By W. Henry Wall, Jr | AlterNet.org
“We do not target American citizens . . . The nation must to a degree take it on faith that we who lead the Cia are honorable men, devoted to the nation’s service.”
— Richard Helms, former CIA director
In March 1979 the revelation came. After Times Books published journalist John Marks’s nonfiction opus The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, a horrifying exposé of a Central Intelligence Agency program known as MK-Ultra that focused on attempts to find an effective mind-control or “truth” drug, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution featured a series of six articles detailing the book’s content. By the time I read the second page of the second installment I knew exactly what had happened to my dad. Stunned, I read it again slowly to be quite sure.
As Marks reported, the linchpin of the MK-Ultra program was the compound d-lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. I had heard plenty about this hallucinogen through the 1960s headline-grabbing antics of Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, Allen Ginsberg, and other derangement devotees. Sought by some as a mind-expander, at times the LSD experience or “acid trip” plunged other users into terrifying sensations and led to ghastly flashbacks that might persist for years.
At long last I had the logical explanation of the sudden onset of Daddy’s terror of being driven insane, of the mental derangement that persisted as paranoia and “episodes” for years after his release. All of the elements matched up.
The CIA’s ill-conceived covert Cold War scheme to find a mind-control drug for use on hostile leaders had caught my patriot father in its hateful web, as much a prisoner of war as if he were locked in a Communist prison. For 13 years afterward he would strive manfully to break free, but for all practical purposes his life was ruined.
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