Five Canadian residents, all of whom contend they were used as human guinea pigs in the 1950s and '60s in CIA behavior modification experiments, yesterday filed suit against the U.S. government seeking $1 million in damages each.
The experimentation program, known as MK-ULTRA, was a super-secret CIA research and development project in which various drugs were tested on unsuspecting patients for their use in intelligence work and in the military. The CIA's behavior modification experiments were first disclosed in a report to the president in 1975 which was followed by additional disclosures of the experiments which were supposed to test methods of interrogation, behavior control and brainwashing.
The suit filed in U.S. District Court here in behalf of the former patients, one of whom is the wife of a member of the Canadian Parliament, involved the work of the late Dr. D. Ewen Cameron at the Allan Memorial Institute at McGill University in Montreal. The suit alleges that CIA money was funneled to Cameron's project to conduct behavior control and brainwashing experiments on psychiatric patients who thought they were getting therapy at the hospital.
The tests included use of LSD, electroshock treatments to eliminate past behavior problems and so-called psychic driving sessions in which tape recordings were played continuously while the patient was under the influence of drugs. The lawsuit contends that Cameron also used drugs to induce lengthy sleep periods so patients would forget their behavior had been programmed through drug use.