"When Frank Olson's wife died, his children had Frank Olson exhumed so that he could be moved to the same cemetery. They took that opportunity to have an autopsy performed, which concluded that Olsen was struck in the head before falling to his death in New York, suggesting homicide.
"The apology and payout to the Olson family from the Ford administration to settle the lawsuit brought by the family was supposedly at to the urging of Cheney and Rumsfeld (yes, the same ones). Because the death was related to classified information, they argued, the government would not be able to mount a defense to the lawsuit.
"Gottleib had taken Olson to New York to try to help him recover from his changed state. But there were few psychiatric professionals with clearance to know what had been done to him. So while in New York, Gottleib also took him to meet a magician named Mullholland, hoping the illusionist could do a few tricks to cheer him up. Mullholland knew a bit about MK-ULTRA. He wrote a sleight-of-hand book for the CIA as part of an MK-ULTRA subproject. The book primarily focuses on teaching operatives how to drug people without there knowledge. The book itself is still classified.
"You mentioned that Gottleib picked victims in the seedy parts of San Francisco, but, in fact, he also worked in one of the nicer neighborhoods of the city by the bay. There is a duplex on 225 Chestnut Street, up on Telegraph hill, that was rented under the assumed name Morgan Hall. The CIA set it up like a brothel. They bribed prostitutes (with drugs) to bring their clients up where they were drugged unwittingly and then observed. (The prostitutes were 'paid' with drugs, and the clients were drugged unwittingly.) The same apartment was also used by the DEA for sting operations on drug dealers."
Reader comment: Duncan says: "The documentary Crazy Rulers of the World, by the journalist Jon Ronson suggests an alternative explanation to Frank Olson's death. Ronson interviewed one of Olson's colleagues who said that Olson was aware he had been dosed, was laughing about it and that it had no ill effects. There was no autopsy done on Olson's corpse when he was buried, but Olson's son had the body exhumed and examined. Forensic study suggested that Olson had received a blow to the back of the head, possibly from a gun butt, before he fell to his death. Olson's son also notes that his fathers melancholia and death came shortly after visits to Europe and there is evidence to suggest that he was party to the torture and killing of Cold War detainees. It is suggested a crisis of conscience caused his distress and eventual assassination by his CIA colleagues concerned about his loyalty."
Reader comment: Jamie says: "This article from Counter Punch details even more despicable and creepy research projects that Gottlieb was part of. It even mentions the suspicious circumstances of Gottleib's own death:"
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.
Reader comment: Anonymous says: "After reading about Gottileb and the CIA using LSD, I was reminded of an article I saved about Gottileb's division that I read in Spin magazine in March of 1994. I found a copy of the article listed on the Frank Olson site (the home page of which was submitted by a reader, but this article itself is not easily found by navigating the site) It details information from Ike Feldman, an operative that worked under George White who was drafted by Gottileb - and what they did, as well as further information about Gottileb and how he ran his group." Link
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects