CIA Psychiatrist Louis “Jolly” West’s 1960s LSD Mind-Control Experiments Come Back to Haunt America

LSD Mind-Control Experiments

"From 1969 to 1989, Loius Jolyon West served as chair of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, and the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. But his history with the CIA dated before this. Though he denied his CIA involvement, a document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the CIA sought to set West up in a clandestine laboratory to perform 'mind-control' experiments with hypnosis and LSD."

A recent national news report on Jack Ruby, who murdered President John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, raises questions about the psychiatrist who assessed Ruby as “insane” while conducting covert LSD mind-control experiments for the military and the federal government.

By Jan Eastgate
President, CCHR International
January 6, 2023

The recent U.S. National Archives release of thousands of previously classified documents collected as part of a U.S. government review into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 has raised questions about a prominent psychiatrist who assessed Jack Ruby (1911-1967), who murdered Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged killer of Kennedy before Oswald got to trial.[1] The December 15, 2022 release of the secret documents has brought attention to the late Dr. Louis Jolyon (“Jolly”) West (1924-1999), a California psychiatrist who was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to conduct LSD mind-control experiments in the 1950s-70s.  It also raises concerns about the current relationship to military psychedelic drug research being conducted today.

Ruby shot and killed Oswald on November 24, 1963.[2]

As a Fox News piece stated, “In April of 1964, a psychiatrist called Louis Jolyon West visited Jack Ruby in his isolation cell in a Dallas jail. According to West’s written assessment, he found that Jack Ruby was ‘technically insane’ and in need of immediate psychiatric hospitalization. Those are conclusions that puzzlingly no one who had spoken to Jack Ruby previously had reached. Ruby had seemed perfectly sane to the people who knew him. Louis Jolyon West pronounced him crazy. 

“But what West did not say was that he was working for the CIA at the time.” He was “an expert on mind control and a prominent player in the now infamous MKUltra program in which the CIA gave powerful psychiatric drugs to Americans without their knowledge. So, of all the psychiatrists in the world, what in the world was this guy doing in Jack Ruby’s prison cell?”[3]

Right question, especially given West’s history of mind-control and brain-washing experiments, including using LSD. 

Author Tom O’Neill exposed West in his must-read 2019 book Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties, in which he pointed out that not long before Ruby was to testify before the Warren Commission in 1963 that was investigating the JFK assassination, West was with Ruby alone in his cell and emerged to report Ruby suffered an “acute psychotic break.” “Sure enough, Ruby’s testimony before the commission succeeded in only making him sound unhinged. He could never fully explain why he’d decided to kill Oswald,” O’Neill wrote.[4]

In Ruby’s trial, the judge, who had spent many hours in the court observing him “never witnessed anything resembling the behavior West described,” wrote O’Neill. Accusations arose that West had tampered with Ruby, including pharmacologically. O’Neill interviewed Dr. Jay Shurley, a 45-year friend of West who worked with him at Lackland Airforce Base and the University of Oklahoma. He was asked whether West could have accepted an assignment from the CIA to scramble Ruby’s mind. Shurley responded that his “gut feeling would be yes. He would be capable of that.”[5]

Ruby had claimed from his jail cell that a cabal was responsible for JFK’s murder. West conveniently concluded that Ruby was paranoid and mentally ill.[6] The text of Dr. West’s letter on Ruby’s sanity recommended confinement to a mental institution.[7] Hypnosis and intravenous sodium pentothal, a barbiturate also claimed to be a “truth serum,” were included among possible techniques to provide further information concerning Ruby’s state of mind at the time he shot Lee Harvey Oswald.[8] 

Or ply him with enough drugs to suggest or instill a particular state of mind.

Scientific American describes truth serums as being used to “try to extract truthful statements from people about their past experiences. What the term really meant was that the people who used the serum believed that it made people unable to censor themselves and they would just empty their memories into a narrative statement.” However, in essence, while it may make people feel like talking, “it also puts them in a state of extreme suggestibility.”[9]

Ruby was sentenced to death for the murder of Oswald. The Texas Court of Appeals overturned his death sentence and was scheduled to grant him a new trial but he died of cancer in 1967 before that could occur.[10]

Until his death in 1999, West was scrutinized by Citizens Commission on Human Rights, established in 1969—largely because of his brainwashing and LSD experiments; a racist program he engineered called “the violence initiative;” his use of psychosurgery and his links to well-known assassins, to evaluate their “mental states.” 

West’s Early LSD Experiments

From 1969 to 1989, West served as chair of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, and the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. But his history with the CIA dated before this.[11] Though he denied his CIA involvement, a document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the CIA sought to set West up in a clandestine laboratory to perform “mind-control” experiments with hypnosis and LSD. A portion of the experiments were exposed in the mid-1970s by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Senator Frank Church.[12]

The Church committee’s report unveiled a 1957 internal evaluation of MKUltra by the CIA 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 from the inspector general took this further: “A final phase of the testing of MKUltra products places the rights and interests of U.S. citizens in jeopardy.”[13]

Before moving to UCLA, West cut his teeth working with anthropologist Margaret Sanger for Air Force Intelligence, examining American POWs from the Korean War who were actually Manchurian Candidates (a person used as a puppet by an enemy power, through brainwashing techniques, as was portrayed in the 1959 political thriller movie, The Manchurian Candidate).[14] 

The first time the term “brainwashing” was formally used was in a September 1950 Miami Daily News article intended to explain the tactics the Chinese and Koreans had used on POWs to get them to denounce their country. As former BBC journalist Gordon Thomas wrote in his revelatory 1988 book Journey Into Madness: The True Story of Secret CIA Mind Control and Medical Abuse, “No one knew then that the Agency [CIA] had created the phrase and fed it to an operative who worked under the cover of a journalist. Already stunned at the behavior of the prisoners, Americans were aroused to fury at what the term implied: from the brains of wholesome young men had been washed all that was good in America, and in its place had been poured all that was bad in communism.”[15]

Sanger’s theory that the POWs were victims of “coercive persuasion” was debunked. The American Psychological Association (APA) rejected her theories as lacking scientific foundation. Several courts forbade Sanger from testifying as an expert on her spurious theories because, as one court stated, “her coercive persuasion theory did not represent a meaningful concept.”

Dick Anthony, a forensic psychologist conducted an extensive study on Sanger’s theories and showed that the entire Korean brainwashing scare lacked scientific substance; it was a propaganda campaign concocted to perpetuate the anti-Communist hysteria of the McCarthy era. [During the late 1940s and 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin instigated a series of investigations and hearings in an effort to expose supposed communist infiltration of various areas of the U.S. government. Congressional accusations of communist influence in the film industry had begun in 1941, when Senators Burton Wheeler and Gerald Nye led an investigation of Hollywood’s role in promoting Soviet propaganda. In 1947 the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began its investigation into Hollywood.]

O’Neill wrote: “Once the Korean War was over and the American POWs returned, the army brought in a team of scientists to ‘deprogram’ them.” West was among them. “He would later claim to have studied 83 prisoners of war, 56 of whom he said had been forced to make false confessions,” calling it, “thought reform.” “West’s success with the POWs gained him entrée to the upper echelons of the intelligence community…Initially, the agency wanted only to prevent further brainwashing by the Soviets. But the extraordinary power of psychotropic drugs, particularly LSD, was hard to ignore.”[16]

Psychiatrist Colin A. Ross, in his book, The CIA Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists, said: “Dr. Lois Jolyon West was cleared at Top Secret for his work on MKUltra. West’s numerous connections to the mind control network illustrate how the network is maintained, not through any central conspiracy, but by an interlocking network of academic relationships, grants, conferences, and military appointments. Some doctors in the network were not funded directly by the CIA or military, but their work was of direct relevance to mind control, non-lethal weapons development, creation of controlled dissociation and the building of Manchurian Candidates.”[17]

As Tom O’Neill and Dan Piepenbring reported in “Inside the Archive of an LSD Researcher With Ties to the CIA’s MKUltra Mind Control Project,” in 1956 West had reported back to the CIA that the experiments he’d begun in 1953 had, at last, come to fruition. In his 1956 paper, “The Psychophysiological Studies of Hypnosis and Suggestibility,” West claimed to have achieved the impossible: He knew how to replace “true memories” with “false ones” in human beings without their knowledge. Without detailing specific incidents, he put it in layman’s terms: “It has been found to be feasible to take the memory of a definite event in the life of an individual and, through hypnotic suggestion, bring about the subsequent conscious recall to the effect that this event never actually took place, but that a different (fictional) event actually did occur.” He’d done it, he claimed, by administering “new drugs” effective in “speeding the induction of the hypnotic state and in deepening the trance that can be produced in given subjects.”[18]

In April 1959, West spoke at the first international conference on LSD use in psychiatric/psychological “therapy” which was sponsored by the CIA front group Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation and SANDOZ corporation, the manufacturer of LSD. The conference was held in Princeton, New Jersey and chaired by psychiatrist Paul Hoch, a CIA consultant. Other notable psychiatrists who attended were Harold Abramson, who was a veteran of the CIA’s MKUltra program (which investigated the use of drugs and other treatments for mind control); Frank Fremont-Smith (medical director of the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation and World Federation for Mental Health president in 1954-55); and British psychiatrist Ronald Arthur Sandison (whose paper, “The Nature of the Psychological Response to LSD” laid a foundation for the conference).[19]

West directed a CIA-funded LSD research program in the 1960s at the University of Oklahoma. While chairman of the department of psychiatry at the university, he became a subcontractor for MKUltra subproject 43 with a $20,800 grant awarded by the CIA. The proposal submitted by West was the aforementioned “Psychophysiological Studies of Hypnosis and Suggestibility,” with an accompanying document titled “Studies of Dissociative States.”[20]

West Kills Tusko the Elephant with LSD

West is famous for his 1962 experiment in which he injected a 7,000-pound bull elephant named Tusko at Lincoln Park Zoo in Oklahoma City with an overwhelming dose of LSD—in West’s own words roughly 1,435 times the quantity one would give to a human “to produce for several hours a marked mental disturbance.” West’s stated intent was to determine if LSD would induce “musth,” a naturally occurring condition in which elephants become violent and uncontrollable.[21]

Tusko’s immediate reaction startled the researchers present, who noted: “He began to sway, his hindquarters buckled, and it became increasingly difficult for him to maintain himself upright. Five minutes after the injection he trumpeted, collapsed, fell heavily onto his right side, defecated, and went into” a state of epilepsy without recovering consciousness.[22]

After the experiment failed, West and colleagues suggested the drug could be used to destroy herds in countries where they caused problems.[23] There was public outrage over Tusko’s death but West went on to be appointed head of the Department of Psychiatry, Neurology and Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine.[24]

West’s 1965 paper, “Dangers of Hypnosis,” foresaw the rise of dangerous groups led by “crackpots” who hypnotized their followers into violent criminality. He cited two cases: a double murder in Copenhagen committed by a “hypno-programmed” man, and a “military offense” induced experimentally at an undisclosed U.S. Army base.[25]

LSD Mind-Control Experiments and the Manson Murders

In 1966, West was in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco to study LSD and the hippy counterculture.[26] The Foundations Fund for Research in Psychiatry, a CIA front, financed West’s project there.[27] The psychiatrist established a “hippie pad” to conduct research, seeking “to reverse somebody’s belief system without his knowledge, and make it stick.”[28]

O’Neill and Piepenbring continue: “Late in the fall of 1966, West arrived in San Francisco to study hippies and LSD. Tall, broad, and crew cut, with an all-American look in keeping with his military past, he cobbled together a new wardrobe and started skipping haircuts. He secured a government grant and took a yearlong sabbatical from the University of Oklahoma, nominally to pursue a fellowship at Stanford, although that school had no record of his participation in a program there.”[29]

“When he arrived in Haight-Ashbury, West was the only scientist in the world who’d predicted the emergence of potentially violent ‘LSD cults’ such as Charles Manson’s Family.[30] Manson, responsible for the August 8, 1969 gruesome murder of actress Sharon Tate and four others “walked the same streets and frequented the same clinic as Jolly West.”[31]

From the spring of 1967 until June 1968, Manson lived in Haight-Ashbury and dropped acid daily.[32] Less than a year after his followers began to take LSD, “Manson turned a group of peaceful hippies, mainly young women, into savage, unrepentant killers,” O’Neill reported.[33]

West’s “prediction” of “LSD cults,” was not conjecture but psychiatrists knowingly creating them. Significant psychiatrists (such as CIA-funded Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron, president of the World, American and Canadian Psychiatric Associations between 1952 and 1966) also developed a technique of depatterning certain views to create new ones. As Gordon Thomas covered this in Journey Into Madness, the methods developed for this included massive doses of drugs such as LSD to induce long periods of drug-induced sleep, sometimes lasting as long as ninety days, and a mind-control technique called psychic driving.[34]

In a 1967 psychiatry textbook, West contributed a chapter called ‘Hallucinogens,’ warning students of a ‘remarkable substance’ percolating through college campuses and into cities. LSD was known to leave users ‘unusually susceptible and emotionally labile.’ It appealed to alienated kids who would crave ‘shared forbidden activity in a group setting to provide a sense of belonging.’”[35]

West wrote to his CIA handler that there was “no more vital undertaking conceivable” than to dose unwitting research subjects with LSD and replace their memories.[36]

More Controversial Assassins

Other controversial cases West was assigned to included evaluating Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968. West claimed Sirhan had been subjected to psychic driving (also advocated by the above-mentioned psychiatrist Ewen Cameron), a mind-altering technique involving looped audio repeated to a subject under the influence of hypnosis or paralytic drugs, creating a trigger word or sentence that when used would activate a hidden personality programmed within the subject.

In 2022, parole commissioners found Sirhan suitable for release “because of his impressive extensive record of rehabilitation over the last half-century,” his defense attorney, Angela Berry said. “Since the mid-1980’s Mr. Sirhan has consistently been found by prison psychologists and psychiatrists to not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to the public.” Parole was denied—thankfully so if based on psychiatric and psychological opinion as psychiatrists and psychologists admit they cannot predict or determine whether someone will become violent or recommit a violent offense.[37] Their “science” (or lack of) is too inexact to do so.

West and fellow CIA-funded psychiatrists Martin Orne and Robert Jay Lifton provided pre-trial psychological examinations of Patty Hearst, who was criminally charged in September 1975 for her participation in an armed robbery perpetrated by the Symbionese Liberation Army (“SLA”) in 1974. The granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst and the daughter of Randolph Hearst, both influential in the newspaper industry, claimed she was kidnapped by the SLA from her apartment in Berkeley, California, and was brainwashed into participating in the SLA movement to end capitalism. The jury for the February 1976 trial had to be persuaded that Patricia had been coerced or brainwashed by the SLA. The difficulty with this defense was that Patricia, prior to trial, had admitted to joining the SLA even though they told her she could be released if she wanted to.[38]

West testified that after a 15-hour interview with Hearst that she was a “classic case” of coercive persuasion or brainwashing: “If (she) had reacted differently, that would have been suspect.”[39]

Here’s Hearst’s account of what happened after her arrest:

“When the first of the psychiatrists came to see me on September 30, just 11 days after my arrest, I simply crumbled under his [West’s] scrutiny. I cried, murmuring and mumbling out replies that were not answers to his questions. He thought I was refusing to cooperate with him. This was Dr. Louis Jolyon West, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA, an internationally recognized expert in his field. I thought he had a creepy hypnotic voice. A tall, heavy-set man who appeared to be kindly, I suspected ‘Jolly’ of being too smooth, too soothing to be trusted.”[40]

West made 17 or more visits to Timothy McVeigh who was in prison for the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 men, women and children.[41]  The incident was considered the greatest act of terrorist violence ever committed in the United States at that time. In his book Others Unknown, Stephen Jones, chief defense counsel in U.S. v. McVeigh trial stated, “The real story of the bombing…stretches weblike, from America’s heartland to the nation’s capital, the Far East, Europe, and the Middle East, and much remains a mystery.”[42] 

According to David Hoffman in The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, McVeigh had been a sergeant in the army and done courses in Psy-Ops (psychological operations) at Fort Riley.[43] Psy-Ops is the study of psychology for military purposes, primarily “to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator’s objectives.” Psy-Ops can be used to “influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, or behavior of a targeted public.”  

West went to Oklahoma City in the wake of the bombing, purportedly to head up the American Psychological Association (APA) trauma response team. Hoffman interviewed West and asked him if he had examined McVeigh. West replied, “No, I haven’t been asked to do that.” West told Hoffman that someone from the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences unit would have interviewed McVeigh.[44]

However, West visited McVeigh while he was incarcerated in both Oklahoma and Jefferson County, Colorado, prior to his trial.[45]

And on the very day of the bombing, he went on “The Larry King Show” to talk about McVeigh, characterizing him as one more “lone nut” (i.e., not involved in a conspiracy).[46]

McVeigh’s sidekick, Terry Nichols, said, “In December of 1992, Timothy McVeigh told me that while he was serving in the U.S. Army, he had been recruited to carry out undercover missions.” According to a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) record, McVeigh held a DoD Secret Clearance that did not expire until May 11, 1995. The OKC bombing was on April 19, 1995.[47] McVeigh was convicted the same year and sentenced to death in 1997. On June 11, 2001, he was executed by lethal injection.[48]

West Creates Racism with Brain Surgery “Cures” for Violence

In August 1965, racism riots broke out in Watts, Los Angeles and other predominantly African American neighborhoods of South-Central Los Angeles in response to African American Marquette Frye having been pulled over by a white California Highway Patrol officer on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Frye failed a sobriety test and panicked as he was being arrested. As his anger rose at the thought of going to jail, a scuffle ensued between him and one of the police officers which escalated to a brutal confrontation. The responding riots left 34 dead and 1,032 injured.[49]

In 1972, West claimed that the riots were tied to genetic and racial factors and those prone to such violence were mostly young black and Hispanic urban males. He called for Black and Hispanic children to be studied for genetic abnormality. Some of the studies that West proposed included the forced administration of a chemical castration drug and the use of remote monitoring techniques to record bioelectrical changes in the brains of human subjects, which required implanting tiny electrodes into the brains of Blacks and Hispanics suspected of violent behavior.[50]

Heralded by the California governor in his January 1973 State of the State address, the proposed “violence center” would support research into the origins and causes of violence. West proposed a Center for the Study of the Reduction of Violence at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI) where a slate of biomedical studies would address what he deemed the “veritable plague” of violence.[51] 

In January 1973 West, then Director of NPI, wrote a confidential letter to Dr. J.M. Stubblebine, Director of the Department of Health, concerning a base that the Army might turn over to state or local agencies: 

“Such a Nike missile base is located in the Santa Monica Mountains within a half-hour’s drive of the Neuropsychiatric Institute. It is accessible but relatively remote. The site is securely fenced… If this site were made available to the Neuropsychiatric Institute as a research facility, perhaps initially as an adjunct to the new Center for Prevention of Violence, we could put it to very good use. Comparative studies could be carried out there, in an isolated but convenient location, of experimental or model programs for the alteration of undesirable behavior. Such programs might include control of drug or alcohol abuse, modification of chronic antisocial or impulsive aggressiveness, etc.”[52]

On April 8, 1974, West debated the merits of the controversial project with Dr. Lee Coleman, a California psychiatrist in private practice who strongly opposed the center. Coleman described the project as a “domestic search and destroy operation,” involving psychosurgery and other frightening kinds of behavior control, which completely disregarded the use of violence by those in power and the social inequalities that often lead to violence on the part of the oppressed. West claimed violent offenders could be given psychosurgery—an operation that destroys healthy brains. West did not reject, however, Coleman’s statement that the center originally planned to use prisoners and involuntarily hospitalized mental patients as some of the experimental subjects.[53]

That plan was stopped due to public outrage, including by civil rights, feminists, prisoners’ rights, and students’ organizations, the western region chapter of the NAACP, and CCHR, which aimed to block public funding to the violence center and thereby impede its formation. After months of political negotiation and two days of state government hearings, and in response to the protest from such a wide spectrum of activists, the state of California denied funding to the center. On February 14, 1974, the Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Agency (LEAA) also announced they would no longer fund medical experimentation, behavior modification, aversive therapies, and psychosurgery projects.[54]

All CIA records pertaining to West should be made public, although many of the MKUltra records were ordered destroyed. [55]

World Federation for Mental Health: A New Agenda

An ongoing legacy of West is his affiliation with the mental hygiene movement, namely the Mental Health Association, and the emanation from this to the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH). The WFMH had founding members West was associated with. For example, psychiatrist Frank Fremont-Smith (head of the Josiah Macy Foundation, a later front for CIA mind-control experiments. WFMH’s formation was steeped in former Nazi Party psychiatrists. These included Werner Villinger, Nazi T-4 psychiatrist (T-4 was a Nazi psychiatric euthanasia project for Germany, deciding who to be killed); and H.V. Dicks, senior psychiatrist at the Tavistock Clinic (Britain’s psychological warfare body).[56] T4 killing consultant Friedrich Mauz, a professor of psychiatry, was an official delegate at the formation of WFMH.[57] Another founding member was American psychiatrist Gregory Zilboorg (1890-1959) who in 1940 had advised, “We should do nothing about the Nazis because they need to live out their aggressions.”[58] 

WFMH was co-founded by Canadian military psychiatrist G. Brock Chisholm (1896-1971), who was the first director of the World Health Organization, also established in April 1948. In his words, using a then “frightened world” emerging from WWII, the plan was to assert numerous psychiatrists as “leaders in the planned development of a new kind of human being.”[59] One of the WFMH’s first reports espoused Chisholm’s beliefs: “…[T]he family is now one of the major obstacles to improved mental health, and hence should be weakened, if possible, so as to free individuals and especially children from the coercion of family life.”[60]

In its founding years, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation provided a generous multi-year grant to WFMH.[61]

Today, the renaissance in LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs should raise an alarm.

For more information, read CCHR’s articles:

·        Psychiatry’s Future: Legalized Psychedelic Drug Mainlining Clinics and Forced Institutional Treatment

·        Replacing Prozac with LSD is Like Switching Seats on the Titanic

·        Renewed Psychedelic Drug Research Is A Bad “Trip” For Mental Health

West’s LSD Research Making a Comeback?

Psychedelics are on a fast track to becoming a commonly accepted “chemical treatment.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially given three breakthrough therapy designations to three different companies studying either psilocybin or MDMA (Ecstasy). A 2017 breakthrough therapy title was given to the organization MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) for its research into MDMA for PTSD. The FDA went a step further than simply giving it the title to speed things along. When it came time for MAPS’ phase III trials, they were designed with FDA help.[62]

FDA also granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to a Europe-based company, COMPASS Pathways, for its psilocybin therapy for “treatment-resistant depression.” The company is running a 216-patient clinical trial and has made enough synthetic doses of the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms to supply more than 30,000 patients. Psychiatrist Thomas Insel, former Director of the federal government agency, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and Paul Summergrad, former head of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), sit on the company’s board of advisors.[63]

And in a throwback to the military roots of LSD experiments, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, a branch of the U.S. Department of Defense, houses the Focused Pharma program to develop new drugs that target a variety of “psychiatric” conditions. DARPA granted the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine $26.9 million to help develop psychedelic-based drugs.[64]

DARPA announced it was beginning the program to develop versions of the drugs, purportedly minus the psychedelic experience. Yet, as one proponent of psychedelics, a journalist and author wrote in Psychology Today in 2019, “It is ironic that the Department of Defense, which partnered with the CIA in the inexcusably ill-conceived post World War II effort to make psychedelic drugs a potential weapon of war, is once again so badly misunderstanding the nature and potential of these remarkable drugs.”

Hardly remarkable, and definitely ironic that the military is again following in West’s footsteps. Remember, West believed a dose of LSD on research subjects could replace their memories and the drug can leave users “unusually susceptible and emotionally labile”—i.e., liable to change and easily altered.

Prescription sales for antidepressants are estimated to be $50 billion a year globally, while the mental health market is worth about $100 billion in annual sales. Forbes reported, “While biotech analysts say that FDA-approved psychedelic-assisted therapy, with drugs like psilocybin and MDMA, could seize $10 billion in annual sales by targeting the treatment-resistant depression subcategory, the real opportunity lies in replacing drugs like Prozac, Zoloft and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.”  Further, “The psychedelic experience is an obstacle to mainstream adoption for a few reasons: many people are afraid of tripping and people with a history of psychosis and a family history of schizophrenia should not take psychotropic drugs. Patients on SSRIs [antidepressants] also should not take psychedelics for risk of adverse reactions.”[65] 

It behooves us all to ensure that the mainstream use of LSD in medical-psychiatric practice is not permitted to proceed and that psychiatrists of West’s ilk are never again allowed to conduct mind-control drug and psychedelic research on the country’s citizenry.

[1] “Here’s what a source said about the CIA and JFK’s assassination….” Fox News, 15 Dec. 2022,


[3] Op. cit., Fox News, 15 Dec. 2022

[4] Tom O’Neill, Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties, (Little, Brown & Co. New York, June 2019), p. 343

[5] Ibid., pp. 380-381


[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Brendan Borrell, “What is truth serum?” Scientific American, 4 Dec. 2008,




[13] Op. cit., Tom O’Neill, pp.355-356


[15] Gordon Thomas, Journey into Madness: The True Story of Secret Mind Control and Medical Abuse, (Bantam Books, New York, London, Sydney, June 1989), pp. 96-97

[16] Op. cit., Tom O’Neill, pp. 352-253


[18] Tom O’Neill and Dan Piepenbring, “Inside the Archive of an LSD Researcher With Ties to the CIA’s MKUltra Mind Control Project,” The Intercept, 24 Nov. 2019,

[19] Harold A. Bramson, M.D., (ed.), The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy: Transactions of a Conference on d-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD-25), April 22, 23, and 24, 1959, Princeton, New Jersey; Gordon Thomas, Journey Into Madness (New York: Bantam Books, 1989), p. 155; Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams (New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1 985), pp. 20, 69; John Ranelagh, The Agency: The Rise & Decline of the CIA, p. 211


[21] Ben Marcus, “LSD and the Elephant,” Science Unsealed, June 27, 2016,


[23] West, L. J., Pierce, C. M., & Thomas, W. D., “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: Its Effects on a Male Asiatic Elephant,” Science, 138(3545), (1962), p. 1102, doi:10.1126/science.138.3545.1100

[24] “The Mind Controllers: Dr. Jolyon West, Political Assassination, Terrorism and the Drug War,” The United Statesman Report, 5 May 2013,

[25] Op. cit., The Intercept, 24 Nov. 2019

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28], citing: Tom O’Neill, Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties, (Little, Brown & Co. New York, June 2019), p. 360

[29] Op. cit., The Intercept, 24 Nov. 2019

[30] Ibid.

[31] Op. cit., Tom O’Neill, p. 391

[32];, citing: Tom O’ Neill, Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties, (Little, Brown & Co. New York, June 2019), pp. 284, 290

[33] citing, “Making a murderer: did the CIA’s secret LSD labs turn Charles Manson into a killer?” The Telegraph, 31 July 2019,


[35] Op. cit., The Intercept, 24 Nov. 2019

[36] Op. cit., Tom O’Neill, p. 391

[37] “California governor denies RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan parole,” NPR 13 Jan 2022,




[41] Op. cit., Fox News, 15 Dec. 2022;;

[42] Stephen Jones, Others Unknown: The Oklahoma City Bombing Case and Conspiracy, (Public Affairs, New York, 1998), p. xi

[43] David Hoffman, The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, chapter 2, “The Face of Terror,” (1998), p. 18

[44] Ibid. 

Report%20on%20the%20Oklahoma%20City%2C%20Oklah_djvu.txt, citing: Dr, Jolly West obituary (“L.A. Times” article of January 7, 1999)


[47] Ibid.



[50] Peter Schrag, Mind Control, (Pantheon Books, New York, 1978), pp. 1-7.


[52] Al Huebner & Terry Kupers, “Violence Center: Psychotechnology for Repression,” Science for the People, Vol. 6, No. 3., May 1974,

[53] “Scientific or Repressive?: Modivation For Violence Center At UCLA Debated,” UCSF Library, The UCSF Student Newspaper, Vol 18, No. 24, 12 Apr. 1974,——-en–20–1–txt-txIN——–



[56] Toby Burwell, et al., Psychiatrists: The Men Behind Hitler (Freedom Publishers, LA, 1995), p.357

[57] Ibid., p. 103

[58] “Legacy of Shame, Things You Didn’t Know About the WFMH,” Freedom (UK), 1999, p.5

[59] Brock Chisholm, “The Future of Psychiatry and the Human Race,” The Humanist, Vol. VII, No. 4., Mar. 1948, pp. 161-162

[60] “Proceedings of the International Conference on Mental Hygiene,” International Congress on Mental Health, London, 1948, ed. J.C. Flugel, D.Sc. (Columbia University Press, New York, 1949), Vol. 4, 16-21, Aug. 1949, p. 259

[61] Eugene B. Brody, “The Search for Mental Health,” (WFMH), 1998, p. 106

[62] citing:

[63]; “FDA Gives Stamp of Approval for Clinical Psilocybin Trials,” Psychedelic Times, 13 Nov. 2018,; “Shroom-Therapy Startup Edges Toward FDA Approval: The feds have designated Compass Pathways’ experimental psilocybin treatment for depression a ‘breakthrough therapy,’” Bloomberg Businessweek, 6 Jan. 2020,