Gordon Thomas - Globe-Intel 23 August, 2002
Cheney, Rumsfeld Help Coverup CIA Scientist's Murder
The following report may be more than a year old, and and refer to an event
fifty years ago, but it throws interesting new light current affairs. Largely
ignored by the mainstream media, what follows explores the murky past of two key
members of the Bush administration, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Ed.
Secret documents have revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld are "linked to the murder" of a former senior CIA
In 1953 Frank Olson, who was a key member of the CIAs secret brainwashing
programme MK-ULTRA, was sent plunging from a New York hotel window.
He had threatened to reveal the CIA involvement in "terminal experiments" in
post-war Germany and in Korea during the Korean War.
For almost half a century his son, Eric, a psychologist, has insisted his father
was murdered "on orders from the highest level".
Now a California history professor, Kathryn Olmstead, revealed she had
discovered at the Gerald Ford library documents written by Cheney and Rumsfeld
at the time of Frank Olsonís death.
They show how far the White House went to conceal information about Olsonís
death - and his role in preparing anthrax and other biological weapons. Part of
his work had been at Britainís Porton Down Chemical-Bio Research Centre.
Cheney and Rumsfeld were given the task of covering up the details of Frank
Olsonís death. At the time, Rumsfeld was White House Chief of Staff to President
Gerald Ford. Dick Cheney was a senior White House assistant.
The documents uncovered by Professor Olmstead include one that states "Dr
Olsonís job was so sensitive that it is highly unlikely that we would submit
In another memo, Cheney acknowledges that "the Olson lawyers will seek to
explore all the circumstances of Dr Olsonís employment, as well as those
concerning his death. In any trial, it may become apparent that we are
concealing evidence for national security reasons and any settlement or
judgement reached thereafter could be perceived as money paid to cover up the
activities of the CIA".
Frank Olsonís family received US $750,000 to settle their claims against the US
But Professor Olmsteadís revelations will almost certainly bring further
embarrassment to Rumsfeld and Cheney as the persistent fallout from the FBIs
investigation into the anthrax mailings last year, which lead to five deaths in
America, continues to escalate.
Both the offices of Rumsfeld and Cheney have declined comment on their role in
the murder of Frank Olson.
But from his home outside Washington, Eric Olson said that the documents
involving Rumsfeld and Cheney show they "have questions to answer".
He added: "The documents show the lengths to which the government was trying to
cover up the truth. For decades there was a cover up. And then, under the guise
of revealing everything, there was a new cover up."
But a CIA spokesman, Paul Nowack, insisted that the CIA had "fully cooperated in
allowing the full truth to surface. Tens of thousands of documents were
Eric Olson has contended that his father was murdered to cover up his
ultra-secret research in Korea and later in Europe and Britain.
"My father was among scientists studying the use of LSD and other drugs to
enhance interrogations, as Cold War tensions ran high, and Americans feared that
captured soldiers had been brainwashed in Korea. My father had gone to Europe,
where he observed the interrogation of former Nazis and Soviet citizens at a
secret US base", said Eric Olson.
He contends that in the final days of his life, his father became "morally
distraught" over his work and decided to quit. Records show that CIA officials
were concerned that he was a security risk. Eric Olson believes that the thought
of Frank Olson quitting was a motive for the government to want him dead.
"In 1993, Eric Olson arranged for his father's body to be unearthed and examined
by a forensic scientist, James Starrs. Starrs concluded that Frank Olson had
probably been struck on the head and then thrown out of the hotel window,"
writes Frederick Tulsky in the Mercury News.
Starrs' conclusion is one of the tantalizing pieces that Eric Olson has gathered
to support his belief that his father was murdered.
In late November 1953, Frank Olson, then 43, joined a group of government
officials at a conference at Deep Creek Lodge in western Maryland. For days
afterward, Olson was withdrawn. His son, Eric, says his father told his wife
that he intended to quit his job.
But Frank Olson did not quit. And on November 23 he went to New York with
another government official, where he twice visited Harold A Abramson, a doctor
who was one of the first researchers to study the effects of LSD.
Olson returned to Washington, then went back to New York on November 28 and
checked into the Statler Hotel. He was scheduled to enter a sanitarium the next
But early in the morning of November 29, Frank Olson went through the window of
the hotel room he was sharing with a colleague, Robert Lashbrook. Lashbrook told
police that he was awakened by the sound of breaking glass.
"The Olson family knew little else. But in 1975, a commission headed by Vice
President Nelson Rockefeller issued a report on CIA abuses, and an account in
the Washington Post included a mention of an Army scientist who jumped from a
New York hotel room days after being slipped LSD in 1953," writes Tulsky.
"We realized they were talking about my father,'' Eric Olson recalled. Family
members talked to reporters about their outrage and said they would sue the
government. Days later, the family was invited to the White House to meet
President Ford. He assured them that they would be given all information about
what happened to Frank Olson.
Soon after, family members were invited to lunch with CIA Director William
Colby, who gave them a file of documents that amounted to the CIA investigation
into Olson's death. But the documents left many questions unanswered about both
his work and the circumstances of his death.
"The express understanding was that the government had promised to give us all
information, which clearly meant information about his work relationship with
the CIA,'' the Olsons' attorney, David Rudovsky of Philadelphia, said this week.
"It now appears that was not the case.''
Over the years Eric Olson turned up many clues, real or coincidental. There was,
for example, the assassination manual that the CIA declassified in connection
with its Guatemala activities. The manual, created in the early 1950s,
identified "the contrived accident'' as "the most effective technique'' of
"The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or
more onto a hard surface,'' the manual stated. "It was exactly what happened to
my father," said Eric Olson.
Courtesy Malcolm and Indy Media