Following the release of a torture report and a few other reports released through a Freedom of Information Act request, the fact that the CIA was operating above the law will come as a surprise to nobody. But the mind-blowing experiments on human beings that were a core feature of the CIA’s torture program will make your hair curl.
In the wake and aftermath of WW2 the US government was engaged in a large number of secret medical experiments designed to help win the Cold War, exposing an unknown number of citizens to biological and chemical agents.
The CIA also attempted to master the art of mind control, which the Nazis attempted in concentration camps. Not all the Nazi physicians were prosecuted for war crimes at Nuremberg, some were covertly brought to the US by the CIA and were engaged in massive human experimentation projects.
The CIA and the US Army’s Special Operations planned experiments on the dispersal of their new biological weapons. More than once they simulated an attack on an entire city. One target was the nation’s most populous metropolis, New York City. The intention was to evaluate how easy it was to poison a city by releasing bacteria into the subway system. The agents positioned themselves over the subway vents, and dropped harmless bacteria onto the tracks, while monitoring agents waited to take samples throughout the network. Turbulence from the trains quickly took the germs through the tunnels, infecting the entire subway system in a matter of minutes. With a more lethal substance, a similar attack on an enemy city could be efficient and deadly.
During the Cold War the CIA was not alone in its efforts to develop new weapons. America formed a tripartite agreement with Canada and Great Britain. British research into biochemical warfare was carried out in the Army base at Porton Down, the Government's top-secret chemical weapons laboratory in England.
In May 1953 scientists in Porton Down were researching one of the most important lethal nerve agents known to men – sarin. The experiments were conducted on military volunteers. But the young servicemen had no idea what they were letting themselves in for. There was a separate notice typed – “Volunteers are wanted to help find a cure for the common cold. Those taking part will receive extra pay”. As scientists usually do when they try to find a cure for a runny nose and cough, they put the Air Force men into a gas chamber and asked to roll up their sleeves. The service men were given respirator helmets that they were not allowed to take off under any circumstances. The nerve agent sarin was then dropped on their arms. The experiment was designed to help determine the dosage of the lethal nerve agents. And guess what, the lethal dosage was determined, when one of the unsuspecting volunteers actually died. Hundreds were suspected of dying prematurely or going on to develop illnesses such as cancer, motor neuron disease and Parkinson's.
One of the main areas investigated by the CIA was mind control. A declassified CIA document dated January 7, 1953 describes the creation of multiple personalities in 19-year-old girls. The document says that the girls can act as unwilling couriers for information purposes. They can pass from a fully awake state to a deep hypnotic controlled state that they can be put into by telephone, by receiving written matter, or by the use of code, signal, or words. Control of those hypnotized can be passed from one individual to another without great difficulty.
Experiments with minds and bodies included hypnosis for creation of the so-called ‘unsuspecting assassins’. A woman exposed to hypnosis, who earlier expressed a fear of firearms, was instructed to use every method at her disposal to awaken another woman who was in a deep hypnotic sleep too. If she was unable to do so, she should pick up a pistol and fire it, without hesitating to kill, which she would do, including firing the unloaded gun. After that, both were awakened and expressed absolute denial that any of the above happened.
These are just a few of many more experiments of the multibillion dollar research program the CIA was involved in. What is more disturbing is that following the release of the long-awaited CIA torture report, the majority of Americans approved of the tactics, according to a conducted survey. The masterminds behind the tortures were resourceful not only in their acts of torture, but also in covering them up. Sixteen thousand pages of mind control documents were found as part of the Agency's financial history. Mind control at all costs indeed!