Victims of CIA’s MKUltra Mind Control Program Are Fighting Back
The recent Netflix series, Wormwood, reignited mainstream attention on the horrors of MKUltra– the government-funded mind control program of the 1950s and ‘60s that used experimental brainwashing techniques on unwitting citizens. And now a number of families are coalescing to bring a class action lawsuit against the agencies involved to gain reparations and a modicum of closure for the horrific experiments their loved ones were subjected to.
In the late ‘50s, a man named Dr. Ewen Cameron headed the Allen Memorial Institute at McGill University in Montreal. Cameron was a renowned psychiatrist, who became notorious for his role in driving a number of people to the brink of insanity with experiments intended to break down or “de-pattern” his subject’s thoughts.
Cameron’s methods essentially amounted to psychic torture; injecting patients with mega-doses of LSD, inducing sleep for weeks at a time, using electroshock treatment, and relentless exposure to taped recordings – some played up to half a million times.
Most of Cameron’s patients had admitted themselves to the hospital for relatively minor conditions such as postpartum depression or anxiety. None had any idea they would become the guinea pigs for such an insidious experiment.
Once they were released back into society most were unable to cope, having had their psyches completely broken down. For those able to re-assimilate, life was very difficult – some were able to block out the traumatizing memories, while others were mentally disturbed for the rest of their lives. One woman would explode in a fit of rage if a stranger bumped into her. Another said she was psychologically and emotionally reduced to the state of a toddler.
Last year, one victim’s daughter, Alison Steel, was quietly awarded a sum of money from the Canadian government for her mother’s unknowing participation. Jean Steel was admitted into the Allen Institute program in 1957 for manic depression, quickly becoming one of Cameron’s test subjects. When she was released, she was never the same.
Steel’s daughter was given $100,000 from the Canadian government after being asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement prohibiting her from discussing the settlement. But now a number of others, whose family members were affected, are coming forward asking for reparations as well.
In 1992, the Canadian government set out to provide restitution to the families of 77 victims involved in the program, though many were never compensated because they were considered not damaged enough.
A class-action lawsuit was brought against the CIA in the ‘80s, with nine families asking for a $1 million settlement. The government ended up paying them just over $80,000 each.
Now, a group of families in Quebec are seeking reparations from the Canadian government, provincial government, and possibly McGill University for damages and a public apology.
Some members involved in the suit say the gesture of a public apology, or at least some acknowledgement of wrongdoing by the government would mean more than a hushed settlement.