Category: Brainwashing

Stressed to Kill: The Defense of Brainwashing

Sniper Suspect’s Claim Triggers More Debate As sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo stands trial this week, his insanity defense relies on a controversial claim rarely heard in courtrooms: The defendant was brainwashed to kill. Brainwashing Cult apologists (defenders), such as Dick Anthony and James T. Richardson, discount brainwashing theories “A remarkable thing about cult mind control is that it’s so ordinary in the tactics and strategies of social influence employed. They are variants of well-known social psychological principles of compliance, conformity, persuasion, dissonance, reactance, framing, emotional manipulation, and others that are used on all of us daily to entice us:

Acquaintances Split On ‘Brainwashing’

Malvo’s Mind-Set At Heart of Defense Washington Post, Nov. 17, 2003 CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad crisscrossed the United States after meeting in the Caribbean, encountering school principals, shelter directors, old friends and new acquaintances. And each noticed the dynamic between the two: Muhammad was in charge. But opinions about the degree to which the young Jamaican was dominated by Muhammad vary significantly among the people who came across the drifters between the time they met in 2000 and when they were arrested in October 2002 and charged as the Washington area snipers. Some say

Lawyers claim Malvo brainwashed

CNN, June 26, 2003 From Mike Ahlers, CNN WASHINGTON (CNN) — Marking a switch in strategy, attorneys for the teenage suspect in last October’s sniper shootings now blame the older suspect for brainwashing their client, according to court papers released Wednesday. Attorneys for Lee Boyd Malvo, who was 17 at the time of a string of sniper shootings in the Washington area, suggest in pretrial motions their client had been programmed or brainwashed by then 41-year-old John Allen Muhammad. They argue that Muhammad’s programming led Malvo to participate in an October 2002 sniper shooting spree that left 10 dead

Brainwashing: Not just in wartime

Redlands Daily Facts, Mar. 20, 2003 By RAY SIDDONS, For the Daily Facts Although the concept of “brainwashing” is usually associated with prisoners of war, there are examples in our everyday world, Kidnappings, cults, and domestic violence raise issues about victims and their ability to fight off or recover from brainwashing. Brainwashing occurs when a person is overwhelmed physically and psychologically while under the control of the aggressor. The victim loses individual responsibility and decision making ability as the aggressor uses subtle or direct force to gain more and more dominance. This can occur quickly when the trauma is

Experts: Smart’s brainwashing likely began at knifepoint, reinforced continually

AP, Mar. 17, 2003 CATHERINE S. BLAKE, Associated Press As authorities piece together Elizabeth Smart’s whereabouts during the last nine months, it’s become clear that her captors gave her several opportunities to escape. Mental health experts say her unwillingness to leave, and to deny her identity when police found her, is consistent with someone who has been brainwashed. But questions remain: What was going on inside her head that kept her from trying to flee? And what does it take to recover from that kind of experience? Experts say it’s difficult to speculate what lies ahead for the teenager

Captive girl’s actions hint at brainwashing

Chicago Tribune, via Contra Costa Times, Mar. 15, 2003 By VINCENT J. SCHODOLSKI and V. DION HAYNES, Chicago Tribune The signs at first contact were ominous. When police initially encountered Elizabeth Smart last week on State Street in Sandy, Utah, she wore a gray wig and dark glasses. Her head and face were covered. And then she lied. When Sandy police officer Bill O’Neal and his partner approached, she identified herself as Augustine Mitchell, adopting the surname of her alleged abductor. “We took her aside,” O’Neal recalled. “She kind of just blurted out, ‘I know who you think I

Experts Say Teen’s Compliance Was Not Brainwashing

Specialists in the psychology of abuse and persuasion say survival, not mind control, could explain the girl’s behavior. Los Angeles Times, Mar. 15, 2003 By Benedict Carey, Times Staff Writer She didn’t once call home, or contact friends, though she knew those closest to her feared the worst. She walked around freely, close to her own neighborhood, and apparently never made an effort to reach out for help. And when finally rescued, Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart did something that seems beyond comprehension: She denied her identity. That a competent, thoughtful, normal teenager could act so compliantly in her own

Authorities Examine Bond Between Teen and Captors

Elizabeth Smart Returns Home a Changed Girl Rapid City Journal, Mar. 14, 2003 By REBECCA BOONE After nine months of shabby living under bridges and in tents with a self-styled prophet and his wife, Elizabeth Smart returned to her million-dollar home alive _ but not unchanged. When stopped by police, she readily lied about her identity and said the two drifters were her parents. The 15-year-old was nervous and agitated when asked to remove her sunglasses and gray wig and never asked about her family once the truth emerged. “There is clearly a psychological impact that occurred at some

Teenager’s recovery likely to take months

Elizabeth Smart may have begun to identify with her abductors, expert says San Francisco Chronicle, Mar. 14, 2003 Katherine Seligman, Chronicle Staff Writer Her face, it seemed, was everywhere Thursday. News anchors and Hollywood agents lined up to talk to her parents. Even President Bush called to say how happy he was that Elizabeth Smart was back home. So what about the 15-year-old girl who used to be, after all, just an ordinary young teenager? Gone for nine long months, what can seem an eternity to a teen, Elizabeth Smart now faces another challenge — trying to return to