By Alexander Cockburn
It turns out that Theodore Kaczynski, a.k.a. the Unabomber,
was a volunteer in mind-control experiments sponsored by
the CIA at Harvard in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Michael Mello, author of the recently published book, "The
United States of America vs. Theodore John Kaczynski,"
notes that at some point in his Harvard years--1958 to
1962--Kaczynski agreed to be the subject of "a
psychological experiment." Mello identifies the chief
researcher for these only as a lieutenant colonel in World
War II, working for the CIA's predecessor organization, the
Office of Strategic Services. In fact, the man experimenting
on the young Kaczynski was Dr. Henry Murray, who died in
1988. Murray became preoccupied by psychoanalysis in the
1920s, drawn to it through a fascination with Herman
Melville's "Moby Dick," which he gave to Sigmund Freud,
who duly made the excited diagnosis that the whale was a
father figure. After spending the 1930s developing
personality theory, Murray was recruited to the OSS at the
start of the war, applying his theories to the selection of
agents and also presumably to interrogation.
As chairman of the Department of Social Relations at
Harvard, Murray zealously prosecuted the CIA's efforts to
carry forward experiments in mind control conducted by
Nazi doctors in the concentration camps. The overall
program was under the control of the late Sidney Gottlieb,
head of the CIA's technical services division. Just as
Harvard students were fed doses of LSD, psilocybin and
other potions, so too were prisoners and many unwitting
Sometimes the results were disastrous. A dram of LSD fed
by Gottlieb himself to an unwitting U.S. army officer,
Frank Olson, plunged Olson into escalating psychotic
episodes, which culminated in Olson's fatal descent from an
upper window in the Statler-Hilton in New York. Gottlieb
was the object of a lawsuit not only by Olson's children but
also by the sister of another man, Stanley Milton Glickman,
whose life had disintegrated into psychosis after being
unwittingly given a dose of LSD by Gottlieb. What did
Murray give Kaczynski? Did the experiment's long-term
effects help tilt him into the Unabomber's homicidal
rampages? The CIA's mind experiment program was vast.
How many other human time bombs were thus primed?
How many of them have exploded?
There are other human time bombs, primed in haste,
ignorance or indifference to long-term consequences. Amid
all the finger-pointing to causes prompting the recent wave
of schoolyard killings, not nearly enough clamor has been
raised about the fact that many of these teenagers suddenly
exploding into mania were on a regimen of antidepressants.
Eric Harris, one of the shooters at Columbine, was on
Luvox. Kip Kinkel, who killed his parents and two students
in Oregon, was on Prozac.
There are a number of other instances. Apropos possible
linkage, Dr. Peter Breggin, author of books on Prozac and
Ritalin, has said, "I have no doubt that Prozac can
contribute to violence and suicide. I've seen many cases. In
the recent clinical trial, 6% of the children became
psychotic on Prozac. And manic psychosis can lead to
A 15-year-old girl attending a ritzy liberal arts school in the
Northeast told me that 80% of the kids in her class were on
Prozac, Ritalin or Dexedrine. The pretext used by the
school authorities is attention deficit disorder or attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, with a diagnosis
made on the basis of questions such as: "Do you find
yourself daydreaming or looking out the window?"
Ritalin is being given to about 2 million American school
children. A 1986 article by Richard Scarnati in the
International Journal of the Addictions lists more than a
hundred adverse reactions to Ritalin, including paranoid
delusions, paranoid psychosis, amphetamine-like psychosis
and terror. Meanwhile, uncertainty reigns on the precise
nature of the complaint that Ritalin is supposed to be
treating. One panel reviewing the proceedings at a
conference on ADHD last year even doubted whether the
disorder is a "valid" diagnosis of a broad range of children's
behavior, and said there was little evidence Ritalin did any
good. In 1996, the Drug Enforcement Administration
denounced the use of Ritalin and concluded that "the
dramatic increase in the use of [Ritalin] in the 1990s
should be viewed as a marker or warning to society."
Indeed. Land mines now litter the terrain of our society,
waiting to explode.
Alexander Cockburn Writes for the Nation and Other
Publications Copyright 1999 Los Angeles Times. All
-- Michael Perelman Economics Department California State University Chico, CA 95929
Tel. 530-898-5321 E-Mail michael at ecst.csuchico.edu