How does MKultra work? by Tony Garcia
Answer by Tony Garcia:
In an effort to reform the Central Intelligence Agency through cust-cutting and streamlining, President Richard Nixon appointed James Schlesinger, an intelligence community outlier, as Director of Central Intelligence on 21 December 1972 ().
On June 17, 1972, the Washington Post reported that several burglars were arrested inside the office of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), located in the Watergate building in Washington, D.C. ()
Post reporting of the Watergate scandal exposed CIA to charges of involvement in that affair and in the earlier September 1971 burglary of the Los Angeles office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, the psychiatrist for Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst at the RAND Corporation who had released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times on June 13, 1971 ().
Outraged, on May 9, 1973, Schlesinger ordered all employees to report any CIA activities they were aware of that might in any way appear inconsistent with CIA's charter ().
Later in May, the Office of the Inspector General gave Schlesinger a 693-page list of "potential flap activities," which detailed the Agency’s in several programs that violated its charter, known internally as “the family Jewels.” () One of these programs was MK-ULTRA.
As the Watergate scandal unfolded, increasingly detailing the involvement of the office of the President, Nixon fired Schlesinger after only five months as head of CIA. However, the controversy over MK-ULTRA, one of the Agency’s family jewels, was about to explode.
The following document, made available through a FOIA request,, gives some details on MKULTRA, CIA’s mind-control experiments from 1953 to 1964, broadcast by CBS television. According to the document, at least 130 separate research programs were conducted in hospitals, prisons, and universities all across the United States and Canada.
Another FOIA-released document,, shows an August 28, 1982, Washington Post column by Jack Anderson that details a lawsuit brought by Atlanta, Georgia attorney, Thomas E. Maddox, Jr., against CIA that resulted in confessions from CIA hierarchy, through the Justice Department, on CIA’s bizarre attempts at altering victims’ minds.
Unwitting victims were given mind-altering drugs, deprived of sleep, and given repeated electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In Anderson’s column, he describes what happened to some of these victims:
- One of the plaintiffs, Farrell Kirk, was used as “a chemical mixing bowl,” having been dosed with a variety of psychotropic drugs, even though Agency staff knew he was “mentally unstable”;
- Another victim, Don Roderick Scott, suffered permanent brain damage;
- A third victim, James Knight, was, at the time of Anderson’s column, still in prison, suffering from flashbacks and other severe mental issues.
As noted in Anderson’s column, MK-ULTRA’s purpose was “research and development of chemical, biological and radiological materials (for use) in clandestine operations to control human behavior.” The program also intended to develop “anti-interrogation drugs” to counter the Soviet’s so-called “truth serum” or to “scramble a CIA agent’s brains so that any confession to his captors would be useless.”
According to Anderson’s report, no doctors were on hand after the unwitting prisoner volunteers were administered these drugs. Some prisoners were so “hopped up” they had to be given additional drugs in order for them to sleep.
Most of the records for MK-ULTRA were destroyed by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb. the program’s top researcher.
One related note: in another FOIA-released document, a November 14, 1982, Associated Press release (), George Peters, the founder of the Church of Naturalism, was found murdered at his Hollywood Hills compund. According to the document, “Peters had been working on a film in which he claimed involvement in CIA drug experiments.”
As stated in the AP release, Peters’s secretary, Susan Shore, claimed that she was writing Peters’ life story prior to his founding of the church, when he claims he was “supposedly one of the people with whom the CIA was doing a lot of experimentation with drugs.”
The AP release notes that Peters and church secretary James patrick Henneberry were found slain on November 6, 1982. Both had been beaten and shot. According to a September 23, 1983, United Press International release (), former church members George Smith and Melinda Falcon admitted to the killings.
The Church of Naturalism grew out of a 1960’s drug counseling program that Peters ran in Chicago. Peters also claimed to have also volunteered for two other CIA-sponsored mind-control programs after his discharge from the Navy. Peters did not speak about MK-ULTRA until the program was exposed by the New York Times in August 1977.
Note: All CIA, FOIA-released documents have been sanitized (sensitive information removed) by the Agency prior to their release.