Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Plantation tries to blame the Joint Commission

Corrupt or criminal enterprises always get involved in a complex web of lies. They ultimately poison their own dealings with people they don’t even have good reason to lie to.

Elgin Mental Health Center, like all other Illinois Department of Human Services slave plantations, is accredited as a “hospital” by a private, contracted organization called The Joint Commission (previously, JCAHO).

The following letters are self explanatory.

May 16, 2019

The Joint Commission
One Renaissance Blvd.
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

Re: Elgin Mental Health Center

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am making a formal inquiry into an ongoing situation, prior to possible litigation.

On or around May 9, 2019, patients in Elgin Mental Health Center’s (EMHC’s) Forensic Treatment Program, including several of my clients, were told by administrative staff that all of their electronic devices with cords that plug into wall outlets would be confiscated.  The EMHC Administration is apparently saying this is your fault.

These are all items of personal property, not hospital property.  As such, the issue becomes one of state and federal constitutional law.  The Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code, 405 ILCS 5/1-100 et seq., the Illinois Administrative Code, Title 59, Chapter 1, Part 110, the United States Constitution, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, and 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, specify due process protections against deprivations of property, and unreasonable search and seizure.  Entities that fail to provide required due process may be liable, as individuals who are deprived without due process may have a cause of action.

I have been dealing with EMHC and individuals housed there for many years.  The Administration’s recent assertion that JCAHO is obligating them to confiscate personal property of patients seems suspicious to me.  Firstly, it is suspicious because I don’t believe JCAHO does that.  Hospital property might well be the subject of JCAHO focus for safety and other reasons, but not individuals’ private property.

Secondly, blaming JCAHO is suspicious here because the justification has changed several times.  More than a year ago, my clients were first told that JCAHO’s Official Accreditation Report (OAR) after a July 2017 survey required the removal of all electronic devices with cords.  Then in March 2019 it was acknowledged that the OAR did not require any such thing, after all.  Rather, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had been the source of a memo suggesting that this kind of patient personal property might create a “ligature risk”.  This explanation seemed false, given that CMS does not accredit the Forensic Treatment Program, and they specifically define a ligature risk as a structure to which a cord or rope could be attached.  Finally this month, JCAHO’s OAR was trotted back out as the real problem; but no one whose rights are at stake, nor any neutral party, may see the OAR to clarify this story.

The EMHC Administration currently protests that they fought vehemently with JCAHO to avoid having to confiscate patients’ property, but they are now obligated.

I am investigating this prior to any further action.  Please confirm for me specifically, whether as a result of the July 2017 accreditation survey, JCAHO advised EMHC verbally or in writing to remove from the hospital all patients’ electronic devices with cords.  If as I suspect, this did not occur, then obviously no interest would be served by naming JCAHO as a party in any claim.

At the moment no devices have been confiscated.  My clients were told such action will be taken beginning July 1, 2019.  This is an important issue, considering JCAHO is contracted with the Illinois Department of Human Services, and therefore individuals would potentially be liable for acting under color of state law to violate due process.

I look forward to hearing from your legal counsel at the earliest possible date, to clarify this matter.

Yours truly,

S. Randolph Kretchmar
847-370-5410 (mobile)

Cc: Mr. Sean Gunderson
      Dr. Victoria Ingram, Director of Court Services EMHC
      DHS General Counsel

 August 21, 2019

The Joint Commission
One Renaissance Blvd.
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

Re: Elgin Mental Health Center

Dear Sir/Madam:

This is my second formal inquiry into the same general ongoing situation.

On May 16, 2019, I wrote you about an incident that occurred or around May 9, 2019, when patients in Elgin Mental Health Center’s (EMHC’s) Forensic Treatment Program, were told by administrative staff that their electronic devices would be confiscated and that this was your fault.

Additional items of personal (not hospital) property, in this case bed sheets, are now being confiscated, supposedly because the Joint Commission is requiring it.  On Monday, August 19, 2019, at about 12:00 PM, a nurse manager named Cynthia Masters, stationed on N Unit, appeared in the dining room where patients were eating lunch and announced rather brusquely that fitted sheets are considered a ligature risk per the Joint Commission, and therefore by Thursday, 08/22, all patients have to give up any fitted sheets that they possess.

I have been dealing with EMHC and individuals housed there for many years.  The assertion that the Joint Commission is obligating the hospital to confiscate personal property of patients remains (as I characterized it in my earlier letter) suspicious.  Hospital property might well be a subject of your focus for safety and other reasons, but not individuals’ private property.

I hope you can enlighten me regarding what part, if any, the Joint Commission actually has in this continuing tendency to confiscate patients’ personal property at EMHC.

Yours truly,

S. Randolph Kretchmar
847-370-5410 (mobile)

Cc: Mr. Sean Gunderson
      Dr. Victoria Ingram, Director of Court Services EMHC
      DHS General Counsel

The following email was finally received on Sept. 25, 2019. Obviously, somebody was lying, and not lying well....

Greetings Mr. Kretchmar:

This email responds to your August 21, 2019 letter to The Joint Commission regarding policies set by Elgin Mental Health Center on ligature risk. Although we have not performed a keyword search of survey reports, to our most recent knowledge, The Joint Commission has not cited any organization for permitting patients to have fitted sheets.

From TJC’s website, here is an FAQ on the topic:

Ligatures and Suicide Risk Reduction - Prohibited items on an Inpatient Psychiatric Unit
Are there specific items that should not be allowed to be brought on an inpatient psychiatric unit ?
No, The Joint Commission does not determine the items to be prohibited from an inpatient psychiatric unit. Items that are prohibited to be brought into organizations, due to the risk of harm to self or others, should be determined by the organization. Compliance of such safety measures is based upon organizational policies/procedures, individual care plans, and applicable state rules or regulations.

This FAQ was also published in the Perspectives® Newsletter, January 2018, Volume 39, Issue 1 - The Official Newsletter of The Joint Commission.

Kathleen Pankau, JD RN
Senior Assistant General Counsel
The Joint Commission

Saturday, September 28, 2019


I don’t know that James P. Corcoran, Richard Malis and Syed Hussain are the only, or even the worst, bad actors at Elgin Mental Health Center. But I sure do know that they are worth identifying as very bad actors.

The accurate identification of real bad guys is the most valuable social activity because most people are not bad, and if you can separate out those who truly are, you have an effective short cut to dramatically improving any organization, group or society,  or even perhaps a short cut to saving the world.

James P. Corcoran is the one I am most sure of. My first contact with him was in a staffing for Marci Webber at Chicago Read Mental Health Center, years ago. I don’t remember specifics, although I have a general recollection that he was arrogant, dismissive of the patient’s view of her situation, and that he fully expected he could automatically intimidate me into respect for his authority (which in retrospect is laughable). I’ve written more on this blog about Corcoran, and sued him more, than any other psychiatrist. He exhibits many characteristics of an antisocial personality. I could identify specific examples (especially instances of speaking only in very broad generalities, dealing in invented bad news/hostility/invalidation, altering communications to worsen them while stopping any good news, going berserk over any real help and preferring destruction in the name of help) but that will be saved for another article.

Moving to Richard Malis, I note that a DuPage County Judge just ordered Marci Webber released from Elgin Mental Health Center because of Malis’ glib admission that he couldn’t help her and she still couldn’t have any other psychiatrist. There was also testimony by an EMHC nurse that Malis didn’t want him to make true chart entries about Marci, because anything good might hurt his ability to coerce her to take harmful psychiatric drugs. Malis has often attempted to force or coerce other “patients” who are not dangerous onto drugs, he’s very well known for that. He has some sort of fanatical, pseudo-religious faith in the manipulation of brain chemistry whether those whose brains are affected like it or not. He searches avidly for all excuses to make people take drugs they hate.

This problem of state psychiatrists falsifying reports to courts is one of my favorites. In the recent litigation for Sean Gunderson’s release, it became completely clear that James Corcoran was changing (for the worse, of course) the “clinical” reports sent to Judge Hoffenberg, and forcing the unit staff to sign their names, pretending that his own opinions were theirs and effectively suborning perjury. This is part of an institutional policy throughout the Department of Human Services to punish forensic mental patients for refusing psychiatric drugs or complaining about institutional policy. There is much evidence to suggest that staff are similarly punished for not toeing institutional lines and paying slavish obeisance to certain senior administrators.

We are about to file a federal lawsuit against Syed Hussain on behalf of a sexual abuse victim. Hussain helped an EMHC staff member abuse our client, by repeatedly assuring her (brainwashing her in fact) that her interpretations of things and her factual complaints would never be believed, because she was the mental patient and her abuser was the clinical professional. I’ve known Hussain longer than either Corcoran or Malis, going back as far as a brief stay at EMHC by the infamous Rodney Yoder, my first client and now dear friend. Rodney laughed in Hussain’s face when he first heard Hussain’s “diagnosis” of him. I think that was the experience that inspired my blog article about the exact difference between medicine and psychiatry in 2010. Incidentally, Hussain also lied under oath about Marci Webber to escape liability for brutalizing her twice by forced drugging.

The bottom line is that evidence is piling up, and being broadcast to the general public more and more, showing forensic psychiatry in Illinois to be a plantation system that exploits the people it holds, wastes the public fisc, and horribly degrades our culture and our civilization. It’s like organized crime: very difficult and dangerous to fight, but an obvious target for all well-intended advocates.

The reason Elgin Mental Health Center should be razed is not that everyone who works there is bad. It’s because too many of the people who work there have allowed Corcoran, Malis and Hussain to corrupt the decent intentions for which real hospitals are created.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


It was disconcerting to see an apparently normal, middle-aged suburban woman who had once called me for legal advice and help long ago, led away to prison... especially because I knew I'd had something to do with that result. The transcript of the hearing is at the URL above.

Even more, it was disconcerting when she was also told she would now have to be registered for life as a child sex offender. Her husband was in court, because he'd had to bring in the deed to the home they owned together, to prove they could be grandfathered in as having lived there long enough, since otherwise, the location is too close to parks and/or schools, etc.

Christy and her husband have two sons, who are about the same age as her victim and my firm's client Ben Hurt. Ben was badly damaged by Christy Lenhardt's abuse. But Christy is not the only offender, she's just the only one who has been caught, so far. Ben was also badly damaged by the system, the slave plantation, Elgin Mental Health Center.

Christy's behavior was enabled and supported by the actions and omissions of her coworkers and her bosses. It started with the big lie that forensic psychiatric "experts" exist, who are not "mentally ill" and who know how to medically fix the brains of people who are mentally ill. That's the lie that we tell ourselves in this society, so we don't have to talk to people we're afraid of, people we don't understand and don't like. It's a cowardly pretense that doesn't work. It forces us to tell more lies, and ultimately we have to create the plantation. We have to destroy Ben Hurt and countless others.

I am posting this transcript for the benefit of all employees of the plantation, who should consider whether they really want to work for such a system, where abuse, corruption and disrespect are so endemic and rampant.

This is a good time to find an honest job.

Monday, September 23, 2019


Sean Gunderson won a conditional release from the Elgin plantation last week. This was a big deal for various reasons, not least because it was a really long and drawn-out litigation. I've written about the case earlier, maybe a few times. Over the years, it had become kind of a linchpin for almost everything I was doing.

I'll probably have a lot to say about the Gunderson case going forward. But because the conditional release ended up being negotiated as an agreed order, I never gave closing arguments. I had prepared and practiced them, however; so I'll publish what I prepared here, and it won't be completely wasted.


First, if it please the Court, I need to make what I believe is an important point of law. This is relevant, if not critical...

If I seem to belabor this point, I hope everyone will be patient. The Court may recall that both Assistant State's Attorney Nancy Nazarian and Elgin Mental Health Center administrator Tom Zubik, and possibly others have repeatedly characterized the instant Petition for Conditional Release, brought by Mr. Gunderson under ILCS 5/5-2-4(e), as a "self petition". But there is no such legal thing. I've looked everywhere for this term, and I cannot find it. 

"Self petition" appears precisely nowhere in the relevant statutes, including the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code [405 ILCS 5/1-100 et seq.], the Illinois Unified Code of Corrections [730 ILCS 5/1-1-1 et seq.], or the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure [725 ILCS 5/100-1 et seq.]. 

Likewise, "self petition" appears nowhere in local, state or federal court rules, and nowhere in the Illinois Administrative Codes and Regulations. A Lexis search of all Illinois federal and state cases brings up only four in which the term "self petition" appears, and all four of those are immigration cases with no relevance to involuntary hospitalization for mental health treatment after an NGRI verdict.

Nevertheless, people have used this characterization, perhaps, to suggest that this petition should not be taken seriously. That would be inappropriate. Some such category as "self petition" may have significance for internal clerical purposes in some small corner of our state bureaucracy. It has no significance whatsoever in the law.

Yet, during a brief hearing on July 3, 2019, the record shows that Assistant State's Attorney Nazarian told the Court that it might be "inappropriate to put any pressure on anyone at Elgin Mental Health Center" to complete a promised evaluation of the Defendant/Petitioner's aftercare plan and placement at a group home pending the Court's hoped-for order for conditional release. Ms. Nazarian argued at the time that such pressure might be inappropriate precisely because "this is a self petition" not favored by everyone at Elgin or in the Department of Human Services. 

The Court was crystal clear in statements for several months that the Defendant/Petitioner's aftercare plan and placement were among the most important, if not the most important issues in this long, drawn-out litigation. The Court even stated on the record on two occasions, that it could conceivably order Elgin or Department employees into court to show cause why they should not be held in contempt for failing or refusing to evaluate the written aftercare plan and placement, which had been prepared and explained in detail in sworn testimony months earlier by Defendant/Petitioner's Social Worker.

The Court has been equally adamant that various smaller issues which may have been tediously disputed between previous witnesses in this case - independent experts, treating clinicians, Elgin administration, or Department employees - are of lesser importance than the Court's own determination based on all evidence, regarding whether Mr. Gunderson, the Defendant/Petitioner, is legally appropriate for conditional release, and under what circumstances.

But again: beyond the sly, gratuitous, negative implications of several individuals opposing the Defendant/Petitioner in this litigation, there simply is no such thing as a self petition.

730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(e) establishes that:

A defendant admitted pursuant to this Section, or any person on his behalf, may file a petition for treatment plan review or discharge or conditional release under the standards of this Section in the Court which rendered the verdict. 

This makes no mention or hint of any different kind of petition, which would be filed by Department or facility staff. It simply presumes that all petitions for conditional release are the same under the law for purposes of legal procedural, and it intends that all petitions are filed by or on behalf of the admitted defendant, regardless of specific authorship, collaboration or lack of the same, or bureaucratic procedures that might incidentally apply outside the court process, prior to filing.

We therefore ask for the record and as a point of law, that the Court disregard all characterizations of the current petition for conditional release under 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(e) as "a self petition". 

With that legal point out of the way....

This case has been litigated, or maybe over-litigated, to an unusual extent. The Court has repeatedly noted that it's a very serious case. We would argue that the seriousness of the Petitioner's NGRI crime is one reason why; but there is another reason as well: that is the seriousness of an individual's right to liberty as it impacts the safety and honor of the community.

With our forensic psychiatry we presume that medicine and science can inform us: first, that it can inform us about whether an accused is culpable in crime; second, that it can inform us (if the accused is deemed not culpable) about whether he/she can be effectively treated and by what methods; and lastly we presume that it can inform us at a later time about whether treatment has succeeded. All these presumptions are questionable.

But we want to help, not just punish, and that speaks well of us. It also requires us to incur some degree of risk. Obviously, our medicine and science, forensic psychiatry in particular, no matter how we might like to portray "clear and convincing" or any evidentiary standard, are not up to eliminating all risk. 

So one way to look at the issue in this case is, what degree of risk will we incur if the Court conditionally releases Sean Gunderson? We argue that we will incur very little, especially with the aftercare plan and placement that has been submitted to the Court in substantial detail.

But first of all, remember that Mr. Gunderson has shown no recurrence of psychotic symptoms for the last eight years during which mental health experts at Elgin have watched him more or less continuously and carefully documented their observations every day. He has not even needed medication to suppress symptoms of mental illness or to control his behavior, and this is... a highly unusual positive factor that should inspire even more confidence. Most NGRI acquittees are released on a condition that they'll take meds, but they hate the meds, so they stop taking them on their own without telling anyone. There's no need to worry about that here.

Secondly, a theory has been voiced that out in the community, no longer in a controlled environment, Mr. Gunderson will face different kinds of stress, different triggers, that he is not used to. But the stress on any person from being deprived of liberty is huge. The stress from being told you don't know what's in your own best interest, the stress from having your everyday movements and communication, and even your thoughts prescribed by so-called "experts" who might barely know you... there's comparatively little of that stress outside of involuntary confinement in the state's psychiatric institution. For eight years. this Petitioner has been mentally and emotionally stable and non-aggressive in the face of such continuous, day-in-and-day-out invalidation and dehumanization. He has held up very well under such stress, and come out the other side of the ordeal without hostility. Now he simply wants a gradual increase in liberty, and a chance at becoming a productive citizen and member of the community.

Some people might say, well, what if there is such a thing as schizophrenia, a real brain difference or defect, which predisposes this petitioner to be violent in certain circumstances that we cannot predict? What if that... is just waiting to be triggered? Of course, we cannot prove such a thing doesn't exist. We would have the same problem Alice Kyteler had in the year 1324, when she was prosecuted by the Bishop of Ossary for witchcraft.

But if we are assessing risks under a catalogue of what if scenarios, consider this one. What if we deprive a person of liberty for no good reason? Can we just say he committed a violent act, so too bad for him? We decided he's not culpable, that's what NGRI means! His violent act might prove by common sense that he was dangerous at the time he committed it, but whether he is dangerous now, many years later, is a matter of substantial conjecture and little or no certainty.

There are all kinds of supposed "experts". We have ours, they have theirs, and none of them will be held responsible to accurately predict the future. Whether the Petitioner is mentally ill and dangerous is not fundamentally an issue of scientific or medical fact. It's an issue of what we feel we must do to justly balance risks. On one hand there's the risk that a poorly understood brain disease (schizophrenia) will come back after many years of lying mysteriously dormant, and make the Petitioner attack his parents once again; on the other hand there's the risk that we will really be punishing someone under cynical pretenses of help and community protection, just because we are afraid, dishonorable, and we can't figure out what else to do.

As the Court might realize from the testimony of a couple Elgin witnesses, there is a strong tendency to punish psychiatric patients for not toeing the institutional line, for not believing and saying the correct things, regardless of the objective acceptability of a patient's behavior. I am referring to Mr. Zubik and Dr. Corcoran. This Petitioner lodged too many complaints for their convenience, although he put them all in correct form and forwarded them to the correct authorities, who more often than not validated them. It took 34 written complaints about Mr. Zubik's new clothing policy, but the federally mandated protection and advocacy agency Equip For Equality, finally made Zubik rescind that policy because of Mr. Gunderson's well-reasoned whistle blowing. When he testified under oath in this court however, the Forensic Program Director of Elgin Mental Health Center briefly tried to "gaslight" Mr. Gunderson, pretending that he was irrationally advocating against his own interest in being generously allowed more clothes than before. 

The iPods, which were confiscated in January of this year, were falsely portrayed by  Dr. Corcoran during his testimony as "contraband", long after it was a matter of record that these items had been returned to Mr. Gunderson because they were not contraband: they had no recording ability, and they had been approved by Elgin security months earlier, when they first arrived. Dr. Corcoran also sought repeatedly to alter, for the worse, the Elgin treatment team's favorable reports of Mr. Gunderson's progress to this Court. We don't really know how long Corcoran was successful with such sabotage, before the treatment team's conscientious objections finally uncovered it.

For years, the Petitioner was overtly or covertly punished for not taking psychiatric drugs, although by now everyone recognizes that he doesn't need to, and even that he shouldn't. Hopefully the Court recalls the testimony and voluminous reports of our mental health experts, Wayne Beyer, Dr. Toby Watson, Dr. Gail Tasch, and Linda Grossman, who all believed Mr. Gunderson should not take drugs and should be conditionally released. And of course, Dr. Kim, who is very much a functionary of the state forensic mental health system, most recently stated that with an appropriate aftercare program, he would also support this Petitioner's conditional release. We now have that aftercare program.

Releasing Mr. Gunderson to an appropriate group home, under the conditions of the aftercare plan now endorsed by Elgin and the Department, will give him his best chance of successful reintegration into the community, and provide justice for all relevant parties. There is no legitimate interest in retribution with this case. The only purposes here are treatment success and community security. Treatment success has been evidenced for years already. Substance abuse education and prevention programming should of course continue in the community, and and apparently that can be better facilitated with conditional release that by continued hospitalization at Elgin. (RENZ won't accept Gunderson from Elgin, but the aftercare program has its own equivalent outpatient facility.)

Everyone agrees with the need for close supervision and gradual increases in privileges, with regular court reports and immediate notice of anything untoward (e.g., a positive drug screening). However with these precautions in place, the Court can be confident that any risk to community safety by Mr. Gunderson's conditional release will be minimal, and substantially less than the risk of dishonorable injustice and waste of public treasure, should we continue to arbitrarily lock him up in a state psychiatric institution merely because he complains too much or refuses to agree with somebody's favorite drug habits.

The Petitioner would like to thank this Court for its patience and careful scrutiny, not just in the last year, but for a number of years. He can only hope to repay that with his good behavior and productivity going forward, and through socially responsible membership in the community.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

More Sexual Slavery at Elgin

A couple weeks ago, I spoke with an administrator at Elgin Mental Health Center. After some routine business, this individual asked me, possibly with some trepidation, something like, “Should we be expecting more news stories or lawsuits about staff having sex with patients?”

This conversation occurred maybe only a day or so after the press conference we held to announce the Dopson and Lawrence cases. I immediately assumed I was being asked about those matters, which had not yet been served on any of the Defendants. But subsequently I learned another story was brewing, which was more likely the cause for the EMHC administration’s concern.

A patient who had been confined on the White Cottage unit was released a few weeks ago to Bryn Mawr Care, a community rehabilitation facility in Chicago. Shortly after her release, it was discovered that a staff member had been having sex with her while she was at EMHC. This is, of course, a felony, and no question of “consent” is even allowed. An involuntary mental patient is in no free position to “consent” to sex with any employee of her slave masters.

I don’t yet know all the details, but I will. The staff member’s name is Mark (or maybe Daniel?) Robertson. He was reportedly “allowed to resign”. The patient and current resident at Bryn Mawr Care will remain anonymous for now, although I know her name, and I’ve spoken to several people who are familiar with her. I’m sure we’ll be in touch.

There needs to be a police report. The Illinois State Police need to investigate. The perpetrator needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Anyone who knew about this and did nothing, anyone who facilitated the crime, needs to come clean about it now or be liable as an accomplice.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Malis-with-malice caves

I hate it when I’m all set for a big fight and it gets cancelled at the last minute! I was looking forward to a wonderful slaughter, but all I got to see was the asses of the bad guys running away, no blood soaked field, no heads on pikes. What a shame.

A very close friend and trusted spiritual advisor, who is probably Sun Tzu himself reborn, would protest my disappointment and insist upon the higher wisdom of winning without a pitched battle.

Even Uncle Billy Sherman allowed a whole Confederate army to escape unscathed when Savanah surrendered without a fight and became the Christmas gift to Lincoln.

So maybe I should shut the hell up and just be glad that James Baker/King of Egypt no longer has to be chained and shackled, half blind and barely able to walk at age 73, to go to the ophthalmologist or to get an MRI for his groin injury.

But I so wanted to ask Richard Malis, under oath:

Doctor, does Mr. Baker agree with your so-called diagnosis of his mental condition? Does he follow your recommendations for treatment?

Isn’t it true that you believe Mr. Baker’s so-called diagnosis (schizophrenia) requires psychiatric drugging for life? In fact, you believe that very strongly, don’t you? You never personally treat anyone with psychotherapy, only with drugs and shock, isn’t that right?

Doctor, why doesn’t Mr. Baker follow your treatment recommendations? Why can’t you convince him to follow them? Isn’t that your job, which you have been unable to do? Have any of your superiors ever asked you why you’re so unsuccessful with this patient? Do any of them care?

Have you ever worked in a private medical practice or a private clinic, where practitioners don’t have the marketing luxury of patients being delivered to them by the police? When patients are brought in to the waiting rooms of private clinics in chains, don’t you think that creates a rather negative setting for objective diagnostics and medical care? That’s obvious, common sense, isn’t it? 

Isn’t it true Doctor, that you have been forcing Mr. Baker to be chained for needed medical appointments, thereby denying him proper care despite the fact that he is non-violent, non-psychotic, polite and well behaved? Aren’t you forcing him to be chained merely because he will not kow-tow to your own (imagined) wonderfully beneficent and all-knowing authority over him? Aren’t you really punishing him for refusing your drugs? 

Doctor! Aren’t you coercing James Baker and enslaving him out of your own delusion of omnipotence, believing despite all evidence that you can “treat” him whether he likes it or not?

I never got to ask these questions in court, because Malis-with-malice chickened out and didn’t take the stand. He had promised me he’d testify under oath that he believed with a reasonable degree of medical and psychiatric certainty that James Baker had to be chained wherever he went because he was a danger to himself or others and an elopement risk. Malis-with-malice broke his promise and denied me the pleasure of the massacre I had spent a good deal of time and effort preparing for and relishing.

But I am a forgiving person like Tecumseh Sherman! In that spirit, I’ll recommend a book for Dr. Malis-with-malice that I just bought myself: The Heartland - Finding and Losing Schizophrenia, by Nathan Filer (London: Fabre & Fabre, 2019). It is said to be a very powerful book on mental health. This idea actually occurred to me as I left the courtroom yesterday, but the bad guys of the case ran away so fast I couldn’t even catch up to suggest rapproachement. Maybe if Malice and I read this book together, we can find something to talk about, or even some common understanding of relevant issues.

Miracles happen, right?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Operations of IDHS and Jeffrey Epstein

Sexual abuse is sexual abuse. The abuser is always in a position of power over the victim, and always uses that power to derive sexual gratification from the body of another person whether that other person likes it or permits it, or not. If the victim is a child or an involuntary mental patient, then under the law there can be no mitigating issue of consent.

Jeffrey Epstein said sex with underage girls has been socially and morally accepted at many times and in many places. No doubt that's true.

Assistant Kane County State's Attorney Bill Engerman says a digital recording shows Christy Lenhardt's "patient" begged her to give him oral sex. That may also be true.

It doesn't matter, the law is the law. It rules or we have no society. If Jeffrey Epstein hadn't managed to kill himself, he'd be facing a very long prison sentence no matter who thought young girls should be available to him because of his money. If Christy Lenhardt is convicted she should also face a very long prison sentence no matter how much Bill Engerman thinks her "patients" might have enjoyed oral sex with her.

And by the way, it remains to be seen if Epstein's fortune of billions was as powerful a facility as Lenhardt's mere status, of being a state-employed mental health professional. Epstein paid many people to bring him girls he wanted and protect his activities. Lenhardt didn't have to pay anyone: the forensic psychiatric system brought her the young men she wanted and protected her automatically, all on the taxpayers!

Alexander Acosta had to resign from President Trump's cabinet because he failed or refused to bring Jeffrey Epstein to justice when he was a prosecutor in Florida. This was a big media flap.

President Donald Trump stood with Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who announced his resignation while talking to the media at the White House.

Joe McMahon, the State's Attorney of Kane County, will not run for re-election in 2020. In a letter explaining his decision he notes that, "Justice is not an exact science and what seems heavy-handed to some might seem lenient to others."

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon

We only have to hope that such thoughts of inexactitude do not extend to sexual abuse of disabled persons by state employees. We have to hope that's not part of the culture of Joe McMahon's office. When a young man's life has been ruined by the cynical, cruel depravity of a "social" worker who was trusted with his rehabilitation and paid as his helper, there will be -- and there MUST be -- public outrage.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Sexual abuse and exploitation of mental patients: the perfect crime?

Over two years ago, a “patient” was released from Elgin Mental Health Center, also fondly known as, DSH. The “H” in the acronym stands for “hospital” although in this case no one had received any successful treatment, and no one ever planned any continuing care. That is, unless sexual exploitation and slavery was the “treatment”, and a secret hope to continue the illicit relationship between a middle-aged white suburban social worker and a young African-American man who was involuntarily committed to her custody was the “plan”.

In fact, the release of this “patient” from DSH on July 22, 2017 was downright chaotic. Only his family would be there to console him. He had been held in strict isolation for two weeks prior, traumatized and purposefully led to believe that he was the one who was in trouble for the sexual abuse he had suffered. (Keep in mind, this was the work of a hospital that makes lavish pretenses about helping people in mental/emotional distress, and is supposedly “dedicated by the State of Illinois to the welfare of its people for their relief and restoration; a place of hope for the healing of mind, body and spirit where many find health and happiness again.”)

The social worker, Christy Lenhardt (Illinois license no. 149003969) had been escorted out of the facility by security a couple weeks earlier. She should have been the coordinator of an aftercare plan, but was obviously unavailable for that task. Lenhardt was subsequently arrested and indicted on multiple felony counts. Even worse, she appears to have been a serial abuser, and various other victims are waiting for years or perhaps forever in the wings, for any possibility of justice.

The criminal case against Lenhardt has been through status hearings for a plea deal or a trial date repeatedly, month after month. Lenhardt’s defense attorney, Robert Stanker of the Chicago firm John W. Callahan, Ltd., seems to get along well enough with the prosecutor, Bill Engerman of the Kane County, IL State’s Attorney’s office. However the two of them have only managed to keep kicking this can down the road, as Christy is free on bail while her former “patient” remains destitute, emotionally and mentally crippled by trauma.

Meanwhile, civil lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Chicago remain stalled while all the state-employed defendants piggy-back on Lenhardt’s Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate herself and pretend that nobody knew anything, nobody saw anything, nobody heard anything. Their game plan appears to be to wait this out, let Christy take the fall and then sweep it all under the rug, continue the regular business of the plantation.

But too many people are beginning to oppose psychiatric slavery, and they will continue, as Abraham Lincoln said, “...until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be repaid by another drawn with the sword.” 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Plantations crumbling: Psychiatria delenda est!

July 29, 2019. Copies of Federal Complaints filed in two matters were available on request at a press conference Monday July 29, 2019, 2:00 PM, at the Union League Club of Chicago, at 65 West Jackson Blvd, Heritage Room (2nd Floor).
The law firm of Kretchmar & Cecala, P.C., has been retained by several new plaintiffs in relation to civil rights violations in an ever-widening scope of sexual abuse and official misconduct throughout the State’s psychiatric system. Under Illinois criminal statutes, any sexual contact whatsoever between institutional staff and involuntary patients, no matter the circumstances, may subject the staff member to a felony charge of sexual abuse. There is also strict policy requiring staff to report any suspicions of sexual abuse within four hours. In all of the cases, nothing was reported, or reports were quashed by someone higher up the chain of command.
The new lawsuits specifically detail new sexual abuse of patients by staff and cover-up by top state psychiatric officials. All of the federal suits name Dr. James Corcoran, a top official with statewide oversight of forensic facilities. Corcoran is alleged to have direct knowledge of the sexual abuses and to have ignored and covered up patient and staff reporting with threats of retribution. One of the suits alleges that Corcoran used his powerful position to bully staff into false court reports against patients to keep them institutionalized, not because they were too dangerous to be released but in retribution for the patients’ attempts to assert their rights within the system or blow the whistle on abuses.
One new federal suit filed today against Erica Ware, a social worker at Chicago Read Mental Health Center, alleges that Ware engaged in sexual abuse of a patient beginning in 2016 and continuing until the patient’s release in 2019.
The first two Federal lawsuits have been pending for more than a year against Christy L. Lenhardt, a social worker at Elgin Mental Health Center, who is alleged to have seduced several patients beginning in 2014, and to have continued for years to use them as her personal sex slaves. Lenhardt was indicted by a Kane County grand jury on fourteen felony counts related to these matters. Former Elgin Mental Health Center patient Benahdam Hurt, who filed a case against Lenhardt and other defendants in November of 2017, claimed that Lenhardt had a sexual relationship for two years and that she showed him other patients’ confidential mental health records and pretended to make him her social work “assistant” by asking for opinions and advice about the other patients’ treatment. In January 2018, a second accuser, Mark Owens, alleged that Lenhardt tried to get his psychiatric diagnosis altered to discredit him, and to increase his medication to hurt his memory or otherwise disable his ability to complain about her sexual abuse.
The Law Offices of Kretchmar and Cecala, P.C. have been cooperating for some months with the Internal Investigations Division of the Illinois State Police, in relation to the indictment against Christy Lenhardt and possibly other state actors.
“We have discovered systemwide psychiatric abuse and as predicted, more plaintiffs have come forward. Ultimately the public will see psychiatric slavery in Illinois as an ugly 21st Century crime against humanity,” said S. Randolph Kretchmar, one attorney for the plaintiffs.
--- 30 ---

Saturday, July 20, 2019

“The Chicago River?”

I got a couple of good reviews on my post about Nahuatl and mental health, so I’ll follow up on that success with something else from a recent text chain.

This one is a conversation with a very good friend and exceptional glass artist, Marlene Rose. My wife and I have had dinner with Marlene and her husband Thomas, in Chicago, a number of times. So it came as a surprise to me that she could be oblivious to the unique geography and significance of our area, even though she probably has never lived in the Midwest, and Thomas is (I think, and my uncertainty about that is another aspect of this story!) South African.

Marlene did a glass piece for us to replace art we’d had for many years which was destroyed by extreme vibrations from a construction project next door.

I sent her the picture to show where we had put her work, and she loved it, but responded to my text by asking, “What is the body of water in front of your house — is that the Chicago River?”

We laughed on this end of the text line, with a reaction that was basically, How could anyone be so stupid?

Many years ago, my wife was explaining to her Disney client Michael Eisner that she had to miss a meeting because we were moving that day. He asked where we were moving, and she told him to the beach in a Chicago suburb. He responded by asking, “Now, what body of water is your new house on?” Once again: Hahaha! Michael Eisner is so rich and powerful in Hollywood, but he’s frickin’ clueless!

The point is not what things people know or should know, but rather our reaction of estrangement. Marlene’s husband Thomas, with whom I’ve had wonderful discussions about history, might be equally disgusted with me, for not distinguishing easily and automatically between people from South Africa, England, Scotland, Ireland or Australia. I mean, they all speak English with a cool accent, right?

When people don’t acknowledge or understand realities that are close to us, especially when we cherish those realities as beautiful or important, we tend to “other” the people. We laugh at them or even feel they are somehow a bit less human.

In my text exchange with Marlene, I felt a strong need to educate her. I sent her pictures of Lake Michigan looking totally calm, like glass all the way to the horizon (which is illusory), and looking like the ocean, and I explained how the difference is all due to wind direction. I texted pictures of our beach in winter, when it closely resembles Antarctica. I recited statistics like 321 miles to the Straits of Mackinaw and 20% of the world’s fresh water.

She was politely impressed, but I still suspected that she didn’t truly get it.

Well! People know and create different things, right? How could my relationship to an aspect of the physical world (Lake Michigan) be of the same order of emotional significance as my friendship with living people?! Now that question really is a wonderful challenge.

When psychiatrists discover that their “patients” (sorry, I really do have to keep the word inside sarcastic quotation marks!) have unusual or obnoxious points of view, or don’t want to take “medication” (again sorry, but...) and don’t accept the mental health/illness orthodoxy, they are not reacting much differently on an individual level, than my wife and I do to clueless non-midwesterners.

Of course, there is one difference that’s huge.

Psychiatrists are legally empowered to force people to adopt their worldview, whereas I have no such authority for encouraging appreciation of the Lake Michigan shore in the dead of winter.

I think the only possible reconciliation could come from better understanding of the difference between our love for people, and our love for objects or places.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Nahuatl and Mental Health

My wife and daughter were texting to each other this morning. We have a running, group "family text" that seven of us use mostly to say things about the Cubs, or to advocate for vacation plans or purchases, and argue or kid around in a good-natured but competitive way, so I was privy to the back and forth between these two, as one of them was on a train and the other at home with little kids. The combination of auto-correct, casual language, and pressured, multi-tasked typing often produces pretty funny results...

Wife: Nahuatl so you k ow the cleaning. People are coming between 10 and 11?
Wife: Just so you know. My phone typed a weird non word

Daughter: Hahaha
Daughter: Are cleaning people coming between 10 and 11?

Wife: Yep.

Daughter: Oh wow. Okay.
Daughter: Good to know.

Wife: Yep. That's why I texted you.

Daughter: Cool! No prob. Well then you texted it was a weird word so I was confused.

(At this point, I interjected...)

Dad: Btw guys, Nahuatl is not "a weird word".
Dad: You offend Native Americans by saying that.

Wife: What does the word mean?

Daughter: Aztecs
Daughter: They are dead dad

Wife: I did not mean to offend anyone or use that word at all

Daughter: Lol
Daughter: We know that mom

Dad: It's a language for godssakes, and a whole remnant culture that partly survived despite the horrible racist depravities of Cortez and other Eurocentric ignoramuses like (daughter) who want to celebrate the arrogant illusion that we were able to kill them all centuries ago.
Dad: 😂😂😂

Daughter: Haha
Daughter: Now we are all educated.

This was highly entertaining to me, partly because my daughter is as educated as I am, especially in the humanities and pre-modern history, and I was surprised when she apparently didn't know the word Nahuatl. She's also quite a bit to the left of me politically, so this was a rare opportunity for me to accuse her of political incorrectness!

But later I started thinking about the historical fact that Nahuatl had actually survived the overwhelming onslaught at the beginning of the Sixteenth Century, of European guns, germs and steel. The language of the Aztecs gave us "tomato", "avocado", "chocolate", "coyote" and many other common names for things the conquistadores were encountering for the first time as they tore down the native temples in Mexico with their full and holy Christian zeal. I've read a half dozen books about the Conquest, and I believe it was one of the most fascinating events in recorded history.

One of the reasons the Conquest fascinates me is, the more you read about it, the more it seems almost impossible in retrospect. The Aztec empire was fabulously rich, with spectacularly developed arts and technologies, and a capital city with a larger population in its day than London, Paris and Madrid combined. The real story of exactly how a few hundred white Castilians took down Montezuma's empire in a couple years is so unlikely that it would never be believed as fiction.

But what's more pertinent to the funny text conversation transcribed above, is the equally unlikely fact that a couple million people still speak Nahuatl as their native language in our 21st Century world of nuclear energy, space vacations, molecular machines, social media and pocketable terabytes! The Aztec empire was utterly obliterated in the 1520's. The religion of the Sun God was expunged from the world, and the people were forcibly converted to Christianity. The suppression of the native culture was overwhelming. Within a generation, the entire New World was ruled by the iron fist of Spain, exploited for its gold and slave labor.

So we have a truly inexplicable, violent and inhuman historical event (Cortez's Conquest), absolutely connected to the unlikely survival of a remnant language (Nahuatl), as an almost negligible totem of a civilization that was vanquished centuries ago and that virtually disappeared from the earth. The great temples of Tenochtitlan are not even visible in the modern landscape of Mexico City, but about the same number of people speak Montezuma's tongue as ever did. Who predicts such strange contradictions?

I wonder whether obliteration of the American Psychiatric Association, the empire of medicalized "mental health" and the DSM, might come as unexpectedly as the demise of the Aztecs. I also know many people, probably the majority of humanity, continue to speak native languages of spirituality more naturally than those of science. Hundreds of years from now, the psychiatric idea that an individual is a mechanism, pure and simple, explainable and controllable with no reference to any concept of soul, might be just as gone as Montezuma's Sun God.

History is almost always an obscure allegory for any purpose of prediction and planning. It's a parable with hidden meanings or many alternate meanings. But it sure does tell us that strange things do happen.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

SLOUCHING, Part 14 (Bibliography)

Sources and Bibliography:


Fans of Adelle Davis (conversations in person or by phone) — Jacquelyn Meyers, George Meyers, Tom Meyers, Mary Anne Ahmad, Fazil Ahmad, Sue Strzuski, Sean Allen, Colin Thorne, Linda Sarkovich, Cathey True, Cheryl Berman, Robert Berman, Alan Nadolna, Sue Averill, Robert Furniss, Prof. John Rowe, Sarah Wells, Jesse Wells, Charles Uslander, Paddy Cunningham, Annie Cunningham, Steve Pinaire, Ray Boland, Jim Fisher, Diane Fisher, Peter Nelson, Pam King, Toni Shrambanis, Roger Akayama, Kathy Norman, Diane Stein, Jeanne Hornes, Jim Arnold, Sarah Arnold, Bill Penninger, Robert Bein, Betsy Bein, Tom Dickson, Sherry Dickson, Beverley Kretchmar, Lauran Kretchmar, Robert Pifke, Lauran Pifke, Greg Schoononver, Michel Schoonover, Pam Peterson, Linda Kravitz, David Kravitz:
September, 1997 - May, 1998

“John” of the Albert Hofmann Foundation in Los Angeles (by phone):
April 15, 1998

Leisey, George (by phone):
December 26, 1997
April 2, 1998
April 16, 1998
April 30, 1998

Saxon, Wolfgang (by phone):
April 28, 1998


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Berle, Adolf A., Jr. Tides of Crisis: A Primer of Foreign Relations. New York: Reynaldo & Company, 1957.

Bloom, Alexander and Wini Breines. “Takin’ it to the streets,” A Sixties Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Boyer, Paul. By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1994.

Bryon, George S. The Spy in America. Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott Company, 1943.

Burrough, Bryan. Vendetta: American Expess and the Smearing of Edmund Sara. New York: Harper Collins, 1992.

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Cohen, Sidney, MD. The Beyond Within, The LSD Story. New York, Atheneum, 1968.

Colby, William and Peter Forbath. Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA. London: Hutchinson, 1978.

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Dunlap, Jane. Exploring Inner space: Personal Experiences Under LSD-25. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1961.

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Forcey, Charles.  The Crossroads of Liberalism: Carolyn, Weyl, Lippmann and the Progressive Era, 1900-1925. New York: Oxford University Press, 1961.

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Grose, Peter. Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles. New York: Hougton Mifflin, 1994.

Halberstam, David. The Fifties. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1993.

Herring, George C. America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996.

Jeffreys-Jones, Rodri. The CIA and American Democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.

Johnson, Loch K. America’s Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

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Laqueur, Walter. The Uses and Limits of Intelligence. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1993.

_______. The Dream That Failed: Reflections on the Soviet Union. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

LeCarre, John. Smiley’s People. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980.

Lee, Martin A. and Bruce Shlain. Acid Dreams - A Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1983.

Lifton, Robert Jay and Greg Mitchell. Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial. New York: G.P Putnam’s Sons, 1995.

Long, Thomas M., MD and John Buckman. Lysergic Acid (LSD-25) & Ritalin in the Treatment of Neurosis. London: The Lambarde Press, 1963.

Lipton, Lawrence. The Holy Barbarians. New York: Julian Messner, Inc., 1959.

MacLeish, Archibald. The American Cause. Duel, Sloan and Pierce, 1941.

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MacPherson, Myra. Long Time Passing: Vietnam and the Haunted Generation. New York: Anchor-Doubleday, 1984.

Manchester, William. The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America,1932-1972. New York: Bantam Books, 1975.

Marks, John. The Search for the “Manchuria Candidate” - The CIA and Mind Control: The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences. New York: W.W. Norton, 1979.

Masterman, J.C. The Double-Cross System in the War of 1939 to 1945. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972.

McCullough, David. Truman. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

Meyer, Donald. The Positive Thinkers: Religion as Pop Psychology From Mary Baker Eddy to Oral Roberts. New York: Pantheon Books, 1965.

The National Institute of Mental Health, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. 1943-1966 Bibliography on Psychotomimetics (reprinted with permission of Sandoz Pharmaceuticals).

Newland, Constance. Myself and I. New York, Coward-McCann, Inc., 1962.

Pease, Stephen E. Psywar: Psychological Warfare in Korea, 1950-1953.  Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1992.

Perry, Charles. The Haight-Ashbury: A History. New York: Rolling Stone Press, 1984.

Pinkerton, Allan. The Spy of the Rebellion. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1989.

Powers, Thomas. The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979.

Richelson, Jefrey T. A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

 Riess, Curt. Total Espionage. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1941.

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Roder,  Dr. Thomas and Volker Kubillus. Die Manner Hinter Hitler. Malter, Switzerland: Pi- Verdot fur Politik und Gesellschaft, 1994.

Rorabaugh, W.J. The Alcoholic Republic, an American Tradition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Shaara, Michael. The Killer Angels. New York: Ballantine, 1974.

Scheflin, Alan W. and Edward M. Option, Jr. The Mind Manipulators. New York: Paddington Press, 1978.

Sherry, Michael S. In the Shadow of War: the United States since the 1930s. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.

Shulsky, Abram N. Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence. Washington: Bassey’s (US), 1993.

Simpson, Christopher. Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and It’s Effects on the Cold War. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1988.

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Stevens, Jay. Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.

Strong, Sir Kenneth. Intelligence at the Top, the Recollections of a British Intelligence Officer. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1969.

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Terkel, Studs. My American Century. New York: The New Press, 1997.

Troy, Thomas F. Donovan and the CIA: A History of the Establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency. Frederick,MD: University Publications of America, Inc., 1981.

Ward, R.H. A Drug-Taker’s Notes. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1957.

Weil, Gunther M., Ralf Meitner and Timothy Leary, eds. The Psychedelic Reader. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1965.

Winks, Robin W. Cloak & Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939-1961. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.

Wise, David. Molehunt: The Secret Search for Traitors that Shattered the CIA. New York: RandomHouse, 1992.

Wolf, Leonard and Deborah Wolf. Voices From the Love Generation. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1968.

Yablonsky, Lewis. The Hippie Trip. New York: Pegasus, 1968.

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Badrich, Steve. “Cold Warriors Woo Generation X: As the world turns, history hits the spin cycle.” NameBase News Line. No. 6, July-September 1994. New York: Public Information Research, Inc.

Berkowitz, Bruce D. and Allan E. Goodman. “The Logic of Covert Action,” The National Interest. No. 51, Spring, 1998. Washington, National Affairs, Inc.

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APA Annual Conference, 2019: Dinner in Haight-Ashbury

I was taken aback to say the least, that the history of the great Twentieth Century Hope for psychedelic salvation was so obscure, even among direct intellectual followers of the psychiatrists, spooks, and thought leaders who had once been so certain LSD could save the world, or at least provide a breakthrough for controlling it.

Even at this conference where CIA, psychiatry and Ketamine were all so up-front and so together, no one remembered Delysid; no one remembered Sid Gottlieb, Joly West and Frank Olson; or Adelle Davis (AKA Jane Dunlap) and Oscar Janiger. No one had any notion that Ken Kesey and Timothy Leary were johnies-come-lately, and that LSD was never the lucky catalyst of hippie street rebellion, but a phenomenon that purposefully trickled down from the most elite levels of society to arrive in the 1960’s and create its utterly unpredicted, utterly extraordinary impact on youth culture. Ozzie and Harriet lived in a secret psychedelic USA while  a rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouched from the black gate and the mushroom cloud of 1945, toward Haight-Ashbury to be born.

There was even a presentation during one of the poster sessions at APA Annual Conference 2019, by an organization which directly and overtly recommends various psychedelic drugs for “healing and well-being” and for “scientific research into spirituality, creativity, and neuroscience.” The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Santa Cruz, CA.


I initially approached the pleasant, casual woman with MAPS as she was packing up her poster presentation. I asked whether during her time in San Francisco for the APA Conference she had made any pilgrimage over to Haight-Ashbury. She responded with an easy laugh, apparently understanding my reference to the 1960’s neighborhood synonymous with flowers in your hair and tripping. But I couldn’t interest her in any discussion of the history of this idea (or this fantasy) that people’s thinking, and the human personality itself, could and should be improved with psychedelic drugs.

Later on I ran into the MAPS lady and a companion in the cafeteria of the exhibition hall. They pretended (I really have to presume it was a pretense) to never have heard of the Albert Hofmann Foundation, with which their organization has a very clear connection. Perhaps a legacy of Oscar Janiger, Human Be-Ins, and Ronald Stark’s Brotherhood of Eternal Love just doesn’t comport well with a PR line about research and education on “medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.” Or maybe some modern-day Richard Helms is ordering covert cover, somewhere behind the scenes.

That evening I had dinner at Magnolia Brewing, a very hip pub at 1398 Haight Street. After my fish and chips I walked north one block and took a left, past the Grateful Dead house at 710 Ashbury.

I couldn’t help singing to myself ...Start out runnin gonna take my time, a friend of the Devil is a friend of mine.

The thing is, this San Francisco annual meeting of the APA in 2019, with its sunny, triumphant Spravato exhibit, its  carefully understated CIA recruiting station, its concealed Sandoz logo, and its furtive MAPS promotion, could just as easily have been the Atlantic City annual meeting of the APA in 1955, when a round table discussion was held to debate whether LSD represented the latest best hope to solve psychiatry’s deepest mystery of schizophrenia, or a breakthrough into the Freudian unconscious. All the same elements — the psychs, the spooks, and the druggies — were present. 

But #APAAM2019 doesn't remember, or pretends not to remember, #APAAM1955. (There were no hash tags back then, either.) 710 Ashbury looks very well maintained, but empty now, like memory.

If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep, tonight.

Monday, May 20, 2019

APA Annual Conference 2019: The Exhibition Hall

The exhibition hall is always a place of many wonders at an APA conference. Almost every Pharma company I ever heard of has a big, fancy exhibit pushing the latest and greatest drugs to “cure” every problem in thinking, feeling and behaving. It looks a lot like Disneyland.

Many smaller companies peddle their wares. Certain of these I look for every year. The two U.S. firms that manufacture electroshock machines, Somatics, Inc. and Mecta Corp. are always there. I think it’s always the same two or three old guys manning these booths, every year.

But I should cut to the chase of my favorite issue at this 175th APA celebration. I’ve published a lot of information on this blog, in response to the recent, obvious (some might say gushing) enthusiasm over  the potential to treat depression and other mental disorders with psychedelic drugs, especially Ketamine. My point has been that there’s a fascinating history of this idea, going back to the dawn of LSD use in America by intelligence agencies and psychiatrists, in the 1950’s. It’s not a new idea. It was researched and tested for at least a decade, with many millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars, before anybody ever heard of Ken Kesey, Augustus Owsley Stanley, or Timothy Leary. (The CIA’s MKUltra project rings a bell with many people.)

The agency has its booth every year at APA, just like MECTA and Somatics. But tragically, they seem to have forgotten their history. Nobody there even knew what Delysid was.

That was the trademark of Sandoz Corporation for LSD. The CIA had a contract with Sandoz to supply their monopoly on the world’s acid supply until the early 1960’s. I thought, well, maybe the people at the Sandoz exhibit would remember.

Actually calling it the Sandoz exhibit is inaccurate, though. That Sandoz name was on the back of the display, where almost no one would see it. Anyway, I asked the very attractive woman who wanted to sell me a smart phone app called reSET-O whether she new anything about the history of the predecessor company from Basel, Switzerland and its breakthrough psychedelic product. Nope.

OK, OK. Well, surely the people over at the spectacular Spravato display would have some sense that the precedent for curing depression by a Ketamine psychedelic trip was Ablert Hoffman’s 1943 bike ride, and all that came afterward through Dulles, Helms and their followers in the Summer of Love? I walked over and asked a nice young woman if I was in the right place to score some “special K”. But again, no joy. She laughed, but she didn’t know the history.

(Next: Dinner in Haight-Ashbury.)