Governments adore secrets. The uglier the government’s activities, the greater the likelihood a program of state secrecy will be be enacted to prevent the public from finding out how ugly it really is.
George Bush had his state secrets-kidnapping and torturing subjects he called terrorists -but who remained unnamed and uncharged. His activities were unlawful by most definitions other than his own, requiring the legal efforts of lackeys to compose a complex network of baffling and self-serving work arounds to provide the veneer of legitimacy. Bush/Cheney still makes the claim that there was no wrong-doing but the the CIA operatives who carried out the kidnappings and tortures have disposed of the taped torture sessions that would have confirmed their point.
President Obama, promising an end to torture and an unprecedented level of transparency within his administration, has instead reverted to Bush/Cheney style cover-ups (surprise!) and more legal demands for state secrecy regarding torture and perpetual detention without trial.
Some Americans express complete disinterest in the cloak of secrecy the government invokes when called to account for illegal acts. They assume they’ll be immune from negative consequences of the government’s use of so-called black ops because they’re law abiding citizens, above government suspicion.
For those who hold this view consider the MK-Ultra projects begun by the CIA during the last phase of WWII and continuing well into the 1970s and probably beyond. Nazi scientists carried on advanced research on “worthless” test subjects:
Much of the preliminary experimentation concerning genetic engineering and behavior modification was conducted by Dr. Josef Mengele at Auschwitz, where he coldly analyzed the effects of trauma-bonding,
eye-coloring and “twinning” upon his victims. Besides the insidious surgical experimentation performed at the concentration camp, some of the children were subjected to massive amounts of electroshock. Sadly, many of them did not survive the brutality. Concurrently, “brain-washing” was carried out on inmates at Dachau, who were placed under hypnosis and given the hallucinogenic drug mescaline. During the war, parallel behavioral research was led by Dr. George Estabrooks of Colgate University. His involvement with the Army, CID, FBI and other agencies remains shrouded in secrecy. However, Estabrooks would occasionally “slip” and discuss his work involving the creation of hypno-programmed couriers and hypnotically-induced split personalities.
MK-Ultra was the code name the CIA, under the auspices of The Office of Scientific Intelligence, eventually gave to a series of secret experiments and projects carried out on unwitting citizens and foreigners. Prostitutes, given get-out-of-jail “chits” lured johns to hotel trysts where they could more easily be drugged and observed. The experiments and projects included mind control and physical experiments using toxic and lethal substances on human test subjects. The OSS (later the CIA) enlisted the services of indicted Nazi war criminals to continue the experiments conducted in concentration camps. Code names such as Operation Paperclip, Naomi, Bluebird and Artichoke were subsumed under the rubric Ultra, indicating their super secret nature. From Wikipedia:
MK-ULTRA involved the surreptitious use of many types of drugs, as well as other methods, to manipulate individual mental states and to alter brain function.
The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over thirty universities and institutions were involved in an “extensive testing and experimentation” program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens “at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign.” Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD to “unwitting subjects in social situations.” At least one death, that of Dr. Olson, resulted from these activities. The Agency itself acknowledged that these tests made little scientific sense. The agents doing the monitoring were not qualified scientific observers.
To this day most specific information regarding Project MKULTRA remains highly classified information.
In response to mind control and other experimentation carried out by the post-war Chinese and Soviet Union the U.S. government, CIA, DOD and DOE did this:
Beginning in the early 1950s, CIA engaged in an extensive program of human experimentation, using drugs, psychological. and other means in search of techniques to control human behavior CIA has so far found no evidence that radiation experiments on humans were part of this program. CIA documents and a 1963 CIA Inspector General (IG) report. however state quite clearly that MKULTRA was a program “concerned with research and development of chemical. biological. and radiological materials capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior.”
In another MKULTRA project, CIA secretly provided funding for the construction of a wing of Georgetown University Hospital in the 1950s so that it would have a locale to carry out clinical testing of its biological and chemical programs. Dr. Charles F. Geschickter, a Georgetown doctor who conducted cancer research and experimented with radiation therapy, acted as cover for CIA financing.
U.S. military personnel, convinced they were used as unwitting test subjects, sued the government. Wired.com says
The experiments allegedly included “the use of troops to test nerve gas, psychochemicals, and thousands of other toxic chemical or biological substances, and … the insertion of septal implants in the brains of subjects in … mind control experiments that went awry, leaving many civilian and military subjects with permanent disabilities.” Subjects were tested without their consent, the veterans say. And when the trials were over, the government failed to “provide health care or compensation.”
These medical and psychological experiments were supposed to have ended but… from Wired:
In a 2003 memo, then-Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo suggesting that
interrogation drugs could be used if their effects were not permanent or profound. Since then, evidence has accumulated that some detainees may have been drugged. “It’s coming back,” retired Colonel John Alexander told Sharon.