- The CCF segregated the POWs according to rank, race and nationality and created interrogation and indoctrination programs. With their indoctrination program, the CCF tested each prisoner's faith in the democratic process, but the Chinese sought publicity more than converts to communism. Daily propaganda lectures and broadcasts that attacked capitalist society were conducted, and the CCF persuaded some POWs to sign peace petitions and make pro-communist statements. The term "brainwashing" obtained notoriety at this time and caused concern to American authorities. Brainwashing was defined as an intense and prolonged psychological process designed to erase an individual's past beliefs and to substitute new ones. Even though some American POWs collaborated with their captors, most of them did so for personal convenience. No confirmed cases of brainwashing came out of the Korean War. 
I guess I was wrong here. Probably mixing up the plot of The Manchurian Candidate with the real history of the time.
Effective of techniques, and applicability to "cults"
The Communists used torture, along with deprivation of sleep and food. No one has even come close to making a credible claim the new religious movements (aka "cults") went to that extreme. Such groups would have been prosecuted severely, if they had done so, and not for novel offenses "mind control" but for established crimes like kidnapping, or assault and battery.
Actualy, if we compare the three groups: Chinese Communists, new religious movements, and "deprogrammers", we see that the first and third groups are the closest in technique. Deprogrammers are the new brainwashers. They break people's faith by force, like the Spanish Inquisition did. --Ed Poor Talk 20:26, 28 July 2010 (EDT)