• Akshitha L

Project MK-Ultra

Akshitha L

Project MKUltra or MK-Ultra was the CIA's sinister mind control program. It was a program of experiments conducted in the 1950s and 60s on human subjects. These were conducted by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency, and most were illegal. Now, MK Ultra has become ground zero for countless government conspiracy theories. The objective of this project was to create drugs that could weaken the mind of the individual and thus force confessions. But did the CIA decide to expand their boundaries, and set their target on America’s youth? Some conspiracy theorists believe that the agency used “sex and rock ‘n roll” to distract a generation and thus prevent them from rebelling against the government. This is project MK-Ultra. While these secret studies might sound like the stuff of horror science fiction written, sometimes the truth is even scarier. At the beginning of 1945, American and British organisations teamed up for as much military scientific-technological research as possible throughout occupied Germany. As German research facilities were ceased, Allied force groups began to confiscate war-related documents and materials and interrogate scientists. One particular document was the Osenberg List- a catalogue of scientists and engineers. Run by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency or the JIOA, the covered operation was called Operation Overcast which was then renamed Operation Paperclip. It involved having 1600 German scientists and their families brought to the US during the Cold War to work on America’s behalf. The objective was to use German intelligence to develop America’s arsenal of biological and chemical weapons to ensure that they didn’t fall into the hands of the Soviet Union. Concerned that the Russians were developing mind control programs, the CIA wanted to find out how US spies would hold up if it was used against them, With this in mind, Operation Bluebird, later renamed Project MK-Ultra, was created by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb. LSD was initially synthesised before the beginning of World War I in 1938 by a Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann. It wasn’t until 1943 that Albert ingested the drug to discover its hallucinating properties. By the late 1940s, LSD was used to treat various medical conditions, and doctors prescribed this drug to psychiatric patients. Both American and Canadian citizens were used as test subjects against their will and knowledge. One such notable person, James “Whitey” Bulger said, “We experienced horrible periods of living nightmares and even blood coming out of the walls. Guys turning to skeletons in front of me. I saw a camera change into the head of a dog. I felt like I was going insane.

In later life, Bulger claimed that the experiments left him with permanent brain damage. In the United States, MK-Ultra was responsible for the deaths of multiple subjects, included Harold Blauer, a professional tennis player. Harold enrolled himself into the New York State Psychiatric Institute to deal with depression after a divorce. There he was given 450g of NDA which is similar to MDMA, after which his body slipped into a coma and he eventually died. By the end of the 1980s, MK-Ultra seemed to be dying down. Documents had been destroyed by the CIA to not leave any traces of the awful program. One such document that survived was the documents of Subproject 54, which tried to erase memories from the human brain by subjecting them to very loud sonic pulses. MK-Ultra is just one of the crazy experiments that were cooked up from the heat of the Cold War. So little of what went on in this project is known to the public. But in recent times they've gained media attention, influencing the creation of shows like Stranger Things, Manchurian Candidates, and American Ultra.

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