Academic journal article The Journal of Gender, Race and Justice

Mind-Control Experimentation: A Travesty of Human Rights in the United States

Academic journal article The Journal of Gender, Race and Justice

Mind-Control Experimentation: A Travesty of Human Rights in the United States

Article excerpt


Our government, under the auspices of the CIA and U.S. military, has committed severe human rights violations that require a public apology and restitution. From the end of World War II through the 1970s, the United States government engaged in mind-control experimentation on human subjects, both adults and children.1 These experiments included the use of drugs, hypnosis, electroshock, sexual abuse, and torture.2 Justice remains elusive for those who have been the victims of these experiments. No one knows how many people were subjected to illegal and inhumane experiments by the U.S. government.3 Much of the documentation of these experiments has been destroyed.4 Documentation of other experiments has not been released, ostensibly for national security reasons.5 An extremely small percentage of mind-control experimentation victims have received settlements under the Federal Tort Claims Act.6 The majority of victims have received nothing.7 None of the child victims, now adults, have received compensation for the wrongs they suffered.8 The names and stories of the survivors are, for the most part, not found in court documents, government documents, or mainstream media reports. Instead, their stories are told in web postings and the notes of mental health workers, the outlets available to the marginalized and ignored.9

In the past ten years, increasing numbers of mind-control experimentation survivors have begun to tell their stories.10 As knowledge of these atrocities filters into the public consciousness, hopefully these survivors will begin to receive compensation for the pain they have suffered. Mind-control survivors face many obstacles in their pursuit of justice, obstacles that must be overcome if we as a society hope to maintain our ideal of equal justice for all citizens. Given the difficulty of proving the link between specific mind-control survivors and CIA documentation of mind-control experiments, and the length of time which many victims have needed in order to learn what has been done to them, there are significant legal obstacles to obtaining justice. We as a society are reluctant to look beyond our assumptions of humanity and acknowledge the inhumanity of which we are capable.

The tremendous violation of human rights that these experiments represent demands some form of restitution. Survivors of CIA and military mind-control experiments are entitled to both civil and criminal remedies. They deserve a public apology for what was done to them; their experiences must become an acknowledged part of the history of this country. It is our responsibility, as members of the society that permitted these experiments to take place, to insure that these survivors' needs are met. This Note will examine only the United States government's responsibility for the commission of these experiments. The liability and wrongdoing of private institutions and individuals, a further avenue of justice for survivors of mind-control experiments, is not within the scope of this note. Part II of this Note will discuss the mind-control experiments, including the connection between these experiments and Nazi Germany, and specific experiments performed on adults and children. Part III will address the ways in which mind-control experimentation survivors may seek justice, both through the court system and through legislation.


Mind-control experimentation conducted by United States intelligence services appears to have begun around the time of World War II.11 Prior to World War II, the Office of Strategic Services set up a "truth drug" committee that experimented with the effects of mescaline, various barbiturates, and scopolamine on humans before settling on marijuana and beginning a human testing program in 1943.12 Experimenters administered marijuana to human subjects in order to lower the subjects' inhibitions and cause them to speak more freely. …

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