The False Memory Hoax
By Alex Constantine
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CIA Connections to the Mind Control Cults
Within hours, 27 other members of the Sovereign Order of the Solar Temple were found dead at chalets in Granges, Switzerland and Morin Heights, Quebec. Luc Jouret, the Temple's grand master, the London Times reported, "espoused a hybrid religion that owed more to Umberto Eco's novel Foucault's Pendulum than to any bible. His followers called themselves 'knights of Christ.' The crusading codes of the Knights Templar, the rose-and-cross symbolism of the medieval Rosicrucian Order, Nazi occultism and new age mysticism were joined together into a mumbo-jumbo mishmash that seemed more designed for extracting money from disciples than saving souls."
Jouret, born in the Belgian Congo in 1947, set out in youth as a mystic with communist leanings, but his politics apparently swung full circle. He has since been linked to a clutch of neo-Nazis responsible for a string of bombings in Canada. He told friends that he had once served with a unit of Belgium paratroopers.
French-Canadian journalist Pierre Tourangeau investigated the sect for two years. A few days after the mass murder, he reported that the sect was financed by the proceeds of gun-running to Europe and South America. Simultaneously, Radio Canada announced that Jouret's Templars earned hundreds of millions of dollars laundering the profits through the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), closed by authorities worldwide in 1991. Montreal's La Presse observed: "each new piece of information only thickens the mystery" - but the combination of international arms smuggling and BCCI presented a familiar enough picture of CIA sedition. The Manhattan D.A. who closed the American branch announced that 16 witnesses had died in the course of investigating the bank's entanglements in covert operations of the CIA, arms smuggling to Iraq, money laundering and child prostitution.
The average coffee table would crumple under the weighty BCCI Book of the Dead. Journalist Danny Cassalaro and Vince Foster appear in it - grim antecedents to the Solar Temple killings. The cult's connection to BCCI (reported in Europe but filtered from American newspaper accounts) fed speculation among Canadian journalists that followers of Jouret were killed to bury public disclosures of gun-running and money laundering.
But the fraternizing of America's national security elite and the cults did not begin in Cheiry, Switzerland. Jouret's Order of the Solar Temple was but the latest incarnation of mind control operations organized and overseen by the CIA and Department of Defense.
In a sense, we are in the same ethical and moral dilemma as the physicists in the days prior to the Manhattan Project. Those of us who work in this field see a developing potential for a nearly total control of human emotional status. - Dr. Wayne Evans, U.S. Army Institute of Environmental Medicine, 1978
Scientists in the CIA's mind control fraternity lead double lives. Many are highly respected, but if the truth were known they would be deafened by the public outcry and drummed out of their respective academic haunts.
Martin T. Orne, for example, a senior CIA/Navy researcher, is based at the University of Pennsylvania's Experimental Psychiatry Laboratory. He is also an original member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation's advisory board, a tightly-drawn coterie of psychiatrists, many with backgrounds in CIA mind control experimentation in its myriad forms. The Foundation is dedicated to denying the existence of cult mind control and child abuse. It's primary pursuit is the castigation of survivors and therapists for fabricating accusations of ritual abuse.
Dismissing cult abuse as hysteria or false memory, a common defense strategy, may relieve parents of preschool children. In a small percentage of cult abuse cases it's possible that children may be led to believe they've been victimized.
But the CIA and its cover organizations have a vested interest in blowing smoke at the cult underground because the worlds of CIA mind control and many cults merge inextricably. The drum beat of "false accusations" from the media is taken up by paid operatives like Dr. Orne and the False Memory Syndrome Foundation to conceal the crimes of the Agency.
Orne's forays into hypno-programming were financed in the 1960s by the Human Ecology Fund, a CIA cover at Cornell University and the underwriter of many of the formative mind control experiments conducted in the U.S. and abroad, including the gruesome brainwashing and remote mind control experiments of Dr. Ewen Cameron at Montreal's Allen Memorial Institute. Research specialties of the CIA's black psychiatrists included electroshock lobotomies, drugging agents, incapacitants, hypnosis, sleep deprivation and radio control of the brain, among hundreds of sub-projects.
The secondary source of funding for Dr. Orne's work in hypnotic suggestion and dissolution of memory is eerie in the cult child abuse context. The voluminous files of John Marks in Washington, D.C. (139 boxes obtained under FOIA, to be exact, two-fifths of which document CIA interest in the occult) include an Agency report itemizing a $30,000 grant to Orne from Human Ecology, and another $30,000 from Boston's Scientific Engineering Institute (SEI) - another CIA funding cover, founded by Edwin Land of the Polaroid Corporation (and supervision of the U-2 spy plane escapades). This was the year that the CIA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) geared up a study of parapsychology and the occult. The investigation, dubbed Project OFTEN-CHICKWIT, gave rise to the establishment of a social "laboratory" by SEI scientists at the University of South Carolina - a college class in black witchcraft, demonology and voodoo.
Dr. Orne, with SEI funding, marked out his own mind control corner at the University of Pennsylvania in the early 1960s. He does not publicize his role as CIA psychiatrist. He denies it, very plausibly. In a letter to Dr. Orne, Marks once reminded him that he'd disavowed knowledge of his participation in one mind-wrecking experimental sub-project. Orne later recanted, admitting that he'd been aware of the true source of funding all along.
Among psychiatrists in the CIA's mind control fraternity, Orne ranks among the most venerable. He once boasted to Marks that he was routinely briefed on all significant CIA behavior modification experiments: "Why would they come to him," Martin Cannon muses in The Controllers, which links UFO abductions to secret military research veiled by screen memories of "alien" abduction, "unless Orne had a high security clearance and worked extensively with the intelligence services?"
To supplement his CIA income, the influential Dr. Orne has been the donee of grants from the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. "I should like to hear," Cannon says, "what innocent explanation, if any, the Air Force has to offer to explain their interest in post-hypnotic amnesia."
According to Army records, Orne's stomping grounds, Penn U., was a bee-hive of secret experiments in the Vietnam War period. The Pentagon and CIA - under the auspices of ORD's Steve Aldrich, a doyen of occult and parapsychological studies - conferred the Agency's most lucrative research award upon the University of Pennsylvania to study the effects of 16 newly-concocted biochemical warfare agents on humans, including choking, blistering and vomiting agents, toxins, poison gas and incapacitating chemicals. The tests were abruptly halted in 1972 when the prison's medical lab burned to the ground.
Testimony before the 1977 Church Committee's probe of the CIA hinted that, as of 1963, the scientific squalor of the CIA's mind control regimen, code-named MKULTRA, had abandoned military and academic laboratories, fearing exposure, and mushroomed in cities across the country. Confirmation arrived in 1980 when Joseph Holsinger, an aide to late Congressman Leo Ryan (who was murdered by a death squad at Jonestown) exposed the formation of eccentric religious cults by the CIA. Holsinger made the allegation at a colloquium of psychologists in San Francisco on "Psychosocial Implications of the Jonestown Phenomenon." Holsinger maintained that a CIA rear-support base had been in collusion with Jones to perform medical and mind control experiments at People's Temple. The former Congressional aide cited an essay he'd received in the mail, "The Penal Colony," written by a Berkeley psychologist. The author had emphasized: Rather than terminating MKULTRA, the CIA shifted its programs from public institutions to private cult groups, including the People's Temple.
Jonestown had its grey eminence in Dr. Lawrence Laird Layton of the University of California at Berkeley, formerly a chemist for the Manhattan Project and head of the Army's chemical warfare research division in the early 1950s. (Larry Layton, his son, led the death squad that murdered Congressman Leo Ryan, who'd arrived at Guyana to investigate the cult.) Michael Meiers, author of Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?, scavenged for information on the People's Temple for six years, concluding:
"The Jonestown experiment was conceived by Dr. Layton, staffed by Dr. Layton and financed by Dr. Layton. It was as much his project as it was Jim Jones"
Though it was essential for him to remain in the background for security reasons, Dr. Layton maintained contact with and even control of the experiment through his wife and children." The African-American cult had at its core a Caucasian inner-council, composed of Dr. Layton's family and in-laws.
The press was blind to obvious CIA connections, but survivors of the carnage in Guyana followed the leads and maintained that Jim Jones was "an employee, servant, agent or operative of the Central Intelligence Agency" from 1963 - the year the Agency turned to cult cut-outs to conceal MKULTRA mind control activities - until 1978. In October 1981 the survivors of Jonestown filed a $63 million lawsuit against Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Stansfield Turner, former director of the CIA, currently a teacher at the University of Maryland and a director of the Monsanto Corporation. The suit, filed in U.S. district court in San Francisco, accused Turner of conspiring with Agency operatives to "enhance the economic and political powers of James Warren Jones," and of conducting "mind control and drug experimentation" on the Temple flock.
The suit was dismissed four months later for "failure to prosecute timely." All requests for an appeal were denied.
Ligatures of the CIA clung to the cults. Much of the violence that has since exploded across the front pages was incited by CIA academics at leading universities.
Small wonder, then, that Ted Goertzel, director of the Forum for Policy Research at Rutgers, which maintains a symbiosis with the CIA despite media exposure, should write that the most susceptible victims of "cryptomnesia" (a synonym for false memories) believe "in conspiracies, including the JFK assassination, AIDS conspiracies, as well as the UFO cover-up." The problem, Goertzel says, "may have its origins in early childhood," and is accompanied by "feelings of anomie and anxiety that make the individual more likely to construct false memories out of information stored in the unconscious mind."
This side of gilded rationalizations, the CIA's links to the cults are no manifestation of "cryptomnesia."
Like Jonestown, the Symbionese Liberation Army was a mind control creation unleashed by the Agency. The late political researcher Mae Brussell, whose study of The Firm commenced in 1963 after the assassination of John Kennedy, wrote in 1974 that the rabid guerrilla band "consisted predominantly of CIA agents and police informers." This unsavory group was, Brussell insisted, "an extension of psychological experimentation projects, connected to Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park." (She went on to lament that "many of the current rash of 'senseless killings,' 'massacres,' and 'zombie-type murders' are committed by individuals who have been in Army hospitals, mental hospitals or prison hospitals, where their heads have been literally taken over surgically to create terror in the community.")
Evidence that the CIA conceived and directed the SLA was obvious. The SLA leadership was trained by Colston Westbrook, a Pennsylvania native. Westbrook was a veteran of the CIA's murderous PHOENIX Program in South Vietnam, where he trained terrorist cadres and death squads. In 1969 he took a job as an administrator of Pacific Architects and Engineers, a CIA proprietary in Southern California. Three of Westbrook's foot soldiers, Emily and William Harris and Angela Atwood (a former police intelligence informer), had been students of the College of Foreign Affairs, a CIA cover at the University of Indiana. Even the SLA symbol, a seven-headed cobra, had been adopted by the OSS (America's wartime intelligence agency) and CIA to designate precepts of brainwashing.
When the smoke cleared at SLA headquarters in L.A., Dr. Martin Orne was called upon to examine Patricia Hearst in preparation for trial. The government charged that she had participated voluntarily in the SLA's gun-toting crime spree. Orne's was a foregone conclusion - he sided with the government. His opinion was shared by two other psychiatrists called to appraise Ms. Hearst's state of mind, Robert Jay Lifton and Louis Jolyon West. Dr. Lifton was a co-founder of the aforementioned Human Ecology Fund. The CIA contractor that showered Orne with research grants in the 1960s. Dr. West is one of the CIA's most notorious mind control specialists, currently director of UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute. It was West who brought a score of mind control psychiatrists of the ultra-right political stripe to the UCLA campus.
Drs. Orne, Lifton and West unanimously agreed that Patty Hearst had been "persuasively coerced" to join the SLA. She had been put through a grueling thought reform regimen. She'd been isolated and sensory deprived, raped, humiliated, badgered, politically indoctrinated with a surrealistic mutation of Third World Marxism. Ms. Hearst was only allowed human companionship when she exhibited signs of submission. Orne and his colleagues assured that attention was narrowed to their psychologizing, conveniently rendering evidence of CIA collusion extraneous to consideration by the jury.
Another psychiatrist called to testify at the trial of "Tania" surfaced with Dr. Orne in 1991 on the board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. (The FMSF board is almost exclusively composed of former CIA and military doctors currently employed by major universities. None have backgrounds in ritual abuse - their common interest is behavior modification. Dr. Margaret Singer, a retired Berkeley Ph.D., studied repatriated prisoners-of-war returning from the Korean War at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland (1952-58).
Singer turned up in 1982 on the book jacket of Raven - the CIA's code-name for Jim Jones - by San Francisco Examiner reporters Tim Reiterman and John Jacobs, a thoroughly-researched account of the People's Temple that completely side-steps CIA involvement. Co-author John Jacobs was supposedly one of the country's leading authorities on CIA mind control, a subject he studied at length for a series published by the Washington Post. Reiterman had been the Examiner reporter on the Patricia Hearst beat. Yet both writers managed to avoid obvious intelligence connections. Dr. Singer commended the book as "the definitive psychohistory of Jim Jones." Raven, she opined, conveyed "the essence of psychological and social processes that Jim Jones, the ultimate manipulator, set in motion." The true "manipulators," of course, were operatives of the CIA, and the public disinformation gambit lauded by Dr. Singer was, according to Meiers, in tune with "a concerted attempt to suppress information, stifle investigations, censor writers and manipulate public information."
The CIA and Pentagon have quietly organized and influenced a long line of mind control cults, among them:
The Riverside Lodge of the Ordo Templis Orientis:
Also known as The Solar Lodge of the OTO, which followed the teachings of cult messiah Aleister Crowley, whose fixed gaze on the astral equinox resulted in instructions from his deities to form a religious order. Crowley, high priest of the OTO and a British intelligence agent, gave Winifred T. Smith a charter to open an OTO lodge in Pasadena. The high priest of the lodge was Jack Parsons, a rocket expert and founder of the California Institute of Technology. Parsons, who took the oath of the anti-Christ in 1949, contributed to the design of the Pentagon under subsequent CIA director John J. McCloy. He was killed in a still unexplained laboratory explosion. There is a crater on the moon named after him.
The OTO's Solar Lodge in San Bernardino was presided over by Georgina "Jean" Brayton, the daughter of a ranking Air Force officer in the 1960s. The cult subscribed to a grim, apocalyptic view of the world, and like Charles Manson believed that race wars would precipitate the Big Cataclysm. In the Faustian Los Angeles underworld, the lodge was known for its indulgence in sadomasochism, drug dealing, blood drinking, child molestation and murder.
Candace Reos, a former member of the lodge, was deposed by Riverside police in 1969. Reos said that Brayton controlled the thinking of all cult members. One poor soul, she said, was ordered to curb his sexual urges by cutting his wrists every time he was aroused. Mrs. Reos told police, according to the report, that when she became pregnant, Georgina was angry and told her that she would have to condition herself to hate her child. Reos told police that children of the cult's 43 adult members were secluded from their parents and received "training" that took on "very severe tones."
"There was a lot of spanking involved," she said, "a lot of heavy criticism. There was a lot of enclosed in dark rooms." The teachers, she added. "left welts."
If so ordered, adult cultists would beat their children.
According to a Riverside County Sheriff's report, a six year-old child burned the group's school house to the ground. The boy was punished by solitary confinement in a locked shipping crate left in the desert, where the average temperature was 110 degrees, for two months. The boy was chained to a metal plate.
When police freed him, they were nauseated by the suffocating stench of excrement. The child was smothered in flies swarming from a tin-can toilet.
The Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Movement:
In 1985 the Portland Oregonian published a 36-part, book-length series linking the cult to opium trafficking, prostitution, money laundering, arson, slave labor, mass poisonings, illegal wiretaps and the stockpiling of guns and biochemical warfare weapons. The year-long Oregonian investigation revealed cult ties to CIA-trained mercenaries in El Salvador and the Far East. Domestically, Rajneesh's secret police force worked with Agency operatives.
On February 7, 1987 Customs agents raided a child-porn ring in Tallahasee, Florida. Eight suspects and six children were taken into custody. The children, according to a Customs Department memo, behaved "like animals in a public park," and "were not aware of the function and purpose of telephones, televisions and toilets."
The children told police that they were forced to live outdoors and were given food only as a reward. A check on the backgrounds of the adults turned up a police report, "specific in describing 'bloody rituals' and sex orgies involving children, and an as-yet unsolved murder."
Customs agents searched a cult safe house and discovered a computer room and documents recording "high-tech" bank transfers, explosives, and a set of instructions advising cult members on moving children through jurisdictions around the country. One photographic album found in the house featured the execution and disembowelment of goats, and snapshots, according to a Customs report, of "adults and children dressed in white sheets participating in a bloody ritual."
An American passport was found. The investigating agents contacted the State Department and were advised to "terminate further investigation."
They investigated anyway, reporting that "the CIA made contact and admitted to owning the Finders ... as a front for a domestic training organization, but that it had 'gone bad.'" The late wife of Marion David Pettie, the cult's leader, had worked for the Agency, and his son had been an employee of Air America, the heroin-riddled CIA proprietary. Yet Pettie denied to a reporter for U.S. News & World Report any connection to the Firm. Police in Washington refused to comment. Officials of the CIA dismissed as "hogwash" allegations of any connection to the Finders cult.
On May 13, 1985 MOVE's Philadelphia headquarters was firebombed by local police. Not only did the fire consume the cult's home - it devastated the entire neighborhood, leaving 11 dead and 250 homeless. The group was cofounded by Vince Leapheart, aka John Africa, a Korean veteran. His intellectual mentor and source of funding was Donald Glassey, a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Work. Glassey was an admitted police "informant," but conducted himself like a paid provocateur. He purchased weapons for the cult with cash drawn from city coffers. John Africa, the cult's titular head, claimed to be a messiah, and like Jim Jones to have Godly "healing" powers and "total control" over his followers.
The Order of the Temple of Astarte in Pasadena, California is a "hermetic" occult organization that practices "Magick in the Western Tradition." The cult is led by Fraters Khenemel, a police officer, and Aleyin, a veteran Green Beret. The cult's everyday language is unusual for a mystical order - one group schedule is laden with words like "operation," "sixteen-thirty hours," and "travel orders." Demonology is among the OTA's primary occult interests.
The police connection recalls the statement of Louis Tackwood, the former LAPD provocateur whose revelations of secret police subterfuge set off a political tempest in Los Angeles in 1973. "You don't know," he told journalist Donald Freed, "but there's a devil worship cult in Pasadena. Actually in Altadena." Tackwood alleged that the cultists were "on the LAPD payroll."
The CIA and Pentagon cooperate in the creation of cults. To be sure, the Association of National Security Alumni, a public interest veterans group opposed to covert operations, considers it a "primary issue of concern" that the Department of Defense has a "perceived role in satanic cult activities, which qualify in and of themselves as very damaging exercises in mind control and behavioral modification."
It is beginning to dawn on the psychiatric community at large that the CIA's mind control clique is a menace reminiscent of Nazi medical experimentation. In 1993, Dr. Corydon Hammond, a professor at the University of Utah's School of Medicine, conducted a seminar on federally-funded mind control experiments. Topics covered by Hammond included brainwashing, post-hypnotic programming and the induction of multiple personalities by the CIA. Hammond contended that the cult underground has roots in Nazi Germany, and that the CIA's cult mind control techniques were based upon those of Nazi scientists recruited by the CIA for Cold Warfare. (Researcher Lenny Lapon estimates in Mass Murderers in White Coats that 5,000 Nazis resettled in the U.S. after WW II.) Hammond was forced to drop this line of inquiry by professional ridicule, especially from the CIA's False Memory Syndrome Foundation, and a barrage of death threats. At a recent regional conference on ritual child abuse, he regretted that he could no longer speak on the theme of government mind control.
The psychological community is waking to the threat in its ranks, to judge by APA surveys and personal communications with ranking members of the mental health field, but the world at large remains in the dark. The "mass hysteria" and "false memory" bromides disseminated by the establishment press obscure federal and academic connections to the mind control cults, which are defended largely by organized pedophiles, cultists and hired guns of psychiatry. An ambitious disinformation gambit has led the world at large to side with cultists operating under federal protection. As at Jonestown and Chiery, Switzerland, the denouement of cult activity often ends in the destruction of all witnesses. This cycle of abuse and murder can only be ended by full public awareness of the federal mind control initiative.
The CIA, The False Memory Syndrome Foundation, and the Politics of Ritual Abuse
The conference session bears a passing resemblance to a 12-Step meeting. Assembled in a Portland religious retreat, members of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF), all accused of child abuse, are encouraged to unload their anguish. Only women take the stage (they leave reporters with a sympathetic impression - men stigmatized by child abuse do not). Pamela Freyd, a Foundation founder, assures these victims of pernicious therapies they are not alone. The Foundation's office in Philadelphia, she says, takes 60 calls on a typical day from distraught adults hounded by their own confused children, rogue therapists and sensation-seeking pack journalists.
The number of dues-paying members (each contributes $100 a year) varies according to the source. The group reported in January 1993 that 1,200 families had made contact in its first year of operation. The same month, the San Jose Mercury News declared flatly that "nearly 3,000 families" from across the country had been recruited. The FMSF now claims 5,000 families. Time magazine raised the figure to "7,000 individuals and families who have sought assistance."
The Foundation's distinctive handling of statistics is incessant. In April of this year the FMSF claimed 12,000 families have been strained by false child abuse allegations. A month later, the figure dropped to"9,500 U.S. families." Yet the Foundation prides itself on accuracy. One FMSF newsletter advises members to insist the media "report accurate information. The rumors and misinformation surrounding the false accusations based on recovery of repressed memories are shocking." The same author regrets that "65% of accusations of abuse are now unsubstantiated, a whopping jump from 35% in 1976." This figure, once gleefully disseminated by such pedophile defense groups as NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association) and VOCAL (Victims of Child Abuse Laws) was debunked years ago. It was fabricated by Douglas Besherov of the American Enterprise Institute, a hard right-wing propaganda factory fueled by the Olin Foundation, a CIA funding cover. (Christian conservatives are often accused of propagating ritual abuse "hysteria," yet in the 1992 presidential election the para-conservative wing of the Republican Party slipped into its platform a strategy to put an end to investigations of child abuse.)
The FMSF selectively ignores child abuse data that disagrees with their own. Judith Herman, author of Trauma and Recovery, reported in the Harvard Mental Health Letter that false abuse allegations by children "are rare, in the range of 2-8% of reported cases. False retractions of true complaints are far more common, especially when the victim is not sufficiently protected after disclosure and therefore succumbs to intimidation by the perpetrator or other family members who feel that they must preserve secrecy."
Other statistics shunned by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation include a survey presented at a 1992 psychiatric conference that found that a full 88% of all therapists in a large sampling consider ritual child abuse to be a very real social problem with devastating emotional effects. Another: In 1990 the State University of New York at Buffalo polled a national sampling of clinical psychologists on ritual abuse. About 800 psychologists - a third of the poll - were aware of treating at least one case. Only 5% of all child abuse cases ever enter the courtroom - half of these end with the child in the custody of the abusive parent..
The recovered memory debate was discussed at a 1993 conference on multiple personality disorder. Richard Lowenstein, a psychiatrist from the University of Maryland Medical School, argued that the Foundation is "media-directed, dedicated to putting out disinformation."
Other conference participants contemplated funding sources and "possible CIA connections."
The Devil Denuded
The CIA, in fact, has several designates on the FMSF advisory board. They have in common backgrounds in mind control experimentation. Their very presence on the board, and their peculiar backgrounds, reveal some heavily obscured facts about ritual child abuse.
Martin T. Orne, a senior CIA researcher, is an original board member of the Foundation, and a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania's Experimental Psychiatry Lab in Philadelphia. In 1962 his forays into hypno-programming (the elicitation of "anti-social" behavior, dissolving memory and other mind-subduing techniques) were financed by a CIA front at Cornell University. He was also funded by Boston's Scientific Engineering Institute, another front, and a clearinghouse for the Agency's investigation of the occult.
The CIA and Pentagon have formed a partnership in the creation of cults. To be sure, the Association of National Security Alumni, a public interest veterans group opposed to clandestine ops, considers it a "primary issue of concern" that the Department of Defense has a "perceived role in satanic cult activities, which qualify in and of themselves as very damaging exercises in mind control."
The smoothing over of the national security state's cult connections is handled by academic "experts."
A forerunner of the Foundation is based in Buffalo, New York, the Committee for Scientific Examination of Religion, best known for the publication of Satanism in America: How the Devil Got More Than His Due, widely considered to be a legitimate study. The authors turn up their noses to ritual abuse, dismissing the hundreds of reports around the country as mass "hysteria." Cult researcher Carl Raschke reported in a March, 1991 article that he coincidentally met Hudson Frew, a Satanism in America co-author, at a Berkeley bookstore. "Frew was wearing a five-pointed star, or pentagram, the symbol of witchcraft and earth magic," Raschke says. Shawn Carlson, a contributor to the book, is identified by the media as a "physicist." Yet he runs the Gaia Press in El Cerrito, California, a New Age publishing house with an emphasis on witchcraft and occultic lore. Carlson is also a "scientific and technical consultant" to the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal" (a promoter of the "false memory" theory of ritual abuse and UFO abductions), publisher of the Skeptical Inquirer.
The FMS Foundation is no less eccentric. Within two years of its founding, it was clear that the Foundation leadership was far from disinterested on the workings of childhood memory, and concealed a secret sexual and political agenda.
FMSF founder Ralph Underwager, director of the Institute of Psychological Therapies in Minnesota, was forced to resign in 1993. Underwager (a former Lutheran pastor) and his wife Hollida Wakefield publish a journal, Issues in Child Abuse Allegations, written by and for child abuse "skeptics." His departure from the False Memory Syndrome Foundation was hastened by a remark in an interview, appearing in an Amsterdam journal for pedophiles, that it was "God's Will" adults engage in sex with children. (His wife Hollida remained on the Foundation's board after he left.) As it happens, holy dispensation for pedophiles is the exact credo of the Children of God cult. It was fitting, then, when Underwager filed an affidavit on behalf of cult members tried in France in 1992, insisting that the accused were positively "not guilty of abuse upon children." In the interview, he prevailed upon pedophiles everywhere to shed stigmatization as "wicked and reprehensible" users of children.
In keeping with the Foundation's creative use of statistics, Dr. Underwager told a group of British reporters in 1994 that "scientific evidence" proved 60% of all women molested as children believed the experience was "good for them."
Dr. Underwager invariably sides with the defense. His grandiloquent orations have graced courtrooms around the world, often by satellite. Defense lawyers for Woody Allen turned to him, he boasts, when Mia Farrow accused her estranged husband of molesting their seven year-old daughter. Underwager is a virtual icon to the Irish Catholic lobby in Dublin, which raised its hoary hackles against a child abuse prevention program in the Irish Republic. He was, until his advocacy of pedophila tarnished an otherwise glittering reputation, widely quoted in the press, dismissing ritual child abuse as a hysterical aberration.
He is the world's foremost authority on false memory, but in the courtroom he is repeatedly exposed as a charlatan. In 1988, a trial court decision in New York State held that Dr. Underwager was "not qualified to render any opinion as to whether or not (the victim) was sexually molested." In 1990 his testimony on memory was ruled improper "in the absence of any evidence that the results of Underwager's work had been accepted in the scientific community." And In Minnesota a judge ruled that Underwager's theories on "learned memory" were the same as "having an expert tell the jury that (the victim) was not telling the truth."
Peter and Pamela Freyd, executive directors of the Foundation, joined forces with Underwager in 1991, and their story is equally wretched. Jennifer Freyd, their daughter, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, openly leveled accusations of abuse against her parents at an August 1993 mental health conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
"My family of origin was troubled in many observable ways, " she said. "I refer to the things that were never 'forgotten' and 'recovered,' but to things that we all knew about." She gave her father's alcoholism as an example. "During my childhood, my father sometimes discussed his own experiences of being sexually abused as an 11 year-old boy, and called himself a 'kept boy.'"
Peter Freyd graduated to male prostitution as an adolescent.
At the age of 13, Jennifer Freyd composed a poem about her father's nocturnal visits:
I am caught in a web,
A web of deep, deep terror.
she wrote. The diaries of her youth chronicle the "reactions and feelings (guilt, shame and terror) of a troubled girl and young woman. My parents oscillated between denying these symptoms and feelings ... to using knowledge of these same symptoms and feelings to discredit me."
"My father," she says, "told various people that I was brain damaged." The accusation was unlikely. At the time, Jennifer Freyd was a graduate student on a National Science Foundation fellowship. She has taught at Cornell and received numerous research awards. The "brain damage" apologia did not wash. Her mother suggested that Jennifer's memories were "confabulations," and faulted therapeutic intervention. Pamela Freyd turned to her own psychiatrist, Dr. Harold Lief, currently an advisory board member of the Foundation, to diagnose Jennifer.
"He explained to me that he did not believe I was abused," Jennifer recalls. Dr. Lief's diagnosis was based on his belief that Peter Freyd's fantasies were strictly "homoerotic." Of course, his daughter furrows a brow at the assumption that homoerotic fantasies or a heterosexual marriage exclude the possibility of child molestation. Lief's skewed logic is a trademark of the Foundation.
He is a close colleague of the CIA's Martin Orne. Dr. Lief, a former major in the Army medical corps, joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1968, the peak of federally-funded behavioral modification experiments at Holmesburg Prison. Dr. Orne consulted with him on several studies in hypnotic programming. His academic writing reveals a peculiar range of professional interests, including "Orgasm in the Postoperative Transsexual" for Archives of Sexual Behavior, and an exploration of the possibility of life after death for a journal on mental diseases edited by Foundation fellow Paul McHugh. Lief is a director of the Center for Sexuality and Religion, past president of the Sex Information and Education Council.
And an original board member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Two others, Jon Baron from Penn U. and Ray Hyman (an executive editor of the aforementioned Skeptical Inquirer), a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, resigned from the board after Jennifer Freyd went public with her account of childhood abuse, and the facetious attempts of her parents and their therapist to discredit her. They were replaced by David Dinges, co-director - with the ubiquitous Martin Orne - of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
"At times I am flabbergasted that my memory is considered 'false,'" Jennifer says, "and my alcoholic father's memory is considered rational and sane." She does not, after all, remember impossible abuses: "I remember incest in my father's house.... My first memories came when I was at home a few hours after my second session with my therapist, a licensed clinical psychologist working within an established group in a large and respected medical clinic.
"During that second visit to my therapist's office, I expressed great anxiety about the upcoming holiday visit from my parents. My therapist asked about half way into the session, whether I had ever been sexually abused. I was immediately thrown into a strange state. No one had ever asked me such a question. I responded, 'no, but...' I went home and within a few hours I was shaking uncontrollably, overwhelmed with intense and terrible flashbacks." Jennifer asks herself why her parents are believed. "In the end, is it precisely because I was abused that I am to be discredited despite my personal and professional success?"
Pamela Freyd published an open letter defending her husband in Ralph Underwager's Issues in Child Abuse Accusations in 1991. It was reprinted in Confabulations, a book published a year later. Laced with lubricious sentiment, the book bemoans the "destruction of families" brought on by false child abuse accusations, and maligns "cult-like" support groups and feminists, or "lesbian cults." Executive director Freyd often refers to the feminist groups that have taken up the cause of child abuse survivors as "lesbians," after the bizarre Dr. Underwager, who claims, "these women may be jealous that males are able to love each other, be comrades, friends, be close, intimate."
Pamela Freyd's account of the family history, Jennifer insists, is patently false. In an electronic message from her father, he openly acknowledged that in his version of the story "fictional elements were deliberately inserted."
"'Fictional' is rather an astounding choice of words," Jennifer observed at the Ann Arbor conference. The article written by her parents contends that Jennifer was denied tenure at another university due to a lack of published research. "In fact," Jennifer counters, "I moved to the University of Oregon in 1987, just four years after receiving my Ph.D. to accept a tenured position as associate professor in the psychology department, one of the world's best psychology departments.... My mother sent the Jane Doe article to my colleagues during my promotion year - that is, the year my case for promotion to full professor was being considered. I was absolutely mortified to learn of this violation of my privacy and this violation of truth."
Manipulative tactics are another Foundation imprimatur. Lana Alexander, editor of a newsletter for survivors of child sexual abuse, observes that "many people view the false memory syndrome theory as a calculated defense strategy developed by perpetrators and the lawyers and expert witnesses who defend them."
A legitimizing barrage of stories in the press has shaped public opinion and warmed the clime for defense attorneys. The concept of false memory serves the same purpose as Holocaust denial. It shapes opinion. Unconscionable crimes are obstructed, the accused is endowed with the status of martyr, the victim reviled.
The emphasis on image is obvious in "How Do We Know We are Not Representing Pedophiles," an article written for the February 29, 1992 FMS Foundation Newsletter by Pamela Freyd. In it, she derides the suggestion that many members of the group could be molesters because "we are a good-looking bunch of people, greying hair, well dressed, healthy, smiling; just about every person who has attended is someone you would surely find interesting and want to count as a friend."