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Archive for January, 2010

UN climate change panel based claims on student dissertation and magazine article


The United Nations’ expert panel on climate change based claims about ice disappearing from the world’s mountain tops on a student’s dissertation and an article in a mountaineering magazine.

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent and Rebecca Lefort
Published: 9:00PM GMT 30 Jan 2010

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Himalayan glaciers: UN climate change panel based claims on student dissertation and magazine article

Officials were forced earlier this month to retract inaccurate claims in the IPCC’s report about the melting of Himalayan glaciers Photo: GETTY

The revelation will cause fresh embarrassment for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which had to issue a humiliating apology earlier this month over inaccurate statements about global warming.

The IPCC’s remit is to provide an authoritative assessment of scientific evidence on climate change.

In its most recent report, it stated that observed reductions in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps and Africa was being caused by global warming, citing two papers as the source of the information.

However, it can be revealed that one of the sources quoted was a feature article published in a popular magazine for climbers which was based on anecdotal evidence from mountaineers about the changes they were witnessing on the mountainsides around them.

The other was a dissertation written by a geography student, studying for the equivalent of a master’s degree, at the University of Berne in Switzerland that quoted interviews with mountain guides in the Alps.

The revelations, uncovered by The Sunday Telegraph, have raised fresh questions about the quality of the information contained in the report, which was published in 2007.

It comes after officials for the panel were forced earlier this month to retract inaccurate claims in the IPCC’s report about the melting of Himalayan glaciers.

Sceptics have seized upon the mistakes to cast doubt over the validity of the IPCC and have called for the panel to be disbanded.

This week scientists from around the world leapt to the defence of the IPCC, insisting that despite the errors, which they describe as minor, the majority of the science presented in the IPCC report is sound and its conclusions are unaffected.

But some researchers have expressed exasperation at the IPCC’s use of unsubstantiated claims and sources outside of the scientific literature.

Professor Richard Tol, one of the report’s authors who is based at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland, said: “These are essentially a collection of anecdotes.

“Why did they do this? It is quite astounding. Although there have probably been no policy decisions made on the basis of this, it is illustrative of how sloppy Working Group Two (the panel of experts within the IPCC responsible for drawing up this section of the report) has been.

“There is no way current climbers and mountain guides can give anecdotal evidence back to the 1900s, so what they claim is complete nonsense.”

The IPCC report, which is published every six years, is used by government’s worldwide to inform policy decisions that affect billions of people.

The claims about disappearing mountain ice were contained within a table entitled “Selected observed effects due to changes in the cryosphere produced by warming”.

It states that reductions in mountain ice have been observed from the loss of ice climbs in the Andes, Alps and in Africa between 1900 and 2000.

The report also states that the section is intended to “assess studies that have been published since the TAR (Third Assessment Report) of observed changes and their effects”.

But neither the dissertation or the magazine article cited as sources for this information were ever subject to the rigorous scientific review process that research published in scientific journals must undergo.

The magazine article, which was written by Mark Bowen, a climber and author of two books on climate change, appeared in Climbing magazine in 2002. It quoted anecdotal evidence from climbers of retreating glaciers and the loss of ice from climbs since the 1970s.

Mr Bowen said: “I am surprised that they have cited an article from a climbing magazine, but there is no reason why anecdotal evidence from climbers should be disregarded as they are spending a great deal of time in places that other people rarely go and so notice the changes.”

The dissertation paper, written by professional mountain guide and climate change campaigner Dario-Andri Schworer while he was studying for a geography degree, quotes observations from interviews with around 80 mountain guides in the Bernina region of the Swiss Alps.

Experts claim that loss of ice climbs are a poor indicator of a reduction in mountain ice as climbers can knock ice down and damage ice falls with their axes and crampons.

The IPCC has faced growing criticism over the sources it used in its last report after it emerged the panel had used unsubstantiated figures on glacial melting in the Himalayas that were contained within a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report.

It can be revealed that the IPCC report made use of 16 non-peer reviewed WWF reports.

One claim, which stated that coral reefs near mangrove forests contained up to 25 times more fish numbers than those without mangroves nearby, quoted a feature article on the WWF website.

In fact the data contained within the WWF article originated from a paper published in 2004 in the respected journal Nature.

In another example a WWF paper on forest fires was used to illustrate the impact of reduced rainfall in the Amazon rainforest, but the data was from another Nature paper published in 1999.

When The Sunday Telegraph contacted the lead scientists behind the two papers in Nature, they expressed surprise that their research was not cited directly but said the IPCC had accurately represented their work.

The chair of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri has faced mounting pressure and calls for his resignation amid the growing controversy over the error on glacier melting and use of unreliable sources of information.

A survey of 400 authors and contributors to the IPCC report showed, however, that the majority still support Mr Pachauri and the panel’s vice chairs. They also insisted the overall findings of the report are robust despite the minor errors.

But many expressed concern at the use of non-peer reviewed information in the reports and called for a tightening of the guidelines on how information can be used.

The Met Office, which has seven researchers who contributed to the report including Professor Martin Parry who was co-chair of the working group responsible for the part of the report that contained the glacier errors, said: “The IPCC should continue to ensure that its review process is as robust and transparent as possible, that it draws only from the peer-reviewed literature, and that uncertainties in the science and projections are clearly expressed.”

Roger Sedjo, a senior research fellow at the US research organisation Resources for the Future who also contributed to the IPCC’s latest report, added: “The IPCC is, unfortunately, a highly political organisation with most of the secretariat bordering on climate advocacy.

“It needs to develop a more balanced and indeed scientifically sceptical behaviour pattern. The organisation tend to select the most negative studies ignoring more positive alternatives.”

The IPCC failed to respond to questions about the inclusion of unreliable sources in its report but it has insisted over the past week that despite minor errors, the findings of the report are still robust and consistent with the underlying science.


Assassination of US citizens

Presidential Assassinations of US Citizens

By Glenn Greenwald

January 27, 2010 “Salon” – – The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest today reports that “U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people.”  That’s no surprise, of course, as Yemen is now another predominantly Muslim country (along with Somalia and Pakistan) in which our military is secretly involved to some unknown degree in combat operations without any declaration of war, without any public debate, and arguably (though not clearly) without any Congressional authorization.  The exact role played by the U.S. in the late-December missile attacks in Yemen, which killed numerous civilians, is still unknown.

But buried in Priest’s article is her revelation that American citizens are now being placed on a secret “hit list” of people whom the President has personally authorized to be killed:

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush gave the CIA, and later the military, authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad if strong evidence existed that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out terrorist actions against the United States or U.S. interests, military and intelligence officials said. . . .

The Obama administration has adopted the same stance. If a U.S. citizen joins al-Qaeda, “it doesn’t really change anything from the standpoint of whether we can target them,” a senior administration official said. “They are then part of the enemy.”

Both the CIA and the JSOC maintain lists of individuals, called “High Value Targets” and “High Value Individuals,” whom they seek to kill or capture.  The JSOC list includes three Americans, including [New Mexico-born Islamic cleric Anwar] Aulaqi, whose name was added late last year. As of several months ago, the CIA list included three U.S. citizens, and an intelligence official said that Aulaqi’s name has now been added.

Indeed, Aulaqi was clearly one of the prime targets of the late-December missile strikes in Yemen, as anonymous officials excitedly announced — falsely, as it turns out — that he was killed in one of those strikes.

Just think about this for a minute.  Barack Obama, like George Bush before him, has claimed the authority to order American citizens murdered based solely on the unverified, uncharged, unchecked claim that they are associated with Terrorism and pose “a continuing and imminent threat to U.S. persons and interests.”  They’re entitled to no charges, no trial, no ability to contest the accusations.  Amazingly, the Bush administration’s policy of merely imprisoning foreign nationals (along with a couple of American citizens) without charges — based solely on the President’s claim that they were Terrorists — produced intense controversy for years.  That, one will recall, was a grave assault on the Constitution.  Shouldn’t Obama’s policy of ordering American citizens assassinated without any due process or checks of any kind — not imprisoned, but killed — produce at least as much controversy?

Obviously, if U.S. forces are fighting on an actual battlefield, then they (like everyone else) have the right to kill combatants actively fighting against them, including American citizens.  That’s just the essence of war.  That’s why it’s permissible to kill a combatant engaged on a real battlefield in a war zone but not, say, torture them once they’re captured and helplessly detained.  But combat is not what we’re talking about here.  The people on this “hit list” are likely to be killed while at home, sleeping in their bed, driving in a car with friends or family, or engaged in a whole array of other activities.  More critically still, the Obama administration — like the Bush administration before it — defines the “battlefield” as the entire world.  So the President claims the power to order U.S. citizens killed anywhere in the world, while engaged even in the most benign activities carried out far away from any actual battlefield, based solely on his say-so and with no judicial oversight or other checks.  That’s quite a power for an American President to claim for himself.

As we well know from the last eight years, the authoritarians among us in both parties will, by definition, reflexively justify this conduct by insisting that the assassination targets are Terrorists and therefore deserve death.  What they actually mean, however, is that the U.S. Government has accused them of being Terrorists, which (except in the mind of an authoritarian) is not the same thing as being a Terrorist. Numerous Guantanamo detainees accused by the U.S. Government of being Terrorists have turned out to be completely innocent, and the vast majority of federal judges who provided habeas review to detainees have found an almost complete lack of evidence to justify the accusations against them, and thus ordered them released.  That includes scores of detainees held while the U.S. Government insisted that only the “Worst of the Worst” remained at the camp.

No evidence should be required for rational people to avoid assuming that Government accusations are inherently true, but for those do need it, there is a mountain of evidence proving that.  And in this case, Anwar Aulaqi — who, despite his name and religion, is every bit as much of an American citizen as Scott Brown and his daughters are — has a family who vigorously denies that he is a Terrorist and is “pleading” with the U.S. Government not to murder their American son:

His anguish apparent, the father of Anwar al-Awlaki told CNN that his son is not a member of al Qaeda and is not hiding out with terrorists in southern Yemen.

“I am now afraid of what they will do with my son, he’s not Osama Bin Laden, they want to make something out of him that he’s not,” said Dr. Nasser al-Awlaki, the father of American-born Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. . . .

“I will do my best to convince my son to do this (surrender), to come back but they are not giving me time, they want to kill my son.  How can the American government kill one of their own citizens?  This is a legal issue that needs to be answered,” he said.

“If they give me time I can have some contact with my son but the problem is they are not giving me time,” he said.

Who knows what the truth is here?  That’s why we have what are called “trials” — or at least some process — before we assume that government accusations are true and then mete out punishment accordingly.  As Marcy Wheeler notes, the U.S. Government has not only repeatedly made false accusations of Terrorism against foreign nationals in the past, but against U.S. citizens as well.  She observes:  “I guess the tenuousness of those ties don’t really matter, when the President can dial up the assassination of an American citizen.”

A 1981 Executive Order signed by Ronald Reagan provides: “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”  Before the Geneva Conventions were first enacted, Abraham Lincoln — in the middle of the Civil War — directed Francis Lieber to articulate rules of conduct for war, and those were then incorporated into General Order 100, signed by Lincoln in April, 1863.  Here is part of what it provided, in Section IX, entitled “Assassinations”:

The law of war does not allow proclaiming either an individual belonging to the hostile army, or a citizen, or a subject of the hostile government, an outlaw, who may be slain without trial by any captor, any more than the modern law of peace allows such intentional outlawry; on the contrary, it abhors such outrage. The sternest retaliation should follow the murder committed in consequence of such proclamation, made by whatever authority. Civilized nations look with horror upon offers of rewards for the assassination of enemies as relapses into barbarism.

Can anyone remotely reconcile that righteous proclamation what the Obama administraiton is doing?  And more generally, what legal basis exists for the President to unilaterally compile hit lists of American citizens he wants to be killed?

What’s most striking of all is that it was recently revealed that, in Afghanistan, the U.S. had compiled a “hit list” of Afghan citizens it suspects of being drug traffickers or somehow associated with the Taliban, in order to target them for assassination.  When that hit list was revealed, Afghan officials “fiercely” objected on the ground that it violates due process and undermines the rule of law to murder people without trials:

Gen. Mohammad Daud Daud, Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister for counternarcotics efforts, praised U.S. and British special forces for their help recently in destroying drug labs and stashes of opium. But he said he worried that foreign troops would now act on their own to kill suspected drug lords, based on secret evidence, instead of handing them over for trial.

“They should respect our law, our constitution and our legal codes,” Daud said. “We have a commitment to arrest these people on our own” . . . .

Ali Ahmad Jalali, a former Afghan interior minister, said that he had long urged the Pentagon and its NATO allies to crack down on drug smugglers and suppliers, and that he was glad that the military alliance had finally agreed to provide operational support for Afghan counternarcotics agents. But he said foreign troops needed to avoid the temptation to hunt down and kill traffickers on their own.

“There is a constitutional problem here. A person is innocent unless proven guilty,” he said. “If you go off to kill or capture them, how do you prove that they are really guilty in terms of legal process?” . . .

So we’re in Afghanistan to teach them about democracy, the rule of law, and basic precepts of Western justice.  Meanwhile, Afghan officials vehemently object to the lawless, due-process-free assassination “hit list” of their citizens based on the unchecked say-so of the U.S. Government, and have to lecture us on the rule of law and Constitutional constraints.  By stark contrast, our own Government, our media and our citizenry appear to find nothing wrong whatsoever with lawless assassinations aimed at our own citizens.  And the most glaring question for those who critized Bush/Cheney detention policies but want to defend this:  how could anyone possibly object to imprisoning foreign nationals without charges or due process at Guantanamo while approving of the assassination of U.S. citizens without any charges or due process?

Glenn Greenwald: I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. I am the author of two New York Times Bestselling books: “How Would a Patriot Act?” (May, 2006), a critique of the Bush administration’s use of executive power, and “A Tragic Legacy” (June, 2007), which examines the Bush legacy. My most recent book, “Great American Hypocrites”, examines the manipulative electoral tactics used by the GOP and propagated by the establishment press, and was released in April, 2008, by Random House/Crown.


American Community Survey

None of Your Business!

by Rep. Ron Paul, MD
by Rep. Ron Paul,

// //

You may not have heard of the American Community Survey, but you will. The national census, which historically is taken every ten years, has expanded to quench the federal bureaucracy’s ever-growing thirst to govern every aspect of American life. The new survey, unlike the traditional census, is taken each and every year at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. And it’s not brief. It contains 24 pages of intrusive questions concerning matters that simply are none of the government’s business, including your job, your income, your physical and emotional heath, your family status, your dwelling, and your intimate personal habits.

The questions are both ludicrous and insulting. The survey asks, for instance, how many bathrooms you have in your house, how many miles you drive to work, how many days you were sick last year, and whether you have trouble getting up stairs. It goes on and on, mixing inane questions with highly detailed inquiries about your financial affairs. One can only imagine the countless malevolent ways our federal bureaucrats could use this information. At the very least the survey will be used to dole out pork, which is reason enough to oppose it.

Keep in mind the survey is not voluntary, nor is the Census Bureau asking politely. Americans are legally obligated to answer, and can be fined up to $1,000 per question if they refuse!

I introduced an amendment last week that would have eliminated funds for this intrusive survey in a spending bill, explaining on the House floor that perhaps the American people don’t appreciate being threatened by Big Brother. The amendment was met by either indifference or hostility, as most members of Congress either don’t care about or actively support government snooping into the private affairs of citizens.

One of the worst aspects of the census is its focus on classifying people by race. When government tells us it wants information to “help” any given group, it assumes every individual who shares certain physical characteristics has the same interests, or wants the same things from government. This is an inherently racist and offensive assumption. The census, like so many federal policies and programs, inflames racism by encouraging Americans to see themselves as members of racial groups fighting each other for a share of the federal pie.

The census also represents a form of corporate welfare, since the personal data collected on hundred of millions of Americans can be sold to private businesses. Surely business enjoys having such extensive information available from one source, but it’s hardly the duty of taxpayers to subsidize the cost of market research.

At least the national census has its origins in the Constitution, which is more than one can say about the vast majority of programs funded by Congress. Still, Article I makes it clear that the census should be taken every ten years for the sole purpose of congressional redistricting (and apportionment of taxes, prior to the disastrous 16th amendment). This means a simple count of the number of people living in a given area, so that numerically equal congressional districts can be maintained. The founders never authorized the federal government to continuously survey the American people.

More importantly, they never envisioned a nation where the people would roll over and submit to every government demand. The American Community Survey is patently offensive to all Americans who still embody that fundamental American virtue, namely a healthy mistrust of government. The information demanded in the new survey is none of the government’s business, and the American people should insist that Congress reject it now before it becomes entrenched.

July 13, 2004

Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.


Mind Scanner at American Airports

Israeli mind-scanner may take over US airports
Fri, 29 Jan 2010 08:41:02 GMT
As part of stringent measures to beef up airport security, US authorities may use an Israeli-made mind-reading scanner that allegedly predicts whether a passenger is a potential threat or not.

The Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA) and the Homeland Security are considering the installment of a controversial mind-reading system, that was recently developed by the Israeli-based WeCU Technologies, in all American airports, AP reported on Thursday.

The device, which functions by blending high computer technology and behavioral psychology, is essentially designed to “get inside the evildoers head” without the subject’s knowledge and prevent him or her from placing the lives of fellow travelers in jeopardy.

According to WeCU Technologies CEO, Ehud Givon, people cannot help reacting mechanically to recognizable images that suddenly appear in unfamiliar places.

With that in mind, the system aims to project images onto airport screens, such as symbols affiliated with a terrorist group or signs only a terrorist would recognize.

Givon said while the WeCU system would use humans to do some of the observing, it would rely largely on concealed cameras or covert biometric sensors that can distinguish a rise in body temperature and heart rate, however slight it may be.

“One by one, you can screen out from the flow of people those with specific malicious intent,” Givon claimed.

The controversial device has sparked an outcry among civil rights groups, who argue that a system that combs through your brain to look for evil intentions is “Orwellian” and akin to “brain fingerprinting.”

The groups note that the US should not follow in Israeli footsteps with regards to Airport security. At the Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel, Jewish Israelis pass through smoothly, while Arab Palestinians are taken aside for closer interrogation or even strip searches.

The US is already subjected to wide-spread controversy over the appliance of full body scanners, which according to critics, are in violation of child protection laws as well as the right of travelers to privacy.


The Hidden Side of Psychiatry


by Gary Null, Ph.D

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Note: The information on this website is not a substitute for
diagnosis and treatment by a qualified, licensed professional.
Note: The information on this website is not a substitute for
diagnosis and treatment by a qualified, licensed professional.
Mental illness is at an all-time high, with 40 million Americans
affected, according to reports emanating from organized psychiatry . But
just how accurate is this account? As you will see, people seeking help
from the mental health industry are often misdiagnosed, wrongfully
treated, and abused. Others are deceptively lured to psychiatric facilities,
or even kidnapped. No matter how they arrive, though, once they are
there, inmates lose all freedoms and are forced to undergo dangerous but
sanctioned procedures, such as electro convulsive therapy and treatment
with powerful drugs, that can leave them emotionally, mentally, and
physically marked for life. Some psychiatric patents are physically and
sexually abused. Millions more are told that they need harmful
medications, such as Prozac and Ritalin, but are not told of the seriously
damaging side effects of these.
Add to all this a mammoth insurance fraud–which we all pay
for–and what we have, in sum, is the dark side of psychiatry. Millions of
individuals are being grievously harmed by the mental health profession,
and it’s time that we as a society faced this.
Fraudulent Practices in Mental Health
Fraud in the mental health industry goes beyond being a
problem; it’s more like an all-pervasive condition. By way of introductory
illustration, let’s look at the recent legal problems of a company that
owned several chains of psychiatric hospitals , National Medical
Enterprises (NME) . As author Joe Sharkey reported in his book Bedlam
[1 ,2) , in 1993 the FBI completed its investigation of fraud in NME’s
psychiatric hospitals and raided several NME facilities, in Texas,
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Colorado, Indiana, Arizona, Missouri, California, Wisconsin, and
Minnesota. Sharkey described the extent of the morass into which this
enterprise had sunk:
“An estimated 130 lawsuits were filed against NME’s
psychiatric hospitals by patients . Between 1 992 and early 1993 , three
major suits were filed by insurance companies against NME for insurance
fraud. These suits identified more than $1 billion in claims paid to NME’s
psychiatric hospitals. One month after the FBI raids, NME agreed to pay
$125 million to settle two of the large insurance company lawsuits . Soon
after, they settled the third suit–bringing the total costs in legal fees and
settlements to about $3 15 million…
“In April 1994, NME paid almost $375 million in fines to the
U.S . Department of Justice for violations of Federal law. NME had
announced that it would completely divest itself of its psychiatric
hospitals and reserved $237 million to cover the write-offs for selling
them. All told, NME’s settlements and fines have totaled $927 million.”
The NME case was part of a massive investigation which began
in 1991 and uncovered systematic fraud within the for-profit psychiatric
industry. Insurance company investigators went through 50,000 cases,
examining them for fraud, and what they found was startling. 32.6%
contained a fraudulent diagnosis to match insurance coverage, while
43.4% of the cases were billed for services not rendered. [New York
Times, Nov. 24, 1991, Mental Hospital Chains Accused of Much
Cheating on Insurance]
The Washington Post reported that psychiatric hospitals were
participating in nationwide “money-making schemes that milked
insurance companies, but offered little in the way of treatment…”
One of the most obscene aspects of these “schemes” was the targeting of
children. Using manipulative advertising campaigns strategically ran
when school report cards were issued, Nevada hospitals suggested to
parents that poor grades might be the product of mental illness.
Psychiatric hospitals would also place “volunteers” in school counseling
offices in order to funnel children into the facilities. [Washington Post,
Wednesday, April 29, 1991, Mental Health System Abuses Cited in Care
of Adolescents]
In testimony presented to the U.S. House of Representatives’
Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families on April 28, 1992,
Texas State Senator Mike Moncrief related a large number of chilling
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stories from former psychiatric patients and their family members in his
state:
“In Texas, we have uncovered some of the most elaborate,
aggressive, creative, deceptive, immoral, and illegal schemes being used
to fill empty hospital beds with insured and paying patients.”
[CCHR Publication, Psychiatry’s Multi-Billion Dollar Fraud,
1993, p. 16]
Testifying before the same Committee, psychiatrist Charles
Arnold said a Houston facility asked him to sign admission forms and
provide unneeded tests totaling $900,000 per year. Arnold summed up
what Representative Patricia Schroeder called “one of the most
disgraceful and scandalous episodes in the history of health care in
America.”:
“Tragically, a large number of psychiatrists, psychologists,
social workers, therapists, and psychiatric hospitals…have betrayed the
public trust…to benefit themselves financially.”
[USA TODAY, April 29, 1992, Psychiatric Center’s
Shady Tactics Probed]
Building the Machine of Broken Promises
In the wake of WWII, leading psychiatrists testified before the
United States Congress that the country needed more psychiatrists so that
the world could be delivered from delinquency and unhappiness. In 1962,
the same group influenced New York’s Governor Nelson Rockefeller to
support a “master plan for dealing with mental illness” that would
provide “more modern care, research and community care” -which was
expected to cost New York $20 million for the first year alone. How
could he deny such a caring call? Thus, the Governor announced that the
“challenge of major mental illness must be met through expanded and
improved programs.”
And expand they did – although the amount of improvement could be
strenuously debated. The following year, in 1963, swayed by psychiatrist
William Menninger, President John F. Kennedy called for a national
mental health policy that “relies primarily upon the new knowledge and
new drugs…which make it possible for most of the mentally ill to be
successfully and quickly treated in their own communities.” He passed a
law implementing Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) which
were altruistically passed off by psychiatrists in a calculated campaign as
an alternative to the “snake pits” of mental institutions. America thus set
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the scene for the new wave of “expanded mental health care” that many
other countries would follow.
It also set the scene for a massive increase in government funding.
According to Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Thomas Szasz,
“The miracle cure Kennedy offered was simply the psychiatric
profession’s latest snake oil: Drugs and de-institutionalization…. It
sounded grand. Unfortunately, it was a lie. The forces that actually
propelled the change were economic and legal, specifically, the transfer
of funding for psychiatric services from the states to the federal
government, and the shift in legal-psychiatric fashions from long-term
hospitalization to long-term drugging.”
During the next 30 years, the cost of running the CMHCs and
psychiatric outpatient clinics skyrocketed more than 6,800% – from $140
million in 1969 to $9.75 billion in 1994. And the national mental health
budget soared from $3.2 billion in 1969 to $33.1 billion in 1994 – a 934%
increase. In 1999, it was $80 billion. To meet this created demand, the
1950s through the ‘70s saw federal grants for the training of psychiatrists
exceed $2 billion.
In Henry Foley and Steven Sharfstein’s Madness and
Government, published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA),
the authors candidly state: “Naturally, the public expected a return on its
investment…. The extravagant claims of enthusiasts – that new treatments
were highly effective, that all future potential victims of mental illness
and their families would be spared the suffering, that great economies of
money would soon be realized – were allowed to pass unchallenged by
the professional [psychiatric] side of the professional-political leadership.
Promising more than could reasonably be delivered became a way of life
for this [APA] leadership.”
A further boon to the industry was the introduction of Medicare
insurance (for the elderly) and Medicaid (for the poor) in 1965. Medicare
reimbursements for mental hospitalization in general hospitals were
unlimited. And the heavily lobbied State legislatures began compelling
the health insurance industry to cover the cost of hospital treatment for
mental illness. By 1985, a majority of states had enacted mandatory
mental health coverage laws. This caused a boom in the number of “forprofit”
psychiatric hospitals.
Joe Sharkey, author of Bedlam: Greed, Profiteering, and Fraud
in a Mental Health System Gone Crazy points out, “In 1965, when
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Medicare and Medicaid were enacted, the total U.S. health-care bill was
$65 billion; in 1993, it would be $939 billion.”
A significant portion of these proceeds made its way into
psychiatric pockets. In 1984, there were 220 private psychiatric hospitals;
by 1990, there were 466. By the end of the 1980s, four psychiatrichospital
corporations controlled about 80% of the industry and as Sharkey
points out, their “focus in treatment was decisively on customers with
insurance.”
The growth of private for-profit psychiatric hospitals directly
parallels the increase in mental health coverage mandates. In 1991,
Richard Lamm, the former Governor of Colorado called psychiatric
hospitals “the new cash cow,” adding, “There are so many bloodsuckers
in this. When we talk about psychiatric hospitals, we’re not talking about
health care, we’re talking about gaming the system.” Likewise,
Representative Schroeder in 1992 found “a systematic plan to bilk
patients of their hard earned dollars, strip them of their dignity, and leave
them worse off than they were before they went for help.” [CCHR,
Psychiatry: Committing Fraud, 1999, p.7-9]
Community Mental Health Fraud These are not the only avenues
open for psychiatric fraud to take place. In 1990, a congressional
committee issued a report estimating that Community Mental Health
Centers (CMHCs) had diverted between $40 million and $100 million to
improper uses, and that a quarter of all CMHCs had so thoroughly failed
to meet their obligations as to be legally subject to immediate recovery of
federal funds. Various CMHCs had built tennis courts and swimming
pools with their federal construction grants and, in one instance, used a
federal staff grant to hire a lifeguard and swimming instructor.
In another case, federal mental health funds, which were
supposed to build centers and provide services to the poor, were diverted
to volleyball courts, computer rooms, and for unrelated services that
made the hospitals’ illegal profits.
The misuse of funds continues despite the congressional report. In
September 1998, Medicare barred 80 CMHCs in nine states from serving
the elderly and disabled after investigators found patients had been
charged $600 to $700 a day while watching television and playing bingo,
instead of receiving any care.
In the United States alone, between $20 billion and $40 billion
a year is defrauded in the multi-billion-dollar mental health field. Put this
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into human terms. This is a shocking waste. This is enough money to hire
between 500,000 and 1.1 million new teachers; 1 million poor families
could enjoy the warmth and security of owning their own home, or hot
meals could be provided to each of the country’s 33.8 million elderly
citizens over the age of 65 for nine months out of that year.
While the financial waste is grim, the cost in human lives and
misery is much more appalling. As you will see, the mental health
industry commits not only financial fraud, but even destructive fraud in
the areas of diagnosis and treatment. And in this game the stakes are
considerably higher than dollars. [CCHR, Psychiatry: Committing
Fraud, 1999, p. 9]
Insurance Scams
The wrongdoings of NME are not the exception; indeed,
insurance fraud seems to be the bread and butter of the mental health
industry . Scams occur whenever a psychiatrist or a psychiatric institution
bills Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance companies for work they
didn’t do, for unnecessary or bogus treatments, or for patients confined
against their will. Here are a few examples.
Patient Brokering
Consider this story, carried by the Los Angeles Times in 1994
[3].
“Michael quickly realized that A Place For US wasn’t a place
for him. Overweight and suffering from stress , the New Yorker had
flown cross country to attend what was advertised as a weight loss clinic
in southern California. The airfare was free and the treatment, he was
told, was fully covered by his Blue Cross plan. But when Michael
reached Los Angeles, he was shocked to see himself booked into a
psychiatric hospital in a rundown section of [town) where he was
diagnosed as suffering from psychotic depression and bulimia, conditions
he denies ever having. Then he was told he couldn’t leave. Michael is one
of many stories emerging from federal and state lawsuits in Los Angeles
in which insurers accuse A Place For Us of enlisting doctors and hospital
staff to falsify diagnosis and medical records in order to obtain payment
8
for treatment that, whatever its value to patients, was not covered by their
health plans.”
Michael’s story is not an isolated incident. Overweight people
are frequent targets of insurance scams. Patient brokers fraudulently
advertise 1-800 numbers on television, and people call in thinking that
they are talking to health spa representatives. In actuality, they are
speaking to sales agents of psychiatric facilities whose only motive is to
determine whether or not potential clients have insurance, since the size
of their commission depends upon how many patients they can get into
the hospital and how long they can keep them there.
It’s hard to believe that this is going on in America, but the
reality is that, as a result of gross deception by sales agents , people are
frequently unaware of the fact that they are about to enter psychiatric
institutions . If an unsuspecting party has coverage , the person is flown
free to a facility , usually located in Florida or California. A limo awaits
at the airport, and the place seems very accommodating until the person
actually arrives at the facility and is locked up against his or her will.
Once the person realizes what is going on, it’s too late. People who
become upset and attempt to leave can be threatened or diagnosed as
combative.
Civil litigation attorney Randy Lakel works pro bono to
represent patients who were voluntarily committed to psychiatric
facilities by deceptive patient brokers. He describes a case involving two
men from eastern Pennsylvania who were approached by people in the
crowd at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and taken aside. [4] The
brokers suggested to them that maybe they needed a little extra help,
which could be offered by professionals at overeaters’ clinics. The men
were lured to the institution under false pretenses and then locked up.
Lakel believes that the problem has reached huge proportions: ”
. . . There are federal grand juries investigating this. I’ve also spoken to
general counsel from very large insurance companies that have called me
up to inquire whether their insurance company was involved in any of my
investigations. . . The general impression I got from the mention of a
grand jury investigation and the general counsel from a large insurance
company was that it was not an isolated incident that I was dealing with.”
The broken world of patient brokering encompasses more than
fat farm fraud; it affects people who might need help with all types of
problems . A nine-month investigation of deceptive brokering practices
conducted by Florida’s St. Petersburg Times was enlightening–and
9
upsetting. [5] It was found that patient brokers sometimes share their
finder’s fees with school counselors who help provide likely young
candidates for the brokers’. institutions, or with public health workers,
union representatives, or police and probation officers who steer
prospective patients their way. Finder’s fees can be as high as $3000 per
patient, it was found. Another investigation finding was that patients are
sometimes given false diagnoses, for insurance purposes. This is not
surprising. The trouble is (on a personal level, and letting alone the issue
of massive fraud!) these false diagnoses of mental illness can return to
haunt patients throughout their lives. Indeed, according to Randy Lakel,
the worst part of the problem is having a psychiatric record for life:
“Once people are committed, it goes on their insurance record.
These people. . . are appalled that they now have a psychiatric record for
the rest of their lives . It can interfere with any kind of employment
opportunity . One of the people I talked to was a professional in the
medical field. In her application, she was afraid that they were going to
ask her if she ever had psychiatric commitment. How do you get that off
the record? That, from a legal point of view, is clearly a damage . ” [4)
A disturbing aspect of patient brokers and referral services is
that they are largely unregulated. As the St. Petersburg Times reported [5)
, in Florida and other states , referral personnel do not need licenses or
special training before they can deal with the sick and the troubled. So
people with criminal records are among the brokers, many of whom will
do whatever it takes to get one more body into a treatment center.
Says Paul McDevitt, a licensed Massachusetts mental health
counselor [5]:
“These people have no ethics at all. They’re morally bankrupt.
They’re like the grave robbers in old England who provided cadavers for
the medical schools . The grave robbers of today are taking the bodies of
those so confused as to be dead and shipping them out to treatment
centers where they never get well. And the doctors who are the pillars of
society are still reaping the benefits and still never asking where the
bodies come from.
Bogus and Nonexistent Treatments
Psychiatric facilities consistently charge consumers for
nontherapeutic treatments or services not performed. Adolescent facilities
10
are common perpetrators of this abuse. One Texas hospital, for example,
billed insurance companies $40 a day for relaxation therapy. This
treatment, which simply consisted of turning on Muzac while teenagers
were getting undressed, was actually far more exorbitant when you
consider that each patient’s insurance company was billed that price for
one person turning on the Muzac one time.
Bruce Wiseman is president of the Citizens Commission on
Human Rights, an organization that champions mental health consumer
protection [6) . He can provide a plethora of examples of how
psychiatrists rip off the system. Wiseman tells of a Texas psychiatrist
who was known for his hundred dollar handshake. All he would do was
walk by the beds of various patients, shake hands with them, and then bill
each person’s insurance company a hundred dollars. Another
investigation discovered that charges for nutritional counseling were to
cover the person going to lunch. Insurance companies are also charged
for individual
therapy when a group of people are placed in a room together and told to
scream at each other for a couple of hours. “These would be a little bit
funny if they weren’t so devastating in terms of what they do to insurance
premiums and our taxes . ” [7]
Wiseman states that psychiatrists collect $600,000 to 900,000 a
year on bogus or nonexistent treatments. “We have plenty of cases where
they just bill the insurance company or the government for treatment that
was never given. They don’t even see the patient and they send the bills
in. ” [7)
Abusive Treatments
The scenario worsens when you consider that economic
exploitation is often coupled with physical abuse. Wiseman tells how an
adolescent facility in Reno tormented a 15-year old boy and then billed
his parents’ insurance company $400,000:
“They would drug this kid with Haldol, a so-called antipsychotic
drug, until he was in a stupor, and then tie him in four-point
restraints. They would tie his hands and feet to the bed, and then tickle
him until he was hysterical. For that “treatment” this child’s parents’
insurance company was billed $400,000, and the insurance company paid
it! If anyone does to a child what the psychiatrist does, it is called child
11
abuse. But here the insurance company pays almost half a million dollars
for it. This is the kind of treatment and insurance fraud that exists. ” [8)
This is not an isolated incident, Wiseman explains, but typical
of what goes on:
“In the Reno facility, children are subject to frequent takedowns.
If a kid smarts off’ or jumps the guards, he or she is physically
abused. One patient in a Texas hospital had her legs strapped to a chair
for four hours because she was moving her legs. They called it purposeful
exercise, which she was not supposed to do. Kids are made to stand and
look at a wall for 16 hours a day for months on end. There is also sexual
abuse regularly going on in these hospitals. ” [8]
Nickie Saizon, who regrettably placed her son in a psychiatric
facility, says that routine punishments were called treatment. Her
insurance company was billed exorbitant amounts for these procedures:
“If they punished them with a time out, they had to sit
in a chair in the hallway all day without moving. They charged $37.50 for
that. When the kids would get mad and angry, they would have a nurse
and counselors surround the kids and tell them, ‘Get mad, get it out, have
your fit. ‘ They would keep on until they got mad and really started
having a big fit. Then they put them down on the floor, held them there,
and cut their shirt off. For that they charged $45 . Then they put them in a
room which they call a think tank. The room is bare and empty. There is
no carpet, no chairs, nothing. They have to go in there and think over how
they should have handled the problem. . . They charged $87.50 for this
room. Every time you turned around there were hidden costs. ” [9)
Wiseman believes that people would be outraged to learn what
really goes on in these institutions: “The general public isn’t aware of it,
but one would be hard-pressed to walk into any psychiatric hospital and
not weep at the ‘treatment’ that occurs in these places . ” [8]
Your Taxes Pay for This
In the final analysis, fraudulent insurance practices hurt
taxpayers since the maintenance of moderate insurance rates becomes
virtually impossible. Consider these figures. The American public is
swindled out of $42 billion a year. That’s $3 billion a month, $800 million
12
a week, $1 16 million a day, $4 million an hour, $80,000 a minute, and
$1300 a second.
The federal government and the insurance industry are finally
waking up to the problem and starting to fight back. In 1993 , seven of
the largest insurance companies sued one of the largest psychiatric
hospital chains, National Medical Enterprises, for $750 million. In
addition, every attorney general now has an assistant attorney general to
oversee health care fraud prosecutions. As a result, some progress has
been made . Wiseman states:
“Psychiatrists make up 8 percent of doctors , but 1 8 percent of
those health care practitioners have been kicked out of the Medicare
system for fraud. Last year, $4 1 1 million was paid to the government in
fines and penalties for health care fraud and 90 percent of that was paid
by psychiatrists or psychiatric institutions.” [7]
Although this is a start, it is Wiseman’s belief that to truly
resolve the problem the public must become more informed about what’ 5
going on, and insist on putting an end to the corruption.
Psychiatric Research
Each year, hundreds of millions of tax dollars are wasted on
pointless research conducted by the National Institutes of Mental Health
(NIMH) . For instance, these are examples of the types of studies they are
finding under the guise of learning more about sexual behavior: a fouryear
study of horses masturbating, an eight-year study of castrated quail,
a four-year study on the nasal cavities of hamsters during intercourse, a
two-year study on the sexual preference and behavior of prairie moles, an
1 1-year study in which female pigeon genitals were stimulated to
measure how hormones affect sexual behavior, a 9-year study of maternal
licking of the genital region of male versus female ferret babies, a 9-year
study on the sexual behavior of lizards, a 23-year study of sexual odors
and social factors that affect male Asian monkeys, and a 23-year study on
the sexual behavior of male rats as a biological basis for human behavior.
To study the effects of drugs, a 13-year study was undertaken in
which rats were given hallucinogens, such as LSD, to see how they react
when startled; and a 31 -year study looked at how rhesus monkeys
respond to torture while on mind-altering drugs.
13
The NIMH also carried out a 32-year study on the chemical
reactions in the jaw muscles of pigeons to better understand eating
disorders in humans.
“This is what the NIMH is doing with our tax dollars, ” says
Bruce Wiseman. We think it’s a travesty, and we think that organization
should be eliminated. ” [7]
Wiseman goes on to describe an NIMH study on sexual
offenders that placed a Florida community at risk: “A few years ago,
[NIMH) spent over a million dollars on a program down in Florida where
they took 100 known child molesters, showed these guys pornographic
material, and then turned them loose on the community to see how they
would behave . Then, when these child molesters came back and reported
their behaviors to these so-called researchers, they were immune from
passing that information along to the authorities. ” [7)
If the NIMH were studying how to alleviate mental illness, it
would be different. Unfortunately, these studies provide nothing useful to
the alleviation of mental suffering. According to Wiseman:
“Billions and billions and billions of dollars are poured into the
psychiatric industry . If they could have cured anything, they would have
done so over the last few decades. . . . [Psychiatrists) don’t actually know
what bothers people. Their answer to virtually everything is to drug it.
They have convinced governments that they need billions in
appropriations. We wonder why we can’t balance our budget when
studies [such as the above) cost the taxpayers millions and millions of
dollars. I don’t think there are many Americans who realize that their tax
dollars are being spent on studying the nasal cavities of hamsters during
intercourse. On the one hand, it’s ludicrous. On the other hand, it is
destructive and wasteful. ” [7]
Inhumane Treatment
Involuntary Commitment
Each year, approximately one and a half million people are
taken to psychiatric institutions against their will. That averages out to
one person every 75 seconds . Often, there is no reasonable justification
for committing a person. According to Bruce Wiseman, psychiatrists
commonly make off-the-cuff diagnoses, having no real basis in medical
14
fact, that result in people getting thrown into psychiatric facilities. This is
not only possible, but easy to do, as it is sanctioned by state laws .
Psychiatrists are given the police power to lock people up against their
will. Sometimes, Wiseman states, people are put away for some of the
most ridiculous reasons imaginable:
“A man who was picked up was pronounced schizophrenic by
a psychiatrist and taken to a hospital, stripped and shocked. Subsequently,
they found out that the man was simply speaking Hungarian. . . . That
kind of thing goes on, on a very regular basis.
“Legislation has come out of Texas in the last year or so after
the ‘kidnapping’ of a guy named Kyle Williams whose estranged wife
apparently talked to a psychiatrist, and probably didn’t have kind things to
say about him. As a result, the psychiatrist ordered the guy picked up–a
totally normal fellow–and he was thrown into a hospital. ” [8)
Laws vary, but individuals are usually locked up for at least
three days. During that time, they have no constitutional rights, and no
access to an attorney or due process of law. Treatment usually consists of
drugs, and sometimes electro convulsive therapy. After three days, they
are then brought before a judge to determine whether or not they’re sane.
At this point, chances for release are slim since people are generally not
in very good shape after all that has been done to them. Chances for
release are far slimmer if the person’s insurance pays for treatment.
Wiseman reports:
“We get hundreds and hundreds of reports like this: A young
mother took her child into a psychiatric hospital for an evaluation and the
hospital insisted that the child stay. The mother decided to stay with the
child just to comfort her. Then the mother wanted to leave; the hospital
wouldn’t let her. When she demanded to leave they placed her in a
straitjacket and drugged her.
“A fellow was checked into a psychiatric hospital for back
pain. Some doctor referred him, thinking that maybe it was
psychosomatic. He was thrown into classes on sex abuse and chemical
dependency , which had nothing to do with his problem whatsoever. He
demanded to go home and they refused to let him.
When he got angry , they diagnosed him as suicidal and involuntarily
committed him. Of course, they bill the insurance companies tremendous
amounts of dollars.” [8]
15
Concerning insurance companies’ bills, while it’s true that
companies are bilked out of tremendous amounts of money to pay for
people in mental hospitals who shouldn’t be there, we should not feel
entirely sorry for the insurance industry. According to Dr. Duard Bok, a
former employee of Psychiatric Hospitals of America, “the insurance
companies pay out on one side, but get it back on the other side. They are
double-dipping, because they can disregard their billings from patients
because they get it back as shareholders. ” [10]
Electro convulsive Therapy
History of Electro convulsive Therapy
Shock “treatment” was first used in 1938 by psychiatrist Ugo
Cerletti. He developed the procedure after a trip to a local slaughterhouse
where he witnessed pigs being electrocuted by metal tongs attached to
their heads. The pigs, which rarely died outright from the electrocution,
could then be quietly killed and butchered. The measure was taken to
make killing the pigs “painless” and “humane.”
Cerletti decided to experiment with animals to see if he could
apply what he had seen at the slaughterhouse to humans. He shocked
dogs, running currents of electricity in various directions through their
heads and entire body. The shocks were increased gradually to find out
what it would take to kill an animal. Most of Cerletti’s animals would go
into convulsions or become temporarily unconscious. According to
Cerletti:
“The animals that received the severest treatment remained
rigid…then after a violent convulsive seizure they would lie on their sides
for a while, sometimes for several minutes, and finally they would
attempt to rise. After many attempts…they would succeed in standing up
and making a few steps until they were able to run away. These
observations gave me convincing evidence of the harmlessness of a few
tenths of a second of application through the head of a 125-volt electric
current…At this point I felt we could venture to experiment on man…”
[Leonard Roy Frank, The History of Shock Treatment, 1978, p.8-9]
Evidently, to Cerletti, anything less than fatal was “harmless.”
16
The first person to ever undergo shock “treatment” was a 39-
year-old engineer who had been sent to Cerletti for “observation” after
being arrested at a train station for wandering around departing trains
without a ticket, according to the police commissioner of Rome. Cerletti
described the man as “lucid, well oriented.” Nevertheless, he became
Cerletti’s first shock victim. The first jolt hit with force and surprise. At
the objections of Cerletti’s staff, he announced that he would shock the
man again at a higher voltage to which the engineer pleaded, according to
Cerletti’s own account, “Not another one! It’s deadly!” [Leonard Roy
Frank, The History of Shock Treatment, 1978, p.9]
Early in its use psychiatrists presented various theories as to
how ECT “worked.” The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders
reported that it might be the “due to the discomfort, pain and terror…”
connected with convulsive treatments. According to the Journal, “Since
this terror is often very real…we were inclined to believe that the patient
might have been shocked back into reality by the fury of the assault on
him.” [Leonard Roy Frank, The Histoy of Shock Treatment, 1978, p.22]
Creating terror in mental patients was looked upon as
“therapeutic” in psychiatry. In 1812, Benjamin Rush stated that, “Terror
acts powerfully upon the body, through the medium of the mind, and
should be employed in the cure of madness…FEAR, accompanied with
PAIN, and a sense of SHAME, has sometimes cured this disease.” To
frighten, injure and degrade were, in essence, a goal of early psychiatric
“treatment.” [Leonard Roy Frank, The History of Shock Treatment, 1978,
p.11]
Cerletti proclaimed the procedure “electroshock”, but as the
Citizens Commission of Human Rights points out, the people who profit
from it like to call it electro convulsive therapy (ECT), because this
sounds a little better. Regardless of the label you give it, what this
treatment amounts to is the destruction of brain cells by electricity. In
other words, it’s physician-induced brain damage.
This extreme treatment is given for severe depression, and it
does work–in the short term. That’s because a facet of the brain damage
caused is memory loss, and so patients forget what they were depressed
about.
In the 1940s, The Psychiatric Quarterly reported that “electric
shock therapy abolishes almost entirely the ability to recall recently
learned material….” [The Psychiatric Quarterly, vol. 19, no.2, A Review
17
of the Research Work of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and
Hospital for the Year 1944, April, 1945, p. 223]
The American Journal of Psychiatry reported that the
procedure had been labeled “annihilation” therapy because “this [ECT]
results in severe amnesic reactions” and produced results comparable to
prefrontal lobotomy. [Leonard Roy Frank, The History of Shock
Treatment, 1978, p.20]
Unfortunately, the memory loss is often permanent, a fact
generally denied by modern psychiatry. Also, permanent learning
disability can be another effect of ECT, with disastrous career, not to
mention emotional, ramifications. The bottom line: When the patient’s
underlying problems return, she or he is even less able to deal with them
than before the treatment, because of the brain injury that has been
sustained.
The American Journal of Psychiatry reported this in 1947.
Patients who had been shocked were unable to do tasks they had done
every day for 20 years. Here is the Journal’s own description of the
damaging effects following shock treatment:
“There is a definite restriction in their intuition and imagination
and inventiveness. This is a post-lobotomy picture but in a less severe and
dramatic form…The findings tend to indicate that shock therapy increases
the frequency of readmission and thus raises the question of whether the
time saved in the hospital at the first admission is not lost by the early
readmission following shock treatment. This is particularly significant
since it seems likely that shock therapy does produce deterioration and
personality changes which may explain this increased readmission
frequency.” [Leonard Roy Frank, The History of Shock Treatment, 1978,
p.31]
It should be noted that women are twice as likely as men to
receive ECT.
In ECT, 180 to 460 volts of electricity are fired through the
brain, for a tenth of a second to six seconds, either from temple to temple
(bilateral ECT) or from the front to the back of one side of the head
(unilateral ECT) . The result is a severe convulsion, or seizure, of long
duration–i.e.. , a grand mal convulsion, as in an epileptic fit. The usual
course of treatment involves 10 to 12 shocks over a period of weeks.
18
According to an expose by USA TODAY, the psychiatric
industry has grossly misled the public about the number of deaths caused
by shock treatment. While publicly admitting to one death per 10,000
people, the mortality rate has been independently verified as being more
on the order of 1 in 200, a rate 50 times higher.
Still, psychiatrists claim that ECT is “safe and effective” -while
having no idea of how it works. This hasn’t stopped them from using it to
make $3 billion per year in America alone. In the ’70s in the UK,
psychiatrists gave patients up to 20 shocks a day, arguing that it could
“wipe the mind clean and let it re-grow.’
ELECTROSHOCK: CRUELTY IN THE NAME OF THERAPY
If Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway were alive
today, he would probably conduct a heated argument with psychiatrists
who hold him up as an example of “great writers with mental illness.”
Tricked into a psychiatric institution, he was stripped of his clothes and
his dignity, and given more than 20 electroshocks. Several weeks later, he
confided to a friend, “What these shock doctors don’t know is about
writers and such…. They should make all psychiatrists take a course in
creative writing so they’d know about writers…. Well, what is the sense
of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and
putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the
patient….”
In July 1961, days after being released from the Mayo
psychiatric clinic, Hemingway committed suicide. [CCHR , Psychiatry:
Manipulating Creativity, 1997, p32]
Shocks, Drugs, and Deaths
Between 1963 and 1979, Chelmsford was a tranquil-looking
psychiatric hospital in the outer suburbs of Sydney, Australia. But behind
its nondescript exterior, lives were quietly being ripped apart with a cruel
psychiatric treatment called “deep sleep” treatment. People were
slammed into a coma with an often lethal cocktail of barbiturates and
sedatives, shackled naked to their beds, and kept unconscious for two to
three weeks, during which time they were given painful electroshock
treatments, sometimes twice daily.
19
Frequently the patients were shocked without their consent.
Some expressly refused ECT, but were treated anyway. Some were told
they were going to have a long sleep to “switch off” their brain. Others
were told less; they just went to sleep one night and woke up weeks later
– brain damaged, sick with pneumonia, nursing blood clots, and with an
irreversibly altered personality. Some never woke.
The survivors suffered in silence until 1990, when a full
government investigation issued the findings of its 288-day inquiry into
deep sleep treatment, and the truth emerged. Forty-eight people had died
as a direct result of deep sleep treatment; in all, 183 died either in hospital
or within one year of being discharged, and the files of another 18
fatalities were missing. More than 1,100 people – some as young as 12 –
had been subjected to “deep sleep” for everything from depression and
drug addiction to anorexia, and even some for “ticklish coughs.” Of these,
977 were diagnosed as brain damaged. Those fortunate to survive
continued to suffer frightening mental effects resulting directly from the
treatment.
In 1985, the perpetrator of these atrocities, Dr. Harry Bailey,
was found dead in his car on a lonely dirt road. Ironically, he’d taken an
overdose of Tuinal – one of the barbiturates with which he had destroyed
the lives of others.
The continued use of this medieval-seeming therapy would
perhaps be understandable if it had been shown to be effective. But as
explained in a recent article in The Journal of Mind and Behavior [1 1) ,
“Follow-up studies about the effects of ECT in which recipients
themselves evaluate the procedure are both rare and embarrassing to the
ECT industry. The outcomes of these studies directly contradict
propaganda regarding permanent memory loss put forth by the four
manufacturers of ECT devices in the United States (Somatics, MECTA,
Elcot, and Medcraft) , upon whom physicians and the public rely for
information, much as the public relies upon pharmaceutical companies
for information on drugs.”
Former ECT recipient Diana Loper, of the World Association
of Electric Shock Survivors, [12) stresses that the only way ECT stops
depression is that “it wipes your memory out so you don’t know what you
were depressed about. ” Then Loper says, after two weeks of a “braindamage
high, ” people want to kill themselves when they have never
before been suicidal. Loper is passionate in her work to totally ban the
20
procedure, which she says only causes brain damage and sometimes
death:
“ECT is non-FDA approved. The machines were grand
fathered to a certain extent but they were put in category 3 , the most
hazardous category that there is. . . They’re coming in with new machines
now saying that they’re new and improved, but there’s nothing new and
improved about this procedure. Why do I want to see this procedure
banned? Why does our organization want to see it totally out of the way?
Because it’s damaging. Psychiatrists. . . are not only damaging people’s
brains, they are killing people. . . The APA task force states that 1 in
10,000 people die of ECT.
” Our organization will stop this procedure . This is a promise I
made . I kept a diary when I was being shocked. And I read my diary and
I read it every day. And the last thing I said to my doctor is, ‘Some day
you’ll never do this to anyone again. . . . ‘ We passed a law in Texas, last
session. We have the strongest informed consent bill in the nation. ” [13]
What makes Electroshock so damaging? Bruce Wiseman
emphasizes that the procedure always creates grand mal seizures:
“Electroshock treatments send several hundred volts of electricity through
the brain. The brain then becomes starved for oxygen and pulls more
blood into the brain. This causes blood vessels to break, damage to the
brain, and eventual brain shrinkage. As a result of the lack of oxygen and
the destruction of the nerves in the brain, the person has a seizure.
“This treatment is nothing but barbaric. If anyone else did it,
they would be locked up as a terrorist. Yet 100,000 people a year in
America get electro shocked, generating $3 billion to the psychiatric
industry . That faction of the health care industry doesn’t help. They’re an
enemy of the people and they’re destructive. ” [7]
Internationally known psychiatrist and author Dr. Peter
Breggin adds that the treatment is so off base that doctors fabricate
reasons to support it: “Psychiatrists end up distorting a great deal and
forcing people into a model that’s incorrect,” Breggin explains. “Some of
my colleagues claim that some undefined biochemical imbalance causes a
problem like anxiety or depression, when we’ve never found a
biochemical imbalance. Then, having suggested that maybe there is such
a thing as a disturbance in the brain that’s hurting a person, my colleagues
go and do terrible things to the brain, such as shock treatments for the
depressed person.
21
Breggin believes that this makes as much sense as deliberately
putting patients in an automobile accident. “It traumatizes the brain
horribly. Each person who gets shock treatment goes into a state called
delirium or an acute organic brain syndrome. As a result, they’re
confused, they don’t know which end is up, they may forget where they
are and how to get around the hospital ward. They have an electrically
induced closed head injury, with all the things you find in other closed
head injuries. People are often permanently changed. They don’t recover
their memories and they don’t recover other mental functions. ” [14]
Diana Loper discusses a major motivation behind the
popularity of ECT, profit: “ECT is the psychiatrist’s most lucrative
treatment, averaging between $800 and $1000 per individual treatment. A
single series averages between 12 and 15 treatments, costing between
$10,000 and $15,000. This isn’t even including hospitalization. ECT is
administered in private, for-profit psychiatric hospitals. In all states,
insurance is what pays for this ‘treatment. ‘ ” [15]
Deep Sleep Therapy
Deep sleep therapy, a procedure that has been used in the
United States and throughout the world, consists of placing people in a
comatose state via barbiturates, hypnotics, and sedatives for two to three
weeks, and shocking their brains on a daily or twice-daily basis. Jan
Eastgate, the international president of the Citizens Commission on
Human Rights, reports on its damaging effects:
“Patients suffered brain damage, pleurisy, double pneumonia,
blood clots, and at least 48 people died. It was used in mind control
experiments during the 1960s up in Canada as well. And yet it was passed
off as a therapy. ” [16]
Deep sleep therapy has been combined with
psychosurgery for the treatment of asthma, Eastgate reports:
“Women who had asthma attacks were given deep sleep
therapy. One woman who had an asthma attack was also given
psychosurgery. Sixteen years later she was washing her scalp and cut her
finger. She was rushed to the hospital and they said, did you know that
you had metal plates sticking out of your head? She didn’t realize that
when they did the psychosurgery they had actually left metal plates with a
serrated edge inside her head. They had to be removed. ” [16]
22
Eastgate says that the treatment has been banned in certain countries,
such as Australia, but that international cooperation between psychiatrists
allows patients to be transported from nations where the procedure is
prohibited to places where it is used. For example, Eastgate says that
some Australian patients were sent to a Santa Monica psychiatrist. “So
you have, internationally, some pretty horrific abuses. ” [16] The Citizens
Commission of Human Rights is currently carrying out an international
investigation into the matter.
Sexual Abuse
“Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the
sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in
particular of sexual relations with female and male persons, be they free
or slaves.”
These words are part of the Hippocratic Oath, sworn to by all
physicians. You’d never know it, though, considering the results of a
1987 survey of over 1400 psychiatrists, [17]described in the Journal of
the American Medical Association. The survey found that 65 percent of
the psychiatrists reported treating patients who had been sexually
involved with previous therapists, and 87 percent of the psychiatrists
surveyed believed that the previous involvement had been harmful to the
patients . An interesting finding was that only 8 percent of the
psychiatrists polled reported their colleagues’ behavior to a professional
organization or legal authority . This finding does not speak well for the
concept of professionals policing their own ranks. One factor here might
be that they all have a vested interest in keeping malpractice insurance
premiums down.
Sydney Smith, in a report on “The Seduction of the Female
Patient, ” [18], reports that nearly half of the patients that are sexually
abused by psychiatrists have previously been the victims of sexual abuse
of one type or another. Confusion arising from these earlier experiences
can make patients easier to victimize–and less willing to come forward
with complaints when they are victimized. Plus if they do come forward,
they may seem less credible in their complaints; perhaps it was all a result
of garbled memories.
Sometimes patient confusion is induced by psychiatristadministered
drugs. Consider the case of Barbara Noel, who, in the book
You Must Be Dreaming, [19) details her years of sexual abuse by a
23
renowned psychiatrist. Indeed, Dr. Jules Masserman was known
worldwide as a leader in the psychiatric field.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights summarized Noel’s story
[20]:
“A past president of the American Psychiatric Association
(APA) and honorary president for life of the World Association for Social
Psychiatry, Masserman was a powerful man who abused that power
often.
“Barbara Noel, who worshipped him and considered herself
lucky to have him as her psychiatrist, realized how deep the deception ran
when she awoke during a frequent drug-induced sleep administered by
Masserman to find him panting loudly as he sexually assaulted her.
“Although this was just a step above necrophilia, Masserman
convinced Noel that she could get in touch with her ‘real feelings’ by
taking sodium amytal (a barbiturate) , which ironically had been used in
mind control experiments and was found to block memory rather than, as
Masserman claimed, enlace it.
“Noel became enraged when she finally realized how she had
been abused for years by a supposedly ‘respected’ professional. However,
with Masserman claiming Noel was ‘sick’ and lying, it took seven long
years, court victories by her and two other women who went public after
hearing of Noel’s case, and even more women breaking their silence
before the APA upheld the Illinois Psychiatric Society’s decision to
suspend Masserman for only five years. And even that suspension was for
inappropriate use of drugs, not rape.
“Scandalously, Masserman remained as a member of the APA’s
Board of Trustees.
Comments the CCHR “It is hard to imagine a teacher who molests a
young student would ever be allowed to teach again, but apparently a
different set of standards exist for psychiatrists.” [20]
In psychiatric facilities, patients are commonly sexually
exploited as they are made to barter sex for freedom. Joanne Toglia,
whose story is further told in a later section, says, of her abuse by a
mental health counselor in a private hospital:
24
“Finally, the bottom line came down to, if I slept with him, I’d
get out. If I didn’t, I’d go to the state mental hospital. And at the time, I
had four children–2, 3, 4 and 6. I was desperate to see them, so after
three weeks of being locked up, I finally slept with him. “[2]
Reports of sexual abuse are less frequent in outpatient settings,
where psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors generally act in
supportive and professional ways. But in too many instances they do
betray their patients’ trust, as the Dr. Masserman saga illustrates. Attorney
Steve Silver, who represents clients that were sexually abused by their
therapists, gives one account of how unethical behavior on the part of a
therapist can devastate patients’ lives:
“I prosecuted a case against a female alcohol counselor who
was roughly ten years older than her male patient, a married man with a
couple of kids. The alcohol counselor ended up doing ‘psychotherapy’ on
this gentleman, his wife, and on their two children. Ultimately, she
seduced the man while telling his wife that because of her background of
psychological problems she should withhold sexual relations from her
husband.
“My client, who was the husband and father in this situation,
left his family and married the alcohol counselor. This is a perfect
example of even a low-level therapist, such as an alcohol counselor,
being able to manipulate an entire family to ultimately serve her own
romantic and sexual needs. Of course, it was incredibly destructive to all
four members of the family, particularly the children.”[22]
The problem is compounded by the fact that grievances against
psychiatrists have little effect, leaving them free to prey on numerous
other patients. Even if they are punished in one state, psychiatrists can
easily set up shop in another. Silver says psychiatric boards are
understaffed and in need of increased government regulation and money.
“If these types of abuses are to be stopped, there needs to be a public
investigation and sufficient resources to prosecute these bad shrinks and
stop them from practicing . ” [22) Psychology and social work boards are
better about investigating sexual abuse, according to Silver, and their
investigations can lead to the offending therapist losing his or her license
to practice.
Exploitation of Minorities
25
Psychiatry is built on a foundation of prejudice against
minorities, particularly African Americans. In the 1700s, for instance,
none less than the father of American psychiatry, Benjamin Rush,
asserted that African Americans were black because they had a disease
,Rush’s theory of Negritude, and that we should not tyrannize over them,
but rather find a cure for their disease. In 1970, the American Journal of
Psychiatry reviewed Rush’s theory:
“In a brief paper written in 1799, Rush was concerned with
uncovering the cause or causes of the Negro’s blackness. His conclusion
was that the black complexion of the Negro stemmed from a leprous-type
disease. He maintained that by seeking a cure for this condition and
subsequently removing the Negro’s blackness, a great service could be
rendered to mankind…He therefore maintained that the removal of the
Negro’s blackness would render him a certain amount of happiness since
it was obvious that some Negroes had difficulty accepting their
blackness: “Forever how well they appear to be satisfied with their color,
there were many proofs of their preferring that of the white people.” The
Journal was not critical of Rush, but stated that he “understood well the
impact of physical differences on mental attitudes that is a vital factor in
racial prejudice…” [The American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 127, no.6,
1970, Benjamin Rush and the Negro, Betty L. Plummer]
Rush would become known as the “Father of American
Psychiatry” with his face immortalized on the seal of the American
Psychiatric Association, perhaps a permanent reminder of how psychiatry
sees illness where none exists.
Renowned author and professor emeritus of psychiatry, Dr.
Thomas Szasz, wrote in his book, The Manufacture of Madness, “With
this theory, Rush made the black a medically safe domestic, while at the
same time called for his sexual segregation as a carrier of a dread
hereditary disease. Here, then, was an early model of the perfect medical
concept of illness–one that helps the physician and the society he serves,
while justifying social maltreatment as medical prophylaxis [protection
from disease].” [CCHR, Psychiatry: Creating Racism, 1995, p.9]
When Africans were torn from their families and homes and
sold into slavery in the United States, science stood ready to define any
disobedience or insubordination by them as a “mental illness.”
As early as 1851, Samuel A. Cartwright, a prominent Louisiana
physician, published an essay entitled “Report on the diseases and
physical peculiarities of the Negro race” in the “New Orleans and
26
Surgical Journal.” Cartwright claimed to have discovered two mental
diseases peculiar to blacks, which he believed justified their enslavement.
These were called “Drapetomania” and “Dysaesthesia Aethiopis.”
The first term came from ‘drapetes’, to run away, and ‘mania’,
meaning mad or crazy. Cartwright claimed that this “disease” caused
blacks to have an uncontrollable urge to run away from their “masters.”
The “treatment” for this “illness” was “whipping the devil out of them.”
Dysaesthesia Aethiopis supposedly affected both mind and
body. The diagnosable signs included disobedience, answering
disrespectfully and refusing to work. The “cure” was to put the person to
some kind of hard labor which apparently sent “vitalized blood to the
brain to give liberty to the mind.”
Much “scientific” and statistical rhetoric was used to justify
slavery. One 1840 census “proved” that blacks living under “unnatural
conditions of freedom” in the North were more prone to insanity. Dr.
Edward Jarvis, a specialist in mental disorders, used this to conclude that
slavery shielded blacks from “some of the liabilities and dangers of active
self-direction.” The census was later found to be a racist facade in that
many of the Northern towns credited with mentally deranged blacks had
no black inhabitants at all! [CCHR, Psychiatry: Creating Racism, 1995,
p.8]
In 1887 , G. Stanley Hall, founder of the American Journal of
Psychology and first president of the American Psychological
Association, put forth the idea that Africans, Indians, and Chinese were
members of “adolescent races , in a stage of , incomplete growth.
[23]Thus, these ~ lack of equality was justified, because they were not
fully adult. From these historical roots of racism, according to the
CCHR’s Jan Eastgate, all minority groups have become marked for
psychiatric abuse:
“You have had a targeting of the African American
community, the American Indians, Hispanic groups, as having a lower IQ
than so-called whites. Based on this ‘ scientific’ justification, psychiatrists
have sterilized African Americans . By 1929, up to 6000 Californians
were sterilized, and they were largely African Americans . If you look at
the statistics now, psychiatrists involuntarily commit African Americans
three to five times as often as they do whites . The diagnosis of African
American men as having schizophrenia, by public and private
institutions, is 15 times as high as whites. African American adolescents
between the ages of 13 and 17 are far more likely to be coerced into
27
going to community mental health centers where they are placed on
mind-altering drugs, major tranquilizers. And they are given higher
dosages even than white people. So there’s a concerted effort by
psychiatry to target minority groups in this country by diagnosing them
with spurious labels and then giving them mind-altering drugs and
electric shock.”[16]
Eastgate’s statements may seem shocking but are mild
compared to the figures presented in psychiatric literature. For example,
the 1986 Contemporary Directions in Psychopathology admits:
“state hospital admission rates for the black poor are 75 times
that for whites”… “These and similar findings, widely known and
reported, tend to be neglected and ignored…”
The text also reported that a cross-national study revealed that
psychiatrists at the New York State Psychiatric Institute had “a bias
toward diagnosing schizophrenia in black patients” when compared to
psychiatrists in London. [Contemporary Directions in Psychopathology,
A Sociopolitical Perspective of DSM-IIIR, Rothblum, Solomon, and
Albee, p. 168 and 174]
In 1994 the American Psychiatric Press’ Textbook of
Psychiatry also acknowledged that studies suggesting a higher rate of
schizophrenia in African Americans may have been skewed “due to a
systematic bias to over diagnose schizophrenia in blacks.”
In addition to what has been already outlined here about IQ, US
eugenics advocate Dr. Paul Popenoe published the findings of his study,
entitled “Intelligence and Race–a Review of the Results of the Army
Intelligence Tests–The Negro in 1918.” With astounding arrogance, he
fabricated and propagated the idea that the IQ of blacks was determined
by the amount of “white blood” they had. The lighter skinned the black
was, the higher his IQ, and the blacker he was, the lower the IQ.
Popenoe concluded, “…the Negroes’ low mental estate is
irremediable…The Negro is mentally, therefore eugenically, inferior to
the white race. All treatment of the Negro…must take into account this
fundamental fact.”
Psychiatric “treatment” of African Americans has included
some of the most barbaric experiments ever carried out in the name of
“scientific” research–and not very long ago. In the 1950s in New
Orleans, black prisoners were used for psychosurgery experiments which
28
involved electrodes being implanted into the brain. The experiments were
conducted by psychiatrist Dr. Robert Heath from Tulane University and
an Australian psychiatrist, Dr. Harry Bailey, who boasted in a lecture to
nurses 20 years later that the two psychiatrists had used blacks because it
was “cheaper to use Niggers than cats because they were everywhere and
cheap experimental animals.”
Heath had also been funded by the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) to carry out drug experiments which included LSD and a drug
called bulbocapnine, which in large doses produced “catatonia and
stupor.” Heath tested the drug on African American prisoners at the
Louisiana State Penitentiary. According to one memo, the CIA sought
information as to whether the drug could cause “loss of speech, loss of
sensitivity to pain, loss of memory, loss of will power and an increase in
toxicity in persons with a weak type of central nervous system.”
At the National Institute of Mental Health Addiction Research
Center in Kentucky in the mid-1950s, drug-addicted African Americans
were given LSD, with seven of them kept hallucinating for 77
consecutive days. At this same center, healthy African American men
were still being used as test subjects almost 10 years later, this time for an
experimental drug, BZ–100 times more powerful than LSD. [CCHR,
Psychiatry: Creating Racism, 1995, p.9-11]
Nazi Influences on American Psychiatry
Perhaps there was no psychiatrist more influential in Nazi
Germany than Ernst Rudin. Rudin was a world leader in the eugenics
movement, the pseudo-science which asserts that a “superior” human can
be created by selective breeding, allowing only “superior” individuals the
right to procreate and preventing that right to what eugenicists called
“inferior” individual. That is, those with physical or mental “defects.” A
long-time advocate of eugenics, Rudin co-founded the German Society of
Racial Hygiene in 1905 with his brother-in-law, psychiatrist Alfred Ploetz
who demanded the “extirpation of the inferior institution provided
employment for the island, there was no local incentive to close it down.
elements of the population” and battled against those of “Jewish and
Slavic blood.” [Ideology of Death, Why the Holocaust Happened in
Germany.; John Weiss, p.105-106]
In 1930, Rudin spoke in Washington, D.C., at the First
International Congress on Mental Hygiene and called for all associated
with the movement, later known as “mental health,” to make eugenics the
29
principle aim of mental hygiene. Rudin was cold and to the point in
expressing his philosophy:
“More mental and physical suffering, illness,
deficiency, infirmity, poverty, chronic alcoholism, criminality, etc., than
we can describe have as the main cause a bad hereditary tendency. Once
such a person is born…they need the best and most extensive mental
hygiene…It would be better, however, if such persons were not born at
all, and that calls for eugenics.”
[Proceedings of the First International Congress on Mental Hygiene;
Volume One; Frankwood E. Williams, editor, 1932, p.473]
In 1932, Rudin was elected president of the International
Federation of Eugenic Organizations propelling him to world leader in
the eugenics movement. Within the IFEU, Rudin headed the Committee
on Race Psychiatry. [Stefan Kuhl; The Nazi Connection; Oxford
University Press; 1994, p.21-22]
When Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, Rudin was appointed to
help lead Germany’s Racial Purity program and he served on the Task
Force of Hereditary Experts headed by Nazi SS officer Heinrich
Himmler. Rudin helped write and give “scientific” interpretation to the
Nazi Sterilization Laws. According to psychiatrist Peter Breggin, “It was
Rudin who influenced Hitler, not Hitler who influenced Rudin.” [Peter
Breggin, Toxic Psychiatry, 1991, p.102]
The sterilization campaign grew to include Jews and Gypsies,
who Rudin referred to as “inferior race types.” By 1938 pilot killing
programs were established in Germany psychiatric hospitals and the first
to die in the Holocaust were some 375,000 German mental patients. Dr.
Michael Berenbaum, project director of the United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum, says the killing program “involved virtually the
entire German psychiatric community.”
[Dr. Michael Berenbaum,The World Must Know, The History of the
Holocaust as Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,
1993, p.64]
Over the coming years millions of “inferiors” would be
slaughtered in the name of eugenics. Adolph Hitler honored Rudin with a
medal for his work as “Pathfinder of Hereditary Hygiene” for the Third
Reich. Rudin praised Hitler in a letter stating that “racial hygiene” had
only become known in Germany “through the political works of Adolph
30
Hitler and it was only through him that our dream of more than thirty
years has become a reality and the principles of racial hygiene have been
translated into action.” . [Dr. Thomas Roder, Volker Kubillus, Anthony
Burwell, Psychiatrists: The Men Behind Hitler, 1995, p.94]
The principles of racial hygiene would give Europe the
Holocaust.
In a special 1943 issue of Rudin’s Journal, Archive for Racial
and Social Biology, Rudin praised Hiltler for making racial hygiene a fact
among the German people, and applauded the sterilization laws for
“preventing the further penetration of the German gene pool by Jewish
blood.” [Robert J. Lifton,The Nazi Doctors, 1986 p.28]
In 1945 Ernst Rudin was called “the most evil man in
Germany” and was credited with creating the “Nazi science of murder”
by news reporter Victor Bernstien who interviewed the aging
psychiatrist. Rudin admitted to Bernstien that when “the killing program
began…I was not informed because it was not thought right that I should
have such a matter on my conscience.” He fled Germany after the war
and was stripped of his Swiss citizenship and placed under house arrest
there. He died in 1952. [PM Daily, Created Nazi Science of Murder:
Meet ‘Gentle” Prof. Rudin, Theorist of ‘Aryanism’, Tuesday, Aug. 21,
1945, p.5]
In 1996 a German psychiatric journal published “Ernst Rudin–
a Swiss psychiatrists as the leader of Nazi psychiatry–the final solution
as a goal.” In the article, Rudin was called a “racial fanatic” whose work
did not “withstand scientific criticism.” Rudin demanded “coercive
measures against the reproduction of…in the racist’s view, undesirable
persons. With this objective in mind, he started his psychiatric
research…[which] confirmed his preexisting opinions.” [Fortsch Neurol
Psychiatr, Sept; 64[9]:327-343]
Despite being a racist, a Nazi, and an advocate of the
sterilization of Jews, Rudin is still praised by today’s leading psychiatric
texts. For example, the 1994 Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry
credits Rudin for laying the foundation for the genetic theory of
schizophrenia. In 1990, the National Alliance for Research on
Schizophrenia and Depression published an article which praised Rudin
for his pioneering work in the field of psychiatric genetics in its Winter
Newsletter.
31
The eugenics movement did not end in Nazi Germany. In 1936
psychiatrist Franz Kallmann left Rudin’s fold at the Kaiser Wilhelm
Institute and traveled to the New York State Psychiatric Institute [NYSPI]
at Columbia University. He was appointed to head its psychiatric
genetics program, a field founded by Ernst Rudin. According to
psychiatrist Nolan Lewis, then director of NYSPI, “the genetic research
division was stabilized by the appointment of Dr. Franz J. Kallmann as
senior research psychiatrist. It seems certain that the promotion of longterm
research dealing with genetic and eugenic problems of mental
disease will prove to be a step in the right direction.” [The Psychiatric
Quarterly, Vol. 19, No.2, 1945, p.235]
Lewis encouraged psychiatrists to use the common sense of
“any animal or plant breeder” when dealing with psychiatric patients. To
Lewis, it was important to determine “the character of the stock” on
individuals and their relatives. Lewis would become Chairman of the
American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force on Nomenclature and
Statistics for the first edition of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders.
Prior to leaving Nazi Germany, Kallmann, arguing before
Hitler’s interior ministry, Kallmann called for the sterilization of
“schizophrenics” and their apparently healthy relatives. In a 1938 study,
Kallmann referred to the mentally ill as “a source of maladjusted crooks,
the lowest type of criminal offender…even the most faithful believer in
liberty would be better off without those…” In his research, Kallman
used less than scientific criteria for making a diagnosis. He included as
schizophrenic anyone who was “bull-headed”, “cold-hearted,”
“indecisive,” “asocial,”…his list went on and on.
He felt that if psychiatry was to make eugenic progress on a
population, sterilization was necessary for “the tainted children and
siblings of schizophrenics.” After the Holocaust, Kallmann testified on
behalf of psychiatrist Otmar von Verschuer, one of Rudin’s staff who had
personally selected individuals to be killed during the psychiatric killing
program. With such aid from the scientific community, von Verschuer
was fined $300, declared free from all responsibility for Nazi crimes, and
let go. Von Verschuer’s name would show up in the 1950s on the
membership list of the American Eugenics Society.
Franz Kallman was on the board of directors of the American
Eugenics Society and in 1954, the Society announced that the foundation
was in place for a program of “negative eugenics” in the United States.
32
Negative eugenics is the suppression of the reproduction of what are
considered “inferior” people. According to the March, 1954 Eugenics
Quarterly, the editors stated “there can be no arbitrary decisions as to who
should or should not have children” and that such a program, targeting
those with “inferior” genes, would make it possible to “diminish the
heavy burden of the socially inadequate and other defective hereditary
types.” Admittedly, the difficulty of such a plan was in educating the
public; the editors stating that such a broad educational program must
start “with the leaders in education.” [Eugenics Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1,
1954, The Role of the American Eugenics Society, p.1-3]
Just as Rudin had pushed to prevent the reproduction of what
he considered “inferior race types,” the American Eugenics Society, was
making a pitch in the U.S. to do the same thing.
Finally, the Society stated that the ultimate goal was to
“increase the proportion of children born with the promise of sound
character and good intelligence.” This mission statement would lead to
psychiatry’s interest in “character disorders” of children and would also
pave the way for “learning disabilities.” It would become the focus of
psychiatry to examine the character and intelligence of U.S. school
children in the years to come. The board of directors of the American
Eugenics Society included not only Franz Kallmann, but men like Paul
Popenoe who openly praised Hitler’s sterilization policy. Perhaps most
disturbing was that fact that the American Eugenics Society’s board was
also represented by Dr. Gordon Allen of the National Institute of Mental
Health.
From the 1940s until his death in 1965, NIMH funded
Kallman’s research and the American Psychiatric Association’s
American Journal of Psychiatry regularly ran an annual “progress” report
authored by Kallmann titled “Progress in Psychiatry-Heredity and
Eugenics.” Kallmann frequently cited the works of Nazi psychiatrists in
his publications as well as citing prominent eugenic publications. The
Journal even published Kallmann’s brief acknowledgment of Nazi Ernst
Rudin upon his death in the early 1950s. The eugenics movement was
under scrutiny because of what transpired in Nazi Germany. Kallmann
wrote:
“Perhaps it was a reflection of the turbulence of our times that
the death on October 22, 1952 of Professor Ernst Rudin, one of the
founders of psychiatric genetics, went practically unnoticed.” [The
American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 109, No.7, 1953, p. 491]
33
In 1961 the National Institute of Mental Health and American
Eugenics Society co-sponsored a celebration honoring Kallmann for 25
years of work at NYSPI.
In the early 1960s Kallmann worked with medical geneticist
Linda Erlenmeyer-Kimling, also at NYSPI. Erlenmeyer-Kimling was a
member of the American Eugenics Society and was interested in
determining what children were at “high risk” for becoming adult
schizophrenics, Kallmann’s “tainted children.” In May of 1964, the New
York Times reported that research conducted by Kallmann and
Erlenmeyer-Kimling showed that the birth rate of schizophrenics was
rising “at an alarming rate.” Kallmann was concerned that no one was
“doing anything about it” and felt that if not held in check, the birth rate
of schizophrenics would eventually surpass that of the general population.
It was important for Kallmann to “do something”, but first those that
needed something done with them had to be identified. The early
identification as children of potential carriers of defective genes was also
a goal of Kallmanns teacher, Ernst Rudin. This would become the goal of
Kallmann’s associate, Linda Erlenmeyer-Kimling, to discover what
children were, in her words, the “schizophrenic-to-be.”
In the late 1960s, Erlenmeyer-Kimling hypothesized that
“attentional deficits” might characterize children susceptible to
schizophrenia. She helped organize a conference with other eugenic
psychiatrists, such as Irving Gottesman, on “The Genetic Restructuring of
Human Populations.”
In 1971, along with Gottesman, also an AES member,
Erlenmeyer-Kimling published an article titlted “A Foundation for
Informed Eugenics.” They begin, “Who’s minding the quality of the
human gene pool? Hardly anybody, it seems, except for a large handful of
eugenically minded scientists, some of whom are organized under the
flag of the American Eugenics Society…” The two writers called for
people to be ranked by “an Index of Social Value” or ISV. They argued,
“the big question about an individual is not … his I.Q., income… but what
is his social value.” They argued for family size limits and insisted
“policy making should be guided by the goals of optimizing the quality of
the gene pool…via an index of social value.” All of this could be
“cautiously pursued in an enlightened society.” [ Social Biology, Vol.
18, 1971, A Foundation for Informed Eugenics, Irving I. Gottesman and
Linda Erlenmeyer-Kimling, p. S1 and S7]
34
That same year, the National Institute of Mental Health began
funding Erlenmeyer-Kimling and NYSPI to conduct the “New York
High-Risk Project” for the proposed purpose of finding a “characteristics
that typify…individuals who will later become schizophrenic.”
[Erlenmeyer-Kimling,The New York High Risk Project, from Children at
Risk for Schizophrenia, Watt, Anthony, Wynne, and Rolf 1984,
p.169]
The term eugenics was becoming dated going into the 1970s
and in 1972 the American Eugenics Society changed its name to the
Society for the Study of Social Biology and in 1976 Erlenmeyer-Kimling
became its president. Eugenicists were now “social biologists” dealing
with “social biology”…the term used by Nazi Ernst Rudin.
In 1981, the American Handbook of Psychiatry published the
first decade of findings of “high risk” research. Citing Erlenmeyer-
Kimling’s work, psychiatrist Clarice Kestenbaum, who worked with
Erlenmeyer-Kimling on the project, reported that the “preschizophrenic
child has … problems in attention that lead to school difficulties and
social problems.” “Pre-manic depressives” were said to be distractible
and manifested subtle learning disabilities. In other words, as eugenicists
had stated decades earlier, children considered to be future
“schizophrenics” were not of “sound character or good intelligence.” The
Handbook recommended “genetic counseling” for the parents of children
with attention problems and learning disabilities. [The Child at Risk for
Major Psychiatric Illness, Clarice. J. Kestenbaum, in The American
Handbook of Psychiatry, 1981, p. 166]
About the same time the American Psychiatric Association
officially recognized “Attention Deficit Disorder.” Even early on, when
ADD was called “Minimal Brain Damage,” it was seen to be a possible
precursor to schizophrenia by psychiatrist Paul Wender. Wender had
spent the 1960s working at NIMH with psychiatrist Seymour Kety and
psychologist David Rosenthal conducting adoption studies, trying to find
the types of mental illness that were common to adopted away children of
“schizophrenics.” Kety would go on to become a director of the
American Eugenics Society under it new name during the 1980s.
In the late 60s, the three NIMH scientists attended an
international conference on the “Transmission of Schizophrenia”
organized by Kety and Rosenthal. They picked the participants. One third
of those in attendance were, or would become officers or directors of the
American or British Eugenics Society. In the Forward of the proceedings
35
of the meeting, Kety and Rosenthal acknowledged Nazi Ernst Rudin.
Wender would popularize “minimal brain damage” and “hyperactivity” at
the beginning of the 1970s. He was once asked what he had learned from
his adoption studies to which he is said to have replied, “You should
breed with exquisite care, then marry whomever you choose.”
In the early 1960s, children who were “hyperactive”, talkative,
overly curious, who had a short attention span, and showed poor motor
skills such as not being able to write inside the lines on writing paper
were said to have “childhood schizophrenia.” The cause of the
schizophrenia? “Attentional deficits.”
Within the next decade, organized psychiatry would have
parents, teachers, and “support groups” searching for children with
“attention deficits.” This was precisely the goal of the American
eugenics movement. In 1976, while president of the Society for the
Study of Social Biology, Elenmeyer-Kimling stated that “it is not
unreasonable to assume that vulnerable children [ to schizophrenia ]
…could eventually be located through mass screening programs
using…identification measures originally worked out in the studies of
high-risk groups.” [Erlenmeyer-Kimling, Schizophrenia: A Bag of
Dilemmas, in Social Biology, Vol. 23, No. 2 1976, p. 133]
In 1991 the U.S. Department of Education mandated that
teachers actively seek to identify “ADD” children. The mass screening of
children with “attentional deficits” had begun.
Throughout the 90s, individuals like Erlenmeyer-Kimling and
Irving Gottesman have remained close to NIMH serving on the advisory
board of its Schizophrenia Bulletin. Erlenmeyer-Kimling also received
acknowledgement for her contribution to the section on childhood
psychiatric disorders in the American Psychiatric Association’s
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV. [p.853]
Our gene pool is still being “protected.”
Nazi-Like Solutions in the 70s
In 1972, psychiatrist T.L. Pinklington, former Vice President of
the World Federation of Mental Health from 1966-1970, advised other
doctors that the number of children being born with I.Q.s below 100 was
increasing around the world. Pinklington felt that the constant absorption
36
into the worlds gene pool of such individuals would have devastating
social and economic consequences in the future. He suggested that
“technologically advanced nations are obliged to review the complexity
of life they create” and “embark upon a modern eugenics program…or
consider some form of legalized euthanasia” to reduce the number of
below-100 I.Q. individuals. According to Pinklington, this, combined
with other methods of prevention might be “the final solution” to this
particular psychiatric problem. [Pinklington, The Concept and
Prevalence of Mental Retardation, in The Practitioner, Vol. 209, No.
1249, 1972, p. 75]
In 1975, Gordon Allen of the National Institute of Mental
Health was vice president of the Society for the Study of Social Biology,
formerly the American Eugenics Society. Allen was also on the editorial
board for the society’s publication, Social Biology. That year, Social
Biology ran a 16 page article exploring the possibility of having the state
regulate who could or could not have children by granting a license to
have children, this to allow “regulating the quantity and quality of the
human population.” Author David Heer suggested that such a plan could
be enforced by “immediately putting to death unlicensed babies.” But
some children could be given up for adoption to parents who could not
have children of their own, and, According to Heer, this would mean
“only putting to death those children who could not be given up for
adoption.” Also suggested was the placement of long-term surgically
implanted contraceptives into girls upon reaching puberty. Any children
born without a license would be the property of the state. Parents who
already had two children but wanted more would have to “prove the
genetic superiority of their existing children.” [Heer, Marketable
Licenses for Babies, Boulding’s Proposal Revisited, in Social Biology,
Vol. 22, no. 1, 1975, p. 1, 3, 4, 13]
The ideas generated by Ernst Rudin could still be seen in
modern “scientific” publications.
Abuse of Senior Citizens
After being placed in nursing homes, older people are routinely
forced into taking psychotropic medications as a way of keeping them
sedated. Eastgate comments on this and other lamentable treatments: “I
think it’s a sad indictment of society when people [who have put so many
years and so much effort) into working, some of them fighting for this
37
country, end up in a nursing home, are drugged out of their heads, electric
shocked, and have to live out their final days in such misery.” [16]
Actually , an alarming trend today is that many elderly people
are being taken out of nursing homes–and put into private mental
hospitals. But it is not their family members who are doing this. Indeed,
family members are often not consulted. The initiators of these transfers
are social workers and other employees of private psychiatric hospitals,
who, amazingly, have the legal power to transfer people to the institutions
with which they’re affiliated, based solely on these employees’ say-so. A
powerful motive exists for these forced visits to mental institutions–
Medicare money . The government will pay the many hundreds of dollars
a day that it costs for a person to stay in one of these private hospitals,
while the nursing home from which the person was snatched can continue
to collect charges for his empty bed during his absence. The situation has
grown so widespread and horrendous that it was documented on a
“20/20” TV news magazine segment recently [24].
As documented by 20/20’s hidden camera, for-profit
psychiatric institutions are not doing much to improve their inmates’
mental health. Rather, they’re mainly holding pens for people while their
insurance money is procured. An example shown of these hospitals’
modus operandi: doctors billing for psychotherapy for Alzheimer’s
patients who clearly could not participate in a psychotherapy session. But
note that not all of the senior citizens captured by these institutions have
Alzheimer’s–or any mental problem, for that matter. As shown by 20/20,
some are mentally and emotionally fine. Their only problem is that
they’re old, and seemingly easy marks for being, basically, kidnapped.
A factor in this problem is the growth of the for-profit hospital
industry, which only makes profits when its beds are filled, and which
finds the elderly to be the most easily procurable bed-fillers. Author Joe
Sharkey describes the upsurge in for-profit institution. [25]:
“The private-for-profit psychiatric hospital industry has its
roots in the mid 1960s with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid
programs. These programs created the climate in which a huge corporate
hospital industry could thrive . The rapid rise in health-care spending over
the last 30 years has paralleled the expansion of both private health
insurance coverage and federal insurance programs like Medicare and
Medicaid. Federal spending for health care via Medicare and Medicaid
programs has risen from 51 percent of the total health care spending in
1960 to more than 80 percent in 1983 . The for-profit hospital became an
38
investor-driven enterprise, and profits drove the expansion of the industry
. By 1990 , nearly half of all U. S . community hospitals were owned by a
multi-unit organization, including the large national chains. One out of
every four U. S . hospitals was owned by a national corporate chain.
The extent of the fraud perpetrated by mental hospital chains is
staggering. Explains The New York Times: “In the past, estimates have
put fraud and abuse at about 10 percent of the nation’s health care costs,
between $60 billion and $80 billion. But law enforcement officials and
fraud specialists like Edward 3. Kurtansky, New York State Deputy
Attorney General, say that accumulating evidence, particularly the new
findings at the for-profit psychiatric hospitals, indicates that because so
much abuse goes undetected or unreported that the percentage is probably
much higher. ” [26) Unfortunately, it is the elderly who are frequently the
victims in private-hospital fraud.
By the way, anyone who doubts that the for-profit hospitals
take the for-profit part of their identity very seriously should consider that
their internal handbooks set admissions goals According to a manual
obtained by the Fort Worth Star Telegram,
Psychiatric Institutes of America (which was a part of the
infamous National Medical Enterprises) set a greater than 50-percent
admission goal for people requesting free evaluations at their numerous
hospitals. The manual also states that the goal of reasonable
hospitalizations jumps to 70 percent for those facilities that didn’t
advertise, apparently because they would attract more serious cases. [27]
Prozac: Second Opinion
Prozac is one of the most heavily prescribed psychiatric drugs
in use today, but there are good reasons to challenge its popularity .
While this medication is primarily prescribed as an antidepressant, it is
itself associated with depression, and other severe side effects , such as
nervous system damage . What’ s more , its use has been implicated in
suicides and homicides. To understand why this drug was approved in the
first place and how the public became brainwashed into embracing it, we
must first investigate cover-ups during the testing phase and then look at
the powerful interest groups behind its promotion.
39
Worthless Clinical Trials
Dr. Peter Breggin, author of Talking Back to Prozac: What
Doctors Aren ‘t Telling You About Today ‘s Most Controversial Drug,
believes strongly that Prozac should never should have been approved.
He backs up his assertion with a multiplicity of reasons.
First, studies were performed by the manufacturer’s own handpicked
doctors who chose to ignore evidence of Prozac’s stimulant
properties. Patients becoming agitated were administered sedatives, such
as Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax, and Valium. This fact in itself, Breggin says,
invalidates the studies, because whatever effect the patients were
experiencing was not provided by Prozac alone. “Basically, ” Breggin
argues, “the FDA should have said, ‘We’re approving Prozac in
combination with addictive sedatives. ” [14]
Second, researchers lied about the number of people tested. Eli
Lilly, the manufacturer, claims that thousands of people received Prozac
in controlled clinical trials during its testing phase. In actuality, the
numbers were far lower, since those who failed to complete the studies
due to negative side effects were never accounted for. FDA material,
derived via the Freedom of Information Act, shows that up to 50 percent
of the test patients dropped out of the studies because of serious side
effects . In his book [28) , Dr. Breggin reports that, in the final analysis,
only 286 people were used as a basis for Prozac’s approval. Significantly,
Lilly has never challenged this information. “They’ve had me under oath
in court,” Breggin says, “and they haven’t contested a single word that
I’ve written in the book.” [14]
Third, tests purposefully excluded the kinds of patients who
would later receive Prozac–those who are suicidal, psychotic, and
afflicted with other emotional/mental disorders. Even now, Breggin
reminds us, Lilly could easily study how many people have attempted or
committed suicide since the drug’s release:
“One of the easiest things to study is whether your patients are alive or
not. It’s much easier to study that than whether they’ve gotten over their
depression. That’s a hard thing to judge. How do you know somebody’s
feeling better or not feeling better? It’s very complicated. But it’s very
easy to see if a person made a suicide attempt or if a person committed
suicide. . Lilly excluded all suicidal patients from its outpatient studies
that were used for the approval of the drug. They also excluded patients
who were psychotic, who had all kinds of problems for which the drug
nonetheless is now given. ” [14]
40
We are now reaping the consequences of irresponsible
approval. Dr. Breggin has testified as a medical expert in an ongoing
lawsuit, the case of Joseph Wesbecker, who, while taking Prozac, shot 20
people, killing eight of them and then himself. The data in that trial
indicated that Lilly knew beforehand that patients taking Prozac were
having much higher suicide attempt rates than patients taking placebos or
other drugs.
The Medical Industrial Complex
Why did Eli Lilly and the FDA use trickery to approve a drug
it knew to be ineffective and unsafe? Breggin says this happened because
psychiatry is part of the medical industrial complex, which, like any
industry, is looking to sell products:
“One way to look at this is to consider the “industrialization”
of suffering. Getting Prozac from a doctor is very similar to getting a
Ford or a Toyota from a car dealer. We are at the end point of an
industrialized process with a product. Now, psychiatrists are like
salesmen in the car showroom. We go to a psychiatrist and he’s going to
try and sell us a car, only the car in this case is a psychiatric drug, and
very frequently it’s going to be Prozac. . . The FDA is influenced by what
the manufacturers do and what the manufacturer tells them. ” [14]
Prozac is not the first pharmaceutical to be questioned after
FDA authorization. Hundreds of drugs that initially pass their tests end up
having major label changes–i.e.. , a major new warning has to be made–
or wind up being withdrawn. In the field of psychiatry, the rate is
especially high. During the time Prozac was approved, about 16 other
psychiatric drugs passed inspection, and nine of these have since had
major label changes. Breggin says that the FDA reveals the truth of the
matter to physicians, but not to the public: “A few months ago, ” he
reports, “I attended a full day’s seminar put on by the FDA where they
were openly admitting this. . . They had a black poster there that said,
‘Once a drug is approved, is it safe? No , it’s not! ‘ They were making the
point that many drugs turn out to be very dangerous after approval. ” [14]
There are a number of reasons why dangerous effects of
medications are not known early on. One is that the individual studies
performed by the FDA usually have a hundred patients or less . Four
thousand patients may be tested as 40 groups of 100. According to
41
Breggin, this means that scientists are less likely to notice a reaction in
one patient:
“They may think, Jane got depressed when she took Prozac but she was
probably going to get more depressed anyway. In 40 different studies, 40
or more people may be missed. Perhaps a fatal reaction shows up once in
5 ,000,000. That’s a lot of fatalities but it may not show up at all in a
group of 5000. Or it may be missed. Eli Lilly was developing a drug for
the treatment of a liver disorder. A couple of people died from this drug
but it was missed in the early stages of the study. So, it’s very easy for
things to get through. ” [14]
In addition, FDA doctors have close affiliations with drug
companies . Paul Leiber, who approves psychopharmacological drugs at
the FDA, is known to have friendly communication with Lilly. Breggin
states, “This guy is a friend to Prozac. One statement I found in the Lilly
material even says so. You have some real issues here having to do with
the collaborative kind of relationship. ” [14]
There are always doctors who can be easily bought. When
violence and suicide were related to Prozac at FDA-held hearings,
Breggin reports that “most of the doctors who were making the judgment
at the hearing were taking money from drug companies. ” One consultant,
who supported Prozac in court, was getting paid huge sums by Lilly to
write a paper on the subject. Another doctor who voted in favor of the
drug was paid by Lilly to tour the country and make speeches on its
safety and benefits. “Dozens of them are getting paid by Lilly and doing
clinical research for them. Nonetheless, they think they can sit fairly in
judgment about whether Prozac is harmful or not. ” [14]
Breggin stresses that it all comes back to the fact that
organized psychiatry is part of a medical industrial complex. “It is out to
push drugs, not ethics, ” he feels. “It’s not science but a myth. They’re part
of industry. They’re no more objective than doctors who work for tobacco
companies and say tobacco doesn’t cause cancer.” [14]
Side Effects of Prozac
Overstimulation
Prozac acts like a stimulant, and some of its side effects are
thus the same as those of amphetamines. Breggin explains that “the major
42
adverse effects of the amphetamines–like those of Prozac–are
exaggerations of the desired effects, specifically stimulation, including
insomnia, anxiety, and hyperactivity. . . As is now commonly done with
Prozac, amphetamines were often prescribed along with a sedative to
relieve over stimulation. ” [29].
Over stimulating the central nervous system can cause a wide
range of symptoms, including agitation, anxiety, nervousness, increased
headaches, sweating, nightmares, insomnia, weight loss, and loss of
appetite. Two common manifestations of overstimulation are akathisia
and agitation, discussed below.
Akathisia
The term akathisia refers to a need to move about. A person
feels driven to shuffle his or her feet, or to stand up and walk around. At
the same time, there is an inner sense of anxiety or irritability, “like chalk
going down a chalkboard, only it’s y6ur spine. ” [14] The feeling can be
mild or torturous.
Agitation. Prozac can produce extreme feelings of agitation,
often associated with akathisia. Studies have shown 30 to 40 percent of
people on Prozac, even when some of them are taking sedatives, get
agitated or get akathisia. Both of these conditions are associated with
violence and suicide because they are related to a breakdown of impulse
control.
Psychosis
When overstimulation becomes extreme, a patient’s
nervousness reaches psychotic proportions. People become manic and do
outlandish things. They start directing traffic naked, or spending all their
money. Extreme overstimulation can ruin lives . People can become
paranoid and extremely dangerous to others , as well as bizarrely
depressed and compulsively suicidal. This effect was noted in FDA
controlled studies that were only four to six weeks long. Out of the 286
people who finished the short-term studies, 1 percent became psychotic.
Actually, the rate may be higher than 1 percent since these were such
short, controlled studies, and the population of people studied was so
narrow. As mentioned earlier, the people chosen for the study were
carefully screened to exclude those with a history of being manic
43
depressive, schizophrenic, or suicidal. As a result, one can see that the
craziness people experienced was strongly associated with the drug.
Depression
Depression is an after-effect of overstimulation. While
researching FDA materials on Prozac, Breggin discovered that Lilly knew
Prozac caused depression and that, in fact, the company initially reported
it:
“Lilly admitted on paper, in its final statement about the drug’s
side effects, that it commonly caused patients to get depressed. Then it
got scratched out at the FDA, along with a whole bunch of other things. It
went from being ‘common, ‘ and being scratched out, to not even
appearing under ‘uncommon. ‘ It just disappeared from the label. ” [14]
In other words, the manufacturer admitted that Prozac causes
the very thing it is supposed to cure. Ultimately, this places patients in
jeopardy. Breggin explains:
” [People] start taking the drug, and in the beginning they feel
better. Maybe, after all, because it’s just good to get a drug. They feel
like, wow, I’m doing something for myself. Or maybe the drug gives
them a burst of energy. Stimulants will do that. They will make people
feel energized. Then they get more depressed.
They get suicidal feelings. They don’t know the drug hasn’t
been tested on suicidal patients. They don’t know that Eli Lilly once listed
depression as an effect of the drug . And so they end up thinking they
need more Prozac , and their doctor agrees. When that fails to work, they
end up eventually getting shock treatment, never knowing that if they
hadn’t been started on Prozac they might never have gotten so severely
depressed. ” [14]
Tardive Dystonia and Tardive Dyskinesia
There have been reports of serious nerve damage with Prozac.
Some former users charge that Prozac has essentially wrecked their
nervous systems, leaving them with permanent disabilities such as tardive
44
dystonia, a condition in which muscles tense up involuntarily, or tardive
dyskinesia, in which there is involuntary movement.
Many psychiatric drugs, such as Haldol and Thorazine, are
recognized as causing tardive dyskinesia (TD) in roughly one out of five
long-term users, and warnings are contained in the manufacturers ‘
prescribing information cautioning against this permanent brain damage
caused by the drugs . But no such warning is provided with Prozac by the
manufacturer. The Prozac package insert does note that users of the drug
have developed dystonia and dyskinesia, but it contains no suggestion
that these conditions could become permanent. Current medical
knowledge holds that the permanent damage of TD is not expected to
develop until the person has been on the psychiatric drug for a year or
more, hence the name “tardive” (meaning “late developing”). With
Prozac, however, the condition can develop rapidly and without warning.
Tardive dystonia and dyskinesia are conditions that should not
be taken lightly, because they can stigmatize a person for life. The
movements and postures associated with these conditions can look
bizarre, and may make a person seem quite mentally ill when in fact his
or her movements are side effects of medications intended to alleviate
mental illness. These symptoms can persist long after the person has
come off the drug, and in some cases they never remit at all because parts
of the brain that control muscle function have been destroyed by the drug.
Sexual Dysfunction
Prozac affects serotonin levels and may therefore cause sexual
dysfunction. Men may find themselves unable to ejaculate or get an
erection, and women may have difficulty obtaining an orgasm. One study
showed this problem to occur in half the people using the medication.
Breggin says the percentage may be even higher, noting that many people
taking Prozac won’t complain about sexual dysfunction because this drug
tends to make them less interested in other people. In fact, Breggin terms
Prozac an anti-empathy drug” for this reason. Even those in psychiatry
who praise the drug, Breggin points out, admit that it reduces sensitivity.
“That, of course, can reduce sexual interest, and diminish whether you
care about having a sexual problem. ” [14)
“Again, when Lilly studied this matter for the FDA, ” reports Breggin,
“they found only a small number of people were having sexual
dysfunctions . Then after the drug was approved, they found out that they
45
were wrong and that a very large percentage of people were having this
particular problem. ” [14)
Skin Rashes
Several kinds of rashes are associated with Prozac use. At the most
serious extreme, rashes that appear reflect serious immunological
disorders, such as lupus erythematosus or serum sickness, which is
accompanied by fever, chills, and an abnormal white blood cell count. A
few deaths have been associated with Prozac-induced skin rashes.
Cancer
Animal studies show that Prozac, as well as a number of other
antidepressants, enhance tumor growth.
The Chemical Imbalance
Are “chemical imbalances” real? Psychiatrist David Kaiser
commented on psychiatry’s promotion of such imbalances to the public in
the December, 1996 Psychiatric Times. “Unfortunately what I also see
these days are the casualties of this new biologic psychiatry, as patients
often come to me with many years of past treatment. Patients having been
diagnosed with “chemical imbalances” despite the fact that no test exists
to support such a claim, and that there is no real conception of what a
correct chemical balance would look like.” Additionally, Kaiser points
out that “modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the
genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness. This does not stop
psychiatry from making essentially unproven claims that depression,
bipolar illness, anxiety disorders, alcoholism, and a host of other
disorders are in fact primarily biologic and probably genetic in origin, and
that it is only a matter of time until all this is proven.”
Kaiser is not alone in his opinion. Psychiatrist Loren Mosher
resigned from the APA after 35 years of membership stating that “what
we are dealing with here is fashion, politics, and money. This level of
intellectual/scientific dishonesty is just too egregious for me to continue
to support by my membership.” [David Kaiser, Against Biologic
46
Psychiatry, in Psychiatric Times, Vol. 13, Issue 12, 1996, internet article
text does not include page numbers]
The “Chemical Imbalance” is Born
In 1963, a time in U.S. psychopharmacological infancy, LIFE
magazine introduced the broad public to the concept of brain chemical
imbalances. Psychiatrists had been experimenting with drugs, particularly
LSD, and astounding themselves at the wide variety of behaviors,
emotions, and personality changes they could induce in someone with
only a tiny spec of the drug. A hypothesis was born out this. If such wide
variations in behavior could be made with such a small amount of a drug,
which no doubt affected the brain, then any variations from “normal”
behavior must be due to extremely fine changes in brain chemistry. The
idea that some other external cause of behavioral disturbance could exist
seemed to be discarded. Brain chemistry simply needed to be “balanced.”
Psychologists such as B.F. Skinner said that scientists could and should
control human behavior and predicted that in the future an individuals
mood, emotions, and motivation would be maintained at any desired level
through the use of drugs.
In 1967, psychiatrist Nathan Klien, an MK-Ultra participant,
made a chilling prediction which showed just how much psychiatry
wanted to use drugs for behavior control, not for “treating mental illness.”
Klien had been studying the effects of psychiatric drugs on “normal
humans” and reported that “…the present breadth of drug use may be
almost trivial when we compare it to the possible numbers of chemical
substances that will be available for the control of selective aspects of
man’s life by the year 2000…if we accept the position that human mood,
motivation, and emotion are reflections of a neurochemical state of the
brain, then drugs can provide a simple, rapid, expedient means to produce
any desired neurochemical state we wish. The sooner that we cease to
confuse scientific and moral statements about drug use, the sooner we can
consider the types of neurochemical states that we wish to provide for
people.” [EIR, British Psychiatry: From Eugenics to Assassination,
Anton Chaitkin, October 7, 1994, p.39]
Psychiatrists had decided they would provide the public with
the types of chemical personality they saw fit. What would follow in the
years to come would be the medicalization of any behavior psychiatry
deemed “inappropriate.”
As David Kaiser had noted, psychiatrists cannot measure levels
of neurotransmitters in the brain in the way doctors can measure sugar
47
levels in a diabetic patient. The question must be asked then, how can you
balance or adjust something which cannot be measured? More
importantly, does an actual chemical imbalance exist? Parents are told
routinely that children given an ADD diagnosis have a chemical
imbalance and that amphetaminelike drugs will balance the child’s brain
chemistry.
Thomas J. Moore, Senior Fellow in Health Policy at George
Washington University Medical Center writes that while some “claim
hyperactivity in children is a ‘biochemical imbalance’…researchers
cannot identify which chemicals…or find abnormal levels” in children.
“The chemical imbalance theory has not been established by scientific
evidence.” [Thomas J. Moore, Prescription for Disaster, 1998, p.22]
It has been pointed out by psychiatrists themselves that the
downfall of psychiatric diagnosis is that psychiatrists never look beyond
symptoms. If a child is “hyperactive” – a symptom – the psychiatrists say,
“He has hyperactivity!” Psychiatrist Sidney Walker says this is like
telling your doctor you have a bad cough – a symptom – and getting a
“diagnosis” of “coughing disorder”, without finding out if the cough is
caused from a cold, lung cancer, or tuberculosis. [Sidney Walker, The
Hyperactivity Hoax, 1998 p. 6]
Psychiatrists never look beyond “symptoms”, they merely
classify symptoms as the “disease.” Dr. Mary Ann Block says she hates
to see children given labels of “hyperactivity” or “attention deficit
disorder.” In fact, she refuses to use such labels. She says, “How sad it is
to see children drugged while their underlying health problems go
untreated.” [Mary Ann Block, No More Ritalin, Treating ADHD Without
Drugs, 1996 p.49]
“Theory Begging”
In psychology and psychiatry there is a phenomenon called
‘theory begging’ which can explain the notion of ‘chemical imbalances.’
Theory begging is the reporting of a scientific theory as ‘fact’ so often
that it becomes accepted as fact within the profession despite having
never been proven. For example, it is taken for granted by psychiatry that
patients said to have ‘mental illness’ have a ‘chemical imbalance’ in their
brain. The ‘chemical imbalance’ is taken for granted, not actually found
and verified by medical test. As Nathan Klien had said, psychiatry had
48
“accepted the position” of chemical imbalances, a position that has yet to
be verified.
While the rest of medicine has made great advances in
diagnostic techniques, psychiatry has lagged behind. In 1994
psychiatrists Richard Keefe and Philip Harvey explained the current
process of psychiatric diagnosis:
“The process of diagnosis is very different in psychiatry. Since
there are no clear indications of a specific biological abnormality that
causes any of the psychiatric disorders, no laboratory tests have been
developed to confirm or refute any psychiatric diagnosis.” [Richark Keefe
and Philip Harvey, Understanding Schizophrenia, 1994 p.19]
In fact, they state that psychiatrists must rely only on what they
observe and what they are told from friends or relatives to make a
psychiatric diagnosis. Could a cardiologist accurately and safely treat
patients using this type of diagnostic protocol?
Psychiatrist Mark Gold says that “up to 40% of all diagnoses of
depression are misdiagnoses of common and uncommon physical
illness…There are as least 75 diseases that first appear with emotional
symptoms. People with these diseases often get locked up in psychiatric
hospitals.” [Mark Gold, The Good News About Depression, 1986, p.XV]
Gold admits that psychiatrists do not rule out other
medical problems, rather, they rule in their diagnosis, failing to diagnose
the nearly one hundred medical illnesses which contain ‘depression’ as a
symptom of that disease process.
In a Florida study, 100 consecutively admitted patients to a
psychiatric hospital who had been given a psychiatric diagnosis were
given a complete medical examination. Doctors concluded that nearly
half of the patients’ psychiatric problems were secondary manifestations
of an undiagnosed medical problem. According to Gold, nearly all of
these patients would have ended up warehoused in state run mental
health facilities, which costs the patients their health with tax dollars
paying for the negligence. Some patients die confined in mental hospitals
as there real illness, cancer for example, goes untreated.
In the Florida study, psychiatrists missed diagnosing physical
illness in 80% of the cases. Gold said he was “embarrassed” at how bad
psychiatrists were at “doctoring” and that one third of psychiatrists admit
49
feeling incompetent to give a patient a complete physical examination.
[Mark Gold, The Good News About Depression, 1986, p.22-24]
Dr. Sydney Walker III, a neurologist, psychiatrist and author of
A Dose of Sanity, says that psychiatric labels have “led to the unnecessary
drugging of millions of Americans who could be diagnosed, treated, and
cured without the use of toxic and potentially lethal medications.”
Charles B. Inlander, president of The People’s Medical Society, and his
colleagues write in Medicine on Trial, “People with real or alleged
psychiatric or behavioral disorders are being misdiagnosed – and harmed –
to an astonishing degree…Many of them do not have psychiatric problems
but exhibit physical symptoms that may mimic mental conditions, and so
they are misdiagnosed, put on drugs, put in institutions, and sent into a
limbo from which they may never return….” [CCHR publication,
Psychiatry: Committing Fraud, 1999, p.14]
Dr. Walker refers to a case from Frederick Goggan’s book,
Medical Mimics of Psychiatric Disorders, in which a 27-year-old
executive was hospitalized after attempting to kill herself by overdosing
on the antidepressants prescribed by her psychiatrist. The attempted
suicide followed a year of psychotherapy that had failed to relieve her
fatigue, cognitive problems, and despondency. This time, however,
doctors did a thorough physical exam and found what the psychiatrist
didn’t even look for. She had hypothyroidism which can manifest with
“listlessness, sadness, and hopelessness.” She was given thyroid
supplements and has since been free of all “psychiatric symptoms” and
has “thrived both personally and professionally.”
In another case reported by Dr. Walker, John, a happy and successful
family man, began suffering from inexplicable sadness and exhaustion.
Unable to concentrate at work, he cut down his overtime, slept in late on
weekends, and lost control of his emotions, inexplicably subjected to fits
of uncontrollable weeping. He saw three doctors, two of them
psychiatrists, who saddled him with a variety of DSM labels and treated
him with 26 different drugs. A fourth doctor conducted a thorough
medical diagnostic and physical evaluation and found that John was
suffering from a slow-growing tumor of the brain lining. John’s tumor
was removed, and his sadness and fatigue rapidly cleared. [CCHR
publication, Psychiatry: Committing Fraud, 1999, p.15]
Biochemical Imbalance
50
If you don’t have a biochemical imbalance before starting
Prozac, you certainly will have one once you are on it! Prozac has been
shown to have drastic effects on the brain’s serotonergic system.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that normally
connects to receptor sites and fires nerves. Prozac prevents serotonin
from being removed from the active place where it’s working in the brain.
It keeps the sparks alive longer, and as a result, a lot of excess firing takes
place. The brain doesn’t like all the overstimulation and eliminates 30-40
percent or more of receptors. The brain, in effect, is saying, I’m not going
to have receptors for all this serotonin. It’s a compensatory mechanism for
the overstimulation. Receptors can be compared to catcher’s mitts. The
balls being thrown are like serotonin. After awhile the brain just
eliminates its catcher’s mitts. It says, I’m catching too much serotonin. I’m
going to get rid of my catcher’s mitts.
Eli Lilly knew about the disappearance of receptors from their
laboratory experiments. What they failed to study, however, was whether
or not receptors ever come back. The experiment, which would have been
simple to perform, could have consisted of stopping the drug, waiting a
couple of weeks, sacrificing some of the animals , and then seeing if their
brains had come back to normal . The information could also have been
indirectly gleaned from performing spinal taps on human beings before
and after they had taken Prozac, to see if the breakdown products
indicated that the brain returns to normal . Neither of these approaches
were ever attempted. Obviously, Lilly is not concerned with this issue.
Dependence
Since Prozac’s release, millions of Americans have come to
depend on it and to believe that their lives are better because of it.
Concerning this reality, Breggin says:
“First of all, I don’t think Prozac should have been approved. But now
that it’s out there it shouldn’t be taken away from anybody who thinks that
it’s helping them. People should be warned, however, about its dangerous
effects. If, for example, Joseph Wesbecker committed a mass murder
while on Prozac, then we’re weighing the potential good of the drug
against some real disasters.
“The other issue to look at is why people like to take drugs. The fact that
so many people feel helped by this drug doesn’t necessarily mean you or I
would feel helped.
51
“Evidence from the FDA trials suggests that this is a very poor drug.
Even a New York Times article recently said that follow-up studies show
Prozac as not very effective.
“But when you give something to people and tell them it’s a
miracle, they’ll believe it. . . Also, the drug does have stimulant effects.
And while we no longer believe that stimulants should be given for
depression, certainly people can feel like it’s helping them. ” [14)
Overcoming Depression Without Drugs
At the core of the problem are psychiatric theories that limit
the range of acceptable human behavior.
Psychiatrists consider that any behavior that limits an
individual’s survival as a biologic organism, any behavior that is not
centered on a bell curve, is going against evolution and is in some way
destructive, even if only to the individual. Consider New York State
Psychiatric Institute’s Donald Klien’s explanation of how psychiatry
should determine whether or not someone is “ill.”
“…there is a strong presumption that something has gone wrong
if something is sufficiently unusual…If we do not equate infrequency with
dysfunction, we need another basis to infer abnormality: deviation from a
specific standard…Can we arrive at a standard that is not simply an
expression of personal preference, but is given to us by the biology of the
situation? I propose that evolutionary theory allows us to infer such a
standard — suboptimal functioning — and further helps us to specify the
optimum. This often allows us to state that something is biologically
wrong, not simply unusual or objectionable.”
In other words, if a particular behavior does not meet the
“optimum” as set by the psychiatrist, a person can be “considered” ill.
This is illness by declaration, not diagnosis.
So emotional upsets are considered diseases. When a child is
anxious or can’t concentrate in school, it is called a disease. If someone is
sad or depressed, it’s called a disease. Breggin says that counter to current
dogma, there are real reasons for emotional pain, and ways of becoming
healthy that do not involve drugs:
52
“I think that depression comes from many different sources. I
think anybody who is depressed should have a medical evaluation. There
are tests for whether your blood sugar is flinctioning normally, whether
you have diabetes, whether you have hypothyroid disease, whether you
have Cushing’s disease, whether your nutrition is poor, and whether you
need to improve your nutrition. So general health matters.
“While there are some diseases, on occasion, that can make a person
anxious, afraid, or depressed, it’s far, far more likely that the sources of
human suffering at any given moment come from something other than a
psychiatric disease. . . Most people become depressed because of their
life experiences. Life is very difficult. Life is full of tragedy. From
childhood on, people are exposed to a great many stresses. Women, in
particular, become depressed more often than men and have good reason.
It’s harder for them to get many of their desires fulfilled. It’s often harder
for them to make a relationship feel satisfying. It’s harder for them to
have the same achievements in the career arena. Almost anyone I talk
with about being depressed has a reason somewhere along the line for
why their view of life is filled with hopelessness.
Breggin feels that coming out of a depression involves
understanding what has gone into your life that has led up to your being
depressed and what ideas you have about life that aren’t helping you to
live better, as well as learning new principles that are more positive and
creative. “What I try to provide, ” he says, “and what I think every good
therapist tries to provide, is a warm, supportive, encouraging relationship
to help a person rebuild hope and confidence in themselves, to rebuild an
idea about how to live life.”
Breggin believes that a holistic approach to treating depression allows a
patient the opportunity to look at his or her life, and to choose to live in a
new and far better way. Depression, in that light, is viewed as a signal
that something is wrong, something is not understood, or some values are
not being fulfilled. While drugs can jerk people out of their depression,
they fail to help them deal with life. Unfortunately, Breggin says, drugs
are out there and millions are taking them. “Now, they are a basic part of
American life and it is really a matter of following the dollars back to the
drug companies and to organized psychiatry. ” [14)
Psychiatry’s Influence on Education
53
It began with Edward Lee Thorndike, who implemented
experimental psychology into the American educational system in the
early 1900s, a move which came to influence the rest of the world. To
Thorndike, a committed “animal psychologist,” teaching was “the art of
giving and withholding stimuli with the result of producing or preventing
certain responses…. Education is interested primarily… in all the changes
which make possible a better adjustment of human nature to its
surroundings.”
Essentially, Thorndike proposed that schools transform themselves from
places of learning to places of “therapy.”
In 1927 psychiatrist William Alanson White agreed, saying
“Education has been… too much confined to teaching. It needs to be
developed as a scheme for assisting and guiding the developing
personality.”
The training manual of the U.S. National Training Laboratory
(NTL) which re-educated teachers, shows that the agenda was chillingly
put into place: “Although they [children] appear to behave appropriately
and seem normal by most cultural standards, they may actually be in need
of mental health care in order to help them change, adapt, and conform to
the planned society in which there will be no conflict of attitudes or
beliefs.”
This attitude persisted throughout the century, but might never
have gathered the strength it did were it not for government sponsorship
and involvement in the psychiatric education movement in the early
1960s.
In 1961, psychologist Carl Rogers decided that academic
evaluation would “damage” a child’s “self-esteem.” The result was the
virtual elimination of traditional subject matter such as math and
literature in favor of the “exploration of feelings,” with teachers as
“facilitators.”
Author Joe Sharkey summed up the sequence of events: “By
the 1950s, ‘child psychology’ was a familiar term, conveying the now
firmly established idea that psychoanalytic intervention, usually in a
school or child guidance clinic staffed by psychologists, was a way to
protect the well-being of children…. By the late sixties, federal health
planners were seriously considering proposals to require that all children
be given a baseline psychological screening at age two or three as a way
to predict future problems.” Since the inception of non-directive therapy
into our classrooms, “Rogerian education” has hidden under many
54
different names: Values Clarification, Encounter Groups, Self-Esteem
Training, Mastery Learning. And now, after all of its old names have
fallen into disrepute, Rogers’ unworkable educational technique has today
emerged under a new banner: Outcome-Based Education, or “OBE.”
OBE requires its students to attain preordained “outcomes”
before they are allowed to graduate. These outcomes do not provide skills
or knowledge, but train children in behavior, attitudes and feelings. In
effect, what the schools are telling students is, “If you don’t think the way
we want you to, you cannot get a diploma.”
The result of Rogerian education was a total collapse of our school
system, and even Rogers knew it. Toward the end of his life, he came to
call it a “pattern of failure.” His colleague, psychologist William Coulson,
did likewise, describing OBE as “the idea where we drop subject matter
and we drop Carnegie Units [grading from A to F] and we just let
students find their way, keeping them in school until they manifest the
politically correct attitudes.”
By then, however, it was too late. A whole movement had
grown up around Rogers and Coulson, one which they could no longer
control. And today, as psychiatric influence continues to grow in our
schools, we have children who cannot read or apply simple math to
everyday problems.
By the mid 1980s, 13 percent of American 17-year-olds were
functionally illiterate, i.e., cannot read above the fourth grade level.
Between 25 and 44 million American adults cannot read the poison
warnings on a can of pesticide, a letter from a child’s teacher, or the front
page of the daily newspaper.
As of 1993, it was conservatively estimated that there were
almost 100,000 people with literacy difficulties in New Zealand. A
survey carried out on Australians in 1989 showed that some 32 percent
“had problems completing job histories or reading commercial medicine
labels.”
Meanwhile, in Britain, more than 2 million people are said to
be completely illiterate. And according to a United Nations report,
between 500,000 and 800,000 Germans were totally illiterate in 1989.
[CCHR, Psychiatry: Destroying Morals, 1995, p. 8-11]
55
The Management of Child Behavior Through Medication
A growing number of children are being referred by their
schools to doctors for the treatment of behavioral and learning disorders
attributed to brain dysfunction. Millions of students are now sent to
special education classes or given prescriptions for Ritalin and other
powerful, addictive medications for conditions termed learning
disabilities, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),
and attention deficit disorder (ADD). Fred Bauman, M.D. , a specialist in
child neurology for 35 years, contends that these children are said to have
conditions that do not really exist:
“I diagnose these children the same way that I diagnose real
diseases, such as epilepsy, brain tumors, and so on, and I find that they
are normal. I do not find that I can validate the presence of any disease in
this population of children.
“Nonetheless, the diagnosing and labeling continues, and schools, not
liking my verdict, have access to plenty of physicians that will validate
their diagnoses and give them the prescription they want, which is a
medication or a referral to special education. That’s what is going on.
After all these years, neither dyslexia nor ADHD are diseases that can be
validated in the true sense of the word, and that’s the bottom line. ” [30)
Dr. Bauman’s statement is confirmed by current educational research. In
a study in the Harvard Educational Review, the accuracy of labels
ascribed to young children was questioned, and it was determined that
“more than 80 percent of the student population could be classified as
learning disabled by one or more of the definitions presently jinn use. ”
Furthermore, “based upon the records of those already certified as
learning disabled and those not, experienced evaluators could not tell the
difference. ” [31)
Psychiatrist and board certified neurologist Sidney Walker:
“These children are labeled hyperactive by family
practitioners, neurologists, and psychiatrists. Some of them are initially
‘diagnosed’ by teachers, school counselors, or nurses. There’s only one
problem with this scenario: Hyperactivity is not a disease. It’s a hoax
perpetrated by doctors who have no idea what’s really wrong with these
children.” [Sidney Walker, III, The Hyperactivity Hoax, 1998 p.5]
Walker says that the real underlying medical problems facing
many children labeled “ADD” go undiagnosed and untreated. He has
56
found a disturbing link between adult cocaine addiction and early use of
the amphetamine-like drug Ritalin. In a survey of adult cocaine users, he
found that most of them had an untreated physical complaint that existed
since childhood. About two thirds of those individuals had been given
Ritalin as children. While Walker admits that one survey does not
necessarily prove a link between undiagnosed medical problems, Ritalin
use, and subsequent drug use, it does raise questions which should be
explored.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has looked at this
issue as well. A 1995 DEA report cited a study which showed an increase
in adult cocaine use in individuals exposed to Ritalin as children when
compared to children given the same psychiatric diagnosis but not treated
with Ritalin.
Why are schools misdiagnosing and mislabeling
children? The problem is rooted in the failure of the school system to
acknowledge that it is not particularly good at teaching children who
stand out from average learners. Rather, the system blames students for
not fitting in. Such children may rate poorly on culturally biased
standardized tests, enter school less experienced at reading and writing
than their classmates, be resistant to socialization practices, or even be
more intelligent than their peers.
In Learning Denied, Denny Taylor, a distinguished educator
and award-winning Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Urban and
Minority Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, tells how
the educational system repeatedly misdiagnosed a bright, articulate,
literate first grader named Patrick, and recommended that he be placed in
special education and under medical management.
Taylor writes that problems are bureaucratic, not childcentered:
” . . . Recent research presented in the social science literature
indicates that there are many children like Patrick who have been (and
continue to be) handicapped by our educational system. Patrick’s case is
not atypical. Relying on testing to find out what is ‘wrong’ with the child,
blaming the child when he or she does not learn in the ways expected in
our public institutions, and searching for the glitch in the child’s
neurological makeup so that the school (system) can be exonerated if and
when the child ‘fails’ are ~all typical of the ways in which we ‘educate’
children. ” [32)
She then quotes educational researcher Sapon-Shevin, who explains that
“Viewing children as deficient leads special education to direct its efforts
57
toward forcing the child to change in order to fit in or be accepted. This
approach legitimizes behavioral and medical management techniques
which attempt to ‘fix’ the child.” [33)
An increasingly used tool for “fixing” children is drug therapy,
promoted by child psychiatrists and neurologists who infiltrate schools in
order to make a profit. Bauman points out that “there is a great deal of
money involved here and there are powerful industries connected with
this. Since the early 70s, we’ve had a tremendous overproduction of
physicians of all sorts in this country, specifically specialists .
Unfortunately , most specialties have to invent things to do , to pay the
bills, as it were. Child psychiatry, in particular, has had a game plan to
connect with the public schools of the country. They give their
consultative services free. For-profit and not-for-profit child psychiatric
hospitals offer free evaluations to the schools and give in-service
conferences where they convey these disease theories to educators. . . .
So, there is a real quid pro quo arrangement going on between public
education and academic medicine. . . . ” [30)
He goes on to assert that unnecessary medication will end only when
doctors are held accountable for their actions: “Before a physician can
administer a certain therapy to your child, there has to be an informed
consent in writing. According to Maitonson vs. Klein (1960), a physician
administering treatment without informed consent of the patient is guilty
of malpractice, no matter how skillfully the treatment may be
administered. If a physician wants to put your child on an addictive
medication to treat ADHD, and say that it is a proven disease or a
biochemical imbalance in the brain, that is a misrepresentation because
there is no validation of ADHD as a disease. ” [30)
Student Psychological Records
n 1989, Carolyn Steinke founded the group Parents Involved in
Education after she learned of another serious problem in our schools–the
intrusion into the personal lives of children and their families . She
formed the California-based organization after discovering that the
emphasis of educational curriculums had radically shifted from what
children should know when they graduate to what they should be and
demons~ate. An integral part of this new emphasis, Steinke says, is the
administration, by teachers, of psychological tests to children. This, she
learned, was an invasion of Federal Code 98.4, the Hatch Amendment,
which says that no student shall be required, as part of any test or
58
curriculum, to reveal information concerning mental or psychological
problems that can be potentially embarrassing to the student or his family,
as well as other personal and family information, such as political
affiliations. Steinke’s group is attempting to make parents aware of what
may or may not legally transpire in a classroom.
She tells the story of one emotionally fragile sixth grade boy, who was
asked to write about personal trauma in his life:
“This child came from an emotional background that was very sad. His
mother was very unstable emotionally and had even gone so far as to put
a gun to the father’s head in front of the children, and threaten to kill him.
In a court of law, she lost custody. This little boy now is living with his
daddy, a new mama, and a new baby.
“Here he is in the sixth grade and he’s taking a stress test called the Kid’s
Stress Test. The mom and dad were never told that their child was taking
this test. The only reason we got our hands on it was because he took it
home.
“The test starts out by saying, life can be hard when you’re a child
growing up. Grown-ups think that kids have it easy. They say that all we
have to do is go to school and play and that they can take care of us so we
really have nothing to worry about. Well, grown-ups aren’t so smart after
all. They don’t know everything . Kids have plenty of things to worry
about and here are some stories. . . . Some kids get beat. Some are
screamed and yelled at. Some come from divorced homes.
“He was supposed to write down which stories he identified with and
then answer a list of questions which directly related to the home: Do you
have too much responsibility? Not enough responsibility? Do you live in
a crowded home? Are conditions at home physically not good? Are they
dirty or messy or are you poor? Do you not have enough to eat? Is
someone at home on drugs or alcohol? Are your parents separated or
divorced? Does a person physically pick on you at home? I never have
enough time to study for tests; I have too many chores and
responsibilities; I don’t have enough money; on and on and on….
“At the end of the test, the child was to total up his score based on how
much stress he had. Then he was asked: Are you surprised at your stress
level? Is it good or bad? Is there anything you can do to help yourself?
Do you think your relative is suffering from stress? If yes , what can you
do to help them? ” [34)
59
Steinke is concerned about the possible effects of these tests on troubled
children. For instance, the sixth-grade boy who had endured so much
trauma at home did not need that all brought back as a result of a written
test. As Steinke puts it, “If children really have emotional problems and
you open them up to hemorrhaging , who is going to be there to close
them?”
She also asks, “What are they doing with the answers to these
questions?” Parents Involved in Education has learned that the
information obtained by the federal government is being stored, and that
it can potentially be used against children at some later date:
“Electronic portfolios store the information for each child. We find states
all over the nation that are adopting legislation to put into there what they
call the speedy express, ‘ that is, an electronic transcript. It is the
exchange of permanent records electronically for students in schools from
the National Center on Education Statistics. . We see what kind of
information they are keeping on our children, and it is absolutely privacyinvading.
” [34)
Steinke reports that on the federal level, the Department of Labor’s
Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills has made an
alliance with the Department of Education. Together, they’ve developed a
“learning for living blueprint on performance. ” This hook-up between
the Departments of Labor and Education is called Workiink, and it
functions as a school-to-work records system. Worklink is promoted to
employers as having information they need to know in order to make
sound hiring decisions.
Steinke tells how Workiink is promoted as a tool for businesses:
“Employers are told, the more information you have about an applicant’s
real skills, the better your hiring decisions and the less your employee
turnover work will be. Teachers’ confidential ratings are supplied of
students’ work-related behaviors, attitudinal evaluations , and
psychological evaluations Workiink has all this information on an
electronic database. An employer can search for a list of names that
match their needs.” [34)
Parents Involved in Education expresses grave concern about this entire
process of obtaining, storing, and using information about children.
Steinke explains how a teacher’s ratings might “blacklist” a child much
later in life. “Their honesty , their integrity , and what they get out of the
classroom, can be used against the child all of their life. If they get a 6 out
of a low on honesty, do you think they’ll ever get hired? ” [34)
60
Who is Mentally Ill?
Is our culture too bent on finding a mental “condition” to explain away
whatever is wrong in people’s lives, or whatever doesn’t meet the norm?
As we’ve seen, underlying some of the questionable practices in
psychiatry today is the issue of who is really mentally ill. At this juncture
it’s important to ask ourselves whether we are over-medicalizing our
lives.
For instance, is a child who is uncontrollable in school really suffering
from a disorder (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), or is he simply
in need of a different type of learning environment? The answer may
determine whether he is put on a powerful drug for many years . Should a
depressed senior citizen be considered a patient with a disease, or simply
someone responding to the changing circumstances of her life? The
answer may determine whether she will become subject to repeated
electric shocks to the brain. Clearly, the question of whether we’re too
disease- or condition-oriented is more than an academic one for many
people.
Dr. Thomas Szasz, distinguished author and professor of psychiatry
emeritus, is one psychiatrist who has never believed in the mentalcondition-
oriented
mindset [35) “Ever since I first reflected on matters such as madness and
madhouses and especially the incarceration of insane persons in insane
asylums–long before I went to college, much less medical school–it has
seemed to me that the entire edifice of psychiatry rests on two false
premises, namely: that persons called ‘mental patients’ have something
others do not have–mental illness; and that they lack something others do
have–free will and responsibility. In short, psychiatry is a house of cards,
held up by nothing more, or less, than mass belief in the truth of its
principles and the goodness of its practices. If this is so, then psychiatry is
a religion, not a science, a system of social controls, not a system of
treating illness.”
One of Szasz’s themes has always been that people’s behavior should be
viewed first and foremost as a reaction to circumstances, rather than as
manifestations of disorders. If we’re too mechanistic in our view of
behavior, then “joy and sadness, fear and elation, anger, greed–all human
aspirations and passions–are thus interpreted as the manifestations of
61
unintentional, amoral, biochemical processes. In such a world, nothing is
willed; everything happens.
Yet, this mechanistic, disease-oriented mindset is predominant, and
increasing. As the Citizens Commission on Human Rights puts it, [37)
“Psychiatry has consistently invented more and more mental illnesses
during the last decades, and the pharmaceutical companies have then
invented the chemical ‘cures.’ Worse, the effects of these drugs create yet
more categories of mental illness. It is a circle that profits everyone but
the patients.”
An article in the Journal of Mind and Behavior [38) elaborates:
“The first DSM, published in 1952, listed 60 types and
subtypes of mental illness. Sixteen years later, DSM II more than doubled
the number of disorders. The number of disorders grew to more than 200
with DSM III in 1980. The current guide, DSM III-R (1987) includes
tobacco dependence, developmental disorders and sexual dysfunction,
school learning problems, and adolescent rebellion disorders. DSM IV
9in preparation) will add more disorders. Clearly the more of the ordinary
human problems in living that are labeled ‘mental illnesses , ‘ the more
people will be found who suffer from at least one of them–and a cynic
might add, the more conditions that therapists can treat and for which
they can collect health-insurance payments.”
Patients Speak Out
The best way to learn about psychiatry’s darker side is from the firsthand
accounts of patients. The individuals who tell their stories here are not
exceptional cases . In fact, their tales of what happened to them behind
the locked doors of mental health facilities are representative of many,
many others. Nor are these people necessarily mentally ill. These are in
many senses average Americans who have the same questions, concerns,
and problems as anyone else, but who mistakenly placed their faith in
psychiatry . These people tell us that what happened to them could
happen to anybody . What they share is a knowledge that our mental
health industry is very sick and needs immediate reform. Let’s hear their
side of the story.
Angele Painter “They treated me like a criminal.”
62
At 63 , Angele Painter was forcibly taken from her home without any
provocation, handcuffed, and dragged to a psychiatric facility where she
was strip searched, forcibly drugged, and made to stay against her will.
This all as a result of her having called a city agency about environmental
pollutants in her home that were making her sick. It should be noted that
Aligele is of Armenian origin and has a noticeable accent (but does speak
English fairly well and understands it, since her husband is American).
Her accent, combined with her frustration at having been given the
runaround by various governmental offices, may have led to a
misunderstanding over the phone. Be that as it may, there is no excuse for
the way she was treated. This is an abbreviated account of her almost
surrealistic nightmare:
“The house we bought over four years ago had mechanical problems. It
had chemical contamination and I became sick. I had a bitter sensation
and a headache, and I suffered. I called our lawyer and he suggested I call
the health department.
“I did, and two or three people came. One of them suggested [a particular
home remodeling plan) since the furnace was in the laundry room and
that’s why the odor was traveling. It would cost a lot of money and we
couldn’t afford to do that. It was a very bad situation.
“Since we couldn’t afford it, I called social services because I thought
they might have a senior citizen’s program. I called and explained. They
might have misunderstood me because the next thing that happened was
that the police and the Kimball Hospital aides and nurses came. They
were holding flashlights and hollering. They wanted to come in and they
scared me. They forced themselves in. Then they started blaming
me for calling them and complaining. They accused me and said there
was nothing wrong with the furnace, that I was just making up the story.
They treated me like a criminal. They didn’t let me call my husband. I
was scared and shocked. I said, ‘I can’t believe this, treating me like a
criminal. I haven’t done anything. ‘
“They said, ‘We have to take you to the hospital’ and I said ‘What for?
We can sit and talk. ‘ ‘No, ‘ they said, ‘if you don’t come, we’ll cuff your
hands. ‘ I was more scared. Then they called another policeman. They
cuffed my hands and dragged me out. The nurses were so angry at me.
They were scary looking people. They humiliated me in front of the
neighbors. I mentioned to the nurses that I had back problems and was
taking medication. They didn’t care. One of the nurses said to the police
63
that I might have a gun and shoot. They started checking me and I got
upset. They shoved me in the back of the police car.
“They took me to Kimball Hospital. It was awful, scary. A nurse’s aide
came and asked me questions and wrote things down. Then they wanted
to give me medication. I refused. Four big men came and held my hands
as they gave me a shot of medication against my will.
“Later, a psychiatrist came and I said to him, ‘This is wrong what they
are doing. Thank God, I’m of sound mind, I’m intelligent. This is unfair
and unjust.’ He just smiled and said, ‘Mrs. Painter, you must have
problems. We’ll take you away.
“They put me on a gurney and then into an ambulance and took me to
Hampton Hospital. I was cold and I couldn’t believe what was happening.
Then a gentleman came towards morning. He said, ‘Mrs. Painter, I have
your statement here. It says that you have told them that you want to
commit suicide. ‘ I said, ‘This is absolutely wrong. I have never thought
about it. I have never said anything. Whatever I have said, they have
written the wrong thing.’
“When I explained the situation, he told me I could get a lawyer. I
begged the doctor to let me go but he said to me, ‘Once you are here, you
are under our observation. ‘ I suffered a lot.
“Finally [through my husband’s intercession) I got out. But it was a
terrible experience. During my stay there, I met other people that had
come wrongfully. One of them calls it police brutality . ” [39)
Amy Rankin: “Shock treatments have destroyed my life.”
Amy Rankin has been in the hands of psychiatric authorities for most of
her childhood and adolescent years. An abused child, she was placed in a
hospital at 1 3 for depression and suicidal tendencies after years of
counseling and prescribed medication. There she remained for the next
five years of her life. This is her account of how five years of “therapy” in
an institution, which included a weekly series of electric shock treatments
, left her emotionally crippled for life:
“At first, I was in a private institution. But when my insurance ran out I
was moved to a state facility . After being in therapy for awhile the
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doctors decided to give me electric shock. I was 14 at the time. In one
year, I had anywhere from 40 to 60 treatments.
“The whole experience was frustrating and horrifying. I never
participated in my own life decisions; decisions were always being made
by adults. I was always being told what to do and where to go. I had no
sense of control and felt totally discounted by the people who were
supposed to be there to help me. As an abused child, I felt discounted by
my own family. Then I felt discounted by the very people who were
supposed to be helping me. Instead of realizing that it was a living
problem, they thought I had some kind of biological disorder in my brain.
“If we showed any kind of anger or if we were feeling discounted and we
tried to express that, it was seen as psychotic behavior. We were tied in
restraints and given shocks to make us calm down. We were given
medication that has the same effect as a straitjacket. You can’t move and
you can , t think because you re on Thorazine or Mellaril. You can’t write
letters or communicate with anyone because you’re so drugged up.
“As a result of the shock treatments, I have been left with a closed head
injury. That’s the best way I can describe it. It was not an effective way of
dealing with depression because everything that was disturbing me was
still there. I just didn’t know why I was disturbed. It’s like knowing that a
square peg won’t fit into a round hole but not knowing why.
“Shock treatments have destroyed my life. I still have to deal with
emotional stress, and I have not learned how to deal with it.
“My whole life has been complicated by shock treatments . I was an
eighth grader when I got shocked. After shock, I have third- and fourthgrade
academic skills . As an adult, that has prevented me from knowing
where the letter 0 is in the alphabet. It’s difficult to know what has more
value, a dime or a nickel. I have to ask someone how to spell coffee 16
times. If I walk down the street, it means not being able to read a street
sign. It means not being able to fill out an application that asks me to
explain how some of my skills can help in the job. It means not
knowing how to write words that I want to use. It means going into a
grocery store, giving the clerk a $5 bill, and not knowing whether or not I
get back the correct change because I can’t remember how to count
money. That’s what it’s like. It doesn’t go away. It’s permanent and it’s
totally frustrating. It’s not a matter of relearning these things. It’s having
to live with a closed head injury on top of everything else.
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“I run a national newsletter for shock survivors who feel they’ve been
harmed by this treatment. Almost everyone who reads the newspaper and
contacts me tells me that they feel they’ve been harmed. Not one survivor
has told me that this treatment has benefited them. I would encourage
shock survivors and mental health consumers to really take a look at how
they’re being oppressed. ” [15)
Sandra: “When the psychiatrist suggested hospitalization, I trusted his
advice. .
In 1968, a woman named Sandra sought psychiatric help for depression
over the death of her baby . When her psychiatrist suggested
hospitalization, she trusted that he knew what was best for her. Once in
the hospital, though, she quickly changed her opinion:
“We’re taught in this society to see a psychiatrist for depression. And
that’s what I did. I started seeing a psychiatrist for a normal real-life
sadness in my life. Anybody would be sad after the death of a baby. And
when the psychiatrist suggested hospitalization, I trusted his advice and
walked into the hospital of my own free will. I was no danger to myself
or to anyone else. I was there because I had a broken heart over the death
of my baby . And they started shock treatments on me.
“When I had had the first one, I woke up terrified and with an
excruciating headache. I couldn’t think straight. When I tried to leave the
hospital, the nurse called the guards. The elevators were stopped. I was
dragged to my room and tied to my bed in four-point restraints. Fourpoint
restraints is having each ankle and wrist bound securely so that you
can’t move or fight or get away. I was force-drugged and force-shocked. I
was literally left laying in my own sweat and tears until I smelled like a
filthy animal. I received this treatment over and over again until by the
time I got out of the hospital I couldn’t connect my thoughts well enough
to even carry on a normal conversation. I was born and raised in the
Birmingham, Alabama area. I didn’t know my way around town anymore.
I couldn’t even find my way to the store. One of my sisters said that I
reminded her of a zombie . Another sister said that I seemed to have the
mentality of a three-year-old child. It literally took me years to be able to
connect my thoughts well enough to carry on a normal conversation.
“When I learned that the same thing is happening to other people today I
had to start getting involved. I got heavily involved with children’s issues
because this is so sad, and started a group called CRY, Citizens Rescuing
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Youth, to stop psychiatry from making mental patients out of our
children. Psychiatry is zeroing in on the fact that Medicaid pays hundreds
of dollars a day for the in-house psychiatric evaluation of children.
” One of the cases I handled personally was that of a mother who literally
lost all vital signs because she had an ovary rupture. They were able to
bring her back but she was unable to care for herself much less her two
young sons . She signed what she thought was temporary custody of these
two children to the State Department of Human Resources. Since
psychiatry had been lecturing at the State Department of Human
Resources on how they can help these foster children in state custody,
these children, who were normally upset about being away from their
mother, were put in a psychiatric hospital.
“When their mother was able to get them back, they weren’t given to her.
She was denied visiting rights for months. The youngest child, age 7, was
overmedicated on psychiatric drugs and put in what they call a quiet
room, which is actually a padded cell. He was so broken-hearted that
while he was having hallucinations from the drugs they had given him, he
tried to hang himself on his own shoe laces . [40)
Diana Loper. “It only takes a minute to destroy a brain.
At 24, Diana Loper was given electroshock for post-partum depression
and an inability to sleep after the birth of her child. After 24 treatments,
she was released in a far worse condition, and could no longer care for
herself or her family . As a result, her husband divorced her and her child
was taken away by the courts. This is her story:
“My story is many stories. There are thousands. Over a hundred
thousand persons per year receive ECT I don’t even like to use the term
therapy–this is only a procedure.
“I had a premature child, post-partum depression, and sleep deprivation.
The post-partum depression is, of course, what we call the baby blues,
and the sleep deprivation was from having a very sick child. I was
married to a preacher and we decided to go to a psychiatrist to talk about
what was going on with me. This psychiatrist decided that I needed shock
treatments.
“I didn’t go for everything they said but my husband did. The psychiatrist
told my husband, ‘Well, you know, she’s very depressed, and all we have
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to do is put her to sleep. There will be a little bit of a jolt through her
body, and she’ll have a little convulsion. It will be like going to sleep.
And then she’ll wake up the next day and everything will be fine. She’ll
be happy again. She won’t be depressed. ‘ I remember looking at that
psychiatrist and saying, ‘Let’s get real here. What are you going to do to
me? Are you going to wipe out all the bad that ever happened to me. . . ?’
My husband then said, ‘Now, honey, listen to me. You cry all the time.
Let’s try this procedure. It won’t hurt. It will only take a minute.’
“So, they gave me 24 shock treatments for my post-partum depression
and sleep deprivation. If I had been allowed to go ahead and play this out
and let it go through its natural course, I probably would have been
alright. But young, new husband, new baby, away from home, you go to
these people you supposedly trust. My husband signed for the treatments
believing that this was going to do some good. God only knows how he
thought that but that’s what he thought. And so, I was shocked against my
will. I was straitjacketed and forcibly shocked.
“What happens with ECT is they give you a certain drug that puts you to
sleep. Then, when you wake up, your grief is supposedly over. After this
procedure had been given to me, I woke up in a room by myself and
didn’t know where I was or who I was because what this procedure does
is it puts you on a euphoric high, a brain-damage high. They might as
well just take a sledge hammer and knock you in the head with it because
after a head injury you walk around like, what’s going on? The world is
wonderful. The world is fine. It will put you on this high. . . But six
months after shock~, after your brain-damage high is over, you’re
suicidal. I did not go into the hospital because I was suicidal. After they
got through shocking me, I was.
“After the insurance money runs out, they will put you on the street.
Well, they put me on the street. I had no way of starting life because they
did no follow-up. . . . So, what it did was wiped out my life, and I had to
start over, but I did not know where to start over or who to start over
with.
“After the shock treatments, I didn’t know my child, I didn’t know my
husband. My husband didn’t want to be married to me anymore because I
wasn’t the same person that I was. So my husband divorced me. The
courts took my child away from me . I read on what was probably a
second-grade level and did math on a sixth-grade level. I kept a diary
during this whole process of being shocked and remember the last thing I
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wrote. It states that if it’s the last thing I do before I die, you’ll never be
able to do this to anyone again.
“I got back on my feet with the help of my parents. I learned what a
toothbrush was again, and I learned how to put my shoes on the right
feet. I kind of started my life all over again because I knew that I had a
child that I had to find and I didn’t want him to find this basket case of a
mother running around.
“It only takes a minute to destroy a brain. And those doctors destroyed
my brain and my life. Now I have epilepsy. I have two grand mal seizures
a day because of this procedure. The only reason I did not lock myself up
in my house and never come out again was to stand up for what I know is
right. I know that this is a treatment that needs to be banned. There’s
nothing good about this treatment. It’s a brain-injury high. It’s a closed
head injury. The recipients of this horrible treatment who join our
organization, The World Association of Electroshock survivors, say that
their memory never returns to normal after ECT ” [13,41)
Karen Robbins: “I’ve been falsely imprisoned.”
Karen Robbins was imprisoned at the University Behavioral Center in
Orlando, Florida, after responding to a phony health spa advertisement
promoted by a patient broker via television. Her case is currently in
litigation:
“I was watching a TV program and I made a 1-800 call about going to a
health spa in Florida. I thought, ‘Gee, that would be a wonderful thing to
do. ‘ It was during a time in my life when I wanted some changes made
and I thought a health spa would be wonderful for weight loss.
“When I got to Florida I was picked up by limousine. When I entered the
lobby of the center, it was very nice and friendly. But when they closed
the doors behind me and locked them, I could not leave. I noticed that the
people who were there were mental patients. It was very obvious. There
were people who were shaking and people who had no control of
themselves . There were one-on-one caregivers. I was terrified. They kept
me there for seven days against my will and they billed my insurance
company over a thousand dollars a day.
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“The first thing I did was ask to talk to someone and they said that
because it was going on 6 : 00 there was no one there who could help me
out, that I would have to wait until the next day. The next day, they gave
me another runaround. They told me that I was a very, very sick person,
that I was totally depressed, co-dependent, and extremely violent. I just
looked at them and I said, ‘I’m sorry, but there must be someone else in
this room because that’s not me.’
“I tried to leave on several occasions but there were very, very large
guards and they denied me access to the door. I told them that I wanted to
go home, that first of all they had kidnapped me, they had brought me
there under false pretenses, and they were keeping me there against my
will. They were interested in only two things: money from my insurance
company, and keeping me there as long as they could to obtain that
money.
“It was six days of telling them I wanted to be released. I did not sleep all
the while I was there. From morning until night there was violence going
on. There was screaming . There were outbursts . I was afraid to sleep .
They told me I could go in 72 hours. The doctor said, ‘I have the right to
keep you. I said, ‘you have no right to keep me here. I’ve been falsely
imprisoned.’
“Finally on Monday, I told them, ‘if you do not release me I am going to
have a class action lawsuit against you. ‘ I said, ‘you are keeping me here
against my will and you are harming me instead of doing me any good. ‘
With that, they called the patient broker that got me in there and the
broker said, ‘Let her go; she’s a trouble-maker. ‘ ” [42)
Nickie Saizon: “He came out worse than when he came in.
Nicki’s insurance company was milked after she admitted her son to a
psychiatric facility, in good faith, to help him overcome a drug problem.
Five and a half weeks and thousands of dollars laterq her son, never
having gotten the help he needed, came out worse than when he entered:
“In October 1987, my son told me that he had a drug problem and that he
wanted help. I had no idea where to turn so I looked in the Yellow Pages
and found a place in Ft. Worth called Care Unit. First, I had to go up
there and meet with a counselor. They said that they had to see if he was
eligible to come in. I found out later that they were checking to see if we
70
had insurance, which unfortunately we did. He was eligible so I put him
in there.
“It was supposed to cost about $300-$400 per day but they have a lot of
hidden costs. They had a community room with a TV but they would
charge $35 to watch. They had Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings
where they would charge anywhere from $30-60 per meeting. Then they
had what they call family week. They required that you go all week. After
I got there, they told me it was $150 extra. They also charged $15 for a
meal ticket. And they had a different psychologist there. It was not the
psychiatrist that I got the bill from. I talked to him maybe 15 minutes out
of the whole week. I never met the psychiatrist I got the bill from.
“They did nothing. I finally pulled him one evening after going to visit
him. I was sitting across from the nurse’s station waiting for the NA
meeting to end so that I could visit with my son. When the [fleeting
ended and all the kids came out, I did not see him. I waited a few minutes
and finally asked one of the kids where he was. They said they didn’t
know and walked off. Then one of the kids came back and said he was in
his room. I went in his room where I found him so doped up on
tranquilizers that he did not know what day it was, what time it was,
nothing. He came out and the nurse said, ‘We have been so concerned.
I’ve been taking your blood pressure and checking on you to see if you
were still breathing. ‘ I said, it’s over, and we went home. My total bill for
Care Unit for 5 weeks was $15,663.07.” [9)
Later, on the recommendation of one of the nurses from Care Unit who
stayed in touch with her son, Nickie admitted her son to a state facility,
which resulted in more expense and devastation:
“One of the nurses kept in contact with him by phone and we ended up
readmitting him on Christmas Eve. But then they called me and said they
couldn’t handle him and wanted to transfer him to the psychiatric institute
in Ft. Worth. I later found out that this is like a big corporation. They all
work together.
“When they go to the Psychiatric Institute (P1), they are locked in. We
couldn’t bring in anything, not toothpaste, shampoo, or anything. They
had to get it through the hospital. They would give him small sample
tubes of shampoo and the shampoo would cost $8 a bottle and the
conditioner was $10 a bottle. When he went in, he had some burns on his
arms and they used the tiny sample tube that the pharmaceutical
companies give them, and charged $25 for that little tube. Then they
charged you $20 for the nurse to put it on. I mean, they had it all broken
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down. Everything was under lock and key, elevators, everything. I had to
go there once a week and meet with a psychologist. They charged $125 a
week for that. My bill for P1 was $38,231.95.
“I dropped my son off at Psychiatric Institute on December 27th. I
picked him up February 27th. I dropped my son off on December 27th. I
picked up a stranger on February 27th. When he was up there, some kids
were there who were in with the skinheads and he got involved with
them. He came out worse than when he came in. ” [9)
Evelyn Woodson: “They put my child on Ritalin without my permission.
Evelyn Woodson’s son was placed in a psychiatric facility while a
neurological problem went undiagnosed:
“It’s very painful for me to retell this story. The reason I do it is because I
don’t want other people to experience what my son and I experienced.
“The first time that I noticed that my child had some sort of visual
problem was when he was an infant. . . At about 18 months, he would go
upstairs without our noticing, and fall downstairs. This happened several
times. . . .X-rays never indicated any damage. . . Then, when he was five,
he fell while running and broke his arm. Again, this let me know that
there was a persisting visual impairment of some sort. I sought all types
of diagnoses from various medical doctors and it was always a question
mark. Nobody could give me a clear diagnosis of what the problem was.
“In intelligence, he did not manifest any type of deficit whatsoever. To
the contrary, he was much more intelligent than children his own age. He
could hold conversations with me about things that I was very surprised
at. For instance, he knew what bionics were. He could draw robots before
age five, he could design rocket ships….
“As he entered elementary school, there were always complaints that he
didn’t complete his assignments. He was subjected to corporal
punishment because he could not complete the work, and each time that I
approached the schoolteacher and the principal regarding these matters, I
was degraded and blamed for upholding my child in wrongdoing and not
forcing him to conform. I found that to be very frightening. It’s like trying
to fit a square peg into a round hole. They did not have a program or an
individual assessment where they could figure out where this child was
and where he needed to go . They were not willing to make any type of
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an educational plan for this child. I let him go through the third grade in
public school . Then I took him out and put him in private school . It was
very difficult for me because I wasn’t working and I was separated from
my husband at the time.
“At one point, the school psychologist got involved. They shifted the
focus from a possible medical problem to a behavioral disorder. At that
time, I was not aware that people were being exploited just for the sake of
money . That was a hard lesson that I learned.
“When he was 12, I was told by the school psychologist that he needed
to be in a residential program. This occurred because I asked them to
assess my son’s IQ and to give him an aptitude test in order t6 properly
place him in the school system. Rather than dealing with this, it was
easier for them to blame my son. Again, I went to a neurologist. They
told me that my son needed to have a brain scan. The brain scan did not
manifest any type of tumor or any type of problem….
“In 1985, he was admitted to a residential program. That was a very bad
experience. When I first took him to be admitted, I had to give them $800
cash up front. They told me that I could see my child any time of the day
or night. They told me I could call and speak to someone at the facility at
any time . But once they got my child in and the doors were locked,
everything changed. They put my child on Ritalin without my permission.
They did not allow me to see my child. . . . When I did get the
opportunity to speak to my son, I questioned him and he told me that the
drugs that they had given him made him hyper. They put him in a room
with a child who was totally psychotic and the child attacked my son.
” . . . I called the administrator and explained to them that I had been told
one
thing and something else was happening. I basically got the brush-off.
They set up an appointment for me to come in and speak with them. I
thought I was going to talk about the conditions that my son was being
subjected to. Later, I found out that they disguised that as an evaluation
for me. There were things being written
up about me without my knowledge I later got the transcripts from the
facility and found out they labeled me as a ‘black woman that is striving
to be white. ‘ My child is interracial and his father is white.
“In that evaluation, I was asked about my background, my history, and
what kind of childhood I had. I said that my stepmother was white, and
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she was. My mother died when I was 13 months so I never knew her. My
stepmother was the person who raised me, and that was the only female
role model that I related to. I figured that was something that swayed me
to not have prejudice, and thereby eventually marry into a white family .
That was twisted and misused to make it look as if I was some kind of a
sick person for being in a mixed marriage . That was eventually used in
court to try to prosecute my son when he ran into some legal problems
later on.
“As he got older, the problems persisted. In 1989, when he was 15 , I
took him to a neurologist, and the neurologist said that he didn’t think my
son had any type of medical problem. I knew better because I’m a mother
with two other older children. I knew this child was manifesting a
medical problem because he was very, very forgetful. He would do his
homework many times and he would lose it before he got to school. Or he
would leave it at home. He just couldn’t remember things.
“All the way through this, there was a lot of insurance fraud. And my son
was put on Prozac in another institution without my permission, and it
has destroyed him. He is not able to hold a job. He’ll be 21 years old. He’s
not eligible for 551 or any type of assistance. He is married and has a
child and cannot support the child. I’m basically having to do that.
“My son was diagnosed in 1991 with a right temporal lobe lesion. That’s
almost like a brain tumor, and that was there all along.
“The lesson is that the people that are working in the psychiatric field are
not always healthy people, because they have an addiction to money and
power. That’s what I ran into, compulsive obsession over money and
exercising power over people because they use the law to lock people up
and hold them against their will. They can get judges to sign orders to
hold people, but when the insurance money runs out, they throw the
person out destroyed with drugs and by having been exposed to people
that really do have a lot of psychological problems. My son wasn’t t born
with psychological problems. They have manufactured them through
paperwork and through drugs. ” [43)
Luninging Pasion: “Then they found out that we did not have a job with
insurance. My son was released.”
Luninging Pasion’s 16-year-old son had been feeling sad, but never
suicidal, due to normal adolescent romance problems . Yet he was
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abducted from his school and placed in a psychiatric facility for no
apparent reason–other than the fact that somebody thought his family had
insurance coverage. When Luninging tried to get him back, the
psychiatrist threatened to report her to child services and to take her son
away for good. Only upon learning that the family had no insurance
coverage did they let him go:
“My son was taken out of school when he was 16 years old. They told
me the reason they took my son was because he was suicidal. But before
they took my son, I was called to the school and my insurance was
checked by the sex and drug counselor. Then the sex and drug counselor
gave my telephone number to an institute that called me and asked me to
bring my son to them. I told them that there was no need for my son to be
brought to that hospital.
“When they found that I was not going to bring my son to them, they
insisted on doing a free evaluation at the school, even though I told them
that there was no need for my son to be brought there. I was forced to say
yes to the free evaluation because they wouldn’t put down the phone until
I said yes.
“The following day, the lady from the institute went to the school and
took my son without even telling me that they were going to take out him
from school. I don’t know why they took him out of the school. The
school even told me that my son wasn’t doing anything wrong. They just
told me that this lady took my son from school….
“Then when I went there they didn’t want to give my son to me. They
told me that they had the legal right to hold my son. They told me that my
son was disoriented and confused . But I remember on that same morning
having brought my son to school and he was alright. Every day I went
there, for about four days. I didn’t have any chance of talking to my son
for longer than five minutes. My son told me that he would be there until
April. He was taken February 22nd. I told my son, they cannot do that. I
am going to try to take you out of this place.
“After 72 hours, I went to the institute and this lady told me that, whether
I liked it or not, my son would remain here. I prayed at the time because it
was really painful. They didn’t want to listen to me. They didn’t want to
understand me. All they wanted to do was to lock my son up. Then, after
praying, I told them that in 1 983 , my husband was laid off because I
wanted to tell them that I did not have any money to pay their business. I
knew that if you bring somebody into the hospital you have to pay for it.
So, I told the woman there that I could not pay her. After hearing that my
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husband was laid off, she started asking me where my husband was
working. Then they found out that we did not have a job with insurance.
My son was released. ” [44)
Lillian: “It was a virtual hellhole.”
Lillian’s family and work problems, combined with her hypothyroidism,
were causing her to experience depression. But when she sought
psychiatric help, the potent medications she was given caused side effects
that worsened her condition. As a result, she was institutionalized at the
Carrier Center near Princeton, New Jersey, for 60 days, during which
time she was strip-searched, tied to chairs, forced to take drugs, and given
electroshock therapy without her consent:
“Up until five years ago, I had a full-time job teaching. I was taking care
of an invalid mother who had Alzheimer’s disease. Then my mother died
after being in the hospital for a month. I discovered I had a very severe
hypothyroid condition, and I was being evicted from my apartment after
living there for 40 years. It was being turned into a condominium and it
was being renovated over my head. Walls were being knocked down and
pipes were getting broken, causing leaks and so on.
“I developed a major depression and went to visit a psychiatrist, the first
one I
ever encountered in my life. He gave me strong doses of Xanax. And
when I went to see him again, he added another strong medication called
Desyrel. As a result, I developed side effects. The most severe ones were
breathing difficulties and hair loss. This difficulty in breathing made my
life very uncomfortable. And since no one at that time realized that it was
from the side effect of the medication, I was diagnosed as being
psychotic.
“I was taken to a psychiatric facility where, after a two-minute evaluation
by the admitting physician, I was put into the intensive care unit. I was
given constant supervision, so much so that I wasn’t allowed to go to the
bathroom myself. I would have to wait maybe 1 5 , 20 minutes before
someone would get ready to take me . I was not allowed to eat with a fork
and knife, only a spoon, and at the end of our meal, when spoons were
counted, if one was missing, we were strip-searched. I found myself
being tied to a chair to keep me from walking when I wanted to.
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“Somehow, while I was there, I developed an injury to my arm, a torn
tendon. When I didn’t want to take the medication that was given to me,
because I was afraid of side effects, I was given it involuntarily. I was
held down by two male, so-called medical assistants, and it was injected
into my buttocks. For two hours, we were locked out of our room so that
they could search our drawers and closets for whatever they wanted to
find. I couldn’t use a telephone when I wanted to. When my husband
would come to visit, someone was sitting there listening to our
conversation. It was a virtual hellhole. It was the Carrier Institute near
Princeton, New Jersey, and they ‘charged my insurance company $550 a
day just for room and board. That didn’t include the payments to the
attending physicians and whatever other expenses were encountered.
“During the time I was there, I was forcibly given ECT without my
consent, although I found out later that my husband had given them
permission. The lesson I learned is that before people do anything like
that to another person, and listen to other people’s misguided advice, they
should think more carefully and think about alternative treatments for
someone. I was just fortunate that I came out alright. ” [45)
Marsha Stocker. “when my insurance was up, I was dumped.”
Marsha Stocker thought she was entering a clinic for a checkup–not a
psychiatric hospital that would lock her up for 48 days and force surgery
on her:
“I was told that I had an eating disorder and that I needed to go to the
hospital for some tests. What I didn’t know was that they had no patients
scheduled to come in and that they were apparently preying on people
with private insurance . I went down and explained to them my problem.
They told me that I had an eating disorder, and I told them I didn’t think
so. I was told that I was denying or lying, and I told them I wanted to
leave. I got up to leave and the next thing I knew, I was being carted off
to the psychiatric ward and told that I could not take care of myself, and
that I was suicidal. I was in shock and I didn’t know what to do. They did
say that I could talk to an attorney . He told me that by law they could
keep me for 96 hours and that I had to stay.
“I was given Prozac and told that if I did not take it I could be put in the
state hospital and kept there involuntarily and indefinitely. I was told that
I could be given shock treatments . I was told that no one in my family
would know where I was. They didn’t have to give out any information
77
about me. All my identification, everything, was taken away. So, I did
what I had to: I took the medication and waited for a hearing. But I did
not go to a hearing. I was kept for 48 days. During that time, I was given
surgery that I did not want. I repeatedly asked to leave and was repeatedly
told that I could not care for myself.
“When the doctor came in after 96 hours, he asked me about my past
medical history and I told him I had a lump on my breast, which I had
had for 16 years. Two other doctors had told me that it was a
calcification. I was 42 years old and this was normal. All of a sudden, it
was cancer and I needed an $1 1 ,000 surgery. During the surgery, nerves
were severed in my arm, which has left me with permanent damage. I had
a lumpectomy and radiation. I’ve since asked doctors to look at the slides
. They tell me that it shows calcifications but they have no way of
knowing whether or not it was cancerous without the biopsy slides, which
I have never received.
“When my insurance was up, I was dumped, and here I am today, still
struggling to find out what really went on. ” [46)
Joanne Toglia: “If I slept with him, I’d get out.”
Joanne Toglia was supposed to get help for her problems in the hospital.
Instead, she was made to endure sexual abuse by her counselor there:
“I was an abused wife who went to a preacher for help. In return I got
locked up in a mental hospital behind three sets of locked doors . The first
day I was there, they took away everything I had. They took all of my
clothes away from me my purse and everything else, and they put me in a
room with nothing in it. Any time I wanted to use the telephone, they had
an excuse. I couldn’t call my family. I was put on drugs, antidepressants,
and different things like that. Every time I attempted to get out, they’d
have an excuse for me not to. Finally, the bottom line came down to, if I
slept with him [the counselor) , I’d get out. If I didn’t, I’d go to the state
mental hospital. And at the time, I had four children, 2, 3 , 4, and 6 . I was
desperate to see them so after three weeks of being locked up, I finally
slept with him.
“There are two parts to the hospital–there’s a locked unit and an open
unit. In the locked unit I slept with him once and in the open unit I slept
with him twice. I went home and just when I thought I was free of
everything, he started coming over to my apartment. I thought he might
78
send me to the state hospital if I didn’t sleep with him so I did for awhile.
Then, as I got more strength, and I realized that I was out in the
community, I turned him in to the police.
“I was talking to my friends when I got out of the hospital–we had made
friends–it came up in a conversation that he had made them do it too. At
that point, we knew we totally had him.
“The day we turned him in, he got picked up by the police. They looked
through the records. In the records it had things like, he had hugged and
kissed at private counseling. . . There was never any doubt about what
happened to us: He got put in jail–but just until he could get bond. And
then once he went to trial, there were no charges because there was no
gun or knife used. Had he used a gun or knife, it would have been a
different situation. According to people in the community, he is still
practicing today. ” [21)
Gloria Denanya Jones: “You need to know your rights.”
Gloria sought professional help after discovering that her husband was
unfaithful. As a result, she was labeled suicidal, locked up, and
stigmatized:
“I was taken to a psychiatric facility by a member of my family because
of some personal problems that I was experiencing, normal problems, like
infidelity, which happen every day; I was a little upset about some of the
things that I was finding out about my husband’s relationships. I went
there for an interview to see if I possibly needed an evaluation but they
decided that they would keep me. The doctor said that my mind was
racing because I was talking very fast. I said that I did not want to stay. I
tried to leave and the men in white came after me. This is when the doctor
told me that I better sign myself in or she would put me in lockup and I
would not like that at all. I had to sign myself in.
“They took all my personal possessions and gave me a pamphlet which
told me my rights but, since they had taken my reading glasses from me, I
really couldn’t read anything. They put me on a drug called lithium,
which made me very, very calm, almost comatose. And I had to sit there
for 72 hours. They kept saying that I was there on a hold and I kept
saying that I was not. But when we would go into what they called a
cognitive therapy program, which is 1 to 2 hours a day–they had a group
of anywhere from 4 to 12 people, whoever they had in the hospital who
79
were not in lockup–they kept asking me if I was suicidal. I said I was
never suicidal. I was never a threat to myself or anyone else. I said, I
came in here for a personal problem. And they kept telling me, well,
you’re here on a hold, and you’re only here on a hold if you are a threat.
And I said, this is something that I don’t understand.
“I refused to sign any papers as far as releasing them from any obligation
or responsibility for any medication that I took. I did take their
medication because I did not want to go to lockup . I was next to the
lockup and I saw exactly what it was that happened to people when they
were locked up. They were strapped down and put in a room. After they
unstrapped them, they locked them in a room, and they were only allowed
to come out whenever they needed to , I guess to smoke a cigarette or eat.
Sometimes they never even got to get out of their room. Anyway, I was
there and I just kept protesting and saying that I shouldn’t be there and
that they had no right to do this. Some of the people there kept telling me,
‘if you don’t stop saying that, they are going to put you in lockup. ‘ So, I
just did basically what I was told and I just had to stay there the 72 hours.
I believe that had my insurance covered that part of the stay that they
probably would have kept me longer.
“I have learned from this experience that people need to know what their
rights are. I was denied my rights for due process. I was taken away from
my child, my home, my business–and it was against my will–for
something that was a domestic problem, for something that had nothing
to do with any type of real depression.
“You need to know your rights. The public is not aware. I have talked to
several people about this because I came out and said I was committed
and held for 72 hours. They had similar stories. And I can’t believe that
this happens today. It’s not right. It’s just not right. ” [47)
Danielle Deschamps: what the psychiatric establishment has done is
usurp the judiciary power.
Danielle Deschamps was kidnapped and taken to a psychiatric institute
for reasons unbeknownst to her at the time. A native of France, she
noticed a large percentage of foreign people in her ward. She reported
that of the 12 to 15 people in the ward, there was a Polish woman, a
woman from Colombia, a man from Belgium, and a Polish man:
80
“I was kidnapped on Columbus Day, October 8, 1990, at 9:00 in the
morning. I had a wonderful night. I was very happy to have the day off. I
fed my pets. I drank my coffee outside and was just starting the laundry
All of a sudden a policeman and a psychiatrist came, a very fancy
woman. They told me to follow them or I would be put in restraints. It
was what I heard happened in Europe. As a little girl, some of the
members of my Catholic family were picked up and sent to concentration
camps . I could not believe that this was happening to me here in
America! I could not believe it!
“When they arrived at my house, they took me by total surprise. All they
said was You follow us immediately . ‘ So I called a friend of mine and
she came right away. She said, ‘There is no need to take her away. Don’t
take her away. ‘ And she cried. She came with me in the police car and
once we got there, she still took my side….
“I didn’t know why I was committed. I wasn’t told anything. I didn’t
know why, when I got to the snake pit, my clothing was taken away from
me . I was in a cage in the emergency room with two glass windows. This
is in Bergen Pines, Paramus, New Jersey.
“When I arrived in the glass cage, there were male policemen there and
two nurses . They told me to immediately undress . I said no because I
had a good night’s sleep and I am not sick. I have no reason to be here.
They told me to be quiet and give my clothing to them immediately . I
understood that I was all by myself. I don’t have a single relative in the
U.S. So, out of panic, I undressed. One hour later, they ordered me to take
some pills. I said no because I never take any pills except aspirin, very
seldom. . . I’m not a person for drugs. And they called the policeman, got
one who was six feet tall, and took a needle and ripped down my pants
and injected me.
“I asked to call the French consulate and they said no way. They barely
let me go to the bathroom. I was accompanied by police. Then I was sent
to unit C-i . I still thought I would come home the same night. I didn’t
know it would go that far. Little by little, I took Haldol and lithium. I fell
into a coma, what they call comatose sleep , one that has been denounced
by many American organizations and by myself….
“Three years later, thanks to the Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights,
I have been able to obtain my records. . Now I know why I was arrested. I
was arrested for allegedly scratching, biting, and throwing hot water on
my husband. I never did that but he must have signed a statement saying I
did. He must have signed this as an excuse. What the psychiatric
81
establishment has done is usurp the judiciary power. If my husband
accused me of biting him, I should have gone before a judge. There
should have been proof of bite marks. There were no bite marks. I never
bit anybody in my life, not even my husband on bad days!
“I demand reparation for this. My reputation has been completely
wrecked. My daughter, who was 12 years old at the time, does not
understand why her mother was put into a mental institution. . . . ” [48)
Pat Garring: “When I went to turn him in. . . I realized I wasn’t ‘t the only
one.”
Pat’s story is one of sexual abuse in an outpatient setting:
“My story takes place over a 20-year period. Actually, the sexual abuse
started in 1987-1989. I was married at the time and my husband was his
patient. Then, I became his patient and was given many drugs His idea of
sex was to make you feel like you were inadequate. He had a lot of power
and a lot of control. He was doing this to other women at the same time,
and he had been doing this to these other women for 20 years.
“I finally got enough courage to turn him in. When I went to turn him in
to the investigators, I realized that I wasn’t the only one. After I told one
investigator who he was, he said, ‘I was afraid that you were going to say
his name. I need to call in a special investigator. ‘ And that’s what he did.
They told me there were 17 cases ahead of mine but mine was the
strongest. That was back in August 1991 and he came to trial in March
1994. I testified for 4 hours against this man. Only four of us were in any
condition to testify, but my testimony was the strongest.
“He ended up surrendering his license at the end of March but essentially
he went into retirement because, in Utah, it is not a felony, it is not a
crime, to sexually abuse a patient. It is only grossly immoral. That has to
change.
“I went on television, September 9, 1993 , in shadow so no one could see
my face, to tell people about this man, hoping other people would come
forward. Not many did. Then, in March 1994, I went on television fullfaced,
with full name, because he had surrendered his license. Another
lady was on the TV but they shadowed her out because she just couldn’t
take everything that happened to her. For 20 years, her whole session was
drugs and to sit on the couch and have sex. [49]
82
Endnotes
1 . Joe Sharkey, Bedlam, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1994, pp.273-4.
2. “NME to Settle U.S. Fraud Charges, ” New York Daily News,
Apr. 15, 1994.
3 . Thomas Mulligan, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 10, 1994.
4. Gary Null interview with Randy Lakel, Feb. 17, 1995.
5 . C. Marbin and I. Testerman, “The Patient Pipeline, ” St. Petersburg
Times, Nov.
14, 1993.
6. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights can be reached at
1-800-869-2247.
Help is free.
7 . Gary Null interview with Bruce Wiseman, Feb . 20, 1995.
8 . Gary Null interview with Bruce Wiseman, Nov . 8 , 1994.
9 . Gary Null interview with Nickie Saizon, Feb . 20, 1995.
10 M. Smith and C. Rugeley, “Hospital Abuses Lead Lawmakers to
Rethink Controls, ” Houston Chronicle, Oct 27, 1991.
11 . D.G. Cameron, ”ECT: Sham Statistics, The Myth of Convulsive
Therapy, and Case for Consumer Misinformation, ” The Journal of Mind
and Behavior, 15 : 1 & 2, Winter/Spring 1994, p.177
12. Write to World Association of Electroshock Survivors, P.O.
Box 16164, Austin
TX 78761 to get involved in banning ECT worldwide and to receive The
Disconnect News.
83
13. Gary Null interview with Diana Loper, Feb. 21, 1995.
14. Gary Null interview with Dr. Peter Breggin, Nov. 9, 1994.
15. Gary Null interview with Amy Rankin, Feb. 20, 1995.
16 . Gary Null interview with Jan Eastgate, Feb . 2 1 , 1995.
17. Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical
Association,
” Sexual Misconduct in the Practice of Medicine , ” Journal of the
American Medical
Association, Nov. 20, 1991, 266:19, pp.2742-4.
18 Sydney Smith, “The Seduction of the Female Patient, ” in Sexual
Exploitation in
Professional Relationships (G.O. Gabbard, ed.), American Psychiatric
Press
Washington, D.C., 1989.
19. Barbara Noel with Kathryn Watterson, You Must Be
Dreaming, Poseidon Press, New York, 1992.
20. Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Psychiatric Rape
(booklet), Los Angeles, 1995, p.6.
21 . Gary Null interview with Joanne Toglia, Feb . 2 1 , 1995.
22. Gary Null interview with Steve Silver, Feb. 17, 1995.
23 . Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Psychiatry ‘S Betrayal
(booklet), Los Angeles, 1995, p.5.
24. “20120,” CBS, Jan. 26, 1996.
25. Joe Sharkey, op. cit., pp.239-40.
26. Peter Kerr, “Mental Hospital Chains Accused of Much
Cheating on Insurance, ” The New York Times, Nov. 24, 1991.
84
27. “Psych Chain’s Handbook Sought Admission Quotas, ” San
Antonio ~press-News, Dec. 5, 1991.
28 . Peter R. Breggin and Ginger Ross Breggin, Talking Back to Prozac:
What Doctors Aren ‘t Telling You About Today ‘5 Most Controversial
Drug, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1994, p.40.
29. Ibid., p.121.
30. Gary Null interview with Dr. Fred Bauman, Feb. 17, 1995.
31 . A. Gartner and D.K. Lipsky, “Beyond Special Education: Toward a
quality system for all students, ” Harvard Educational Review, 1987,
57:373.
32. Denny Taylor, Learning Denied, Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH,
1991 , p.7.
33 . Sapon-Shevin, M. , “Mild Disabilities: in and out of special
education, ” in Denny Taylor, op. cit.
34. Gary Null interview with Carolyn Steinke, Feb. 17, 1995.
35 . Thomas Szasz, ”Law and Psychiatry: The Problems That Will Not
Go Away,” Journal of Mind and Behavior, 11 :3 and 4, Summer/Autumn
1990, p.557.
36. Thomas Szasz, Jnsanity–The Idea and its Consequences, John
Wiley and Sons, New York, 1990, p.350.
37. Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Psychiatry Destroying
Morals (booklet), Los Angeles, 1995, p.6.
38. GW. Albee, “The Futility of Psychotherapy, ” The Journal of
Mind and Behavior, 1 1 :3 & 4, Summer/Autumn 1990, p.372.
39. Gary Null interview with Angele Painter, Feb. 20, 1995.
40. Gary Null interview with Sandra, Feb. 20, 1995.
41 . Gary Null interview with Diana Lopez, Feb. 16, 1995.
42 . Gary Null interview with Karen Robbins , Feb . 16 , 1995.
43 . Gary Null interview with Evelyn Woodson, Feb. 16, 1995.
85
44. Gary Null interview with Luninging Pasion, Feb. 16, 1995.
45. Gary Null interview with Lillian, Feb. 16, 1995.
46. Gary Null interview with Marsha Stocker, Feb. 16, 1995.
47 . Gary Null interview with Gloria Denanya Jones , Feb . 21 , 1995.
48 . Gary Null interview with Danielle Deschamps , Feb . 21 , 1995.
49. Gary Null interview with Pat Garring, Feb. 21 , 1995.


Swine Flu pandemic exagerated

WHO Scientist: Swine Flu Pandemic Was “Completely Exaggerated”

Steve Watson
Infowars.net
Thursday, Jan 28th, 2010

featured stories   WHO Scientist: Swine Flu Pandemic Was Completely Exaggerated

A scientist with the World Health Organisation has testified, during ongoing hearings in Strasbourg, France, that the swine flu pandemic was part of an overblown “angst campaign”, devised in conjunction with major drug companies to boost profits for vaccine manufacturers.

Professor Ulrich Keil, director of the WHO’s Collaborating Centre for Epidemiology, slammed the organization and its flu chief, Dr Keiji Fukuda while giving evidence before The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

“With SARS, with avian flu, always the predictions are wrong…Why don’t we learn from history?” Keil said. “It [swine flu] produced a lot of turmoil in the pubic and was completely exaggerated in contrast with all the really important matters we have to deal with in public health.”

The WHO adviser on heart disease, added that the decision had led to a “gigantic misallocation” of health budgets.

“We know the great killers are hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, high body mass index, physical inactivity and low fruit and vegetable intake,” he said. “In spite of all these facts, governments instead wasted huge amounts of money by investing in pandemic scenarios whose evidence base is weak.”

PACE, a 47 nation body encompassing democratically elected members of parliament, will determine whether a “falsified pandemic” was declared by WHO in June 2009 on the advice of medical advisors, many of whom have close financial ties to the very pharmaceutical giants – GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, Novartis, – that produced the H1N1 vaccines.

It will also look into the controversy surrounding the fact that two shots were initially advised when it was later revealed that one dose was entirely suitable, as well as investigating concerns over hastily developed vaccines containing adjuvants.

Pharmaceutical companies are thought to have made a profit of somewhere in the region of $7.5-$10 billion on H1N1 vaccines, recouping the billions they had invested in researching and developing pandemic vaccines after the bird flu scares in 2006 and 2007.

The worldwide death toll from H1N1 is thought to be around 13,500, just over a third of the number who die from regular flu every year in the U.S. alone.

Heading the hearings is the former chairman of the Health Committee of PACE, Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg. A former German lawmaker, a medical doctor and epidemiologist. Wodarg has referred to the swine flu pandemic as “one of the greatest medical scandals of the century.”

Wodarg has pointed out that the WHO softened the definition of a pandemic from an outbreak in several continents at once with an above-average death rate, to one where the spread of the disease is constant.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
  • efoods

Just one month after changing the definition, and with just 144 people having died from H1N1, the flu was given the highest threat classification possible, a “stage-six pandemic alert”. By comparison, the mildest 20th Century pandemic killed a million people.

“I have never heard such a worldwide echo to a health political action,” Wodarg, an epidemiologist who formerly led the health committee for the Council of Europe, said at Tuesday’s hearing.

“It was stated in panic- stricken terms that this was a flu that could threaten humanity and a great number of humans could fall ill. This is why billions of dollars of medications were bought.” Wodarg said.

He added that the the change in definition “made it possible for the pharmaceutical industry to transform this opportunity into cash, under contracts which were mainly secret.”

“In my view, the WHO undertook an incomprehensible action, which cannot be justified by scientific evidence. The Council of Europe should investigate this to see how WHO can undertake this kind of dangerous nonsense,” said Dr Wodarg.

WHO’s flu chief, Dr Fukuda, insisted that its swine flu scientists do not have conflicts of interest owing to close links with pharmaceutical companies.

“Let me state clearly for the record – the influenza pandemic policies and responses recommended and taken by WHO were not improperly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry.” Fukuda told the inquiry.

He said those calling the epidemic fake were wrong and irresponsible.

PACE’s findings are expected to be announced January 29 and will likely be followed by an in-depth study and recommendations to European governments.

Sources for this story and further reading:

Swine Flu Didn’t Fly

Drug firms ‘drove swine flu pandemic warning to recoup £billions spent on research’


Gaza farmlands destroyed

Israel destroying Gaza’s farmlands

May 22, 2009 by aletho

A farmer holds crops destroyed by Israeli troops

By Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 22 May 2009

On the morning of 4 May 2009, Israeli troops set fire to Palestinian crops along Gaza’s eastern border with Israel. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that 200,000 square meters of crops were destroyed, including wheat and barley ready for harvest, as well as vegetables, olive and pomegranate trees.

Local farmers report that the blaze carried over a four-kilometer stretch on the Palestinian side of the eastern border land. Ibrahim Hassan Safadi, 49, from one of the farming families whose crops were destroyed by the blaze, said that the fires were smoldering until early evening, despite efforts by the fire brigades to extinguish them.

Safadi says he was present when Israeli soldiers fired small bombs into his field, which soon after caught ablaze. He explained that “The Israeli soldiers fired from their jeeps, causing a fire to break out on the land. They burned the wheat, burned the pomegranate trees … The fire spread across the valley. We called the fire brigades. They came to the area and put out the fire. But in some places the fire started again.” According to Safadi, he lost 30,000 square meters to the blaze, including 300 pomegranate trees, 150 olive trees, and wheat.

In the border areas it has long since become nearly impossible to work on the land due to almost daily shooting from the Israeli soldiers. The crops that were burned on 4 May were dried and ready to harvest, meaning that they were extremely flammable.

“It took only three minutes for the fire to destroy 65,000 square meters,” said Nahed Jaber Abu Said, whose farmland lies a few kilometers down the road from Safadi. He added that “It was nearly 9am. I was here when the Israeli jeeps came. An Israeli soldier at the fence shot an explosive into our field of wheat. It went up in flames immediately.”

Safadi said that the arson attack was the third major time his farm has suffered from an Israeli attack. In previous attacks over the last decade, he explained, Israeli soldiers bulldozed his land, razing his lemon, olive and clementine trees as well as demolishing greenhouses.

“We’ve suffered great losses. The Israeli soldiers have destroyed so much of our land, trees and equipment. They’ve cost us a lot of money,” he said, citing cumulative losses of $330,000 since 2000 when the heightened invasions began. In the last attack, Safadi said that $130,000 worth of crops, trees and irrigation piping was destroyed.

On top of the destruction, Safadi complains of not being able to replace destroyed items like the plastic hosing used to irrigate his fields. These, along with fertilizers and machinery replacement parts, are banned from entering Gaza due to the Israeli-led and internationally-backed whole-scale siege of the territory.

Abu Said reports losses of $2,000 on one patch of his land alone. “This isn’t including the land closest to the border fence,” he said. “I’m so sad now, what can I do?”

His experiences also extend beyond the 4 May attacks, and beyond the loss of land. In 2008, Israeli soldiers shot and killed 11 of his sheep and seriously injured a 15-year-old cousin, Jaber, by shooting him in the mouth.

Attacks by Israeli soldiers occur on a near-daily basis along Gaza’s borders with Israel. Nearly a decade ago, Israel unilaterally imposed a “buffer” or “no-go” zone solely on the Gaza side of their shared borders. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee, the initial 100-meter “off-limits” area has now extended to one kilometer across much of Gaza’s eastern border and two kilometers along the Strip’s northern border. FAO further reports that roughly one-third of Gaza’s agricultural land lies within the confines of the “buffer zone.”

Since the 18 January ceasefire, three Palestinian civilians, including one child, have been killed in the “buffer zone” area from shooting and shelling by Israeli forces. Another 12 Palestinians have been injured, including three children and two women, due to Israeli fire along the border.

In addition to the physical threat and the destruction of agricultural land and equipment, Gaza’s farming sector is further devastated by the destruction of what is believed to be hundreds of wells and sources of water and the contamination of farmland due to Israel’s invasion of Gaza at the beginning of the year. As reported by the Guardian newspaper in February 2009, these attacks have left nearly 60 percent of Gaza’s agricultural land useless.

The consequences of the active destruction of Gaza’s farming sector are amplified within the context of Israel’s siege and the stagnant state of rebuilding efforts since the ceasefire. With only a trickle of aid entering Gaza and poverty and malnutrition rates soaring, the ability to produce food is all the more vital to Palestinians in Gaza.

All images by Eva Bartlett.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who arrived in Gaza in November 2008 on the third Free Gaza Movement boat. She has been volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement and documenting Israel’s ongoing attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. During Israel’s recent assault on Gaza, she and other ISM volunteers accompanied ambulances and documenting the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.


Books destroyed by Israel

Tens of thousands of Palestinian books destroyed after Israel’s establishment, Ben-Gurion University researcher says

Ynet | January 28, 2010

Israel plundered and destroyed tens of thousands of Palestinian books in the years after the State’s establishment, according to a doctoral thesis to be submitted next month by a Ben-Gurion University researcher.

In an interview with the researcher published on al-Jazeera’s website Thursday, he claimed that Israel destroyed the Palestinian books in the framework of its plan to “Judaize the country” and cut off its Arab residents from their nation and culture.

According to the doctoral dissertation, Israeli authorities collected tens of thousands of Arab books in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Safed, and other towns that were home to Arabs. Israeli officials proceeded to hand out about half the books, while destroying the second half, characterizing them as a “security threat,” the researcher said.

In his al-Jazeera interview, the researcher claimed that, based on Israeli archives, IDF troops plundered the books from the homes of Palestinians expelled during the “Nakba” and handed them over to authorities. The State proceeded to establish a library in Jaffa and other towns for the books, he said.

‘Cultural massacre’

The researcher told al-Jazeera that according to documents he possesses, Israel destroyed 27,000 books in 1958, claiming that they were useless and threatened the State. Authorities sold the books, most of them textbooks, to a paper plant, he said.

“This was a cultural massacre undertaken in a manner that was worse than European colonialism, which safeguarded the items it stole in libraries and museums,” the researcher charged.

He added that some books were sold at discounted prices to Arab schools, while the others were transferred to the Hebrew University’s library in Jerusalem.

The researcher estimated that about 6,000 Palestinian books are currently available at the National Library at Hebrew University. However, he claimed that many other books in Arabic, English, and French were not recorded, charging that most of them are being held in the library’s warehouses and cannot be accessed.


Blair: I have not a regret

You’re a liar and murderer they screamed at him: Fury in public gallery as Blair says ‘I  have not a regret’

By James Chapman
Last updated at 10:22 PM on 29th January 2010

An unrepentant Tony Blair was heckled and jeered by families of Britain’s war dead last night as he declared he had ‘not a regret’ about invading Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein.

At the end of what had been billed as his ‘Judgment Day’, the former Prime Minister made it clear he would do the same again – and warned world leaders they may soon have to take similar decisions over Iran.

Despite the deaths of up to 700,000 Iraqis and 179 British troops, Mr Blair said he felt ‘responsibility but not a regret’ as he concluded his six hours of evidence to the Chilcot inquiry.

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On the spot: Tony Blair as he is grilled today by the Iraq inquiry

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There was uproar and shouts of ‘liar’ and ‘ murderer’ as bereaved relatives in the public gallery of the QEII conference centre in Westminster realised they were not going to receive the apology for which they had waited all day.

There was no hint of remorse.

Indeed, Mr Blair even suggested the world should be grateful to him.

Saddam had been a ‘monster’ and it had been right to remove him even to prevent the ‘possibility’ that he could acquire weapons of mass destruction.

He warned that Iran’s nuclear weapons programme now poses an even greater threat.

And, in an apparent rebuke to Gordon Brown and Barack Obama, suggested that if he was still in power he would be championing military action.

On a dramatic day of evidence, Mr Blair:

  • Revealed he decided soon after 9/11 to back the U.S. in whatever action it took;
  • Said a second UN resolution was politically desirable but not legally necessary;
  • Defended his claim that evidence for Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction was ‘beyond doubt’ and insisted he had believed it;
  • Admitted the infamous claim that Saddam’s WMD could be deployed within 45 minutes should have been corrected;
  • Revealed he rejected a last-minute offer of a ‘way out’ from the U.S., which said the UK did not need to send ground troops.
  • Mr Blair, in what is likely to be his last major appearance on the international stage, arrived by the back entrance to the centre, apparently to avoid a crowd of protesters outside.

As he began his evidence, he looked uncharacteristically nervous, with his hands shaking.

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Public anger: Demonstrators protesting outside the inquiry building in central London today

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Fury: Protesters daubed in fake blood wear Bush and Blair masks and carried a coffin

But he soon got into in his stride, joking about the recent TV interview with Fern Britton in which he suggested that if he had known Saddam had no WMD, he would simply have found a different argument for toppling him.

He denied this meant he had been committed to regime change at all costs, and tried to laugh off the comments, saying that ‘with all my experience’ of interviews, he still had ‘something to learn’.

Mr Blair went on to take a defiant stance on Iraq, which has come to define his premiership and left Britain deeply divided.

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He insisted he acted because of Britain’s alliance with the U.S. and his firm belief that the world had to send a ‘strong message’ in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 2001.

He insisted there had been no ‘covert’ deals with the U.S., but admitted had promised President Bush that Britain would help topple Saddam nearly a year before the war began.

That remained his position-even though every senior Government legal adviser was advising him military action would be illegal.

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Ring of steel: Scores of police were ranked outside the conference hall to keep order

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Probe: A court sketch shows the layout of the inquiry room

He made an extraordinary attempt to shift his central argument that he acted because he believed Saddam had WMD.

Mr Blair said: ‘If there was any possibility that he could develop WMD, we should stop him. That was my view then and that’s my view now.’

One rare concession was that he should have published raw intelligence rather than the Government’s notorious dossier.

He also admitted he should have corrected the way the 45-minute claim was interpreted – it referred only to short-range battlefield weapons – but claimed it had not been of great significance at the time.

Mr Blair insisted: ‘This isn’t about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception. It’s a decision.

‘And the decision I had to take was, given Saddam’s history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over one million people whose deaths he had caused, given ten years of breaking UN resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons programmes or is that a risk that it would be irresponsible to take?

‘The decision I took – and frankly would take again – was if there was any possibility that he could develop weapons of mass destruction we should stop him.’

He suggested people should recognise that the war had made the world safer, arguing that if Saddam had not been removed Iraq would now be competing with Iran to develop nuclear weapons and support terrorists.

But his refusal to express any contrition left some relatives of soldiers in tears.

Theresea Evans, whose son Llywelyn, 24, was one of the first soldiers to die in Iraq, said: ‘He smiled, he laughed during the day but he didn’t say anything about our loved ones at all.

‘I shouted that he was a liar because I believe he is. And he’s a murderer. He has got my son’s blood on his hands.’

They came for an apology. He simply ignored them

Paul Harris reports

She wore his dog tags around her neck and ran them through her fingers as she spoke.

It was five years since her brother was killed in Iraq and a few minutes earlier Sarah Chapman had been sitting just feet from the man she blames for sending him unnecessarily to his death.

Now she was standing in the rain outside the Iraq war inquiry and she could barely hold back the tears.

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Sarah Chapman with her brother’s dog tags (left) and Theresea Evans proudly wearing her son’s medals

Inside, a suntanned Tony Blair was giving the performance of a lifetime before a worldwide television audience and a handful of families who lost loved ones in the conflict he was attempting to defend.

He sat with his back to them and smirked occasionally as he spoke. It might have been raining outside, but you couldn’t blame Sarah Chapman if she suddenly felt the need for fresh air.

‘What Tony Blair has given me is a life sentence,’ she said. ‘There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about it.

‘Even when you switch it off in your head, you switch on the news and it’s there. My brother gave his life for this. I lost my life because of it.’

The former nurse, who gave up her job in Cambridge after suffering post-traumatic stress, was one of 20 relatives attending the first session of Mr Blair’s evidence.

Her brother Bob O’Connor, a special services sergeant, was one of ten killed in a Hercules aircraft that was shot down exactly five years ago today.

She steeled herself to attend the hearing but never expected any apology or condolence from Mr Blair.

‘I wanted to be here but watching him in there made me very angry,’ she said. ‘Everyone thought he was very smug.

‘At times he even seemed to be making light of it. It was extremely disrespectful.

‘I would have liked to have had some answers but I’m realistic. I never really thought we’d get any.’

She added: ‘I’m so angry with him. He was asked if there was anything finally that he wanted to say and he just said no.’

Perhaps this should have been the day Mr Blair acknowledged what a price these families paid for his determination oust Saddam Hussein. Instead, he ignored them.

Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon was killed by a roadside bomb in 2004, sat only feet away from him and fixed him with a stare.

‘His hands were shaking, just like my hands have been shaking for the last five years,’ she said.

‘I’d hoped we could turn the tables so he could face us.’

She added: ‘I have been writing to him for years asking for a meeting, and he didn’t have the decency to acknowledge us or meet us today to say sorry.

‘I will never forgive him and I believe he should stand trial. I will be angry with him for the rest of my life.’

Anne Donnachie lost her son Paul, an 18-year-old rifleman, in 2006. He was shot dead by a sniper in a war she believed was illegal and unnecessary.

‘I blame Tony Blair for the death of my son,’ she said. ‘He made a massive mistake when he sent troops into Iraq. But now he’s just denying everything. He won’t face up to the facts.’

Valerie O’Neill, who lost her son Kris, 27, when the Royal Army Medical Corps serviceman was blown up by a roadside bomb, said: ‘We waited right to the very end to hear an apology from him. It never came.

‘He couldn’t bring himself to do it. It’s an absolute disgrace.’

Some of the relatives emerged to join the demonstration outside.

Names of some of those who became victims of Mr Blair’s war were read aloud from a platform.

They included casualties not just from the roll call of 179 British servicemen-but from the huge list of Iraqi civilian dead. Many of the military dead were still in their teens and early 20s.

Among them was Llywelyn Evans, 24, who died in a Chinook helicopter crash in 2003.

His mother Theresea Evans travelled from her home in North Wales to attend the inquiry with one forlorn hope.

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‘I would simply have liked Tony Blair to look me in the eyes and say he was sorry,’ she said.

Had he done that? ‘No,’ she said. ‘He just sat there smirking.’

UN resolutions

The former Premier admitted sharing President Bush’s view that it ‘wasn’t necessary’ to have UN Security Council support for war.

Mr Blair said he wanted a ‘UN situation in which everyone was on the same page and had agreed’ because, politically, this would have made ‘life a lot easier’.

But he admitted reaching the conclusion that if the UN route failed, Saddam would have to go.

Mr Blair added: ‘The American view throughout has been, “This leopard isn’t going to change his spots”  –  he was always going to be difficult.’

He said it had been his decision to seek UN support, and that had led to resolution 1441 giving a final warning to Saddam to comply with weapons inspectors.

But he claimed that, despite Saddam failing to comply, France and Russia had made it clear they would not support a second resolution justifying military action so it had been withdrawn.

Mr Blair denied this was because U.S. troops were already massed in Kuwait.

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