||September 9, 2006|
by lyle e davis
The Best and the Brightest. That’s what the CIA claims they try to recruit out of colleges and universities. There’s no doubt that they do get a great many excellent minds . . . computer programmers, analysts, accountants, attorneys . . . but chance are they also attract some really weird thinkers.
Both the present and the past are replete with examples of really strange plans, programs and activities the Intelligence Agencies at home and abroad are known to have practiced.
Today, much of that information has been declassified. This article attempts to show some of the stranger plans.
We shall examine the CIA’s use of a stunningly beautiful world class model from the 1940’s; a lovely who apparently had both a dual personality and dual lives, and was the apparent victim of a CIA mind control experiment.
We shall examine the story of a dog trained to fight tanks; of cats prepared to commit espionage, turtles, trained to commit espionage and one of the first suicide bombers, and pigeons, trained as homing device agents for bombs. Some worked, some didn’t.
The CIA’s Control
of Candy Jones
She was the most famous model of the 1940’s. At 6’3” she was a stunning figure and led a seemingly charmed life. The toast of the cocktail circuit, of show business . . . and the head of her own modeling agency.
Yet Candy Jones, as she was known professionally, was actually three people.
She was born Jessica Wilcox in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on December 31, 1925. Due to an unhappy childhood and frequently being left alone . . . she developed imaginary friends, one of whom, Arlene, became her alter-ego. Arlene remained as a second personality, growing up with Jessica. Arlene's character was almost the opposite of her own, with some of the hardness and cruelty of her mother, and a sarcastic and cruel character, with a harsh low voice, very different from hers. This split in her personality could contribute to making her an easy subject for hypnosis later in life.
At sixteen she entered and won the 1941 Miss Atlantic City contest, which led to a job as official hostess at the Miss America pageant, and lots of publicity. Her long blonde hair, perfect features, tall, long-legged frame, bosomy contour, and sweet disposition attracted attention. She subsequently became Candy Jones, America's most famous model. In 1943, Candy was voted Model of the Year. She was the model used on recruiting posters for the new branches of the military in which women could serve--WACS and WAVES. In one month of that amazing year of 1943, her picture was on the cover of eleven magazines.
In 1944/45 the USO offered Candy an opportunity to tour through the Southwest Pacific in a show written around her. She became Lieutenant Candy Jones. She served in USO shows for eighteen months. While on tour, the beautiful model, performer, stage show manager, and patriot briefly met General William “Wild Bill” Donovan. (He was head of the OSS, a new agency which President Roosevelt had authorized at the beginning of the war for the dual tasks of gathering intelligence and of doing secret scientific research with military applications, and the predecessor to the CIA.)
During this tour, following an illness on Leyte, the Phillipines, she encountered a military psychiatrist, Gilbert Jensen, who hypnotized her.
Later, she would again meet her old friend, the now-retired army general, Wild Bill Donovan. Within days of this meeting she was approached by an FBI agent and was recruited to work undercover for her nation. She agreed. At first it was just acting as a mail drop. It would grow into much more, and much more sinister. She also would meet Dr. Jensen again, the same doctor who had treated her on Leyte. Through subterfuge, Dr. Jensen, managed to hypnotize Candy, using drugs as well as hypnosis techniques. Jensen was, in fact, a controlling agent for the CIA. Dr. Jensen, (a psuedonym) her control agent, would prescribe intravenous injections of ‘vitamins’ which were actually hypno-narcotics. Once under hypnosis, Dr. Jensen would call out “Arlene,” Candy’s second personality, and give her the assignment of espionage. Candy, remembered nothing of the event in which “Arlene” participated. At least while awake.
“Arlene” was trained to use explosives, to fight in close combat with improvised weaponry such as a hatpin, and taught about disguise and communications. She learned how to kill with her bare hands, resist pain, and deal with interrogation techniques. She carried and was taught to use a .22-caliber pistol, and was introduced to such devices as a lipstick containing poison, which could be used to commit suicide, if captured, by biting into the stick. She also learned how code numbers could be painted on her nails and covered with nail polish. All Candy Jones knew about all this was that she had occasionally delivered mail for her government. She was not aware of her alter ego, Arlene, at all, though Arlene knew all about her, and thought her weak.
In December 1972, at the age of 47, Candy married Long John Nebel, New York's most successful and controversial radio talk-show host. Nebel was familiar with hypnosis and hypnotized Candy. Hundreds of hours were recorded during which “Arlene”, Candy’s other personality, and the individual who had conducted the espionage missions and who had undergone torture, would appear and discuss her exploits.
In time, a book emerged, detailing the exploits of Candy/Arlene, one of which was “The Control of Candy Jones” by Donald Bain. The CIA sought to suppress it, unsuccessfully. Later, the files were declassified (mostly) and the true story came out.
On January 18, 1990, Candy Jones died of cancer, aged 64, at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. (1).
Let Slip the Dogs of War
Perhaps one of the least known instruments of war were the proposed “Dogs of War.” These were courtesy of our friends, the Russians, and their Intelligence Agency.
It all goes back to WW II. Germany had introduced fast, powerful tanks in 1939. They rolled over Poland easily. Soon, they would overrun most of Europe.
The USSR came up with a battle plan that they thought was foolproof. They were going to sic dogs on the tanks.
It seems in wartime dogs have always been tossed the short end of the stick. Modern movies seldom show how the Romans used mastiffs with razored collars in battle, nor the fully armored Death Hounds (I didn’t make up the name) that the medieval knights would loose on a field to snap at the legs of opponents and dispatch the wounded that littered the ground. In fact, dogs have fought alongside their masters through most of history. At the eve of World War II, the Soviets had a fully operational four-legged fighter division, and a dog with a bomb is a potent foe.
The Soviets were unable to address the looming tank problem with any new technologies right away, thus they were forced to contemplate tackling the issue with the means at hand. Landmines were a viable option, but because one couldn’t count on the Nazis seeking out the mines, they had to figure a way to make the mines seek the tanks.
The answer laid in the dog division. The trainers would starve the dogs, then train them to find food under a tank. The dogs quickly learned that being released from their pens meant to run out to where the training tank was parked and find some vittles. Once trained, the dogs would be fitted with a bomb attached to the back, and loosed into a field of oncoming German Panzers. When the dog climbed underneath the tank–where there was no armor–the bomb would detonate and gut the enemy vehicle.
Realization of that plan was a little less successful. The dogs had been trained to look under a Soviet tank for food, and would sometimes be loosed into a battle just to turn around and find a friendly tank to climb under. Sometimes the dogs would spook at the rumble of a running diesel engine and run away from the battle. Sometimes the dogs just decided they didn’t want to go.
Despite the problems, the Anti-tank dogs were successful at disabling a reported 300 Nazi tanks. It was enough of a problem to the Nazi advance that the Germans were compelled to attempt measures at stopping them. The top mounted machine gun proved ineffective due to the relatively small size of the attackers, the fact that they were low to the ground and hard to spot, and that dogs just don’t want to die when they think they’re close to food. Orders were dispatched that commanded every German soldier to shoot any dogs on sight for fear they might be rabid. Eventually the Germans began using flame-throwers on the tanks to ward the dogs away, and they were much more successful at dissuading the attacks–but some dogs would stop for neither fear of the fire nor actually being burned.
However, in 1942, one use of the Anti-tank dogs went seriously awry when a large contingent of anti-tank dogs ran amok, thus endangered everyone in the battle and forced the retreat of the entire Soviet division. Soon afterward the Anti-tank dogs were pulled from service.
The animals weren’t altogether out of the war, however. By the end, various canine soldiers were credited with having 61,000 fighting at the front lines, the delivery of 2,000 dispatches, the laying of 7,883 kilometers of telephone cable, and the rescue of 680 wounded soldiers.(2)
Operation Acoustic Kitty:
At the height of the Cold War, the US Central Intelligence Agency was willing to try just about anything to gain an advantage over the dreaded Communists. The agency considered using exploding cigars or seashells to remove Cuban leader Fidel Castro; they employed psychics to attempt "remote viewing" of Russian military secrets; and the CIA even put the Soviets on the business ends of clairvoyant minds to attempt mind-control.
One of the CIA's most bizarre Cold War efforts was Operation Acoustic Kitty. In declassified documents from the CIA's super-secret Science and Technology Directorate, it was revealed that some Cold-War-era cats were surgically altered to become sophisticated bugging devices. The idea was that the cats would eavesdrop on Soviet conversations from park benches, windowsills and garbage containers. The cat was meant to just stroll up to the sensitive conversations, completely unnoticed. The clandestine cat's electrical internals would then capture and relay the audio to awaiting agents.
The project was funded and work began in 1961. Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti recounts the story of the Acoustic Kitty:
“They slit the cat open, put batteries in him, wired him up. The tail was used as an antenna. They made a monstrosity. They tested him and tested him. They found he would walk off the job when he got hungry, so they put another wire in to override that. Finally, they’re ready. They took it out to a park bench and said, “Listen to those two guys. Don’t listen to anything else – not the birds, no cat or dog – just those two guys!”
After several surgeries and intensive training, the cyborg cat was ready for its first field test. The CIA drove the cat to a Soviet compound on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D.C., and let him out of a parked van across the street. The cat ambled into the road, and was struck by a taxi almost immediately. Five years of effort and over $15 million in spending were reduced to roadkill in an instant. Shorty after its demise a CIA operative returned to the accident site and put the cat's remains into a container to prevent the Soviets from getting their paws on the sensitive and expensive listening devices.
Operation Acoustic Kitty was completely abandoned in 1967, and declared an unadulterated failure. Possibly due to their embarrassing nature, the documents describing Acoustic Kitty remain partially censored even today. But one document does praise the Acoustic Kitty team for their efforts:
“The work done on this problem over the years reflects great credit on the personnel who guided it, particularly (censored), whose energy and imagination could be models for scientific pioneers.”
While the memo says that the use of trained cats is possible, it also says that "the environmental and security factors in using this technique in a real foreign situation force us to conclude that for our (intelligence) purposes, it would not be practical."(3)
Exploding Remote-Control Camera Turtles
An intrepid inventor from Russia named Alexei Burikov is pioneering a new front in weapons development: remote-controlled, camera-toting death turtles.
Alexei is the head of the biology department at Rostov-on-Don State Pedagogical University, and his turtle contraption uses devices fitted onto the turtle's shell to cause vibrations, which a properly trained turtle will respond to. He suggests several uses for the bionic reptiles, including remote-controlled bombs, spy cameras, planting surveillance devices, and even non-sleuthy uses, such as wildlife monitoring.
Mr. Burikov did not address the practicality of such a slow-moving delivery system, but perhaps this new direction is in response to the rumors of new hare-based bomb-interception technology.(4)
Animals have often been used in battle throughout history, mostly as a means of transportation. But what happens when you use them as transportation for bombs? Though good for giving members of the SPCA apoplectic fits, the benefits of animals used in the military have an interesting history. What follows are two rather unique uses for animals during World War II.
Pigeons as Bomb
During World War II, the U.S. air force developed a new type of bomb - a glide bomb. Instead of falling straight on a target, it would instead float at an angle towards its target, guided by a variety of tools (such as infrared, radar, or flare targets). Burrhus Frederic Skinner, a well-known behaviorist, thought of a brilliant new way to guide these missiles during World War II using pigeons. He'd already trained them to dance, do figure eights, or play tennis - why not guide bombs?
Starting in 1942, PROJECT PIGEON aimed to get specially trained birds to guide a bomb within six meters of its target. It worked thus: First, three pigeons would be informed of a glide bomb, each compartment containing a little lens to
view its target. Via classical conditioning, the pigeons would peck the center of the screen if it saw the target - otherwise, it would peck towards the target. Successful pecking would be rewarded with grains of seed. (It turned out that if fed marijuana instead of normal grain, the pigeons would be less easily disturbed from their task). If two of the three pigeons "agreed" to re-aim the bomb, the bomb would change direction. Then, of course, the bomb would explode.
So, was Skinner able to train his pigeons to pull off one more feat?
Yes, but thankfully for the pigeons, it was never used in combat. He demonstrated the power of his system in New Jersey to the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development, only to find that no one took him seriously. Rather than realizing the awesome power of his guidance system, they simply thought it was amusing. Dubbed as ludicrous, the project was scrapped. The 24 pigeons that Skinner had trained went home with him to live in his garden.
Believe it or not, this was not to be the end of the idea of using pigeons as a targeting system. In 1948, the original PROJECT PIGEON files were declassified and unearthed by the U.S. Navy. Interested in the concept, they started Project Orcon, which ran for five years. Simulations showed that pigeons could be used to guide missiles, though they could become distracted by objects like clouds or waves. In 1953 the project was scrapped when electronic guidance systems were proved to be reliable. Since then, pigeons have not been used in any bombs or missiles.
Bats as Bombers
While Skinner was off training pigeons, a dentist by the name of Lytle S. Adams had a similar dream of aerial attacks via animals. Adams animal of choice was the bat. He theorized that you could put a large population of bats into a state of hibernation, strap an incendiary bomb to them, then drop them over a city. As the bats woke up, they would seek out a dark place to rest - preferably, the nooks and crannies of houses. A few minutes later, the bombs would explode, setting the whole city on fire.
Unlike Skinner's plan, this one was somehow taken seriously. The program was okayed in 1942 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and soon the project went into development. Within a year a species of bat was picked, and Louise Fieser (the inventor of military napalm) had created a napalm bomb small enough to be strapped to the bat. The bats were to be dropped in little trays - 40 in each - that would float using parachutes. During this time, the bats would hopefully wake up.
Unfortunately, during initial tests many bats died due to failure to wake up and get out of the failing tray in time. In an ironic act of revenge, an auxiliary army base in Carlsbad, New Mexico, was set on fire due to the accidental release of armed bats. By 1944 there were a few partially successful test runs of the bat bombs. However, the program was scrapped when it was discovered that it would not be usable until 1945 - and hopefully there would be an atom bomb at this point.
An estimated $2 million was spent on this project, in comparison to about $25,000 of funding for Skinner's pigeons (not counting the funding that went into Project Orcon). Sometimes, governments fund the craziest things.(5)
In 1945, just after Japan surrendered to the United States to end the second world war, a Japanese I-400 class submarine– the likes of which Americans had never seen– surrendered to a Navy destroyer. The Americans were surprised at the submarine's enormous size, and subsequent inspections continued to astonish. It was about 60% larger than the largest US submarines, twice as fast as the fastest US subs, and had the fuel capacity to travel around the Earth one and a half times before refueling. Perhaps most impressively, it was also an aircraft carrier.
The submarine had space for three specialized Japanese airplanes, called Seiran, which translates literally to "storm out of a clear sky." Before the Japanese surrender, this particular submarine's original mission had been to secretly sail westward from Japan to the US east coast, where an attack would be unexpected, and use its three aircraft to drop rats and fleas infected with bubonic plague, cholera, typhus and other diseases upon New York, Washington D.C., and other cities along the eastern seaboard. When problems made that plan infeasible, the sub was retasked to bomb the Panama canal from the east, but the end of the war arrived before the crew could carry out its mission.
By the end of World War 2, Japan had done quite a bit of experimentation with germ warfare, mostly in the form of infected fleas. The program got its start in the 1930s when Japan occupied Manchuria, and later in their invasion of China. These biological weapons were developed at Japan's Unit 731, an installation disguised as a water purification plant. The Allied forces had long suspected that Japan was utilizing germ warfare against China, but was unable to conclusively prove their suspicions during the war.
When America was attacked by Japanese balloon bombs, US officials were concerned that these might include some of Japan's infected flea payloads, but no such biological balloon bombs were ever discovered.
Several epidemics of cholera, typhoid, anthrax and bubonic plague were reportedly caused in China by Japan's "Uji" bombs, which were designed specifically to burst hundreds of feet above the ground, and rain infected fleas upon the populace. By some estimations, these attacks triggered outbreaks which killed as many as 50,000 Chinese people over six years. According to Chinese reports, infected houses, hospitals and other buildings were burned and had to be left untouched for decades
(1) Project MKULTRA
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Declassified MKULTRA documents: Project MKULTRA (also known as MK-ULTRA) was the code name for a CIA mind-control research program that began in the 1950s, and continued until the late 1960s.
(2) Let Slip the Dogs of War: Jason Bellows on April 11th, 2006.
(3)Operation Acoustic Kitty
Greg Bjerg: August 22nd, 2006.
(4) Exploding Remote-Control Camera Turtles
Alan Bellows: November 14th, 2005.
(5) It Came From Above
Daniel Lew: February 23rd, 2006:
(6) WW2: Japan's Secret Biological Weapons Program
Alan Bellows:June 6th, 2006.