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Room 101


"Manchurian Candidates," Mind Control Experiments and Assassinations

In this edition of Richard's Room 101, we are going discuss one of the strangest conspiracy theories that I have ever heard of, but still think is somewhat credible and at least half believable. The conspiracy theory is that the CIA have used (and are maybe still using) brainwashing techniques to create "Manchurian candidates."

The term "Manchurian candidate" originates from the 1959 novel of the same name by Richard Condon. The best seller was later adapted into two popular films: the 1962 original version starring Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey and the 2004 remake starring Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep. The classic novel is about the creation of a programmed assassin by communist Chinese brainwashers in Manchuria during the Korean War. The brainwashed assassin, an American POW, returns to America unknowingly programmed to kill the President of the United States.

In the real world the Chinese did use public confessions extracted from American POWs for propaganda purposes during the Korean War, more than half of American POWs were said to have confessed to war crimes and, strangely, some former POWs continued to stick to their confessions long after they had been returned back home to the United States. This led some Americans to speculate that the Chinese were not only using traditional torture to extract forced confessions, but that they were also using more exotic techniques such as drugs and even hypnosis to brainwash their prisoners.

Such wild speculation in the paranoid atmosphere of the early Cold War would lead to the CIA MK-ULTRA programme, the most infamous of all the American mind control programmes. Experiments were carried out on people without their knowledge or consent, subjects were hypnotised and given dangerous drugs, very sadly some experiments were even fatal.

Many conspiracy theorists allege that the CIA did not only want to develop the ultimate interrogation technique, but that they were also eager to develop the perfect CIA agent, what could be called a "sleeper agent," that, once activated, would carry out their mission and block any memory of what they had done afterwards. After being programmed these "Manchurian candidates" could be activated at anytime and could be used for spying or perhaps even assassinations.

MK-ULTRA and similar mind control programmes like Operation ARTICHOKE are documented history, but whether such programmes were ultimately successful in any such quest to create a "Manchurian candidate" or whether such agents were ever used is much less certain. However, there have been a number of very suspicious assassinations of prominent people in America since the 1960s, from JFK to John Lennon. Is it possible that at least some of these deaths could be the work of a "Manchurian candidate" ?

Perhaps the strangest was the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy on June 5th, 1968, in Los Angeles, only 63 days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis and less then five years after his older brother, President John F. Kennedy, was killed in Dallas.

I recently watched a new documentary film about the Robert F. Kennedy assassination called "RFK Must Die" by Shane O'Sullivan. I first heard about this documentary on the BBC's very high profile Newsnight programme, Newsnight showed a report by O'Sullivan made up of extracts from his film and interviewed him afterwards. In the report O'Sullivan showed new footage that he believed proved that three CIA agents were present on the night RFK was assassinated, suggesting these men were connected with the assassination in some way. In the film O'Sullivan suggests these CIA agents were perhaps handlers for Sirhan Sirhan, the alleged shooter, who may have been hypnotised to kill RFK or just cause a distraction while someone else shoots him.

Certainly if the CIA or anyone else were looking for someone to hypnotize, they could not have picked a better subject. In the documentary, O'Sullivan covers how Sirhan's defence team discovered that Sirhan was extremely hypnotizable. Amazingly, Defence Psychiatrist Dr. Bernhard Diamond hypnotised Sirhan into climbing his cell bars like a monkey. The unusual idea of Sirhan's defence hypnotizing him arose in the first place because Sirhan claimed he could not remember shooting Kennedy. To this day, Sirhan maintains he cannot remember what happened that night and has only been able to recall what happened under hypnosis.

There are also other signs that Sirhan was hypnotized the night of the assassination. Witnesses who saw Sirhan before the assassination that night said that he looked like he was in a trance and later after the assassination when police shined a torch in Sirhan's eyes his pupils were dilated as if Sirhan had been drugged.

As far as I can see there are three main possibilities. One, Sirhan killed RFK exactly the way the mainstream history books said he did and he is lying about not remembering. Two, Sirhan hypnotized himself into killing RFK, or three, Sirhan was hypnotized to kill RFK by someone else, perhaps the CIA. Personally, I find it hard to believe that Sirhan has been lying about not remembering for 40 years. If he had said he remembered and showed some remorse, he could have been out of prison by now. That leaves us with possibilities two and three, of which I slightly favour three because of O'Sullivan's film evidence that three CIA agents or at least three very strangely behaving people were present the night of the assassination.

Anyone interested in the case should watch Shane O'Sullivan's film "RFK Must Die" and decide for themselves what they think happened. However, whatever the truth, I think Sirhan deserves a new trial where all the evidence is brought to the jury and to let them have the last say on this strange and very sad page in history.

Richard Thomas, BoA UK Correspondent and Columnist.

Contact Richard :: boxstacker(at)aol.com