Lies Debunked: Brainwashing debunked


Scientology's doublecross

Scientology's® Claims

From: Public Relations (
Subject: Brainwashing debunked -
Date: 1999/03/31


Factually, there is no such thing as brainwashing in the absence of torture and physical coercion. For two decades, courts, government agencies and even members of the American Psychological Association have debunked the entire notion that brainwashing is possible without physical duress.

Who is really doing the brainwashing?

The term brainwashing was coined during the Korean War to describe the brutal tortures used to force captured U.S. servicemen to make statements denouncing their country. Such statements were then used in anti-American propaganda efforts to demoralize American troops fighting in Korea and their families at home.

Brainwashing provided an explanation for how a loyal American soldier could apparently turn against his country. And it consoled those at home who could not confront the degree of torture and coercion that would have to be applied to provoke such a turn.

The psychiatric industry, leading exponents of the Cold War, lached onto "brainwashing" as a means to obtain huge government grants in an era of fear that the Koreans could accomplish this while America could not.

Today, the same tactics that brought loyal American prisoners to their knees in Korea are used in a modified form in "deprogramming." Kidnap-deprogramming victims are held against their will, humiliated, harassed, deprived of sleep and food, drugged, assaulted and forced to recant their faith.

Deprogrammers do not go as far as the Korean torturers did, but their methods echo that earlier time.

The modern motive is not just propaganda, it is profit.

Convincing parents to pay for an assault on their own children is but one part of this money-making racket for deprogrammers. After a deprogramming victim has recanted, he or she is often convinced to launch a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the former religion.

Psychiatrist Robert Lifton was one of the first to espouse the concept. After a study of Korean tactics, Lifton proclaimed himself an expert on brainwashing and, later, "cults." His 1957 paper, "Thought Reform of Chinese Intellectuals," was one of the earliest tracts on the subject and established him as an "expert" on brainwashing.

Through the 1970s, Lifton's opinions and writings were quoted in books ttacking religious movements. Lifton attempted to apply the results of his brainwashing studies to more than just the field of religion. His opinions were quoted in the Patricia Hearst trial. Even methods used to raise children were described by Lifton as a form of brainwashing.

Scholars, however, have thoroughly renounced Lifton's theories of brainwashing and "thought reform," characterizing them as "far-fetched," "absurd" and "cannot be taken seriously."

While scholars have rejected Lifton's work, it is not surprising that he found sympathetic ears in a group whose members included former Nazi psychiatrists active in formulating and propagating Nazi ideas of racial hygiene. In 1978, Lifton addressed a conference on youth religions sponsored by the German Unio of Child Psychiatry, whose members at that time included Hildegard Hetzer, H.A. Schmitz and Franz Kapp.

Hetzer was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of children who were "not Aryan enough," according to Polish documentation of Nazi war crimes. Schmitz wrote a dissertation in 1942 on the dangers of mixing races since, he claimed, certain races have hereditary weaknesses. Kapp wrote an article in 1939 calling for mass sterilization.

Who is really doing the brainwashing?

Answer - Psychatrists

And now for the truth


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