January 18

1954: CIA Security Research chief Paul Gaynor provided an overview of ARTICHOKE methods

An Artichoke Conference was held at Fort Detrick at which Gaynor reminded officials that:

All individuals can be broken under mental and physical assaults and by such techniques as denying sleep, exhaustion, persuasion, starvation, pain, humiliation, and sickness. The capacity to endure assaults of all kinds varies in individuals. We need to teach the Artichoke techniques to medical officers in the field . . . we also need to combine these techniques with the work carried on at Edgewood Arsenal and at Camp Dietrich [sic] . . . and the special use of ergots, as well as Lysergic Acid. Experiments with new ideas, for example the hypo-spray instrument (owned by the E.R. Squibb Company) using criminals and the criminally insane have been very successful.

And attendees were advised by Morse Allen and Paul Gaynor that “this type of work must not be overwhelmed and overburdened in a maze of statistics, technical reports and learned academic experimentation since previous experiences along these lines clearly indicate that when this appears the end results are almost always negative.” (Kay and Arbarelli cite a CIA memo in Cries from the Past, 2010) The concerted determination to conceal the nature of these activities by minimizing documentation is prima facie evidence that those involved in designing and testing sadistic interrogation methods that subjected human beings to mental assault weapons aimed at destroying their mental and physical functions were fully aware that such activities were unlawful abominations.

ARTICHOKE Field Missions: beginning in January 1954, the CIA systematically dispatched special top secret Artichoke Teams that included Agency officials and contract physicians who traveled frequently to offshore locations including Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia and the Philippines to CIA and military safe houses and installations, where enhanced interrogations and mind-control experiments were being conducted on defectors, double-agents, and kidnapped foreign agents. The team assignments were marked “EYES ONLY.” By 1961, Kaye and Albarelli report, there were 257 specific such assignments; nearly all would fall under today’s “enhanced interrogation” classification. Urgent field reports to CIA headquarters express concern about serious “disposal problems” that pose security risk: “This A [Artichoke] session involved four subjects all of whom present serious disposal problems after results are produced. . . Subject was given a sedative suppository to increase his resistance to pain, this in order to intensify his ordeal midway through the planned session. . . The urgency of consideration of this case is due to the fact that one of the men is already somewhat stir crazy and has tried to escape twice.” (Albarelli A Terrible Mistake; A Secret Order: Investigating the High Strangeness and Synchronization)

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