Links to supplemental information added.
|Subject:||Good Work, CCHR!|
|Author:||keshet@ Remove This Part .despammed.com (Keshet)|
|Date:||11 Aug 2005 22:30:55 -0400|
Prior to the demise of apartheid in South Africa, the government contracted mental health care to a private corporation, Smith Mitchell and Co. SM upheld the principles of the racist regime by providing separate facilities for white and non-white patients. Non-white facilities frequently became nothing more than "warehouses", where patients' health care (both physical and mental) was practically non-existent. Patients lacked proper food, sanitation, clothing, and shelter. Staff were underpaid and inadequately trained, with patients often performing some duties, thus saving SM the cost of salaries. In the 1970s, evidence of patient mistreatment began to surface and investigations were undertaken, which led ultimately to the exposure of the appalling conditions in these psychiatric facilities.
For years, I've read CCHR's claims that they were originally responsible for the discovery of these conditions and for bringing the details to light. For years, I had never come across a mention of CCHR when reading the history of South Africa and the Smith Mitchell facilities. And for years, I had assumed that this was "just another fabrication", like so many before it. Why should I (or anyone) believe them when they lied about teaching 2 million South African children to read? Or that the King of Sweden endorsed Narconon? Or that the Norwegian minister of defense distributed thousands of copies of The Way To Happiness booklet to his troops? These were not little fibs, they were whopping BIG lies. So what's the harm in another fabrication about uncovering the conditions of of blacks in South African psychiatric hospitals?
(Read Scientology's story of how a member stumbled across one of these facilities housed in an abandoned mining compound: <http:// www.whatisscientology.org/ html/ part08/ chp29/ pg0464.html>.)
Well, now I'm forced to admit this isn't such a whopper after all. I have my first bit of evidence that CCHR did initiate investigations that led to international publicity and further investigations by the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, and the American Psychiatric Association (Scientology's favorite whipping boy:-).
"These [series of international] articles originated from investigations and articles written by the Church of Scientology's Citizen's Commission of Human Rights (CCHR), established in 1969, that staunchly opposed psychiatry and psychiatric drugs in general.
"Although much of the CCHR's evidence cannot be substantiated, it was known for its ability to obtain information, albeit at times unreliable. The CCHR even broke into government offices and stole files. Despite its self-promoting reasons for attacking the psychiatric field, the CCHR played an important role in publicizing the overall substandard conditions in the hospitals and began a succession of investigations that would ultimately enable some staff to force changes in the institutions." [emphasis added]
-Tiffany F. Jones, "Monopoly on Madness? Private Long-Term Black Mental Institutions in South Africa between 1963 and 1989", Presentation to North Eastern Workshop on Southern Africa, 2003
If you follow that link to read that section of the paper, be sure to check out endnote :
"The CCHR also quoted psychiatrists, although not always with their permission." …
"Many practitioners and government members mentioned that the CCHR regularly contacted them or attempted to gain information from them, but few took them up on the offer."
Now there's the Scientology we love and admire. Further hints about how Scientology conducted investigations (also from that endnote):
"In 1969, Dr. E.L. Fisher M.P. of Johannesburg claimed that the Church of Scientology harassed him and he filed a damages claim against Hubbard Scientology Organisations in South Africa (Pty) Ltd. The case was settled out of court."
Dr. Fisher was the subject of Scientology harassment and dirty tricks and as a result, not only did Scientology have to pay a subtantial amount to him, they also had to issue a public apology! The members of the Commission of Enquiry into Scientology for 1972 (authors of the "Kotze Report"), had harsh words for Hubbard and "the fierceness with which the fair game law has been applied and the willingness to trick and destroy…". You can read about the incident in the Kotze report, section 9.5, pp. 117-122:
Now that I've gotten the requisite potshots out of the way, honesty compels me to praise the Church of Scientology (as much as I loathe doing so), at least in this one instance. CCHR apparently was responsible for uncovering the atrocities committed by truly evil psychs and CCHR's actions ultimately led to the correction of appalling institutional racism. Good Work, CCHR!