Monday, May 23, 2016

Psychiatry: An Industry of Death Touring Exhibit Opens in Atlanta

“Dr. Death” isn’t so unusual in the psychiatric industry – exhibit documents the pseudoscience and sordid history of psychiatry.

“That’s almost more than I can stomach, but at least I know the truth now,” said one visitor exiting “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death,” an international touring exhibit which opened Sunday for a week-long stay in Atlanta.

Hosted by Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Georgia, the museum-style displays document a side of psychiatry’s past that is rarely seen. Historical and contemporary footage, including interviews with over 150 experts and survivors, covers the brutal psychiatric treatments of the past and trace its history through the labels and drugs used today. Georgia State Senator Donzella James, officiating the ribbon cutting, told attendees, “Don’t take my word for it. I’m here today to help open up this [exhibit] so that you can come and see for yourself, and know what psychiatry is doing.”

Deb MacKay, regional coordinator for CCHR, said that plans for the exhibit were already in place when Atlantans received news about the indictment of psychiatrist Narendra Nagareddy, nicknamed “Dr. Death” after thirty-six of his patients died while he was prescribing them controlled substances.  "Dr. Death is just a footnote in a long history of medical abuse,” said MacKay, “That’s ‘business as usual’ for many in this profession.”  MacKay was standing near an exhibit vignette titled Psychiatric Criminality which notes “psychiatrists and psychologists have an inordinately high number of criminal convictions as compared to other sectors of the health care profession.”

The exhibit brings facts and figures on such topics as “using ‘science’ to promote racism” and “labeling and over-drugging children.”  A section is devoted to electroshock, explaining concerns that led to a demonstration in downtown Atlanta last weekend, where hundreds of participants representing CCHR, the Nation of Islam, the NAACP and Concerned Black Clergy protested the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting and denounced the APA’s request to the FDA to allow electroshock on children and teens who are “treatment resistant,” meaning drugs didn’t work.

With eight million children in the U.S. already on psychotropic drugs and a growing awareness of the harm and inefficacy of these drugs, protesters feared the label “treatment resistant” would be applied to thousands of children to justify giving them electroshock.

At a press conference following the march, one survivor of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) said he received “30 rounds of electroshock” in one year at age 21.  He described how he had no memory of his high school years and broke into tears while recounting “sitting there, and my father having to teach me how to tie my shoes again.”

“This is unconscionable to even consider doing this to a child,” said Dr. Linda Lagemann, a clinical psychologist who retired after 23 years in practice. “Someone’s getting rich and someone’s getting hurt. This really must be stopped.”

Georgia may soon join a growing list of states to enact protections against ECT for minors.  Senator James is championing the effort and recently called for legislation to ban its use on children. She said Georgia’s provisions to protect children and others from ECT were grossly insufficient and cited a World Health Organization recommendation to governments that: “There are no indications for the use of ECT on minors, and hence this should be prohibited through legislation.”

At the exhibit, Georgians can show their support for Senator James’ legislation by signing a petition for the ban of ECT on children.

The exhibit is free and runs through Sunday, May 29, 11 am to 7 pm daily at Piedmont Park Greystone, 400 Park Dr NE.  It has toured more than 441 major cities in the U.S. and around the world and has educated over 800,000 people on the history and contemporary practices of psychiatry.

CCHR is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious mental health watchdog. Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969. CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. CCHR has helped to enact more than 150 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive mental health practices.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Church of Scientology to Host Roundtable Discussion on Environmental Care

The Nashville Church of Scientology is observing World Environment Day on June 2nd with a roundtable event for the environment.

The Church of Scientology is inviting key environmental advocates to a roundtable discussion on the theme: “It’s Your City – Green it Up,” to be held on June 2nd in honor of World Environment Day. Officials at the church say that this initiative will bring people together that care about the environment so they can connect and can do bigger things together.

“Our members care about the Earth. We all depend on it, it’s up to all of us to take care of it,” says Pastor of the Church, Rev. Brian Fesler, “we would like to extend an invitation to those committed to the environment to join us at this roundtable event.”

World Environment Day occurs each year on June 5th and is celebrated by the United Nations. Last year, the worldwide theme for the day was “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.” According to, World Environment Day “…has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.”

“That’s exactly what we are aiming to create in Nashville,” says Rev. Fesler.

“Green it Up” will take place on June 2nd at 3:00 pm. For more information or to participate, contact Julie Brinker at the church, 615-687-4600.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Diverse Organizations Call for Ban on Electroshocking Children

Anticipation mounted as hundreds of activists, clergy, civil rights advocates and supporters lined up to march in protest of electroshock on children during the annual convention of the American Psychiatric Association. But no one could foresee what would happen next.

One would expect the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, the international mental health watchdog, to take a stand against electroshocking of children.  But when CCHR takes that message to the heart of Atlanta during the annual convention of the American Psychiatric Association (APA)—and is joined by representatives of the NAACP, the Nation of Islam, 10,000 Fearless Men, Black Lives Matter and Concerned Black Clergy—one has to look deeper.

“Electroconvulsive Therapy,” otherwise known as “ECT” or electroshock treatment, is a controversial and “archaic technique invented in the 1930s, [which] sends jolts of electricity into the brain, inducing a seizure. It’s associated with numerous side-effects, including short and long-term memory loss, cognitive problems, unwanted personality changes, manic symptoms, prolonged seizures, heart problems and death,” reports Natural News.

Participants in the protest reported that bystanders were “shocked” to learn this practice is still common, stunned to learn that the APA is currently pressuring the Food and Drug Administration to expand its use against children.  “You mean they still do that?” responded one of the march viewers, a security guard on the property where the APA event took place.  “I thought that went out in the ‘40s!”

Not so, says Mental Health America, reporting that “ECT is administered to an estimated 100,000 people a year, primarily in general hospital psychiatric units and in psychiatric hospitals.”  And this while FDA agencies are already aware it is a dangerous procedure.  In fact, the FDA’s Office of Device Evaluation, a part of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, issued a draft guidance in early 2016 recommending a “prominently placed” warning on ECT devices to include “The long-term safety and effectiveness of ECT treatment has not been demonstrated.” 

The same report lists effects known to be associated with ECT, ranging from long-term problems with “autobiographical memory” (knowledge about one’s own life), to pain and skin burns, to “insufficient, or lack of breathing” and heart attack, stroke and death.

So as the march led to a panel discussion on ECT, and the panel discussion into a symposium the following day, attendees asked, “Why on Earth would anyone in their right mind push to use this against children?”  Especially when one speaker, an ECT survivor who received “30 rounds of electroshock” in one year, at age 21, described how he had not one memory from his high school years, and broke into tears while recounting “sitting there, and my father having to teach me how to tie my shoes again.”

One participant seemed to have the answer.  “This is unconscionable to even consider doing this to a child,” said Dr. Linda Lagemann, a clinical psychologist who retired after 23 years in practice. “Someone’s getting rich and someone’s getting hurt. This really must be stopped.”

Long-term Georgia State Senator Donzella James, speaking during the panel, called for state legislation to ban the use of ECT on children. She said Georgia’s provisions to protect children and others from ECT were grossly insufficient and cited a World Health Organization recommendation to governments that: “There are no indications for the use of ECT on minors, and hence this should be prohibited through legislation.”

The unanimous, resounding and spontaneous support for James’ proposal, a proposal so natural it should have long since been law, suddenly explained what brought together this particular mix of political persuasions, religious affiliations and socioeconomic delineations, and gave hope that, at least when it comes to our children, we can find unity amongst diversity.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Nashville Church of Scientology to Hold 66th Dianetics Anniversary Celebration

The Adventure of Dianetics began 66 years ago.

On May 9, 1950, a movement was launched with these words by L. Ron Hubbard: “Dianetics is an adventure. It is an exploration into Terra Incognita, the human mind, that vast and hitherto unknown realm half an inch back of our foreheads.” He further invited readers to “Treat it as an adventure. And may you never be the same again.” Millions have done just that.

To commemorate this anniversary, the Nashville Church of Scientology will hold a Dianetics anniversary celebration next week to share news of the application of Dianetics technology across the South.

Now available in 165 nations in 50 languages, more than 21 million copies of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health have been sold and it has appeared on a record 116 bestseller lists.

Dianetics sparked the movement that ultimately led to the founding of the Scientology religion, the only major religion to emerge in the 20th century. L. Ron Hubbard went on to document his research into the spirit, mind and life in 18 Basic books, thousands of other written materials and nearly 2,500 recorded lectures—the Scripture of Scientology.

Today, L. Ron Hubbard's works are studied and applied daily in over a thousand Dianetics centers, Scientology churches, missions and organizations around the world. The Dianetics Seminar has seen much success in Nashville where it is delivered out of the Hubbard Dianetics Foundation, a department within the Church of Scientology.

For more information on Dianetics, visit the Dianetics website at For an interactive audiovisual overview of the life and works of L. Ron Hubbard, visit

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Watchdog Group CCHR Seeks to Stop American Psychiatric Association's Attempt to Reclassify Electroshock Devices for Use on Children

Mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights will be protesting the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in Atlanta, Georgia on May 14th to oppose their recent push to reclassify electroshock devices to include its use on children. CCHR was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and psychiatrist Thomas Szasz as a non-religious, non-political mental health watchdog.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reclassify electroshock (ECT) devices as low risk and has recommended that it include ECT use on children.[1] The mental health industry watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), has long opposed the APA's use of electroshock due to its devastating effects on patients, and will be protesting their latest push to expand its use on children at the APA's annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia, May 14, 2016. CCHR was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and eminent psychiatrist, Prof. Thomas Szasz.

CCHR says that while most Americans don't realize that electroshock is still used, the fact is more than 100,000 are electroshocked in the U.S. alone—every year.[2] The APA now wants to expand this, including using electroshock on children.[1]

The APA states that "having access to a rapid and effective treatment such as ECT is especially meaningful in children and adolescents…."[1] But CCHR points out how the electroshocking of children actually happens:

A child is laid out on a bed and put under anesthesia.[3] Then they are administered a muscle relaxant. The use of muscle relaxants prior to being electroshocked is due to the fact that the convulsions from electroshock were so violent, that patients commonly used to break bones.[4] The use of muscle relaxants in modern electroshock procedures already puts the child at risk: The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states in their "Practice Parameters for Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy With Adolescents," that, "Muscle relaxation is achieved with succinylcholine."[3] According to the label for succinylcholine, the drug can cause cardiac arrest, severe, prolonged respiratory muscle paralysis, and potentially life-threatening and/or fatal allergic reactions.[5] The recommended voltage given in today's ECT is actually higher than when patients were breaking bones from convulsions—the muscle relaxant may make it appear less violent than earlier forms of electroshock, but the voltage is up to 3 times higher.[6] Next, electrodes are placed on one side of the head of a child or on both temples; the ECT machine is turned on, sending up to 460 volts and between 550 and 1,000 milliamps of electricity (depending on the machine) through the child's brain. This electricity shocks the brain producing a seizure that lasts about 60 seconds.[7] According to the FDA, ECT can cause physical trauma (including fractures, contusions, injury from falls, dental and oral injury) prolonged or delayed onset seizure and complications, including heart attack and even death. Along with these possible outcomes are permanent memory loss, confusion and cognitive dysfunction.[8]

In addition to the APA calling for the use of electroshock on children diagnosed with depression and bipolar, they include recommending its use on children who meet the criteria for "treatment resistance," which is often broadly defined as "failure to achieve response or remission to at least one proven antidepressant."[9] CCHR says that instead, the APA should be reviewing the 286 international drug regulatory agency warnings citing side effects of hallucinations, mania, psychosis, suicidal ideation, worsening depression, addiction, withdrawal and a host of other common side effects. CCHR states this could open the door to the possibility of any child being labeled "treatment-resistant" simply because the drugs aren't working. There are already more than 8 million U.S. children are on these dangerous drugs, including 1 million between the ages of 0-5 [10].

CCHR also points out that ECT device manufacturers do not, and cannot, guarantee the electroshock machines are safe or effective for use on a child, let alone an adult. Since 1978, the FDA classified the ECT devices as a restrictive Class III, demonstrating "an unreasonable risk of illness or injury." This is because the manufacturers have never conducted clinical trials on the machines and, despite being required to do so, the FDA failed to enforce their own order for the trials to be conducted.[11]

In continuing its long expose of electroshock and in particular on children, CCHR is organizing a protest march at the annual APA convention in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, May 14, 2016. For more information on the protest, visit


[1] Letter to Robert M. Califf, M.D., Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, from the American Psychiatric Association, March 10, 2016, p. 2,, click on: "March 10: APA Comments to the FDA Concerning the Proposed Order and Draft Guidance related to ECT Devices."

[2] "Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)," Mental Health America,

[3] "Practice Parameter for Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy With Adolescents," Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Vol. 43, No. 12, December 2004, pp. 1521-1539,

[4] Scott O. Lilienfeld, Hal Arkowitz, "The Truth about Shock Therapy," Scientific American, May 1, 2014,; Op. cit., "Practice Parameter for Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy With Adolescents."

[5] Anectine® (Succinylcholine Chloride Injection, USP) Label,,

[6] John M. Friedberg, M.D., "Shock Treatment, Brain Damage, and Memory Loss: A Neurological Perspective," American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 134, No. 9, September 1977, pp: 1010-1013,; Linda Andre, Doctors of Deception: What They Don't Want You to Know about Shock Treatment, pp. 103-104 (Rutgers University Press, Copyright 2009),–gfO1EsfFtGqW-9k1pfIG1MhE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiAm_299MPMAhVKxWMKHQTeB0sQ6AEIQzAG#v=onepage&q=amps%20of%20old%20ect%20machines&f=false.

[7] "Ronald L. Warnell, MD, Conrad M. Swartz, PhD, et al., "Clinically insubstantial cognitive side effects of bitemporal electroconvulsive therapy at 0.5 msec pulse width," Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 2011: 23 (4): 257-262,; The Brain Stimulation Clinic, Atlanta, Georgia,; Op. cit., "Practice Parameter for Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy With Adolescents."

[8] "Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Devices for Class II Intended Uses," Draft Guidance for Industry, Clinicians and Food and Drug Administration Staff, December 29, 2015,

[9] Op. cit., Letter to Robert M. Califf, M.D., Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, from the American Psychiatric Association; Dawn F. Ionescu, Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, et al., "Pharmacological approaches to the challenge of treatment-resistant depression," Dialogues Clinical Neuroscience, June 2015, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 111–126,

[10] IMS Health Vector One National Database Year 2013, Extracted April 2014,

[11] Am J. Psychiatry, 138:4, April 1981, p. 572.

CONTACT: Citizens Commission on Human Rights - Phone: +1 (323) 467-4242 - E-mail: - Twitter: @CCHRInt

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Criminon Tennessee Participating in the Big Payback

The Big Payback is a 24-hour online giving event, highlighting the great work of Middle Tennessee nonprofits and inspiring community-wide giving, according to Starting at midnight on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, donors have 24 hours to make gifts online at to 770 participating nonprofits, including schools and religious institutions, which are located in or provide services in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee.

This year, Criminon Tennessee is participating in this online gift giving effort. Criminon Tennessee has been in operation since 2014, when it graduated its first class from the Criminal Justice Center (CJC) Correctional Facility in the heart of downtown Nashville. The Director of Criminon Tennessee, Tracy Fesler, was proud to talk about the progress her students make during their time in the program. “Some of these guys get in trouble because of a momentary upset—one thing sets them off and they make a serious mistake that puts them on track for years of self invalidation and degradation,” says Fesler. “We help restore their self-respect so they can become a contributing member of society and begin making up for damage they have done.”

The Criminon program is an evidence-based intervention that creates safer communities through its education curricula for offenders.  Criminon means “without crime,” and Criminon Tennessee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. According to, “[Criminon International] is the management body for the network of Criminon chapters and offices in over 20 countries that services over 11,000 offenders weekly.”

The fundamental principle that underlies the Criminon approach in methodology is the restoration of the individual’s self-respect and common sense values to avoid relapse into antisocial patterns of behavior.

During The Big Payback, gifts from the public are boosted with funds from sponsors. Nonprofits vie for financial incentives, bonus donations and additional prizes totaling more than $240,000 on the online leaderboard, which will track donations in real time. Contribute to Criminon Tennessee by visiting, search for Criminon Tennessee, and complete the easy and secure donation form.

Monumental Victory for the Scientology Religion in Belgium

In a complete vindication of the Scientology religion and Scientologists, presiding judge rules that entire case was a “serious and irremediable breach of the right to a fair trial.”

Eighteen years of judicial harassment of the Church of Scientology of Belgium and its members ended today when a ruling of the Criminal Court in Brussels became final.  The 173-page decision found inadmissible all proceedings against the defendants, including the Church of Scientology of Belgium and the Human Rights Office of Church of Scientology International, thereby declaring all charges of the federal prosecutor to be unfounded.

The decision is final after a period during which the prosecution could have filed  an appeal but decided against it on the grounds that the case was comprehensively reviewed by the court.

The Church of Scientology of Belgium welcomes this decision of the prosecution which makes final 
the judgment of 11 March 2016. This is another of numerous decisions recognizing the rights of 
Scientologists to be free of stigma and discrimination based on their religious beliefs. Such decisions 
have been made throughout Europe—in Spain, Italy, UK, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, and the 
Netherlands—all countries in which the Scientology religion has been recognized, often by supreme 
For Eric Roux, spokesman of the Church in Belgium: "This decision is of course a victory for all 
Scientologists and the end of an unfair harassment, but it is mostly a victory for freedom of religion in 
Belgium. The federal prosecutor had unjustly sued Scientologists during 18 long years, and not having 
found any committed offense, despite an extremely thorough investigation, has made the mistake of 
wanting to continue the harassment based on misinterpretations of the writings of the Founder of 
Scientology. This type of practice is extremely dangerous for freedom of conscience, and the Court has 
put things back in order by reminding them of the elementary principles of law and the right of everyone 
to practice the religion of their choice. The fact that the federal prosecutor has decided not to appeal 
makes this decision even more important, and I am delighted to think that in the future, this can be 
useful to those who might suffer discrimination because of their beliefs."
The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954 and has grown to thousands of churches with millions of members in over 180 countries. The Church began in Belgium in 1974 and today sponsors numerous social betterment campaigns, including drug prevention education, restoration of positive moral values​​, human rights education, and eradicating psychiatric abuse.  The Church also works to organize other activities including Interfaith roundtables, distribution of clothes to refugees and clean ups.