Over the past week, I've been watching the History Channel's America's War on Drugs mini docu-series. To my surprise, the History Channel was shockingly honest about the CIA's involvement in the war on drugs and the massive political propaganda campaigns that went along with it. The series criminalized the CIA and the government, and rightly so, discussing their involvement in drug trafficking, production, and testing — on both volunteers and unwilling patients — and even murder.
Part of the first episode honed in on the CIA's top-secret program that is now declassified, MK-Ultra, which involved sexual and physical abuse, drug testing, hypnosis, mind control, and other types of torture. However, the only aspect that the History Channel discussed in their MK Ultra overview was the role that LSD played.
The CIA designed LSD with a Swiss manufacturer as part of the MK Ultra program in hopes that they could force people to take it and convince them to do unspeakable acts, all of which they'd forget the following morning, once the drugs wore off. Testing started with unwilling participants being lured into a hotel room by prostitutes, who would then slip the drugs into their drinks. A CIA agent would then watch the test subjects as they tripped out behind a wall of the hotel room.
The particular project within MK Ultra that the prostitutes were involved with was called Midnight Climax. This eventually turned into full-blown brothels in the U.S. run by the CIA, whereby the women working there would lure men into them, but instead of receiving sexual favours, were unknowingly drugged and then observed by CIA agents.
The CIA then started to test willing patients in lab settings, observing their reactions to LSD and asking them questions. To their disappointment, instead of helping them control their patients' minds, LSD actually freed their minds. Despite the propaganda campaign on the war on drugs, whereby the government was telling people they were against all drug use, it was the government who brought LSD over and put it in the hands of the public.
Though the History Channel provided a fairly accurate depiction in the role LSD played in MK Ultra, it left out all of the brutal torture, sexual abuse, and other immoral tests performed on these patients. MK Ultra wasn't an unsuccessful program, either; CIA agents were able to successfully mind control many victims, many of whom were children. Of course, the History Channel failed to provide these haunting details in their TV program.
A 1975 document addressed to the President stated: "The drug program was part of a much larger CIA program to study possible means for controlling human behaviour. Other studies explored the effects of radiation, electric-shock, psychology, psychiatry, sociology and harassment substances."
The TV program itself was about drugs, so it's understandable to a certain degree that they left these details out (you can watch the MK Ultra clip here). Plus, the History Channel is owned by A&E, which is owned by Walt Disney, so perhaps they didn't want to be associated with discussing such subjects.
However, the History Channel went on to create a page on their website titled the "History of MK Ultra," which does not portray the full picture of what exactly happened inside of the CIA's MK Ultra program.
So, What Did the History Channel Leave Out About MK Ultra?
The CIA-sanctioned program ran from the 1950s until the mid-1970s, though many believe that aspects of the program still exist today. The experiments were intended to identify drugs as well as procedures to be used in interrogations and torture in order to weaken victims and force confessions out of them through the use of mind control. Though the TV show lightly touched on the severe mental abuse participants endured, it completely left out the physical and sexual abuse involved as well as the other gruesome details of the experiments.