Why was MK ULTRA carried out

So the chief poisoner Sidney Gottlieb tried to steer people

If you are afraid of sleepless nights: please do not read any further. The book “Project Mind Control” describes how after the Second World War, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, the CIA secretly carried out cruel experiments on people - with two goals: first, to control people mentally (for example, to to let them commit murder) or to kill them without visible traces, and secondly, to develop biological weapons. The CIA had special experiment stations in the USA for this purpose. In order to have suitable people available for these experiments, which often have fatal results, she also used stations abroad, above all in Japan and even in Germany.

Sidney Gottlieb played the leading role in these experiments. Gottlieb, born on August 3, 1918, grew up in a Jewish immigrant family in the New York Bronx. He had club feet and stuttered. Both handicaps could be remedied medically with increasing years of life. But his urge to make the impossible possible remained. After successfully studying chemistry, he became head of the top secret program MK-ULTRA at the CIA, which looked for poisons and other methods to make people docile, forgetful or even aggressive, regardless of losses. After the discovery of LSD by the Swiss Albert Hofmann and the production of LSD by Sandoz from 1949 onwards, this drug in particular was Gottlieb's bearer of hope in the field of "Mind Control": mental control.

As head of the MK-ULTRA department and the secret CIA Camp Fort Detrick in Maryland, Sidney Gottlieb was an absolute daredevil: through CIA employees, he maintained an apartment in San Francisco, where prostitutes and their customers were used for experiments, an apartment in New York , where subjects could be closely observed after the administration of poisons, and he also personally supervised a prison camp in Japan and the secret camp of the CIA in the Villa Schuster in Kronberg im Taunus in Germany, where mainly prisoners of war and others «expendable people»- expendable people - were used for his experiments with LSD and other poisons or with electric shocks, of course without their knowledge or even consent. And where you could also fall back on the knowledge and support of scientists who had already dealt with the development of biological weapons as high-ranking and reliable Nazis or adequate Japanese war criminals during the World War.

Sidney Gottlieb was not only the directing boss on these projects, he was not afraid to mix poison into the drinks of his employees himself. A close colleague, for example, suffered from severe depression and fell to his death two weeks later in New York from a hotel window. Whether it was murder or suicide remained unclear. But even around 1960, when the former Belgian Congo declared itself independent and Patrice Lumumba became the first prime minister and was supposed to be secretly killed by the CIA because of his connection to the Soviet Union, Sidney Gottlieb himself flew to Africa to work in close cooperation with the US To poison Ambassador Lumumba so that he would not die until a few days later - in order to cover up the murder. Just because Lumumba was kidnapped from another side and, as the latest research shows, murdered from another side, Gottlieb's special poison was not used after all.

And why sleepless nights?

If the book about Sidney Gottlieb, the "Poisoner in Chief" (title of the original English edition) were simply the portrait of an insane loner, the book would probably only be worth reading for psychiatrists. But Sidney Gottlieb wasn't exactly that. He was embedded in the CIA, had knowledgeable and supportive superiors, commanded hundreds of scientists subordinate to him, received almost any amount of money from the CIA for dozens of sub-projects, so was part of a functioning system. And he was so systemically relevant that he managed to die in freedom in 1999 without ever having served a sentence for his numerous murders and horrific tortures. This is what can cause sleepless nights: that not only are individual people able to turn absolutely inhuman things into reality, but that a state authority in a so-called free and democratic country allow, maintain and even consciously promote such an organization as MK-ULTRA can. That the CIA, as a state organ, had the goal of developing not only biological weapons but also means with which people can be controlled and abused for war crimes.

Is it all just past?

Are these all “tempi passati” - pure past? Doubts are in order. We know from Poland that the USA maintained prisons there even after 9/11 in 2001 to torture people in a way that is not allowed in the USA itself. The Polish government also had to admit this in the end. And there are other states, including Ukraine, for example, where there are US military stations that no one has access to, including the police or other state authorities. And why is the US still maintaining the Guantanamo detention center? To be able to deal with the inmates in a way that is not permitted in the USA itself. The reports of released Guantanamo inmates are horrific.

A real documentation

The book “Project Mind Control” by Stephen Kinzer is not just a terrible story in every respect, but a documentation that has been researched down to the last detail and completed with several hundred sources. All persons appearing in it are named with the correct name and their statements are verified.

The book is psychologically very interesting: Sidney Gottlieb, for example, was privately and in the period after his retirement a great friend of folk music - including his own dancing -, an extremely divided personality. But the book is also very interesting politically, if not to say a “must” for active politicians, in order to really experience what a highly praised country like the USA is willing and able to do in the context of its secret service activities. And, as mentioned, in all likelihood to this day.

* * *

The reviewer Christian Müller read the original edition of the book in English: «POISONER IN CHIEF; SIDNEY GOTTLIEB AND THE CIA SEARCH FOR MIND CONTROL »by Stephen Kinzer. Now the book has also been published in German: “Stephen Kinzer: PROJECT MIND CONTROL. Sidney Gottlieb, the CIA and LSD - how the American secret service tried to control consciousness. " riva Verlag Munich, 2020.

The translation into German appears to be correct, even when it comes to the fact that Sidney Gottlieb was a Jew. An example is shown here:

“One especially arresting aspect of Gottlieb’s ethical calculation was his willingness to work with Nazi scientists who he knew were connected to the torture and murder of Jews in concentration camps. Many of the Americans who worked with those scientists had only general or theoretical reasons to detest Nazism, and easily put their doubts aside as soon as World War II ended and Communism emerged as the new enemy. Gottlieb, though, was not simply Jewish but just one generation removed from the shtetl. If his parents had not left Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century, he might well have been forced into a ghetto as a young man and then arrested, sent to a concentration camp, and killed during a lethal experiment. Nonetheless he worked with the scientists who conducted those experiments. »

In the German edition: “A particularly irritating aspect of Gottlieb's ethical calculation was his willingness to work with Nazi scientists who, he knew, were partly responsible for the torture and murder of Jews in concentration camps. Many of the Americans who worked with these scientists had only general or theoretical reasons to loathe the Nazis, and they were quick to put their doubts aside when World War II ended and communism emerged as a new enemy. Gottlieb, on the other hand, was not just a Jew, he was also only a generation away from the shtetl, the Jewish world of Eastern Europe. If his parents hadn't left Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, he would have had to live in a ghetto as a young man and would later have been arrested, put in a concentration camp and killed during an experiment. Nevertheless, he worked with the scientists who had carried out such experiments. "

It can therefore be assumed that the translation is flawless even where it is uncomfortable for Germany.

A picture of Sidney Gottlieb and further information can be seen on the npr.org website, click here.

Additional information


Subject-related interests of the author

About the author in German and English.