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Donald Ewen Cameron and MKULTRA

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I thought it might be worth starting a thread on Donald Ewen Cameron. Born in Scotland in 1901, he graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1924. He began his career as resident surgeon at Glasgow Infirmary, but in 1929 moved to Canada to work in the Brandon Mental Hospital.

In 1936, Cameron became Director of Research at Worcester State Hospital in Massachussetts, and in 1938 was appointed Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at Albany State Medical School. It was at Albany that Cameron conducted research into sensory deprivation and memory.

During the Second World War Cameron began working for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). However, in 1943 he went to Canada and established the psychiatry department at Montreal's McGill University and director of the newly-created Allan Memorial Institute that was being funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Cameron continued to work for the OSS and in February 1945, Allen Dulles sent him to Germany to examine Rudolf Hess in order to assess if he was fit to stand trial at Nuremberg. According to one source, Dulles had told Cameron, that he believed the Hess he was about to examine was not the real Hess and that he had already been executed on the orders of Winston Churchill. (Gordon Thomas, Journey into Madness, 1993, pages 167-68). Hess spent time with Hess and confirmed that he was not mentally ill and that he should stand trial.

When Rudolf Hess came face to face with Herman Göring at Nuremberg, Hess remarked: “Who are you”? Göring reminded him of events that they witnessed in the past but Hess continued to insist that he did not know this man. Karl Haushofer was then called in but even though they had been friends for twenty years, Hess once again failed to remember him. Hess replied “I just don’t know you, but it will all come back to me and then I will recognise an old friend again. I am terribly sorry.” (Peter Padfield, Hess: The Führer’s Disciple, page 305).

Hess did not recognise other Nazi leaders. Ribbentrop responded by suggesting that Hess was not really Hess. When told of something that Hess had said he replied: “Hess, you mean Hess? The Hess we have here?” (J. R. Rees, The Case of Rudolf Hess, page 169).

However, Major Douglas M. Kelley, the American psychiatrist who was responsible for Hess during the trials, stated that he did have periods when he did remember his past. This included a detailed account of his flight to Scotland. Hess told Kelley that he had arrived without the knowledge of Hitler. Hess claimed that “only he could get the English King or his representatives to meet with Hitler and make peace so that millions of people and thousands of villages would be spared.” (J. R. Rees, The Case of Rudolf Hess, page 168).

One suggestion is that Hess was pretending he had amnesia and was trying to distance himself from the actions of his fellow Nazis. This does not make any sense to me. In fact, the documentary record shows that he was not guilty of war crimes. In fact, most of the war crimes took place after he had left Germany in 1941.

Did Hess amnesia have anything to do with Cameron's visit. I would argue that Cameron had been sent to Nuremberg to help Churchill and the British intelligence services with a problem. Cameron’s task was to remove Hess’s memory of past events. This is why Hess was unable to recognize his former friends and colleagues at Nuremberg. Cameron next job was to provide Hess with a new memory about events dating back to May 1941. That is why Hess is able to provide Major Douglas M. Kelley with a comprehensive account of his trip to Scotland.

The problem with this brainwashing experiment was that there was no way of knowing how long Hess would be able to remember the past as provided by Dr. Cameron. That is why Hess had to be kept in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. That is the reason why Hess was not allowed to talk about anything that happened before 1945 with anybody, including his own family.

That is also the reason why Hess was murdered on 17th August, 1987. Why 1987 and not some earlier date? Well, the British had been hiding behind the claim that the Soviets were blocking Hess’s release. However, Mikhail Gorbachev told German journalists in February 1987, that he was going to give permission for the release of Hess (Peter Padfield, Hess: The Führer’s Disciple, page 328). The West German newspaper Bild reported that Hess was going to be released on his 93rd birthday on 26th April 1987. (Bild, 21st April, 1987) Hess knew differently, he told Abadallah Melaouhi, his nurse, that the “English will kill me” before I am released. (BBC Newsnight, 28th February 1989).

The British did indeed block his release (Sir Christopher Mallaby, Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet Office, quoted by Hugh Thomas in the documentary “Rudolf Hess: The Appalling Truth). Gorbachev told Margaret Thatcher that he would expose the British hypocrisy by withdrawing the Soviet guards from Spandau Prison. It was then decided that Hess had to die as he could not be allowed to speak in public about what he knew about the peace negotiations that had taken place in 1941.

Cameron's possible impact on Hess becomes more clear when he examine his activities after the war. Cameron worked at the Albany State Medical School and in the late 1940s Cameron developed a new treatment for mental illness. The authors of Double Standards argue that his "major inspiration was the British psychiatrist William Sargent, whom Cameron considered to be the leading expert on Soviet brainwashing techniques. Cameron took this work and used it for what he called 'depatterning'. He believed that after inducing complete amnesia in a patient, he could then selectively recover their memory in such a way as to change their behaviour unrecognisably."

In 1953 Cameron developed what he called "psychic driving". Cameron developed the theory that mental patients could be cured by treatment that erased existing memories and by rebuilding the psyche completely. According to his research assistant, Dr. Peter Roper, "He (Cameron) had a technician called Leonard Rubenstein who modified cassettes so there was an endless tape, it could keep repeating itself for hours at a time. If Cameron could give a positive message, eventually a patient would respond to it." Cameron would play the tapes to his patients for up to 86 days, as they slipped in and out of insulin-induced comas.

Cameron discovered that "once a subject entered an amnesiac, somnambulistic state, they would become hypersensitive to suggestion". In other words they could be brainwashed. The CIA became aware of Cameron's research and in 1957 Cameron was recruited by Allen Dulles, Director of the CIA, to run Project MKULTRA. Documents released in 1977 show that MKULTRA was a "mind control" program. As it was illegal for the CIA to conduct operations on American soil, Cameron was forced to carry out his experiments at the Allan Memorial Institute in Canada. The CIA arranged funding via Cornell University in New York.

Cameron had to commute to Montreal every week to carry out his work. According to official documents, Cameron was paid $69,000 from 1957 to 1964 to carry out MKULTRA experiments at the Allan Memorial Institute. Documents released in 1977 revealed that thousands of unwitting subjects were tested on as part of the MKULTRA program.

Dr. Peter Roper later claimed that Cameron and his team had visits from senior military officers "who briefed us on brainwashing techniques". One newspaper journalist later claimed in the Sunday Times that "using techniques similar to those portrayed in the celebrated novel the Manchurian Candidate, it was believed that people could be brainwashed and reprogrammed to carry out specific acts."

According to the journalist, Craig Howie (The Scotsman, 6th January, 2006): "Roper blames politics in the psychiatric profession for Cameron's sudden departure under a cloud from the Allan, in 1964, four years before the end of his contract. There was no farewell, no gift, he went - as it were - out the back door without any noise. All his research was tossed out." This of course took place just a few months after the assassination of JFK. Was the CIA worried about what investigators might find out about MKULTRA?

After leaving MKULTRA he returned to Albany as Research Professor at the Albany Medical School and Director of the Laboratory for Research in Psychiatry and Aging at the Veterans' Administration Hospital.

Donald Ewen Cameron died in 1967.


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See In the Sleep Room: The Story of the CIA Brainwashing Experiments in Canada, by Anne Collins; Key Porter Books, Ltd. (Canada).

Also, Sinister Forces: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft: Book One: The Nine, by Peter Levenda; Foreword by Jim Hougan; TrineDay.

CAUTION: The latter's brief but chilling description of psychic driving may promote insomnia.

Or you could just forget about it.


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Namebase entry for Donald Ewen Cameron:


Bledowska,C. Bloch,J. KGB/CIA. 1987 (164)

Canadian Covert Activity Analyst 1984-W (17-8)

Colby,G. Dennett,C. Thy Will Be Done. 1995 (284)

Constantine,A. Psychic Dictatorship in the U.S.A. 1995 (3-4, 55)

Covert Action Information Bulletin 1987-#28 (29-32)

Guardian (New York) 1981-05-27 (2)

Hunt,L. Secret Agenda. 1991 (234-5)

In These Times 1989-01-10 (19)

Intelligence Newsletter (Paris) 1988-11-16 (3)

Kessler,R. Inside the CIA. 1994 (308)

Lee,M. Shlain,B. Acid Dreams. 1985 (23-4, 188)

Marks,J. The Search for the Manchurian Candidate. 1980 (131-41)

Parapolitics (Paris) 1981-05 (1)

Russell,D. The Man Who Knew Too Much. 1992 (679-80)

Thomas,G. Journey Into Madness. 1990

Vankin,J. Whalen,J. The 60 Greatest Conspiracies. 1998 (5)

Washington Times 1988-10-06 (A10)


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I believe that a close study of the life of Donald Ewen Cameron raises doubts about the official story of MKULTRA. According to the CIA documents released in 1977, MKULTRA operated between 1957-64. However, Cameron was carrying out experiments into sensory deprivation and memory as early as 1938.

In 1943 he went to Canada and established the psychiatry department at Montreal's McGill University and became director of the newly-created Allan Memorial Institute that was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. At the same time he also did work for the OSS. It is almost certain that the US intelligence services were providing at least some of the money for his research during the war.

We know by 1947 he was using the “depatterning” technique to wipe out patients memories of the past. Cameron believed that after inducing complete amnesia in a patient, he could then selectively recover their memory in such a way as to change their behaviour unrecognisably." In other words, Cameron was giving them a new past. Is it possible that Cameron and the OSS was doing this during the Second World War. Was the OSS creating a new type of secret agent?

We know that Allen Dulles sent Cameron to assess Rudolf Hess in Nuremberg in November, 1945. Is it possible that the real reason for Cameron’s visit was that he wanted to assess the treatment he had been giving Hess since 1943? That Hess was one of Cameron’s guinea pigs.

If I am right about Hess knowing about Churchill’s peace negotiations in 1941, there were only two options available. The obvious solution and make it look like an accident or suicide. The second solution was for Hess to be treated by Cameron, who could use “depatterning” to wipe his memory clean. Then he could be brainwashed to believe that he was acting on his own instincts by travelling to Scotland in order to seek out the Duke of Hamilton. Is this what the son of the Duke of Hamilton meant when he said he was “set-up” over the Hess affair in order to protect people at the very top?


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I'm not in to 'double threading' i.e. posting duplicate posts debating the same topic on different threads. I replied to John theories regarding Cameron's encounter with Hess here. That aspect of his posts above is as reasonable as Bush and Blair's claims about WMD's in Iraq* :lol: :lol:



* This is only meant to indicate I strongly disgree with him not to insinuate he was being intentionally misleading.

EDIT - disclaimer

Edited by Len Colby
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