The story below offers a rare close-up view of a man who is so creepy it’s fascinating. He actually performed some of the dirty, unthinkable deeds you read about in the various exposés on the CIA.
According to the author, the man “looks like Danny DeVito playing the Penguin, and talks like Edward G. Robinson as gangster Johnny Rocco in Key Largo.”
The Penguin in question is Ira “Ike” Feldman. And the deeds he performed were for MK-ULTRA, the CIA’s program on mind control. They experimented on unsuspecting people, slipping them LSD without their consent, sometimes with devastating results. The project’s architect, Sidney Gottlieb, described in a 1953 memo the ways in which the drug could be used:
“‘Disturbance of memory; discrediting by aberrant behaviour; alteration of sex patterns; eliciting of information; suggestibility; creation of dependence.”
From all that has been written about the CIA, we find it easy to believe just about everything Feldman says on the subject. But the real value of this story is not so much the information it imparts; it’s the character it reveals about a major player — even if we see him only from the outside. Here, you can witness the way he talks, the attitude he exhibits, the contradictions he ignores, and the self-justifications he declares.
This was originally published in Spin Magazine in 1994, and is just as relevant today.
The author of that vintage Spin article, Richard Stratton, has recently published his memoirs, Smuggler’s Blues: A True Story of the Hippie Mafia (Arcade Publishing, April, 2016)