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Human Rights and Freedoms
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Reforming the Mental Health Field

Reforming the Mental Health field

Freedom Magazine articles, published by the Church of Scientology
Freedom has exposed psychiatric abuses and mayhem, including overdrugging and experimentation with such procedures as “deep sleep therapy” in facilities in Australia and Canada which resulted in numerous deaths.

Further Discoveries and Reforms

      In a number of cases, Freedom investigations into psychiatric abuses have led to yet further-reaching discoveries and more sweeping reforms.

      In the early 1970s, Freedom began an investigation into reports of patient rights violations and an inexplicable patient death in the Missouri Institute of Psychiatry. Researchers uncovered physical abuse and over-drugging at the Institute, and through interviews of former patients and whistleblowers, uncovered bizarre “treatment” and practitioner misconduct which seemed unbelievable in America. Yet Freedom’s investigation had unearthed something even more sinister.

      What Freedom found at the Missouri state facility was the tip of an iceberg of CIA and military-funded behavior modification efforts, in which mental patients and prison inmates in institutions around the country were secretly used as disposable psychiatric “guinea pigs.”

      These psychiatric programs were later discovered by Congress to have mostly been conducted under an umbrella program code named MK-ULTRA. In 1975, Congress launched a full-scale investigation, one of the largest congressional investigations ever undertaken. Reforms were made to cancel such programs, and greater safeguards were put into place to protect patients’ and inmates’ rights. [See also “Government Reform,”]

      The discovery at Missouri Institute of Psychiatry was not the only incidence of Freedom exposing psychiatric human rights violations ahead of its time. In Canada, working with researchers from the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Freedom reported on experimentation conducted on psychiatric patients at Allan Memorial Institute at McGill University in Montreal. These experiments, too, were part of the clandestine program conducted under the aegis of the CIA.

      A number of patients who entered Allan Memorial Institute in the 1970s seeking help for problems from arthritis to depression were subjected, unwittingly, to a nightmare “treatment” developed by Dr. Ewen Cameron. Cameron’s test patients were drugged into a comatose state of “deep sleep,” then subjected to bona fide brainwashing in which the patient was barraged with intensive repetition of a verbal command of some type, as in hypnotism. The procedure also involved sensory isolation, in which a patient was deprived of awareness of his surroundings and events around him for days or weeks at a time.

      Freedom was in the forefront of exposing the human atrocities at McGill University, which helped lead to $750,000 in restitution paid by the U.S. government to victims in 1988.

      Through further interviews and documents, Freedom established that the experiments at McGill were but one leg of a larger program, in which Ewen Cameron and other psychiatrists—from Tulane University in New Orleans to Chelmsford Hospital in Sydney, Australia—worked in concert.

      Brutal and fatal psychiatric “deep sleep” at Chelmsford, conducted by psychiatrist Harry Bailey, was investigated and exposed by members of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights and Freedom in the 1980s. Similar to what occurred at McGill University, patients under “deep sleep” were kept comatose for periods of up to two weeks, while brain-damaging electric shocks were administered. Labeled the “greatest psychiatric and medical scandal in the history of Australia,” the Chelmsford abuses resulted in brain damage in at least 977 victims, while a total of 183 others died either at the hospital or within a year of being discharged.

      Due to persistent efforts by CCHR and the Australian edition of Freedom, a Royal Commission was called which investigated the Chelmsford atrocities for two years. The practice of “deep sleep” was outlawed, and many victims have been compensated for their suffering.

Broader Mayhem

      Freedom has also sought to educate officials, media, and the public on the psychiatric foundations of the mayhem and murder conducted in the name of “ethnic cleansing.”

      Psychiatrists have been the architects of genocide, whether it be on the scale of the extermination of millions or on the more socially restrained level of the sterilization of the “mentally unfit.”

      Freedom conducted an on-the-scene investigation in former Yugoslavia to find out the truth about the source of genocide against the Croatian and Bosnian people. Correspondents in war-ravaged regions interviewed survivors of the ethnic cleansing programs whose family and friends had been slaughtered. Beginning with extensive exposes published in European and United States editions in 1992 and 1993, Freedom revealed how psychiatrists Radovan Karadzic and Jovan Raskovic were the masterminds of ethnic cleansing—mass murder without parallel in Europe since World War II.

      Freedom and CCHR were among the first to call for the prosecution of Karadzic for war crimes, and to publish the facts regarding the influence of psychiatry in the killings.

      The psychiatric underpinnings of other atrocities committed against minorities, such as the mass sterilization of “mentally unfit” in Canada, have also been exposed in Freedom.

Freedom Magazine covers, published by the Church of Scientology
Investigations of fraud, abuses and deaths at the hands of psychiatrists has helped lead to reforms in countries around the world.

      In 1995, Freedom contributed to a definitive book on the subject of psychiatric influence in Nazi Germany, entitled Psychiatrists—The Men Behind Hitler. The culmination of more than 20 years of research by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, the extensively documented book provides conclusive evidence of the psychiatrists responsible for both Hitler’s indoctrination and inspiration. As revealed in the book, the plans for genocide were laid long before Hitler came to power, and psychiatrists had planned the extermination of what it termed “life devoid of value” in the 1920s. Psychiatrists, in fact, had engineered the murder of some 300,000 mental patients long before World War II began.

      As a result of the work of CCHR and Freedom in Germany and in Austria, discoveries continue to be made of psychiatrists who escaped trial for their participation in the Nazi euthanasia program. In many cases these psychiatrists continued to practice, with their colleagues silent about their identity and their work.

      One such psychiatrist was Heinrich Gross in Austria, who was involved in the deaths of children in Spiegelgrund, a Viennese facility under the Third Reich. From July 1942 onward, up to 12 children per month died in the facility from overdoses of heavy psychiatric drugs.

      The head of the Spiegelgrund institution, Ernst Illing, was sentenced to death and executed in 1946 for the murder of hundreds of innocent children. Although Heinrich Gross stood trial in 1950 on charges of complicity in manslaughter and was convicted and sentenced, the legal proceedings were canceled in 1951 because of procedural irregularities and an ordered retrial never occurred. In 1997 Freedom obtained documents showing that Gross, contrary to his claim of having been out of the country for most of the crucial war years, had in fact returned to Vienna to work at the psychiatric facility in 1944. Freedom published a strong case for the reopening of the investigation of Gross—an issue which has since drawn international media attention.

Multibillion-Dollar Fraud

      In numerous in-depth investigative features over the years, Freedom has documented harm and havoc created by psychiatrists through wanton prescription of mind-altering drugs, such as Ritalin and Prozac.

      Children are the worst victims, with psychiatric drugs now entrenched in the education system. Ritalin, a highly addictive, amphetamine-like drug—bought on the streets by drug addicts—is prescribed for countless children who are diagnosed with psychiatric labels. Freedom has published documented accounts of perfectly normal children turned into depressed, listless, and sometimes violent, suicidal or homicidal addicts.

      Freedom has consistently exposed the fraud of what psychiatry would have the nation believe to be a mass epidemic of mental diseases among children—and how psychiatrists and the psychiatric pharmaceutical industry make hundreds of millions of dollars through this previously untapped patient population.

      Freedom also published the lamentable truth that every normal aspect of childhood behavior today falls within the broad spectrum of “symptoms” which comprise so-called “mental illness.”

      Far from isolated to children, psychiatric diagnoses today cover literally every base with invented criteria. Categories of mental illness in psychiatry’s register of mental disorders have nearly quadrupled over the past four decades. Freedom has exposed how the “epidemic” of mental disease is in fact rooted in the fact that once a new illness is registered, insurance companies and government-funded medical care can pay for treatment, which today is normally a regimen of psychiatric drugs. A multi-billion dollar drug industry has thus emerged which continues to grow—as do the harms, deaths and suicides which have been linked to psychiatric drugs.

      Freedom has also published in-depth coverage of insurance fraud perpetrated by psychiatric hospital chains in the United States and Canada, in which many patients are committed to institutions and treated on the basis of their insurance coverage, only to be turned out again when the well dries up.

      Further psychiatric corruption given attention in Freedom includes the practice of paying social workers, school counselors, crisis hot-line workers and even ministers to refer patients for psychiatric “treatment”; diagnosing without sufficient review; and multiple, unnecessary treatments. A common theme is preying on the young or the helpless.

      In its continuing efforts to inform and educate on the truth about psychiatry, Freedom also contributed to the comprehensive book on the subject in 1995, Psychiatry: The Ultimate Betrayal. The book provides a very in-depth examination of psychiatry, from its roots to its permeation throughout society, and its goals and the means by which the profession today is attempting to realize them.

      Freedom’s coverage over the past three decades into abuses and corruption in the mental health field has been extensive. Yet the need for investigation, and for reform, has far from passed.

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