Malaria and Mind Control: MK-ULTRA and the Guantanamo Connection

In last week’s edition of The Micah Hanks Radio Program, the topic of modern mind control and MKULTRA-style conditioning programs became the front focus. Often regarded in terms akin to mysticism, serious discussions relating current events to past US mind control experiments rarely find common audiences.

As a result, many remain unaware of the plethora of confession-gaining manipulation techniques constituting the repertoire employed by CIA interrogators and contracted agents, outside of water boarding, sleep deprivation and the other non-chemical torture mechanisms. In fact, by the mid-20th century, US military industrialists had been working to formulate ways of creating a perfectly tuned mind-controlled slave, and had already moved to integrate these conventional tools with more exotic interrogation methods.

The result of these secretive projects has led to a frustrating polarization of modern attitudes, and something of a collaborative impasse: a sort of communicative divorce where the realities regarding experimental truth drugs are kept from the public mind by virtue of a lack of clear reference points. Perhaps that is why the information presented in a 2012 article, which examined whether antimalarial drugs kept at the infamous detention center could have been used for MKULTRA style interrogations, is indeed compelling. By assigning investigation to Guantanamo Bay, serious discussions of mind control drugs and their effects are less vulnerable to being dismissed as purely the imaginings of speculative recreationalists, and better make the argument connecting official complicity in war crime-worthy experiments that have continued into modern times.

To elaborate further, the article discusses how operators at Gitmo subjected detainees to unnecessary and unconventional antimalarial drug treatments, likely with the goal of coaxing potentially pertinent intelligence from inmates in interrogation-like settings. This scenario, of course, is eerily reminiscent of controversial, decades old MKULTRA sub-projects, which were met with intense criticism in the 1977 Senate hearings concerning behavioral research the CIA secretly initiated. Overwhelmingly occupied with the use of psychotropic drugs in interrogation situations, the existence of MKULTRA and its numerous sub-projects—still firmly mired in controversy after all these years—may well have evolved primarily due to the significant value a viable truth drug might provide in times of war. Undoubtedly, such a premise is both plausible, and is precisely why any discussion on the subject of “mind control” or the MKULTRA sub-projects would benefit from the contextual framing the Truthout article provides. Recognizable to people living in a post-9/11 age, Guantanamo Bay provides a perfect setting, cover, and target pool for ongoing CIA research of this caliber.

Truthout provided ample documentation supporting their hypothesis that an antimalarial drug, mefloquine hydrochloride, was improperly administered to a sample group “of potential malaria carriers” with possibly mortal consequence. The proposal put forth by Truthout contends that the CIA stockpiled mefloquine with intentions to use the drug for nefarious purposes, as a sort of “incapacitating agent” on prisoners. Among the more shocking disclosures, a group of Gitmo detainees received dosage treatments “five times the amount taken weekly by those who use the drug for prophylactic purposes.” While the “official” response maintains that the use of mefloquine was solely for its antimalarial indication, the folks at Truthout remain skeptical, reporting that although it’s tempting to dismiss the presence of a commonly used antimalarial drug when autopsying successfully suicidal Gitmo detainees, deeper consideration is deserved by merit that medical evidence—in the form of a toxicology tests—indicate something other than the usual presence of mefloquine in at least one detainee that had been at Gitmo for five years. This fact is only a part of the story which concludes with Truthout suggesting that, “it appears highly possible that the motive for the drug’s use was to psychologically disorient and physically debilitate all or some portion of incoming prisoners.”

Yes, the Truthout report is worrisome with its implications, but unfortunately, media reports relating the (truth?) drug, mefloquine, to war atrocities is not confined to Guantanamo. Recently, ABC News ran a story titled, “Antimalarial Drug Linked to Sgt. Robert Bales Massacre,” wherein the 2012 massacre of sixteen Afghani civilians, nine of which were children, is recounted. Of specific interest here is the suggested parallel between mefloquine and casualty, equally unusual in respect to the military’s continued, campaign-like use of the drug despite the existence of several effective alternatives and its known potential for instigating psychotic episodes in a small number of those treated. Resultantly, the questionable scenario involving mefloquine use at Guantanamo and the drug’s speculated linkage to that psychotic rampage in Afghanistan is noteworthy. And though the implications are startling, such abuses are known to have occurred at Guantanamo in the form of “enhanced interrogations” (i.e. water boarding). Understandable, then, that officials continue to play damage control, issuing narratives that reduce monumental lapses of judgment with the wishful hope of altogether avoiding any effectual measure of accountability.

For now, though the discussion may end here for many, that does not remove the irony one may also draw from recognizing how, in a society so involved with pharmaceutical remedies and facsimile personality profiles, no large-scale attention is given to the discussion about the possible continuation of MKULTRA-style mind control programs. And in a society where the social order is increasingly mitigated through a concave lens of hypnotic enlightenment, perhaps what those who remain skeptical need do for themselves is to acknowledge, at least, these ever-present incongruities.


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