[THS] F. William Engdahl: USA LSD Killer Experiment On 1950s France Exposed
psalience at fastmail.fm
Tue Feb 16 00:01:44 CET 2010
Major Diplomatic Scandal Erupts As
USA LSD Killer Experiment On 1950's France Exposed
9 February, 2010
French Government Queries USA re 1950s Secret LSD Experiment
By F. William Engdahl
Author of Full Spectrum Dominance:
Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order
A major diplomatic and political scandal is erupting that could have significant import
for French-American relations. It involves new research into the mysterious outbreak
of mass insanity in a village in southern France that affected some 500 people and
resulted in five deaths.
According to reliable US sources, the US State Department Bureau of Intelligence
and Research has been given a confidential inquiry from the office of Erard Corbin de
Mangoux, head of the French intelligence agency DSGE (Directorate General for
External Security). According to the report the inquiry regards a recently-published
account of U.S. government complicity in a mysterious 1951 incident of mass insanity
in France in the village of Pont-Saint-Esprit in southern France.
Erard Corbin de Mangoux
The strange outbreak severely affected nearly five hundred people, causing the
deaths of at least five, two by suicide. For nearly 60 years the Pont-St.-Esprit incident
has been attributed either to ergot poisoning, meaning that villagers consumed
bread infected with a psychedelic mold or to organic mercury poisoning.
Scientists with the highly respected British Medical Journal were quickly drawn in
September 1951 to what it dubbed the outbreak of poisoning. After initial thoughts
that the cause was bread infection, they concluded that mold could not explain the
event or the afflictions that struck hundreds of people in the village.
Scientists dispatched to the scene from the Sandoz Chemical company in nearby
Basle, Switzerland also stated that the mold was the cause, but many other experts
disagreed with them.
Over time the mystery of the outbreak only deepened and no answers were found to
be satisfactory. A 2008 book about the history of bread published in France by
Professor Steven Kaplan emphasizes that the mystery remains unsolved and at the
time, still continued to perplex scientists.
A book just released in the United States, detailing exhaustive interviews with now-
retired US intelligence personnel who had direct knowledge of the 1951 French
events, charges that the until-now unexplained mass insanity in the remote village
were, rather, a top-secret CIA experiment conducted under the code-name
Operation Span. Operation Span was a part of Project MK/NAOMI, itself an adjunct
project to the more notorious Project MK/ULTRA, as in ultra-top secret.
H.P. Albarelli Jr.
Uncovers covert drug experiments
The book, A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIAs Secret Cold
War Experiments, by investigative journalist H.P. Albarelli Jr. documents that the
Pont-St.-Esprit outbreak in 1951 was the result of a covert LSD aerosol experiment
directed by the US Armys top-secret Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick,
Albarelli notes that the scientists who produced the bogus cover-up explanations of
contaminated bread and or mercury poisoning to deflect from the real source of the
events worked for the Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company, which was then secretly
supplying both the US Army and CIA with LSD for research.
A French newspaper at the time of the bizarre events wrote, It is neither
Shakespeare nor Edgar Poe. It is, alas, the sad reality all around Pont-St.-Esprit and
its environs, where terrifying scenes of hallucinations are taking place. They are
scenes straight out of the Middle Ages, scenes of horror and pathos, full of sinister
shadows. The US Time magazine, whose publisher, Henry Luce was closely tied to
CIA propaganda activities in the 1950s wrote, Among the stricken, delirium rose:
patients thrashed wildly on their beds, screaming that red flowers were blossoming
from their bodies, that their heads had turned to molten lead. Pont-Saint-Esprits
hospital reported four attempts at suicide.
As Albarelli notes, a Department of Justice website on the dangers of LSD states that
in the early 1950s, the Sandoz Chemical Company went as far as promoting LSD as
a potential secret chemical warfare weapon to the US Government. Their main selling
point in this was that a small amount in a main water supply or sprayed in the air
could disorient and turn psychotic an entire company of soldiers leaving them
harmless and unable to fight.
He claims that the CIA entertained a number of proposals from American scientists
concerning placing a large amount of LSD into the reservoir of a medium-to-large
city, but, according to former agency officials, the experiment was never approved
due to the unexpected number of deaths during the operation in France.
Indeed, Albarelli has discovered once secret FBI documents that reveal that the Fort
Detricks Special Operations Division, a year prior to the Pont St. Esprit experiment,
had targeted New York Citys subway system for a similar experiment. States an
August 1950 bureau memo, [The] BW [biological warfare] experiments to be
conducted by representatives of the Department of the Army in the New York
Subway System in September, 1950, have been indefinitely postponed. The memo
goes on to cite FBI concerns about poisoning of food plants and the poisoning of
the water supply of large cities in the U.S.
In an interview with this author, Albarelli described how he developed the shocking
details of the CIA secret drug programs: My first tip-off was a 1954 CIA document
that detailed an encounter between an official of the Sandoz chemical company (the
producers of LSD) and a CIA official in which the secret of Pont St. Esprit was
referenced. The Sandoz official went on to say, It was not the ergot at all."
Albarelli says he then obtained through the Freedom of Information Act a partially
redacted 1955 CIA report entitled, A CIA Study of LSD-25. That seemingly
comprehensive report contained detailed information on the manufacture, supply,
and use of LSD and LSD-type products worldwide. However, nearly its entire section
on France and Pont St. Esprit were blacked out. Albarelli requested an un-redacted
copy but CIA officials refused to provide one.
He continued, Then I came across a letter written by a Federal Bureau of Narcotics
agent who was working secretly for the CIA; this was George Hunter White, who ran
the CIA's New York City safe house in 1951-1954. White's letter referenced the Pont
St. Esprit experiment. At that point, 5 years into my investigation, I began
interviewing former Army biochemists who became very evasive and refused to talk
about their work in France. Finally two former intelligence employees confirmed the
experiment took place under the auspices of the Army's Special Operations Division
and with CIA funding.
Lastly, Albarelli explained, I was given an undated White House document that was
part of a larger file that had been sent to members of the Rockefeller Commission
formed in 1975 to investigate CIA abuses. The document contained the names of a
number of French nationals who had been secretly employed by the CIA and made
direct reference to the Pont St. Esprit incident, linking the former OSS head of
secret research projects and the chief of Fort Detricks Special Operations Division,
Said Albarelli. This, along with one other document, comprised the smoking gun.
In its quest to research LSD as an offensive weapon, Albarelli claims, the Army
drugged over 5,700 unwitting American servicemen between the years 1953 and
1965, and, with the CIA, experimented widely with LSD and other drugs through
secret contracts with over 325 colleges, universities and research institutions in the
U.S., Canada and Europe, involving about 2,500 additional subjects, many of them
hospital patients and college students.
In 2005, Scott Shane, a reporter with the Baltimore Sun newspaper, wrote, The
Army has no records on MKNAOMI or on the Special Operations Division. Asked
formally for such records, the Army replied they could find none. In 1973 the CIA
destroyed all of its records on MKNAOMI and its work with Fort Detricks Special
Operations Division. When Shane asked a former top ranking Special Operations
officer to speak about the divisions projects in general, Andrew M. Cowan, Jr. said, I
just dont give interviews on that subject. It should still be classifiedif nothing else,
to keep information the division developed out of the hands of some nut.
Other CIA drug projects
In 1959, American writer, Ken Kesey, while a student at Stanford University
volunteered to take part in the CIA-financed Project MK/ULTRA at the Menlo Park
Veterans Hospital. The project studied the effects of psychoactive drugs, particularly
LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, cocaine, AMT, and DMT on people. Kesey wrote detailed
accounts of his experiences with these drugs during the Project MK/ULTRA study.
Kesey's role as a medical guinea pig reportedly inspired him to write One Flew Over
the Cuckoo's Nest in 1962.
Dr Timothy Leary, LSD Guru
From his days as a psychology graduate student, Harvards infamous LSD guru, Dr.
Timothy Leary, whose motto to the 1968 Flower Power generation was Turn On,
Tune In, Drop Out!, was associated with the CIAs Cord Meyer. Leary devised a
special personality test, The Leary, used by the CIA to test potential employees and
worked with Frank Barron, a CIA employee and former psychology classmate of
Learys, at the Berkeley Institute for Personality Assessment and Research, and later
with Barrons Psychedelic Drug Research Center at Harvard. These are but two of the
more known and detailed instances linking the CIA with LSD projects after the
alleged French experiments.
According to an official with the DGSE, who declined to be identified, If the details
of this books revelations prove to be true, it will be very upsetting for the people of
Pont-St.-Esprit, as well as all French citizens. That agencies of the United States
government would deliberately target innocent foreign citizens for such an
experiment is a violation of a number of international laws and treaties.
1. Erard Corbin de Mangoux, conseiller de Sarkozy, remplacera Brochand à la DGSE,.
Le Monde. October 6, 2008, accessed here.
2. British Medical Journal, Ergot Poisoning at Pont St. Esprit, September 15, 1951, p.
3. Steven L. Kaplan, Le pain maudit: Retour sur la France des annees oubliees
1945-1958 (Paris: Fayard 2008), p. 1124.
4. H.P. Albarelli, Jr., A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIAs
Secret Cold War Experiments, (Walterville Oregon: Trine Day Inc., 2009).
5. FBI Memorandum, August 25, 1950, Subject: Biological Warfare and NY Subway
System, A.H. Belmont to C.E. Hennrich.
6. H.P. Albarelli, Jr., interview with F. William Engdahl via email, February 6, 2010.
10. Scott Shane, Buried Secrets of Biowarfare, Baltimore Sun, August 1, 2004, p.1.
11. Rob Elder, Down on the Peacock Farm, Salon magazine, November 16, 2001.
12. Mark Riebling, Was Timothy Leary a CIA Agent?, 1994, Osprey Productions/Grand
Royal, accessed here.
F. William Engdahl is author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in
the New World Order. He may be contacted through his website
* Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War
H. P. Albarelli
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