion claim of 250,000 kro­ner ($38,000) each in Copenhagen’s dis­trict court in late Decem­ber 2021.

    The six accuse the Dan­ish state of act­ing “in vio­la­tion of cur­rent Dan­ish law and human rights, includ­ing the plain­tiffs’ right to pri­vate and fam­i­ly life under Arti­cle 8 of the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Human Rights (ECHR),” reads their claim.

    In a state­ment to CNN, Denmark’s Min­is­ter of Social Affairs and the Elder­ly said the gov­ern­ment was look­ing into the com­pen­sa­tion claim.

    “The most impor­tant aspect for the Dan­ish Gov­ern­ment has been an offi­cial apol­o­gy to the now adult chil­dren and their fam­i­lies for the betray­al they endured. This was a major step towards redress­ing the Government’s fail­ure; a respon­si­bil­i­ty no pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment had tak­en on,” Astrid Krag said.

    “The gov­ern­ment and I believe that rec­og­niz­ing the mis­takes of the past is in itself cru­cial, and we must learn from these so that his­to­ry is nev­er per­mit­ted to repeat itself.”

    The hear­ing is like­ly to hap­pen in the next 10 months and “it is still our hope, that the gov­ern­ment will set­tle the case and pay com­pen­sa­tion before the hear­ing,” Pram­ming said.

    After all the six vic­tims have been through, “they don’t think an apol­o­gy is enough,” he added.

    ‘Cul­tur­al erad­i­ca­tion’

    The aim of the exper­i­ment, which was green­lit in 1950, was to recruit orphans, but it was hard to find enough chil­dren, said researcher Jensen. The para­me­ters were broad­ened to include moth­er­less or father­less house­holds and 22 chil­dren were select­ed, even though many of them were liv­ing with their extend­ed fam­i­lies or one par­ent, he added.

    Thiesen’s moth­er, who was wid­owed, ini­tial­ly dis­missed the request of two Danes to take her young daugh­ter to Den­mark, Thiesen told CNN. But she even­tu­al­ly agreed on the promise that Thiesen would get a bet­ter edu­ca­tion.

    As col­o­niz­ers, Danes, who helped iden­ti­fy the chil­dren for the exper­i­ment, held author­i­ty in Green­land, Jensen explained.

    It would have been hard for a Green­lan­der to refuse them at the time, Kar­la Jessen Williamson, a Green­landic assis­tant pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Saskatchewan and mem­ber of the Green­land Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion, told CNN.

    “As with any col­o­nized nation, the author­i­ties (were) respect­ed and feared; rebut­ting these author­i­ties can­not be done,” she said.

    Accord­ing to the report Jensen co-authored on the exper­i­ment, there were doubts as to whether some of the par­ents were ful­ly informed or under­stood what they were agree­ing to.

    In many ways, what hap­pened to the chil­dren rep­re­sents the dev­as­tat­ing and delib­er­ate effects of cul­tur­al erad­i­ca­tion dur­ing colo­nial­ism, said Williamson. “In colo­nial times, there was an erad­i­ca­tion of the unique­ness of cul­ture, of the rela­tion­ship with the land, the range of lan­guages, spir­i­tu­al­i­ty — and these would have been done away with so that (the col­o­nized) can be social­ized into becom­ing part of the colo­nial state,” she said.

    On arriv­ing to Den­mark, the chil­dren were housed in Fedgaar­den, Save the Children’s hol­i­day camp on the south­ern Fed­det penin­su­lar, for four months. The chil­dren were banned from speak­ing Green­landic — a dialect of the Inu­it lan­guage — and were instead taught Dan­ish.

    ...

    They were lat­er placed with sep­a­rate fos­ter fam­i­lies for around a year. Thiesen did not feel wel­come in the home of her first fos­ter fam­i­ly. She had to wear an oint­ment for her eczema and was not allowed to sit on the fur­ni­ture. “I was home­sick every day,” she said.

    Her sec­ond fos­ter fam­i­ly were kinder, buy­ing her a bicy­cle and doll, and treat­ing her as part of the fam­i­ly.

    When it was time to return to Green­land, six of the Inu­it chil­dren remained in Den­mark and were adopt­ed by their fos­ter fam­i­lies. The adop­tions were “com­plete­ly against the whole idea of com­ing back (to Green­land) and becom­ing the intel­lec­tu­al elite,” said his­to­ri­an Jensen. “In my opin­ion, it was a mis­take,” he said.

    ‘Could not see any­thing through my tears’

    They returned to Green­land in Octo­ber 1952 and were placed in an orphan­age run by the Dan­ish Red Cross in Nuuk. Accord­ing to the legal claim, cus­tody of the chil­dren was trans­ferred to the head­mistress of the orphan­age.

    Thiesen recalls see­ing her fam­i­ly wait­ing for her by the quay in Nuuk. “I dropped my suit­case and ran to them, telling them every­thing I saw. But my moth­er did not answer me,” Thiesen said. It was because she was speak­ing Dan­ish and her moth­er spoke the Inu­it dialect of Green­landic — a lan­guage Thiesen had lost the abil­i­ty to under­stand.

    Their reunion last­ed 10 min­utes. A Dan­ish nurse look­ing after the chil­dren told her to let go of her moth­er because she now lived in an orphan­age, Thiesen told CNN. “I cried all the way to the orphan­age — I was so look­ing for­ward to see my town but I could not see any­thing through my tears.”

    The orphan­age was where 16 of the chil­dren lived. They were only allowed to speak Dan­ish, were put in a Dan­ish-speak­ing school, and con­tact with their fam­i­lies was lim­it­ed or non-exis­tent. No one told Heine­sen that her bio­log­i­cal moth­er died soon after Heine­sen joined the orphan­age, accord­ing to the legal claim.

    Empha­sis was placed on keep­ing in touch with the fos­ter fam­i­lies, said Jensen. Thiesen’s moth­er was only allowed to vis­it her daugh­ter a cou­ple of times dur­ing the sev­en years Thiesen was there, the legal claim states.

    It was psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly trau­mat­ic “for these kids to be sep­a­rat­ed like that from Green­landic soci­ety and their par­ents,” Jensen said. “Even those who (had fam­i­ly in Nuuk) said they were not allowed to vis­it their fam­i­ly. Some­times the orphan­age invit­ed the fam­i­ly to cof­fee on Sun­days, but the chil­dren were nev­er giv­en a fair chance to con­tact their fam­i­lies.”

    They were enrolled in a Dan­ish school and were lim­it­ed from play­ing or inter­act­ing with Green­landic chil­dren in the town. The only peo­ple the chil­dren were allowed to social­ize with were promi­nent Dan­ish fam­i­lies who lived in Nuuk, sur­vivor Heine­sen said.

    Green­lan­ders began to con­sid­er the chil­dren as out­siders. Gabriel Schmidt, 76, one of the six from the social exper­i­ment who now lives in Den­mark, told CNN that Green­landic chil­dren in Nuuk would say: “You don’t know Green­landic, you’re not Green­landic,” and throw rocks at them. “But most of what they said I didn’t under­stand as I had lost my lan­guage in Den­mark,” he said from his home.

    Green­land was ful­ly inte­grat­ed into Den­mark in 1953 and in 1979 it was grant­ed home rule. In that peri­od, Jensen said, Dan­ish and Green­landic author­i­ties lost inter­est in the social exper­i­ment as Greenland’s infra­struc­ture projects, busi­ness sec­tor, and health­care reforms took cen­ter stage.

    ‘Are you sit­ting down?’

    By 1960, all the chil­dren had left the orphan­age, and even­tu­al­ly almost all of them moved back to Den­mark. For the six who are still alive, they say find­ing their sense of iden­ti­ty has tak­en a life­time.

    ...

    Thiesen strug­gled to con­nect or for­give her moth­er, angry with her deci­sion to send her away. “I thought my moth­er did not want me and it is why I was angry with her for most of my life,” she said.

    It was only in 1996, when Thiesen was 46 years old, when she dis­cov­ered the truth. The late Dan­ish radio per­son­al­i­ty and writer Tine Bryld called Thiesen’s home with some dev­as­tat­ing news. “She told me, ‘are you sit­ting down? I found some­thing in Copen­hagen, you have been part of an exper­i­ment,’” Thiesen said. “I fell to the ground and cried. It was the first time I had been told of this and it was so awful,” she added.

    “I felt sad when I learned the truth,” Heine­sen, who moved to Den­mark in the 1960s and became a seam­stress, told CNN. “You just don’t exper­i­ment with chil­dren — it’s just wrong.” In 1993, she put an advert in the local paper in Green­land that she was com­ing to vis­it and was look­ing for liv­ing rel­a­tives. “It was a great moment to be back and to vis­it — (it was) very emo­tion­al for all of us,” she said.

    ...

    Sat at a din­ing table in front of a side­board cov­ered with snow white-col­ored tupi­laq carv­ings, myth­ic Green­landic Inu­it fig­ures meant to pro­tect their own­ers from any harm, Thiesen told CNN that learn­ing Green­landic and writ­ing her mem­oir has been part of her heal­ing process.

    It was facil­i­tat­ed by her sec­ond hus­band, Jens Møller, who is Green­landic. Thiesen said he “gave me the biggest gift … to learn the Green­landic lan­guage, but also he taught me fish­ing, hunt­ing and all those things I had nev­er done as a child, but which are key ele­ments of the Green­landic cul­ture.”

    It has not wiped away the enor­mous dam­age cre­at­ed by the social exper­i­ment but has, in some ways, helped her rec­on­cile the pain that began aboard MS Disko in 1951. At least now she under­stands why her moth­er sent her away.

    ————

    “How a failed social exper­i­ment in Den­mark sep­a­rat­ed Inu­it chil­dren from their fam­i­lies” by Tara John; CNN</iCNN>; 01/14/2022

    Thiesen was one of 22 Inu­it chil­dren who were tak­en from their homes not know­ing that they would end up being part of a failed social exper­i­ment. Aged between 5 and 9 years old, many of them would nev­er see or live with their fam­i­lies again, becom­ing for­got­ten about and mar­gin­al­ized in their native land.”

    A failed social exper­i­ment. It’s a rather gen­er­ous way of describ­ing a pro­gram that appeared to be focused on tak­ing orphans and turn­ing them into “lit­tle Danes who would become the intel­li­gentsia; role mod­els for Green­land.” An idea they appar­ent­ly got from the Save the Chil­dren char­i­ty, which appears to have par­tic­i­pat­ed in the actu­al pro­gram itself, with the new­ly arrived chil­dren hav­ing been housed at the Save the Chil­dren’s hol­i­day camp in Fedgaar­den. An exper­i­ment in basi­cal­ly tear­ing orphans out of their native Green­land cul­ture and immers­ing them in the ‘supe­ri­or’ Dan­ish cul­ture. And as dark as that exper­i­ment sounds on the sur­face, it gets worse. Because when they could­n’t find enough orphans, they just broad­ened the search to include sin­gle-par­ent house­holds. In oth­er words, they were sep­a­rat­ing chil­dren from fam­i­lies. And doing so under the implic­it coer­cive threat that comes with a colo­nial pow­er mak­ing demands of their sub­jects. In oth­er words, they took these chil­dren from these fam­i­lies, and kept them apart as part of this exper­i­ment:

    ...
    At the time, Green­land was a Dan­ish colony, and Green­lan­ders were suf­fer­ing from high lev­els of pover­ty, low qual­i­ty of life and high rates of mor­tal­i­ty, said Einar Lund Jensen, a project researcher at the Nation­al Muse­um of Den­mark.

    Denmark’s aim was “to cre­ate lit­tle Danes who would become the intel­li­gentsia; role mod­els for Green­land,” said Jensen, who co-authored a recent gov­ern­ment-com­mis­sioned report inves­ti­gat­ing the exper­i­ment.

    The Dan­ish gov­ern­ment felt com­pelled to mod­ern­ize the arc­tic colony, hop­ing to hold onto their inter­ests as post-war decol­o­niza­tion move­ments swept through the globe. They took up an idea from human rights orga­ni­za­tion Save the Chil­dren Den­mark of bring­ing Inu­it chil­dren to the coun­try in order to recov­er from what were per­ceived as their bad liv­ing con­di­tions, he said.

    The assump­tion at that time was “Dan­ish soci­ety is supe­ri­or to Green­landic soci­ety,” he added.

    ...

    On arriv­ing to Den­mark, the chil­dren were housed in Fedgaar­den, Save the Children’s hol­i­day camp on the south­ern Fed­det penin­su­lar, for four months. The chil­dren were banned from speak­ing Green­landic — a dialect of the Inu­it lan­guage — and were instead taught Dan­ish.

    ...

    The aim of the exper­i­ment, which was green­lit in 1950, was to recruit orphans, but it was hard to find enough chil­dren, said researcher Jensen. The para­me­ters were broad­ened to include moth­er­less or father­less house­holds and 22 chil­dren were select­ed, even though many of them were liv­ing with their extend­ed fam­i­lies or one par­ent, he added.

    Thiesen’s moth­er, who was wid­owed, ini­tial­ly dis­missed the request of two Danes to take her young daugh­ter to Den­mark, Thiesen told CNN. But she even­tu­al­ly agreed on the promise that Thiesen would get a bet­ter edu­ca­tion.

    As col­o­niz­ers, Danes, who helped iden­ti­fy the chil­dren for the exper­i­ment, held author­i­ty in Green­land, Jensen explained.

    It would have been hard for a Green­lan­der to refuse them at the time, Kar­la Jessen Williamson, a Green­landic assis­tant pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Saskatchewan and mem­ber of the Green­land Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion, told CNN.

    “As with any col­o­nized nation, the author­i­ties (were) respect­ed and feared; rebut­ting these author­i­ties can­not be done,” she said.

    Accord­ing to the report Jensen co-authored on the exper­i­ment, there were doubts as to whether some of the par­ents were ful­ly informed or under­stood what they were agree­ing to.
    ...

    And while the plan was to return these kids to Green­land after their immer­sion expe­ri­ence in Den­mark, note how 6 of the 22 kids were straight up adopt­ed by their fos­ter fam­i­lies, a com­plete con­tra­dic­tion of the stat­ed pur­pose of the exper­i­ment in cre­at­ing a crop of ‘intel­lec­tu­al elites’ for the next gen­er­a­tion of Green­lan­ders. It’s the kind of major devi­a­tion from the stat­ed goal of the pro­gram that rais­es ques­tions about what the actu­al goal was:

    ...
    They were lat­er placed with sep­a­rate fos­ter fam­i­lies for around a year. Thiesen did not feel wel­come in the home of her first fos­ter fam­i­ly. She had to wear an oint­ment for her eczema and was not allowed to sit on the fur­ni­ture. “I was home­sick every day,” she said.

    Her sec­ond fos­ter fam­i­ly were kinder, buy­ing her a bicy­cle and doll, and treat­ing her as part of the fam­i­ly.

    When it was time to return to Green­land, six of the Inu­it chil­dren remained in Den­mark and were adopt­ed by their fos­ter fam­i­lies. The adop­tions were “com­plete­ly against the whole idea of com­ing back (to Green­land) and becom­ing the intel­lec­tu­al elite,” said his­to­ri­an Jensen. “In my opin­ion, it was a mis­take,” he said.

    ...

    And for the 16 chil­dren who were allowed to return to Green­land, those with fam­i­lies were allowed to see their fam­i­lies but not actu­al­ly com­mu­ni­cate with them. With no expla­na­tion giv­en to the chil­dren as to why it was they could­n’t talk with their fam­i­lies any­more. Just brief vis­its from fam­i­ly mem­bers at most. What was the actu­al exper­i­ment here? Because this does­n’t seem like an exper­i­ment in cre­at­ing a new crop of ‘elites’:

    ...
    ‘Could not see any­thing through my tears’

    They returned to Green­land in Octo­ber 1952 and were placed in an orphan­age run by the Dan­ish Red Cross in Nuuk. Accord­ing to the legal claim, cus­tody of the chil­dren was trans­ferred to the head­mistress of the orphan­age.

    Thiesen recalls see­ing her fam­i­ly wait­ing for her by the quay in Nuuk. “I dropped my suit­case and ran to them, telling them every­thing I saw. But my moth­er did not answer me,” Thiesen said. It was because she was speak­ing Dan­ish and her moth­er spoke the Inu­it dialect of Green­landic — a lan­guage Thiesen had lost the abil­i­ty to under­stand.

    Their reunion last­ed 10 min­utes. A Dan­ish nurse look­ing after the chil­dren told her to let go of her moth­er because she now lived in an orphan­age, Thiesen told CNN. “I cried all the way to the orphan­age — I was so look­ing for­ward to see my town but I could not see any­thing through my tears.”

    The orphan­age was where 16 of the chil­dren lived. They were only allowed to speak Dan­ish, were put in a Dan­ish-speak­ing school, and con­tact with their fam­i­lies was lim­it­ed or non-exis­tent. No one told Heine­sen that her bio­log­i­cal moth­er died soon after Heine­sen joined the orphan­age, accord­ing to the legal claim.

    ...

    By 1960, all the chil­dren had left the orphan­age, and even­tu­al­ly almost all of them moved back to Den­mark. For the six who are still alive, they say find­ing their sense of iden­ti­ty has tak­en a life­time.
    ...

    And then we get to the long-term after­math of the exper­i­ment: up to half of the group devel­oped men­tal ill­ness and sub­stance abuse prob­lems lat­er in life. Again, what was the actu­al exper­i­ment here? Because it’s hard to ignore the par­al­lels between this exper­i­ment and the extreme inter­est at the time in study­ing men­tal ill­ness using eth­i­cal­ly ques­tions exper­i­ments affil­i­at­ed with the MK Ultra-affil­i­at­ed pro­grams dur­ing this peri­od. Eth­i­cal­ly ques­tion exper­i­ments like the CIA-affil­i­at­ed Dan­ish exper­i­ments on chil­dren focused on study­ing schiz­o­phre­nia. Exper­i­ments that involved reg­u­lar­ly expos­ing the kids to stress­es that seemed almost like they were intend­ed to poten­tial­ly induce schiz­o­phre­nia, along with the secret track­ing of these chil­dren into their adult lives. And, of course, there’s the secret CIA-affil­i­at­ed exper­i­ments on indige­nous chil­dren in Cana­da that remains cov­ered up to this day. All of these ‘exper­i­ments’ were hap­pen­ing at the same time. What are the odds that this exper­i­ment on indige­nous chil­dren from Green­land was also part of this larg­er clus­ter of CIA-affil­i­at­ed secret pro­grams?

    ...
    After a year and a half in Den­mark, most of the chil­dren were returned to Green­land to live in an orphan­age run by anoth­er char­i­ty, the Dan­ish Red Cross, in Nuuk — sep­a­rat­ed from Green­lan­ders and their fam­i­lies and banned from speak­ing their moth­er tongue. CNN has reached out to the Dan­ish Red Cross for com­ment.

    Seen as strangers by Green­lan­ders, many of the chil­dren returned to Den­mark when they became adults. Up to half of the group devel­oped men­tal ill­ness or sub­stance abuse prob­lems in lat­er life, Jensen said. Many were unem­ployed and led hard lives, Thiesen said.

    The Dan­ish gov­ern­ment “took our iden­ti­ty and fam­i­ly from us,” Kris­tine Heine­sen, 76, who, along with Thiesen, is one of the six Green­landic social exper­i­ment sur­vivors alive today. Walk­ing in a ceme­tery in Copen­hagen where some of her friends from the exper­i­ment are now buried, Heine­sen admits her life has been decent since her days in the orphan­age. “But I know many of the oth­er chil­dren suf­fered more grow­ing up, and I think because we’re only six left of 22 — that tells the sto­ry very well,” she said, wrapped in a Green­landic fur-lined coat.
    ...

    Intrigu­ing­ly, it appears that the kids them­selves were nev­er actu­al­ly informed about what they went through, even after grow­ing up. It was only decades lat­er when one of the par­tic­i­pants, Helene Thiesen, found out she was part of an exper­i­ment. She was 46. Although note that the 1996 date in this arti­cle for that rev­e­la­tion is like­ly a typo or mis­take and it was like­ly 1991 when she learned this since it states that she was 46 at the time and was 77 years old in 2022 when this sto­ry was pub­lished (imply­ing a 1945-ish year of birth):

    ...
    Thiesen strug­gled to con­nect or for­give her moth­er, angry with her deci­sion to send her away. “I thought my moth­er did not want me and it is why I was angry with her for most of my life,” she said.

    It was only in 1996, when Thiesen was 46 years old, when she dis­cov­ered the truth. The late Dan­ish radio per­son­al­i­ty and writer Tine Bryld called Thiesen’s home with some dev­as­tat­ing news. “She told me, ‘are you sit­ting down? I found some­thing in Copen­hagen, you have been part of an exper­i­ment,’” Thiesen said. “I fell to the ground and cried. It was the first time I had been told of this and it was so awful,” she added.

    “I felt sad when I learned the truth,” Heine­sen, who moved to Den­mark in the 1960s and became a seam­stress, told CNN. “You just don’t exper­i­ment with chil­dren — it’s just wrong.” In 1993, she put an advert in the local paper in Green­land that she was com­ing to vis­it and was look­ing for liv­ing rel­a­tives. “It was a great moment to be back and to vis­it — (it was) very emo­tion­al for all of us,” she said.
    ...

    Final­ly, it’s worth not­ing how this exper­i­ment was revealed decades ago, and yet Save the Chil­dren only issued an apol­o­gy in 2015 and the Dan­ish gov­ern­ment still has yet to real­ly grap­ple with its cul­pa­bil­i­ty in this. It’s worth recall­ing that 2015 is the same year Save the Chil­dren was kicked out of Pak­istan fol­low­ing the US mil­i­tary oper­a­tion to kill Osama bin Laden. An intel­li­gence oper­a­tion that involved a CIA agent work­ing in Pak­istan who claimed to be with Save the Chil­dren. The char­i­ty insists that it had no idea about this CIA oper­a­tion and was used as a cov­er with­out its knowl­edge. Also note that Save the Chil­dren’s apol­o­gy for its role in this exper­i­ment hap­pened in August of 2015, two months after it was kicked out of Pak­istan under a flur­ry of accu­sa­tion that the group was a CIA front. It’s an inter­est­ing coin­ci­dence that the very belat­ed pub­lic apol­o­gy for the Green­land ‘orphans’ exper­i­ment was only released in the wake of all these CIA accu­sa­tions:

    ...
    Save the Chil­dren apol­o­gized in 2015 for the part they played in the social exper­i­ment. The Dan­ish gov­ern­ment issued an apol­o­gy five years lat­er, after pres­sure from cam­paign groups, but has refused to com­pen­sate those who are still alive, said the lawyer of the vic­tims, Mads Krøger Pram­ming. He filed a com­pen­sa­tion claim of 250,000 kro­ner ($38,000) each in Copenhagen’s dis­trict court in late Decem­ber 2021.

    ...

    The six accuse the Dan­ish state of act­ing “in vio­la­tion of cur­rent Dan­ish law and human rights, includ­ing the plain­tiffs’ right to pri­vate and fam­i­ly life under Arti­cle 8 of the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Human Rights (ECHR),” reads their claim.

    In a state­ment to CNN, Denmark’s Min­is­ter of Social Affairs and the Elder­ly said the gov­ern­ment was look­ing into the com­pen­sa­tion claim.

    “The most impor­tant aspect for the Dan­ish Gov­ern­ment has been an offi­cial apol­o­gy to the now adult chil­dren and their fam­i­lies for the betray­al they endured. This was a major step towards redress­ing the Government’s fail­ure; a respon­si­bil­i­ty no pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment had tak­en on,” Astrid Krag said.

    “The gov­ern­ment and I believe that rec­og­niz­ing the mis­takes of the past is in itself cru­cial, and we must learn from these so that his­to­ry is nev­er per­mit­ted to repeat itself.”

    The hear­ing is like­ly to hap­pen in the next 10 months and “it is still our hope, that the gov­ern­ment will set­tle the case and pay com­pen­sa­tion before the hear­ing,” Pram­ming said.

    After all the six vic­tims have been through, “they don’t think an apol­o­gy is enough,” he added.
    ...

    Note that the gov­ern­ment of Green­land did indeed agree in March of 2022 to pay the six remain­ing vic­tims $38k in com­pen­sa­tion. $38,000 in com­pen­sa­tion for hav­ing their lives ruined as part of colo­nial­ist exper­i­ment. It’s a pret­ty good deal for Den­mark. Espe­cial­ly since the larg­er the set­tle­ment, larg­er the implic­it admis­sion of guilt. And when we look at this exper­i­ment as part of a piece of much large col­lec­tion of secret high­ly uneth­i­cal psy­cho­log­i­cal exper­i­ments from this peri­od, there’s an abun­dance of guilt yet to be acknowl­edged.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 24, 2023, 5:13 pm
  8. We’ve received some dis­turb­ing updates from the ‘Mohawk Moth­ers’: It sounds like the exca­va­tion of the unmarked graves at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty’s Roy­al Vic­to­ria hos­pi­tal is still not going accord­ing to the court-ordered agree­ment. This is on top of the dis­turb­ing ver­bal harass­ment direct­ed at the activists back in July by the secu­ri­ty guards at the site. So it appears that McGill and gov­ern­ment of Cana­da are going get their way and have this chap­ter of the MKUl­tra his­to­ry lit­er­al­ly swept away with­out any real inves­ti­ga­tion.

    So with the prospects of that his­to­ry at McGill remain­ing cov­ered-up for­ev­er only with each pass­ing day, it’s worth tak­ing a look at the fol­low­ing excerpt, pub­lished in Counter Punch, from White­out: the CIA, Drugs and the press. by Jef­frey St. Clair and Alexan­der Cock­burn, that does a good job of putting the research tak­ing place at McGill into the larg­er con­text of what the CIA was try­ing to accom­plish dur­ing this peri­od with all of these dif­fer­ent pro­grams that went well beyond just MKUl­tra. Pro­grams with a focus on not just men­tal­ly break­ing sus­pect­ed spies but cre­at­ing super-spies with hyp­not­i­cal­ly-cre­at­ed alter­nate per­sonas. And pro­grams that could iden­ti­fy a ‘Manchuri­an can­di­date’ but also cre­ate one. Behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion for the pur­pose of cre­at­ing assas­sins. And that’s on top of all of the appli­ca­tions for mass social con­trol — like thwart­ing civ­il rights move­ments by con­trol­ling puta­tive civ­il rights lead­ers — that was envi­sioned at this time.

    And as the arti­cle reminds us, Dr. Ewen Cameron was­n’t the only psy­chol­o­gist work­ing for MKUl­tra who was involved with direct­ing these kinds of exper­i­ments on pris­on­ers. Dr Louis “Jol­ly” West head­ed the Vio­lence Project at UCLA where behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion research on inmates at the Vacav­ille state prison. As we saw, it was the behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion pro­gram at Vacav­ille that helped inspire the New York State pris­on’s part­ner­ship with McGill. In oth­er words, Dr. Ewen Cameron and Dr. Jol­ly West were work­ing towards the same goal dur­ing this peri­od. A goal break­ing human minds and cre­at­ing peo­ple who are so con­trolled they could be ordered to kill some­one and not even remem­ber it. Among oth­er appli­ca­tions.

    This is a good time to recall how Dr. West hap­pened to be none oth­er than Jack Ruby’s psy­chol­o­gist. It was West who arrived at the pre­pos­ter­ous hypoth­e­sis that Ruby shot Lee Har­vey Oswald as part of a brief psy­chomo­tor epilep­tic event in the base­ment of the Dal­las jail. And that’s a reminder that when we’re talk­ing about the secrets cur­rent­ly being buried (or rather, exca­vat­ed and tossed) at the Roy­al Vic­to­ria hos­pi­tal in Mon­tre­al, we’re not just talk­ing about the sys­temic abus­es of indige­nous chil­dren, pris­on­ers, and oth­er vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of soci­ety. We’re also talk­ing about the CIA’s secret build-an-assas­sin pro­gram. A pro­gram that evi­dence sug­ges­tions may have been involved with a range of untouch­able mega-scan­dals that includes the JFK assas­si­na­tion:

    Counter Punch

    The CIA’s House of Hor­rors: the Abom­inable Dr. Got­tlieb

    by Jef­frey St. Clair — Alexan­der Cock­burn
    Novem­ber 17, 2017

    The death (or pos­si­bly mur­der) of Frank Olson was but a hint of the enor­mous secret CIA pro­gram of research into tech­niques of mind alter­ation and con­trol. The whole enter­prise was assigned the code-name MK-ULTRA and was run out of the CIA’s Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Divi­sion, head­ed in the 1950s by Willis Gib­bons, a for­mer exec­u­tive of the US Rub­ber Com­pa­ny. In the division’s lab­o­ra­to­ries and work­shops researchers labored on poi­sons, gad­gets designed to maim and kill, tech­niques of tor­ture and imple­ments to car­ry such tech­niques to ago­niz­ing fruition. Here also were devel­oped sur­veil­lance equip­ment and kin­dred tools of the espi­onage trade. All of these activ­i­ties made the Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Divi­sion a vital part­ner of the covert oper­a­tions wing of the Agency.

    With­in Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices MK-ULTRA projects came under the con­trol of the Chem­i­cal Divi­sion, head­ed from 1951 to 1956 by Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb, a New York Jew who received his doc­tor­ate in chem­istry from Cal­i­for­nia Tech. Born with a club­foot and afflict­ed with a severe stam­mer, Got­tlieb pushed him­self with unremit­ting inten­si­ty. Despite his phys­i­cal afflic­tion he was an ardent square dancer and expo­nent of the pol­ka, caper­ing across many a dance floor and drag­ging vis­it­ing psy­chi­a­trists and chemists on terp­si­chore­an trysts where appalling plans of mind con­trol were rumi­nat­ed amidst the blare of the bands.

    ...

    As was demon­strat­ed in the Olson affair, Got­tlieb had pow­er­ful friends inside the Agency, notably Richard Helms, at that time deputy direc­tor for covert oper­a­tions. MK-ULTRA was cre­at­ed on April 13, 1953, when CIA direc­tor Allen Dulles approved Helms’s pro­pos­al to devel­op the “covert use” of bio­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal mate­ri­als. The code-name ULTRA may have been an echo from Helms’s and Dulles’s OSS days, when ULTRA (the break­ing of the pri­ma­ry Ger­man code) rep­re­sent­ed one of the biggest secrets of World War II.

    Got­tlieb him­self said that the cre­ation of MK-ULTRA was inspired by reports of mind-con­trol work in the Sovi­et Union and Chi­na. He defined the mis­sion as an inves­ti­ga­tion into how indi­vid­ual behav­ior could be “altered through covert means.” He gave this descrip­tion in 1977 dur­ing the Kennedy hear­ings, tes­ti­fy­ing via remote speak­er from anoth­er room. “It was felt to be manda­to­ry,” Got­tlieb went on, “and of the utmost urgency for our intel­li­gence orga­ni­za­tion to estab­lish what was pos­si­ble in this field.”

    The CIA had fol­lowed the tri­al of the Hun­gar­i­an Roman Catholic Car­di­nal Josef Mind­szen­ty in Budapest in 1949 and con­clud­ed that the Cardinal’s ulti­mate con­fes­sion had been manip­u­lat­ed through “some unknown force.” Ini­tial­ly the belief was that Mind­szen­ty had been hyp­no­tized, and intrigued CIA offi­cers con­jec­tured that they might use the same tech­niques on peo­ple they were inter­ro­gat­ing. The CIA’s Office of Secu­ri­ty, head­ed at the time by Sheffield Edwards, devel­oped a hyp­no­sis project called Blue­bird, whose object was to get an indi­vid­ual “to do our bid­ding against his will and even against such fun­da­men­tal laws of nature as self-preser­va­tion.”

    The first Blue­bird oper­a­tions were con­duct­ed in Japan in Octo­ber 1950 and were report­ed­ly wit­nessed by Richard Helms. Twen­ty-five North Kore­an pris­on­ers of war were giv­en alter­nat­ing dos­es of depres­sants and stim­u­lants. The POWs were shot up with bar­bi­tu­rates, allow­ing them to go to sleep, then abrupt­ly awok­en with injec­tions of amphet­a­mines, hyp­no­tized, then ques­tioned. This oper­a­tion was in total con­tra­ven­tion of inter­na­tion­al pro­to­cols on the treat­ment of POWs. These Blue­bird inter­ro­ga­tions con­tin­ued through­out the Kore­an War.

    Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, US POWs held in North Korea were being parad­ed by their cap­tors, alleg­ing that the US was using chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal agents against the Kore­ans and the Chi­nese. An inter­na­tion­al com­mis­sion in 1952 con­clud­ed that the charges had mer­it. But the CIA’s response was to leak to favored reporters at Time, the Chica­go Tri­bune, and the Mia­mi Her­ald sto­ries to the effect that the Amer­i­can POWs had been brain­washed by their Com­mu­nist cap­tors. This had the dou­ble util­i­ty of squelch­ing the charges of germ war­fare and also of jus­ti­fy­ing the Blue­bird pro­gram.

    In fact, US mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence agen­cies had been dab­bling in mind con­trol research for more than forty years. One of the ear­ly exper­i­menters was George H. Estabrooks, a research psy­chol­o­gist who taught for years at Col­gate Col­lege in upstate New York. Estabrooks was a Rhodes schol­ar who had trained in psy­chol­o­gy at Har­vard with Gard­ner Mur­phy. The psy­chol­o­gist, whose spe­cial­ty was the use of hyp­no­sis in intel­li­gence oper­a­tions, worked as a con­trac­tor for Naval Intel­li­gence and was lat­er to advise CIA researchers such as Mar­tin Orne and Mil­ton Erick­son.

    In 1971, Estabrooks gave a chill­ing por­trait of his career in an arti­cle in Sci­ence Digest titled “Hyp­no­sis Comes of Age.” “One of the most fas­ci­nat­ing but dan­ger­ous appli­ca­tions of hyp­no­sis is its use in mil­i­tary intel­li­gence,” Estabrooks wrote. “This is a field with which I am famil­iar through for­mu­lat­ing guide­lines for the tech­nique used by the US in two world wars. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion in war is always a headache. Codes can be bro­ken. A pro­fes­sion­al spy may or may not stay bought. Your own man may have unques­tion­able loy­al­ty but his judge­ment is always open to ques­tion. The hyp­not­ic couri­er, on the oth­er hand, pro­vides a unique solu­tion.” Estabrooks relat­ed in mat­ter-of-fact detail his role in hyp­no­tiz­ing intel­li­gence offi­cers for dan­ger­ous mis­sions inside occu­pied Japan, describ­ing how through hyp­no­sis he had “locked” infor­ma­tion inside the mind of unwit­ting sol­diers, infor­ma­tion that could only be retrieved by Estabrooks and oth­er des­ig­nat­ed mil­i­tary psy­chol­o­gists.

    Then Estabrooks described how he and oth­er gov­ern­ment doc­tors devel­oped tech­niques to split per­son­al­i­ties, using a com­bi­na­tion of hyp­no­sis and drugs. “The poten­tial for mil­i­tary intel­li­gence has been night­mar­ish,” Estabrooks wrote. In one case, he claimed that he had cre­at­ed a new per­son­al­i­ty in a “nor­mal” Marine. The new per­son­al­i­ty “talked Com­mu­nist doc­trine and meant it.” Estabrooks and the army con­trived to have the Marine giv­en a dis­hon­or­able dis­charge and encour­aged him to pen­e­trate the Com­mu­nist Par­ty. All along, Estabrooks said, the “deep­er per­son­al­i­ty” was that of the Marine, which had been pro­grammed to oper­ate as a kind of “sub­con­scious spy.” “I had a pipeline straight into the Com­mu­nist camp. It worked beau­ti­ful­ly for months with this sub­ject, but the tech­nique back­fired. While there was no way for an ene­my to expose Jones’s dual per­son­al­i­ty, they sus­pect­ed it, and played the same trick on us lat­er.”

    The CIA’s Blue­bird project, which inves­ti­gat­ed hyp­no­sis and oth­er tech­niques in the ear­ly 1950s, was head­ed by Morse Allen, a vet­er­an of Naval Intel­li­gence and a spe­cial­ist in tech­niques of inter­ro­ga­tion. Crim­i­nol­o­gists revere Allen as a pio­neer in the use of the poly­graph. Allen even­tu­al­ly became dis­ap­point­ed with the research into hyp­no­sis, and devel­oped a keen inter­est in the more robust fields of elec­tro-shock ther­a­py and psy­cho-surgery.

    One of the CIA’s first grants to an out­side con­trac­tor was to a psy­chi­a­trist who claimed that he could use elec­tro-shock ther­a­py to pro­duce a state of total amne­sia “or excru­ci­at­ing pain.” Anoth­er $100,000 CIA grant went to a neu­rol­o­gist who vouched for lobot­o­mies and oth­er types of brain surgery as use­ful tools in the art of inter­ro­ga­tion. Both of these tech­niques would lat­er become sta­ples of the oper­a­tions of one of MK-ULTRA’s most infa­mous con­trac­tors, Dr. D. Ewen Cameron.

    In 1952, the code­word Blue­bird was changed to Arti­choke. A CIA report on the project says that, among oth­er things, Arti­choke was meant to inves­ti­gate the the­o­ry that “agents might be giv­en cov­er sto­ries under hyp­no­sis and not only learn them fault­less­ly, but actu­al­ly believe them. Every detail could be made to sink in. The con­vic­tion and appar­ent sin­cer­i­ty with which an indi­vid­ual will defend a false giv­en under post-hyp­not­ic sug­ges­tion is almost unbe­liev­able.”

    In one exper­i­ment, a female CIA secu­ri­ty offi­cer was hyp­no­tized and pro­vid­ed with a new iden­ti­ty. When she was lat­er inter­ro­gat­ed, the agent “defend­ed it hot­ly, deny­ing her true name and ratio­nal­iz­ing with con­vic­tion the pos­ses­sion of iden­ti­ty cards made out to her real self.” Arti­choke also explored using hyp­no­sis to recruit high-lev­el polit­i­cal agents and unmask spies and dou­ble agents, a par­tic­u­lar obses­sion of James Jesus Angle­ton, the CIA’s coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence chief.

    The CIA mem­os of the time are filled with com­plaints about the dif­fi­cul­ties of find­ing suit­able human sub­jects for exper­i­men­tal research. “Human sub­jects” were evoked in the tact­ful phrase “unique research mate­r­i­al.” At first the CIA exper­i­ment­ed most­ly on pris­on­ers, drug addicts and ter­mi­nal­ly sick des­ti­tutes. Details are scanty because Helms ordered all CIA records on the pro­grams destroyed, but much of the “unique research mate­r­i­al” came in the form of pris­on­ers at California’s Vacav­ille prison, the Geor­gia state pen­i­ten­tiary and the Ten­nessee state prison sys­tem.. There was a prob­lem, how­ev­er. In these instances a cer­tain mod­icum of informed con­sent was often required. Pris­on­ers could get reduced sen­tences for agree­ing to par­tic­i­pate in the exper­i­ments. Drug addicts would get cash, drugs or treat­ment. Informed con­sent was often a con­di­tion in any treat­ment of the ter­mi­nal­ly ill poor. For the CIA researchers any type of informed con­sent was anti­thet­i­cal to their research task, which was to make unwill­ing sub­jects talk and covert­ly elic­it coop­er­a­tion.

    By 1952 the CIA’s sci­en­tists began to test their tech­niques on what a CIA memo described as “indi­vid­u­als of dubi­ous loy­al­ty, sus­pect­ed agents or plants, sub­jects hav­ing known rea­sons for decep­tion.” As one CIA psy­chol­o­gist told John Marks, author of The Search for the Manchuri­an Can­di­date, a pio­neer­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into these activ­i­ties in the late 1970s, “one did not put a high pre­mi­um on the civ­il rights of a per­son who was trea­son­able to his own coun­try.” One sus­pect­ed dou­ble agent was tak­en to a “thor­ough­ly iso­lat­ed” CIA safe­house in rur­al Ger­many, “far removed from sur­round­ing neigh­bors.” The man was told that he was to under­go a series of rou­tine med­ical and psy­cho­log­i­cal tests as con­di­tion of his employ­ment. Accord­ing to detailed account in the Arti­choke files, the entire oper­a­tion was con­duct­ed on the sec­ond floor of the safe­house, so as not to arouse the curios­i­ty of “the house­hold staff and secu­ri­ty detail.”

    ...

    Though Blue­bird had begun in the CIA’s Secu­ri­ty divi­sion, a con­tretemps at the CIA sta­tion in Frank­furt, Ger­many caused the trans­fer of these CIA researchers to the Covert Oper­a­tions sec­tor of the agency. In Frank­furt, where the CIA was ensconced in the for­mer offices of IG Far­ben, a CIA civil­ian con­trac­tor – an Amer­i­can psy­chol­o­gist named Richard Wendt – was assigned the task of test­ing a cock­tail of THC, Dexedrine and Sec­onal on five peo­ple under inter­ro­ga­tion who were sus­pect­ed of being dou­ble agents or bogus defec­tors. Wendt brought along his mis­tress to the Frank­furt ses­sions and was par­ty­ing hard when his wife arrived. Amid the ensu­ing fra­cas, the CIA’s man fled up a cathe­dral tow­er and threat­ened to throw him­self off it. Amid these secu­ri­ty laps­es, the Secu­ri­ty branch lost con­trol of research, which now passed to Covert Oper­a­tions, and even­tu­al­ly into the hands of Dr. Got­tlieb.

    Fur­nished with $300,000 from Allen Dulles, Got­tlieb start­ed farm­ing out research to char­ac­ters such as Harold Abram­son, Olson’s neme­sis. In 1953, Dr. Abram­son was giv­en $85,000. His grant pro­pos­al list­ed six areas of inves­ti­ga­tion: dis­tur­bance of mem­o­ry, dis­cred­it­ing by aber­rant behav­ior, alter­ation of sex pat­terns, elic­it­ing of infor­ma­tion, sug­gestibil­i­ty and cre­ation of depen­den­cy.

    Anoth­er ear­ly recip­i­ent of Gottlieb’s mon­ey was Dr. Har­ris Isbell, who ran the Cen­ter for Addic­tion Research in Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky. Pass­ing through Isbell’s cen­ter was a cap­tive group of human guinea pigs in the shape of a steady stream of black hero­in addicts. Isbell devel­oped a “points sys­tem” to secure their coop­er­a­tion in his research. These peo­ple, sup­pos­ed­ly being deliv­ered from their drug habits, were award­ed hero­in and mor­phine in amounts rel­a­tive to the nature of a par­tic­u­lar research task. It was the nor­mal habit of Got­tlieb and his CIA col­leagues back in Vir­ginia to test all mate­ri­als on them­selves, but more than 800 dif­fer­ent com­pounds were sent over to Isbell’s shop for the addicts to try first.

    Per­haps the most infa­mous exper­i­ment in Louisville came when Isbell gave LSD to sev­en black male hero­in addicts for sev­en­ty-sev­en straight days. Isbell’s research notes indi­cate “dou­ble,” “triple” and “quadru­ple” as he hiked the dos­es. Not­ing the appar­ent tol­er­ance of the sub­jects to this incred­i­ble reg­i­men of lyser­gic acid, Isbell explained in chill­ing tones that “this type of behav­ior is to be expect­ed in patients of this type.” In anoth­er eerie reprise of the Nazi doc­tors’ Dachau exper­i­ments, Isbell had nine black males strapped to tables, inject­ed with psilo­cy­bin, rec­tal ther­mome­ters insert­ed, lights shown in their eyes to mea­sure pupil dila­tion and joints whacked to test neur­al reac­tions. The mon­ey for Isbell’s research was being fun­neled by the CIA through the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health.

    Isbell also played a key role as the mid­dle­man for the CIA in get­ting sup­plies of nar­cotics and hal­lu­cino­gens from drug com­pa­nies. The Agency had two main con­cerns: the acqui­si­tion of sup­plies and new com­pounds, and veto pow­er over sales of such mate­ri­als to the East­ern bloc. To take one exam­ple, in 1953 the CIA became con­cerned that San­doz, the Swiss phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firm for which Albert Hoff­man had devel­oped LSD, was plan­ning to put the drug on the open mar­ket. So the Agency offered to buy Sandoz’s entire pro­duc­tion run of LSD for $250,000. Ulti­mate­ly, San­doz agreed to sup­ply the Agency with 100 grams a week, deny requests from the Sovi­et Union and Chi­na, and also to fur­nish the Agency with a reg­u­lar list of its LSD cus­tomers.

    In the mean­time, the CIA helped under­write Eli Lilly’s efforts to pro­duce syn­thet­ic LSD. Lil­ly, the Indi­anapo­lis-based drug com­pa­ny, suc­ceed­ed in this endeav­or in 1954. Got­tlieb hailed this tri­umph as a key break­through that would enable the CIA to buy the drug “in ton­nage quan­ti­ties.” Such large amounts were not of course required for inter­ro­ga­tion: Gottlieb’s aim was instead to have the abil­i­ty to inca­pac­i­tate large pop­u­la­tions and armies.

    The MK-ULTRA projects were not lim­it­ed to research on adults. The CIA fund­ed a project at the Children’s Inter­na­tion­al Sum­mer Vil­lage. The objec­tive was to research how chil­dren who spoke dif­fer­ent lan­guages were able to com­mu­ni­cate. But CIA doc­u­ments reveal that an ulte­ri­or motive was the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of promis­ing young for­eign agents. The well-known psy­chi­a­trist Loret­ta Ben­der was also a recip­i­ent of MK-ULTRA funds. The author of the Ben­der-Gestalt used her CIA mon­ey to pump hal­lu­cino­gens, includ­ing LSD, into chil­dren between the ages of sev­en and eleven. Many of the chil­dren were kept on the drugs for weeks at a time. In two cas­es, Dr. Bender’s “treat­ments” last­ed, on and off, more than a year.

    The CIA fun­neled large grants to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa, home to Dr. Louis “Jol­ly” West. West would lat­er go on to head the Vio­lence Project at UCLA, where he and Dr. James Hamil­ton, an OSS col­league of George White and a recip­i­ent of CIA largesse, per­formed psy­cho­log­i­cal research involv­ing behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tions on inmates at Vacav­ille state prison in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia. The MK-ULTRA funds pour­ing into the Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa in the 1950s had a sim­i­lar pur­pose: the study of the struc­ture and dynam­ics of urban youth gangs. These stud­ies indi­cate that from the CIA’s ear­li­est days it has had a keen inter­est in devel­op­ing meth­ods of social con­trol over poten­tial­ly dis­rup­tive ele­ments in Amer­i­can soci­ety.

    Cer­tain­ly, one of the most nefar­i­ous of the MK-ULTRA projects was the “depat­tern­ing” research con­duct­ed by Scot­tish-born psy­chi­a­trist Dr. D. Ewen Cameron. Cameron was not hid­den away in a dark clos­et: he was one of the most esteemed psy­chi­a­trists of his time. He head­ed both the Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric Asso­ci­a­tion and the World Psy­chi­a­try Asso­ci­a­tion. He sat on numer­ous boards and was a con­tribut­ing edi­tor to dozens of jour­nals. He also enjoyed a long rela­tion­ship with US intel­li­gence agen­cies dat­ing back to World War II, hav­ing been brought to Nurem­berg by Allen Dulles to help eval­u­ate Nazi war crim­i­nals, most notably Rudolf Hess. While in Ger­many Cameron also lent his hand to the jour­nals. He also enjoyed a long rela­tion­ship with US intel­li­gence agen­cies dat­ing back to World War II, hav­ing been brought to Nurem­berg by Allen Dulles to help eval­u­ate Nazi war crim­i­nals, most notably Rudolf Hess. While in Ger­many Cameron also lent his hand to the craft­ing of the Nurem­berg Code on med­ical research.

    After the war Cameron devel­oped a near obses­sion with schiz­o­phre­nia. He believed that he could cure the con­di­tion by first induc­ing a state of total amne­sia in his patients and then repro­gram­ming their con­scious­ness through a process he termed “psy­chic dri­ving.” Cameron’s base of oper­a­tions was the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty in Mon­tre­al. Through the ear­ly 1950s, Cameron’s work received the lav­ish sup­port of the Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion. Then in 1957 Cameron found a new stream of mon­ey, Gottlieb’s MK-ULTRA accounts. Over the next four years, the CIA gave Cameron more than $60,000 for his work in con­scious­ness-alter­ation and mind con­trol.

    Using CIA and Rock­e­feller funds, Cameron pio­neered research into the use of sen­so­ry depri­va­tion tech­niques. He once locked a woman in a small white “box” for thir­ty-five days, where she was deprived of all light, smells and sounds. The CIA doc­tors back at Lan­g­ley looked on with some amaze­ment at this research, since its own exper­i­ments with a sim­i­lar sen­so­ry depri­va­tion tank in 1955 had induced severe psy­cho­log­i­cal reac­tions in sub­jects locked up for less than forty hours.

    Cameron used a vari­ety of exot­ic drugs on his patients, once slip­ping LSD to an unsus­pect­ing woman four­teen times over a two-month peri­od. He also inves­ti­gat­ed the prac­ti­cal ben­e­fits of induc­ing paral­y­sis in some of his patients by giv­ing them injec­tions of curare. Lobot­o­mies were anoth­er area of intense inter­est for Dr. Cameron, who instruct­ed his psy­cho-sur­geons to per­form their oper­a­tions using only mild local anes­thet­ics. He want­ed the patients awake so that he could chart the minute changes in their con­scious­ness the deep­er the scalpel blade sliced into the frontal lobe.

    Noth­ing sat­is­fied Cameron quite like the use of elec­tro-shock ther­a­py, which he believed could “wipe the mind clean,” allow­ing him to purge his patients of their dis­ease. To this end Cameron devel­oped a dire treat­ment. First, he put his patients into a pro­longed sleep by inject­ing them with a dai­ly mix­ture of Tho­razine, Nem­bu­tal and Sec­onal. Using injec­tions of amphet­a­mines he brought patients out of their sleep three times a day when they would be forced to endure severe elec­tro-shock treat­ments involv­ing volt­ages forty times more intense than those con­sid­ered safe and ther­a­peu­tic at the time. This treat­ment would some­times last two and half to three months. Then Cameron would begin his “psy­chic dri­ving” exper­i­ment. This bizarre for­ay in behav­ioral con­di­tion­ing con­sist­ed of the patients being assault­ed by ver­bal mes­sages played on a loop-feed tape play­er for six­teen hours a day; the speak­er was often hid­den under a pil­low and was designed to deliv­er the mes­sages sub­lim­i­nal­ly while the patient slept.

    These exper­i­ments were con­duct­ed on more than 150 patients, one of whom was Robert Loguey. Loguey was sent to Cameron by his fam­i­ly doc­tor, who believed that a per­sis­tent pain Loguey com­plained about in his leg was psy­cho­so­mat­ic. Loguey was duly diag­nosed as a schiz­o­phrenic by Cameron, which ren­dered him imme­di­ate­ly avail­able as a guinea pig for Cameron’s CIA project. Loguey recalls that one of the neg­a­tive mes­sages Cameron piped into his room for twen­ty-three straight days was, “You killed your moth­er. You killed your moth­er.” When Loguey went home, he was shocked to dis­cov­er that his moth­er was alive and appar­ent­ly well.

    Lin­da McDon­ald was typ­i­cal of Cameron’s vic­tims, who tend­ed to be women. McDon­ald was a 25-year-old moth­er of five young chil­dren. She was suf­fer­ing from a mod­est case of post-partem depres­sion and chron­ic back pains. Her physi­cian advised her hus­band that he should take Lin­da to see Dr. Cameron at his clin­ic in Mon­tre­al. The doc­tor assured her hus­band that Cameron was “the best there was” and would have her back home and healthy in no time. “So we went,” Lin­da McDon­ald recalled in 1994 on the Cana­di­an Broad­cast­ing Com­pa­ny pro­gram, The Fifth Estate. “My med­ical file even says I took my gui­tar with me. And that was the end of my life.”

    After a few days of obser­va­tion, Cameron had diag­nosed McDon­ald as an acute schiz­o­phrenic and had her trans­ferred to the med­ical tor­ture cham­ber he called “the Sleep Room.” For the next eighty-six days, McDon­ald was kept in a near comatose state by the use of pow­er­ful nar­cotics, and awak­ened only for mas­sive jolts from Cameron’s elec­tro-shock machine. Over that peri­od, McDon­ald received 102 elec­tro-shock treat­ments.

    ...

    Lin­da McDon­ald emerged from Cameron’s care in a near infan­tile con­di­tion. “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.”

    Cameron was eased out of his post at Allan Memo­r­i­al in 1964 and died of a heart attack while moun­tain climb­ing in 1967 at the age of six­ty-six. But that didn’t end the mat­ter. After the MK-ULTRA pro­gram was exposed, McDon­ald, Loguey and six oth­er Cameron vic­tims filed suit against the CIA. The Agency even­tu­al­ly agreed to a set­tle­ment, pay­ing out $750,000 – but the CIA still main­tains it was not cul­pa­ble for Cameron’s actions.

    Anthro­pol­o­gists also got into the MK-ULTRA act. Richard Prince was giv­en CIA mon­ey for research on “folk med­i­cine and faith heal­ing” among the Yoru­ba peo­ple in Nige­ria. Got­tlieb was inter­est­ed in find­ing pos­si­ble new drugs in Nige­ria and in the mind-con­trol tech­niques of Yoru­ba shamans. Mar­garet Mead sat with Ewen Cameron on the edi­to­r­i­al board of a CIA-fund­ed pub­li­ca­tion called the Research in Men­tal Health Newslet­ter, which dis­cussed the use of psy­che­del­ic drugs to induce and treat schiz­o­phre­nia. Mead’s for­mer hus­band, med­ical anthro­pol­o­gist Gre­go­ry Bate­son, was giv­en CIA-pro­cured LSD by Harold Abram­son. Bate­son, in turn, gave some to his friend, the beat poet Allen Gins­berg. It was also Bateson’s stash of LSD that even­tu­al­ly found its way to exper­i­ments being con­duct­ed on stu­dent vol­un­teers by Dr. Leo Hol­lis­ter. One of his sub­jects was a young cre­ative writ­ing stu­dent at Stan­ford, Ken Kesey, who would become the drug’s chief pro­po­nent in the six­ties coun­ter­cul­ture.

    In the ear­ly 1960s, the CIA even helped set up a com­pa­ny to scour the Ama­zon for poten­tial new drugs, the Ama­zon Nat­ur­al Drug Com­pa­ny. This nom­i­nal­ly pri­vate enter­prise was run by an old CIA hand named J. C. King, who had head­ed the CIA’s West­ern Hemi­sphere Divi­sion dur­ing the Bay of Pigs and was offi­cial­ly moved out of the Agency short­ly there­after. Oper­at­ing from his house­boat, King super­vised a net­work of Ama­zon tribes­peo­ple, anthro­pol­o­gists and botanists to bring back new tox­ic com­pounds, includ­ing yage, the pow­er­ful hal­lu­cino­gen used by the Yanomamo.

    In 1954, Got­tlieb and his col­leagues in the Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Divi­sion con­coct­ed a plan to spike punch­bowls with LSD at the Agency’s Christ­mas par­ty, an amaz­ing idea con­sid­er­ing that only a year ear­li­er a sim­i­lar stunt had result­ed in the death of Frank Olson. A more ambi­tious project was described in a CIA memo as fol­lows “Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Divi­sion con­coct­ed a plan to spike punch­bowls with LSD at the Agency’s Christ­mas par­ty, an amaz­ing idea con­sid­er­ing that only a year ear­li­er a sim­i­lar stunt had result­ed in the death of Frank Olson. A more ambi­tious project was described in a CIA memo as fol­lows: “We thought about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of putting some [LSD] in a city water sup­ply and hav­ing cit­i­zens wan­der around in a more or less hap­py state, not ter­ri­bly inter­est­ed in defend­ing them­selves.”

    This was cer­tain­ly a haz­ardous time to be at any pub­lic func­tion attend­ed by Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb and his asso­ciates. In the midst of their MK-ULTRA research­es, the CIA had con­clud­ed that since pris­on­ers had lawyers who might turn ugly, it was prob­a­bly not a good idea to use them as human guinea pigs. Ini­tial­ly they cut down the risk mar­gin by admin­is­ter­ing the var­i­ous hal­lu­cino­gens to them­selves, trip­ping reg­u­lar­ly at CIA safe­hous­es and insti­tu­tions such as the CIA’s wing at George­town and at Dr. Abramson’s floor at Mount Sinai Hos­pi­tal. The trips lacked the con­scious­ness-height­en­ing ambi­tions of the Leary gen­er­a­tion, how­ev­er. As John Marks put it, “the CIA exper­i­menters did not trip for the expe­ri­ence itself, or to get high, or to sam­ple new real­i­ties. They were test­ing a weapon; for their pur­pos­es, they might as well have been in a bal­lis­tics lab.” But the Olson dis­as­ter reduced their enthu­si­asm for self-test­ing, and so did anoth­er mishap that occurred when an unwit­ting CIA offi­cer had a dose of LSD slipped into his cof­fee at the Agency’s offices on the Mall in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The man dashed out the build­ing, across the street, past the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment and the Lin­coln Memo­r­i­al, hal­lu­ci­nat­ing that he was beset by mon­sters with huge eyes. Hot­ly pur­sued by CIA col­leagues, he fled across a bridge over the Potomac and was final­ly cor­nered, crouch­ing in a fetal posi­tion near Arling­ton Nation­al Ceme­tery.”

    After these mishaps, Got­tlieb became per­suad­ed that the best course was sim­ply to test the hal­lu­cino­gens on a ran­dom basis at pub­lic gath­er­ings, or to pick out street peo­ple and induce them to swal­low a dram of what­ev­er potion was under review that day.

    In late 1953, Got­tlieb took his black bag to Europe, where at a polit­i­cal ral­ly he primed the water glass of a speak­er whom the CIA want­ed to ren­der ridicu­lous. The psy­cho-sab­o­tage was appar­ent­ly a rous­ing suc­cess, and great­ly encour­aged Got­tlieb with the poten­tial for sim­i­lar dos­ing of charis­mat­ic left fig­ures around the world. Got­tlieb then gave the green light for CIA sta­tion offi­cers in Mani­la and Atsu­gi, Japan, to begin the oper­a­tional use of LSD.

    For con­tin­ued exper­i­men­ta­tion, Got­tlieb now decid­ed to begin wide­spread test­ing on the urban poor: street peo­ple, pros­ti­tutes and oth­er unde­sir­ables. He had two rea­sons: they were unlike­ly to com­plain, and there was, he believed, a high­er poten­tial that these peo­ple could han­dle unto­ward side-effects. To over­see this oper­a­tion, Got­tlieb turned to George Hunter White, whom we last encoun­tered test­ing the mar­i­jua­na truth drug on Mafia mus­cle man Augus­to Del Gra­cio. White had now gone back to work at the Nar­cotics Bureau in New York. He was a some­what bizarre-look­ing fig­ure, 200 pounds, 5‑feet-7-inch­es tall and bald. White claimed he was such an expert in phys­i­cal com­bat that he had killed a Japan­ese agent in a hand-to-hand encounter. He was also a lusty drinker with a pref­er­ence for straight gin.

    Got­tlieb asked White to estab­lish a CIA safe­house in New York, invite suit­able sub­jects to par­ty there, drug them covert­ly and then review their behav­ior. White rent­ed two adjoin­ing apart­ments at 81 Bed­ford Street in Green­wich Vil­lage. The coop­er­a­tion of the Nar­cotics Bureau was secured by a deal where­by the bureau could use the apart­ments for drug stings dur­ing CIA down time. White was guar­an­teed an unceas­ing flow of drink, all of it paid for by Got­tlieb. The safe­house became a work­ing lab for the CIA’s Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Divi­sion, fit­ted out with two-way mir­rors, lis­ten­ing devices and con­cealed cam­eras. Indeed, the house became a mod­el for sub­se­quent CIA inter­ro­ga­tion facil­i­ties.

    From the fall of 1953 to the late spring of the fol­low­ing year, White host­ed a string of par­ties, invit­ing a stream of unsus­pect­ing CIA sub­jects to Bed­ford Street, spik­ing their food and drink with chem­i­cals such as sodi­um pen­tothal, Nem­bu­tal, THC and, of course, what White referred to as “the LSD sur­prise.” White’s imme­di­ate super­vi­sor in New York was Richard Lash­brook, the man who shared Frank Olson’s room on the latter’s last night on earth.

    ...

    Con­nois­seurs of CIA denials should study Lashbrook’s per­for­mance in 1977, when he was ques­tioned dur­ing Ted Kennedy’s sen­a­to­r­i­al probe. Despite the fact that Kennedy’s sub­com­mit­tee had White’s records, which doc­u­ment­ed Lashbrook’s vis­its to Bed­ford Street, Lash­brook received no chal­lenge from the sub­com­mit­tee when he insist­ed that he had nev­er gone any­where near the CIA safe­house. And not only did the sub­com­mit­tee have White’s diary, it also had Lashbrook’s sig­na­ture on receipts for White’s sub­stan­tial expens­es in New York.

    In 1955 the Nar­cotics Bureau trans­ferred White to San Fran­cis­co. This didn’t end his role as an agent for MK-ULTRA. He sim­ply con­tin­ued his research­es in Bagh­dad-by-the-Bay. He rent­ed a new safe­house on Tele­graph Hill and had it wired with state-of-the-art equip­ment from Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices. This time White’s sur­veil­lance post was a small bath­room, with a two-way mir­ror allow­ing him to peer into the main room.

    White would sit on the lava­to­ry, mar­ti­ni in hand, watch­ing pros­ti­tutes give CIA design­er drugs to their unsus­pect­ing clients. White called this enter­prise Oper­a­tion Mid­night Cli­max. He assem­bled a string of whores, many of them black hero­in addicts whom he paid in drugs, to lure their clients to the CIA-spon­sored drug and sex ses­sions. The women, who were known by the San Fran­cis­co police as George’s Girls, were pro­tect­ed from arrest.

    To fur­ther the sci­en­tif­ic work, Got­tlieb sent out the Agency’s chief psy­chol­o­gist, John Git­tinger, to eval­u­ate the pros­ti­tutes through per­son­al­i­ty tests and, since part of the research was to eval­u­ate the use of sex as a means of elic­it­ing infor­ma­tion, to instruct the women in inter­view­ing tech­niques. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, it was soon dis­cov­ered that the clients were more like­ly to talk after sex­u­al activ­i­ty. The con­tent of their con­ver­sa­tions often cen­tered on fam­i­ly and work prob­lems – some­thing the pros­ti­tutes prob­a­bly could have told the CIA with­out any invest­ment of tax­pay­er mon­ey.

    All of these San Fran­cis­co ses­sions were filmed and tape-record­ed, in anoth­er eerie par­al­lel with Nazi research: Himm­ler had rec­om­mend­ed to the doc­tors con­duct­ing the Dachau exper­i­ments in cold water immer­sion that per­haps the sub­jects be revived by “ani­mal warmth,” mean­ing sex with pros­ti­tutes held in a spe­cial build­ing at Dachau. The ther­a­peu­tic ses­sions were filmed and passed along for view­ing by Himm­ler.

    It wasn’t long before the CIA researchers car­ried their inves­ti­ga­tions beyond the safe­house on Tele­graph Hill. CIA men would often go down to the Ten­der­loin dis­trict, vis­it bars and slip hal­lu­cino­gens into patrons’ drinks. They would also hand out doc­tored cig­a­rettes. Hun­dreds of peo­ple were thus unknow­ing­ly dosed, and there is no way of know­ing how many psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal trau­mas the CIA was respon­si­ble for. The CIA did know of sev­er­al test vic­tims who took them­selves or were tak­en to hos­pi­tals in the San Fran­cis­co area. But it nev­er assist­ed in diag­no­sis or paid any hos­pi­tal bills, or in any oth­er way took the slight­est respon­si­bil­i­ty for what it had done. In fact, it was in the Agency’s self-inter­est that these peo­ple be diag­nosed as drug addicts or as psy­chotics. Some of the drugs being thus furtive­ly admin­is­tered were extreme­ly dan­ger­ous. One of the men in the CIA’s Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Divi­sion lat­er told Marks, “If we were scared enough of a drug not to try it on our­selves we sent it to San Fran­cis­co.”

    The CIA men orga­nized a week­end par­ty at anoth­er Agency safe­house in Marin Coun­ty, north of San Fran­cis­co. The plan was to invite a crowd of par­ty-goers and then spray the rooms with an aerosol for­mu­la­tion of LSD con­coct­ed in Gottlieb’s shop. But it turned out to be an exceed­ing­ly hot day and the par­ty-goers kept the win­dows open, allow­ing breezes off the Pacif­ic to swirl through the room, thus dis­pers­ing the LSD. In frus­tra­tion, Git­tinger, the CIA psy­chol­o­gist, locked him­self in the bath­room, sprayed furi­ous­ly and inhaled as deeply as pos­si­ble.

    The LSD safe­house pro­gram con­tin­ued in both New York and San Fran­cis­co until 1963, when the CIA’s new Inspec­tor Gen­er­al, John Ear­man, stum­bled across the enter­prise. Ear­man was par­tic­u­lar­ly galled by the item­ized list of expens­es, includ­ing $44 for a tele­scope, $1,000 for a few days of White’s liquor bill and $31 to pay off a local lady whose car White had rammed. Ear­man probed deep­er, unearthing what he swift­ly con­clud­ed was an ille­gal, indeed crim­i­nal, ven­ture. He gath­ered his find­ings and con­front­ed Got­tlieb and Helms.

    Helms knew he was in a spot of trou­ble. He had not told new agency direc­tor John McCone about the pro­gram, and he dou­ble-crossed Ear­man on a promise to do so. Even­tu­al­ly Ear­man wrote a 24-page report for McCone in which he harsh­ly denounced the drug-test­ing pro­gram, which he said “put the rights and inter­ests of all Amer­i­cans in jeop­ardy.” Helms and Got­tlieb fierce­ly defend­ed MK-ULTRA to McCone, with Helms rais­ing the spec­tre of a Sovi­et chem­i­cal gap, claim­ing that wide­spread test­ing was nec­es­sary to keep pace with Sovi­et advances. Helms told McCone that “pos­i­tive oper­a­tional capac­i­ty to use drugs is dimin­ish­ing owing to a lack of real­is­tic test­ing.”

    McCone put a freeze on CIA-spon­sored test­ing at the safe-hous­es, but they remained open for George White’s use – with the CIA pay­ing the bills – until 1966, when White retired. As he head­ed off toward even­tu­al death from cir­rho­sis of the liv­er, White wrote an envoi to his old spon­sor Sid­ney Got­tlieb: “I toiled whole­heart­ed­ly in the vine­yards because it was fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blood­ed Amer­i­can boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape and pil­lage with the sanc­tion and bid­ding of the All High­est.”

    Gottlieb’s col­leagues at Army Intel­li­gence were con­duct­ing their own exper­i­ments with LSD, called Oper­a­tion Third Chance. In 1961, James Thorn­well, a black US Army sergeant who worked at a NATO office in Orleans, France, came under sus­pi­cion of steal­ing clas­si­fied doc­u­ments. He was inter­ro­gat­ed, hyp­no­tized, and giv­en a poly­graph and truth serum. All these attempts to coerce a con­fes­sion from him failed, but the Army Intel­li­gence men remained con­vinced of his guilt. They even con­coct­ed a bizarre sce­nario involv­ing the French police, who pulled over Thornwell’s car, drew their guns and opened fire as he sped away.

    The offi­cers also told col­leagues of Thorn­well that the black man had been sleep­ing with their wives and girl­friends: sev­er­al of these men beat up Thorn­well in a jeal­ous rage. Even­tu­al­ly Thorn­well turned to the intel­li­gence offi­cers for help in escap­ing this harass­ment. They duly offered to put the sergeant in pro­tec­tive cus­tody in an aban­doned mill­house. There Thorn­well was secret­ly giv­en LSD over a peri­od of sev­er­al days by army and CIA inter­roga­tors, dur­ing which he was forced to under­go extreme­ly aggres­sive ques­tion­ing, replete with racial slurs. At one point his inter­roga­tors threat­ened “to extend the state indef­i­nite­ly, even to a per­ma­nent con­di­tion of insan­i­ty.” They con­sum­mat­ed this promise. Thorn­well expe­ri­enced a major men­tal cri­sis from which he nev­er recov­ered. In 1982 he was found drowned in his swim­ming pool in Mary­land. There was nev­er any evi­dence that Thorn­well had any­thing to do with the miss­ing NATO papers.

    MK-ULTRA was nev­er designed to be pure research. It was always intend­ed as an oper­a­tional pro­gram, and by the ear­ly 1960s these tech­niques were being ful­ly deployed in the field, some­times in sit­u­a­tions so vile that they rivaled in evil the efforts of the Nazi sci­en­tists in Ger­man con­cen­tra­tion camps. Well-known is the jour­ney of Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb to the Con­go, where his lit­tle black bag held an Agency-devel­oped biotox­in sched­uled for Patrice Lumumba’s tooth­brush. Less well-known is the hand­ker­chief laced with bot­u­linum that was to sent to an Iraqi colonel. Then there are the end­less potions direct­ed at Fidel Cas­tro, from the LSD the Agency want­ed to spray in his radio booth to the poi­so­nous foun­tain pen intend­ed for Cas­tro that was hand­ed by a CIA man to Rolan­do Cubela in Paris on Novem­ber 22, 1963.

    And even less well remem­bered is one mis­sion in the Agency’s Phoenix oper­a­tion in Viet­nam in the late 1960s. In July 1968 a team of CIA psy­chol­o­gists set up shop at Bien Hoa Prison out­side Saigon, where NLF sus­pects were being held after Phoenix Pro­gram round-ups. The CIA had become increas­ing­ly frus­trat­ed with its inabil­i­ty to break down sus­pect­ed NLF lead­ers by using tra­di­tion­al means of inter­ro­ga­tion and tor­ture. They had doped up NLF offi­cers with LSD, hop­ing that by induc­ing irra­tional behav­ior, the seem­ing­ly unbreak­able sol­i­dar­i­ty of their cap­tives could be bro­ken and that the oth­er inmates would then begin to talk. These exper­i­ments end­ed in fail­ure, leav­ing the pris­on­ers to became lit­tle more than lab mate­r­i­al for exper­i­ments.

    In one such exper­i­ment, three pris­on­ers were anaes­thetized; their skulls were then opened and elec­trodes were implant­ed by CIA doc­tors into dif­fer­ent parts of their brains. The pris­on­ers were revived, placed in a room with knives and the elec­trodes in the brains acti­vat­ed by the CIA psy­chi­a­trists who were covert­ly observ­ing them. The hope was that they could be prompt­ed in this man­ner to attack each oth­er. The exper­i­ment failed. The elec­trodes were removed, the patients were shot and their bod­ies burned. This rivaled any­thing in Dachau.

    The CIA’s drug test­ing and adven­tures into mind con­trol became the sub­ject of four ground-break­ing book-length inves­ti­ga­tions: John Marks’s The Search for the Manchuri­an Can­di­date (1979), Wal­ter Bowart’s Oper­a­tion Mind Con­trol (1978), Alan Scheflin’s The Mind Manip­u­la­tors (1978) and Mar­tin Lee and Bruce Schlain’s Acid Dreams (1985). But aside from these pio­neer­ing works, how did the Amer­i­can press and his­to­ri­ans of the CIA deal with this aston­ish­ing saga, in which a man such as Olson lost his life, thou­sands of peo­ple were invol­un­tar­i­ly and unknow­ing­ly dosed with drugs so dan­ger­ous or untest­ed that the CIA’s own chemists dared not try them? A sto­ry in which for more than twen­ty years the CIA paid for such ille­gal activ­i­ties, pro­tect­ed crim­i­nals from arrest, let oth­ers suf­fer with­out inter­ven­tion and tried to destroy all evi­dence of its crimes? When the saga did unfold before the Kennedy hear­ings in 1977, the Wash­ing­ton Post offered this lacon­ic and dis­mis­sive head­line, “The Gang that Couldn’t Spray Straight,” accom­pa­nied by a triv­ial sto­ry “designed to down­play the whole MK-ULTRA scan­dal. Tom Pow­ers, the biog­ra­ph­er of MK-ULTRA’s patron and pro­tec­tor, Richard Helms, skips over the pro­gram in his 350-page book The Man Who Kept the Secrets.

    “I thought in 1978 when our books were appear­ing, when we were doing media work all over the world, that we would final­ly get the sto­ry out, the vaults would be cleansed, the vic­tims would learn their iden­ti­ties, the sto­ry would become part of his­to­ry, and the peo­ple who had been injured could seek rec­om­pense,” recalled Alan Scheflin. “Instead, what hap­pened was the great void. As soon as the sto­ry hit the paper it was yesterday’s news, and we wait­ed and wait­ed for real con­gres­sion­al hear­ings and we wait­ed for the lists of peo­ple who were vic­tims to be noti­fied. And none of that hap­pened.”

    This essay is adapt­ed from White­out: the CIA, Drugs and the Press.

    ———-

    “The CIA’s House of Hor­rors: the Abom­inable Dr. Got­tlieb” by Jef­frey St. Clair and Alexan­der Cock­burn; Counter Punch; 11/17/2017

    The CIA mem­os of the time are filled with com­plaints about the dif­fi­cul­ties of find­ing suit­able human sub­jects for exper­i­men­tal research. “Human sub­jects” were evoked in the tact­ful phrase “unique research mate­r­i­al.” At first the CIA exper­i­ment­ed most­ly on pris­on­ers, drug addicts and ter­mi­nal­ly sick des­ti­tutes. Details are scanty because Helms ordered all CIA records on the pro­grams destroyed, but much of the “unique research mate­r­i­al” came in the form of pris­on­ers at California’s Vacav­ille prison, the Geor­gia state pen­i­ten­tiary and the Ten­nessee state prison sys­tem.. There was a prob­lem, how­ev­er. In these instances a cer­tain mod­icum of informed con­sent was often required. Pris­on­ers could get reduced sen­tences for agree­ing to par­tic­i­pate in the exper­i­ments. Drug addicts would get cash, drugs or treat­ment. Informed con­sent was often a con­di­tion in any treat­ment of the ter­mi­nal­ly ill poor. For the CIA researchers any type of informed con­sent was anti­thet­i­cal to their research task, which was to make unwill­ing sub­jects talk and covert­ly elic­it coop­er­a­tion.

    An urgent need for human test sub­jects that have no idea they are being test­ed on and can be dis­posed of like human refuse if need­ed. It’s one the con­sis­tent themes we see through­out this his­to­ry. Eth­i­cal exper­i­men­ta­tion sim­ply was­n’t an option, in the minds of the peo­ple run­ning this pro­gram. Nor was eth­i­cal exper­i­men­ta­tion real­ly seen as a pri­or­i­ty, appar­ent­ly, with a hys­ter­i­cal notion of a brain­wash­ing gap between the US and Sovi­ets under­pin­ning many of the jus­ti­fi­ca­tions at the time. Inci­dents like the tri­al of Hun­gar­i­an Roman Catholic Car­di­nal Josef Mind­szen­ty in 1949. Recall how Mind­szen­ty was rep­re­sent­ed in that tri­al by Luis Kut­ner, the human rights lawyer who hap­pened to be close to Jack Ruby.

    As we’ve also seen, the nar­ra­tive about Sovi­et brain­wash­ing was based heav­i­ly on the asser­tion that US POWs in Korea were being brain­washed into admit­ting their par­tic­i­pa­tion in var­i­ous war crimes includ­ing bio­log­i­cal war­fare. That’s despite the fact that it does indeed appear that the US was engaged in covert bio­log­i­cal war­fare involv­ing tech­niques devel­oped from the work of the many Unit 731 Japan­ese bio­log­i­cal war­fare sci­en­tists now work­ing for the US, which obvi­ous­ly could­n’t be admit­ted at the time (or ever, real­ly, to this day). Hence, the need to cov­er up the US’s bio­log­i­cal war­fare in Korea became the under­ly­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty excuse for MKUl­tra. It was like war crimes on top of war crimes. And as this arti­cle describes, the pro­gram had the avid back­ing of Richard Helms — then the deputy direc­tor of covert oper­a­tions — the whole time:

    ...
    With­in Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices MK-ULTRA projects came under the con­trol of the Chem­i­cal Divi­sion, head­ed from 1951 to 1956 by Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb, a New York Jew who received his doc­tor­ate in chem­istry from Cal­i­for­nia Tech. Born with a club­foot and afflict­ed with a severe stam­mer, Got­tlieb pushed him­self with unremit­ting inten­si­ty. Despite his phys­i­cal afflic­tion he was an ardent square dancer and expo­nent of the pol­ka, caper­ing across many a dance floor and drag­ging vis­it­ing psy­chi­a­trists and chemists on terp­si­chore­an trysts where appalling plans of mind con­trol were rumi­nat­ed amidst the blare of the bands.

    ...

    As was demon­strat­ed in the Olson affair, Got­tlieb had pow­er­ful friends inside the Agency, notably Richard Helms, at that time deputy direc­tor for covert oper­a­tions. MK-ULTRA was cre­at­ed on April 13, 1953, when CIA direc­tor Allen Dulles approved Helms’s pro­pos­al to devel­op the “covert use” of bio­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal mate­ri­als. The code-name ULTRA may have been an echo from Helms’s and Dulles’s OSS days, when ULTRA (the break­ing of the pri­ma­ry Ger­man code) rep­re­sent­ed one of the biggest secrets of World War II.

    Got­tlieb him­self said that the cre­ation of MK-ULTRA was inspired by reports of mind-con­trol work in the Sovi­et Union and Chi­na. He defined the mis­sion as an inves­ti­ga­tion into how indi­vid­ual behav­ior could be “altered through covert means.” He gave this descrip­tion in 1977 dur­ing the Kennedy hear­ings, tes­ti­fy­ing via remote speak­er from anoth­er room. “It was felt to be manda­to­ry,” Got­tlieb went on, “and of the utmost urgency for our intel­li­gence orga­ni­za­tion to estab­lish what was pos­si­ble in this field.”

    The CIA had fol­lowed the tri­al of the Hun­gar­i­an Roman Catholic Car­di­nal Josef Mind­szen­ty in Budapest in 1949 and con­clud­ed that the Cardinal’s ulti­mate con­fes­sion had been manip­u­lat­ed through “some unknown force.” Ini­tial­ly the belief was that Mind­szen­ty had been hyp­no­tized, and intrigued CIA offi­cers con­jec­tured that they might use the same tech­niques on peo­ple they were inter­ro­gat­ing. The CIA’s Office of Secu­ri­ty, head­ed at the time by Sheffield Edwards, devel­oped a hyp­no­sis project called Blue­bird, whose object was to get an indi­vid­ual “to do our bid­ding against his will and even against such fun­da­men­tal laws of nature as self-preser­va­tion.”

    The first Blue­bird oper­a­tions were con­duct­ed in Japan in Octo­ber 1950 and were report­ed­ly wit­nessed by Richard Helms. Twen­ty-five North Kore­an pris­on­ers of war were giv­en alter­nat­ing dos­es of depres­sants and stim­u­lants. The POWs were shot up with bar­bi­tu­rates, allow­ing them to go to sleep, then abrupt­ly awok­en with injec­tions of amphet­a­mines, hyp­no­tized, then ques­tioned. This oper­a­tion was in total con­tra­ven­tion of inter­na­tion­al pro­to­cols on the treat­ment of POWs. These Blue­bird inter­ro­ga­tions con­tin­ued through­out the Kore­an War.

    Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, US POWs held in North Korea were being parad­ed by their cap­tors, alleg­ing that the US was using chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal agents against the Kore­ans and the Chi­nese. An inter­na­tion­al com­mis­sion in 1952 con­clud­ed that the charges had mer­it. But the CIA’s response was to leak to favored reporters at Time, the Chica­go Tri­bune, and the Mia­mi Her­ald sto­ries to the effect that the Amer­i­can POWs had been brain­washed by their Com­mu­nist cap­tors. This had the dou­ble util­i­ty of squelch­ing the charges of germ war­fare and also of jus­ti­fy­ing the Blue­bird pro­gram.
    ...

    But it was­n’t just a need to test on unsus­pect­ing sub­jects. The tests them­selves were obvi­ous­ly tor­ture and human rights vio­la­tions. Like elec­tro-shock ‘ther­a­py’ meant to induce excru­ci­at­ing pain or lobot­o­mies. And that brings us to Dr. Ewen Cameron, who came to rely on both of these tech­niques as sta­ples of his research. Research that includ­ed not just pris­on­ers in the US at places like Atti­ca but also indige­nous chil­dren in Cana­da. Cameron was head of the Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric Asso­ci­a­tion and the World Psy­chi­a­try Asso­ci­a­tion dur­ing this peri­od, with a long rela­tion­ship with US intel­li­gence. Cameron was even brought to Nurem­berg by Allen Dulles to eval­u­ate Nazi war crim­i­nals and help craft the Nurem­berg Code on med­ical research.

    And note who else we find deeply involved in this of research on pris­on­ers: Dr Louis “Jol­ly” West. And, lo and behold, it turns out West was Jack Ruby’s psy­chol­o­gist. It was West who assert­ed that Ruby shot Oswald because he had a brief ‘psy­chomo­tor epilep­tic event’ in the base­ment of the Dal­las jail. So one of the chief MKUL­tra psy­chol­o­gists — a guy who was focused for years on tech­niques for devel­op­ing behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion tech­niques — is the same guy who gave the world the joke cov­er up excuse for Ruby’s actions. Because of course that’s how this played out:

    ...
    The CIA’s Blue­bird project, which inves­ti­gat­ed hyp­no­sis and oth­er tech­niques in the ear­ly 1950s, was head­ed by Morse Allen, a vet­er­an of Naval Intel­li­gence and a spe­cial­ist in tech­niques of inter­ro­ga­tion. Crim­i­nol­o­gists revere Allen as a pio­neer in the use of the poly­graph. Allen even­tu­al­ly became dis­ap­point­ed with the research into hyp­no­sis, and devel­oped a keen inter­est in the more robust fields of elec­tro-shock ther­a­py and psy­cho-surgery.

    One of the CIA’s first grants to an out­side con­trac­tor was to a psy­chi­a­trist who claimed that he could use elec­tro-shock ther­a­py to pro­duce a state of total amne­sia “or excru­ci­at­ing pain.” Anoth­er $100,000 CIA grant went to a neu­rol­o­gist who vouched for lobot­o­mies and oth­er types of brain surgery as use­ful tools in the art of inter­ro­ga­tion. Both of these tech­niques would lat­er become sta­ples of the oper­a­tions of one of MK-ULTRA’s most infa­mous con­trac­tors, Dr. D. Ewen Cameron.

    ...

    The MK-ULTRA projects were not lim­it­ed to research on adults. The CIA fund­ed a project at the Children’s Inter­na­tion­al Sum­mer Vil­lage. The objec­tive was to research how chil­dren who spoke dif­fer­ent lan­guages were able to com­mu­ni­cate. But CIA doc­u­ments reveal that an ulte­ri­or motive was the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of promis­ing young for­eign agents. The well-known psy­chi­a­trist Loret­ta Ben­der was also a recip­i­ent of MK-ULTRA funds. The author of the Ben­der-Gestalt used her CIA mon­ey to pump hal­lu­cino­gens, includ­ing LSD, into chil­dren between the ages of sev­en and eleven. Many of the chil­dren were kept on the drugs for weeks at a time. In two cas­es, Dr. Bender’s “treat­ments” last­ed, on and off, more than a year.

    The CIA fun­neled large grants to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa, home to Dr. Louis “Jol­ly” West. West would lat­er go on to head the Vio­lence Project at UCLA, where he and Dr. James Hamil­ton, an OSS col­league of George White and a recip­i­ent of CIA largesse, per­formed psy­cho­log­i­cal research involv­ing behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tions on inmates at Vacav­ille state prison in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia. The MK-ULTRA funds pour­ing into the Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa in the 1950s had a sim­i­lar pur­pose: the study of the struc­ture and dynam­ics of urban youth gangs. These stud­ies indi­cate that from the CIA’s ear­li­est days it has had a keen inter­est in devel­op­ing meth­ods of social con­trol over poten­tial­ly dis­rup­tive ele­ments in Amer­i­can soci­ety.

    Cer­tain­ly, one of the most nefar­i­ous of the MK-ULTRA projects was the “depat­tern­ing” research con­duct­ed by Scot­tish-born psy­chi­a­trist Dr. D. Ewen Cameron. Cameron was not hid­den away in a dark clos­et: he was one of the most esteemed psy­chi­a­trists of his time. He head­ed both the Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric Asso­ci­a­tion and the World Psy­chi­a­try Asso­ci­a­tion. He sat on numer­ous boards and was a con­tribut­ing edi­tor to dozens of jour­nals. He also enjoyed a long rela­tion­ship with US intel­li­gence agen­cies dat­ing back to World War II, hav­ing been brought to Nurem­berg by Allen Dulles to help eval­u­ate Nazi war crim­i­nals, most notably Rudolf Hess. While in Ger­many Cameron also lent his hand to the jour­nals. He also enjoyed a long rela­tion­ship with US intel­li­gence agen­cies dat­ing back to World War II, hav­ing been brought to Nurem­berg by Allen Dulles to help eval­u­ate Nazi war crim­i­nals, most notably Rudolf Hess. While in Ger­many Cameron also lent his hand to the craft­ing of the Nurem­berg Code on med­ical research.

    After the war Cameron devel­oped a near obses­sion with schiz­o­phre­nia. He believed that he could cure the con­di­tion by first induc­ing a state of total amne­sia in his patients and then repro­gram­ming their con­scious­ness through a process he termed “psy­chic dri­ving.” Cameron’s base of oper­a­tions was the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty in Mon­tre­al. Through the ear­ly 1950s, Cameron’s work received the lav­ish sup­port of the Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion. Then in 1957 Cameron found a new stream of mon­ey, Gottlieb’s MK-ULTRA accounts. Over the next four years, the CIA gave Cameron more than $60,000 for his work in con­scious­ness-alter­ation and mind con­trol.

    Using CIA and Rock­e­feller funds, Cameron pio­neered research into the use of sen­so­ry depri­va­tion tech­niques. He once locked a woman in a small white “box” for thir­ty-five days, where she was deprived of all light, smells and sounds. The CIA doc­tors back at Lan­g­ley looked on with some amaze­ment at this research, since its own exper­i­ments with a sim­i­lar sen­so­ry depri­va­tion tank in 1955 had induced severe psy­cho­log­i­cal reac­tions in sub­jects locked up for less than forty hours.

    Cameron used a vari­ety of exot­ic drugs on his patients, once slip­ping LSD to an unsus­pect­ing woman four­teen times over a two-month peri­od. He also inves­ti­gat­ed the prac­ti­cal ben­e­fits of induc­ing paral­y­sis in some of his patients by giv­ing them injec­tions of curare. Lobot­o­mies were anoth­er area of intense inter­est for Dr. Cameron, who instruct­ed his psy­cho-sur­geons to per­form their oper­a­tions using only mild local anes­thet­ics. He want­ed the patients awake so that he could chart the minute changes in their con­scious­ness the deep­er the scalpel blade sliced into the frontal lobe.

    Noth­ing sat­is­fied Cameron quite like the use of elec­tro-shock ther­a­py, which he believed could “wipe the mind clean,” allow­ing him to purge his patients of their dis­ease. To this end Cameron devel­oped a dire treat­ment. First, he put his patients into a pro­longed sleep by inject­ing them with a dai­ly mix­ture of Tho­razine, Nem­bu­tal and Sec­onal. Using injec­tions of amphet­a­mines he brought patients out of their sleep three times a day when they would be forced to endure severe elec­tro-shock treat­ments involv­ing volt­ages forty times more intense than those con­sid­ered safe and ther­a­peu­tic at the time. This treat­ment would some­times last two and half to three months. Then Cameron would begin his “psy­chic dri­ving” exper­i­ment. This bizarre for­ay in behav­ioral con­di­tion­ing con­sist­ed of the patients being assault­ed by ver­bal mes­sages played on a loop-feed tape play­er for six­teen hours a day; the speak­er was often hid­den under a pil­low and was designed to deliv­er the mes­sages sub­lim­i­nal­ly while the patient slept.
    ...

    Final­ly, in case it was­n’t entire­ly clear that the cre­ation of invol­un­tary assas­sins was a major part of this research, note the war crimes com­mit­ted as a part of Oper­a­tion Phoenix in Viet­nam: implant­i­ng elec­trodes in pris­on­ers in an attempt to see if they could be prompt­ed to kill each oth­er. Fol­lowed up with exe­cu­tions. It’s the kind of cold bru­tal­i­ty that under­scores just how seri­ous of an inter­est there was in this type of research:

    ...
    MK-ULTRA was nev­er designed to be pure research. It was always intend­ed as an oper­a­tional pro­gram, and by the ear­ly 1960s these tech­niques were being ful­ly deployed in the field, some­times in sit­u­a­tions so vile that they rivaled in evil the efforts of the Nazi sci­en­tists in Ger­man con­cen­tra­tion camps. Well-known is the jour­ney of Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb to the Con­go, where his lit­tle black bag held an Agency-devel­oped biotox­in sched­uled for Patrice Lumumba’s tooth­brush. Less well-known is the hand­ker­chief laced with bot­u­linum that was to sent to an Iraqi colonel. Then there are the end­less potions direct­ed at Fidel Cas­tro, from the LSD the Agency want­ed to spray in his radio booth to the poi­so­nous foun­tain pen intend­ed for Cas­tro that was hand­ed by a CIA man to Rolan­do Cubela in Paris on Novem­ber 22, 1963.

    And even less well remem­bered is one mis­sion in the Agency’s Phoenix oper­a­tion in Viet­nam in the late 1960s. In July 1968 a team of CIA psy­chol­o­gists set up shop at Bien Hoa Prison out­side Saigon, where NLF sus­pects were being held after Phoenix Pro­gram round-ups. The CIA had become increas­ing­ly frus­trat­ed with its inabil­i­ty to break down sus­pect­ed NLF lead­ers by using tra­di­tion­al means of inter­ro­ga­tion and tor­ture. They had doped up NLF offi­cers with LSD, hop­ing that by induc­ing irra­tional behav­ior, the seem­ing­ly unbreak­able sol­i­dar­i­ty of their cap­tives could be bro­ken and that the oth­er inmates would then begin to talk. These exper­i­ments end­ed in fail­ure, leav­ing the pris­on­ers to became lit­tle more than lab mate­r­i­al for exper­i­ments.

    In one such exper­i­ment, three pris­on­ers were anaes­thetized; their skulls were then opened and elec­trodes were implant­ed by CIA doc­tors into dif­fer­ent parts of their brains. The pris­on­ers were revived, placed in a room with knives and the elec­trodes in the brains acti­vat­ed by the CIA psy­chi­a­trists who were covert­ly observ­ing them. The hope was that they could be prompt­ed in this man­ner to attack each oth­er. The exper­i­ment failed. The elec­trodes were removed, the patients were shot and their bod­ies burned. This rivaled any­thing in Dachau.
    ...

    Let’s at least be thank­ful these grotesque exper­i­ments failed. We’d prob­a­bly all have manda­to­ry chips in our brains by now had they worked *gulp*.

    But let’s also be thank­ful that we even know about these exper­i­ments at all. It’s not like the CIA or mil­i­tary want­ed to share this with the pub­lic. It had to be dragged out into the light. And it’s very hard to imag­ine that every­thing that should have been dragged into the light real­ly has by now. The more we learn, the larg­er this pro­gram appears to have actu­al­ly been at the time, scat­tered between dozens of insti­tu­tions around the world. There’s clear­ly still so much more to learn. That’s part of why it would be a pret­ty mas­sive shame if this decades-long inves­ti­ga­tion into what actu­al­ly hap­pened ulti­mate­ly end­ed with the phys­i­cal destruc­tion of unmarked child-graves at a hos­pi­tal. A mas­sive shame that would also very on brand for this sto­ry.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 21, 2023, 5:46 pm
  9. So what exact­ly did the CIA’s teams of Phoenix Pro­gram psy­chol­o­gists actu­al­ly learn in those grue­some behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion exper­i­ments con­duct­ed on Viet­namese POWs? Those would be the exper­i­ments where they implant elec­trodes in the brains of pris­on­ers capa­ble of stim­u­lat­ing parts of the brain, then placed them in a room with knives, and wait­ed to see if they could get the pris­on­ers to vio­lent­ly attack each oth­er. We’re told that the exper­i­ments were a fail­ure and the CIA sim­ply had the pris­on­ers shot and cre­mat­ed. And while it’s cer­tain­ly pos­si­ble that the exper­i­ments real­ly did result in fail­ure, we have to ask: what did they learn? Was it real­ly a com­plete fail­ure?

    Because as the fol­low­ing arti­cle reminds us, what­ev­er knowl­edge the CIA may have been learned about the sci­ence of behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion via brain stim­u­la­tion dur­ing the course of its MKUl­tra-relat­ed exper­i­ments is now on the cusp of become shock­ing­ly applic­a­ble knowl­edge. Applic­a­ble on a shock­ing­ly large scale thanks to the ongo­ing devel­op­ments in brain-to-com­put­er-inter­face (BCI) tech­nol­o­gy. It’s a tech­nol­o­gy that’s famous­ly become asso­ci­at­ed with Elon Musk’s Neu­ralink. As Musk has tried to spin it, the Neu­ralink will be like a Fit­Bit for your brain. And while that may be the default con­sumer appli­ca­tion for such tech­nol­o­gy, it’s impor­tant to rec­og­nize that Neu­ralink won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly just be able to read your brains activ­i­ties but also stim­u­late areas of the brain too. It’s gen­uine­ly excit­ing in terms of the range of med­ical inter­ven­tions that could become pos­si­ble. And gen­uine­ly ter­ri­fy­ing when you con­sid­er the pos­si­ble side effects.

    Side effects that med­ical research has already start­ed see­ing in the many brain-stim­u­la­tion patients that already exist thanks to years of brain-stim­u­la­tion research. Side effects that can include a loss of sense of self or per­son­al agency. In oth­er words, side effects that sure sounds a lot like the kind of men­tal effects that the CIA was try­ing to induce through­out its years of MKUl­tra build-an-assas­sin research.

    And that’s why we have to ask: so what did the CIA tru­ly learn about the poten­tial behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion appli­ca­tions for brain stim­u­la­tion tech­nolo­gies? Were those exper­i­ments real­ly a com­plete fail­ure? Or did they make dis­cov­er­ies that were so shock­ing they had to be cov­ered up even more deeply? The kind of ques­tions that under­score one of the extreme dan­gers of the MKUL­tra-style secret research pro­grams: we can nev­er real­ly know what was secret­ly learned. Sure, there might even­tu­al­ly be some sort of belat­ed dis­clo­sure. But it’s not like we can real­ly have faith that we learned every­thing there is to be learned or that the most explo­sive rev­e­la­tions were shared.

    What are the odds that knowl­edge of how to use brain stim­u­la­tion to induce vio­lent behav­ior on unsus­pect­ing indi­vid­u­als would have been shared with the pub­lic? It’s a ques­tion implic­it­ly raised decades ago when the MKUl­tra rev­e­la­tions first became pub­lic. And left unan­swered thanks to the near com­plete lack of pub­lic inter­est in any of these mega-scan­dals of years past. And here we are, decades lat­er, with no answers to those ques­tions and lots of new brain stim­u­la­tion tech­nol­o­gy for con­sumers on the way:

    Busi­ness Insid­er

    How brain chips can change you

    Stud­ies show that Elon Musk’s new tech can bend your mind in strange and trou­bling ways

    Evan Malm­gren
    Feb 15, 2023, 4:02 AM CST

    Elon Musk wants to put a com­put­er chip in your brain. Well, maybe not in your brain, but in the brain of some human some­where.

    Musk’s neu­rotech start­up, Neu­ralink, has been work­ing toward implant­i­ng its skull-embed­ded brain chip in a human since it was found­ed in 2016. After years of test­ing on ani­mal sub­jects, Musk announced in Decem­ber that the com­pa­ny planned to ini­ti­ate human tri­als with­in six months (though this was­n’t the first time he’d said these tri­als were on the hori­zon).

    Neu­ralink has spent over half a decade fig­ur­ing out how to trans­late brain sig­nals into dig­i­tal out­puts — imag­ine being able to move a cur­sor, send a text mes­sage, or type in a word proces­sor with just a thought. While the ini­tial focus is on med­ical use cas­es, such as help­ing par­a­lyzed peo­ple com­mu­ni­cate, Musk has aspired to take Neu­ralink’s chips main­stream — to, as he’s said, put a “Fit­bit in your skull.”

    Musk’s com­pa­ny is far from the only group work­ing on brain-com­put­er inter­faces, or sys­tems to facil­i­tate direct com­mu­ni­ca­tion between human brains and exter­nal com­put­ers. Oth­er researchers have been look­ing into using BCIs to restore lost sens­es and con­trol pros­thet­ic limbs, among oth­er appli­ca­tions. While these tech­nolo­gies are still in their infan­cy, they’ve been around long enough for researchers to increas­ing­ly get a sense of how neur­al implants inter­act with our minds. As Anna Wexler, an assis­tant pro­fes­sor of phi­los­o­phy in the Depart­ment of Med­ical Ethics and Health Pol­i­cy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia, put it: “Of course it caus­es changes. The ques­tion is what kinds of changes does it cause, and how much do those changes mat­ter?”

    Inter­ven­ing in the del­i­cate oper­a­tion of a human brain is a sticky busi­ness, and the effects are not always desir­able or intend­ed. Peo­ple using BCIs can feel a pro­found sense of depen­den­cy on the devices, or as though their sense of self has been altered. Before we reach the point where peo­ple are lin­ing up to get a smart­phone implant­ed in their brain, it’s impor­tant to grap­ple with their dan­gers and unique eth­i­cal pit­falls.

    From sci­ence fic­tion to a bil­lion-dol­lar indus­try

    In the 1974 film “The Ter­mi­nal Man,” a man gets an inva­sive brain implant to help with his seizures. While the oper­a­tion ini­tial­ly seems to be a suc­cess, things go awry when sus­tained expo­sure to the chip sends him on a psy­chot­ic ram­page. As is typ­i­cal­ly the case in sci-fi movies, a sci­en­tist warns of the dis­as­ter ear­ly in the sto­ry by com­par­ing the implants to the lobot­o­mies of the 1940s and 1950s. “They cre­at­ed an unknown num­ber of human veg­eta­bles,” he says. “Those oper­a­tions were car­ried out by physi­cians who were too eager to act.”

    While humans have yet to pro­duce fly­ing cars, man mis­sions to Mars, or engi­neer con­vinc­ing repli­cants, BCIs may be the most sig­nif­i­cant tech­nol­o­gy to not only catch up to but in some cas­es sur­pass their ear­ly sci-fi depic­tions. More than 200,000 peo­ple around the world already use some kind of BCI, most­ly for med­ical rea­sons. Per­haps the best-known use case is cochlear implants, which enable deaf peo­ple to, in a sense, hear. Anoth­er pre­em­i­nient use case is in epilep­tic-seizure pre­ven­tion: Exist­ing devices can mon­i­tor brain-sig­nal activ­i­ty to pre­dict seizures and warn the per­son so that they can avoid cer­tain activ­i­ties or take pre­ven­tive med­ica­tion. Some researchers have pro­posed sys­tems that would not only detect but pre­empt seizures with elec­tri­cal stim­u­la­tion, almost exact­ly the mech­a­nism depict­ed in “The Ter­mi­nal Man.” Implants for peo­ple with Parkin­son’s dis­ease, depres­sion, OCD, and epilep­sy have been in human tri­als for years.

    Recent improve­ments in arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence and neur­al-prob­ing mate­ri­als have made the devices less inva­sive and more scal­able, which has nat­u­ral­ly attract­ed a wave of pri­vate and mil­i­tary fund­ing. Paradromics, Black­rock Neu­rotech, and Syn­chron are just a few ven­ture-backed com­peti­tors work­ing on devices for par­a­lyzed peo­ple. Last Novem­ber, a start­up called Sci­ence unveiled a con­cept for a bio­elec­tric inter­face to help treat blind­ness. And last Sep­tem­ber, Mag­nus Med­ical got approval from the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion for a tar­get­ed brain-stim­u­la­tion ther­a­py for major depres­sive dis­or­der.

    Neu­ralink, mean­while, has been dogged by a his­to­ry of over­hyped promis­es — fail­ing to deliv­er on time­lines, for exam­ple, and report­ed­ly trig­ger­ing a fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tion into claims of ani­mal-wel­fare vio­la­tions. The mar­ket-intel­li­gence firm Grand View Research val­ued the glob­al brain-implants mar­ket at $4.9 bil­lion in 2021, and oth­er firms have pro­ject­ed that the fig­ure could dou­ble by 2030.

    For now BCIs are con­strained to the med­ical domain, but a vast array of non­med­ical uses have been pro­posed for the tech­nol­o­gy. Research pub­lished in 2018 described par­tic­i­pants using BCIs to inter­face with numer­ous apps on an Android tablet, includ­ing typ­ing, mes­sag­ing, and search­ing the web just by imag­in­ing rel­e­vant move­ments. More spec­u­la­tive appli­ca­tions include play­ing video games, manip­u­lat­ing vir­tu­al real­i­ty, or even receiv­ing data inputs like text mes­sages or videos direct­ly, bypass­ing the need for a mon­i­tor. These may sound like sci­ence fic­tion, but the real­i­ty is that we’ve reached a point where the cul­tur­al and eth­i­cal bar­ri­ers to this kind of tech have begun to out­pace tech­ni­cal ones. And despite the fic­tion­al nature of “The Ter­mi­nal Man,” its dis­as­trous turn rais­es real ques­tions about unin­ten­tion­al effects of BCIs.

    A changed mind

    There have been no con­firmed cas­es of “Ter­mi­nal Man”-style vio­lent ram­pages caused by BCIs, but com­pelling evi­dence sug­gests the devices can cause cog­ni­tive changes beyond the scope of their intend­ed appli­ca­tions.

    Some of these changes have been pos­i­tive; after all, BCIs are intend­ed to change cer­tain things about their users. Wexler, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor, inter­viewed peo­ple with Parkin­son’s who were under­go­ing deep-brain stim­u­la­tion, a sur­gi­cal treat­ment that involves implant­i­ng thin met­al wires that send elec­tri­cal puls­es to the brain to help abate motor symp­toms, and found that many had lost their sense of self before under­go­ing treat­ment. “Many felt that the dis­ease had robbed them, in some ways, of who they were,” she told me. “It real­ly impacts your iden­ti­ty, your sense of self, if you can’t do the things that you think of your­self as being able to do.” In these instances, BCIs helped the peo­ple feel like they were return­ing to them­selves by help­ing treat the under­ly­ing dis­ease.

    Eran Klein and Sara Goer­ing, researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, have sim­i­lar­ly noticed pos­i­tive changes in per­son­al­i­ty and self-per­cep­tion among peo­ple using BCIs. In a 2016 paper on atti­tudes and eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions sur­round­ing DBS, they report­ed that study par­tic­i­pants often felt that the treat­ment helped them recap­ture an “authen­tic” self that had been worn away by depres­sion or obses­sive-com­pul­sive dis­or­der. “I’ve begun to won­der what’s me, and what’s the depres­sion, and what’s the stim­u­la­tor,” one patient said. In a talk in late 2022 on sim­i­lar research, the neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Cyn­thia Kubu described a height­ened sense of con­trol and auton­o­my among patients she’d inter­viewed.

    But not all the changes that researchers have found are ben­e­fi­cial. In inter­views with peo­ple who’ve had BCIs, Fred­er­ic Gilbert, a phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tas­ma­nia spe­cial­iz­ing in applied neu­roethics, has noticed some odd effects. “The notions of per­son­al­i­ty, iden­ti­ty, agency, authen­tic­i­ty, auton­o­my, and self — these are very com­pact, obscure, and opaque dimen­sions,” Gilbert told me. “Nobody real­ly agrees on what they mean, but we have cas­es where it’s clear that BCIs have induced changes in per­son­al­i­ty or expres­sion of sex­u­al­i­ty.”

    Across numer­ous inter­view stud­ies, Gilbert has noticed patients report feel­ings of not rec­og­niz­ing them­selves, or what is typ­i­cal­ly referred to as “estrange­ment” in the research. “They know that they are them­selves, but it’s not like it was pri­or to the implan­ta­tion,” he said. Some expressed feel­ings of hav­ing new capac­i­ties unre­lat­ed to their implants, such as a woman in her late 50s who hurt her­self while attempt­ing to lift a pool table she’d thought she could move on her own. While some estrange­ment could be ben­e­fi­cial — if it results in a healthy sense of self-esteem, for exam­ple — neg­a­tive instances, known as dete­ri­o­ra­tive estrange­ment, can be quite vex­ing. “It has led to extreme cas­es where there has been attempt­ed sui­cide,” Gilbert said.

    ...

    A smart­phone in your brain

    As the tech­nol­o­gy improves, we get clos­er to Musk’s “Fit­bit in your skull” vision. But there’s rea­son to be cau­tious. After all, if it’s easy to get addict­ed to your phone, just think how much more addict­ing it could be if it were wired direct­ly into your brain.

    Gilbert told me about one patient he had inter­viewed who devel­oped a kind of deci­sion paral­y­sis, even­tu­al­ly feel­ing as if they could­n’t go out or decide what to eat with­out first con­sult­ing the device that showed what was going on in their brain. “There is noth­ing wrong with hav­ing a device that is com­plet­ing a deci­sion,” Gilbert said, “but at the end, the device was kind of sup­plant­i­ng the per­son in the deci­sion, kick­ing them out of the loop.”

    Some­times a patient can come to rely so much on their device that they feel like they can’t func­tion with­out it. Gilbert has encoun­tered many study par­tic­i­pants who have fall­en into depres­sion upon los­ing sup­port for their devices and hav­ing them removed, often sim­ply because a giv­en tri­al expired or ran out of fund­ing. “You grow grad­u­al­ly into it and get used to it,” an anony­mous study par­tic­i­pant who’d received a device to detect signs of epilep­tic activ­i­ty said in an inter­view. “It became me.”

    This kind of depen­dence is fur­ther com­pli­cat­ed by the fact that BCIs are dif­fi­cult to sup­port finan­cial­ly and main­tain, often requir­ing inva­sive brain surgery to remove and reim­plant them. Since BCIs are large­ly still in the tri­al phase, there’s a lack of uni­ver­sal stan­dards or sta­ble finan­cial sup­port, and many devices are at risk of abrupt­ly los­ing fund­ing. Ear­ly adopters could have their sense of self dis­rupt­ed by sup­ply-chain issues, hard­ware updates, or a com­pa­ny’s bank­rupt­cy.

    There are also pri­va­cy con­cerns that come with a com­put­er get­ting access to your brain waves. “If you get a device to help you move your pros­thet­ic arm, for instance, that device will pick up oth­er sources of noise that you may not want to be out of your brain,” Gilbert said. “There is a lot of back­ground noise, and that back­ground noise can be deci­phered. That noise is nec­es­sar­i­ly con­vert­ed, sit­ting some­where on the cloud.” Some­one could learn a lot by study­ing your brain waves, and if a hack­er man­aged to access your data, they could read your mind, in a sense, by look­ing for spe­cif­ic expres­sions of brain-sig­nal activ­i­ty.

    ...

    While we’re still a long way away from the cybor­gian future of elec­tron­i­cal­ly inter­con­nect­ed minds proph­e­sied by peo­ple like Elon Musk, the indus­try’s accel­er­at­ing growth com­pounds the urgency of eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions once con­strained to sci­ence fic­tion. If a brain chip can change key parts of your per­son­al­i­ty, com­pa­nies should not be rush­ing to put them in peo­ple’s heads. Wexler told me that while most peo­ple in the indus­try aren’t that open to using BCIs as a con­sumer prod­uct, they still think it’s like­ly to hap­pen. If it does, she said, “the whole risk-ben­e­fit trade-off changes.”

    ————–

    “For now BCIs are con­strained to the med­ical domain, but a vast array of non­med­ical uses have been pro­posed for the tech­nol­o­gy. Research pub­lished in 2018 described par­tic­i­pants using BCIs to inter­face with numer­ous apps on an Android tablet, includ­ing typ­ing, mes­sag­ing, and search­ing the web just by imag­in­ing rel­e­vant move­ments. More spec­u­la­tive appli­ca­tions include play­ing video games, manip­u­lat­ing vir­tu­al real­i­ty, or even receiv­ing data inputs like text mes­sages or videos direct­ly, bypass­ing the need for a mon­i­tor. These may sound like sci­ence fic­tion, but the real­i­ty is that we’ve reached a point where the cul­tur­al and eth­i­cal bar­ri­ers to this kind of tech have begun to out­pace tech­ni­cal ones. And despite the fic­tion­al nature of “The Ter­mi­nal Man,” its dis­as­trous turn rais­es real ques­tions about unin­ten­tion­al effects of BCIs.

    Brain com­put­er inter­faces (BCIs) have obvi­ous appeal to sci-fi writ­ers. And indus­try, now that the tech­nol­o­gy has caught up with the sci­ence fic­tion. Indus­tries that aren’t sim­ply inter­est­ed in using BCIs to treat var­i­ous med­ical ail­ments. They are plan­ning on com­mer­cial­iz­ing BCI tech­nol­o­gy for the mass­es. A ‘Fit­Bit for your brain’. It’s not just Musk’s vision. And that’s why the sci-fi night­mare sce­nar­ios depict­ed in movies like The Ter­mi­nal Man are no longer just fic­tion. They’re warn­ings of what could come because brain implants that don’t just mon­i­tor the brain but active­ly stim­u­late areas of the brain are just a mat­ter of time. We had bet­ter wrap our heads around the impli­ca­tions of this tech­nol­o­gy soon­er rather than lat­er, but the tech­nol­o­gy is basi­cal­ly already here. And based on the ear­ly results, there real­ly does appear to be a real risk of a loss of a sense of agency or con­trol. It’s the kind of find­ings the MKUl­tra researchers of yes­ter­year would have found to be extreme­ly intrigu­ing:

    ...
    In the 1974 film “The Ter­mi­nal Man,” a man gets an inva­sive brain implant to help with his seizures. While the oper­a­tion ini­tial­ly seems to be a suc­cess, things go awry when sus­tained expo­sure to the chip sends him on a psy­chot­ic ram­page. As is typ­i­cal­ly the case in sci-fi movies, a sci­en­tist warns of the dis­as­ter ear­ly in the sto­ry by com­par­ing the implants to the lobot­o­mies of the 1940s and 1950s. “They cre­at­ed an unknown num­ber of human veg­eta­bles,” he says. “Those oper­a­tions were car­ried out by physi­cians who were too eager to act.”

    While humans have yet to pro­duce fly­ing cars, man mis­sions to Mars, or engi­neer con­vinc­ing repli­cants, BCIs may be the most sig­nif­i­cant tech­nol­o­gy to not only catch up to but in some cas­es sur­pass their ear­ly sci-fi depic­tions. More than 200,000 peo­ple around the world already use some kind of BCI, most­ly for med­ical rea­sons. Per­haps the best-known use case is cochlear implants, which enable deaf peo­ple to, in a sense, hear. Anoth­er pre­em­i­nient use case is in epilep­tic-seizure pre­ven­tion: Exist­ing devices can mon­i­tor brain-sig­nal activ­i­ty to pre­dict seizures and warn the per­son so that they can avoid cer­tain activ­i­ties or take pre­ven­tive med­ica­tion. Some researchers have pro­posed sys­tems that would not only detect but pre­empt seizures with elec­tri­cal stim­u­la­tion, almost exact­ly the mech­a­nism depict­ed in “The Ter­mi­nal Man.” Implants for peo­ple with Parkin­son’s dis­ease, depres­sion, OCD, and epilep­sy have been in human tri­als for years.

    ...

    There have been no con­firmed cas­es of “Ter­mi­nal Man”-style vio­lent ram­pages caused by BCIs, but com­pelling evi­dence sug­gests the devices can cause cog­ni­tive changes beyond the scope of their intend­ed appli­ca­tions.

    Some of these changes have been pos­i­tive; after all, BCIs are intend­ed to change cer­tain things about their users. Wexler, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor, inter­viewed peo­ple with Parkin­son’s who were under­go­ing deep-brain stim­u­la­tion, a sur­gi­cal treat­ment that involves implant­i­ng thin met­al wires that send elec­tri­cal puls­es to the brain to help abate motor symp­toms, and found that many had lost their sense of self before under­go­ing treat­ment. “Many felt that the dis­ease had robbed them, in some ways, of who they were,” she told me. “It real­ly impacts your iden­ti­ty, your sense of self, if you can’t do the things that you think of your­self as being able to do.” In these instances, BCIs helped the peo­ple feel like they were return­ing to them­selves by help­ing treat the under­ly­ing dis­ease.

    Eran Klein and Sara Goer­ing, researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, have sim­i­lar­ly noticed pos­i­tive changes in per­son­al­i­ty and self-per­cep­tion among peo­ple using BCIs. In a 2016 paper on atti­tudes and eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions sur­round­ing DBS, they report­ed that study par­tic­i­pants often felt that the treat­ment helped them recap­ture an “authen­tic” self that had been worn away by depres­sion or obses­sive-com­pul­sive dis­or­der. “I’ve begun to won­der what’s me, and what’s the depres­sion, and what’s the stim­u­la­tor,” one patient said. In a talk in late 2022 on sim­i­lar research, the neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Cyn­thia Kubu described a height­ened sense of con­trol and auton­o­my among patients she’d inter­viewed.

    But not all the changes that researchers have found are ben­e­fi­cial. In inter­views with peo­ple who’ve had BCIs, Fred­er­ic Gilbert, a phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tas­ma­nia spe­cial­iz­ing in applied neu­roethics, has noticed some odd effects. “The notions of per­son­al­i­ty, iden­ti­ty, agency, authen­tic­i­ty, auton­o­my, and self — these are very com­pact, obscure, and opaque dimen­sions,” Gilbert told me. “Nobody real­ly agrees on what they mean, but we have cas­es where it’s clear that BCIs have induced changes in per­son­al­i­ty or expres­sion of sex­u­al­i­ty.”

    Across numer­ous inter­view stud­ies, Gilbert has noticed patients report feel­ings of not rec­og­niz­ing them­selves, or what is typ­i­cal­ly referred to as “estrange­ment” in the research. “They know that they are them­selves, but it’s not like it was pri­or to the implan­ta­tion,” he said. Some expressed feel­ings of hav­ing new capac­i­ties unre­lat­ed to their implants, such as a woman in her late 50s who hurt her­self while attempt­ing to lift a pool table she’d thought she could move on her own. While some estrange­ment could be ben­e­fi­cial — if it results in a healthy sense of self-esteem, for exam­ple — neg­a­tive instances, known as dete­ri­o­ra­tive estrange­ment, can be quite vex­ing. “It has led to extreme cas­es where there has been attempt­ed sui­cide,” Gilbert said.
    ...

    And, then, of course, there’s the incred­i­ble pri­va­cy vio­la­tions inher­ent in this tech­nol­o­gy. The way these plat­forms are going to work, your brain’s activ­i­ty is effec­tive­ly going to be record­ed and uploaded to a cloud some­where. Real-time deci­pher­ing won’t be required. That data can be data-mined for years to come. The more they study it, the more they’ll learn about what makes you tick:

    ...
    There are also pri­va­cy con­cerns that come with a com­put­er get­ting access to your brain waves. “If you get a device to help you move your pros­thet­ic arm, for instance, that device will pick up oth­er sources of noise that you may not want to be out of your brain,” Gilbert said. “There is a lot of back­ground noise, and that back­ground noise can be deci­phered. That noise is nec­es­sar­i­ly con­vert­ed, sit­ting some­where on the cloud.” Some­one could learn a lot by study­ing your brain waves, and if a hack­er man­aged to access your data, they could read your mind, in a sense, by look­ing for spe­cif­ic expres­sions of brain-sig­nal activ­i­ty.
    ...

    On top of all of those risks are the implic­it risks that come with hyper-cap­i­tal­ist soci­eties where depri­va­tion is the norm: peo­ple can become depen­dent on these devices, only to have them tak­en away for what­ev­er rea­son. Just imag­ine the mass com­mer­cial­iza­tion of this tech­nol­o­gy in mod­ern Amer­i­ca — tech­nol­o­gy that could become expect­ed by employ­ers some­day — when half the pop­u­lace can bare­ly afford to get by and are in per­pet­u­al finan­cial cri­sis. It’s like a recipe for cre­at­ing men­tal­ly unsta­ble des­per­ate out of con­trol peo­ple:

    ...
    Some­times a patient can come to rely so much on their device that they feel like they can’t func­tion with­out it. Gilbert has encoun­tered many study par­tic­i­pants who have fall­en into depres­sion upon los­ing sup­port for their devices and hav­ing them removed, often sim­ply because a giv­en tri­al expired or ran out of fund­ing. “You grow grad­u­al­ly into it and get used to it,” an anony­mous study par­tic­i­pant who’d received a device to detect signs of epilep­tic activ­i­ty said in an inter­view. “It became me.”

    This kind of depen­dence is fur­ther com­pli­cat­ed by the fact that BCIs are dif­fi­cult to sup­port finan­cial­ly and main­tain, often requir­ing inva­sive brain surgery to remove and reim­plant them. Since BCIs are large­ly still in the tri­al phase, there’s a lack of uni­ver­sal stan­dards or sta­ble finan­cial sup­port, and many devices are at risk of abrupt­ly los­ing fund­ing. Ear­ly adopters could have their sense of self dis­rupt­ed by sup­ply-chain issues, hard­ware updates, or a com­pa­ny’s bank­rupt­cy.
    ...

    Final­ly, note that it’s not just Neu­ralink. The more advanced this tech­nol­o­gy gets, the more com­mer­cial play­ers we can expect, espe­cial­ly when it comes to the mass con­sumer space where the big prof­its await:

    ...
    Recent improve­ments in arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence and neur­al-prob­ing mate­ri­als have made the devices less inva­sive and more scal­able, which has nat­u­ral­ly attract­ed a wave of pri­vate and mil­i­tary fund­ing. Paradromics, Black­rock Neu­rotech, and Syn­chron are just a few ven­ture-backed com­peti­tors work­ing on devices for par­a­lyzed peo­ple. Last Novem­ber, a start­up called Sci­ence unveiled a con­cept for a bio­elec­tric inter­face to help treat blind­ness. And last Sep­tem­ber, Mag­nus Med­ical got approval from the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion for a tar­get­ed brain-stim­u­la­tion ther­a­py for major depres­sive dis­or­der.

    Neu­ralink, mean­while, has been dogged by a his­to­ry of over­hyped promis­es — fail­ing to deliv­er on time­lines, for exam­ple, and report­ed­ly trig­ger­ing a fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tion into claims of ani­mal-wel­fare vio­la­tions. The mar­ket-intel­li­gence firm Grand View Research val­ued the glob­al brain-implants mar­ket at $4.9 bil­lion in 2021, and oth­er firms have pro­ject­ed that the fig­ure could dou­ble by 2030.

    ...

    While we’re still a long way away from the cybor­gian future of elec­tron­i­cal­ly inter­con­nect­ed minds proph­e­sied by peo­ple like Elon Musk, the indus­try’s accel­er­at­ing growth com­pounds the urgency of eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions once con­strained to sci­ence fic­tion. If a brain chip can change key parts of your per­son­al­i­ty, com­pa­nies should not be rush­ing to put them in peo­ple’s heads. Wexler told me that while most peo­ple in the indus­try aren’t that open to using BCIs as a con­sumer prod­uct, they still think it’s like­ly to hap­pen. If it does, she said, “the whole risk-ben­e­fit trade-off changes.”
    ...

    Who will win the ‘Fit­Bit for you brain’ com­mer­cial race? Time will tell, but with the way the world works today it’s hard to imag­ine a future that does­n’t involve the wide scale com­mer­cial adop­tion of this tech­nol­o­gy, espe­cial­ly should we achieve non-inva­sive brain-stim­u­la­tion tech­nolo­gies. And prob­a­bly, in many cas­es, demand­ed by employ­ers. Direct­ly mess­ing around with our brains on a mas­sive scale is kind of the log­i­cal next step for our ‘late stage cap­i­tal­ism’ world. Which, again, is why we have to ask: what did the CIA actu­al­ly learn in those ter­ri­fy­ing exper­i­ments? Because what­ev­er was learned is going to have some very wide­spread poten­tial appli­ca­tions soon­er than we might expect. Tech­nol­o­gy march­es on.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 23, 2023, 4:42 pm
  10. As wild­ly depress­ing as the sto­ry of Mohawk Moth­ers and the miss­ing chil­dren ulti­mate­ly is, there is one over­ar­ch­ing sil­ver lin­ing here: it may be jus­tice delayed, but at least these hor­rif­ic crimes are final­ly, belat­ed­ly being brought to light. It could be worse.

    And then we get updates like the fol­low­ing. Updates that serve as a reminder that it might actu­al­ly be worse, and jus­tice will like­ly again be denied. First starters, we got an update a few weeks ago on the legal push to include the US gov­ern­ment in the ongo­ing class action law­suit. As we saw, the US gov­ern­ment has been argu­ing that it still has immu­ni­ty despite a 1982 Cana­di­an law that would seem to leave the US cul­pa­ble in Canada’s courts because the alleged crimes hap­pened ear­li­er. In a 3–9 rul­ng, the Que­bec Court of Appeals found that the US does have immu­ni­ty. An appeal to the Cana­di­an Supreme Court is still an option.

    A week lat­er, we got an update from Kim­ber­ly Mur­ray, the inde­pen­dent spe­cial inter­locu­tor assigned by Canada’s jus­tice min­is­ter in 2022 to mon­i­tor the exca­va­tion process and ensure that the process agreed upon are being fol­lowed. As Mur­ray puts it, “There’s so much to say about the chain of events that have been hap­pen­ing that are mis­guid­ed. They’ve been done all wrong. I’m angry.” McGill and the Soci­ete que­be­coise des infra­struc­tures (SQI) insist every­thing is going as planned but also that no sig­nif­i­cant find­ings have been dis­cov­ered yet.

    So we have the US gov­ern­ment win­ning in court at the same time McGill and the SQI appear to be beat­ing the courts by sim­ply rough­ly roughshod over the court ordered exca­va­tion process and ignor­ing the man­dates. Because of course this is how this is play­ing out.

    Ok, first, here’s an update on the Que­bec high court’s rul­ing on the US gov­ern­men­t’s immu­ni­ty. The kind of rul­ing that sug­gests any legal bat­tles involv­ing the US gov­ern­ment and this case are going to have to be fought and won in US courts:

    The Cana­da Press

    MK-ULTRA mind con­trol exper­i­ments: Que­bec high court says U.S. has immu­ni­ty in Cana­da

    Lawyer for plain­tiffs con­sid­er­ing tak­ing case to Supreme Court of Cana­da

    Sid­hartha Baner­jee · The Cana­di­an Press · Post­ed: Oct 03, 2023 2:48 PM CDT | Last Updat­ed: Octo­ber 3, 2023

    The Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment can­not be sued in Cana­da for its alleged role in infa­mous brain­wash­ing exper­i­ments at a Mon­tre­al psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal, Que­bec’s Court of Appeal ruled this week.

    The pro­posed class-action law­suit is about the MK-ULTRA pro­gram — alleged­ly fund­ed by the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment and the CIA between the 1940s and 1960s at Mon­tre­al’s Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute, which was affil­i­at­ed with McGill Uni­ver­si­ty.

    In a 3–0 deci­sion ren­dered Mon­day, the province’s high­est court upheld a low­er court deci­sion that said a 1982 Cana­di­an law gov­ern­ing how for­eign states can be sued in the coun­try can­not be used retroac­tive­ly. The appeal was heard in March.

    ...

    The law­suit — which has not been autho­rized by a judge — alleges that the exper­i­ments by Dr. Don­ald Ewen Cameron at the Allan Memo­r­i­al Insti­tute between 1948 and 1964 were part of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA pro­gram of covert mind-con­trol.

    The plain­tiffs argued that the tri­al judge erred in grant­i­ng the U.S. immu­ni­ty at an ear­ly stage in the pro­ceed­ings.

    They said the U.S. could be sued retroac­tive­ly under Canada’s 1982 State Immu­ni­ty Act, which per­mits law­suits in cas­es of bod­i­ly injury. The plain­tiffs also argued there were exemp­tions for com­mer­cial law­suits dur­ing the peri­od the exper­i­ments alleged­ly took place.

    How­ev­er, lawyers rep­re­sent­ing the U.S. attor­ney gen­er­al said that what’s alleged in the class-action appli­ca­tion does not involve a com­mer­cial agree­ment between the U.S. and Cana­da. The U.S., they said, ben­e­fit­ed from immu­ni­ty in Cana­da before the 1982 law was enact­ed.

    Any law­suit against the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment should be filed in a U.S. court, they added.

    Lawyer Jef­frey Oren­stein, who rep­re­sents the plain­tiffs, said in an email he is review­ing all legal options, includ­ing an appli­ca­tion for leave to appeal at the Supreme Court of Cana­da.

    His clients, he said, under­stand the impor­tance of immu­ni­ty as it per­tains to inter­na­tion­al rela­tions.

    “How­ev­er, the bod­i­ly injury excep­tion to state immu­ni­ty has been in effect since 1982,” Oren­stein said. “The U.S. gov­ern­ment would not be able to enjoy absolute immu­ni­ty today in rela­tion to the facts as out­lined in our class action we believe that they also did not have immu­ni­ty even at the time that the alleged acts took place.”

    As many as 300 fam­i­lies could par­tic­i­pate in the class action if it is approved.

    ———–

    “MK-ULTRA mind con­trol exper­i­ments: Que­bec high court says U.S. has immu­ni­ty in Cana­da” by Sid­hartha Baner­jee; The Cana­da Press; 10/03/2023

    In a 3–0 deci­sion ren­dered Mon­day, the province’s high­est court upheld a low­er court deci­sion that said a 1982 Cana­di­an law gov­ern­ing how for­eign states can be sued in the coun­try can­not be used retroac­tive­ly. The appeal was heard in March.”

    A 3–0 unan­i­mous rul­ing. It does­n’t bode well for the fam­i­lies, which could be as many as 300 fam­i­lies still seek­ing some sort of clo­sure. But it sounds like the legal efforts aren’t entire­ly exhaust­ed quite yet. There’s still the option of a Cana­di­an Supreme Court appeal:

    ...
    Lawyer Jef­frey Oren­stein, who rep­re­sents the plain­tiffs, said in an email he is review­ing all legal options, includ­ing an appli­ca­tion for leave to appeal at the Supreme Court of Cana­da.

    His clients, he said, under­stand the impor­tance of immu­ni­ty as it per­tains to inter­na­tion­al rela­tions.

    “How­ev­er, the bod­i­ly injury excep­tion to state immu­ni­ty has been in effect since 1982,” Oren­stein said. “The U.S. gov­ern­ment would not be able to enjoy absolute immu­ni­ty today in rela­tion to the facts as out­lined in our class action we believe that they also did not have immu­ni­ty even at the time that the alleged acts took place.”

    As many as 300 fam­i­lies could par­tic­i­pate in the class action if it is approved.
    ...

    So we’ll see if the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies have any suc­cess or if the US gov­ern­ment suc­ceeds once again in keep­ing this chap­ter in his­to­ry cov­ered up from the pub­lic. But as we can see from the updates we got a cou­ple weeks ago from the Spe­cial Inter­locu­tor tasked with mon­i­tor­ing the exca­va­tion process, it’s not clear how much pow­er the courts actu­al­ly have to ensure the fam­i­lies expe­ri­ence some sort of jus­tice. At least that’s what we can infer from the fact that Kim­ber­ly Mur­ray — the inde­pen­dent spe­cial inter­locu­tor assigned to this case by then-Jus­tice Min­is­ter David Lamet­ti last year — has noth­ing but anger and frus­tra­tion to com­mu­ni­cate about the treat­ment she has received and the gen­er­al han­dling of the exca­va­tion process. Or as Mur­ray put it, “There’s so much to say about the chain of events that have been hap­pen­ing that are mis­guid­ed. They’ve been done all wrong. I’m angry.”:

    The East­ern Door

    Spe­cial Inter­locu­tor calls McGill dig ‘appalling’

    By Eve Cable -
    Octo­ber 11, 2023

    This arti­cle was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in print on Fri­day, Octo­ber 6, in issue 32.40 of The East­ern Door.

    The fed­er­al­ly rec­og­nized point per­son on unmarked Indige­nous buri­als has accused McGill Uni­ver­si­ty and the Soci­ete que­be­coise des infra­struc­tures (SQI) of being “the worst offend­ers across the coun­try” in terms of con­duct­ing appro­pri­ate search­es of poten­tial unmarked bur­ial sites.

    “I’m get­ting frus­trat­ed,” said Kim­ber­ly Mur­ray, inde­pen­dent spe­cial inter­locu­tor for miss­ing chil­dren and unmarked graves and bur­ial sites asso­ci­at­ed with Indi­an res­i­den­tial schools. “I’m very con­cerned about what’s going to hap­pen on the site.”

    The area, which is steps away from McGill University’s down­town cam­pus, has been the site of ongo­ing legal dis­putes led by the Kanien’kehá:ka Kah­nis­tensera (Mohawk Moth­ers). A court rul­ing ear­li­er last month said con­struc­tion can con­tin­ue at the site, but the Moth­ers and Mur­ray have both voiced griev­ances con­cern­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion with McGill and the Soci­ete que­be­coise des infra­struc­tures (SQI).

    “No one has giv­en me a report,” said Kweti­io, one of the Moth­ers, at a press con­fer­ence on Mon­day. “There’s so much to say about the chain of events that have been hap­pen­ing that are mis­guid­ed. They’ve been done all wrong. I’m angry.”

    So far dur­ing the exca­va­tion process, a num­ber of items of note have been found. These include two children’s shoes, a dress, and bones. In an emailed state­ment, McGill Uni­ver­si­ty said the items were stored safe­ly in lab­o­ra­to­ries, that the bones are ani­mal bones, and that this infor­ma­tion had been com­mu­ni­cat­ed to the Moth­ers.

    “The arche­o­log­i­cal firm also con­firms it does not con­sid­er that any of the arti­cles uncov­ered dur­ing the exca­va­tion con­sti­tute sig­nif­i­cant dis­cov­er­ies, or that they con­sti­tute evi­dence of human remains or graves,” McGill’s state­ment reads.

    “In the expert opin­ion of the bio-arche­ol­o­gist con­duct­ing the work, the few bones that have recent­ly been uncov­ered are ani­mal bones. That said, a full analy­sis will be con­duct­ed to con­firm that find­ing. More­over, the arche­o­log­i­cal firm has assured all par­ties, includ­ing the Mohawk Moth­ers, that all the items found, includ­ing the ani­mal bones, are safe­ly stored in their lab­o­ra­to­ries. The foren­sic chain of cus­tody has been ful­ly pre­served.”

    Kweti­io told The East­ern Door that she refutes McGill’s claims.

    “Say­ing that they’ve kept us ful­ly informed is not cor­rect at all. We have not received one report, not one archae­o­log­i­cal report from any­one through­out this process,” Kweti­io said.

    Mur­ray agreed that McGill’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion has been poor, adding that there have been mul­ti­ple instances where McGill has ignored her emails.

    “They treat me like I’m nobody. They’re just so dis­re­spect­ful to my office. They have no respect for my man­date at all,” she said, adding that she had not been told about any of the items being safe­ly stored in lab­o­ra­to­ries. “I mean, you have more infor­ma­tion than they pro­vid­ed me.”

    Mur­ray said every step of the archae­o­log­i­cal process has been a cause for con­cern.

    “Every­thing they do is a mis­step, and is not good for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, and is not Indige­nous led,” Mur­ray said. “I am going to write about them. I wrote about them in my inter­im report, and I will be writ­ing about them in my final report, about how not to do things.”

    Mur­ray believes the uni­ver­si­ty has been hyp­o­crit­i­cal. “They go out and say how they’re so com­mit­ted to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with Indige­nous peo­ple, and this is how they treat Indige­nous peo­ple,” she said.

    ...

    McGill did not respond to the major­i­ty of Murray’s email, instead reply­ing with three sen­tences stat­ing that they “take (their) respon­si­bil­i­ty to man­age the exe­cu­tion of the archae­o­log­i­cal tech­niques very seri­ous­ly.” On Tues­day morn­ing, an array of pur­ple and orange rib­bons that had long been tied to fences out­side of the site had been removed, though it’s unclear if they were removed by McGill.

    ————

    “Spe­cial Inter­locu­tor calls McGill dig ‘appalling’” By Eve Cable; The East­ern Door; 10/11/2023

    ““I’m get­ting frus­trat­ed,” said Kim­ber­ly Mur­ray, inde­pen­dent spe­cial inter­locu­tor for miss­ing chil­dren and unmarked graves and bur­ial sites asso­ci­at­ed with Indi­an res­i­den­tial schools. “I’m very con­cerned about what’s going to hap­pen on the site.””

    The whole exca­va­tion process has relied on inde­pen­dent observers like inde­pen­dent spe­cial inter­locu­tor Kim­ber­ly Mur­ray to ensure the integri­ty of process. And it’s been a giant frus­trat­ing mess, accord­ing to Mur­ray, with no com­mu­ni­ca­tion. As Mur­ray put it, “There’s so much to say about the chain of events that have been hap­pen­ing that are mis­guid­ed. They’ve been done all wrong. I’m angry.” At the same time, McGill is point­ing to an assess­ment by a bio-arche­ol­o­gist that dis­miss­es the evi­dence dis­cov­ered so far — chil­dren’s shoes, and dress, and bones — as insignif­i­cant dis­cov­er­ies. This is a good time to recall how cadav­er dogs indi­cat­ed they detect­ed human remains at this loca­tion. It’s those duel­ing nar­ra­tives that point towards an ongo­ing coverup:

    ...
    “No one has giv­en me a report,” said Kweti­io, one of the Moth­ers, at a press con­fer­ence on Mon­day. “There’s so much to say about the chain of events that have been hap­pen­ing that are mis­guid­ed. They’ve been done all wrong. I’m angry.”

    So far dur­ing the exca­va­tion process, a num­ber of items of note have been found. These include two children’s shoes, a dress, and bones. In an emailed state­ment, McGill Uni­ver­si­ty said the items were stored safe­ly in lab­o­ra­to­ries, that the bones are ani­mal bones, and that this infor­ma­tion had been com­mu­ni­cat­ed to the Moth­ers.

    The arche­o­log­i­cal firm also con­firms it does not con­sid­er that any of the arti­cles uncov­ered dur­ing the exca­va­tion con­sti­tute sig­nif­i­cant dis­cov­er­ies, or that they con­sti­tute evi­dence of human remains or graves,” McGill’s state­ment reads.

    “In the expert opin­ion of the bio-arche­ol­o­gist con­duct­ing the work, the few bones that have recent­ly been uncov­ered are ani­mal bones. That said, a full analy­sis will be con­duct­ed to con­firm that find­ing. More­over, the arche­o­log­i­cal firm has assured all par­ties, includ­ing the Mohawk Moth­ers, that all the items found, includ­ing the ani­mal bones, are safe­ly stored in their lab­o­ra­to­ries. The foren­sic chain of cus­tody has been ful­ly pre­served.”

    ...

    Mur­ray agreed that McGill’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion has been poor, adding that there have been mul­ti­ple instances where McGill has ignored her emails.

    “They treat me like I’m nobody. They’re just so dis­re­spect­ful to my office. They have no respect for my man­date at all,” she said, adding that she had not been told about any of the items being safe­ly stored in lab­o­ra­to­ries. “I mean, you have more infor­ma­tion than they pro­vid­ed me.”

    Mur­ray said every step of the archae­o­log­i­cal process has been a cause for con­cern.

    “Every­thing they do is a mis­step, and is not good for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, and is not Indige­nous led,” Mur­ray said. “I am going to write about them. I wrote about them in my inter­im report, and I will be writ­ing about them in my final report, about how not to do things.”

    Mur­ray believes the uni­ver­si­ty has been hyp­o­crit­i­cal. “They go out and say how they’re so com­mit­ted to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with Indige­nous peo­ple, and this is how they treat Indige­nous peo­ple,” she said.
    ...

    As we can see, the way this is play­ing out there’s going to be a very angry inde­pen­dent spe­cial inter­locu­tor at the end of this process. Mur­ray already laid this out in her inter­im report and she’s going to lay it out again in her final report. And despite all that, McGill, the SQI, and the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment appears to be poised to get away with it. Much like the US gov­ern­ment is poised to get away with it. Again. It’s a reminder that, for the most pro­tect­ed crimes, the most you can real­is­ti­cal­ly expect to achieve is fur­ther con­fir­ma­tion of a giant coverup.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 26, 2023, 4:32 pm
  11. The Mohawk Moth­ers are a group of unhinged activist mak­ing out­ra­geous demands. Or they are a group of con­cerned rel­a­tives run­ning into an offi­cial coverup after try­ing to get to bot­tom of a decades old mega-scan­dal. It’s that kind of either/or sit­u­a­tion. And either way, it’s increas­ing­ly look­ing the Mohawk Moth­ers are going to remain thwart­ed in their attempts to get answers to the ques­tion of what hap­pened to their rel­a­tives. Which sure feels like a coverup

    At least that’s how it looks now that the Mohawk Moth­ers are again try­ing to get a court injunc­tion to block the ongo­ing exca­va­tion of the Roy­al Crown Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal grounds. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it’s fol­low­ing a Sep­tem­ber 14 legal action by the Mohawk Moth­ers that was struck down by a Que­bec Supe­ri­or Court judge who ruled that the exca­va­tion could con­tin­ue because the Mohawk Moth­ers “have not proved that drilling in zone 11 will dis­turb any unmarked graves nor that exca­va­tion will be con­duct­ed in oth­er zones before the plain­tiffs’ appli­ca­tion for a safe­guard order is argued at the end of Octo­ber.”

    The Mohawk Moth­ers were back in court last week for their hear­ing, argu­ing a range of vio­la­tions by McGill and SQI, includ­ing evi­dence of human remains that is being dis­re­gard­ed and a refusal to hand over GeoScan data. For their part, McGill and SQI basi­cal­ly deny all these alle­ga­tions and insist that the ongo­ing exca­va­tion process is fol­low­ing the court ordered process. This is a good time to recall that inter­view last month of the court-assigned inde­pen­dent spe­cial inter­locu­tor Kmber­ly Mur­ray, who char­ac­ter­ized the who process as deeply flawed. As Mur­ray put it, “There’s so much to say about the chain of events that have been hap­pen­ing that are mis­guid­ed. They’ve been done all wrong. I’m angry.”

    And here we are, in the first week of Novem­ber, wait­ing to see how the judge rules on an emer­gency motion filed last week to put a halt to an exca­va­tion process that could be active­ly destroy­ing evi­dence of unmarked graves after they lost their last appeal back in Sep­tem­ber. It does­n’t bode well:

    City News

    Mohawk Moth­ers back in court fil­ing emer­gency motion against McGill, SQI

    By News Staff
    Post­ed Octo­ber 27, 2023 9:36 am.
    Last Updat­ed Octo­ber 27, 2023 6:22 pm.

    The Kah­nis­tensera, known as the Mohawk Moth­ers, are head­ing back to court Fri­day, fil­ing an emer­gency motion against McGill Uni­ver­si­ty and the Société Québé­coise des infra­struc­tures (SQI).

    They are alleg­ing there have been vio­la­tions of court-ordered injunc­tions and agree­ments in regards to con­struc­tion work at the for­mer Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal site in Mon­tre­al.

    “We were ask­ing for a lot of clar­i­fi­ca­tion and we were accused of things that we want­ed to change and be catered to but we don’t. we just want what we agreed to, we want fair­ness, we want the pan­el that was dis­band­ed, they were fired,” said Mohawk Moth­er, Kweti­io. “We want the pan­el back in place to do the job they are sup­posed to do that all the par­ties agreed on, that is very very impor­tant to us.”

    They say despite evi­dence from Ground Pen­e­trat­ing Radar and His­toric Human Remains Detec­tion Dogs (HHRDD) indi­cat­ing human remains, they allege McGill and the SQI end­ed the inves­tiga­tive work.

    “Going into the build­ing to search the 10-metre radius so we can find where human remains were detect­ed,” Kweti­io said.

    The Mohawk Moth­ers say this rais­es con­cerns about the institution’s com­mit­ment to a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion.

    They allege that the archae­ol­o­gists panel’s rec­om­men­da­tions have been ignored.

    “They fired three peo­ple select­ed who were the experts in the field that we were involved with, and they fired them and then of course there were so many times where we were nev­er told any of these agree­ments that they were mak­ing con­tracts they were mak­ing we were not told any­thing about them and found out about it lat­er, and when we found out it was too late for us to even say any­thing,” said Mohawk Moth­er, Kahen­tinetha.

    The Mohawk Moth­ers claim con­struc­tion activ­i­ties began in areas iden­ti­fied by HHRDD, endan­ger­ing pos­si­ble human remains dur­ing the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion and jeop­ar­diz­ing foren­sic chain of cus­tody.

    They also allege that McGill and SQI have refused to share GeoScan’s data, which they say makes them ques­tion the integri­ty of the inves­ti­ga­tion and com­pli­ance with agree­ments.

    They also write in a state­ment that they feel poten­tial unmarked graves were dis­re­gard­ed, claim­ing there are anom­alies in the data from Ground Pen­e­trat­ing Radars (GPR).

    The Mohawk Moth­ers say they have been pre­vent­ed access to the con­struc­tion site as well.

    “I think our chil­dren are look­ing for us to find them and the only clo­sure peo­ple are going to get is when this clo­sure hap­pens and we need this thor­ough thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion to be done by our pan­el who just con­duct them­selves for best prac­tices and have all of the exper­tise behind them in look­ing for unmarked graves,” Kweti­io said. “This is what their forte is and their pro­fes­sion­al­ism is and that’s what we need on this site, we need clar­i­ty and we need the court to look into this mat­ter deeply and make sure that this agree­ment is done to a tee.”

    ...

    “It’s impor­tant that the pub­lic as well as our own peo­ple that were doing what­ev­er we can to make sure that we demand that we have a prop­er best prac­tice inves­ti­ga­tion for our chil­dren,” said Kweti­io.

    The judge said he will take time to issue a writ­ten deci­sion.

    “We’re real­ly hop­ing that this deci­sion comes soon­er than lat­er because as we speak con­struc­tion is going on,” Kweti­io said.

    ...

    The SQI tells CityNews in a writ­ten state­ment: “the request of the Mohawk Moth­ers pre­sent­ed on Sept. 14, demand­ing the ces­sa­tion of exca­va­tion work in zone 11 on the site of the for­mer Roy­al Vic­to­ria hos­pi­tal, was reject­ed by the Supe­ri­or Court of Que­bec.

    “The deploy­ment of the archae­o­log­i­cal plan there­fore con­tin­ues, in accor­dance with the terms of the set­tle­ment agree­ment con­clud­ed between the par­ties last spring and the tech­niques rec­om­mend­ed by the Pan­el of archae­o­log­i­cal experts.”

    The SQI says there is a desire to shed light on the alle­ga­tions of the pres­ence of pos­si­ble unmarked graves on the site. “The SQI and its part­ners are com­mit­ted, in good faith and rig­or­ous­ly, to car­ry­ing out archae­o­log­i­cal research in the com­pa­ny of spe­cial­ists in the field rec­om­mend­ed by the Pan­el or select­ed accord­ing to the Panel’s cri­te­ria.”

    “Despite the research car­ried out to date in all areas of inter­est iden­ti­fied in the archae­o­log­i­cal research plan, and the var­i­ous tech­niques car­ried out in accor­dance with it: geo­radar, snif­fer dogs, local exca­va­tions car­ried out man­u­al­ly, ana­lyzes car­ried out at each stage and archae­o­log­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing: to date, there is noth­ing to con­firm the pres­ence of buri­als on the site.”

    The SQI refutes the alle­ga­tion that evi­dence is being mis­han­dled. “All work is car­ried out accord­ing to the rules of the art of arche­ol­o­gy and by pro­fes­sion­al firms accred­it­ed and select­ed accord­ing to the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Pan­el. All arti­facts are stored accord­ing to estab­lished pro­to­cols and are secure in the lab­o­ra­to­ries pro­vid­ed for this pur­pose. No sus­pi­cious ele­ments jus­ti­fy­ing a halt to the work or addi­tion­al pre­cau­tions to be tak­en on the ground were observed by the archae­ol­o­gists.”

    The SQI also says the Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties con­cerned as well as the Mohawk Moth­ers will be noti­fied of any future dis­cov­ery and Indige­nous pro­to­cols will be respect­ed.

    On Sept. 14, the Mohawk Moth­ers took legal action to stop the drilling and exca­va­tion at the site. How­ev­er, their motion was denied by a Que­bec Supe­ri­or Court judge, rul­ing that work at the for­mer hos­pi­tal site in Mon­tre­al could pro­ceed.

    Jus­tice Gre­go­ry Moore argued that the Mohawk Moth­ers “have not proved that drilling in zone 11 will dis­turb any unmarked graves nor that exca­va­tion will be con­duct­ed in oth­er zones before the plain­tiffs’ appli­ca­tion for a safe­guard order is argued at the end of Octo­ber,” accord­ing to the judg­ment.

    In addi­tion, the Mohawk Moth­ers say the inves­ti­ga­tion is being led by McGill and SQI rather than fol­low­ing the Indige­nous-led approach man­dat­ed by the court.

    “We have lost all con­fi­dence in SQI and McGill as the Kah­nis­tensera,” said Mohawk Moth­er, Kweti­io.

    —————

    “Mohawk Moth­ers back in court fil­ing emer­gency motion against McGill, SQI” by News Staff; City News; 10/27/2023

    “On Sept. 14, the Mohawk Moth­ers took legal action to stop the drilling and exca­va­tion at the site. How­ev­er, their motion was denied by a Que­bec Supe­ri­or Court judge, rul­ing that work at the for­mer hos­pi­tal site in Mon­tre­al could pro­ceed..”

    The clock is tick­ing. But more impor­tant­ly, the con­struc­tion teams are drilling and exca­vat­ing, despite the Sep­tem­ber 14 legal action brought by the Mohawk Moth­ers thanks to a Que­bec Supe­ri­or Court judge who ruled that the Mohawk Moth­ers “have not proved that drilling in zone 11 will dis­turb any unmarked graves nor that exca­va­tion will be con­duct­ed in oth­er zones before the plain­tiffs’ appli­ca­tion for a safe­guard order is argued at the end of Octo­ber.” It does­n’t exact­ly point towards an inves­ti­ga­tion con­duct­ed with integri­ty:

    ...
    The judge said he will take time to issue a writ­ten deci­sion.

    “We’re real­ly hop­ing that this deci­sion comes soon­er than lat­er because as we speak con­struc­tion is going on,” Kweti­io said.

    ...

    Jus­tice Gre­go­ry Moore argued that the Mohawk Moth­ers “have not proved that drilling in zone 11 will dis­turb any unmarked graves nor that exca­va­tion will be con­duct­ed in oth­er zones before the plain­tiffs’ appli­ca­tion for a safe­guard order is argued at the end of Octo­ber,” accord­ing to the judg­ment.

    In addi­tion, the Mohawk Moth­ers say the inves­ti­ga­tion is being led by McGill and SQI rather than fol­low­ing the Indige­nous-led approach man­dat­ed by the court.

    “We have lost all con­fi­dence in SQI and McGill as the Kah­nis­tensera,” said Mohawk Moth­er, Kweti­io.
    ...

    And that brings us to the new legal chal­lenges brought by the Mohawk Moth­ers, who assert that evi­dence of human remains does in fact exist. Beyond that, McGill and SQL appar­ent­ly refused to share GeoScan data, have blocked access to the site, and uni­lat­er­al­ly fired a three per­son pan­el of experts. It’s a catch 22 sit­u­a­tion: the Mohawk Moth­ers have to prove that the exca­va­tion process would dis­turbed unmarked graves with­out the shar­ing of the rel­e­vant data that could actu­al­ly pro­vide that proof:

    ...
    They are alleg­ing there have been vio­la­tions of court-ordered injunc­tions and agree­ments in regards to con­struc­tion work at the for­mer Roy­al Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal site in Mon­tre­al.

    “We were ask­ing for a lot of clar­i­fi­ca­tion and we were accused of things that we want­ed to change and be catered to but we don’t. we just want what we agreed to, we want fair­ness, we want the pan­el that was dis­band­ed, they were fired,” said Mohawk Moth­er, Kweti­io. “We want the pan­el back in place to do the job they are sup­posed to do that all the par­ties agreed on, that is very very impor­tant to us.”

    They say despite evi­dence from Ground Pen­e­trat­ing Radar and His­toric Human Remains Detec­tion Dogs (HHRDD) indi­cat­ing human remains, they allege McGill and the SQI end­ed the inves­tiga­tive work.

    “Going into the build­ing to search the 10-metre radius so we can find where human remains were detect­ed,” Kweti­io said.

    The Mohawk Moth­ers say this rais­es con­cerns about the institution’s com­mit­ment to a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion.

    They allege that the archae­ol­o­gists panel’s rec­om­men­da­tions have been ignored.

    They fired three peo­ple select­ed who were the experts in the field that we were involved with, and they fired them and then of course there were so many times where we were nev­er told any of these agree­ments that they were mak­ing con­tracts they were mak­ing we were not told any­thing about them and found out about it lat­er, and when we found out it was too late for us to even say any­thing,” said Mohawk Moth­er, Kahen­tinetha.

    The Mohawk Moth­ers claim con­struc­tion activ­i­ties began in areas iden­ti­fied by HHRDD, endan­ger­ing pos­si­ble human remains dur­ing the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion and jeop­ar­diz­ing foren­sic chain of cus­tody.

    They also allege that McGill and SQI have refused to share GeoScan’s data, which they say makes them ques­tion the integri­ty of the inves­ti­ga­tion and com­pli­ance with agree­ments.

    They also write in a state­ment that they feel poten­tial unmarked graves were dis­re­gard­ed, claim­ing there are anom­alies in the data from Ground Pen­e­trat­ing Radars (GPR).

    The Mohawk Moth­ers say they have been pre­vent­ed access to the con­struc­tion site as well.
    ...

    And yet the state­ments for SQI basi­cal­ly ignore the alle­ga­tions of Mohawk Moth­ers and insist that, no, noth­ing is being mis­han­dled and every­thing is going accord­ing to the court ordered process:

    ...
    The SQI tells CityNews in a writ­ten state­ment: “the request of the Mohawk Moth­ers pre­sent­ed on Sept. 14, demand­ing the ces­sa­tion of exca­va­tion work in zone 11 on the site of the for­mer Roy­al Vic­to­ria hos­pi­tal, was reject­ed by the Supe­ri­or Court of Que­bec.

    “The deploy­ment of the archae­o­log­i­cal plan there­fore con­tin­ues, in accor­dance with the terms of the set­tle­ment agree­ment con­clud­ed between the par­ties last spring and the tech­niques rec­om­mend­ed by the Pan­el of archae­o­log­i­cal experts.”

    The SQI says there is a desire to shed light on the alle­ga­tions of the pres­ence of pos­si­ble unmarked graves on the site. “The SQI and its part­ners are com­mit­ted, in good faith and rig­or­ous­ly, to car­ry­ing out archae­o­log­i­cal research in the com­pa­ny of spe­cial­ists in the field rec­om­mend­ed by the Pan­el or select­ed accord­ing to the Panel’s cri­te­ria.”

    “Despite the research car­ried out to date in all areas of inter­est iden­ti­fied in the archae­o­log­i­cal research plan, and the var­i­ous tech­niques car­ried out in accor­dance with it: geo­radar, snif­fer dogs, local exca­va­tions car­ried out man­u­al­ly, ana­lyzes car­ried out at each stage and archae­o­log­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing: to date, there is noth­ing to con­firm the pres­ence of buri­als on the site.”

    The SQI refutes the alle­ga­tion that evi­dence is being mis­han­dled. “All work is car­ried out accord­ing to the rules of the art of arche­ol­o­gy and by pro­fes­sion­al firms accred­it­ed and select­ed accord­ing to the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Pan­el. All arti­facts are stored accord­ing to estab­lished pro­to­cols and are secure in the lab­o­ra­to­ries pro­vid­ed for this pur­pose. No sus­pi­cious ele­ments jus­ti­fy­ing a halt to the work or addi­tion­al pre­cau­tions to be tak­en on the ground were observed by the archae­ol­o­gists.”

    The SQI also says the Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties con­cerned as well as the Mohawk Moth­ers will be noti­fied of any future dis­cov­ery and Indige­nous pro­to­cols will be respect­ed.
    ...

    Are the Mohawk Moth­ers going to receive anoth­er legal defeat? We’ll find out soon. But based on the man­ner McGill and the SQI have been allowed to get away with seem­ing­ly destroy­ing the evi­dence for months now, it’s not hard imag­ine this end­ing with anoth­er frus­trat­ing rul­ing. In oth­er words, the only clo­sure we can rea­son­ably expect for the Mohawk Moth­ers at this point in the clo­sure on any sort of hope for jus­tice they may have had going into this process.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 4, 2023, 5:22 pm
  12. Dave,
    Why aren’t you talk­ing about the ongo­ing holo­caust in Pales­tine, leav­ing 10,000 (Zion­ist fig­ure) or 20,000 (Pales­tin­ian fig­ure) dead and many tens of thou­sands wound­ed, maimed, and dying? Give me a good rea­son I should­n’t drop my Patre­on sup­port for you. Can you real­ly be THAT soft on the State of “Israel”(sic)?

    Posted by Atlanta Bill | November 5, 2023, 11:14 am
  13. I have cov­ered the Israeli Pales­tin­ian con­flict on the Patre­on site.

    I have been deal­ing with a seri­ous, painful, restric­tive, though non-life threat­en­ing med­ical cri­sis and have not pro­duced a new pro­gram since 10/13.

    I will con­tin­ue to cov­er the Israeli-Pales­tin­ian cri­sis on the Patre­on site.

    When I resume the week­ly broad­casts, I may com­ment on it, but will prob­a­bly lim­it cov­er­age to the Patre­on site, for the most part.

    After I am deceased, you will prob­a­bly be ask­ing the same myopic, nar­ci­sis­tic ques­tions: “How come you haven’t . . . .”

    Cheers,

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | November 25, 2023, 2:44 pm
  14. Hel­lo Dave,

    Sor­ry to hear you are in pain and unwell.
    I’ve been lis­ten­ing to your pro­grams since I was about 17. I’m now 53.
    As a poor “minor­i­ty” kid, I learned real­ly quick that the world pop­u­lar mass media informed us on was much more com­plex and cor­rupt than they por­trayed.
    Your show was and is an intel­li­gent, hon­est source for domes­tic and inter­na­tion­al his­to­ry and news.

    Thanks for your life’s work!

    Sid

    Posted by Sid | November 25, 2023, 10:35 pm
  15. I’m also very sor­ry to hear about your poor health and wish you a speedy recov­ery. There is a very good book that helps pro­vide inter­est­ing per­spec­tive on the cur­rent con­flict in Gaza enti­tled, The Arabs and the Holo­caust by Gilbert Achcar (Met­ro­pol­i­tan Books, 2009). Its title does­n’t do the book jus­tice and is rather like Lof­tus’s Secret War Against the Jews in that regard. One par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing quo­ta­tion explores the link between the ‘for­got­ten’ Mufti, the Moslem Broth­er­hood and Hamas from page 163: “Since the 1987 intifa­da, the irre­sistible rise of Hamas in Pales­tine in the wake of the resur­gence of Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ism through­out the region has led to pro­duc­tion of a few hagio­graph­ic texts about the mufti. By and large, how­ev­er, events have con­firmed a sit­u­a­tion that Elpe­leg (an Israeli biog­ra­ph­er of the mufti) observes in his biog­ra­phy: the sharp con­trast between the embar­rassed silence sur­round­ing the mem­o­ry of Amin al-Hus­sei­ni and the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of such ‘heroes’ or ‘mar­tyrs’ of the strug­gle for Pales­tine as Abdul-Qadir al-Huss­sei­ni or Iz-ul-Din al-Qas­sam, not the mufti, who serves Hamas as its ‘pos­i­tive hero’–a cir­cum­stance the more strik­ing in that the Mus­lim Broth­ers, from whose Pales­tin­ian branch Hamas emerged, stead­fast­ly sup­port­ed the mufti dur­ing his life­time, treat­ing him as the legit­i­mate leader of the anti-Zion­ist strug­gle.” There is also good dis­cus­sion of Qas­sam after whom the mil­tary wing of Hamas was named. He died in an explo­sion in 1935. The cur­rent leader of that wing is Yahya Sin­war and there is a good back­ground arti­cle today on the CBC web­site. Achcar gives par­tic­u­lar empha­sis to the mufti’s rejec­tion of the par­ti­tion and two state solu­tion in 1947 by the UN. Many thanks for all your great work over the years, Dave!

    Posted by Brad | December 1, 2023, 6:42 am

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