http://www.albarelli.net/articles.htmlScientists at Addiction Center Mocked Frank Olson’s Death
By H.P. Albarelli Jr.
In the early 1970s, scientists at the Federal Addiction Research Center in Lexington, Kentucky openly discussed Frank Olson’s death; this occurring several years before Olson’s strange and alleged death by “suicide” was inadvertently revealed to the nation in 1975 through the published findings of the Rockefeller Commission. At the time, Olson’s death was reported to have followed by nine-days his dosing with LSD by the CIA. In 1995, Manhattan District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau, convened a grand jury investigation of Olson’s death, after the Olson family raised suspicions of murder.
“They [ARC scientists] sat around at lunch and talked about Olson. Some of them appeared to know a lot about him and were happy that Dr. Olson was eliminated because they clearly felt threatened by him,” recalled former ARC employee John J. Williams. “I didn’t know a thing about Frank Olson, so he didn’t have much meaning to me at the time.”
Williams, who was employed throughout the 1970s at ARC as a health physicist, continued, “One day two or three researchers there started talking about Dr. Olson in a laughingly, gloating, mocking, ridiculing-like fashion, stating things like, ‘Olson got what he deserved’, ‘He was probably a commie anyhow’, ‘Good riddance to that piece of crap’, ‘I’ve got some stuff I would have liked to shove into Olson’s veins’— a lot of talk like that…. This sort of talk happened a few times. No one defended Dr. Olson or even seemed to have liked him. Sometimes, however, a few people at the table would appear very uncomfortable with the talk and would get up and walk away, but most stayed.” After leaving ARC, Williams went to work for the U.S. Air Force at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Asked to identify those who made these remarks about Frank Olson, Williams said, “It was researchers at the Center, most of whom I was not familiar with at the time. Some could have been visiting professionals. I do recall that one of the researchers who seemed to be most fixated about Olson was associated with VA [Veterans Administration] research, but I don’t recall any more exactly what his VA relationship was…. I listened to all the talk about Dr. Olson, but had no idea who he was or what had happened to him. I was curious about why these scientists so disliked Dr. Olson, but, as a newcomer, I was not in a position to ask many questions. ”
Queried about his work at ARC, Williams, who had been employed by the U.S. Navy designing electronic ammunition fuses before going to Kentucky, revealed a number of extremely interesting projects he worked on for, what he thinks was, both the CIA and Department of Defense.
“A lot of the equipment I was designing involved the use of drugs like LSD, peyote, morphine, heroin, and something called ‘M-Cubed’”, explained Williams, “which I think could have been BZ, but I had not heard of BZ at that time. I was told that ‘M-Cubed’ was 1,000 times more potent than LSD.” Asked how these drugs were tested, Williams said that inmates at the ARC were routinely “used as guinea pigs for experiments of all sorts related to mind control. Some of the inmates were subjects in multiple experiments. I thought that it was strange that heroin addicts were used in such a way, but physicians there said it was all for the greater good.” Added physicist Williams, “There was an incredible amount of mind control research going on at ARC’s Clinical Research Center in the 1950s through the 1970s. Some of it was mind-boggling and extremely complex, and many of the research and demonstration devices employed I either developed or had a hand in developing. Mind control was my major duty while there.”
Continued Williams, who today is CEO of Consumertronics and President of Lone Star Consulting, Inc., “The idea was to formulate a dose so potent that only a tiny amount easily hidden could be employed.” Williams said he never handled any drugs at ARC, but that once, after repairing some equipment used in experiments on inmates, he departed work for an appointment when he was seized by an “extraordinary sensation.” He explained, “I felt like I was suddenly 90 feet tall and extremely powerful. Everything around me appeared to be very, very small. I made it to my car and then laid down in the back seat for a few hours before I could drive myself home. I’m pretty certain that some sort of drug residue on the equipment I repaired got into my system. Other than that maybe someone slipped something into my tea. I don’t drink or do any drugs, now or then, and it was a weird experience that I would not want repeated.”
Williams explained that he never worked directly with ARC inmates therefore making him unable to witness firsthand any of the results of his work. “I heard crazy stories all the time about what the results were, stuff that clearly disturbed me, and on at least three occasions while I was at work the facility was placed on lock-down because of inmate riots, so they were obviously unhappy about something.”
Williams also revealed that he worked on a project that centered on “the use of a sphygmomanometer-type device.” This device was “placed on the penis of drug-induced ARC inmates.” Commonly referred to as the “Peter Meter” by ARC scientists, a name Williams coined, the objective of the device was “to expose drugged inmates to pornography and then quantitatively determine how long and how intense the drug would cause inmates to maintain an erection, and to determine whether or not certain drugs made men more gay than other drugs.” Williams soon concluded that the real objective of the meter he developed was “to assist in the production of drugs which would turn men into ‘raving homosexual maniacs,’ as one ARC medical technician explained to Williams, who believes the project was undertaken by the ARC at the request of the CIA.
Williams also recalls that the “Peter Meter” project was intended for use against Cuban leader Fidel Castro. “I was told by ARC officials that if it were possible to turn Castro ‘into a fanatically gay man and then exposing his gayness to the Cuban people, his base of support would virtually evaporate, especially among the military.’”
Said Williams, “If I had know any of these things from the beginning, I would have refused to work on the Peter Meter or anything similar.”
Over time at ARC, Williams learned that some of the facility’s work centered on “developing tactics to greatly control, sicken and kill unpopular world leaders, such as Castro. We did quite a bit of work with LSD, but also with numerous other drugs. ARC had a ready population of experimental subjects with its inmate population.”
Said Williams, “I found this kind of hard to believe back then, but years later I learned about all the attempts to harm and assassinate Castro. I guess they were pulling out all the stops to get him anyway they could.”
Williams went on, “That was around the same time that I learned what was supposedly the truth about Olson’s so-called suicide death. At that time, I felt, based on the lunch table talk about his death, that Olson had probably been dosed with LSD for nefarious reasons. Based on the animosity expressed about him from some of those ARC scientists, he had been singled out for some specific reason unknown to me.”
Williams recounted that his supervisor at ARC had been Harold Flanary, who reported to Center director, Dr. William Martin. Williams also said that he often heard talk about various visits to the facility by scientists and officials from the CIA, Department of Defense, and several other federal agencies. Recounted Williams: “There were so many people who came in and out of ARC when I was there. I took direct orders from so many outside and inside people, that at times I wondered who really ran the place…. Being a disable veteran myself, I was of the belief that the Department of Defense and VA were there because of the severe drug problems they had with military personnel in Vietnam, so I was more than happy to do their work.”
Especially disturbing to physicist Williams, in addition to the experiments on inmates, were the multiple ARC experiments that employed animals, especially dogs. “These experiments hastened my departure from ARC. I couldn’t stomach what they did. Their work was nothing short of sick. I thought it was extreme animal cruelty, as I later learned were the experiments on the inmates there,” said Williams.
Recalled Williams, “One day I went down to the dog lab. I was absolutely horrified at the sight of the dogs there. I still tremble when I think about it. While the cages were relatively clean and the dogs had food and water, each beagle was immobilized, sitting in a row on its hunches near the front of the enclosure facing outward with a needle stuck in it with a tube going up into [the device I had helped design and had worked on].”
Continued Williams, who explained that ARC conducted additional experiments on other animals including chimpanzees, mice, and cats, “The enclosures were about 18 inches wide, 24 inches deep and 12 inches high, open at the top, stood off the ground by about 2 feet each, has screen bottoms, and were set off from each other with partitions. Clearly, the dogs were paralyzed from their lower backs and legs. The researcher for the lab told me that the dogs were bought in lots from a breeder, and upon arrival at ARC, had their lower spines surgically broken. The researcher did not mention whether or not the dogs were first anesthetized, but I assume that they must have been else it would probably have been much harder to surgically cut their spinal cords. I asked if the dogs stayed in that position all the time. The researcher told me that once positioned in their enclosures, the dogs stayed in that exact position continuously day and night, being fed drugs usually continuously, until they died. The dead ones were replaced with new ones. The researcher explained that it was necessary to paralyze the dogs so that the injection effort would be certain of success and less risky for the researcher, and that the dogs wouldn’t tear up, step on or get entangled in their hoses.”
Williams also recalled his experience with viewing the “veterans ward” at the adjoining minimum security Federal Prison [located on the same grounds as ARC], which he said was located in the same building as the cafeteria where he often ate lunch. Williams recalled “standing in the middle of the ward with the veterans wandering around in pajamas.” He explained, “All of them had been lobotomized, and all had a scary zombie-like appearance—totally unemotional, glassy-eyed, gray complexions, and mostly unaware of their surroundings. The nurse was passing out their daily meds, a Dixie-cup size cup filled nearly to the top with pills for each veteran and a larger cup of water.”
Williams went on: “A lot of people may not know this, but after World War II and the Korean War, thousands of GIs returned to the U.S. ‘shell-shocked’, and were secretly ‘treated’ to lobotomies by the VA, and then permanently hidden away in groups in various Federal facilities all over the country. According to Williams, a nurse told him that most of the veterans’ families were told that the lobotomized “had honorably died in combat.”
In 1975, it was first revealed that a number of distinguished scientists employed at the ARC worked secretly under-contract for the CIA. Scientists included Drs. Harris Isbell, Abraham Wikler, Edward W. Pelikan, and Victor Vogel. In addition to the CIA, these same scientists performed covert work and experiments for the Federal Narcotics Bureau and the Office of Naval Intelligence. Infamous narcotics agent George Hunter White was a routine visitor at ARC, as were CIA Chemical Division directors Drs. Sidney Gottlieb and Robert Lashbrook.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. Harris Isbell, the director of the research component of ARC, performed multiple secret experiments on inmates at the Kentucky facility, sometimes rewarding addict participants with doses of morphine and heroin. On at least two occasions, Dr. Isbell kept a group of men under the influence of LSD for several days. Isbell was fond of selecting African American inmates for his experiments, regardless that all races were represented in the inmate population at the facility. Several of Dr. Isbell’s reports sent to the CIA noted that the LSD used in his experiments initially came from the Sandoz Chemical Company, but after about two years the drug came from the Eli Lilly drug company, which, at the request of the CIA, secretly replicated the Sandoz formula for pharmaceutical LSD. ARC, which opened in 1935, was closed in 1998.