Also see: "Ritual Abuse"
I first publshed this in 1994. Some details have changed with the passage of time, eg. MKULTRA's Martin Orne, an advisory board member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF), an association of highly disingenupus pedophile advocates and veterans of CIA mind control experimentation, is deceased. The CIA's West Coast mind control coordinator, Louis Jolyon West of UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute, and his LSD experimentation colleague, Margaret Singer, a phony "expert" on cults who glossed over CIA connections in her books, both of whom were also on the FMSF advisory board, are also dead now.
By Alex Constantine
- CIA Connections to the Mind Control Cults
- The CIA, The False Memory Syndrome Foundation, and the Politics of Ritual Abuse
- The Devil Denuded
- Friendly Fire
- The Forgettable "Remembering Satan"
Jouret, born in the Belgian Congo in 1947, set out in youth as a mystic with communist leanings, but his politics apparently swung full circle. He has since been linked to a clutch of neo-Nazis responsible for a string of bombings in Canada. He told friends that he had once served with a unit of Belgium paratroopers.
French-Canadian journalist Pierre Tourangeau investigated the sect for two years. A few days after the mass murder, he reported that the sect was financed by the proceeds of gun-running to Europe and South America. Simultaneously, Radio Canada announced that Jouret's Templars earned hundreds of millions of dollars laundering the profits through the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), closed by authorities worldwide in 1991. Montreal's La Presse observed: "each new piece of information only thickens the mystery" - but the combination of international arms smuggling and BCCI presented a familiar enough picture of CIA sedition. The Manhattan D.A. who closed the American branch announced that 16 witnesses had died in the course of investigating the bank's entanglements in covert operations of the CIA, arms smuggling to Iraq, money laundering and child prostitution.
The average coffee table would crumple under the weighty BCCI Book of the Dead. Journalist Danny Cassalaro and Vince Foster appear in it - grim antecedents to the Solar Temple killings. The cult's connection to BCCI (reported in Europe but filtered from American newspaper accounts) fed speculation among Canadian journalists that followers of Jouret were killed to bury public disclosures of gun-running and money laundering.
But the fraternizing of America's national security elite and the cults did not begin in Cheiry, Switzerland. Jouret's Order of the Solar Temple was but the latest incarnation of mind control operations organized and overseen by the CIA and Department of Defense.
In a sense, we are in the same ethical and moral dilemma as the physicists in the days prior to the Manhattan Project. Those of us who work in this field see a developing potential for a nearly total control of human emotional status. - Dr. Wayne Evans, U.S. Army Institute of Environmental Medicine, 1978
Scientists in the CIA's mind control fraternity lead double lives. Many are highly respected, but if the truth were known they would be deafened by the public outcry and drummed out of their respective academic haunts.
Martin T. Orne, for example, a senior CIA/Navy researcher, is based at the University of Pennsylvania's Experimental Psychiatry Laboratory. He is also an original member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation's advisory board, a tightly-drawn coterie of psychiatrists, many with backgrounds in CIA mind control experimentation in its myriad forms. The Foundation is dedicated to denying the existence of cult mind control and child abuse. It's primary pursuit is the castigation of survivors and therapists for fabricating accusations of ritual abuse.
Dismissing cult abuse as hysteria or false memory, a common defense strategy, may relieve parents of preschool children. In a small percentage of cult abuse cases it's possible that children may be led to believe they've been victimized.
But the CIA and its cover organizations have a vested interest in blowing smoke at the cult underground because the worlds of CIA mind control and many cults merge inextricably. The drum beat of "false accusations" from the media is taken up by paid operatives like Dr. Orne and the False Memory Syndrome Foundation to conceal the crimes of the Agency.
Orne's forays into hypno-programming were financed in the 1960s by the Human Ecology Fund, a CIA cover at Cornell University and the underwriter of many of the formative mind control experiments conducted in the U.S. and abroad, including the gruesome brainwashing and remote mind control experiments of Dr. Ewen Cameron at Montreal's Allen Memorial Institute. Research specialties of the CIA's black psychiatrists included electroshock lobotomies, drugging agents, incapacitants, hypnosis, sleep deprivation and radio control of the brain, among hundreds of sub-projects.
The secondary source of funding for Dr. Orne's work in hypnotic suggestion and dissolution of memory is eerie in the cult child abuse context. The voluminous files of John Marks in Washington, D.C. (139 boxes obtained under FOIA, to be exact, two-fifths of which document CIA interest in the occult) include an Agency report itemizing a $30,000 grant to Orne from Human Ecology, and another $30,000 from Boston's Scientific Engineering Institute (SEI) - another CIA funding cover, founded by Edwin Land of the Polaroid Corporation (and supervision of the U-2 spy plane escapades). This was the year that the CIA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) geared up a study of parapsychology and the occult. The investigation, dubbed Project OFTEN-CHICKWIT, gave rise to the establishment of a social "laboratory" by SEI scientists at the University of South Carolina - a college class in black witchcraft, demonology and voodoo.
Dr. Orne, with SEI funding, marked out his own mind control corner at the University of Pennsylvania in the early 1960s. He does not publicize his role as CIA psychiatrist. He denies it, very plausibly. In a letter to Dr. Orne, Marks once reminded him that he'd disavowed knowledge of his participation in one mind-wrecking experimental sub-project. Orne later recanted, admitting that he'd been aware of the true source of funding all along.
Among psychiatrists in the CIA's mind control fraternity, Orne ranks among the most venerable. He once boasted to Marks that he was routinely briefed on all significant CIA behavior modification experiments: "Why would they come to him," Martin Cannon muses in The Controllers, which links UFO abductions to secret military research veiled by screen memories of "alien" abduction, "unless Orne had a high security clearance and worked extensively with the intelligence services?"
To supplement his CIA income, the influential Dr. Orne has been the donee of grants from the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. "I should like to hear," Cannon says, "what innocent explanation, if any, the Air Force has to offer to explain their interest in post-hypnotic amnesia."
According to Army records, Orne's stomping grounds, Penn U., was a bee-hive of secret experiments in the Vietnam War period. The Pentagon and CIA - under the auspices of ORD's Steve Aldrich, a doyen of occult and parapsychological studies - conferred the Agency's most lucrative research award upon the University of Pennsylvania to study the effects of 16 newly-concocted biochemical warfare agents on humans, including choking, blistering and vomiting agents, toxins, poison gas and incapacitating chemicals. The tests were abruptly halted in 1972 when the prison's medical lab burned to the ground.
Testimony before the 1977 Church Committee's probe of the CIA hinted that, as of 1963, the scientific squalor of the CIA's mind control regimen, code-named MKULTRA, had abandoned military and academic laboratories, fearing exposure, and mushroomed in cities across the country. Confirmation arrived in 1980 when Joseph Holsinger, an aide to late Congressman Leo Ryan (who was murdered by a death squad at Jonestown) exposed the formation of eccentric religious cults by the CIA. Holsinger made the allegation at a colloquium of psychologists in San Francisco on "Psychosocial Implications of the Jonestown Phenomenon." Holsinger maintained that a CIA rear-support base had been in collusion with Jones to perform medical and mind control experiments at People's Temple. The former Congressional aide cited an essay he'd received in the mail, "The Penal Colony," written by a Berkeley psychologist. The author had emphasized: Rather than terminating MKULTRA, the CIA shifted its programs from public institutions to private cult groups, including the People's Temple.
Jonestown had its grey eminence in Dr. Lawrence Laird Layton of the University of California at Berkeley, formerly a chemist for the Manhattan Project and head of the Army's chemical warfare research division in the early 1950s. (Larry Layton, his son, led the death squad that murdered Congressman Leo Ryan, who'd arrived at Guyana to investigate the cult.) Michael Meiers, author of Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?, scavenged for information on the People's Temple for six years, concluding:
Though it was essential for him to remain in the background for security reasons, Dr. Layton maintained contact with and even control of the experiment through his wife and children." The African-American cult had at its core a Caucasian inner-council, composed of Dr. Layton's family and in-laws.
The press was blind to obvious CIA connections, but survivors of the carnage in Guyana followed the leads and maintained that Jim Jones was
The suit was dismissed four months later for "failure to prosecute timely." All requests for an appeal were denied.
Ligatures of the CIA clung to the cults. Much of the violence that has since exploded across the front pages was incited by CIA academics at leading universities.
Small wonder, then, that Ted Goertzel, director of the Forum for Policy Research at Rutgers, which maintains a symbiosis with the CIA despite media exposure, should write that the most susceptible victims of "cryptomnesia" (a synonym for false memories) believe "in conspiracies, including the JFK assassination, AIDS conspiracies, as well as the UFO cover-up." The problem, Goertzel says, "may have its origins in early childhood," and is accompanied by "feelings of anomie and anxiety that make the individual more likely to construct false memories out of information stored in the unconscious mind."
This side of gilded rationalizations, the CIA's links to the cults are no manifestation of "cryptomnesia."
Like Jonestown, the Symbionese Liberation Army was a mind control creation unleashed by the Agency. The late political researcher Mae Brussell, whose study of The Firm commenced in 1963 after the assassination of John Kennedy, wrote in 1974 that the rabid guerrilla band "consisted predominantly of CIA agents and police informers." This unsavory group was, Brussell insisted, "an extension of psychological experimentation projects, connected to Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park." (She went on to lament that "many of the current rash of 'senseless killings,' 'massacres,' and 'zombie-type murders' are committed by individuals who have been in Army hospitals, mental hospitals or prison hospitals, where their heads have been literally taken over surgically to create terror in the community.")
Evidence that the CIA conceived and directed the SLA was obvious. The SLA leadership was trained by Colston Westbrook, a Pennsylvania native. Westbrook was a veteran of the CIA's murderous PHOENIX Program in South Vietnam, where he trained terrorist cadres and death squads. In 1969 he took a job as an administrator of Pacific Architects and Engineers, a CIA proprietary in Southern California. Three of Westbrook's foot soldiers, Emily and William Harris and Angela Atwood (a former police intelligence informer), had been students of the College of Foreign Affairs, a CIA cover at the University of Indiana. Even the SLA symbol, a seven-headed cobra, had been adopted by the OSS (America's wartime intelligence agency) and CIA to designate precepts of brainwashing.
When the smoke cleared at SLA headquarters in L.A., Dr. Martin Orne was called upon to examine Patricia Hearst in preparation for trial. The government charged that she had participated voluntarily in the SLA's gun-toting crime spree. Orne's was a foregone conclusion - he sided with the government. His opinion was shared by two other psychiatrists called to appraise Ms. Hearst's state of mind, Robert Jay Lifton and Louis Jolyon West. Dr. Lifton was a co-founder of the aforementioned Human Ecology Fund. The CIA contractor that showered Orne with research grants in the 1960s. Dr. West is one of the CIA's most notorious mind control specialists, currently director of UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute. It was West who brought a score of mind control psychiatrists of the ultra-right political stripe to the UCLA campus.
Drs. Orne, Lifton and West unanimously agreed that Patty Hearst had been "persuasively coerced" to join the SLA. She had been put through a grueling thought reform regimen. She'd been isolated and sensory deprived, raped, humiliated, badgered, politically indoctrinated with a surrealistic mutation of Third World Marxism. Ms. Hearst was only allowed human companionship when she exhibited signs of submission. Orne and his colleagues assured that attention was narrowed to their psychologizing, conveniently rendering evidence of CIA collusion extraneous to consideration by the jury.
Another psychiatrist called to testify at the trial of "Tania" surfaced with Dr. Orne in 1991 on the board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. (The FMSF board is almost exclusively composed of former CIA and military doctors currently employed by major universities. None have backgrounds in ritual abuse - their common interest is behavior modification. Dr. Margaret Singer, a retired Berkeley Ph.D., studied repatriated prisoners-of-war returning from the Korean War at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland (1952-58).
Singer turned up in 1982 on the book jacket of Raven - the CIA's code-name for Jim Jones - by San Francisco Examiner reporters Tim Reiterman and John Jacobs, a thoroughly-researched account of the People's Temple that completely side-steps CIA involvement. Co-author John Jacobs was supposedly one of the country's leading authorities on CIA mind control, a subject he studied at length for a series published by the Washington Post. Reiterman had been the Examiner reporter on the Patricia Hearst beat. Yet both writers managed to avoid obvious intelligence connections. Dr. Singer commended the book as "the definitive psychohistory of Jim Jones." Raven, she opined, conveyed "the essence of psychological and social processes that Jim Jones, the ultimate manipulator, set in motion." The true "manipulators," of course, were operatives of the CIA, and the public disinformation gambit lauded by Dr. Singer was, according to Meiers, in tune with "a concerted attempt to suppress information, stifle investigations, censor writers and manipulate public information."
The CIA and Pentagon have quietly organized and influenced a long line of mind control cults, among them:
The Riverside Lodge of the Ordo Templis Orientis:
Also known as The Solar Lodge of the OTO, which followed the teachings of cult messiah Aleister Crowley, whose fixed gaze on the astral equinox resulted in instructions from his deities to form a religious order. Crowley, high priest of the OTO and a British intelligence agent, gave Winifred T. Smith a charter to open an OTO lodge in Pasadena. The high priest of the lodge was Jack Parsons, a rocket expert and founder of the California Institute of Technology. Parsons, who took the oath of the anti-Christ in 1949, contributed to the design of the Pentagon under subsequent CIA director John J. McCloy. He was killed in a still unexplained laboratory explosion. There is a crater on the moon named after him.
The OTO's Solar Lodge in San Bernardino was presided over by Georgina "Jean" Brayton, the daughter of a ranking Air Force officer in the 1960s. The cult subscribed to a grim, apocalyptic view of the world, and like Charles Manson believed that race wars would precipitate the Big Cataclysm. In the Faustian Los Angeles underworld, the lodge was known for its indulgence in sadomasochism, drug dealing, blood drinking, child molestation and murder.
Candace Reos, a former member of the lodge, was deposed by Riverside police in 1969. Reos said that Brayton controlled the thinking of all cult members. One poor soul, she said, was ordered to curb his sexual urges by cutting his wrists every time he was aroused. Mrs. Reos told police, according to the report, that when she became pregnant, Georgina was angry and told her that she would have to condition herself to hate her child. Reos told police that children of the cult's 43 adult members were secluded from their parents and received "training" that took on "very severe tones."
"There was a lot of spanking involved," she said, "a lot of heavy criticism. There was a lot of enclosed in dark rooms." The teachers, she added. "left welts."
If so ordered, adult cultists would beat their children.
According to a Riverside County Sheriff's report, a six year-old child burned the group's school house to the ground. The boy was punished by solitary confinement in a locked shipping crate left in the desert, where the average temperature was 110 degrees, for two months. The boy was chained to a metal plate.
When police freed him, they were nauseated by the suffocating stench of excrement. The child was smothered in flies swarming from a tin-can toilet.
The Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Movement:
In 1985 the Portland Oregonian published a 36-part, book-length series linking the cult to opium trafficking, prostitution, money laundering, arson, slave labor, mass poisonings, illegal wiretaps and the stockpiling of guns and biochemical warfare weapons. The year-long Oregonian investigation revealed cult ties to CIA-trained mercenaries in El Salvador and the Far East. Domestically, Rajneesh's secret police force worked with Agency operatives.
On February 7, 1987 Customs agents raided a child-porn ring in Tallahasee, Florida. Eight suspects and six children were taken into custody. The children, according to a Customs Department memo, behaved "like animals in a public park," and "were not aware of the function and purpose of telephones, televisions and toilets."
The children told police that they were forced to live outdoors and were given food only as a reward. A check on the backgrounds of the adults turned up a police report,
Customs agents searched a cult safe house and discovered a computer room and documents recording "high-tech" bank transfers, explosives, and a set of instructions advising cult members on moving children through jurisdictions around the country. One photographic album found in the house featured the execution and disembowelment of goats, and snapshots, according to a Customs report, of "adults and children dressed in white sheets participating in a bloody ritual."
An American passport was found. The investigating agents contacted the State Department and were advised to "terminate further investigation."
They investigated anyway, reporting that
The Order of the Temple of Astarte in Pasadena, California is a "hermetic" occult organization that practices "Magick in the Western Tradition." The cult is led by Fraters Khenemel, a police officer, and Aleyin, a veteran Green Beret. The cult's everyday language is unusual for a mystical order - one group schedule is laden with words like "operation," "sixteen-thirty hours," and "travel orders." Demonology is among the OTA's primary occult interests.
The police connection recalls the statement of Louis Tackwood, the former LAPD provocateur whose revelations of secret police subterfuge set off a political tempest in Los Angeles in 1973. "You don't know," he told journalist Donald Freed, "but there's a devil worship cult in Pasadena. Actually in Altadena." Tackwood alleged that the cultists were "on the LAPD payroll."
The CIA and Pentagon cooperate in the creation of cults. To be sure, the Association of National Security Alumni, a public interest veterans group opposed to covert operations, considers it a "primary issue of concern" that the Department of Defense has a "perceived role in satanic cult activities, which qualify in and of themselves as very damaging exercises in mind control and behavioral modification."
It is beginning to dawn on the psychiatric community at large that the CIA's mind control clique is a menace reminiscent of Nazi medical experimentation. In 1993, Dr. Corydon Hammond, a professor at the University of Utah's School of Medicine, conducted a seminar on federally-funded mind control experiments. Topics covered by Hammond included brainwashing, post-hypnotic programming and the induction of multiple personalities by the CIA. Hammond contended that the cult underground has roots in Nazi Germany, and that the CIA's cult mind control techniques were based upon those of Nazi scientists recruited by the CIA for Cold Warfare. (Researcher Lenny Lapon estimates in Mass Murderers in White Coats that 5,000 Nazis resettled in the U.S. after WW II.) Hammond was forced to drop this line of inquiry by professional ridicule, especially from the CIA's False Memory Syndrome Foundation, and a barrage of death threats. At a recent regional conference on ritual child abuse, he regretted that he could no longer speak on the theme of government mind control.
The psychological community is waking to the threat in its ranks, to judge by APA surveys and personal communications with ranking members of the mental health field, but the world at large remains in the dark. The "mass hysteria" and "false memory" bromides disseminated by the establishment press obscure federal and academic connections to the mind control cults, which are defended largely by organized pedophiles, cultists and hired guns of psychiatry. An ambitious disinformation gambit has led the world at large to side with cultists operating under federal protection. As at Jonestown and Chiery, Switzerland, the denouement of cult activity often ends in the destruction of all witnesses. This cycle of abuse and murder can only be ended by full public awareness of the federal mind control initiative.
The conference session bears a passing resemblance to a 12-Step meeting. Assembled in a Portland religious retreat, members of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF), all accused of child abuse, are encouraged to unload their anguish. Only women take the stage (they leave reporters with a sympathetic impression - men stigmatized by child abuse do not). Pamela Freyd, a Foundation founder, assures these victims of pernicious therapies they are not alone. The Foundation's office in Philadelphia, she says, takes 60 calls on a typical day from distraught adults hounded by their own confused children, rogue therapists and sensation-seeking pack journalists.
The number of dues-paying members (each contributes $100 a year) varies according to the source. The group reported in January 1993 that 1,200 families had made contact in its first year of operation. The same month, the San Jose Mercury News declared flatly that "nearly 3,000 families" from across the country had been recruited. The FMSF now claims 5,000 families. Time magazine raised the figure to "7,000 individuals and families who have sought assistance."
The Foundation's distinctive handling of statistics is incessant. In April of this year the FMSF claimed 12,000 families have been strained by false child abuse allegations. A month later, the figure dropped to"9,500 U.S. families."
Yet the Foundation prides itself on accuracy. One FMSF newsletter advises members to insist the media
The FMSF selectively ignores child abuse data that disagrees with their own. Judith Herman, author of Trauma and Recovery, reported in the Harvard Mental Health Letter that false abuse allegations by children
Other statistics shunned by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation include a survey presented at a 1992 psychiatric conference that found that a full 88% of all therapists in a large sampling consider ritual child abuse to be a very real social problem with devastating emotional effects. Another: In 1990 the State University of New York at Buffalo polled a national sampling of clinical psychologists on ritual abuse. About 800 psychologists - a third of the poll - were aware of treating at least one case. Only 5% of all child abuse cases ever enter the courtroom - half of these end with the child in the custody of the abusive parent..
The recovered memory debate was discussed at a 1993 conference on multiple personality disorder. Richard Lowenstein, a psychiatrist from the University of Maryland Medical School, argued that the Foundation is "media-directed, dedicated to putting out disinformation."
Other conference participants contemplated funding sources and "possible CIA connections."
The CIA, in fact, has several designates on the FMSF advisory board. They have in common backgrounds in mind control experimentation. Their very presence on the board, and their peculiar backgrounds, reveal some heavily obscured facts about ritual child abuse.
Martin T. Orne, a senior CIA researcher, is an original board member of the Foundation, and a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania's Experimental Psychiatry Lab in Philadelphia. In 1962 his forays into hypno-programming (the elicitation of "anti-social" behavior, dissolving memory and other mind-subduing techniques) were financed by a CIA front at Cornell University. He was also funded by Boston's Scientific Engineering Institute, another front, and a clearinghouse for the Agency's investigation of the occult.
The CIA and Pentagon have formed a partnership in the creation of cults. To be sure, the Association of National Security Alumni, a public interest veterans group opposed to clandestine ops, considers it a "primary issue of concern" that the Department of Defense has a "perceived role in satanic cult activities, which qualify in and of themselves as very damaging exercises in mind control."
The smoothing over of the national security state's cult connections is handled by academic "experts."
A forerunner of the Foundation is based in Buffalo, New York, the Committee for Scientific Examination of Religion, best known for the publication of Satanism in America: How the Devil Got More Than His Due, widely considered to be a legitimate study. The authors turn up their noses to ritual abuse, dismissing the hundreds of reports around the country as mass "hysteria." Cult researcher Carl Raschke reported in a March, 1991 article that he coincidentally met Hudson Frew, a Satanism in America co-author, at a Berkeley bookstore. "Frew was wearing a five-pointed star, or pentagram, the symbol of witchcraft and earth magic," Raschke says. Shawn Carlson, a contributor to the book, is identified by the media as a "physicist." Yet he runs the Gaia Press in El Cerrito, California, a New Age publishing house with an emphasis on witchcraft and occultic lore. Carlson is also a "scientific and technical consultant" to the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal" (a promoter of the "false memory" theory of ritual abuse and UFO abductions), publisher of the Skeptical Inquirer.
The FMS Foundation is no less eccentric. Within two years of its founding, it was clear that the Foundation leadership was far from disinterested on the workings of childhood memory, and concealed a secret sexual and political agenda.
FMSF founder Ralph Underwager, director of the Institute of Psychological Therapies in Minnesota, was forced to resign in 1993. Underwager (a former Lutheran pastor) and his wife Hollida Wakefield publish a journal, Issues in Child Abuse Allegations, written by and for child abuse "skeptics." His departure from the False Memory Syndrome Foundation was hastened by a remark in an interview, appearing in an Amsterdam journal for pedophiles, that it was "God's Will" adults engage in sex with children. (His wife Hollida remained on the Foundation's board after he left.) As it happens, holy dispensation for pedophiles is the exact credo of the Children of God cult. It was fitting, then, when Underwager filed an affidavit on behalf of cult members tried in France in 1992, insisting that the accused were positively "not guilty of abuse upon children." In the interview, he prevailed upon pedophiles everywhere to shed stigmatization as "wicked and reprehensible" users of children.
In keeping with the Foundation's creative use of statistics, Dr. Underwager told a group of British reporters in 1994 that "scientific evidence" proved 60% of all women molested as children believed the experience was "good for them."
Dr. Underwager invariably sides with the defense. His grandiloquent orations have graced courtrooms around the world, often by satellite. Defense lawyers for Woody Allen turned to him, he boasts, when Mia Farrow accused her estranged husband of molesting their seven year-old daughter. Underwager is a virtual icon to the Irish Catholic lobby in Dublin, which raised its hoary hackles against a child abuse prevention program in the Irish Republic. He was, until his advocacy of pedophila tarnished an otherwise glittering reputation, widely quoted in the press, dismissing ritual child abuse as a hysterical aberration.
He is the world's foremost authority on false memory, but in the courtroom he is repeatedly exposed as a charlatan. In 1988, a trial court decision in New York State held that Dr. Underwager was
Peter and Pamela Freyd, executive directors of the Foundation, joined forces with Underwager in 1991, and their story is equally wretched. Jennifer Freyd, their daughter, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, openly leveled accusations of abuse against her parents at an August 1993 mental health conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
"My family of origin was troubled in many observable ways, " she said. "I refer to the things that were never 'forgotten' and 'recovered,' but to things that we all knew about." She gave her father's alcoholism as an example. "During my childhood, my father sometimes discussed his own experiences of being sexually abused as an 11 year-old boy, and called himself a 'kept boy.'"
Peter Freyd graduated to male prostitution as an adolescent.
At the age of 13, Jennifer Freyd composed a poem about her father's nocturnal visits:
I am caught in a web,
A web of deep, deep terror.
she wrote. The diaries of her youth chronicle the
"My father," she says, "told various people that I was brain damaged." The accusation was unlikely. At the time, Jennifer Freyd was a graduate student on a National Science Foundation fellowship. She has taught at Cornell and received numerous research awards. The "brain damage" apologia did not wash. Her mother suggested that Jennifer's memories were "confabulations," and faulted therapeutic intervention. Pamela Freyd turned to her own psychiatrist, Dr. Harold Lief, currently an advisory board member of the Foundation, to diagnose Jennifer.
"He explained to me that he did not believe I was abused," Jennifer recalls. Dr. Lief's diagnosis was based on his belief that Peter Freyd's fantasies were strictly "homoerotic." Of course, his daughter furrows a brow at the assumption that homoerotic fantasies or a heterosexual marriage exclude the possibility of child molestation. Lief's skewed logic is a trademark of the Foundation.
He is a close colleague of the CIA's Martin Orne. Dr. Lief, a former major in the Army medical corps, joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1968, the peak of federally-funded behavioral modification experiments at Holmesburg Prison. Dr. Orne consulted with him on several studies in hypnotic programming. His academic writing reveals a peculiar range of professional interests, including "Orgasm in the Postoperative Transsexual" for Archives of Sexual Behavior, and an exploration of the possibility of life after death for a journal on mental diseases edited by Foundation fellow Paul McHugh. Lief is a director of the Center for Sexuality and Religion, past president of the Sex Information and Education Council.
And an original board member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Two others, Jon Baron from Penn U. and Ray Hyman (an executive editor of the aforementioned Skeptical Inquirer), a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, resigned from the board after Jennifer Freyd went public with her account of childhood abuse, and the facetious attempts of her parents and their therapist to discredit her. They were replaced by David Dinges, co-director - with the ubiquitous Martin Orne - of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
"At times I am flabbergasted that my memory is considered 'false,'" Jennifer says, "and my alcoholic father's memory is considered rational and sane." She does not, after all, remember impossible abuses: "I remember incest in my father's house.... My first memories came when I was at home a few hours after my second session with my therapist, a licensed clinical psychologist working within an established group in a large and respected medical clinic.
"During that second visit to my therapist's office, I expressed great anxiety about the upcoming holiday visit from my parents. My therapist asked about half way into the session, whether I had ever been sexually abused. I was immediately thrown into a strange state. No one had ever asked me such a question. I responded, 'no, but...' I went home and within a few hours I was shaking uncontrollably, overwhelmed with intense and terrible flashbacks." Jennifer asks herself why her parents are believed. "In the end, is it precisely because I was abused that I am to be discredited despite my personal and professional success?"
Pamela Freyd published an open letter defending her husband in Ralph Underwager's Issues in Child Abuse Accusations in 1991. It was reprinted in Confabulations, a book published a year later. Laced with lubricious sentiment, the book bemoans the "destruction of families" brought on by false child abuse accusations, and maligns "cult-like" support groups and feminists, or "lesbian cults." Executive director Freyd often refers to the feminist groups that have taken up the cause of child abuse survivors as "lesbians," after the bizarre Dr. Underwager, who claims, "these women may be jealous that males are able to love each other, be comrades, friends, be close, intimate."
Pamela Freyd's account of the family history, Jennifer insists, is patently false. In an electronic message from her father, he openly acknowledged that in his version of the story "fictional elements were deliberately inserted."
"'Fictional' is rather an astounding choice of words," Jennifer observed at the Ann Arbor conference. The article written by her parents contends that Jennifer was denied tenure at another university due to a lack of published research. "In fact," Jennifer counters, "I moved to the University of Oregon in 1987, just four years after receiving my Ph.D. to accept a tenured position as associate professor in the psychology department, one of the world's best psychology departments.... My mother sent the Jane Doe article to my colleagues during my promotion year - that is, the year my case for promotion to full professor was being considered. I was absolutely mortified to learn of this violation of my privacy and this violation of truth."
Manipulative tactics are another Foundation imprimatur. Lana Alexander, editor of a newsletter for survivors of child sexual abuse, observes that
A legitimizing barrage of stories in the press has shaped public opinion and warmed the clime for defense attorneys. The concept of false memory serves the same purpose as Holocaust denial. It shapes opinion. Unconscionable crimes are obstructed, the accused is endowed with the status of martyr, the victim reviled.
The emphasis on image is obvious in "How Do We Know We are Not Representing Pedophiles," an article written for the February 29, 1992 FMS Foundation Newsletter by Pamela Freyd. In it, she derides the suggestion that many members of the group could be molesters because "we are a good-looking bunch of people, greying hair, well dressed, healthy, smiling; just about every person who has attended is someone you would surely find interesting and want to count as a friend."
People forget things. Horrible things. Here at the Foundation someone had a repressed memory, or what would be called a false memory, that she had been sexually abused. -- Pamela Freyd, FMS Foundation Founder
The debate's bloodiest stage is the courtroom. The hired guns of Martin Orne's circle of psychiatrists are constantly called upon to blow smoke at the jury's gallery to conceal CIA mind control operations. This branch of the psychiatric community is steeped in the programming of serial killers, political assassins and experiments on involuntary subjects. Agency psychiatrists on the witness stand direct the press away from the CIA, and the prosecution to a predetermined end. Martin Orne's high-toned psychologizing in the Hillside Strangler case, for example, is a strategy adopted by the FMS foundation to stifle the cries of mind control survivors.
Orne's influence contributed to the outcome of a high-profile abuse case, the $8 million lawsuit filed by Gary Ramona of Napa, California against child therapist Marche Isabella and psychiatrist Richard Rose. Ramona charged that his daughter Holly's therapists elicited from her flashbacks of sexual molestation that never occurred, decimating his marriage and career as a vice president at Robert Mondavi wineries. His wife and employer, note, immediately believed Holly's accusations. In May of 1994 Ramona received a $500,000 jury award. He hailed the decision as a "tremendous victory."
Nevertheless, Holly Ramona still maintains that she was sexually abused by her father, though no criminal charges have been filed. Holly first confronted her father with the allegations on March 15, 1990, with her mother and Isabella present. She filed a civil action against him in Los Angeles County, but before it went to trial her father's suit got underway in Napa.
The suit turned on the use of sodium amytal to resurrect buried memories. Holly Ramona exhibited telltale symptoms of abuse - fear of gynecological examinations, a phobia of pointy teeth, like her father's - and asked to be treated with sodium amytal. Dr. Rose wrote in his notes that under the influence of the drug, Holly "remembered specific details of sexual molestation." But Orne, who has pioneered in the use of sodium amytal in hypnosis research, cautioned in a court brief that the drug is "not useful in ascertaining 'truth.' The patient becomes receptive to suggestions due to the context and to the comments of the interviewers."
Yet the jury foreman stated for the record that Isabella and Rose did not implant false memories of abuse, as Holly's father had complained, but were negligent in reinforcing the memories as Holly described them under the influence of the barbiturate. The court considered it irrelevant whether Holly actually suffered abuse, narrowing the legal focus instead to the chemical evocation of Holly's recollections and her therapist's leading questions.
Left hanging was the question of Ramona's guilt or innocence, not exactly an irrelevant issue. Orne offered no opinion. The "tremendous victory" in Napa, given these facts, begins to look like a manipulation of the court system, especially the use of "expert" testimony.
The therapists did not, contrary to most press reports, bear the full brunt of blame. The jury found that Ramona himself bore 5% of the blame for what happened to him, Holly's therapists 55%, and 45% was borne by the girl's mother and the Robert Mondavi winery.
But the 55% solution is diluted by Holly's memories. Contrary to the impression left by the press, her past has not been explained away. "I wouldn't be here if there was a question in my mind," she testified in Napa.
False memory had no clinical history or symptomology (repressed memory has both), but the concept had held up in court.
All that remained was to provide a scientific explanation. The Foundation had spread the word that a "syndrome" was winding through society and "destroying families." But what is the origin of false (not inaccurate or clouded or fragmented) memories? What are the symptoms? It remained to supply a cognitive model for false memories of ritual molestation.
One of the most prolific and quotable popularizers of false memory is Elizabeth Loftus, a professor of psychology and law at the University of Washington in Seattle, and an advisory board member of the Foundation. Her dual academic interests have fueled suspicions that the organization is more committed to defending perpetrators than ferreting out the facts. Loftus testified in over 150 criminal cases prior to joining the Foundation, always on behalf of defendants. In 1991 she published a professional autobiography, Witness for the Defense, a study of eight criminal trials in which she appeared as an expert witness. In her book, Loftus - billed as "the expert who puts memory on trial" - conceded that her critics deem her research "unproven in real-life situations," and her courtroom dissertations "premature and highly prejudicial."
One book reviewer for the New York Times grumbled:
Elizabeth Loftus has two criteria for taking the stand. The first is when eyewitness identification is the sole or primary evidence against the defendant. Secondly, the accused must act innocent - she regrets testifying on behalf of Ted Bundy because the serial killer once smiled at the prosecutor, which she regards as an expression of guilt - and defense attorneys must believe it.
Loftus stood at the Harvard Medical School podium in May, 1994 to inform a conference on false memory of her research,
Karen Olio, the author of scores of articles on sexual abuse, complains that Loftus's memory studies
Psychiatrist John Briere of the University of Southern California has found that nearly two-thirds of all ritual abuse survivors report episodic or complete amnesia at some point after it occurred. The younger the child, the more violent the abuse, the more likely that memory lapses occurred. These findings have been duplicated at the University of California at San Francisco by psychiatrist Lenore Terr, who concluded that children subjected to repeated abuse were more likely to repress memories of it than victims of a single traumatic event.
Clinical psychologist Catherine Gould has treated scores of ritually abused children at her office in Encino, California. At the September 1993 National Conference on Crimes Against Children in Washington, D.C., Gould objected that the studies of Elizabeth Loftus ignore past research on trauma and its influence on memory.
"My concern about Elizabeth Loftus," Gould said, "is that she has stated in print, and correctly so, that her data tells us nothing about the nature of memory of traumatic events. And yet she has failed to protest the misapplication of her findings by groups who are involved in discrediting the accounts survivors are giving of their traumatic history. I believe that Dr. Loftus, like other psychologists, has an ethical responsibility to do everything possible to ensure that her research findings are interpreted and applied accurately, and are not manipulated to serve the political agenda of groups like the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. I question whether she has met this ethical responsibility."
Some psychologists accuse Loftus of faking her research data.
Her study did not live up to its promise. But now that she had "proven" that a false memory could be implanted, friends of the Foundation at the Harvard conference announced they'd identified the neurological and cognitive causes of disorder. Daniel Schacter, a Harvard psychologist and conference organizer, claimed that the "confabulator" selects a fragment of a real memory, "but confuses its true context, and draws on other bits of experience to construct a story that makes sense of it." Dr. Morris Moscovitch, a neuro-psychologist at the University of Toronto, claimed that "brain damage" could also evoke false memories. He noted that mental patients with frontal lobe defects frequently confuse imaginary stories with actual memories.
A superficially plausible revelation was provided by Cornell psychologist Stephen Ceci, who reported on five studies of 574 preschool children. After 10 weeks of repeated questioning, 58% of them concocted a false account for at least one fictitious event.
But like the studies of Elizabeth Loftus, Ceci did not attempt to explain the supposed amnesiac effect of severe trauma on children and adults alike (veterans of WW II and Vietnam have been known to "forget" atrocities of war). Besides, the average preschooler is bound to invent at least one fantasy in 10 long weeks of repetitive questioning. Toddlers aren't known for their consummate adherence to objective reality. An invisible playmate and the Cat in the Hat are not "false memories."
The research results presented at the Harvard conference were not exactly staggering. All that had been proven was that children forget, become confused and make things up.
Seattle therapist James Cronin, one of the Foundation's harshest critics, believes that the false memory concept is promoted by "fact and artifice" to a public conditioned to the fragmentation of knowledge, intellectual charades, elitism and the sterile abstractions that often pass for university education and expertise. The so-called experts now jumping on the side of false memory and therapist 'bias' are opportunists."
Yet the New York Times hailed the Harvard conference as "epic." The conference had given a gracious "scientific nod to the frailty of memory." Victims of aggravated child abuse had nothing to celebrate, but the Times reporter was ecstatic. At long last, scientists everywhere had arrived at "a consensus on the mental mechanisms that can foster false memories." A consensus? Actually, the "consensus" of psychologists, at least the 88% mentioned earlier - only a vast majority - believe it to be a very real scourge.
The Times story is typical of the scorn the press has shown ritual abuse victims and their therapists.
60 Minutes, for example, publicly exonerated Kelly Michaels, a day-care worker in New Jersey, of charges that she sexually molested dozens of youngsters in 1984. Michaels was sentenced to 47 years in prison for sodomizing the children in her care with kitchen implements, among related charges. Her conviction was overturned in March 1993 when the state appeals court ruled that Michaels had not had a fair trial.
But in its rush to present Michaels as a blushing innocent, the Sixty Minutes research department somehow overlooked a May 1991 New York Times story on the abuse trial, and the testimony of four Essex County corrections officers who witnessed Miss Michaels and her father kissing and "fondling" one another during jail visitations. Jerry Vitiello, a jailer, said that "he saw Ms. Michaels use his tongue when kissing his daughter, rub her buttocks and put his hand on her breasts." Similar incestuous liaisons were detailed in the courtroom by three women working in the jail. The bizarre sexual antics of Kelly Michaels - damningly chronicled in Nap Time by Lisa Manshel in 1990 - was nixed from the one-sided Sixty Minutes account, which made her out to be grist for the meat grinder of wrong-headed child abuse laws.
The False Memory Syndrome Foundation made its collective debut in "Remembering Satan," a two-part story by Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker for April and May 1993. The story (republished in 1994 in book form) concerns a ritual abuse trial in Olympia, Washington that culminated with a 20-year prison sentence for Thurston County Sheriff Paul Ingram, chairman of the local Republican Party. Ingram has since filed motions to withdraw his guilty plea, a move rejected by an appellate court in 1992. Also charged, but not convicted, were Jim Rabie, a lobbyist with the Washington State Law Enforcement Association and a former police detective assigned to child abuse cases, and Ray Risch, an employee of the State Patrol's body-and-fender shop. Wright's conclusion, however, is based on the opinions of False Memory Syndrome Foundation psychiatrists: that accusations made by Ingram's two daughters, and his own confession to police, were fantasies misinterpreted by Ingram himself and his daughters as actual memories.
Wright fumigates any question of abuse with false memory theory. Among the authorities consulted by Wright was Foundation board member Paul McHugh, director of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins. Like Margaret Singer, he is a veteran of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (1961-64) and moves in political circles. For three years (1986-89), McHugh was chairman of the bio-psychology study section of the National Institutes of Health, and a former member of the Maryland Governor's Advisory Commission.
McHugh is an unshakable skeptic of repressed memories. He told Wright that
He cites as an example the children of chowchilla, California, who were kidnapped in a school bus and buried alive. McHugh claims they remembered the horror "all too well." Not exactly. In fact, the FBI's subsequent use of investigative hypnosis was largely the result of the Chowchilla children's failure of memory. After their release, none of the children had a clear recollection of the kidnappers, could not identify them - and neither did the bus driver, Ed Ray, who managed to recite the license-plate number of the abductor's van under hypnosis.
Wright's defense of Ingram turns on the opinion of Richard Ofshe, a Berkeley psychologist, reputed mind control expert and friend of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Ofshe has written, Wright explains,
Wright somehow failed to mention that Ofshe is sharply at odds with much of the American Psychological Association. He has filed a suit, with Margaret Singer, for $30 million against the APA for engaging in a "conspiracy" to "destroy" their reputations and prevent them from testifying in the courtroom. Both Ms. Singer and Richard Ofshe derive a significant part of their income as consultants and expert witnesses on behalf of accused child abusers. Their complaint, filed under federal racketeering laws - tripling any financial damages - claims that members of the APA set out with "repeated lies" to "discredit them and impair their careers."
The Association flatly denied the charges. Two courts quickly dismissed the case. The APA released a statement to the press stating that the organization had merely advised members against testifying in court on the subject of brainwashing with "persuasive coercion" (a concept, after all, pushed during the Korean war by the CIA to justify barbaric mind control experimentation on American citizens), and had in no way conspired to impair the careers of Ofshe, Singer or anyone else.
Many in Ofshe's own profession believe him to be a world-class opportunist. He is a constant in newspaper interviews and on the talk show circuit, where he claims there is "no evidence" to support ritual abuse allegations. His categorical denial ignore's Ingram's own confession and a number of jury decisions across the country. And then there are, to cite one documented example of evidence from the glut that Ofshe ignores, the tunnels beneath the McMartin preschool, the most widely-publicized case. And a raid on the Children of God compound in Argentina in 1993 turned up videos of ritual abuse and child pornography. Evidence does exist - Ofshe simply refuses to acknowledge the fact. A cult specialist with Ofshe's credentials would surely explore the abundance of evidence if he was a legitimate psychologist. Instead, he chirps a categorical "no evidence," perfectly aware that most mental health professionals will see through him. A credulous public will not.
On the December 3, 1993 Rolanda talk show, a woman was interviewed who'd had flashback memories of abuse before consulting with a therapist. Dr. Ofshe appeared on the program, his silver beard groomed, looking every inch the authority. Rolanda asked Ofshe if
"There is absolutely no reason to think that that is true," Ofshe told her. "And it's not just what I say - this is the sum and substance of everything science knows about how memory works." This, of course, is a transparent lie. Ofshe dismissed repressed memories of abuse as the reigning "psychological quackery of the 20th century."
Dr. Daniel Lutzker, a psychologist at the Milton Erickson Institute, was sitting in the audience - turning crimson with rage at Ofshe's misrepresentations of the psychology of trauma. He stood up and argued that sex abuse can indeed begat buried recollections. "Repressed memories," Lutzker countered, "are not only important, they are the cornerstone of most psychotherapies. the fact is that the more awful the experience, the more likely it is to be repressed!"
Ofshe responded that there was "no evidence" so support such "nonsense."
Grimacing with disbelief, Lutzker said that Ofshe wouldn't make such outrageous comments if he bothered to pick up "any basic textbook on psychotherapy."
"Your making it up!" Ofshe spat. Lutzker stared at him in disbelief.
But the crowning contradiction to Ofshe's "expert" opinions appeared in a September 1994 L.A. Weekly article on alien abductions (another phenomenon said by the Foundation to breed "false memories").
"There are a lot of not particularly well-certified people out there," Dr. Ofshe told Gardetta, "using very powerful techniques on people. Visualizing this kind of stuff under hypnosis - abduction, Satan cults, sexual abuse - is the closest thing that anyone can experience short of the experience itself. That's why it's so traumatic to the individuals undergoing hypno-therapy, and why the hypno-therapist today can be seen as a new form of sexual predator."
But one morning, shortly thereafter, Gardetta awoke to find a triangular rash on the palm of his left hand.
"It didn't surprise me," Gardetta wrote. "Things around the house - which sits on a hilltop in a semi-rural area - had been getting weird. A jet-wash noise buzzed some afternoons around the house, its origin impossible to discern. Lights were turning themselves on, and the alarm system's motion sensor was tripping itself every morning between 5 and 6. One early evening, small footsteps crossed the roof. I ran outside to find the electrical wires leading to a nearby telephone pole swaying in the windless dusk."
The mysterious federal mind control fraternity had struck again, leaving behind more memories to be denounced by the "skeptics" of the FMS Foundation - the CIA's answer to the Flat Earth Society.
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