By MICHAEL IGNATIEFF
Published: April 1, 2001
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.
This is a 7 page NY Times magazine article that was printed on 2001, it is the story of the son of Frank Olson, who despite President Ford and his Chief of Staff Dick Cheney arranging for the agency to apologize and for the "truth" to be told to them 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 man DR Olson worked for was DR Sidney Gottlieb, the link back to SOD at Fort Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal and Dugway and Deseret Utah. If they are willing to lie to cover up a murder of one of their own, what else is the CIA willing to lie about? Anything? Obviously the enlisted men used in experiments at these military bases were no more valuable to the agency as one of their own employees, were they?
Dr Gottlieb died with his secrets in March 1999 at the age of 80
Friends and enemies alike say Mr. Gottlieb was a kind of genius, striving to explore the frontiers of the human mind for his country, while searching for religious and spiritual meaning in his life. But he will always be remembered as the Government chemist who dosed Americans with psychedelics in the name of national security, the man who brought LSD to the C.I.A.
In the 1950's and early 1960's, the agency gave mind-altering drugs to hundreds of unsuspecting Americans in an effort to explore the possibilities of controlling human consciousness. Many of the human guinea pigs were mental patients, prisoners, drug addicts and prostitutes -- ''people who could not fight back,'' as one agency officer put it. In one case, a mental patient in Kentucky was dosed with LSD continuously for 174 days.
Other experiments involved agency employees, military officers and college students, who had varying degrees of knowledge about the tests. In all, the agency conducted 149 separate mind-control experiments, and as many as 25 involved unwitting subjects. First-hand testimony, fragmentary Government documents and court records show that at least one participant died, others went mad, and still others suffered psychological damage after participating in the project, known as MK Ultra. The experiments were useless, Mr. Gottlieb concluded in 1972, shortly before he retired.
The C.I.A. awarded Mr. Gottlieb the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and deliberately
So twenty years of research was "useless" and people died over or because of this research and many veterans have been left permanently scarred from these experiments that even still to this day January 11, 2009 that we don't know the "truth" because DR Gottlieb destroyed the records to protect himself and the agency, and to hell with the people used and abused.
Try and tell me again how the "greater good" is justification for abuse....I will never believe that line again.....