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What We Know about Brainwashing – Part 6 of Gumshoe’s Royal Commission Series


UnknownTorture at Abu Ghraib

by Mary W Maxwell, PhD, LLB

We interrupt the commentary on Australia’s current Royal Commission to provide here the text of a self-proclaimed statement by the covert agencies of the United States almost sixty years ago as to what they knew about brainwashing. It is a memo signed by Allen W Dulles, CIA Director, on April 25, 1956, addressed to the Director of the FBI. I have abridged it.

Note: In a cover letter, Dulles said that this material was learned from people who had undergone “involuntary re-education of basic beliefs and values” by Communists. Surely that is a lie. The CIA experimented firsthand.

The purpose of inserting this document in Gumshoe’s series of articles on the Royal Commission is to buttress Part 5’s claims about CIA-based mind control. Here is the CIA’s statement with bolding added by me.


There are progressive steps in exercising control over an individual and changing his behaviour:

  1. Making the individual aware of control is the first stage in changing his behaviour. [A child sees that he is helpless against a strong parent who can control him completely.] So, a controlled adult comes to recognize the overwhelming powers of the state and them impersonal, “incarcerative” machinery in which he is enmeshed.
  1. Realization of his complete dependence upon the controlling system is a major factor. He is forced to accept that the only food, tobacco, praise, and social contact he will get will come from the very interrogator who exercises control over him.
  1. The awareness of control and recognition of dependence results in causing internal conflict and breakdown of previous patterns of behaviour. Since the brainwasher-interrogators aim to have the individuals undergo profound emotional change, they force their victims to [seek to find] painfully what is desired by the controlling individual. During this period the victim is likely to have a mental breakdown [with] delusions and hallucinations.
  1. Discovery that there is an acceptable solution to his problem is the first stage of reducing the individual’s conflict. [It gives great] feeling of relief that the horror of internal conflict would cease and that perhaps they would not, after all, be driven insane. It is at this point that they are prepared to make major changes in their value-system. This is an automatic rather than voluntary choice. They have lost their ability to be critical.
  1. Reintegration (SECTION DELETED BY CIA) His new value-system, his manner of perceiving, organizing, and giving meaning to events, is virtually independent of his former value system. He is no longer capable of thinking or speaking in concepts other than those he has adopted. He tends to identify by expressing thanks to his captors for helping him see the light. Brainwashing can be achieved without using using illegal means.

b. Elicitation for the purpose of brainwashing consists of questioning, argument, indoctrination, threats, cajolery, praise, hostility, and a variety of other pressures. The aim of this interrogation is to hasten the breakdown of the individual’s value system and to encourage the substitution of a different value-system.

The procurement of protected information is secondary and is used as a device to increase pressure upon the individual.

[Note: Some of the numberings below look incorrect, because of my deletions. Sorry – MM]

a. The first type is one in which the victim has a passive role in the pain inflicted on him (e.g., beatings). Threats of torture were found more effective, as fear of pain causes greater conflict within the individual than does pain itself.

b. The second type of torture is represented by requiring the individual to stand in one spot for several hours or assume some other pain-inducing position. Such a requirement often engenders in the individual a determination to “stick it out.”

This internal act of resistance provide a feeling of moral superiority at first. As time passes and his pain mounts, however, the individual becomes aware that it is his own original determination to resist that is causing the continuance of pain. A conflict develops within the individual between his moral determination and his desire to collapse and discontinue the pain.

It is this extra internal conflict, in addition to the conflict over whether or not to give in to the demands made of him, that tends to make this method of torture more effective in the breakdown of the individual personality. [Hmm. Does that sentence sound like it came from ‘victims of Communist torture?’]

  1. Reaction varies with the conditions of the isolation cell. Some sources have indicated a strong reaction to filth and vermin. The predominant cause of breakdown in such situations is a lack of sensory stimulation (i.e., grayness of walls, lack of sound, absence of social contact, etc.).

Experimental subjects exposed to this condition have reported vivid hallucinations and overwhelming fears of losing their sanity.

  1. Another wrinkle in communication control is the informer system. The recruitment of informers in POW camps discouraged communication between inmates.
  1. Induction of Fatigue. This is a well-known device for breaking will power and critical powers of judgment. Deprivation of sleep results in more intense psychological debilitation…. “Conveyor belt” interrogation that lasts 50-60 hours will make almost any individual compromise, but there is danger that this will kill the victim.

It is safer to conduct interrogations of 8-10 hours at night while forcing the prisoner to remain awake during the day. Additional interruptions in the remaining 2-3 hours of allotted sleep quickly reduce the most resilient individual. Fatigue, in addition to reducing the will to resist, also produces irritation and fear that arise from increased “slips of the tongue.”

  1. No food and little or no water is permitted the individual for several days prior to interrogation. When the prisoner first complains of this to the interrogator, the latter expresses surprise at such inhumane treatment. He makes a demand of the prisoner. If the latter complies, he receives a good meal. If he does not, he gets a diet of unappetizing food containing limited vitamins, minerals, and calories.
  1. Criticism and Self-Criticism. These are mechanisms of communist thought control. In brainwashing, after a sufficient sense of guilt has been created in the individual, sharing and self-criticism permit relief. The price paid for this relief, however, is loss of individuality and increased dependency….

10 d. Prisoners are often humiliated by refusing them the use of toilet facilities during interrogation until they soil themselves. Often prisoners were not permitted to bathe for weeks until they felt contemptible.

A feeling of helplessness in the face of the impersonal machinery of control is carefully engendered within the prisoner. The individual who receives the preliminary treatment described above not only begins to feel like an “animal” but also feels that nothing can be done about it.

The first steps in “depersonalization” of the prisoner have begun. He has no idea what to expect. Ample opportunity is allotted for him to ruminate upon all the unpleasant or painful things that could happen to him.

He approaches the main interrogator with mixed feelings of relief and fright. The prisoner is rarely prepared for the fact that the interrogators are usually friendly and considerate at first. The first occasion he balks at satisfying the interrogator, however, he is in for another surprise. The formerly reasonable interrogator unexpectedly turns into a furious maniac.

These surprising changes create doubt in the prisoner as to his very ability to perceive another person’s motivations correctly. The prisoner may begin to channel so much energy into trying to predict the behaviour of the interrogator that he loses track of what is happening inside himself. The prisoner finds himself in a constant state of anxiety which prevents him from relaxing even when he is permitted to sleep.

Short periods of isolation now bring on visual and auditory hallucinations. The prisoner seriously begins to doubts his own memory. The prisoner must undergo additional internal conflict when strong feelings of guilt are aroused within him. As any clinical psychologist is aware, it is not at all difficult to create such feelings.

He cannot think constructively. If he is to maintain any semblance of psychological integrity, he must bring to an end this state of interminable internal conflict. He signifies a willingness to write a confession.

The interrogator questions every sentence of the confession. He begins to edit it with the prisoner. The prisoner is forced to argue against every change. This is the essence of brainwashing. Every time that he gives in on a point to the interrogator, he must re-write his whole confession.

Still the interrogator is not satisfied. In a desperate attempt to maintain some semblance of integrity and to avoid further brainwashing, the prisoner must begin to argue that what he has already confessed to is true. [All bolding added]

(signed by) Allen W Dulles, Director

Note: Part 5 suggested that Cardinal Pell may have been mind controlled as a child. If so, it was not by the methods used to ‘convert’ an adult, as shown above. Yet the CIA did have an array of methods for breaking the child’s normal development and instilling the preferred beliefs.

Finally, for anyone who has never been told of the utter malice with which mind control is planned and carried out, I offer this eye-opening video. It consists of interviews with Iraqi men who had been the targets of the famous tortures in Abu Ghraib Prison.

— Mary Maxwell is the author of  Prosecution for Treason: Epidemics, Weather Warfare, Mind Control, and the Surrender of Sovereignty. (Trine Day Press, 2011)


  1. In the last paragraph I referred to “the utter malice” of the mind-control program. Having watched the video again I think it should say “the plain old sadism.”

    By the way, it is now more than a year since Senator Diane Feinstein published the Torture Report, listing crimes. No member of government has ever been punished for it.

  2. The torture you’ve referred to is just that, torture. It appeared to have no other purpose than to feed the egos of the sadists. Intelligence gathering in a war zone places a premium on time as tactical situations are so fluid. The months and months of degradation served no intelligence purpose.

    When I think of mind control based upon trauma I think of Chelmsford Hospital and other MK-Ultra experiments. There is purpose in what is being done, splitting the personality or rewriting it.

    However, the biggest aspect of mind control, and the one that is most relevant to the society, is through the media. It was Edward Bernays that greatly developed those methods. He emphasised that it was preferable to influence the unsuspecting masses through ‘news’ than through advertising. In his book propaganda he wrote –

    In Propaganda (1928), Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy:[20]
    The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind. (from the Wikipedia page on Bernays)

    If you ever wondered why the MSM ‘news’ is just crap – you can thank Edward Bernays.

    • Well, Terry, it’s Janus faced. On the one hand, I mean the one face, you are right that what really matters is the Bernaysian news and how it makes us accept crazy war decisions from the secret rulers. But on the other face, many of those rulers themselves underwent the vicious kind of mind control.

      If you read Brice Taylor’s “Thanks for the Memories” which is a free download at whale.to, you will end up seeing Jerry Ford, Ronnie Reagan, Bill Clinton, and others as big children. Without doubt the two George Bush prexies were tortured as kids. In sum, the Top Dogs would not have presidents at their daily command if there were not this PERSONAL mind control system being used, as well as the Bernaysian one.

      I think we need to take the heavy mind control seriously and think of it as ongoing. Put “John Finch” into the search line at Gumshoe for my article about Targeted Individuals. A man can be walking around Melbourne e’en as we speak and not only get painful hits to his brain, but have to cope with denial by all Melbournians. This is disgraceful.

      During the Royal Commission’s grilling this month, Bishop Finnegan gave obstructive answers. It was nice to hear the Counsel, Angus Stewart, say something to the effect of “Now I know what it must have been like when the victims tried to approach you all those years….” Indeed.

      In my life, meeting up with the MK-Ultra girls has been the Rosetta stone to everything in politics.

  3. Don’t miss Yuri Bezmenov here: “Change the perception [against reality] so that NO ONE IS ABLE TO COME TO SENSIBLE CONCLUSIONS about defending their family or their country.”


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