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.

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