Pubdate: Wednesday April 28 ,1999 Source: Wall Street Journal (NY) Copyright: 1999 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Contact: Website: Author: Frances A. McMorris Page: B12


U.S. Jury Gets Case That Pits A Dead Mentally Ill Man Vs. a Dead CIA Scientist

It sounds like a movie plot.

An American artist living in Paris 1952 goes to a cafe, where a club footed man slips a mind altering drug into his drink. The artist ends up in the hospital suffering from hallucinations. He is treated with electroshock therapy and begins a 40 year decline into mental illness. Along the way, he suspects that he may have been drugged by the Central Intelligence Agency.

That is the essence of a claim brought by the estate of Stanley Glickman against the late Sidney Gottlieb, widely known as the CIA scientist who directed a project that tested the effects of hallucinogenic drugs, such as lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, on unwitting victims.

The case highlights a dark chapter in the history of Cold War espionage, when the government began the experiments on civilians out of fear that the Soviets and other communists were developing mindcontrol techniques. The project came to light in the mid 1970s, when Congress held hearings on it and Mr. Gottlieb, who had a club foot, testified.

Today, closing arguments are scheduled to be heard by a federal court jury in New York. The case was transferred yesterday to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, after Dominick DiCarlo, the chief judge of the U.S. International Court of Trade who had presided over the trial, collapsed and died while exercising.

Federal prosecutors are defending the estate of Mr. Gottlieb, who died March 7. The defense contends Mr. Glickman actually suffered from naturally occurring schizophrenia.

Sidney Bender, the lawyer for Mr. Glickman's estate, acknowledged when the trial began earlier this month that he didn't have documents proving that Mr. Gottlieb drugged the artist. But he said Mr. Glickman recalled that "the person who gave him the drink had a club foot."

On the night in question, Mr. Bender contends that Mr. Glickman was lured by an acquaintance to the Cafe Select in Paris, where they met three other men. One of the men offered Mr. Glickman a drink and as the man walked to the bar, Mr. Glickman allegedly saw that he had a clubfoot.

Halfway through the cocktail, Mr. Glickman began having hallucinations and landed in the hospital. Several months later, his family brought him back to the U.S. for treatment. Mr. Glickman's mental state never improved. He held odd jobs but never painted again. He died of unrelated causes on Dec. 11, 1992.

A major problem with Mr. Glickman's allegations is that he only began to think that he had been drugged by the CIA after watching televised congressional hearings in 1977 about the agency's LSD program. He didn't sue until 1983. 1

Even the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in an opinion last July that "there are reasons to be skeptical" of Mr. Glickman's claim, which alleges violations of his constitutional rights. But, the appellate panel allowed the case to go to trial because CIA records that might have proved Mr. Glickman's claim were ordered destroyed in January 1973 by Mr. Gottlieb. (The court dropped the government as a defendant, saying Mr. Glickman didn't sue quickly enough after learning about the CIA program; the court said he met the three year deadline for suing Mr. Gottlieb because he didn't learn about Mr. Gottlieb's club foot until 1981.)

The government has admitted that the CIA set up an LSD research program, headed by Mr. Gottlieb, in the early 1950s. "And, absolutely, it is true that a component of that program consisted of giving LSD to unwitting people," said Martin Siegel, an assistant U.S. attorney on the case. However, Mr. Siegel added that the case "is about whether the CIA, in the person of Sidney Gottlieb, gave LSD to Stanley Glickman."