Welcome to the ninth installment in my ongoing examination of the CIA's mysterious and highly controversial Office of Security (OS). For those of you just joining me or trying to catch up, here is a brief run down of what has been addressed in the prior installments:
- in the first installment the backgrounds and politics (which many Alex Jones bots would find appealing) of the OS men were considered and contrasted with Ivy League-centric Office of Strategic Services (OSS) "Old Boys" who dominated the CIA's upper hierarchy for decades
- part two began to consider the OS's involvement in the Watergate scandal, examining longtime OS veteran James McCord's total bungling of the second break-in and the possibility that he or one of his employees had tipped off the police before hand
- the third installment considered the actual purpose of the Watergate break-in, namely a Columbia Plaza-based call girl ring that was servicing the Watergate-based DNC and which was likely under the control of James McCord
- part four dealt with the OS's extensive use of "safe houses" for sexual blackmail as well as the cabal behind the Watergate scandal, which included the OS, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of Naval Intelligence and the powerful defense lobby group and private intelligence network known as the American Security Council (which this blog has addressed at length before here)
- part five considered the OS's role in assassinations, suspicious deaths linked to the OS (including the "suicide" of Frank Olson) and the role the OS played in Operation CHAOS
- the sixth installment began to get into the OS's role in the CIA's behavior modification experiments, considering Project BLUEBIRD and dispelling much of the disinformation concerning MKULTRA and ARTICHOKE (hint: ARTICHOKE continued in some form or another until 1973 and was never under the control of Sidney Gottlieb)
- the seventh installment considered Project ARTICHOKE with an emphasis on its use of hypnosis, drugs and electroshock
- part eight examined the so-called "Artichoke treatment" and addressed the OS's possible role in the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK; also considered was the possible continuation of ARTICHOKE after 1973 in the deep private (and later, as part of the "War on Terror")
As those of you who have been following this series from the beginning are well aware, it has been one long, strange trip. And now dear readers, things are about to become even stranger as I begin to address the "high weirdness" component of ARTICHOKE.
Typically Sidney Gottlieb is depicted as a kind of dark alchemist within the CIA, but as we shall see throughout the remaining installments in this series, it was Morse Allen more than any other individual in the CIA at this point that deserved such a label. As was already noted in part seven, it was Allen's passion for hypnosis that led it to becoming such an integral part of the CIA's behavior modification experiments. Allen was a thorough researcher and was likely well aware that hypnosis had its origins in the occult, with Mesmerism to be precise. And this was hardly the only arcane topic Allen had an interest in.
Beyond his well known fascination with hypnotism, Allen was apparently the first CIA official to acquire an interest in the famed "magic mushroom." Not content with procuring mere physical samples of the mushroom, he sought to understand everything surrounding the lore of the fungus.
"... Their fixation on the 'magic mushroom' grew indirectly out of a meeting between drug experts and Morse Allen, head of the Agency's ARTICHOKE program, in October 1952. One expert told Allen about a shrub called piule, whose seeds had long been used as an intoxicant by Mexican Indians at religious ceremonies. Allen, who wanted to know about anything that distorted reality, immediately arranged for a young CIA scientist to take a Mexican field trip and gather samples of piule as well as other plants of 'high narcotic and toxic value of interest to ARTICHOKE.'
"That young scientist arrived in Mexico City early in 1953. He could not advertise the true purpose of his trip because of ARTICHOKE's extreme secrecy, so he assumed cover as a researcher interested in finding native plants which were anesthetics. Fluent in Spanish and familiar with Mexico, he had no trouble moving around the country, meeting with leading experts on botanicals. Then he was off into the mountains south of the capital with his own field-testing equipment, gather specimens and testing them crudely on the spot. By February, he had collected sacks full of material, including 10 pounds of piule. Before leaving Mexico to look for more samples around the Caribbean, the young scientist heard amazing tales about special mushrooms that grew only in the hot and rainy summer months. Such stories had circulated among Europeans in Mexico since Cortez had conquered the country early in the sixteenth century. Spanish friars had reported that the Aztecs used strange mushrooms in their religious ceremonies, which these converters of the heathens described as 'demonic holy communion.' Aztec priests called the special mushrooms teonanactl, 'God's flesh.' But Cortez's plunderers soon lost track of the rite, as did the traders and the anthropologists who followed in their wake. Only the legend survived.
"Back in Washington, the young scientist's samples went straight to the labs, and Agency officials scoured the historical record for accounts of the strange mushrooms. Morse Allen himself, though responsible in ARTICHOKE research for everything from the polygraph to hypnosis, took the trouble to go through the Indian lore. 'Very early accounts of the ceremonies of some tribes of Mexican Indians show that mushrooms are used to produce hallucinations and to create intoxication in connection with religious festivals,' he wrote. 'In addition, this literature shows that witch doctors or "divinators" used some types of mushrooms to produce confessions or to locate stolen objects or to predict the future.' Here was a possible truth drug, Morse Allen reasoned. 'Since it had been determined that no area of human knowledge is to be left unexplored in connection with the ARTICHOKE program, it was therefore regarded as essential that the peculiar qualities of the mushroom be explored...' Allen declared. 'Full consideration,' he concluded, should be given to sending an Agency man back to Mexico during the summer. The CIA had begun its quest for 'God's flesh.'
"Characteristically, Morse Allen was planning ahead in case the CIA's searchers came up with a mushroom worth having in large quantities. He knew that the supply from the tropics varied by season, and, anyway, it would be impractical to go to Mexico for fungi each time an operational need popped up. So Allen decided to see if it were possible to grow mushrooms at home, either outdoors or in hothouses. On June 24, 1953, he and an associate drove from Washington to Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania, in the heart of 'the largest mushroom-growing area in the world.' At a three-hour session with the captains of the mushroom industry, Allen explained the government's interest in poisonous and narcotic fungi. Allen reported that the meeting 'was primarily designed to obtain a "foothold" in the center of the mushroom-growing industry where, if requirements for mushroom growing were demanded, it would be done by professionals in the trade.' The mushroom executives were quite reluctant to grow toxic products because they knew that any accidental publicity would scare their customers. In the end, however, their patriotism won out, and they agreed to grow any kind of fungus the government desired. Allen considered the trip a great success."
(The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate" , John Marks, pgs. 114-116)
Whether or not anything ever came from Allen's efforts to grow magic mushrooms in Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania is unknown. The location is interesting, however, as we saw in part three of this series that a lot of strange things were going on in Pennsylvania during this time. And indeed, one of the ARTICHOKE scientists we shall be considering in the next installment had close ties to Pennsylvania. So do keep this particular location as well as dates concerned with Allen's interest in magic mushrooms in mind for we shall return to them again before this series is over.
Allen turned to Sidney Gottlieb and the Technical Services Staff (TSS) to both analyze the samples his research scientist had brought back from Mexico as well as to assist in the hunt for the magic mushroom. In some accounts, Gottlieb was said to have outflanked Allen and taken over complete control of this operation. Results were not forth coming, however, until 1956.
One variety of magic mushroom was ultimately found in Mexico by R. Gordon Wasson, a vice-president of J.P. Morgan & Co. As is well known by now, the funding for Wasson's expedition was provided by the Geschickter Fund, a CIA front. By this point it was primarily being used by MKULTRA personnel, though in Shroom Andy Letcher claims that ARTICHOKE originally had ties to the fund. But clearly TSS, which oversaw MKULTRA, got first dibs of the magic mushroom, at least in official narratives.
|R. Gordon Wasson|
"The CIA funding and contract management came to be handled jointly by two offices. The first was the Technical Services Division (TSD), in the Directorate of Operations, which had funded some low-level psi research during the 1960s. In the summer of 1973 TSD was transferred to the Directorate of Science and Technology, and became known as the Office of Technical Service (OTS). TSD/OTS was responsible for technical assistance to certain spying and covert-action operations, and was a bit like the gadget-strewn "Q branch" in the old James Bond films. The second SRI psi-funding office, under the Directorate of Science and Technology, was the more scientifically oriented Office of Research and Development (ORD)."
(Remote Viewers, Jim Schnabel, pg. 105n)Some old ARTICHOKE partners were also involved in these projects, however. The Office of Naval Research (ONR), which was deeply involved in ARTICHOKE as well as the Navy's own behavior modification experiments (as noted before here), would provide some of the funding. Once SRI's ONR contract had been cut off, the Navy established its own remote viewing program with Hal Puthoff, the head of the SRI remote viewing program, as an adviser on.
Even more compelling, however, is the presence of Dr. Christopher "Kit" Green in the SRI program.
"One of the areas he kept an eye on was parapsychology, in particular the goings-on at SRI. Although the contract with SRI was being run by a different office from Kennett's [a pseudonym for Green --Recluse], the Agency had wanted him to make an independent evaluation of the work being done there, as part of an overall assessment of the importance of parapsychological research in the United States and the Soviet Union..."
(Remote Viewers, Jim Schnabel, pgs. 105-106)
|Dr. Christopher "Kit" Green|
"Initially, ARTICHOKE was the responsibility of the Agency's Office of Security, with former BLUEBIRD director Morse Allen assigned to oversee day-to-day matters. Allen eagerly took the job, but immediately ran headlong into jurisdictional battles with the Agency's Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI). In late 1951, OSI managed to gain control of ARTICHOKE, but by September 30, 1952 the Security Office was back in the driver's seat. Frank Wisner formalized the transfer responsibility in a memorandum stating that all 'the various offices concerned' had agreed that 'over-all responsibility for Project ARTICHOKE should be transferred from the Office of Scientific Intelligence to the Assistant Director for Security,' Sheffield Edwards. Wisner added, however, without explanation, that 'responsibility for the foreign scientific aspects of the subject covered by Project ARTICHOKE' would 'remain in the Office of Scientific intelligence.' Inter-departmental squabbling continued, however.
"According to a 1952 CIA report on the jurisdictional battle, there was 'a glaring lack of cooperation among the various intra-Agency groups, fostered by petty jealousies and personality differences that result in the retardation of the enhancing and advancing of the Agency as a body.' When the decision was made that Security would regain control, Allen promised he would 'call upon the research staff and support facilities' of TSS, if necessary, but nowhere is there any indication that he did so. According to Sidney Gottlieb, 'We were never called on to do anything that I can recall, other than to attend review meetings and to report on our own programs, but our hands were full with other matters, so I'm sure we were greatly relieved they didn't.'
"During the time ARTICHOKE's lines of authority were in dispute, incoming Scientific Intelligence chief Marshall Chadwell and the Agency's Medical Division were nonetheless contracting with individuals from a number of federal agencies. An April 7, 1953 memorandum from Chadwell and the Medical Division Chief states that people with specific skills for special ARTICHOKE projects had been recruited from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and the National Institutes of Health..."
(A Terrible Mistake, H.P. Albarelli, Jr., pg. 227)
|an image from The Six Million Dollar Man; the Office of Scientific Intelligence is referenced frequently in pop culture but generally overlooked by conspiracy researchers|
"... Machle was instrumental in the creation of the CIA's Office of Scientific Intelligence. He was a hard working, strong willed, forceful man who maintained an unwavering bias that only scientists conduct scientific research as opposed to 'ill-trained, ignorant spooks.' Chadwell replaced Machle as OSI chief on March 6, 1950, however, Machle stayed on with the Agency for a number of years and also performed extensive outside consulting work..."
(A Terrible Mistake, H.P. Albarelli, Jr., pg. 790)
|Dr. Willard Machle|
But back to the matter at hand. At the time SRI was approached about remote viewing, programs based upon ARTICHOKE and MKULTRA were still active. The presence of the TSS in the project and the fact that CIA involvement was ended at roughly the same time the successor programs to MKULTRA were shuttered has led some to speculate that the SRI remote viewing experiments may have been linked to MKULTRA.
This is indeed quite possible, but it would seem that ARTICHOKE was potentially in the act as well. In addition to Kit Green, at least one known ARTICHOKE scientist would become involved in the remote viewing experiments. But more on that in a future installment.
And what of Green's mandate to make an "overall assessment of the importance of parapsychological research"? Why not someone from TSS, who appear to have taken the lead role on remote viewing at this stage?
This researcher suspects that this decision was made to due the fact that ARTICHOKE's parapsychological research dwarfed that of MKULTRA. While MKULTRA had certainly been involved in parapsychological research prior to the SRI experiments, its work in that field was rather limited. And as with many things, ARTICHOKE appears to have beaten MKULTRA to the punch by several years and had invested far more in such pursuits.
ARTICHOKE's interest in parapsychology was already hinted at briefly in part seven, when discussing the background of notorious ARTICHOKE hypnotist George Estabrooks. Estrabrook had worked with Walter Franklin Prince and Gardner Murphy to establish the Boston Society of Psychical Research, a splinter group from the more well-known American Society for Psychical Research. The Boston group had broken with the parent body over the later's sympathy to Spiritualism and their support of medium Mina Crandon. The famed stage magician and suspected US and British spy Harry Houdini assisted the Boston group in exposing Crandon.
"... the work of Dr. J.B. Rhine at Duke University's Parapsychology Laboratory in North Carolina was of special interest to the CIA's Security Research staff. One former CIA official has reported that the writings of Martin Ebon on parapsychology and the paranormal were likewise of special interest to the Agency, and that many of Ebon's books originated in studies conducted by the CIA's SRS and TSS branches. Ebon wrote over twenty-five books on subjects such as life after death, communications with the dead, ghosts, and exotic ESP. Born in 1917 in Hamburg, Germany, he emigrated to the United States in 1938 and worked as managing editor of thew Foreign Language Division of the Overseas New Agency. During World War II, Ebon joined the staff of the U.S. Office of War Information where he became an expert on the Soviet Union. After the war, he became closely aligned with the Parapsychology Foundation in New York, and was executive editor of the International Journal of Parapsychology.
"An examination of Ebon's extensive writings reveals that he was nearly always at the forefront of paranormal studies, and that often his writings paralleled the secret research of the CIA. Ebon has written authoritatively about Faraday cages, ESP, telepathy, bio-energy weapons, hypnosis, remote viewing (well before it became all the rage), electromagnetic waves, and out-of-body experiences. In one of his books he revealed details of a three-year CIA program designed to make 'a serious effort' to advance ESP research 'in the direction of reliable application to the practical problems of intelligence.' "
(A Terrible Mistake, H.P. Albarelli, Jr., pgs. 264-265)
"At the very least, one suspects that a firsthand encounter with LSD would have made the clandestine mentality more receptive to the possibility of ESP, subliminal perception, and other phenomena associated with altered states. The CIA's interest in parapsychology dates back to the late 1940s. A handwritten memo of the period suggests that 'hypnosis and telepathists' be contacted as professional consultants on an exploratory basis, but this proposal was initially rejected. It was not until 1952, after the CIA got heavily involved with LSD, that the Agency began funding ESP research.
"While parapsychology has long been ridiculed by the scientific establishment, the CIA seriously entertained the notion that such phenomena might by highly significant for the have a high ESP capacity, their talent could be assigned to specific intelligence problems. spy trade. The Agency hypothesized that if a number of people in the US were found to In 1952 the CIA initiated an extensive program involving 'the search for and development of exceptionally gifted individuals who can approximate perfect success in ESP performance.' The Office of Security, which ran the ARTICHOKE project, was urged to follow 'all leads on individuals reported to have true clairvoyant powers' so as to be able to subject their claims to 'rigorous scientific investigation.'
"Along this line the CIA began infiltrating seances and occult gatherings. A memo dated April 9, 1953, refers to a domestic --and therefore illegal --operation that required the 'planting of a very specialized observer' at a seance in order to obtain 'a broad surveillance of all individuals attending the meetings.'
"The CIA also sought to develop techniques whereby the ESP powers of a group of psychics could be used 'to produce factual information that could not be obtained in any other way.' If it were possible 'to identify the thought of another person several hundred miles away,' a CIA scientist explained, 'the adaptation to the practical requirements for obtaining secret information should not give serious difficulty.' Moreover, 'everything that adds anything to our understanding of what is taking place in ESP is likely to give us advantage in the problem of use and control.' "
(Acid Dreams, Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shalin, pg. 18n)
Still, there have been persistent allegations that MKULTRA was deeply involved in the parapsychological in certain quarters. This is especially true about Project OFTEN, in which a host of incredible allegations are attributed too. Consider:
"In 1969, Robert Manners revealed to me, a unit of scientists attached to the CIA's Office of Research and Development dared to follow the path the TSS had taken a deade-and-a-half earlier in the field of mind control. But the scientists had other, far more controversial plans, several of which involved trying to invade, understand, and harness demonic powers as tools of espionage.
"To ensure that the project stood some chance of achieving its unusual aims, Gotttlieb approached Richard Helms --the CIA director from 1966 to 1973 --and secured a $150,000 grant for the new project, which became known as Operation Often. The curiously named study took its title from the fact that Gottlieb was well known for reminding his colleagues that: '... often we are very close to our goals then we pull back' and '... often we forget that the only scientific way for ward is to learn from the past.'
"Investigative writer Gordon Thomas said: 'Operation Often's root could be traced back to the research Dr. [Donald Ewen] Cameron had approved in trying to establish links between eye coloring, soil conditions and mental illness.' Thomas also noted that when he was given access to Cameron's research and notes after Cameron's death in 1967, Gottlieb was struck by the fact that 'Dr. Cameron could have been on the verge of a breakthrough in exploring the paranormal. Operation Often was intended to take over the unfinished work, and go beyond --to explore the world of black magic and the supernatural.' And, thus, the stage was set for the next act in the U.S. Government's involvement in, and understanding of, what they perceived to be the true nature of the UFO presence on the Earth...
"As Operation Often progressed, the project began to immerse itself in distinctly uncharted waters, and the staff ultimately spent more time mingling with fairground fortune tellers, palmists, clairvoyants, demonologists, and mediums than the did with fellow Agency personnel. By May 1971, the operation even had three astrologers on the payroll --each of whom were paid the tidy sums of $350 per week plus expenses --to regularly review copies of newly published magazines and newspapers in the hope that they might be 'psychically altered' to something of a defense or intelligence nature..."
(Final Events, Nick Redfern, pgs. 92-93)
"Many of Thomas's claims in this book seriously challenge the credulity of his loyal readers. Additionally, many of his claims, besides being wrong in this author's view, are unsupported by any documents or cited sources."
(A Terrible Mistake, pg. 809)In the case of Journey Into Madness, Thomas presents no sources for his incredible claims concerning OFTEN. Thus, this researcher believes that Thomas's claims in this regard should not be seen as credible.
"During this period the Army Chemical Corps and the CIA's Office of Research and Development initiated a project to create new compounds 'that could be used offensively.' A major portion of the OFTEN/CHICKWIT Program, as the joint effort was called, was geared towards incapacitants. A CIA memo dated March 8, 1971, indicates that a backlog of more than twenty-six thousand drugs had been acquired 'for future screening.' Information gathered from this screening process was catalogued and data-banked in a 'large, closely held' computer system that monitored worldwide developments in pharmacology. Under the auspices of OFTEN/CHICKWIT at least seven hallucinogens similar to BZ were tested; inmates at Holmsburg prison in Pennsylvania were used as test subjects for some of the drugs. Very little is known about these experiments, although CIA documents mention 'several laboratory accidents' in which a drug designated EA-3167 produced 'prolonged psychotic effects in laboratory personnel.' "
(Acid Dreams, Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain, pg. 94n)
|Holmesburg Prison where OFTEN drug experiments were allegedly conducted and yet another location in Pennsylvania that appears in this strange tale|
"Just as the MKULTRA program had been years ahead of the scientific community, ORD activities were similarly advanced. 'We looked at the manipulation of genes,' states one of the researchers. 'We were interested in gene splintering. The rest of the world didn't ask until 1976 the type of questions we were facing in 1965.... Everybody was afraid of building the supersoldier who would take orders without questioning, like the kamikaze pilot. Creating a subservient society was not out of sight.' Another Institute man describes the work of a colleague who bombarded bacteria with ultraviolet radiation in order to create deviant strains. ORD also sponsored work in parapsychology. Along with the military services, Agency officials wanted to know whether psychics could read minds or control them from afar (telepathy), if they could gain information about distant places or people (clairvoyance or remote viewing), if hey could predict the future (precognition), or influence the movement of physical objects or even the human mind (photokinesis). The last could have incredibly destructive applications, if it worked. For instance, switches setting off nuclear bombs would have to be moved only a few inches to launch a holocaust. Or, enemy psychics, with minds honed to laser-beam sharpness, could launch attacks to burn out the brains of American nuclear scientists. Any or all of these techniques have numerous applications to the spy trade."
(The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", John Marks, pgs. 226-227)The ORD also toyed with implanting electric devices in the heads of test subjects to control bodily functions. This research, at least, was based upon work the TSS had done in the early 1960s. However, there is no indication that OFTEN had any involvement from Sidney Gottlieb and the TSS, nor that OFTEN itself was the projected that investigated these more arcane pursuits (which seem to have pre-dated OFTEN, but may have eventually been part of the Project).
As noted above, OFTEN was a joint project run by the Army and the CIA's Office of Research and Development (ORD), one of the two CIA branches (along with the TSS) that provided funding for the the SRI remote viewing experiments (noted above). But while OFTEN may have drawn inspiration from some of the MKULTRA experiments, it was surely not limited to them. In point of fact, the ORD chief at the time was quite familiar with ARTICHOKE.
"In ORD, Dr. Stephen Aldrich, a graduate of Amherst and Northwestern Medical School, took over the role that Morse Allen and then Sid Gottlieb had played before him. Aldrich had been the medical director of the Office of Scientific Intelligence back in the days when the office was jockeying with Morse Allen for control of ARTICHOKE, so he was no stranger to the program..."
(The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", John Marks, pg. 224)
|potentially an image of the drug experiments conducted by OFTEN|
Is this then why Kit Green of the OSI was tasked by the CIA with making an "overall assessment of the importance of parapsychological research"? Certainly the OSI would have been well placed to have followed such research from the beginning. And of course by the late 1960s an OSI and ARTICHOKE veteran was overseeing the Office of Research and Development, which ran OFTEN for the CIA and participated in the SRI experiments with the TSS and Green.
As such, it does not seem a stretch to this researcher to suggest that OFTEN and aspects of the SRI research were an extension of ARTICHOKE. And keep in mind dear reader, at least one known ARTICHOKE scientist was involved in the SRI experiments as well. Indeed, it is quite likely that all of these "high weirdness"-centric pursuits of the ORD derived from his experiments in the 1950s, as we shall begin considering in the next installment. But before getting to him, we need to digress into yet another fantastic topic.
"... The CIA's UFO investigation drew in its Office of Current Intelligence, the Office of Scientific Intelligence and the Weapons and Equipment Division. In August 1952, its representatives gathered for a number of highly secretive meetings with its Air Technical Intelligence Center counterparts at Wright Patterson..."
(Mirage Men, Mark Pilkington, pgs. 81-82)
Chadwell took the lead in these meetings with the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) folks at Wright-Patterson, home of the legendary Hangar 18.
"The CIA initiated a series of informal discussions about UFOs with other agencies. One of the matters under review was the 'clogged channel' problem. CIA Director of Scientific Intelligence H. Marshall Chadwel chaired these meetings and visited Wright-Patterson AFB on August 8 for a 'thorough and comprehensive' briefing about UFOs from Blue Book officers. He was accompanied by CIA official Frederick Durant and power scientist H.P. Robertson."
(UFOs and the National Security State, Richard Dolan, pg. 113)
"On 24 September 1952, H. Marshall Chadwell, the CIA's assistant director for Scientific Intelligence, sent a summary report of the ATIC meetings to Director Walter Smith, outlining the conclusions drawn from the sessions. It is worth reprinting almost in full:
the flying saucer contains two elements of danger which, in a situation of tension, have national security implications. These are:
a) Psychological --with worldwide sightings reported, it was found that, up to the time of the investigation, there had been in the Soviet press no report or comment, even satirical, on flying saucers.... With a State-controlled press, this could result only from official policy decision. The question, there fore, arises as to whether or not these sightings:
1) Could be controlled
2) Could be predicted
3) Could be used from a psychological warfare point of view, either offensively or defensively
The public concern with the phenomena, which is reflected both in the United States press and in the pressure of inquiry upon the Air Force, indicates that a fair proportion of our population is mentally conditioned to the acceptance of the incredible. In this fact lies the potential for the touching off of mass hysteria and panic.
b) Air Vulnerability -- the United States Air Warning System will undoubtedly always depend upon a combination of radar screening and visual observation. The USSR is credited with the present capability of delivering an air attack against the United States... At any moment of attack, we are now in a position where we cannot, on an instant basis, distinguish hardware from phantom, and as tension mounts we will run the increasing risk of false alerts and the even greater danger of falsely identifying the real as phantom.
"As well as instigating an investigation into what the Soviets knew about flying saucers, Chadwell concluded that a 'study should be instituted to determine what, if any, utilization could be made of these phenomena by United States psychological warfare planners and what, if any, defenses should be planned in anticipation of Soviet attempts to utilize them'. His final recommendation was that they should manage public perceptions of the phenomena 'to minimize the risk of panic'.
"Walter Smith didn't need much more convincing, and in January 1953 the CIA convened a secret panel consisting of nuclear physicists, radar and rocketry experts, other Air Force personnel and an astronomer. Headed by Dr. Howard Percy Robertson, director of the Pentagon's Weapons Systems Evaluations Group, the group spent four days with very long lunch breaks listening to UFO reports, watching films of unexplained objects, and seeking possible explanations for the phenomenon. Their conclusions, which were not fully revealed to the public until 1966, effectively echoed the concerns of Chadwell's earlier report.
"The Robertson Panel Report recommended that the military focus on training its personnel to recognize unusually illuminated man-made objects and natural phenomena, including meteors, fireballs, mirages and clouds, both visually and on radar. 'Such training,' it noted, 'should result in a marked reduction in reports caused by misidentification and resultant confusion.' As far as the general public were concerned, a programme of 'debunking' would be set in place to reduce their interest in the subject, and diminish 'their susceptibility to clever hostile propaganda' from the Soviets. 'As in the case of conjuring tricks,' it noted, 'there is much less stimulation if the "secret" is known.' The Panel had some interesting suggestions as to how this education might be carried out: they recommended using Walt Disney cartoons and the Jam Handy Co., which made Second World War training films, as well as the Navy's own Special Devices Center (now the Office of Naval Research) to train in aircraft identification.
"Psychological monitoring of the population was another key consideration. Panel members would have been aware of an extreme case of UFO nerves from Quito, Ecuador, on 12 February 1949, when a panic triggered by a radio broadcast of War of the Worlds led to riots that were quelled only after tanks took to the city streets, resulting in twenty deaths. It was 'felt strongly' that psychologists should advise on the programme --Hadley Cantril, who had written a study of the panic in he US surrounding Orson Welles's original 1938 War of the Worlds radio play was mentioned --along with 'someone familiar with mass communications techniques, perhaps an advertising expert.'
"The Robertson Report also recommended that civilian UFO groups be monitored, 'because of their potentially great influence on mass thinking if widespread sightings should occur. [Their] apparent irresponsibility and the possible use of such groups for subversive purposes should be kept in mind.' For the next two decades, one of the groups mentioned by name, the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) of Tucson, Arizona, found itself under close scrutiny by the intelligence services.
"In conclusion the Report found that while the UFOs themselves seemed to present no 'direct physical threat to national security', the reporting of them did: 'clogging... channels of communication by irrelevant reports' and creating a cry wolf situation that could create so many false alarms that genuine hostile actions might be ignored. What's more, the general interest in the subject threatened to inculcate 'a morbid national psychology in which skillful hostile propaganda could induce hysterical behavior and harmful distrust of duly constituted authority.' "
(Mirage Men, Mark Pilkington, pgs. 83-86)
|Howard P. Robertson, the Panel's namesake|
"The panel's conclusions were preordained. Hynek said he discerned the panel's debunking mood right from the beginning. Fournet suspected right away that the actual author of the conclusions was not Robertson but Durant, and that he wrote them late on Friday. Work by UFO researcher and historian Michael Swords pushes the date further back: 'Fournet did not know that the report, in draft form, existed before Friday and possibly before the panel was even convened on Wednesday.'
"Many have questioned whether the CIA could manipulate a group of scientists to reach their desired conclusions. Kevin Randle, for example, doubted that 'someone in the government [would be] confident enough in his own abilities to micromanage the data [and] influence the conclusions...' But micromanaging data is not necessary when the right people are selected. The members of the Robertson Panel were power scientists, strongly connected with the military and national security state. They were certainly no detached, impartial jury, withholding a decision until an objective review of the evidence. Quite the contrary.
"Of later writers about the Robertson Panel, only Ruppelt was misled. He believed the panel accepted Garland's recommendation that Blue Book be expanded. He also misinterpreted the panel's education and debunking recommendation, thinking it meant that 'the American public should be told every detail of every phase of the UFO investigation.' Others hit closer to home. Keyhoe believed the panel was a CIA program to bury the UFO. Hynek --years later --stated he was 'negatively impressed.' The Lorenzens understandably came down hard against the panel. Even one of the panel members, Dr. Thornton Page, said in 1980 that the panel 'tended to ignore the five percent or ten percent [sic] of UFO reports that are highly reliable and have not yet been explained.' Many years later, Page made the matter crystal clear:
H.P. Robertson told us in the first private (no outsiders) session that our job was to reduce public concern, and show that UFO reports could be explained by conventional reasoning...
"After all these years, the Robertson Panel still leaves a bad taste. In part, this is because Nobel-caliber scientists were involved in such scientifically shallow and deficient work. Berkner showed up just in time to put his name on the final document. The rest sat around for a few hours --precious time away from busy calendars --to listen to a few presentations, probably feeling bored with a subject they all believed was nonsense long before they arrived. Would the CIA really entrust policy-making authority to a group which, prestigious though it certainly was, was unable to render an informed decision on the subject? Here we arrive at the core meaning of the Robertson Panel: a group that, by its very prestige, was able to sanction a policy already decided upon. Within the classified as well as public world, it is always a good idea to cover your vulnerable areas. What better way than with a panel composed of Nobel-caliber scientists needed to help defuse the UFO problem, certainly not to figure it out. This is the point that the people at Battelle missed. What the CIA and air force wanted was not an actual study of the problem --they had enough of those already. What was needed, and fast, was adequate justification for a policy decision."
(UFOs and the National Security State, Richard Dolan, pgs. 126-127)
|a list of Robertson Panel participants|
For one, its highly debatable that the Soviets would have had the ability to launch a full scale aerial assault on the US in 1953. Their military was still in the process of recovering from World War II and would not be at such a level to present a real military threat to the US until a few years later. The CIA was surely aware of this, thus the notion that UFO sightings could hinder the nation's air defense by bogging down authorities with frivolous accounts seems rather ludicrous.
The notion that the US could be sent into a mass panic over fake accounts of a UFO invasion also seems rather dubious. The 1938 radio broadcast of Orson Welles's adaptation of War of the Worlds is often cited by UFO proponents and skeptics alike as proof of the effects UFO revelations could have on the public. There's only one problem with this: recent evidence indicates that the War of the Worlds hysteria was massively overblown and that the bulk of radio listeners who heard it live were unaffected.
While the Robertson Panel dismissed the UFOs themselves as being both harmless and nonexistent, Chadwell did not seem to share such views in private. In December 1952, weeks before the Robertson Panel was convened at his urging, Chadwell sent a memo to then-DCI Walter Bedell Smith that noted: "[U]nexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles" (A Terrible Mistake, pg. 265).
On the whole H. Marshall Chadwell is one of the most curious deep state figures from this era. From late 1951 until September 1952 he oversaw Project ARTICHOKE, a fact most Ufologists seem to miss. His initial investigations of the UFO phenomena unfolded while he was still in charge of ARTICHOKE and the department that he headed, the Office of Scientific Intelligence, still retained control over "foreign scientific aspects" of the project for years afterwards. It was also around this time that ARTICHOKE began to investigate parapsychology in earnest, as noted above. Chadwell was also overseeing a massive study on LSD during this time frame for the CIA as well.
Of course, Chadwell was an old hand at these types of intrigues by the 1950s. During World War II he had cut his teeth working for the mysterious Division 19.
"Division 19 had been a highly secret operation tucked away within the National Defense Research Committee's Office of Scientific Research and Development. Established on June 28, 1941 by Roosevelt's Executive Order, Division 19 was run by Dr. H. Marshall Chadwell... Most of the documents concerning the work of the Division 19 are still classified and may well never be released for public scrutiny. However, a few declassified files exist and although they are sketchy, they do reveal the scope and, sometimes, the specifics of certain Division 19 projects...
"Other Division 19 programs were devoid of any humorous elements and were far more lethal. Many were taken over by SOD and the CIA during the fury of the Cold War, including the CIA's cautious alliance with the Mafia, as well as with the OSS's highly classified assassination programs. The latter were recast by the CIA as 'executive action,' 'health alteration' and 'incapacitation' programs. Well before the CIA was conceived, at the height of World War II, Division 19, through the OSS, began the systematic recruitment of underworld figures that were most adept at 'close-in killing methods.'...
"Given the cornucopia of lethal weapons and innovative equipment that Division 19 came up with for the OSS --including silent pistols, signet rings containing L-pill Zyankalium ('L' for lethal), and poison dart pens --one can easily see how the division served as a model for the CIA's Technical Services Section."
(A Terrible Mistake, H.P. Albarelli, pgs. 66-67)
|H. Marshall Chadwell|
Interestingly, his close associate at the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) was an individual well known and much speculated upon by Ufologists: Vannevar Bush. Bush was both the chairman of the NDRC as well as the head of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), a key branch of the NDRC. In A Terrible Mistake, H.P. Albarelli refers to Bush and Chadwell as the "ranking" members of the NDRC and indicates that they collaborated together regularly. As the OSRD had a close working relationship with Division 19, this would hardly be surprising. It is also interesting to note that Chadwell's close associate, Howard P. Robertson, also cut his teeth in the OSRD during during the war. Thus, Robertson surely knew Bush as well as Chadwell.
Also present at the NDRC was Colonel Boris Pash. As was noted in part five, Pash headed the Alsos Mission to locate German scientists that would be of interest to the United States national security apparatus. The mission was began in 1943 and was green lighted by Vannevar Bush. There have been persistent rumors that Pash's mission played in a key role in what would become ARTICHOKE. This is understandable as Pash located several Ahnenerbe scientists who had done drug research for Nazis involving mescaline, among other substances.
Also noted in part five was that Pash appears to have been running an assassination bureau for the CIA by the early 1950s. He also served on the "Health Altercation Committee" with long time OS chief Sheffield Edwards. Also around 1950, he reviewed Nazi experiments again: "Under the project [BLUEBIRD -Recluse], Boris Pash, formerly employed in Operation Paperclip, reviewed Nazi interrogation techniques, including 'drugs, electro-shock, hypnosis and psycho-surgery' " (A Question of Torture, Alfred McCoy, pgs. 26-27). This researcher has been unable to confirm in other sources, however, whether Pash's research was a part of BLUEBIRD or some other project. But back to the matter at hand.
|the infamous Colonel Boris Pash|
Consider, for instance, the claims of Wilbert Smith, a Canadian government official and engineer. In 1950 he traveled to the States and discussed the UFO question with Robert Sarbacher, a member of the US Department of Defense Research and Development Board, among others. Upon returning to Canada, Smith authored a Top Secret memo on November 21, 1950, that stated:
"I made discreet enquiries through the Canadian embassy staff in Washington, who were able to obtain for me the following information: (a) the matter is the most highly classified subject in the United States government, rating higher even than the H-bomb; (b) flying saucers exist; (c) their modus operandi is unknown, but concentrated effort is being made by a small group headed by Dr. Vannevar Bush; (d) the entire matter is considered by the United States authorities to be of tremendous significance."
(UFOs and the National Security State, Richard Dolan, pg. 88)
This researcher suspects that the MJ-12 hoax was spurred as potential damage control over the revelations of the Smith memo, which was declassified by the Canadian government. Sooner or later Ufologists would have found it and ran with it, potentially making their own speculations as to who would have joined Bush in such a group. A prime candidate would have been his old friend and associate from the National Defense Research Committee, H. Marshall Chadwell, who had expressed ample interest in UFOs and by the early 1950s was deeply involved in the highly classified Project ARTICHOKE. Another would be H.P. Robertson, his former subordinate in the OSRD who later became involved in Chadwell's UFO work. And what of Boris Pash, who handled security for the NDRC during the war, and who appears to have been involved in BLUEBIRD/ARTICHOKE related projects with Chadwell by the early 1950s?
Me thinks the Ufologists have missed some rather intriguing (and glaring) connections...
But back to the matter at hand, namely the Office of Security. While there's seems to be little doubt that their ARTICHOKE partners in the Office of Scientific Intelligence were involved with UFO research by 1952, I have found no official indications that the OS had a role.
Still, this researcher believes that a strong possibility exists that the OS would have been involved. Given Morse Allen's fascination with hypnosis, magic mushrooms and parapsychology, it hardly seems a stretch to assume that he would have had an interest in UFOs. And it is known that at least one MKULTRA asset investigated UFOs for that project.
An argument can of course be made that the MKULTRA crew would have been the logical team to investigate UFOs. After all, MKULTRA was overseen by the Technical Services Staff, which was largely comprised of scientists. And theoretically scientists would be more qualified they laymen to investigate UFOs. There's just one problem with this chain of reasoning, however: the man MKULTRA tapped to investigate UFOs on site was John Mulholland, a professional stage magician with absolutely no formal scientific training. While Mulholland may have been effective at spotting hoaxers, its debatable that he would have been more qualified at this than the OS men, many of whom had cut their teeth in the FBI and other types of law enforcement. As professional investigators, they surely would have had a good feel for dubious witnesses as well, to say nothing of securing a crime scene and so forth.
|John Mulholland, whom we shall encounter again in the next installment|
And indeed, there are some indications that the OS was involved in monitoring civilian UFO groups. As was noted in part six, Rear Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoeter, the DCI who green lighted BLUEBIRD, would become actively involved in NICAP after his retirement from the Navy. NICAP was the largest civilian UFO group in the US until 1970, investigating hundreds of sightings. As was also noted in part six, the board of NICAP was stacked with members of the American Security Council (ASC), a defense lobby group and massive private intelligence network. As was noted in part four, Security Research Staff (the department of the OS that oversaw BLUEBIRD and later ARTICHOKE and QKHILLTOP) head Brigadier General Paul Gaynor had recruited ASC Washington head Lee Pennington as an asset of the OS at some point in the 1950s and had stayed in close contact with him for years. Was the OS using their contacts in the ASC (whose membership had quite an interest in UFOs) to monitor NICAP and other civilian UFO groups?
And while we're on the topic of the OS's involvement in arcane subjects, let us turn to one final mystery before wrapping up: Did the OS have anything to do with legendary rocket scientist and occultist Jack Parsons?
I already touched on this topic briefly in part six, noting that Morse Allen may have potentially known L. Ron Hubbard from his time in the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Hubbard, the infamous founder of the Church of Scientology, was of course famously involved in the "Babalon Working" with Parsons in 1946. Hubbard claimed to have engaged in such doings on behalf of the ONI, who wanted Parsons investigated. There is no hard evidence, however, that Allen knew Hubbard or had any involvement in Hubbard's doings with Parsons. But there are other possible connections.
|L. Ron Hubbard|
"Significantly, files pertaining to Parsons' theft of the papers from Hughes Aircraft reveal that, several years earlier, he had worked with some notable bodies, including the Government's Office of Scientific Research and Development, the National Defense Research Council, and the Northrop Aircraft Company..."
(Final Events, Nick Redfern, pg. 32)I have not been able to confirm these in other sources, however. But if true, it raises the possibility that H. Marshall Chadwell (and potentially Vannevar Bush and H.P. Robertson as well) may have known Parsons from the NDRC. This is very speculative, though.
I am on somewhat firmer ground with the figure of James McInerney, the assistant Attorney General who was part of an investigation of Parsons in 1950 concerning the rocket scientist's security clearance. McInerney became involved in investigating Parsons after Parsons was accused of conspiring to pass on classified documents to a foreign power.
"Once Parson's security clearance was reinstated, he started working for the Hughes Aircraft Company. It would be September 1950 that he was found in possession of 'classified documents,' documents that Parsons admitted were helping him draw up a proposal for a laboratory in Israel. This was considered outright espionage, and he lost his security clearance again and never got it back.
"The man in the middle of this investigation --being brought into it by J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI --was an Assistant Attorney General, James M. McInerney. In correspondence between the two men in the spring of 1951, a determination was being sought on whether the documents in Parsons' possession were, indeed, classified and whether their sale or transfer to Israel would be a breach of 'national security.' Most of the documents were authored by Parsons himself, dating to his GALCIT days, and all were written during the war years. However, the military decided that one of the items was Restricted and two others Confidential, thus establishing a basis --however flimsy --for considering Parsons a potential spy for Israel.
"This correspondence --and the associated investigation by the FBI and the armed services --took place over a year. On February 7, 1952, Hoover sent James McInerney a memo regarding Parsons, informing him that Parsons' appeal to the Industrial Employment Review Board of the Department of Defense was turned down. According to an attached letter from the Board, Parsons 'might voluntarily or involuntarily act against the security interests of the United States and constitute a danger to the national security.
"Five months later he was dead.
"James McInerney is an interesting person to associate with Parsons. We discover, for instance, in Robert Maheu's autobiography Next to Hughes, that it was James Mcinerney who provided the initial funding for Maheu's security firm, Robert A. Maheu Associates. According to Maheu, 'Almost immediately, I began working for the CIA.' This was in 1954, and McInerney was still Assistant AG. He and Maheu, and some other ex-FBI agents, were gambling illegally, and Maheu won handily the princely sum (in 1954) of $2,800, all from McInerney. When Maheu attempted to refuse the winnings, McInerney would have none of it. It was to this fund that Maheu attributes the initial financial investment for his agency."
(Sinister Forces Book I, Peter Levenda, pg. 158)
|our old friend Robert Maheu|
If McInerney was working for the OS, when had they first approached him? Could it have possibly been during his investigation of Jack Parsons in 1950, just as BLUEBIRD was heating up?
But why, you may be asking, would the Office of Security have an interest in Jack Parsons? There are practical reasons of course --the OS was charged with investigating CIA employees and private contractors. While there is no evidence Parsons had considered any type of work with the CIA, Parsons' investigation unfolded against the backdrop of the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Scientific espionage with the Soviets was a major concern, and given Parsons alleged Communist ties from the 1930s (he knew a few open Communists during this time, but there is no evidence Parsons was interested in that particular ideology), he may have came to the OS's attention during the early 1950s. I have found no evidence of this, however, as there do not appear to be any Office of Security files on Parsons (that have been released to the public, anyway).
As we shall see in the next installment, a certain ARTICHOKE scientist would become quite enamored with such possibilities during the early 1950s. And he may well have conducted ARTICHOKE experiments to pursue these possibilities. Stay tuned dear reader.