Brainwashing

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Chris Parr
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Brainwashing

Postby Chris Parr » 2016-04-03 08:58pm

Okay, I know the Federation has and uses brainwashing techniques when they feel they need to. Examples include the Neural Neutralizer from "Dagger of the Mind" and whatever Doctor Pulaski did to modify that alien girl's memories in "Pen Pals". Sure there are other examples, but I can't think of them right off.

But what about Imperial brainwashing? I'm sure that stormtroopers and especially the Imperial Guard must undergo conditioning. And there was Terpfin from the Jedi Academy trilogy, whose brain was surgically altered. Any other examples you can think of?

The reason I bring this up is the Federation, while primitive compared to the Empire, might still prove a threat by creating sleeper agents by modifying memories or outright brainwashing of captured Imperial officers.

Of course the problem is capturing those Imperials, isn't it? That and overcoming the Imperial conditioning that I mentioned earlier. So what do you think?

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Re: Brainwashing

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-04-04 04:43am

It would be massively out of character for the Federation to use that technology in such a way.
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Re: Brainwashing

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2016-04-04 04:55am

In a plot I despise, Clone Wars indicated that Order 66 was a Manchurian agent plot through control chips embedded in the minds of every clone in the Republic. So they certainly have the capability for that sort of thing, if done in a somewhat primitive fashion.

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Re: Brainwashing

Postby Chris Parr » 2016-04-04 06:00am

Simon_Jester wrote:It would be massively out of character for the Federation to use that technology in such a way.


Would it? Maybe the famous crew of the Enterprise would never do such a thing, but what about Section 31? Didn't they engineer a plague designed to take out the Founders during the Dominion War? Germ warfare is certainly out of character for the noble crew of the Enterprise, isn't it? And if they were willing to do that, I think Section 31 would at least be willing to consider brainwashing their enemies—especially enemies who threaten the Federation with extinction.

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Re: Brainwashing

Postby Chris Parr » 2016-04-04 06:02am

Adam Reynolds wrote:In a plot I despise, Clone Wars indicated that Order 66 was a Manchurian agent plot through control chips embedded in the minds of every clone in the Republic. So they certainly have the capability for that sort of thing, if done in a somewhat primitive fashion.


I thought that was an episode of "Rebels".

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Re: Brainwashing

Postby Lord Revan » 2016-04-04 06:19am

Chris Parr wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:It would be massively out of character for the Federation to use that technology in such a way.


Would it? Maybe the famous crew of the Enterprise would never do such a thing, but what about Section 31? Didn't they engineer a plague designed to take out the Founders during the Dominion War? Germ warfare is certainly out of character for the noble crew of the Enterprise, isn't it? And if they were willing to do that, I think Section 31 would at least be willing to consider brainwashing their enemies—especially enemies who threaten the Federation with extinction.

Section 31 has very limited resources, they're not an official UFP organization but rather a pro-UFP terrorist organization that uses a loophole in the Federation constitution to prevent the Federation from officially eliminating them. Chances of section 31 getting their hands on anyone important enough to cause any real damage to the imperial forces is minimal to say the least. Also crew of the Enterprise isn't that much more "noble" then your typical starfleet officer, it's section 31 that's the outlayer.
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Re: Brainwashing

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2016-04-04 07:02am

There is also the matter that in an actual war with the Empire, the Federation won't last long enough for any sort of brainwashing plot to be effective.
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Re: Brainwashing

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-04-04 07:30am

Simon_Jester wrote:It would be massively out of character for the Federation to use that technology in such a way.


Really?! After "Dagger Of the Mind," "Whom Gods Destroy," and "Pen Pals," you can honestly say that?! Wow, just...wow. That's like saying the Federation would never sanction genetic modification programs, even after the events of TNG's "Unnatural Selection."

(and the hypocrisy of threatening Julian Bashir with discharge for what his parents did afterwards?!)

As for the Feds being able to infiltrate sleeper agents into Imperial ranks, the Imps will steamroll over the Federation(speed, superior numbers, superior firepower, even without the EU) before that can do them any good, and even after the Federation has been subjugated, it's going to prove difficult for whatever Federation underground there is to infiltrate re-brained Imperials back into Imperial ranks, especially after the Imps take posession of neural neutralizer technology and every other Fed brainwashing technology, and outlaws it for everyone except Imperial agents/officials.
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Re: Brainwashing

Postby biostem » 2016-04-04 07:54am

Well, while Stormtroopers don't generally seem to hesitate to throw their lives away for the Empire, they don't seem to be mindless - there's the scene in Ep 4 where two stormtroopers chat about some recreational craft, (T-16 Skyhopper, IIRC). I think, by that point, most stormtroopers are conscripts...

It could be that they are conditioned or attend mandatory propaganda sessions, but are otherwise allowed to live semi-normal soldier lives.

As for the Federation - it is more likely that they'd try to simply have one of their people apply to the Imperial academy and work their way through the ranks - perhaps they'd have an embedded communicator or try and hack some smaller world's computer system to falsify records for one of their own. I don't recall the Federation ever abducting someone then altering their memories to turn them into a sleeper agent.

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Re: Brainwashing

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-04-04 11:42am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:It would be massively out of character for the Federation to use that technology in such a way.
Really?! After "Dagger Of the Mind," "Whom Gods Destroy," and "Pen Pals," you can honestly say that?! Wow, just...wow. That's like saying the Federation would never sanction genetic modification programs, even after the events of TNG's "Unnatural Selection."
Dagger of the Mind was about a renegade scientist who had effectively total control over a mental hospital that was run... frankly, a lot like mental hospitals in the '60s, where some similarly stupid and unproductive treatments were used. Whom Gods Destroy was, again, a TOS-era facility containing the violently and criminally insane, some of whom modified a 'rehabilitation chair' whatever that is, into a torture device. A lot of things could be modified into torture devices by a technically adept but violently insane person; it doesn't mean that is a normal design feature. Pen Pals features outright erasing someone's memories as a containment measure to prevent a de facto breach of the Prime Directive; a de jure one had already occurred because of the Enterprise-D crew refusing to just let the alien girl's planet die, for humanitarian reasons.

Erasing memories to avoid a Prime Directive violation is not the same as constructing elaborate false ones for espionage purposes.

(and the hypocrisy of threatening Julian Bashir with discharge for what his parents did afterwards?!)
Unrelated issue, which is, yes, unjust and irrational. But Bashir is being threatened with discharge because the Federation does not accept gene-tampered officers into its ranks. Bashir isn't necessarily at fault personally, but he can't be in the service under the existing regulations. This has literally nothing to do with the creation of false memories.

The Federation is, in specific ways, capable of some real bastardry. But those ways tend to be sharply delineated, or follow along specific lines. It's not that the Federation is "too good" to use that technology in that specific way. It's that it would be massively out of character compared to the usual ways in which they use such technology.
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Re: Brainwashing

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-04-04 11:53am

While this isn't canon anymore (unfortunately), the Wraith Squadron series had a subplot that focused upon what Star Wars technology is capable of along these lines. Obviously heavily inspired by the Manchurian Candidate, of course.

Spoilers not necessary since this series is almost 20 years ago (god that's sad, I just finished rereading them this week)--

Warlord Zsinj, up to some dirty tricks with Project Chubar (uplifting aliens to human+ intellect and skills for planting among Republic populations), found out a way to brainwash a number of alien species-- mammalian only, apparently, but they were 'working on it'-- in a very short time and almost undetectably. All that was needed was for someone to mention a trigger phrase in a certain way and the Twi'lek or Gotal or Sullustan or whomever would find themselves inexplicably compelled to execute an action. The exact mechanism was highly unspecified-- probably because Aaron Allston is a decent enough writer to be able to avoid bullshitting himself into a corner-- but I think it was implied that it was basically just a few shots, since it could be done over the space of a day or less. Some form of hypno-conditioning may also have been involved to set the trigger phrases.

Now mind you, this wasn't a specifically Imperial project, nor New Republic, but in a way that's a good thing as it shows the technology isn't anything *terribly* exotic; a warlord who controlled a mere quarter or less of the galaxy is capable of financing research that leads up to this, and once Wraith Squadron figured it out, the Republic was able to quickly figure out how to diagnose and prevent this brainwashing.
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Re: Brainwashing

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2016-04-04 01:14pm

Chris Parr wrote:
Adam Reynolds wrote:In a plot I despise, Clone Wars indicated that Order 66 was a Manchurian agent plot through control chips embedded in the minds of every clone in the Republic. So they certainly have the capability for that sort of thing, if done in a somewhat primitive fashion.


I thought that was an episode of "Rebels".

It was originally shown in the sixth season of Clone Wars(which only aired on Netflix). See above for a summary. I had to do this backwards because of the weird way spoiler tags currently work. If it was in Rebels, it is because it was derived from the Clone Wars appearance.

When a clone trooper accidentally kills a Jedi, because his Order 66 chip failed, it leads to a complicated plot in which Palpatine has to cover it up*. The problem I have with the story is that it makes the Jedi incredibly stupid.

The Jedi go from realizing that the clones have control chips that caused one of them to attack a Jedi, to realizing that Tyranus is Dooku**, who Jango admitted recruited the clone template. How did they not put two and two together? What makes matters worse is that Obi-Wan directly heard that Tyranus was Dooku.

The symbolic link of the birth of the Empire being Nazism is also lessened. What made the holocaust so horrible, and much of what made stormtroopers and Darth Vader so terrifying, is that they were human.

* It was the episodes: The Unknown, Conspiracy, Fugitive, and Orders
** From the episode The Lost One
Elheru Aran wrote:While this isn't canon anymore (unfortunately), the Wraith Squadron series had a subplot that focused upon what Star Wars technology is capable of along these lines. Obviously heavily inspired by the Manchurian Candidate, of course.

In many respects, that is one of my favorite EU stories(other than Zahn's better works, it is a first place tie with the Darth Bane trilogy). The characters were just phenomenally well developed overall. Though it has scale problems relative to much of the rest of the setting(though no worse than TFA).

One of the best things about that trilogy was that the main characters(from the OT) were barely portrayed, and when they were, it was in a fashion that was both believable and failed to take too much attention away from the main characters of the books.

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Re: Brainwashing

Postby FaxModem1 » 2016-04-04 01:28pm

While the Federation might be above such methods, we do know that the Romulans are capable of it, as shown in the episode The Mind's Eye when they brainwashed Geordi into an assassin to take out a Klingon official to try and make a wedge in the Federation-Klingon alliance. It was only due to Data's detective work that the plot was foiled. So it's something that the RSE could do, if so motivated.
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Re: Brainwashing

Postby Lord Revan » 2016-04-04 04:50pm

FaxModem1 wrote:While the Federation might be above such methods, we do know that the Romulans are capable of it, as shown in the episode The Mind's Eye when they brainwashed Geordi into an assassin to take out a Klingon official to try and make a wedge in the Federation-Klingon alliance. It was only due to Data's detective work that the plot was foiled. So it's something that the RSE could do, if so motivated.

That method relied on there being a romulan agent near by to give instructions to the mole thoughand IIRC those instructions weren't all that complex.
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Re: Brainwashing

Postby FaxModem1 » 2016-04-04 05:07pm

Lord Revan wrote:
FaxModem1 wrote:While the Federation might be above such methods, we do know that the Romulans are capable of it, as shown in the episode The Mind's Eye when they brainwashed Geordi into an assassin to take out a Klingon official to try and make a wedge in the Federation-Klingon alliance. It was only due to Data's detective work that the plot was foiled. So it's something that the RSE could do, if so motivated.

That method relied on there being a romulan agent near by to give instructions to the mole thoughand IIRC those instructions weren't all that complex.


Yes, but I could see the Romulans using it in some fashion, say having one of the Tal Shiar infiltrate a space station or something, and whenever the Romulans candidate passes by on the way to the restroom or whatever, update their iinstructions. Be a good way to acquire files or kill off visiting heads of state.
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Re: Brainwashing

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-04-05 10:19am

Simon_Jester wrote:Snip mindless recitation of the Trektard Party line I've come to expect from pathological liar Trektards.


Are those the pipes I'm hearing playing "No true Scotsman," laddie?

The Federation sanctioned mind-altering technologies. Face facts, and stop lying, like Trekkies are known so very well for doing. Kirk's dialogue in "Dagger" implied as much, Kirk's crew were there to ship brainwashing drugs to Elba II in "Gods," Picard ordered Pulaski to wipe the alien girl's mind to cover up the incompetence of his pet android in "Pen Pals," Picard admitted the Feds engaged in the genetic and chemical cleansing of those with "criminal tendencies" in "Justice," and it goes on and on.

The fact that you Trekslamic State jihadists wish to stick your fingers in your ears and go "I'm not listening" ten thousand times over does not change the fact.

And, nice of you to seize on something I was using to make a point and try and claim it as something irrelevant. Another tactic of the lowlife, pathological Trekkie liar.
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Re: Brainwashing

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-04-05 11:41am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:Snip mindless recitation of the Trektard Party line I've come to expect from pathological liar Trektards.


Are those the pipes I'm hearing playing "No true Scotsman," laddie?

The Federation sanctioned mind-altering technologies. Face facts, and stop lying, like Trekkies are known so very well for doing. Kirk's dialogue in "Dagger" implied as much, Kirk's crew were there to ship brainwashing drugs to Elba II in "Gods," Picard ordered Pulaski to wipe the alien girl's mind to cover up the incompetence of his pet android in "Pen Pals," Picard admitted the Feds engaged in the genetic and chemical cleansing of those with "criminal tendencies" in "Justice," and it goes on and on.

The fact that you Trekslamic State jihadists wish to stick your fingers in your ears and go "I'm not listening" ten thousand times over does not change the fact.

And, nice of you to seize on something I was using to make a point and try and claim it as something irrelevant. Another tactic of the lowlife, pathological Trekkie liar.
I suggest you read a relevant statistical sample of my past posts before gibbering and stammering "TREK-TREK-TREKKIE!"

The TOS-era Federation did indeed sanction the use of mind-altering technology to treat the violently insane. This is a product of 60s-era writing from the Doylist perspective. From the Watsonian perspective we adopt for versus comparisons most of the time, of course, that's a simple fact- they used mind-altering technology to treat the violently insane.

But seriously, look at inmates like Marta and Garth of Izar in Whom Gods Would Destroy, and tell me with a straight face that they don't need to be forcibly restrained and medicated or otherwise treated if they are to have any hope of rehabilitation. Garth of Izar is a shapeshifter with massive delusions of grandeur and considerable charisma; Marta is either compelled to kill those she loves, or is a complete psychopath, I'm not sure which from my recolleciton. Some of the other inmates of that facility are no better. ANY treatment likely to work on such recalcitrant, potentially dangerous patients might be labeled 'brainwashing' from someone's point of view.

Seriously, if I'm lying, tell me how, don't just babble about how I'm a TREKKIELIARTREKTARDEDLYINGTREKOPHILE or whatever inane nonsense you have in storage.

In Dagger of the Mind, yes Kirk tacitly approves of the neural neutralizer when Dr. Adams (falsely) tells him it acts only as a tranquilizing device on agitated patients, and causes insanity only when misused. However, he retains suspicions of unethical conduct. And when the truth is revealed about what the machine really does and how, Kirk opposes its use and supports an overthrow of Dr. Adams' control of the facility. In other words, Kirk believes that the use of the neural neutralizer in Dagger of the Mind is a sufficiently severe breach of medical ethics to justify violently removing Dr. Adams from control of the facility.

Again, if I'm lying, tell me how.

Whether you call such technologies "brainwashing" is in part a matter of perspective, by which I mean to say that I wouldn't call them that, but I admit that in some objective sense they might be.
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In Pen Pals, YES Picard ordered memories erased.

Officially, by standing Federation policy he was supposed to let a whole planet die. He refused to do that. Consequently he had to do something in order to remain in compliance with Federation policy. Erasing a girl's memories (not implanting elaborate fake ones to turn her into a Manchurian candidate) of a few glorified ham radio conversations... that was quite frankly the least intrusive option I can think of. What would you have had them do, kidnap her and take her away from her homeworld for the rest of her life?

And by the way, you actually missed another example of the Federation doing something similar- trying to erase a low-tech alien's memories when they spot a Federation observation blind that had been put on their planet for scientific reasons. The alien was injured in the process of spotting the Federation scientists, and the crew of the Enterprise beamed him aboard to save his life... but tried to erase his memories so as to avoid a Prime Directive violation.

Frankly it would have been better if they succeeded in wiping the memories, because this alien damn near succeeded in staging a religious revival among his people teaching them to worship the almighty Picard and even (possibly) make human sacrifices to Him.

You can argue that all this is "covering up incompetence," and frankly I'm not even saying you're wrong. But the point is, that the Federation has been shown using mind-altering technology only on criminals who would be dangerou to live near if not 'cured,' or to erase memories that would otherwise leave evidence of their presence for a low tech species.

In any event, the point is that this is a totally different category of thing than creating brainwashed moles to infiltrate a foreign society. I'm not saying the Federation is too good to use this technology in a certain way. I'm saying they use it in some ways, and not in others, and "infiltrate foreigners with brainwashed moles" is in the "not" pile for them.
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