The legacy of a Scottish psychiatrist whose mind control experiments were covertly sponsored by the CIA and later used against political prisoners worldwide – including in Northern Ireland and Guantanamo Bay – will be explored in the world premiere of the documentary Eminent Monsters at the Glasgow Film Festival tomorrow.
Dr Ewen Cameron, a world-renowned psychiatrist who evaluated Rudolph Hess at the Nuremberg Trials, carried out highly controversial experiments at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal, and later worked on later worked on MK ULTRA Subproject 68, the CIA’s mind-control and brainwashing project.
In 1977 it emerged that the CIA had been funding the mind-control brainwashing experiments at the institute as part of MK Ultra. Now the disturbing background to the work of Cameron – dubbed the Eminent Monster by patients – will be revealed by Scots director Stephen Bennett.
Also attending the world premiere is Moazzam Begg who spent nearly three years as a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay where he underwent torture much of which was based on Cameron’s research.
Bennett, from Glasgow, said Cameron, who was born in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, and died in 1967, carried out a host of experiments including sensory deprivation on patients without their consent.
“Cameron’s entire focus seemed to shift after the Nuremberg Trials. He had a secret wing in the hospital in Montreal where he carried out experiments. The aim was to break patients’ understanding of time and space. The legacy can be seen in the torture techniques employed in Northern Ireland and in Guantanamo Bay.”
Mr Begg, 50, a British Pakistani, was imprisoned by the US who claimed he was a member of al-Queda before being released in 2005 without charge.
“At the time I was being tortured I assumed it had been done to others. I knew it was a process systematically designed to break people down,” he said.
“I was subjected to sensory deprivation, with goggles, ear masks and shackled. I was stripped naked with dogs snarling at me and could hear the noise of women screaming nearby, guns clicking. There was also watching the abuse of other prisoners and not being able to do anything.
“When Stephen Bennett talked to me about Ewen Cameron I found it very shocking. That somewhere thought to be as benign as Scotland could produce someone like that. I do find it genuinely shocking that such a legacy exits.”