Sidney Gottlieb

From Academic Kids

Sidney Gottlieb (August 3, 1918 - March 7, 1999) was an American chemist probably best-known for his involvement with the Central Intelligence Agency mind control program (MKULTRA).

He was born in the Bronx under the name Joseph Schneider. He received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. Despite the fact that he was a stutterer since childhood, Sidney got a master's degree in speech therapy. He also had a club foot, but this did not stop him from practicing folk dancing, a lifelong passion.

In 1951, Sidney Gottlieb joined the Central Intelligence Agency. As a poison expert, he headed the chemical division of the Technical Services Staff (TSS). Sidney became known as the "Black Sorcerer" and the "Dirty Trickster". He supervised preparations of lethal poisons and experiments in mind control.


Missing image
Dr. Sidney Gottlieb approved of an MKULTRA subproject on LSD in this June 9, 1953 letter.

In April 1953 Sidney Gottlieb headed the secret project MK-ULTRA which was started on the order of CIA director Allen Dulles. Gottlieb was known for administration of LSD and other psycho-active drugs to unwitting subjects and financed psychiatrists to develop "techniques that would crush the human psyche to the point that it would admit anything." He sponsored physicians such as Dr. Ewen Cameron and Dr. Harris Isbell in controversial psychiatric research that used unwitting humans as guinea pigs. Many people had their lives destroyed in this research financed by Gottlieb and the Rockefeller Foundation.

In March 1960, under The Cuban Project, a CIA plan approved by President Eisenhower and under the direction of CIA Directorate for Plans, Richard Bissell, Gottlieb came up with ideas to spray Fidel Castro's television studio with LSD and dousing Castro's shoes with thallium so that the hair of his beard would fall out. Gottlieb also hatched schemes to assassinate Castro such as using a poisoned cigar, a poisoned wetsuit, an exploding conch shell, and a poisonous fountain pen.

Gottlieb is also known for his trip to Congo carrying a CIA-developed biotoxin to be placed on the toothbrush of Patrice Lumumba. Also he tried to have Iraq's General Abd alKarim Kassem's handkerchief contaminated with botulinum. Less known was a mission within the CIA's Phoenix Program in Vietnam where a team of CIA psychologists performed mind control experiments on NLF suspects being detained at Bien Hoa Prison outside of Saigon. Through electrode implants in the brain, the prisoners were manipulated to attack each other with knives. However the experiment was a failure and the patients were shot and their bodies burned.

Sidney Gottlieb retired from the CIA in 1972, while still the head of the Technical Services Staff. He allegedly destroyed most of the CIA files pertaining to him before he retired.

Sidney Gottlieb's passing on March 10, 1999 came at a convenient time for the CIA, just as several new trials involving victims of its experiments were being brought.

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