Within the annals of research into conspiracy theories, there is perhaps no more emotive term than that of “mind-control.” It provokes imagery of the CIA's operation, MK-Ultra. Although the U.S. intelligence community, military and government has undertaken countless official (and off-the-record, too) projects pertaining to both mind-control and mind-manipulation, without any doubt whatsoever, the most notorious of all was Project MKUltra: a clandestine operation that operated out of the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence, and that had its beginnings in the Cold War era of the early 1950s. The date of the project’s actual termination is a somewhat hazy one; however, it is known that it was definitely in operation as late as the latter part of the 1960s – and, not surprisingly and regretfully, has since been replaced by far more controversial and deeply hidden projects. To demonstrate the level of secrecy that surrounded Project MKUltra, even though it had kicked off at the dawn of the fifties, its existence was largely unknown outside of the intelligence world until 1975 – when the Church Committee and the Rockefeller Commission began making their own investigations of the CIA’s mind-control-related activities.
It's important to note that MK-Ultra was not the only mind-control program during the Cold War era.While MKUltra was certainly the most infamous of all the CIA-initiated mind-control programs, it was very far from being an isolated one. Indeed, numerous sub-projects, post-projects and operations initiated by other agencies were brought to the Committee’s attention. One was Project Chatter, which the Committee described thus: "Project Chatter was a Navy program that began in the fall of 1947. Responding to reports of amazing results achieved by the Soviets in using truth drugs, the program focused on the identification and the testing of such drugs for use in interrogations and in the recruitment of agents. The research included laboratory experiments on animals and human subjects involving Anabasis aphylla, scopolamine, and mescaline in order to determine their speech-inducing qualities. Overseas experiments were conducted as part of the project. The project expanded substantially during the Korean War, and ended shortly after the war, in 1953."
Then there was Projects Bluebird and Artichoke. Again, the Committee dug deep and uncovered some controversial and eye-opening data and testimony: "The earliest of the CIA’s major programs involving the use of chemical and biological agents, Project Bluebird, was approved by the Director in 1950. Its objectives were: (a) discovering means of conditioning personnel to prevent unauthorized extraction of information from them by known means, (b) investigating the possibility of control of an individual by application of special interrogation techniques, (c) memory enhancement, and (d) establishing defensive means for preventing hostile control of Agency personnel." The Committee added with respect to Bluebird:
"As a result of interrogations conducted overseas during the project, another goal was added - the evaluation of offensive uses of unconventional interrogation techniques, including hypnosis and drugs. In August 1951, the project was renamed Artichoke. Project Artichoke included in-house experiments on interrogation techniques, conducted ‘under medical and security controls which would ensure that no damage was done to individuals who volunteer for the experiments. Overseas interrogations utilizing a combination of sodium pentothal and hypnosis after physical and psychiatric examinations of the subjects were also part of Artichoke." Interestingly, the Committee noted that: “Information about Project Artichoke after the fall of 1953 is scarce. The CIA maintains that the project ended in 1956, but evidence suggests that Office of Security and Office of Medical Services use of ‘special interrogation’ techniques continued for several years thereafter."
MKNaomi was another major CIA program in this area. In 1967, the CIA summarized the purposes of MKNaomi thus: "(a) To provide for a covert support base to meet clandestine operational requirements. (b) To stockpile severely incapacitating and lethal materials for the specific use of TSD [Technical Services Division]. (c) To maintain in operational readiness special and unique items for the dissemination of biological and chemical materials. (d) To provide for the required surveillance, testing, upgrading, and evaluation of materials and items in order to assure absence of defects and complete predictability of results to be expected under operational conditions." Of course, this all raises the question: how many more mind-control programs were in use during those same periods? To this day we don't really know. Largely because of the huge amount of material that was destroyed in the 1970s. All we do know for sure, however, is this: MK-Ultra was far from being alone.