The islamic Weaponization of the Human Psyche


Charles S. Viar


On 23 October 1983, a truck packed with explosives crashed through the perimeter of the U.S. Marine expeditionary force at the Beirut International Airport. Moments later it slammed into a temporary barracks and exploded, killing 241 Marines serving with an international peacekeeping force that had been dispatched to Lebanon at the request of the Lebanese government. Within a matter of minutes a second truck penetrated the lines of the French contingent located nearby and detonated, killing 58 French paratroops. As a result of the carnage, the Reagan Administration made the politically costly decision to withdraw from that country; and the governments of Great Britain, France and Italy followed suit. Lebanon dissolved into chaos, and a bitter civil war ensued pitting the traditional Christian elite backed by Israel against an emergent Muslim majority supported by Syria, Iran, Iraq and Libya.

At the time, US policymakers dismissed the suicide bombings as a tactical gambit conceived and executed by local fanatics. But with the benefit of hindsight, it is now clear that they marked the beginning of a general offensive against the West. For in the 19 years that have since elapsed, more than 200 suicide attacks have been conducted against Israel, Russia, Chechnya, India, Sri Lanka and the United States – and these have reshaped the face of modern war.

Despite the spectacular aerial assaults that destroyed the World Trade Center and badly damaged the Pentagon on 11 September, Western analysts remain loath to recognize this basic fact. According to the still prevalent conventional wisdom, suicide attacks are born of desperation and despair - in this case, from the pervasive social and economic malaise that afflicts the Muslim world. Like the Japanese Kamikazes of an earlier era, Western analysts have dismissed them as little more than a deadly nuisance. This is unfortunate, for had they reached deeper into history they might have realized that the suicide attacks are strategic rather than tactical in nature; and that their objective is not to wreak local havoc, but rather to overturn the global balance of power. Moreover, they might also have found that this strategy is based upon the modern rediscovery of an ancient art - specifically, the conquest and weaponization of the human psyche.

Although tyrants have sought to enslave the human mind from times immemorial, the first known success was an Eleventh Century figure by the name of Hasan bin Sabah. Said to have been of noble birth, Hasan was forced to flee his native Persia after having become embroiled in a financial scandal at the Imperial Court. After finding sanctuary in Egypt, he is reported to have studied the teachings and organizational structure of an underground cult known as the Dar ul Kikmat. During this same time frame, he is also said to have mastered the Dark Arts.

Whatever the actual truth, Hasan had returned to Persia by 1094; and with the aid of indigenous allies he seized control of the mountain fortress of Alamut. There he founded a sect that achieved infamy as the Assassini. Formally known as the Shiah Ismai, this sect claimed to hold in its possession secret and sacred truths; but in fact, it was a terrorist organization that sought to impose its will upon the Islamic World by systematically assassinating political figures that opposed its ends. Until finally crushed by Mongol invaders in 1250, the Assassini shook the political structures of the Middle East to their very foundations.

According to legend, Hasan created a virtual paradise in a valley beneath his mountain citadel to recruit and train initiates. Hasan is said to have dispatched his followers to the public houses of the area, where they would drug and kidnap young men, and transport them to the valley. There they would awaken from their stupor to find themselves in luxurious surroundings, tended to by scores of beautiful young women. Having been informed by the maidens that they had been transported to Paradise by angels, the hapless victims would spend their days gorging upon wine, sex and mind-altering drugs. Then they would mysteriously re-awaken in their former surroundings, alone and bereft. Months might pass without incident as they resumed their ordinary and miserable lives; but then suddenly and mysteriously, they would reawaken in what they credulously believed to be the Muslim Heaven. After three or four such experiences, most became willing slaves to Hasan and his murderous schemes. Persuaded that Hasan was Allah made manifest upon the Earth, they killed their assigned targets without pity or remorse; and then went willingly to their deaths, certain of their place in Paradise.

Although this story of Hasan’s recruitment and training techniques is fantastic, it is well supported by historical evidence.1 Moreover, it closely resembles the ARTICHOKE technique that was developed and successively refined by the Soviet, Nazi, and Western intelligence services between 1920 and 1973. It was thus empirical science rather than Black Magic that made possible Hasan's reign of terror; and if this science once perished in the flaming ruins of Alamut, it has in this century been entirely restored. Like the mythical Phoenix it has arisen from the ashes; and it now threatens to shake the world once more.


Although the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany – and, apparently, Great Britain – mounted large-scale research programs designed to develop techniques for psychological control at an early date, the United States did not actively pursue the subject until the Second World War. Then the Office of Strategic Services – forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency – enlisted behavioral scientists for specialized problem solving. Foremost among these was the development of technical solutions to the urgent problems of agent recruitment, handling and assessment. Although the OSS had at its disposal a wealth of human talent and essentially unlimited funds, the hurriedly constructed organization lacked experienced case officers to recruit and run field agents behind enemy lines. Acutely aware that their lack of practiced personnel rendered them vulnerable to deceptions, senior OSS officers turned to the behavioralists for a scientific solution. Their top priority was the development of a “truth serum,” which they hoped would make possible fast and accurate assessments of agent reliability.

Despite frantic efforts, the OSS failed to find an effective interrogative drug. Yet the lure was so enormous that even after the war the newly created CIA continued the effort undeterred. But it was not until the 1949 trial of Cardinal Josef Mindszentry by the Soviet-installed Hungarian communist regime that the CIA realized that drugs held other promises as well. In the course of Mindszentry’s trial, his deportment, demeanor and speech led CIA analysts to the conclusion that he had been successfully subjected to an extraordinary form of psychological manipulation. Although the technique was unknown to CIA psychologists, it was clearly of such efficacy and power as to cause him to confess to crimes he did not commit and could not have committed;2 and they were quite certain that drugs were somehow involved. The Soviets had clearly mastered a new form of totalitarian control; and discovering its secrets became an urgent intelligence priority. On April 20, 1950, CIA Director Roscoe Hillenkoetter approved the United States’ government’s first research and development program expressly designed to develop techniques for the control of the human mind. It was known through successive incarnations as Project BLUEBIRD, ARTICHOKE, MKULTRA and MKSEARCH; and eventually came to encompass 149 distinct behavioral science research programs and 33 related non-behavioral projects over the course of twenty-three years.

The open-ended research program that Hillenkoetter approved was given sudden impetus by two dramatic developments. The first was the outbreak of war in Korea sixty-six days later; the second was the public breakdown of the U. S. ambassador to the Soviet Union some two years thereafter. During the Korean conflict American forces often performed poorly in the field against enemy armies that had no prior experience in mechanized warfare; and in one particularly shameful incident, an entire U.S. army division fled the field.

Moreover, the conduct of American servicemen in captivity was shocking. Fifteen per cent of American prisoners of war held by the Chinese Communists actively collaborated with their captors, and a full seventy per cent signed fraudulent confessions to war crimes or written denunciations of the United States government. More alarming still, large numbers of those that signed confessions or denunciations refused to recant after their repatriation.3 Many were suspected of having returned to the United States as willing spies for the enemy; and some were later proven to be.4

Of similar concern was the bizarre behavior of Ambassador George F. Kennan at Templehof airport while en route to London from Moscow. There Kennan exploded in anger at a naïve question posed by an inexperienced reporter; and as a result of his ill-advised response was declared persona non grata by the Soviet regime. Such were the times that many senior American officials were convinced that this incident provided strong evidence that Kennan had fallen victim to Soviet mind control.5

The general outline of the CIA’s behavioral science research program – commonly, but incorrectly referred to as MKULTRA - was inadvertently revealed by the Rockefeller Commission in 1975. Established by President Ford to investigate allegations of CIA illegality, the Commission’s Final Report contained a one-line reference to a federal employee who had killed himself after having been unwittingly drugged by a CIA officer as part of an MKULTRA experiment. This sparked a press furor that eventually resulted in more extensive congressional investigations chaired by Sen. Edward F. Kennedy. Not surprisingly, both the press and the Sen. Kennedy focused their investigations upon the more lurid aspects of MKULTRA, which included the kidnapping, drugging and torturing of American citizens on American soil for research purposes and the effort to develop “programmed assassins.” Overlooked in the process were the CIA’s efforts to determine the effects of electromagnetism upon the psyche, electromechanical stimulation of the brain, a form of technologically-based ESP, remote viewing, precognition, psychokinesis and, especially, nonaural voice communications with radio and microwave transmissions. This was unfortunate, for their researchers made gains in most of these areas and scored dramatic breakthroughs in others. 6

According to declassified financial records and the testimony of retired CIA officers, the CIA had by 1961 developed implant devices for dogs, making it possible for their handlers to guide them through various courses by remote.7 During this same time frame they also developed techniques for disrupting bodily functions with radio waves. By the mid-1960’s they had successfully developed and field-tested nonaural voice communications with both radio and micro waves; and by 1977 they had developed and field-tested a rudimentary form of electromechanical “mind reading.”8 But despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they have steadfastly maintained that they failed entirely in their quest to control the human mind.


There are perhaps three reasons for the CIA’s implausible denials. The first is legal responsibility. For as the Kennedy hearings established, CIA officers wildly exceeded their authority in the course of MKULTRA. Innocent citizens were kidnapped off the streets and drugged, hypnotized and subjected to physical torture. These actions were and remain felonious; and had the criminal justice system taken its proper course, scores of CIA officers would have faced capital charges. The second reason is the explosive nature of the data they developed in the course of their experiments. For contrary to common belief, the human psyche lacks systemic integrity. Rather than the tightly integrated system that has been historically assumed, it is in fact a loosely related collage of drives, inhibitions, orientations, functions, desires and beliefs – all of which are subject to external manipulation. The third and final reason is the extraordinary ease of reengineering the human mind. With the ARTICHOKE technique, a psyche may be broken apart, restructured and reassembled almost to specification in approximately four hours – all without the victim’s consent, or even his conscious awareness.

Despite almost two and a half centuries of scientific study, hypnosis remains poorly understood; and at present, all that is known with certainty is that hypnotic states are natural phenomenon that occur under certain – and often quite ordinary – circumstances. These states may be induced by external stimuli – and especially, by a skilled practitioner of hypnosis – and are related more or less closely to another psychological phenomenon known as disassociation. Hypnotic states extend across a broad spectrum, ranging from a light hypnotic trance in which subject is alert and fully aware, to a very deep trance in which the subject looses both conscious awareness and volition. At this level, the will of the subject may be suborned; and through a process of faux identification, replaced entirely by that of a hypnotist.

Because hypnotic states are inherent potentialities of the human mind, everyone is subject to hypnosis. But under most circumstances, only about 20 percent of the population is capable of achieving the deepest hypnotic state required by ARTICHOKE. To escape this difficulty, practitioners first anesthetize their subject/victims with sodium pentothal and then stimulate them with Benzedrine. This produces an indeterminate physical state somewhere between sleep and waking consciousness, making it possible to place the victim/subject in a deep trance.

Once the desired level of hypnosis is achieved, the subject/victim’s psyche is systematically disassembled by isolating and identifying his or her drives, inhibitions, orientations, functions, desires and beliefs. In this process, particular attention is given to the so-called ego-defenses.

Ego-defenses protect the individual from unwanted or threatening intrusions into conscious awareness; and for that reason are essential to ordinary functioning. Operating heavy equipment for example is an exceedingly hazardous endeavor; and safety requires the operator to concentrate carefully. To do so, he must repress his most basic instinct to flee from the danger. In the process, he must also avoid making untoward associations through a process known as inhibition.

Ego-defenses are a matter of common experience, and one need merely reflect upon ones own behavior in various circumstances to observe their operation. Nonetheless, the number and nomenclature remains a matter of debate among psychologists and psychiatrists. But for operational purposes, the CIA embraced the classical catalogue presented by Anna Freud. According to Dr. Freud, there are nine innate ego-defenses and one potentiality: regression, repression, reaction formation, isolation, undoing, projection, introjection, turning-against-the-self and reversal. The last – which differs from the others in the sense that it actively promotes mental health, rather than psychological stability – is sublimation, or the displacement of instinctual drives.9

Ego defenses normally operate automatically, far below the level of conscious awareness. But in a state of deep hypnosis they may be isolated and brought to a state of awareness through a process of regression. They hypnotist, for example, might summon forth projection by asking the subject/victim to go back in time to his early childhood and recall an incident in which he was so angry with his mother that he screamed at her, and accused her of wanting to deliberately harm him. Once the subject complied, the hypnotists would evoke the particular emotions of that moment by expressing his sympathy and providing his assurances that the sentiments were right and proper. He would then inform the subject/victim that this was especially true as his mother had deceived him all his life. Rather than John Doe, as his mother had falsely informed him, his real name was “Frank” or whatever name came to the hypnotist’s mind. Most often, the hypnotist would then inform the subject/victim that he was in fact of noble birth or lineage, and that someone – perhaps the Communists, or the Jews, the Freemasons or perhaps the villain de jour - had wickedly denied him this birthright. Identifying himself to the subject/victim as a secret friend who’s identity must never be revealed to anyone, the hypnotist would suggest that the subject/victim be reminded of his terrible mistreatment - and exalted status - whenever he might throw something in the trash or launch a paper airplane in flight. The hypnotist would then would ask the subject victim to recall another incident from his youth in which, for example, he created something – perhaps a sand castle at the beach – and then obliterated it, wiping all traces away. By this means the hypnotist would summon forth the ego defense undoing. The hypnotist would then gently explain how he was different from “Frank” – and incidentally, much superior – and give him a new name, accompanied by a similar story of exalted birth and stolen birthright. The hypnotist might then introduce the ego-defense undoing – now grandly named “Robert”, for example – to projection - that is, to “Frank ” - and then tell them a story as to how they are related and why they should work together in what circumstances. The process would then be repeated with each ego-defense in turn, until all had been identified, named, ennobled by a fantastic story, provided with suitable reinforcers and, perhaps, given instructions for a subsequent rendezvous for “refreshment.” By this means a new psychic structure is constructed – creating, in effect, highly specialized multiple personalities within a single psychic system without the subject/victim’s knowledge. Once this is done, the next challenge is to reshape his relationship to external reality.

The human mind has four basic orientations: thinking, feeling, sensing and intuition. In simple terms, this means that the mind relates to external phenomenon by way of reasoned thought, emotions, physical sensations or intuitive knowledge. Thinking and feeling are considered to be superior functions, as they involve making judgments; while physical sensations and intuition are regarded as inferior functions. In any given circumstance, at least three of the four are engaged by external stimuli; and in a well-functioning psyche, they tend to be more or less congruent. In eating a chocolate bar, for example, a normal and healthy individual might think it good for satisfying a consciously recognized need for energy, feel it to be good it for providing a physical lift, and sense it to be good for the release of endorphins it caused within the brain. In contrast, a reasonably informed adult smoking a cigarette would know it to be bad, feel it to be good for relieving his nicotine cravings, but still sense it to be bad for wreaking havoc within his body.

Realigning the subject/victim’s orientation toward the external world is essential to ARTICHOKE, for success is measured in part by separating the subject/victim from reality. This is unfortunately easily done, by attaching a powerful and pleasurable physical memory to an otherwise unappealing situation. To do so, the hypnotist might for example ask the subject/victim to recall his fondest memory of physical pleasure; and then associate it with words and images to the unappealing situation referenced above. In this way the subject/victim’s physical memories of intimacy with his first love might be associated with a particularly dangerous activity, thereby creating an artificial attraction to that activity. A soldier sent into battle, for example, might correctly think it dangerous but feel it wonderfully euphoric; and even though he sensed that something was terribly wrong with this feeling, he would not be able to escape it. In a very literal sense, he would be drawn towards danger.

The next difficulties for the hypnotist to overcome are the subject/victim’s inhibitions – which are, for operational purposes, the subject/victim’s most basic beliefs. The subject/victim might for example believe himself incapable of performing certain particularly challenging physical or mental tasks; but this belief is ultimately based upon his self image - and this is quite literally a picture of himself that he has formed within his own mind. To change that belief, it is necessary only to change that picture, substituting for example a perhaps realistic image of himself for an image of a far superior man capable of overcoming any obstacle. To do this, the hypnotist need only play to the subject/victim’s vanity, pride and desire. For in almost all cases, these temptations are sufficient to persuade him to willfully suspend his own disbelief.

Some inhibitions are more difficult to overcome than others, especially those that involve basic moral issues; and this is particularly true in terms of the prohibition against the taking of human life. During World War Two for example, American soldiers rarely displayed overt acts of cowardice and in fact routinely demonstrated a high level of courage under fire. Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of American soldiers would not shoot to kill. Studies undertaken after the war demonstrated this fact conclusively; for it was found that a mere 25 per cent of the Army’s frontline troops were responsible for almost 100% of the casualties inflicted upon the enemy. 10

To avoid this difficulty, the hypnotist uses a variety of techniques upon the subject/victims. One of these is the alteration of self-image described above; but a more powerful technique is known as “permissioning.” To do so, the hypnotist questions the subject/victim intensively as to why he believes that killing is wrong, and tries to find exceptions. Extensive research demonstrated that in most cases the inhibition against killing is traceable to the influence of the subject/victim’s mother during his most formative stage; and to overcome this the hypnotist might present killing in certain circumstances as exceptions that the subject/victim’s mother would approve of; or perhaps even impersonate the subject/victim’s mother, to falsely assure him that the taking of life under specified circumstances would be permissible after all. Once this inhibition has been overcome, excepted, or rationalized through hypnotic deceit, all that remains to be done is to install additional “reinforcers” in the subject/victim’s mind, assign to him his particular task and, if necessary, schedule a follow-up “appointment.” Thus the subject/victim may be instructed that each time he saw a telephone pole he was to reaccept and reaffirm as right, proper and true all that occurred while in the hypnotic state; and to re-accept and re-affirm his mission.


As declassified CIA documents make clear, a principal objective of MKULTRA was to develop techniques that would allow the Agency to exert control over an individual to such an extent that he would do their bidding “against his will and even against such fundamental laws of nature such as self-preservation.” Technically, they failed; but only because a parallel project run by the Department of Defense achieved success first. The CIA research and development program was reportedly shut down in 1973, and the ARTICHOKE techniques perfected by the military were adopted wholesale.

There is no evidence that either the CIA or the US military operationalized ARTICHOKE, but other intelligence services were less circumspect. There is clear evidence that the Soviet and Soviet Bloc intelligence services made ample use of it. The Soviets were decades ahead of the West in the race to weaponize the human psyche, and they exploited their advantage to its maximum potential. Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s the West received a steady stream of false defectors, dispatched abroad by the KGB to disinform the Western intelligence services. To ensure that they delivered their false messages and no more, most were subjected to ARTICHOKE. The KGB later shared its expertise with their North Vietnamese allies; and by 1966, suicide bombings in Saigon, Da Nang and Hue began to exact a heavy toll upon American rear-echelon troops. These bombings did not significantly contribute to the North Vietnamese victory, but they did exact a measurable toll upon the morale of US forces.

Exactly when the Soviets shared ARTICHOKE with their Arab allies is unknown, but they had clearly acquired the capability by the latter part of the 1970’s. Their intelligence services are said to have passed it to various terrorist groups under their control by the late 1980’s; and this knowledge is now widely believed to have diffused throughout the terrorist underground. Although this supposition remains unproven, it meshes neatly with the historical record. The first suicide bombing sponsored by an Arab intelligence service occurred in Beirut in 1983; and the first suicide bombing conducted by an Arab terrorist organization followed 11 years later.


On 6 April 1994, a 19-year-old Palestinian driving a stolen vehicle packed with explosives pulled up to a crowded bus stop in the northern Israeli town of Afula. Before the vehicle could come to a complete stop, it exploded with enormous force, killing the driver and eight Israelis and wounding 50 more. Although few Western analysts have made the connection, the Afula attack was a turning point in the Middle East conflict. For it was the first time that Islamic terrorists – manifestly independent of any state or intelligence service – employed ARTICHOKE to mount suicide attacks. Since then, they have conducted more than 80 additional suicide attacks against Israel, and three against the United States.

The results have been devastating. In Israel, suicide bombers have killed more than 1000 Israelis and wounded almost five times as many. Moreover, they have inflicted enormous damage upon the Israeli economy. During the last 18 months, economic growth has ground to as standstill; and in partial result, Israel is now suffering a net population loss from emigration, as young Israelis leave for Europe and America in search of employment and, perhaps, security.

The effects of suicide bombings upon the Israeli political system have been equally severe, and may eventually prove fatal. Israel is now locked into an apparently interminable struggle with the Islamic terrorists at an exceedingly unfavorable exchange rate. For each Israeli killed by suicide bombers, Israeli retaliatory actions have killed three Palestinians. This is a price Palestinians can pay indefinitely, while Israel cannot. Adjusting for population disparities, the number of Israelis killed by Islamic terrorists in the past 18 months is equivalent to 20,000 Americans. Despite this enormous bloodletting, the Israeli security service has yet to find a way to defend their civilian populace. If it cannot do so, the government itself is liable to eventual collapse.

The 11 September attacks against New York and Washington in the United States are comparable. There Islamic terrorists traded the lives of 19 operatives for an estimated 3000 Americans; and at an estimated cost of $200,000 they inflicted approximately $100,000,000,000 damage upon the US economy. In terms of human life, this translates into an exchange ratio 1 to 157; and in terms of monetary costs, a ratio of $1 to $500,000,000. Such an exchange ratio cannot be long sustained, even by a country as rich, powerful and heavily populated as the United States. For that reason, developing an effective counter to ARTICHOKE-assisted suicide attacks must be an urgent national priority.


As of this writing, there has been no public discussion of ARTICHOKE-assisted suicide bombings. Indeed, all official discussions of suicide attacks have carefully omitted any reference to ARTICHOKE as an element of the suicide attack strategy. They have instead focused upon the supposed religious fanaticism of the bombers.

Religious fanaticism is undoubtedly a significant factor in the recruitment of volunteers for so-called martyrdom operations, and it is certainly a strong contributing factor to their success. But in and of itself, religious fanaticism fails to explain the remarkably low failure rate of suicide bombings. To date, not a single recruit is known to have defected to either Israel or the United States; and only one is known to have refused to carry out his assigned mission. On the basis of current public source reports, the failure rate of suicide bombers appears to be about 1 in 80; and such an extraordinary figure is only attributable to scientific technique.

Thus far the only countermeasure known to have been employed by Israeli and American – and, presumably - European security services is Remote Influence Technology, or RIT. An offshoot of MKULTRA distantly related to ARTICHOKE, RIT employs radio and microwave frequencies to broadcast subliminal messages to general or specific targets. Although RIT appeared promising in field tests and is said to have performed well during the 1989 invasion of Panama, it appears to have fallen short in this particular application. Israel is said to have initiated intensive RIT broadcasts in September of 2000, with no apparent success. Similarly, the National Security Agency’s much vaunted effort to use RIT against Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan has been judged an unqualified failure, and apparently abandoned.

On the basis of the available evidence, then, it would appear that technological solutions to the problem of ARTICHOKE-assisted suicide bombings are unlikely in the near or medium range future. The only plausible alternative is classical counterintelligence - that is, intelligence operations that are designed to counter, i.e., negate, the effectiveness of targeted intelligence services by infiltrating, penetrating and suborning their ranks. Because counterintelligence has historically focused upon opposing intelligence services rather than terrorist organizations, classical CI may be imperfectly suited for this task. Nonetheless, no other alternative readily suggests itself.

Unfortunately, the United States is singularly ill equipped to undertake this effort, for the national counterintelligence capability was systematically destroyed during the anti-intelligence hysteria of the 1970’s; and the feeble attempt to re-establish it by the Reagan Administration arguably died with James Angleton in May of 1987. A scholar of international renown, Angleton was widely regarded as the premier theorist of counterintelligence during the Twentieth Century; and during his long tenure as chief of CIA counterintelligence, he is credited with creating Americas first and only national counterintelligence capability. Unfortunately, Angleton’s refusal to accept Henry Kissinger’s policy of détente with the Soviet Union precipitated his dismissal in December of 1973; and within a matter of years, the CIA’s counterintelligence staff was disbanded altogether.

Creating a new counterintelligence capability configured for both classical counterintelligence and counter terrorist operations is a daunting task; and even if the political will for this undertaking is suddenly found, it will take at least a decade to achieve full functionality. Nonetheless, the need is compelling, and the prospects are bright. For Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations not only accept Western volunteers; they seem to revel in the practice. The fact that at least two Americans, two Britons, and an Australian have been found among captured Al Qaeda fighters demonstrated the permeability of this organization, and augers well for success. Even in the absence of a national counterintelligence capability – with the training and support functions that this implies – it should be a comparatively simple task to place American or Allied agents in the ranks of the Islamic terrorist organizations; and once emplaced, to begin the long task of reducing them from within. Given the ghastly potential of suicide bombers, their first and foremost objective should be obtaining the names and locations of the terrorist’s ARTICHOKE operators, and their subject/victims.


For more than a century and a half, Hasan bin Sabah and his followers terrorized the Muslim world by systematically murdering anyone who stood in their way. In this, their principal weapon was the programmed assassin, psychologically weaponized with a technique strikingly similar to ARTICHOKE. In terms of strategy, tactics and technique, the Assassini were the historical predecessors of today’s suicide bombers; and for that reason they are instructive.

The Medieval Islamic elite failed to devise an effective strategy against suicide assassins, and for that they paid a fearsome price. It was not until the Mongol Conquest that the Assassini were finally suppressed, and then only by sheer brutality. Lacking modern sensibilities, the Mongols laid waste their strongholds and surrounding areas; and all known, suspected, and potential supporters of the Assassini were summarily put to the sword. The number of people killed by the Mongol’s in their campaign against the Assassini has been lost to history, but it was surely in the hundreds of thousands and it may have numbered in the millions.

Contemporary suicide bombers pose an almost identical challenge to the political structures of the contemporary world. ARTICHOKE-assisted terrorism is capable of successfully attacking almost any target at a highly favorable exchange ratio; and for that reason, it has revolutionized modern warfare. The political and economic structures of the Western states are now at grave risk; and the danger grows daily with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Barring an improbable technological breakthrough, the only plausible option for the United States is a strategy of suppression based upon the classical counterintelligence techniques of infiltration, penetration and subornation. Although such a strategy would be difficult for the United States to undertake at the present time, it offers every promise of long-term success. All that is required is political will, ingenuity, and patience – and a commitment to national survival.


EDITOR's NOTE: First published by the Center for Intelligence Studies in the summer of 20002. This paper may be reprinted in part or in full for public educational purposes provided that context is preserved, full attribution is given, and that it is distributed free without charge and not for financial gain.

Copyright 2002 by Charles S. Viar.


1. See for example Jim Marrs’ Rule by Secrecy. [New York: Harper Collins, 2000.] pp’s 280-285.

2. Marks, John. The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control. [ New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1979] See especially Chapter 2.

3.Ibid., p. 134

4. Ranelagh, John. The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA. [London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1986.] p. 215. Editor’s Note: The most spectacular example of this phenomenon may have been British rather than American. George Blake, a senior MI-6 officer, was captured by the North Koreans shortly after the Korean War began on June 25, 1950. In 1961 a Soviet Bloc defector exposed him, and he was arrested and sentenced to 42 years. He escaped from Wormwood Scrubs prison in 1966 with the help of former prisoners and made his way to Moscow

5 Ibid., p. 205. Editors Note: U.S. Ambassador Elbridge Durbrow strongly disagreed with this assessment. A former Chief of Mission to the Moscow embassy and a close associate of Kennan, Durbrow was convinced that he had long since been suborned by the Soviets and that the Templehof incident was staged to provide a pretext for Kennan’s departure from the foreign service. Although Durbrow did not rule out a prior Soviet mind control operation against Kennan, he was nonetheless convinced that Kennan was an ideologically motivated recruit to the Soviet cause. In conversation with the writer at the office of the Security and Intelligence Fund in Washington, D.C., Spring of 1985.

6 Editor’s Note: The CIA has thus far managed to keep these aspects of MK-ULTRA secret. Amongst the very few CIA documents that have surfaced to date regarding these efforts is a 1977 academic paper authored by Dr. Kenneth A. Kress, entitled Parapsychology in Intelligence. This paper confirms the CIA’s investigation of the paranormal and reports mixed results. Similar programs run by the Department of Defense are however reasonably well documented, and the CIA’s successes may be inferred from these. The DoD achieved impressive success in remote viewing – a form of psychic observation – and in fact formed an operational remote viewing intelligence unit. Perhaps the best open-source publication available is Jim Schnabel’s Remote Viewers: The Secret History of America’s Psychic Spies. [New Your: Dell Publishing, 1997]. See also W. Adam Mandelbaum’s The Psychic Battlefield: A History of the Military Occult Complex. [New York: S. Martin’s Press, 2000].

7 Marks, Op. Cit., pp’s. 224-225

8 Editor’s Note: The above referenced information was provided to the writer by senior U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Because all of the devices referenced above are now commercially manufactured - including a mechanism that can remotely sense, isolate, and record “emotion signature clusters,” making possible a limited form of “mind reading” - it would seem that the U.S. intelligence community is more concerned about dates of deployment than the fact of development.

9 Freud, Anna. The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (Revised Edition) [Madison: International Universities Press, Inc., 1966.] Chap. 4.

10 As recounted by U.S. Army Gen. S. L. A. Marshall in his monograph, A Soldier’s Load and the Mobility of a Nation. Currently published by the U.S. Marine Corps Association, Quantico, VA.

11Marks, Op. Cit., p. 25.

Frank Kitman