In the 1950s, in the midst of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency developed a highly classified psychological warfare program called MK Ultra. After the Second World War, the Western intelligence community became interested in the use of mind control drugs when it was learned that Nazi scientists engaged in similar experimentation. Described as the CIA’s version of the Manhattan Project, MK Ultra was developed in response to rumors that the Soviets planned to plant brainwashed assassins in the White House and other citadels of Western power.
Some believe that MK Ultra was used to silence dissident voices in the United States. Paul Robeson Jr., son of the singer, actor and activist Paul Robeson, believes that the CIA poisoned his father with the mind-altering drug BZ. He says that a doctor who treated his father had links to the program. Robeson Sr. was targeted by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee. In 1943, the CIA opened a file on Robeson, and between April and June 1961 the FBI kept a “status of health” file on the artist-activist.
- Paul Robeson, Jr.
- Dr. Eric Olson, a clinical psychologist, and son of Frank Olson, an Army scientist who died after CIA experts, experimenting with mind-bending drugs, had secretly slipped him a dose of potent LSD. Frank Olson’s death was ruled a suicide, since he had apparently jumped out of a window to his death. But Eric Olson believes that his father was assassinated.
- Martin Lee, co-author of ??Acid Dreams: the CIA, LSD and the 60s Rebellion.