Victim owed compensation in
CIA case, judge told
Montreal woman who was experimented on should receive
reparations, lawyer says
By Dene Moore
Press" -- - MONTREAL -- Patients were
put in isolation, tied down or drugged, and subjected to
hours and hours of taped recordings meant to brainwash
them at the behest of the Central Intelligence Agency.
They were subjected to massive electroshocks,
experimental drugs and LSD, most of them unwilling and
unknowingly part of the U.S. spy agency's
experimentation, a Federal Court judge was told
Now it's time for the federal government to compensate
those victims, lawyer Alan Stein argued.
Mr. Stein is seeking court approval for a class-action
lawsuit on behalf of his client, Janine Huard, one of
the hundreds of patients of Ewen Cameron to be subjected
to the Cold War-era experiments.
"She never knew that she was being subjected to these
experiments or that she was being used by Dr. Cameron
and his staff as a guinea pig," Mr. Stein told the
Dr. Cameron pioneered "psychic driving," by which he
believed he could erase the memories of patients and
rebuild their psyches without psychiatric defect.
The idea intrigued the CIA, which recruited Dr. Cameron
to experiment with mind-control techniques beginning in
1950. The experiments carried out at the Allan Memorial
Institute at McGill University were jointly funded by
the CIA and the Canadian government.
They were part of a larger CIA program called MK-ULTRA,
which also saw LSD administered to U.S. prison inmates
and patrons of brothels without their knowledge,
according to testimony before a 1977 U.S. Senate
Ms. Huard, a petite great-grandmother who will be 79 at
the end of the month, was a patient of Dr. Cameron three
separate times from 1951 to 1962.
She said she was drugged, shocked and forced to listen
to recorded messages for hours on end, day after day.
"It was torture," she said outside the court yesterday.
Ms. Huard said it left her unable to care for her four
children and plagued with migraines and memory loss.
Ms. Huard was one of nine Canadian victims who received
nearly $67,000 (U.S.) from the CIA in 1988 to compensate
her for her suffering.
But her claim for compensation from the federal
government, which jointly funded the experiments, was
rejected three times.
Frederic Paquin, the lawyer for the federal
Attorney-General, said the government does not contest
that Ms. Huard underwent the treatments she claims.
"It's in the medical record," Mr. Paquin told the court.
But he argued it's too late for a lawsuit, more than
four decades after Dr. Cameron's death and more than a
decade after her claim was rejected.
In 1994, 77 patients were awarded $100,000 each from the
federal government, but more than 250 others were denied
compensation because they were not "totally depatterned."
Although a 2004 federal appeal court decision overruled
that criterion in another patient's case and awarded her
the $100,000, the Crown has stood by the original
decisions to deny Ms. Huard's claim.
Ms. Huard's lawyers argued that she did suffer serious
harm and failed to file a lawsuit earlier only because
she didn't have enough money.
"It's unbelievable that this took place," Mr. Stein told
The Crown told the judge that it's difficult to pass
judgment today on the treatments of yesterday.
Electroshock therapy is still in use, Mr. Paquin told
the court, and lobotomies were once common.
"We haven't compensated people who received lobotomies
during that era, either," he told the court.
A decision on whether the application can proceed is
expected at a later date
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