Brainwashing was a technique utilized by the Dai Li during the Conspiracy of Ba Sing Se to control citizens who would speak of anything relating to the Hundred Year War. Using this technique, the Dai Li could change attitudes, alter beliefs, augment personalities, and erase an individual's memories.
The method was used on Jet when he was arrested, following his claim that Iroh and Zuko were firebenders. After chiding a downcast Joo Dee for falling behind in her duties, Long Feng induced a hypnotic state over her by reciting a special phrase, meaning she too had been brainwashed. When Team Avatar infiltrated the Dai Li base at Lake Laogai, they saw several women being brainwashed into believing they were Joo Dee, ready to carry out the Dai Li's bidding.
Later, during a battle in the underground base, Long Feng managed to hypnotize Jet with the same special phrase: "The Earth King has invited you to Lake Laogai", prompting him to respond "I am honored to accept his invitation", and then attack Avatar Aang.
The main reason for the use of brainwashing methods was to maintain cultural order within Ba Sing Se and to prevent anyone from mentioning the Hundred Year War going on outside the walls to its citizens.
The Dai Li often brought victims to their secret headquarters beneath the surface of Lake Laogai where they would proceed to brainwash them. During the process of brainwashing, agents would repeatedly recite anything they wished for the victims to believe. When the Dai Li were brainwashing Jet, they used a dim lantern which revolved on a rail slowly around the agent brainwashing him while stone cuffs prevented him from moving his arms, legs, and head. The agent repeated phrases to assure Jet he was safe, and that there was no war within the walls. In the case of brainwashing the young women, the women would simultaneously repeat the words of a single agent. The process could also give the subject a secondary task, to be accomplished after saying the trigger-phrase "The Earth King has invited you to Lake Laogai." Long Feng used this code phrase on both Jet and Joo Dee.
One of the Dai Li agents was specifically assigned as an instructor working for Long Feng to brainwash new Joo Dees and to get them ready for service as instruments of propaganda. He drilled the Joo Dees over and over in charm, poise, and the dissemination of the Dai Li party line. The instructor was picked for the assignment because of his dazzling smile, which was the model for the perma-grin of every Joo Dee that rolled off the assembly line.
When brainwashed, people are tricked into believing anything the brainwasher states. The victim forgets any information the brainwasher wishes to erase from their mind. Long Feng could also activate the subject's secondary task with the code phrase. When this was done, the subject entered a trance state, and answered the code with "I am honored to accept his invitation." In Jet's case, the task was to attack Aang. In Joo Dee's case, she was told to wait for specific orders.
There are only two known methods of curing brainwashing.
The waterbending technique of healing has been known to be capable of bringing a subject out of their hypnotic state. Jet's brainwashed state was broken when Katara used her healing abilities on him.
Familiar surroundings Edit
Oftentimes, familiar surroundings are able to slowly regenerate the memory of a brainwashed victim or even completely reverse the effects of brainwashing. Visiting the Dai Li's secret underground base evidently revived Jet's memory of being captured and brought there by Dai Li agents. After a brief duel ensued with Long Feng battling Aang and Jet, Long Feng was able to bring Jet under his control by reciting the code phrase, which prompted Jet to attack Aang. However, when Aang reminded Jet that he was a Freedom Fighter, his brainwashed state was once again broken.
Known victims Edit
- A large group of women who called themselves "Joo Dee"
- People who caused problems relating to the Hundred Year War in Ba Sing Se during Long Feng's reign as Grand Secretariat
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "City of Walls and Secrets". Tim Hedrick (writer) & Lauren MacMullan (director). Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nickelodeon. September 22, 2006. No. 14, Book Two: Earth
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Lake Laogai". Tim Hedrick (writer) & Lauren MacMullan (director). Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nickelodeon. November 6, 2006. No. 17, Book Two: Earth
- ↑ From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated.