The Psychiatric Reprisal
The Psychiatric Reprisal
What it is
This was a practice first identified as being used in the former Soviet Union. Targets of this practice were misdiagnosed as mentally ill, many were placed in state run psychiatric facilities.
Thousands upon thousands of individuals were targeted and systemically eliminated this way before the practice was brought to light and drew international attention.
The primary targets of this practice were dissidents, activists, those who tried to exercise their rights, or who wrote or published items that the state did not approve of. Those practicing freedom of religion. Also those who practiced minority or ethnic rights.
The practice was brought to the attention of the United Nations in 1969, and brought some condemnation in 1974, but this did little to change what was happening. The practice continued. It was only in 1991 when change was happening on the world stage, that the issue was again examined in more depth and the practice seems to have diminished.
Russia is not the only country to have used this practice. The practice was also heavily used in China as well. They also used this as a way of dealing with political dissidence.
What was interesting about the research into this practice is the idea that a whole field of professionals can become corrupted and misguided in their views. Believing that any form of dissidence is a mental illness.
She could not sleep that night, and became increasingly worried during subsequent months as more instructions from Moscow appeared on her desk. They were unusual, and what was worse, they confirmed her fears of that very first night: The author, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, was not normal. Actually, he was ill, clearly suffering from what was widely known in Soviet psychiatry as “sluggish schizophrenia.” And indeed, Gorbachev had all the symptoms: struggle for the truth, perseverance, reformist ideas, and willingness to go against the grain. My interlocutor continued to believe in her diagnosis until the Soviet Union collapsed and the windows to the world were opened wide. Only then did she realize that her concept of mental illness, shared by virtually all the approxi-mately 45,000 Soviet psychiatrists, was what was abnormal and that Gorbachev had been normal all along.
What is frightening is the realization of how indoctrinated these health professionals were. That they so implicitly believed the propaganda of what the state taught them to, and were willing to turn this indoctrination on innocent citizens. Just like some of the Nazi’s in Germany, many were following what they had been told or taught to do.
The overwhelming multitude of Soviet psychiatrists either had never participated in the political abuse of psychiatry, had tried to avoid being trapped by authorities into taking part, or had no idea that they were hospitalizing people who according to international standards were in perfect mental health—if such a thing exists. They followed thee criteria that they had been taught by a monopolized psychiatric educational system that was dominated by the Moscow School headed by Professor Snezhnevsky. They had been cut off from international psychiatry and had no knowledge of what their colleagues in the outside, “bourgeois” world believed. If any information trickled through, it was immediately seen as an offspring of degenerated bourgeois societies.
Many times we like to view these individuals as evil. Denizens of the state who cruelly and unconscionably tortured and falsely inprisioned innocent citizens, but what history is repeatedly showing time and again is that things are often not the cut and dried. These psychiatrist in many cases apparently did not realise the evil that they were doing. They in many cases were following a criteria, a set of standards laid out for them, by a governing body, and anyone who fell into specific criterias, were automatically labelled mentally ill.
They were part of a society in which private initiative, independent thinking, and going against the grain were, at the least, considered dangerous and were often branded criminal. They were part of a society that was taught that anybody who was different, both in thought and in appearance, was “not normal” and thereby almost inherently was “antisocial” and “antisocialist.” When combined with the theories of “sluggish schizophrenia,” this training made it very easy to convince rankand-file psychiatrists, who had only a Soviet education and no access to world psychiatry, that any person who went against the Communist Party and was willing to risk the happiness of both his family and himself had to be mentally ill.
These professional had a limited lens by which to judge, and so they went with what they had been taught, they followed the guidelines without question, and placed people into categories based on predetermined criterias. Could the same pattern be re-emerging in other societies? Could these same patterns be happening in democratic countries? Could health professionals also be following a set of criteria, and misdiagnosing perfectly healthy individuals as mentally unwell, schizophrenic, without having ever met them face to face, based solely on predetermined criteria?
Dissidents were held for observation in the fourth (“political”) department, and in most cases mental illness was the eventual diagnosis—almost invariably accompanied by a diagnosis of “sluggish schizophrenia.” When the investigative commission reviewed the files, the retired psychiatrist recognized many names under the diagnoses: former colleagues, sometimes friends, known to her as good professionals. The diagnoses were composed as though she had written them herself: the same style, the same terminology, and probably the same conclusions. Yet when the commission subsequently examined the 60 former victims in person, she was shocked, devastated.
What is really scary is how these diagnosis were handed out and delivered. By her own admission this psychiatrist would likely have put many of these individuals away, yet in person they still remained healthy fully functioning individuals, even after years of surviving the Soviet hell that they were put through.
As I said earlier, after the fall of the Soviet regime we found that the truth about Soviet psychiatry was even more horrific than we had imagined. The political abuse of psychiatry was only the tip of the iceberg. The Soviet regime had ostracized any person who was not productive, who did not fulfill the image of the healthy socialist person laboring for the common good—the radiant communist future.
Could these same criteria be slowly getting implemented in many democratic societies? Could this same agenda be making it’s way to the west? Will the citizens of the western world soon experience what their counter parts in the former Soviet Union did? A systemic abuse of power that targets 1 in 3 political prisoners?. A practice that touched possibly millions of innocent lives?
Approximately one in three political prisoners were held in psychiatric hospitals rather than in camps and prisons. Yet, the thousands of victims of these political abuses form only the tip of the iceberg of millions of Soviet citizens who fell victim to totalitarian Soviet psychiatry.
The American Psychiatric Association is said to be writing it’s soon to be updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and the criteria for mental illness might surprise some individuals.
The Psychiatric Reprisal Part 1 part 2 and 3.
Named: People who become very angry, like Mr. T in the A Team, could have ‘intermittent explosive disorder’
Do you live surrounded by clutter – ancient copies of magazines, your children’s old toys, articles you’ve clipped out of newspapers over the years?
If you find it hard to throw out things of limited or no value, you could be suffering from hoarding disorder.
‘Hoarding’ is just one of the new mental conditions being added to the psychiatrists’ bible, or the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (DSM), to give it its proper name.
Other new conditions identified as possibly needing professional help include binge eating – which is said to affect many people who are seriously obese – and ‘cognitive tempo disorder’, which seems very like laziness (symptoms include dreaminess and sluggishness).
There’s also ‘intermittent explosive disorder’, which involves occasionally becoming very angry suddenly.
Most bizarre of the proposed additions is one defined as ‘getting a thrill at being outraged by pornography’.
It seems that those in the western world who do not fall in line and follow the norms that the society prescribes as normal, could soon be in for an experience similar to that of the former Soviet Union.
Childhood temper tantrums, teenage irritability and binge eating may soon rate as psychiatric disorders in the US, according to proposed changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the bible of the psychiatric profession.
Things like childhood temper tantrums, teenage angst, and binge eating, might in today’s society be unpopular, but are they worthy of being classified as signs of mental illness and possibly being drugged away?
Proposed changes to the U.S. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) could include reclassifying childhood temper tantrums, teenage angst, and binge eating as psychiatric disorders. If accepted, the proposals could equal billions of dollars in new revenue for pharmaceutical companies.
Is being antisocial really a sign of mental illness? Are these laws just designed to target those who do not fit into a future state agenda?
The new edition may include “disorders” like “oppositional defiant disorder”, which includes people who have a pattern of “negativistic, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures.” Some of the “symptoms” of this disorder including losing one’s temper, annoying people and being “touchy”.
Other “disorders” being considered include personality flaws like antisocial behavior, arrogance, cynicism or narcissism. There are even categories for people who binge eat and children who have temper tantrums.
Children are already over-diagnosed for allegedly being bipolar or having attention-deficit disorder (ADD), which results in their being prescribed dangerous antipsychotic drugs. To categorize even more childhood behaviors as psychiatric disorders will only further increase the number of children who will be needlessly prescribed antipsychotic drugs.
Is western society slowly implementing many of the same criteria that allowed Soviet psychiatrists to label many healthy individuals as mentally ill, just by following a criteria and trying to lump everyone into those criteria, and weeding out the ones who do not fit?
The APA panel is also suggesting adding a new condition category to DSM called “risk syndromes”. People who are suspected to potentially be at risk for developing a mental disorder but do not yet have one would be deemed as having “psychosis risk syndrome”. This category would include teenagers who exhibit “excessive suspicion, delusions and disorganized speech or behavior,” for example.
The APA made it clear that its goal with the revisions is to diagnose people as early as possible with mental disorders, even before they actually have them, in order to get them on treatment.
If these risk syndromes are added to the new update, then you could be dealt with not for having a mental disorder, but just for having a factor that puts you at risk of having a mental disorder. You could be in treatment for just being suspected of potentially being at risk for developing a mental disorder.
“It not only determines how mental disorders are diagnosed, it can impact how people see themselves and how we see each other,” Alan Schatzberg, president of the American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the guide, told reporters. “It influences how research is conducted as well as what is researched. It affects legal matters, industry and government programmes.”
Might such factors already be affecting how we interact with each other? How we view each other? Are these criteria or similar being used to falsely diagnose individuals in western society as having a mental illness when they do not?
In the article giving workers the treatment, Peter Downs cites several cases of workers who complained and then were asked to see a psychiatrist. This is happening at thousands upon thousands of workplaces in many democratic societies. A condition of continued employment might even be based on such a forced encounter.
The first case sited in the article is that of Norm Crosty
On October 5, 1998, Norm Crosty sent a letter to the labor relationsdepartment at his plant. Crosty, for thirteen years an electrician at Ford Motor Company’s Wixom, Michigan, assembly plant, complained that he could not do his job because so many of his bosses were taking the necessary equipment out of the plant to work on their homes or personal businesses.
The next day, the plant director of human resources invoked a Ford program for combating workplace violence to bar Crosty from the factory and ordered him to see a company-paid psychiatrist or lose his job.
In this case for making what was a very legitimate claim, the worker was not only barred from his place of employment, but was ordered to see a psychiatrist. The ford program for combating workplace violence, most likely falls under the occupational health and safety laws that have been used to target others.
A little more than fourteen months later, and 725 miles away, officials at Emory University cited a similar concern about violence to justify using armed guards to escort Dr. James Murtagh off university property when Dr. R. Wayne Alexander, chairman of the department of medicine at Emory, ordered him to see a company-selected psychiatrist or lose his job. Six weeks earlier, Murtagh, a professor of pulmonology at Emory, had filed a false claims suit against the university, alleging that it had misspent millions of dollars in federal grant money.
It seems that members of society who complain, blow the whistle, or assert their rights at work, are being targeted under these health and safety provisions. The laws were originally put in place to protect the rights of workers who have the right to a safe work environment, but it seems that they are increasingly used to silence those who continue to complain, blow the whistle, or file complaints. Many targets of workplace mobbing, who complain about it, or get angry about it, seem to be having warning markers or notifications placed on their files often without their knowledge or awareness.
Across the United States, companies have seized upon concerns about workplace violence to quash dissent. Hundreds of large corporations have hired psychiatrists and psychologists as consultants to advise them on how to weed out “threatening” employees. They say they are only responding to a 1970 directive from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration that they maintain a “safe and secure work environment.” But by drawing the definition of “threatening” as broadly as possible, they are giving themselves a new club to bang over the heads of workers.
Maria Buffa, a former salaried employee in the personnel department at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, said she, too, was sent to a psychiatrist after she filed a sexual harassment complaint in February 1999 against a woman co-worker. “You think, maybe I am the problem, else why would they be sending me to a psychiatrist,”
This pattern of the state using psychiatrists to follow a set of diagnostic markers to access workers remotely, often without interviewing the workers is very similar to the pattern that was happening in the former Soviet Union, which allowed many innocent individuals to be falsely misdiagnosed.
As you might expect, the Postal Service, given its reputation for workplace violence, has bought into the psychiatric testing. Last September, Postal Service executives proposed to give line supervisors the right to order emergency psychiatric exams for employees who are argumentative. Unionists say this will jeopardize their ability to represent their members. ”
Albanese admits there are some people who clearly need help, but he says the Postal Service has so broadened its definition of events that can trigger a mandatory exam that “it is very easy to tie someone up in that psychiatric situation.” According to the APWU, “The following is a list of factors that a supervisor can consider when deciding whether or not to send an employee for a fitness-for-duty exam: significant increases in unscheduled absences, increased bathroom use, changes in behavior or work performance after lavatory or lunch breaks, deterioration in personal hygiene and/or cleanliness of the work location, inattention to work duties and progressive deterioration in concentration and memory, [and] threatening behavior. Supervisors can also impose emergency fitness-for-duty exams if an employee becomes argumentative, or shows an unusual interest in news stories or literature dealing with violence.”
These could be people who also just do not enjoy their jobs very much. Unscheduled absences, increased bathroom use, changes in behavior or workplace performance. How many workplaces implement unpopular changes which drive some workers away from their normal job functions, or make the regular job functions so unbearable that they just do not wish to be in the environment? Lot’s of companies do, thus many individuals at one point in their lives or another might fall into this criteria.
The web site for Michael H. Corcoran, Ph.D. & Associates, Inc., for example, asks: “Will the expert you consult be willing to render an opinion of dangerousness and be willing to put it in writing?” and “Will the expert be willing to do this without interviewing the subject personally?”
Some psychiatrists in the field doubt that any reliable judgment can be made without interviewing the subject.
Yet it seems that in the case of many individuals that is exactly what is happening. People are being assessed remotely, and yes some psychiatrists are diagnosing patients as mentally ill, schizophrenic, etc. They are then having warning markers placed on their files, placing them on notification lists, they are then subsequently followed around and harassed by the community at large. A practice that the Targeted Individual community has come to call and classify as Gang Stalking.
Speaking for himself, he says it is possible to tell if a worker is likely to become violent on the job, but not with 100 percent accuracy. But, he insists, “it will require more than just one session with the worker, and it will also require information from other sources close to the patient, including relatives, acquaintances in the neighborhood, work, etc.” If a psychiatrist is evaluating someone who is already on the job, he says, “one measure to prevent mistakes is to require a second opinion. That would give the individual the option to appeal and have his or her own evaluator.”
Unionists are skeptical of the objectivity of the psychiatrists the companies use. “We call them prostitutes, because they will write whatever the Postal Service wants them to,” says Shirley McLennan, vice president of APWU Local 4 in Louisville, Kentucky, of the doctors who do fitness-for-duty exams.
What if the information is coming from hostile other sources, such as jealous neighbours, or even distant neighbours, hostile co-workers, and family who immediately assume that their relatives are mentally ill, just based on the criteria of being interviewed about wither their relative could be mentally ill?
Donald Soeken, a former U.S. Public Health Service psychiatric social worker who used to be in charge of giving fitness-for-duty exams, says the psychiatric exams almost always are shams. “The doctor will go into all the areas that could discredit a person,” Soeken says. “He’ll ask early life questions, late life questions, sexual questions, whatever he wants to ask, and then write it up and give it to the boss or law firm. Any doctor worth his salt will find something wrong, or even make up something, and if you don’t answer one of his questions, then you are uncooperative and you can be fired for that, too. What they are trying to do is put a person out on a psychiatric disability. If they succeed, you would never work again in your lifetime.”
Soeken is sometimes called the father of the fight against abusive fitness-for-duty exams. While doing such exams for federal employees at the Public Health Service’s outpatient clinic in Washington, D.C., in 1978, he discovered that many of the people sent to him were either whistleblowers or people who had a personality clash with the boss. The employer making the referrals expected him to give them the ammunition to get rid of employees for mental health reasons.
Though not the exact same as being sent off to a Soviet Union state mental health facility, this practice could render a worker unable to work again. It could render a worker unfit to stay gainfully employed because they choose to blow the whistle, or had a disagreement with the boss. This practice in American society has been in place since at least the 1970, and similar practices are in other democratic countries.
After leaving the Public Health Service in 1994, Soeken established Integrity International to assist whistleblowers in the private sector. Since then, he has testified as an expert witness in seventy psychiatric reprisal lawsuits. Soeken warns anyone who will listen not to trust the company psychiatrist.
“If you assume the doctor is concerned about your health and well-being, you’ve made a deadly assumption,” he says. “They are looking for any phrase or evidence they can use against you to stereotype you as schizophrenic, paranoid, or delusional.”
This is why individuals who have never seen a mental health professional can be classified as delusional, schizophrenic, paranoid, etc, without ever having had a mental health exam. This can be done remotely. Remember this is not happening in the former Soviet Union, this is not happening in China, this is happening in democratic countries. America, Canada, The U.K., and many other democratic countries. Along with many none democratic countries.
Tom Devine, legal director for the Government Accountability Project. Often, another goal is to smear and discredit the employee. That, he said, is why psychiatric harassment “is unsurpassed in its ugliness.”
In Crosty’s case, a notice on the company bulletin board announced he had been expelled from the plant for psychiatric reasons. “It was very demeaning,” says Crosty. With the help of an attorney, and after he was cleared by four different psychiatrists, he got his job back, but “I was totally discredited as some kind of kook and wacko,” he says.
In Murtagh’s case, administrators at Emory “spread a rumor that he could be armed and dangerous, and a terrorist threat,” says Devine, whose organization has taken up Murtagh’s defense.
These practicies are being used across democratic workplaces, educational facilities, and other areas of society. These practices are being used on unsuspecting members of society. It’s being used to discriminate, silence, and destroy the lives on many innocent individuals. In addition to fit for duty exams, warning markers are being placed on files, citizens are being declared as having mental illnesses, in many cases without having ever been assessed by a health professional, and even if they are assessed, there is no guarantee of a fair assessment, in some cases these health professionals are going on rumours and hearsay of the administration that wants to have the worker removed from their job.
Based on this criteria it’s easy for the system to not only be abused by Employers, but also by employees who wish to get away with harassing fellow coworkers. Eg. If an employee complains too much, files a complaint, they can be placed on a notification system. If other employees go to Human Resources with complaints about an employee, reports are gathered together. The information is forwarded from Human Resources, and then to the Occupational Health and Safety team members who can be made up of a number of internal employees, plus a number of outside employers. Some workplaces and universities even have a special threat assessment team to determine if a worker could become a danger to themselves or others.
Employees and Educational facilities can recommend that a worker seek psychiatric assistance, or even use the Employee Assistance Program if one is in place, but in many cases they can not force an employee to undergo an assessment, what they can do instead is they can add a warning marker to an employees file. Using the occupational health and safety, workplace violence prevention laws, they can add a warning marker without the individuals knowledge. Once a warning marker is added, which could say a variety of things, including that the subject has displayed violent behaviours, might be suffering from mental health issues, etc. A notification is sent out to everyone in the targets environment, under the guise of protecting the community.
What community notifications really do is poison the targets environment, and often not only socially annexing the target, but opening the target to unspeakable harassment by the community at large. These notifications are in many cases treated the same way notifications about violent offenders and other predators are treated, it puts the community into a frenzy, and the target is treated as a pariah in many cases.
Once the community receive the notification, they often start to monitor and follow the target around. Many will even gaslight the target and other subtle, and not so subtle forms of harassment in an attempt to remove the target from the environment. Thus Gang Stalking is also referred to as community mobbing, taken to the extreme. This practice not only disrupts the life of the target, it’s fully capable of destroying the targets life. Because the notifications are systemic, they follow the target everywhere they go, every new job that they apply for, every new association that the target tries to form is poisoned by these notifications.
In the case of Damon Thompson he reports having made many complaints of harassment by both student and staff alike. Though he did not receive any help, student affairs reports that he was known to them. In cases similar to his, what has been known to happen to others is that the continued complaints about staff and students is not used as a learning opportunity to address mobbing on campus, or in the workplace, but is used to classify the person complaining and seeking help as mentally unwell. In similar cases, targets have had files opened, and been placed on notifications, which then increases the level of harassment the target experiences. Then due to the notification, further complaints by the target are treated as a sign of mental illness, rather than a cry for help, as they are further targeted in their environment.
Damon Thompson became violent and attacked a fellow student. He was arrested, and will likely go to jail. The fellow student he attacked a Katherine Rosen who did recover, but reports from an overseas paper report that he had made several complaints against her in the past. When the U.S. media reported the same story, they reported it as an unprovoked attack, and said that the student had just snapped for no apparent reason.
sources close to him and his family indicated that prior to this incident he had made countless complaints against classmates and this specific lab partner but with no results. Contrary to US media reports, Thompson did know Rosen who was his lab partner and who has been very offensive to him on previous occasions and even the day in question. Now UCLA in an attempt to shift blame away from itself has sought to discredit the mental stability of Thompson by using his many complaints by e-mail as an indication of instability.
But according to KTLA news, a professor who taught Thompson said he told a university administrator he was worried about the student’s mental health 10 months ago. UCLA history professor Stephen Frank, who taught him Western civilization late last year admits that Thompson sent him several emails complaining that classmates sitting around him had been disruptive and made offensive comments to him while he was taking a written exam and even accused the Professor of taunting him.
What many individuals are unaware of is that the very act of seeking out aid and assistance for workplace mobbing, or harassment, can be used against the person complaining to make it seem as if they are mentally unstable.
One e-mail stated “I believe I heard you, Professor Frank, say that I was ‘troubled’ and ‘crazy’ among other things,” Thompson wrote. “My outrage at this situation coupled with the pressure of the very weighted examination dulled my concentration and detracted from my performance.”
Frank said he was present during the entire exam, that Thompson sat in the front row and that he saw nothing to support the student’s complaints. Frank said he was told that other professors had reported similar exchanges with Thompson, who complained he was taunted by other students — in class, the dorms, dining areas and the library. A university official told Frank that he could only suggest that Thompson seek treatment, but they couldn’t require him to seek psychological help. “My concern was in the context of other violent incidents on campuses around the country,” Frank said.
Sources close to his family explain that Thompson frequently spoke with his mother and complained about the many things student had done to him and the names he was called even by the female students. However, they explain that the problem had to be extreme for Thompson to have reacted so violently
It seems that in some democratic countries similar psychiatric reprisal practices have been in place for the last 40 years or more. While many were pointing the finger at countries such as the former Soviet Union and China, many democratic countries were subtle implementing policies, practices, and procedures that were almost as harsh as those practices in none democratic countries. It seems for the last few decades the occupational health and safety laws have been used in a way similar to how the laws were used in the former Soviet Union. As early the 70’s there were reports of these laws being used to target whistleblowers and those who did not get along with their boss.
For change to happen and the abuses within the system to stop, the media, must be willing to report the abuses, like they were when these abuses happened in other countries. Society must wake up to the reality that we are using occupational health and safety laws, not always to protect society, but to target dissenting voices in many cases. To target those who are different, those who stand out, those who are still willing to complain, or fight for what they believe in.
With the future changes to the DSM rules and regulations, democratic countries could well wittingly or unwittingly be exactly where the former Soviet Union was just a few short years ago. Targeting perfectly sane, perfectly healthy productive members of society and declaring them as mentally ill to fit an a state and corporate agendas. A society where everyone is the same is not a creative, productive, or forward momentum society and eventually such societies do not remain productive for very long. The people just loose the will, when everyone is the same. When everyone is forced to think the same, act the same, and individuality, eccentricities, or differences are legislated, medicated, or socialized away.