Originally posted at Truthout
Written by H.P. Albarelli and Jeffrey Kaye
In a superb op-ed, written by Leonard S. Rubenstein and Stephen N. Xenakis, published recently in the New York Times (Doctors Without Morals, March 1, 2010, p. A23), the issue of holding physicians and psychologists accountable for their ethical breaches in participating in the conduct of torture is expertly raised, along with a well-needed call for investigations into such violations and violators. Rubenstein and Xenakis wrote: "[Despite overwhelming evidence] no agency - not the Pentagon, the CIA, state licensing boards or professional medical societies - has initiated any action to investigate, much less discipline, these individuals. They have ignored the gross and appalling violations by medical personnel. This is an unconscionable disservice to the thousands of ethical doctors and psychologists in the country's service. It is not too late to begin investigations. They should start now."
Rubenstein and Xenakis are absolutely correct in their call for action now, as they are in their accounting of what has gone on historically the past ten years with torture at Guantanamo and elsewhere. However, their op-ed says nothing about the decades preceding the terrible events of 9-11. An examination of these well-hidden, past torture activities might serve well in shedding light on the causes for reluctance and inaction in holding torturers and their professional cohorts responsible.
Contemporary torture's earliest, deepest and most influential roots are found in the CIA's Artichoke Project. Indeed, it is Project Artichoke that encapsulates the CIA's real traveling road show of horrors and atrocities, not MK/ULTRA which, although responsible for its own acts of mindless cruelty, pales in comparison.
That MK/ULTRA received, and continues to receive, the lion's share of the media's attention and public outrage over CIA mind control programs was a deliberately planned outcome on the part of the Agency. This outcome was the central objective of a never before revealed covert operation launched in 1975 and informally code-named Dormouse.
Dormouse, operated out of the CIA's Security Research branch, had its genesis in the 1975 Rockefeller Commission report and in the subsequent Congressional hearings into CIA illegal activities chaired by Senators Frank Church and Teddy Kennedy. Following the initial revelation of Frank Olson's alleged "suicide" by the Rockefeller Commission, a number of high-level meetings occurred between President Gerald Ford's White House and CIA General Counsel Lawrence Houston.
Houston, who had served the Agency as its doyen general counsel for over 25 years, secretly huddled on at least two occasions in June 1975 with Ford's chief of staff, Donald Rumsfeld, and his chief assistant, Richard Cheney. Houston impressed upon both men that any prolonged and intense media scrutiny of Project Artichoke would lead to opening a Pandora's box of legal, institutional, international and public relations problems that could destroy the CIA.
Houston explained that the Agency's MK/ULTRA program was far less problematic for the CIA because it had been a research-based program that initiated 153 contracts to colleges, universities and research institutions nationwide. These contractors, all stalwart and prestigious institutions like Harvard, Columbia, and Tulane Universities, could serve as viable buffers to any harsh outside attacks.
Houston stressed that deliberate exposure of the MK/ULTRA program by essentially offering it to the press would serve to placate the brewing feeding frenzy over so-called mind control projects, and would divert any investigative attempts into the multi-faceted Artichoke Project.
Houston additionally explained to Rumsfeld and Cheney that, along with the release of MK/ULTRA details to the media, the names of a few former CIA employees, such as Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, would also be released to the press. Incredibly, when the subject of possible federal prosecutions of CIA officials for capital crimes and felonies, such as murder and drug trafficking, came up in their discussion, Houston informed Rumsfeld and Cheney that there was little cause for concern.
Explained the Agency's General Counsel, since early 1954, following the death of Army biochemist Frank Olson, a secret agreement between the CIA and the U.S. Department of Justice had been put in place whereby the violation of "criminal statutes" by CIA personnel would not result in Department of Justice prosecutions, if "highly classified and complex covert operations" were threatened with exposure. The agreement had been struck between Houston and Deputy Attorney General William P. Rogers in February 1954, not long after Frank Olson's death, and still remained solidly in place.
Lastly, and worth noting here, was a brief adjunct discussion between Houston, Rumsfeld, and Cheney regarding related concerns about records on former Nazi scientists who had been secretly imported into the United States in the early Fifties by the State Department and Army, as part of Project Paperclip. These German scientists performed highly-classified research at the Army's Fort Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, some of which involved field operations in Europe.
Without doubt, as the extant record clearly reveals, the CIA's Dormouse Operation, as expressed by Houston, was remarkably effective. Information released on the Agency's MK/ULTRA program more than sated the media's curiosity for mind control details, and even a few random Artichoke Program citations in a couple released documents failed to draw any concerted examination by anyone in the press. For example: documents revealing that Dr. Frank Olson had been part of the CIA's ongoing "Artichoke Conference" were near completely overlooked. Within a few short months, Artichoke was widely believed by the media and public to be but a small, innocuous project that had been replaced by the MK/ULTRA behemoth. Still today, numerous publications state that Artichoke was absorbed and replaced by MK/ULTRA, when actually Artichoke operated independently for nearly 17 years beyond the dawn of MK/ULTRA.
What Was Project Artichoke?
The CIA initiated Project Artichoke in August 1951 at the direction of CIA director Walter Bedell Smith and the Agency's Scientific Intelligence Director, Dr. H. Marshall Chadwell. The code name "Artichoke" was selected with sardonic humor from the street appendage given to New York City gangster Ciro Terranova, who was referred to as "the Artichoke King."
Following a brief period of bureaucratic infighting over which CIA department would have jurisdiction over Artichoke, it was decided that the project would be overseen by the Agency's Security Research Staff, headed by Paul F. Gaynor, a former Army Brigadier General, who had extensive experience in wartime interrogations.
Gaynor was notorious among CIA officials for having his staff maintain a systematic file on every homosexual, and suspected homosexual, among the ranks of Federal employees, as well as those who worked and served on Washington's Capitol Hill. Gaynor's secret listing eventually grew to include the names of employees and elected officials at State government levels, and the siblings and relatives of those on Capitol Hill.
In early January 1953, State Department employee John C. Montgomery, who handled considerable classified material, hanged himself in his Georgetown townhouse after learning of his addition to Gaynor's list. In 1954, U.S. Senator Lester C. Hunt (D-WY) killed himself in his senate office after he was threatened by Republicans, using information provided by Gaynor's staff, to publicly expose his son's homosexuality. By the early 1960s, according to one former Agency employee, "It was pretty much routine to consult Gaynor's 'fag file' when conducting background or clearance checks on individuals."
Gaynor's veiled and more despicable activities also extended to racist matters, a fixation he seemed to share with many of the CIA's early leaders, as well as with some of the Pentagon's early ranking officials. According to one former CIA official, Gaynor was once informally cautioned by Allen Dulles concerning his overt support of former Congressman Hamilton Fish III, a strident Nazi sympathizer, and for associating, along with fellow CIA official Morse Allen, with John B. Trevor Jr., an ardent racist, anti-Semite, pro-Nazi, who called for amnesty for Nazi war criminals. Before the CIA was formed, Gaynor was also associated with Trevor's father, John B. Trevor Sr., a Harvard-educated attorney who worked with Army intelligence and who once strongly advocated arming a group of citizens with 6,000 rifles and machine guns to put down an anticipated Jewish uprising in Manhattan that only took shape in Trevor's twisted mind.
In 1997, former CIA Technical Services chief, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, who had been born into a Jewish family, said, "Throughout the 1950s, and for some time beyond, the Agency was less than a welcoming place for Jews and racial minorities. Those who were actually ever hired or involved in operations learned rather quickly to keep their heads down when certain matters were discussed or rallied round."
Here it should be emphasized that inevitably lurking within, near, and around all of the CIA's early mind-control experiments was a strong element of racism that generally manifested itself through the Agency's principle objective of establishing control over the perceived "weaker" and "less intelligent" segments of society. That the CIA's initial mind control activities show a close kinship with many prominent characters within the racist and anti-immigration eugenics movement is no coincidence. Thus comprised was the central leadership of the CIA's Project Artichoke.
Here it is important to note that the Artichoke Project originated from the CIA's short-lived Project Bluebird, which operated for about two years, 1949 through summer 1951, and concentrated its efforts on former American POWs returned from the Korean War. These servicemen were placed in several Army hospitals, including Valley Forge Hospital, Pennsylvania and the Walter Reed facility in Washington, D.C. There the former POWs were subjected to various behavioral modification programs, including the use of experimental drugs, special interrogation methods, all for what the CIA deemed "offensive objectives." Joining the CIA in Project Bluebird was the Army, Navy, and Air Force (the FBI declined to participate in the project).
Reads one April 1951 Bluebird Project report: "The Navy's research efforts in regards to Bluebird objectives had actually begun in 1947 at Bethesda Naval Hospital. There, according to the Navy's Bluebird designees, J.H. Alberti and Lt. Cmdr. Hardenburg, extensive experiments had been conducted using both drugs and medical aids (polygraph machines, surgical means, hypnotism). Besides Bethesda hospital, the Office of Naval Research conducted a project in partnership with the University of Indiana which in essence [was] a search for valid indications of deception other than the mechanical indicators now being used."
CIA interest in exotic and abusive methods of detecting deception continues to the present day. In July 2003, the CIA, the Rand Corporation and the American Psychological Association conducted a series of workshops on detecting deception. One of these workshops considered the use of truth drugs ("pharmacological agents are known to affect apparent truth-telling behavior") and the use of sensory overloads. The workshop asked its classified participants, "How might we overload the system or overwhelm the senses and see how it affects deceptive behaviors?"
Perhaps one of the best examples of this was the treatment of "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla, who by the time he entered a U.S. courtroom had suffered tremendously, and irreversibly, from the abuses of deliberately induced sensory and systems overload.
In early summer of 1951, just weeks before Bluebird was renamed Artichoke, officials within the CIA's Security Office - working in tandem with cleared scientists from Camp Detrick's Special Operations Division, who in turn worked closely with a select group of scientists from a number of other Army installations, including Edgewood Arsenal - began a series of ultra-secret experiments with LSD, mescaline, peyote, and a synthesized substance, sometimes nicknamed "Smasher," which combined an "LSD-like drug with pharmaceutical amphetamines and other enhancers."
This substance was used in a number of highly classified field experiments, at least four of which were conducted outside the United States. While details of these experiments are sketchy, former Fort Detrick biochemists report, "None of the field experiments produced the type of results desired," and as a result, "ranking Army Chemical Corps officials elected to focus LSD and other drug experiments on more narrowly defined groups, as well as individuals." Chief among the field experiments that failed in the "desired results" category were the horrifying events that took place in Pont St. Esprit, France in 1951. There in a small, peaceful village one early summer morning nearly 700 people went stark raving mad with 4 people killing themselves. (This incident is detailed in my book, "A TERRIBLE MISTAKE: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments") This experimental focus remained in place when Project Artichoke was initiated.
At its inception, the Artichoke Project needed a steady supply of experimental subjects. Wrote CIA Security Research chief Paul Gaynor in a never before revealed February 1953 memo: "It is imperative that we move forward more aggressively on identifying and securing a reliable, ready group, or groups, of human research subjects for ongoing Artichoke experimentation. There can be no delays in this extremely important work."
Other CIA reports reveal that the CIA's Security Research Staff was not sitting idly by while awaiting the securing of ready groups of human subjects. Teams of Agency officials and contract physicians were traveling frequently to locations in Europe where, in the isolation of CIA safe houses, enhanced interrogations and behavior modification experiments were being conducted on various defectors, double-agents, and kidnapped foreign agents.
Reads a November 1956 Artichoke report that could have easily been written today at Guantanamo, Cuba: "The team physician administered a suppository containing a small amount of heroin to the subject so as to increase subject's pain threshold." The physician referred to in this report, a well-known Washington, D.C. psychologist, made over 90 Artichoke-related trips abroad.
In September 1953, Artichoke Project director Morse Allen, a former Naval intelligence officer and State Department employee, hand-carried a two-page memorandum to Paul Gaynor. The memo bears the subject: "Artichoke Research Program." It reads in part: "[T]here are some four thousand (4,000) American military men who are serving court martial sentences in the federal prisons at the present time. These men are scattered through the federal institutions according to their age - some being at reformatories, others at prisons. It is administratively possible that the sentences of these men can be reduced by direction of the Adjutant General's office. Therefore, if these men should be wanted for work on a dangerous research project, it might be possible to motivate their interest by promising that recommendations would be made to the Adjutant General's office to have their sentences appropriately reduced if they co-operated in the experimentation. Also many offenses of military men were committed in circumstances which might tend to lessen the feeling of guilt on the part of the individual and such cases might reveal interesting information."
Allen next suggested that federal prisons "that have hospital setups with doctors on the permanent staff" be used for experiments. Wrote Allen, "Such things as the size of the institution and current population would have to be considered but it is a fact that the federal prisons are not overcrowded as is the case with many state prisons, thus it would be much easier to obtain working space in a federal institution." Artichoke teams secretly working in the prisons could be passed off as "coming from nearby universities or research institutions," explained Allen. About a week later, Allen amended his September memo to include "federal hospitals and institutions under the control of the [U.S.] Public Health Service."
Wrote Allen, "There are a large number of USPHS-controlled facilities that can be used for experiments, these in addition to the facilities recommended in the earlier memorandum bearing the same subject."
Gaynor promptly approved Allen's recommendations, ordering their immediate implementation. Within a few weeks, progress reports concerning the conduct of experiments at three federal prisons, as well as a reformatory in Bordentown, New Jersey, were submitted to Gaynor. Experiments were also conducted at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C., a Veterans Administration hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and at the Federal Narcotics Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Experiments at the Narcotics Farm, somewhat romanticized in some current publications, were specifically targeted at African-American inmates, who were considered by the program's director to be inferior to white inmates at the facility.
When the newly created U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) was created just weeks later with Nelson A. Rockefeller as Under-Secretary, the CIA found it remarkably easy to gain HEW's approval for use of Federal medical facilities as fronts for covert drug and interrogation experiments using unwitting human subjects. Inevitably, nearly all those unwitting experimental subjects chosen for HEW-sponsored projects were African-Americans and persons from immigrant groups and what one Agency document referred to as the "lower classes."
A central Artichoke objective, according to one CIA document, centered on: "The problem exists of ascertaining whether effective and practical techniques exist, or could be developed, which could be utilized to render an individual subservient to an imposed will or control, thereby posing a potential threat to National Security." [Italics added]
The same document explained that the Agency also wanted to put the same techniques to their own effective uses in the field offensively. Reads the document: "We need to also explore the 'subtle' means of making an individual say or do things he would normally not consider through the use of covertly administered drugs, 'Black Psychiatry'*, hypnosis, and brain damaging processes. Dr. Chadwell feels these processes may be tried but they are 'elaborate, impractical and unnecessary.'"[Italics added. Dr. Chadwell was H. Marshall Chadwell, the CIA's director of Scientific Intelligence.]
A subsequent April 1954 Artichoke Conference meeting, attended by Frank Olson's Fort Detrick superior, Col. Vincent Ruwet, explored the real nitty-gritty of Artichoke experimentation. Noted a CIA report on the meeting, "It was also recognized [by conference participants] that if Morse Allen and his group could produce bodies and if certain very rough, primitive, and ultimate tests could be carried out then a more accurate prediction could be made in connection with the ultimate goal of the group which is the running of selected foreign nationals back into Europe for specific work for this Agency."
CIA Security Research chief Paul Gaynor, attending the same Artichoke Conference meeting, reminded the gathered Agency and Fort Detrick officials, "All individuals can be broken under mental and physical assaults and by such techniques as denying sleep, exhaustion, persuasion, starvation, pain, humiliation, and sickness."
Added Gaynor, "The capacity to endure assaults of all kinds varies in individuals. We need to teach the Artichoke techniques to medical officers in the field... we also need to combine these techniques with the work carried on at Edgewood Arsenal and at Camp Dietrich [sic] ...and the special use of ergots, as well as Lysergic Acid. Experiments with new ideas, for example the hypo-spray instrument (owned by the E.R. Squibb Company) using criminals and the criminally insane, have been very successful."
An italicized and revealing note at the end of the Artichoke meeting report reads: "Morse Allen and Paul Gaynor emphasized the fact that this type of work must not be overwhelmed and overburdened in a maze of statistics, technical reports and learned academic experimentation since previous experiences along these lines clearly indicate that when this appears the end results are almost always negative." Reportedly, much of these very same statements and thinking are contained in a number of the training manuals used today by CIA and Army interrogators.
Project Artichoke Operational Overseas
Beginning in January 1954, following a series of experimental field assignments, the CIA began to systematically dispatch special assignment Artichoke Teams from the U.S. to locations throughout Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines. Team assignments were given by special "EYES ONLY" cables with each assigned a tracking number. By 1961 the numbers had reached as high as 257 specific assignments. Nearly all of these assignments would fall under today's definition of "enhanced interrogations."
Through a number of Project Artichoke documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, we are able to obtain glimpses into those activities and techniques employed by the dispatched teams, which appear to have been at least a dozen in number.
A February 6, 1954 team report, delivered to CIA headquarters by "Diplomatic Courier," provides partial insight into one seemingly unique Artichoke field assignment in Europe. The report states: "These two subjects [foreign agents] are disposal problems, one because of his lack of ability to carry out a mission and the other because he cannot get along with the chief agent of the project. Both have extensive information concerning (other) assets and thus are security risks wherever they are disposed of. Anything that can be done in the Artichoke field to lessen the security risk will be helpful since the men must be disposed of even at maximum security risk. The urgency of consideration of this case is due to the fact that one of the men is already somewhat stir crazy and has tried to escape twice."
Another field report reads: "Subject was given a sedative suppository to increase his resistance to pain, this in order to intensify his ordeal midway through the planned session." Another reads in part: "This A [Artichoke] session involved four subjects all of whom present serious disposal problems after results are produced."
Domestic Artichoke Operations
In February 1954, with over 65 Artichoke Team visits to sites in Europe and the Far East having already occurred, Paul Gaynor decided to open a new Artichoke Project front. This front would be located within America's borders despite the fact that many people in the nation's capital believed that the CIA's founding charter forbade the organization from conducting domestic operations. In numerous ways, this new front gave initial shape and direction for the CIA's still-to-come "rendition" activities that we witness today.
Gaynor outlined this in a memo sent to the Agency's Technical Services Division, explaining that Artichoke officials were about to embark on creating "a mechanism within the United States which will be a ways and means of contacting alien citizens in the United States" whereby they could be "branded as alien threats and removed from the United States as 'undesirable aliens.'" The objective of establishing this mechanism was to facilitate "legal entree" for the contacted aliens so that they might, following careful "screening and testing," conduct covert missions in targeted foreign countries.
Gaynor's memo continued, stating the best technique for "contacting these people" was through the use of "sympathetic fake left-wing organizations" secretly established by the CIA. Remarkably, the memo went on stating the best process established by Artichoke officials for identifying those aliens to use involved "selection, screening, indoctrination and ultimately hypnosis." However, states the memo, "the sixty-four dollar question is can individuals be commanded under hypnosis to do things they would not otherwise do because of morals, training, ethics, etc."
Earlier, in March 1952, Security Research officials along with CIA Scientific Intelligence Branch researchers had made a concerted decision to pursue hypnotism toward the principle objective that, "Two hundred trained [CIA] operators, trained in the United States, could develop [and command] a unique, dangerous army of hypnotically controlled agents" who would carry out any instructions they were given without reservations. Several years later, CIA officials would describe the abilities of this "unique, dangerous army" as "mildly hair-raising."
Artichoke Evolves into Assassination Project
Perhaps it was inevitable that Project Artichoke would eventually develop an "executive action" or assassination component. The CIA had been seriously contemplating such a capacity since its founding. In 1952, one Artichoke official wrote: "Let's get into the technology of assassination, figure most effective ways to kill - like Empress Agrippina - do you want your people to be able to get out of the room? Do you want it traced?"
Other hard evidence of the CIA's leanings toward assassination as a feature of policy and operations is yet another memorandum by the Agency's Security Office and Artichoke official Morse Allen. Wrote Allen about Martin Luther King in 1965: "It is [redacted]'s belief that somehow or other Martin Luther King must be removed from the leadership of the Negro movement, and his removal must come from within and not from without. [Redacted] feels that somehow in the Negro movement, at the top, there must be a Negro leader who is 'clean' who could step into the vacuum and chaos if Martin Luther King were exposed or assassinated."
Rewriting History and Creating Disinformation
In recent years there has been a concerted effort on the part of some groups and writers to deliberately disown and downplay the horrors of Project Artichoke. Perhaps the finest recent example of this is an article written by Charles S. Viar of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Intelligence Studies, a private group. Viar's article entitled PANDORA'S BOX: MKULTRA and the Weaponization of the Human Psyche is posted on the center's web site.
Viar, who claims to have been a student of James Jesus Angleton in 1986 and 1987, and an expert on intelligence affairs, erroneously claims in his article that the Artichoke Project and its techniques had been "developed and successfully refined by the Soviets, Nazi, and Western intelligence services between 1920 and 1973." This rewriting of history appears as nothing short of an amazing effort to distort the truth; as is well established by the CIA's own records, the term Artichoke was never applied to any program or techniques prior to 1952, when the Agency first employed the project codename.
Viar also appears to buy into and promote the cover story invented by Cheney and Rumsfeld in 1975 that Project Artichoke was, in 1953, replaced by MK/ULTRA. Additionally, he buys into the "unwitting" dosing of Frank Olson as "part of an MKULTRA experiment," this despite that Olson was a member of the CIA's Artichoke Conference and never worked with MK/ULTRA projects. Viar then remarkably writes, "There is no evidence that either the CIA or the US military operationalized Artichoke," a statement that is shattered to pieces by the numerous Artichoke operational reports and records filed by both the CIA and army from 1954 through to at least 1970. If this is not enough, Viar then states that it was "the Soviets" who "shared Artichoke with their Arab allies," and then equates Project Artichoke to "suicide bombers" and "Al Qaeda." Lastly, Viar also writes that the CIA's delving into parapsychology matters is near completely overlooked by historians, despite the ample writings and exposure of the Agency's MK/ULTRA subprojects, which extensively dealt with ESP and other parapsychology matters.
Project Artichoke Today
With today's media reports concerning the CIA and Department of Defense black sites cropping up all over the world map, and with horrifying reports concerning alleged "suicides" at US-operated compounds holding "enemy combatants" that make Frank Olson's suicide-turned-murder case look like a stroll through atrocity park, readers should be ever mindful that the roots of the CIA's secret mind control and enhanced interrogation programs are firmly planted in the soil of Project Artichoke.
Over the past months, new secret black sites prisons have been discovered at Guantanamo Naval Base and at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. The Guantanamo site has been linked to the deaths of three prisoners in 2006, while Bagram secret prison, said to be run by the Defense Intelligence Agency, has been the subject of investigations by the New York Times, Washington Post, and BBC, exposing widespread use of beatings, isolation, sleep deprivation, and other techniques derived from Appendix M of the 2006 Army Field Manual. This portion of the manual outlines abusive forms of interrogation reserved only for captives that supposedly don't warrant prisoner-of-war status.
Interest in the use of drugs and mind control techniques in military research and operations persists to the present day. A November 2006 instruction from the Secretary of the Navy (3900.39D) informs that the Undersecretary for the Navy would heretofore be the "Approval Authority for research involving: (a) Severe or unusual intrusions, either physical or psychological, on human subjects (such as consciousness-altering drugs or mind-control techniques)."**
A public presentation of the new policy at the Defense Department Training Day in Washington, D.C. on November 14, 2006, only 16 days after the new policy was released, deleted the parenthetical remarks on drugs and "mind control," but left intact the instruction two paragraphs later that the Undersecretary also be responsible for research of, "Potentially or inherently controversial topics (such as those likely to attract significant media coverage or that might invite challenge by interest groups.)"
Like a modern day Ministry of Truth, U.S. government agencies and their partners are busy trying to erase the evidence of their crimes, whether from sixty years ago, or six. Most recently, the American Psychological Association (APA) has changed the web pages that describe their 2003 workshop conducted with the CIA and the Rand Corporation on deception. One webpage has dropped the link to another page that described the workshops investigation of sensory overload and truth drugs. The descriptive page on workshops has been scrubbed entirely, and is only available through the use of web archives sites. Worth noting is that throughout the 1950s and 1960s the APA worked quite closely with both the CIA and Army on mind control projects, many of which completely crossed ethical lines, as well as the APA's Code of Ethics, into areas described by many observers as sheer madness.
Attempts to prevent judicial review of the rendition and torture programs are moreover an official position of President Obama's administration. On May 12, the administration filed a brief to the Supreme Court about whether to hear an appeal from Maher Arar in his lawsuit against former Attorney General Ashcroft and other Bush administration figures. Arar was kidnapped from New York's JFK Airport and rendered secretly to Syria, where he was tortured for almost a year. His suit was dismissed by a federal circuit appeals court. Now, President Obama's Acting Solicitor General, Neal Katyal, has pronounced the administration's position that further deliberations on Mr. Arar's suit are "unwarranted." The former Solicitor General, Elena Kagan, who was involved in U.S. decision-making on the case, is now a nominee for the Supreme Court.
Finally, the release last year of the CIA's 2004 Inspector General report on the "enhanced interrogation" program revealed an operation that with its use of doctors as control agents, its reliance on methods of psychological and physiological torture, and the experimental nature of the program, led Physicians for Human Rights to release a white paper that concluded that "possible human experimentation" was taking place, and emphasized the urgent need for a thorough investigation.
*According to one former CIA official: "'Black Psychiatry' refers to psychiatric methods used by trained and licensed physicians on subjects. These methods may not be in the best interest of the subject's mental well-being and health." The same official remarked, "There was no shortage of or problems recruiting psychologists in the 1950s and 1960s who would willfully, and sometimes enthusiastically, practice 'Black Psychiatry.'" The various methods of 'Black Psychiatry' were provided in a training setting in the 1950s through to at least the 1970s at the CIA's Butler Health Center facility in Rhode Island, where many physicians, including Dr. Robert Hyde, worked for the Agency. The Butler Center also served as the CIA's central site for exposing its own officials and agents to the effects of LSD and other drugs.
** Recent reports concerning the CIA and Army have both organizations experimenting on a selected basis with a new mind altering drug whose effects are described as "incredibly mind altering yet at the same time allowing subjects to adhere to a sufficient sense of sanity thus allowing better opportunity for truth inducing techniques..." The drug, described by one former intelligence official as "ETX," is said to last for "about 48-hours."
H.P. Albarelli Jr. is the author of "A TERRIBLE MISTAKE: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments." He has written numerous newspaper and magazine articles on biological warfare and intelligence affairs. He can be contacted through his Web site: www.albarelli.net.