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The-Rape of the Mind -The Psychology of Thought Control and Brainwashing by Joost-AM-Meerloo-MD

The-Rape of the Mind -The Psychology of Thought Control and Brainwashing by Joost-AM-Meerloo-MD

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The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, byJoost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., Instructor in Psychiatry, Columbia University Lecturer in Social Psychology, New School for Social Research, Former Chief, Psychological Department, NetherlandsForces, published in 1956, World Publishing Company. (Out of Print)
 The first part of this book is devoted to various techniques used to make man a meek conformist. Inaddition to actual political occurrences, attention is called to some ideas born in the laboratory and tothe drug techniques that facilitate brainwashing. The last chapter deals with the subtle psychologicalmechanisms of mental submission.
 A fantastic thing is happening in our world. Today a man is no longer punished only for the crimes hehas in fact committed. Now he may be compelled to confess to crimes that have been conjured up byhis judges, who use his confession for political purposes. It is not enough for us to damn as evil thosewho sit in judgment. We must understand what impels the false admission of guilt; we must takeanother look at the human mind in all its frailty and vulnerability.
The Enforced Confession
 During the Korean War, an officer of the United States Marine Corps, Colonel Frank H. Schwable,was taken prisoner by the Chinese Communists. After months of intense psychological pressure andphysical degradation, he signed a well documented "confession" that the United States was carryingon bacteriological warfare against the enemy. The confession named names, cited missions, describedmeetings and strategy conferences. This was a tremendously valuable propaganda tool for thetotalitarians. They cabled the news all over the world: "The United States of America is fighting thepeace loving people of China by dropping bombs loaded with disease spreading bacteria, in violationof international law."After his repatriation, Colonel Schwable issued a sworn statement repudiating his confession, anddescribing his long months of imprisonment. Later, he was brought before a military court of inquiry.He testified in his own defense before that court: "I was never convinced in my own mind that we inthe First Marine Air Wing had used bug warfare. I knew we hadn't, but the rest of it was real to me theconferences, the planes, and how they would go about their missions.""The words were mine," the Colonel continued, "but the thoughts were theirs. That is the hardestthing I have to explain: how a man can sit down and write something he knows is false, and yet, tosense it, to feel it, to make it seem real."This is the way Dr. Charles W. Mayo, a leading American physician and government representative,explained brainwashig in an official statement before the United Nations: "...the torturesused...although they include many brutal physical injuries, are not like the medieval torture of the rack and the thumb screw. They are subtler, more prolonged, and intended to be more terrible in their effect. They are calculated to disintegrate the mind of an intelligent victim, to distort his sense of values, to a point where he will not simply cry out 'I did it!' but will become a seemingly willingaccomplice to the complete disintegration of his integrity and the production of an elaborate fiction."The Schwable case is but one example of a defenseless prisoner being compelled to tell a big lie. If we are to survive as free men, we must face up to this problem of politically inspired mental coercion,with all its ramifications.It is more than twenty years [in 1956] since psychologists first began to suspect that the human mindcan easily fall prey to dictatorial powers. In 1933, the German Reichstag building was burned to theground. The Nazis arrested a Dutchman, Marinus Van der Lubbe, and accused him of the crime. Van
der Lubbe was known by Dutch psychiatrists to be mentally unstable. He had been a patient in amental institution in Holland. And his weakness and lack of mental balance became apparent to theworld when he appeared before the court. Wherever news of the trial reached, men wondered: "Canthat foolish little fellow be a heroic revolutionary, a man who is willing to sacrifice his life to anideal?"During the court sessions Van der Lubbe was evasive, dull, and apathetic. Yet the reports of the Dutchpsychiatrists described him as a gay, alert, unstable character, a man whose moods changed rapidly,who liked to vagabond around, and who had all kinds of fantasies about changing the world.On the forty second day of the trial, Van der Lubbe's behavior changed dramatically. His apathydisappeared. It became apparent that he had been quite aware of everything that had gone on duringthe previous sessions. He criticized the slow course of the procedure. He demanded punishment either by imprisonment or death. He spoke about his "inner voices." He insisted that he had his moods incheck. Then he fell back into apathy. We now recognize these symptoms as a combination of behavior forms which we can call a confession syndrome. In 1933 this type of behavior was unknown topsychiatrists. Unfortunately, it is very familiar today and is frequently met in cases of extreme mentalcoercion.Van der Lubbe was subsequently convicted and executed. When the trial was over, the world began torealize that he had merely been a scapegoat. The Nazis themselves had burned down the Reichstagbuilding and had staged the crime and the trial so that they could take over Germany. Still later werealized that Van der Lubbe was the victim of a diabolically clever misuse of medical knowledge andpsychologic technique, through which he had been transformed into a useful, passive, meek automaton, who replied merely yes or no to his interrogators during most of the court sessions. In afew moments he threatened to jump out of his enforced role. Even at that time there were rumors thatthe man had been drugged into submission, though we never became sure of that.
: The psychiatric report about the case of Van der Lubbe is published by Bonhoeffer and Zutt.Though they were unfamiliar with the "menticide syndrome," and not briefed by their political fuehrers, they give a good description about the pathologic, apathetic behavior, and his tremendouschange of moods. They deny the use of drugs.]
 Between 1936 and 1938 the world became more conscious of the very real danger of systematizedmental coercion in the field of politics. This was the period of the well remembered Moscow purgetrials. It was almost impossible to believe that dedicated old Bolsheviks, who had given their lives to arevolutionary movement, had suddenly turned into dastardly traitors. When, one after another,everyone of the accused confessed and beat his breast, the general reaction was that this was a greatshow of deception, intended only as a propaganda move for the non Communist world. Then itbecame apparent that a much worse tragedy was being enacted. The men on trial had once beenhuman beings. Now they were being systematically changed into puppets. Their puppeteers called thetune, manipulated their actions. When, from time to time, news came through showing how hard,rigid revolutionaries could be changed into meek, self accusing sheep, all over the world the lastremnants of the belief in the free community presumably being built in Soviet Russia began tocrumble.In recent years, the spectacle of confession to uncommitted crimes has become more and morecommon. The list ranges from Communist through non Communist to anti Communist, and includesmen of such different types as the Czech Bolshevik Rudolf Slansky and the Hungarian cardinal,Joseph Mindszenty.
Mental Coercion and Enemy Occupation
 Those of us who lived in the Nazi occupied countries during the Second World War learned tounderstand only too well how people could be forced into false confessions, and into betrayals of those they loved. I myself was born in the Netherlands and lived there until the Nazi occupationforced me to flee. In the early days of the occupation, when we heard the first eyewitness descriptions
of what happened during Nazi interrogations of captured resistance workers, we were frightened andalarmed.The first aim of the Gestapo was to force prisoners under torture to betray their friends and to reportnew victims for further torture. The Brown Shirts demanded names and more names, not bothering toascertain whether or not they were given falsely under the stress of terror. I remember very clearlyone meeting held by a small group of resisters to discuss the growing fear and insecurity. Everybodyat that meeting could expect to be mentioned and picked up by the Gestapo at some time. Should webe able to stand the Nazi treatment, or would we also be forced to become informers? This questionwas being asked by anti Nazis in all the occupied countries.During the second year of the occupation we realized that it was better not to be in touch with oneanother. More than two contacts were unsafe. We tried to find medical and psychiatric preventives toharden us against the Nazi torture we expected. As a matter of fact, I myself conducted someexperiments to determine whether or not narcotics would harden us against pain. However, the resultswere paradoxical. Narcotics can create pain insensitivity, but their dulling action at the same timemakes people more vulnerable to mental pressure. Even at that time we knew, as did the Nazisthemselves, that it was not the direct physical pain that broke people, but the continuous humiliationand mental torture. One of my patients, who was subjected to such an interrogation, managed toremain silent. He refused to answer a single question, and finally the Nazis dismissed him. But henever recovered from this terrifying experience. He hardly spoken even when he returned home. Hesimply sat bitter, full of indignation and in a few weeks he died. It was not his physical wounds thathad killed him; it was the combination of fear and wounded pride.We held many discussions about ways of strengthening our captured underground workers or preventing them from final self betrayal. Should some of our people be given suicide capsules? Thatcould only be a last resort. Narcotics like morphine give only a temporary anesthesia and relief;moreover, the enemy would certainly find the capsules and take them away.We had heard about German attempts to give cocaine and amphetamine to their air pilots for use incombat exhaustion, but neither medicament was reliable. Those drugs might revive the body bymaking it less sensitive to pain, but at the same time they dulled the mind. If captured members of theunderground were to take them, as experiments had shown, their bodies might not feel the effects of phyiscal torture, but their hazy minds might turn them into easier dupes of the Nazis.We also tried systematic exercises in mental relaxation and auto hypnosis (comparable with Yogiexercises) in order to make the body more insensitive to hunger and pain. If an individual's attentionis fixed on the development of conscious awareness of automatic body functions, such a breathing,the alert functioning of the brain cortex can be reduced, and awareness of pain will diminish. Thisstate of pain insensitivity can sometimes be achieved through autohypnotic exercises. But very few of our people were able to bring themselves into such anesthesia.Finally we evolved this simple psychological trick: when you can no longer outwit the enemy or resisttalking, the best thing to do is to talk too much. This was the idea: keep yourself sullen and act thefool; play the coward and confess more than there is to confess. Later we were able to verify that thismethod was successful in several cases. Scatterbrained simpletons confused the enemy much morethan silent heroes whose stamina was finally undermined in spite of everything.I had to flee Holland after a policeman warned me that my name had been mentioned in aninterrogation. I had twice been questioned by the Nazis on minor matters and without bodily torture.When they later caught up with me in Blegium, probably as the result of a betrayal, I had to undergo along initial examination in which I was beaten, fortunately not too seriously. The interview had startedpleasantly enough. Apparently, the Nazi officer in charge thought he would be able to get informationout of me through friendly methods. Indeed, we even had a discussion (since I am a psychiatrist)about the methods used in interrogation. But the officer's mood changed, and he behaved with all thesadistic characteristics we had come to expect from his type. Happily, I managed to escape from

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