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CIA "Family Jewels" More Like "Numb Nuts"
2007-06-29 15:47:31


Cackles of the Mad Reverend
 
Your meat is negative meat, not good meat.
-- Doctor Murdock

 

When I first heard that the CIA was about to release several hundred pages of previously classified material that would shed light on its various operations, I laughed hard enough to scare the clown next to me into a career as a mime. I'd seen declassified material before. Most of it involved pages with vast swaths of black redaction clouding any seriously useful information. Between the blackness were little glimpses of wretched wrongness that no one in their right mind would take credit for having engineered, funded, imagined, and/or perpetrated. Somehow, the thought of the Bush/Cheney White House permitting a whole new, potentially more incriminating disgorgement from the CIA was not only implausible but utterly ridiculous.

However, there's an old smuggler's trick that this administration also knows well: show a little, get away with a lot.

This week's CIA declassified document release has been played in the media just the way Hunter Thompson would have predicted: make a sexy link to the Mafia and the public will forget that the Agency drugged unwitting citizens for several years. The state of modern journalism makes this way easier than in decades past. A search through Google News threads shows why: it's the same Associated Press story making up 80 percent of the postings contained thereon. Even when the L.A. Times or USNWR did their own homework, the resulting story was still largely the same: frontload and emphasize the Mafia connection, then give lip service to domestic surveillance on dissent groups and journalists. "But, Mr. President, what about the DRUGS?"

Yeah, yeah, okay, so using the mob to whack a foreign leader and spying on Brit Hume are repulsive, repugnant, and just downright un-American. It's all so very Sopranos and Fox Newsian. Woo-woo. Far worse, though, were things like LSD experiments, forced opiate addiction, and speed-induced murder of unknowing and unconsenting individuals. These acts were committed by licensed American physicians and psychiatrists who worked for the CIA and whose goal was controlling the human mind for various purposes. The most common purpose was information extraction, though desirable secondary purposes included induced delusions and mania to discredit the recipient, personality alteration to induce dependency on another individual, memory wipes, and mass pacification of undesirable populations. The CIA had big plans for a Brave New World through chemicals and electroshock.

And they did lots and lots of clinical research, too. So much that the former CIA Director, Richard Helms, ordered destruction of all such records regarding the 150 various mind manipulation projects. Despite the little hints spread through the latest CIA document release, the public will never know the breath and depth of what really happened under projects MKULTRA, BLUEBIRD, or ARTICHOKE, or to the subjects of them. Broken minds and people, families and communities—all vanished into the shredder and incinerator that are the ultimate DELETE key along with the identities of the doctors and personnel who made it all happen.

But really, who cares? "MY GOD, MAN—THEY WERE FOLLOWING BRIT HUME! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?"

Hey, look! "THEIR OPERATIVES HELPED NIXON'S GOONS BREAK INTO THE WATERGATE!"

And for my next trick, "DISSIDENTS AS OPERATIVES!"

"Thank you all for coming to the CIA's latest No-Show Sideshow! It's been a pleasure to mislead and confuse you once again with things that are not only old news, but no news. Be thankful that we give you this news because without it you'd still be just as fucking stupid, ignorant and scared as we want you to be. No drugs necessary."

Somewhere—probably way too close to every single one of us—is the legacy of those MKULTRA experiments. Like advertising. Like public relations. Like entertainment. It's really hard to know just where the CIA stopped and Corporate America began or continues. Especially when Ivy League institutions pretty much corner the market on spooks and multinational CEOs.

By the way—this week's document release of HUNDREDS of pages took fifteen years to pry from the Agency using FOIA. According to the new director, these HUNDREDS of ancient pages symbolize the new protections of "law and review" that the CIA uses to protect Americans from the Agency's horrific misdeeds. Really. Now that we've seen the old smuggler's trick in action, one has to wonder how much more the CIA has done after catching this tiny glimpse into HUNDREDS of pages from DECADES of Company activities.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

backdraft@pigdog.org


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