Jump to content
The Education Forum
Sign in to follow this  
David Andrews

Stephen Kinzer on Frank Olson

Recommended Posts

Thanks for this link David.  I'd come across Olson's name a few times, read a little about him.  That he was MKULTRA/CIA, that his death was suspicious.  But nothing close to this deep.  Revealing regarding Gottlieb also.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron,

      Errol Morris produced a six episiode Netflix miniseries about Frank Olson's murder in 2017, entitled Wormwood.  The series documents most of the material described in this UK article-- including President Gerald Ford's later apology to the Olson family.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, W. Niederhut said:

Ron,

      Errol Morris produced a six episiode Netflix miniseries about Frank Olson's murder in 2017, entitled Wormwood.  The series documents most of the material described in this UK article-- including President Gerald Ford's later apology to the Olson family.

This is an excellent series - a docudrama that includes interviews and archival footage as well as a dramatization of Olson's death and events leading up to it. HP Alberelli (RIP) seems to have done the best research and I believe (IIRC) he identified George White as a leading candidate for having done the deed. Many of our JFKA faves such as Helms, Dulles, Edwards, Ford and McCord circle around this cesspool. I believe the method of his "suicide" (along with Forrestal and others) was detailed in some CIA employee manual/how to book on how to kill somebody without leaving evidence and giving authorities a plausible cause of death.

That manual may have been bogus though, I'm not sure. Basically says to pop them in the head to knock them out and then pitch them out the window a minimum of ten stories high - something like that. The family exhumed the body and found evidence to that effect. Our tax dollars at work. Makes me proud.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't speak for a book that isn't published yet, but I'm hoping that through researching Sidney Gottlieb, Kinzer will add to our knowledge of Louis Jolyon West's involvement in the Ruby, Sirhan and Manson cases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, W. Niederhut said:

Ron,

      Errol Morris produced a six episiode Netflix miniseries about Frank Olson's murder in 2017, entitled Wormwood.  The series documents most of the material described in this UK article-- including President Gerald Ford's later apology to the Olson family.

Thanks for the info.  Between it and what Bob says about it I hope to watch it soon.

Edited by Ron Bulman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of the things that were new to me in the article.

The call overheard by the hotel switchboard operator after Olson's death from his fellow MKULTRA scientist Lashbrook to Gottlieb's "deputy", Physician Abramson.  Before police arrived.  "Well he's gone.  Well that's too bad".  Then when the police do get there they find Lashbrook sitting on the toiltet with his head in his hands, he said "I was asleep".  That Olson had to run around the beds to dive through the closed curtain and window.  Then landed on his back with severe trauma to the front of his head, as if from a hard blow to it.

Then they bring in later Watergate burglar James McCord, in 1953, to direct the coverup.  

Who show's up in 1976 when MKULTRA is exposed?  Dick Cheney to the rescue with a suggestion, which I'm sure endeared him to the CIA forevermore.  The picture of Ford talking to Olson's family is worth a thousand words.  The pipe smoking, golfing, skiing fatherly former Warren Ommissioner who saved the nation after Watergate.

Then current CIA director Colby tells them "some of our people were out of control in those day's".  No.  They Were in control.

Finally, in 1984 Gottlieb has the audacity to tell Olson's son Eric "your father and I were very much alike".  No.  Frank Olson had a conscience. That's why he was killed, by his "patriotic" co workers. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally, in 1984 Gottlieb has the audacity to tell Olson's son Eric "your father and I were very much alike".

Like some old Nazi in a spy movie.

Edited by David Andrews

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, David Andrews said:

Finally, in 1984 Gottlieb has the audacity to tell Olson's son Eric "your father and I were very much alike".

Like some old Nazi in a spy movie.

I don't suppose Olson was a lilly-white rose in the whole deal. I feel bad for the family and Eric was really a compelling character in the series. Seymour Hersh claims to have a source that knows the details of the mess  but doesn't have permission to reveal the story. So sayeth Seymour, FWIW.

The Guardian article has some allegations I wasn't aware of but I was aware of the claim the operator overheard the call. I think that was mentioned in the series. I believe Alberelli was the best source on this although the new book looks interesting.

Really, can you imagine kissing the wife and kids in the morning and then going off to work to develop aerosols to randomly exterminate men, women and children and intellectually dressing that up as Betsy Ross? Frank Olson could, did and apparently the balloon popped and reality set in. Some of the old spooks I've known (not a lot but enough) were appalling people and Olson counted people of what I assume are of the same ilk as colleagues and friends. Yikes.

I'm talking of course of the same types that hovered around the centers of political power in 50s-80's and taking out a guy like Olson isn't much of a stretch - taking out a President who is anathema to your beliefs is not much more of a stretch.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Bob Ness said:

 

Really, can you imagine kissing the wife and kids in the morning and then going off to work to develop aerosols to randomly exterminate men, women and children and intellectually dressing that up as Betsy Ross?

People do that to this day, maybe hitting on Betsy Ross a little less.  This redounded on the citizenry with the 9/11 anthrax letters, for which a probably innocent scientist was ostracized, prosecuted and suicided.

Go look up the retitled "animal research" lab on Plum Island, NY - I'm sure there's enough rot there to fell everybody from Montauk to Poughkeepsie.

I don't suppose Olson was a lilly-white rose in the whole deal.

I think Kinzer covers Olson's guilt and remorse fairly well.

I have the Alberelli book but have been delayed in reading it.

Edited by David Andrews

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's amazing anything about MKULTRA is known at all.  From Chaos:

Operated on a strict need to know basis, MKULTRA was so highly classified that when John McCone succeeded Dulles as CIA director in late 1961 he was not informed of it's existence.  Fewer than half a dozen agency brass were aware of MKULTRA at any period during its twenty-year history.  Director Richard Helms ordered Gottlieb to destroy all MKULTRA files.  In January 1973, the Technical Services Staff shredded countless documents … including every known copy of a manual called "LSD: Some Un-Psychedelic Implications."  MKULTRA evaporated.

In their haste … agents forgot about a cache of some sixteen thousand additional papers in an off-site warehouse.  In December 1974...  Seymour Hersh reported it on the front page of the New York Times...  Three government investigations followed...  When records were available, they were redacted; when witnesses were summoned, they were forgetful. 

The Church Committee … unveiled a 1957 internal evaluation of MKULTRA by the CIA's inspector general.  "Precautions must be taken," the document warned, "to conceal these activities from the American public in general.  The knowledge that the agency is engaging in unethical and illicit activities would have serious repercussions."  A 1963 review … put it even more gravely: A final phase of the testing of MKULTRA products places the rights and interests of U.S. citizens in jeopardy."

The news of Olson's death shocked a nation already reeling from Watergate...

Gottlieb's destruction of the MKULTRA files was a federal crime.  … "quietly dropped."  … he was never prosecuted.  He'd testified before the Senate only under the condition that he receive total criminal immunity.

As for those sixteen thousand new pages, they were mainly financial records, but a few more tantalizing documents found the CIA explicating its ambitions.  … "Can we force an individual to act against his own moral concepts?"  And: "Can an individual... be made to perform an act of attempted assassination?"

The CIA's new director, Stansfield Turner, swore he'd sent all existing MKULTRA files to the Justice Department, which would mount a thorough investigation.  Griffin Bell, the Attorney General at the time of the revelations, told me the files never arrived at the Justice Department, despite Stansfield Turner's sworn claim to the contrary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, David Andrews said:

Really, can you imagine kissing the wife and kids in the morning and then going off to work to develop aerosols to randomly exterminate men, women and children and intellectually dressing that up as Betsy Ross?

People do that to this day, maybe hitting on Betsy Ross a little less.  This redounded on the citizenry with the 9/11 anthrax letters, for which a probably innocent scientist was ostracized, prosecuted and suicided.

Go look up the retitled "animal research" lab on Plum Island, NY - I'm sure there's enough rot there to fell everybody from Montauk to Poughkeepsie.

I don't suppose Olson was a lilly-white rose in the whole deal.

I think Kinzer covers Olson's guilt and remorse fairly well.

I have the Alberelli book but have been delayed in reading it.

The optimist in me likes to believe this type of behavior was more likely with WW2 vets with PTSD and their later undressing minimized these type of activities. That said it may be just hidden better. Dunno.

I'll probably get the Alberelli book at some point. Busy on other stuff now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron, I haven't got the documentation to back this up, but from my reading Helms let Gottlieb and MKULTRA go unmolested through the later 1960s, despite the shredding party in 1973.  Gottlieb was still available to sweet-talk the Olsons in the Ford admin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...