Friday, October 24, 2014

1911, "Use of Cocaine in the South"

I posted this article three years ago on another blog, but I bring it over here now to highlight it because of the importance and timeliness of its message. Clipped from a 1911 edition of the Albany Evening Journal, where it had been reprinted after first being published in the Washington Post, the title, "Use of Cocaine in South," expresses concern by "the owners of the big lumber camps and the factories where a large proportion of employes are colored," over the use of cocaine, saying:
"In nearly every large lumber camp in the South scores of negroes can be found lolling around under the influence of cocaine."
This "growing" evil amongst black workers was occasioned by the "taking away of the opportunity for them to procure liquor," with "local option" making cocaine legal in some communities, but available everywhere "in quantities" nonetheless. A lawyer is quoted saying:
"Cocaine used to be sold in the ordinary state in which it is handed out over the counter of drugstores, but now it is to be had in crystal form, resembling rock candy."
Three years ago, I considered this finding to be of historical importance in a cultural understanding of drug use in this country---be they legal, illegal, or as here, somewhere in between. But I got my political appreciation entirely ass-backwards when I wrote:
Well, this lets the C.I.A. off the hook from the charge made by paranoid conspiracy theorists like myself that The Company deliberately introduced crack cocaine into minority communities in the early 90's (that would be the 1990's dear,) as a genocidal ploy of their hegemonic dominance. (If you want to cop in any city---certainly it's true in Florida---just locate that town's Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.) It is remarkable what knowledge can die out when it's limited to just living memory. A generation or two is all it takes.

April 28, 1911, Albany Evening Journal (Reprinted from the Washington Post), Page 4, Column 6, Use of Cocaine in South

"One of the growing evils among the negroes of the South is the use of cocaine," remarked E. W. Boyd, a lawyer, of Charleston, S. C. "This is particularly the case with negroes employed in the large lumber camp's in those sections where there is local option. The taking away of the opportunity for them to procure liquor has led them to turn to cocaine, and the effects, you may imagine, are infinitely worse than an indulgence in whiskey. In nearly every large lumber camp in the South scores of negroes can be found lolling around under the influence of cocaine.

"The authorities have sought to prevent the sale of this drug by restrictive ordinances, but in every community there are to be found two or three venders of the drug. It can be had in quantities. Cocaine used to be sold in the ordinary state in which it is handed out over the counters of drugstores, but now it is to be had in crystal form, resembling rock candy.

"Now, while I am opposed to the indiscriminate sale of liquor to the negroes, I believe that the use of cocaine is far worse. How to overcome the conditions is a problem the solution of which is worrying the owners of the big lumber camps and the factories where a large proportion of employes are colored."

In my recollection, when the phenomena of a street form of smokable cocaine first appeared ("crack" being a more easily lighted variety of base cocaine, which celebrities had begun smoking not long before in the privacy of their homes, or jet plane lavatories,) and the effects began wreaking huge swaths of inner-city neighborhoods, health professionals and drug counselors stood by almost helplessly---I don't recall a word spoken by professionals or in the media of any historical antecedent or context---like the British addicting Chinese peasants to the pleasure of "chasing the dragon," then launching the First and Second Opium Wars to lock in the trade. Black pastors who had endured epidemics of addiction in their communities before, said, here, for the first time, was a drug that took even mothers away from their babies, and it was nothing to find what had been left under the Christmas tree was robbed to fund a binge the evening before. But as epidemics do, it ran its course, killing tens of thousands, and leaving survivors tried by the ordeal.

The one entity who would have had an historical awareness of both the dangers, and the profitability of drug use like rock-candy cocaine was the federal government, which first became involved in narcotics control in 1914, three years after this expression of concern was published, when Congress passed but the Harrison Act, meant primarily as a revenue law, which required traffickers in opium and cocaine to register with the government and pay an excise tax, so the Narcotics Division originally was established as a part of the Treasury Department. But a recurring pattern of corruption took hold, which rivaled the business relationship between law enforcement and booze suppliers after the enactment of nationwide Prohibition in 1920. A net effect of Prohibition was to redirect excise taxes on alcohol from the federal treasury into an illicit profit stream. The term "organized crime" can mean only one thing in organizational reality----that is likely to have been a 50/50 split between law-givers and law-breakers.

Agency of Fear
Opiates and Political Power in America
By Edward Jay Epstein
Chapter 11 - The Narcotics Business: John Ingersoll's Version
 ... in sophisticated political units, power is diffuse and therefore difficult to seize in a coup.

 --EDWARD LUTTWAK, Coup d'Etat

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trick Question: Are Bacteriologists Like Estheticians?

The Frank Olson Legacy Project online, which was primarily the work of Olson's son Eric, does a relatively good job of preserving the news record that resulted from the storm of public interest following revelations in 1975---over twenty years after Frank Olson's death---that the C.I.A. had fed him LSD less than a week before he went out a window in the Statler Hotel in New York City during the middle of the night, and met his end on the pavement below.

An oversight in the project collection, however, is that out of literally hundreds of articles the site either links to or preserves as a text, less than a dozen are from the period 1975-1980, when several congressional investigations of the United States intelligence community were undertaken, and when sometimes daily reports of intelligence agency wrongdoing and malfeasance were issued. It is a common pattern, I've discovered, for the mismanagers of information to cloud the public record in just such a way, and so misdirect history away from any demonstrable, originating truth.

Rather than calling Eric an apple who didn't fall very far from the C.I.A. tree, I'll draw attention to a singularly invaluable contribution he made, something which HighBeam or Google Newspapers never would have turned up.

Prior to the deluge of news articles about his father in 1975, the story of Frank Olson went totally unmentioned in the press for twenty-three years. Only a small notice I found in the New York Times containing just the bare facts of the police report, was published on Nov. 29, 1953, and a proper obituary was published in the Frederick News-Post, the hometown newspaper of Olson and his employers at Fort Detrick, (In one citation, Eric Olson says the obit is dated Nov. 28, and on another page he lists it as dating Nov. 29.)

Eric Olson says:
The local newspaper in Frederick, Maryland from Nov 28, 1953 — decorated by my brother or sister or me—said that my father "fell or jumped" out the window of a New York hotel room.

November 29, 1953, Frederick News-Post, Army Bacteriologist Dies in Plunge from N.Y. Hotel

I can recall when I was a preschooler coloring with crayons in some of my mother's books and getting in a lot of trouble for it. Since the clipping seems poorly torn out of a page---let's call it a "tearing" instead of a clipping---its salvage is all the more remarkable, since it didn't wind up in a collage, or as a burnt-edge decoupage,

Remarkable too, is the artistry of the youngster who created a close representation of an Inverted Pentagram, long before they could even wonder if it were an evil or satanic symbol or not.

Apparently, the power of a sigil to deflect attention away from an object is as strong as John Mullholland's Ouija board claimed, for nobody seems to have read or referenced a bit of information found in Frank Olson's obit:
Olson was a native of Hurley, Wis., and a graduate in 1932 from the University of Wisconsin. He taught at Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind., and did graduate work at Wisconsin before receiving a doctor of philosophy degree there in 1941.

A doctor of philosophy degree is a fascinating attainment, and I'm sure it would do the C.I.A. a world of good to employ such a graduate, but the degree has absolutely nothing in common with the field of bacteriology; or microbiology; or pathogenic micro-organisms of any kind. I've tried to come to grips with this anomaly, assuming I must be screwy---checking to see if there is any record Olson went on to get another advanced degree, in a totally dissimilar field, but I find nothing. It appears as if our philosopher-scholar went to work at Fort Detrick in 1943 during a manpower shortage at the height of the Second World War, and fit in, or adapted somehow. But he seems overqualified to do spore counts, or other mundane tasks.

The New York Times is super careful to reference Olson's colleague as Robert Vern Lashbrook, but then they use "Mister" right after saying he's a chemist, so mistakes do happen. Lashbrook was a Doctor, supposedly. Or maybe he too was only a pretend doctor of chemistry---or an unlicensed chiropractor even---and he chickened out in the face of the Times' fact-checkers.

(OMG! I may be on to something here! See: July 19, 1975, New York Times, Ex-C.I.A. Employee Says He Took LSD As a Reluctant 'Guinea Pig' in Tests, by Joseph B. Treaster,)
Robert V. Lashbrook, who worked for the C.I.A. for 12 years as a research scientist and is now a substitute high school science and mathematics teacher in California, said in a telephone interview Thursday that he had never directly been ordered to participate in drug tests but that his superiors and colleagues indicated "that you were expected to."

If this "bimbo theory" of mine pans out, I think it's a real deal breaker. Not only would it be evidence that government authorities manipulate these secret systems, putting in their totally unqualified little favor-lings ahead of the long-schooled, hard-working, legitimate career path-ists and civil servants, who slog their way to their pensions, day-in, day-out, beholden to bosses who demand accountability and productivity, but instead, buffoons are put into positions which are advertised to the public as holding such grave responsibilities, and requiring such extreme trust. All the public has to go on is the tiny bits of information the clandestine world deigns to give us. But this sick, sad remnant of plunder in monopoly capitalism has become so sloppy, so lazy, so ridiculous in the degree they're divorced from reality, with their heads stuck so far up their butts, that not even a scientist really needs to be a scientist. Our germ warfare program was good enough to kill five Americans in the aftermath of September 11th, thereby extending and exacerbating the common terror, but there will never be any accountability for such acts without the bringing back the guillotine.

November 29, 1953, Frederick News-Post, Army Bacteriologist Dies In Plunge From N.Y. Hotel,

A bacteriologist from the biological warfare research center at Camp Detrick, Md., fell or jumped to his death early yesterday from a tenth floor room at the Hotel Statler in New York.

He was identified by a companion as Frank Olson, 43, of Route 5, Frederick. Police gave these details:

Olson and his friend, Robert Vern Lashbrook, a Defense Department chemist, went to New York Tuesday because Olson wanted to see a doctor about a depressed state. They planned to return home today.
Lashbrook was awakened when Olson crashed through a window shade and the glass. Olson's body struck a fourth -floor ledge and landed on the sidewalk.

A friend at Camp Detrick, Army Capt. Joseph Schwimer, said Olson had suffered from ulcers for a number of years. Olson was assigned to Camp Detrick in 1943. During World War II he was an Army captain there but was discharged for medical reasons and stayed on as a civilian.

Olson was a native of Hurley, Wis., and a graduate in 1932 from the University of Wisconsin. He taught at Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind., and did graduate work at Wisconsin before receiving a doctor of philosophy degree there in 1941.

He lived with his wife, Alive, and three children, Eric, 9, Lisa, 7, and Nils, 5, at old Braddock, west of Frederick. He is survived also by his mother, Mrs. Olaf Nelson, of Hurley, and a brother and sister, John H. Olson, Mount Clemins, Mich. and Mrs. Hilda Anderson, Ironwood, Mich.

Click on my mojo big boy.

The CIA Magician: John Mullholland's Secret Life, by Ben Robinson, [Lybrary Books, 2008]

Spartacus Educational - CIA: 1947-1990,

Sidney Gottlieb

Joseph Scheider (Sidney Gottlieb) was born in 1918. He studied chemistry at the California Institute of Technology and after he finished his Ph.D. he joined the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA). He worked as a member of the Technical Services Staff (TSS) and eventually became head of the Chemical Division.

Richard Bissell, head of the Directorate for Plans, an organization instructed to conduct covert anti-Communist operations around the world, made full use of Gottlieb's abilities. The Directorate for Plans was responsible for what became known as the CIA's Black Operations. This involved a policy that was later to become known as Executive Action (a plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power).

In March I960, President Dwight Eisenhower of the United States approved a CIA plan to overthrow Fidel Castro. Gottlieb was asked to come up with proposals that would undermine Castro's popularity with the Cuban people. Plans included a scheme to spray a television studio in which he was about to appear with an hallucinogenic drug (LSD) and contaminating his shoes with thallium which they believed would cause the hair in his beard to fall out.

Richard Bissell eventually decided to organize a CIA plot to kill Castro. Gottlieb came up with several ideas on how to do this including the insertion of poison into cigars Castro was known to smoke. Another scheme involved a conch shell that would be programmed to explode when Castro was swimming underwater. Gottlieb also came up with the idea of planting a poisoned handkerchief in his suit pocket. This was unsuccessfully used against General Abd al-Karim Kassem of Iraq.

Gottlieb was also assigned the task of planning the assassination of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo. This included the idea of a lethal biological agent that would be added to a tube of toothpaste. Attempts were made to develop a biological agent that would cause tularemia, brucelloisis, anthrax, smallpox, tuberculosis and equine encephalitis. These experiments ended in failure and eventually Lumumba was murdered by soldiers loyal to Moise Tshombe.

By 1967 Gottlieb became head of the Technical Services Staff and held the post until his retirement in 1972. Before he left he destroyed some 80 percent of the CIA's most damaging files. Most of these had something to do with programs run by Gottlieb.

In 1975 Frank Church and his Select Committee on Intelligence Activities began investigating the work of the Central Intelligence Agency. They discovered the existence of Executive Action. The disclosure of Gottlieb's work resulted in some of his victims taking legal action against the CIA.

Sidney Gottlieb died on 10th March, 1999.

(1) Sarah Foster, Meet Sidney Gottlieb - CIA Dirty Trickster (1998)

It seemed Stanley Glickman had everything going for him. An American, Glickman was young, living in Paris, and busy carving out a successful career for himself as an artist.

Then one evening in late October 1952, his world crashed to an end. He accepted an invitation from an acquaintance to join him and some fellow Americans at the Cafe Select, a popular spot among writers and artists. There, the conversation turned into a heated political debate lasting several hours. When Glickman decided it was time to leave, one of the men offered to buy him a drink to soothe any hard feelings.

Rather than ask the waiter, the man himself went to the bar and brought drinks back to the table. Glickman noticed he had a club foot.

Thirty years later he learned this was a physical characteristic of Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, who headed the chemical division of the technical services staff with the Central Intelligence Agency.

In an affidavit filed in court, Glickman recalled that halfway through his drink he "began to experience a lengthening of distance and a distortion of perception" and saw that "the faces of the gentlemen flushed with excitement as they watched the execution of the drink."

One of the men told him he'd be capable of "working miracles." No miracles occurred, but as Glickman left the cafe he "experienced distortions of color and other hallucinations." He believed he had been poisoned. Next morning, he was "hallucinating intensely." For the next two weeks he "wandered in the pain of madness, delusion and terror."

On Nov. 11, he returned to the Cafe Select, where he sat and simply waited - with his eyes closed - until someone noticed him, and he was driven by car to the American Hospital of Paris. He was there over a week, during which time he was given electroshock and, he believed, additional hallucinatory drugs. Finally a friend came, helped him sign out, and took him to his studio where he remained, a virtual recluse, for the next 10 months - living in a psychedelic nightmare of terror and hallucinations.

When friends of his brother-in-law's family saw him on the street and realized the condition he was in, they contacted his family, who made arrangements for him to be brought back to the United States in July 1953.

Glickman never painted again.

He held odd jobs and regained his physical strength, but his mental powers were never the same; his artistic talents were destroyed. Nor was he able to lead a normal social life.

If Glickman's story is true, he would have been one of the earliest victims of the MK-ULTRA project, one program of which involved slipping d-lysergic acid diethylamide - better known as LSD - to persons without their knowledge or consent, then watching their reactions. The CIA's secret project was not formally initiated until April 1953, but there are accounts of earlier experimentation.

When the public learned of these experiments over 20 years later, Glickman realized he had been one of the victims.

In 1977, Glickman's sister, Gloria Kronisch, sent her brother an article she had read about how the CIA had experimented with LSD on unsuspecting people in foreign countries during the 1950s. At this time, the Senate Committee on Human Resources, chaired by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-MA, began holding hearings on CIA experimentations on humans, and the CIA was asked to identify its victims.

The CIA identified 16 unwitting subjects of LSD tests in the United States, but denied conducting such experiments overseas.

Watching the hearings, Glickman knew that's what happened to him, no matter what the CIA claimed. A friend traveled to Washington to gather information about the agency's drug experiments. Most of the records had been destroyed, at Gottlieb's orders, in 1973.

June 15, 1999, Counterpunch, CIA's Sidney Gottlieb: Pusher, Assassin & Pimp; US Official Poisoner Dies, by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair,

Sidney Gottlieb, who for more than two decades managed the CI's Technical Services Division, died on March 10. His obituaries in the New York Times and the Washington Post tended to focus own Gottlieb's testing of LSD on himself and other CIA officers, portraying him as a kind of Merry Prankster,the CIA’s very own Ken Kesey.

In fact, with Gottlieb’s death, America has lost its prime poisoner.For many years, most notably in the 1950s and 1960s, Gottlieb presided over the CIA’s technical services division and supervised preparation of lethal poisons, experiments in mind control and administration of LSD and other psycho-active drugs to unwitting subjects. Gottlieb’s passing came at a convenient time for the CIA, just as several new trials involving victims of its experiments were being brought. Those who had talked to Gottliebin the past few years say that the chemist believed that the Agency was trying to make him the fall guy for the entire program. Some speculate that Gottlieb may have been ready to spill the goods on a wide range of CIA programs.

Incredibly, neither the Times nor the Post obituaries mention Gottlieb’s crucial role in the death of Dr. Frank Olson, who worked for the US Army’s biological weapons center at Fort Detrick. At a CIA sponsored retreat in rural Maryland on November 18, 1953, Gottlieb gave the unwitting Olson a glass of Cointreau liberally spiked with LSD. Olson developed psychotic symptoms soon thereafter and within a few days had plunged to his death from an upper floor room at the New York Statler-Hilton. Olson was sharing the room with Gottlieb’s number two, a CIA man called Robert Lashbrook,who had taken the deranged man to see a CIA-sponsored medic called Harold Abramson who ran an allergy clinic at Mount Sinai, funded by Gottlieb to research LSD.

The night Olson made his terminally abrupt descent from the hotel window the New York police asked Lashbrook to turn out his pockets. On a piece of paper were initials GW and MH, identified later as George White and Morgan Hall, White’s alias. White was retained by Gottlieb to run a CIA safehouse at 81 Bedford St in Greenwich Village, in cooperation with Harry Anslinger's Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, for which White had previously worked. Gottlieb’s men fixed up the house with one-way mirrors listening devices and secret cameras. From the fall of 1953 to the spring of the following year White threw parties on Bedford St, dosing his guests with sodium pentothal,Nembutal and of course LSD. Later White moved the CIA operation to San Francisco,with the same sort of set-up. He hired prostitutes to dose the guests, in an exercise known as Operation Midnight Climax. The encounter were filmed,on the walls White, put photos of women being tortured and whipped. Gottlieb flew out to visit the safe house at 225 Chestnut Street several times a year. Another senior CIA man, John Gittinger would interview the hookers about their drugs and sex habits.

Gottlieb was a man of darkness. He sponsored research by the infamous Dr Ewen Cameron, a world famous shrink who had clinic in Montreal at McGill where he dosed unwitting subjects (who had entered voluntarily for psychiatric treatment) with huge jolts of electricity through their brains, plus drugs plus lobotomies. Many people had their lives thus destroyed in Cameron’s research, financed by Gottlieb and also by the Rockefeller Foundation. Cameron invented a particularly ghastly process called "psychic driving" whereby drugged and shocked patients, whom Cameron believed he had wiped clean of their previous personalities, would have tapes played sixteen hours a day, dictating their new personalities.

From time to time the patients, given Thorazine, Nembutal and Seconal,would be hauled off, administered amphetamines as a wake-up call, then get ECT at voltages forty times greater than was considered safe at the time.Cameron died of a heart attack while mountain climbing in 1967. Gottlieb had finessed Cameron $60,000 in the late Fifties for his experiments. Eventually the CIA settled with some of Cameron's victims.

Gottlieb also funded the experiments of Dr. Harris Isbell. Isbell ran the Center for Addiction Research in Lexington, Kentucky. Passing through Isbell’s center was a captive group of human guinea pigs in the form of a steady stream of black heroin addicts. More than 800 different chemical compounds were shipped from Gottlieb to Lexington for testing on Isbell's patients.

Perhaps the most infamous experiment came when Isbell gave LSD to seven black men for seventy-seven straight days. Isbell’s research notes indicates that he gave the men “quadruple” the “normal” dosages.The doctor marveled at the men’s apparent tolerance to these remarkable amounts of LSD. Isbell wrote in his notes that “this type of behavior is to be expected in patients of this type.”

In other Gottlieb-funded experiment at the Center, Isbell had nine black males strapped to tables, injected them with psilocybin, inserted rectal thermometers, had lights shown in their eyes to measure pupil dilation and had their joints whacked to test neural reactions.

Gottlieb's research was never a case of pure science. He was a practical man. From the beginning, Gottlieb saw himself as part of the operational wing of the CIA. Even the forays into LSD research, Gottlieb saw a testing for a potential chemical warfare weapon. He arranged a contract with Eli Lily to produce synthetic LSD “in tonnage quantities.” The aim was to have enough acid to incapacitate large populations and armies.

By the early 1960s Gottlieb’s techniques and potions were being fully deployed in the field. Well-known is Gottlieb's journey to the Congo, where his little black bag held an Agency-developed biotoxin scheduled for Patrice Lumumba’s toothbrush. He also tried to manage Iraq’s general Kassim with a handkerchief doctored with botulinum and there were the endless poisons directed at Fidel Castro, from the LSD the Agency wanted to spray in his radio booth to the poisonous fountain pen intended for Castro that was handed by a CIA man to Rolando Cubela on November 22, 1963.

Even less well remembered is one mission in the CIA’s Phoenix Program in Vietnam in July of 1968. A team of CIA psychologists set up shop at Bien Hoa Prison outside Saigon, where NLF suspects were being held after Phoenix Program round-ups. The psychologists performed a variety of experiments on the prisoners. In one, three prisoners were anaesthetized; their skulls were opened and electrodes implanted by CIA doctors into different parts of their brains. The prisoners were revived, placed in a room with knives and the electrodes in the brains activated by the psychiatrists, who were covertly observing them. The hope was that they could be prompted in this manner to attack each other. The experiments failed. The electrodes were removed, the patients were shot and their bodies burned. CP<

(3) Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times (4th April, 1999)

James Bond had Q, the scientific wizard who supplied 007 with dazzling gadgets to deploy against enemy agents. The Central Intelligence Agency had Sidney Gottlieb, a Bronx-born biochemist with a PhD from Caltech whose job as head of the agency's technical services division was to concoct the tools of espionage: disappearing inks, poison darts, toxic handkerchiefs.

Gottlieb once mailed a lethal handkerchief to an Iraqi colonel and personally ferried deadly bacteria to the Congo to kill Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. It wasn't his potions that eventually did in the two targets, but Gottlieb, once described by a colleague as the ultimate "good soldier," soldiered on.

Poisons and darts were not his sole preoccupation during 22 years with the CIA. He labored for years on a project to unlock and control the mysterious powers of lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. Could it be a potent spy weapon to weaken the minds of unwilling targets?

In the early 1960s, Gottlieb was promoted to the highest deputy post in the technical services operation. By 1967, he had risen to the top of the division, guided by his longtime CIA mentor, Director Richard Helms. At that time, LSD was not a secret anymore. While the CIA was still examining the drug's possibilities as a means of mind control, many young Americans were dropping the hallucinogen as a vehicle of mind expansion and recreation. America was tuning in, turning on and dropping out, thanks, in part, to the CIA's activism in the '50s in the name of national security.

It was not until 1972 that Gottlieb called a halt to the experiments with psychedelics, concluding in a memo that they were "too unpredictable in their effects on individual human beings... to be operationally useful."

He retired the same year, spending the next few decades in eclectic pursuits that defied the stereotype of the spy. He went to India with his wife to volunteer at a hospital for lepers. A stutterer since childhood, he got a master's degree in speech therapy. He raised goats on a Virginia farm. And he practiced folk dancing, a lifelong passion despite the handicap of a clubfoot.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What Did the C.I.A. Do to His Father?, by Michael Ignatieff,

April 1, 2001, New York Times, C.I.A.; What Did the C.I.A. Do to His Father?, by Michael Ignatieff,

For a quarter of a century, a close friend of mine, a Harvard classmate, has believed that the Central Intelligence Agency murdered his father, a United States government scientist. Believing this means, in my friend's words, "leaving the known universe," the one in which it is innocently accepted that an agency of the American government would never do such a thing. My friend has left this known universe, even raising his father's body from the grave where it had lain for 40 years to test the story the C.I.A. told him about his death. The evidence on the body says that the agency may have lied. But knowing this has not healed my friend. When I ask him what he has learned from his ordeal, he says, "Never dig up your father." Then he laughs, and the look on his face is wild, bitter and full of pain.

On Nov. 28, 1953, around 2 a.m., Armand Pastore, night manager at the Statler Hotel opposite Penn Station in New York, rushed out the front door on Seventh Avenue to find a middle-aged man lying on the sidewalk in his undershirt and shorts. "He was broken up something awful," Pastore told reporters many years later, flat on his back with his legs smashed and bent at a terrible angle. Looking up, Pastore could see a blind pushed through an empty window frame high up in the Statler. The man had fallen from the 10th floor -- apparently after crashing through a closed window -- but he was alive. "He was trying to mumble something, but I couldn't make it out. It was all garbled, and I was trying to get his name." By the time the priest and the ambulance came, the stranger on the sidewalk was dead.

When Pastore went up to the stranger's room -- 1018A -- with the police, they found a man who gave his name as Robert Lashbrook sitting on the toilet with his head in his hands. Down at reception, Pastore asked the hotel telephone operator whether she had overheard any calls from 1018A. Two, she said. In one, a voice had said, "He's gone." The voice on the other end replied, "That's too bad." Lashbrook admitted making two calls but has denied saying anything of the sort.

The high trees over the family house in Frederick, Md., were still in darkness when Eric Olson was woken by his mother, Alice, and taken into the living room. Upstairs, his younger sister, Lisa, and brother, Nils, slept undisturbed. Lt. Col. Vincent Ruwet, his father's boss at the Army research establishment at Fort Detrick, told Eric something bad had happened. "Fallen or jumped" and "accident" were the words he heard as he looked across the room at his mother, frozen and empty-eyed, on the sofa opposite. "In that moment when I learned that my father had gone out a window and died," Eric later wrote, "it was as if the plug were pulled from some central basin of my mind and a vital portion of my consciousness drained out." He was 9 years old.

When I first met Eric Olson in 1974, both of us were working on doctorates at Harvard. Mine was in history, his in clinical psychology. What I liked about him was his maniacal cackle. One minute he would be laboring some abstruse point in his Southern drawl, the next his face would be alight with a snaggle-toothed grin, and his body would be electrified by the joke he had just slipped by me, deadpan. The laugh was an attractive and alarming trait, because sometimes he would laugh about things that weren't funny at all.

His Harvard research was about how to help people recover from trauma. With the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, he had been to Man, W.Va., to interview survivors of a disaster in which 125 people had been killed and 4,000 people made homeless when a dam burst and a wall of black water containing coal waste swept down Buffalo Creek. He and Lifton wrote a paper that spoke of the way sudden, violent loss left people imprinted with death anxiety and long-term psychic numbing.

I remember Eric talking for hours in his Cambridge apartment about a technique he had been using to help the people of Buffalo Creek. It was called the "collage method," and it involved getting survivors to paste together pictures, using anything they felt like clipping out of newspapers and magazines. It seemed childish to me at first, but Eric said that for people whose lives were in pieces anyway, collage was mysteriously satisfying. They would work for hours in silence, he said, moving about the floor, sticking things down, and sometimes when they had finished, they would contemplate what they had done and start to cry.

After 75 years of psychoanalysis -- the talking cure -- here was a therapy, Eric believed, that didn't start from words but from images. It seemed to unfurl the winding processes of a person's unconscious and lay them out flat on paper. Eric had been playing around with his father's camera and making photomontages since childhood. But he didn't stumble on the power of collage until he was in his 20's. One stoned night, he and a girlfriend got down on their knees in her apartment and began cutting pictures out of magazines and gluing them down. When Eric finished, the central image of his collage was a grainy picture of a man falling head first out of a window.

On June 11, 1975, The Washington Post revealed that a commission led by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller had discovered that "a civilian employee of the Department of the Army unwittingly took LSD as part of a Central Intelligence Agency test" and "developed serious side effects." After being sent to New York with a C.I.A. escort for psychiatric treatment, the employee jumped from a hotel window and died as a result. The Rockefeller report added a footnote: "There are indications in the few remaining agency records that this individual may have had a history of emotional instability."

Back in Frederick, Lisa Olson confronted Vincent Ruwet, her father's old boss at Detrick. He had regularly visited Alice Olson, shared a drink with her, become a trusted friend of the children. Ruwet stalled at first but eventually confirmed that the man in the story was Frank Olson and that he had known the details in The Post story all along.

If Ruwet had known all along, then the family had lived for 22 years in a community of lies: families of government scientists who had kept the truth away from a family dying from the lack of it. This culture of secrecy had also contaminated the family from within. Alice Olson covered the whole subject of Frank's death with a silence that was both baffling and intimidating. Her mantra, whenever Eric would ask what really happened in Room 1018A, was, "You are never going to know what happened in that room."

Maintaining stoic silence took its toll. By the 1960's, Alice Olson was routinely drinking on the quiet, locking herself in the bathroom and then coming out mean and confused. One time, when Eric returned from a year away in India, he walked right past her in the airport. The drinking had left her so thin and wasted that he didn't recognize her. All the time, Ruwet had been there for her, keeping her company. It later turned out that he had received orders from the C.I.A.'s director, Allen Dulles, to keep in touch with her.

With their mother locked in silence, the children were left alone with their own sense of shame about their father's death. Eric told other children that his father had suffered "a fatal nervous breakdown," without knowing what that could possibly mean. Thanks to The Post's revelations, the summer of 1975 was the family's "Copernican Revolution." They gave the exclusive on their personal story to Seymour Hersh of The New York Times, and when he came through the door of the house in Frederick, his first words were: "This must be the most uncurious family in the United States. I can't believe you fell for that story for 22 years." Later, at a news conference in the backyard at Frederick, under the big trees, the family announced that they were going to sue the government for wrongful death. Their ultimate purpose, they said, was to imprint what had happened to their father in "American memory."

The news conference had immediate results. On July 21, 1975, Alice, Eric, Nils, Lisa and Lisa's husband, Greg Hayward, were invited to the White House. In the Oval Office, according to newspaper accounts, President Gerald Ford expressed ''the sympathy of the American people and apologized on behalf of the U.S. government.'' There is a photograph of Alice shaking the president's hand. Her face is glowing. Even so, catharsis was brief. The meeting with the president lasted 17 minutes.

A week or so later, Eric, Lisa, Nils and two lawyers met the C.I.A.'s director, William Colby, at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va. In his memoirs, Colby remembered the lunch as "one of the most difficult assignments I have ever had." At the end of the lunch, Colby handed the family an inch-thick sheaf of declassified documents relating to Frank Olson's death. What Colby did not tell them -- did not reveal until he published his memoirs just three years later -- was that Frank Olson had not been a civilian employee of the Department of the Army. He had been a C.I.A. employee working at Fort Detrick.

The Colby documents were photocopies of the agency's own in-house investigation of Olson's death and like Eric's collages: a redacted jumble of fragments, full of unexplained terms like the "Artichoke" and "Bluebird" projects. These turned out to be the precursors of what became known as MK-ULTRA, a C.I.A. project, beginning in the Korean War, to explore the use of drugs like LSD as truth serums, as well as botulism and anthrax, for use in covert assassination.

The documents claimed that during a meeting between the C.I.A. and Fort Detrick scientists at Deep Creek Lodge in rural Maryland on Nov. 19,1953, Sidney Gottlieb of the C.I.A. slipped LSD into Olson's glass of Cointreau. After 20 minutes, Olson developed mild symptoms of disorientation. He was then told the drink had been spiked. The next day, Olson returned home early and spent the weekend in a mood that Alice remembered as withdrawn but not remotely psychotic. He kept saying he had made a terrible mistake, but she couldn't get him to say what it was.
Is the point of the narrative to suggest that only Olson was dosed with LSD by Gottlieb that particular evening, and not his confederates? Given Gottlieb's reputation for play, without any signs of an active "experiment" being underway (unless Olson drank Cointreau at lunch in the laboratory) I can picture a dinner scene at Deep Creek Lodge, with the stress being on the word deep. None of this would ever have come to light since no one else had the same reaction to the drug. Conversely, Gottlieb may have previously targeted Olson as a backslider. A Baltimore Sun article from 2012,1 differs significantly from Ignatieff's storytelling, by saying it was at "the secret British military research center at Porton Down," where "Olson witnessed 'extreme interrogations' in which 'the CIA committed murder' using biological agents Olson had developed." If Olson had been dismayed by his experience in the summer of 1953, it would have been pretty stupid for him to have confided to the in-house psychiatrist William Sargant, who immediately advised British intelligence (see below) to ban Olson from Porton Down. Olson would have then been between a rock and a hard place, if he was sufficient informed as to the company's secrets to be a threat, yet had failed in some crucial step of "being read in." He may then have been a potential whistleblower whose disenfranchisement from the company predated any "spiritual awakening" occasioned by LSD
On Sunday night, they went to see a film about Martin Luther. It followed the young Luther to the moment of spiritual crisis -- Here I stand, I can do no other" -- when he decided to take on the might of the Catholic Church. The next day, Olson went straight to Ruwet's office and said he wanted to resign. Ruwet told him to calm down. The next morning, he returned to Ruwet's office and insisted that his resignation be accepted. While Alice's memory was of Frank being in the grip of an ethical dilemma, Ruwet told C.I.A. investigators that Olson "appeared to be greatly agitated and in his own words, 'all mixed up.'"

Ruwet and Robert Lashbrook, a C.I.A. liaison at Fort Detrick, took Olson to New York -- ostensibly to seek psychiatric advice. But the doctor Olson saw, an allergist named Harold Abramson, was receiving C.I.A. financing to experiment with LSD, and his sole exercise of therapeutic attention was to prescribe Nembutal and bourbon to help Olson sleep.

Olson was also taken to see John Mulholland, a New York magician on the C.I.A. payroll, who may have tried to hypnotize him. Ruwet told C.I.A. investigators that in Mulholland's presence, Olson became highly agitated. "What's behind this?" he kept asking his friend Ruwet. "Give me the lowdown. What are they trying to do with me? Are they checking me for security?" "Everyone was in a plot to 'get' him," he told Lashbrook. He begged them to "just let me disappear."
Where is James Randi when you need him?
According to the documents Colby had given the family, Olson spent an agonized night wandering the streets of New York, discarding his wallet and identification cards. He said he was too ashamed to go home to his wife and children, so he and Lashbrook ate a cheerless Thanksgiving dinner at a Horn & Hardart automat in Midtown.

Late the next day, according to the C.I.A. story, it was decided that Olson needed to be institutionalized. Yet when Olson phoned Alice that night, he said that he felt "much better" and "looked forward to seeing her the next day." That night, in Room 1018A, with Lashbrook in the bed by the door, Olson was calm: he washed out his socks and underwear and went to sleep. Four hours later, Armand Pastore found him lying on his back on Seventh Avenue.

The C.I.A.'s general counsel, called in immediately in 1953 to investigate Olson's death, noted that the official story -- that LSD "triggered" the suicide -- was "completely inconsistent" with the facts in the case. Disciplinary action was recommended against Gottlieb and Lashbrook, but the agency's director, Allen Dulles, delivered only a mild reprimand. Lashbrook left the agency, but Gottlieb remained in senior positions for 20 more years. He told the internal inquiry that Olson's death was "just one of the risks running with scientific experimentation." Far from ending with Olson's death, the LSD experiments continued for two decades.

The Colby documents left the family marooned, no longer believing that Frank's death was a simple suicide but not knowing what to believe instead. A photograph in People magazine in July 1975 shows each of them in the living room in Frederick, unsmiling and not looking at one another. In 1976, after negotiations in which they traded away their right to further civil or criminal proceedings against the government, the family received a total of $750,000, half a million less than originally recommended by the White House and even the C.I.A. itself.

If this was "closure," it was of an especially cursed kind. Shortly after receiving her portion of the money, Eric's sister, together with her husband and their 2-year-old son, Jonathan, set off by small plane from Frederick to a destination in the Adirondacks, where they were going to invest the money in a lumber mill. The plane crashed, and everyone on board was killed.
I would check into the circumstances of this plane crash. In the Hobbesian world of secret intelligence, plane crashes are a favored method of dispatching problem people. Had Lisa been the difficult family member to deal with? Or may this be just a coincidence?
In the aftermath of Lisa's death, Eric took his portion of the money and went to Sweden to escape the accursed story. In Stockholm, he read intensively, exploring the connection between his spatial, collage-based theory of the mind and linguistic accounts of mental processes. He also had a son, Stephan, by a woman he never married. If distance was supposed to heal him, however, the cure didn't work. He "smoldered" in Stockholm and in 1984 returned to the States determined, he said, to find out the truth "once and for all."

"Once and for all" meant returning to the hotel and checking into Room 1018A. He recalls this strange night now as a revelation. "It just hit you," he says. The room was simply too small for his father to have gained the speed to take a running plunge through the window. The sill was too high and too wide -- there was a radiator in front of it -- for him to have dived through a closed window and a lowered blind in the dark.

Eric, Nils and Alice, now recovered from alcoholism, tracked down Sidney Gottlieb in his ecologically correct home in Culpeper, Va., where the retired spymaster was raising goats, eating yogurt and preaching the values of peace and environmentalism. He received them pleasantly but conceded nothing. "I was outclassed," Eric remembers. "This was a world-class intelligence." They also found Lashbrook, at his vine-covered stucco house in Ojai, Calif., where they watched him twitch in his seat as he told his version of what happened in room 1018A -- that he was awakened by a crash, saw a broken window and an empty bed and concluded that Frank Olson had jumped to his death.

From these encounters, Eric realized that he was up against a brotherhood of silence and that his father had once belonged to it. It was, as one former Detrick employee called it, "a community of saints" dedicated to using the most fearful and secret science to defend the republic.

Frank Olson's specialty, it turned out, had been the development of aerosols for the delivery of anthrax. With the discovery in the 1950's that the North Koreans were brainwashing American prisoners, the Special Operations Division at Detrick became the center for the development of drugs for use in brainwashing and interrogation. LSD emerged as one of the interrogation drugs of choice. Alice Olson never knew exactly what her husband was doing -- he was, in fact, working for the C.I.A. by this time -- but she did know that whenever his lab tested chemical or biological compounds on monkeys and the monkeys died, her husband would bring a testy silence home.

One mystery -- entry and exit stamps in Frank Olson's passport, indicating that he had been to Sweden, Germany and Britain in the summer of 1953 -- seemed to offer a crucial clue to his state of mind in the months before his death. Through Gordon Thomas, a British journalist and author of numerous books on intelligence matters, Eric learned that during a trip to London his father had apparently confided in William Sargant, a consultant psychiatrist who advised British intelligence on brainwashing techniques.

According to Thomas, who was a lifelong friend of Sargant's, Olson told Sargant that he had visited secret joint American-British testing and research installations near Frankfurt. Thomas's hypothesis is that the C.I.A. was testing interrogation and truth serums there -- not on monkeys but on human subjects, "expendables," captured Russian agents and ex-Nazis. Thomas says that Olson confessed to Sargant that he had witnessed something terrible, possibly "a terminal experiment" on one or more of the expendables. Sargant heard Olson out and then reported to British intelligence that the young American scientist's misgivings were making him a security risk. He recommended that Olson be denied further access to Porton Down, the British chemical-weapons research establishment.
There is a certain naivete at work here, or else Ignatieff is deliberately misdirecting analysis of the facts. Yes, it is chilling that American and British authorities were doing human testing at secret sites on "expendables," i.e. persons outside the protection of law, but it is not surprising. This is what happens when somebody loses a war and must depend on the mercy of the victor. But it is no different than the C.I.A. "black sites" and Guantanamo prison in the present 21st century warscape. What is illogical is to think that research into truth serums would lead to "possibly ''a terminal experiment' on one or more of the expendables," when the chief protagonist in this story is a scientist who works on the aerosol delivery of anthrax---i.e. its weaponizing.) I'm sure Sidney Gottlieb tried to weaponize LSD too, but it wasn't in the nature of the compound. The drug was useful, as perhaps with Olson, to get beneath a person's veneer of conformity, even below "the lies one tells oneself," which are imperceptible as deceits told to others because they exist as truths, except at some unconscious level of the soul.
Frank Olson would never have achieved his position as a C.I.A. researcher at Fort Detrick had he ever displayed any scruples as to the nature of his work previously, which, let's face it---was the development of weapons of mass destruction. I'm sure those who exist inside this little paradigm have their stories which they use as justifications---something akin to "peacekeeping missile" that rhymes with "life-giving anthrax," maybe even a Bible verse or two. People like myself, outside this closed construct, can view anyone working with poisonous biological agents as insane, but then, it is hinted, we don't know what we don't know. The military-intelligence maw has grown so structurally self-generating that even the wives and children of those so employed are caught up within a field of disease. Their children all attend private company schools and are raised only with one another. I saw an ad recently in the Washington Post for a lifecare community in the suburbs somewhere outside the district---with retirement homes, assisted living facilities, and a nursing home ---which was only open to military and agency retirees and their families. After decades working toward enfranchising blacks, women and others into a more level American society, lots of us now find ourselves back at cracker and nigger, with Massa Homeland Security in the big house with the rich folk.
A document Eric later saw from his father's personnel file confirmed that doubts had been raised about Olson's security clearance before his death, possibly because of Sargant's warning. Alice Olson, who knew nothing about the nature of his visit, did recall that when he returned from Europe that summer, Frank was unusually withdrawn.

Olson, a scientist by training, would have known that he was working for a government that had put Nazi scientists on trial at Nuremberg for immoral experiments on human beings. Now, in the late summer of 1953, his son says he believes, a naïve American patriot faced up to the possibility that his own government was doing the same thing. If the C.I.A. was in fact experimenting with ''expendables'' in Germany, and if Olson knew about it, Eric reasoned, then it would not be enough to hospitalize him, discredit him with lies about his mental condition and allow him to slip back into civilian life. It would be better to get rid of him altogether but make it look like suicide. This was the truth, Eric came to believe, that lay hidden in the collage of the Colby documents.
"Olson, a scientist by training, would have known that he was working for a government that had put Nazi scientists on trial at Nuremberg for immoral experiments on human beings."
Here Ignatieff is feeding us Jewish rhetoric and pablum. Before there was "Artichoke" and "Bluebird," let alone MK-ULTRA, there was Operation Paperclip, the C.I.A. sponsored mass migration of the secret scientific and intelligence apparatus of Nazi Germany into the United States. Do you think they vetted the innocent from the guilty, or the useful from the expendable? The Nuremberg Tribunal (not "trial," which has a higher standard for proving fact) was the minimum necessary to construct a synthetic reality (Although the movie was terrific, Judy Garland and .Marlene Dietrich especially, which is all the public really cares about anyway.)
Eric Olson is spot on about a motive for an agency decision to eliminate his father, but even the head of the C.I.A. can be involuntarily terminated with finality if it were in the interests of the company---for instance, when facing a Congressional subpoena during some especially dicey period. Scientists at Fort Detrick have one of the highest premature death rates of any occupation in the world, but the hazard isn't biological---it's political.
If Eric is right, slipping LSD into Olson's Cointreau was not an experiment that went wrong: it was designed to get him to talk while hallucinating. The trip to New York was not to manage and contain his incipient psychosis. It was intended to assess what kind of risk he posed and then eliminate him if necessary. Housing a possibly deranged and desperate man in a hotel room high above Seventh Avenue was not a regrettable error of judgment. It was the prelude to murder. If Frank Olson had realized this, his son could now read his father's last words ("Just let me disappear") as a cry for help.
No. "Just let me disappear," is the cry of, "let me go ghost," or "let me go to castaway island with the thousands of others." (I'm convinced Michael Jackson has been living under a full burka in an upscale neighborhood of Dubai these past few years.)
In 1997, after the C.I.A. inadvertently declassified an assassination manual dating from late 1953, Eric Olson was able to read the following: ''The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface. Elevator shafts, stairwells, unscreened windows and bridges will serve. . . . The act may be executed by sudden, vigorous [excised] of the ankles, tipping the subject over the edge." The manual went on to recommend a blow to the temple to stun the subject first: "In chase cases it will usually be necessary to stun or drug the subject before dropping him."
The designation "simple assassination" presupposes other, more complex kinds---like the ritualistic, occult, or those fraught with a message, or meaning to those able to decode it. Any first-degree murder, where the time has been established in advanced, takes on occult power.
Reading this passage at the kitchen table in Frederick, Eric realized that the word he had been looking for all his life was not "fallen" or "jumped" but "dropped." It was, he recalled, one of the few moments when, after nearly 50 years, he actually experienced his father's death, when the truth he had been seeking finally took hold of him.

In allowing the Olson family to receive the ultimate sacrament of American healing -- a formal apology from the president in the Oval Office -- the C.I.A. tacitly acknowledged that it had committed a sin against the order that holds citizens in allegiance to their government. Now, it seemed to Eric Olson, that apology had been a cynical lie. It enabled the C.I.A. to hide, forever, a perfect murder.
No one forced the Olson family to accept a sum of money in lieu of filing a civil case, where they might take a financial gamble, but where they also could be responsible for uncovering, at least partially, the systemic abuses inherent in a sunless region that grows darker every decade. But like the King and the Kennedy murders, nobody ever goes to trial. The CIA and the executive branch originally did award $1.25 million to the Olsons, but criticism of the award  as excessive by Congressmen had it lowered to $750,000.
It is one thing to believe in a truth as painful as this. It is another to prove it. In 1994, Eric had his father's casket raised from the ground. At the funeral in 1953, the coffin was shut because the family had been told that the body was broken up and that there were extensive cuts and lacerations to the face caused by the fall through the glass. In fact, the body had been embalmed, and it was in nearly perfect condition.

Eric stared down at a face he had last seen 41 years before. There were no lacerations consistent with damage by glass. On further examination, the forensic team, led by James Starrs of George Washington University, discovered a blow to Olson's temple, on the left side, which caused a fist-size bleed under the otherwise unbroken skin. It could not have occurred, the pathologists agreed, after he went out the window because the velocity of his descent would have caused more extensive trauma. While one team member thought it could have occurred as the head hit the window frame on the way out, Starrs and the others were certain it had been inflicted before that. The conclusion that both Starrs and Eric drew was that someone had knocked Olson out, either while he slept or after a struggle, and then thrown him out the window.

Since the autopsy, Eric has pursued leads to find out who actually carried out "the wet work" on his father. H.P. Albarelli, a writer-researcher with contacts among retired C.I.A. agents in Florida, has found agents who say they know the identity of the men who went into Room 1018A that night in November 1953, supposedly to tip Olson through the window. They were not C.I.A. men, they say, but contract killers associated with the Trafficante mob family hired by the C.I.A. But none of the retired C.I.A. agents, men now in their 70's and 80's, are about to come forward unless they are released from their confidentiality agreements with the agency.
The term "wet work" is used exclusively as insider slang within the intelligence community; while the mob, I believe, generally uses the term "whacked" [but also clip, hit, pop, burn, or "put a contract out."] I think it is much less damaging to innocent American sensibilities for plebeians to imagine the C.I.A. has had, on occasion, been forced to eliminate or dispose of one of their own members---a rogue agent who goes over to the other side, for instance, or even those retired agents in Florida who dare not break their vow of omerta--excuse me, make that "confidentiality agreements" on pain of---what? Is an eighty-year-old afraid of losing his pension?
In the case of an agent whose mental, spiritual, or psychic allegiance to the hierarchy of secrets becomes an organizational threat, it also makes perfect sense to whack the s.o.b. What is not acceptable to American thought or moral pretension, however, is that the C.I.A. or the F.B.I. would "contract" out their dirty work to the Trafficante mob family. The incestuousness this implies is startling in the extreme. By extension, it would mean that the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. really function as the enforcers of old John D. Rockefeller's maxim, "to hell with competition," as it applies to enormously profitable crimes such as the illicit drug market and gambling. I suspect this is the case, and has been since Prohibition
In 1996, Olson approached Manhattan's district attorney, Robert Morgenthau, to see if his office would open a new investigation into the Olson case. Stephen Saracco and Daniel Bibb of Morgenthau's "cold case" unit have deposed Lashbrook in Ojai; they have followed up a few of the hundreds of leads that Eric Olson besieges them with almost daily. But the Manhattan D.A., while probably agreeable to immunity for Albarelli's sources in Florida, has not pursued the confidentiality releases. If you talk to Saracco and Bibb in the Italian restaurant in lower Manhattan where they hang out after-hours, you get the impression that they don't think there's a case to send to a grand jury. If you ask them why they don't go down to Florida to talk to Albarelli's jealously guarded sources, they look at you as if to say, "How do you know these people exist?"

If there isn't enough for the Manhattan D.A. to take to a jury, Eric and his lawyer, Harry Huge, will have to bring a civil suit of their own, claiming that the C.I.A. lied in 1976 when it secured the family's agreement to waive further legal proceedings. Eric says he knows the truth, but it is not the ''smoking gun'' kind of forensic truth that will force the agency to go to court and be put through the discovery process. And if you lack provable truth, you do not get justice. Without justice, there is no accountability, and without accountability there is no healing, no resolution.

Last autumn, after nearly 25 years of our lives going in different directions, I went to see Eric in Frederick. The family home, a ranch house, is in a decayed state of suspended animation -- seemingly the same carpets, same couches, same dusty jar of Vaseline in the bathroom cabinet that were there the night Frank Olson died. Living there is worst at Thanksgiving, the time of his death.

Eric has taken a break from his work on the collage method, and the huge books of patients' collages now lie shut up in storage nearby. The house is full of drafts of books on collage, as well as books about his father's story that remain unfinished because the story itself lacks an ending. Eric lives on foundation grants, book advances and some help from his brother and others. He spends his days hounding journalists, the Manhattan D.A., anyone who will listen, with a steady stream of calls and e-mail messages from an office just feet away from the same living room, the same chair, the very spot where he was told by Ruwet that his father had "fallen or jumped." That he is convinced that the word was neither "fallen" nor "jumped," but "dropped," does not heal. Indeed, his story makes you wonder about that noble phrase "The truth shall make you free." As it happens, that phrase is inscribed in the entry hall of the C.I.A.'s headquarters.
Well it's not meant to be taken literally Ignatieff! Do you think they'd give away agency secrets inlaid on the marble lobby floor? Victor Ostrovsky in his book2 alleges the "former" motto of Israel's secret intelligence service, the Mossad was "be-tahbūlōt ta`aseh lekhā milkhamāh," or in Hebrew: בתחבולות תעשה לך מלחמה, which intends an English meaning of "By Way of Deception, Thou Shalt Do War." Michael Ignatieff could be reminded of the genesis of that saying, from Proverbs 24:6, which in the King James 2000 Bible translates as "For by wise counsel you shall wage your war: and in a multitude of counselors there is safety."
Eric knows that to charge the most secretive agency of American government with murder is to incur the suspicion that you have become deranged by anger, grief, paranoia, greed or a combination of all four. "Eric is crazy, Eric is obsessed," he says, mimicking his accusers. "Fine. I agree." A maniacal cackle. "But it's not the point. The point is" -- and here his eyes go flat and cold and relentless -- what happened in the damned room."
This article was published in the New York Times Magazine five months and ten days before the epochal event of September 11th, 2001. Eric Olson's feeling isolated from the dominant American paradigm of law and order, with the fear he is judged as crazy for standing in opposition to a failure of justice, was appropriate to the fall of 2000, but that certainly isn't true today.
Just before I left, we went to the graves of his mother, sister and brother-in-law and their child, the place where he wants his father to be buried. When I asked him when the reburial will happen, he paused to think. "When we know what to say," he said finally, looking down at the spare piece of grass beside his mother's grave. "When it is over. When we can do it right."

It takes me a while after I leave Eric to grasp one salient fact that may make resolution difficult. For seven years, his father's bones have lain in a filing cabinet in James Starrs's office. Only the bones -- and not all of them -- remain intact. To get at the truth of what happened to Frank Olson, the pathologists had to rip the skin off his limbs and tear his body apart, macerate it and send it in chunks to various labs for analysis. In the search for truth, Eric had to tear his father's body limb from limb.

The fact is, it will never be possible to bury all of Frank Olson again. Now I understand why, when I asked Eric what he had learned from his 25-year ordeal, he told me that no one should ever dig up his father's body. Now I know why my friend's wild laugh is so full of pain.

Photos: Eric Olson still lives in the family's ranch house.; Far left: The hotel where Eric (above with his father) says his father had neither "jumped" nor "fallen" from a 10th-floor window but was "dropped." Left: The summer before his death in 1953, Frank Olson may have visited secret research and testing facilities in Germany.; Clockwise from top: In July 1975, Frank Olson's family received an apology for his death from President Ford. One of the children scribbled on their father's obituary from the local paper. A family photo (Eric is the Scout) taken not long before Olson's death. (Taryn Simon from left: U.P.I.-Bettmann/Corbis; Eric Olson (2).

I'll append a final comment down here at the end of Ignatieff's article, which I must say, moved me a great deal when I first read it, especially, since I had only glanced at the author's name and assumed I was reading a piece by Michael Isikoff, but he's a different kettle of fish.

From the June 26, 2006, Baltimore Sun, Making, fighting diseases of terror, by Douglas Birch:

Biologists at Fort Detrick's newest biodefense center may be asked to make some of the world's deadliest microbes even more dangerous than they already are. One of the biologists' jobs, according to chief scientist Bernard Courtney, will be to create pathogens to match strains that terrorists are clandestinely producing and then develop vaccines and drugs to combat them. But some arms control specialists worry that the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center - now operating out of borrowed lab space at the Frederick base and elsewhere - might develop new vaccine-resistant or lethal microbes without solid evidence of a terrorist plot to unleash similar bugs.
The assertion that terrorists are clandestinely developing deadly strains of microbes puts me in mind of the scene in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, where the Taliban are exercising their terrorist skills by traversing an overhead monkey bar. We now have Ebola to deal with, and I'll take LSD over anthrax any day.

1 December 8, 2012, Baltimore Sun, Six decades later, sons seek answers on death of Detrick scientist, by Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun,

Frank Olson had joined the Special Operations Division of the Army's Biological Laboratory at Fort Detrick at its inception in 1950. He was issued a Q clearance, the civilian equivalent of the military's top secret clearance, and worked with the CIA on MK-ULTRA.

As part of that work, he traveled in 1953 to Britain, France and West Germany. At the secret British military research center at Porton Down, the sons say, Olson witnessed "extreme interrogations" in which "the CIA committed murder" using biological agents Olson had developed.

They say a psychiatrist there, William Sargent, grew concerned that Olson "had serious misgivings related to those murders and might therefore pose a security risk," and so recommended to his superiors that Olson no longer be granted access to classified research facilities in Britain.

2By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer, [1] by Victor Ostrovsky,

October 1, 1990, People Magazine, Vol. 34, No. 13, As Israel Tries to Smother His Book, a Former Mossad Spy Spills Some Dark Secrets of That Shadowy Service, by Ken Gross,

October 18, 1971, The Washington Post, The FBI Bungles Hijacking; Transcript's Tale: Pilot's Plea Ignored, 3 Die, by George Lardner Jr.,

September 30, 2006, Shelbyville Times-Gazette, Anniversary of a hijacking, by Clint Confehr, diigo,
October 11, 2014,, America's counter-terrorism lie: Waging war with secret rules, hypocrisy and worse,

The dead dogs of Jonestown, Guyana, South America, once home to Jim Jones' Peoples Temple and the scene of a horrific mass slaughter of American citizens on November 18, 1978, when reputedly, over 900 people, with their full knowledge and consent, drank a fatal mixture of cyanide and grape drink out of paper Dixie Cups, with mothers first feeding the poison to their babies and toddlers before downing it themselves. But what would account for the presence of the community's pet dogs lying dead among their master's corpses? Not in just one case, but in at least three that we see documented in these photographs. Did adults pour or inject the bitter brew into the animal's mouths as well their children's?

Or is it more likely that all of these deaths, both human and canine, resulted from a sudden, unanticipated, and indiscriminate gas attack using aerosolized cyanide or some other poison compound?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Federal Bureau of Method Acting

October 13, 2014, New York Times, Some Captured Terrorists Talk Willingly and Proudly, Investigators Say, by Benjamin Weiser,

When Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, who encouraged jihad against the United States, was arrested and flown from Jordan to this country last year, it might have seemed unlikely that he would be willing to say much. But whatever reticence he might have had was quickly lost.

"I am willing to tell you anything, and will not hold back," he said. He soon waived his Miranda rights, according to an F.B.I. summary of his interrogation. He also said, "You will hear things of Al Qaeda that you never imagined."

The defendant, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was sentenced to life in prison last month, offered a trove of information, some of which was later used against him in court.

And he was far from alone.

In the annals of crime, one time-honored tradition is the oath, spoken or not, of not cooperating with law enforcement. The Mafia has omerta; the slogan "Stop Snitchin' " has appeared on murals and T- shirts; and pop culture has its own references. In "Goodfellas," the character played by Robert De Niro advised that the two greatest lessons in life were to "never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut."

Those maxims can apply even in the lowest-level crimes. "The young kid on the street who's busted for snatching a chain knows enough not to talk to the cops," Ronald L. Kuby, a defense lawyer, said.

But time and time again, terrorists break that mold. Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani immigrant who tried to detonate a car bomb in Times Square in 2010, spent two weeks being questioned about "sensitive national security and law enforcement matters," after waiving his right to a lawyer and a speedy court appearance, the government said. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.

Some defendants in the civilian court system cite the specter of the government's methods of torture, like waterboarding, at secret C.I.A. sites, for the extraction of information.

Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, an alleged Libyan Qaeda operative who was captured last year in Tripoli, waived his rights and gave an incriminating statement while being questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, prosecutors have said.

He has pleaded not guilty and moved to suppress his statement on the grounds that it followed "countless hours of abusive interrogation" by the C.I.A. that left him confused, afraid and vulnerable to being pressured into waiving his rights, his lawyer wrote in a court filing.

"I was convinced that I would end up in one of C.I.A.'s black site torture prisons," Mr. Ruqai, whose nom de guerre is Abu Anas al-Libi, said in a separate filing. By the time he spoke to the F.B.I., he said, his ability to make a voluntary decision about whether to speak "was long since gone."

Prosecutors say that Mr. Ruqai's statement was made only after he "knowingly and voluntarily waived his Miranda rights." A judge is holding a hearing on the matter on Wednesday.

Mansour J. Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American charged in 2011 in a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, confessed and provided "extremely valuable intelligence" on Iran's role, prosecutors have said. He pleaded guilty before a judge could rule on his suppression motion, which argued that his statements had been the product of mental illness.

That illness, his lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, recalled, "led him to believe that he could convince the agents to see things his way and that would show his innocence." He is now serving a 25-year sentence.

Terrorism defendants speak willingly for a variety of reasons, according to defense lawyers and former prosecutors.

"They want to boast, particularly if they have ever done something to harm 'the infidel,' " said David Raskin, a former chief of the terrorism unit in the United States attorney's office in Manhattan. "But just being an enemy of the United States is something they're very proud of and anxious to talk about."

Linda Moreno, a terrorism defense lawyer, said: "I think it's cultural in part. They're not raised in this system, and they don't grow up with the holy notion that you have the right to remain silent ingrained in their psyche."

Mr. Abu Ghaith's case and some of the other terrorism cases appear to underscore what defenders of civilian courts have long argued: that traditional law enforcement techniques are effective at extracting information from suspects in international terrorism cases.

In the 1998 bombings of the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people, three Qaeda operatives who were arrested gave lengthy statements; they identified people in photographs and discussed their associates with the F.B.I. and other authorities.

Not everything that they said was true, and many of their statements were self-serving, said Daniel J. Coleman, a retired F.B.I. agent who participated in the Bin Laden investigation. "But they did manage to say enough to get themselves into a great deal of trouble," he added. All three men are now serving life sentences.

In Mr. Abu Ghaith's case, an F.B.I. agent and a deputy United States marshal flying with him from Jordan on a Gulfstream V aircraft, first asked him through an interpreter whether he was aware of any plots against the United States or any other country. He said no.

He was then, according to the interrogation summary, advised of his rights and nodded as they were explained to him to indicate that he understood.

He then waived his rights and did not ask for a lawyer to be present, the summary said.

I have no problem with telling my story and answering your questions if you're an investigator," he is quoted as saying. He was offered food and water, and breaks to pray, use the bathroom and stretch his legs, the

document says. A judge found that Mr. Abu Ghaith had been treated humanely and his statements were ruled admissible.

The decision to prosecute Mr. Abu Ghaith in the civilian system drew criticism from Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who said he should have been held as an enemy combatant and interrogated for intelligence purposes.

Although the summary of Mr. Abu Ghaith's interrogation ran 21 pages, "it should have been a 200-page statement, taken over weeks or months,"

Senator Graham said in March after Mr. Abu Ghaith's conviction. "We lost an opportunity here with this guy."

Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the debate over how best to gain intelligence from hardened terrorists has intensified. Much has been made of the advantages of the military system, where Miranda warnings are not administered and coercive techniques have been used. Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, whose office has successfully prosecuted a string of international terrorism cases, including Mr. Abu Ghaith's, said in an interview over the summer that law enforcement's success in obtaining information from suspects could not be discounted.

"It is counterintuitive - and I understand that," Mr. Bharara said, "that people one morning want to do everything they can to kill everyone who looks like an American, and destroy cities, and in some cases, prepare to engage in suicide missions or help others engage in suicide missions, and then the next afternoon, when caught, snitch on their plans, snitch on their colleagues, snitch on intelligence that otherwise would have been unavailable to the very same people that they were dedicated to killing."

"However, it is true; it happens all the time," he said, adding that a willingness to talk was "something that should be considered a little bit more by people who fight really hard in these debates."

The phenomenon of international terrorists' providing information goes back at least to 1995, when Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who orchestrated the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, spent six hours answering questions as he was flown to the United States from Pakistan. On the last leg of his journey, as a helicopter carried him along the East River and an F.B.I. official pointed at the twin towers and observed that they were still standing, Mr. Yousef famously replied, "They wouldn't be, if I had had enough money and explosives."

Ali H. Soufan, another former F.B.I. agent, said that in his experience, the "higher the operatives are in the pyramid of the terrorist organization, the easier it is to talk to them."

Many terrorists "feel what they are doing is an extension of their jihad, is part of their cause," he said. "They are willing to die for it, so if given the right opportunity, they are not going to deny it."

Mr. Soufan said there was no "cookie cutter" approach to terrorism interrogations.

"What works on one subject does not necessarily work on the other," he said. "But if you know how to do it and you know what buttons to push, intellectually and mentally, these guys will talk."

"Sometimes, the problem is in shutting them up," he added.