Thomas A. Ban: The Ewen Cameron Story

Barry Blackwell´s comment: Science and the Machiavelli Syndrome 


Barry Blackwell’s response to Hector Warnes’ response to Blackwell’s reply to Warnes’ comment on Blackwell’s comment


       My posting based on Machiavelli’s own description of the features of his leadership style was inspired by the need to reconcile the profound duality of opinions expressed about Cameron’s involvement in the UK Ultra Project.

       Many colleagues who knew and worked with Cameron, like Hector, held strongly positive views of his leadership style including the Presidency of the Canadian, American and International Psychiatric Associations as well as Director of the Allen Memorial Hospital where the treatments occurred that triggered litigation in the courts incurring damages caused by treatment procedures designed to strip and re-program the brain, arousing widespread public denigration.

       The irony of the Machiavelli metaphor is that it symbolizes  admirable and despicable traits co-existing in the same human being at different times and circumstances.  As Hector comments, similar ambiguity was expressed about Gottlieb, the CIA Director, by those who knew him well but forgave his foibles.

       Hector expresses surprise that Ewen’s family did not rally to his side but Cameron’s own behavior indicates regret and perhaps shame. He left the Allen scene abruptly, his records vanished and he never again pursued the same lines of enquiry. His family respected his silence and joined him in it.

       Contemporary political leadership demonstrated by Donald Trump and other authoritarians worldwide make us aware of how bipolar Machiavellian traits can co-exist and even attract approval from significant segments of the population.

       Fortunately, contemporary standards of informed consent and properly constituted research advisory boards protect hospital patients today from this kind of harm.

       They did not exist at the time to protect Cameron from his darker angels.


September 16, 2021