John Whitehead's Commentary
Masters of Deceit: The Government’s Propaganda of Fear, Mind Control & Brain Warfare
“It is the function of mass agitation to exploit all the grievances, hopes, aspirations, prejudices, fears, and ideals of all the special groups that make up our society, social, religious, economic, racial, political. Stir them up. Set one against the other. Divide and conquer. That’s the way to soften up a democracy.”― J. Edgar Hoover, Masters of Deceit
The U.S. government has become a master of deceit.
It’s all documented, too.
This is a government that lies, cheats, steals, spies, kills, maims, enslaves, breaks the laws, overreaches its authority, and abuses its power at almost every turn; treats its citizens like faceless statistics and economic units to be bought, sold, bartered, traded, and tracked; and wages wars for profit, jails its own people for profit, and has no qualms about spreading its reign of terror abroad.
Worse, this is a government that has become almost indistinguishable from the evil it claims to be fighting, whether that evil takes the form of terrorism, torture, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity.
With every passing day, it becomes painfully clear that this is not a government that can be trusted with your life, your loved ones, your livelihood or your freedoms.
Just recently, for example, the Pentagon was compelled to order a sweeping review of clandestine U.S. psychological warfare operations (psy ops) conducted through social media platforms. The investigation comes in response to reports suggesting that the U.S. military has been creating bogus personas with AI-generated profile pictures and fictitious media sites on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to manipulate social media users.
Psychological warfare, as the U.S. Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group explained in a recruiting video released earlier this year, enables the government to pull the strings, turn everything they touch into a weapon, be everywhere, deceive, persuade, change, influence, and inspire.
Of the many weapons in the government’s vast arsenal, psychological warfare (or psy ops) can take many forms: mind control experiments, behavioral nudging, propaganda.
In the 1950s, MK-ULTRA, the mind control program developed under CIA director Allen Dulles as part of his brain warfare Cold War campaigns, subjected hundreds of unsuspecting American civilians and military personnel to doses of LSD, some having the hallucinogenic drug slipped into their drinks at the beach, in city bars, at restaurants. For Operation Midnight Climax, the CIA hired prostitutes to lure men into a bugged room, where they would be dosed with LSD and observed having sex
As Brianna Nofil explains, “MK-Ultra’s ‘mind control’ experiments generally centered around behavior modification via electro-shock therapy, hypnosis, polygraphs, radiation, and a variety of drugs, toxins, and chemicals.”
The CIA spent nearly $20 million on its MKULTRA program, reportedly as a means of programming people to carry out assassinations and, to a lesser degree, inducing anxieties and erasing memories, before it was supposedly shut down.
As one study reported, detainees held in CIA safe-houses abroad “were literally interrogated to death in experimental methods combining drugs, hypnosis and torture, to attempt to master brainwashing techniques and memory erasing.”
Similarly, the top-secret Montauk Project, the inspiration for the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, allegedly was working to develop mind-control techniques that would then be tested out on locals in a nearby village, triggering crime waves or causing teenagers to congregate.
As journalist Lorraine Boissoneault concludes, “Despite MK-ULTRA violating ethical norms for human experiments, the legacy of brainwashing experiments continued to live on in U.S. policy. The same methods that had once been used to train American soldiers ended up being used to extract information from terrorists in Abu Ghraib, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.”
Fast forward to the present day, and it’s clear that the government—aided and abetted by technological advances and scientific experimentation—has updated its psy ops warfare for a new era. For instance, the government has been empowered to use its ever-expanding arsenal of weapons and technologies to influence behaviors en masse and control the populace.
It’s a short hop, skip and a jump from a behavioral program that tries to influence how people respond to paperwork to a government program that tries to shape the public’s views about other, more consequential matters. Thus, increasingly, governments around the world—including in the United States—are relying on “nudge units” to steer citizens in the direction the powers-that-be want them to go, while preserving the appearance of free will.
Back in 2014, for example, a Fusion Center in Washington State (a Dept. of Homeland Security-linked data collection clearinghouse that shares information between state, local and federal agencies) inadvertently released records on remote mind control tactics (the use of “psycho-electronic” weapons to control people from a distance or subject them to varying degrees of pain).
Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic could easily be considered psychological warfare disguised as a pandemic threat. As science writer David Robson explains: “Fears of contagion lead us to become more conformist and tribalistic... Daily reminders of disease may even sway our political affiliations… Various experiments have shown that we become more conformist and respectful of convention when we feel the threat of a disease… the evocative images of a pandemic led [participants in an experiment] to value conformity and obedience over eccentricity or rebellion.”
This is how you persuade a populace to voluntarily march in lockstep with a police state and police themselves (and each other): by ratcheting up the fear-factor, meted out one carefully calibrated crisis at a time, and teaching them to distrust any who diverge from the norm.
This is not a new experiment in mind control.
Add the government’s inclination to monitor online activity and police so-called “disinformation,” and you have the makings of a restructuring of reality straight out of Orwell’s 1984, where the Ministry of Truth polices speech and ensures that facts conform to whatever version of reality the government propagandists embrace.
This “policing of the mind” is exactly the danger author Jim Keith warned about when he predicted that “information and communication sources are gradually being linked together into a single computerized network, providing an opportunity for unheralded control of what will be broadcast, what will be said, and ultimately what will be thought.”
We’ve already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called “hateful” thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.
The end goal of these mind-control campaigns—packaged in the guise of the greater good—is to see how far the American people will allow the government to go in re-shaping the country in the image of a totalitarian police state.
The government’s fear-mongering is yet another key element in its mind-control programming.
It’s a simple enough formula. National crises, global pandemics, reported terrorist attacks, and sporadic shootings leave us in a constant state of fear. The emotional panic that accompanies fear actually shuts down the prefrontal cortex or the rational thinking part of our brains. In other words, when we are consumed by fear, we stop thinking.
A populace that stops thinking for themselves is a populace that is easily led, easily manipulated and easily controlled whether through propaganda, brainwashing, mind control, or just plain fear-mongering.
Fear not only increases the power of government, but it also divides the people into factions, persuades them to see each other as the enemy and keeps them screaming at each other so that they drown out all other sounds. In this way, they will never reach consensus about anything and will be too distracted to notice the police state closing in on them until the final crushing curtain falls.
This Machiavellian scheme has so ensnared the nation that few Americans even realize they are being brainwashed—manipulated—into adopting an “us” against “them” mindset. All the while, those in power—bought and paid for by lobbyists and corporations—move their costly agendas forward.
This unseen mechanism of society that manipulates us through fear into compliance is what American theorist Edward L. Bernays referred to as “an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”
It was almost 100 years ago when Bernays wrote his seminal work Propaganda:
“We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of... In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, to this invisible government of rulers who operate behind the scenes—the architects of the Deep State—we are mere puppets on a string, to be brainwashed, manipulated and controlled.
For years now, the powers-that-be—those politicians and bureaucrats who think like tyrants and act like petty dictators regardless of what party they belong to—have attempted to brainwash us into believing that we have no rights: to think for ourselves, make decisions about our health, protect our homes and families and businesses, act in our best interests, demand accountability and transparency from government, or generally operate as if we are in control of our own lives.
Well, the government is wrong.
We have every right, and you know why? Because, as the Declaration of Independence states, we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights—to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness—that no government can take away from us.
It’s time we started reminding the government that “we the people” are the ones in charge.