Thursday, May 28, 2009

Frank W. Olson and Project ARTICHOKE

Looking at what the CIA and US military was doing in 1953 vis a vis torture and biological warfare, one can only feel chilled and truely horrified for our future with all the technology advances over the last 55 years.

The story of Project ARTICHOKE and the 'suicide' death of Frank W. Olson in 1953 leaves one aghast. A well written summary article and a documentary follow which tell the story completely; and I have provided related urls at the end of this post, including the website of Frank Olson's son Eric and the evidence uncovered.

You could hardly write a spy novel more intriguing, fascinating and disturbing than the facts below. I can only guess what DARPA and the CIA have in store for us now.


By Hugh Turley
There are things in our history that most Americans don’t know because they haven’t been told, or what they have been told is not true. Unfortunately, some of the things are so disturbing that many of us would prefer to keep it that way. Such is the case of the death of Frank Olson.

On Monday, November 23, 1953, Olson, a scientist at Fort Detrick, Maryland, told his boss he wanted to quit his job. The following Saturday Olson fell to his death from a tenth floor window of a hotel in New York City.

Government officials told his widow and three young children that Mr. Olson jumped or fell from the window as a result of a nervous breakdown. That story remained “the truth” for 22 years.

In 1975 the Rockefeller Commission’s examination of CIA domestic operations was reported in the Washington Post. The article said that a civilian employee of the Army had unknowingly taken LSD as part of a CIA test. The Post quoted the commission saying that the subject “developed serious side effects and was sent to New York with a CIA escort for psychiatric treatment. Several days later, he jumped from a tenth-floor window of his room and died as a result.”

Although the victim was unnamed and a number of things in the Post article concerning the death were false, the widow, Alice Olson, and her children recognized that the man in the story was their husband and father. It was clear to them from the year, the tenth-floor window in New York, and the victim being a scientist.

The family states that it was also clear the truth was being suppressed because the victim was unnamed and no one bothered to tell the family the story was being released. The family called a press conference and announced that they were filing a lawsuit against the United States government.

The following day, Dick Cheney, then White House deputy staff director, sent a memo to his boss, then Chief of Staff, Donald Rumsfeld, concerning the need to keep classified information secret. The Olson family would later find the memo at the Ford Presidential Library.

President Gerald Ford invited the Olson family to the White House, apologized to the widow and her children, and promised a full accounting. CIA Director William Colby then invited Olson’s widow and her oldest son, Eric, to lunch in his office and gave them a redacted CIA file on Frank Olson.

In return for what finally appeared to be the truth, the family dropped its lawsuit and agreed to a settlement. But they had been deceived again. The facts changed to say that Olson’s death was related to the infamous MK-ULTRA mind control experiments, but the conclusion that he fell or jumped remained the same.

Further investigation convinced the Olsons that Frank had actually been murdered. The full story with links to official documents can be found on Eric Olson’s website

In 1952, Dr. Frank Olson was a CIA officer and acting chief of the Special Operations at Fort Detrick, the government’s most secret biological weapons laboratory. His division researched and experimented with assassination techniques, biological warfare, terminal interrogations, and LSD mind-control.

A family statement in 2002 alleges Olson’s death was related to a CIA operation called ARTICHOKE that “involved the development of special, extreme methods of interrogation.” The file given to the family by Colby contained references to “the Artichoke Committee.”

The family said that Frank Olson had ethical concerns after he “witnessed terminal interrogations in Germany in the summer of 1953” and he wanted to get out of his job.

The Olson family eventually contacted Norman Cournoyer, one of Frank Olson’s oldest friends and closest colleagues at Fort Detrick. Cournoyer told the family that Olson joined the CIA in the late 1940s, and as part of the ARTICHOKE program made numerous trips to Europe where he witnessed torture interrogations of Soviet prisoners, Nazis, and others.

Cournoyer also told them Olson learned biological weapons, including anthrax were used during the Korean War, despite denials by the U.S. government. Cournoyer repeated his story in a 2002 German TV documentary film, “Code Name ARTICHOKE,” which can be seen on

In the past the Communist threat seemed to justify secret immoral activity; today, terrorism is used to justify secret CIA prisons overseas.

If some official has a crisis of conscience will homicide be necessary?

This article appeared originally in the April 2008 Hyattsville Life and Times of Hyattsville, MD.

Here is the video. Each segment is approximately 10 minutes.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

‏Related urls

Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the Manchurian Candidate
Certainly, after studying Olson�s case it�s clear: What was once the province of kooky conspiracy buffs has been proven to be grounded in fact. And, in addition to questions regarding the Oct. 2001 anthrax attacks, others surface: Why did George W. Bush and members of the White House staff begin taking the antibiotic Cipro on Sept. 11, weeks before the anthrax attacks? [Washington Post]; How significant were Dr. David Kelly�s concerns that he'd be "found dead in the woods"? [BBC]; Did Dr. Don Wiley�s death have anything to do with other scientists who have died under mysterious circumstances? [Globe and Mail]; And why, as the Christian Science Monitor reports, is there a "deliberate effort to kill scientists," intellectuals and human rights activists in occupied Iraq? [Christian Science Monitor]
Dick Cheney/Donald Rumsfelf in the Olsen cover up
The Frank Olsen Legacy Project
Dead Microbiologists
The mysterious deaths of top microbiologists

1 comment:

CIARA said...

Where can I get the copies of the ARTICHOKE and MK-ULTRA documents?


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