Mind control (also known as brainwashing, coercive persuasion, mind abuse, thought control, or thought reform) refers to a process in which a group or individual “systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s), often to the detriment of the person being manipulated.” The term has been applied to any tactic, psychological or otherwise, which can be seen as subverting an individual’s sense of control over their own thinking, behavior, emotions or decision making.
Theories of brainwashing and of mind control were originally developed to explain how totalitarian regimes appeared to succeed in systematically indoctrinating prisoners of war through propaganda and torture techniques. These theories were later expanded and modified, by psychologists including Margaret Singer, to explain a wider range of phenomena, especially conversions to new religious movements (NRMs). A third-generation theory proposed by Ben Zablocki focused on the utilization of mind control to retain members of NRMs and cults to convert them to a new religion. The suggestion that NRMs use mind control techniques has resulted in scientific and legal controversy. Neither the American Psychological Association nor the American Sociological Association have found any scientific merit in such theories.
Project MKULTRA, or MK-ULTRA, was the code name for a covert, illegal CIA human research program, run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence. This official U.S. government program began in the early 1950s, continuing at least through the late 1960s, and it used U.S. and Canadian citizens as its test subjects.
Donald Ewen Cameron (24 December 1901–8 September 1967) was a twentieth-century Scottish-American psychiatrist. Cameron was involved in Project MKULTRA, United States Central Intelligence Agency’s research on torture and mind control.
Cameron lived and worked in Albany, New York, and was involved in experiments in Canada for Project MKULTRA, a United States based CIA-directed mind control program which eventually led to the publication of the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual. He is unrelated to another CIA psychiatrist Alan Cameron, who helped pioneer psychological profiling of world leaders during the 1970s.
Naomi Klein states in her book The Shock Doctrine that Cameron’s research and his contribution to the MKUltra project was actually not about mind control and brainwashing, but about designing “a scientifically based system for extracting information from ‘resistant sources.’ In other words, torture…Stripped of its bizarre excesses, Dr. Cameron’s experiments, building upon Donald O. Hebb’s earlier breakthrough, laid the scientific foundation for the CIA’s two-stage psychological torture method.”
Mind control in popular culture: * The communal brainwashing of an entire model community via subliminal messages is a central theme in the 2009 novel Candor by Pam Bachorz. * In the novel A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, the protagonist undergoes a scientific re-education process called the “Ludovico technique” in an attempt to remove his violent tendencies. * In his 1999 science fictin novel A Deepness in the Sky, Vernor Vinge introduces the themes of “mindrot” and controlled “Focus” later eplored in his 2006 novel. * In the novel Night of the Hawk by Dale Brown, the Soviets capture and brainwash U.S. Air Force Lieutenant David Luger, transforming him into the Russian scientist Ivan Ozerov. * In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (published in 1949 before the popularization of the term “brainwashing”), the fictional totalitarian government of Oceania uses brainwashing-style techniques to erase nonconformist thought and rebellious personalities. * Vernor Vinge speculates on the application of technology to achieve brainwashing in his 2006 science fiction novel, Rainbows End (ISBN 0-312-85684-9), portraying separately the dangers of JITT (Just-in-time training) and the specter of YGBM (You gotta believe me).
Brainwashing became a common trope of films, television and games in the late twentieth century. It was a convenient means of introducing changes in the behavior of characters and a device for raising tension and audience uncertainty in the climate of Cold War and outbreaks of terrorism. * The film Brazil, depicts a fascist government similar to that in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The government controls a totalitarian society subconsciously by manipulation, intending to remain in control of the population. * Derren Brown: Mind Control (1999-2000), a television show on Channel 4
Posts Tagged ‘mind control’
Russ Baker - Jun 2, 2011
Readers have shown considerable interest in the trailer we ran recently for the video about unknown radiation experiments on African American children.
Continuing our exploration of secret government experiments on American citizens, we now re-publish an article I wrote in 1999 about the CIA and LSD experiments. That article was originally commissioned by the New York Times Magazine, which opted in the end not to publish it. Instead, it appeared in the magazine of the esteemed British newspaper The Observer, the German newsmagazine Spiegel, and in top newspapers in Australia, Netherlands, and other countries. It did not run in the United States.
H.P. Albarelli Jr. and Dr. Jeffrey S. Kaye - 11 August 2010
In 1955 and1956, Dr. Bender began hearing glowing accounts about the potential of LSD for producing remarkable results in children suffering mental disorders, including autism and schizophrenia. Bender’s earlier work with electroshock therapy had brought her into contact with several other prominent physicians who, at the time, were covert contractors with the CIA’s MK/ULTRA and Artichoke projects. Primary among these physicians were Drs. Harold A. Abramson, Paul Hoch, James B. Cattell, Joel Elkes, Max Fink, Harris Isbell and Alfred Hubbard. Some of these names may be familiar to readers. Dr. Abramson, a noted allergist who surreptitiously worked for both the US Army and CIA since the late 1940s, was the physician Frank Olson was taken to see, shortly before his murder in New York City in November 1953. About a year earlier, Drs. Hoch and Cattell were responsible for injecting unwitting New York State Psychiatric Institute patient Harold Blauer with a massive dose of mescaline that killed him. Dr. Elkes was one of the earliest physicians in Europe to experiment with LSD, having requested samples of the drug from Sandoz Chemical Co. in 1949. Elkes was a close associate of Dr. Abraham Wikler, who worked closely with Dr. Harris Isbell at the now-closed Lexington, Kentucky, prison farm, where hundreds of already drug-addicted inmates were given heroin in exchange for their participation in LSD and mescaline experiments underwritten by the CIA and Pentagon. Elkes worked closely with the CIA, Pentagon and Britain’s MI6 on drug experiments in England and the United States.
Gordon P. Erspamer - 18 October 2009
Despite the passage of four decades, America and its military have never come to grips with its own ghastly programs of using soldiers as guinea pigs to test chemical or biological weapons such as LSD, sarin, nerve gases, plague, mescaline, anthrax and hundreds of others. At the same time, they also conducted mind-control experiments, as soldiers and others were administered drugs, and septal implants were inserted in the sinus cavities a la “The Manchurian Candidate.” The secret research programs, originally code-named MKULTRA but continued under a long succession of other code names, were conducted mainly by the US Army from 1943 until at least 1975. However, the CIA provided planning, financial support and field testing. Participants in the experiments were recruited by the Army and lured by promises of no KP duty, a four-day workweek, the promise of medals and special recognition. At the same time, they were sworn to secrecy and forced to sign a general consent form without informed consent or even knowing the nature of the toxic substances that were sprayed in their faces, applied to their skin or injected into their veins. And the government continues to try to hide the fact that Nazi members were recruited to help devise these experiments as part of Operation Paperclip, and that many of the biological experiments were modeled after those conducted by the notorious Col. Shiro Ishi in Manchuria and Japan.
By Bruce Falconer, Mother Jones - May 23, 2009
Their stories are a staple of conspiracy culture: broken men, suffering hallucinations and near-total amnesia, who say they are victims of secret government mind-control experiments. Think Liev Schreiber in The Manchurian Candidate or Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory. Journalists are a favorite target for the paranoid delusions of this population. So is Gordon Erspamer—and the San Francisco lawyer’s latest case isn’t helping him to fend off the tinfoil-hat crowd. He has filed suit against the CIA and the US Army on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans of America and six former American soldiers who claim they are the real thing: survivors of classified government tests conducted at the Army’s Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland between 1950 and 1975. “I get a lot of calls,” he says. “There are a lot of crazy people out there who think that somebody from Mars is controlling their behavior via radio waves.” But when it comes to Edgewood, “I’m finding that more and more of those stories are true!”
That government scientists conducted human experiments at Edgewood is not in question. “The program involved testing of nerve agents, nerve agent antidotes, psychochemicals, and irritants,” according to a 1994 General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office) report (PDF). At least 7,800 US servicemen served “as laboratory rats or guinea pigs” at Edgewood, alleges Erspamer’s complaint, filed in January in a federal district court in California. The Department of Veterans Affairs has reported that military scientists tested hundreds of chemical and biological substances on them, including VX, tabun, soman, sarin, cyanide, LSD, PCP, and World War I-era blister agents like phosgene and mustard. The full scope of the tests, however, may never be known. As a CIA official explained to the GAO, referring to the agency’s infamous MKULTRA mind-control experiments, “The names of those involved in the tests are not available because names were not recorded or the records were subsequently destroyed.” Besides, said the official, some of the tests involving LSD and other psychochemical drugs “were administered to an undetermined number of people without their knowledge.”
Louis Porter - November 30, 2008
Few people in Vermont remember Dr. Robert W. Hyde, but one of his former patients can’t forget him. The doctor was involved in one of the nation’s darkest chapters in medical science: In the 1950s, Hyde conducted drug and psychological experiments at a Boston hospital through funding that apparently originated with the CIA. Later, he became director of research at the Vermont State Hospital.
The patient, Karen Wetmore, is convinced that Hyde and other researchers subjected her and possibly other patients to experiments paid for by the CIA at the Waterbury facility.
In addition to her claim, new evidence, though incomplete, suggests that such tests might have been conducted at the Vermont State Hospital.
Several books and numerous newspaper accounts have detailed how techniques developed through testing, including on mental health patients at hospitals in other parts of the country, are related to the interrogation methods used in Guantanamo and other locations in the war on terror. These well-known and well-documented drug experiments began in secret after the Korean War and were sponsored by the U.S. government.
News accounts and histories of the experiments have not mentioned the Vermont State Hospital, but a congressional committee concluded that dozens of institutions, some of which have never been identified, were involved in secret experiments for the CIA.
Soldiers barking orders at each other is so 20th Century. That’s why the U.S. Army has just awarded a $4 million contract to begin developing “thought helmets” that would harness silent brain waves for secure communication among troops. Ultimately, the Army hopes the project will “lead to direct mental control of military systems by thought alone.”
If this sounds insane, it would have been as recently as a few years ago. But improvements in computing power and a better understanding of how the brain works have scientists busy hunting for the distinctive neural fingerprints that flash through a brain when a person is talking to himself. The Army’s initial goal is to capture those brain waves with incredibly sophisticated software that then translates the waves into audible radio messages for other troops in the field. “It’d be radio without a microphone, ” says Dr. Elmar Schmeisser, the Army neuroscientist overseeing the program. “Because soldiers are already trained to talk in clean, clear and formulaic ways, it would be a very small step to have them think that way.”