Scopolamine and Mind Control:
Intelligence Agencies and The Search for an All-Subversive Agent
In the 1970’s all hell broke loose when an article in The New York Times surfaced about the CIA’s Project MKULTRA human mind-control program. This was a program to study how the human mind can be subverted, manipulated, incapacitated, wiped clean, or exploited as a technique of war. The project was carried out on unwitting civilian test subjects through the use of drugs, hypnosis, sexual abuse, sensory deprivation, and torture. This began in the late 1950’s and carried on through the 60’s and early 70’s. And although they claimed it stopped there, this should mean little coming from the organization that is structured on the art of deception. Almost all of the research and documentation has probably been either hidden away or destroyed lest its crimes exposed and its names prosecuted.
Most of what the public knows about MKULTRA, if much at all, would say “it was about LSD and the search for a truth serum.” but the well-informed members of society and researchers out there understand MKULTRA was a covert mind-control program that sought about exploiting and abusing unwitting citizens to produce effects and actions against the will of that individual, against the law of the land, and in certain times even at the cost of life itself.
MKULTRA experimentation was carried out in many facilities across the United States, but some of the most inhumane experimentation happened on Canadian soil, at the Allen Memorial Institute, in Montreal. Headed by a Dr. Ewen Cameron, a prestigious Psychiatrist and at one time a president of the American Psychiatric Association. Many of the unwitting participants had checked into the hospital for something treatable, only to have their whole life destroyed and forever traumatized by these horrific experiments.
From a little research utilizing the extensive literature out there on MKULTRA, with similar programs like ARTICHOKE, MKOFTEN, MKDELTA, and its many other names, it is clear that their interest in drugs mainly had to do with isolating and fine tuning substances for such uses as:
An agent that could create the highest suggestibility, having a subject without question act in a way contrary to his/her individual will, against their own safety, and preferably hidden in a state of amnesia upon awakening.
B) Incapacitating Agent
An agent that could completely incapacitate one from performing duties or daily activities from anywhere from hours to days.
C) Truth Serum
An agent that could create a state where the ability to lie is not withstanding and the known information is withdrawn accurately without much effort.
The full spectrum of the avenues covered by drugs in mind-control programs were listed as:
- Substances which will promote illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public.
- Substances which increase the efficiency of mentation and perception.
- Materials which will cause the victim to age faster/slower in maturity.
- Materials which will promote the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
- Materials which will produce the signs and symptoms of recognized diseases in a reversible way so that they may be used for malingering, etc.
- Materials which will cause temporary/permanent brain damage and loss of memory.
- Substances which will enhance the ability of individuals to withstand privation, torture and coercion during interrogation and so-called “brain-washing”.
- Materials and physical methods which will produce amnesia for events preceding and during their use.
- Physical methods of producing shock and confusion over extended periods of time and capable of surreptitious use.
- Substances which produce physical disablement such as paralysis of the legs, acute anemia, etc.
- Substances which will produce a chemical that can cause blisters.
- Substances which alter personality structure in such a way that the tendency of the recipient to become dependent upon another person is enhanced.
- A material which will cause mental confusion of such a type that the individual under its influence will find it difficult to maintain a fabrication under questioning.
- Substances which will lower the ambition and general working efficiency of men when administered in undetectable amounts.
- Substances which promote weakness or distortion of the eyesight or hearing faculties, preferably without permanent effects.
- A knockout pill which can surreptitiously be administered in drinks, food, cigarettes, as an aerosol, etc., which will be safe to use, provide a maximum of amnesia, and be suitable for use by agent types on an ad hoc basis.
- A material which can be surreptitiously administered by the above routes and which in very small amounts will make it impossible for a person to perform physical activity.
Historically, I will point out that scopolamine has been employed to carry out most if not all of these agendas in some form or another at differing times and places, long before the CIA began its infamous mind-control program at the start of the Cold War.
Part I: secrets on the outside
From the earliest of times, the tropane-based nightshade plants have been used in chemical warfare, and criminal poisoning to manipulate or greatly reduce a target’s ability to function in that setting. In the past, soldiers from other armies would be lured into drinking wine laced with henbane, mandrake, or deadly nightshade, only to be left wandering about as rambling, incoherent idiots. An example of this being Antony’s Army in the Parthian Wars. The solanaceous plants were some of the earliest known forms of chemical warfare and poisoning used in the fine art of war.
the tropane alkaloids (atropine, scopolamine, hyoscyamine) have an extremely versatile role in cultures worldwide. They can heal the body of everyday ailments, they can ease suffering, they can be used for deep sleep in painful situations like bone-setting, and they can also kill. As they were used for spiritual and divine purposes by the shaman and witch-doctor alike, they were also used to carry out dirty and deceptive deeds as well.
On the one hand, someone could argue that the tropanes are far too incapacitating with too many nasty side effects that make it difficult to work on a subject. The ‘delirium’ would make one uncooperative, irrational, and full of nonsensical communication. Nothing could get done, and would be shrugged off as useless…
On the other hand, could the delirium be reduced and controlled by dosage while also bringing through the submissive, zombie-like state that renders one capable of control? Could it be possible for someone to have you drugged, take control and coerce you into actions against that which you would ever think to do otherwise while in this state? Think about being in a blackout drunken stupor and led into doing foolish things by party-goers and you start to understand where I am going with this. With such high suggestibility the subject could be extremely malleable. Taking control of such an individual would not be so out of question.
One thing to consider among the use of tropane alkaloids in application for use in a military setting, there are over 500 variations and derivatives of the original 3 most known tropanes available from the plant material. With this in mind, fine tuning the substance has probably had an amazing run in a classified setting, with plenty of time to get it right.
In Latin American culture, the criminal use of scopolamine is a real threat to many ordinary people living there. There are reports of people unwittingly swept under its spell by drugging and will empty their bank accounts, give all their furniture away, passcodes, Bank account numbers, credit cards, anything of value.
In one case there was a woman in Bogota, Columbia who last remembers riding a city bus with her newborn baby. Three days later she awakens in a hospital after being found badly beaten and wandering around topless on the median strip of a busy highway. “When I woke up in the hospital, I asked for my baby and nobody said anything. They just looked at me.” Her baby was nowhere to be found. Police believed that she was drugged with scopolamine and her baby was taken by gang members involved in the trafficking of infants.
It might be hard to believe that a mother would actually give up her baby to strangers, some would say impossible. But under the spell of scopolamine it can happen very easily. This is because once the confusion takes control she is immediately thrown into a state similar to a blackout drunk. She is unaware of her present life, what she was just doing, where she was going, who she was with, who is a danger from who is not. They may ask her to hand over the baby, and while obliviously handing him over she is unable to connect the dots that she is actually giving away her own child. As she is not able to rationalize or account for her actions and responsibilities, she cannot see the gravity of her situation either- That her son is out of her arms and gone forever.
Scopolamine also made headlines in the 1920’s as a ‘truth serum’ when a man by the name of Dr. Robert House, an obstetrician, discovered scopolamine as a means to extract information out of people. He was very much opposed to a criminal’s constitutional rights being used to cover his tracks and thought this would be the glue to getting more convictions and letting go of those who were falsely accused but actually innocent. Scopolamine was the answer. As he stated in his some of his articles concerning scopolamine:
“Scopolamine will depress the cerebrum to such a degree as to destroy the power of reasoning. Events stored in the cerebrum as memory can be obtained by direct stimulation of the centers of hearing.
My attention was first attracted to this peculiar phenomenon September 7, 1916, while conducting a case of labor under the influence of scopolamine. We desired to weigh the baby, and inquired for the scales. The husband stated that he could not find them. The wife, apparently sound asleep, spoke up and said, ‘They are in the kitchen on a nail behind the picture.” The fact that this woman suffered no pain and did not remember when her child was delivered, yet could answer correctly a question she had overheard, appealed to me so strongly that I decided to ascertain if that in reality were another function of scopolamine. In a confinement case you find your dosage by engaging the patient in conversation, to note the memory test. Hence my investigation was a simple matter. I observed that, without exception, the patient always replied with the truth. The uniqueness of the results obtained from a large number of cases examined was sufficient to prove to me that I could make anyone tell the truth on any question.”
All this is very telling because thus far we are able to ascertain how a drug like scopolamine can:
A) Induce a state where the victim will give anything away, even her most precious baby boy, without having any misgivings about it at the time. Without rationale or thinking of consequence.
B) Act on the brain in such a way that when under the influence of scopolamine the subject is unaware of the need to deceive, and likely to respond truthfully with what they know in regards to a question asked.
Understand that these two characteristics make a perfect setting for control of the mind and it has already displayed a wide spectrum of application long before the official search for such a drug began in Project MKULTRA. Perhaps the LSD was not the main attraction within the walls of MKULTRA…
Part II: secrets on the inside
Unfortunately, because of the nature of classified information, and especially so with the Central Intelligence Agency, much of what took place in project MKULTRA, MKDELTA, MKNOAMI, MKOFTEN, MKSEARCH, ARTICHOKE, and the rest of the mind-control operations of the early days of mind control have thankfully been pieced together by whistle-blowers, Statements and letters written by personnel, documentaries, scandals, lawsuits, and victim testimonies. The truth of the matter is that hardly anything came to light from FOIA requests and what little did was almost certainly ‘damage control’, geared towards refuting any progress made as ineffective and inconclusive. On top of that, Many of the actual files and secrets of CIA mind-control operations have been destroyed as scandal came to light before the Church Committee of the U.S. Congress in 1975. The nature of what took place to procure the results was as criminal as it was inhumane.
My analysis will not give conclusive proof as to whether or not they found what they were looking for. My job here is to simply present what information I can find on a ghostly subject matter enshrouded in mystery and ‘national security’. To show you that all of this has already been done throughout history, to some degree or another, using scopolamine. Drugs like LSD, PCP, and various other psychoactive substances all played a part in forming a database and recipe book on the manipulation of the human mind as far as drugs are concerned. But what I am saying is that as far as a single substance capable of such nefarious purpose and complete subversion of the human mind is concerned, scopolamine is the elite.
The concept of creating a ‘Manchurian Candidate’ assassin has been brought up again and again throughout the last few decades. This was using torture, drugs, and hypnotic suggestion to create a killer to be used later on activated by triggers, being words or actions to activate hypnosis. I will not tread too deeply in this direction other than to say that it is certainly reasonable to assume its possibility. Given that hypnosis is truly an art of its own, and on its own gets results. The CIA would have most certainly employed the best of the best in hypnotists. When combined with the addition of drugs and torture in a person affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it would certainly be a plausible scenario.
MKOFTEN was the joint venture of the Department of Defense and CIA’s covert operations into the Occult and employed a high number of men and women skilled as black magicians, satanists, sorcerers, clairvoyants, palm-readers, fortune-tellers, astrologists, psychics, mediums, demonologists, witches, warlocks, and other Occult-practitioners. While many of my readers also practice in these fields, its efficacy and effectiveness in everyday living hardly needs pointing out. There have been a number of African Traditional Religions religions as well as European and Indian practices that use tropane alkaloids in their systems. The Occult is not a mere superstition, but a system of using the will along with the ancient understanding and study of psychology. The human mind and how it works. Mainstream science can laugh this off, but military intelligence knows better…
The mind-control/subversion aspect of scopolamine is pretty straight forward. In Latin America, it has already been displayed on a massive scale in criminal activity and hospital staff are well aware of this fact. The induced confusion and invasive stupor caused by this compound renders one extremely docile and childlike in ability to withstand outside influence. It is not so much of not having ANY free will, but the lack of ability to withstand forceful demands while being blindsided and confused. Understanding how the CIA utilized it is not so much about reading actual declassified documents as it is ‘connecting the dots’ from other people and places using it for such nefarious means.
James S. Ketchum, M.D., Author of Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost forgotten, gave us some invaluable information on some of the ways solanaceous compounds work because of his time working in chemical weapons for the ARMY in the 50’s and 60’s testing a synthetic atropine-derivative called 3-quiniclidinyl benzilate, or simply, BZ. Unlike MKULTRA, This was a voluntary ARMY program where soldiers could test out drugs or chemicals for the ARMY in a controlled setting with medical staff in return for certain perks and benefits like being able to spend time closer to family and such. BZ was given to soldiers who volunteered to be used as test subjects at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland in the 1960’s. They were not told what they would be given since it was Classified at the time. When testing out BZ they would be in a deep stupor for about 72 hours. These volunteers were not traumatized by the experience like you would think. In fact, some of the volunteers said they would do the test again:
“In reality most volunteers did not consider incapacitation with BZ to be a seriously unpleasant experience, as long as good nursing and medical care was provided. It was pretty much like a lost weekend – 2-3 days of drunkenness, but quickly forgotten Surprisingly, many described a feeling of well-being following recovery. Both men were quite willing to repeat the test (another illustration of voluntary as opposed to “unwitting guinea pig” participation)”
But still it became quite controversial and synonymous with the CIA’s MKULTRA as it came to light in the public view years later. This is heavily due to the fact that the media treated it as if it was being done against their consent when in fact this was not the case. These two programs were not related. Perhaps the CIA had access to some of the results of the work done here, but the ARMY program was geared towards military use against hostile enemies, not unsuspecting citizens.
There is a chapter in this book in the beginning where he goes over some of the history of the solanaceous compounds being used to incapacitate people in early wars before technology became so prevalent. A very important look at how these compounds have been used as incapacitating agents in ancient and modern times.
As far as scopolamine as ‘truth serum‘, Dr. House paved the way for such invasive means of getting it out of a person, which then went on to be used by some law enforcement back in the day. The CIA was well aware of this fact, as it was presented in declassified documents. Here was the reason they knew to find it in this particular avenue. But of course, we are told it was a dead end street. In one declassified document detailing scopolamine as ‘truth serum‘, the conclusion states:
“Because of a number of undesirable side effects, scopolamine was shortly disqualified as a ‘truth’ drug. Among the most disabling of the side effects are hallucinations, disturbed perception, somnolence, and physiological phenomena such as headache, rapid heart, and blurred vision, which distract the subject from the central purpose of the interview. Furthermore, the physical action is long, far outlasting the psychological effects. Scopolamine continues, in some cases to make anesthesia and surgery safer by drying the mouth and throat and reducing secretions that might obstruct the air passages. But the fantastically, almost painfully, dry ‘desert’ mouth brought on by the drug is hardly conducive to free talking, even in a tractable subject.”
The conclusion here seems to take into consideration how the interrogated feel, as if the agency ever took that into account when strapping unwitting citizens to gurneys while giving them high dosages of LSD and playing repetitive phrases over and over for days. Not to mention instances of sexual assault, rape, and other methods of trauma and torture in attempts to subdue the human mind. What’s a little dry mouth or delirium? In my opinion, this is damage control and downplaying the actual result, a common theme in countering leaks and whistle-blowers.
In 2007, a lecture by Dr. Larry Forness of the American Military University surfaced on Wikileaks on Terror, Interrogation, and Intelligence. This lecture “explains the rationale behind torturing prisoners, torture methods, and a justification for ignoring international law. Forness advocates the injection of truth serums, threatening to inject Muslim prisoners with pigs’ blood, and torturing detainees’ friends and family.” The most effective substance in procuring the truth from a subject? Scopolamine. As he describes and corroborates how the declassified document above amounts to complete horse shit:
Fallacy #4. These things called “truths serums” don’t really work.
They do work to varying degrees of success.
There are three primary truth serums.
Here they are.
Scopolamine (scopolamine hydrobromide; first word pronounced: skoh-PAW-lah-mean), also known by another name — hyoscine (hyoscine hydrobromide). It is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Its clinical uses are primarily as a sedative, and applied locally (directly) as a mydriatic, which causes the pupil of the eye to dilate. When used as a sedative, the primary uses are to combat vertigo and motion sickness. When used with morphine and pentobarbital, to a woman in labor, it produces a “twilight sleep.” It is also used as a premedication preliminary to surgery anesthesia.
Since scopolamine completely blocks the formation of memories, unlike most date-rape drugs used in the United States and elsewhere, it is usually impossible for victims to ever identify their aggressors (or interrogators, if you were a prisoner).
To use scopolamine most effectively to get a prisoner to tell you what he or she knows, the key is where you inject it, and in what amounts. Normally it is introduced into the body by a transdermal patch or intravenously in the arm. However, if you inject it into the spine (amount classified), it causes absolutely incredible pain, accompanied by violent convulsions and seizures. If injected into the spine in the appropriate amount, more than 95% of all prisoners will tell the truth — not something fabricated to stop the pain — within 24 hours (Source: classified).
A far milder form of psychological abuse involves exposing prisoners (intravenously or orally) to sodium pentathol—commonly known as “truth serum.” Sodium pentathol is an ultra-short-acting barbiturate that depresses the central nervous system, slows heart rate, and lowers blood pressure. In the relaxed state produced by the drug, subjects are more susceptible to suggestion and are therefore easier to interrogate. The drug does not actually guarantee that prisoners will tell the truth, however. Often, it makes subjects “gabby” without revealing any important information.
Sodium amythal, also known as a type of “truth serum,” with its clinical application in psychoanalysis, is used primarily to help in memory recovery and dealing with “false” memories. If you can confuse the prisoner as to what is a real memory and what is a false memory, you might be able to crack their resistance to telling the truth. However, if the prisoner is smart, he or she will simply shut up and you’ll get nothing from them.
What is interesting is that a prisoner could have been subjected to a truth serum singularly, or two or three over enough time given the appropriate washout of the prisoner’s system, and flatly state that he or she did not tell his or her interrogators anything. From his or her perspective, he or she is telling the truth — because he or she has no memory of telling interrogators anything. That’s the truth in his or her own mind, but it is not the fact of the situation.
In terms of training individuals to resist the three aforementioned truth serums, it is easiest to train someone to resist the sodium amythal, followed by sodium pentathal. There is no known training that will allow anyone to resist scopolamine, when injected into the spine in the correct amount.
What you don’t want to do is “stack” scopolamine with sodium pentathal and sodium amythal. “Stacking” means adding one drug on top of another before the previous drug(s) has/have washed out of the system. You stack on somebody, you’ll kill them.
When time is not a consideration, and when used in conjunction with skilled interrogators on a prisoner who has not been trained to resist the effects, sodium pentathal and sodium amythal will get you the truth in approximately 10% to one third of the cases. When the truth absolutely positively has to be there within five days, forget them – use scopolamine injected into the spine.”
This is corroborated by both a book and an article written about a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, David Hicks. In this article, US use of Truth Drug Revealed, states:
New evidence has emerged that all Guantanamo Bay detainees, including David Hicks, were drugged involuntarily with a substance that has a long history as a truth serum.
Recently declassified US documents revealing medical procedures have shown that scopolamine was administered to all detainees taken to the Cuban detention centre.
The documents, which were standard operating procedures for nursing staff, were obtained by the independent US news outlet Truthout, and reveal that the rationale for the drug’s use on all detainees was to prevent motion sickness.
However, US military experts have said that scopolamine is not recommended for motion sickness because of its severe side effects.
Later in the article where the most telling line in corroboration to the Wikileaks lecture by Dr. Forness appears:
He said it was administered by injection, not a patch behind his ear as is described in the standard operating procedures.
It is wildly out of proportion and unprofessional for a medical team to be treating motion sickness with scopolamine injections. It would cost more and would not be as helpful as a patch that allows for continued delivery over the course of a few days.
Another Source confirms Forness’ lecture and using scopolamine for torture and interrogation:
“The amount of Scopolamine necessary is a minute amount. I am an ex U.S. Army Chemical Core officer and we handled the hazmat on this substance. With proper coercion the amount necessary is between 10 and 20 MG. This will cause a severe state of stupor and hallucinations. During this time however it is possible to interrogate the prisoner thoroughly due to the lack of there [sic] upper brain function during the time. The time the drug is most effective is between +2:30 hrs to +7:30 hrs.”
I have always gone with the assumption that the bulk of classified work and intelligence research always yields a lot more progress than we are claiming them to be, rather than to just meet our expectations of accomplishing what we thought they would. At the same time, the declassified documentations will go as far as to admit what they were working on but to refute it all as a dead end street that went nowhere, much like all of the official reports on MKULTRA and mind control.
But all you really have to do to find out what kind of results were made with scopolamine is to look at the history of scopolamine itself. This is one of the most ancient compounds in medicine. Always kept in the backdrop of society and culture but yet ever present. Such a little known compound but one of the most powerful. One of the most medicinal but one of the most toxic. One of the most telling substances on the globe, yet one of our biggest secrets. How’s that for a paradox?
Foreign Policy: Plausible Deniability – A song detailing the attitude and scope of MKUKLTRA and mind control I wrote in October 2016
Constantine, Alex. Virtual Government: CIA Mind Control Operations in America. Venice, CA: Feral House, 1997. Print.
Keith, Jim. Mind Control, World Control. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited, 1997. Print.
Keith, Jim. Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness. Lilburn, GA: IllumiNet, 1999. Print.
Ketchum, James S. Chemical warfare secrets almost forgotten: a personal story of medical testing of Army volunteers with incapacitating chemical agents during the Cold War (1955-1975). Place of publication not identified: James S. Ketchum, 2006. Print.
Marks, John. The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”: The CIA and Mind Control. New York: Times, 1979. Print.
“Drug Turns Crime Victims Into Zombies.” Drug Turns Crime Victims Into Zombies. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2016.
“US Use of Truth Drug Revealed.” The Sydney Morning Herald. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2016.
“Torture, Interrogation and Intelligence” Wikileaks. N.p., 19 Dec. 2007. Web. 30 June 2016
“The Use Of Scopolamine In Criminology.” Robert House. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2016.