In the 1950s and '60s, the CIA used LSD and electroshocks on unwitting people, to figure out how to brainwash or extract information. In other words: torture.
The CIA did this not just in the U.S., but in Canada, too. Marilyn Rappaport of Montreal is one of at least a dozen people seeking compensation.
In the early 1960s, Rappaport's sister had been struggling: poor grades, bad behavior. "Maybe today they would classify her as ADD," Rappaport tells Rooster Magazine. So, at the age of 19, Rappaport's parents brought her sister to one of the best hospitals in Montreal, to a Dr. Ewen Cameron, who was one of the world's best-known psychiatrists. Little did the Rappaports know: Dr. Cameron was a CIA-funded demon.
Cameron treated Rappaport's sister like a guinea pig, in experiments funded by the CIA, part of a program called MKUltra. "MK" stands for mind control. From 1953 to 1973, in 80 sites, the CIA used LSD, hypnosis, sensory deprivation and sexual abuse to try to manipulate minds. Abuse as truth serum.
In one known case, Dr. Cameron gave a woman 16 doses of LSD and heavy electroshock therapy. Her brain got so wrecked she became like a toddler. She couldn't even use a toilet on her own.
Rappaport isn't sure if the doctor gave LSD to her sister. (Rappaport doesn't want her sister's name used, for the sake of privacy.) But they did give her more than 100 of the most intense kind of electroshock treatments, along with powerful drugs such as barbiturates and phenothiazines, the pharmaceutical version of a beat-down.
Rappaport says her sister came out a "total vegetable," with her memory erased, unable to recognize her own mother.
"She never worked, she could never live on her own, she was pretty well institutionalized for most of her life," Rappaport says. "My sister has not had a life."
Today, Rappaport is one of about a dozen family members of victims working together on a lawsuit. "The victim is the victim but the family is also the victim," Rappaport says.
They've hired lawyer Alan Stein, who's been fighting for MKUltra victims for decades. Stein says he'd like an apology and $850,000 per family.
"It was a gross miscarriage of justice," Stein says. "These poor people and their families were so badly damaged. These stories are horrific, the way they suffered.”
"A mother came home after being treated by Dr. Cameron and she was like an infant."
In 1988 and 1992, the Canadian government gave money to 77 former patients, but it didn't give money to other people they said weren't damaged enough.
There have been many investigations into MKUltra, and there's a Netflix documentary on it right now. But the CIA destroyed most MKUltra records in 1973.
The whole truth may never come out. But Rapapport wants to make sure the CIA pays, at least a little, for what their experiments did to her sister.