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Friday, December 8, 2006
KGB-style Punitive Psychiatry for American Dissidents
This excellent commentary was sent to me by whistleblower Ed Schooling  ex-military and retired from LAPD. Ed has established a track record as a sharp investigator and has been an extremely reliable source of information for myself and other researchers over a period of years.
What Ed says here about whistleblowers having their sanity impugned by government-sponsored whore psychiatrists and their cronies and minions is certainly true. This outrage has happened to many of us who have told the truth about government corruption and illegal black operations which we witnessed; were directly involved in; and/or were victimized by.
[See: Targeted for Terror: Ex-FBI Agent's Gruesome Ordeal, re Geral Sosbee, as just one such case of a whistleblower whose sanity was impugned simply because he reported FBI corruption and defended the Constitution. They threatened him with incarceration in a psychiatric hospital unless he retired! And the persecution has never stopped, it continues to this very day.]
Ed speaks the truth. I hope more people will start listening.
Below Ed's commentary is an article titled Mad Russians from U.S. News and World Report, 1996.
Whither the KGB? Read Ed's analysis; read the article which follows and decide for yourself.
Is Soviet Style Punitive Psychiatry Coming to America for Dissidents?
By Ed Schooling
Keep in mind while reading the below article that the world seems to be going in reverse. People in the Eastern Bloc now have all of the freedoms they want, while rights are being stripped from Americans and people of other western nations.
Every American whistleblower, whether he/she was police, intelligence agent or operative, government or private worker all know that for decades if you blew the whistle on your leaders, superiors, fellow workers, your agency, or company, you were sent to "whore shrinks" who always diagnosed you as having some type of mental disorder.
This was especially true if you did not "recant" your allegations, if they gave you that chance. These whore shrinks would write whatever they were told to write about you by the powers who paid them. And this was not about political dissent, rather about reporting major corruption.
Therefore if your facts of corruption were true, they would label you as a mental case. End of any internal investigation.
There is not much difference between these American whore shrinks and the Soviet shrinks of the past. In America, instead of doctors and nurses torturing "dissenters" or "militants who want to report corruption," the whisleblowers superiors and co-workers would use CIA/KGB/NAZI style dirty and illegal tactics to attempt to destabilize, break down, and discredit the whistleblower. These were willingly taught to police departments for example by CIA. Of course the FBI and other agencies also use these tactics.
In some cases government agents, and even employees of private companies have used drugs and methods of serious behavior modification on their own people who violate the secrets of their fellow workers who are involved in crimes being covered up by superiors and heads of agencies.
In other cases some whistleblowers have been "suicided" or came down with the "CIA flu" if they were privy to very sensitive information and were at risk to talk.
Even a few of the whore doctors are waking up. One who took orders for twenty years falsely diagnosing whistleblowers as mental cases of one sort or another turned on LAPD some years back. His final report on myself stated that everything I had related to him and to my superiors about major crimes and corruption also involving CIA was absolutely true. There was just no way the City of Los Angeles and LAPD could contradict their former professional whore doctor.
Because too many people are waking up to major corruption, crimes and other wrong doing, the next step that may come to America is possibly what you will read below from the Soviet past.
by Victoria Pope
U.S. News & World Report
Victims of Soviet 'punitive psychiatry' continue to pay a heavy price.
Pyotr Starchik can't drive a car, buy a house, travel abroad or get married.
Like thousands of former anti-Soviet dissidents, Starchik was stripped of those rights when he was declared insane by a state psychiatric panel. And like all whose political dissent was dealt with in this Kafkaesque fashion, Starchik found that the end of the Soviet state has not brought an end to his legal nightmare.
Russia has yet to come clean on its history of punitive psychiatry, and many of the doctors who carried out the campaign, though now elderly, retain lofty positions. And so Starchik remains in the limbo he entered after his arrest for anti-Soviet activities in 1972. "I can do anything I want--kill a person and not be responsible," he says in a fleeting stab at humor. "At the same time, I can't get a job that requires certification. "
Starchik could try to overturn his diagnosis through a cumbersome process that would begin with a request to the security services-- his old KGB tormentors--to "declassify" his case. "Why should I?" he asks. " [The authorities] put the wrong diagnosis. It is their guilt. It is up to them to apologize."
The 58-year-old former dissident and onetime psychology student works as a night watchman and contents himself with writing music, drawing colorful visions of God in the style of William Blake and caring for his triplet babies.
Closed files. Over seven decades of Soviet communism, an estimated 40 million people were sent to the gulag, the vast network of labor camps, prisons and special psychiatric hospitals. During the glasnost of the late 1980s, former camp inmates gave vent to memories of their repression. Their pressure led to a government decree offering material compensation to victims, but the state stopped short of opening period files.
Today, Russia's state center for forensic psychiatry is still the Serbsky Institute, where psychiatrists once examined thousands of political dissidents whom they deemed mentally unfit. One favorite diagnosis: vyalotekushchaya, or "sluggish schizophrenia," a clinical term coined at Serbsky to explain why someone with such a disorder might appear normal most of the time.
One manifestation of this novel ailment was "stubbornness and inflexibility of convictions"; the usual treatment consisted of megadoses of powerful tranquilizers like Thorazine for "prophylactic" purposes. "Reformist delusions" were an indication of "paranoid development," the other blanket diagnosis used for dissenters.
A year ago, President Boris Yeltsin created a blue-ribbon commission to delve into the fate of political prisoners. But while investigating psychiatric malpractice, several of its members say, they were refused access to many key medical files. Despite these obstacles, the commissioners found the first official documentary evidence of cruel and systematic mistreatment of patients in the psychiatric hospitals.
A review of these top-secret documents was undertaken by Anatoli Prokopenko, former head of the Soviet central archives, who decided to tell his story only after the recently completed study was shelved and ignored by top officials. Combing the archives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Prokopenko says, he found evidence of a rigorous internal probe into the hospitals, which culminated in an official party delegation making the rounds of several facilities in 1956.
The visiting Communist dignitaries found healthy people who were " beaten and humiliated" and noted that raving-mad inmates shared space with the perfectly sane.
The delegation detailed other abuses, like the practice of putting patients in wet robes. "Apparently the people working at these hospitals got really scared after the visit," Prokopenko says, citing the massive release of prisoners from the facilities that immediately followed the inquiry.
But the party report never made waves. It was suppressed, and the party members who wrote it were punished.
Paper trail. Such documents are crucially important because, in the past, Soviet psychiatrists were always able to brush off reports of abuse by terming the testimony of survivors anecdotal and subjective.
Individuals brought in for anti-Soviet activities were, "after all, mostly people with psychological disorders at different levels," the newly appointed minister of health, Tatiana Dmitrieva, told the Russian daily Argumenty i Fakty.
Dmitrieva, the former director of Serbsky, blocked commission access to the files at Kazan --a special psychiatric hospital in eastern Russia notorious for its merciless treatment of inmates.
Once in the hospitals, many prisoners say, they were forced to admit they were mentally ill to avoid hellishly painful injections that at times were so potent a patient would faint and need reviving with an oxygen mask.
Mikhail Kukobaka, a Belarussian worker arrested for organizing an election boycott, recalls how the pressure to give in was particularly fierce when he was held in the 1970s at Sychyovka, a special hospital near the Russian city of Smolensk.
"The nurses were criminals from the neighboring prison," he says, sucking in his breath. "There were injections. Murders. They beat people to death."
Kukobaka attributes his heart problems to the unrelieved tension of incarceration. He is stuck with the diagnosis of schizophrenia but says he will never ask for official rehabilitation. To prove he has full command of his faculties, he has chronicled his prison experiences in several essays. That is vindication enough, he says.
Prisoners who repeatedly refused to recant paid dearly. "They would take this canvas material, 20 meters of it on a roll, and you were bandaged, and water was poured on you," says Antonas Bagdonas, recollecting Kazan in the 1950s. The swaddling would then dry and constrict. "The circulation would stop and the person lost consciousness," he adds.
The old man's body is evidence enough of the torture: It is crisscrossed with scars. He survived, he said, only because other prisoners massaged his wounds with oil. The past bleeds into the present, and he lives in fear that his old captors will trace him.
Encore. The last political prisoners left these dreaded facilities in 1988. But, warns Emanuel Guschansky, a psychiatrist and commission member, "the structure that brought psychiatric abuse still exists. If there are certain political changes in the country, or dictatorship, it could all be revived immediately."
Indeed, the psychiatric system remains such a potentially powerful weapon of repression in part because the mentally ill have such meager rights of recourse under Russian law.
Prokopenko and Guschansky still hope to compile a white paper on punitive psychiatry documenting its scope. But many disturbing reports that have surfaced --for example, that one hospital's post-mortems showed that huge doses of the blood-pressure drug reserpine had damaged patients' brains-- may never be confirmed as long as hospital files and archives remain closed.
And many of the former political prisoners who might fill in the blanks have moved abroad. "They wouldn't like to live in this country anymore," says Alexander Podrabinek, jailed for publishing the first reports of psychiatric wrongdoing in the early 1970s in the illegal samizdat press.
However restorative a true accounting of these horrors might be, few even bother to agitate for it. Russia's de-Stalinization has been fitful at best. The country hasn't addressed its totalitarian past in the way that Germany did when the Allied victors forced justice on that defeated nation. Former Communists like Yeltsin still run Russia and are hardly eager for an apportioning of guilt.
For Guschansky, a practicing therapist at Clinic No. 21 in Moscow, there is simply no going forward for his profession without an acknowledgment of guilt.
Overshadowed by the past, Russian psychiatry remains atrophied at its core, he says, and lags many decades behind psychiatry in the West. Clinicians can read works published abroad about how repression and torture affect the psyche, but no such literature is home grown.
Not surprisingly, Russians still view psychiatrists as aggressors out to harm them. This legacy makes it hard to treat patients successfully, Guschansky says, especially one distinct group: the men and women traumatized while imprisoned in Soviet psychiatric facilities.