What Was the Strange and Unusual CIA Project Artichoke?


Brainwashing and mind-controlling can be used for good and bad purposes, but both are ultimately unethical. Several groups and organizations use many forms of brainwashing and mind-controlling such as coercion, prejudice, psychoactive drugs, and hypnotism on other people to believe a particular unethical idea. They are even used in the enslavement of other people based on molding their actions and morals, turning them into puppets.

You might be glad that something like “Project Artichoke” doesn’t exist any longer because it involves such kinds of practice.

“Project ARTICHOKE” is an unethical but official “mind control” program from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that gathered information and researched interrogation methods. It arose from a previous project, “Project BLUEBIRD,” on August 20, 1951.

“Project ARTICHOKE” was similar to “Project BLUEBIRD,” in the sense that it used hypnosis and forced administering of drugs (such as LSD) in controlling the minds of human subjects. The name “Project ARTICHOKE” (also called “Operation Artichoke”) was CIA’s code name for this project, which was operated by the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence.

Who was involved in Project ARTICHOKE, and what was the reason behind it?

Joining the CIA in Project ARTICHOKE were the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as formal partners (FBI refused to participate in the previous Project BLUEBIRD).

The officials asked themselves: “Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation?” The CIA was seeking to establish control over what was perceived as “weaker” and “less intelligent” sectors of society, or for potential defectors, agents, refugees, prisoners of war (POW’s), and many others.

Like many other projects that preceded it, Project ARTICHOKE aimed to research interrogation methods. But what made this project different is that it was used or perused whether a person involuntarily made to carry out an assassination or an attempted assassination. It also studied hypnosis, forced morphine addiction (and subsequent withdrawal), the use of chemicals (notably LSD), and total isolation to cause amnesia and other vulnerable conditions in human subjects.

What’s more curious about Project ARTICHOKE (and all other projects that went before and came after) is that it was official and confidential to the point that even presidents talked (and officially asked forgiveness) regarding the project. But the average Joe did not know about them.

A real-life “Manchurian Candidate” in the offing?

One experiment attempted to see whether it was possible to create a “Manchurian Candidate.” The Manchurian Candidate is a 1959 political thriller novel written by Richard Condon, which tells about a soldier who has been placed into a hypnotic state by the Communist forces and returns home as their unwitting assassin. It was made into a film in 1962.

Five years prior to that, the CIA seriously pondered the possibility. Then, in a January 22, 1954 report, it asked the question, “Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation?”

Later, the document stipulated that this assassination attempt would be against “a prominent [redacted] politician or if necessary, [an] American official. After the “American official,” a hand-written asterisk was put over it. At the end of the document, the words “stimulated only” were hand-written.

The memo states that the CIA operatives would put this theory into test on a foreign national (his country of origin redacted) who was once an Agency asset, but had stopped cooperating since.

How were these experiments carried out?

At first, the agents used a variety of drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, heroin, mescaline and peyote, but in the end they saw LSD as the most effective and promising drug.

After the experiment, the subjects were clouded with amnesia, which resulted in faulty and vague memories of the experience. By 1952, the agents, unbeknownst to them, had been given with LSD in increasing amounts to find out the drug’s effects on unsuspecting people.

They once conducted an experiment where the subject was an unidentified Caucasian (most likely American) girl between the ages of eight and ten years old. The subject underwent six months of treatment using LSD, electroshock and sensory deprivation. Subsequently, the subject’s memory was erased, and her brain’s condition became that of a newborn.

Apart from the in-house operations, the Project ARTICHOKE also conducted overseas operations, with locations in Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines. Teams were assembled to oversee and manage these operations and were instructed to do “operational experiments utilizing aliens as subjects” in their overseas bases.

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