February 23, 2014 Comments Off on Germany’s Shelter for Victims of Ritual Abuse
Germany’s Shelter for Victims of Ritual Abuse
By Antonia Oettingen
Gaby Breitenbach has seen and heard some awful things. The German psychotherapist is telling me about how sometimes, from a very young age, women are systematically tortured by people seeking to split their minds into multiple identities. The desire is to control the victims, of course, but also to leave them with an identity that seems perfectly normal to strangers. While the victim’s everyday identity will have no “memory” of the trauma they’ve experienced, Breitenbach says the abusers are able to “summon” the other identities with various triggers. This can be something as simple as a ringtone, for example.
This method of mind control is known as “ritual abuse.” Most of the time the abuse is sexual in nature. Sometimes the abusers crave power; sometimes they’re just being cruel. Sometimes they’re pseudo-religious nutjobs, sometimes they’re fascists, and oftentimes they are organized crime networks. Sometimes the abusers use their victims to gain membership to a secret society; sometimes they flick a switch in their minds to make them commit suicide. The world can be an incredibly shitty place.
Last month, Breitenbach opened a safehouse to treat victims of ritual abuse in Germany. Vielseits, which translates to versatility, is the first of its kind in Europe and offers trauma therapy to anyone who walks through its doors….
Can you tell me about the kind of women who seek help at Vielseits?
All the women who end up with us are victims of organized, sadistic, and sexual violence, who have been subjected to mind control. There are also organizations practicing ritual abuse with a kind of spiritual superstructure where certain ideologies come into play, such as neo-fascist mindsets or different pseudo-religious groups, like Scientology or satanic cults.
From an outsider’s perspective, these are women who appear to have led seemingly normal lives—their everyday persona wouldn’t have been aware of the abuse they were subjected to at night, weekends, or on school holidays. These traumatic experiences are contained in different parts of the identity, so they’re kept away from the conscious, and the person has no knowledge of the trauma they’ve experienced.
How are these personas created?
The victims are subjected to near-death situations—with the help of electric shocks, waterboarding, or other forms of torture—from an early age, and then they’re “rescued” by their tormentors. At some point the victim’s psyche will develop an automated response—it will split, in a bid to survive. As a consequence of the systematic torture, the victims can develop a range of different identities throughout their lifetimes. Offenders perpetrating the abuse hold the key to this system of split identities and have the power to evoke a specific set of behaviors using triggers—which can be hand signs or certain smells or sounds, like a ringtone….
August 14, 2013 Comments Off on Against Their Will The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America
Against Their Will The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America
Allen M. Hornblum, Judith L. Newman, and Gregory J. Dober
Palgrave Macmillan, June 2013
ISBN: 978-0-230-34171-5, ISBN10: 0-230-34171-3,
During the Cold War, an alliance between American scientists, pharmaceutical companies, and the US military pushed the medical establishment into ethically fraught territory. Doctors and scientists at prestigious institutions were pressured to produce medical advances to compete with the perceived threats coming from the Soviet Union.
In Against Their Will, authors Allen Hornblum, Judith Newman, and Gregory Dober reveal the little-known history of unethical and dangerous medical experimentation on children in the United States. Through rare interviews and the personal correspondence of renowned medical investigators, they document how children—both normal and those termed “feebleminded”—from infants to teenagers, became human research subjects in terrifying experiments. They were drafted as “volunteers” to test vaccines, doused with ringworm, subjected to electric shock, and given lobotomies. They were also fed radioactive isotopes and exposed to chemical warfare agents.
This groundbreaking book shows how institutional superintendents influenced by eugenics often turned these children over to scientific researchers without a second thought. Based on years of archival work and numerous interviews with both scientific researchers and former test subjects, this is a fascinating and disturbing look at the dark underbelly of American medical history.
September 8, 2012 Comments Off on MK-ULTRA Violence Or, how McGill pioneered psychological torture
MK-ULTRA Violence Or, how McGill pioneered psychological torture
Features | September 6th, 2012 Written by Juan Camilo Velasquez
Today, many journalists, doctors, and the general public see the Allan Memorial Institute in Royal Victoria Hospital as the cradle of modern torture, a cradle built and rocked by Scottish-born Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron. To the patients of Dr. Ewen Cameron, our university was the site of months of seemingly unending torture disguised as medical experimentation –– an experimentation that destroyed their lives and changed the course of psychological torture forever.
Cameron’s experiments, known as MK-ULTRA subproject 68, were partially funded by the CIA and the Canadian government, and are widely known for their use of LSD, barbiturates, and amphetamines on patients. In the media, they were known as the “mind control” studies done at McGill and were reported as a brainwashing conspiracy from the CIA and the Canadian government….
This story begins on June 1, 1951 at a secret meeting in the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Sherbrooke. The purpose of the meeting was to launch a joint American-British-Canadian effort led by the CIA to fund studies on sensory deprivation. In attendance was Dr. Donald Hebb, then director of psychology at McGill University, who received a grant of $10,000 to study sensory deprivation. It would be fifteen years after this meeting at the Ritz that Cameron would disastrously pick up where Hebb left off.
Dr. Hebb paid a group of his own psychology students to remain isolated in a room, deprived of all senses, for an entire day. In an attempt to determine a link between sensory deprivation and the vulnerability of cognitive ability, Hebb also played recordings of voices expressing creationist or generally anti-scientific sentiments – clearly, ideas psychology students would oppose. However, the prolonged period of sensory deprivation made the students overly susceptible to sensory stimulation. Students suddenly became very tolerant of the ideas that they had readily dismissed before. As a history professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Alfred McCoy described in his book, A Question of Torture, that during Hebb’s own experiments “the subject’s very identity had begun to disintegrate.” One can only fathom the cognitive effects of Hebb’s work….
MK-ULTRA Subproject 68
Cameron’s research was based on the ideas of “re-patterning” and “re-mothering” the human mind. He believed that mental illness was a consequence of an individual having learned “incorrect” ways of responding to the world. These “learned responses” created “brain pathways” that led to repetitive abnormal behaviour.
Dr. Cameron wanted to de-pattern patients’ minds with the application of highly disruptive electroshock twice a day, as opposed to the norm of three times a week. According to him, this would break all incorrect brain pathways, thus de-patterning the mind. Some call it brainwashing; Cameron called it re-patterning….
Step 1: To prepare them for the de-patterning treatment, patients would be put into a state of prolonged sleep for about ten days using various drugs, after which they experienced an invasive electroshock therapy that lasted for about 15 days. But patients were not always prepared for re-patterning and sometimes Cameron used extreme forms of sensory deprivation as well….
Step 2: Following the preparation period and the de-patterning came the process of “psychic driving” or re-patterning, in which Cameron would play messages on tape recorders to his patients. He alternated negative messages about the patients’ lives and personalities with positive ones; these messages could be repeated up to half a million times….
The experiments done at McGill were part of the larger MK-ULTRA project led by Sidney Gottlieb of the CIA. In 1963, the year in which MK-ULTRA ended, the CIA compiled all the research into a torture manual called the Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation Handbook. Yes, a “torture manual” that would eventually define the agency’s interrogation methods and training programs throughout the developing world….
Following 9/11, the war on terror and the generalized fearmongering that ensued, the Bush administration changed the rules of the game out of concern for homeland security. Then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved special practices that included the “use of isolation facility for up to thirty days.” All of a sudden, the U.S. allowed the use of torture methods developed just up University….
Only decades later, in the 1980s, did past victims speak about their experiences, and by the nineties, the lawsuits began to pile up. In response, the Canadian government launched “The Allan Memorial Institute Depatterned Persons Assistance Plan,” which provided $100,000 to each of the former patients of Dr. Ewen Cameron. The compensation came from a recommendation by lawyer George Cooper, in which he clarified that the Canadian government did not have a legal responsibility for what happened, but a moral responsibility.