During the height of the Cold War, the CIA attempted to develop mind control techniques with the MKULTRA program.

As it happens, the Communists already had a leg up on them. We’ll explore how this was done, along with some new twists.

The criticism and self-criticism technique in history

The technique of “criticism and self-criticism” (kritika i samokritika) was developed during the early days of the Soviet Union. This got results. When the early Soviet show trials and purges took place, the targets would confess to committing treason—the details stretching credulity—and beg for execution. The Maoists (Chinese Communists) used it too, typically during “struggle sessions.” Also, forced confessions were required in Vietnam for prisoners in reeducation camps.

What happened wasn’t much different from a medieval inquisition. Those targeted would be badgered until they confessed to whatever it was they supposedly did. Of course, physical forms of coercion were also an option. These weren’t actual trials; their fates were already decided.

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