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Commentary :: Human Rights : International : War and Militarism
Attempting To Exploit False Inner Conflicts
29 Dec 2012
History can teach us so much about ourselves. This is the case with history's successes as well as it's failure's. We can see where others made a correct decision, plus exactly how that played out regarding timing, environment and of course implementation. Much of what we do is predicated upon the periods gone by when others made the right steps that led them precisely where they wanted to go, and at times even unexpectedly so. Of course the failures of others and the circumstances that those failures occurred under, make so many wary and cautious about where the next footstep lands. As though navigating a minefield, there are those that become desperately clingy to the choices made by others in the past plus all the control they feel knowledge of such choices will provide them with.
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There was much about our strategy during the Cold War that helped us prevail, especially the containment policies first advocated by George F. Kennan. The idea of maintaining buffer zones and areas of influence to counter those of the Soviets was a crucial element to successfully seeing the USSR crumble and one that we held onto throughout the war and numerous philosophical changes to come about during this time.

Of course the collapse of the Soviet Empire was not our doing alone. Much of it was of their own, such as their policies of isolationism and philosophical utopianism turned choking oppression that helped rot their empire from within. Once it became obvious that the way they were doing things was not wholly capable of sustaining itself, they were incapable of changing enough to adjust to suit their needs and adapt to save themselves. One of the ideas that they never seemed to be able to break from was that of disempowering any notions of individualism.

The experiment had failed and a rusted and crumbling Soviet Union was all that was left of a once mighty empire, and unfortunately the idea that by allowing people the freedom to be creative and simply live life the way each saw fit for themselves never caught hold until it was too late. State run everything just didn't work, any more than absolutely no regulations, regulatory bodies or enforcement of those regulations by the respective agencies did in the lead up to the 2008 financial did crash here.

The government also simply became too attached to the idea that absolutely controlling people and imposing a certain ideology on them was the key to a strong and successful nation. After the fall of the Soviet Empire many of the once jealously guarded secrets of the former USSR opened up to a newly free press, and many stories regarding the lengths the government went to in attempting to control the citizenry of formerly communist Russia were revealed. They ranged from scary to bizarre and many can be read about online and seen in documentaries in places ranging from YouTube to various cable channels.

One of the documentaries that recently played on a cable channel here discussed the experiments the communists did on citizens trying to ascertain the efficacy of subliminal messages and influencing and the extent to which they could be used. The government wanted to use it to send messages to the general population by embedding such messages in things like billboards and advertisements.

They also wanted to use these experiments in more focused applications. Towards the end of the USSR's existence they started trying to use various methods to try and "reeducate" people they viewed as harboring opinions and ideas that were in some ways contrary to communist philosophy, and so seen as unpatriotic. These weren't people that were hell bent on seeing their government fall, just maybe seeing more than just one party having control and perhaps alternate voices to add to the fray and to provide checks and balances, etc.

One method the government experiments with was to secretly plant speakers that would play subliminal messages while people were at home, and particularly when they were sleeping to see if they could influence their thoughts and behaviors. They would plant the speakers and other devices within appliances like clocks, radios, refrigerators, lamps, etc, and replace the ones people had with the doctored ones while they were out. Apparently, according to people interviewed on the documentary, it was believed that when people were sleeping, they were especially vulnerable to falling under the influence of subliminal messages.

One of the people they experimented on was a widower, that, after losing his wife in a car accident, decided he would never marry again. He very much loved her and apparently just felt to remarry, etc would be a betrayal of his feelings for her. Certain people in the commie KGB thought this was a great opportunity to experiment, as he didn't have many friends and essentially went to work, then came home afterwards. They wanted to experiment with guilt and emotions related to it. They had recently decided sexual blackmail was a potent asset for them to exploit and they wanted to discover if they could actually manufacture guilt where there really wasn't any cause for it, to then use sexual blackmail. They felt that through subliminal messages they could get people to think things they otherwise would not, and then play upon those feelings to manipulate people into doing things they wanted.

The man they chose to experiment on drank a certain brand of vodka, and the government agents doing the experiment decided that they would attempt to get him to switch brands. They started by planting people at his place of employment and in the markets where he purchased his goods including his alcohol. They began by having people talk up the alternate brand around him. They wanted to see if this would get him to try it, but the man simply wasn't interested. They started using people at the place he purchased his vodka to do the same thing.

He still was not interested. So in came the guilt. They began putting up signage around where he lives with women in suggestive poses in advertisements for his brand of vodka. They did this in addition to the conversations. The idea was to try and suggest something that would arouse his interest in a woman other than his deceased wife to try and make him feel guilty about his brand of vodka.

But the man never even noticed. He spent all his time thinking of her and he never made the connection. So they moved to the subliminal broadcasts while he was asleep. They would leak a specific gas meant to induce a state of sleep during which it had been found, through experimentation, people would become highly susceptible to subliminal messaging. At first it did have an effect, the messages were meant to make him feel sexually aroused about a particular woman at his place of employment, and then suggest that it was his brand of vodka that made him feel that way.

It worked a little, as it caused him to feel guilty, but he did not switch brands. Instead he stopped drinking altogether. That was not the desired outcome. So they cut back and even used subliminal messaging to get him to feel it was okay, and just a set of bad dreams now gone by. He began picking up his favorite brand of vodka again and resumed consuming his usual amount after work.

What was unknown to the KGB was that their little experiments were the stuff of whispers and rumor. People had caught KGB agents overplaying their parts, discovered microphones and cameras and also found the speakers and gas canisters when repairing appliances. People caught on when this happened, the agents suddenly disappeared, and a few days after the discoveries of the speakers, etc the appliances would disappear and be replaced. People had known this via scratches they remembered and dents, etc being gone and things being a slightly different color, etc.

The man whose wife had passed had heard these rumors also, through relatives and friends at work. He was aware of a person that pointed two people out for being commie KGB spies in his apartment building, then two days later both he and the people he accused disappeared without a trace. People aren't stupid. They catch on. However, the experiments on him continued, and he had yet to figure it out.

But, soon the patterns started to emerge. At first he thought he must be getting old and paranoid, for why would the KGB do something as pointless as trying to get him to switch drinks? Who spends money on something so ridiculous? Yet, after a while he could almost time the stages. Soon he began realizing once the chatter around him failed, subtle advertisements went up. Once those failed he began having the dreams. He never had such dreams before, and they only happened when the advertisements failed. He began having fun with it by switching from vodka to various juices or soups. He would watch the reactions of the people he by now had figured were plants, with amusement. He would chuckle at every new advertisement and felt surprisingly empowered with the dramatically decreasing effect the subliminal messages played while he was asleep were having on his waking life.

Not only was he not feeling guilty, these weren't even really his dreams, these were the ideas and concoctions of people that probably felt that way themselves - for how else would they be able to figure what things to say and to direct others to say? This was not his mind, it was theirs, and he now had a window into their very weaknesses and souls. They were surprised these things were not working, because they knew they would or did work on them. It was how they felt deep down, but were afraid to say out loud; they were what we would call in America closeted.

But he was not going to judge, we all carried our own burdens in life. Soon, he began talking with people at work and even his plants about stories he had heard or movie plots that mimicked what he was experiencing. He laughed out loud at their nervous reactions, etc. They lost their spirit soon enough. In the end, he remained as ever the same person he was, same job, same brand of vodka, same devotion to his deceased wife, and yet he now knew a few things about his government he had not known before. They were weaker than he had previously thought. They weren't the invulnerable superheroes he once believed them to be. After watching that documentary all I could do was chuckle, and remind myself of how nice it really is to live in America; you can see people get open in ways you never thought they might before.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to
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