Interviewer: For over 25 years, the CIA has been developing a technology of terror, it's purpose to devise operational techniques to disturb the memory, to discredit people through apparent behavior, to alter sex patterns, to illicit information and to create emotional dependence. It's goal is to program individuals to carry out any mission of espionage or assassination, even against their will, even against such fundamental laws of nature like self-preservation.
Against a backdrop of more than 2000 CIA documents and 1200 pages of testimony, Operation Mind Control tells the story of the hidden government's failures, those people who despite memory smudging techniques can still recall and relate the shocking details of such experience. Every American should know what is in this book, the secret government's war against its own people.
Bowart: That book was published in 1978 and has the distinction of being kept alive in xeroxed form after, mysteriously, all the copies were purchased and I got paid handsomely and then it just never was reprinted. At Dell, in the United States, the head marketing guy was an "old boy" - one of the OSS guys from WWII - who had a vested interested in not seeing this story come to light. It is an incredible story and that's one of the reasons it's been so easily kept secret for so long. I keep running into people and situations that are even more incredible than what I wrote about.
I had a friend that came back from a four year tour of duty with the Air Force during the Vietnam era, and he had amnesia about what he did in his childhood. And his whole life, he had what somebody later called "cardboard 2-dimensional memory," as if they'd erased the memory and then shown him selectively slides of his grandfather and what have you. His sister and he compared notes and they had two different realities. There was no communication after he got out.
At the same time, he had hyper-amnesia which was a vastly improved short-term memory. He made straight A's in medical school and didn't take notes, he could remember everything, it was uncanny. I'd known this guy since I was a little kid, and I hardly recognized him. There was something in his phsiology that later I recognized as the people I'd seen in the brainwashing films in Korea, a "broken will" if you will. Part of that came about later because he tried to get a job with Southern California Edison and the application form said "What did you do in the last 5 years?" and he couldn't fill it out. His palms began to sweat, his heart began to beat rapidly, he felt the walls were closing in, and he just beat it out of that place. Later, in school, psychology class, he was asked to stand up and speak in front of the room and the same reaction occurred. He couldn't talk about his childhood, his life or especially his service of four years.
From there, I began to do research and I interviewed a number of these people and heard about hundreds more, but I saw the pattern was repetitive. Then Operation Mind Control came out and ever since then, I've been running into absolutely incredible stories. One of them was on the book tour in 1978 in San Francisco. I was on KPIX television in the morning, I was the author of the day, a standard kind of morning show, and they were supposed to bus in a truckload of women from some women's club to be the audience. The bus broke down, so we opened the phone lines to San Francisco for the question and answer period.
At the break, the director said, "I think I've got a real one on the phone, do you want to take this live on the air?" And I said yes. On came a commander in the Navy and he said, "I was operating a black pajama team between 1961 and '63." I didn't know what that was, but what they were doing was committing assassinations of charismatic political leaders. And on the air, he said, "Behind a fixed border in Southeast Asia." Then he went on to talk about his amnesia, how his whole team had gotten the flu when they came back to the United States. They went to Walter Reed hospital and they got out with what he said were cardboard memories.
It took him 13 years or so to recover his memory and remember exactly what they were doing. They were assassinating politicians on the local county and state level before they got to be national leaders in this particular country. I later called him back. I knew by the way he was talking that he didn't want to reveal all of it on television, he was very guarded. We talked at length. I said, "Was the fixed border China?" And he said yes, it was.
I recently ran into the son of a prominent nuclear physicist that worked on the Manhatten Project back in the '40s who died in a mental institution. About three days before he died when his wife came to visit him after finding him, tracking him down, he said, "Get out of here, they're going to get you too. I can't believe you're this stupid to come here. Don't you know what they're doing to me?" He explained it all and it fit right in with the MK Ultra drug-hypnosis. And then he died of a mysterious illness and it's still covered up and the family is still living under an assumed name, afraid for their lives.
Every once in a while, I get correspondence and phone calls from people who claim that they've been implanted. I'm really not pulling your leg. Quite frankly, I don't know how to deal with it. I believe it so I want to be careful what direction I steer them into, I don't want to cause them any more problems. We ran across a lot of research where they were experimenting with that but I couldn't verify any. There's the electronic brain stimulation part of it where you have a radio transmitter that would stimulate part of the brain. Whether or not it could be developed in a very sophisticated manner with our present state of technology, I don't know. But you kind of cross the line there into some of the UFO kind of things that is open for speculation.
What I'm getting at, back in the late 50's or early 60's this professor Delgado was experimenting. There was one particular experiment of note that has gained a lot of notoriety in some circles and that's the one with the bull. What a dramatic thing. The bull gets within a dangerous distance and he pushes a button and the bull stops on a dime and looks around confused.
There was a radio receiver strapped to the bull's head and a little electrode implanted in his brain and wherever "stop" is on a bull's brain, that's what it stimulated. There's films of it. There's been a lot written on that particular incident. But you'd be surprised the number of people just totally ignorant to this subject, especially to the MK Ultra project.
I think it was Marshall McCuen that said the easiest way to keep a secret is to do the incredible and people won't believe it. After Operation Mind Control came out, there were 3 or 4 other books including John Marks "Search for the Manchurian Candidate." They all go over a lot of the same evidence that I went over, the documents anyway. I don't think any of them interviewed the victims as I did, but they all went over the same documents that the CIA released with the great sanitized sections blocked out.
It was like the Warren Commission report. Here's the evidence but their conclusion was, "You cannot make somebody do something against their will or without their knowledge." This is patently untrue. People still believe this, especially in the old school of psychiatry will believe that under hypnosis, you can't be made to do something against your will. The government documents show clearly that a number of people in experiments in a laboratory were made to attack their commanding officers and what-have-you just by convincing them that these were NOT their commanding officers, but the enemy.
Interviewer: I was just watching - I don't make it a point to tune into TV to often because I think that's dangerous to your health - but I caught an old rerun of a story about a veteran who was dishonorably discharged, worked in a lab as a forensic pathologist, went crazy and killed his ex-commanding officer. They arrested the guy for murder and he ended up hanging himself in a cell. They investigated and found out the guy was interrogated with the use of hallucinogenics in 1962 as part of an experiment. Of course, that was fiction.
But there was the story of the American GI in Germany that was having attacks and extreme emotional and mental problems and it was verified that it went back to a mysterious series of incidents when he was interrogated and given LSD 25. They were experimenting with it to find a "truth" serum.
Bowart: Right. If my count is correct on the MK Ultra, they've settled three lawsuits. The federal courts claim it bars you from suing the government when you're in service to the government. One was a black soldier in the Air Force. He got the same settlement as the others, they all got $750,000. That apparently is the price of a human life in terms of the United States government, only if you go after them.
We have lots of things we can say are wrong with our society, but the number one thing to me that stands out in a pattern of history that dates back to the end of WWII is a demonstration that the powers that be - especially that operate under the National Security Act of 1947 which says that in the interest of "national security" and that's never been defined, no case law on it, all your civil rights can be suspended.
We had a great opportunity with the Iran-Contra thing, the trial with North and Poindexter, to try the National Security Act, but the press being in a context that's been manipulated by the government, doesn't realize that they have a right to question the National Security Act. It was passed in two weeks, there was no debate on it and it frankly makes the Constitution a moot document.
So I'm very concerned about the premise that our citizenry, in this historical pattern since the end of the war, can be looked upon by operatives of the government as so many rats in a lab. In these MK ultra papers, we discovered that 8 cities in the U.S. were bombed with supposedly harmless germ weapons, San Francisco was one of them. It was some strain of pneumonia, if I remember correctly, supposed to be a harmless strain but some people did die of it.
We also learned that 100,000 soldiers were marched through radioactive fallout while the sand was still molten, in an American test, and a lot of those guys now have leukemia. There should be a class action suit, it's a bigger story than agent orange. One wonders if it still isn't going on, especially in the realm of what we've learned is called psychotronic warfare. It's the electronic enhancement or debilitation of mental abilities. The use of microwaves really bother me because they're so prevalent in our society now. A person could get zapped accidentally as well as on purpose.
There's a great book called "Diet for an Atomic Age" that I urge you all to read. There are ways to protect yourself against non-ionizing radiation. It has behavioral effects. It can effect your temperament, burn your retina and your inner ear and various things. By manipulating frequencies, you can effect human behavior. Norber Weiner in the '50's did an experiment where he put an assembly line in California together and he had a copper ceiling, and they changed the frequencies in the copper ceiling.
They were making widgets or whatever in the assembly line. He measured the output of how many widgets a day this group of people sitting under this radiating copper ceiling could make. That was the beginning of the studies in psychotronic warfare, from what I could find. You use the ionisphere which is a carrier, it operates above the oscillation of the human brainwave, you use that as a carrier and bounce a signal off of it, you may affect productivity. There's an electrical field around the brain and other kinds of fields that I'm not sure science understands it all yet.
Interviewer: Remember Fletcher Prouty's book "The Secret Team" and you see some of these people actually surfacing now. It's almost becoming everyday news.
Bowart: I've seen some of them, but they're not enough as far as I'm concerned.
Interviewer: The press isn't as free as we'd like it. As a perfect example, what happened to your book? There's a lot of vested interest that's not going to allow these stories to get out. Sherman Skolnic told me, he's a researcher, that most of the major press already know this stuff is true. They're just sitting on it because they can't use it right now, they've been told not to use it or they just feel it's not going to do any good to use it right now.
Bowart: Look a little deeper in our society. I've been kicking around an outline for a book called "The Prophets of Fear." When you look at the insurance industry and the pathetic state we're in, the system doesn't work and we're operating under fear. Fear is our biggest motivator. I'm real surprised the cold war is coming to an end. I guess they've run out of money to operate it so they're switching to something else. But you can be sure that it's going to be some kind of fear that's going to be used to motivate people.
I think most people are worried about their jobs, worried about staying alive and they've bought into this illusion, and are not able to confront any truth. I don't think most people really want to know what the government has done. Our illusion is of a free democracy. You can't convince me that you can go to the polls and elect a president that hasn't been bought and paid for by some vested interests.
I keep referring to the Muka Dema which was written by a Persian man, Iben Kaldoon back in the 13th century. He talks about group feeling as the motivator, the only thing you can run a society on. Then he talks about dynasties - "Dynasties motivate an economy by the consumption of wealth and display of luxury." In order to to that, they have to maintain a police or army and tax bedouins more and more every year to keep the police from taking over the throne. If the police or army DID take over the throne, they couldn't motivate the economy because they didn't know how to consume wealth and display luxury.
So then, it would decay back to the local dynasties or the only hopeful thing that could happen would be a man would arise that would express the group feeling and by force of group feeling, you could set up a new dynasty. He cynically reported that in the 13th century, that this new dynasty would not serve the people any more than three generations and the whole thing would decay again through one of the three choices. I read that when Watergate was going on and I looked up from the 13th into the 20th century and I saw exactly the same thing happening, with a lot more ignorance and a lot less finesse, but a lot more powerful technology. Nothing has changed.
But I keep hoping for a truly democratic concensus. Inherent in electronic democracy should be information traveling at the speed of light, information that CANNOT be kept secret. I think the reason that you've even seen an Iran Contra thing, the press is not a profession, it's a trade. I taught graduate journalism to a group of 30 students, two of whom I considered to be well-read and literate. The rest of them were borderline literate. I don't know how they got through six years of college without having a good command of the English language, but that was the fact in journalism school. Journalism is a blue-collar trade. That's the reason I started the underground press back in the 60's. The newspapers weren't doing the job. The East Village Other and the Underground Press succeeded on the force of group feeling alone. Freedom of the press is if you own the press. Better yet, the press is leased and you own nothing, and that's freedom.
Interviewer: Then it gets to a point in the book goes back to assassination teams. When you have a problem, you eliminate it. Taking that a step further, creating an assassin who has no memory of even doing it.
Bowart: Far more interesting is the patsy, we're talking about maybe Lee Harvey Oswald. I went out and purchased and learned to operate a Psychological Stress Evaluator which measures the stress in your voice. There's a reason for the stress. It could be a lie, it could be a lot of things, but then you've got to do your homework like any good reporter should.
George O'Toole did a pretty good book called the "Assassination Tapes" on Lee Harvey Oswald. You could get it today and run it on your PSE and you'll get the same results George did. When he said "I didn't kill anybody," it was clean, no stress on that point. Either he was a patsy or what? Why was he there? There's a lot of circumstantial evidence that links him to the crime, but it's only circumstantial. Oswald believed he didn't kill anyone, he believed that. He could have been hypno-programmed to show up at a certain time.
We can speculate about that because of the people that surrounded him such as David Ferry who was a pilot for the CIA and a trained hypnotist and general all around evil weirdo, and had access to Oswald. Also, in the MK Ultra papers we saw that in the Phillipines and in Japan, both places where Oswald was stationed for a period of time, were mind-control centers. My friend David said his control agent, his hypnotic control, was an Air Force chaplain. And so it goes. The Roman Catholic church since the Inquisition has had a history of being pretty ruthless at times. There's a direct link to American intelligence through Cardinal Spellman. Wild Bill Donovan, one of the major architects of the CIA, and during WWII was a director of the OSS, and his brother was a jesuit who was a good freind of Spellman's. They used the good offices of the church to do a number of things.
A friend of mine, a good devout Catholic, was called upon by Spellman to administer the Catholic relief fund. He did that for a couple of years but he couldn't make the books balance. There was a big leak in it. The money that came in cash was not going where it was supposed to go. My friend found out it was being used by the CIA to assassinate people and make pay-offs and various other things. He resigned and almost gave up his religion as a result.
A Lt. Commander Narut broke the story on this, he went public and said that we're training assassins and stationing them in embassys. They'll take a man out of a military prison who's a homicidal maniac and conditon him to be a homocidal maniac disposed to kill only _____, fill in the blank. They would be audio-visually desensitized, showing films over and over again.
Interviewer: Do you have a feeling that may be being practiced on society today? That our society is being desensitized so that it will accept certain horrors when they happen?
Bowart: Oh yes. Have you seen "Total Recall?" It's a very violent film.
The British have a national secrets act, you don't know WHAT they're doing, there's no clue, and even asking a question can get you in jail. They're very good at their intelligence operation. I can tell by the way the searched my room in London and kept me out until five in the morning entertaining me royally, I had a perfectly good time. My FBI file says that I am not a subversive but I am a dangerous free thinker. I joined the National Rifle Association and started sleeping with weapons and taking other precautions, putting things in safe deposit boxes, giving lawyers instructions and various other things, just to protect myself.
This country has been very disappointing to me. I had great hopes that this experiment in democracy could survive. It may yet, if the young people can wake up. Once you get the children and the family, you've got to worry about putting the bread on the table. In my youth when I started the East Village Other, I gave three years of my life to that, I didn't make any profit on it. That's what young people have got to do today if they care about their country. They've got to challenge, to question the concept of the National Security Act. You cannot have a democracy, a bill of rights, and have a National Security Act.
And let's take a look at the insurance business, how many stocks they buy and sell, what the profit margin is in insurance and how it affects medical costs and motivates fear, how it rewards what I call down-statistics. "If you get sick, we'll pay you." I'd like to hear about any information on the insurance business. There was an anti-trust suit filed under FDR's administration and insurance companies were given a temporary exemption from anti-trust. I'd like to pin that down. If you can go to the throat of the insurance companies, you can strangle this loss of freedom and this manipulation and control that's going on in this country. That's probably the most dangerous and provocative thing I could say.
It's a crazy world and until the youth of America finds their guts..... Nazi Germany is a good parallel to what's going on in this country now. The Nazis were hard fascists. This is soft fascism, and Mr. Bush is a master of it. It's a very subtle form. The judicial system is breaking down from sheer overload. I did not believe anybody could engineer something like that phony oil crisis, but they did. The medium of exchange for oil is the dollar. The Germans and the Japanese pay dollars to the Arabs for oil, and the Arabs have to re-invest their dollars in the U.S. to keep from having inflated dollars.
The only thing that's going to stop it is group feeling, if young people especially WAKE UP and do the same thing they did in the 60's. The movement in the 60's. I wanted to bomb the Pentagon with flowers. I put an ad in the paper, nothing clandestine, and said I'll give you the flowers if some pilot will risk losing his license. Tim Leary was the most radical thing they had on the payroll so they stuck him on the national news to block the news. He was an agent, he admitted as much to me. He got a lot of his funding back in the 50's and all the way through. When he was doing the LSD research at Harvard, his direct superior was one of the OSS old boys that wrote a book called "The Assessment of Men." But the main thing we complained about was altering a person's consciousness without their knowledge and against their will. I think a person has the right to commit suicide if they wish.
The war on drugs is the most ridiculous thing in the world. I testified for the Senate sub-committee and the judiciary in 1966 on the narcotics rehabilitation act of that year, Senator Dodd's committee. There were people in high places in our government in the drug business, not just the CIA. They get their secret budget and convert it into the most lucrative commodities that they can. When gold was regulated, they converted it to gold at $38 and ounce and sold it for $270 or $300 on the open market. Then we went off the gold standard and they switched to drugs. We're on the drug standard now. The war on drugs is just a ruse. We've got a prison industry in this country.
Interviewer: We're switching from the military industrial complex to the law enforcement industrial complex.
Bowart: That's right. Is it 1984? We're past that. Is it brave new world? Well, no. Even brave new world looks a bit positive from certain aspects.
Interviewer: Well, it's 1984 in the fact we are getting doublespeak. What's up is down, what's right is wrong. Words are taking a new meaning, even the way our rights are defined is taking a whole new meaning. This is all part of the Orwellian nightmare.
Bowart: That's true.
Interviewer: And as for brave new world, yes, they're already working on genetically altering people so they'll bigger and better and stronger...
Bowart: And more docile, probably. How can Man do this to himself, that's what I want to know.
Interviewer: Mort Sahl in his book "Heartland" said "How long will we hear the lie or believe the lie until we become part of it?"
Close on the heels of Operation Mind Control, I got together with another researcher who had a vast body of knowledge. He wants to remain anonymous. He rivals May in his clipping files. We outlined a book called "The Invisible 3rd World War." One of the chapters was on this germ-warfare dress rehearsal called the swine flu scare. It was to see if we could mobilize a good sampling of our public to go take that shot. And we did. We were the only country in the world at the time that had the injection guns, the technicians to generate a syrum and innoculate its people on fairly short notice. In that chapter, we even speculated about such things as what is now known as AIDS that would be very useful to thin out the 3rd world countries and the 3rd world within our own country.
That book never got off the drawing board. We wrote a few chapters, some of them were published in Gallery magazine, and that was the end of it. No publisher even wanted to look at it. Most of the good editors are unemployed, people with heart are unemployed.
I believe in democratic principles, this mystic thing, Jefferson wrote about it. "If you inform people, they will make the right decisions." I believe in that. We have a government now that works totally opposite to that. They want to keep people in the dark. That way, they can operate with impunity. The country as a whole, I hate to say it, looks like to me it's dying. I even think there's a blacklist and guys like you and me are on it.
So what are you going to do today to make your world a better world and a more democratic world? Got any ideas? I'm going to encourage everybody to commit insurance fraud, witihout getting caught, speaking hypothetically. If a an act of god happened, you'd break those damn insurance companies in a week.
If Operation Mind Control ever gets re-released, I'll certainly reinforce some of my conclusions by saying that freedom begins with an individual. I think that the people that were the guinea pigs in the MK Ultra program were obedient to authority in the first place and they chose to be obedient to authority. They refused to confront their fears, they let fear manipulate and control them. But they had a choice. They may not have known they had a choice, but there are ways to let people know that. It starts with the individual.
I've become very well educated in the behavioral sciences and I've found five or six axioms to live by that I'd like to share with you. They're to keep your mind from being controlled and to improve your life. One of them is take responsibility. If you just take responsibility for all your flat tires in life, that's step one.
Realize if it's possible for anyone in the world, it's possible for you. You've got all the tools that it takes to do anything. It's something more than goals - call it an outcome, if you will. Create the thing very positively and affirmatively and go for it. There are books out, called all kinds of things, all kinds of psycho-babble titles, but they're out there and people can apply them.
One of the axioms is the meaning of communication is the response you get. The response I got from Operation Mind Control was fantastic, it was a popular success. It was an even greater success because it was bought up and swept under the table - I believe, by the governments of the world that are working together. At least the British.
Interviewer: That's the other part of the problem. It's not just one government, now they're looking for a world order.
Bowart: That's true. And I think they're loyal to the buck. They're not loyal to a nation, not loyal to an ideology, and not loyal to any People. They are loyal to what's on the bottom line. And this game of money, every time you pick up a dollar, you're playing the game. You're playing with somebody else's money. You didn't print that money.
One time, I talked to the President of American Express and I said, "you know, I've got a printing press with some green ink and fancy paper. If I was going to counterfeit something, it would be American Express checks, because it's not the government." He said, "You're a very smart young man, you've been giving this a lot of thought." I said, "It's occurred to me, I never saw you guys prosecuting anybody for counterfeiting American Express."
He said, "You noticed that, did you? You never find it in the papers. You think we don't do someting about it?" I said, "What do you do about it?" He says, "Often we find them getting off an airplane in Turkey with drugs in their pockets." In Turkey, you go to jail for life. So they take these counterfeiters and play hardball with them, but they keep it out of the press and out of the public eye, and American Express is as solid as they come, at least that's the image. That's called "public relations" man!
So the meaning of communication is the response you get, and if you're not getting the response you want, change your behavior and try something else. I would suggest that anybody in this country that believes in democracy, do that. I don't hear many democratic statements these days. I don't see a lot of concern about the welfare of the common man.
We in America, our WWII generation, has a group feeling. I look around to say where's the group feeling for MY generation? The only thing I could find was the 60's - the anti-Vietnam movement was a manifestation of the group feeling. That was successfully "handled" by the government. But it did cut off some of the profits that they were going to make, had they drug it out a few more years. But I think it's time that we had MAJOR social reforms in this country.
Note - When this interview was taped, Bowart was 51 years old and living somewhere in Colorado.