Netflix’s docudrama Wormwood looks at the CIA’s infamous MKUltra mind control program

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Wormwood is the upcoming six-part Netflix docudrama from acclaimed documentarian Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War). Peter Sarsgaard (Shattered Glass, Kinsey) stars as Frank Olsen, an American bacteriologist and biological warfare scientist plunged to his death from his hotel room window on 28 November 1953. While his death was ruled as a suicide, due to no evidence of foul play and based on reports of prior mental instability, his family and many others believe he was murdered by US government agents to prevent him from going public with his work for the government.

Before his death Olsen was involved with the infamous CIA mind control program known as MKUltra, the stated aim of which was the “research and development of chemical, biological, and radiological materials capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior.” The program, which involved numerous tertiary education institutions, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and prisons, illegally experimented on both US and Canadian citizens without their knowledge amongst many other questionable deeds, and Olsen himself was purportedly secretly dosed with LSD shortly before his death.

The series synopsis is as follows:

This six-part series explores the limits of our knowledge about the past and the lengths we’ll go in our search for the truth. A family story of one man’s sixty-year quest to identify the circumstances of his father’s mysterious death. A quest which brings him face-to-face with some of the darkest secrets of the United States.

Let’s take a look:

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It’s no secret that governments around the world get involved in questionable activities in the name of security, and the MKUltra program – along with Olsen’s death – has proven fertile ground for both those tackling government overreach and conspiracy theorists alike. Wormwood looks like an intriguing look into this enduring mystery, and while I suspect there will be compelling circumstantial evidence laid out, I doubt a smoking gun will appear.

What do you think?

Wormwood is due to begin airing on Netflix on 15 December. It also features Molly Parker, Christian Camargo, Scott Shepperd, Tim Blake Nelson, Bob Balaban, and Jimmi Simpson – please tell me he’s a man in black.

Last Updated: December 6, 2017

  • Magu

    Hah! Far more likely to be a routine spreading of misinformation than the exposing of a genuine smoking gun. What are the chances that they delve into how deeply entwined Hollywood was with MK projects?

  • Looks interesting!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      You don’t! Zing!

    • Original Heretic

      You ever seen The Montauk Chronicles? Now THAT shit is interesting. Kinda out there, but damn, even if 5% of what’s in there is true, it’s still scary.

  • Original Heretic

    Wonder if I’ll see anything in this that I haven’t seen elsewhere. So many stories out there.

  • freebird100

    I`ll be watching to see just how much they cover in this series. LSD and other drugs are only a part of it. Trauma based mind control and hypnosis play a big part.

    I bet the CIA was there as a consultant telling the director how far they could go in regards to national security.

    • freebird100

      Here`s a link you might find interesting. It relates to trauma based mind control. It ties into the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

      Author explores CIA connections to torture tactics-Jan. 2006
      https://news.wisc.edu/author-explores-cia-connections-to-torture-tactics/
      “The origins of the Abu Ghraib scandal and the Guantanamo controversy can be traced very directly to the 1950s, when the Central Intelligence Agency launched a massive mind-control project that discovered psychological torture. This proved an unheralded scientific breakthrough, indeed, the first real revolution in five centuries in the cruel science of pain,” McCoy says.

      He goes on to say that the CIA spent the next 30 years spreading these sophisticated techniques throughout the world by training anti-communist allies, police and military in the developing world to use methods of psychological torture.

      “By the end of the Cold War, these torture techniques had become so embedded in the American security apparatus that congressional legislation enacted to abolish these practices instead legalized them,”

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