by Sid Taylor

An article from Nexus Magazine Jan/Feb 1992

Techniques used by Government agencies for mind control

Skeletons in the Closet: Part 1

The air is electric, charged with the screams that echo from behind the off-white security doors. As the attendants guide you to the lift, your feet dragging smoothly across the waxed linoleum floor, a searing pain fills your head to remind you of the high voltage shock that was pumped through your brain only minutes before. Your mind starts to spin as your body starts to fall. You grab hopelessly at the air, but there is not a single sharp surface to cling on to, the smooth walls just seem to go on forever.

The d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), delivered direct from the Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company in Switzerland, is starting to worm it's way through every crevasse in your mind and body. Slowly, menacingly, you get the feeling that this trip to the basement laboratory may be the one that finally sends you on the one-way trip to oblivion. The intensive electroshock treatment has shattered not only your mind, but also your will to fight. After wearing a football helmet around the sleep room for the last 22 hours, with only that single monotonous phrase that you don't even remember saying playing endlessly, over and over again, tearing at your mind, you don't care anymore anyway. Maybe going crazy would free you. After all, what could be worse than what you've already been through. The doctor keeps telling you it's the only way to get better. If only you could believe him. The only thing you believe in now is pain. This was to become a regular day for patients at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal, Canada, during the CIA funded search to find a technique for breaking, reprogramming, and ultimately, controlling the human mind. Another day of torturing innocent victims in an attempt to find, and perfect, a reliable brainwashing technique.


The grim story began on July 20, 1950, when the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Roscoe Hillenkoetter, wrote an open cheque for Project 'Bluebird', the Agency's first full-scale behaviour control programme. The operation's first task, to interrogate four Japanese workers under the employ of U.S. Army Intelligence, who were suspected of having links to the Russians. None would admit to being double agents, so they were injected with alternating does of sodium amytal and benzedrine, downers, followed by uppers, just to see if it would help them to change their minds.

After several episodes of experimentation with drugs to try and "loosen" the minds of North Korean prisoners of war, it was decided that the addition of electro-shock treatment might make the interrogation process more successful. The Agency's Office of Technical Services Staff (TSS) were chosen to conduct further experimentation with the deadly combination. TSS were responsible for producing the "James Bond" issue equipment, such as exploding coins, fountain pens that could fire bullets, and undetectable poisons.

This new phase of mind control research would be placed under TSS control because it was decided they would have no reservations about testing radical new ideas on unsuspecting subjects. The new CIA director Allen Dulles specifically requested that any doctors or scientists who were to be recruited for the operation must be "completely co-operative in any phase of our programme regardless of how revolutionary it may be." The Project was renamed Operation Artichoke and another step was taken into darkness.

Within a short space of time Dulles team included Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, the head of TSS, who scoured the jungles of Latin America for new poisons, and Dr. Ewan Cameron, who would conduct inhumane research on patients on behalf of the CIA.

Worried about committing such radical research on American soil, Allen Dulles decided that it would be safest if Dr Cameron was to conduct the experiments at his hospital in Montreal, Canada, on unsuspecting patients. That way, if the experiments ever became the focus of public attention, they would not be traced back to the CIA.

The Allan Memorial Institute had become highly respected under the leadership of Doctor Cameron. His support staff were becoming well reknowned for their own individual work, much of which was quite revolutionary, but none were quite so radical with their techniques as Dr Cameron. He treated patients with large doses of drugs, repeated courses of electroshock, sensory deprivation, long periods without sleep, isolation, and was working on a process he called 'psychic driving', which involved repeatedly playing back selected words to a patient in order to break apart their psyche and allow total access to the subconscious.

On April 3rd 1953 Operation Artichoke became MKUltra. The 'MK' prefix denoted TSS's command over the operation. The Agency's chemical-biological warfare project, MKDelta, was incorporated under the new banner, and a revised brief was issued. The order was "to investigate how it was possible to modify an individual's behaviour by covert means." The aim of the programme was to find out how the North Koreans had been able to brainwash American POW's and turn them into pro-Communist, anti-American, rabble rousers. Not only had the enemy managed to corrupt their minds, but they in turn were trying to infect their fellow Americans with the same virtues that had been so forcefully implanted into their subconscious. Soon the CIA was itself committing acts every bit as shocking as those they claimed to detest. Their own experiments had confirmed that "brainwashing" was a very powerful intelligence weapon indeed.

Dr. James Monroe, the former head of the US Air Force's Korean POW study group, was hired to set up a research foundation to provide a cover for the clandestine work, and so the 'Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology' was born. The society would act as a safety barrier between the agency and the public, a body with an acceptable front, that could launder and distribute money, and leave no trace. The initial funding to set up the Allan Memorial Institute was supplied by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1934. They would later fund secret CIA mind-control research projects via the Human Ecology Society.

Meanwhile Dr. Cameron hired help in the form of Leonard Rubenstein, an Englishman with no medical qualifications, who was to run a research and development behavioural laboratory, where Dr. Cameron would further his work on psychic driving. Also hired to help with the work was Jan Zielinski, a Polish born engineer who also lacked any previous medical experience.

Although the staff of the Institute failed to understand why these men had been hired to deal with patients who were often deeply disturbed, Dr Cameron made it clear that they were at the hospital to stay. He no longer required clearance from anybody, and would have the 'sleep room' or "zombie room", as some nurses called it, running at full swing.

Patients were made to wear football helmets fitted with internal speakers, forcing them to listen to endlessly repeating tape loops, phrases edited from their taped consultations with Dr. Cameron. This treatment lasted for periods of up to 22 hours a day, six or seven days a week, over a period of two months. Thoughts, related in confessions from their darkest moments, spoken in their own voice, were drilled into their brains, until their minds were literally shattered. Intensive electroshock treatments accompanied the 'depatterning', or 'psychic driving', as did sensory deprivation, isolation and injections of psychoactive drugs.


Earlier in his career, at the age of only twenty-eight, Dr Cameron had come to have a free hand to probe the minds of unsuspecting patients while working at Manitoba's Brandon Mental Hospital. His personal manifesto came straight from the principles laid out at the first 'Conference of Race Betterment', held in 1914 at Battle Creek, Michigan. "In the past man had been first, in the future the system must be first." No doubt, the Nazis that he claimed so strongly disapprove of, would have been proud of him.

Dr. Cameron's ideology was in agreement with the philosophy of the American Professor, Henry H. Goddard, who believed that all who were "born" criminals could be identified by certain physical characteristics, and that the solution to controlling them was to "sterilize them, allow them to perform only lowly jobs, confine them to ghettos, discourage them from marrying outside their race, and create a pure, American, superior intelligence to control them."

Dr. Cameron began experimenting with a bizarre range of treatments. Drugs, electroshock, psychosurgery (or lobotomy as it is more widely known), gas, and a motor driven chair that rotated a patient at high speed until they fell unconscious, were all part of his cruel repertoire. Now he was to be paid by the CIA to further his bizarre research.

Dr. Cameron's reputation was beyond question to most of his co-workers in the medical profession. He was President of the American Psychiatric Association, was soon to be President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and would become the first President of the World Association of Psychiatrists. He regularly submitted articles and research papers to scientific journals, which were readily accepted. Even when his staff could not see the purpose of his actions, it was assumed that he was dealing with matters that they did not fully comprehend. If only they had known how true that was.

There were some doctors who found his research techniques unreasonable, and said so. Dr Donald O. Hebb, Chairman of the Psychology Department at McGill University stated that Dr. Cameron's methods were ethically deplorable, and verged on "the irresponsible - criminally stupid." Harsh words from a man who was himself working for both the CIA and Canadian Defense Department on sensory deprivation. Another respected psychiatrist noted that Cameron "was not possessed of the necessary sense of humanity to be a good doctor." yet not only did his work continue, it became even more radical.

Between 1944 and 1960 over 100,000 lobotomies were performed in the United States, and around the same number in Europe. Tens of thousands were performed in the Pacific basin, mostly in India and Japan. In 1948, Dr. Walter Freeman of The University of Virginia, described lobotomy as "mercy killing of the psyche", while demonstrating his technique to a group of students. It is hard to comprehend where "mercy" fits in to this picture.

Dr. Cameron promoted the use of psychosurgery, and regularly performed the operation himself. He would speak to his patients, who were only given a local anaesthetic, while performing the hideous operation, and would continue to destroy the nerve fibres in their frontal lobes until they could no longer respond to his questioning.


The Director of Central Intelligence, Allen Dulles, had always found Ewen Cameron's suggestions original and far reaching. He had been impressed by his suggestion at the end of World War 2 that every surviving German over the age of twelve should receive a short course of electroshock treatment to burn out any remaining Nazi ideals. With such innovative ideas Dulles decided he was just the man for the job the CIA wanted done.

The list of projects soon became long, and only those with the "need to know" were ever aware of the total range of operations under way. There was to be a large number of doctors and researchers like Cameron on the CIA payroll.

The full details of the Mind-control research operations that the CIA conducted under Dulles command will never be made public. Many of the records were destroyed in following years. In all there were 149 MKUltra subprojects dealing with behavioural modification. A further 33 subprojects were funded under MKUltra that were not related to this type of research. We will never know what these projects were about. Nor will we know what use the results of these experiments might have been put to.

What follows is a list of formerly top-secret covert operations that were conducted by the CIA for mind-control research purposes:


Beginning in 1947 as a US Navy program, Operation Chatter set about to identify and test truth drugs. The CIA became concerned about the reports of "amazing results" being achieved by the Russians in this area and decided to conduct their own research. Eventually the CIA had many institutions secretly conducting drug experiments on their behalf. At the National Institute for Mental Health's Addiction Research Centre in Lexington, Kentucky, the Director, Dr. Harris Isabell would test may drugs including scopolamine, rivea seed, bufontenine, and LSD for the Agency. Isabell once kept a study group of seven drug addicts on an LSD trip for a total of seventy-seven days. He noted on day 42 that the experiment was "the most amazing demonstration of drug tolerance I have ever seen." In an attempt to break the tolerance he gave the human guinea pigs triple and quadruple doses.

In 1975 when giving evidence to a Senate subcommittee who were investigating alleged CIA misbehaviour, Dr. Isabell said that at the time, "ethical codes were not so highly developed and there was a great need to know in order to protect the public in assessing the potential use of narcotics. I personally think we did an excellent job."


This was a search to locate "magic mushrooms" like those used by American and Mexican Indians in ceremonial rituals. Scientists returned from field trips with carefully labelled satchets of piule seeds, complete with lists of where they had been picked and details of the surrounding vegetation and soil conditions. These drugs would be tested on unsuspecting victims to establish their potential for intelligence use.


Protester knocks down top brass



Mind Control Protest in Australia

Military protest: two soldiers grapple with a man who ran from the crowd and attacked Australia's two most senoir defense force officers, General John Baker and Air Marshall Doug Riding, knocking them to the ground at a parade in Canberra.


Canberra [From "The West Australian" published on July 4 1998. ]

A man was charged with assault yesterday after an attack on Australia's two most senior defence chiefs put one of them in hospital with a broken wrist.

In an astonishing security lapse, a lone protester knocked down retiring defence force chief General John Baker and Vice Chief Air Marshall Doug Riding. The incident occurred at the passing out parade from General Baker

Witnesses said the man yelled "If you want war, I'll give you war", as he ran from the crowd and knocked general Baker and Air Marshall Riding to the ground. Spectators wrestled the attacker to the ground and handed home to the police.

General Baker, who ended his career in the defence force yesterday, was not injured and was able to carry on with the parade.

Air Marshall Riding took the brunt of the assault and was taken to hospital with a broken wrist and underwent surgery last night.

His attacker was not carrying a weapon.

A 36 Albury man was remanded in custody to appear in Canberra magistrates court this morning charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault. Sources said he recently wrote to the armed forces that he was a former service man who had been injected with drugs to control his mind and was the victim of a conspiracy by General Baker.