1952: ARTICHOKE Memo: “Let’s get into the technology of assassination. . .”

A Memorandum for the Record, dated Jan. 31, 1975, reviews “available file information” about ARTICHOKE, “the agency cryptonym for the study and/or use of ‘special’ interrogation methods that have been known to include the use of drugs and chemicals, hypnosis, and ‘total isolation,’ a form of psychological harassment.” The memo notes that the file provides “fragmentary information.” By 1951 actual interrogations utilizing drugs were conducted by a combined team of Security and Office of Medical Services “but few details were available.” The SRS (Security Research Staff) log (1951–1967) indicated that SRS had been involved in the experimentation and use of hypnosis “from the start. . . SRS has examined and investigated numerous unusual techniques of interrogation including psychological harassment and such matters as “total isolation!”

In 1952, CIA SRS researchers and Scientific Intelligence researchers sought to train 200 CIA operators in the U.S. who “could develop [and command] a unique, dangerous army of hypnotically controlled agents” who would carry out any instructions without reservations. The same year, an ARTICHOKE official wrote: “Let’s get into the technology of assassination . . . figure most effective ways to kill.” (Kaye and Albarelli, TruthOut, 2010)

The 1975 memo notes that in 1952, overall responsibility for Project ARTICHOKE passed from OSI to the Office of Security” but “evaluation of foreign intelligence aspects were to remain with OSI.” The memo refers to Frank Olson and his “peculiar and erratic” behavior following his unwitting ingestion of LSD administered by Dr. Gottlieb: “A few days later, Olson crashed through a window in a New York hotel in an apparent suicide.” It cites a memo dated Dec. 1, 1953 from the IG staff that impounded all LSD after Olson’s death, indicating that Gottlieb had administered LSD without prior approval. * Olson

ARTICHOKE set the diabolical blueprint for torture and assassinations, targeting American and enemy POWs, prisoners in U.S. federal penitentiaries, suspected counterspies and American leaders who defied CIA’s hidden agenda. ARTICHOKE operations continued to function alongside MK-ULTRA for another seventeen years and set the stage for current CIA torture interrogations of prisoners. Kaye and Albarelli cite a 1965 memo by Morse Allen in which he states: “[redacted] believes that somehow or other Martin Luther King must be removed from the leadership of the Negro movement, and his removal must come from within and not from without.”