Tag Archives: CIA

The CIA Tested LSD in the New York Subway System?

Sure, most of us have read about the drug experiments the CIA conducted on individuals in the 1950s and 1960s, with and without their knowledge, but it now appears ‘The Company’ randomly tested aerosol LSD on the unwitting riders of the NYC subway system in 1950. As the article below says, “But with the CIAs most important records on such matters destroyed or cloaked in national security claims, it remains difficult to prove whether these purported subway tests occurred.”

Who knows what other dreadful mass ‘experiments’ on innocent Americans have been conducted that continue to be hidden behind a wall of ‘national security’ classification? If the spooks were willing to test a drug of then-unknown effects like LSD on unsuspecting train passengers 60 years ago, what else have they done to us since? (It might explain the crazies on the right and some other social anomalies.) From Rupert Murdoch”s New York Post:

Did the CIA test LSD in the New York City subway system?

Last Updated: 5:05 AM, March 14, 2010
Posted: 1:28 AM, March 14, 2010

On Nov. 28, 1953, Frank Olson, a bland, seemingly innocuous 42-year-old government scientist, plunged to his death from room 1018A in New Yorks Statler Hotel, landing on a Seventh Avenue sidewalk just opposite Penn Station.

Olsons ignominious end was written off as an unremarkable suicide of a depressed government bureaucrat who came to New York City seeking psychiatric treatment, so it attracted scant attention at the time.

But 22 years later, the Rockefeller Commission report was released, detailing a litany of domestic abuses committed by the CIA. The ugly truth emerged: Olsons death was the result of his having been surreptitiously dosed with LSD days earlier by his colleagues.

Read more

Errol Morris’ ‘S.O.P.’ and the Thrown Shoes of Muntazer al-Zaidi

Last Thursday I saw Errol Morris’ “Standard Operating Procedure,” an incredibly powerful documentary of the war crimes committed at Abu Ghraib, and the photographs thereof, put into context by the soldiers who were there. (Morris also made the great documentaries “The Fog of War” and “The Thin Blue Line.”) The most striking part of the “S.O.P.” film, aside from the wincing photos of torture and humiliation, is the ‘good kid’ quality of the participants and their bland, almost casual, recitations of how they helped to cause other human beings to suffer greatly sure, some knew it wasn’t right, but they had been ordered to “soften up” the prisoners for interrogation. It apparently never entered their minds that they were committing the same sorts of tortures that caused Iraqis to loathe Saddam Hussein and were used as a justification by the Bush Administration for the invasion of Iraq. The commentary by these young kids, most of them barely of drinking age and without training in interrogation, exudes Hannah Arendt’s oft-quoted line about the “banality of evil” and leaves several questions looming like large dark shadows over the entire farce of justice that sentenced these noncoms to prison terms: Why wasn’t anyone above the rank of E-7 (Staff Sergeant) jailed, especially US Army Col. Thomas Pappas, who was officially in command of interrogations at Abu Ghraib? (Pappas was forced to pay back $8,000 in wages and received a reprimand, but no criminal charges were ever filed.) Why was Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, former commander of Gitmo, allowed to retire honorably, since the abuse of prisoners apparently began when he took over Abu Ghraib? Why weren’t any senior members of the Bush Administration ever held accountable for the Abu Ghraib scandal? And these are just a few of the more obvious questions.

In case you aren’t familiar with the ugly and varied dimensions of these tortures at ‘Abu G,’ as a soldier in the film called it, here is a summary culled from US government and Red Cross reports (.pdf file):

“Soldiers tore out detainees toenails, administered electric shocks, beat detainees with hard objects (including pistols and rifles), slapped and punched detainees, kicked them with knees or feet on various parts of the body (legs, sides, lower back, groin), forcefully pressed detainees faces into the ground by stepping on their heads, purposely exposed detainees to severe heat and sun for prolonged periods, and forced detainees to stay in ‘stress’ positions (kneeling, squatting, standing with arms raised over their heads) for hours at a time.” []

“At least two detainees were forced to sit or lie down on blistering surfaces, causing severe burns that resulted in large crusted lesions and, in one case, three months hospitalization, the amputation of a finger and large skin grafts.”

The perverse sexual humiliation of the prisoners isn’t noted here, but it’s apparent in the photographs, and also not mentioned is the fact that at least one man was murdered as a result of torture, Manadel al-Jamadi. Al-Jamadi died just hours after his capture from abuse by Navy SEALs and torture by CIA personnel.

These are all war crimes according to the Geneva Conventions and US law, and, naturally, among the major reasons the Iraqi people hate our guts.

That brings us to Iraq’s current hero Muntazer al-Zaidi, the 30-year-old TV journalist who took the mild recourse of tossing his shoes at George W. Bush during Junior’s surprise visit to Iraq in December of 2008. (To the profound regret of many Americans, our first President installed by the Supreme Court managed to dodge both pieces of al-Zaidi’s footwear.)

Al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years, but was released in less than one year, ostensibly due to his good record, but probably because his continued confinement had become a P.R. nightmare for the shaky remains of the al-Maliki government.

Watch Morris’ documentary on Abu Ghraib, think about how you would feel if this were done to Americans, and then congratulate al-Zaidi on the forbearance and thoughtfulness of his words that follow:

Why I Threw the Shoe

I am no hero. I just acted as an Iraqi who witnessed the pain and bloodshed of too many innocents
by Muntazer al-Zaidi
September 18, 2009
(Originally published in The Guardian/UK)

I am free. But my country is still a prisoner of war. There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act. But, simply, I answer: what compelled me to act is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot.

Read more

The Assassination Tangle

Cartoon Dick Killers

For more:

“No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”
— From Executive Order 12333, signed by President Ronald Reagan. Quoted by Marcy Wheeler, Emptywheel, July 13, 2009.

Cheney’s CIA Secret Was an Assassination Squad
David Swanson, After Downing Street, July 13, 2009.

Dick Cheney Hid Hit Squad from Congress
The Guardian (UK), July 13, 2009.

CIA Had Secret Al-Qaeda Plan
Sioban Gorman, WSJ, July 14, 2009.

Today’s Quotes: Does He Ever Tell the Truth?

“Cheney said, ‘I’ve now formally asked the CIA to take steps to declassify those memos so we can lay them out there and the American people have a chance to see what we obtained and what we learned and how good the intelligence was, as well as to see this debate over the legal opinions.'”

“But a senior intelligence official told NBC News: ‘The agency has received no such request from the former vice president.'”
— From “Obama Open to Some Interrogation Prosecution,” NBC News, April 21, 2009.

“Lack of conscience is the hallmark of psychopathy, which is estimated to occur in about 1 percent of the adult population, says psychopathy expert Robert Hare, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of ‘Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us.’ Unlike psychosis, in which a person is out of touch with reality and experiencing delusions or hallucinations, for example, psychopaths know what they are doing. They just dont care and cant really comprehend how their actions hurt others. Psychopaths lack empathy, guilt and remorse, explains Hare.” []
“Furthermore, most psychopaths arent violent offenders. Those raised in deprived environments may grow up to be street criminals, for instance, whereas those raised in privileged homes may become corporate criminals, says Hare.” []
“Adult psychopathy is generally viewed as difficult or even impossible to treat, particularly for repeat violent offenders. Medications and talk therapy dont work, according to Hare and others. Inmates may very convincingly say what they think counselors want to hear because it serves a purpose to them, such as getting paroled. And psychopaths outside of the prison system may never enter treatment. ‘No self-respecting psychopath is going to seek therapy in the real world because they dont think theres anything wrong with them,’ says Hare.” []
“While it might not be possible to help people develop a conscience, perhaps they can be convinced that its in their best interest to act as if they do. While psychopaths and kids with CU [Callous-Unemotional] traits know societys rules, they dont care to follow them. And theyre impulsive, so they dont necessarily think through the consequences of their actions. They just act, so this approach has to focus on how they directly benefit, because they really dont care about how their actions impact others, explains Hare. So, for instance, it would likely be futile to try to get them to change their behavior by explaining just how much they hurt others. They cant relate.”
— Jacqueline Stenson, “Destined as a Psychopath? Experts Seek Clues,” MSNBC, April 20, 2009.