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The Los Angeles World Affairs Council hosts Stephen Kinzer

The Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall will host Mr. Stephen Kinzer, award-winning foreign correspondent and former New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua, Germany, and Turkey, will discuss the history of the CIA, its experimental research into mind control and how many of these tactics have evolved and are still in use at the agency even today.

Kinzer's work has focused on Sidney Gottlieb, the former chief of the Central Intelligence Agency's technical services division who in the 1950s and '60s directed CIA mind control experiments, including Project MKUltra. The techniques developed by Sidney Gottlieb were used in the War on Terror, and just about everything that has been done to inmates at places like Guantanamo is based on ideas that Gottlieb developed about how to break prisoners' resistance. Gottlieb operated the Agency's first secret prison (in Germany) and may have been the first to use the kidnapping tactic that is now called "extraordinary rendition."

And not incidentally, Gottlieb was the person who brought LSD into the United States and sponsored experiments that first exposed counter-culture figures like Tim Leary, Alan Ginsberg, Ken Kesey and the Grateful Dead to that drug.  

Stephen Kinzer is the author of nine books, including The True FlagThe BrothersOverthrow, and All the Shah’s Men. An award-winning foreign correspondent, he served as the New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua, Germany, and Turkey. He is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, and writes a world affairs column for the Boston Globe. He lives in Boston.   

Please reserve no later than 12:00 pm on Wednesday, September 25.


Event Date: 
Friday, September 27, 2019 - 8:00am
9543 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250140432
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - September 10th, 2019

The bestselling author of All the Shah’s Men and The Brothers tells the astonishing story of the man who oversaw the CIA’s secret drug and mind-control experiments of the 1950s and ’60s.

The visionary chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the CIA’s master magician and gentlehearted torturer—the agency’s “poisoner in chief.” As head of the MK-ULTRA mind control project, he directed brutal experiments at secret prisons on three continents. He made pills, powders, and potions that could kill or maim without a trace—including some intended for Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders. He paid prostitutes to lure clients to CIA-run bordellos, where they were secretly dosed with mind-altering drugs. His experiments spread LSD across the United States, making him a hidden godfather of the 1960s counterculture. For years he was the chief supplier of spy tools used by CIA officers around the world.

Stephen Kinzer, author of groundbreaking books about U.S. clandestine operations, draws on new documentary research and original interviews to bring to life one of the most powerful unknown Americans of the twentieth century. Gottlieb’s reckless experiments on “expendable” human subjects destroyed many lives, yet he considered himself deeply spiritual. He lived in a remote cabin without running water, meditated, and rose before dawn to milk his goats.

During his twenty-two years at the CIA, Gottlieb worked in the deepest secrecy. Only since his death has it become possible to piece together his astonishing career at the intersection of extreme science and covert action. Poisoner in Chief reveals him as a clandestine conjurer on an epic scale.