The CIA vs. Human Life


As everyone in America knows by now, the good Reverend Jeremiah Wright believes that the AIDS virus was created by the White man to commit genocide against African-Americans. He cites the Tuskegee studies of the 1930s–70s as the justification for this stand. This horrible and inexcusable episode from American history, in which a US government agency did not tell African-American men with syphilis that they had the disease so that they could study its long-term effects, has been used by Wright and his supporters to claim that only Blacks are singled out by the government for such experimentation. Therefore, they postulate, it is not far-fetched to believe that the government created AIDS for the express purpose of killing people of color.

I’m from Montreal and while not well-known in the U.S., the CIA, in conjunction with the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, performed grisly experiments on Montrealers starting in 1949 that went on for over 25 years. The experiments involved what was then a new drug with the acronym LSD. The victims, who were under the impression they were being treated for their depression, were, like the Tuskegee victims, not informed of what the true nature of their treatment was nor were they aware that the program was being funded by the U.S. Government, a CIA front organisation called the Society to Investigate Human Ecology. Like Tuskegee, the real purpose of the experiment was something other than treating the affliction for which the patients came for help. In Tuskegee, it was syphilis; in Montreal, it was depression and other mental and emotional illnesses. In both cases, the U.S. Government had another agenda.

And, in both cases, devastation was left in the wake of the U.S. government’s wanton dallying with human life. “Psychological torture” was one victim’s description of her experience. As if unknowingly dropping acid wasn’t enough for the unsuspecting victims to experience, de-patterning techniques designed to erase the personalities of patients were performed along with massive electroshock treatments. These atrocities were the brainchild of a psychiatrist named Ewen Campbell who worked with the CIA in a futile attempt at developing a “Manchurian Candidate” type of mind-control technique that could be used during the Cold War.

Gail Kastner attributes a life of screaming nightmares, seizures, memory loss, and episodes of regression to infantile states not only to the above-documented indignities but the insulin-induced comas – 5 weeks at a time – the doctors created for her as well. No longer able to tolerate the resulting peculiar behavior, her family abandoned Gail to social services.

The extent to which the CIA restricted their activities just to the Royal Vic, as Montrealers affectionately call the hospital, isn't known. Activist Lynne Moss-Sharman, who works with the Advocacy Committee for Human Experimentation Survivors — Mind Control, assumes that where there's smoke, there's fire. Was there a connection between similarly-conducted Canadian prison experiments and the CIA? Moss-Sharman believes so and, as evidence, has invoked the case of federal prisoner Richard Carlson who claims he was used in covert brain-washing experiments in the '60s and '70s which resulted in his psychiatric debilitation.

The experiments weren't restricted to men. It is alleged that 23 Canadian women, while in prison, were provided with hallucinogens without giving their consent along with the accompanying ghoulish treatments of the sort the Royal Vic meted out to their victims.

Although I don’t have photographs of any of the people experimented upon by the CIA, I can most assuredly tell you that they were, in all likelihood, all White people. Until the '70s when there was an influx of Caribbean immigrants, there were few Blacks in Montreal (although Oscar Peterson – the late, great Jazz pianist – was a Black Montrealer of note as was Percy Rodrigues, who played Commodore Stone on the now-famous episode of Star Trek called "Court Martial"). Canada's prison population at the time was mostly White as well.

A 2005 Rand Corporation survey found that 27% of African-Americans agreed that "AIDS was produced in a government laboratory." Perhaps the information in this article can do its bit towards lowering those figures by declaring to the African-American community that the U.S. Government is an equal opportunity experimenter on live humans without regard to race, creed, or colour.

May 3, 2008