[sixties-l] LSD Story Causes Flashbacks

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Wed May 16 2001 - 16:27:27 EDT

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    Press Clips
    by Cynthia Cotts, The Village Voice

    The Times Digs Up Old CIA Death

    LSD Story Causes Flashbacks

    The New York Times Magazine always delivers at least one
    great story, and last week it was an investigation into the
    claim that the CIA drugged and murdered scientist Frank
    Olson in 1953 to stop him from blowing the whistle on their
    secret experiments in mind control.

    Kudos are in order for Harvard scholar Michael Ignatieff,
    who was a wise choice to write the piece. He went to school
    with Olson's son Eric, and as a human rights expert, he was
    able to build a credible case against the CIA from the son's
    point of view.

    Here are some of the facts, according to Ignatieff: By the
    early 1950s, the CIA had begun to study LSD as a truth serum
    for use in covert assassinations. In the summer of 1953, the
    CIA sent Olson to Sweden, Germany, and Britain on business.
    According to a British journalist, Olson became disturbed by
    something he witnessed at a research facility near Frankfurt
    and confided as much to a psychiatrist employed by British
    intelligence. Thereupon, someone at the CIA raised the issue
    that Olson had become a security risk.

    Enter Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, a/k/a the Timothy Leary of the
    CIA. At a meeting of CIA scientists in rural Maryland in
    November 1953, Gottlieb dropped a hit of LSD into Olson's
    Cointreau. Nine days later in New York, Olson went out the
    window of a 10th floor hotel room, hit the sidewalk and died
    soon after. The CIA's position was that he had either
    "fallen or jumped."

    Although Ignatieff approached the M-word carefully in the
    Times, waiting until about two-thirds of the way through the
    piece to suggest that dosing Olson was a "prelude to
    murder," the allegation was clearly on his mindas was the
    unstated conclusion that an aggressive investigation into
    Olson's death is long overdue.

    Instead, what the public has gotten so far is a whitewash,
    and long stretches of silence from the Times. According to a
    database search, the Olson story first surfaced in the Times
    in July 1975. Having learned 22 years after the fact that
    Frank Olson had been fed LSD, the dead man's family gave an
    exclusive to the Times' Seymour Hersh. Through Hersh, the
    family announced its plans to file a wrongful-death suit
    against the U.S. government. (They later settled.)

    The revelations about the CIA and LSD begat a flurry of
    stories in the Times in July 1975, and that month, even the
    editorial page weighed in, calling the agency's experiment
    on Olson an example of "the arrogance and danger of
    unchecked power." But for the next 26 years, the Times
    mentioned Olson only a few times in passing, as when his
    wife Alice died in 1993.

    That's when things got hairy. In 1994, Eric Olson had his
    father's body exhumed and autopsied, a difficult choice that
    paid off when forensic experts concluded that Olson had been
    knocked out with a blow to the head, then thrown out the
    hotel window. So much for the theory that he had "jumped."

    Did the CIA deliberately kill Frank Olson? In the wake of
    the autopsy, the murder charge became credible enough to
    attract attention from the likes of the AP, CBS, CNN, The
    Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times,
    and smaller newspapers across the country. Regardie's
    reported the story as a feature in 1994; the Daily Mail
    followed in 1998. But The New York Times was nowhere to be

    When asked to comment on the omission, a Times Company
    spokesperson said, "We certainly can't hope to reconstruct a
    1994 news decision tonight."

    As for coverage of psychedelic experiments by Sidney
    Gottlieb, the Times' only significant story in 20 years
    appeared in 1999, when Tim Weiner wrote Gottlieb's obituary.
    During the 1950s and 1960s, Weiner reported, the CIA
    secretly tested LSD on human guinea pigs, including U.S.
    prisoners, drug addicts, and prostitutes. A mental patient
    in Kentucky was dosed "continuously for 174 days."

    Oddly, Ignatieff's story omitted this piece of context. But
    what's important is that the Times is finally positioned to
    help bring an extraordinary case to justice. Eric Olson has
    besieged the Manhattan district attorney's office to open a
    new investigation, and Ignatieff suggests that there might
    be hope yet. With the facts freshly laid out, the Times and
    other opinion leaders should demand that Frank Olson's death
    be fully investigated before the few remaining witnesses
    drop out of sight altogether.

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