Beginning this month and hereafter Memory Hole Blog intends to present and make available an important book-length work that is either obscure or forgotten, may have fallen out of print, and yet is freely available on the internet. The purpose of the monthly post is to rekindle awareness and discussion on a select number of important titles, while providing an organizing component to these volumes that have fallen into “The Memory Hole.”
How many of today’s so-called “lone wolf terrorists” have been covertly manipulated to carry out their actions? Were “solitary” political assassins such Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, Sirhan Sirhan, Mark David Chapman, and John Hinckley Jr., products of mind control techniques? This important book, published close to four decades ago, cogently documents the US government’s concerted involvement in mind control projects, some of which are now fully operational.
October’s E-BOM is Operation_Mind_Control (1978) by investigative journalist and alternative media pioneer Walter Bowart. The author presents the volume as a work of “citizens’ intelligence,” chronicling the US government’s array of long-running research programs into mind control techniques and their utilization in various political assassinations and other intrigues.
[Warning: Operation Mind Control contains explicit content.]
“To alter and control human minds is the ultimate anarchy,” writes Richard Condon, author of The Manchurian Candidate, in the book’s Foreword. “What is offered by official apologists as a tribute to the needs of derring-do by romantic spies are acts of hatred and sadism against all people in an insane and degraded determination to extirpate conscience from society.”
“Please keep fearfully in mind,” Condon continues,
that the astonishing information published in this seminal work of investigative reporting, concerning avenues taken to decision and execution by our secret police to dissolve human minds, then to operate those minds as a small boy might operate a Yo-Yo, for purposes of counter-intelligence military efficiency, and the destruction of democratic institutions, was drawn directly from federal records and from official laboratory archives of the highest educational purpose–as well as from the reviving memories of those who had already undergone the dehumanizing process.
Selected excerpts from the work:
The techniques of mind control developed, even by 1967, were making brainwashing seem like the metaphor it was: a washboard and scrub-bucket technique which had little use in a world where the sonic cleaner, with high frequency sound, higher than the human ear can hear, vibrates the dirt from the very molecules of matter–of the mind.
In 1947, J.G. Watkins induced criminal behavior in deeply hypnotized subjects during an army experiment. Watkins suggested a distorted view of reality to his subjects by inducing hallucinations which allowed them to avoid direct conflict with their own moral concepts. He carefully chose his suggestions to be in line with his subjects’ preexisting motivational structures, and so was able to induce so-called anti-social behavior.
The top priority for testing in mind control were those drugs which were found to induce hypnosis. The administration and effects of barbituates, amobarbital, secobarbital, pentothal, and sodium amytal were studied. Nonbarbiturate sedatives and calmatives such as ethchlorvynol, glutethimide, methyprylon, methylparafynol, captodramin, and oxanamide were also tested. A whole range of ampehtamines and their derivatives were discussed as good tools to produce a “produce a ‘push’–an outpouring of ideas, emotions, memories, and so forth.” New drugs, such as ritalin, marsilid, and mescaline were thought to hold great promise for mind-control applications. Perhaps the most promising of this last group was a “consciousness-expanding drug called LSD-25.
[In 1976] [t]he army announced that since 1956 it had tested LSD on nearly 1,500 it had tested LSD on nearly 1,500 unwitting servicemen, and on several thousand more volunteers, a total 6,940 in all. At the same time the army made this disclosure, it requested permission from the Defense Department to conduct further tests with at least two new drugs–drugs which were many times more powerful than LSD. Permission was granted with the stipulation that “guinea pigs” be volunteers only.
“What do you know about the military or intelligence agencies’ use of pain-drug hypnosis?” I asked. “They used several different things. I’ve seen, actually seen, guys coming back with blanks only in certain places of their memory. Let’s say that I know positively, not by hearsay, that it’s done.”
“You’ve seen it?” I asked.
“You’ll never get me to admit it;” he grinned.
“Well, how is it done?” I asked.
“They use hypnosis and hypnotic drugs. They also use electronic manipulation of the brain. They use ultrasonics, which will boil your brain. When they use hypnosis, they’ll at the same time be using a set of earphones which repeat, “‘You do not know this or that,’ over and over. They turn on the sonics at the same time, and the electrical patterns which give you memory are scrambled. You can’t hear the ultrasonics, and you can’t feel it, unless they leave it on–then it boils your grey matter.”
Unless the assassin had done the same research I had, he could not only have known this through firsthand experience. The CIA documents released in 1976 revealed that ultrasonic research was undertaken for a period of more than twenty years. But the documents said that the research had stopped, so I asked him about that.
“Yeah, the research has stopped. They’ve gone operational. It ain’t research anymore. They know how to do it,” he said.
“Do you mean that it is your opinion that it hasn’t stopped, or do you know it hasn’t stopped?” I asked.
I mean I know it hasn’t stopped,” he said.
Within days of the army’s admission of drug testing, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare revealed that it had administered LSD to about 2,500 prisoners, mental patients, and paid volunteers between 1954 and 1968. HEW said further that it had given seven and a half million dollars in grants to more than thirty university researchers who independently ran LD tests on human subjects.
What was not revealed until much later was than the CIA had used every possible military and civilian agency or government, as well as a number of universities and private research groups, to test LSD and other drugs, plus a whole array of psycho-technologies in an all-out search for reliable methods of controlling the human mind.
One of the documents John Marks obtained was dated July 30, 1956. Under the heading, “Schizophrenic Agent” the memo stated that bulbocapnine, an alkaloid, could cause catatonia or stupor from its affects on the central nervous system and the cerebral cortex. The report stated: “We desire to have certain psycho-chemical properties tested on man, using the bulbocapnine which we were fortunate to obtain from (deleted), a sample being enclosed herewith. More bulbocapnine is available if needed.”
Besides drugs, MKDELTA and MKULTRA experimented with radiation, electroshock, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, anthropology, harassment substances and what were called “paramilitary devises and materials.” Contacts were made with individuals at prominent hospitals and drug “safe houses” under Bureau of Drug Abuse Control. Through the Bureau of Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs and federal institutions such as prisons, drugs could be administered to unsuspecting individuals.
Patrick J. McGarvey, a veteran of fourteen years in U.S. intelligence services … said that his indoctrination was carried out in a classroom which was “right out of The Manchurian Candidate. It was a cavernous room not unlike a nineteenth century surgical exhibition pit.” That training, he said, consisnted of “an admixture of common sense, insanity, old-time religion, and some of the weirdest lectures you can imagine.”
Experimentation with drugs and behavior modification became so widespread in prisons and mental institutions that in the middle and late 1960s court dockets became crowded with lawsuits filed on behalf of the “human guinea pigs” who were victims of such research. By 1971 the number of lawsuits had reached such proportions that the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights began an investigation. Three years later, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, chaired by Senator Sam Ervin, released a report entitled, “Individual Rights and the Federal Role in Behavior Modification.” It was largely ignored by the press, yet it revealed some interesting information …
The report disclosed that thirteen [such] projects were run by the Defense Department; the Department of Labor had conducted “several experiments”; the National Science Foundation conducted “a substantial amount of research dealing with understanding human behavior”; even the Veterans’ Administration participated in psychosurgery experiments, which, in many cases, were nothing more than an advanced form of lobotomy.
Author bio from the book:
Walter Bowart, (Walter Kirby) was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1939. He was awarded a McMahon journalism scholarship to the University of Oklahoma and has since worked as an editor, publisher, and writer. His articles have appeared in many journals including, The East Village Other, the underground newspaper which he founded in 1965.
Walter Browart lives in Tuscon with his wife and three children.
Professor James F. Tracy is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. James Tracy’s work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. James is editor of Union for Democratic Communication’s Journal Democratic Communiqué and a contributor to Project Censored’s forthcoming publication Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012. Additional writings and information are accessible at memoryholeblog.com.