Post Magazine: Mind Control

Sharon Weinberger
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, January 16, 2007; 11:00 AM

New on the Internet: a community of people who believe the government is beaming voices into their minds. They may be crazy, but the Pentagon has pursued a weapon that can do just that.

In this week's issue of Washington Post Magazine, Sharon Weinberger tells the story of this emerging group of activists who are convinced they are targets of a government mind-control plot .

Sharon Weinberger is a Washington writer and author of "Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon's Scientific Underworld."

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Sharon Weinberger: Hi, thanks for joining me here to talk about my article on mind control. It's clear from reading some of the comments that people have a variety of reactions to the story, and I think that's a good thing.

Just a note on abbreviations-many of the people who claim they are targeted call themselves TIs, short for Targeted Individuals. There are a lot of great questions and comments, and I'll try to get to as many as I can.

Sharon

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Washington, D.C.: In deciding how best to characterize most TIs, isn't the choice between viewing them as psychotics or as authentic victims too limiting? Wouldn't it make more sense to see them largely as normal people who, due to a minor brain condition, happen to hear voices?

After all, hearing (and seeing and other sensory experience) is in the brain, not the sense organs. And perfectly normal people have experienced "phantom pain" for some time after suffering loss of a limb. Indeed, we probably all experience phantom pains every now and again. And we dream, which in effect involves "phantom sight" and "phantom sound." So might not many or most TIs, as well as those claiming religious experiences and UFO abductions, simply be people with a predisposition for non-psychotic phantom experiences?

Sharon Weinberger: Yes, I absolutely, 100 percent agree with you. I think you get to the heart of the problem. The TIs want to characterize themselves as mind control victims, and others want to view them as mentally ill.

Susan Clancy says that people who believe they are kidnapped by aliens are odd people, but very sane. Okay, but what differentiates them from mind control victims? Hearing voices? So, does hearing voices automatically make you insane? I'm not so sure.

Your point raises an issue that is deserving of its own article. Human experience is not clear-cut, and phantom pains, voices, and feelings of being watched or followed are all a part of this experience. Many, many people will experience fleeting auditory hallucinations in their lives. Who hasn't had the feeling of "being watched?"

I think that what we are seeing is a continuum of human experience that ranges from the common to uncommon: Common might be: "I think my neighbor is watching me"; to what some regard as kooky but not psychotic: "I was kidnapped by aliens"; and finally to what many regard as psychotic ("The government is controlling my mind")

Maybe we shouldn't be so quick to judge what's "psychotic." I do think dismissing everyone who believes in mind control as schizophrenic is a mistake-not because I believe they are victims of mind control-but because I feel that's too simplistic.

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Maryland : A friend of mine from Virginia for several years has been experiencing events or symptoms like the ones portrayed in your article-- voices, surveillance, genital attacks. My friend believes that these experiences are real and perhaps government induced.

I have heretofore assumed that my friend's experiences are psychiatric in nature. Your article raises the possibility that something else is going on, or perhaps describes a constellation of psychiatric symptoms that should be studied, diagnosed and treated. I had no idea that this phenomenon was so widespread.

Your article did not go into depth on what psychiatry has to say about the constellation of symptoms that includes auditory hallucinations, the belief that one is being surveilled and genital attacks. What is the current thinking and course of treatment, and how effective are existing treatments?

Sharon Weinberger: You mention that I don't go into depth on what psychiatry has to say about the "constellation of symptoms" and that's a good point. Experts in auditory hallucinations-or at least the ones I spoke with--are very focused on understanding the organic causes, and don't seem to look at the broader context of how people attribute the hallucinations. Those I spoke with had no idea there was an organization for people who believe they are mind control victims. That surprised me. I mean-here is an entire organization-many or most of whom hear voices-and the doctors don't know about it. For some reason, that strikes me as odd.

I think I'm inclined to agree that whatever the cause, yes, the psychiatric community should look at this issue in some greater depth. I don't think there's enough attention given to how people suffering from these problems attribute their symptoms.

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Washington, DC: I was friends with artists at the University of Maryland in the 1980s. One guy I know dropped out of school. He virtually barricaded himself in his house, covering the walls of his room with tinfoil. When we finally talked to him he said that the soviets were beaming voices into his head, voices trying to control his mind, voices telling him to do things. I knew a girl a few years later. She became instantly very religious and tried to convert all of us. We panicked that she was in a cult. She admitted that demons were insider her head, trying to control her mind, telling her to do things. I never saw her after her parents went to get her, but I ran into the first guy again, he was functional after years of lithium and had a job as a graphic designer. Both, I'm convinced, were plain vanilla schizophrenic. By not giving seriously ill people the information they need to stop the voices, you're doing a disservice. They should not be humored or mocked, they should be helped.

Sharon Weinberger: I wanted to make sure I answered your question first, because I think it's terribly important. First, many of the TIs agree with your point-that those who hear voices should immediately seek medical treatment to determine if there is a medical cause. But this also leads to an important point: there are cases where medical treatment is not successful at stopping the voices.

I absolutely agree that the TIs do not deserve to be mocked. But to your point, even if you assume that all of these people are deluded, they are likely not all schizophrenic. First, not all of them hear voices or have hallucinations. Some of them just say they are being followed. Also, there's a large body of scientific literature that suggests that people can have auditory hallucinations in the absence of mental illness. And some of the TIs I spoke with had sought psychiatric treatment, which they claimed didn't help them. Even among psychiatrists and psychologists, there's a diversity of views. Some academics have suggested we should look at "hearing voices" as a natural part of the human experience. I'm not sure what I think of that personally.

Have you ever wondered why your friends were convinced it was the demon or government? Rather than judging the TIs, I want to understand their experiences for what they are, and try to understand why they attribute the experience to external forces.

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Los Angeles, Calif: Why do you think all other major media have been unwilling to touch this subject and why did your editors decide to let you go where no other major media reporter has gone before? Do knowledgeable editors and reporters think that we are a bunch of loonies who aren't worth their attention? Or do they know that we are telling truth which they have been afraid to expose? Does your investigation and the response to your article lead you to believe that we are telling the truth and that our statements deserve further investigation? Bob S.

Sharon Weinberger: I think many newspapers don't write about this because there is a lack of evidence that the government is currently targeting innocent people with mind control weapons.

I think many writers personally avoid this subject because you can quickly become overwhelmed in e-mails from people in desperate need of help. It is very hard to start your day, as I have done for several months now, with e-mails from people who say, "I'm hearing voices in my head and my life is falling apart."

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Silver Spring, Md: Really, other than being non-violent, how are these

people different than paranoid schizophrenic Russell

Weston, who shot his way into the Capitol in 1998

because he thought the government was spying on him

through his Illinois neighbor's satellite dish?

How can one believe these people are rational when they

cannot explain why THEY are being targetted and not

many more likely people (e. g. liberal Democratic

politicians)?

Suppose the issue was whether the government had or is

developing such technology, but simply whether they were

being followed? Wouldn't it be clearer then that these

people are mentally ill?

Sharon Weinberger: You raise an excellent point but I'm not sure I agree with your premise. I think I read that one in five Americans believes their phones are tapped by the NSA. Are they mentally ill? Why not? Many of them are undoubtedly wrong.

I have friends who are absolutely convinced that if they write the words "dirty bomb" in an e-mail that they will be monitored by U.S. intelligence, and they are pretty sane, even if they're wrong.

You say, "other than being nonviolent " as if that were a minor thing. Yes, there are people who hear voices and are violent, but there are also people who hear voices and are not violent. There's also plenty of people who don't hear voices and do very bad things.

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Paranoia, Can Annoy Ya: Suppose the government were beaming into these people's heads the impulse to submit their story to the Post?

Sharon Weinberger: An interesting thought, thanks.

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McLean, Va: Did you even contact noted intelligence and political reporters like Walter Pincus--at the Post--or Bill Gertz or Bob Woodward or Jerry Seper and ask them for help in contacting actual military and intelligence officials who would tell you that these people are sick, and there are no such devices on the planet Earth? For God's sake, it all almost reads like a Weekly World News article. There are no government agencies sending conversations to people's brains in the real world! In science fiction, yes--lots of it! In fiction, you can find that this is a common theme. And that's where it stays--in fiction.

Sharon Weinberger: It's important to note that I don't personally assert that government is sending voices into people's heads. Rather, I'm trying to portray the experience of a large group of people sharing a common experience and a common explanation.

I did speak with a number of current and former military officials for the article, and as the article states, the irony is that indeed, the Pentagon has done work in areas related to "mind control" and "beaming voices into people's heads."

That doesn't mean, of course, that self-described victims are being targeted, since we know that auditory hallucinations is another possible explanation for what people are experiencing. You mention the names of several fine national security reporters-but they are not experts in auditory hallucinations.

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Davis, Calif: Dear Sharon, Thank you for writing and exploring a serious topic, mind control, when most of mainstream press avoids it. I know this was an introductory article and I hope you will be able to write follow up articles as the issue is complex. Recently Jonathan D. Moreno wrote Mind Wars, a book reviewed by Nature magazine and he wrote of the thousands of alleged mind control victims that contacted him as a result of his 1999 book on secret state experiments. In this heightened national security era, I thank you again for raising an issue that is rarely discussed but should be, Sincerely, Cheryl Welsh, law student, also an "alleged victim" and director of Mind Justice.org

Sharon Weinberger: Thank you Cheryl.

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Falls Church, Va.: It's hard to see your article as anything other than irresponsible and cruel. It's plain to see that these people are paranoid schizophrenics, and indulging their delusions by speculating about the existence of exotic weapons (or UFOS, or fairies, or demons) only hinders their ability to get a real treatment.

You could have spent a few sentences debunking the myths that you promulgated. For instance: Contrary to claims made in your article, you CAN develop schizophrenia in late adulthood; you CAN be a high-functioning schizophrenic and still dress and bathe properly; there IS more than one option for medication if one drug does not work.

You could have explored the central paradox of schizophrenia: Many (perhaps even most) of these people could be cured if they took medication, but they can't be convinced to take medication because their sickness prevents them from understanding that they're sick. Should personal freedom include the freedom to be unhappily mentally ill, or should forcible treatment of schizophrenics be permitted?

You're an expert in weapons systems. You know perfectly well that there is no weapon in existence or under development that would explain these people's symptoms. Your article thus amounts to little more than mockery of the mentally ill. It's a throwback to the 19th century, when it was socially acceptable for people to tour asylums for entertainment, laughing at the nonsensical behavior of those confined. Shame on you, and shame on the Post.

Sharon Weinberger: I'm sorry that you feel the way you do about the article, but your view is not unexpected, and also very important.

First, there is no doubt in my mind that some number of people who are TIs are likely very mentally ill and in need of medical help. But not everyone who believes in strange things is mentally ill.

There are number of people in the government, and some in the Pentagon, who believe in UFOs. Some of them believe that UFOs have visited the Earth and kidnapped people. Some of them believe they may have been kidnapped. I personally think they are wrong. But are they psychotic? Probably not.

John Alexander, the former military official I interviewed in the article, believes in psychic abilities. He believes that during the Cold War psychics were able to "see" advanced technology developments and or locations of installations. I don't agree with John because I doubt psychic abilities, but I don't think John, who has held a number of national security positions, is crazy.

Ronald Reagan believes in astrology. My husband believes in stockpiling water in case of natural disaster. I believe that drinking colored water with vitamins makes me feel better. We all believe in strange things, and we're not all "crazy."

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McLean, Va: Sharon: There are so many obvious flaws in the TI's theories: If they're on to what the gov't. is doing, why doesn't it stop and target someone else? Why does the gov't. send random messages instead of useful ones like "kill terrorists"? Why doesn't it beam the mind control signal over the mountains of Pakistan and tell bin Laden to give himself up? Why aren't the experiments conducted on soldiers, who could be prevented from talking to the media? Why doesn't the gov't. use mind control to prevent them from talking to reporters? Results of experiments need to be tracked and evaluated; how is that happening? Why would the gov't. hire 20 people to spy on you by driving by your house when tapping the phone and bugging the house would be easier, cheaper and yield more information? Why would the gov't. hire only Jewish people to drive by?

Did you ask any of the TI's these or similar questions to explore the logical gaps in their thinking?

Sharon Weinberger: I think there are a number of logical flaws that I point out in the article, starting with technology and ending with common sense. The question that I would like to pose is: given these logical flaws, why do they believe what they do? I think calling them "crazy" is not a very good answer. I'm trying to answer the "why?"

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Philadelphia Politician's Office: Your article struck me on a personal level, and let me please take your time and explain why. I worked (and still do) for a Philadelphia politician in the 1980s and twice we have had people come into our office during the 1980s with the exact same story as Harlan Girard mentioned in your article. We presumed the people were suffering from some psychological disorder. Both had maintained they had been government critics (one had published several articles in socialist publications), both had a connection with the University of Pennsylvania, and both claimed that the government and Penn were beaming thoughts into their brains. One woman (whose identity I do recall and I see she still has a listed phone number in West Philadelphia) used to call daily and would talk nonstop for an hour every day. We later learned she must have spent most of her day calling people begging for help, but we had no idea how to help. Suddenly, she stopped calling. Years later I was comparing tales with a friend who worked for a private organization (perhaps they do not wish to be identified) and she mentioned how this same woman would call them everyday for an hour at a time. She claims she was taking so much of their time that they had a Board meeting to discuss the ethics of an idea they had and they decided, while perhaps it wasn't totally ethical, they needed to do something to resolve this, so they told her they had contacted the FBI and that the government had agreed to shut off the beams. The woman stopped calling.

The second gentleman came to our office one day, told a similar tale, wouldn't leave but sat in our office all day, then stated if he ever called our office to not take the call because it would not be him calling but "them" calling pretend to be him. He then left, and we never heard from him again, nor did he or "them" ever call. I do not, unfortunately, remember his name, although it may be buried in some archives somewhere.

I have no idea if any of the above is of interest. I just send it along that I find it interesting there is now at least a third person who in the 1980s claims to be a government critic with a connection to Penn who claims the government beams thoughts into his brain. Nor do I know what this means. I just send you my observations. If for any reason you wish me to contact you with any further recollections, just let me know.

Sharon Weinberger: Thank you. I'll just post your comment.

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Bedford, Tex: Sharon,

Hi! I read your article with great enthusiasim.

The targeted community waited anxiously to see the end result of this article. They wanted to see just how the article would describe their everyday torture and how would your article portray our community.

Sharon, we have the right to our freedom. We are working with dedicated energies to find a solution to continue to educate the general public. Your article was one of the first to help expose the seriousness of the daily experiences of targets.

Now here we are with an article. What can we expect next from you to continue to expose what the target community is living with daily? What can you do, Sharon, to offer a continuing support of telling the true story of a target?

Sharon Weinberger: Thank you.

As for the future, well, my area of writing is defense technology and national security, so I guess I'll just keep writing about those issues as they evolve.

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Bethesda, Md: Your article led me to read up on auditory hallucinations on the Internet. It was interesting to learn that some of the more recent studies link auditory hallucinations to connective defects in brain tissue and that some of the most promising experimental treatments are those that stimulate areas of the brain electronically. It was also interesting to read that the electronic stimulation treatments have been helpful to some patients whose symptoms have not been alleviated by drugs.

My reading leads to a number of questions:

--Has anyone been studying any of the subjects of your article to determine whether they are experiencing abnormal connective patterns in the brain or other psychiatric symptoms?

--Have auditory hallucinations been observed in otherwise healthy people (those without mood disorders, schizphrenia or seizure disorders like epilepsy)?

--If electrical disturbances in the brain can help to treat auditory hallucinations, could they also be caused by electrical stimulation from outside agents, as contended by the subjects of your article?

Your article describes a group of people who share common experiences/symptoms. If these experiences/symptoms are caused by a brain abnormality, I hope that there are places for them to get treatment without stigma.

Sharon Weinberger: As I've said in one of the previous questions, I think the entire area of auditory hallucinations is absolutely fascinating. One of the key things to note is that scientists still don't really understand, or agree on, what causes these hallucinations. That's why I'm critical of those who want to dismiss everyone who "hears voices" as mentally ill. From what I've read in the scientific literature-it's possible for people to hear voices and not have a brain abnormality. Again, perhaps "hearing voices" is not as uncommon a human experience as might popularly be believes.

Okay that said, there are people who are schizophrenic or who have intense auditory hallucinations. They are clearly ill and in need of help. Ralph Hoffman, a psychiatrist at Yale who is quoted in the article, is studying the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat voices. He has had some success, but not everyone is responsive. But his work is fascinating.

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Arlington, Va: Sharon, Overall what did most TIs think about your article. I have a co-worker that has experienced very similar "symptoms" to those you described. I want to pass on your article, but am a little hesistant - I don't want him to feel misunderstood or mocked.

Also, do you have an idea of how many TIs eventually stop hearing voices?

Sharon Weinberger: Most TIs felt it was a fair portrayal of their issues, although some were disappointed that I didn't expose what they believe is massive mind control plot. I hope no one thinks I'm mocking them, because that was never my intention.

I think the hardest thing about this article- and perhaps what is difficult to express-is that I promised the TIs I would give a fair hearing to their claims, and I believe I have. Writing an article that dismisses all their claims as the rantings of the mentally ill would not be fair or honest to what I promised them.

But there's also a concern-expressed in some comments on this forum-that giving a fair hearing to TIs might wrongly reinforce the beliefs among some people that they are targets of government mind control, when they may not be.

I don't know how to resolve this, and hope that objectivity and balance serves the greater good.

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Fairfax, Va: Hmm. I find the angry responses to your article fascinating, because what intrigued me about your article was the profoundly social nature of the TI's you described: the demonstrations, the Internet community, the desire to spread the word and get help. I'm not an expert on mental illness, but regardless of what we determine "normal" and "abnormal" behavior and beliefs, once something takes this external social form (rather than something internalized and antisocial) I think it can tell us something about our society and ourselves-- and we can perhaps learn equally from the number of angry responses you get. Regardless of the source of the TI's feelings/thoughts, they are grounded historically and socially in the present moment, and to decry them purely as "mental illness" is to forget-- well, to forget who we are and why we believe the world is the way it is.

Why do their claims frighten/anger some people so much?

Sharon Weinberger: That's a wonderful comment, and better perhaps, then I've been able to express my own thoughts on this issue. Thank you very much.

I think TIs frighten people for the same reason that some people will mock them and "tinfoil hats." It's a frightening phenomenon, and more frightening to think "what if it happened to me?"

When I was researching this article, I asked a friend of mine what she would do if she woke up one morning and heard voices: absolutely completely real voices. Would she see declare herself crazy, and run to the doctor and take medications, or call a conference call of people who have symptoms like hers and would be sympathetic to her. Think how incredibly isolating it is to have this experience.

For better or worse, she said she'd take the TI conference call. Admitting that you are "crazy" is not an easy thing.

I do think there is a need to de-stigmatize the phenomenon of "hearing voices." Calling these people "crazy" does not help them one bit. If anything, it makes them less likely to seek medical attention that they may need.

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North Carolina: Ive been reading the comments, and i have to ask why you are posting all the comments that are calling targets "crazy"? it appears to me to be very discrediting and one sided. I am not now of ever been mentally ill, my life was perfectly happy until 3 years ago when this "electronic harassment" started. if the skeptics spent ten minutes of their time realistically researching you would see that there's something more to this than just a mental disorder. although i do agree that there are some that are in need of medical help, there are many that are in desperate need of real protection. this is really happening, the more that these crimes don't make any sense, the more effective they are. wouldn't you agree with that? it's plausible denial. R.

Sharon Weinberger: I'm going to post this, so people can see your point of view.

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Philadelphia, Pa: Sharon: Your article did not mention the fact that there is an organization, International Committee on Offensive Microwave Weapons, which maintains an easy to navigate website at www.icomw.org. Persons interested in something more than an Internet community they've never heard of before might find the website interesting.

Before Abu Ghraib and The secret prisons and rendition to torture and Guantanamo Bay I can imagine some of the smug assertions made above might have been warranted, particularly the complaint from McLean, VA. However, knowing what we now do about our government, including it's aimless war in Iraq with its 600,000 civilian, Iraqi civilian casualties, I will say that any one who disputes the claims of victims of the government's ongoing program of murder by mind control out of hand is severely mentally disturbed and should seek psychiatric attention immediately.

Harlan Girard/ICOMW

Sharon Weinberger: Sorry the full name didn't make it in. In either case. Please everyone note the organization and website. Harlan's website is easy to navigate and has many fascinating documents. I found it useful for referencing some of the technology the Pentagon has worked on. And as I would like to note is that, yes, some of this technology really has been researched.

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Washington, DC: I have to say that the most disturbing part of the article for me was the government consultant who sees no reason why weapons of mind control won't or shouldn't be added to our arsenal. While I don't believe for a second the folks you spoke to are suffering from anything of the sort, the idea that this could one day really be a possibility is terrifying to me. It's bad enough we can poision the water, the air, and the food supply in the name of war. To think we could invade the minds of other human beings as a form of attack makes my blood run cold.

Sharon Weinberger: I agree 100 percent. While some comments on this forum would like to dismiss all TIs as crazy (a word I personally find unsatisfying), there is a second issue here that I tried to highlight in the article: the government really is/has been working on some of the technologies they describe. Also, let's not forget that the CIA really did, in the 1950s, conduct some nefarious "mind control" experiments.

So here's the question: should we singularly dismiss every single "mind control" claim that comes our way. I'm not so sure.

The ACLU recently filed a Freedom of Information Act request to see if any detainees from the war on terror have been subjected to nonconsensual lie detection using fMRI. In a sense, that is "mind reading." So, some of these issues are real. We just have to make sure we distinguish fact from fantasy.

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Fayetteville, N.C.: Why did you ignore the testimonies of the victims at the rally in Washington, D.C. Even a man that had worked for the Department of Defense that was working on mind control and is now working on sheilding for the victims.

Sharon Weinberger: Actually, I spoke with many of the people at the rally. There was simply a limit to the number of people I could speak about in one article.

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Seattle, Wash: Ms. Weinberger. I note you do not mention the override of Ms. Naylor's computer screen described in "1996" to ward the end of novel. Is that because you see dthis as her invention, or because you were "encouraged to consider this "classified"?

Sharon Weinberger: Thank you. I guess I would ask why you believe computer problems are evidence of government mind control? My computer has problems every day.

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Arlington, Va: During my childhood here in DC (during the 60's) I remember a "regular" outside the White House - that ragtag group constantly in Lafayette Square - who thought the government had planted a transistor (the technology of the time) in her head.

So maybe this is not a new phenomenon?

Sharon Weinberger: You are correct, the belief is not new, but I think it's interesting that the Internet has allowed them to form a community. Many of the TIs told me that for years, they thought they were alone. Now, they can meet hundreds of people online in minutes with similar beliefs. I don't know whether that's good or bad, but it is "new."

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Sylva NC: Thanks Sharon, this story is awesome.

Perpetrators tried to kill me again over the Christmas holidays with this pulsed microwave radiation.

I am the author of the Petition to Cease and Ban Direct Energy programs and electronic surveillance. The petition brought many of us ti's together.

Over 600 people signed, 50% are torture victims.

Nearly all of us are innocent of any wrong.

Many ti's believe the amish girl killings and other high school kid killings were the result of the implants being set off in the killers.

It is time to end electronic human tracking and mind control programs, and I might add, put those in jail who are responsible for the murders and torture.

Anyone associated with remote neural monitoring, remote sensing, and human tracking should be suspect.

Sharon Weinberger: I'll post this with no comment. Thank you for writing.

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Falls Church, Va.: We who see this phenomenon as mental illness are not "dismissing" these people; we want them to get treatment and live normal lives. It's the people who indulge them, who encourage them to think of themselves as persecuted victims, who are doing them a huge disservice.

Sharon Weinberger: I understand your point of view, but given that these people firmly believe in mind control, how would you propose to convince them otherwise? How would you like to convince them they need help?

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Washington, DC: I was wondering if you came across anything on "Trance-Formation" or the "New World Order" in your research for this article?

Sharon Weinberger: Nope, didn't see anything about that.

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Raleigh, N.C.: I read recently an article that the Navy has a federal mind control human research program. Having that knowledge and the knowledge that the United States and other countries have been doing human research experiments non-consenually for years. They were doing mind control experiments early on and had to be stopped in the 1970's by the church hearings. There is no doubt in my mind that mind control and voice programs have been hidden for years. American citizens must be knowledgable about government abuse.

Sharon Weinberger: Let me clarify one thing. The Navy recently put out a document saying -if- they do mind control experiments on humans, it needs to be approved by a senior leader. The Navy denies doing any mind control experiments at present. Let's just be clear on that.

On the other hand, one has to wonder what experiments they are thinking of doing.

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Anonymous: Evidence for microwave /directed energy attacks.

Thank you for your important article! In Germany there is strong evidence for microwave attacks and research in a village in Bavaria, near Nuremberg: 9O562 Kalchreuth. There are written statements about the attacks by an engineer and expert in measurement of radio frequency. There is a report of this engineer titled: Citizens attacked with microwave weapons. There are wittnesses and even inside information. These crimes are not done by Americans but by organized criminals in connection with a big German technology company!

Best wishes from Germany

Sharon Weinberger: Thanks for you comment. I'm posting this because I do think it's interesting the number of people in foreign countries who regard themselves as TIs.

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London, UK: Dear Sharon,

many thanks for raising this issue.

In your conversations with the officials you talk about in your article, has it ever been mentioned that the development of these technologies are being outsourced to private research institutions?

If yes, how do we know that the use and development of these technologies is controlled 100% and there are no possibilities for abuse by these private institutions?

Thank you again,

Julia

Sharon Weinberger: I'm not sure what you mean by "these technologies." There are number of things that people call "mind control" weapons. That are companies working on "microwave weapons."

However, the references in the story to weapons that beam voices into people's head look like very basic lab level research in government. I found no evidence such weapons are being used.

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Detroit, Mich: I'd like to thank you for dedicating your time to writing this article, Sharon. The input on this open forum comes as no surprise.

I have a rhetorical question for you. Why do you think we are experiencing a global pandemic of "schizophrenia," with everyone affected claiming to hear clearly distinct human voices, distinguishable by gender, speech characteristics, regional and foreign accents, and other speech mannerisms? (That is not a classic form of schizophrenia, I might add.)

Also, why are we experiencing a global pandemic of "lupus," which curiously afflicts those very same persons suffering from "schizophrenia?"

Why are those same afflicted persons on a global scale also experiencing massive, recurrent migraines; pains in the heart; and non-stop stimulation of the genitals?

In sum, why do we have a global pandemic of combined forms of schizophrenia, lupus, recurrent migraines, heart problems and genital stimulation? Should we just chalk it up to a bird flu? Or should we compare those symptoms with the effects KNOWN to be produced by electronic weapons (as noted on a variety of DoD websites)?

For those not familiar with the effects produced by lupus, the information is available on the Internet. The diagnosis by no means captures all of the symptoms produced by electronic weapons.

One last comment regarding the phenomenon of organized stalking. From what I've read so far, it is treated as some sort of ephemeral phenomenon, easily dismissed as a figment of someone's imagination or mental imbalance. Why haven't you factored in the fact that overt vandalism invariably accompanies these spooky imaginings? I'm referring to repeatedly slashed tires, smashed car windows, oil drained out of vehicles, entries into homes where clothes are slashed, papers are stolen, and strange liquids are dumped onto carpets, or liquid detergents are dumped into bottled water. Add to that, piles of human excrement "excreted" repeatedly beneath bedroom windows 4 inches from the wall. I could add to that, but you get the idea. Would you consider those spooky imaginings? And in answer to your undoubted response, no, the police do not investigate these events because there are no known "suspects."

Thank you again for your time.

Sharon Weinberger: I'm not sure is global pandemic. Perhaps what is changing, as I've mentioned several times before, is that people experiencing these symptoms are able to connect via phone, e-mail, Internet. That's what is different now, perhaps.

I'm afraid that even in a magazine length article; I couldn't discuss everything that people associate with mind control and "gang stalking" that you mention below. However, some of the things you mention (tire slashings) are an unfortunate part of daily life for all of us. It's hard to make a connection to a plot.

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Rockville, Md: A bit of a reality check, which could have been made more clear by more interviews with actual scientists, academic professors, intelligence experts, military experts, government officials and other intelligence and counter-terrorism professionals: There is no such scientific device to implant "voices" into people's heads. It's just absolutely ridiculous. IF there was such a device, does any sane person believe that the government and military and intelligence agencies would waste time ruining the lives of otherwise productive and innocent citizeens? No, they wouldn't--the officials would spend the time, money, resources and sweat on ruining the lives of terrorists, traitors, spies, thugs, criminals, organized crime thugs, rebels, revolutionaries, etc., etc., etc., etc.--low-lifes who pose a real threat. Ask anyone with any experience in intelligence and covert and cover and classified operations and they will tell you the same thing. They will also tell you--honestly, by the way--that no one is wasting time sending signals to innocent people's minds for the hell of it. The people noted in the story suffer from mental illness--and they need medication, counseling and professional help. The story is a non-story.

Sharon Weinberger: I understand your perspective and you make some important points, but look at this way: most people already regard these claims as ridiculous. That's why "tinfoil hat," as the article mentions, is synonymous with conspiracy. I'm aiming with this article to make sense of why people believe the things they do.

As I mentioned before, we all believe things that are silly or weird, and the trouble with believing in mind control is that it clearly overlaps in some places with mental illness. But that shouldn't stop us from exploring people's beliefs. Take for example Susan Clancy's book, Abducted. She takes it as a given that people are not abducted by aliens, and tries to understand why they believe they have been.

I also disagree with your suggestion about how to approach the issue: If I were writing about why people believe in religion, I'm not sure I'd spend most of time calling scientists to disprove the world was created in a week (though I'm sure plenty would provide me with proof that it wasn't).

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Falls Church, Va.: You're the one using the term "crazy," and I have to think you're doing it deliberately to encourage TIs to think that the world is out to get them.

Mental illness is illness just like physical illness, and the solution is to de-stigmatize by getting people to treatment. If a person wakes up with pneumonia, it's not going to do him any good to set up a conference call with a group of pneumonia sufferers.

By the way, for your article, did you not find any TIs who have been successfully treated with medication, or did you not look?

Sharon Weinberger: No, I don't personally call TIs "crazy" though the article uses that word because that's how much of society would regard their claims. Again, I think your point is important so I'm making sure to post it. But what I'm arguing is there is a continuum of strange beliefs. Is believing in the afterlife crazy? Is believing in perpetual motion machines crazy? Psychics?

Okay, so mind control? Are they crazy because many of them hear voices? Then again, I raise the issue that not everyone who hears voices would be diagnosed as mentally ill, according to a large body of scientific literature. I don't think it's useful to paint a broad brush.

That said, even Gloria Naylor, one of the TIs I interviewed, suggested that anyone who hears voices should immediately seek medical help. That seems to me to be a good suggestion.

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Philadelphia, Pa: Sharon: I understand that the International Committee on Offensive Microwave Weapons was not mentioned in your article, nor the fact that we have an easy to use website at www.icomw.org, where the results of nearly 20 years of research have been posted. I will appreciate your posting this info somewhere for responders to the online chat. Harlan Girard

Sharon Weinberger: I think I posted that before, but I'll post it again.

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Anonymous: All the discussion thus far assumes that TI's are a community of people who hear voices in our heads. This is an experience of less than 10% of the group. We experience a variety of other symptoms that can only be explained as the result of attacks by directed energy weapons. For instance, I and other targets find that the skin all over our bodies is covered with lesions which itch intensely. We find that dermatologist have no explanation and no effective treatment for these lesions. Skin without the lesions often appears reddish, looking like a sunburn although it has not been exposed to sunlight. Other victims of these experiments experience other forms of visible physical harm. We don't assume that we are subjects of government attack merely because we have unexplained skin conditions. We know that we are being subjected to covert government attacks because of a combination of facts, which I have discussed in posted comments. Bob S.

Sharon Weinberger: I'm not sure if it's 10 percent. Some TIs have attempted to do study the issue, but I've never seen good data. However, since this touches upon the issue of "voices" as mental illness, I want to post your comment. Thank you.

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San Carlos, Calif: Re: Mind Games:

Article is a significant step toward raising public awareness of covert harassment and the existance of its victims!

Question: Was any consideration given to interviewing David Lawson, a private investigator and eye witness to the inner workings of gang stalking who infiltrated the gang stalking network for some 10 years and wrote a book about his experiences entitled "Terrorist Stalking in America" (Scrambling News, 2001)?

Sharon Weinberger: I interviewed a lot of people and my focus was more on technology than gang stalking.

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Sharon Weinberger: Okay folks. I'm already out of time and I need to get back to work, so I'm just going to post a few of the final comments, with no response. It's fascinating to see what a diversity of views there on this subject.

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Fairlington, Va: Thanks for such a fascinating, frightening, and frustrating article. I say frustrating because I'm sure you were edited for space, but this left me a few nagging questions, among them:

- Did you consult any neuroscientists for this story? I kept hoping you'd mention that, e.g., the human brain is designed to seek out meaningful audio/visual patterns - WHETHER THEY ARE ACTUALLY PRESENT OR NOT.

- In a similar vein, did your article ever include a discussion of the brain malfunction that causes a person to hear their own thoughts as if they are spoken words coming from somebody else?

- How did you manage to confirm all of Alexander's claims & gov't work?

- And finally, had Girard or Naylor ever read (at least, admittedly) Waugh's book?

Thanks again for a gripping read!

Sharon Weinberger: Th

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Winchester, Va.: Sharon..Thank you so much for your WONDERFUL and much needed to be brought-to-light article "Thought War."

I have a close friend who has been and still is, experiencing this problem for over five years. He has had a "WARNING" posted on his website www.zorel.com for many years about this very subject. He ended up moving from Montgomery County, MD, to Miami, Fla. hoping it would end...it hasn't!! I experienced this horrible invasion of privacy while living in California (next to the Bohemien Grove) for 7 years. Thank God there are others bringing it to the publics attention. You are a lifesaver! Gary W

Sharon Weinberger: Thanks for your comment.

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Anonymous: I gathered from the article that these weapons were supported by Mr. Girard. The V2K is certainly documented by patents and even NASA and the AF have documentation that can be found. What I didn't see was that many of the victims or TI's are subjected first to Cointelpro operations that make them appear to have mental illnesses such as paronoia and psychosis. Most of the victims have simular stories that all point to the same people as the targets. It is not unheard of that the CIA NSA FBI all use these tactics to discredit people. First they use the technology to put you in an electromagnetic field where you are unable to think clearly then they use some tactic either a scare tactic or trick you into doing something that calls attention in an unfavorable light to yourself. If you want to ask why TI's do what they tell you then think of the field that they are in. Since the increase in the secret surveillance without a warrant there has been more TI's come forward with horror stories. This article only mentioned a couple of interviews and barely touched the surface of what is happening to the TI's. As for the tin hats, when you are targeted with direct energy weapons you will try anything that someone mentions to relieve the burning, porn visions, dreams and stings along with the voices. The people that operate this technology have no conscience. They are not friends of the citizens in this country. If this technology could prevent terrorist then why didn't it stop 9-11? It was being used before that time. If the public and the media wish to remain skeptical there is nothing that we can do. Remember that Senator Mondale of the Church committee that investigated MKultra and Cointelpro stated that the senate was not interested in following up the information that it received. It took the media and the people in this country to MAKE them do the right thing. MKultra did not stop it just was redesigned under another secret government name. The FBI and the CIA can only blame themselves for the mess this country is now in. When fear makes you violate the law as they are doing with non-consensual non-lethal weapons then they have only themselves to blame as leaders in this country how others see us.

Sharon Weinberger: A lot here, but an interesting comment, thanks.

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Houghton, Mich.: Good Morning,

As you worked background on this piece, did you come across anything that could indicate the US employs "Manchurian Candidate" -type "re-progamming" at Guantanamo or other military prisons?

Sharon Weinberger: I didn't really look at that issue.

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Las Vegas, Nev.: Mind Control

While the article was somewhat long, it was also inconclusive on any point with the exception of Mr. John Alexander's input. Some time ago I came across a Patent application that had been filed in the early sixties on the subject of electronic projection of sound which could be used to allow one to hear without any actual sound waves. Apparently they had working proto-types at the time, however, the Patent Application was taken dark for national security reasons citing it could potentially be used for Mind Control applications.

According to the author of this Patent application, he didn't understand why it worked, he just knew that it did. Scientists like me have since discovered that small signal stimulation to certain areas of the brain will be interpreted as an audio signal even if the physical human hearing apparatus is totally dysfunctional. It has also been discovered that sound can be interpreted if only the Cochlea of the human inner ear remain with everything else being disfunctional. Unfortunately, most hearing loss involves destruction of the Cochlea due to infection.

So if the question is, "can it be done?" The answer is yes and from my perspective has already been done. Therefore, I don't agree with the inconclusive stance of the article as even Mr. Girard appears to be on a search for the reason, "why are they picking on me?", versus proving whether something exists or doesn't exist. The reason why such research would be done is simple, as it could be a useful thing, or someone else might develop it and use it on us. So we better understand it's capabilities first.

Since we're talking 1960's technology I have to view this concept as obsolete compared to what can really be done. There is a big difference between hearing voices in your head versus having a "thought" or "knowing something is". It seems to me that Mind Control would be projecting into another the perception that something just is, exactly what your projecting. I would have to say this is possible also. Not out of some form of paranoia or fear but from a practical engineering standpoint. Compared to this, Voices in the Head is just a form of rote brainwashing, mental terrorism. Obviously I don't agree with unknowing innocents being part of any test, of such technology. Our job should be to protect the people, not exploit them!

That's not to say that Voices couldn't be a natural thing in some cases, that are simply misunderstood by many. Take for example the ability to predict an event as though one were watching a movie before it was made. Then the abstract event occurs at a later date just as it was envisioned. Or the ability without apparatus, to affect anothers immediate behavior simply by "knowing" it is something they should do. Abilities such as these would have to appear to be God-like. If you could package such an invention, the God Machine, then behavior could be easily modified as needed. The problem becomes, who do you give that ability to? As "knowing" just one wrong thought could have disastrous consequences.

B.M. Wendt

Sharon Weinberger: An interesting perspective, thanks.

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Columbia, Md: Could this be a auditory form of Bonnet's syndrome, where people with damaged visual systems see complex visual hallucinations? The explanation in the case of Bonnet's is that damage eyesight isn't providing enough signal to the visual cortex, and the visual cortex is picking up neurological interference from nearby areas of the brain and interpreting that errant signal as visual input. Could some lack of input or oversensitivity on the auditory system in that brain be causing the voices? Perhaps what they're experiencing is not unlike the phantom pains that amputees feel due to lack of stimulation in the brain when the connected body part is no longer providing input. I hope they find an answer and a cure. I can't image anyone in the government funding a program to torture people year after year for no rational reason, let alone someone not speaking out against it. The New York Times enjoys leaking secrets right and left about programs that have real national security justification, if this were occurring, some humanitarian/civil libertarian would spill the beans.

Sharon Weinberger: A good point, thanks.

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Helena, Mont: Partly as a consequence of having lived with someone who believed they were a mind control victim, I've read a great deal about mind control programs. While it's easy to dismiss these people as crazy, I'm convinced that many of them are trauma survivors. In some cases, I believe that the trauma was past sexual abuse, either organized and ritualistic or simply in the context of a disordered family with poor boundaries. In these cases the relentless focus on invisible tormentors is, I believe, a mechanism for never confronting their betrayal at the hands of those whose ultimate responsibility it was to protect them.

Sharon Weinberger: Another interesting view. Thanks.

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Prague, Czechoslovakia: I came as a human rights imigrant to the USA in 1981 from communist Czechoslovakia. In 1984 my parents came for a visit and later they send me a testimony that they have been shadowed in the streets by a couple living next door. They also testified they watched installation of some equipment in the appartment of the couple next door. They thought it was a surveillance equipment. When they left I started hearing voices. In 1988 I returned to Czechoslovakia because of that and I informed the Czechoslovak state police that I am being targeted by U.S. secret services. After the anticommunist revolution in Czechoslovakia the files of secret communist service were supposed to be published. Half a year before the vote on the publication of those files my mother warned me that the U.S. secret services will attempt to kill me using a poisened needle.

She recommended me to wear leather clothes and watch out in the means of public transportation. She gave me written testimony about that. Did she pass me a warning of Czech secret service who believed that the U.S. services were afraid that their National Security Information might get published? What do you think?

Sharon Weinberger: Not sure, but thanks for writing.

I'm really out of time now. Thanks again to everyone who wrote.

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