In the aftermath of World War II, instead of prosecuting certain German and Japanese officials for various war crimes, the Central Intelligence Agency decided it would be more useful to recruit some of them into their own ranks, thus opening one of the most bizarre chapters in Cold War history under the agency’s director Allen Dulles and spymaster Sidney Gottlieb.
Journalist and author Stephen Kinzer joins the podcast this week to discuss his new book, “Poisoner in Chief,” which details the unbelievable history of Project MKUltra, which for a period of time highlighted the CIA’s obsession with hallucinogenic mind control experiments as a method to fight communism.
The story of Sidney Gottlieb represents one of the most shocking extremes of US foreign policy activity – an incredible story of US taxpayer dollars being used to hire Nazi doctors for illegal human experimentation, while essentially providing Gottlieb with a “license to kill” on three separate continents.
During the interview, Kinzer also discusses his other books and his history of researching and investigating the history of US involvement in coups, attempted overthrows, and programs of regime change, from Latin America to Africa to Southeast Asia.
“We delude ourselves into believing that we’re actually bringing progress and civilization to backward lands that are caught up in chaos, upheaval, and anarchy,” says Kinzer in the Departures interview. “When actually, the record shows that in most of these cases where we’ve intervened we have sought to overthrow relatively stable democracies and replace them with hideously murderous regimes that have gone on to create havoc for their own people and undermine American security.”