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David Andrews

Stephen Kinzer on Frank Olson

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Let's see if I follow Kinzer right.  Others please feel free to jump in and correct me, or him, my interpretations or ask questions.

He doesn't say this outright thus far (I still have 60 pages left) but from what I understand:  Watergate/Nixon brought about the public exposure of Frank Olson's death, a little more of the truth about it, the identity of Gottlieb and in turn his operation MKULTRA.

It starts with Nixon firing Helms as CIA director because Helms refused to create a cover story involving the CIA for Nixon.  A few days before Helms sees it coming and orders Gottlieb to destroy all MKULTRA files, they agreed "lets take this to the grave".

Nixon appoints James Schlesinger DCI.  He fires Gottlieb.  They give him the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the same one they gave George Joannides after his HSCA performance.  Schlesinger then sends out a "world wide cable" to all stations ordering case officers and above to report directly to him any knowledge of prior cases where the CIA may have broken the law regarding it's charter.

Two day's later, for this outstanding work Nixon promotes him to Secretary of Defense.  And promotes CIA insider William Colby to director.

A little while later Colby receives the results of Schlesinger's order for information, 693 pages worth, typewritten, single spaced.

He went to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees with a summary.  They all agreed the "family jewels" should be kept secret.

A few months later Seymour Hersh called Colby telling him he had something bigger than My Lai.  His story on MH-CHAOS ran on the front page of the NYT on 12/22/74.  Congress wanted to set up a committee.  Guess what happened.  Newly unelected President pardoner of Nixon and former Warren Ommisioner Gerald Ford created a commission to head them off.  VP establishment insider Rockefeller to head it with General Lyman Lemnitzer, Governor Ronald Reagan and former Treasury Secretary for JFK, I.E. head of the Secret Service the day he died, on it.  Colby was too candid with them even drawing rebuke, mentioning deadly LSD overdoses and assassinations.  

The Rockefeller Commission report was mild.  But buried in it  was" On one occasion... LSD was administered to am employee of the Department of the Army without his knowledge while he was attending a meeting with CIA personnel... he developed side effects and was sent to New York with a CIA escort for psychiatric treatment.  … jumped from a tenth floor window of his room and died as a result."

This was all big news, papers across the country ran articles on CHAOS.  The Washington Post ran one on "Suicide Revealed"  

The Olson family called a press conference.  They had decided to sue the CIA.  Stories quoted Robert Lashbrook, Gottlieb's second, about him being with Olson at the time he went out the window. He mentioned calling a CIA employee.  The NY Times mentioned also that Gottlieb had been "personally involved in a fatal experiment " that led to Frank Olson's death".' 

"Alarm bells went off at the White House".  Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Dickk Cheney recognized the danger.  Cheney warned Rumsfeld in a memo that a law suit  might force the CIA to disclose highly classified national security information".  To head off looming disaster he recommended Ford make a "public expression of regret".

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I never knew Ted Kennedy played a major role in exposing Gottlieb and Ultra.  Without his questioning, prodding, demanding persistence we likely would not know what we do today.  He's the one that demanded of CIA director Stansfield Turner they find their former employee and bring him in for questioning.

Edited by Ron Bulman

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I finally finished this tonight.  He mentions Eisenhower and JFK approving of assassinations in passing once again near the end.  A Big mistake I'm not trying to excuse.  Taken with a grain of salt it seemed very informative overall for a neophyte on the subject.  As mentioned previously by I believe Anthony Thorne much of the information is available elsewhere.  But I'd never seen the great majority of it plus the new information in it.  Gottlieb was certainly an enigma.  An evil "patriot".

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Kinzer does start his last chapter with of all people Jolly West.  With Tusko the elephant being OD'd on acid in 62 in OKC.  He then addresses Jolly researching the effects of LSD in Haight Asbury after MKULTRA was supposedly shut down.  After Gottlieb had concluded the drug had no value in interrogation or creating a Manchurian Candidate.  If West was operating out of an office in Haight and had a separate crash pad to observe tripping hippies in 66-67-68, who funded it?

I disagree with Kinzer's conclusion that MKULTRA was totally shut down  in the early 60's.  No proof.  But I don't think this can be concluded.

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Are people aware that there's a 2017 Netflix series on Frank Olson called Wormwood?  Directed by Errol Morris.  It's billed as a documentary-fiction blend.  I haven't seen it but I will:

 

Edited by David Andrews

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That documentary was well regarded by many - I haven’t seen it - but reportedly Hank Albarelli thought it soft-pedalled some of the more damning stuff that he’d included in his book about Olsen, A TERRIBLE MISTAKE. Trine Day posted a cover for a future book, WORMWOOD EXPOSED, that Albarelli and Kris Milligan were going to bring out, but Albarelli passed away before anything could happen with it.

Morris also directed this self-satisfied mini-documentary on the JFK assassination for the New York Times. I think any time he approaches really contentious conspiratorial subjects about state crime, assassinations and the like, he digs just a little, but doesn’t go too deep. Alex Cox later published a rebuttal video over Tink Thompson’s chuckling dismissal of the Umbrella Man as a subject of interest.

 

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I wouldn't doubt that Olson's first dose was very strong in measurement, and of very potent quality to begin with.  I wonder, though, if the subsequent problems leading to his death were caused by repeated dosings that haven't been admitted to.

Edited by David Andrews

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27 minutes ago, David Andrews said:

I wouldn't doubt that Olson's first dose was very strong in measurement, and of very potent quality to begin with.  I wonder, though, if the subsequent problems leading to his death were caused by repeated dosings that haven't been admitted to.

Interesting thought.  I wonder if maybe Gottlieb kept him trippin until he was thrown out the window?  Maybe he had expressed his reservations regarding the atrocities he had witnessed and participated in their origin of at least, previously, to others.  Which would have made him dangerous.   

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46 minutes ago, Ron Bulman said:

Interesting thought.  I wonder if maybe Gottlieb kept him trippin until he was thrown out the window?  Maybe he had expressed his reservations regarding the atrocities he had witnessed and participated in their origin of at least, previously, to others.  Which would have made him dangerous.   

Well, Olson came home after the weekend and seemed depressed to his family, then returned to work at Ft. Detrick and asked to be taken off the Army biochemical project.  I'm thinking maybe he was given repeated doses during the weekend.  His boss, Col. Vincent Ruwet, claimed before Congress that he had been dosed also, but that was after twenty years of obfuscation.

I just watched the first episode of Wormwood, and a brief scene seems to suggest that Olson was put under a mock interrogation during the trip weekend, as part of a truth serum experiment.  Olson may have freaked out, and the weekend's fun may have exacerbated previous dissatisfaction with his job.  I have to see how that plays out in the series, and if there's a factual basis for the interrogation scene.

Going out the window seems to have been the consequence of the Army's demand that Olson see a psychiatrist about his desire to quit.  A shrink visit would have laid groundwork for suspicion that he was disturbed while he was kept isolated in a New York hotel with a high window.  They didn't want him talking about the program.

It's dangerous to speculate, but this was four years after James Forrestal was confined at Bethesda after wandering the streets wailing that the Russians were about to invade.  He also went out a window.

Edited by David Andrews

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Going out the window was a Gottlieb-Angleton-Helms-Dulles decision imho.  Gottlieb's top assistant called him from the room to tell him Olson was gone.  The scenario of him jumping out the window is near impossible between beds in the way, drapes and blinds, as well as the window.  Not jmo.  Look for yourself, books, articles.  

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