Madness, Pt. 3: Subproject 68

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Dear Listener you're about to hear months and months and months of hard work. Our special investigative series madness in addition to time this kind of journalism takes resources which is easy to forget when we just magically appear in your feed right but if you want endless thread to continue this work and you're able to support the show during tricky time make a donation to our home station. Wbz In any amount just text the word endless two four four three two one or if you're outside of the US give at wbz dot org slash endless thread. If you make a recurring donation you'll even get access to exclusive. Bonus content from the making of our special series. All you have to do is text endless two four four three two one. Thanks for listening and hang in there. Everybody before we start. We WanNa tell you about another podcast. That is one of my personal favorites criminal from Pr. Xs radio. Topa criminal has been called one of the first true hits and the thinking person's true crime podcast and they've got more than one hundred thirty episodes each one telling a different true story from a new perspective. Stories of people who've done wrong been wronged or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. Recent episodes include a look inside the illegal buying and selling of body parts. The so called gay panic defense investigate a murder when the victim is a wolf and the story of a forgotten woman detective known as Ms Sherlock Holmes when you're done with this episode of endless thread goal is in criminal hosted by Phoebe judge wherever you listen to US produced by the I lab at. Wbz Walk Boston. This is part three of our special series madness. If you haven't heard parts one in two yet go listen to those. I also a quick heads up that this episode contains brief references to suicide previously on endless thread. He just had this incredible. Almost undifferentiated ambition. Our next risk venture will be into that vastly promising world about hill. My father always wanted the best. And you in Cameron seemed to be the best you know he did have the attitude that to make an Omelet. You have to a few aches. My father disappeared and what came home was a shadow a shadow of a man. You in Cameron carried out what we can now guess. In retrospect were some of the most horrifically brutal medical experiments ever connected to M. K. Ultra your ability to put yourself in a mindset of constant existential dread has a lot to do with your place in the world and the time you're living in the years after World War. Two ended a lot of people felt relief. War was over is operation homecoming last official nation. Now the American eighty second division objective but at the same time the end of the war all the first atomic bombs detonated and the discovery of mass murderer and horrible human experimentation in the concentration camps of the Third Reich and while the Nazis had been defeated by the allied powers in the West. There was a new threat on the horizon to the east the Soviet Union by the late nineteen forties the. Us government was focused on the next war. A war that could include nuclear weapons. Americans were taught during that period that the Soviet Union was about to devastate us at any moment and could with the flick of a switch not only destroy our country but wipe away any possibility for meaningful human life on earth forever that is author former New York Times reporter and bureau chief Stephen Kinzer who says the weapons of the next big war imagined by the. Us government weren't just massive bombs people in the Central Intelligence Agency newly formed in nineteen. Forty seven worried about something much more. Insidious the CIA had witnessed to events on the world stage directly after World War. Two that had the spooks spooked. The I was the testimony of a witness in Nineteen forty-nine the Roman Catholic bishop of hungry was hauled up on the stand in a show trial run by communist powers there. He was facing charges for crimes. He did not commit weirdly. He confessed anyway. Weirder STILL TO CIA. Operatives and others watching the trial was the bishops behavior on the stand he spoke in a monotone seemed a little bit glazed. They looked at his face. They saw him confessing and they thought somebody else is controlling. This guy's mind. Zante became the victim of torturing and drugging that put him beyond the reach our realm of human health no the physical cottam exempt. He can no longer be saved. It is the other strange occurrence was something that C. I a. officer is supposedly witnessed among prisoners of war coming back from Korea. It wasn't made public at the time but some soldiers who had travelled from North Korea through China on their way home had reportedly developed what was dubbed a quote blank state. They also made surprising statements. Some of them denounced the United States for what it had done in Korea. Some said Nice things about communism so what could have made these Americans behave this way. The answer has to be in the mind of the CIA mind control so with this the CIA was electrified. Powerful people in the US government were scared but so were a lot of other powerful people who saw communism as the antithesis of Democracy Dusk Hue to the Party line and all will be will the vote yourself and all will be forgive. One conceived room passes very quickly over to authoritarianism with insistent urge to undermine the whole democratic system. Apart Dan is that is not a government agent at least it someone who may not have known he was a government agent. That is doctor. You and Cameron far away from the CIA as American headquarters. Cameron was conducting experiments with mind-bending drugs in Montreal on people who had come to him for treatment the LSD made her feel like her bones were melting like she was a squirrel trapped in a cage. She wanted to get out of her own skin and she couldn't get out of her own skin and made her feel crazy. But Dr Cameron wasn't just one bad apple using questionable techniques at a prestigious Montreal University Hospital whether he knew it or not he was doing the work of a secret government program to experiment with Psychedelic Drugs and torture a program designed to win an arms race and find a way to control minds for creating new human weapons weapons that would help the west fight. The Cold War. The war that powerful people felt the West had to win when the stakes are that high people put aside normal ethical and moral and legal considerations. I'm Ben Brock Johnson. I'm Amerson and you're listening to endless thread. The show featuring stories found in the vast ecosystem of online communities called read it. We're bringing you part three of a special series madness the secret mission for mind control and the people who paid the price anyone who has dabbled in the world of conspiracy theories from aliens at area fifty one to the aluminum body controlling geopolitics with the help of Jay z beyond saying their baby girl. Blue Ivy knows about MK Ultra but while some of those other ideas are pretty thin on credible evidence sorry guys the US government's mind control efforts that's real. It's a well documented. Piece of American history. Well documented enough that it's constantly seeping into pop culture. It's part of our collective psyche. Like the brilliant edgy animated American spycraft. Tv show on fx Archer which perfectly summarizes the origins and impacted this as mind control program in a conversation between a few of the shows. Main Characters Drop Weight M. K. Ultra. That was the as mind control program right since been discredited discredited for being. Bat Shit Crazy. It wasn't for being in direct violation of the Nuremberg code which was written because of medical experiments by Nazi war criminals. Many of whom after World War? Two spoiler alert came to work for the C. I. God Damn what. Look the Soviets. Were kicking our ass in the cold. War are scientists had to think outside the box. Oh isn't that the bucks where they kept informed consent because I'm pretty sure that all those mental patients the CIA force-fed. Lsd didn't give it wait. What all that Craig? Archers doing thirty years of history in thirty seconds but it's writers know their stuff and they're talking about a part of history that many of us don't have top of mind because the CIA did everything. It could to sweep this. Under the rug when Americans eventually learned about M. K. Ultra in the nineteen seventies. It was a huge scandal. It's just there have been a lot of scandal sense but our scandal at the CIA was part of how Dr Ewan. Cameron conducted his experiments at the Allen Memorial Institute and why so few people know about his work today so we need a more in-depth history lesson on America's Mind Control Mission. And for that you wanna hear from someone who has two thumbs in a boatload of knowledge about America's Cold War efforts back to Stephen Kinzer. I'm the author of poisoner and chief Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA search for Mind Control. Kinder's book paints a pretty dark picture of the impact of the as covert operations. And that is saying something and I feel like. I'm a pretty optimistic person but reading your book I feel kind of disillusioned about the arc of American power so job. Well done I guess. Welcome to the club. Kinser connects the creation of the CIA itself to our government struggles to put up a fight against Hitler and the Third Reich in World War Two but by the time the CIA was founded in nineteen forty kinser says the US government was already doing something that seems unthinkable. So under an American program called Operation Paper Click. Hundreds of Nazis came into the United States including some of the most notorious Nazi scientists. Those that didn't enter the. Us came to work for the US abroad. So the surgeon general of the Nazi Army General Walther. Schreiber came to work for the CIA. Even people who designed the biological weapons and conducted abhorrent experiments in concentration camps. Were getting recruited to new jobs and new lives in the US. The rocket scientists went to Texas the biological weapons. Scientists went to a place called Camp Dietrich which is now Fort Dietrich in Maryland Allen Dulles who was the director during the nineteen fifties concluded. I think quite correctly that any nation that could master the tools of mind control could control the whole world and so not realizing or wanting to admit that bat was an impossible goal set as a very top priority at the CIA the search for ways to control a human mind and any intensity of experiments was going to be permitted because the urgency of the project was so overwhelming. The person came to run. That effort was a man named Sidney Gottlieb. A scientist who had helped the US developed biological weapons during World War. Two but he quickly moved over to the new directive in Nineteen fifty three that directive got a name M. K. Ultra when you are researching ultra. I can tell you very quickly. Just a few clicks away from the wildest conspiracy theories which seem needless to say a lot less wild. The deeper you get into the project N. K. Ultra is now a favorite set of letters for conspiracy theorists in real life and on the x files. Where the conspiracy theorist is agent moulder deal Dinh's Been working on various incarnations mind control project since the fifties President Blooberg Kale Tra- MTA Delta programs for supposedly ended in the early nineteen hundred s. Mk ULTRA GETS ASSOCIATED. All the time with stuff that goes beyond outlandish and industry up fiction but the letter scramble itself was chosen quite carefully. M K denoted which part of the CIA controlled it. The Technical Services Division and ultra was the codeword for the most highly classified intelligence of world. War Two a nod to the programs true origins extreme human experiments in concentration camps. So there really was a direct line between the Nazi camps and M. K. Ultra Experiments Gottlieb and others at the CIA had discovered that the best information about mind control came from the Nazis who had supposedly found success experimenting with a powerful PSYCHEDELIC. Compound called masculine another discovery. In Switzerland in one thousand nine thirty eight had shown similar promise in mind alteration lysergic acid defilement. Lsd As a trained biochemist. Gottlieb was very interested. He wanted to experiment with any combination of drugs. He could find he even sent agents all over the world to find Bark Moss Gall bladders of crocodiles fish tails anything that was highly toxic. Refine this in his laboratory when LSD GOTTLIEB's lab. It seemed like a potential Game Changer. For the mind control mission not just him to the whole division he and other scientists really believed that. Lsd As one of his colleagues put it the key that could unlock the universe people at the CIA sorts of applications among the people in government who had been focused on making germ warfare in world war two. It was a potential peacemaker that could be delivered via LSD bomb to an entire population rendering soldiers and civilians alike docile and malleable. Then they thought the soldiers would begin to their weapons are hydrology. Us and the people on the other side of the battle line were actually their blood relatives. The war would stop but others thought. Lsd was a better tool used on individuals controlling spice or turning them into double agents so in one thousand nine hundred fifty three godly persuaded the C. I A. to buy the entire world supply of LSD a decade later LSD would be freeing minds in America but it came to America to control minds and in the nineteen fifties long before LSD was on the tip of everyone's tongue the CIA needed test subjects so they started secretly funding research all over the place like an Atlanta prison. Where notorious Boston mobster? Whitey Bolger was reportedly given fifty doses of LSD. Along with a handful of other prisoners. They were told they were helping. Find a cure for schizophrenia. But they weren't told they were even being injected with Bolger wrote about the experience a year before he died. He said the room would change shape. Hours of paranoia and feeling violent guys turning into skeletons in front of me. I saw a camera change to the head of a dog. I felt like I was going insane. Something similar happened at a prison in Lexington Kentucky seven African American inmates were selected from the population and put in a cell and then given triple doses of LSD every day for seventy seven days without being told what it was or what to expect as MK. Ultra ramped up in a ballooned to a hundred and forty nine. So-called sub projects there were Sub Project Three Aka operation midnight climax where prostitutes lured clients to CIA safehouses dosed them with drugs and tried to blackmail them all of this was observed with hidden cameras and the CIA studied the results or sub project nineteen where the CIA hired a magician to teach officers how to incorporate aspects of magicians craft into clandestine operations. They were desperate. Which brings us to sub projects sixty eight the experiments at the Allen. Godly was always interested in keeping up to date with modern scientific developments and he sent officers to penetrate different medical. Association's He did send an officer to that convention of the American Psychological Association in Nineteen Fifty. Four this a officer observing the conference in Nineteen fifty four perked up when he heard about a psychologist named Donald Hebb who is experimenting with Sensory Deprivation McGill University in Canada. And it was through that that he came to understand it beyond Hareb. There was another doctor was conducting even more intense experiments that made him all the more interesting to the CIA. That other doctor. You in Cameron coming up. Cameron the CIA and the investigative journalists who blew the doors open on M. K. Ultra two decades after the program began. Hey have you heard today explained yet? It's a Daily News. Podcast from box hosted by Sean Rotherham. The show usually covers the day's biggest news politics the Environment Pop Culture Sports. It right now though. There's really just one story and yet it kind of feels like today has never needed more explaining there are a million angles to this pandemic and today explained has your back. They're covering the science of the pandemic the politics the effects on our economy and our culture. They are taking listeners. Inside prisons and E. R. Rooms and answering listener questions. 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Ultra is almost too unbelievable to believe Stephen Kinzer again. Who says that in the nineteen fifties the men running a program that would become notorious? For how out there? It was felt like they'd hit the Jackpot with doctor. You and Cameron you and Cameron carried out what we can now guess. In retrospect were some of the most brutal medical experiments ever connected to ultra nothing more or less than medical torture and they had no scientific validity. Whatever in fact you could practically use those same phrases for the entire project. It was cameron. Who took it to? Its most grotesque extremes again. The question is why in the answer seems to be that these experiments were the CIA. Best chance of making what they called the key to the universe. Mind control how important was cameron to the work that the CIA was doing. Cameron was an integral part of GOTTLIEB's efforts to explore the outer limits of Mind Control Cameron. Didn't seem to have the slightest hesitation about destroying the lives of his subjects That was something that gottlieb really enjoyed. Of course nobody was ever supposed to know any of this. Even when Godly was finally called to account in the nineteen seventies and had to testify and appear in public nobody understood what MK Ultra was. He had been successful by destroying the records of M. K. Ultra as he left the CIA and only left some scraps for the rest of US. After two decades. Another journalist found the scraps of this secret. Cia project his reporting in the nineteen seventies led to the release of the only surviving documents about Mk. Ultra and exposed this infamous program for the first time. That journalist is John Marks so when that happened I got a call from a publisher in New York Right after that and said we'd like to give you an advance to write a book about this stuff. John Actually wrote to relevant bucks the search for the Manchurian candidate and a book he co-authored the CIA and the cult of intelligence. John Marks is a big deal but in the nineteen seventies John Marks was just doing what investigative journalists do best submitting freedom of Information Act requests which had only recently become possible. Thanks to the freedom of Information Act in nineteen sixty seven he was trying to access documents related to CIA abuses and he was getting zilch because anytime he wanted previously classified documents. The CIA TOLD THEM. You have to be more specific. And how could you be specific when the things you were asking about? Were secret? John Marks wasn't alone. A lot of people were scrutinizing secret government operations around this time. Nineteen seventy five. Several committees set up to investigate allegations of abuses of power. It would later be called. The Year of Intelligence Committee does not believe that the acts which it has examined represent the real American character marks was combing through a recent report from a commission on intelligence abuses and found something intriguing a paragraph mentioned a program deep within the CIA. That gave a man L. S. T. and that man. Frank Olson had jumped out a window and died and before his CIA escort could prevent him. He ran right through a closed hotel window. Which had the shades drawn over it? The window grow gave way and the employee fell ten stories to his death. That account in Mark's foia the CIA saying. Please give me all the documents you gave the Commission on this program. They wrote back to me. We didn't give any documents to the Rockefeller Commission about that particular paragraph so. I thought that was pretty interesting. I told The Washington Post that and they put it into a story and within a few days the CIA notified me that they had found. I think thirteen boxes of documents That were responsive to that request. So well how convenient yes. No it was quite interesting. Marks eventually realized he was looking at something much bigger than a few experiments gone wrong. He was dealing with. Scores of special projects often secretly funded by the CIA through shell companies and organizations all connected to more than eighty academic institutions prisons organizations all over the country and the world. It was sweeping the. Cia was trying to frame this as a LSD testing program which had a sensational side to it. The you know the the gang that couldn't spray stray and what it really was was a much more serious program to manipulate and control human behavior. Lsd tests the CIA disclosed were treated as a limited experiment but Marx thought the full program was way bigger so he set out to find out everything he could about the people involved starting with the thirteen boxes of documents from the CIA. Can you say just a little bit more about what was in the documents you were able to get? It was mostly the financial records but in the financial records they were there was always a justification of what the program was and mostly they redacted kind of thing and so my job is an investigative reporter was to put back in the names and because the in those days it was before computers were were doing. The typing had done the redaction with crayons and sometimes they would leave a letter out and you could measure. How many letters were in there? We would know for example a particular scientist involved with be and ended in an and had maybe seven letters in it so we then would go to the scientific journals and we would find Somebody like Maitland Baldwin which happens to fed and because of the CIA sloppy redaction. We're able to put a lot of the names back in eventually. This led marks to a lot more information including the name doctor you and Cameron in the name of the organization that the CIA had set up to secretly funnel money into research like Cameron's this Society for the investigation of Human Ecology that society for the investigation of Human Ecology. It sounds bogus now but at the time it was overseen by neurologist at Cornell University medical school it seemed legit still marks had a hunch so he called up an anonymous source a former CIA psychologist he called deep trance. And I told them. What do you know about Dr Cameron? And he said to be. I didn't think you would ever ask me what's that you're getting. You're getting warm. It turns out. The director of the so-called Society for the investigation of Human Ecology had approached Cameron to apply for funding for brainwashing experiments in his grant Application Cameron. Detailed the exact components of his techniques D patterning and psychic driving right down to his plans to use the CIA as new favourite secret weapon LSD to breakdown ongoing patterns of behavior in his subjects the CIA via the Shell Organization accepted Cameron's application and sent him. What would now be over a half a million Canadian dollars? A good chunk of his overall funding over a period of four years once. I knew that Dr Cameron was getting the C. I. A. Money with started looking at his research and the place. The Best of of on of information on Dr Camera was the articles he wrote in the professional journals. I mean he used a lot of scientific gobbledygook some not called demand but everything he was doing was listed in the journals The prolonged electroshock putting people to sleep for sixty days. That sort of thing was in the journals. They just had a lot of names on it. That didn't make much sense unless you're paying very close attention so afterwards when I interviewed people from around the hospital who had been there. They said they were afraid of him. And they didn't want to question his methodology but they tried to assure me that they didn't agree with what he was doing. A lot of the medical personnel were terrified by him. Why do you think M. K? Ultra officials thought. It was a good idea to conduct brainwashing experiments outside of the US. Us laws didn't apply and there were real differences on what they would do to an American. And what they would do to a Farner And that includes Canada and Canadians it. Let's say to a little safer as one of the CIA sources. I interviewed said. We couldn't do this kind of experimentation on housewives northern Virginia you this statement is probably particularly poignant to the family of Velma Orlando Housewife in Canada. Whose husband David or Loco. A member of Canada's parliament the paper one day and saw something that would change their family forever. A story based on some of the investigative work John Marks had been doing. My GRANDPA was reading the these Sunday New York Times and there was an expose on. Cia funding and he recognized some of the fake foundation names as to do with the hospital and called the reporter. And then yeah. That's how. They discovered the truth. Sarah and Johnson is the granddaughter of Velma or and David Orla when Val was in her thirties in the early years. After giving birth to Sara's mom she was suffering from what would now be called the postpartum depression. No one really knew what to do with her and one of the doctor she saw suggested she admit herself to the Allan. Because it was very well renowned as this was the beginning of a huge disruption in the Orlando family based around vows. Treatment at the Allan Memorial Institute what started out as postpartum depression became a years long quest for mental health. She was involved with the hospital off and on for three years and then she continued to see Dr Karen private practice for a couple years after that. She was an inpatient for not even a year. But then it was too expensive They actually couldn't afford it. Thank goodness because if she had been an inpatient than she would have been Put into the sleep room and had that sleep therapy. She didn't get that instead. She got an apartment near the hospital and would come in for daily treatments. She'd spend her days there. Sarah says her grandmother was asked to write detailed entries on her feelings and treatment in personal journals. She was writing them for him to read so they started off like dear Dr C. And so sometimes she'd be talking him saying. I'm so angry at you right now. I'm trying so hard. Nothing's good enough for you. Excetera giving him God like status putting him up on such a pedestal and it it just kind of it flips between the two. The therapy was challenging especially considering the treatments involved. Dr Cameron was deep patterning. Valiko supposedly trying to the parts of her personality that led to her. Depression followed by efforts to reprogram her psychic driving. And then the psychic driving was LSD injections and these recordings to listen to over and over again val hated these treatments. It's easy to see. Why one of the recordings that my grandmother had to listen to was written Saint Her. You are a hostile person. You are hostile to the doctor's hostile the nurses. Why are you so hostile? Is it because you hate your mother if you because you hate? Your mother should listen to this recording over and over and over again and write down like Kinda stream of conscious thoughts on it but in an era where women had much less agency when it came to medical care. Vowel ORLA coast feelings about our own care. Were effectively dismissed. Why do you think your grandma was so determined to stick with the treatment if it was you know clearly making her miserable because everyone she knew was telling her that that's what she needed? The doctors were telling her that's what she needed. The nurses were telling her that's what she needed. Her husband was telling her. That's what you needed someone. Everyone in your world is telling you can't be that bad. Trust your doctor. Your doctor knows best. If you really cared about your family you would do this so she stayed with it. Val Oil coast treatment effectively destroyed the family's finances but according to them it also destroyed the fabric of the family itself starting with vows behavior when she eventually came home. And what David or co would do with daughter. Sarah's mom to prevent disaster. My GRANDPA would put my mother in front of the door so that my grandmother couldn't leave the house when she was threatening to run away and and kill herself. Sarah was thirteen when vowel died. She's an artist now and she's made work inspired by everything that happened to her grandmother. It's allowed to talk with her own mother about what the family experienced. But even Sarah has days when she doesn't want to talk about any of this especially on the record I mean. I don't know that you know this but I said no a couple of times doing this one because I was like. I don't want to do these anymore. They're just they're hard. They're hard and a hate doing them. And I feel like speaking for my whole family and I. I don't know just the whole weight of it is just difficult. Yeah it's possible. Sarah is still talking about this because she feels like justice hasn't been done. Justice was something her grandmother wanted to. Why do you think it was so important for to your grandmother for the US government in the CIA and the Canadian government to apologize officially because she was a pacifist and she was disgusted and mortified that she'd been used as Guinea pig to create basically human weapons of war to create better soldiers? This is why vow or co the housewife of Canadian politician. Who was the victim of Doctor? You in Cameron's CIA funded. Human Experiments decided to fight. I knew that my grandmother was going after the CIA. It didn't understand exactly what the CIA was. But I knew that they were big and they were government and they were bad and they were American. You know I just. I was young. I couldn't understand what all that meant. I I knew that my grandmother was doing something huge and I was very proud of her or that next time or Lieko versus United States. Endless thread is a production of WR. You are Boston's. Npr Station in partnership with red. It Josh Schwartz our producer. Ira sather is our executive producer. Makes in sound design by Paul vicous. Michael is our advisor at Reddit. Editing help from our managing producer. Cat Brewer extra production assistance from James. Lindberg our interns are Frank Hernandez and Kyle. Williams shouts to former Interns Magdala. Mata and Noah Boston and a special. Thank you to Andy Lancet at New York public radio for letting US play of Dr Cairns. Nineteen fifty-five speech at the New York Academy of Medicine on read it. We are endless underscore thread if you want to contribute art for an upcoming episode or give a story idea so we can tell it like we did. Today it is up there. You can also go to our official sub reddit endless thread DOT RED DOT COM. Or you can email us at endless thread at WBZ DOT org my co host and producer. Amorous Iverson my co host and the senior producer is Ben Brock Johnson Let Myself Out. Hey congratulations on making it. All the way through the credits. 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