January 18

1948: Brigadier General Charles Loucks Learns about LSD

Charles Loucks, Chief of U.S. Chemical Warfare in Europe learned about the hallucinogen LSD from Hitler’s former chemist, Richard Kuhn, who described its astounding incapacitating effect. Paperclip RoguesLoucks recognized LSD as a chemical agent with enormous military potential. The US Army definition of “psychological warfare” marked Top Secret in 1948:

Psychological warfare employs all moral and physical means . . . which tend to: destroy the will and the ability of the enemy to fight. . . Psychological warfare employs any weapon to influence the mind of the enemy. The weapons are psychological only in the effect they produce and not because of the nature of the weapons themselves. (Simpson. Science of Coercion, 1994, p. 12)

The CIA sought to establish control over those who were perceived as “undesirable,” “less intelligent,” and untrustworthy. John Marks points out in the Manchurian Candidate (Chapter 1):

“Agency officials and their agents crossed many of the same ethical barriers [as did the SS at Dachau]. They experimented with dangerous and unknown techniques on people who had no idea what was happening. . . Wherever their extreme experiments went, the CIA sponsors picked for subjects their own equivalents of the Nazis’ Jews and gypsies: mental patients, prostitutes, foreigners, drug addicts, and prisoners, often from minority ethnic groups.”


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