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Συντάχθηκε απο τον/την Χρήστος Μπούμπουλης (Christos Boumpoulis)   
Πέμπτη, 09 Οκτώβριος 2014 15:29

 

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Stunning tale of brainwashing, the CIA and an unsuspecting Scots researcher

HE WAS the Scot whose gilded career as the world's leading psychiatrist was mysteriously, and ignominiously, cut short.

They numbered in their hundreds, victims of Dr Donald Ewen Cameron's "brainwashing" experiments now known to have been funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at the height of the Cold War.

Fifty years later - with Cameron and most of his patients now deceased or in mental institutions - much remains murky about the often horrific and secretive research into mental illness at Montreal's Allan Memorial Institute.

Although Cameron's career was otherwise outstanding, including his appointment as first president of the World Psychiatric Association, it is important to consider whether the Scot's reputation could have been besmirched posthumously. (Cameron also took part in the Nuremberg Trial medical tribunal that ruled Rudolf Hess was sane enough to stand trial at the end of the Second World War.)

Aside from myriad conspiracy theorists to have written extensively on the subject, three people inextricably linked to Cameron were interviewed by scotsman.com: a research assistant under Cameron at the Allan Institute; the daughter of a victim awarded thousands in compensation by the CIA; and a man still fighting the Canadian government for compensation, who, incredibly, was in his mother's womb as, he claims, Cameron fed her barbiturates and subjected her to electro-convulsive therapy.

Dr Peter Roper, from Montreal's McGill University, of which the Allan is part and where Cameron began his career after graduating from Glasgow University, is quick and emphatic to point out that medical standards today are far more scrutinised and patient-friendly. He also believes that Cameron's reputation has been "much maligned, posthumously".

"When I first came to the Allan in 1957, Cameron was famous, with patients referred from around the world." Cameron, who founded McGill's psychiatry department in 1943, thought he was helping people with his progressive – yet punishing – treatments.

"He was working on tape recordings, an idea which he felt had to be promulgated, that he had to publish," Roper says. "He had a technician called [Leonard] Rubenstein who modified cassettes so there was an endless tape, it could keep repeating itself for hours at a time. If Cameron could give a positive message, eventually a patient would respond to it."

Cameron would play the tapes to his patients for up to 86 days, as they slipped in and out of insulin-induced comas. The treatment was known as "psychic driving". It attempted to wipe clean the unsuspecting patients' memories and implant other memories on a "clean slate", treatment that was seen as the researcher's potential legacy.

"Cameron was also using massive electro-shock treatments that others had tried, some with good results," Roper adds. "In some of his cases he was using LSD to get more information from patients, a treatment used in Canada at that time for alcoholics.

"[Cameron] had a visit from a US army colonel, who briefed us on brainwashing techniques," the doctor recalls of the meeting from the late Fifties. "You have to understand this about funding at that time: We had [US] navy and army funds [indirectly] coming into McGill, into almost all departments. I don't think [Cameron] ever knew the CIA was behind his funding.

"After he died and all this stuff came out, I went down to the CIA headquarters and I got the data and documents," Roper says. "The only one I couldn't get was the final report on his so-called research. It had been 'misplaced'."

It is illegal for the CIA to conduct operations on American soil, hence the intelligence agency's choice of Canada, through a "third party" – in this case Cornell University in New York – to funnel research funds into mind-control projects. The programme was often referred to as MKULTRA, a term developed after American prisoners-of-war in Korea returned home subscribing to Communist ideologies. Some GIs reported details of a "sleep room", where they were incarcerated, fed drugs and tortured.

Leslie Orlikow's mother, Velma, or Val as she was known, was just one of hundreds held without their consent in Cameron's own form of "sleep room".

Val, from Ottawa, and her husband, David, a Canadian member of parliament, now both deceased, and nine others were awarded a total of US$750,000 by the CIA in an out-of court settlement in 1988. In 2004, after a protracted legal battle, a Canadian judge ruled a further 250 victims, many deceased, would be allowed to seek compensation from a Canadian government that also is alleged to have funded the research.

"My mother had mixed feelings about accepting the money, because the CIA would not accept any responsibility. My mother felt they were complicit," adds Leslie Orlikow, whose parents were adamant that no-one obtained permission from them to conduct the unorthodox treatments.

"I was quite young when my mom went to Montreal the first time, about seven, and would have been 12 or 13 when she went back. It was very painful time for our family. My mom was suffering post-partum depression and rather than getting appropriate treatment [she] was part of mind-control experimentation that left her, and all of us, tremendously damaged."

Val Orlikow had no memory of her husband and children after leaving the Allan, as her mind had been regressed to the age of a toddler. She could not use a toilet. Legal documents explain she received 16 doses of LSD and massive electro-convulsive therapy, in a treatment that involved shocks six times more powerful than the norm. Through sustained treatment from other doctors, remarkably she eventually recovered most of her memory and functions.

The Orlikow family only uncovered Cameron's covert treatments in 1977 after reading about Congressional hearings into the CIA's mind-control experiments. The discovery and resultant legal battle almost tore apart the family.

"My mother thought Cameron was God, he could do no wrong," says Leslie Orlikow. "Then the researchers turned up that Cameron had been paid by the CIA for the mind-control stuff, at which point my mother just freaked out and was demoralised for a long time.

"I don't think the Canadian government gave them [research patients] a lot of support and it has yet to admit wrongdoing, as has the CIA. They gave some of the surviving people money, but by then, for my mom and dad, it was too late."

Lloyd Schrier is still fighting for the compensation he says he deserves after experiencing Cameron's experiments while in his mother's womb. After reading his mother's medical records, Schrier believes he is lucky to be alive.

"For nine months they could see that my mother was losing weight, taking all the drugs in the 'sleep room'. My mother said she was in the 'sleep room' for a month in the first trimester, still seeing Cameron weekly. The ninth month they didn't want to give her any treatments."

Lloyd, who now lives in Toronto, was born in a separate hospital, with his family around him. He enjoyed a happy childhood.

"We really didn't know very much, only when it came out in the Seventies. My mother didn't know; she'd gone to see other doctors after Cameron and finally got better.

"It's bad what he did, he shouldn't have put a pregnant woman, and me, through that and I'd like to know the whole story."

Of Cameron, born in Bridge of Allan in 1901, Roper remembers "a genuine fellow, a typical Scot in some ways". He continues: "His wife got a tennis blue [competitor] from Glasgow; he died of a heart attack mountain climbing with his son.

"Sometimes, though, in the Allan, if he took a dislike to someone [a colleague], he could be very vengeful. But he was a very good psychiatrist, right up to date; his way of working was well within the limits we had at the time. I think if he were around today he would be able to defend his actions."

Roper blames "politics" in the psychiatric profession for Cameron's sudden departure "under a cloud" from the Allan, in 1964, four years before the end of his contract.

"There was no farewell, no gift, he went - as it were - out the back door without any noise. All his research was tossed out."

Cameron, who died in 1967, left a convoluted legacy of psychiatric brilliance, horrific experimentation and a trail of broken lives. There remains no "smoking gun" that proves Cameron knew his funding came from the CIA. He did not report directly to the CIA, and transcripts from lawyers for the plaintiffs show no direct contact between the spy agency and Cameron on project accountability, funding or research.

The CIA, in recently declassified documents, acknowledges funnelling more than $60,000 to the Allan over four years, presumably for this research, but the agency and the Canadian government still deny direct responsibility for the experiments.

Many documents relating to the case simply no longer exist or are classified for many years to come. But it also can never be ruled out that these documents did exist at one time, but have since been "misplaced".

http://www.scotsman.com/news/stunning-tale-of-brainwashing-the-cia-and-an-unsuspecting-scots-researcher-1-466144


MK-ULTRAViolence

Or, how McGill pioneered psychological torture


Imagine being trapped in a small room. Your hands covered in gloves, your sight blocked by translucent glasses, and your head covered by a pillow. You cannot touch, taste, see, smell, or feel. You are totally deprived of your senses. This is the imagery of torture in foreign wars, of espionage blockbusters, of terrible nightmares. It seems hardly something that would occur in Montreal. But it did occur, right here at McGill.

Today, many journalists, doctors, and the general public see the Allan Memorial Institute in Royal Victoria Hospital as the cradle of modern torture, a cradle built and rocked by Scottish-born Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron. To the patients of Dr. Ewen Cameron, our university was the site of months of seemingly unending torture disguised as medical experimentation –– an experimentation that destroyed their lives and changed the course of psychological torture forever.

Cameron’s experiments, known as MK-ULTRA subproject 68, were partially funded by the CIA and the Canadian government, and are widely known for their use of LSD, barbiturates, and amphetamines on patients. In the media, they were known as the “mind control” studies done at McGill and were reported as a brainwashing conspiracy from the CIA and the Canadian government. For journalists, the story was a goldmine. LSD use in a CIA experiment was an angle no sensationalist media could reject, especially in the anti-drug frenzy of the 1960s. However, these studies were much more complex than a Timothy Leary scare in la belle ville.

At its worst, the prolonged periods of sensory deprivation and induced sleep used in the experiments left many patients in a child-like mental state, even years after the experiments were finalized. Even today, remnants of Cameron’s experiments at the Allan Memorial appear in torture methods at places like Guantanamo Bay.


A Tale of Two Doctors

This story begins on June 1, 1951 at a secret meeting in the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Sherbrooke. The purpose of the meeting was to launch a joint American-British-Canadian effort led by the CIA to fund studies on sensory deprivation. In attendance was Dr. Donald Hebb, then director of psychology at McGill University, who received a grant of $10,000 to study sensory deprivation. It would be fifteen years after this meeting at the Ritz that Cameron would disastrously pick up where Hebb left off.

Dr. Hebb paid a group of his own psychology students to remain isolated in a room, deprived of all senses, for an entire day. In an attempt to determine a link between sensory deprivation and the vulnerability of cognitive ability, Hebb also played recordings of voices expressing creationist or generally anti-scientific sentiments – clearly, ideas psychology students would oppose. However, the prolonged period of sensory deprivation made the students overly susceptible to sensory stimulation. Students suddenly became very tolerant of the ideas that they had readily dismissed before. As a history professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Alfred McCoy described in his book, A Question of Torture, that during Hebb’s own experiments “the subject’s very identity had begun to disintegrate.” One can only fathom the cognitive effects of Hebb’s work.

Yet, Hebb was more Dr. Jekyll than Mr. Hyde. According to McCoy’s research, Hebb was described as a gifted man whose ingenuity revolutionized psychology as a science; in fact, seven years after the publication of this research, McGill University and the American Psychological Association nominated him for a Nobel Prize.

Unknowingly, Hebb reached conclusions that would set the agenda for CIA investigation on emerging techniques of psychological torture and interrogation. Five years later, Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron, this story’s Mr. Hyde, entered, with an unstoppable will to finish what Hebb had started.

When Cameron started his research, he was the head of the Allan Memorial, which at the time was McGill’s psychiatric treatment facility. Although they were separate legal entities, the Royal Victoria Hospital and McGill were unequivocally bound through their medical professionals. Cameron received a salary from McGill but was medically responsible to the hospital. Besides his work on campus, he was a world-renowned professor and a leading figure in the psychological sciences, serving as president of multiple psychiatric associations.

It was determination and ambition that made Cameron a world-renowned psychiatrist. During his most controversial experiments, he strove to break barriers in the understanding of mental illness, but at the expense of his patients’ well-being. In a report to the Canadian government in the mid 1980s, sources reveal that Cameron was “ruthless, determined, aggressive, and domineering … He seemed not to have the ability to deeply empathize with their [patients] problems or their situation.”

When the whistle blew on Allan Memorial, Cameron’s stern portrait turned into the evil stare of a “mad scientist,” as media reports explained the nature of his research.


MK-ULTRA Subproject 68

Cameron’s research was based on the ideas of “re-patterning” and “re-mothering” the human mind. He believed that mental illness was a consequence of an individual having learned “incorrect” ways of responding to the world. These “learned responses” created “brain pathways” that led to repetitive abnormal behaviour.

Dr. Cameron wanted to de-pattern patients’ minds with the application of highly disruptive electroshock twice a day, as opposed to the norm of three times a week. According to him, this would break all incorrect brain pathways, thus de-patterning the mind. Some call it brainwashing; Cameron called it re-patterning.

He held the view that mental illness was also a result of poor mothering. Thus the de-patterning processes rendered the patient’s mind in a child-like state and through re-patterning the patient could be “re-mothered.”

With this framework in mind, Dr. Cameron set out to prove his theory using questionable methods on unwitting patients.

Step 1: To prepare them for the de-patterning treatment, patients would be put into a state of prolonged sleep for about ten days using various drugs, after which they experienced an invasive electroshock therapy that lasted for about 15 days. But patients were not always prepared for re-patterning and sometimes Cameron used extreme forms of sensory deprivation as well.

Cameron described the experience: “there is not only a loss of the space-time image but a loss of all feeling that should be present…in more advanced forms [the patient] may be unable to walk without support, to feed himself, and he may show double incontinence.”

Step 2: Following the preparation period and the de-patterning came the process of “psychic driving” or re-patterning, in which Cameron would play messages on tape recorders to his patients. He alternated negative messages about the patients’ lives and personalities with positive ones; these messages could be repeated up to half a million times.


Kubark, or how the CIA learned to torture

The experiments done at McGill were part of the larger MK-ULTRA project led by Sidney Gottlieb of the CIA. In 1963, the year in which MK-ULTRA ended, the CIA compiled all the research into a torture manual called the Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation Handbook. Yes, a “torture manual” that would eventually define the agency’s interrogation methods and training programs throughout the developing world.

The Kubark, which is nowadays readily available, cites the experiments conducted at McGill as one of the main sources of its techniques for sensory deprivation. The document presents some eerie conclusions. An excerpt from the instructions to CIA interrogators reads, “Results produced only after weeks or months of imprisonment in an ordinary cell can be duplicated in hours or days in a cell which has no light, which is sound-proofed, in which odors are eliminated, et cetera,” In essence, the psychological paradigm taken by the CIA would not have been possible without Hebb and Cameron’s research on sensory deprivation and psychic driving.

With names like MK-ULTRA and Kubark, these experiments sound like they are out of Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange. Hebb and Cameron’s work feel so far removed from modern North American life. However, there is strong indication these methods have been used in the United States of America. Following 9/11, the war on terror and the generalized fearmongering that ensued, the Bush administration changed the rules of the game out of concern for homeland security. Then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved special practices that included the “use of isolation facility for up to thirty days.” All of a sudden, the U.S. allowed the use of torture methods developed just up University.


Lawsuits

Only decades later, in the 1980s, did past victims speak about their experiences, and by the nineties, the lawsuits began to pile up. In response, the Canadian government launched “The Allan Memorial Institute Depatterned Persons Assistance Plan,” which provided $100,000 to each of the former patients of Dr. Ewen Cameron. The compensation came from a recommendation by lawyer George Cooper, in which he clarified that the Canadian government did not have a legal responsibility for what happened, but a moral responsibility.

A week ago, I met with Alan Stein, a Montreal lawyer who has handled some of the most notable cases of Dr. Cameron’s patients against the Allan Memorial and the Canadian government.

Stein is an affable and zealous man whose passion for the practice of law became evident after few minutes of meeting him. Sitting at a big table, in what perhaps was the office boardroom, Stein showed me his signed copy of prominent Canadian author Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. On the cover she had scribbled, “To the lawyer who had the guts to take on the shock doctors and win.” Stein’s cases have set important precedents for former patients of Dr. Cameron trying to receive compensation. He has been one of the most important figures in offering Cameron’s victims some peace of mind. To this day, Stein receives calls and emails from people seeking compensation.

Curiously enough, Stein is also a man in full dedication to his work, in the same vein as Hebb and Cameron but with different results. As he recited by memory the many MK-ULTRA cases he has handled and talked about each of them as if they were still happening, I came to notice a connection between these three men. Hebb, Cameron, and Stein, in their respective eras, had the same relentless determination to their occupation. However, what set them apart so vastly was their morals and in a sense, their ability (or inability) to empathize with other individuals.


Legacy for McGill University

When the news broke of the true nature of Cameron’s research, McGill University and Allan Memorial were the names on everyone’s lips. A respected educational and research institution had hosted some truly macabre events and shaped the course of torture methods for many years to come.

As Abraham Fuks, Research Integrity Officer and former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, explained to me in an email, the ethical framework for research has undergone vast changes in the past half a century. Since the seventies and early eighties, Canada and McGill have a regulatory framework for the ethical conduct of research with various mechanisms to ensure its implementation. New rules, stricter journals, and peer reviews are set to uphold medical standards.

Cameron’s research at the Allan Memorial could not be possibly carried out today. With hindsight, it is easy to condemn Cameron, Hebb, and possibly every person associated with the MK-ULTRA project. Although some of these men deserve condemnation, it is important to recognize our own privileged position: A position with more information and a different set of values in which judging the past almost happens by default.

But the legacy lives on, and what Cameron did fifty years ago will always be part of our collective consciousness and identity. Unmistakably, reviewing dark stages of our history exposes the volatility and fragility of the research conducted  not only at McGill, but at all universities. This story highlights the importance of criticism on all types of research done at this institution, be it military, pharmaceutical, or medical: every piece of research will impact lives and perhaps change the course of humanity.

It’s likely that 50 years from now, a bigheaded student journalist with the gift of hindsight will denounce a McGill research project that is currently underway. On that day, we will be accountable for letting it happen.

http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2012/09/mk-ultraviolence/


Ewen Cameron, Memory Thief - Part 1


Ewen Cameron, Memory Thief - Part 2


Ewen Cameron, Memory Thief - Part 3


  • Η εγκαθίδρυση μιας συμμετρικής σχέσης, ανάμεσα σε δύο, ασύμμετρης ποικιλομορφίας, οντότητες, είναι ανήθικη.

  • Η εγκαθίδρυση μιας συμμετρικής σχέσης, ανάμεσα σε δύο, ασύμμετρης ποικιλομορφίας, οντότητες, είναι καταστροφική.

  • Η εγκαθίδρυση μιας συμμετρικής σχέσης, ανάμεσα σε δύο, ασύμμετρης ποικιλομορφίας, οντότητες, γεννά φρίκη.

Ένα υπανάπτυκτο “εγώ”, βλέπει, θαυμάζει και επιθυμεί, οποιαδήποτε υπαρκτική κατάσταση το υπερβαίνει. Η αναβάθμιση, όμως, της οποιασδήποτε υπαρκτικής κατάστασης μπορεί να πραγματοποιηθεί μόνο με την καταβολή του αναλογούντος προσωπικού (ή/και συλλογικού) μόχθου.

Ένα υπανάπτυκτο “εγώ”, ποθεί την υψηλή ποικιλομορφία, όχι όμως και τον αναγκαίο, για την κατάκτησή της, μόχθο· γι' αυτό και προτιμά να υποδύεται ρόλους.

Αργά, ή, γρήγορα, όμως, οι ανάγκες κάποιας περίστασης, σε συνδυασμό με τον υποδυόμενο ρόλο θα εξωθήσουν το πρόσωπο (ή, την ομάδα, ή, το Έθνος, κ.λπ.), στο δίλημμα: διασυρμός (αλήθεια), ή βία (ψεύδος);

Το υπανάπτυκτο “εγώ”, δεν αγαπά τη μνήμη· γιατί η μνήμη σημαίνει το πέρας της αναβολής είσπραξης των συνεπειών της βίας.

  • Δίχως μνήμη, παύουν να υπάρχουν ενοχοποιητικά στοιχεία.

  • Δίχως μνήμη, οι συκοφαντίες δεν είναι εφικτό να αποκαλυφθούν ως τέτοιες.

  • Δίχως μνήμη, η νοημοσύνη καταρρέει, με αποτέλεσμα, ό,τι υπολείπεται, να μοιάζει, δήθεν, πλεονασματικό.

Ό,τι είναι, πραγματικά, “υψηλό” οφείλει να στέκεται “χαμηλά”· πολύ “χαμηλά”.

Η “ανωτερότητα” που επιδεικνύει την ανωτερότητά της, προκαλεί σε ό,τι είναι απλοϊκό, το αίσθημα του φθόνου. Και είναι πολύ φανερό ότι, η απλοϊκότητα δεν διαθέτει τα πνευματικά μέσα για την αντιμετώπιση του φθόνου της.

Οι ανάρμοστες σχέσεις μεταξύ οντοτήτων ισχυρά ασύμμετρης ποικιλομορφίας οδηγούν στην υποκρισία· η υποκρισία, οδηγεί στην ύπουλη βία· η ύπουλη βία οδηγεί στην ενοχή· και η ενοχή, απαιτεί εξάπαντος, την εξάλειψη της μνήμης.

Οι άστοχες επιλογές προσωπικών, είτε, οικογενειακών, είτε, συλλογικών σχέσεων, είναι πιθανό να οδηγήσουν σε ένα, οιονεί, ολοκληρωτικό πόλεμο εναντίον της μνήμης.


Από τον «Μικρό Ναυτίλο», Οδυσσέας Ελύτης:

Μύρισαι το άριστον [VIII-XIV]

VIII

Κοιτάζω τον ασβέστη αντικρύ στον τοίχο της μικρής μου κάμαρας. Λίγο πιο ψηλά το ταβάνι με τα δοκάρια. Πιο χαμηλά την κασέλα όπου έχω αποθέσει όλα μου τα υπάρχοντα: δυο παντελόνια, τέσσερα πουκάμισα, κάτι ασπρόρουχα. Δίπλα, η καρέκλα με την πελώρια ψάθα. Xάμου, στ’ άσπρα και μαύρα πλακάκια, τα δυο μου σάνταλα. Έχω στο πλάι μου κι ένα βιβλίο.

Γεννήθηκα για να ‘χω τόσα. Δεν μου λέει τίποτε να παραδοξολογώ. Από το ελάχιστο φτάνεις πιο σύντομα οπουδήποτε. Μόνο που ‘ναι πιο δύσκολο. Kι από το κορίτσι που αγαπάς επίσης φτάνεις, αλλά θέλει να ξέρεις να τ’ αγγίξεις οπόταν η φύση σού υπακούει. Kι από τη φύση – αλλά θέλει να ξέρεις να της αφαιρέσεις την αγκίδα της.


Σημείωση: η φωτογραφία βρέθηκε εδώ.

Τελευταία Ενημέρωση στις Σάββατο, 11 Οκτώβριος 2014 00:37