ESP Used in Effort to Ferret Out Iraqi Weapons Sites
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A United Nations team is turning to extrasensory powers to help it ferret out Saddam Hussein’s hidden weapon sites.
In the satchel she took to Baghdad, U.S. Army Maj. Karen Jansen carried sketches of two sites where the Iraqi leader has supposedly stashed biological weapons, said Edward Dames, president of a company called PSI Tech.
Dames, a retired military intelligence major, and an associate drew the sketches through ″remote viewing″ - the ability to locate and accurately describe unknown things and events from afar.
Various techniques of psychic or extrasensory viewing, which has supporters in academic circles, has been researched in secret by several military intelligence agencies since the 1950s. But efforts to develop and implement them have generally met with ridicule or skepticism.
On occasion, they have been used in concert with other intelligence- gathering tools such as satellite photos and electronic-signals monitoring, current and former officials say.
For example, trained and so-called natural psychics were called in during the hunt for U.S. Army Brig. Gen. James Dozier, kidnapped by Red Brigade guerrillas in Italy in December 1981. He was finally found, however, through electronic intercepts and an informant’s tip.
Psychics have proven ″surprisingly helpful″ in intelligence gathering, although they are not relied on as a sole source, said Rep. Norman Dicks, D- Wash., a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Jansen is on her third mission to Iraq for a special U.N. commission assigned to find and destroy the country’s hidden stocks of missiles and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons following the Persian Gulf War.
Dames and Jansen got in touch after Seattle television station KIRO reported on the Maryland-based firm and on the use of psychics in gathering intelligence.
Dames sent reporter Mark Sauter several sketches of biological weapons’ sites he and his associates had seen through ″remote viewing″ in Iraq. KIRO contacted Jansen, who asked to see them.
Dames said Jansen then called him and told him which suspected biological weapons site she was going to, what she was looking for and whether he could help. ″I told her, sure,″ he said, and proceeded to ″find″ two locations.
The U.N. commission has found research facilities for germ warfare but no evidence of actual weapons thus far, said Derek Boothby, a commission official in New York.
Boothby said he hadn’t heard about Dames’ sketches. ″We welcome all information, if it is practical and can be substantiated,″ he said.
Dames said in a recent interview that he provided the information to the U.N. team for free but bills his corporate clients $6,000 to $8,000 a week.
In fliers promoting the firm, PSI Tech promises to provide ″insight into winning at competitive strategies.″ And it asks:
″Do you know what the competition is doing and where they are heading? What factors have the greatest influence on their thinking? Can you afford not to know?″
Dames, whose five associates are mostly retired military officers, said ″remote viewing″ doesn’t require psychic powers. It’s more a matter of suppressing one’s imagination and concentrating on a target with rigorous discipline, he said.
The firm’s chairman, retired Maj. Gen. Albert N. Stubblebine, was head of Army intelligence in the early 1980s. His belief in psychic and extrasensory powers and attempts to develop them for use in intelligence earned him the nickname ″spoon bender″ and the reputation of an eccentric.
Journalist Steven Emerson, author of a book about the Reagan administration’s covert operations, says visitors to Stubblebine’s office saw a spoon dangling from the ceiling.
Dames said he, too, faced skepticism both during and after his military service for his attempts to train in ″remote viewing.″
Two days before the allies marched into Kuwait City last March, a senior administration official asked PSI Tech to scope out the city in case the Iraqis had booby-trapped it with biological weapons, Dames said.
″They were desperate. We’re used to people coming to us as a last resort,″ he said, declining to identify the official who contacted him but describing him as ″very high up.″
A Pentagon spokesman said he hadn’t heard of such a case.
Dames said he couldn’t find any weapons of mass destruction in Kuwait, but as a side product of his remote ″search″ came upon some depots in Iraq.
Brenda Dunn, director of Princeton University’s Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratories, has heard of PSI Tech although not about Dames’ Iraq- related projects. However, her lab has found people - not psychics - who are able to describe remote geographic locations they have never seen.
″The phenomenon is real,″ she said. ″To what degree it’s been developed for industrial purpose, I don’t know.″