MKULTRA understanding todays addiction to Heroin

By Liam Roberts

 mk head page

Activities under the MKULTRA project were carried out between 1953-1964.  MKULTRA was a Top Secret CIA “umbrella project” under which there were 149 subprojects concerning research into human behavioural modification, drug acquisition and testing or administering drugs surreptitiously. (There were also 33 additional subprojects funded under MKULTRA which have nothing to do with behavioural modification, drugs, or any related matter).


MKUltra experiments included administering LSD to CIA employees, military personnel, doctors, government agents, prostitutes, mentally ill patients, and members of the general public in order to study their reactions. Other experiments involved drugs such as temazepam, heroin, morphine, MDMA, mescaline, psilocybin, scopolamine, marijuana, alcohol, sodium pentothal, and ergine. The drugs were usually administered without the subject's knowledge or informed consent, a direct violation of the Nuremberg Code that the U.S. agreed to after World War II.


MKULTRA was not limited to the use of drugs alone however. Often, as well as the administration of drugs, Electro Convulsion Therapy, hypnosis, sensory and sleep deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, and various other forms of torture were among several other areas of research included in the subprojects.


“We are a free people, living in an open society. But some of our most cherished freedoms have been threatened by these activities.

The question is not whether a free society can accommodate the need for covert intelligence activities. The question is how those activities can be made accountable; how they can be carried out without jeopardising the very freedoms they are supposed to protect.

In the United States, the ends never have, and never will, justify the means.  Freedom can be eroded by internal excesses as well as by external threats. The story we will hear in these next two days is of well-motivated, patriotic Americans who, by their work, eroded the freedom of individuals and of institutions in the name of National Security.”

Senator Edward Kennedy at the 1977 Senate Congressional committee on MKULTRA.


Following the Second World War, the concept of running a secret or ‘black’ project was no longer novel for Western Military and Intelligence operations.  Projects such as the Manhattan project (the secret US atomic bomb program) had given birth to an entirely new generation of operations, and because of them, a moral precedent had been established which made it much easier for psy-op program champions to argue their case.  The existence of all these operations – ‘Black Projects’ funded by “Black budgets’ – were withheld not only from the public, but also from Congress for reasons of national security.


In 1945 the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was established and given direct responsibility for Operation Paperclip, an OSS/CIA program for capturing and taking Nazi German scientists to the United States at the end of the Second World War.


US President Harry Truman formally authorized Operation Paperclip in August 1945, and as a direct result, by mid-November, hundreds of Nazi scientists, engineers, and technicians were arriving in America.  By 1955, nearly a thousand German scientists had been granted citizenship in the United States and given prominent positions in the American scientific community. Many of these scientists had been longtime members of the Nazi Party and the Gestapo, had conducted horrific human experiments, been actively involved in the Holocaust and committed further war crimes.


Several secret U.S. government projects grew out of Operation PAPERCLIP, including; Project CHATTER, Project BLUEBIRD, Project ARTICHOKE and, in 1953 the CIA began the research program code named Project MKULTRA.  (MK stands for Mind Kontrolle, using the German spelling of control in a tip of the hat to the Nazi scientists who began the work years earlier).


The sole purpose of MKULTRA was the behavioral modification of human beings to make us easier to control, ultimately allowing entire populations to become enslaved.


The full extent of experimentation on human subjects is unknown - A 1963 report on Project MKULTRA by the Inspector General’s office notes on page 14: “Present practice is to maintain no records of the planning and approval of test programs”.  In January 1973, at the instruction of then CIA Director Richard Helms, the records of all MKULTRA related activities were destroyed. In brief, there were few records to begin with and less after the destruction in 1973.


However, during the Rockefeller Commission and Church Committee investigations in 1975, the cryptonym became publicly known when details of the drug-related death of Dr. Frank Olson were publicised. In 1953 Dr. Olson, a civilian employee of the Army at Fort Detrick, leaped to his death from a hotel room window in New York City about a week after having unwittingly consumed LSD administered to him as an experiment at a meeting of LSD researchers called by the CIA. (Read more: )



In 1975 the Senate Health Subcommittee heard chilling testimony about the human experimentation activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over 30 universities and institutions were involved in an “extensive testing and experimentation” program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens “at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign.” 


Through the congressional hearings led by Senators Frank Church and Edward Kennedy, despite persistent inquiries by both the Health Subcommittee and the intelligence committee, no additional records or information were forthcoming. And not one single individual could be found who remembered the details, not the Director of the CIA, who ordered the documents destroyed, not the official responsible for the program, nor any of his associates.


Then, one individual, through a freedom of information request, accomplished what two US senate committees could not, finding additional records pertaining to the CIA’s program of experimentation with human subjects.


These new documents relating to MKULTRA were bought to light in March 1977 following the extensive search efforts of an employee charged with the responsibility of maintaining the CIA’s holdings on behavioural drugs and for responding to Freedom of Information Act requests on this subject.  The material had been sent to the CIA’s retired records of the Budget and Fiscal section of the branch responsible for such projects, but these were not searched by the CIA when it came to destroying the MKULTRA evidence because financial papers associated with sensitive projects such as MKULTRA were normally maintained by the branch itself under the project file, not by the Budget and Fiscal section.  The employee who located this material did so by leaving no stone unturned in his efforts to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests.  In sum, the Agency failed to uncover these documents in 1973 in the process of trying to destroy them; it similarly failed to locate them in 1975 in response to the Church Committee hearings. 


The discovery of seven boxes of documents relating to project MKULTRA records, although merely records of the financial aspects of these programmes, reveal a far more extensive series of experiments than had previously been thought. New instances of unethical behaviour were revealed and a total of eighty-six universities or institutions were involved, not just 30 as previously revealed by the CIA in the 1975 congressional hearings.

Two of the seven boxes contained miscellaneous MKULTRA papers, including audit reports and financial statements from “cut-out” (ie. intermediary) funding mechanisms used to conceal the CIA’s sponsorship of various research programs. They contain glimpses of evidence for the period when the CIA conducted its work through the Office of Security in 1953, and later through the Technical Services Staff (TSS) up to 1962. Several records are available from 1962 onwards when mind control research was transferred to the Office of Research and Development (ORD). However, from the 1950’s to 1962 most of the original records, documents and research papers were deliberately destroyed.


In a further US Senate congressional committee held in July 1977 following the discovery of the new materials, Director of the CIA, Admiral Stansfield Turner attempted to group the activities covered by MKULTRA’s 149 subprojects into categories under descriptive headings. The activities are placed in the following 15 categories:


  1. Research into the effects of behavioural drugs and/or alcohol:

1.1.17 subprojects probably not involving human testing

1.2.14 subprojects involving tests on human volunteers

1.3.19 subprojects probably including tests on human volunteers – some of these subprojects may have included tests on unwitting subjects as well

1.4.6 subprojects involving tests on unwitting subjects.

  1. Research on Hypnosis: 8 subprojects, including 2 involving hypnosis and drugs in combination.
  2. Acquisition of chemicals or drugs: 7 subprojects
  3. Aspects of magicians’ art useful in covert operations: eg., surreptitious delivery of drug-related materials: 4 subprojects
  4. Studies of human behaviour, sleep research, and behavioural changes during psychotherapy: 9 subprojects
  5. Library searches and attendance at seminars and international conferences on behavioural modification: 6 subprojects
  6. Motivational studies, studies of defectors, assessment, and training techniques: 23 subprojects
  7. Polygraph research: 3 subprojects
  8. Funding mechanisms for MKULTRA external research activities: 3 subprojects
  9. Research on drugs, toxins, and biologicals in human tissue: provision of exotic pathogens and the capability to incorporate them in effective delivery systems: 6 subprojects
  10. Activities whose objectives cannot be determined from available documentation: 3 subprojects
  11. Subprojects involving funding support for unspecified activities connected with the Army’s Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick, Md. (This activity is outlined in book 1 of the Church committee report pp. 388-389 – under CIA’s project MKNAOMI, the army assisted the CIA in developing, testing and maintaining biological agents and delivery systems for use against humans as well as against animals and crops).
  12. Single subprojects in such areas as effects of electro-shock, harassment techniques for offensive use, analysis of extra-sensory perception, gas propelled sprays and aerosols, and four subprojects involving crop and material sabotage.
  13. One or two subprojects on each of the following:

14.1.      “Blood Grouping” research

14.2.      controlling the activity of animals

14.3.      energy storage and transfer in organic systems

14.4.      stimulus and response in biological systems

  15. Three subprojects cancelled before any work was done on them having to do with laboratory drug screening,         research on brain concussion, and research on biologically active materials to be tested through the skin on           human volunteers.



In closing his opening speech to the committee in 1977 Turner states “Let me emphasise again that the MKULTRA events are 12-24 years in the past, and I assure you that the CIA is in no way engaged in either witting or unwitting testing of drugs today”.


…And the moon is made of cheese.


We are being constantly drugged… Through fluoride and antibiotics in our water, artificial sweetners and chemicals in our food, harmful and toxic ingredients in our cosmetics and even toxic heavy metals in the very air that we breath.  MKULTRA provided all the blueprints necessary for how best to control populations.  Perhaps IF the testing did cease in 64, which I have no doubt it didn’t, it was only because the necessary conclusions had already been made from the prior research and the project moved on from testing to implementation.


Perhaps one such example is the transition from one popular ‘drug of choice’ to the next and the effect this has had on society as a whole…


The introduction of LSD to society during the 50’s and 60’s was a social experiment to study human behavioral modification, as set out in CIA mind control project MKULTRA. 

The sixties were arguably the most influential decade of modern history. Events that would change the way we think and the way we live our lives; Vietnam, the Cold war, building of the Berlin wall, the assassination of JFK and Martin Luther King Jnr.  But the sixties are also well known for the anti-establishment cultural phenomenon known as the hippy counterculture that developed in the UK and USA and spread throughout much of the Western world.

LSD became central to the counterculture of the 1960s and was widely available thanks to government/CIA drug pushers…


The post-war "baby boom" resulted in an unprecedented number of prospective participants in a rethinking of the direction of American and other democratic societies during the sixties, and, as the decade progressed, widespread tensions developed in society regarding the war in Vietnam, race relations, human sexuality, women's rights, traditional modes of authority, experimentation with psychoactive drugs, (in particular LSD), and differing interpretations of the American Dream.


As the era unfolded, a dynamic youth subculture that emphasized creativity, experimentation and new incarnations of bohemian lifestyles emerged. In addition to the trendsetting Beatles, many other creative artists and thinkers, within and across many disciplines, contributed to the counterculture movement.


In the broadest sense, 1960s counterculture grew from a confluence of events, issues, circumstances, and technological developments that served as intellectual and social catalysts for exceptionally rapid change during the era.


The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, initiating a major cultural and political shift. Although hippies also gathered in major cities across the U.S., Canada and Europe, San Francisco remained the epicenter of the social earthquake that would come to be known as the Hippie Revolution, the activities centered therein became a defining moment of the 1960s, causing numerous 'ordinary citizens' to begin questioning everything and anything about them and their environment as a result.


The spirit of the era was summed up well by Mick Jagger in a 1967 interview:


"I see a great deal of danger in the air. Teenagers are not screaming over pop music anymore, they're screaming for much deeper reasons. We're only serving as a means of giving them an outlet. Pop music is just the superficial tissue. When I'm on the stage I sense that the teenagers are trying to communicate to me, like by telepathy, a message of some urgency. Not about me or my music, but about the world and the way they live. I interpret it as their demonstration against society and it's sick attitudes. Teenagers the world over are weary of being pushed around by half-witted politicians who attempt to dominate their way of thinking and set a code for their living. This is a protest against the system. And I see a lot of trouble coming in the dawn."


Indeed, there was a revolution occurring, the world was changing drastically, control was shifting from the elite few to the masses, and from the elite’s point of view, something significant was needed to restore control.




Almost as if by the flick of a switch, by the end of the 60's the counter culture, which had begun as a progressive social movement bent on changing the world for the better had all but died…


The introduction of LSD to society during the 50’s and 60’s was, as previously stated, an experiment in human behavioural modification.  Usually the point of conducting an experiment is to understand the results, and how the varying factors affect them, with this in mind, I believe the counterculture movement of the sixties was an undesired side effect of the drug. When the intelligence agencies and governments realised they were losing control of their populations who were no longer willing to accept war as the only answer to political issues they had to do something to regain their stronghold on people’s perceptions and reactions. 



By 1968, the FBI's Counterintelligence Program, and the CIA's Operation Chaos, had included among their long list of domestic enemies "Advocates of New Lifestyles," "New Left," "Apostles of Non-Violence and Racial Harmony" and "Restless Youth."

Justification for indexing 300,000 law abiding citizens into files, and wiretapping, bugging, or burglarizing offices was rationalized on the basis that violence was prevalent, the cities were burning.


Now we find out that being "non-violent" and wanting "racial harmony," according to recent Congressional investigations, was also a crime.


Was it that LSD and other psychoactive drugs were politically dangerous in that they suspended the conditioning of people, if only temporarily, long enough to see the lies they were being fed?  The Psychedelic revolution embarrassed the government at every turn, people were actively criticising the war in Vietnam and calling for other social reforms.

In October 1968 possession of LSD was made illegal in the States. LSD had opened too many minds, made too many people question too many real issues.  The CIA had by now established that LSD was no good for controlling people. Opium, in its many forms, it would appear, is the drug of choice for keeping populations under control.


“We must always remember to thank the CIA and the Army for LSD.


That's what people forget...


They invented LSD to control people and what they did was give us freedom.”


John Lennon in a Playboy interview published in January 1981


As LSD use and availability began to decrease, Heroin use was already beginning to surge in America.  Between 1965-1970 the US involvement in Vietnam is blamed for the increase in illegal heroin being smuggled into the States. The CIA set up a charter airline, Air America, to transport raw opium from Burma and Laos. Some of the opium would also be transported to Marseille by Corsican gangsters to be refined into heroin and shipped to the U.S via the French connection. The number of heroin addicts in the U.S. reaches an estimated 750,000 around this time.


 “[President John F] Kennedy’s intended change in Vietnam policy – his plan to unilaterally withdraw from the imbroglio – infuriated not only the CIA but elements in the Pentagon and their allies in the military-industrial-complex. By this time, of course, the Lansky Syndicate had already set-up international heroin running from Southeast Asia through the CIA-linked Corsican Mafia in the Mediterranean. The joint Lansky-CIA operations in the international drug racket were a lucrative venture that thrived as a consequence of deep U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia as a cover for drug smuggling activities.” Michael Collins Piper on Vietnam in his book Final Judgment.


By the end of the 1970’s the US government had found a means of destroying the Mexican opium trade - by spraying poppy fields with agent orange.  The eradication plan is termed a success as the amount of "Mexican Mud" in the US drug market declines. In response to the decrease in availability of "Mexican Mud", another source of heroin is found in the Golden Crescent area of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, creating a dramatic upsurge in the production and trade of illegal heroin.  The middle east assumes control of opium productions in the 1990s and I’m sure that’s significant in some way, oh yes, America’s (and Britain’s) never ending war with the middle east…


war on drugs


There are billions of dollars per year to be made in keeping the drug trade going, and it has long been established that Wall Street and the major American banks rely on drug money as a ready source of liquid capital.  In late 2009, Antonio Maria Costa, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, even went on record to say that it was primarily drug money that kept the American financial system afloat during the 2008 crisis, estimating that some $352billion of drug profits had been laundered via the major US banks during that time.




With those kinds of funds at stake, it is unsurprising to see a media-government-banking nexus develop around the status quo of a never-ending war on drugs, aided, abetted and facilitated by the modern-day British East India Company, the CIA?


The very reason the US went to war with Afghanistan in 2001 was drugs, specifically opium.

soldiers opium




Here we see soldiers doing their real job and protecting the poppy fields where the opium is cultivated soon to be exported on to the streets of America and beyond.

It has nothing to do with 'fighting for freedom'.




Opium production in Afghanistan was banned in 2000. Within a year America and Britain had invaded Afghanistan and soon after opium production started again.

opium cultivation erradication graph


Opium production in Afghanistan, which provides more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin, broke all records in 2006, reaching a historic high despite ongoing US sponsored eradication efforts. The amount of land in Afghanistan cultivating opium grew by 61%, cultivation in the two main production provinces, Helmand in the southwest and Oruzgan in central Afghanistan, was up by 132%.


Washington claimed that Mexico is the source of the heroin that is flooding US streets but the numbers tell a different story; Mexico had 10,500 hectares under poppy cultivation in 2012, while Afghanistan had 224,000 hectares according to a 2014 report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).


Fast forward from 2001 to 2017, heroin is sweeping across the United States at unprecedented levels; According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse there has been a 75% Increase in fatal heroin overdoses in the US between 2007-2011 and Abuse of prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, Roxicodone and OxyContin (all opioids), has increased 33 percent in a five-year period.  The CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) states as of January 2017 Heroin-related overdose deaths have more than quadrupled since 2010. 


cdc opioid death chartcdc heroin graph


Project MKULTRA extensively tested over 130 different types of drugs and toxins on unwitting human subjects to study and understand human behaviour, as a result of these experiments mind opening drugs such as LSD have received nothing but bad press while the cultivation of Opium has increased at a staggering rate, and Opium use, in its varying legally prescribed and illegal forms, is an epidemic on an unprecedented scale.


In this article, I have tried to provide enough detail on the history and an overview of MKULTRA and what it means for us in 2017. However, we really have only begun to scratch the surface of MKULTRA and the bizarre human experiments that have taken place to get us where we are today. In reality, it goes way, way deeper than drugging nations into becoming docile and accepting the status quo. 


In the next segment, I will go on to discuss other experiments and tests that came out of project MKULTRA and I will also look at individual cases of mind control in far greater detail.

The Manchurian candidate was fiction, but MKULTRA brought the idea of real-life mind controlled assassins very much into reality. 


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