Project MK-ULTRA was the code name for a covert CIA mind-control and chemical interrogation research program, run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence. This official U.S. government program began in the early 1950s, building on the Nazi mind control programs and continuing at least through the late 1960s, that used United States citizens as its test subjects. The published evidence indicates that Project MK-ULTRA involved the surreptitious use of many types of drugs, as well as other methods, to manipulate individual mental states and to alter brain function.
Project MK-ULTRA was first brought to wide public attention in 1975 by the U.S. Congress, through investigations by the Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller Commission. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MK-ULTRA files destroyed in 1973. The Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms’ destruction order.
Although the CIA insists that MK-ULTRA-type experiments have been abandoned, 14-year CIA veteran Victor Marchetti has stated in various interviews that the CIA routinely conducts disinformation campaigns and that CIA mind control research continued. In a 1977 interview, Marchetti specifically called the CIA claim that MK-ULTRA was abandoned a “cover story.”
On the Senate floor in 1977, Senator Ted Kennedy said:
The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over thirty universities and institutions were involved in an “extensive testing and experimentation” program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens “at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign.” Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD to “unwitting subjects in social situations.” At least one death, that of Dr. Olson, resulted from these activities. The Agency itself acknowledged that these tests made little scientific sense. The agents doing the monitoring were not qualified scientific observers.
MK-ULTRA plays a part in many conspiracy theories given its nature and the destruction of most records.
Lawrence Teeter, attorney for convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan, believed Sirhan was under the influence of hypnosis when he fired his weapon at Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Teeter linked the CIA’s MKULTRA program to mind control techniques that he claimed were used to control Sirhan.
Jonestown, the Guyana location of the Jim Jones cult and Peoples Temple mass suicide, was thought to be a test site for MKULTRA medical and mind control experiments after the official end of the program. Congressman Leo Ryan, a known critic of the CIA, was assassinated after he personally visited Jonestown to investigate various reported irregularities.
MKULTRA: Declassified Documents (Over 300 pages)