From: Chris Banks <>

I came across this in an article today that some of you may find interesting. I kept this summary as short as possible...

"In the late 1950's and early 1960's dozens of psychiatric patients at the Allan Memorial Institue in Motnreal, fell under the care of Dr. Ewen Cameron, a man with some radical ideas about how the human mind is wired, and how it might be therapeutically rewired by a skilled psychiatrist such as himself. Cameron believed the roots of mental illness lay in faulty thought patterns patients developed over time. He reckoned patients could be "depatterned" through the ceaseless repetition of a key word or phrase - a technique he called "psychic driving." Confining the patients to "sleep rooms" in the Institute, Cameron "implanted" a carefully chosen "driving message" (usually a negative message, followed much later by an affirming message) into their heads via speakers or earphones.

"Each message - for example, "You have no confidence in yourself. You are weak and inadequate"- was broadcast continuously for 15 hours a day, seven days a week, for up to two months.

"Not surprisingly, "psychic driving" quickly became a torturous ordeal for the subjects. Indeed, Cameron's depatterning work suggested the mind-control experiments being carried out in North Korea, where Communist soldiers were allegedly turning captured POWs into robotically programmed acolytes. (The CIA, eager to know more about brainwashing, and to develop countervailling techniques of its own, funded Cameron's work for three years under a project code-named MKULTRA)."

Taken from "Shocks Next Wave: Advertisers scramble for new ways to shock an unshockable generation." by Bruce Grierson. Adbusters #20, pg 19-26

(Another article. I don't remember who sent the following information to the mailing list, but whoever you are, thanks.)

Here's a informative tidbit from Mark Zepezauer's book 'The CIA's Greatest Hits' (thanks to OCR scanning software):

The CIA says its mind control experiments were a strictly defensive response to Chinese "brainwashing" of US POWs during the Korean War (captured US pilots were making public statements denouncing US germ warfare against civilians). Actually, US brainwashing experiments predate the CIA itself.

CIA mind control activities (also called behavior control) did accelerate in 1953, under a program that was exempt from the usual oversight procedures. Code-named MK-ULTRA, many of its files were destroyed by CIA Director Richard Helms (who was with it from the start) when he left office in 1953, but the surviving history is nasty enough.

MK-ULTRA spooks and shrinks tested radiation, electric shocks, electrode implants, microwaves, ultrasound and a wide range of drugs on unwitting subjects, including hundreds of prisoners at California's infamous Vacaville State Prison.

The CIA saw mind control as a way to create torture-proof couriers (by implanting memories that can only be retrieved with a prearranged signal) and programmed assassins, as in The Manchurian Candidate. There's evidence Sirhan was treated by a CIA-linked shrink before killing Robert Kennedy.

The agency also wondered if it could disorient its adversaries with mind-altering substances like LSD. It was so fascinated with LSD that, in 1953, it tried to buy up the entire world supply. For many years, the agency was the principal source of LSD in the US, both legal and otherwise (one CIA-connected dealer produced tens of millions of doses).

Before ultimately dismissing LSD as unpredictable, the CIA tested it on countless people - including its own - without their consent, provoking several suicides. One CIA germ-warfare expert hurled himself out of a tenth-story window after a "surprise" dose. It was 22 years before his family found out the real reason for his death.

The agency also rented a series of apartments, staffed them with prostitutes and watched through one-way mirrors to see the effects of various substances the prostitutes slipped to the unlucky johns. When CIA auditors found out about this (in 1963), MK-ULTRA was supposedly shut down. In fact, it was simply renamed MKSEARCH, and some of its more exotic projects were trimmed.

The CIA says all its behavior control operations ended when Helms left in 1973. If you believe that, maybe they did learn some useful techniques from all those brainwashing experiments.  

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This document was last updated 17 October 2000