The Sex Establishment VI: False Memory?

“We propose that use of the term “false memory” to describe errors in memory for details directly contributes to removing the social context of abuse from research on memory for trauma. As the term “false memories” has increasingly been used to describe errors in details, the scientific weight of the term has increased. In turn, we see that the term “false memories” is treated as a construct supported by scientific fact, whereas other terms associated with questions about the veracity of abuse memories have been treated as suspect.”

― Jennifer J. Freyd; from Use of the Term “False Memory” for Errors in Memory for Details, Journal: Ethics & Behavior 14(3) pages 201-233, 2004”


imagesIt is curious how the deconstruction of psychoanalysis has led to the resurfacing of child abuse at this particular juncture in human history and precisely at the time of an overt sexualisation of children, in turn, drawn from a foundation of religiously-induced anti-sexuality!

An example of a strange Establishment-led “science” which is stirring the pot of both extremes is False Memory syndrome (FMS) where many genuine child abuse victims were denied justice on the basis that “recovered memories” were deemed unworthy of analysis due to alleged “suggestions” or verbal “cues” from mental health professionals. [1]

That doesn’t mean to say that FMS is wholly without merit. If a therapist is convinced that the patient has been sexually abused by her parents or by a Satanic Ritual Network then this bias can influence the subject – in some cases. Even if the client has no memory of it, it is possible to offer leading questions and subtle persuasion which can lead her away from objective recall to subjective assumptions. Not recalling the trauma means that the client is in denial which then becomes the “proof” which establishes a dangerous loop of confirmation. Memory is highly malleable, of that fact there is no question. The detection of false memories is an essential skill that not all therapists possess, nor is it immune to political interference.

There is danger from both directions. Yet, the more one digs into FMS the more reasons for disquiet can be found.

The False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) founders are Peter Freyd and his wife Pamela, whose daughter had accused Peter of molesting her as a child and provides an interesting set of initial reasons why such a belief may have come into being. Moreover, the late psychologist and paedophile advocate Ralph Underwager was an original member of the FMSF Advisory Board and helped to create the foundation. He and his wife Hollida Wakefield used to publish a publish Issues in Child Abuse Allegations, a journal written by and for child abuse “skeptics.”

Dr. Ralph Underwager’s credentials as a paedophile apologist were well-known. Rather than call for preventative treatment Underwager was intent on campaigning for paedophile’s rights and to insist that the condition was simply another sexual preference that should be sanctioned. Underwager was interviewed in Paidika -The Journal of Paedophilia where he was asked the question: “Is choosing paedophilia for you a responsible choice for the individual?” Underwager: “Certainly it is responsible”…. Paedophiles need to … make the claim that paedophilia is an acceptable expression of God’s will for loved unity among human beings”. [2]

Whilst Underwager dismissed all ritual child abuse as fantasy and the rights of paedophiles as sacrosanct, his outspoken comments caused his resignation from the foundation in 1992. His wife Hollida Wakefield who remained a member despite similar views on paedophilia where she claimed:  “… a longitudinal study of, let’s say, a hundred twelve-year-old boys in relationships with loving paedophiles” would be a good starting point for research. [3]

Some of the other original board members – some of whom are now deceased – include:

Dr. David F. Dinges a Faculty head of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, is on the Scientific Advisory Board and used to work with the late Austrian-born Dr. Martin Orne. (More on him later).

Dr. Harold Lief was the Freyd family’s personal psychiatrist and was tasked with persuading the Freyd’s daughter Jennifer that no abuse took place. Another close colleague to Orne and a participant in hypnotic programming and behavioral modification experiments at the University of Pennsylvania. Past president of the Sex Information and Education Council and director of the Centre for Sexuality and Religion. Lief is credited with the introduction in the DSM of the “inhibited sexual desire” and a longtime supporter of Alfred C. Kinsey.

Dr. Elizabeth Loftus – A research psychologist who testified on behalf of serial killer Ted Bundy. Loftus also defended various individuals accused of child abuse and was ejected from the American Psychologist Association. Californian Clinical psychologist Catherine Gould an expert in the treatment of ritually abused children who stated at the September 1993 National Conference on Crimes Against Children in Washington, D.C., that the studies by Elizabeth Loftus ignore past research on trauma and its influence on memory. Gould voices her concern about Loftus pointing out that the nature of memory of traumatic events is not discussed in her data and yet:

“… she has failed to protest the misapplication of her findings by groups who are involved in discrediting the accounts survivors are giving of their traumatic history. I believe that Dr. Loftus, like other psychologists, has an ethical responsibility to do everything possible to ensure that her research findings are interpreted and applied accurately, and are not manipulated to serve the political agenda of groups like the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. I question whether she has met this ethical responsibility.” [4]

Michael A. Persinger – a Professor of Cognitive neuroscience and militant atheist. An expert in low frequency electromagnetic waves (ELF) he believes almost any experience can be produced whether by false memory or mind control by beaming specific frequencies at the temporal lobes of the brain. He has worked for the Navy and the National Security Agency and his been associated with military mind control research.

Others worth mentioning who were members of FSMF were Louis Jolyon “Joly” West who had a resume for mind control psychiatry as long as your arm. He worked with Orne, Persinger and others as key personnel in the CIA’s mind control programs. For example, Margaret T. Singer noted for her psychological brainwashing techniques in the military and her association with West and Dr. Martin Orne. “The Amazing” James Randi Luminary of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). Randhi was also accused of being a serial paedophile. All of whom have made it their calling to deny the claims of those suffering from child sexual abuse.

In fact, the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) board members offered a veritable hornet’s nest of CIA and military-intelligence connections.  And with a history of sexpionage manipulations and mind control operations a proven part of the agency’s past (and present) one has to question why it is that this grouping of connections exist. [5]

Martin Orne, a co-founder of FMSF had a particularly interesting history in this context. Researcher Colin A. Ross MD who obtained Freedom of Information documents regarding the origins and history of FSMF provides the needed background on the co-founder. He established that Orne not only had top secret clearance for and consultation status for Operation MK-ULTRA mind control programs conducted by the CIA but his C.V. is positively brimming over with military-intelligence funding and contracts, citing infamous centres of mind control research institutes the Office of Naval Research and Centre for Human Ecology. On FSM, Ross opines that:

“The FSMF Advisory board was a very diverse group with many personal, political and professional agendas,” yet the presence of  “a sub-group including Drs Orne and [Louis Jolyon] West were primarily interested in discrediting multiple personality and ‘recovered memories’ in order to protect the Manchurian Candidate programs [US mind control programs] During the 1990s when the false memory wars were at their peak, hundreds of lawsuits were filed against therapists inducing ‘false memories.’” [6]

Ross asks us to consider the following:

… a woman tells a psychotherapist that a psychiatrist working for the U.S. Air Force gave her LSD during an experiment conducted at the University of Minnesota, where he worked and she was a research assistant. He then made her sit in a specially constructed room that had leaves glued to its walls, floors and ceiling. In the 1990s a person who remembered this in therapy could have sued her therapist for implanting fantastic, impossible false memories. FMSF expert witnesses would have told the jury that these memories were false and implanted by the therapist who was guilty of malpractice. [7]

It was these exact experiments which were carried out at the University of Minnesota by Dr. Amedeo Marrazzi with funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. [8]

Indeed, FMS experts believe that even the very idea of repressed memories of trauma have no empirical evidence, preferring to place the blame largely on the pseudo-science of various therapists implanting these memories. Despite this claim there are many examples that the mind does indeed repress authentic trauma and in the hands of an experienced psychologist or psychotherapist can be worked through.

According to Psychologist Ken Pope, in 25 studies of amnesia for childhood sexual abuse it was concluded that:

“… all demonstrate amnesia in a sub-population including recent studies with design improvements such as random sampling and prospective designs that address weaknesses in earlier studies. A reasonable conclusion is that amnesia for CSA [childhood sexual abuse] is a robust finding across studies using very different samples and methods of assessment. Studies addressing the accuracy of recovered abuse memories show that recovered abuse memories are no more or no less accurate than continuous memories for abuse.” [9]

The FMS crowd can just as easily be accused of producing an industry of denial where all abuse reports and trails are burdened with what author and sociologist Sara Scott describes as the “discourse of disbelief.” These industries of disbelief and the industry of survivors compete together to produce more suffering and more victims in the law courts.

Professor Ross E. Cheit, head of the Recovered Memory Project, suggest financial gain from recovering memories as the only driving force, stating: “… it is curious to note that critics who are quick to question the financial motives of anyone who might receive compensation for a recovered-memory claim never seem to raise the same concern when considering those who have recovered enormous financial payments in ‘false memory’ cases: the so-called ‘retractors.’ The one-sidedness of this scepticism can best be explained as politics, not science.” [10]

While FMS is not acknowledged by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders it is often included in mental health papers for public advisory guidelines. FMS “experts” can charge fees of over $450 per hour, thus contributing to an atmosphere of exploitation and vested interest far above the needs of truth. [11]

 


Notes

[1] “False memory syndrome” (FMS) is the term for the hypothesis describing a state of mind wherein sufferers have a high number of highly vivid but false memories, often of abusive events during their childhood, though this remains a highly contentious area of conjecture. It is not listed DSM-IV, though this in itself does not constitute a non-validation of this theory, being as the manual is less than objective in its criteria for mental illness.
[2] Paidika Winter Issue, 1993, pp. 3, 12.
[3] Ibid.
[4] ‘The False Memory Hoax’ By Alex Constantine, January 1996 | educate-yourself.org/mc/falsememoryhoax1996.shtml
[5] Ibid.
[6]Military Mind Control: A Story of Trauma and Recovery [Kindle Edition] Colin A. Ross M.D. Published by Manitou Communications 2008. | ASIN: B005ZJUXA8
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid. (introduction)
[9] ‘Science as Careful Questioning: Are Claims of a False Memory Epidemic based on Empirical Evidence?’ By Ken Pope appeared in the American Psychologist, vol. 52, #9, pp. 997-1006.
[10] ‘Response to Critics’ Professor Ross E. Cheit, Project Director Of the Recovered Memory Project Taubman Center for Public Policy & American Institutions at Brown University. Information can be found at recoveredmemory.org.
[11] op. cit. Scott (p.58)

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