Dr. Ewen Cameron headed the following institutions at various times: the Quebec Psychiatric Association, the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the Association for Biological Psychiatry and founded the World Psychiatric Association.
Interestingly, considering that he was apparently at the top of his field, the evidence is that he had little if any regard for ethics or a particularly realistic grasp of psychiatry. In the years 1957 – 1960 he conducted CIA-funded research on human beings in the guise of psychiatric therapy using high doses of LSD, sensory deprivation, drug-induced comas, electric shocks (including electro-convulsive therapy administered at many times therapeutic doses), and attempts at programming using tape loops. While in some cases his subjects were severely disabled schizophrenics (and thus experimental treatment might have been justifiable), some suffered from what probably would have been temporary conditions, such as post-natal depression.
This research was conducted at the Allan Memorial Institute at Canada’s McGill University and was funded by a grant from the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, a front organisation used by the CIA to fund outside research in aid of their MKULTRA project, whose mission was to investigate possibilities of mind control. MKULTRA involved, among other things, drugging with LSD of unwilling human subjects.
Some of Cameron’s subjects were kept in a drug-induced stupor for as long as 90 days, with tape-loop messages playing 16 hours a day.
Cameron was attempting to break down the psyches of his subjects, a process he called “depatterning,” planning to then rebuild them himself from scratch. His theories were without any scientific basis whatsoever, and the only outcome of his experimentation was brain damage, psychological trauma, memory loss, and in some cases, incontinence in his subjects.
Mr. L. McDonald was 23 years old when he was experimented on by Cameron. 25 years later he had this to say:
I have no memory of existing prior to 1963, and the recollections I do have of events of the following years until 1966 are fuzzy and few.... My parents were introduced to me... I did not know them.
In 1967, Cameron died of a heart attack while mountain climbing.
In 1979, Member of Canadian Parliament David Orlikow read an article in the New York Times about Cameron’s research that linked it to CIA funding. This was of particular interest to Orlikow as his wife, Val Orlikow had been one of the subjects. He initiated a lawsuit on behalf of his wife, and eight other survivors, against the U.S. government, who settled out of court in 1988 for $750,000.
The Canadian government has paid out about $8 million in compensation.
(It should be noted that any monetary figures in this writeup are approximate, as dollar sums referred to could be Canadian or U.S. currency.)
A fascinating history of Orlikow v. U.S. by one of the plaintiff’s attorneys can be read online at: