Saturday, August 22, 2009


"Cut and paste" of a very informative re-print at the Invictus Blog (here)

By Armen Victorian

July 1996
DEDICATION: I dedicate this writing to those innocent victims who have suffered from physical, mental abuse and torture inflicted upon their mind and bodies by the state -- irrespective of the colour of the flag. To the courageous individuals for telling the world about their torment. And the institutions that stood by their side and fought for their human rights. Rights, which are still violated by states under the disguise of their national security acts. No amount of compensation would be sufficient for raping or killing the mind.

The notorious Moscow trials of 1937 during Stalin's regime and the speed with which the defendants confessed to crimes against the state in the People's Court, and in particular Cardinal Mindszently of Hungary, surprised the governments of the western world. "Characteristics and manner of the defendants, and formulation and delivery of the confessions, have been so similar in large number of cases as to suggest factitious origin."[1] The evident incongruities prompted the CIA's Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) in 1949 to undertake an "analysis of foreign work in certain unconventional warfare techniques, including behavioral drugs, with an initial objective of developing a capability to resist or offset the effects of behavioral drugs. Preliminary phases included to review drug-related work at institutions such as Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Valley Forge General Hospital, Detroit Psychopathic Clinic, Mayo Clinic and National Institute of Health (NIH). There was also extensive review of foreign literature, particularly work in the Soviet Bloc.

"This program shortly became Project BLUEBIRD, with the objectives of (a) discovering means of conditioning personnel to prevent unauthorized extraction of information from them by known means, (b) investigating the possibility of obtaining control of an individual by application of special interrogation techniques, (c) memory enhancement, and (d) establishing defensive means for preventing hostile control of Agency personnel."[2]

This was evolved to become the blueprint and bible of mind control programmes and psychological operations adopted by the west for decades afterwards. The result of the Korean War which started in June 1950, almost a year after the beginning of Project BLUEBIRD, and the return of POWs encouraged western intelligence to delve even further into their mind control programmes.

On June 1st, 1951, in the course of a top secret meeting held in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montreal, Canada, Britain and Canada joined forces with the Central Intelligence Agency to "Research into the general phenomena indicated by such terms as -- "confessions," "menticide," "intervention in the individual mind," together with methods concerned in psychological coercion, change of opinions and attitudes, etcetra."[3]

The participants that represented senior and renown ranks from the military, intelligence and scientific communities were:
Dr. Haskins, Dr. Donald Hebb (a Defence Research Board University Advisor - Canada), Dr. Ormond Solandt (Chairman, Defence Research Board - Canada), Dancy (MI6), Dr. N.W. Morton (A staff member of Defence Research Board - Canada), Tyhurst, Commander Williams, and Sir Henry Tizard (Chairman, Advisory Council on Scientific Policy and Defence Research Policy Committee, Ministry of Defence, Britain).[4]

This was the beginning of a close cooperation which lasted throughout the BLUEBIRD, ARTICHOKE and the MKULTRA projects. Whilst accidental survival of some of the records on these programmes and in particular MKULTRA establishes the documentary evidence about Canadian government's involvement in MKULTRA programmes, the information on Britain's participation or cooperation due to continuous British Government's policy of secrecy remains sketchy.[5, and 6]

"At the opening of the discussion, there was an attempt to lay out some of the particular interests with which this group might concern itself in reference to the general problem described above [confessions, menticide, intervention in the individual mind - sic]. In this regard, the following points were noted:

"(i) That the concern with change of opinion was with reference to individuals primarily, and to groups only insofar as the change of public opinion as a whole or propaganda might involve concepts and particular facts that led to increased phenomena of conversion of attitude.

"(ii) The question of permanence of change of attitude induced.

"(iii) The means of methods; physical, neurophysiological, psychological or other -- that might be used to induce change of opinion or conversion of attitude in the individual."[7]

Within the space of three months after this top secret meeting "in August 1951 Project BLUEBIRD was renamed Project ARTICHOKE, [and] in 1952 was transferred from OSI to the predecessor organization of the Office of Security. OSI did retain a responsibility for evaluation of foreign intelligence aspects of the matter and in 1953 made a proposal that experiments be made in testing LSD with Agency volunteers." "Meanwhile, the emphasis given ARTICHOKE in the predecessor organization to the Office of Security became that of use of material such as sodium pentothel in connection with interrogation techniques and with polygraph."[8]

In an attempt to conduct "Experimental Studies of Attitude Changes in Individuals," Sir Henry Tizard, Dr. Ormond Solandt and the CIA granted contract X-38 to Dr. Donald O. Hebb from the McGill University in September 1951.[9]

The project focused on the use of Sensory Deprivation (SD) and isolation for eliciting information in the course of deep interrogation. Hebb believed that sensory deprivation would induce dramatic changes in the behaviour and attitude. The first "subjects used were student group and each was paid $20 per day (24 hours) for as long as he could continue with the experiment."[10] The experimental conditions and environment for the volunteer students in comparison to the real victims of SD were markedly different. Volunteers were provided with an air conditioned room, comfortable bed and good food during the period of the experiments, as well as a panic button to use whenever they decided to terminate the experiment. They wore translucent goggles, forcing them see blurred light. "The subject was not to talk except when asking to hear the recorded propaganda or when doing minor tests given to him by the experimenter. In other words the subject was in perpetual isolation."[11] The volunteers were not subjected to any propaganda material which would have had adverse effects on their political or religious beliefs, "it was thought unwise, and for the protection of the individual only propaganda material used concerning such relatively innocuous topics as ghosts, poltergeist, extrasensory perception and the Lamarckian theory of evolution."[12]

Despite the concessionary factors several of the volunteers began to have experiences of unusual visual and auditory hallucinations. Many found themselves unable to distinguish between the waking and sleep stage. Another person whose work result was taken into consideration was Dr. Mackworth of the Applied Psychology Unit of the Medical Research Council at Cambridge, England. He had produced work on the effect of monotony and boredom during isolation period on individual. The fact of existence of similar programmes on the sensory deprivation and isolation, and the cooperation between the three countries is further confirmed by Dr. Solandt's comments that the fact that Canadians were making such contribution in this field may be of some advantage in obtaining information in the same field from the US and the UK.[13]

"Hebb's research to date has given some indication that significant changes in attitude can be brought about by use of propaganda under condition of isolation. In addition, [Hebb] has shown that there is a significant decrease in intellectual efficiency under such conditions, and a marked increase in susceptibility to hallucination."[14] When the information concerning the SD tests were leaked out and published in the Montreal Star, the Gazette and Toronto Star, in 1954. Dr. Solandt tried his best to conceal the facts; "When earlier this month it became evident that some information on this project was in the hands of the Press, it was decided that while it would be injudicious to reveal the original purpose of the project, it would be equally unwise to refuse to give any information at all. A compromise was therefore arranged whereby the project was described, but entirely from the point of view of possible implications for civilian or military operational situations in which a display had to be watched, a moving vehicle controlled etc."[15]

Due to Donald Hebb's contribution to mind control programmes, the CIA afterward funded Ewen Cameron's Psychic Drive Project through MKULTRA Subproject 68. At the time Hebb was the head of McGill's Psychology Department, and a close friend and colleague of Cameron. Cameron's work in the "Psychic Drive" programme left behind a legacy of despair and numerous victims which sued both the Canadian Government and the CIA years later.

Dr. John C. Lilly, another psychologist, studied sensory deprivation in 1956 by immersing volunteers in a tank of lukewarm water. The subjects had to wear particular type of face mask enabling them to see only blurred light. Under total silence and lack of any stimulation the subjects were unable to concentrate, and in some cases developed mental disturbances. The maximum time a volunteer could tolerate these conditions was only three hours. The volunteers reported feelings of unreality and tremendous loss of identification. They did not know where they were, or who they were, or what was happening to them. Due to this enormous mental pressure most of them abandoned the experiment.[16]

The concept of experiments in SD soon proliferated. Donald Hebb was granted further contracts by the US Air Force for further research and experiments into SD.[17] Biderman and Zimmer(1961) also conducted extensive research on interrogation techniques using SD, funded by the US Air Force.[18] Vernon, another researcher in this subject admitted in the "Acknowledgement" of his book "Inside the Black Room," "The entire project was made possible by a generous grant-in-aid of research given by the Office of Surgeon General of the US Army, and by the National Science Foundation." Unashamedly, he went on to add in his book "While our goal is pure knowledge for its own sake, we have no objection to someone's use of that knowledge."[19]

There are three aspects in the development and the use of the Sensory Deprivation. First; the requirement for more experimental studies, researching the basic effects of the SD and sleep deprivation. Second; the use of these techniques in interrogation. Third; their utilization in special warfare techniques by specialized troops. It was the accumulation of that knowledge which gave birth to the modern Psychological Operations, and subsequently enabled the British Government, on August 9, 1971, to unleash one of its biggest deep interrogation experiments, using torture and sensory deprivation, plausibly denied by the Government at the time as a political exercise against terrorism, on Irish internees. Lord Parker admitted that the SD methods used on the Irish internees were "techniques developed since war to deal with a number of situations involving internal security. Some or all have played an important part in counterinsurgency operations in Palestine, Malaya, Kenya and Cyprus and more recently in the British Cameroon (1960-61), Bruni (1963), British Guyana (1964), Aden (1965-66), and the Persian Gulf (1970-71)."[20] Indeed, the first NATO symposium on defence psychology was held in Paris in 1960, a couple of years after F.H. Lakin, from the Army Operation Research Establishment in Britain, travelled to Fort Bragg addressing a conference on human factors in military affairs on British Psychological Warfare Techniques in Malaya.[21] In 1963 the US Department of Defense held its first Worldwide Psyops Conference, outlining twenty-eight specific areas, Britain as on of its main participants.

The Northern Ireland's unprecedented operations, due to the nature of their severity and repeated breaches of various Articles of Human Rights Convention, forced Amnesty International, Association of Legal Justice, Committee on the Administration of Justice (Northern Ireland), as well as the European Court of Human Rights to intervene, adding their voice and concern to the plight of the victims.[22] A great number of internees after undergoing horrendous experiments were subsequently released without any charges.

Many of the original fourteen victims of the first phase of these gruesome experiments "were made to sign a paper that they had no complaints about the treatment during interrogation. Those who signed the paper implied that they did so because they were frightened, or because they did not understand the contents."[23] Several of them suffered from deep psychological scars for years afterwards, and some continue their suffering. Some died shortly after this experiments. A few attempted suicide during their captivity and interrogation.[24]

Amnesty International report stated; "As a result of its investigation, the Commission concludes that the ill-treatment used in these cases clearly amounted to brutality, and disagree with the Compton Committee when they state: "Where we have concluded that physical ill-treatment took place, we are not making a finding of brutality on the part of those who handled these complaints (paragraph 105)." "The officials who gave evidence to the Compton Committee also said that one of the purposes of the hooding and continuous noise [white noise - author] was to increase the sense of isolation, so it is obvious that the methods used during interrogation in depth were therefore intended to affect the recipients psychologically."[25]

"In the opinion of the Commission, the interrogation in depth especially, but also the "special exercises", constitute violation of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 3 of the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms."[26]

In their memorandum submitted by Amnesty International to the Parker Committee on Interrogation Procedures, they stated; "It is because we regard the deliberate destruction of a man's ability to control his own mind with revulsion that we reserve a special place in our catalogue of moral crimes for techniques of thought control and brainwashing. Any interrogation procedure which has the purpose or effect of causing a malfunction or breakdown of a man's mental processes constitutes as grave as assault on the inherent dignity of the human person as more traditional techniques of physical torture."[27]

In 1970, the World Conference on Religion and Peace, held in Kyoto, Japan, where the representatives of all the world's religions were present, the conference made the following declaration on torture and ill-treatment of prisoners; "The torture and ill-treatment of prisoners which is carried out with the authority of some governments constitute not only a crime against humanity, but also a crime against the moral law."[28]

Britain is regarded as an expert in psychological operations, and has regularly been invited to give demonstrations and hold seminars, notably at Fort Bragg, Carolina; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; Bad Tolz, Germany. For a time they were also instructing the P.I.D.E. Portuguese secret police until to their embarrassment, they discovered that since the Army coup they had for sometime been giving lectures in counter-insurgency and torture to Latin American guerrillas, whom Communist members of the Portuguese Army had infiltrated.[29]

Britain holds its main psychological operation courses at Ashford in Kent, Caterrick in Yorkshire, Bradbury Lines (The SAS camp in Hereford) and Old Sarum in Wiltshire, where psyops courses for RAF officers are held. On average 16 men, consisting of Green Jackets, SAS, Royal Marines and Royal Artillery, together with members from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), take part.[30]

The existence of psyop courses which includes the demonstration and the use of sensory deprivation was kept secret until Robert Brown, the UK Army Minister was forced to admit in 1976. Approximately 250 take these courses every year. Frank Kitson,[31] one of the organizers of psyop courses, had complained about the small number of 18 taking part in Old Sarum. According to British Government figures up to 1976, 262 civilians and 1858 Army officers had taken these courses.

The SAS training courses in the Bracon Beacons, also includes sensory deprivation as part of its toughening up policy.

As further experiments Sensory deprivation was applied through the Control Units in British prisons. The very nature and existence of these units were kept secret by the British Home Office. The Control Unit at the Wakefield Prison was one of the first to receive its first share of inmates in August 1974, to be subjected to SD. The concept was to break down the troublesome prisoners using modified version of SD. Sunday Times Insight Team uncovered the existence of these units and the purpose of their creation, in October 1974. As result of publicity and sever criticism UK Government was forced to disband its Control Units in Wakefield and Wormwood Scrubs prisons. The "Treatment" designed for a period of six months was divided into two parts. Sensory deprivation was the main focal point. In the first 90 days, a strict solitary confinement, with almost no communication was applied to the inmate. If result proved successful, the victim was allowed to have a limited amount of communication in the next three months phase. Otherwise, the entire phase one would have been repeated -- more solitary confinement. No conversation between the prisoner and the guards were allowed, only gestures were permitted.

John Masterson was the first inmate subjected to this "Treatment" in 1974. With no positive results, and more psychological scars left on the victims, eventually on May 20, 1976, Dr. Pickering, ex-Director of Prison Medical Service admitted in BBC's "Man Alive" programme, that "control units were a mistake." It is ironic, since he was in charge when John Masterson was subjected to this mental torture.

Roy Jenkins, the Home Secretary at the time expressed his satisfaction about these units and their operations. "I am satisfied that the safeguard and procedures are such that the trained staff of Wakefield are able to maintain a careful and caring watch on the progress and condition of prisoners in the control unit."[32]

A year after he was still adamant that; "I am satisfied that allegations, which have received considerable publicity, of sensory deprivation, cruelty and brutality in the unit, are completely unfounded and that the Governor and staff have conducted themselves in a commendably professional manner."[33] Yes, but what about the fate of the victims?

What started in Ritz Carlton Hotel in 1951, came to full fruition in 1971, throughout the ordeal of Ulster guinea pigs. As Professor Robert Daly[34] stressed; "The whole SD process in Northern Ireland was a package deal. Being awaken in the middle of the night, being beaten, confused as to your whereabouts, lied to and insulted, was all part of the 'unfreezing process' through which your psychological defences were broken down, and terror and humiliation were induced. Hence, the photographing in the nude, being forced to urinate while running, refusal to allow toilet visits, the sadism and abuse. Meanwhile the psychological functions of the body were being disturbed by the very low or non-existent intake of calories, high temperature caused by sweating which could lead to dehydration, coupled with the cold at night, sleep deprivation and loss of sense of touch. The whole experience was a package. Whether you want to call it interrogation in depth or brain washing is academic. The aim of the treatment was to cause temporary psychosis, temporary insanity, which was a severe psychological injury liable to having lasting consequences."[35]

Like the CIA, Britain too, as part of its mind control operation applied hallucinogenic drugs -- LSD, on unwitting subjects, including the Irish internees;

"Mr. Murphy alleges; He was given tea and says that after drinking he saw images on the wall."[36] "Mr. Bradley alleges; He suffered from hallucination after drinking a cup of tea."[37]

Despite Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which guarantees "the free development of ...personality," and "in spite of the various United Nations provisions concerning the personal integrity of individuals, no state is expressly precluded from altering the mental processes of its nationals."[38]

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance," said Albert Camus. Nowhere is this more clear than in the protection of freedom of the mind, our most precious human right.[39]

Armen Victorian

June 1996.


1. CIA memorandum "An Analysis of Confession in Russian Trials," 1950. Also see "Are the Cominform Countries Using Hypnotic Techniques to Elicit Confession in Public Trials?" By; Irving L. Janis; US Air Force Project Rand Memorandum, April 25, 1971.

2. "Behavior Drugs, and Testing," Feb. 5, 1975. CIA document.

3. Documents from the collection of the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

4. Tizard, Sir Henry Thomas, born 23 August 1885, GCB, AFC, FRS, LLD, DSc, ScD, and holder of other titles (see Who is Who 1951, and Who is Who 1951-1960).

5. op. cit. 3.

6. In 1973 several key documents on the CIA's mind control programmes were destroyed on the order of Richard Helms, the CIA Director.

7. op. cit. 3.

8. op. cit. 2.

9. "Confidential" letter, Dr. Solandt, August 3, 1954.

10. ibid.

11. ibid.

12. ibid.

13. ibid., and Dr. Solandt's conversation with author, 1989.

14. Letter to "The Minister", Ormond Solandt, Jan. 25, 1954.

15. ibid.

16. John C. Lilly, "Mental Effects of Reduction of Ordinary Levels of Physical Stimuli on Intact Healthy Persons," Psychological Research Report 5, 1966, pp. 1-9. Also see Bexton et al., "The Effects of Decreased Variation in the Sensory Environment," Canadian Journal of Psychology, vol. 8, 1954, pp. 70-76.

17. National Defence Headquarters [Canada] letter to author, dated April 18, 1994. Also see D.O. Hebb et al., "The Effects of Isolation Upon Attitudes, Motivation and Thought," 4th Symposium, Military Medicine I, Defence Research Board, Canada, Dec. 1952 (Secret), and; D.O. Hebb and W. Heron, "Effects of Radical Isolation Upon Intellectual Functions and The Manipulation of Attitudes," 4th Symposium, Military
Medicine I, Defence Research Board, Canada, Dec. 1952 (Secret).

18. Biderman, Zimmer, "The Manipulation of Human Behaviour," Wiley, New York, 1961.

19. J. Vernon, "Inside the Black Room: Studies of Sensory Deprivation," Penguin 1966.

20. Parker Report, Cmnd. 4901 (HMSO), para 10.

21. F.H. Lakin from Army Operational Research Establishment (AORE), Britain, described the British Psychological Warfare research in Malaya between 1952-55. He was in charge of a nine man research team responsible to AORE, and the Research Division of the Director General of the Information Services [then the Federation of Malaya]. For six months two men from the Operational Research Office of John Hopkins University, Maryland, worked closely with his team, plus an Australian army psychologist.

22. Also see; 1. "Repression Trade - (UK) Limited," How the UK Makes Torture and Death its Business. By Amnesty International, British Section 1992. 2. "Submission to the United Nations Committee Against Torture," for consideration during the Committee's scrutiny of UK Government's Report. Committee on the Administration of Justice (Affiliated of the International Federation of Human Rights), Nov. 13, 1993. 3. "A Submission to; the United Nation's Human Rights Committee," Containing Comments on the Forth Periodic Report by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Human Rights Committee under Article 40 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. By; Committee on the Administration of Justice, June 1995.

23. "Report Of An Enquiry Into Allegation of Ill-Treatment in Northern Ireland," Amnesty International, p.26.

24. For a more detailed account of the fate of the internees see "The Guineapigs," John McGuffin.

25. op. cit. 23, p.36.

26. ibid.

27. op. cit. 23, p.38.

28. Findings of The World Conference on Religion and Peace, p. 31.

29. In answer to a Parliamentary Question, Archie Hamilton, the British Minister of State for Defence listed 100 countries to which UK provides military training of various nature including Portugal, and other countries with notorious track records in violation of Human Rights, e.g. China, Chile, Iraq, Uganda, South Korea, Egypt, Turkey. He fails to add Cambodia to the list -- See John Pilger's "Cambodia: Year Ten."

30. "Precis 6: Psyop unit - General," Training Report, Senior Officers' Psyop Course, Royal Air Force, Old Sarum, Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK February 14/18, 1972. A British document devoted to the organization and equipment of psyops unit, both at headquarters, and broken down into subsections; Consolidation Psyops; Counter-Insurgency uses and their use in peacetime, as well as details of deployment of psyop units in UK. Also, "Technical Report of the Senior Officers' Psyop Course Held at RAF Old Sarum, 14-18, Feb. 1972." This course clarifies the parallel nature of the British psyops with that of US Army's. Amongst people that have addressed these courses are; Keith Belbin, of Coleman, Prentice and Valery [Advertising Agency]
on recruitment. Peter Bartlett on target analysis with reference to the Chinese use in Hong Kong. R.M. Farr [a psychologist from British Psychological Society] on attitude change, and B.R. Johnston on information policy in low intensity operations, mainly in Northern Ireland.

31. Now Sir Frank Kitson, Commander of the 39th Infantry Brigade Northern Ireland between 1970-72. Author of "Low Intensity Operation: Subversion," London, Faber and Faber; and "Insurgency Peace-Keeping," London, Faber and Faber 1971. Also, see "The Technology of Political Control," by; Ackroyd, Margolis, Rosenhead and Shalice. Pluto Press 1980, and "The Silent Conspiracy," Stephen Dorril (William Heineman Ltd.), 1993.

32. House of Commons, [British Parliament] November 14, 1974.

33. House of Commons, October 24, 1975.

34. Professor Robert Daly, expert in Sensory deprivation. A graduate from Dublin University. Instructor in psychiatry at the University of North Carolina. Later a lecturer at Edinburgh University before taking post at the University College, Cork.

35. Robert Daly; "Psychiatric After-effects of Irish Prisoners Subjected to Ill-Treatment and Torture," New Scientist, August 5, 1976.

36. op. cit. 23, p. 14.

37. op. cit. 23, p. 23.

38. Garland E. Burrell, Jr., "Mental Privacy: An International Safeguard to Governmental Intrusion into the Mental Processes," 6 California Western International Law Journal.

39. Alan Scheflin, "Freedom of The Mind As An International Human Rights Issue," Human Rights Law Journal, Vol. 3, 1982.

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All "cut and past" from Invictus Blog , August 16, 2009 - HERE

"For further information, see also Dr. Victorian's essay, Mind Controllers. Armen Victorian was the pseudonym for a colorful British character, born in Soviet Armenia, Habib (Henry) Azadehdel. Azadehdel was apparently involved in the UFO community and was an orchid smuggler. Whatever or whomever he actually was, most agree he was a successful user of FOIA, and gathered a wealth of information. Whatever he thought about the theories behind the data, he was not really a conspiracy theorist, and as you can see above, relied mostly on the facts to speak for themselves.