1953 April 13

CIA Launches MKULTRA – Secret Drug Experiments Project


Project MKULTRA, launched on this day, was the code name for a secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program that experimented with mind control. The project used hypnosis, sensory deprivation, and the drug LSD. Particularly controversial, some subjects were not informed of the experiments performed on them. Secret experiments were performed at 80 different institutions, including 44 colleges and universities.

Controversy still surrounds the deaths of some people who were involved in MKULTRA experiments. After being reduced in size in the 1960s, it was finally ended in 1973. That year, CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKULTRA documents destroyed, although 20,000 survived.

The public did not learn about MKULTRA until the Church Committee (created January 27, 1975) investigation in 1975. On February 18, 1976, President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905, banning experimentation on human subjects without informed consent. The same Executive Order also banned assassinations of political leaders.

Learn more; MKULTRA documents: http://www.theblackvault.com/m/articles/view/CIA-MKULTRA-Collection#.Ux9tQkmPL5p

President Ford’s ban in experimentation on human subjects: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=59348

Section 5 (d) Restrictions on Experimentation: “Foreign intelligence agencies shall not engage in experimentation with drugs on human subjects, except with the informed consent, in writing and witnessed by a disinterested third party, of each such human subject and in accordance with the guidelines issued by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects for Biomedical and Behavioral Research.”

Watch a video on MKULTRA experiments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ff24-xGrSI

Learn more: Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD, the CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond (1992)

Read the 1994 GAO report on Cold War human experimentation: http://www.gao.gov/assets/110/105708.pdf

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