Context: Research for Brainwash: The Secret History of Mind Control
Date: September 3rd 2004
Interviewee: MI6 Psychiatrist
This interviewee, a senior psychiatrist who has since died, was a former close colleague of William Sargant’s, and himself did carry out work for the British Intelligence Services. Although understandably cagey about speaking too directly, I suspect that his version of things is pretty accurate.
Sargant, it seems, was involved at some level, but was never an official psychiatrist to either MI5 or MI6: apart from anything else, he was notoriously indiscreet. MKULTRA-watchers will of course demand to know why I should believe that this guy wasn’t himself involved in some sort of deception operation. But I’ve seen very little evidence that anything he says here is untrue.
Download: Download Interview (PDF)
I heard that Sargant was advising the MoD and, it’s been stated, the British intelligence services?
He didn’t talk about that. He wasn’t allowed to. Officially. I mean, he talked about it generally, but not specific matters.
One interviewee told me that he used to vanish off to clandestine meetings…
No, no. The world wasn’t like that in those days. There weren’t clandestine meetings – for all I know there were at night but I didn’t follow him.
I was also told that he flatly refused to sign the Official Secrets Act.
No. He wouldn’t have. I agree entirely. We didn’t in those days sign the OSA. We gave advice – so I mean, certainly Sargant gave advice but it wouldn’t have been advice about matters which required signing the Secrets Act.
Because times were different back then?
No. I used to do occasional things but I never signed up. Neither did Sargant
Sargant was fond of gossiping though, wasn’t he?
Sargant did, yes. But he wouldn’t have given away secrets in any sense. He was certainly indiscreet.
That wouldn’t have discouraged the MoD/whoever?
Yes, but they would have got his opinion without necessarily going into the details. You don’t necessarily go into the details about why X or Mrs X was behaving like this. You know, you can just ask him general questions. Which Sargant would have loved doing. He loved doing things for the government.
Sort of: ‘Here’s a patient’? Or ‘We wonder what the Chinese might be doing?’
‘We wonder what the Chinese are doing.’ He wasn’t part of the official group of psychiatrists who saw sick spies and things like that.
He never did that?
No. Not as far as I know.
Truth drugs appear to have been experimented with by the British intelligence community for a while and then discarded as pretty much useless?
I honestly can’t tell you but I can tell you from experience that that’s what we found and that was generally accepted. You know, you might as well stick a pin in somebody’s testicles and expect an answer as give someone a truth drug and expect an answer.
You say ‘from experience’. What experience?
I don’t want to talk about my experiences. Experimentation took place in a vague sort of way. I mean, at the Royal Waterloo Hospital, part of Thomas’, we used to experiment in whether or not we could get confessions from people who had been – who were suspected of this or that. But it wasn’t done in any sort of scientific way, if that’s what you mean.
Perhaps most hospitals were doing this at the time?
I think they were, yes.
At Waterloo, this wasn’t something linked to the government? You weren’t officially asked to conduct this type of research?
No, no. I was a junior then at Thomas’. Certainly as far as Thomas’ and the Royal Waterloo.