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From the Ryerson CKLN FM (88.1 in Toronto) Mind Control Series
Welcome to the International Connection. We are continuing with our radio series on mind control. This is Week #7 in the Series and we have heard so far a lecture by Dr. Colin Ross about the documented history of creating Multiple Personalities in people to be used as Manchurian Candidates or programmed agents. Colin Ross talked about the documented evidence of LSD experiments with children ... where they were kept on strong doses of LSD for up to months at a time. And also the use of brain implant experiments on children by George Estabrooks who is another Canadian doctor who was involved in U.S. National Security mind control experiments. We heard last week the testimony of mind control and radiation experiments conducted on children that was introduced at the Presidential Hearings on Radiation Experiments in 1995. President Clinton has since publicly apologized and compensated some of the victims of the radiation experiments. Survivors of mind control are now calling for hearings on the mind control experiments in particular.
Today we are airing the story of Ronald Howard Cohen who was abducted and severely drugged by CIA and military in the late 60's. Ronald Cohen was an activist in the early 60's in the United States and he is a writer. He has subsequently written a book about his experiences, only to have transcripts of the book stolen and he was told he was not publishing a book by the CIA and the FBI. You are listening to CKLN 88.l. Here is the story of Ronald Howard Cohen.
Ronald Howard Cohen:
"Transgressions" by Ronald Howard Cohen
Step 1: The Patricians
"We need to surprise human guinea pigs, volunteers won't do. We need to take people by surprise. It is as simple as that." The speaker stopped, looked at the man he was talking to, and took a deep breath. "It's field research," he went on, "that's all. Just field research."
"You mean United States citizens? Not Orientals, or Europeans?"
"Yes. Don't look at me like that. Better us do it to them than someone else. Don't bring up the menace to me. I'm not big on that."
"United States citizens. That's what we're talking about here, right?"
"Yes. What's wrong with you? I said yes, God, man. You've put screws into wood. You know it takes some effort. Both of us have been in the world long enough to know that everything has a risk element to it. Field research that's all. Some things aren't pretty. You know that. Don't make me out like I'm a bad guy. I'm responding to a need that's all. Anyway it's not something I brought you in here to debate. It's been cleared from above. Your job is simply to get to work on it."
I am here talking with Ronald Howard Cohen, a victim and survivor of abduction and drugging experiments by the U.S. government. Welcome Ron.
Ronald Howard Cohen:
Good morning Wayne. It's a pleasure being here. And I really want to sincerely thank you for having the courage to have me on since it's proved to be a very difficult task to find somebody with any courage at all who has access to the public media.
I'd like to thank you for coming on as well. It's a courageous act in talking about this. As you are well aware, and probably a lot of the listeners know, that there are many forces out there that don't want this information to get out into the public and so I appreciate you telling your story.
I guess it's possible that I should start with a brief introduction about who I am. I'm a 53 year old writer who was born in the Bronx, N.Y. about six blocks from Yankee Stadium. I was raised with the idea that I might become the first Jewish President of the United States and I used to think that the Founding Fathers were great human beings. Then in the 1960's I became very active ... I have always been a writier ... since I was fourteen ... I have always considered it as part of my calling. In the 1960's I became very active in the Civil Rights movement and in the Peace Movement, worked with SNCC, and COR, and the War Resistance League. I spent twelve years living in the Village in the Lower East Side in New York. I was a very "hip" dude. And I was an original flower child in Haight-Ashbury. In 1967 I left ... I was one of the original coterie of the people who got that all off the ground. And in so doing, I apparently became part of Mr. Nixon's 20,000 or so shit-list, and became tagged -- I am assuming from the research that I have done -- that this was as per the Houston Project which was something of the coordination of the CIA and the FBI and US Army Intelligence to get all those radicals. Kissinger was convinced and telling Nixon, like, "we've got 1915 out there for God's sakes, Richard!! We've got to do something about it."
Did you have any indication that you were being monitored or targeted at that time?
Well, you see, that's very interesting because I was sincerely a member of the counter-culture, and in sincerely being a member of the counter-culture, what our raison d'etre was to change the world ... we used to kid around and to prove your mettle it was "how many undercover narcs did you turn?" and get them to quit the force and become hippies or how many undercover guys did you get to have a drink with you, or even smoke some dope, and start telling you about ... "yeah, well, you know it's not a great job" and blah, blah, blah. Confrontation was part of the game. I hitch-hiked over 100,000 miles, I don't know, maybe 150,000 miles all over the United States. I started out as a careerist. I started out working for the newspapers in New York. I received one of the quickest promotions in the New York Mirror's history from Copy Boy to Assistant Editor and then I worked on trade journals in New York, and I was a careerist. And then the Vietnam War was happening and the Civil Rights Movement, and then ... all of that took place. But it wasn't a thing that was a big deal ... it was sort of like ... well, obviously. If we are the best minds of our generation, and we refuse to be defeated, okay? Well, you are challenging the Dragon ... and the Dragon is going to breathe fire.
We could talk about what you were doing at the time of the abduction and talk about the abduction itself.
Let me just give a little bit of background about what MKULTRA was ... it is not the easiest thing in the world to do because Mr. Helms, who was the Head of the CIA, and Sydney Gottlieb who was the CIA Director of the project ... their liaison was with the Department of Defence -- supposedly either shredded or burned all of the files on this. John Marks, who wrote a book, "The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence" ... after they claimed to have burned all the files on MKULTRA -- he came across some documents -- and I have read other things other researchers say like "oh man they didn't burn the documents, it's just a story ..." but it's very deep. I don't know. MKULTRA was a major project ... the sincerity of the reasons, as far as I can make out, was that if you are doing noble work as part of the Warrior Class and you are a spy for the Warrior Class then one of the things that you have to cover is well, what happens if they capture one of us, what are they going to do to us? Well, I don't know. They might give us all sorts of drugs and they might torture us, but we've been through that. They might use more sophisticated things with rays, with god knows what else, just thoughts ... you can just go off into all sorts of trips. There were six major divisions of MKULTRA and what happened with the Project I was tagged under -- which if I am correct was Sub Project 255 -- this came out during the Carter Administration with Senator Kennedy and Senator Church -- was stuff where they basically had worked with US Army people. The BBC did a wonderful documentary on this stuff -- giving LSD and then running US Army through calisthenics. They ruined people's minds. Then they did black prisoners -- of course the United States is a race-conscious, class-conscious society -- they gave drugs to black prisoners, and people in mental institutions. They were discountable. So what.
They had many different types of drugs. I was part of the drug culture. I became very well acquainted with what marijuana was, what LSD was ... what I was given was not LSD, was not marijuana. It screwed up my mind for five years. From what I understand in dealing with LSD, they had given it in laboratory settings to people -- and everybody had a bad trip -- they were just miserable. Then they decided to do field research with that ... and there's a lot of conjecture about whether the whole hippie movement was a CIA sponsored project but that's more fantasy than reality.
(Eli) Lilly Corporation in Indianapolis, as far as I understand, bought a lot of their drugs for them. If they would release documents, people could be a little firmer on what their understandings are as a matter of fact. They then decided ... we've got to find unsuspecting people. Given their reasoning, if they are looking to protect their agents, they are not going to have a situation where they are going to say "excuse me, can I give you this dangerous drug?", right? They needed to just take somebody and just give them this drug. The situation was politically ... here's these hippies, and they're taking drugs ... well, they don't get along with their families ... they're all travelling around hitch-hiking ... they are easy game ... We pick up a couple of hippies. What are they going to do, go to the police and say "I'm stoned" ? That's, from what I understand, where I came into the picture personally. I was hitch-hiking ... I was very counter-culture. I had given up my career, I had sold all my suits, I was basically in a different garb and hairstyle. I was living and situating myself in different communities ... Lower East Side and Greenwich Village in New York; Berkeley and San Francisco in California, other sections in L.A.; Taos, New Mexico; Boulder, Colorado; Madison, Wisconsin. There were little pockets of counter-culture communities. That was one of the central thrusts. The sixties has gotten such a terrible, bad rap ... the basic good thing that I experienced in the sixties really had nothing to do with drugs. What it had to do with ... that was a tool ... whether the tail wags the dog, or the dog wags the tail ... the thing that I (and I haven't touched drugs in 15 years) ... looked at things ... there is no sense of community, everything is screwed up. Why is everything screwed up? People function in a world that they don't like. Why don't they like it? Because it is competitive.
Well, let's try to have a cooperative community. To the executive powers, that's communism ... that's where the New Left came in. Although I wasn't political any longer at that point ... what I had decided was ... I tried politics. I was getting arrested on demonstrations and all that ... it didn't matter. Some guy burned himself to death in front of the Pentagon and Nixon said he was watching football games. What mattered, it seemed to me, was the changing of personal self. Changing about how you relate to the next person you meet. That's what matters. The same function that Mother Teresa functions under ... but that's a whole other gig.
So ... I'm hitch-hiking between these communities ... I used to hitch-hike across the country. I would do it in five or six days ... it was like going around the corner for a container of milk to me ... I'm hitch-hiking through Indianopolis, Indiana ... from the west coast to the east coast ... I get picked up by this gentleman who wants to discuss the Vietnam War ... all I wanted to do was get a ride. I sort of debate ... it's like a born-again Christian picks you up and wants to discuss religion ... okay, is this worth 300 miles ... (excuse my cynicism, remember I am from New York City ... I have been here for twenty years, I try to modify it but it flips back every once in a while) ... finally I say the hell with it, this guy's a jerk ... I start telling him my views about the Vietnam War ... immediately he isn't going very far any longer ... he lets me off ...
(I hope I have established my sanity before we get into this ... because this starts getting a little weird. The thing is ... when you start talking about stuff ... it's weird ... somebody is listening to you who doesn't know you ... it's sort of like, who's this weirdo talking about weirdness ... I am not weird ... believe me ... after five years of being nuts ... I know what weird is ... I got my feet on the ground, okay? ... but when I start talking about this here, if it sounds bonkers ... it's bonkers ... and it's US government policy that was bonkers ... these projects in 1947 as ARTICHOKE and BLUEBIRD and then became MKULTRA and it was only have supposed to gone on from 1953 to 1957 but it's open to conjecture if it's not still going on ..)
Anyway. I'm standing on the side of the road. This grey car comes and picks me up and I knew how to read drivers ... I had done a lot of hitch-hiking. This guy seemed kind of ironed, starched shirt, slacks, short haircut, nothing in the car, no bouncing doggie heads, or dice, no music going ... so I think, I don't know, insurance salesman. I figured like ... I got in the car and thanked me for giving me a ride. Immediately I wanted to know how far he was going ... and I'm like, if you are interesting, and you are not threatening, he's stopping to pick someone up so you've got to cool them out ... and you talk sex or you talk football or whatever, music ... I tried just chatting this guy up ... nothing. Straight out. Immediately, I go into my mind, I've been in all sorts of situations with people showing me their guns in cars, or people picking you up and saying, I'm gonna rob the gas station up the road ... Whoa, why don't you let me out before you do that, you know, and stuff like that ...
Immediately, because this guy's not saying anything, I'm just going, oh is this one a weirdo, is this guy dangerous to me ... I ask him, can I smoke, because I smoke Marlboroughs at the time ... he said, yeah. The thing was the car was immaculate ... in retrospect, it was a government issue car ... I slipped down in the passenger seat, slouched down, trying to assess the situation ... now it starts getting weird. Under the dashboard is a reel-to-real tape recorder ... a small one ... running. I think, oh fuck, what is this? I'd seen a lot of stuff, but that one, I hadn't seen that one before ... I just sort of went, whoa boy, next coffee stop I'm out of here ... I don't want to find out any more literary content, this is enough ... I flip open the side ashtray on the door ... now it gets movie-time bizarre ... I can't explain really what happened ... obviously I got hit somehow by a knock-out drug. But what I thought happened next, and what I see in my mind's eye ... because that's the last coherent observation I had for the next five years ... dig that ...
What I see is a needle coming out of the ashtray. Now the mind is going, that's crazy, man, needles don't come out of ashtrays ... and I'm out. The rest of this is like scattershot ... my head was picking up ... like a screen goes black ... and then it becomes light for a little bit ... and it's a little bizarre ... and then it goes black again. And my body ... I'm weak like a kitten ... I'm drugged, zip, zero ... I'm just raising consciousness when I come out of the black. What I remember is it's now night-time ... it's raining and then ... I'm still in the car ... and I look over at the guy ... and I never got a clear ... this is really ... it was sort of ... is that the same guy? What's important and what really happened was a total panic attack, it was sort of like, what the fuck is going on?
Out again. Come to. Highway sign. Virginia, Maryland. I know I went to Maryland. There's a place called Fort Detrick, Maryland which is significant to the FBI, the CIA, and US Army Intelligence ... mucho. I don't know if that's where I was taken ...
This was the Edgewood Arsenal ...
Right ... I went out again ... I came to ... I am starting to get tension just remembering all this ... anyway ... (it's not a thing that leaves you ...) ... I came to and now it even gets Alfred Hitchcock movie-ish ... it's still raining, which is the perfect scenario, right? But it's not fiction kids. This is reality. I write fiction ... but this stuff really happened. No doubt. So I come to and there's an M.P. (military police) comes to the window ... he comes out of a little thing ... they go through some gyrations ... we enter this place. I don't know why I was going in and out to tell you the truth ... although I was barely coming out ... We then drive down into a basement driving thing and the door swings open ... Next thing, two guys are walking me up a back staircase, out again, sort of like a ward place ... it is interesting that I have never been able to follow through in all of the research I've done ... I've done years and years of research on this stuff ... the feeling I got ... was like, oh shit, there's other people here ... the research I've tried to get is like nursing staff, dietitians, I mean whatever ...
Out again ... the significant part of it ... I don't know how long I was there. My feeling is it was a couple of days, at most a week ... I mean you got to understand ... at that particular time I wasn't following newspapers or calendars and I didn't wear a watch, etc. etc. But it was summertime and it was still summertime ... maybe it was a week, maybe it was a couple of weeks ... one of the other projects by the way was implants but I don't believe that was the thing they did to me ... I believe I got hit with a drug ... I was given a drug ... I do not know with all of the requests, I have files and files, and pages and pages, of Freedom of Information requests, of letters to senators, of letters to congressmen, of letters to every significant journalist that you can think of ... to lawyers, to lawyers' associations ...
Believe me when I thanked you for having the courage to have me on, that's heartfelt.
I don't know what I was given and I don't know how long I was there ...
Did you just have the sense that other people were there, or did you actually make eye contact?
Oh no ... it was sort of like bunk-beds, and people are stretched out ... sort of like wipe-out city ... recuperation ward and I just got walked through there ... that's the only ... the last ... they must have hit me ... I mean, I can only assume ... maybe somebody said, oh you didn't give him enough, and then I'm, you know, phlunk ... gone. They erased my memory ... I don't know ... open-ended conjecture ... I don't know what the hell what on there ... it's more than a little bit of curiosity to me ... I then start having some conscious memory of what happens next ... I've been there obviously for some time, and I am now in a cafeteria ... it's an empty cafeteria ... there's two guys ... wearing suits ... government straight arrows in suits ... they walk me down ... they're getting coffee, right? We walk back to a table. I remember one guy was eating a muffin, and one guys shoves a muffin under my nose and says, here you want a bite? And the other guy said, hey leave him alone.
Then I'm out again. I'm in a car. A different car. It's sunny out. Highway. Pennsylvania.
If you follow the map, if you start from Indiana, you can see the highways they took ... Pennsylvania ... a different driver ... again a grey, nondescript, nothing in it car ... empty, clean car. Then another bit of weirdness ... it's interesting, because operationally, it just seems that they were flying by the seat of their pants. Which compounded panic, right? So I am looking at this guy and now I'm starting to get unwoozy ... I'll get into the state of mind, like I said this screwed up my head for five years. The thing was that I start coming around, and I look over at this guy, and he really scared me. It was like ... I hate using fiery rhetoric but this looked an SS true-believer.
He pulls off the highway and he pulls into this hardware-gas station-thing ... and there's a phone booth there, he gets out of the phone booth ... and I'm just thankful that I'm starting to get, you know I'm moving my hands! and I'm starting to get, What? What? There was a lot of 'What?' I mean, if you don't believe it, believe me, I didn't believe it. I seriously thought I was losing my mind.
You have to understand that at that point I still didn't understand that the US government would do things ... they were good guys ... I'm an American ... they don't do this to Americans ... I mean, even if I'm a protester, a hippie ... they didn't do this ... blah blah blah. This guy gets out of the car, goes to the phone booth, and I see him, and he's talking on the phone ... I'm thinking, you're asking them what to do ... you don't know ... I got very frightened ...
I just get the feeling ... terror ... terror is terror ... I was in a state of total terror at this point. I just sort of figured from the look I got on this guy, if they just sort of say ... boom ... which can get you really annoyed ... being put in that position (once you get yourself back on your feet) ... this guy gets in the car, takes me out to the highway, and he dumps me ... like a bad movie. Boom. I roll over, on the side of the highway, and he's off ... scattering pebbles back in my face. And I'm there.
Whoa man. I remember the sun, and I remember looking at the green of the grass, and just thinking it was so beautiful ... and then saying, like, okay, can I stand? Can I stand? And I struggled to my feet ... that was not easy to do ... I did stand up, which I was really happy about. And I took a deep breath and then I sort of tried to assess what was happening, because I couldn't put it together. It didn't match anything. Two things came into my mind ... two real
clear instructive survival mechanisms: Don't tell anyone, because if you go and tell somebody what just happened, they're going to lock you up in a loonie bin, you ain't ever coming out. Find out what happened ... see if you can walk, get your head together ... I started to trying to think ... it was impossible. The second thing which came into my mind, which was very good information for my mind to tell me ... this was pre-Watergate ... get back to New York. I knew I was close to Philadelphia because I saw the highway sign. Get back to New York. Get back to the Village. Get back to the Lower East Side.
Get below 14th Street, in alphabet city. See your friends, and get yourself together. That's what I was doing.
Aside from total weakness - I really was as weak as a kitten. The mind I had for the next five years. Abstract painting. That's the only way I can describe it. Sort of abstract painting where a platform doesn't have an end, and then it ends ... and it goes into another geometric shape ... everything was sort of liquid. The only way I can describe it further ... there was a logical thinking process but the plotline would drop out of it ... bump ... it was like being in a bumpy elevator that didn't stop for about five years. The logical connection was just the ability to think ... it was the perfect counterinterventionist technique. If you want to jail or knock off or put the people who are opposing your power structure out of commission ... whatever drug they gave me, that would do it. Glad they learned something.
I will continue with getting off the highway, because there is a bit more that's interesting about that ... the unhappiness and the anguish that this was ... I was living on the street at the time ... the shape that I was in ... is some guy that you pass on the corner who is dirty, and bedraggled, and his clothes are just yuck ... and he's mumbling to himself and he's out of his mind ... that was me. I was out of my mind. Part of me was very solid. I was trying to re-patch all of this stuff that kept on falling apart ... there was one night ... I was wondering the streets ... I was barefoot ... I had eaten some food out of a garbage can ... I found myself rubbing my hands against the brick wall of a bank until they were bleeding and causing me pain ... that's when I knew when to stop because my palms were bleeding. I was saying, "here take my blood but give me back my mind".
That must have been a horrifying experience because at that point you really didn't know what was done to you ... if it was just the drugs or something else ... or what combination ... it didn't seem to end.
No. And all my friends left me. There was no support mechanism because I had been a very solid person that people looked forward to, and gathering around. I could see them talking, (whispering) ... "what happened to him?" And then finally people became disgusted with me. Yeah. It was a nightmare.
Just to get a frame of reference ... what year was this?
This was the late 1960's ... around 1969. I came to Canada in the later part of 70-71 ... let me get off the highway and then we'll get to coming to Canada.
There are two incidents ... not only the drugging, but the second time I was screwed up. This happened in the Nixon administration. The second time I was screwed up was under Ronald Wilson Reagan. We'll get into that later. (Sighs.)
I am on the highway. It's almost cliche but this hippie van stops, it's painted, and these hardcore hippies are in the van ... "hey get in the van, man!!!" This very nice couple who are the most together in the group are in the front, and they start talking to me and I'm just lying in the back. They were so wonderful. I want to thank them again ... if they even hear this. The woman looked at me and looked at her boyfriend, and said, "this guy's in trouble, let's take him home." They took me to their house, and gave me a bath and fresh clothes to wear, and something to eat. I wasn't talking very much, and she asked me where I was going, and I said I was going to New York City.
She said, "We'll buy you a bus ticket, man. You are in no shape." They drove me to downtown Philadelphia, we had a cup of coffee together, they bought me this bus ticket and I went back to New York. I haven't seen them since. That was part of the "community" I was talking about in those times.
I went through five years of travail ... there was one friend who had been politically active with me, and then he had left the States, and he had gone to Montreal ... I was trying everything. I was getting a little better. At one point I got better enough ... I was living in a Mission and I got a job as a warehouseman and that's how I got some money. I was really quiet and into myself, testing the waters ... I went up to Montreal and everybody who knew me assumed I had had a bad drug trip which I had ... but I didn't give it to myself. This guy said, "you should leave the States, man". At that point, peace, love was no more. Cities were burning. Watts was going on. Detroit and Harlem ... you had the assassinations. I couldn't keep two things in my head together ... I was off the chessboard politically as an activist.
My friend said "you should come up to Canada, it's sane up here" so I moved up to Montreal and then Montreal was going through a huge upheaval about French and English which I didn't know a hell of a lot about when I first got across the border and came to Montreal. ... Why did you invite me up here? Go up to British Columbia, man ... there's woods, there's trees. The thing to keep in mind is that later I got solidly back together. I was working as a copywriter at a radio station, I had a rented farm situation. I was back on my feet. I had chickens (out in B.C.), I had put in a garden. I chopped wood. It's a healthy environment. You go skinnydipping in a lake and watch a falcon for a while. It's a good way to live.
I was doing that. When I got myself back to together again after five years of not being so, I met a woman and fell in love with her, and she had been a student activist and had tanks in the streets and had been a medic in Madison, Wisconsin. She had bicycled across the country. We got married. I was with my wife for two or three years. I hadn't told anybody. I had put it out of my mind. I had gone back to being a writer. I hadn't thought about it.
It was like, "forget about it", and it was a pleasure to forget about it. One night my wife was holding me and I was shaking and crying and really going through terror again, and I told her about what had happened. She was really very strong, she said, "Well, Ron, you're a writer, right?" I said, "Yes." She said, "Write about it."
That was the first writing of what has come to be "TRANSGRESSIONS". Up until I started writing about it, which was cathartic and healthy, there was still the basic robotic instructions I had given myself at the roadside, which was "don't tell anybody, they're just going to think you're nuts", you know, "get yourself together." I guess at the point where I felt strong enough, knock on wood, I was together which led me to all of the research I have done about MKULTRA itself.
After deciding you were going to write about it, what avenues did you pursue trying to find out what happened to you?
I've read all of the Senate Hearings works. I have also read, I believe, every book that has been written - and there has been some fine work by different writers - on MKULTRA, and given myself all that background. I'm a fiction writer. That's what I am ... I have had to become a switch-hitter in the sense of having had to work for ad agencies and newspapers and trade journals. I even have my own consulting business as a writer (Perfect Communications is the name of my consulting business). I know how to do other types of writing, but I am a fiction writer. I thought that the best medium for doing this was to write it as a work of fiction and the thing was, I didn't think that just a first-person story would really give a full picture of what was going on there. What I have also done is researched Sidney Gottlieb, he had a very nice farm, he used to like to milk goats. Yeah. Interesting synchronicity. He was a Jew from the Bronx, and he was in charge of the CIA's mind control experiments. Just like me. Perfect. Him and I would have had a fistfight at the school if I had ever met the son-of-a-bitch. I have also researched all of the people involved, so some of the characters in my book ... Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Oliver North, Tom Charles Huston (he's a fascinating little doo-hickey - he was Nixon's "Young Guy" who also came from Indianapolis. I wrote a work of fiction, interestingly. I really do have a rather large talent, and I say that without an ego. It's a gift, and I have been blessed with it. This book has had such difficulty being published. It's the interlock, the corporate interlock, it goes on forever. The story that I wrote is fiction, but it's based on the factual data.
During this time that you were trying to get information on MKULTRA and specifically what happened to you, which program you were involved in, what kind of response were you getting from the government. You were making information requests. How much information were they giving you, how much was blacked out?
The interesting thing is I have gone through different administrations -- Carter, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and now Clinton. There would almost be four or five different answers to that. Basically nothing happened until Carter came in. I don't know if everything that happened during the Carter administration using those fellows' terminologies was a "limited hangout", which means tell them a bunch of phoney baloney stuff that will keep them occupied and we'll keep the good stuff to ourselves. Colby, the guy who just died (Wayne: "mysteriously ...") ... (laughter) I try to stick to the facts ... if I don't know it for sure I'm not going to throw around accusations.
He was the head of the CIA at that point. Let's just make something clear about that because that's really the aggregious lack ... my main thrust in all of this is to achieve two things: truth and justice. Believe me, I have gone through a desire for revenge. That was hell on earth. I believe that, thank God, I have worked out my desire for revenge. I don't think it's possible for me to put this to rest for myself without truth or justice being established.
During Carter's time and the hearings that went on ... Carter came on and said I'm not going to tell you any lies ... that's what he claimed while he had the largest defence budget, even larger than Reagan's as far as I understand, but nonetheless. Good cop, bad cop. Jimmy's a nice guy, he builds houses for poor people. During that period, there was information being released. I sent off many Freedom of Information requests ... I write a great Freedom of Information letter ... I have done it often enough. First of all you get denied, and you go through that whole thing. The basic game they operate on is, you want something, tell me where it is and I'll go look for it ... but there have been some very good, helpful people in the government libraries as well ... there were lots of covert activities and lots of documentation so even if you want to get something for somebody, to some degree you have to know what to look for. The most reassuring thing that came out during the Carter administration, without me going to the files and dragging all that stuff out, was, "okay, thank God, I'm not nuts, I am not alone, this really happened ...".
Ryerson CKLN Radio in Toronto: Producer Wayne Morris interviews Ronald Howard Cohen part 2
Week 8 in a Series of Broadcasts CKLN FM 88.1 in Toronto
Good morning. You have tuned in to The International Connection on 88.l. We are in Week 8 of the radio series about mind control. Today you are listening to Part 2 of the story of Ronald Howard Cohen, a writer and activist who was abducted by the CIA and U.S. military and severely drugged as part of Project MKULTRA. He has pursued finding out why this has happened and attempted to get some justice. We will hear his story about writing a book and finding out about the government's interference in suppressing the book from being published. Now, Ronald Howard Cohen.
Ronald Howard Cohen:
The most reassuring thing that came out during the Carter Administration without me going to the files and dragging all that stuff out, is that, "Thank God. I am not nuts. I am not alone. This really happened." That was solid. The next turn of events which was very large was Ronald Reagan (... please I ask you to control me if I start getting angry and annoyed at Mr. Reagan. I would like to stay even-toned.) With Reagan, what had been done ... the intelligence community was very upset because Carter put in a bunch of lawyers and said you guys have got to deal with a bunch of stuff but before you go out and do this stuff, run it through with these guys. The ego of the people involved in all of that was like, "... we'll do whatever the hell we want ..." The thing is, Carter got out and Reagan got in. There was a very good article in a magazine called The Progressive, I was back in New York at that time ... the title was "Back in the Saddle Again". What Reagan said to them was like, "Carter hung you out to dry? ...write your ticket." When you send in requests for things through Freedom of Information, I try and establish a relationship with the librarians, and also when I write to senators for stuff like that, or congress people ... I not only write to their Washington office, but I write to their state office. I was raised by a union politician in NYC, in the plumber's union ...
Reagan ... when you sent in requests then ... forget it ... you didn't get any information.
Were you able to get a significant amount of information through Carter?
Ronald Howard Cohen:
Through it all ... through Reagan and Bush ... I am a damn good researcher. I am also persistent as hell. I will go eyeball to eyeball. I was divorced, and the book "TRANSGRESSION" was written. It covered the drugging. I knew from having lived in New York as a young bohemian ... you want to get published? Which parties do you get invited to? 57th Street and Fifth Avenue ... you want to get published, you have to move back to New York. I got an agent in New York. The agent is very interesting. I was very flattered. She was an older woman and one of her clients (she knew many famous and influential people). One of her clients was Upton Sinclair who had written a book called "The Jungle", which was about the meat-packing industry in Chicago. A very working class writer. That's my orientation from a literary point of view, basically a working class novelist. I had the agent, and the book was going around New York. I had to get my day job. You have to survive as an artist in this society.
All of a sudden, I start getting mail from CISPES -- Nicaraugua is going on, El Salvador ... I was attending meetings, I was very functional, taking care of business. Coming in from Canada, getting an agent, getting my book published, I was going to get back to Canada. My stuff was in a small town in Vermont ... in a storage facility in Vermont called Bradelborough, Vt. That was all my belongings. I was living in Chelsea, around the 23rd Street, West side area. I was very cautious. New York is heavy turf. You gotta know what you're doing, take care of business, and stay very focused and centered. I knew that. I knew what I was doing.
So at this point the book was completely written?
Ronald Howard Cohen:
It was written. It was at an agent. It was being shown around publishing houses.
Just to clarify. All your manuscripts, all your documentation ...
Ronald Howard Cohen:
25 years worth of work, along with everything else a person (... my pots and pans, my sheets and towels ...) everything, including all of the writing, is in cardboard cartons and two trunks. There is quite a bit of writing ... in Bradelborough, Vt. I was sort of tentative ... I basically felt, I want to be back in Canada ... well, if New York works out ... I have documentation from Landed Immigrancy and Citizen- ship and all that from both countries. The thing is I am there.
What this leads into ... for lack of a better term, I had two mind-blowing set-up situations. Here I am in New York looking for a day job while my agent is trying to peddle my work about cover operations of the FBI, the CIA and U.S. army intelligence on U.S. citizens. Well, I tell you ... Joe reads this, and he calls Sam upstairs, and he calls Harriet and they say, "Who the hell is Ronald Howard Cohen, and what is this book all about?"
These are publishers you are talking about ...
Ronald Howard Cohen:
From my understanding of operations of the intelligence community is that they are in all avenues of the corporate military industrial interlock ... and the media ... including the New York Times. The thing is, what you do is, if you want people to know what's what, you train them, you say, "Very nice. Go back to your job." They become literary agents, or they become editors at book publishers ... whatever field of endeavour they are in. You have to be very cautious about what you are doing. This is all based on somewhat factual but still conjecture ... I don't really know what's going on ... but if there's somebody functioning in this profession ... you can find out whatever the hell you want.
I was working at a temporary agency ... temporary office work in New York ... to see how quickly the book would sell and I could get out of there. From a personal standpoint, the thing that is important to me is that I had all this documentation, but I had never had any contact with a person who had this done to them, or anything similar. I had never had it confirmed from an authoritative source ... so I was on pretty flimsy ground. A lot of what I had was answers to my Freedom of Information requests and other books I had read, research, etc. I go to this real estate management office, I get a temporary job. I have some bookkeeping, accounting, clerical skills. I did a job on 6th or 7th Avenue around 45th, 46th Street, near Times Square. I put on my suit, do my 9 to 5 gig. I come into this place, there's this guy, such a cliche, heavyset, very intellectual, smoking a pipe, has a beard. We talked for about an hour and a half ... I haven't done any work. He is telling me how he has a girlfriend and she is in Russia. Then we go into the Boardroom, lovely Boardroom, comfortable leather plush chairs ... making coffee in the back, drinks out there. Very nice. Sit down. Two guys come in. There are stacks of papers around. The guy I had been talking to says the other two guys are from a temporary agency, they have been here for a while, they will tell me what to do. They look at each other, and sit down. I start checking these guys. One sits at the head of the table and the other sits at his righthand side. I am down the table on the lefthand side. I am working away, and they are not really working. I look up at them and the one at the head of the table says "You don't have to do that shit, man. Don't worry you'll get paid for it." I said "Who are you?" He said, "I'm with the FBI." I get a chill, a little nervous. This is not your common, everyday experience. I look at the other guy and say, "And who are you with, the CIA?" He says, "Yeah. We just want to talk." The guy at the head of the table says, "I'm from New Orleans and I came up here to talk with you." The other guy didn't say where he was from. He said "I'm an actor." (As well as the CIA?) "I didn't get a part in "Witness". You remember there was a commercial movie ... an undercover operation. The guy from the CIA pointed to the guy from the FBI and said "we have just met". They gave me a name, and I started scribbling stuff down and I saw them rushing me, and I thought "scribble when you get out of here". I am not only outraged, I am really fucking nervous. I have never had this happen to me before. I wasn't prepared for it. I just felt like I want to get the hell out of here, how can I get out of here. Maybe they were going to abduct me a second time. The guy says, "Maybe we can work something out. You have a book out ... come on, we know." I got up and I said, "I have to think about this. I am going home. I am going to be here tomorrow. You both will be here tomorrow?" "You will be paid for the full day and we will be here tomorrow."
I got home and I had a cup of mint tea, I didn't trust myself with Scotch. I put some calming music on. I called up the temporary agency that had sent me to this job. I told them a really strange thing had happened at the job that day. The woman said, "Uh uh, what was that?" I said, "Well these two guys identified themselves as working for the U.S. government." She said (right out of her lips, she said ...) "They told you what we do?" End of conversation. She said, "Are you going back?" I said, "I am thinking about it." Wow lady, welcome to big league baseball.
I took a walk. Came back and thought "far out, let's do the game." I wore dungaree tough-guy clothes the next day, took my tape recorder, and they are both sitting there ... in their suits. At one point, I guess I was being glib, trying to find a basis for taking it seriously. One guy says to me, "Well, what do you want? Well your book isn't going to get published ..." I said, "Oh yeah. How about a job at the New York Times." They looked at each other like, "that's all he wants?" I said, "Listen you stupid sons of bitches I'll tell you what I want. I want truth and justice. Next, both of you, I want both of you to take a flying fuck at the moon and I'm out of here and you can send the fucking cheque." I walked out of there.
I had, to them, crossed a line. I had gotten to their macho. They wanted to make me a deal I couldn't refuse. I'm being a wise ass and telling them to go fuck themselves.
After you told them to take a hike, did they contact you again?
Ronald Howard Cohen:
Yeah. They did. There were three set-up situations. That was the first. I got in touch with my agent who said I sent it to a couple of houses but it came back. I have to work day jobs ... she said, "you won't be the first". I had enough of the suit and tie business, so I got a job packing crap in a warehouse, in the garment district. This is right after the real estate company temporary job. Packing different imported leather goods... between 7th and 9th Avenue in Manhatten. Again it's a temporary service, manual labour. I've got my workboots on, my sweatshirt, and I'm doing manual labour. There were six or seven other temps, all black. The intelligence community hires people from all different types of groups... They arrived in the warehouse. Now we come to death-threat time. It's lunchtime. I am trying to maintain my cool. Maybe I should go up to Vermont. I take my brown bag and my thermos and I go off in the corner and I am having lunch. This smaller type fellow (about 5'4", lightweight, strong, no fat on him, he had mentioned about the Marines) comes over and says, "Can we talk?" He said, "Well, you know, I came from Hawaii to talk with you." I said, "Ah fuck. Who are you with?" He said, "With Army intelligence. Stay cool. I just want to talk. Want to talk about Indianapolis and Indiana." Here was the first time -- solid confirmation. I really wasn't nuts. This really happened. "Look, I don't think I want to talk to you. I just want justice. I don't think I'm going to get that talking to you." He says, "I've got somebody I have to report to." I said, "Okay, you do your trip man, but I am telling you if you think I've got anything to talk to you folks about, I've written it all out, okay? And I told you what I wanted, truth and justice. Leave me alone. I need the money, I just want to do this job. I am leaving New York. Just leave me alone." He got up and said, "Okay, we'll leave you alone." Well, this fellow was not alone. The other fellow ... they didn't have to cover their cover anymore ... this got more like football locker room type of subtle dialogue ... with the boxes throwing back and forth. We're going up a back elevator, wooden, creaking up old elevator, with all the boxes. You're squeezed up against all the boxes, unload it at the warehouse, shelve it, and then it's time to go home. I didn't know what these two guys wanted ... my feeling was, "We sent you the businessmen, the nice guys, what do you want to see, we got other guys?"
Did you feel that all of your co-workers at that time were keeping an eye on you?
Ronald Howard Cohen:
Absolutely. Not only all 7 of them, but also the people at the company. We almost had a choice, whether we wanted to work or not. The managers were civilians, if I can use that term. There were times when these guys and I were just talking. We weren't doing any work. If it was really a legitimate gig, somebody would have been coming over saying, "Hey you're getting paid. Get back to work." That's not what happened. We had the run of the place. One morning I came in and this guy said, "Hey Ronnie. Did you ever hear of G. Gordon Liddy?" I said, "Oh yeah. I think I heard about him. Isn't he the guy who busted Leary on acid the first time up in Millbrook, right? I knew some people who used to hang out with Leary." This guy says, and he lit his lighter, "Do you think it's true that he put his hand over the flame?" And then he shut it off. He was going to show me he could do it too and burn his flesh. We're riding up in this elevator. There's two guys in the back and one of them says, "What do you think of that Licence to Kill shit?" The other one says, "I don't use that much." I just thought, oh boy. Play hardball. I just said, "Are we going to unload the boxes or what?"
I came home. I had really had enough of New York. I got my paycheque. I had had it. The phone rings. I was foolish. I didn't jot down this fellow's name but I was off-centre. Nervous. This guy says, "I'm so and so. I'm an editor at New York Times Sunday Magazine section." (You remember I had been foolishly jesting about get me a job at New York Times ... this was about two weeks after that.)
Had you sent your resume to the New York Times?
Ronald Howard Cohen:
No. This guy says, "We at the New York Times, we're very well connected. We have a lot of different people. New York City, we're always looking for very talented people. We have some people working in employments, environments, places like that. I've seen a copy of your resume. Would you like to come in for an interview?" I said, "Hey man, I wouldn't miss it for the world."
I want to read a segment from my book, "TRANSGRESSIONS" ... "I didn't want to feel fear or awe but I did. I was going to an interview at the New York Times, the paper of record. It was hard not to be impressed. I took the subway up to 42nd Street and Times Square and walked over to 43rd Street. The Times building ran the entire block from 7th to 8th Avenue. There was a workman's style cafe across from the Times and I decided to sip on a cup of coffee for a few minutes. I still had about a quarter of an hour til my appointment ... I entered the jammed elevator and watched for my floor to light up on an indicator above the floor. I was still nervous. Even on this crowded elevator the air itself seemed to be thinning out, bringing everything into focus, making details distinct. I was entering some sort of center of power. It will be all right, I told myself, as soon as you actually meet this guy you will be all right. Mr. Berg is just one more human. My floor arrived and I got off the elevator. There was another reception desk right ahead of me with the sign saying, "The Sunday Times Magazine" on the wall behind it. I told the man sitting there that I had an appointment with a Mr. Berg and he lifted the receiver of the phone on his desk and he announced me, "A Mr. Rosen is here to see you Mr. Berg." ...
He comes out and he says, "Why don't we talk up in the cafeteria?" We walk down the hall there to the employees' cafeteria. Almost all of the many tables in the cafeteria were empty. There was a good food serving area off to the side and Mr. Berg started to walk towards it. "Grab a seat towards the back table will you? That one back there looks good. How do you take your coffee?" I told him, and I went way down the room to the table he had pointed to. There sure wasn't any chance of our conversation being overheard. I looked at the leaves of a potted plant waving from the effects of the circulating air or air conditioning. My nervousness had disappeared. This was some interview. The man seemed ready to give me the store. I was terribly confused. ... (he comes back, we chitchat) ... "I guess you know the Sunday Magazine gets one hell of a lot of copy that's filled with some so-called facts and needs some careful checking. Do you ever do that sort of work?" "I always like to check my facts," I smiled at him. "Good," he smiled back. "A very good policy." He looked down at my resume for a while, and then he looked at me. We both sipped at our coffee. "We've got a slot that pays $45,000 a year." My face must have shown how much that figure struck me. "I know that the smaller places don't pay that sort of scale, but this is The Times. I don't know how my co-worker will take to taking on someone new right now, I will have to check with her." I looked around the almost-deserted cafeteria for a minute, and I sighed deeply. As I looked down the room to a table where a woman and two men sat chatting, they were talking together like comrades. In my soul, I wanted to be sitting there, to be one of them. So at an out-of-the-way back table, in a nice, clean cafeteria, I came to decision time. I couldn't do it. Dammit all to hell, I couldn't do it. "Mr. Berg, can I ask you something? What's going on here? I mean I don't have the credentials for this job. Most of my resume is sheer fluff and gunsmoke, I'm pretty sure you can see that." He nodded and looked straight at me, feeling, I am sure, ten times more uncomfortable than he had been only a few minutes before. Obviously I was going to turn out to be a real character. Of course I am thrilled at coming across an opportunity like that. If I had come upon it honestly I'd be jumping all over the place. But I can't do anything until I know what is really going on. "I don't know what to say," Mr. Berg replied. "I know that about ten years ago a Senate Committee said that the CIA and some newspapers were involved with each other, but I thought that had all stopped." Mr. Berg didn't like the sound of the word "CIA" but he reacted like an editor who had spent his life checking facts and sifting through them.
"Yes, in the 1970's I believe it was 15 newspapers, a dozen major book publishing companies, about 400 writers and journalists, if I remember correctly." He grimaced and continued, "If I remember correctly," he said staring at me, "some fellows have found it all to be very lucrative. All of that has gone on all the time I've been here and I've been here for some time. There never seems to be a problem recruiting people. I personally think it is all a very dangerous practice but others say it is the only way to know which whore is trying to take a piss on you." "Do you feel that way?" "I believe in accuracy," he said, and our discussion was over. (end book excerpt)
How close is that to what really happened?
Ronald Howard Cohen:
Oh that was pretty close! Oh yeah. You gotta keep in mind what I have now done. I told them to take a hike, and then they offer me a $45,000 gig. I am not going to take a bribe. I am a real yeuch to their community ... they are being "nice" and they just told me there is no freedom of the press, and my book isn't going to get published, but they are going to get me a job at the New York Times. I get in touch with my agent who was never able to sell the book, and we finally parted company. She gave up. I told my agent I am going back to Canada and I am going to get re-located there, and we will stay in touch by phone and mail. I went back to Canada and I got the same feeling I always did when I crossed the border, "Oh thank God!" For whatever you got going here ... at least is to some degree rational ... I took a whole process where I got an apartment in Toronto, got some furniture but all my stuff is stored in Vermont. I hire a moving man to drive down to Bradelborough, Vt. to get my life's work and my possessions and bring it back to Toronto. Very nice moving guy ... he and his girlfriend ... we drove down in his van ... we had lunch in Bradelborough ... nice town ... sort of a wine and cheese and cracker place with ski lodges etc. for people who are academics at Harvard and MIT ... My belongings were stored at Hillwinds Farm which was a farm with a very big barn that had been converted into storage facilities. We bring the van through the front where the horses came in ... it's like paddocks that are now storage facilities ... There's a caretaker who lives on the premises and every month I would pay the rent there, and to some degree had a correspondence with the people there ... I go to open my lock on my storage unit, and it's not my lock. I went over to the caretaker's facility and I go, "What's with the lock?" She said, "Mr. Cohen, I know you are a very responsible guy but you must have forgotten to put your lock on ... I went walking through there and I noticed it was missing, so I put a lock on." She opened the locker for me and my first impression was that it was all there. I am a total paranoid about locking something ... I pull on it and pull on it to make sure it's locked ... My hi fi, my record stuff is there, books are there ... let's load the van up. The van's loaded and something is like "Hmmm" but I am not sure what. We have to stop in town. I want to stop at the police station. I go in and tell the guy I want you to take this all down. I told him the whole story and I wanted to cover my backside this way ... I don't have any drugs, I am not a drug dealer. If I get stopped at the border and they go through my stuff and find drugs I want you to know I reported this, and I didn't have them, and they planted stuff. I may be off the wall just now but I want you to know this. We get on the highway and I get shivers through me. What I had remembered was I had more boxes. My writing, my writing was in some boxes. Those boxes weren't there. But more, what struck me was, I had a lot of writing in these two trunks. I had my original first story I did when I was 8 years old, poetry readings I had given in New York on tape ... not only that I had my commercial portfolio as an advertising copywriter, all this stuff, my clippings ... all my manuscripts for unpublished stories, plays, essays. Everything. My life's work. When we had loaded the van, those were heavy trunks. It was a two-man job. I said "stop the van", I opened up both trunks and then I realized I had a couple of portable typewriters (I was a typewriter nut). I had a 1920's Royal and that was gone too. Message. I just sat there and the couple came along, and I was crying. I couldn't tell them the whole story. We drove back to Toronto and they were very sophisticated, nice people and they didn't ask any questions. I unpacked and I was devastated. I was into some very bad emotional pain. I was really pissed. What do you do after your life's work is stolen? I got the answer. You write about it. I sat down and I said, Page One. 'TRANSGRESSION' and we're going to start back 30 years ago. So the book in manuscript form doubled in size. I have rewritten it. It's gone out to agencies, publishers, senior fiction editors, top of the heap, who said to me over the phone, "Ron you made the cut. You made the decision buddy. We were only going to publish X number of books ... I've seen long fights over which ones we were going to go with ... we're not going to go with it ... keep at it." It sounded like she was a little disgusted. You are dealing with heavyweight people. The editor goes to lunch with the publishers and the editor says "Okay do you want to publish this thing and we go lawyers, and we go lots of money, lots of fights, or what?" I've asked myself quite intensely, "What is this crap? Is this thing any good? And I re-read it, cold. Yeah, it's good work. So then what gives? This thing could make somebody some bucks and you're a high risk ..." After Clinton got in, I got on the computer. I got the new line-up card in Washington, D.C. and I started sending out letters. Hello, welcome aboard, hello, this is stuff that hasn't been looked at under the Nixon administration, and the Reagan administration. Eventually what happened with that was the U.S. Senate Oversight Intelligence Committee, whose Vice-Chair is Senator Bob Kerry from Nebraska, he wrote me back and basically he said, Ron are you a straight-shooter, I'll have somebody check it out.
This is under Clinton. Had you been in contact with Kerry before?
Ronald Howard Cohen:
No he was a new Senator. If you have ever been in a Senator's office, and I have, they have lots of files and papers and lots of stuff so they have a staff person. That's really whom you work with. So there was a gentleman who was on the Senate Oversight Intelligence Committee ... they are the ones who supposedly, in the back room, or in camera, are saying "what's going on?" and they are supposed to be told what's going on. Bob Carey was in his 30's and he said I'm really busy, taking this on my plate ... it's a little heavy for me to be doing, but I gotta do what I gotta do ... But as he said, he even called me on the phone, and said Hey man, I'm open. As far as I know from what I found out anything's possible. That's from the horse at the stable. At some point there was some headway, since I had ben sandbagged for so long ... yeah, positive feedback ... I felt there was some movement. But then I got a letter back most relatively recently which was much more formal and it was basically a turndown. I got on the phone with him and I said Hey what's shakin'? It was a much more formal response. I had the company names of all the set-up situations, I had the dates. I went home and I scribbled. I had the names of these people who they identified themselves as. This guy said he's from the CIA, this guy said he's from the FBI, he met me on such and such a date, at such and such a time. I had all of that which is pretty good something to look into ... I had sent that and Carey writes me back and he says well if you have something, but right now there's nothing. I write him back Dear Robert, man-to- man. Do you think I'm an asshole enough to maybe go back to New York or Washington or whatever the hell it is ... what exactly would you like me to bring you on your desk? So he hasn't written back to that. Maybe it was the Dear Robert, I don't know ...
We have been listening to an interview with Ronald Howard Cohen, a survivor of abduction and drugging by the CIA and U.S. military and subsequent harassment by agencies of the U.S. government in his efforts to publish a book about his ordeal.
Please excuse the strong language that was used in the show, but I felt it was important to include what Ronald's account of what was actually said in his interactions with the U.S. government agents.
This has been Part 8 of a series about mind control on The International Connection on CKLN. Next week, we are featuring a panel discussion entitled "An Overview of Ritual Abuse, Mind Control and Dissociation" with Walter Bowart, Alan Scheflin and Randy Noblitt. You have been tuned in to The International Connection on 88.l.