Subproject 119 MKULTRA & MKDELTA (abroad) Experimentation on Unwitting Public

MKULTRA Subproject 119: EEG bioelectric signal analysis and remote behavior activation
23/02/2004 Allen L. Barker

MKULTRA Subproject 119: Recording, analysis and interpretation of
bioelectric signals from the human organism, and activation of human
behavior by remote means.

Below are some excerpts and summaries of some declassified documents
related to MKULTRA Subproject 119.  My comments and summaries are in
brackets.  Empty brackets are redacted information.  An ellipsis in
brackets is where I have snipped out some information.  The full
directory of these documents is online at the Intellnet site at

The following project description from one of the documents is already
online in ASCII text format at  The original MKULTRA
document is online at
(See also some similar overview information in

The purpose of MKULTRA Subproject 119 was:

To make a critical review of literature and scientific developments
related to the recording, analysis and interpretation of bioelectric
signals from the human organism and activation of human behavior by
remote means. As it is visualized, the task should begin with a
general survey of research and instrumentation in a number of fields;
including neurophysiology, biophysics, anatomy, physiological
psychology and neuropsychiatry, as well as electronics, telemetry and
communications engineering. At the same time that bibliographic and
related activity is initiated, correspondence should be undertaken
with all laboratories, companies and agencies working in or carrying
out activities related to designated areas of the broad survey
problem. Visits to laboratories may be undertaken if needed. The
divisions of the problem fall naturally into five main areas; (1)
bioelectric sensors: sources of significant electrical potential and
methods of pick-up; (2) recording; amplification, electronic tape and
other multi-channel recording; (3) analysis: autocorrelators, spectrum
analyzers, etc. and coordination with automatic data processing
equipment; (4) standardization of data for correlation with
biochemical, physiological and behavioral indices; (5) techniques of
activation of the human organism by remote electronic means. Progress
has been made and the list of laboratories, investigators and
resources in the Bioelectronic study is in preparation.

Curiously, for what was just supposed to be a review of the literature,
there is mention of a full-time technician in the financial records at
Similarly, a letter below mentions the possibility of getting time on
a fancy signal analyzer to analyze EEG data.

Remember that the surviving MKULTRA documents are financial records
that CIA agent Dr. Robert Lashbrook testified were basically “cover
files” with some administrative value.  (It was Lashbrook, by the way,
who put the LSD in the Cointreau bottle that Frank Olson drank a glass
from and who later took Olson to New York where he had his fatal fall
from a window.)  In response to Senate testimony by Lashbrook, Senator
Schweiker — who had used the term “cover files” — stated, “I wonder
what the real files contain.”  See  Unfortunately, the
real files were (at least said to have been) destroyed on the orders
of then-CIA-director Richard Helms in 1973.

The first item below is the best I could make out from one particular
Subproject 119 document scan.  It seems to be a letter from the
researcher to the research sponsors detailing some progress in
locating EEG analysis equipment.  Remember that this was 1959, fairly
early in the days of computers.  The document is very hard to read,
and I freely filled in what words I could infer from the context.  (It
sometimes seems like the pages with real info tend to be the garbled
ones.  There do seem to be two different scans of this letter, which
helps a little.)  Incidentally, this researcher was unwitting as to
who the actual sponsors of the research were and so was presumably
given a cover story.  This is probably why there are references in
some documents to things like the “Board of Directors.”

Following that letter I have included summaries of and excerpts from
several other Subproject 119 documents.  A main conclusion is that
MKULTRA did not only involve drug experiments, as may be the popular
perception.  In particular, certain programs were aimed at searching
for methods of sensing and measuring human bioelectric signals, and
for methods to analyze such data and correlate it with behavioral and
psychological factors.  EEG brain waves were definitely among the
bioelectric signals that were studied.  In all of the documents
available in this Subproject 119 collection, none of them make
especially clear what was meant by the phrase “activation of human
behavior by remote means.”

At the end I have included some general excerpts from the Church
Committee report as a reminder of the general nature of MKULTRA —
which included planned testing on nonconsensual, unwitting citizens
in “normal life settings.”
[ ]

September 28, 1959

[ ]

Dear [ ]

Thank you for your letter of 14 September.  I have just returned from
meeting with the [ ] and there is a strong possibility of a
development xxxich greater importance than that which I requested in
my letter to him of which you received a copy.  [ ] requested that
this not be discussed until further administrative approval is given.
However, his organization has completed the construction of a new
seismic analyzer which can handle auto correlation, cross correlation,
power spectra, and other advanced analyses of wave signals for 32
channels simultaneously.  When I finished describing the purposes of
my research he understood the problem better than I did and outlined
the entire analysis.  He is investigating the possibility of
programming time for us on this machine to analyze tape-recorded EEG
records.  I believe that we will also be able to receive some
financial help from them concerning the instrumentation of the tape
recording of EEG records.

This afternoon I spoke on the telephone with [ ] who is writing a
chapter in my [ ] book, is an internationally known cardiologist and
is somewhat interested in the approach we are taking.  He may very
likely be a source of further support to the research once we get the
prxxxxxx xxxxx xx of the way.



[A letter describing the general plan for the research task.  Similar
to the paragraph above stating the purpose of the Subproject.]


[The research proposal.  This document contains a lot of information
relevant to MKULTRA EEG analysis.  The second page is very difficult
to read and I have not tried to decipher it here.]

Research proposal to [ ] July 1, 1959

For the past nine years, I have maintained a continuing interest in
certain problems in electroencephalography, which have both
psychological and medical applications.  This research started while I
was [ ] had been conducted jointly with [ ].  We have investigated
electrical potentials recorded from the brains of psychiatric patients
and normal subjects in relation to psychological, neurological, and
induced stress factors and have been interested in the use of
electronic analyzers for diagnostic and scientific interpretation of
the recorded brain waves.  In the course of this work, several
electronic analyzers were built with [ ] and provided impressive
results despite their crudeness and obvious limitations.

Those instruments are basically frequency analyzers which provide
information concerning the total amount of electrical activity
recorded for a single channel during a ten second epoch, by frequency
bands.  While I was at the [ ] the pressure of directed research
requirements prevented further work on the development of an improved
electronic analyzer.

Yet, it was apparent that the equipment mentioned above was useful
only in certain limited research problems and was inadequate to handle
multi-channel recordings under longer time periods, needed both for
more complex research and diagnostic application.  The diagnostic
problems are of particular importance in medicine and psychiatry
inasmuch as the only method available at present is visual reading of
clinical records, which is both unreliable and inaccurate, and
resembles the clinical interpretation of projective techniques in

In my opinion the development of an adequate multi-channel electronic
analyzer for electrical signals from the brain and other systems of
the human organism is one of the most important needs in these fields

Two developments within the past few years have spurred my interest in
this problem.  One was the demonstration that EEG records could be
recorded on magnetic tape with high fidelity by means of frequency
modulation techniques.  The second was the fact that electronic
scientists have developed excellent quantitative techniques for
analyzing and interpreting electrical signals obtained by telemetry
from rockets and satellites used in ballistic missiles and space


4) A research program in psycho-physiology to investigate psychological
and physiological correlates of electrical signals from the human



[Letter discussing proposed research on “stimulus situations in human
behavior.”  A taxonomy of such variables is suggested.]


The conceptual formulation is in terms of environmental effects on
human behavior as a set of variables describable as “environmental
traits.”  At present I am thinking in terms of two main divisions: (1)
the life space of the individual, and (2) the immediate task
situation.  I have progressed to the point of developing a preliminary
classification of research variables and data collection plans.  The
principal methodology for reduction of data will be cluster analysis
and later, factor analysis.



[This is just a reminder of the general nature of MKULTRA operations
and the indifference to human life involved in real-life tests of
these “materials” on unwitting citizens.  Were “materials” related to
Subproject 119 tested on unwitting citizens in “normal life settings”
as part of MKULTRA?  That is officially undocumented as far as I know.
If they did develop something they could have tested that way then
they probably did.]

94TH Congress, 2d Session Senate Report No. 94-755
Foreign and Military Intelligence
Book I
Final Report of the Select Committee
To Study Governmental Operation With Respect To
Intelligence Activities


Part of the rationale for the establishment of this special funding
mechanism was its extreme sensitivity. The Inspector General’s survey
of MKULTRA in 1963 noted the following reasons for this sensitivity:

a. Research in the manipulation of human behavior is considered by
many authorities in medicine and related fields to be professionally
unethical, therefore the reputation of professional participants in
the MKULTRA program are on occasion in jeopardy.

b. Some MKULTRA activities raise questions of legality implicit in
the original charter.

c. A final phase of the testing of MKULTRA products places the
rights and interests of U.S. citizens in jeopardy.

d. Public disclosure of some aspects of MKULTRA activity could
induce serious adverse reaction in U.S. public opinion, as well as
stimulate offensive and defensive action in this field on the part of
foreign intelligence services.

Over the ten-year life of the program, many “additional avenues to the
control of human behavior” were designated as appropriate for
investigation under the MKULTRA charter. These include radiation
electroshock, various fields of psychology, psychiatry, sociology, and
anthropology, graphology, harassment substances, and paramilitary
devices and materials.”

The research and development of materials to be used for altering
human behavior consisted of three phases: first, the search for
materials suitable for study; second, laboratory testing on voluntary
human subjects in various types of institutions; third, the
application of MKULTRA materials in normal life settings.


LSD was one of the materials tested in the MKULTRA program. The final
phase of LSD testing involved surreptitious administration to
unwitting nonvolunteer subjects in normal life settings by undercover
officers of the Bureau of Narcotics acting for the CIA.

The rationale for such testing was “that testing of materials under
accepted scientific procedures fails to disclose the full pattern of
reactions and attributions that may occur in operational situations.”

According to the CIA, the advantage of the relationship with the
Bureau was that

test subjects could be sought and cultivated within the setting of
narcotics control. Some subjects have been informers or members of
suspect criminal elements from whom the [Bureau of Narcotics] has
obtained results of operational value through the tests. On the other
hand, the effectiveness of the substances on individuals at all social
levels, high and low, native American and foreign, is of great
significance and testing has been performed on a variety of
individuals within these categories. [Emphasis added.]

A special procedure, designated MKDELTA, was established to govern the
use of MKULTRA materials abroad. Such materials were used on a number
of occasions. Because MKULTRA records were destroyed, it is impossible
to reconstruct the operational use of MKULTRA materials by the CIA
overseas; it has been determined that the use of these materials
abroad began in 1953, and possibly as early as 1950.


Mind Control: TT&P ==>
Home page:
Allen Barker



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