Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Ted K., the CIA & LSD

by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

July 15, 1999 Ted K., the CIA & LSD

It turns out that Theodore Kaczynski, a.k.a. the Unabomber, was a volunteer in mind-control experiments sponsored by the CIA at Harvard in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Michael Mello, author of the recently published book, “The United States of America vs. Theodore John Kaczynski,” notes that at some point in his Harvard years–1958 to 1962–Kaczynski agreed to be the subject of “a psychological experiment.” Mello identifies the chief researcher for these only as a lieutenant colonel in World War II, working for the CIA’s predecessor organization, the Office of Strategic Services. In fact, the man experimenting on the young Kaczynski was Dr. Henry Murray, who died in 1988.

Murray became preoccupied by psychoanalysis in the 1920s, drawn to it through a fascination with Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” which he gave to Sigmund Freud, who duly made the excited diagnosis that the whale was a father figure. After spending the 1930s developing personality theory, Murray was recruited to the OSS at the start of the war, applying his theories to the selection of agents and also presumably to interrogation.

As chairman of the Department of Social Relations at Harvard, Murray zealously prosecuted the CIA’s efforts to carry forward experiments in mind control conducted by Nazi doctors in the concentration camps. The overall program was under the control of the late Sidney Gottlieb, head of the CIA’s technical services division. Just as Harvard students were fed doses of LSD, psilocybin and other potions, so too were prisoners and many unwitting guinea pigs.

Sometimes the results were disastrous. A dram of LSD fed by Gottlieb himself to an unwitting U.S. army officer, Frank Olson, plunged Olson into escalating psychotic episodes, which culminated in Olson’s fatal descent from an upper window in the Statler-Hilton in New York. Gottlieb was the object of a lawsuit not only by Olson’s children but also by the sister of another man, Stanley Milton Glickman, whose life had disintegrated into psychosis after being unwittingly given a dose of LSD by Gottlieb.

What did Murray give Kaczynski? Did the experiment’s long-term effects help tilt him into the Unabomber’s homicidal rampages? The CIA’s mind experiment program was vast. How many other human time bombs were thus primed? How many of them have exploded?

There are other human time bombs, primed in haste, ignorance or indifference to long-term consequences. Amid all the finger-pointing to causes prompting the recent wave of schoolyard killings, not nearly enough clamor has been raised about the fact that many of these teenagers suddenly exploding into mania were on a regimen of antidepressants. Eric Harris, one of the shooters at Columbine, was on Luvox. Kip Kinkel, who killed his parents and two students in Oregon, was on Prozac.

There are a number of other instances. Apropos possible linkage, Dr. Peter Breggin, author of books on Prozac and Ritalin, has said, “I have no doubt that Prozac can contribute to violence and suicide. I’ve seen many cases. In the recent clinical trial, 6% of the children became psychotic on Prozac. And manic psychosis can lead to violence.”

A 15-year-old girl attending a ritzy liberal arts school in the Northeast told us that 80% of the kids in her class were on Prozac, Ritalin or Dexedrine. The pretext used by the school authorities is attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, with a diagnosis made on the basis of questions such as: “Do you find yourself daydreaming or looking out the window?”

Ritalin is being given to about 2 million American schoolchildren. A 1986 article by Richard Scarnati in the International Journal of the Addictions lists more than a hundred adverse reactions to Ritalin, including paranoid delusions, paranoid psychosis, amphetamine-like psychosis and terror.

Meanwhile, uncertainty reigns on the precise nature of the complaint that Ritalin is supposed to be treating. One panel reviewing the proceedings at a conference on ADHD last year even doubted whether the disorder is a “valid” diagnosis of a broad range of children’s behavior, and said there was little evidence Ritalin did any good. In 1996, the Drug Enforcement Administration denounced the use of Ritalin and concluded that “the dramatic increase in the use of [Ritalin] in the 1990s should be viewed as a marker or warning to society.”

Indeed. Land mines now litter the terrain of our society, waiting to explode. CP

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyon
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]