Monday, December 31, 2012

Operation Midnight Climax, 225 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA

Weird, twisted and bizarre tales about the S.F. Bay Area are so numerous some merely make us yawn. But if any one story stands out for its sheer audacity, moral depravity and utter madness—this is it. Years ago I came across a magazine article about something called Operation Midnight Climax. I knew it had to be a joke. The CIA, with the blessing and full cooperation of both the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the SFPD sets up and runs an LSD brothel in San Francisco for ten solid years? Who do you think you’re kidding? Still, I dutifully dug for corroborative facts concerning this alleged operation.
“White was a son of a bitch, but he was a great cop. He made that fruitcake Hoover look like Nancy Drew. The LSD, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Write this down. Espionage. Assassinations. Dirty tricks…”—Ira “Ike” Feldman
Turns out Operation Midnight Climax was no joke. Back in the 1950′s and ’60′s CIA experiments aimed at obtaining information and controlling human behavior gravitated to covertly dispensing numerous powerful psychotropic drugs. The CIA’s original charter prohibited it from engaging in any domestic operations. Yet many of these drugs were given to U.S. cities. U.S. soil without their knowledge or consent. Anyone interested in this unseemly labyrinth can trot down to the the library or just google MK-ULTRA.
If ever there was a reason to inform ourselves and hold political feet to the fire concerning our inalienable rights it’s MK-ULTRA. Its many programs had no external oversight and no accounting. For years fully 6% of the CIA’s entire budget went into MK-ULTRA programs that even Congress knew nothing about. But I’m wandering from the story at hand, namely: Operation Midnight Climax—a Bay Area baby born of MK-ULTRA.
*****
He was a tough, fat, bald guy—a character right out of Hollywood central casting. Back in the early 1950′s an itinerant San Francisco journalist, former OSS operative and then Federal Bureau of Narcotics agent named George Hunter White, aka Morgan Hall, was assigned by his boss Harry Anslinger to team up with the CIA. Together they created Operation Midnight Climax. White’s assignment: explore and record how a new drug called LSD affects behavior when consumed by unsuspecting male johns in the company of drug addicted hookers. A great comedy scenario, if it weren’t so damn perverse.
By day George Hunter White continued to work the streets of San Francisco, ferreting out drug deals and drug dealers, setting them up and taking them down. By night he’d repair to the portable toilet his friend Leo Jones had provided him behind the two way mirror set into a wall of “the pad’s” Telegraph Hill bedroom.
The L-shaped Chestnut Street duplex featured fantastic views of the San Francisco Bay. It was festooned with Toulouse-Lautrec posters, hidden microphones, tape recorders and a refrigerator stocked with pitchers of martinis. White was a notorious booze hound. He’d knock back a quart or more of gin nightly perched on the seat of his toilet scribbling notes on concurrent activities in the adjacent bedroom.
But dosing unwitting johns produced, well, wildly inconsistent results. White observed innumerable men behave in ways that suggested insanity. So White gave LSD the pet name “Stormy”. It fit. The “psychedelic revolution” was still years away. We can hardly imagine how the varied socio/ethnic/economic group of philanderers who wound up at “the pad” must have reacted when dosed. Most had never heard of, much less consumed any hallucinogenic substance before.
Richard Stratton interviewed George White’s last living Operation Midnight Climax associate for Spin Magazine in 1994. According White lieutenant Ira “Ike” Feldman:
“White was a son of a bitch, but he was a great cop. He made that fruitcake Hoover look like Nancy Drew. The LSD, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Write this down. Espionage. Assassinations. Dirty tricks. Drug experiments. Sexual encounters and the study of prostitutes for clandestine use. That’s what I was doing when I worked for George White and the CIA.”
George Hunter White continued operating his Telegraph Hill LSD brothel until 1965, when he retired from the service. He moved to Stinson Beach. Locals came to know him as Colonel White. He became the Stinson Beach Fire Marshall—and, after a few years on the wagon White died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1975.
Upon his death White’s widow gifted the Electronic Museum at Foothills Junior College, forty miles south of San Francisco, with his diaries. According to a Washington Post article dated September 5, 1977 these diaries: “provide documentary evidence that White met to discuss drugs and safe houses with such CIA luminaries as Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, head of the Chemical Division of the Technical Services Division and the man who ran MK-ULTRA, and Dr. Robert V. Lashbrook, a CIA chemist who worked with LSD. Other high-ranking CIA officials mentioned prominently include James Angleton, C. P. Cabell and Stanley Lovell. Gottleib and Lashbrook have been subpoenaed to testify Sept. 20 (1977) before a Senate subcommittee investigating the MK-ULTRA project.”
Upon retirement George Hunter White wrote to Harry Anslinger, his old boss at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, reflecting on White’s many years of service: “I was a very minor missionary, actually a heretic, but I toiled wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape, and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the All-Highest?”
And so concludes a true San Francisco tale about your American taxpayer dollars working to protect you and yours.

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Operation Midnight Climax was an operation initially established by Sidney Gottlieb and placed under the direction of Narcotics Bureau officer George Hunter White under the alias of Morgan Hall for the CIA as a sub-project of Project MKULTRA, the CIA mind-control research program that began in the 1950s.[3]
The project consisted of a web of CIA-run safehouses in San Francisco, Marin, and New York. It was established in order to study the effects of LSD on unconsenting individuals. Prostitutes on the CIA payroll were instructed to lure clients back to the safehouses, where they were surreptitiously plied with a wide range of substances, including LSD, and monitored behind one-way glass. Several significant operational techniques were developed in this theater, including extensive research into sexual blackmail, surveillance technology, and the possible use of mind-altering drugs in field operations.
The safehouses were dramatically scaled back in 1962, following a report by CIA Inspector General John Earman that strongly recommended closing the facility. The San Francisco safehouses were closed in 1965, and the New York City safehouse soon followed in 1966.[citation needed]
MKULTRA came to light in the spring of 1963 during a wide-ranging survey of the CIA's technical services division. John K. Vance, a member of the Central Intelligence Agency inspector general's staff, discovered that the agency was running a research project that included administering LSD and other drugs to unwitting human subjects.[2]

George White (Morgan Hall)
It's been over 50 years, but Wayne Ritchie says he can still remember how it felt to be dosed with acid.
He was drinking bourbon and soda with other federal officers at a holiday party in 1957 at the U.S. Post Office Building on Seventh and Mission streets. They were cracking jokes and swapping stories when, suddenly, the room began to spin. The red and green lights on the Christmas tree in the corner spiraled wildly. Ritchie's body temperature rose. His gaze fixed on the dizzying colors around him.
The deputy U.S. marshal excused himself and went upstairs to his office, where he sat down and drank a glass of water. He needed to compose himself. But instead he came unglued. Ritchie feared the other marshals didn't want him around anymore. Then he obsessed about the probation officers across the hall and how they didn't like him, either. Everyone was out to get him. Ritchie felt he had to escape.
He fled to his apartment and sought comfort from his live-in girlfriend. It didn't go as planned. His girlfriend was there, but an argument erupted. She told him she was growing tired of San Francisco and wanted to return to New York City. Ritchie couldn't handle the situation. Frantic, he ran away again, this time to the Vagabond Bar where he threw back more bourbon and sodas. From there, he hit a few more bars, further cranking up his buzz. As he drank his way back to Seventh and Mission, Ritchie concocted a plan that would change his life.
Now in his mid-eighties and living in San Jose, Ritchie may be among the last of the living victims of MK-ULTRA, a Central Intelligence Agency operation that covertly tested lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) on unwitting Americans in San Francisco and New York City from 1953 to 1964.
"I remember that night very clearly, yes I do," he said in a recent interview. "I was paranoid. I got down to where I thought everyone was against me. The whole world was against me."
After the day had bled into night on Dec. 20, 1957, Ritchie returned to his office in the Post Office Building and retrieved two service revolvers from his locker. He was going rogue.
"I decided if they want to get rid of me, I'll help them. I'll just go out and get my guns from my office and hold up a bar," Ritchie recalls. "I thought, 'I can get enough money to get my girlfriend an airline ticket back to New York, and I'll turn myself in.' But I was unsuccessful."
Out of his skull on a hallucinogen and alcohol, Ritchie rolled into the Shady Grove in the Fillmore District, and ordered one final bourbon and soda. After swallowing down the final drops, he pointed his revolver at the bartender and demanded money. Before joining the marshals, Ritchie served five years in the Marines and spent a year as an Alcatraz prison guard. But the cop had suddenly become the robber.
It was over in a flash. A waitress came up behind him and asked Ritchie what he was doing. When Ritchie turned around, a patron hit him over the head and knocked him unconscious. He awoke to a pair of police officers standing over him.
Ritchie says he had expected to get caught or killed.
The judge went easy on him and Ritchie avoided prison. He resigned from the Marshals Service, pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery, paid a $500 fine, and was sentenced to five years' probation.
Ritchie's story is certainly peculiar, but not unique. Other San Franciscans were unsuspecting participants in a strange research program in which the government effectively broke the law in an effort to fight the Cold War.
Seymour Hersh first exposed MK-ULTRA in a New York Times article in 1974 that documented CIA illegalities, including the use of its own citizens as guinea pigs in games of war and espionage. John Marks expertly chronicled more of the operation in his 1979 book, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate. There have been other reports on the CIA's doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation.
There were at least three CIA safe houses in the Bay Area where experiments went on. Chief among them was 225 Chestnut on Telegraph Hill, which operated from 1955 to 1965. The L-shaped apartment boasted sweeping waterfront views, and was just a short trip up the hill from North Beach's rowdy saloons. Inside, prostitutes paid by the government to lure clients to the apartment served up acid-laced cocktails to unsuspecting johns, while martini-swilling secret agents observed their every move from behind a two-way mirror. Recording devices were installed, some disguised as electrical outlets.
To get the guys in the mood, the walls were adorned with photographs of tortured women in bondage and provocative posters from French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The agents grew fascinated with the kinky sex games that played out between the johns and the hookers. The two-way mirror in the bedroom gave the agents a close-up view of all the action.
The main man behind the mirror was burly, balding crime-buster George H. White, a Bureau of Narcotics maverick who made headlines breaking up opium and heroin rings in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the U.S. Few knew he doubled as a CIA spook for Uncle Sam. He oversaw the San Francisco program, gleefully dubbing it Operation Midnight Climax.
"[White] was a real hard head," said Ritchie, who regularly ran into him in courtrooms and law enforcement offices in downtown San Francisco. "All of his agents were pretty much afraid to do anything without his full approval. White would turn on them, physically. He was a big tough guy."
American chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the brains behind White's brawn. It was the height of McCarthyism in the early '50s, and government intelligence leaders, claiming fear of communist regimes, were using hallucinogens to induce confessions from prisoners of war held in Korea, and brainwash spies into changing allegiances. What better way to examine the effects of LSD than to dose unsuspecting citizens in New York City and San Francisco?
The mind-bending laboratory on Telegraph Hill was called "the pad" in White's leather-bound journals. White's widow donated 10 boxes of his personal effects to Foothill College in Los Altos Hills after he died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1975. Now warehoused at Stanford, the journals, letters, and photographs provide a window into the mischievous life of a secret agent during the Cold War.
Before White joined the narcotics bureau, he worked in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a World War II-era intelligence agency that preceded the CIA. In a quest for truth serums, White and other OSS agents slipped concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol acetate (THCA) into the food and cigarettes of suspected communists, conscientious objectors, and mobsters in the 1940s. The experience wasn't a prerequisite for working in MK-ULTRA, but it helped.
Dr. James Hamilton, a Stanford Medical School psychiatrist, knew White from their OSS days. He was among the small group of researchers who had clearance to the pad. Gottlieb visited, too, but Operation Midnight Climax had no regular medical supervision.
And that became problematic. The first CIA brothel that White and Gottlieb ran in New York City had already gone awry. U.S. biological warfare specialist Frank Olson either jumped or was pushed from a 10th-floor hotel window in 1953, nine days after the CIA gave him LSD. When a CIA chemist, who was sharing the hotel room with Olson, met with police, they found White's initials and the address of a Greenwich Village safe house on a piece of paper in his pocket. The New York City operation was temporarily suspended when police investigated Olson's death, and restarted later.
White, a native Californian and former San Francisco newspaper reporter, yearned to return home. In 1955, Gottlieb let him.
Aside from Gottlieb's scattershot visits, White, now a "CIA consultant," had free rein over the S.F. safe houses. Ritchie says that White's right-hand man, Ike Feldman, ran around dressed like "a hot-shot drug dealer." Ritchie adds: "He tried to act like Al Capone." The pad quickly became something akin to a frat house for spies. "Eight-martini lunches" were enjoyed regularly, White noted in his journal. And on some occasions he watched the dubious research unfold while sitting on a portable toilet a friend donated to him. It was his "observational post."
What went on in the pad, apparently stayed in the pad.
Dr. John Erskine has lived next door to the location since 1954. "I had a feeling that things went on there that were none of my business. It wasn't overt. People weren't screaming out the windows," says Erskine, standing outside the acid house.
The property is undergoing renovation. Just a few months ago, a construction crew pulled microphones, wires, and recording instruments out of the walls.
Ruth Kelley was a singer at a San Francisco club called The Black Sheep. Her unexpected trip into another dimension happened to her onstage.
Young, attractive Kelley caught White's eye, though she rejected his advances. White or one of his men eventually dosed her with LSD just before she went onstage, according to a deposition of Frank Laubinger, a CIA official who led a program in the 1980s that made contact with victims of MK-ULTRA. "The LSD definitely took some effect during her act." Kelley reportedly went to the hospital, but was fine ... once the effects of the drug, that she didn't know she was on, wore off.
How test subjects were chosen by the agents varied. In the case of the Telegraph Hill safe house, working girls would pick up johns in North Beach bars and restaurants, then bring them back for experimentation and observation. Other times, White and his wife would host dinner parties where guests might get dosed with a hallucinogenic cocktail without their knowledge. And seemingly random San Franciscans like Kelley were victimized for no other reason than their paths crossed with White and his men at the wrong time. White wrote in his diary how he slipped acid to unsuspecting civilians at local beaches, and in city bars and restaurants.
There were two other Bay Area safe houses where the CIA researched LSD and other chemicals: Room 49 of the Plantation Inn at Lombard and Webster streets, and 261 Green St. in Mill Valley.
People from all walks of life were potential targets. From an internal CIA memo: "The effectiveness of the substances on individuals at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign is of great significance, and testing has been performed on a variety of individuals within these categories," wrote CIA Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick in 1963.

Rick Sealock

Troy Hooper
This building at 225 Chestnut St. is the site of the infamous acid house where the CIA tested LSD on unwitting civilians from 1955-1964. The safe house closed in 1965.
But, as a 1976 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities noted, there was no medical pre-screening. "Paradoxically, greater care seemed to have been taken for the safety of foreign nations against whom LSD was used abroad. In several cases [overseas] medical examinations were performed prior to the use of LSD," the committee reported. "The [domestic] program ... demonstrates a failure of the CIA's leadership to pay adequate attention to the rights of individuals and to provide effective guidance to CIA employees. Though it was known that the testing was dangerous, the lives of subjects were placed in jeopardy and their rights were ignored during the 10 years of testing that followed Dr. Olson's death." Although it was clear that the laws of the United States were being violated, the testing continued.
CIA operatives also admitted to experimenting with LSD themselves. In a 1970 letter to UC Berkeley psychiatry professor Harvey Powelson, White wrote how he "served as a guinea pig from time to time. My personal observation was that the effect of all of these drugs was essentially the same, except for the degree or extent of the effect. THCA was more potent than marihuana [sic] and LSD more potent than THCA. So far as I was concerned, 'clear thinking' was non-existent while under the influence of any of these drugs. I did feel at times I was having a 'mind-expanding' experience but this vanished like a dream immediately after the session."
By all accounts, White enjoyed the undercover work he was doing. Perhaps a little too much. He would write in a 1971 letter to Gottlieb, "Of course I was a very minor missionary, actually a heretic, but I toiled wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill and cheat, steal, deceive, rape and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the All-Highest? Pretty Good Stuff, Brudder!"
Few inside the CIA even knew about MK-ULTRA and its sub-projects. The domestic experiments escaped scrutiny for a decade, until President John F. Kennedy, smarting from the botched Bay of Pigs invasion, forced CIA director Allen Dulles, who first signed off on MK-ULTRA, to resign. The agency's activities in San Francisco were so secret that not even the CIA's new director, John McCone, was informed of them when he took over in 1963. But incoming CIA Inspector General John Earman didn't sugarcoat what he learned. "The concepts involved in manipulating human behavior are found by many people both within and outside the Agency to be distasteful and unethical," he wrote, questioning whether the clandestine activities were even legal. "Public disclosure of some aspects of MKULTRA activity could induce serious adverse reaction in U.S. public opinion, as well as stimulate offensive and defensive action in this field on the part of foreign intelligence services."
Earman noted numerous civilians grew ill from the effects of the psychoactive drugs they were secretly slipped, and it would be embarrassing if doctors were to discover what the government had been doing. He recommended closing the safe houses. Yet high-ranking intelligence officers called for the continuance of Midnight Climax. "While I share your uneasiness and distaste for any program which tends to intrude upon an individual's private and legal prerogatives, I believe it is necessary that the Agency maintain a central role in this activity," wrote Richard Helms, then the CIA's deputy director of plans.
Testing of unwitting individuals was suspended in 1964, at least officially. Still, the CIA safe houses in San Francisco and New York City continued to operate for a year and a half longer. Scrutiny of the program intensified at CIA headquarters in Virginia, and subsequently the Bay Area safe houses shut down in 1965. New York City's operation stopped in 1966. Intelligence officers conceded that the drug-testing exposed the agency to a serious "moral problem."
The fun was over. White retired from law enforcement in 1965 and became the fire marshal at Stinson Beach. He wrote a swashbuckling autobiography titled A Diet of Danger that crowed about his Bureau of Narcotics adventures. It conspicuously left out Operation Midnight Climax. Publishers rejected the book in 1971.
Lawmakers were incredulous when they learned of the CIA's secret plots. But specifics at the time were scant.
Helms, one of MK-ULTRA's original architects, succeeded McCone as CIA director in 1966. Before Helms and Gottlieb resigned in the early 1970s, they ordered all of the project's paperwork destroyed. A massive paper purge occurred in 1973, just as Washington found itself in the throes of the Watergate scandal. In an attempt to clean house, that same year new CIA Director James Schlesinger ordered agency employees to inform him of illegal government activities. That's when he learned of Olson's fatal plunge in New York City, and the acid tests.
It didn't take long before details leaked to Hersh. The investigative journalist's groundbreaking article in the New York Times exposed the CIA's vast illegal domestic surveillance programs. The government had been screening U.S. mail, wiretapping journalists' phones, and plotting assassinations. And, oh yeah, it had also been dosing hundreds of civilians with LSD, as well as significant military populations, in the name of defense. Americans demanded answers.
Donald Rumsfeld, then chief of staff for President Gerald Ford, and Rumsfeld's deputy, Dick Cheney, wanted Hersh prosecuted for revealing government secrets. But Ford didn't heed their advice. He appointed a committee chaired by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller to investigate the intelligence improprieties. U.S. Sen. Frank Church also headed a congressional investigation of CIA malfeasance in 1974, and Sen. Edward Kennedy held hearings on MK-ULTRA in the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research.
While most of the CIA's records detailing the top-secret programs were destroyed, bureaucratic bumbling spared a cache of 20,000 documents from the shredder. In 1977, Marks, author of The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, filed a Freedom of Information Act request, which provided him with many redacted versions of the surviving MK-ULTRA records.
Then, in exchange for immunity from prosecution, Gottlieb answered questions before the Senate. To gain "firsthand knowledge," he said, agents "extensively" experimented with LSD on themselves before giving it to the public.
Kennedy tried to put it in perspective. "There is a light side to it, but there is also an enormously serious side," he said. "There are perhaps any number of Americans who are walking around today on the East Coast or West Coast who were given drugs, with all the kinds of physical and psychological damage that can be caused."
CIA Director Adm. Stansfield Turner testified that 44 colleges and universities, 15 research foundations and pharmaceutical companies, 12 hospitals and clinics, and three penal institutions across the country were used for MK-ULTRA research that included LSD, painkillers, and other drugs.
Using a front organization, Gottlieb distributed millions of dollars in drug research grants to Stanford, UC Berkeley, and other institutions, which only later learned the money's source. Stanford acknowledged its faculty received close to $40,000 over eight years from the CIA's secret program. It had hosted several studies on the effects of drugs on interrogations, and also spent money developing miniature lie detectors and other spy equipment.
Lawmakers denounced the CIA's covert domestic activities, but ultimately no disciplinary action was taken. Gottlieb and the others behind the acid experiments were not prosecuted or punished.
But the innocent victims of these programs had to be notified, the Senate subcommittee concluded. Tracking down victims proved difficult, since so little of that data survived the CIA's paper-shredding.
A victim's taskforce was established, but despite estimates of hundreds, maybe thousands of people exposed to the CIA's mind-control program, records show only 14 of them were notified.
Dr. Olson's family sued the government, claiming the scientist's death was not actually connected to the LSD he took. They claimed a government operative pushed him out of the window so he wouldn't divulge information about a classified CIA interrogation program concerning the use of biological weapons in the Korean War. Olson's family ultimately accepted an out-of-court settlement from the U.S. government for $750,000. There have been other lawsuits, including a class-action from alleged victims of the CIA's programs in Canada, and other reparations have been paid.
The Vietnam Veterans of America filed suit in San Francisco federal court in 2009, claiming at least 7,800 soldiers were, without their knowledge, given as many as 400 types of drugs and chemicals, including sarin, amphetamines, barbiturates, mustard gas, and LSD by the Army and CIA. Just last month, the group filed a petition in San Francisco seeking class-action status. The suit does not ask for money but instead seeks to overturn a 1950 Supreme Court decision that effectively insulates the government from liability under the Federal Torts Claims Act. The vets also want to discover the substances and doses they received, and get care for any resulting health conditions.
In spring 1999, Ritchie opened a copy of the San Jose Mercury News and read Gottlieb's obituary. Then it hit him.
"I didn't know that name at all. I'd never heard of him," Ritchie said. "But what caught my eye were LSD and George White. George White was a supervising narcotics officer in 1957 in San Francisco and I knew him. When I read the article, it said he was working with the CIA testing mind-control drugs with the help of drug-addicted prostitutes. I put it together. He was drugging people without their knowledge. I thought, 'My God, how could he have done that to me?'"
Ritchie began his own research into the CIA's drugging activity, and grew convinced the CIA dosed him. Ritchie brought a lawsuit against the United States and its agents, claiming his attempted armed robbery at the bar was set in motion when agents slipped LSD into his drink at the Christmas party.
White's journal puts him in the same place as Ritchie the day the dosing and robbery occurred. An entry in White's leather-bound book for Dec. 20, 1957, reads: "Xmas party Fed bldg Press Room."
Ritchie's complaint leaned heavily on the deposition of Feldman, the former agent under White. Feldman's testimony was at times incriminating, contradictory, and combative. "I didn't do any follow-up, period, because it wasn't a very good thing to go and say 'How do you feel today?' You don't give them a tip. You just back away and let them worry, like this nitwit, Ritchie," Feldman said in a deposition.
A district court ruled in 2005 that Ritchie failed to prove that an LSD-induced psychotic disorder triggered his failed robbery attempt. The judge called it "a troubling case and that if indeed true [Ritchie] has paid a terrible price in the name of national security." Noting that federal agents in San Francisco were doing "things that were reprehensible," the judge concluded "it was not clear by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Ritchie was administered LSD. It may be what happened. But we don't operate on hunches." To this day, Ritchie says he is "absolutely shocked" he lost the case.
Now house-bound and suffering from emphysema and other ailments — all of which he attributes to old age — Ritchie isn't bitter about his long, strange trip. He simply chalks it up to the government doing the best it could during difficult times.
"They thought they were helping the country," Ritchie said.(4)

And this is related...

U.S. Official Poisoner Dies
Sidney Gottlieb, who for more than two decades managed the CIA's Technical Services Division, died on March 10. His obituaries in the New York Times and the Washington Post tended to focus own Gottlieb's testing of LSD on himself and other CIA officers, portraying him as a kind of Merry Prankster, the CIA's very own Ken Kesey.
In fact, with Gottlieb's death, America has lost its prime poisoner. For many years, most notably in the 1950s and 1960s, Gottlieb presided over the CIA's technical services division and supervised preparation of lethal poisons, experiments in mind control and administration of LSD and other psycho-active drugs to unwitting subjects. Gottlieb's passing came at a convenient time for the CIA, just as several new trials involving victims of its experiments were being brought. Those who had talked to Gottlieb in the past few years say that the chemist believed that the Agency was trying to make him the fall guy for the entire program. Some speculate that Gottlieb may have been ready to spill the goods on a wide range of CIA programs.
Incredibly, neither the Times nor the Post obituaries mention Gottlieb's crucial role in the death of Dr. Frank Olson, who worked for the US Army's biological weapons center at Fort Detrick. At a CIA sponsored retreat in rural Maryland on November 18, 1953, Gottlieb gave the unwitting Olson a glass of Cointreau liberally spiked with LSD. Olson developed psychotic symptoms soon thereafter and within a few days had plunged to his death from an upper floor room at the New York Statler-Hilton. Olson was sharing the room with Gottlieb's number two, a CIA man called Robert Lashbrook, who had taken the deranged man to see a CIA-sponsored medic called Harold Abramson who ran an allergy clinic at Mount Sinai, funded by Gottlieb to research LSD.
The night Olson made his terminally abrupt descent from the hotel window the New York police asked Lashbrook to turn out his pockets. On a piece of paper were initials GW and MH, identified later as George White and Morgan Hall, White's alias. White was retained by Gottlieb to run a CIA safehouse at 81 Bedford St in Greenwich Village, in cooperation with Harry Anslinger's Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, for which White had previously worked. Gottlieb's men fixed up the house with one-way mirrors listening devices and secret cameras. From the fall of 1953 to the spring of the following year White threw parties on Bedford St, dosing his guests with sodium pentothal, Nembutal and of course LSD. Later White moved the CIA operation to San Francisco, with the same sort of set-up. He hired prostitutes to dose the guests, in an exercise known as Operation Midnight Climax. The encounter were filmed, on the walls White, put photos of women being tortured and whipped. Gottlieb flew out to visit the safe house at 225 Chestnut Street several times a year. Another senior CIA man, John Gittinger would interview the hookers about their drugs and sex habits.
Gottlieb was a man of darkness. He sponsored research by the infamous Dr Ewen Cameron, a world famous shrink who had clinic in Montreal at McGill where he dosed unwitting subjects (who had entered voluntarily for psychiatric treatment) with huge jolts of electricity through their brains, plus drugs plus lobotomies. Many people had their lives thus destroyed in Cameron's research, financed by Gottlieb and also by the Rockefeller Foundation. Cameron invented a particularly ghastly process called "psychic driving" whereby drugged and shocked patients, whom Cameron believed he had wiped clean of their previous personalities, would have tapes played sixteen hours a day, dictating their new personalities.
From time to time the patients, given Thorazine, Nebutal and Seconal, would be hauled off, administered amphetamines as a wake-up call, then get ECT at voltages forty times greater than was considered safe at the time. Cameron died of a heart attack while mountain climbing in 1967. Gottlieb had finessed Cameron $60,000 in the late Fifties for his experiments. Eventually the CIA settled with some of Cameron's victims.
Gottlieb also funded the experiments of Dr. Harris Isbell. Isbell ran the Center for Addiction Research in Lexington, Kentucky. Passing through Isbell's center was a captive group of human guinea pigs in the form of a steady stream of black heroin addicts. More than 800 different chemical compounds were shipped from Gottlieb to Lexington for testing on Isbell's patients.
Perhaps the most infamous experiment came when Isbell gave LSD to seven black men for seventy-seven straight days. Isbell's research notes indicates that he gave the men "quadruple" the "normal" dosages. The doctor marveled at the men's apparent tolerance to these remarkable amounts of LSD. Isbell wrote in his notes that "this type of behavior is to be expected in patients of this type."
In other Gottlieb-funded experiment at the Center, Isbell had nine black males strapped to tables, injected them with psylocybin, inserted rectal thermometers, had lights shown in their eyes to measure pupil dilation and had their joints whacked to test neural reactions.
Gottlieb's research was never a case of pure science. He was a practical man. From the beginning, Gottlieb saw himself as part of the operational wing of the CIA. Even the forays into LSD research, Gottlieb saw a testing for a potential chemical warfare weapon. He arranged a contract with Eli Lily to produce synthetic LSD "in tonnage quantities." The aim was to have enough acid to incapacitate large populations and armies.
By the early 1960s Gottlieb's techniques and potions were being fully deployed in the field. Well-known is Gottlieb's journey to the Congo, where his little black bag held an Agency-developed biotoxin scheduled for Patrice Lumumba's toothbrush. He also tried to manage Iraq's general Kassim with a handkerchief doctored with botulinum and there were the endless poisons directed at Fidel Castro, from the LSD the Agency wanted to spray in his radio booth to the poisonous fountain pen intended for Castro that was handed by a CIA man to Rolando Cubela on November 22, 1963.
Even less well remembered is one mission in the CIA's Phoenix Program in Vietnam in July of 1968. A team of CIA psychologists set up shop at Bien Hoa Prison outside Saigon, where NLF suspects were being held after Phoenix Program round-ups. The psychologists performed a variety of experiments on the prisoners. In one, three prisoners were anaesthetized; their skulls were opened and electrodes implanted by CIA doctors into different parts of their brains. The prisoners were revived, placed in a room with knives and the electrodes in the brains activated by the psychiatrists, who were covertly observing them. The hope was that they could be prompted in this manner to attack each other. The experiments failed. The electrodes were removed, the patients were shot and their bodies burned.(5)

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SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 4, 1977 -- He was a "rock-em, sock-em cop not overly carried away with playing spook," according to a friend who knew him at the time. But the diaries and personal papers of the Central Intelligence Agency operative who ran "safe houses" in San Francisco and New York in which drug-addicted prostitutes gave LSD and other drugs to unsuspecting visitors tell a different story.
The diaries were kept by Col. George H. White, Alias Morgan Hall, a colorful federal narcotics agent and CIA "consultant" who died two years ago. They reveal new details, including names and dates, about the safe house project, dubbed "Operation Midnight Climax," which was part of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program in the 1950s and 1960s to manipulate human behavior. Curiously, White's widow donated his papers to the Electronics Museum at Foothill Junior College, a two-year school set amidst the rolling Los Altos hills 40 miles south of San Francisco. The papers are a rare find for anyone interested in the espionage business and show White dashing about the world, busting up narcotics rings in South America, Texas and San Francisco's Chinatown.
They also provide documentary evidence that White met to discuss drugs and safe houses with such CIA luminaries as Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, head of the Chemical Division of the Technical Services Division and the man who ran MK-ULTRA, and Dr. Robert V. Lashbrook, a CIA chemist who worked with LSD. Other high-ranking CIA officials mentioned prominently include Jame Angleton, C. P. Cabell and Stanley Lovell. Gottleib and Lashbrook have been subpoenaed to testify Sept. 20 before a Senate subcommittee investigating the MK-ULTRA project.
"Gottlieb proposes I be CIA consultant and I agree." White wrote in his diary June 9, 1952. A year later it was confirmed: "CIA - got final clearance and sign contract as 'consultant' - met Gottlieb . . . lunch Napeleon's - met Anslinger."
Harry C. Anslinger was White's boss and the No. 1 man in the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. It could not be learned from the diaries whether Anslinger knew that one of his top narcotics agents also was working for the CIA, in fact, was tape-recording and observing men to whom prostitutes gave drugs after picking them up in bars. But a July 20, 1953, entry by White strongly suggests Anslinger knew: "Arrive Wash. - confer Anslinger and Gottlieb re CIA reimbursement for 3 men's services."
These entries fit in with a 1963 internal report by then-CIA Inspector General Lyman B. Kirkpatrick about the MK-ULTRA project. That report, made public in 1975, discussed the safe house operations and the connection to the Bureau of Narcotics:
"TSD (Technical Services Division) entered into an informal arrangement with certain cleared and witting individuals in the Bureau of Narcotics in 1955 which provided for the release of MK-ULTRA materials for such testing as those individuals deemed desirable and feasible."
The report added that while "covert testing" was being transferred to the bureau, its chief would disclaim any knowledge of it.
"The effectiveness of the substances on individuals at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign," Kirkpatrick wrote, "is of great significance, and testing has been performed on a variety of individuals within these categories."
In 1953, White rented a house at 81 Bedford St. in New York City's Greenwich Village under the name of Morgan Hall, the same one he used serveral years later to set up the Telegraph Hill apartment at 225 Chestnut St. in San Francisco.
His diaries show that Gottlieb and Lashbrook met him at the Bedford Street apartment. A June 8, 1953, entry said: "Gottlieb brings $4,123.27 for 'Hall' - Deposit $3,400." A Sept. 16 entry added: "Lashbrook at 81 Bedford - Owen Winkle and LSD surprise - can wash."
In 1955, White moved the safe house to San Francisco, and he took over as regional head of the Bureau of Narcotics. Apparently, the Chestnut Street duplex also was used by the bureau to lure narcotics dealers and then arrest them. Lawrence Ferlinghetti live about one block from this place, at 339 Chestnut from 1953 to 1958.[7] 
In 1956, White and narcotics agent Ira C. Feldman, who posed as an East Cost mobster, arrested seven San Franciscans as part of a heroin ring.
Leo Jones, a friend of White, owned the company that installed the bugging equipment at the apartment. The equipment included four DD4 microphones disguised as wall outlets. These were hooked up to two model F-301 tape recorders monitored by agents in a "listening post" adjacent to the apartment. Jones also sold White a "portable toilet for observation post."
It was an L-shaped apartment with a beautiful view of San Francisco Bay, and White, who kept pitchers of chilled martinis in the refrigerator, also had photos of manacled women being tortured and whipped.
"We were contacted by George White," Jones said in an interview. "It was a combined project of the CIA and Bureau of Narcotics . . . It was always referred to as the pad, never the apartment, and was modeled after Playboy magazine, 1955 . . . I heard about prostitutes. Feldman had acquired three or four to set himself up with cover."
White's diaries indicate that Gottlieb continued to visit, flying out from Washington several times a year at least until 1961. Another visitor was John Gittinger, a CIA psychologist who testified last month before Senate investigative committees that he met with "Morgan Hall" on numerous occasions to interview prostitutes about their drug and sex habits.
White retired from the bureau in 1965 and became the fire marshal at Stinson Beach, a resort area in Marin County, north of San Francisco. Among his papers is a Sept. 30, 1970, letter to Dr. Harvey Powelson, then chief of the department of psychiatry at the University of California at Berkeley. He told Powelson that he had worked for a "rather obscure department of the government (that would like to remain obscure)."
That obscure department. White wrote, "was then interested in obtaining some factual information and data on the use and effect of various hallucinogens, including marijuana tetrahydrocannabinol and the then brand new LSD. Tests were made under both clinical and nonclinical conditions on both witting and unwitting subjects."
White said in the letter to Powelson he was interested enough to try the drugs himself. "So far as I was concerned, 'clear thinking' was nonexistent while under the influence of any of these drugs," he wrote. "I did feel at times that I was having a 'mind-expanding experience,' but this vanished like a dream immediately after the session." He said the tests were observed by psychiatrists, psychologists and pharmacologists.
Not all of White's diary entries involved clandestine meetings with narcoties or CIA agents - or addicts and prostitutes, for that matter. He duly recorded that Eisenhower and Nixon won in 1952 and that the Brooklyn Dodgers took the National League baseball pennant in 1955.
And when his pet bird died, it hurt, he wrote. "Poor little bastard just couldn't make it," a 1952 entry says. "Tried hard. I don't know if I'll ever get another bird or pet. It's tough on everyone when they die."
White, born in 1906, started out as an itinerant journalist, working for newspapers in San Francisco and Los Angeles before becoming a narcotics agent in the early 1930s. During World War II he was in the Office of strategic Services, the precursor of the CIA. where he acquired the rank of lieutenant colonel and made future contacts. After that, he went back to his narcotics work, interrupting it in the early 1950s to become an investigator for the Senate committee headed by Sen. Estes Kefauver that looked into organized crime.
One interesting detail links White to the 1953 case of Dr. Frank Olson, and Army employee who was working with the CIA at Camp Detrick, Md. Olson had been given LSD without being told, and 10 days later jumped to his death from the 10th floor of a New York City hotel. At the time, Lashbrook was in the room with Olson, who had gone to New York to be treated by Dr. Harrold Abramson, a psychiatrist who had worked for the CIA.According to CIA documents, Lashbrook called Gottlieb, his supervisor at the time, and then went to the police station to identify the body. He was asked to "turn out his pockets."
He had written on a piece of white paper the initials "G. W." and "M.H." Lashbrook was asked to identify whose initials they were, but expunged CIA documents said he could not for security reasons. However, knowledgeable sources who have seen the CIA documents said Lashbrook identified "G. W." as George White and "M. H." as Morgan Hall, White's undercover name. The piece of paper also contained the address 81 Bedford St. which White's diary shows to be the New York safe house.
White apparently knew Abramson, because a Sept. 20, 1954, diary entry contained a reference to Gottlieb and Abramson.(6)

Here's a great article
Altered States of America
By Richard Stratton
Spin Magazine, March 1994
Photos of Allen Dulles, George White, and Harry Anslinger

http://www.frankolsonproject.org/Articles/Spin.html





1.)^Cummins, Queenie, 2011-02-01,  http://sfbaytimeless.com/?p=4496
2.)^Holley, Joe (16). "John K. Vance; Uncovered LSD Project at CIA". The Washington Post.
3.)^Ornes, Stephen (August 2008). "Whatever Happened To... Mind Control?". Discover Magazine.
4.)^Hooper, Troy, Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA Dosed S.F. Citizens with LSD,
2012-03-14
5.)^CIA'S SIDNEY GOTTLIEB:  PUSHER, ASSASSIN & PIMP, http://www.american-buddha.com/ciasidneygottliebpusher.htm
6.)^Jacobs, John, Diaries of A CIA Operative, 1977-09-05, The Frank Olsen Legacy Project, http://www.frankolsonproject.org/Articles/George-White.html
7.)^Morgan, Bill, The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Litrary Tour, pg. 66, http://books.google.com/books?id=TvLu3q4SEgoC&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=garibaldi+hall,+san+francisco&source=bl&ots=mIQm_85VJq&sig=l8kAB6ah0aV4Qaq7C2CXCtsJT3w&hl=en&sa=X&ei=KLWEVMWZG4zaoAT_x4LwDg&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=garibaldi%20hall%2C%20san%20francisco&f=false

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