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Concept.png "Brainwashing" 
(Mind control,  propaganda,  hoax)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
A word coined by the CIA in an effort to cover-up the US Army's use of biological weapons in the Korean War.

"Brainwashing" is a word coined by the CIA in an effort to cover-up the US Army's use of biological weapons in the Korean War.[1] Its origins as of 2020 remain not widely known.

It has become commonly used to reflect the deliberate instillation of a particular perspective or worldview, by means of undue influence [2] , deception and abuse of soft power techniques in a coercive manner.


US soldiers were publicly confessing to involvement in projects to use bioweapons. The response was to deny the validity of this testimony, arguing that these were programmed confessions brought on by communist "brainwashing" in an effort to spin and profit from POWs experiences.

Robert Lifton, a psychologist with a high security clearance used an euphemism, coercive persuasion to describe torture based mind control techniques used on American POWs, who "converted" to communist ideas after being subjected to torture, both physical and psycholocical, in his book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China. [3]

He minimized the effects of torture based mind control on the human psyche, focusing on and concluding that some effects were not lasting afters soldiers' return. It seems some nuances of torture based mind control techniques were not known to the CIA before the return of American POWs from Korea in 1951-4 and "resurfaced" in Guantanamo. Older CIA training manuals used for School of the Americas type programs were more crude, brutal and neglected psychological (so called "white") techniques.

First mention

Probably the first mention of the word "Brainwashing" was in Miami News, on 24 September 1950 by Edward Hunter, an avowedly anti-communist CIA officer cum journalist.[4]

Counter culture

Fritz Perls and discordians popularized the term mind fucking to describe the behavior of people and systems who want to impose their thinking onto others. The concept of mind fucking or deliberate messing with someones mind oppose and makes fun of brainwashing by calling to attention its deceptive nature with artistic means. See also: culture jamming.


The concept of "brainwashing" was later applied by Margaret Singer, Philip Zimbardo and some others to help explain the way people integrate into some cult like new religious movements.

Mind control research

Full article: Mind control/Research

The word "brainwashing" is an example of psychological projection, since the CIA, with other US government agencies, was at that time active in "mind control research", most infamously though Project MK-Ultra. Methods included electroshock and other torture, use of drugs such as LSD and hypnosis; both on adults as well as children. Their claim, widely believed in USA at the time, was that the Chinese were using comparable methods on prisoners to induce them to lie about what they did before being captured.

Their official narrative about that project (not well documented since CIA Director Richard Helms ordered the destruction of all paperwork regarding the project[citation needed]) is that it was ultimately unsuccessful.

Ineffective nature?

The spin the CIA puts around the whole subject of torture based mind control is reflected in the repeated claim that it is ineffective. Wikipedia echoes this, citing Lifton:

Beginning in 1953, Robert Jay Lifton interviewed American servicemen who had been POWs during the Korean War as well as priests, students, and teachers who had been held in prison in China after 1951. In addition to interviews with 25 Americans and Europeans, Lifton interviewed 15 Chinese citizens who had fled after having been subjected to indoctrination in Chinese universities. (Lifton's 1961 book: Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China, was based on this research). Lifton found that when the POWs returned to the United States their thinking soon returned to normal, contrary to the popular image of "brainwashing."[5]

This flies in the face of victims. People who were repeatedly brought beyond their breaking point - as described in US Army Field manuals to prepare soldiers for communist POW camps[citation needed] - will almost certainly not return to a normal state of mind after torture ever again. They may abandon "implanted ideas" very soon; but this notion of "functioning" is superficial to say the least. For lasting effects, see mind control. For treatment of survivors, see the books of Collin Ross. [6]


Related Quotations

Vanessa Beeley“The gargantuan apparatus of mind bending and controlling is being put into hyper drive by the ruling elite. We are inundated with propaganda that challenges our sense of reality but only after being “tenderized” by the fear factor. Fear of “terror”, fear of war, fear of financial insecurity, fear of gun violence, fear of our own shadow. Once we are suitably quaking in our boots, in comes the rendition of reality that relieves our anxiety. If we challenge this version of events we are labelled a conspiracy theorist, a threat to security. We are hounded, discredited, slandered and ridiculed. We are isolated and threatened.”Vanessa Beeley
George Carlin“Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins. It's as simple as that. The CIA doesn't kill anybody anymore, they neutralize people, or they depopulate the area. The government doesn't lie, it engages in disinformation. The Pentagon actually measures nuclear radiation in something they call sunshine units. Israeli murderers are called commandos, Arab commandos are called terrorists. Contra killers are called freedom fighters. Well, if crime fighters fight crime, and firefighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?”George Carlin
Mind control“The goal and end of Mind Control is to control and bondage the victim or survivor both during abuse and ritual and during 'normal life'”Ritualistic Abuse Consultancy
Sydney .
Mind control“When torture is covertly practiced but officially and legally repudiated, there is still hope that if atrocities are exposed, justice could prevail. When torture is pseudo-legal and those responsible deny that it is torture, what dies is what Hannah Arendt called "the juridical person in man".”Naomi Klein2005
Mind control“The aims of the concentration camp as an institution are to break the prisoners as individuals, to spread terror among the rest of the population, and to provide the Gestapo with a training ground and an experimental laboratory. [...] The typical initial reactions are feelings of detachment: 'this can't be true … things like this just don't happen'.

The first few weeks are the worst; persons who manage to live through the transportation to camp and the first three months thereafter, have a fair chance of surviving. If the tortures become too intense, indifference takes the place of anxiety. Prisoners are particularly sensitive to punishments resembling those a parent might inflict upon a child. Prisoners' dreams rarely deal with situations of extreme torture but instead with comparatively smaller maltreatment. Group formation, especially around a hero or martyr, is very effectively prohibited by means of group punishments. For only a short time do the new prisoners direct their hostility primarily against their real enemy; in many cases it is soon turned against former friends or members of the family by whom the prisoners feel deserted. Old prisoners come to direct their hostility mostly against themselves. Gradually a regression to infantile levels take place, turning many prisoners into willing tools in the hands of the Gestapo.

In the phase of 'final adjustment', the strangest phenomenon of all could be observed: the prisoners' identification with the guards. Certain prisoners even tried to imitate the guards' uniforms, became cruel to their fellow-prisoners, partly accepted Nazi ideology. The author's conclusion is: What thus happens in an extreme fashion to the prisoners in concentration camps, happens also, in a somewhat less exaggerated form, to the inhabitants of the great concentration camp called 'Greater Germany'.”
Mind control“Mind Control is a system of influences which break the identity of an individual (his/her beliefs, behavior, thoughts and feelings) and replace it with a new identity”Steve Hassan1993


Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:A Massacre is Not a Massacrepoem3 June 2010Ghassan Hage
Document:Discernment: Why information statecraft mattersstrategy document26 December 2018Integrity Initiative
Chris Donnelly
Musings on how to keep media dominance and control young minds
Document:My contributionself-assessment26 December 2018Chris HernonA self assessment by Chris Hernon of how he can help the the Integrity Initiative
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  1. http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/102761
  2. Hassan, Steven. Combating cult mind control. Vol. 90. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1990. http://pncds72.free.fr/120_manipulation_mentale/120_21_emprise_sectes.pdf (slides in french)
  3. Jay, Robert. Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. Uncpress.
  4. http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/LSD/marks.htm
  5. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/110/10/732
  6. Collin A. Ross (2000) Bluebird. Deliberate Creation of Multiple Personality by Psychiatrists. Richardson Tx., Manitou Communications