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Supreme Court won't hear appeal in Montreal brainwashing experiments case

The Supreme Court of Canada will not review a Quebec ruling that bars people from suing the U.S. government in Canada over its role in notorious brainwashing experiments at a Montreal psychiatric hospital. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press) The Supreme Court of Canada will not review a Quebec ruling that bars people from suing the U.S. government in Canada over its role in notorious brainwashing experiments at a Montreal psychiatric hospital. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
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The Supreme Court of Canada will not review a Quebec ruling that bars people from suing the U.S. government in Canada over its role in notorious brainwashing experiments at a Montreal psychiatric hospital.

The top court's decision is a setback for a proposed class-action lawsuit over the medical procedures funded decades ago by the Canadian government and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency at the Allan Memorial Institute.

Dr. Ewen Cameron, who died in 1967, used drugs, sensory deprivation and repetitive taped messages at the institute in an effort to repattern the minds of his patients.

Cameron was among several researchers the CIA covertly supported through a Cold War project known as MK-ULTRA, aimed at learning how to control the human mind.

The court case stems from a 2019 class-action application filed against the Canadian and U.S. governments, McGill University and the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Last October, the Quebec Court of Appeal rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the trial judge erred in granting the U.S. immunity at an early stage in the proceedings.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 30, 2024.

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