The Central Intelligence Agency for many years conducted a top-secret "behavior control" program that included experiments involving "discrediting by aberrant behavior."
The research, was carried out at well-known medical research centers and hospitals in both the United States and Canada with the help of CIA money funneled through private foundations.
According to one former CIA official, the program was considered so sensitive that it could not even be included in a secret 1968 study by the CIA itself of the agency's relationships with the academic community.
"Suddenly this subject of dope and drugs popped up. Victor Marchetti, the former CIA official turned CIA critic, recalled of the study for which he was staff officer. "Everyone just kind of froze."
Senate committees have previously uncovered various aspects of the CIA's drug testing and behaviour research, but details are coming to light as the result of newly discovered documents cited in a July 16 announcement by CIA Director Stanfield Turner.
More than 400 heavily sanitized pages were made public yesterday in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. Turner is scheduled to joint hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate sub-committee on health.Three former CIA officials with knowledge of the behavior research also will be called.
The mind-control efforts first started in 1949 under the name of Project Blubird as a defensive reaction to the "bizarre conduct of (Joszel) Cardinal Mindzenty" at his trial in Budapest when he confessed to treason.
Within a few years, the records indicate, the CIA began contemplating methods of behavior control for offensive purposes.
A June, 1953, CIA memo for the record about a proposed manual on LSD research suggested organizing the data gathered at the point into "operationally pertinent material along the following lines:
"Disturbance of memory."
"Discrediting by aberrant behavior."
"Alteration of sex patterns."
"Creation of dependence."
Some of the research was done under the auspices of the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, a CIA-supported operation that was disbanded in 1965. According to a report in yesterday's editions of The New York Times, other conduits included the Office of Naval Research and the Geeschickter Fund for Medical Research, a still extant foundation that once contributed $370,000 toward construction of a $3 million building at Georgetown Hospital here.
military contracts arranged by the Office of Naval Research reportedly enabled the CIA to test LSD and other drugs on prisoners at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Lexing, Ky., purportedly as part of a project aimed at finding a substitute for codeine as a mild pain killer.
Much of this research was said to be have been conducted by Dr. Harris Isbell, now retired and living in Eastland, Tex. He refuses to comment.
"I have a personal rule: I don't talk to reporters," he said yesterday in a brief telephone conversation that ended with his hanging up. "I'm safely and happily retired."
The testing extended to Canada under the aegis of the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology where some experiments were done on psychiatric patients at the Allen Memorial Institutte of Psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal. The research there was carried out by Dr. Ewen Cameron, who died in 1967.
"He was doing some rather interesting work with schizophrenics," the society's one-time executive director and treasurer, James F. Monroe, recalled yesterday. "We provided the funds to keep his work going. He was using drugs and a total pschological bombardment of the individual - trying to break through in communication." this involved "24-hour conversations" with patienst by teams under Cameron's direction who focused on one individual.
"They had some rather remarkable successes," Monroe, a former Air Force colonel and expert in brain-washing, said. "They introduced me to one man who had been completely catatonic until he was brought into the program. But the time I saw him he could converse, he was a human being again."
The CIA documents made public yesterday had been obtained by John Marks, a former State Department officer and co-author with Marchetti of a book called "The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence."
Although many references are deleted."These documents show how it was done, how it was going on at 'X' University," Marks said in an interview. "They provide the bureaucrativ background for how to put together a massive secret program, with secret bank accounts for universities."
For instance, a March 25, 1955, letter from one doctor - whose name is deleted - to another individual - whose name is also deleted - stresses that " all communications MUST BE double enveloped . . . MUST BE addressed" in a certain way and adds that "true or full names MUST NOT appear in any of the correspondence. Reference to personnel may be made by first name and initial or the individual's assigned nom de plume."
From documents the CIA had already made public prior to yesterday's disclosures, it was apparent that CIA officials knew the program sometimes went beyond concentional scientific research. A 1963 report by CIA Inspector General Lyman B. Kirkpatrick said of the drug testing:
"The concepts involved in manipulating human behavior are found by many people both within and outside the agency to be distasteful and unethical."
A Feb. 27, 1950, memo to the CIA's chief of scientific intelligence cautioned of one anonymous researcher: "His ethics might be such that he might not care to cooperate in certain more revoluntionary phases of our project."
Still another 1953 letter from one doctor to another about LSD testing cited difficulties stemming from awarencess that an experiment was being performed.
"It is hoped in the next year that subjects on the (deleted) who are essentially normal from a psychiatric point of view, will be given unwitting doses of the drug for psychoterapeutic purposes. In this way, more valuable experiments will probably be carried out, in spite of hospital conditions."
Under international standards formulated at the Nuremberg war crimes trials and subsequently adopted by the United States, medical experiments on humans were supposed to be for the good of mankind and carried out only with the full and informed consent of the subjects.
The mind-control program turned into Project Artichoke in 1951 and several years later it became MK/Ultra. In 1954, a team was dispatched overseas to perform tests on individuals "representing a Communist-bloc country."