|Born||4 December 1957
|Known for||Conspiracy theorist, statements of victimization by Project Monarch|
|Parents||Earl M. O'Brien
Carol O'Brien (née Tanis)
Cathleen Ann O'Brien (born December 4, 1957, Muskegon, Michigan) is an American who says she is a victim of a mind control government project named Project Monarch, which she said was part of the CIA's Project MKULTRA for behavioral engineering of humans (mind control). O'Brien made these assertions in Trance Formation of America (1995) and Access Denied: For Reasons of National Security (2004) which she co-authored with her husband Mark Phillips.
The memories that O'Brien has asserted she possesses were retrieved through the use of hypnosis. The specific program which she claimed was responsible for her dissociative identity disorder, Project Monarch, is not mentioned in reviews of MKULTRA, its alleged parent program. Because most MKULTRA records were deliberately destroyed in 1973 by order of then CIA Director Richard Helms, it has been difficult, if not impossible, for investigators to gain a complete understanding of the more than 150 individually funded research sub-projects sponsored by MKULTRA and related CIA programs. In 1977, Richard Helms was suspended by the US Congress for lying about the US government's anti-government activities abroad and illegal surveillance domestically.
O'Brien also states that she has a recollection of child abuse — of her and her daughter — by international pedophile rings, drug barons and satanists, as part of a sex slave aspect to her "trauma based mind control programming." Individuals from United States, Canadian, Mexican and Saudi Arabian government officials to stars of the Country and Western music scene are among those she accuses of these crimes. According to scholar Michael Barkun, investigations into the story produced no credible evidence and numerous inconsistencies.
O'Brien says she was recruited against her will by the CIA and her abusive father as a child, through a network of child pornographers he was involved with, and forced to participate in a mind control program named Project Monarch, which is said to be a subsection of Project MKULTRA and Project ARTICHOKE.
O'Brien says that she has developed dissociative identity disorder (previously misnomered as multiple personality disorder) and that she has no memory of some of her activities. She also says that she has a photographic recall of the events that she suffered whilst her alternate personalities were in control.
Criticisms of O'Brien
Swedish scholar Mattias Gardell states that O'Brien's assertions are almost entirely unsupported by any evidence outside her testimony or the similarly unverified testimony of others. Michael Barkun states that "scholarly and journalistic treatments of MK-ULTRA make no mention of a Project Monarch".
Her stories have entered the conspiracy culture, linking assertions of satanic ritual abuse with MKUltra. Mark Dice was skeptical of her assertions, but also commented, "there are very real victims of such programs" and "it is possible that a victim would write a book about them and have nobody believe her."
- O'Brien, C; Phillips M (1995). TranceFormation of America (pdf). Reality Marketing, Incorporated. ISBN 0-9660165-4-8. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- O'Brien, C (2004). Access Denied: For Reasons of National Security. Reality Marketing, Incorporated. ISBN 0-9660165-3-X.
- O'Brien, Cathy. "Trance Formation Of America". Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- Versluis, A (2006). The new inquisitions: heretic-hunting and the intellectual origins of modern totalitarianism. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. p. 173. ISBN 0-19-530637-6. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- de Young, M (2004). The day care ritual abuse moral panic. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland. p. 235. ISBN 0-7864-1830-3. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- Toropov B (2001). The complete idiot's guide to urban legends. Indianapolis, Ind: Alpha Books. p. 221. ISBN 0-02-864007-1. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- Barkun, Michael (2003). A culture of conspiracy: apocalyptic visions in contemporary America. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-520-23805-2. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- Phillips, Mark (1995). TranceFormation of America (pdf). Reality Marketing, Incorporated. ISBN 0-9660165-4-8. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- Walter H. Bowart (January 1971), Operation Mind Control, Dell Publishing
- John D. Marks (1979), The Search for the 'Manchurian Candidate': The CIA and Mind Control: The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences, Penguin Books Ltd., retrieved 2013-10-27
- Christopher Marquis. "Richard Helms, Ex-C.I.A. Chief, Dies at 89". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
- Gardell M (2003). Gods of the blood: the pagan revival and white separatism. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3071-7. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- Knight P (2003). Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. pp. 487. ISBN 1-57607-812-4.
- Mark Dice. "Cathy O’Brien's Claims of Being an MK-ULTRA victim". Retrieved 2013-07-31.