The emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its government in Delhi could well revolutionise the concept of governance as well as the political lingua in South Asia. So far, the VVIP-culture driven politics of this region has remained subservient to dynastic rule. But the AAP has shown that in an era marked by corruption and money power, elections can still be won with meagre resources, honesty and transparency.
However many pitfalls lie ahead of the AAP. Past experiments the world over have shown that radical rulers, riding anti-corruption waves and the promise of transforming a decrepit political system, run the risk of co-option into conventional politics. In case of failure, the old cycle sets into motion with the general public once again awaiting the arrival of a new messiah and a fresh revolution. The means of such co-option are many and across the world these are leveraged by political regimes of every ideology. Some of these methods have been spearheaded by undercover intelligence agencies, often resorting to mind-control strategies.
Consider this: Several years ago a former KGB agent had disclosed that his agency used special mind control techniques to influence the decision of leaders during and after the collapse of the Soviet Union. General Boris Ratnikov, who served in the KGB department for Moscow and the Moscow Region, told government-controlled Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily that in the mid-1980s, about 50 research institutes in the Soviet Union studied remote mind-control techniques backed by substantial government funding. These mind-control methods no longer remain in the realm of science fiction and are now exploited by intelligence agencies to control the minds of leaders. It’s a way of indirectly ruling the country.
US President Barack Obama had raised many hopes including settling the issue of Palestine when he took over office. I remember, while touring Israel and Palestine with a group of Indian journalists, West Asian newspapers were flooded with news and analysis on his Palestine initiatives. When I drew the attention of the deputy director general of Israeli Military Intelligence, who was briefing us at the Israeli Military installation in Tel Aviv, she just smiled and confidently said “Obama will soon realise the art of politics. Just wait, he (Obama) cannot go beyond the conventional US politics.”
Former intelligence officials in New Delhi also concede that like all intelligence agencies, India’s spy organisations have also employed “Special Mind Control Techniques” and have honed these techniques. Experts say the technique to break and build the mind was first scientifically introduced by the German spy agencies around World War II; later, the CIA and the KGB mastered it. But the methods and technologies guarded by these two agencies for over five decades are now available to intelligence agencies the world over.
These agencies leverage these techniques not only to retain their turfs but also keep a hold on their governments.
According to Ratnikov’s account, President Boris Yeltsin of Russia had planned to visit Japan in 1992. But Ratnikov’s department detected attempts to ‘programme’ Yeltsin’s mind to make him give the Kuril Islands back to Japan. The move would have led to demands from China that it regain its disputed territories from Russia as well, a conflict that could have sparked a war between the neighbours. Yeltsin, therefore, had to cancel the trip.
Ratnikov also revealed that senior officials in Western Europe and the United States unwittingly provided information to his department, which was able to read their minds, thanks to Soviet-era scientific achievements.
A declassified CIA document has also disclosed that in December 1947, then US Secretary of Defence, James Forrestal, had pushed for the CIA to begin a ‘secret war’ against the Soviets. His initiative led to the execution of psy ops (psychological warfare) operations in Europe. A grand project called “Hypnotic Experimentation and Research”, code-named Bluebird was launched on April 20, 1950 under then Deputy Director CIA Allen Dulles.
An important mandate given to the Bluebird project was to find if the agency can seize a subject in the space of an hour or two by remote control to lead him to crash an airplane, wreck a train etc. Other mandates included experimenting with a subject and forcing him or her to travel long distances to commit specified acts such as subversion and espionage.
A former CIA researcher Carol Rutz narrates how an experiment was done on two females. “Without their consciousness, they were made to plant a bomb perfectly and were fully amnesic,” he says in a paper. They hardly knew what they had done.
Dr Ewen Cameron’s “unethical, destructive mind control experiments” under a CIA-funded project involved a “treatment” which included intensive application of three brainwashing techniques; drug dis-inhibition, prolonged sleep, and prolonged psychological isolation.
An 11-year-old boy underwent a partial change of identity when his brain was remote stimulated through an electrode: “Electrical stimulation of the superior temporal convolution induced confusion about his sexual identity. These effects were specific, reliable, and statistically significant,” says a report on this experiment.
In 1974, Stanford Research Institute had developed a computer system capable of reading a person’s mind by correlating the brain waves or inducing a heart attack from a distance.
The latest development in the technology is the cloning of the human EEG or brain waves of any targeted victim, or indeed groups. They are then placed on the Silent Sound carrier frequencies and could silently trigger the occurrence of the same basic emotion in another human being.
Experts say that intelligence agencies have developed into near fully independent organisations and the secrecy with which they work and guard their turf means that monitoring their functioning is becoming increasingly problematic. Experts like Phillip Knightley — who has done extensive work on intelligence agencies — maintain that these organisations often jump their brief because of lack of supervision.
The aim of this write-up is not to dismiss AAP’s initiatives and its impact on Indian politics. But let us pray that the fledging party remains insulated against all the attacks and tantrums the system may employ against it to turn its members into conventional politicos.
The author is chief of bureau, dna