By any measure, "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski -- a math prodigy who skipped two grades -- was a brilliant and promising young man. After enrolling in Harvard as a 16-year-old, Kaczynski was lured into acting as a guinea pig in a series of abusive and damaging psychological tests supervised by behavioral psychologist Dr. Henry Murray.
During World War II, Murray worked with the OSS (which would later become the CIA), developing psychological tests to evaluate potential spies. He also devised methodologies for interrogating POWs. His experiments at Harvard continued seamlessly from his work with the OSS.
Most of the pertinent details of Murray's experiments are inaccessible: Harvard sealed the files in 2000, insisting that this was necessary in order to protect the "integrity" of the project. There is cause for suspicion test subjects may have been given LSD or other mind-altering substances, given that the CIA had conducted experiments of that kind with other Harvard students. Whatever happened to Kaczynski and Murray's other subjects was sufficiently degrading and harmful to wring a guilty expression of regret from one of the doctor's assistants.
At age 17, the future Unabomber was one of 22 students who were required to submit to Dr. Murray a detailed description of their upbringing, their everyday routine -- including intimate details involving sexual fantasies and toilet functions -- and a description of their "philosophy of life." They were informed that another student would be invited to discuss and debate their moral values and opinions with them.
This was sadism in the service of ideological ambition. The specific focus of Murray's academic research, points out environmental journalist (and fellow Harvard alum) Alston Chase, was to develop a science of personality "transformation." Murray "advocated implementing the agenda of the World Federalist Association, which called for a single world government," Chase noted in a detailed survey article published ten years ago in The Atlantic.
In a letter to his friend and counselor Lewis Mumford, Murray wrote: "The kind of behavior that is required by the present threat [of nuclear war] involves transformations of personality such as never occurred quickly in human history." Through the marriage of psychiatry and sociology, Murray hoped to beget a hybrid discipline that would eventually create a New World Man suitable for citizenship in the World State he envisioned.
It is indisputable that Murray's Harvard experiments were a continuation of his work with the OSS. Substantial evidence suggests that Murray's program was part of the CIA's MK Ultra program, in which test subjects -- often college-age men -- were used in experiments involving "sensory deprivation, sleep learning, subliminal projection, electronic brain stimulation, and hallucinogenic drugs to study various applications for behavior modification," recalls David Kaczynski. "One project was designed to see if subjects could be programmed to kill on demand. Experiments were conducted in penal institutions, mental institutions, and on university campuses."
A 1967 internal CIA assessment documented that hundreds of professors on more than 100 college campuses were involved in clandestine experiments connected to MK Ultra.
The same cannot be said of Sally Johnson, the forensic psychologist hired by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to evaluate Ted Kaczynski during his 1998 trial.
While Johnson doesn't directly implicate Murray's experiments, she did conclude that Kaczynski's self-appointed mission as an apostle of "revolutionary violence" was triggered by something he experienced at Harvard.
Furthermore, there was nothing defective in Kaczynski's perception of the malign nature of the system as he had experienced it. His frequently expressed concerns "about the possibility of mind control," as Chase points out, were not "paranoid delusions. In view of Murray's experiment, he was not only rational but right. The university and the psychiatric establishment had been willing accomplices in an experiment that had treated human beings as unwitting guinea pigs, and had treated them brutally."
Murray's program was discontinued in 1962, the same year that Kaczynski graduated from Harvard. That year was a busy one for those employed by the academic wing of the Military-Industrial Complex, as they continued to toil away at various esoteric projects exploring the use of applied psychology to build the Total State.
At Yale, Stanley Milgram was conducting his notorious pseudo-electroshock experiments on obedience to authority. At MIT, Lincoln P. Bloomfield finished a report -- funded by the US State Department on behalf of the Institute for Defense Analyses -- entitled A World Effectively Controlled by the United Nations: A Preliminary Study of One Form of a Stable Military Environment. (Bloomfield's report didn't envision a foreign takeover of the United States through the UN, but rather the creation of "supra-national institutions, characterized by mandatory universal membership and some ability to employ physical force" -- something akin to the vaguely UN-centered "coalition of the willing" approach used by Washington it is war against Serbia in 1999 and in its continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
Bloomfield's report contained the provocative and telling observation that building the world order he described would require "a grave crisis or war to bring about a sudden transformation in national attitudes sufficient for the purpose.... [T]he order we examine may be brought into existence as a result of a series of sudden, nasty, and traumatic shocks." This would have meant subjecting the population at large to the same kind of "transformative" psychological trauma that Dr. Murray had prescribed to create the New World Man on an individual basis.