Project ARTICHOKE (also referred to as Operation ARTICHOKE) was a CIA project that researched interrogation methods and arose from Project BLUEBIRD on August 20, 1951, run by the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence. A memorandum by Richard Helms to CIA director Allen Welsh Dulles indicated Artichoke became Project MKULTRA on April 13, 1953.[not in citation given]
The project studied hypnosis, forced morphine addiction (and subsequent forced withdrawal), and the use of other chemicals including LSD, to produce amnesia and other vulnerable states in subjects.
ARTICHOKE was a mind control program that gathered information together with the intelligence divisions of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and FBI. In addition, the scope of the project was outlined in a memo dated January 1952 that stated, “Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation?”
Project Artichoke was the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret code name for carrying out in-house and overseas experiments using LSD, hypnosis, and total isolation as a form of physiological harassment for special interrogations on human subjects. The subjects who left this project were fogged with amnesia, resulting in faulty and vague memories of the experience. The name of this project came about from a New York City criminal who was nicknamed “the Artichoke King” Ciro Terranova. (Kaye) It was formally known as Project Bluebird, but in August 1951, the operation was renamed. This project was a kickoff for MKUltra.
The CIA disputed which department would take over the operation. Finally, it was decided that an agent from the CIA research staff, a former army brigadier general, Paul F. Gaynor, would oversee it. The CIA chose the weaker and less intelligent as its subjects, which they thought to be homosexuals, racial minorities and military prisoners. The operation took place in special isolated locations throughout Japan, Europe, Asia, and the Philippines.