“In all my years in the hotel business, I never encountered a case where someone got up in the middle of the night, ran across a dark room in his underwear, avoiding two beds, and dove through a closed window with the shade and curtains drawn.”
Statler Hotel night manager
“The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface.”
CIA assassination manual (1953)
“What Wormwood tries to do is tell a story about how we know what we know and how reliable is that knowledge.”
Errol Morris — Documentary Director
“You think that finding the answer to this is gonna restore the path of your own life. But how can it possibly do that if you’ve lost yourself along the way?”
Eric Olson (Wormwood)
“Frank (Olson) was viewed as a dissident. You understand that in 1953 if you thought somebody was detrimental to the war against the Russians, you have no problem dealing with them. It wouldn’t be a question of saying you just have to leave the agency (laughs…) tell me about that, think about that somebody who has secrets, I mean are you kidding me. Frank was, was out there. He was letting them know that he was marching to a different drummer and you couldn’t do it back then. He was a man who was profoundly, profoundly distressed about what he was learning… And he was dangerous, that I can tell you. I can’t tell you more.”
US Journalist Seymour Hersh
Wormwood is a 2017 American six-part docudrama miniseries directed by Errol Morris and released on Netflix on December 15, 2017. The series follows a scientist who participates in a secret government biological warfare program.
In the final chapter, Seymour Hersh states that he believes the CIA murdered Frank Olson. Although, he has a source that backs up this story, Hersh refuses to speak out because the story would expose how his source acquired the necessary information.
Hersh claims he knows what Frank did that got him killed. But he does not reveal it. In this post, I suggest the most likely explanation. As always, your feedback is welcome!
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UPDATE (September 7 2020) — In Lobster Magazine’s Winter 2020 Edition (Issue No.80), Robin Ramsay writes:
I mentioned the allegations made in 1951 by North Korea and China that the US had dropped insects and bacteria on North Korea.
In ‘Inside the Quest for Documents That Could Resolve a Cold War Mystery’, the American novelist Nicholson Baker describes his pursuit of some still classified documents from the early 1950s.
His essay begins with this paragraph:
‘In 2012, when I was hopeful and curious and middle-aged and eager for Cold War truth, I sent a letter to the National Archives, requesting, under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, copies of 21 still classified Air Force memos from the early 1950s. Some of the memos had to do with a Pentagon program that aimed to achieve “an Air Force-wide combat capability in biological and chemical warfare at the earliest possible date.” This program, which began and ended during the Korean War, was given a code name: Project Baseless. It was assigned priority category I, as high as atomic weapons.’
As well as describing his now eight years of trying to get these documents, Baker’s essay includes a useful summary of the 1951 incident.
The refusal of the US Air Force to release these documents suggests to Baker that there is probably some truth to the Chinese/North Korean claims.
UPDATE (September 7 2019) — The Guardian just posted a long story — From mind control to murder? How a deadly fall revealed the CIA’s darkest secrets (Stephen Kinzer September 06, 2019) — which is an edited extract from Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control.
The author appears to agree with the conclusions I reached long ago. Why now?
Olson had spent 10 years at Fort Detrick and knew most, if not all, of the special operation division’s secrets. He had repeatedly visited Germany and brought home pictures from Heidelberg and Berlin, where the US military maintained clandestine interrogation centres. He was one of several special operations division scientists who were in France on 16 August 1951, when an entire French village, Pont-Saint-Esprit, was mysteriously seized by mass hysteria and violent delirium that afflicted more than 200 residents and caused several deaths; the cause was later determined to have been poisoning by ergot, the fungus from which LSD was derived. Perhaps most threatening of all, if US forces did indeed use biological weapons during the Korean war – for which there is circumstantial evidence but no proof – Olson would have known. The prospect that he might reveal any of what he had seen or done was terrifying.
“He was very, very open and not scared to say what he thought,” Olson’s friend and colleague Norman Cournoyer later recalled. “He did not give a damn. Frank Olson pulled no punches at any time … That’s what they were scared of, I am sure.”
Olson’s doubts deepened. In spring 1953, he visited the top-secret Microbiological Research Establishment at Porton Down in Wiltshire, where government scientists were studying the effects of sarin and other nerve gases. On 6 May, a volunteer subject, a 20-year-old soldier, was dosed with sarin there, began foaming at the mouth, collapsed into convulsions, and died an hour later. Afterward, Olson spoke about his discomfort with a psychiatrist who helped direct the research, William Sargant.
A month later, Olson was back in Germany. On that trip, according to a later reconstruction of his travels, Olson “visited a CIA safe house near Stuttgart [where] he saw men dying, often in agony, from the weapons he had made.” After stops in Scandinavia and Paris, he returned to Britain and visited Sargant again. Immediately after their meeting, Sargant wrote a report saying that Olson was “deeply disturbed over what he had seen in CIA safe houses in Germany” and “displayed symptoms of not wanting to keep secret what he had witnessed”. He sent his report to his superiors with the understanding that they would forward it to the CIA. Sargent said later: “There were common interests to protect.”
In 2017, Stephen Saracco, a retired New York assistant district attorney who had investigated the Olson case and remained interested in it, made his first visit to the hotel room where Olson spent his final night. Looking around the room, Saracco said, raised the question of how Olson could have done it.
“If this would have been a suicide, it would have been very difficult to accomplish,” Saracco concluded. “There was motive to kill him. He knew the deepest, darkest secrets of the cold war. Would the American government kill an American citizen who was a scientist, who was working for the CIA and the army, if they thought he was a security risk? There are people who say: ‘Definitely.’”
END of UPDATE
Tell us what you think — Frank Rudolph Olson (July 17, 1910 – November 28, 1953) was an American bacteriologist, biological warfare scientist, and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee who worked at Camp Detrick (now Fort Detrick) in Maryland.
On November 28 1953, Dr Olson “plunged” to his death from the window of a New York City hotel room. Some — including the U.S. government — termed his death a suicide, while others allege murder.
January 30 2018 — I agree with Eric Olson and Hersh Seymour. The death of Frank Olson was neither an accident — induced or not by LSD — nor a suicide. But Frank Olson was not merely murdered. I suggest that Olson was executed to prevent him from revealing an ugly truth.
I believe that Frank Olson knew that the US Military had used biological weapons in the Korean war. Moreover, I suspect that Frank Olson could prove it and he was about to reveal the truth. Therefore, the US government had “no choice” but to silence him in order to avoid a major international crisis.
Published in Japan in 2001, the book Rikugun Noborito Kenkyujo no shinjitsu — The Truth About the Army Noborito Institute — revealed that members of a covert section of the Imperial Japanese Army that took part in biological warfare during World War II also worked for the “chemical section” of a U.S. clandestine unit hidden within Yokosuka Naval Base during the Korean War as well as on projects inside the United States from 1955 to 1959.
“The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets of the Early Cold War and Korea” — written by Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman — provides an in-depth analysis of the U.S. military use — and coverup — of biological weapons against the Korean and Chinese people during the Korean War of 1950-53.
Endicott and Hagerman conducted extensive archival research and interviews with Chinese, U.S., Canadian, Japanese, and British officials and civilians. They were the firsts to gain access to declassified U.S. records regarding the Korean War.
Endicott and Hagerman concluded that the U.S. Military had employed biological weapons whose use was banned by the 1925 Geneva Protocol.
Prof Masataka Mori — a professor of history at Shizuoka University in Japan, who has studied the activities for Unit 731 for many years — believes that a new investigation should be carried out and that it is time the US, China and both North and South Korea open up their archives and provide unfettered access to their documents.
“The use of germ weapons in war is a breach of the Geneva Convention and I think that is why they are refusing to admit the allegations.
The criterion for my judgment is not whether North Korea’s claim is correct or the American claim is right; the criterion is whether the incidents actually happened or not.
I went to North Korea and met people who had suffered the effects of germ warfare. They told me their stories, shedding tears and grimacing with anger. They told me what actually happened and I cannot question that.”
War document claiming U.S. use of biological warfare going up for auction
The full text of a report claiming the US military used biological weapons during the Korean War will soon be up for auction.
Kobay, Korea′s largest art and antiques auction company， said Tuesday… filmmaker Lim Jong－tae is selling the document after having acquired it in 2013 from a bookstore in England.
The so－called Needham report contains photos， maps and testimony from American POWs that biological weapons developed from Japanese research were used during the war.
It was filed in 1952 and was thought to have been discarded. US psychologist Jeffrey Kaye posted a 64－page version of the 670－page document online in January.
The US maintains it did not use biological weapons during the Korean War.
Has The CIA Responded To “Wormwood?”
A Guide to the People, Places, and CIA Mind-Control Programs of Wormwood — Vulture.com
Wormwood — Why did the CIA Murder US Army Scientist Frank Olsen?
One Year Ago — Wormwood : Why Did The CIA Murder US Army Scientist Frank Olson?
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