My father endured secret brainwashing experiment; he came back a totally different person
Published: Mar 15, 2022 10:56 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Editor's Note:

Among the victims of the CIA's MK Ultra project is the family of Julie Tanny (Tanny), whose father was coercively brainwashed as part of the Montreal Experiments in Canada back in the 1950s. The experiments were funded by the Canadian government and covertly in part by the CIA. She is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against five defendants - the US government, the Canadian government, the McGill University health center, the Royal Victoria Hospital, and McGill University, as her family was irreparably destroyed by the program. She shared her story with the Global Times (GT) in a recent interview.

GT: You father underwent brainwashing treatment for three months in 1957 by Dr. Ewen Cameron. Why did he go? 

My father had what's called trigeminal neuralgia, which is a pain in the side of the face that goes into the jaw. Apparently, it's excruciating because I actually know somebody who has it and just recovered from it. 

They believed at the time that it was psychosomatic. So they sent him to a psychiatrist. My father was very against it, but he did whatever he had to do to get rid of the pain because he just couldn't function. 

The doctor that he went to see was working with Dr. Cameron on this program in the hospital, which we didn't know. He put my father into the programs. We don't know what they wanted to do with him, but we do know that his treatment was different in that my father was not a psychiatric patient. That's what made him different from all the other ones. 

GT: What "treatment" did he undergo?

What they did was as soon as he was admitted to the hospital, they immediately put him on insulin. My father was not a diabetic. I know that the insulin put him in a coma. It was part of the sleep treatment where they put him to sleep, and after it he was interviewed by the psychiatrist, then they would take clips of some of the things he said and run them on a tape, 24-7 under his pillow. It would be going around nonstop in his head, brainwashing him basically. But what they would do was they would give him shock treatments, but not the regular shock treatments they give today. These are called Page-Russells. It was a machine invented by a Mr. Page and Mr. Russell. It was about 75 times the strength of a regular shock treatment. It was designed to wipe out the brain. And the tape was to replace it with different thoughts. 

I don't really know what they were trying to do, but I know in my father's case, they said they had written notes like "this is as far as we can take him" or "we have to put him back in because he still has ties to his former life." It's hard to know, but whatever they were trying to do, it wasn't good.

GT: How did you know these details? Did your father share what they did to him with you or did you acquire the information through other means? 

No. What happened was I was about 5 years old at the time, so I definitely remember what he was like before and what he was like after - it was two different people. My father was very engaged and very hands-on with us. All his free time was spent with his children. And after he came home, he didn't even know who we were. When we were at my mother's for dinner in 1978, when it came on the news that Mrs. Orlikow, who was the wife of a member of parliament in Winnipeg, was suing the CIA and we were all sitting around watching the news and my mother turned to my brother and said, go to the hospital and get dad's records tomorrow. 

And I was like, what are you talking about? Because no one ever told us what happened to my father or why he changed so much. The problem with that was my father had a massive stroke in 1977 and was left unable to communicate. He couldn't speak, he couldn't write, he couldn't read. 

And once I had found out about really what happened to him in 1978, it was too late to have that conversation with him. So it was never talked about. Never. Even after we found out. 

Julie Tanny's father Charles Tanny Photo: Courtesy of Julie Tanny

Julie Tanny's father Charles Tanny Photo: Courtesy of Julie Tanny

GT: How severely did this affect you and your family? 

I think that we started off as a very happy family with the father who was always busy, building a skating rink in the backyard and taking us to the ice rink in the park across the street, and taking us to the amusement park every now and then. 

And all that, everything ended when he came back from the hospital. He came back very angry - physically violent. I asked my brother, what was it like to grow up in our house? And he said empty. 

GT: What prompted your fight for justice? 

A lot of things happened to push us to do this. First of all, when my father had his stroke, the doctors couldn't find a reason; he didn't have a blood clot or high blood pressure. What happened to him was he had an artery that collapsed. And recent studies or pretty recent studies have shown that these particular shock treatments that my father had create heart attacks and stroke. 

My mother had to work till the day she died to support herself. And when my mother passed away, there was nothing. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer very shortly after my father died. I don't know what she would have lived on had she lived longer. And I guess it's also what we should have inherited and didn't. So there are a lot of factors. 

I know that in 1992, my mother received $100,000 from the federal government, but it cost, we figured out, my mother over $2 million in cash to have helped to take care of my father. 

So what was $100,000? When a temporary short-term head of the CIA read about what had happened, he insisted that the CIA found all the victims and compensated them properly and told them this twice. And the CIA both times admitted that they should and they will, but of course they never did. And then there's just the justice of it. It's amazing to me that they've never compensated people. They've never bothered to look at the damage [such experiment] did to families. 

GT: You and the other victims formed the group Survivors Allies Against Government Abuse in 2017. How many families are involved in the group? 

I've never counted how many families are members, but I can tell you, as far as family members are concerned, it's got to be over 500. But there's also a lot I believe that have not come forward yet, because I'm always meeting more people. 

GT: You are the lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit. Do you think a class action lawsuit can exert more pressure than individual lawsuits? 

Definitely. First of all, I always believe their strength and numbers. But also to do this, there are very few lawyers, if any, who were willing to take on the work for one client. There's so much work to be done. We were very lucky to get the lawyers that we got. 

GT: What difficulties have you met during the process of executing your lawsuit? 

I think the first thing is the government. When Justin Trudeau came into office, one of the first things he did was create these privacy acts so that nobody could get access to any kind of information, so that nobody could sue the government. 

So, when people are trying to find medical records, he makes it very difficult because they found 1 million different ways to deny people records under really ridiculous circumstances. 

Like we know it wasn't just Dr. Cameron, it was everybody who worked at the hospital - the nurses, all the doctors. So the idea that he would have to be the lead doctor on all these cases is ridiculous. We used to go to McGill University and do research and we found out a lot of information through that research. But once we filed, they hid everything. We would get mountains of files before we filed. And once we filed the lawsuit, you go and you get a file about this thick (1 cm). It's just their way of protecting themselves, I guess. 

So for me, we've had the records for a very long time. I wouldn't read them, but we had them. But there are a lot of people who have not yet been given that information. It's difficult for them.

GT: Are there still such experiments in Canada or the US, as far as you know?

We have a website and we've done things. So people have seen what we're doing. I get so many emails from people who say they're being experimented on. I guess today there're different ways of mind control that are a lot more progressive than what they did in the past. It's hard to know. I wouldn't be at all surprised. Governments are governments. I don't think all that much has changed. Our world has become all about power and control. 

So do I think there's that going on? Sure, but not anything like the primitive way they tried in the 50s. But I do get a lot of emails.