MK-ULTRA was the code name for a secret CIA mind control program, begun in 1953, under Director Allen Dulles. Its purpose was multifold, including to perfect a truth drug for interrogating suspected Soviet spies during the Cold War. It followed earlier WW II hypnosis, primitive drugs research, and the US Navy’s Project Chatter, explained by its Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request as follows:
It began “in the fall of 1947 focusing on the identification and testing of drugs (LSD and others) in interrogations and the recruitment of agents. The research included laboratory experiments on both animal and human subjects. The program ended shortly after the Korean War in 1953.”
It was run under the direction of Dr. Charles Savage of the Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, MD from 1947 – 1953, after which CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence continued it under the name Project Bluebird, its first mind control program to:
— learn how to condition subjects to withstand information from being extracted from them by known means;
— develop interrogation methods to exert control;
— develop memory enhancement techniques; and
— establish ways to prevent hostile control of Agency personnel.
In 1951, it was renamed Project Artichoke, then MK-ULTRA under Deputy CIA Director Richard Helms in 1953. It aimed to control human behavior through psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs, electroshock, radiation, graphology, paramilitary techniques, and psychological/sociological/anthropologic
Ongoing at different times were 149 sub-projects in 80 US and Canadian universities, medical centers and three prisons, involving 185 researchers, 15 foundations and numerous drug companies. Everything was top secret, and most records later destroyed, yet FOIA suits salvaged thousands of pages with documented evidence of the horrific experiments and their effects on human subjects.