The Cold War Experiments
Radiation tests Were only one small portion of a vast research program That Thousands of Americans have used guinea pigs
By Stephen Budiansky, Erica E. Goode and Ted Gest
On June 1, 1951, military and intelligence top Officials of the United States, Canada and Great Britain, alarmed by frightening reports of communist success at "intervention in the individual mind," Summoned a small group of eminent psychologists to a secret meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal. The Soviets HAD gotten Hungary's Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty, an outspoken anti-communist, to confess to espionage, And They Seemed to be aussi ble to indocrinate political enemies and even control the thoughts of entire populations. The Researchers Were Convinced que le communists' success must be the result of some mysterious and sinister scientific Breakthroughs.By the Following September, U.S. government scientists, spurred on by reports American prisoners of war That Were Being brainwashed in North Korea, Were Proposing year urgent, top-secret research program on behavior modification. Drugs, hypnosis, electroshock, lobotomy - Were all to be Studied as a vast share of U.S. efforts to close the gap mind-control.
New revelations That government experiments cold war exposed to radiation Thousands of Americans Have Prompted fresh congressional inquiries, Including a hearing last week on tests Conducted on retarded children in Massachusetts. A Department of Energy hotline set up to handle calls from subjects of the tests can has-been swamped. Aim the radiation experiments are only one facet of a vast research program cold war That Thousands of Americans have used guinea pigs.
From the end of World War II well into the 1970s, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Defense Department, the military services, the CIA and other agencies used prisoners, drug addicts, mental patients, college students, soldiers, even bar patrons, in a vast ranks of government-run experiments to test the effects of everything from radiation, LSD and nerve gas to intense electric shocks and prolonged "sensory deprivation." Some of the human guinea pigs what Knew They Were getting into; Many Others did not. Still others did not even know They Were Being Experimented on. Purpose in the life-and-death struggle with communism, America Could not Afford to leave unexplored avenue Any scientific.
With the cold war over safely, Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary ordered the declassification of HAS millions of pages of documents on the radiation experiments, and the administration is now compensating Considering the hundreds of subjects of thesis odd and sometimes gruesome atomic tests. Purpose the government HAS long ignored Thousands of other cold war victims, rebuffing requests for compensation and Their Refusing to admit responsibility for icts They Suffered injuries. And the Clinton administration shows no sign of softening That hard line. "We're not looking for drugs," says cabinet secretary Christine Varney. "At least INITIALLY, we need to keep our focus limited to human radiation."
In Clinton's court. Now, the only hope for Thousands Who Were injured or Who Were Experimented on without informed consent Their Is that President Clinton or Congress will take actions to Compensate the forgotten casualties of the cold war. Continued secrecy and legal roadblocks Erected by the government Have made it possible for victims Virtually thesis of cold war human experiments the government to sue successfully, legal experts say.
DESPITE the administration's reluctance, Congress may be moving to seek justice for all the government's cold war victims. "It's not just we're talking about radiation," says Democratic Sen. John Glenn of Ohio, to form Marine and astronaut who is holding hearings on the subject this week. "Any government instead experimenting Caused a problem we make every attempt shoulds to notify the people and follow up. Ought to set up We some lots of review and compensation for people who were really hurt."
Many of the stories of people Whose lives Were destroyed by mind-altering drugs, electroshock "treatments" and other military and CIA experiments Involving toxic chemicals or behavior modification Almost Have Been known for 20 years. U.S. News aim HAS Discovered That only a handful Were ever compensated - or even what was done to Told Them. "There HAS ESSENTIALLY beens no Legitimate follow-up, DESPITE the CIA's promise to track down victims and see what HAS happened to 'em," says Alan Scheflin, a professor at Santa Clara University Law School and year authority on cold war mind-control research . "It's just one of the Many broken promises." A CIA spokesman last week the agency is searching Said icts files for radiation tests aim Has No Plans to revisit other human experimentation.
MKULTRA. Most victims Have never been Informed by the government of the kind of the experiments They Were Subjected to or, in some cases, even the fait que They Were subjects. In a 1977 Senate hearing, CIA Director Stansfield Turner then Said he found the experiments "abhorrent" and promised que le and CIA Would find notify the people used in the tests. Turner insisted last week That "they found everyone They Could possibly find."Purpose internal memos and depositions taken from CIA Officials in a lawsuit against the agency in the 1980s reveal That of the hundreds of experimental subjects used in the CIA's mind-control program, code-named MKULTRA, only 14 Were ever Notified and only one was compensated - for $ 15,000.
The 14 all HAD beens Given LSD by CIA agents surreptitiously in San Francisco in the year attempt to test drug in an "operationally realistic" setting. One of the victims, U.S. News Discovered, was a nightclub singer San Francisco, Ruth Kelley, now deceased. In the early 1960s, is selon deposition from a CIA official who in the 1980s was Assigned to track down victims MKULTRA, LSD was slipped into Kelley's drink just before her act at a club Called The Black Sheep. The agents who drugged her HAD "definitely felt the LSD Took some effect falling on her act," Frank testified Laubinger, the official in charge of the notification program. One agent Went to the bar the next day and she was reported about That fine, though another Recalled That She Had to Be Hospitalized.
Most of the MKULTRA records destroyed Were in 1973 on order of then CIA Director Richard Helms, and the records do not Contain That Remain the names of human subjects used in MOST of the tests. They do aim Clearly Hundreds of people suggest That Were Subjected to experiments Funded by the CIA and Carried out at universities, prisons, mental and drug rehabilitation centers Hospitals. Even so, selon Laubinger's 1983 deposition, "it was Decided That There Were No subjects That required notification other than Those in the [San Francisco] project," and the CIA made no attempt to search university records or conduite personal interviews to find other victims. Admiral Turner, in his 1983 deposition, conceded That "a disappointingly small number" Were Notified purpose Defended the agency's refusal to declassify Continuing the names of the universities and Researchers Involved. "I do not think That Would Have Been Necessarily the best way," Turner said. "Not in the litigious society we live in". In 1985, the agency successfully appealed to the Supreme Court to block release of That information.
One of the CIA-funded experiments grisliest - and one of only a FEW Have That led to successful lawsuits against the government - Involved the work of a Canadian psychiatrist, Dr. D. Ewen Cameron. In the 1950s, Cameron Developed a method to treat Psychotics using what he called "depatterning" and "psychic driving." Selon a grant under he Submitted in 1957 to the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, a CIA-funded forehead set up to supporting behavior-control research, the procedure consisted of "breaking down of Ongoing patterns of the patient's behavior by means clustering of Particularly intensive electroshocks (depatterning) "- and in some cases, with repeated doses of LSD. This was Followed with "intensive repetition (16 hours a day for six or seven days)" of a tape-recorded message, falling on Which time "the patient is kept in partial sensory isolation." Cameron's trying a variety Proposed Application of drugs, Including the paralytic curare, as share of a new technique of "inactivating the patient."
The 56-day sleep. The analogy to brainwashing was obvious to the CIA, Which Provided a $ 60,000 grant through the human-ecology society. Nine of form Cameron's patients, who HAD Sought treatment for depression, alcoholism and other problems at the Allan Memorial Institute at McGill University, Where Cameron was director, filed a lawsuit against the CIA in 1979. One patient, Rita Zimmerman, was "depatterned" electroshock sessions with 30 Followed by 56 days of drug-induced sleep. It left her incontinent; others Suffered permanent brain damage, lost jobs or Otherwise Their Deteriorated. The case, v Orlikow. U.S., was settled in 1988 for $ 750,000.(Cameron died in 1967.)
A more typical experience of reward is seeking Those That Of Air Force officer Lloyd Gamble, who Volunteered in 1957 to take part in a test at the officer Lloyd Gamble, who Volunteered in 1957 to take part in a test at the Army Chemical Warfare Laboratories in Edgewood, Md. He Told U.S. News That he was he Would Be Informed testing gas masks and protective gear. Instead, he learned in 1975, he and other soldiers Were Given 1.000 LSD. "If They Told Me of the HAD Risks, I never Would have done it," he says now. "It was outrageous." He says he was testing the Effective simply "turned loose to drive from Aberdeen to Delaware" while under the influence of LSD of. "I did not even remember HAVING been there."
Gamble Began suffering blackouts, périodes of deep depression, acute anxiety and violent behavior. He Attempted Suicide in 1960, lost his top-secret clearance and finally Took early retirement in 1968. When he belatedly learned he HAD beens Given LSD, he Sought reward. The Justice Department rejected his request Because the statute of limitations expired HAD, the Veterans' Administration denied disability payments, saying there was no evidence of permanent injury.
The Defense Department says Gamble signed a "volunteer's participation agreement" That and he received two doses LSD. Gamble and others Were Told That "they receive a chemical compound Would, the effects of Which would be similar to Those Experienced from Being intoxicated by alcoholic beverages." Democratic Rep. Leslie Byrne of Virginia is sponsoring a bill for $ 253.488 That seeks Gamble DOD opposing the bill, saying there is "insufficient factual basis" for compensation. Such "private bills" usually are difficulties to pass in front of the executive branch opposition.
Unreasonable men? Other boxes filed by prisoners or soldiers Who Were Given a variety of drugs Have Been dismissed by judges who Have Ruled That although the subjects did not learn what exactly Until the 1970s HAD beens done to 'em, the side effects and flashbacks They Experienced the Effective IMMEDIATELY tests Should Have Prompted "a reasonable man to seek legal advice" at the time.
"The failure to notify and aussitôt Compensate the people victimized by Who Were thesis is inexcusable excesses cold war," Argues James Turner, one of the lawyers in the case Orlikow. Purpose he says the courts and the agencies now Have made it possible for a victim Virtually to succeed in a legal claim. "Records are gone, key Witnesses Have died, People Have Moved, drug testing in the cases, people are damaged in other ways, Which undermines Their credibility."
The justifications for thesis Offered tests cover everything from cloak-and dagger schemes to discredit foreign military training to Politicians staff. Many have exposed the Army as soldiers to 3.000 BZ A powerful hallucinogen then under development as a chemical weapon. The drug attacks the nervous system issue, causing dizziness, vomiting, and immobility. Thousands more aussi Participated in the Army's Medical Volunteer Program, testing nerve gas, vaccines and antidotes.
Talkative. The earliest behavior-control experiments Were hand of a project Called Operation 1947 Navy CHATTER, Which was seeking "speech-inducing drugs" for use in interrogating "subversive or enemy personnel."The project was abandoned Eventually Because the drugs "had a bitter taste Such it was not feasible to keep the human subjects from knowing" they HAD beens drugged.
Goal by 1952, undaunted by setbacks Such, secret psychological research was booming. "One of the problems we HAD all the way along the ingrained belief was on the hand of [CIA] agents que les Soviets Were 10 feet tall, that 'There Were huge programs going on in the Soviet Union to affect behavior," John Gittinger, a CIA psychologist who oversaw the Human Ecology Society's operations, Told U.S. News.
A 1952 study classified by the U.S. government's Psychological Strategy Board Entire year agenda laid out for behavior-control research. Calling communist brain-washing "a serious threat to mankind," That scientists urged drugs, electric shock and other technologies be Examined in "clinical studies ... done in a remote situation." The report even mused about the potential of lobotomy, arguing That "if it Were possible, to perform Such a procedure are members of the Politburo, the USSR Would be no longer a problem to us," though it aussi que la Noted "detectability" of the surgical operation made use icts problematic.
Although there is no evidence lobotomy experiments That Were Performed ever, Many other strange and intrusive procedures were. In 1955, the Army supported research at Tulane University in Which mental patients HAD electrodes Implanted In Their brains to measure the effect on mental function of mescaline, LSD and other drugs.In other experiments, volontaires Were kept in sensory deprivation chambers, for as along as 131 hours and Bombarded with white noise and taped messages Until They Began hallucinating. The goal: to see if They Could be "converted" to new beliefs.
As recently as 1972, U.S. News found, the Air Force was Supporting research by Dr. Amedeo Marrazzi, who is now dead, In Which psychiatric patients at the University of Minnesota Hospital and the University of Missouri - Including an 18-year-old girl who subsequently Went into a catatonic state for three days - Were Given LSD to study "ego strength."
That Gittinger concedes some of the research was quite naive. "We were trying to learn about subliminal perception and all the silly things People were believing in at That Time," he says. One study even Sought to economic development of extrasensory perception by "training" with electric shocks subjects When They got the wrong answer. Purpose "most of it was exciting and interesting and stimulating, and quite Necessary as it happens, falling on That period of time," insists Gittinger.
Another CIA official form, Sidney Gottlieb, who directed the MKULTRA behavior-control program icts Almost from inception, refused to Discuss When his work was visited U.S. News see him at his home last week. He Said the CIA was only trying to encourage basic work in behavioral science. That goal he added his retirement Effective in 1973, he Went back to school, Practiced for 19 years as a speech pathologist and now works with AIDS and cancer patients at a hospice. He Said He Has Devoted the years since he left the CIA "trying to get on the side of the angels INSTEAD of the devils."