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Scottish doctor nicknamed the 'godfather of modern torture' worked in secret CIA wing

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    Brit doctor nicknamed the 'godfather of modern torture' worked in secret CIA wing

    Brian McIver, Grace Witherden

    9 FEB 2019

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    Dr Ewen Cameron didn't care about what harm he did, says film-maker Stephen Bennet

    A Scottish doctor nicknamed 'the godfather of modern torture' who worked in a secret wing funded by the CIA has been made the focus of a new documentary.

    Dr Ewen Cameron took part in the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals and went on to create horrifying torture methods used in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and Northern Ireland.

    The new documentary - Eminent Monsters - will premier at the Glasgow Film Festival next month and tells the story of the scientists who advanced the study of torture.

    Film-maker Stephen Bennett, backed by Hopscotch Films, Creative Scotland and the BBC, uncovered the story after working for 10 years to find the truth about the 1950s “MK Ultra” mind control project and its grim legacy, reports Daily Record.

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    Documentary by Scots film-maker Stephen Bennet tells the story of Dr Ewen Cameron

    Stephen said: “I first heard of him when I read Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine in 2007, and I had a really visceral reaction to his story.

    “I am from Glasgow and he was born 25 miles away, and his tentacles had reached around Europe and into the black sites and Guantanamo Bay.

    “I had been trying to get this film made since then. The title comes from one of the patients in Montreal, who used to call Cameron the eminent monster.”

    Cameron was born in 1901 and studied at Glasgow University and the University of London. He worked in Switzerland then moved to Canada in 1929 and, later, the US, where he began practice in New York in 1938

    In the 1950s, Cameron, who was working in the United States and Canada, was funded by the CIA to develop and research sensory deprivation (blindfolds, hoods, earmuffs) and sensory overload (high-decibel white noise, shouting or aggressive music). Both have been cornerstones of moder “enhanced interrogation” ever since.

    He honed his techniques by experimenting on unwitting patients in Montreal. Many left his “care” broken.

    A former senior US official directly links torture approaches such as Cameron’s to the growth of al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

    After World War II, Cameron was asked by the Office of Strategic Services, the US precursor to the CIA, to take part in the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals.

    [​IMG]
    Adolf Hitler with his deputy and private secretary, Rudolf Hess

    His main task was to assess the mental health of Hitler’s former deputy, Rudolf Hess.

    Stephen believes it was the turning point in the Scot’s career, as he saw the worst horrors of the human condition unfolded in forensic legal detail in front of him.

    “Afterwards, you can see that he’s beginning to think of people that the state now has to control your life,” he said.

    Stephen felt the horrors of Nuremberg should have reinforced to Cameron that patients must always give informed consent – but it didn’t work out that way.

    He added: “For Cameron to see Nuremberg up close, and see that one of the main tenets to come out of it is informed consent, and for him to pervert that and go back to the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal and a secret wing he had built, that’s when I feel he turns the corner, going from the scientist to the guy who has such a vanity he wants his own name remembered in leading lights.”

    In Cameron’s wing, funded by the CIA and the British and Canadian governments, he experimented on hapless patients, ostensibly to cure their mental health problems.

    The film includes testimony from the families of Val Orlikow and Louis Weinstein, both left psychologically ruined by years of treatments.

    They would be pumped full of drugs and subjected to sensory deprivation, oscillating white noise or screaming voices. Shock therapy and massive doses of LSD were used regularly.

    The treatments were so prolonged that patients like Orlikow had to sell their homes to pay for their torture, while Weinstein also left destitute and scarred for life. Cameron would urge his patients to continue regardless. Only results mattered.

    Stephen said: “I think the nearest analogy for Cameron is that he was a general who realised half his army was going to be decimated, but that he would win the war. My reading is that he didn’t care that people’s lives were getting ruined.”

    At the height of Cold War paranoia, with the threat of brainwashing and attacks, the CIA and its allies pumped endless funds into all kinds of research and Cameron was one of the stars.

    His work was included in CIA manuals and has been used over and over again, all over the world.

    In Northern Ireland, its effects were felt by the “hooded men”, republican suspects tortured with sensory tactics and left with permanent mental scars.

    After 9/11, Cameron’s methods were deployed at Guantanamo Bay and the foreign “black sites” created by US intelligence to interrogate terror suspects.

    Stephen said: “You can see the footprint of Cameron on the present day.

    “But the big lie is the way the CIA told Bush and Obama that these techniques worked. Internally, the CIA realised that not only do they not work, they were counter-productive. If I torture you enough, you’ll tell me anything, that you’re the Queen of Sheba, anything, to stop the pain.

    “The US Department of Defense chief investigator into al-Qeada puts forward the proposition – and he should know – that these techniques have led to Isis and al-Qaeda, meaning that one of the biggest threats to democracy is a result of these kinds of experiments.”

    The CIA programmes were pulled but Cameron never faced consequences. He was long dead, of a heart attack while mountain-climbing in 1967.

    Details of his “treatments” first emerged in 1979, and the victims’ families began legal proceedings against the hospital and the CIA.

    Louis Weinstein’s son, Harvey, trained to be a psychiatrist in the hospital where his his father was abused but he quit the profession after uncovering Cameron’s secret work.

    He helped lead the successful eight-year battle for compensation but he still feels the pain today, 20 years after his father died.

    He said: “My father felt guilty, as if he had done something wrong, which is horrible. He went through his life thinking something had happened to him but that he deserved it in some way.

    “I feel very angry when I look at my father’s record and how he (Cameron) dismissed what was happening, how he didn’t care about the people whose lives he was destroying. He was an ambitious man whose desire for fame and the Nobel Prize took precedence over everything else.”

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/brit-doctor-nicknamed-godfather-modern-13976513
     
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