The title is an attention-grabber- forgive - but there is some truth in it.
Daniel P Brown (1948-2022), the relatively unknown but unique and extraordinary teacher of Mahamudra and Dzogchen in the Tibetan Bon lineage, was indeed unknowingly connected to the CIA mind control program "MKUltra" through the CIA-financed LSD research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Institute. Thankfully, his area of work did not contribute to the inhuman and illegal goals of MKUltra. It benefitted the dying through forward-looking research with psychedelics.
He must have hated it when he was informed of this, even as his work had been an important contribution to the then emerging LSD research for palliative support. And these experiences certainly informed his spiritual work as much as his views on psychedelics.
Eventually, his involvement in and knowledge of MKUltra led him to defend the assassin of Robert Kenney, Sirhan Sirhan. Sirhan, so Brown, waxa victim of such CIA-financed mind manipulations.
The 1960s/1970s: Daniel Brown unknowingly conducts CIA financed LSD research
In the late 1960s, Daniel P Brown was still a psychologist. Like many of his generation, he was deeply interested in the LSD research to heal mental illnesses and alleviate suffering.
In his twenties, he got a position as researcher working for Stanislav Grof, the famous LSD researcher then and today. Stan Grof, now in his nineties, remembers him from the times "before Tibetan Buddhism".
Dan Brown remembers:
In 1970 and 1971, I was a young student and got interested in hallucinogens and worked at Spring Grove at Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in Baltimore. And we were one of the last human subjects project. We were giving a mixture of what's now called ecstasy and LSD, 400 micrograms, a heavy dose, to people with terminal end-stage cancer.
And so they would develop a larger spiritual perspective on life, and then they would prepare them to die. And I worked on that project for two years until they just pulled all the funding of that research. Now it's getting popular again, but for over 25 years, all the research was stopped in the US.
What Dan Brown did not know before the institute was closed: it was financed by the CIA in the context of the infamous MKUltra program.
The MKUltra mind manipulation program
The CIA’s agenda was to find a way to break the mind and then wire the brain to carry out the United State’s intentions.
American men, women, prostitutes, Canadian mental institution patients, Nazi camp inhabitants, and even children were the main subjects of these experiments. The CIA’s agenda was to find a way to break the mind and then wire the brain to carry out the United State’s intentions.
Again Dan Brown, in his video on Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert Kennedy:
In the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. government was concerned about particularly the Soviets involving themselves in brainwashing of people in the Moscow show trials in the 1930s and 40s. And then in the Korean War, of course, a number of American troops were captured and brainwashed and reverted to a communist ideology. 95% of them reverted back to their original ideology within three weeks of leaving the prison camps, but 5% never did.
So there's about 5% of people who are unduly suggestible, and they are highly vulnerable to suggestive influence. And that, in order to keep up with the Soviets and the Russians, particularly under Alan Dulles, the CIA was involved in secret mind control experiments in the 1950s and 60s. They got caught for it.
One experiment they got caught for that was embarrassing to them was at William Allison Memorial White Hospital in Montreal. And they were taking outpatients, kidnapping them, putting them on an inpatient unit, strapping them down, and playing the same tape loop over and over again to erase the mind, giving them LSD and giving them hypnotic suggestions, a combination of sensory deprivation, LSD, and hypnosis. They were so above the law that they would take anybody.
There were several subjects who were kidnapped who were spouses of Canadian cabinet members. They did whatever they wanted to do. So we know that they used a combination of hypnosis and psychedelic drugs and sensory deprivation.
So we know that that research was being done in several research centers in the 1960s and early 70s about mind control under a project called MKUltra that the CIA was involved in. And, in fact, I had worked at Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in 1971, and there was a lab there by John Lennox who did work on hypnosis and sensory deprivation and hallucinogens. And we later found out that the whole research center was funded by the CIA.
MKUltra - a programme for mind control
This is a description from WIKIPedia:
Project MKUltra[a][b] was an illegal human experimentation program designed and undertaken by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and intended to develop procedures and identify drugs that could be used during interrogations to weaken people and force confessions through brainwashing and psychological torture. It began in 1953 and was halted in 1973. MKUltra used numerous methods to manipulate its subjects' mental states and brain functions, such as the covert administration of high doses of psychoactive drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals without the subjects' consent, electroshocks,hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, and other forms of torture.
Was the work at Maryland University financed by the CIA?
Yes. This is the reply I get from Claude.ai
Based on my research, it appears the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC) did receive some funding from the CIA during the 1950s and 1960s, though the full extent is unclear. Here are some key details:
The MPRC was established in 1949 as a state-run psychiatric facility affiliated with the University of Maryland School of Medicine. It conducted research into psychiatric disorders and potential treatments.
--In the 1950s, the CIA began a program called MKULTRA which involved experiments into mind control, interrogation, and behavioral modification. Some of these experiments took place at MPRC.
--There is evidence that the CIA provided grants and possibly other funding to MPRC to support this research into areas that aligned with the CIA's goals and interests. However, most records related to CIA involvement were later destroyed by the agency.
--Specific studies that are believed to have received CIA funding at MPRC include research into psychedelic drugs, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, and the psychiatric use of drugs to induce states such as amnesia. Some of the research was controversial and involved human experimentation.
So in summary - yes, declassified documents and congressional investigations revealed that the CIA did fund some research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center over the span of a decade or so, though the exact level of involvement and whether funding sources continued over time remains uncertain. The nature of the relationship was kept highly secretive.
Brown, D. P. (2019, April). EO 360°: A podcast by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization: Transforming The Mind | Dr. Dan Brown. Retrieved December 16, 2023, from https://entrepreneursorg.libsyn.com/dr-dan-brown-transforming-the-mind/
Brown, D. P. & e2 films. (2018, June 5). The real Manchurian candidate [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCU2MCxjAJ0/
Gebel, T. (2022d). Daniel P Brown makes various enemies. Till Gebel. https://www.till-gebel.com/post/daniel-p-brown-meditation-teacher-cia-catholic-church-kennedy-enemies/
Gebel, T. (2024b, January 22). Meditation teachers & drug users: Daniel P Brown and Culadasa on psychedelics. Till Gebel. https://www.till-gebel.com/post/daniel-p-brown-culadasa-psychedelics-meditation/
Seyour Hersch 1974 in NYT