Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dr. Cameron or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Enhanced Interrogation Part II

Welcome to the second installment in my examination of the life and times of Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron, one of the most well-known and notorious psychiatrist of the 20th century. During his lifetime he was a giant in the profession -- at various points during the 1950s he headed the American, Canadian, and World Psychiatric Associations, the American Psychopathological Association, and the Society of Biological Psychiatry in addition to his earlier participation in the Nuremberg Trials.

But since the 1970s and the revelations of the Church and Rockefeller Committees, among others, Cameron is primarily remembered in the public consciousness due to his work in the CIA's notorious MK-Ultra experiments. Cameron did not officially become involved in these experiments until 1957 and his work only lasted until 1963 when his grant from the Agency (via the Human Ecology Fund) was abruptly terminated. But Cameron had a long-standing relationship with legendary CIA director Allen Dulles that began in earnest in the mid-1940s when the latter asked the former to examine the human being British authorities were holding as Rudolf Hess in a bid to ensure that he was the genuine article.

Cameron (top) and Dulles (bottom)

Cameron theoretically failed in this assignment but Dulles was impressed nonetheless. Cameron would later begin treating Dulles's wife, Clover, in the 1950s and would remain friendly with the couple throughout this timeframe. It was also during this time that Cameron began to develop some of his most notorious techniques such as "depatterning" and "psychic driving," both of which the CIA would develop an immense interest in. By the time Cameron officially began receiving CIA funding he had also added exotic drugs such as LSD-25 and sensory deprivation to his arsenal. More details on these "techniques" and the verifiable aspects of Cameron's life can be found in the first installment of this series.

As I wrapped up the prior installment I noted that there are generally two schools of thought when it comes to the results of Cameron's experiments: mainstream historians usually depict Cameron's work as a horrific and colossal failure built upon grossly unscientific principles and only tolerated because of Cameron's immense standing within his profession; conversely conspiracy theorists have long alleged that Cameron's work was instrumental in developing an effective means of mind control that enabled the US intelligence community to program so-called "Manchurian candidates." Typically the latter school incorporates Cameron's work into broader conspiracies, typically involving the long alleged "Project Monarch."

Veteran conspiracy researchers have of course encountered the Monarch allegations time and again but for the uninitiated: Monarch is generally depicted as being a kind of trauma-based mind control, the programming of which typically being started at a very young age. Children are subjected to a wide variety of horrors including hypnosis, drugs, rape, and even occult rituals (the legendary "Satanic ritual abuse") for an extended period of time with the ultimate objective of creating alternate personalities within the child. These alternates vary depending upon the purposes to which the child will ultimately be employed, be it assassinations, prostitution, drug trafficking, etc.

Needless to say, such theories are highly controversial at best. An examination of the Monarch allegations is vastly beyond the scope of this present series. For our purposes here I'm only concerned with the allegations centering around Cameron's involvement in the program and the legitimacy of such allegations. This is not meant to be an examination of the Monarch claims themselves.

Now, with these disclaimers out of the way, let us consider said allegations concerning Cameron. In some strands Cameron is considered to be one of the two chief architects of the Monarch program, the other being Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi "Angel of Death" who performed some of the regime's grossest atrocities at Auschwitz in the name of experimentation. In these strands, Mengele was then enlisted by the US intelligence community in the midst of the Cold War to put his "talents" towards the objective of mind control.
"There is an increasing amount of evidence that Mengele himself, under the assumed name of 'Dr. Green,' participated in the formation of many Monarch and MK-ULTRA programs in the United States after World War II. Mengele came to be called the 'Angel of Death' when he conducted his infamous experiments on countless victims at Auschwitz concentration camp. While Mengele's presence could not be acknowledged by Monarch, his unprecedented research on thousands of unwilling victims provided valuable data on mental programming, mind control, and many other areas of great interest to MK-ULTRA. Mengele had likely been brought to America together with a large number of Nazi scientists and medical personnel during Operation Paperclip.
"Conspiracy researchers assert that the process of choosing the type of subjects to be used in the early Monarch experiments was reminiscent of the rationale of Dr. Mengele, who selected his victims by his determining that they possessed 'satanic bloodlines.' Many hapless individuals for the Monarch experiments were selected because they came from orphanages, foster care homes, or incestuous families and were pronounced as 'expendable,' meaning that if any one of them should die during the experiments, they would not likely be missed. 'They are fulfilling their destiny as the chosen ones.' This coldhearted dismissal of accidents that resulted from harsh experiments is said to have been coined by Mengele at Auschwitz, and it was repeated often by Monarch personnel.
"'Dr. Green' was known to work often with 'Dr. White,' the pseudonym of Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron, the former head of the Canadian, American, and World Psychiatric Associations. A personal friend of Allen Dulles, White/Cameron was given millions of dollars by MK-ULTRA to conduct a series of mind-control experiments and to serve as a resource for Monarch and many of the other 150 subprojects of the secret program. Cameron's favorite experiment seems to have been what he called 'psychic driving,' in which subjects were kept in drug-induced comas for weeks, then administered electroshocks through electronic helmet strapped to their heads. Many of these subjects were abused children who had been passed on to him through the Roman Catholic orphanage system."
(Conspiracies and Secret Societies: The Complete Dossier, Brad & Sherry Steiger, pgs. 379-380)

The are more than a few holes in the above narrative --Enough, in fact, to almost dismiss it as total nonsense. Josef Mengele's presence from 1949 until his death in 1979 can be fairly well documented in South America throughout this timeframe while Cameron was seemingly too consumed with his research at McGill and his other functions from the 1950s until the time of his death (1967) to have spent any great length of time in South America. It's entirely possible that both men were in Europe during the 1940s at some point together but there is nothing to indicate that Mengele was involved in much of anything other than survival during this period.
"Shedding his SS uniform, Mengele adopted the disguise of a regular German army doctor and joined a retreating military unit. His notes he entrusted to a nurse he struck up a relationship with. As the unit fled from the advancing Soviet troops, Mengele's name began cropping up as one of the most wanted Nazi war criminals. Its earliest recorded entry in an Allied list was in April 1945. By May the United Nation's War Crimes Commission wanted him for 'mass murder and other crimes.' Reports of the atrocities he had committed started being broadcast over Allied radio.
"Sometime around June, his unit was arrested by US troops in the German town of Weiden. The nurse caring his precious notes was also arrested but soon release. Although he was registered under his real name at the detention camp, the Americans failed to identify him as a wanted war criminal, or even as an SS man, simply because Mengele had refused to have his blood group tattooed on his arm or chest like other officers when he joined the SS in 1938. This didn't mean that he wasn't being hunted --on 11 June 1945 three American military policeman had shown up at the doorstep his wife Irene in Autenreid demanding to know his whereabouts.
"In September, Mengele was released by the US Army in his native Bavaria. While in the prison camp, he had obtained an Allied release document made out in the name of a fellow doctor, Fritz Ulman, which he altered to read Fritz Hollmann. With that he traveled back into the Russian-occupied zone of Germany, located the nurse to whom he had entrusted his notes and specimens, and then withdrew to Munich, where he hid in the home of friends.
"In October 1945 Mengele had found employment at a small farm in Mangolding, Bavaria. There he would live undisturbed as a farm hand for three years while the press published reports of his heinous crimes, and his name came up in the trials in Nuremberg. But even though Mengele was able to evade the real arm of the law, in his head a mock trial kept repeating itself over and over again. Like Pierce Daye, who sat alone in a hotel room in Madrid jotting down brilliant justifications for his collaboration with the Nazis, Mengele kept a diary in which he became his own star witness for the defense."
(The Real ODESSA, Uki Goni, pgs. 281-282)
a young Mengele

While Mengele's sudden release from the US prison camp is certainly suspicious nothing credible has yet to turn up indicating that the good doctor had any type of relationship with the US intelligence community. When Mengele was finally smuggled out of Europe in 1949, it was under the auspices of the Vatican and Argentina (which had maintained close relations with Hitler's Germany up until the final months of the war when it finally broke off diplomatic contact, a ploy many feel was a ruse to establish a [preplanned] safe haven for Nazi war criminals). During his time in South America Mengele's patron was Hans-Ulrich Rudel, a key figure in the post-WWII Fascist International. While it's all but certain that the US intelligence community kept some kind of dibs on Mengele and that he may even have worked for them indirectly via a third party, there is nothing credible to indicate any type of collaboration.

Hans-Ulrich Rudel

Nor is there any indication at all that Mengele and Cameron had any contact with one another or that the latter had any knowledge of the former's work with the Nazi regime. Mengele had a degree in anthropology while many of his experiments for the Nazi regime were very loosely based in biology. Mengele did apparently employ electroconvulsive therapy, but in what capacity I know not. Cameron had apparently become enamored with electroshock therapy as early as the late 1930s, certainly within the timeframe that Mengele conducted his infamous experiments. But again, there is nothing to indicate Cameron was aware of this work. In general, the Nazi regime seems to have been quite enamored electricity as a means of interrogation to point that former Nazis would continue to promote it during their new endeavors in the post-WWII era. Klaus Barbie, for instance, instructed Bolivian secret police in such "techniques" of interrogation:
"Barbie introduced the fully-developed concentration camp to Bolivia, and lectured on the use of electrodes applied to the human body to extract confessions, a technique first developed by Gestapo interrogators in France."
(The Nazi Legacy, Linklater, Hilton & Ascherson, pg. 17) 

As far as Cameron's patients were concerned, the literature overwhelmingly agrees that they were largely adult women (and a few men), and not children, who in many cases only suffered from minor mental issues (prior to being treated by Dr. Cameron, at least). There is absolutely nothing to indicate that Cameron's research in any way involved children.

That being said, there was a massive amount of child abuse being conducted within a Catholic institution based out of Montréal (and around Quebec) in the timeframe that Cameron was conducting his experiments.
"During the postwar years in Montréal, money was in short supply. Funding for orphanages was virtually non-existent, but funding for hospitals was available from the central government in Ottawa. The Catholic Church decided to take advantage of the disparity in funding by classifying its orphans as 'mentally deficient,' thus qualifying for the federal largesse. The government in Montréal -- specifically the administration of Premier Maurice Duplessis --was the instigating factor, since it offered the church a subsidy of $2.75 per day per 'mental deficient' as opposed to only $1.25 per day per orphan. The church immediately took advantage of this policy, and reclassified thousands --estimates range as high as 5,000 --of orphans and illegitimate children in its care as mental patients (usually without any medical or psychiatric examination whatsoever).
"If this was strictly an exercise in paperwork, with no one the wiser --a pragmatic attempt to secure funding for the support of children whose only crime in the eyes of society was that they existed --then perhaps one could turn a blind eye to the whole proceeding. However, the reclassification process prompted acts of horrific brutality against the children by nuns, the 'brides of Christ,' and in some cases monks and lay helpers. The abuse was not confined to only one order of nuns, but extended to the Grey Nuns of Montréal, the Sisters of Providence, the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of Charity of Québec, the Little Franciscans of Mary, and two orders of monks --the Brothers of Notre Dame de la Misericorde and the Brothers of Charity --all of whom were named in civil lawsuits by surviving members of the thousands of children who were thus abused. There were, as well, 120 individuals who were named in criminal complaints. Further, the medical profession of Montréal was also complicit in the case, as physician signed off on the thousands of examination forms stating that the orphans were mentally retarded when, in fact, they had not been examined at all.
"Once the papers have been signed and, in some cases, entire orphanages converted to mental institutions virtually overnight, the horrors began.
"Children were beaten, in some cases with chains; they were tied to iron bed frames and force-fed; put in straitjacket; subjected to ice baths; and sodomized. Some died from the abuse. Others became severely disabled, to the point that now -- over 50 years after the events --they are still taking anti-depressants and are unable to hold regular jobs. One man still surfers from testicular problems due to the beatings. Of course, as they were officially listed as 'mentally retarded' or 'mentally deficient,' they were considered marginal members of society and could not obtain decent education or the other benefits of 'normal' children and adults. In fact, once they were officially designated 'retarded,' it was felt that there was no longer any need to educate them, and in some cases schooling of these children was canceled completely. Some of these victims... still cannot read or write. In many other cases, the children were labeled retarded when they were quite young, so they had no reason to believe they were not retarded. When some of these bewildered men and women were interviewed for national television in the mid-1990s, their confusion and anger were apparent. Their lives been destroyed, if not by the physical, mental and sexual abuse, then by the label of 'mentally deficient' or 'mentally retarded' which followed them all through life."
(Sinister Forces Book I, Peter Levenda, pgs. 231-232)

Again, there is nothing to indicate that the abuse sustained by the children of Montréal under the care of the Catholic Church during the 1950s was in any way related to Cameron's experiments being conducted at McGill University. Given recent revelations concerning the international and decade-spanning instances of child abuse committed by members of the Catholic Church, the Montreal episode can hardly be considered an isolated incident. Undoubtedly other incidents of widespread abuse were occurring in other regions of the world during this period that didn't have links to MK-Ultra. Indeed, I greatly hesitated even pointing out the overlap between the Cameron experiments and the Grey Nuns scandal or even bringing up his alleged ties to Josef Mengele and Monarch and would not have done so had pedophilia and Nazism not turned up in such a striking instance of Cameron's "techniques" being put to work in the field. But more on that later.

Before going there we must first consider whether or not Cameron's "techniques" showed any indications of being an effective means of mind control.

By and large the answer is a resounding "no." Cameron's techniques were meant to first wipe the minds of his subjects clean through extensive electroshock therapy that would totally disorient them. This would in theory give Cameron a blank slate to work with, in which he could then implant a new personality free of the psychological hangups of the old. One of the primary methods in which he hoped to achieve this was by repeating a series of messages on an endless tape loop to his subjects while they were in coffin-like boxes (and usually in a drug-induced state resembling a coma), sometimes for weeks on end. While Cameron's techniques managed to effectively destroy the personalities of his subject to some degree or another it was the second phase of his official agenda in which he was such a colossal failure.
"Cameron's theories were based on the idea that shocking his patients into a chaotic regressed state would create the preconditions for him to 'rebirth' healthy model citizens. It's little comfort to Gail, with her fractured spine and shattered memories, but in his own writings Cameron envision his acts of destruction as creation, a gift to his fortunate patients who were, under his relentless repatterning, going to be born again.
"On this front Cameron was a spectacular failure. No matter how fully he regressed his patients, they never absorbed or accepted the endlessly repeated messages on his tapes. Though he was a genius at destroying people, he could not remake them. A follow-up study conducted after Cameron left the Allan Memorial Institute found that 75 percent of his former patients were worse off after treatment than before they were admitted. Of his patients who held down full-time jobs before hospitalization, more than half were no longer able to, and many, like Gail, suffered from a host of new physical and psychological ailments. 'Psychic driving' did not work, not even a little, and the Allan Memorial Institute eventually banned the practice.
"The problem, obvious in retrospect, was the premise on which his entire theory rested: the idea that before healing can happen, everything that existed before needs to be wiped out. Cameron was sure that if he blasted away at the habits, patterns and memories of his patients, he would eventually arrive at that pristine blank slate. But no matter how doggedly he shocked, drugged and disoriented, he never got there. The opposite proved true: the more he blasted, the more shattered his patients became. Their minds weren't 'clean'; rather, they were a mess, their memories fracture, their trust betrayed."
(The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, pg. 47)
a subject in a sensory deprivation experiment conducted by one of Cameron's colleagues

All the literature I've read on Cameron confirms this observation. What's more, not only does no evidence exists of Cameron's techniques as an effective means of mind control, but it would seem all but impossible for his subjects to even function as effective agents in the field even if his techniques had succeeded. Many of Cameron subjects are described as reverting back to an almost child-like state in which they recited nursery rhymes and occasionally urinated on themselves. One woman's (the above-mentioned Gail) mind was so badly damaged that she had to constantly write notes to herself as reminders just to make it through the day.

Needless to say, such individuals would likely not be able to function in everyday society as much more than bag ladies. But even bag ladies get opportunities from time to time to assassinate prominent individuals, as in the case of Lois Lang. On the morning of November 19, 1985 Lang murdered Nicholas Deak, founder of the Wall Street firm Deak-Perera and longtime associate of various China Cowboys (a far right-wing cabal within CIA). Indeed, it was long rumored that the Hungarian-born Deak's bank laundered funds for both the US intelligence community and prominent figures in organized crime.

Lang was a 44-year-old drifter with a long history of institutionalization (and yet she was often found with ample amounts of cash on her person when she was taken off the streets by authorities from time to time) who had made a month-long trek from Seattle to encounter Deak at the New York Port  Authority on that day. Salon recently published an excellent article on the bizarre death of Deak and the belief of a former associate and several researchers that the rogue banker was murdered by some type of programed assassin (which would be consistent with how former US intelligence assets are occasionally "retired"). Indeed, the article reveals that Lang was involved with two separate facilities (the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and the University of Washington respectively) that have been linked to psychiatrists involved in work for the US intelligence community in the years leading up to her murder of Deak.

Lang, who now sports a billy-goat beard

But reportedly the methods of programming employed by both psychiatrists (believed to be Dr. Frederick Melges at the California institution and Dr. Donald Dudley in Washington state) was quite different from the techniques of Cameron. Both (or in the case of Melges, an associate) are described as initially drugging their subjects and then subjecting them to an intensive period of hypnosis.

In general, I've found hypnosis as being widely described as the most effective technique the CIA  investigated during the timeframe Cameron had contact with the Agency in their pursuit for a "Manchurian Candidate." Of course whether or not hypnosis is an effective means of "programming" is highly debatable in and of itself (indeed, the official evidence was not much more promising than other Agency pursuits in this field) but it typically appears in the more compelling accounts of "programmed" assassins such as the above-mentioned Deak killing and the RFK assassination. The allegations surrounding Candy Jones, another of the more compelling accounts of mind control (as well as alternate personalities), also deeply involved hypnosis. I've written much more on hypnosis and its relationship to the US intelligence community both here and here.

RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan (top) and former model and alleged mind control victim Candy Jones (bottom)

And yet I've found no reference to Cameron experimenting with hypnosis. I find this most striking as Cameron seemingly toyed with every en vogue technique in the mind control field that the CIA investigated with this one glaring exception. But then again, maybe that was the point --to see if electroshock, drugs, sensory deprivation and so forth could, by themselves, be an effective means of programming sans hypnosis.

Clearly this did not seem to be the case. Drugs, for instance, can be highly useful in making a subject more susceptible to hypnotic suggestion but in and of themselves their effects vary so widely person to person as to be totally unreliable. I suspect this could be said for many of the other techniques employed by Cameron though one seemingly held a special interest to the US intelligence community: Electroshock.

This is unsurprising as electrical shock as a means of purification is a notion that has been floating around for centuries. In point of fact, the first recorded notion of such a concept dates to ancient Rome.
"... Dr. Cameron. From his reading he knew that shock therapy was among the oldest psychiatric techniques in existence. An ancient Roman had tried to cure his emperor's headaches with an electric eel; in the sixteenth century a Catholic missionary reported that the Abyssinians used a similar method to expel devils out of human bodies."
(Journey Into Madness, Gordon Thomas, pgs. 138-139)
This is not the only account I've encountered describing shock therapy as means of driving out devils. In fact journalist Naomi Klein traced shock therapy back to an early eighteenth century exorcist.
"This brought electroshock therapy full circle to its earliest incarnation as an exorcism technique. The first recorded use of medical electrocution was by a Swiss doctor practicing in the 1700s. Believing that mental illness was caused by the devil, he had a patient hold onto a wire that he powered with a static electricity machine; one jolt of electricity was given for each demon. The patient was then pronounced cured."
(The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, pg. 112n)

It was not until the post-WWII era that electroshock began to be perceived as technique that could possibly be used to program unwitting assassins, however. Whether this was due to electroshock's endorsement by the Nazi regime (as noted above, it was employed fairly widely as tool of interrogation by the Third Reich) I know not, but it was certainly en vogue immediately following the war:
"In 1949, Dr. Irving Janis of the Rand Corporation had recommended that the air force undertake a study of the 'effects of electricity on the brain.' His report said that, in research based on the literature of the 1940s, there were at least some indications that electric shocks to the brain might be conductive to mind control.
"Janis wrote: 'Many studies have shown that there is a temporary intellectual impairment, diffuse amnesia, and general "weakening of the ego" produced during the period when a series of electroshock convulsions is being administered.'
"Dr. Janis was not talking about electronic brain stimulation; he was referring to electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), a crude treatment for schizophrenia originated in Hungry in the 1930s, which consisted of passing a strong electrical current through the entire brain at once.
"Unlike ESB, ECT was not aimed at the microscopic neural centers of the brain. It was just one large jolt of electricity, which produced, rather than a specific neural event, a massive convulsion. Electrical current administered in such a way temporarily affected the electrical properties of all the neurons in the brain. It produce sharp biochemical changes in the levels of glucose, oxygen consumption, protein synthesis, and other functions. It also produced amnesia, sometimes temporary, sometimes permanent.
"As biochemist Steven Rosen said, 'The [ECT] treatment is analogous to attempting to mend a faulty radio by kicking it, or a broken computer by cutting out a few of its circuits.' Often the extreme convulsions induced by ECT produced such strong muscular contractions that the bones of the subject's body snapped like breadsticks.
"But Dr. Janis did not seem to think it too severe a treatment for use in mind control. 'From my own and others' investigations of the psychological effects of such treatments,' he wrote, 'I would suspect that they might tend to reduce resistance to hypnotic suggestions. It is conceivable, therefore, that electroshock treatment might be used to weaken difficult cases in order to produce a hypnotic trance great depth.'"
(Operation Mind Control, Walter Bowart, pgs. 251-252)

Here we see reference to hypnosis in association with electroshock treatment and yet Cameron did not seemingly pursue this course, as noted above. Still, the interest of the cryptocracy in electroshock clearly went well beyond the experiments conducted by Cameron. Naomi Klein even went so far as to speculate in her brilliant The Shock Doctrine that the state electroshock creates --one of sudden and total disorientation --has been incorporated into both economic and mass psychology as a means of creating a "blank slate" upon which a new order can be erected. As the title of her book indicates, she dubbed these tactics the "shock doctrine" and believed that it was rooted in the experiments of Cameron and other CIA doctors. When it took public form initially it appeared as Chicago School economics (a slightly watered down version of the Austrian School economics so beloved by the conspiratorial right), a philosophy most famously proclaimed by Milton Friedman.
"Friedman's mission, like Cameron, rested on a dream of reaching back to a state of 'natural' health, when all was in balance, before human interferences created distorting patterns. Where Cameron dreamed of returning the human mind to that pristine state, Friedman dreamed of the depatterning societies, of returning them to a state of pure capitalism, cleansed of all interruptions --government regulations, trade barriers and entrenched interests. Also like Cameron, Friedman believed that when the economy is highly distorted, the only way to reach that prelapsarian state was to deliberately inflict painful shocks: only 'bitter medicine' could clear those distortions and bad patterns out of the way. Cameron used electricity to inflict his shock; Friedman's tool of choice was policy -- the shock treatment approach he urged on both politicians of countries in distress."
(The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, pg. 50) 
Milton Friedman

In the final installment of this series we shall see how Cameron's techniques, most notably his use of shock, were applied in the field and for what purpose. I shall also broadly reflect upon how such "techniques" were applied to mass society in a specific country that potentially housed several of Cameron's disciples. And of course we shall come to the Josef Mengele and several other Nazis. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dr. Cameron or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Enhanced Interrogation Part I

In the annuals of declassified CIA records concerning the agency's ventures into truth serums, brainwashing and "mind control" there are any number of notorious and unsavory individuals whose particular talents were harnessed by the agency for such endeavors. This is a rogue's gallery to be sure, but one particular individual and his work have proven to be especially shocking to any number of researchers delving into this topic: Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron, a Scottish born psychiatrist who became one of the most well know members of his field in the post-World War II era when he assumed major posts such as the presidency of the World Psychiatric Association. Such honors combined with his participation in the Nuremberg Trials made Cameron world famous during his lifetime but it was his radical research performed at the Allan Memorial Institute of McGill University that has given him everlasting infamy decades after the man's death in 1967.


It was here that Cameron spent the remaining years of his professional life doing research under the auspices of the Human Ecology Fund, a known front for the CIA's infamous MK-Ultra experiments. These experiments have fascinated researchers for decades, at least since they first began to become public knowledge in the early 1970s. Over the years much speculation has centered around the intention and (most importantly) ultimate findings of these experiments, with the official party line denouncing them as colossal and embarrassing failures while conspiracy theorists have alleged that they were instrumental in developing a practical means of mind control. Frequently the latter take is incorporated into more grandiose plots typically involving the ever popular Project Monarch theories.

Over the course of this series I shall examine the life and times of the enigmatic Dr. Cameron as well as some of the more incredible allegations leveled against him. In the first part of this series I shall primarily focus on outlining verifiable biographical details of Cameron's life before getting into some of the more incredible stuff. Still, some of this information will be highly important when later revelations emerge. So with this in mind, let us turn our attention to the background of the man some have labeled as the CIA's version of Josef Mengele.

Mengele, who will factor into our story in the next installment

Cameron was born near Glasgow at the turn of the century.
"Ewen Cameron was born on the evening December 24, 1901, the son of Reverend Duncan Cameron, minister to the good people of Bridge of Allan, a small town some twenty miles to the north of Glasgow."
(Journey Into Madness, Gordon Thomas, pgs. 133-134)
Of course December 24 is now celebrated as Christmas Eve in various parts of the world. But before the rise of Christianity in Europe the chief winter festival (in celebration of the winter solstice) was Yule, usually dated to December 25 (though this dating likely varied greatly from region to region), for much of the mainland. One of the traditional celebrations for this festival was the lighting of a "Yule log" (typically a large block of oak-wood) on the eve (December 24) before Yule.

On an even deeper synchronistic level the location of Cameron's birth, near Glasgow, is also interesting. It was in Glasgow during 1931 that Mary Ann de Grimston, the future co-founder of the infamous Process Church of the Final Judgment (a 1960s cult that has long been linked to the mind control efforts of Western intelligence agencies, though these allegations are highly debatable), was also born. Cameron remained around Glasgow throughout his youth --he graduated from the Glasgow Academy at the end of the Great War and studied medicine at the University of Glasgow. But by the mid-20s he had apparently moved on to greener pastures and I've found nothing to indicate that he was around Glasgow at the time of Mary Ann's childhood. Still, Glasgow was considered to be one of the great centers of "applied psychiatry" (ibid, pg. 136) around this time.

the enigmatic Mary Ann de Grimston

Cameron first became involved with the U.S. intelligence community during the Second World War. It was also during this time that Cameron first forged a relationship with Allen Dulles, the future director of the CIA, who would become Cameron's chief patron within the Agency.
"While Allen Dulles brilliantly manipulated first the German generals and admiral Canaris's Abwehr from his office in Switzerland, he had received invaluable insights into the enemy's mentality from Dr. Cameron and other psychiatrists who were members of an ultrasecret committee meeting regularly in the offices of the American Psychiatric Association in Washington to assess the changing attitudes of Germany and its leaders. Dr. Cameron's insights into the German mentality made it easier for Dulles to have manipulated Himmler's Gestapo towards overthrowing Hitler, and helped him to use German liberals to spread hysteria among the population. Dr. Cameron had synthesized the techniques in documents like 'Mass hysteria in a war situation' and 'The mechanics of civilian morale and wartime pressure.' Some of Dr. Cameron's suggestions had struck Dulles as original and far-reaching --such as his proposal but after the war each surviving German over the age of twelve should receive a short course of electroshock treatment to burn out any remaining vestige of Nazism.
"In victory, Dr. Cameron had been a logical choice for the U.S. government to send to Nuremberg to establish the state of mind of Rudolf Hess. In May 1941, the deputy fuhrer had flown to Scotland with the avowed aim of convincing Winston Churchill to surrender. Hess had languished in an English prison and had been brought to Nuremberg to stand trial with other Nazi leaders, having been pronounced sane by a British psychiatrist. The Americans, like the Russians -- both were coprosecutors in the war crimes trial --insisted on their own psychiatric assessments.
"Dr. Cameron had arrived on a late autumn day in 1945 in the city that had been the nursery of Nazism. He had met Dulles for the first time and an immediate rapport developed; both found they had a suspicion of the English and a hatred of the Germans equaled only by what they felt about the Russians. Over dinner in the cavernous dining room of the Grand Hotel, Dulles first swore Dr. Cameron to secrecy, then told him an astonishing story. He had reason to believe that the man Dr. Cameron was to examine was not Rudolf Hess, but an imposter -- that the real deputy fuhrer had been secretly executed on Churchill's orders. Dulles had explained that Dr. Cameron could prove the point by a simple physical examination of the man's torso. If he was the genuine Hess, there should be scar tissue over his left lung, a legacy from the day the young Hess had been wounded in World War I. Dr. Cameron had agreed to try and physically examined the prisoner."
(ibid, pgs. 152-153)

It should be noted that this account is more than a little suspect. Dulles, for instance, has been described as an adamant supporter of Nazism who believed strongly that the US had greatly erred by aligning itself with the Soviet Union during the Second World War in more than a few accounts I've read of the man. Gordon Thomas, one of the chief biographers of Cameron who has been quoted at length above, has been accused of sowing disinformation before such as in the case of the Olson affair. Thus, his accounts of men such as Dulles and Cameron should be taken with a hefty grain of salt. But I digress.

Cameron's rendezvous with Hess proved to not be especially productive.
"The deep sockets of Hess's blue eyes gave his pallid face the appearance of a skull. He wore an old tweed jacket and baggy trousers. He had on neither collar nor tie nor a belt around his waist --precautions against suicide attempts. His feet were encased in the Luftwaffe flying boots in which has had flown to Scotland. Prisoner and escort remained handcuffed to each other while Dr. Cameron question Hess for several hours. But when he had asked the policeman to remove the handcuffs so that Hess could be physically examined, the escort had refused, explaining he had no authority to do so. Dr. Cameron had not pressed the matter, reporting to Dulles what had happened. If the spymaster was disappointed, he kept it from the psychiatrist, who had indicated he was willing to act in an unorthodox way. No one would ever know whether Dulles's story about Hess was true or what he called one of 'my little test.' When they went their separate ways --Dr. Cameron having pronounced Hess to be clinically not insane --both had agreed they must do everything possible to protect the world from communism."
(Journey Into Madness, Gordon Thomas, pg. 153)

It would be twelve years later when Cameron and Dulles next began to officially collaborate together again (though Cameron would treat Dulles' wife Clover during the intern, presumably with milder methods than those he used at the Allan Memorial Institute), but before getting to that let us first consider the bizarre statements Hess made before the Nuremberg Tribunal alluding to a similar type of peculiarities he personally witnessed in Nazi Germany, the USSR, and Great Britain amongst prisoners and officials alike.
"... Hess's final statement before the Nuremberg Tribunal on August 31, 1946 was never finished. As it seemed he was in danger of rambling on forever, the president of the Tribunal ordered him to cut it short and history was cheated out of a bizarre tale of mystical phenomenon (or saved the dreary task of recording the paranoid fantasies of a mass murderer, depending on your point of view). But there are elements within Hess's statement that bear repeating here for they either cast doubt on the pronouncement of his sanity (and thus question his fitness to stand trial) or they are evidence that some form of mind-control was being tested on Hess while he remained a prisoner in the Tower.
Some of my comrades here can confirm the fact that at the beginning of the proceedings I predicted the following:
... That witnesses would appear who, under oath, would make untrue statements while, at the same time, these witnesses could create an absolutely reliable impression and enjoy the best possible reputation.... That some of the defendants would act rather strangely: they would make shameless utterances about the Fuhrer; they would incriminate their own people; they would partially incriminate each other, and falsely at that. Perhaps they would even incriminate themselves, and also wrongly.... All these predictions have come true.... I made these predictions, however, not only here at the beginning of the Trial, but had already made them months before the beginning of the Trial in England to, among others, Dr. Johnston, the physician who was with me...
"At this point, one would imagine that Hess was simply being realistic. It was not unusual for the Nazi defendants and witnesses to invent all sorts of stories and alibis to excuse away their crimes...; Hess may have tried to insinuate that the prosecution witnesses were all lying. The Nuremberg jurors were certainly in no mood to entertain such a notion, and that might have been the end of it except that Hess went on to say:
In the years 1936 to 1938 political trials were taking place in one of these countries. These were characterized by the fact that the defendants accused themselves in an astonishing way. For example, they cited great numbers of crimes which they had committed or which they claim to have committed. At the end, when death sentences were passed upon them, they clapped in frenzied approval to the astonishment of the world.
But  some foreign press correspondents reported that one had the impression that these defendants through some means hitherto unknown, had been put into an abnormal state of mind, as a result of which they acted as they did.
"Here Hess is obviously referring to the infamous show trials which had taken place in Stalinist Russia. It should be remembered that the Soviet Union formed one-fourth of the Nuremberg Tribunal, along with France, Great Britain, and the United States. Later on in his statement he specifically mentions the 'Moscow trial.' One imagines that this is a decidedly unwelcome tactic on the part of the defendant.
"Hess goes on to link the method used to mentally condition these Russian defendants to the acts of otherwise sane Germans caring out atrocities in the camp. His implication is that mind-control was used in a massive way to robotize the German population. He wisely drops that rather  pathetic line of approach, but then his statement takes on a strange angle all its own:
I said before that a certain incident in England caused me to think of the reports of the earlier trials. The reason is that the people around me during my imprisonment acted towards me in a peculiar and incomprehensible way, in a way which led me to conclude that these people somehow were acting in an abnormal state of mind. Some of them --these persons and people around were changed from time to time. Some of the new ones who came to me in place of those who had been changed had strange eyes. They were glassy and like eyes in a dream.... Not only I alone notice these strange eyes, but also the physician who attended me at the time, Dr. Johnston, a British Army doctor, a Scotsman.
In  the spring of 1942 I had a visitor who quite obviously tried to provoke me and acted towards me in a strange way. This visitor also had the strange eyes. Afterwards, Dr. Johnston asked me what I thought of this visitor. He told me --I told him I had the impression that for some reason or other he was not completely normal mentally, whereupon Dr. Johnston did not protest as I had expected, but agreed with me and asked me whether I had noticed those strange eyes, these eyes with a dreamy look. Dr. Johnston did not suspect that he himself had exactly the same eyes when he came to me.
The essential point, however, is that in one of the reports of the time, which must still be in the press files on the proceedings -- this was in Paris, about the Moscow trial -- it said that the defendants had had strange eyes. They had had glazed and dreamy eyes!
"This Kafkaesque monologue goes on to cover British concentration camps (implying that the Nazi camps were no worse, and that concentration camps in general must be an internationally recognized means of solving what Hess called 'incomprehensible riddles'), and then winds up with a speech in which Hess is clearly leading up to an exposition of just what exactly happened to him in the spring of 1942, prefaced by oaths to God that he will tell the truth and calling God as his witness.
"'In the spring of 1942' he begins, then is cut short. The president of the Tribunal tells him he has already used up his twenty minutes. Hess demurs, then agrees to end his statement by simply saying, 'I am happy to know that I have done my duty to my people, my duty as a German, as a National Socialist, as a loyal follower of my Fuhrer. I do not regret anything. If I were to begin all over again, I would act just as I have acted, even if I knew that in the end I should meet a fiery death at the stake... ' A fiery death at the stake. Hess imagined himself as heretic, or witch?"
(Unholy Alliance, Peter Levenda, pgs. 274-276)
Hess at Nuremberg

What are these "strange eyes" of which Hess speaks of and who was the mysterious Scotsman, Dr. Johnston, who attended to him? Apparently one of the countless mysteries surrounding the end of World War II as I have been unable to turn up more information on Hess's incredible statements. But certainly Scotsman Ewen Cameron would have an interest in such "strange eyes," as his later research demonstrates. Speaking of which, let us move along.

While Cameron did not officially become involved with the U.S. Intelligence community until 1957 there are indications that he was being groomed/observed for such a role years beforehand. For instance, the notorious Rockefeller Foundation provided the initial nest egg for Cameron's Canadian research before World War II had even come to an end. Several members of the Rockefeller clan, most notably David and former Vice-President Nelson, maintained close ties with the U.S. Intelligence community throughout their lives as many veteran conspiracy researchers are well aware. For the uninitiated, consider this account of Nelson Rockefeller's dabblings in the black arts of intelligence:
"As early as December 1954 and extending through December 1955, Rockefellers had served as president Eisenhower's representative on the National Security Council's operations coordinating Board (OCD), which was very much involved with CIA clandestine operations. Gerald Colby and Charlotte Dennett right that Rockefeller acted as 'Eisenhower's "circuit breaker," informing the president of CIA covert operations while protecting the presidents "plausible deniability" before Congress, since some operations ran afoul of American or international law...'
"Moreover, Rockefellers knowledge and approval of drug experimentation and brainwashing research went far beyond his OCB experience. Still largely overlooked in the public record is the fact that the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HCW) undertook drug experiment sponsored by the CIA when Rockefeller was department undersecretary in 1953. Many of these experiments involved CIA funding and required Rockefeller's specific approval. Also, beginning in the early 1950s, the Rockefeller Foundation had been funding CIA-front groups like the Fund for Human Ecology, which was directly involved in CIA-supported behavior 'modification' experiments. Beginning even earlier, in 1943, the Foundation had been funding a psychiatric research facility, the Allan Memorial Institute in Montréal, Canada, which soon became the site of some of the CIA's most notorious and horrific psychological experiments, conducted by Rockefeller-funded Dr. Ewen Cameron."
(A Terrible Mistake, H.P. Albarelli, Jr., pgs. 464-465)
Nelson Rockefeller

In general the early years of the Allan Memorial Institute were quite sinister as Cameron was not the only psychiatrist their involved in "unorthodox" experiments. The U.S. Intelligence community took notice of these doings in Canada as early as 1951.
"... The relationship dates back to June 1, 1951, and a transnational meaning of intelligence agencies and academics at Montréal's Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The subject of the meeting was growing concern in the Western intelligence community that the Communist had somehow discovered how to 'brainwash' prisoners of war. The evidence was the fact that American GIs taken captive in Korea were going before cameras, seemingly willingly, and denouncing capitalism and imperialism. According to the declassified minutes from the Ritz meeting, those in attendance --Omond Solandt, chairman of Canada's Defense Research Board; Sir Henry Tizard, chairman of the British Defense Research Policy Committee; as well as two representatives from the CIA --were convinced that Western powers urgently needed to discover how the Communists were extracting these remarkable confessions. With that in mind, the first step was to conduct 'a clinical study of actual cases' to see how brainwashing might work. The stated goal of this research was not for Western powers to start using mind control on prisoner; it was to prepare Western soldiers for whatever coercive techniques they might encounter if they were taken hostage...
"One of those at the Ritz meeting was Dr. Donald Hebb, director of psychology at McGill University. According to the declassified minutes, Hebb, trying to unlock the mystery of GI confessions, speculated that the Communist might be manipulating prisoners by placing them in intense isolation and blocking input to their senses. The intelligence chiefs were impressed, and three months later Hebb had a research grant from Canada's Department of National Defense to conduct a series of classified sensory-deprivation experiments. Heb paid a group of sixty-three McGill students $20 a day to be isolated in a room wearing dark goggles, headphones playing white noise and cardboard tubes covering their arms and hands so as to interfere with their sense of touch. For days, the students floated in a sea of nothingness, their eyes, ears and hands unable to orient them, living inside their increasingly vivid imaginations. To see whether this deprivation made them more susceptible to 'brainwashing,'  Hebb then began playing recordings of voices talking about the existence of ghosts or the dishonesty of science --ideas that the students had said they found objectionable before the experiment began.
"In a confidential report on Hebb's findings, the Defense Research Board concluded that sensory deprivation clearly caused extreme confusion as well as hallucinations among the student test subjects and that 'a significant temporary lowering of intellectual efficiency occurred during and immediately after the period of perpetual deprivation.' Furthermore, the students' hunger for stimulation made them surprisingly receptive to the ideas expressed on the tapes, and indeed several developed an interest in the occult that lasted weeks after the experiment had come to an end. It was as if the confusion from sensory deprivation partially erased their minds, and then the sensory stimuli rewrote their patterns.
"A copy of Hebb's major study was sent to the CIA, as well as forty-one copies to the U.S. Navy and forty-two copies to the U.S. Army. The CIA also directly monitored the findings via one of Hebb's student researchers, Maitland Baldwin, who, unbeknownst to Hebb, was reporting to the agency. This keen interest is hardly surprising: at the very least, Hebb was proving that intensive isolation interfered with the ability to think clearly and made people more open to suggestion --priceless ideas for any interrogator. Hebb eventually realized that there was enormous potential for his research to be used not just to protect captured soldiers from getting 'brainwashed' but also as a kind of how-to manual for psychological torture. In the last interview he gave before his death in 1985, Hebb said, 'It was clear when we made our report to the Defense Research Board that we were describing formidable interrogation techniques.'"
(The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, pgs. 33-35)
Donald Hebb

Sensory deprivation was but one tool that Hebb's colleague, Dr. Ewen Cameron, developed while working at the Allan Memorial Institute both before and after he received official CIA funding. Other such techniques Cameron employed included "depatterning" and "psychic driving."
"In the case of Cameron's psyche driving technique, a patient would be isolated in a room --the 'sleep room' --and would be administered some combination of drugs and electroconvulsive therapy (what is popularly known as 'electroshock'). Sometimes the shocks given were staggeringly high, and repeated more often than is usual in a therapeutic setting. The normal voltage is usually 110 volts; Cameron used 150 volts. The normal dosage was a single shock lasting a fraction of a second; Cameron's shocks lasted longer, up to one second (and thus an average of 30 times more powerful than normal) and were done 2-3 times a day as opposed to the more usual once a day, or once every two days. Electroshock causes a major convulsion, which is then followed by several minor convulsions. Cameron's was a variation on the already intense Page-Russell method, but taken up quite a few notches to the point where his patients became disoriented and confused. This was Cameron's aim, which was the opposite of what was intended by the already controversial electroconvulsive therapy method.
"The drug regimen was equally severe: a 'sleep cocktail' was administered to the subjects -- one can hardly call them 'patients' anymore --consisting of Thorazine, Nembutal, Seconal, Veronal and Phenergan. The subject would be awakened several times a day for the electroshock treatment and for the drug concoction. The combination kept the subject asleep day and night except for the electroshock, during which time his screams could be heard all over Ward 2.
"This treatment typically would last from two weeks to a month, with some subjects being 'treated' in this manner for over two months. In some cases, they would lose control of their bowels, be unable to feed themselves or to tend to normal bodily functions. Many tried to escape, but were always captured and brought back to their ward by the doctors and orderlies, since they were in such feeble condition that escape was impossible, groping along the walls and pathetically urinating on the floor of the corridor.
"The effect of this treatment was to cause the subject to lose their memory, usually in three stages. In the first stage, much memory was lost, but not the facts of the subject being at the clinic, knowing he is at the clinic and why, and who the doctors and nurses are. The second stage involved the loss of what Cameron called 'space-time image'; the subject would not know where he was or why he was there. Understandably, this disorientation was extremely frightening. Imagine waking up in a hospital bed and not knowing what had happened, or why, and with no one in a position to tell you since keeping you in that degree of confusion was necessary to the 'treatment.' This nightmarish and Kafkaesque state of affairs with designed, remember, by man who had once tested Rudolf Hess for sanity.
"The third and final stage of memory loss is complete amnesia. There is only knowledge and memory of the present; there is no reference to past events or feelings. Cameron proudly pointed to the stage as the one where any schizophrenia has disappeared (along, of course, with a lot more!). The mind of the subject is a blank slate. He has been depatterned.
"The CIA, satisfied with this level of progress, then asked Cameron to go to the next level: to implant new behavioral patterns in place of the old, erased ones. To do this, Cameron turned to another technique he had developed, which he called 'psychic driving.' 
"This method is, if anything, even more hellish than depatterning, and involves blasting the subject with tape recordings of verbal messages --usually specific for each subject --that played in a loop for sixteen hours a day for weeks. Normally, two tapes were used: the first was a 'negative conditioning' tape which concentrated on, obviously, the negative facts of the subject's life, continually reinforcing these unhealthy images. This would then be replaced by a 'positive conditioning' tape, also in a loop, also for sixteen hours a day for weeks, which would emphasize the desired behavior instead of the unwanted behavior of the first tape. Cameron's assistant in these endeavors -- one Leonard Rubinstein, whose salary was paid for entirely by CIA funds -- designed an enormous tape device that could play eight different tapes at the same time, thus 'psychically driving' eight subjects at once. The speakers for these tapes were placed beneath the subjects' pillows. They were inescapable, unremitting, endless; and, in some cases, augmented with the use of hallucinogens such as LSD...
"And this was not all. Cameron eventually (in 1957, and with more CIA money and official approval) turned his talents toward sensory deprivation...
"In Cameron's program, though, no one was allowed out of sensory deprivation until he said it was okay. In one particularly harrowing episode, he left a woman --who presented as simply suffering from menopause -- in  sensory deprivation for thirty-five days... and this was after a prolonged period of depatterning and 101 days of psyche driving. Cameron wrote this one off: 'no favorable results were obtained.' We don't know what eventually became of this poor woman --whom we know only as 'Mary C.' --except for a notation by a CIA official at the time that it was impossible to tell if the sensory deprivation or the psyche driving had done the most damage."
(Sinister Forces Book I, Peter Levenda, pgs. 227-230)

The CIA's sponsorship of Cameron continued until 1963 when he his contract was abruptly terminated amidst the backdrop of incredible events.
"At the same moment, a few hundred miles to the north in Montréal, Dr. James Monroe was paying a visit to Dr. Ewen Cameron at the Allen Memorial clinic. A former Air Force officer and MK ULTRA project leader in brainwashing studies, Monroe was in charge of the funds of the Human Ecology Society, which served as the Cameron project's front. As the airwaves broadcast the news of the assassination of President Kennedy at the Clinic, Monroe stopped and made a phone call to Washington. When he returned, he told Cameron that CIA sponsorship of his program was terminated. The reader does not need to be advised that this was a strange and compelling combination of events, indicative of a deeply sinister agenda."
(ibid, pg. 288)

Indeed. What's more, some JFK assassination researchers believe that the city of Montreal may have played some role in the assassination, specifically through the person of Louis M. Bloomfield (who lived in Montreal for much of his life and was an alumni of McGill University). Bloomfield first came to the attention of many researchers via the highly controversial Torbitt Document in the late 1960s. Since then other researcher have aired their suspicions concerning Bloomfield.
"... L. M. Bloomfield, a banker in Montréal with ties to the OSS and possibly the CIA, who sat on the board of the Centro Mondiale Commerciale in Rome along with Clay Shaw. The Torbitt Document details the Bloomfield-Shaw relationship. Flammonde documented Bloomfield's various interests in Le Credit Suisse of Canada, Heineken's Breweries,  Canscot Realty, the Israel Continental Company, etc., and footnotes to Italian and Canadian newspapers. Bloomfield's links to the Meyer Lansky crime syndicate and his controlling interest in the Permindex corporation have been the subject of further recent study."
(NASA, Nazis & JFK, "INTRODUCTION: 'Furtive Winks, Flying DISCs and the Torbitt Document," Kenn Thomas, pgs. 14-15)  
Louis M. Bloomfield

There were other strange happenings unfolding in Montreal in this same timeframe (the late 1950s and the early 1960s) as we shall see in the next installment. For now I'm going to wrap things up by briefly considering the conventional legacies applied to Donald Ewen Cameron.

Mainstream histories are widely dismissive of Cameron and his research conducted under the auspices of the CIA. Cameron is typically depicted as either being a quack who happened to have the ear of CIA director Allen Dulles, a  man of whom Cameron had had a long-standing relationship with, or as an idealist blinded by his own drive to heal humanity. Clearly either scenario is rather improbable --Cameron, as noted before, was one of the most highly regarded psychiatrists in the world during much of his professional career, having served as the head of the Canadian, American and World Psychiatric Associations as well as heading the American Psychopathological Association and Society of Biological Psychiatry at various points during the 1950s. As to the latter, the incredible sadism that he displayed to his patients (of which I've only scratched the surface of) strongly argues against the depiction of Cameron as a misguided idealist bent on stopping the waste of human potential at any cost.

As to Cameron's research, it is widely depicted as a dismal failure except within conspiratorial circles, where it is at times credited with being one of the chief building blocks of "Project Monarch" and other such long theorized mind control operations. In the second installment of this series we shall examine these claims as well as striking instances of Cameron's techniques being employed (with increasing frequency) in foreign nations the U.S. Intelligence community is operating out of. Stay tuned.