Sunday, January 04, 2009

Just in time for the passing of Dock Ellis

“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?”
-George Hunter White, fucking nut job.
There are few chapters in American history as dark or reprehensible as Operation: Midnight Climax. While I was as inclined as you to assume that this was some B-skin flick from the late 70s, turns out it was an actual CIA project involving a devious bastard named George Hunter White, a hard-drinking, kinky-sex addicted sociopath who was given tens of thousands of hits of LSD by the American government to drop on unsuspecting prostitutes, artists, writers and friends. Including one who had her infant daughter with her.
There are some great stories about White, and I can only imagine what we'd have learned if the bulk of his notes and reports hadn't been destroyed years ago. One can only imagine what they made of the drug, dosing co-workers as practical jokes or political opponents before they speak in front of a crowd*. that said, though, I'm sure it was an interesting sociology experiment, to say the least.
Anyway, there's a great article here (there are several pages, click "continue of you want to keep reading them) about the the whole thing, which took place in 3 cities and was under the umbrella of the infamous MKULTRA** designation. Also, I liked this article from the SF Sentinel that contained this nugget of a quote about White from one of his former lieutenants:
“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.”
My favorite part? "Write this down". Of course.

*I can't even imagine seeing someone running for office give a speech on acid. The very thought chills my bones.
**The project, not the Vanderslice band. Or the several other bands of that name.

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