Stanley Kubrick approached many controversial subjects within the context of his films. He often alluded to the power and corruption of the elite, as well as the mechanisms used to maintain their power. A common theme in his films, such as “A Clockwork Orange” and “Eyes Wide Shut”, is the notion of state sponsored, often trauma-based, mind control. Before I look at these films in a little more detail, it is important to establish some generic details regarding the mind control subject.
There exists a documented history of state sponsored mind control instigated by (although far from exclusively) the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA came into being, into 1947, as a direct result of the work and influences of The Tavistock Institute - specifically the CIA’s precursor - the OSS.
Thomas Powers, “The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA”, New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1979.
The CIA was forbidden from having any domestic police or internal security powers and was authorized only to operate ‘overseas’. In many regard, this rule of thumb was disregarded from the outset. Early examples of the agency’s involvement with mind control experiments include: Project Bluebird – believed to have been officially formed to counter Soviet advances in brainwashing. The extent and success of early forays is a little uncertain, although the mainstream belief has always been one of a “varied success rate” and “poor initial test results.” If this was the case, then it certainly didn’t stop the practice; in fact it flourishedhttp://www.wanttoknow.info/bluebird10pg
From the earliest stages, it appears that these projects aimed to study methods ‘through which control of an individual may be attained’. Experimentation included ‘narco-hypnosis’ which involved the use of mind altering drugs and hypnotic programming. Specialised teams were created in the CIA to travel all over the world, using newly developed interrogation and programming techniques. The practice also involved a variety of narcotics (heroin, sodium pentothal, marijuana, LSD, etc.)
Some degree of disclosure of these operations came to light in 1975 when the existence of MKULTRA was exposed by the Church Committee of the US Congress, and a Gerald Ford commission to investigate CIA activities within the United States. According to Wikipedia, “Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKUltra files destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms' destruction order.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKUltra
"An Interview with Richard Helms" (Central Intelligence Agency – 05/08/2007):https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol44no4/html/v44i4a07p_0021.htm
FOIA MKULTRA Document Archive:http://www.abuse-of-power.org/foia-mkultra-document-archive/
Various Freedom of Information (FOI) requests eventually resulted in a small number of documents being released. MKULTRA came into being (apparently) on 13th April 1953 – although a number of insiders give an earlier date. CIA documentation describes MKULTRA as an ‘umbrella project’ with 149 ‘sub-projects’. These sub-projects include illegal and unsolicited testing of drugs, altered states of consciousness, and implementation of electronics components. Some experiments also involved “remote activation and control” of living organisms.
The phenomenon of state sponsored mind control programming does not begin and end with MKULTRA though. Although MKULTRA is perhaps the most well-known and documented, a myriad of project names (official and unofficial) have surfaced over the years, begging the question of just how far reaching these practices go.
Whilst it is believed by many that the overall goal of these projects was to brainwash individuals to become couriers and spies, some alleged accounts of extreme programming (such as Cathy O’Brien and Brice Taylor) involved examples of physical and sexual abuse and torture, as well as being subjected to occult and ritualistic ceremonies and practices. They loosely referred to their conditioning as “Monarch Programming”.
There are claims that the practice encompassed out of body experiences, and time / space travel. It is also believed that (in some cases) the E.T. contact / abduction phenomenon is a result of some aspect of these programmes. Some victims alleged that part of their programming was conducted at NASA facilities.
There is also an area of study which analyses the behaviour and associations of people who occupy the public stage. Dave McGowan, author of “Inside the Laurel Canyon”, presents a compelling argument – which connects various “agenda players” to famous individuals (artists, musicians, actors, etc.) who lived in or frequented the Laurel Canyon region of California from the early 1960s onward. These connections include many hallmarks of the mind control phenomenon and counter intelligence operations of the period, as well as ritualistic and occult practices.http://www.davesweb.cnchost.com/
As a little aside, I found it interesting to discover that one particularly notable denizen of the Laurel Canyon region during this period was science fiction author Robert Heinlein. Heinlein was dubbed one of the “big three” – himself, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. His book “Stranger in a Strange Land” (1961) was hugely influential with many connected to the Canyon scene. (Riggenbach, Jeff. "Was Robert A. Heinlein a Libertarian?" - Mises Daily, June 2, 2010. Ludwig von Mises Institute.)
It is possible that much of what has been “disclosed” regarding mind control research may actually be a cover in itself – hiding techniques and practices that are unfathomable to the average person. These may encompass the deeper corners of the energy paradigm or extreme levels of consciousness and reality. Although some researchers have posed this hypothesis, it currently resides somewhat within the domain of speculation. Never the less, there are some worrying pointers that deserve our attention. Often times, research and development of technology from the likes of Lockheed Skunkworks and DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) – groups with an intricate association to the energy cover-up, for example - are baffling to say the least. Over the years, various agenda-driven agencies and groups have developed techniques such as “trans-cranial magnetic stimulation”, “microwave effects on the blood brain barrier” and “synthetic telepathy”.
On December 19th, 1971 – less than four years before the spectre of MKULTRA mind control first crawled into the mainstream spotlight - Stanley Kubrick unleashed “A Clockwork Orange” upon the American viewing public. It was released in the UK on January 13th, 1972. The film squarely tackled the paradigm of “free will” versus “state control” – in this case, the morality and dynamics of state sponsored behavioural modification and trauma-based mind control. The film’s science fiction trappings and futuristic settings are also mildly dystopian in nature.
“Alex (Malcolm McDowell), the main character, is a charismatic, sociopathic delinquent whose interests include classical music (especially Beethoven), rape, and what is termed "ultra-violence". He leads a small gang of thugs (Pete, Georgie, and Dim), whom he calls his Droogs. The film chronicles the horrific crime spree of his gang, his capture, and attempted rehabilitation via controversial psychological conditioning.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clockwork_Orange_(film)
The film, adapted from Anthony Burgess' 1962 novella of the same name, presented a disturbing and violent image of a dystopian, future Britain. Kubrick, writing in Saturday Review, described the film as: "...A social satire dealing with the question of whether behavioural psychology and psychological conditioning are dangerous new weapons for a totalitarian government to use to impose vast controls on its citizens and turn them into little more than robots." http://seriouslyforreal.com/celebrities/a-clockwork-orange-1971-2/
In many regards, Kubrick played with the subconscious of the viewer. Malcom MacDowell’s narration of the film forced the viewer to become unwittingly sympathetic to the central protagonist. This is unsettling, given that the character is an inherently unsympathetic, guiltless, and violent psychopath, rapist and murderer. In fact, the design and tone of the film depicts an overall landscape that is largely metaphorically devoid of humanity. Such aspects underline Kubrick’s skill as a subtle and subversive director and storyteller.
The central concept of the film (and novella) is rooted in the notion of behavioural psychology (see: research of psychologists John B. Watson or B. F. Skinner’s eponymous “boxes” and the practice of “operant conditioning”) and made manifested via the films’ deux ex machina: “The Ludovico Technique”. As is usually the case, the suggestion of this technique existing outside the narrative framework (in other words, “in the real world”), was dismissed as being nothing more than a “parody” of Aversion Therapy treatment –“in which the patient is exposed to a stimulus while simultaneously being subjected to some form of discomfort. This conditioning is intended to cause the patient to associate the stimulus with unpleasant sensations in order to stop the specific behaviour.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aversion_therapy
The work, upon which “The Ludovico Technique” was based, connects closely with the activities of those involved with The Tavistock Institute and Stanford Research Institute. A number of insiders have stated that “Ludovico” bears a striking resemblance to less publicised techniques once practiced by the CIA. Moreover, some state the technique (name and all) is a real one.
There is much controversy surrounding “A Clockwork Orange”. The realisation of the film was marred by the original state of Burgess’ novella, which originally included a final “hopeful” chapter to the story – where “free will” is shown as having triumphed over state intervention. The 21st (and final) chapter was omitted from the editions published in the United States prior to 1986. The UK version included the final chapter. It is often said that Kubrick allegedly based the film on the US version of the novella (leaving the film with a stark climax) and that he had been previously unaware of the original ending to the story. This was instrumental (perhaps intentionally) in creating a tone that manifested an infamous notoriety to the film. Following release, the UK press seemingly associated a number of instances of violent crimes to the film, claiming that individuals had aped the mannerisms and behaviour of Alex and his gang of Droogs. There was a fierce backlash against the film, often prompted by UK Parliamentary figures, mainstream media watchdogs and the various arms of censorship in the UK.
However, the origins of this furore seem to be mired in speculation. It is uncertain if there really ever were any crimes committed that were purely inspired by the film itself. In the 1999 UK documentary: “Return of a Clockwork Orange”, Robin Duval (then Director of the British Board of Film Classification”) said, “There were allegations it had invited or stimulated some yob gangs. What we don’t know, at this distance, is how true that was. I mean, there’s a… as a regulator – over a very long period of time – one thing I have learned is that it’s not uncommon for somebody who finds themselves in the dock to say ‘well guv’, it’s not my fault, I saw this movie or TV programme and I was lead to it by what I saw’… and it’s quite possible that there was an element of that with ‘A Clockwork Orange.’” (1999 UK documentary: “Still Tickin': The Return of A Clockwork Orange” - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2107788/combined
The producers of this documentary attempted to interview Edward Heath and Jack Straw (both allegedly, according to some researchers, may have helped in some manner to encourage the aforementioned ‘public outcry’), but they declined.
In the end, the film was withdrawn from circulation in the UK and it is from here on that the story becomes decidedly strange. For many years, fingers were pointed in numerous directions blaming all and sundry for the effective “banning” of the film. Even the then Home Secretary of the Conservative Government, Reginald Maudling, was alleged to have played a part.
Minister Demanded Clockwork Screening - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/677288.stm
Furthermore, the whole affair seemed to stoke the fire of film censorship and classification, perhaps even playing a part in the eventual “video nasty” controversy of the early 1980s. It is known that many VHS “pirate” copies of the film were brought into the UK from France, where the film ban was not in place. The “video nasty” phenomenon itself was a decidedly murky affair, involving thinly veiled attempts by the UK government to police the burgeoning home video market, and playing a significant role in the legacy of 21st century copyright laws. It has also been claimed that the whole paradigm was actually an experiment in social engineering: designed to generate a cultural backlash that would actually encourage individuals to embrace greater degrees of depravity and violence in television and film. It is possible that Kubrick was utilised to further any and all of these agendas. However, there is no way to know this for sure.
After Kubrick’s death in 1999, it was reiterated by his family and associates that Kubrick himself was responsible for withdrawing the film. According to film critic Alexander Walker, Kubrick was visited by Hertfordshire police, warned about “the power of the film”, and how “real Droogs could turn up on his doorstep” to threaten his wife and children. It has even been suggested, by some sources, that it was the police who decided that a measure was needed to diffuse “public negativity” toward the film. Thus the decision to pull the film was made. 1999 UK documentary: “Still Tickin': The Return of A Clockwork Orange” - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2107788/combined
In the history of film, it is almost unheard of for the director to withdraw their own film. It only ever really happens if the film is a flop and, even then, the decision is usually made by the studio financing the film. “A Clockwork Orange” was a critical and commercial success, garnering numerous awards and lining the financial pockets of Warner Brothers very nicely. Britain, after America, has always been a key source of box office income for Hollywood. Are we to assume that Warners Bros. simply asked no questions and agreed to the ban? Any film maker that can achieve such a feat must carry a lot of clout in the industry. However, this is Stanley Kubrick we are talking about!
In the late 1970s, Anthony Burgess was interviewed about the negative reaction to the film. He maintained that he had been held partly responsible by critics. However, Burgess firmly blamed Kubrick - specifically citing the non-inclusion of the final chapter of the book as the cause. “I became associated with violence because of the film. If a couple of Nuns were raped in Berwick-on-Tweed, I would always get a telephone call from the newspaper… ‘Mr Burgess, what do you think of this?’ They would never telephone you Stanley… because you keep out of the way!” 1999 UK documentary: “Still Tickin': The Return of A Clockwork Orange” - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2107788/combined
The film remained withdrawn until Kubrick’s death. Almost three decades maintaining the “ban”, is a long time to allow public animosity to die. It was revealed by close friends that just before his death, Kubrick had discussed ending the ban with Warners, Of course, his untimely death followed and Warners decided to re-release the film anyway. A number of researchers have alluded that this may have, in some fashion, added to the oddities that surround his death. As with most of his films, “A Clockwork Orange” not only makes thematic nods to the world of hidden global agendas, it also utilises visual cues. Provided one understands the relevance of secret society symbolism, the significance of the subtle pyramid shape on the brick wall of the prison yard (precisely as Alex is recruited for “The Ludovico Technique”) or the semblance of pyramid motifs and the “Eye of Horus” in the movie’s publicity posters becomes clear.
Despite all this, perhaps Kubrick’s greatest folly was yet to come. When it did, however, it would turn out to be his last.
To be continued...
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Science Fiction and the Hidden Global Agenda: