Thursday, July 1, 2010

Unabomber Subject of Sadistic CIA Experiment: Truth is Stranger than Fiction

Police Sketch circa 1983
A terrorist bomber was the subject of sadistic mind control experiments funded by the CIA. Strange as it sounds Theodore Kacynski was the subject of psychological experiments while he was a sophomore at Harvard that were directed at understanding brainwashing and mind-control techniques that be used on enemy soldiers. 

Theodore Kaczynski was an anarchist terrorist from 1978 to 1995 whose weapon was the mail bomb. The bombs were artfully constructed from handmade wood pieces. The FBI and the press called these bombings the Unabomber case, because he initial victims were at universities.

The experiments of Harvard Professor Murray were highlighted in the June 28 episode of RadioLab. This is a detailed account of Kacynski's mental history.

Murray subjected his unwitting students, including Kaczynski, to intensive interrogation -- what Murray himself called "vehement, sweeping, and personally abusive" attacks, assaulting his subjects' egos and most-cherished ideals and beliefs.

He video taped the interrogations and then played back recordings of the students being humiliated over-and-over again for them to watch.

In fairness, Murray's research was a part of a much larger effort to assemble a tremendously through understanding of the study group through deep and wide ranging psychological and sociological tests. The sadistic testing described above was supplemented by hundreds of hours of other tests. The video playbacks were thought to allow self-knowledge within the participants rather than create emotional scars. 

This is so much like Robert Ludlem's Borne trilogy of a mind-controlled soldier who snaps and turns on his handlers.  One can only guess what Kaczynski's life would have been like without the psychological experiments. Is it possible the CIA unwittingly created a social misfit who morphed into a bomber? Yes.