Nearly 20,000 pages of once-classified government documents secured through the Freedom of Information Act provided the basic source material for the chapter on CIA and military drug experiments. Some of this information is discussed in The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate” by John Marks. His book offers a detailed analysis of the CIA’s secret control projects.
Two anthologies were particularly helpful in examining the scientific debate over LSD and the definition of its effects: Psychedelics: The Uses and Implications of Hallucinogenic Drugs, edited by Bernard Aaronson and Humphry Osmond, and LSD: The Consciousness Expanding Drug,edited by David Solomon. Several lengthy conversations with Dr. Oscar Janiger provided valuable insight into the above-ground LSD research scene during the 1950s. Janiger also made available his voluminous files, which included interviews with Captain Al Hubbard and other LSD pioneers.
A number of books on the psychedelic subculture of the 1960s warrant special mention. The story of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters has been described in great detail by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Millbrook by Arthur Kieps offers an anecdotal and philosophical chronicle of Leary’s psychedelic fraternity in the mid-1960s. High Priest and Flashbacks by Timothy Leary are also useful for acid historians.
Emmett Grogan’s autobiographical novel Ringolevio captures the unique spirit of the Haight-Ashbury community. Charles Perry gives a detailed appraisal of the rise and fall of the acid ghetto in Haight-Ashbury: A History. These written accounts were supplemented by interviews with Peter Berg and Judy Goldhaft, who shared their perspective on the Diggers.
The Brotherhood of Eternal Love by two British authors, Stewart Tendier and David May, is the most comprehensive and well-researched book on the principal figures involved in the manufacture and distribution of the blackmarket LSD in the 1960s and 1970s.
Other works on the sixties counterculture worthy of note are Moving Through Here by Don McNeill, A Generation in Motion by David Pichaske, and Bomb Culture by Jeff Nuttall. Dick Hebidge provides a sociological analysis of rebellious trends in Subculture: The Meaning of Style.
Our discussion of the New Left relied heavily on three sources: The Radical Soap Opera by David Mairowitz, a well-written and insightful book; The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left by Todd Gitlin; and the extensive oral history archives compiled by Bret Eynon, who guided our thinking in this area.
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Eszterhas, Joe. Nark! San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books, 1974.
Evans, Arthur. Witchcraft and the Gay Counter-culture. Boston: Fag Rag Books, 1978.
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Felton, David, ed. Mindfuckers: A Source Book on the Rise of Acid Fascism in America. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books, 1972.
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U.S. Government Reports—
Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders. An Interim Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate, November 20, 1975.
Biomedical and Behavioral Research, 1975. Joint Hearings before the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare and the Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, September 10, 12; and November 7, 1975.
Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare Agents. Hearings before the Committee on Science and Astronautics. United States House of Representatives, June 16 and 22, 1959.
CIA: The Pike Report. Nottingham: Spokesman Books, 1977.
The CIA and the Media. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House of Representatives, December 27, 28, and 29, 1977; January 4, 5; and April 20, 1978.
Drug Safety. Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, March 9, 10; May 25, 26; June 7, 8 and 9, 1966.
Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. United States Senate, Books I-VI.
Hashish Smuggling and Passport Fraud: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love. Hearings before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and other Internal Security Laws of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 1973.
Human Drug Testing by the CIA, 1977. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate.
Individual Rights and the Federal Role in Behavior Modification. A Study Prepared by the Staff of the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights by the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 1974.
The Narcotic Rehabilitation Act of 1966. Hearings before a Special Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, January 25–27; May 12, 13, 19, 23 and 25; June 14–15; July 19, 1966.
The Nelson Rockefeller Report to the President. Commission on CIA Activities. New York- Manor Books, 1975.
Organization and Coordination of Federal Drug Research and Regulatory Programs: LSD. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Executive Reorganization of the Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate, May 24–26, 1966.
Project MK-ULTRA, The CIA’s Program of Research in Behavior Modification. Joint Hearing before the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate, August 3, 1977.
Unauthorized Storage of Toxic Agents. Hearings before the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities of the United States Senate, Volume 1, September 16–18, 1975.
*This was a rather mild and playful assessment of the effects of marijuana compared to the public rantings of Harry Anslinger, the narcotics chief who orchestrated an unrelenting media compaign against “the killer weed.”
* Strughold’s subordinates injected Dachau inmates with gasoline, crushed them to death in high-altitude pressure chambers, shot them so that potential blood coagulants could be tested on their wounds, forced them to stand naked in subfreezing temperatures or immersed them in tubs of ice water to see how long it would take before they died. As Charles R. Allen, Jr., author of From Hitler to Uncle Sam: How American Intelligence Used Nazi War Criminals, stated in an article on Strughold, “There was a clear pattern to the various experiments with poison, gas, deliberate infestation of victims with malaria, typhus and other virulencies causing instant or prolonged anguishing to death. Whether the tests concerned high-altitude, freezing or the potability of sea water; or the shooting of ‘volunteers’ with gas bullets—the patent purpose of the entire body of tests conducted at Dachau was to enhance the effectiveness of Hitler’s criminal warfare against humanity.”
After the war an Allied tribunal convened at Nuremberg sentenced a number of Nazi doctors to death for their role in medical atrocities at Dachau and other concentration camps. The judges at Nuremberg subsequently put forward a code of ethics for scientific research, which stipulated that full voluntary consent must be obtained from all research subjects and experiments should yield positive results for the benefit of society that could not be obtained in any other way.
Although Dr. Strughold escaped prosecution, his name later appeared on a master list of “Reported Nazi War Criminals Residing in the United States” compiled by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He currently lives in San Antonio, Texas.
* Obtaining information was only one aspect of the interrogation process. Even when CIA officers were able to loosen a subject’s tongue, other problems remained, such as how to insure that he would not remember the events that transpired during his stint in the twilight zone. “If by some means we could create a perfect and thoroughly controlled amnesia,” a CIA agent declared, “the matter would be simplified, but amnesia is not certain and cannot be guaranteed.”
Certain drugs were known to produce amnesia for a matter of hours or days, but this was not sufficient. The CIA also had access to chemicals capable of causing permanent brain damage, but long-term amnesia drugs that would be completely reversible over a twelve-to-eighteen-month period were not available.
This was quite an inconvenience as far as the national security experts were concerned. The question of what to do with subjects of special interrogation sessions—the “disposal problem”—provoked a heated debate inside the Company. The immediate objective was to find a way of holding them “in maximum custody until either operations have progressed to the point where their knowledge is no longer highly sensitive, or the knowledge they possess in general will be of no use to the enemy.”
One possibility suggested in CIA documents was to render a person incoherent through psychological and/or pharmacological attack and then have him placed in a mental institution. An unspecified number of subjects were committed involuntarily to insane asylums, including some who were described in CIA memoranda as mentally sound. (This practice, which began in the early 1950s and continued at least until the mid-1960s, invites obvious comparisons to the incarceration of Russian dissidents in psychiatric hospitals because of their political views.) Another option involved “termination with extreme prejudice” (CIA lingo for assassination), but this was hardly an ideal solution in all situations.
In one CIA document the question of disposal was discussed under the heading “LOBOTOMY and Related Operations.” A number of individuals who were fully cognizant of the disposal problem suggested that lobotomy “might be the answer or at least a partial solution.” They argued that “lobotomy would create a person ‘who no longer cared,’ who had lost all initiative and drive, whose allegiance to ideal or motivating factors no longer existed, and who would probably have, if not complete amnesia, at least a fuzzy or spotty memory for recent and past events.” They also pointed out “that certain lobotomy types of operations were simple, quickly performed and not too dangerous.”
Along this line a group of CIA scientists entertained the possibility of using an “icepick” lobotomy to render an individual harmless “from a security point of view.” A memo dated February 7, 1952, notes that on numerous occasions after using electroshock to produce anesthesia, an unidentified surgeon in the Washington, DC, area performed an operation that involved destroying brain tissue by piercing the skull just above the eye with a fine surgical icepick. This type of psychosurgery had certain advantages, in that it resulted in “nervous confusional and amnesia effects” without leaving a “tell-tale scar.” The CIA also experimented with brain surgery via UHF sound waves and at one point during the early 1950s attempted to create a microwave “amnesia beam” that would destroy memory neurons.
Not all CIA officials, however, favored using lobotomy as a disposal technique. Potential drawbacks were cited: surgical risk was great, brain damage could be extensive, and such an operation, if faulty, could produce a “vegetable.” Moreover, if the enemy discovered that the CIA was mutilating people’s brains for the sake of national security, this information could be exploited as a propaganda weapon.
Other CIA officials opposed lobotomy because it was blatantly inhumane and violated “all concepts of ‘fair-play’ and the American way of life and [thus] it could never be officially [emphasis added] sanctioned or supported.” A CIA document dated March 3, 1952, states that while “the USSR and its satellites are capable of any conceivable atrocity against human beings to attain what they think are their ends, we should not—with our high regard for human life—use these techniques unless by using them we save the lives of our own people and the situation is highly critical to the nation’s safety.”
In the early 1950s, at least $100,000 was designated for a proposed research project geared toward developing “neuro-surgical techniques for Agency interest.” It is not known whether this research was ever carried out.
* In 1951 hundreds of respectable citizens in Pont-Saint-Esprit, a small French village, went completely berserk one evening. Some of the town’s leading citizens jumped from windows into the Rhone. Others ran through the streets screaming about being chased by lions, tigers, and “bandits with donkey ears.” Many died, and those who survived suffered strange aftereffects for weeks. In his book The Day of St. Anthony’s Fire, John C. Fuller attributes this bizarre outbreak to rye flour contaminated with ergot.
* Internal CIA memoranda dispute the oft-repeated allegation that the Soviet Union and her satellites, including Red China, were engaged in unorthodox methods of altering human behavior. According to a CIA document dated January 14, 1953, “Apparently their major emphasis is on the development of specially-trained teams for obtaining information without the use of narcotics, hypnosis, or special mechanical devices [emphasis added].” A memo issued the next day by the Ad Hoc Medical Study Group admitted that “the present state of knowledge indicates little, if any, threat to National Security through ‘special interrogation’ techniques or agents.”
*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 “hypnotists 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 be highly significant for the spy trade. The Agency hypothesized that if a number of people in the US were found to have a high ESP capacity, their talent could be assigned to specific intelligence problems. 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 séances 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 séance 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.”
In a rather bizarre twist, during the late 1960s the CIA experimented with mediums in an effort to contact (and debrief?) dead agents. These attempts, according to Victor Marchetti, a former high-ranking CIA official, were part of a larger effort to harness psychic powers for various intelligence-related missions that included utilizing clairvoyants to divine the intentions of the Kremlin leadership. Secret ESP research is still being conducted, although CIA spokesmen refuse to comment on the nature of these experiments.
*While the miracle cure never panned out, it is worth noting that Thorazine was found to mollify an LSD reaction and subsequently became a standard drug for controlling patients in mental asylums and prisons.
* Upon completion of their mission in November 1962, the Special Purpose Team was told to remain in Japan and wait for further instructions. Arrangements were made to extend their stay in the Pacific Theater for an additional sixty days so that they could travel to Saigon. According to the army inspector general, a letter hand-delivered to the team “allegedly announced the Secretary of Defense’s decision to use LSD on Viet Cong POW’s.”
* Pentagon spokespeople insist that the potential hazards of such experimentation were “supposed” to be fully explained to all volunteers. But as Dr. Snyder noted, nobody “can tell you for sure BZ won’t have a long-lasting effect. With an initial effect of eighty hours compared to eight for LSD you would have to worry more about its long-lasting or recurrent effects.”
* Osmond left Canada in 1963 and joined a group of researchers at the Princeton Neuropsychiatrie Institute. There he worked closely with Dr. Bernard Aaronson, whose studies in hypnosis and altered states of consciousness were funded by the CIA through the Society for the Study of Human Ecology. Osmond and Aaronson later coauthored a popular anthology called Psychedelics. Unlike Aaronson, who was unaware of the CIA’s interest in his work, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, another Princeton researcher, had close ties with the CIA. As one of Pfeiffer’s associates put it, “Princeton was crawling with agents. They came courting everyone. It was obvious. They would give us whatever we wanted. . . . We realized we were being recruited, but at that time we were flattered that such a prestigious government agency was interested in us.” A little too interested, perhaps; a number of scientists soon discovered that their mail was being opened and read by government agents.
* In his letters Huxley mentioned “my friend Dr. J. West,” a reference to Jolly West, who conducted LSD studies for the CIA. At one point, while West was engaged in MK-ULTRA research, Huxley suggested that he hypnotize his subjects prior to administering LSD in order to give them “post-hypnotic suggestions aimed at orienting the drug-induced experience in some desired direction.” Needless to say, the CIA was intrigued by this idea. Huxley also lectured on parapsychology at Duke University, where J. B. Rhine (with whom Huxley communicated) was engaged in ESP studies for the CIA and the army.
* After thirteen years of utilizing this method, Osmond and his colleagues published their findings: “When psychedelic therapy is given to alcholics, about one-third will remain sober after the therapy is completed and another one-third will be benefited. . . . Our conclusion is that, properly used, LSD therapy can turn a large number of alcoholics into sober members of society. Even more important, this can be done very quickly and therefore very economically.”
* Formerly a member of the Research and Analysis Branch of the OSS, Bateson was the husband and co-worker of anthropologist Margaret Mead. An exceptional intellect, he was turned on to acid by Dr. Harold Abramson, one of the CIA’s chief LSD specialists.
* In the mid-1940s Lord Buckley founded a mescaline club called The Church of the Living Swing. A practitioner of yoga who often appeared in public wearing a tuxedo with tennis sneakers, a big white moustache, and a safari hat, Buckley rented a yacht and threw mescaline parties in the San Francisco Bay with live jazz by Ben Webster and Johnny Puleo and the Harmonicats.
* Whereas most psychedelic therapists were prepared to assist their patients should difficulties arise, Dr. Salvador Roquet, a maverick Mexican psychiatrist, consciously sought to induce a bummer as part of his “treatment.” Roquet utilized various hallucinogenic drugs, including LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, datura, and ketamine. Known as “a master of bad trips” and “a pusher of death,” Roquet subjected people to adverse stimuli while they were drugged; Jewish subjects, for example, were given acid and then forced to listen to a recording of Hitler’s speeches.
* In The Road to Eleusis authors Albert Hofmann, Gordon Wasson, and Carl Ruck present convincing evidence that the Eleusinian Mysteries, the oldest religion in the West, centered around a mass tripping ritual. For two millennia pilgrims journeyed from all over the world to take part in the Mysteries and drink of the sacred kykeon—a holy brew laced with ergot. The setting for the Mysteries was carefully devised to maximize the transcendental aura. After drinking the spiritual potion, the initiates would listen to ceremonial music and ponder the texts of Demeter, goddess of grain (symbolizing renewal, spring, fecundity, and possibly the ergot fungus, which grows on barley, from which the kykeon was made). At the climax of the initiation a beam of sunlight would flood the chamber. This vision was said to be the culminating experience of a lifetime, man’s redemption from death. As the poet Pindar wrote, “Happy is he who, having seen these rites, goes below the hollow earth; for he knows the end of life and its god-sent beginning.” Plato, Aristotle and Sophocles were among those who participated in this secret ritual.
†While the passing of time and the destruction of documentary evidence by the church has concealed the full scope of the ritual use of hallucinogens in Europe, scattered references suggest that a widespread psychedelic underground existed during the Middle Ages. Walter Map, a twelfth-century ecclesiastic, told of certain heretical sects that offered innocent people a “heavenly food” proclaiming, “Often you will see . . . angelic visions, in which sustained by their consolation, you can visit whatsoever place you wish without delay or difficulties.”
* Gautier was turned on to hashish by J. J. Moreau de Tours, a French doctor who attempted to correlate the effects of cannabis with the manifestations of mental illness. Moreau, the first person to put forward the notion of a drug-induced “model psychosis,” supplied hashish to the literary giants who frequented Gautier’s club.
* The CIA used terminal cancer patients as guinea pigs for testing knockout drugs and psychochemical weapons under the rubric of Operation MK-ULTRA.
*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 toward 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.”
* In 1965 the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the radical youth wing of the civil rights movement, expelled white activists from its ranks and introduced black power as a counterpoint to integration.
* The first member of the Grateful Dead to turn on to LSD was Robert Hunter, the Dead lyricist, who participated in a government-sponsored drug study at Stanford University during the early 1960s. Hunter later recommended the experience to the other band members.
*LSD-25 made its debut in the pop world on the flip side of a 1962 single by the Gamblers.
*Strychnine, a poison that is lethal in sufficient quantities, was listed in an inventory of biochemical agents stockpiled by the CIA. Other drugs in the CIA’s medicine chest included tachnn (a vomit-inducing agent), 2,4 pyrolo (“causes temporary amnesia”), M-246 (“produces paralysis”), neurokinin (“produces severe pain”), digitoxin (for inducing a heart attack), and seven BZ homologues.
*West was head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma during the 1950s and early 1960s, when he conducted research into LSD, hypnosis and “the psychobiology of dissociated states” for the CIA. (It was West who administered a massive dose of LSD to an elephant as part of an ill-fated drug experiment.) In 1964 he was called upon to examine Jack Ruby, who had murdered Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President Kennedy. After visiting Ruby in his jail cell, West concluded that he had sunk into a “paranoid state manifested by delusions, visual and auditory hallucinations and suicidal impulses.” Ruby was not faking these symptoms, West asserted, since he had vigorously rejected the doctor’s repeated suggestions that he was mentally ill. “The true malingerer usually grasps eagerly at such an explanation,” said West. Since Ruby would not admit he was crazy, West concluded he was nuts. Catch-22.
Ruby’s “delusions” included the belief that an ultra-right-wing conspiracy was behind the death of the president. On the basis of Dr. West’s diagnosis, Ruby became a candidate for treatment of mental disorders. Another doctor soon put him on “happy pills,” although these drugs did not seem to cheer Ruby up. Two years later he died of cancer while still in prison.
West, meanwhile, moved to Los Angeles, where he served as director of UCLA’s Neuropsychiatrie Institute, a position he still holds. In the early 1970s he became embroiled in a heated controversy over plans for a Center for the Study and Reduction of Violence. Originally proposed by Governor Ronald Reagan, the violence center would have exceeded even Jack Ruby’s worst paranoid nightmares had it not been scuttled by the California State legislature after information about it was leaked to the press.
West, who helped formulate plans for the center, described the program as an attempt “to predict the probability of occurrences” of violent behavior among specific population groups. “The major known correlates of violence,” according to West, “are sex (male), age (youthful), ethnicity (black), and urbanicity.”
The violence center was to have been housed in a former military base located in a remote area of California. The medical facility at Vacaville prison, the site of a major CIA drug testing program during the late 1960s and early 1970s, was listed among the facilities that would have been used to develop treatment models and implement pilot and demonstration programs for the violence center.
Treatments discussed by West included chemical castration, psychosurgery, and the testing of experimental drugs on involuntarily incarcerated individuals. Furthermore, the activities of the Center were to have been coordinated with a California law enforcement program that maintained computer files on “pre-delinquent” children so that they could be treated before they made a negative mark on society.
*James Schlesinger, former CIA director and Secretary of Defense, is a senior strategic analyst at Rand. Henry Rowen, former Rand president, previously served as head of the CIA’s National Intelligence Command.
†A well-known futurist, Kahn coauthored a book called The Year 2000 with Anthony Wiener, a professor at MIT’s Center for International Studies. Wiener had previously received a $12,000 grant from the Human Ecology Fund, which served as a cutout for funding numerous CIA behavior control studies under Operation MK-ULTRA.
*The FBI never arrived at a precise definition of the New Left. “It’s more or less an attitude, I would think,” an FBI official told a senate committee in 1975.
* Another FBI informant named Horace J. Packer infiltrated SDS and the Weathermen at the University of Washington. Packer later testified that he supplied campus radicals with drugs, weapons and materials for making Molotov cocktails. He also admitted that while posing as a leftwing activist he used acid, speed, mescaline and cocaine.
* At one point Cornfeld imagined a critical cash shortage at IOS when there really was none. This set the stage for one of the largest frauds in the history of money. In 1971 an estimated $224,000,000 was siphoned from IOS into the coffers of Robert Vesco, a heroin trafficker and financial contributor to Richard Nixon’s 1972 presidential campaign. William Spector, a former OSS operative, claimed that Vesco’s tangled web of corporations served as fronts for various CIA activities and provided cover for CIA agents.
* Eddie Cellini, the brother of a longtime associate of Meyer Lansky, served as the casino manager for Resorts International. Louis Chesler, another Lansky crony, and Wallace Groves, who allegedly had CIA connections, were both partners in a gambling venture with Mary Carter/Resorts. In 1970 Resorts International formed a private intelligence corporation called Intertel, which was staffed largely by ex-CIA, NSA, BNDD, Interpol, and Justice Department officials. Intertel rented its services to a wide range of corporate clients, including ITT, McDonald’s, and Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation.
* Castle Bank was founded and controlled by Paul Helhwell, a Miami lawyer with long-standing ties to American intelligence. Helliwell’s career as a spook dates back to World War II, when he served as chief of special intelligence in China with the OSS. He stayed in the Far East when the CIA was formed and bossed a bevy of spies, including E. Howard Hunt of Watergate fame. In the early 1950s Helliwell organized Sea Supply, a CIA proprietary company that furnished weapons and other material to anti-Communist guerrillas in the hills of Burma, Laos, and Thailand. Based in the Golden Triangle, this mercenary army cultivated fields of opium poppies, and the CIA was drawn immediately into the drug connection. Helliwell also served as paymaster for the ill-fated Bay of Pigs operation in 1961. A few years later he set up Castle Bank, serving in a dual capacity as CIA banker and legal counsel for the Cuban Mafia, which prospered by selling Southeast Asian heroin in the US. Helliwell’s law firm also represented Louis Chesler and Wallace Groves, both partners in Resorts International.
* New York Times foreign affairs columnist C. L. Sulzberger was indignant when Allen Ginsberg accused the CIA of trafficking in heroin. But Sulzberger later acknowledged his mistake in a letter to Ginsberg dated April 11, 1978. ”I fear I owe you an apology,” he told Ginsberg. ”I have been reading a succession of pieces about CIA involvement in the dope trade in Southeast Asia and I remember when you first suggested I look into this I thought you were full of beans. Indeed you were right.”
* The CIA’s continuing interest in the illicit drug trade is indicated in a once classified document dated March 24, 1969—a few months before Stark joined the Brotherhood. The document refers to the CIA’s liaison with the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs: ”It appears that the activities of the BNDD, ongoing and planned, could under the appropriate arrangements provide valuable information to the Agency in new drug effects, drug abuse and drug traffic areas. For this reason they will be followed very closely.”