Chemical Concussions and Secret LSD: Pentagon Details Cold War Mind-Control Tests

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More than 30
years after it was written, the Pentagon has released a memorandum
detailing its involvement in the CIA’s infamous Cold War mind-control

But a warning
to conspiracy theorists on the lookout for new fodder: This isn’t
quite Men Who Stare at Goats II.

17-page document (.pdf)
, “Experimentation Programs conducted
by the Department of Defense That Had CIA Sponsorship or Participation
and That Involved the Administration to Human Subjects of Drugs
Intended for Mind-Control or Behavior-Modification Purposes,”
was prepared in 1977 by the General Counsel of the Department of
Defense and released on May 6 after a Freedom of Information Act

Most of the
details have been revealed in earlier CIA papers. And if anything,
the Pentagon’s recap is a reminder of how little the Department
of Defense cops to knowing about the CIA projects.

Still, there
are some tantalizing new details. Take the origins of MK-ULTRA,
the notorious CIA program that dosed thousands of unwitting participants
with hallucinogenic drugs.

Initially funded
by the Navy, the project set out to study the effects of brain concussion.
Soon after, scientists noted that a blow to the head prompted amnesia,
leading to the pursuit of a drug-based technique to “induce
brain concussion … without physical trauma.” Shortly thereafter,
the project was transferred entirely to the CIA, because it involved
“human experiments … not easily justifiable on medical-therapeutic

Other programs,
described briefly focused on mind control. MK-NAOMI was after “severely
incapacitating and lethal materials … [and] gadgetry for their
dissemination,” and MK-CHICKWIT was designed to “identify
new drug developments in Europe and Asia,” and then “obtain

Edgewood Laboratories,
where many of the programs were carried out, is also identified
as having tested an incapacitating chemical on prisoners and military
personnel without the agency’s approval. The drug, EA#3167,
was “appl[ied] to the skin” of subjects using an adhesive

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14, 2010

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