Walterville (Vocus) December 16, 2009
In a bizarre about-face, the secretive Central Intelligence Agency has requested documents from an investigative journalist, even though the writer had earlier obtained them from the CIA itself under the Freedom of Information Act.
The strange request was made last week to author H.P. Albarelli Jr., whose recently published book A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments, details a myriad of CIA drug experiments and exposes a large number of previously anonymous physicians and business officials who contracted with the agency. The experiments resulted in the deaths of a number of people and sent hundreds more seeking medical help.
“The caller, an agency official, who identified himself by a name I was quite familiar with from past requests,” explained Albarelli, “asked if I would be so kind as to send by fax two documents my book referenced in its narrative and footnotes. I suppose I should have been bowled over by the request, but I wasn’t. It happened once before.”
“The crazy thing,” added Albarelli, “is that all of the requested documents came from my FOI requests to the agency in the early 1990s.”
The documents requested from Albarelli centered on two subjects. The first top-secret CIA document details a meeting between an official of the Sandoz Chemical Company and an undercover CIA operator. The document reveals a close relationship between the firm and the agency, and provides stunning details about a mysterious 1951 outbreak of “insanity” in a small French town, Pont St. Esprit. In a covert experiment, the village was surreptitiously administered the powerful hallucinogen LSD in an attempt to see if there was a viable method of waging war without killing people or destroying property. A related document appears to reveal that famed LSD inventor, Albert Hoffmann, maintained a close relationship with the CIA.
The second document requested reveals intelligence links between one of the criminals who murdered Frank Olson and the assassination of JFK, including a possible working relationship with suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. About seven years ago, after an Internet article by Albarelli, an agency official requested that Albarelli send the CIA a copy of a top-secret report from the CIA’s Robert Lashbrook to Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, director of its Chemical Division. The document concerned a Pentagon and CIA cover-up of the 1953 death of a patient at the New York Psychiatric Institute. That patient, Harold Blauer, was killed by an injection of drugs administered under a covert CIA contract.
A Terrible Mistake is published by TrineDay, an Oregon-based company that specializes in books that are shunned by mainstream publishers due to their controversial nature.
H.P. Albarelli Jr. has written a number of groundbreaking newspaper, magazine and Internet articles, including several on the Olson case, as well as topics such as anthrax, Cuba, child abuse and intelligence matters. His novel The Heap was published in 2005. More information on A Terrible Mistake can be found at: http://www.aterriblemistake.com.