A group of victims and family members affected by the CIA’s infamous MKULTRA program is planning to file a class-action lawsuit against several organizations for brainwashing experiments in Canada.
The lawsuit is being prepared by Survivors Allied Against Government Abuse (SAAGA). According to the group’s Facebook page, it will sue “several organizations who were guilty of or complicit in the brainwashing experiments that took place at Montreal’s Allan Memorial Hospital and The Douglas Hospital through the 1940’s, 50’s and 1960’s.”
The experiments at the hospital are fairly well documented. Scottish psychiatrist Ewen Cameron, with financing from the CIA under its MKULTRA program, subjected patients at the behavioral health center to electroshock treatments, experimental drugs such as LSD, and other controversial methods in an attempt to “de-pattern,” or wipe the minds of patients, then “re-pattern,” or reprogram them.
Some of Cameron’s victims suffered severe mental harm and were unable to function properly afterward. Symptoms included memory loss to the extent that they no longer recognized their own parents, or forgot how to use the restroom and how to speak.
Among the victims was Jean Steel, who was admitted to the Allan Memorial Institute in 1957 for manic depression and delusional thinking. Cameron allegedly subjected the 33-year-old to chemically induced sleep for weeks at a time, as well as electroshock, experimental drugs, and recorded messages played on repeat.
Steel’s daughter, Alison Steel, filed a lawsuit in 2015, according to Canada’s CBC news outlet, and in 2017 received an out-of-court settlement from the Canadian government of $100,000. In 1992, close to 70 patients were also compensated with $100,000 by the Canadian government for the abuses.
In the current case, close to 40 individuals met on May 20 in Montreal to discuss the class-action lawsuit, according to CBC. They are planning to request a public apology and compensation. While part of the funding for the programs in Canada came through the CIA, they were also funded by the Canadian Health and Welfare Department.
The MKULTRA program has been a focus of heavy controversy for years. In 1973, the CIA destroyed many documents on the program, which was tied to bizarre and often abusive experiments on human consciousness.
A 1983 CIA document on the program, declassified in 2007, states that “because of reports that the Soviet Union may have developed the capability to affect human behavior through the use of drugs, the Agency initiated a program of research in this area called MKULTRA from 1953 to 1964.”
It states that much of the research was conducted with the drug LSD, and this part was often not classified. The more abusive programs, however, were kept secret.
The 1983 document states, “Other MKULTRA research was performed in a questionable manner; research and tests were conducted on individuals who were not witting that they were the subjects of a research program and that they were being given a drug.” According to FOIA request website MuckRock, MKULTRA previously ran under MKDELTA and continued under projects BLUEBIRD and ARTICHOKE.