Fundamental criticism of coercive psychiatry
Over the 40 years that I have worked as a lawyer, the majority of the clients I have defended have been people subjected to forced psychiatric treatment. I can therefore claim to know the fields of psychiatry, justice and their “judgements” inside out. The conclusion I have come to is that the strongholds of psychiatry have absolutely nothing to do with “care”, the law or justice – instead, they are nothing other than instruments of domination.
If, before I established the Zürcher Anwaltskollektiv (Collective of Zurich Lawyers) with my colleagues Rambert and Leuzinger in 1975, I had been asked about people who are locked away in psychiatric institutions, I would not have reacted differently to any other averagely-informed person – and would have said “Well, they’re ill, aren’t they?”
At the Collective of Lawyers, we let ourselves be led by two fundamental principles: never to represent an economically stronger party against an economically weaker one, and to offer legal advice at a low price without clients needing to make an appointment. As a result, we currently represent the very weakest of all in the prime example of plutocracy that is Switzerland, and of course those who are committed to psychiatric institutions. Our legal practice, which was even open on Saturdays to begin with, received between one and two people affected by psychiatry every day. It was these people’s stories that we lawyers shared with one another.
When the association PSYCHEX was founded by me a quarter of a century ago in 1987, I was the first lawyer – and practically the only one at the time – to take on the cause of those who have been robbed of their freedom and those who have been tortured with malicious nerve poisons. I did this professionally and in great style in Switzerland – a country where freedom is lauded as the highest principle. In my work with the lawyers’ collective and association, I have listened personally to the stories of well over 10,000 such people committed to mental institutions, and have taken hundreds through administrative and judicial habeas corpus proceedings – including almost precisely a dozen victims who were locked up for between 10 and 40 years. In the course of all these proceedings, I had access to both the clients’ testimonies and all files and - audiatur et altera pars - I regularly came into contact with those who ordered that "patients" be committed to psychiatric institutions.
In the case of a client whom I managed to get released in 1984 after he spent 23 years in the institutions of Münsterlingen and Rheinau – despite the resistance of the institutions, the Zürich Psychiatric Judicial Committee and the Swiss Federal Court – I even became his legal guardian so that I could use this position to defend his surroundings against the attempts to lock him up again.
The main activity of the PSYCHEX association was developed by me. Above all, my aim was to lift the unease surrounding the fact that legal practitioners were not defending forced psychiatry victims at all. I began by setting up a telephone on-call service manned on weekdays between 8am and 5pm.
At weekends, messages can be left on the answer phone which are then answered on Monday. To name a few figures: in 2009, we were contacted 3588 times - 3045 times by those imprisoned in institutions, and 543 times by other persons. The statistics count more than one call from the same person on the same day as one contact. We continue to be contacted very regularly: in 2010 it was 3577 times, last year 3479. The data from this year already show that it will become a record year. Every day, we hear firsthand all the details of what goes on behind high security gates, where the public has no access – as soon as it happens.
As soon as we receive a cry for help by phone, letter or email from someone who has been subjected to forced psychiatric treatment in any of the more than 50 institutions in Switzerland, we fax him our client documents, which are also available on the web. We also use a questionnaire to find out more about the person and the facts. If it is the institutions or guardianship authorities which are responsible, then as soon as the completed documents have been faxed back, we file a request for release on behalf of our client and with their power of attorney.
In the case of judicial habeas corpus proceedings in accordance with Article 5 (4) of the ECHR, we are obliged to select an available defence lawyer from our list which currently includes around 300 lawyers – as though the presiding judge were seeking an official defence lawyer or free legal representation – and send the request for release to the competent habeas corpus court by fax straight away, naming the lawyer in question. In doing so, we are optimally fulfilling the requirement of a speedy decision which is enshrined in human rights law. In some cases, we have been able to bring about habeas corpus proceedings by sending faxes alone. In the case I mentioned above, the client had to wait a whole six months until his case was heard. In the canton of Zurich in the 1990s, our permanent insistence on achieving speedy decisions meant that the law now requires affected persons to be given a hearing within four working days – which is by no means fast enough, I might add. It is perfectly clear that a decision to commit a person to an institution – which has serious consequences – must be subject first of all and the same moment to a comprehensive judicial investigation with the necessary appointment of an attorney to defend the person.
Practically all the approvals of relevant complaints sent to the Swiss Federal Court until well into the year 2000 were won by lawyers acting under our authority. Research I have carried out into the complaints which have been approved since then shows that these are in the overwhelming majority, as are the lawyers from our association who defend in these habeas corpus proceedings.
The association has made it socially acceptable to defend those who have been subjected to forced psychiatric treatment. The rulings we have won have also provided other lawyers with solid arguments for promising defences.
The telephone service - which five association members are currently involved in - sends out a daily record of events which I too receive, meaning I know exactly what is happening in all of the more than 20,000 files kept by the association.
As a member of the board, I respond to all the emails the association receives each day on a voluntary basis. I step in to work in the on-call service when it’s needed, and at weekends I sometimes turn the answer machine off so that I can respond to calls directly. Forced psychiatry is at work round the clock, 365 days a year. We cannot quite keep up with this pace. Our finances only permit us to have one and a half paid positions.
That is all I would like to say about my own competences, the experience and skills garnered by the association.
Now, let us poke the hornets’ nest that is forced psychiatry!
In Switzerland, this practice is marketed using the euphemism of “care” to justify the deprivation of freedom. To the uninitiated, this verbal construction must appear somewhat perplexing.
Can the relationship between care and the deprivation of freedom be described as anything other than complete incompability?
Let’s start off with a few facts: Psychiatric institutions were established in Switzerland in the 1880s – shortly after the last execution for witchcraft took place. According to statistics from the Swiss Hospitals’ Association from before the Second World War, there were 10,000 beds in such institutions, and in the year 1988, 26,686 “entries” were recorded in 53 psychiatric institutions. More recently, these statistics are collected by the competent Swiss Federal Office. In the year 2006, 54,072 entries were recorded in inpatient institutions, and the last available statistics from the year 2009 show that precisely 60,511 such entries were recorded.
Those who object to this, claiming that these are not all forced admissions, are only right to a very limited extent. Prof. Ambros Uchtenhagen, for example, estimates that 90% of all admissions are forced: Even in the case of so-called “voluntary entrants”, he says that there is pressure from the person’s entourage. In an interview with the Radio of German and Romansh Switzerland which I still remember very clearly, the former head physician Prof. Ernst of the Burghölzli institution in Zurich admitted that two thirds of entries are not voluntary.
If we calculate the statistics on a larger scale (26,000 plus 60,000 divided by 2 = 43,000 x 25), we get the grand sum of over one million commitments to psychiatric institutions during the past quarter of a century – so the great majority are involuntary.
A more recent study is that carried out by the Swiss Health Observatory in 2005, in which data collected from institutions between 2000 and 2002 were evaluated. In this study, the percentage of involuntary entries is estimated at approximately 30%. However, the following is also stated:
According to Borghi (1991), entries are genuinely of a voluntary nature in only about 60% of the cases recorded as being voluntary; around 40% of all entries declared as voluntary occur as a result of a certain level of pressure from the person’s social entourage (p. 28).
This strongly correlates with our experiences. From thousands of testimonies by clients, the PSYCHEX Association knows that many cases of persons being committed to institutions “voluntarily” were actually the result of threats from the admission bodies: “If you don’t go voluntarily, we will have to force you to be admitted.”
It would seem ridiculous to argue that no force is being exercised here.
Not included in the study by the Swiss Health Observatory (SHO) – as is pointed out specifically – are the so-called voluntary entrants against whom the institution itself has formally taken the decision to withhold them.
There are countless such cases.
So, if the SHO study estimates the percentage of forced entries at approximately 30%, and one counts the 40% of non-genuine voluntary cases from the remaining 70%, we are already at 58% involuntary cases – although those who have been forcibly treated and kept back after having entered voluntarily are not included in the statistics – had they been, the number of involuntary cases would be even higher.
In the following section, I will evaluate what goes on in institutions from the perspective of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Legal teaching and jurisdiction both claim that in the case of all interventions concerning human rights, the principle of proportionality should apply: A given measure must be proportionate to what gave cause to it.
In simpler terms: If the measure being taken is very serious, then it must have been caused by something very serious.
So, what does the process of committing a person to a psychiatric institution actually involve?
According to Article 5 (1) (e) of the ECHR, the person affected must be of unsound mind. This is the first blow!
Labelling a person as “of unsound mind” is equivalent to destroying his existence. He is quite literally degraded. Nothing he says or does is taken seriously any longer.
And yet, nothing is more contentious than a psychiatric diagnosis. Here is a small but telling detail on the subject:
In the specialist information given by the Swiss Drug Compendium about the highly potent drug Solian which is used, the following is made known:
It should be mentioned that, in certain cases, it can be difficult to tell the difference between undesirable side effects of the drug and symptoms of the illness being treated.
The most perfidious tactic used by the bodies of forced psychiatry involves them consistently noting down behaviours and statements from the persons they have labelled as mentally ill, which have occurred while these persons have been threatened with deprivation of freedom or actually deprived of freedom, tortured with malicious nerve poisons, or had their other human rights limited. No differentiation is ever made between the affected persons’ symptoms during their everyday lives, and when they are under the influence of these drugs. Were this to be the case, the inconvenient and fatal fact would become apparent that a diagnosed “mental illness” was caused by persecutory crimes against human rights. Psychiatric persecution means that mental illnesses can be constructed at will!
Yet it is perfectly normal that deprivations of liberty trigger fierce resistance and protests. Through the robbery the robbers clearly become enemies of the robbed. Immediately it is downright absurd to chalk up his statements and his behavior in any way and to take this as an occasion or to further support a deprivation of liberty. Coercive psychiatry, however, behaves like those fathers who beat up their children and then also beat their expressions of displeasure out of them. What it does in this respect is monstrous: those subject to all crimes against human rights have to accept the the deprivation of liberty, including all the trimmings, without a word. That is the last straw. Everything that goes on in the admission procedures and in the psychiatric detention centres is iatrogenic and must not be interpreted in any way against the people concerned by the admission authorities and, of course, by the judges of the detention courts.
The way in which the term “mental illness” is misused can also be demonstrated in terms of the interplay between the justice system and psychiatry. Before the legislative regulation of psychiatric deprivation of freedom in the year 1981, people who had committed no criminal offences at all were not committed to institutions as “mentally ill” persons – instead, they were given “administrative care” there. Mental illness only played a murky role in guardianship law as grounds for legal incapacitation. In legal terms, it was defined as the completely incomprehensible and bizarre behaviour of a person, which cannot be understood by educated laypeople. When this definition was also included in the new law, it was also decided that the habeas corpus proceedings must involve expert witnesses – exclusively psychiatrists. This was where the justice system began to improvise. On the one hand, it continued to operate as usual with its legal definition, but on the other hand it waffled on about a medical definition which in the end meant that the non-specific and therefore non-justiciable abstractions spouted by the psychiatrists (see PSYCHEX sample complaint, No. 4, 10 - 12) were repeated literally, parrot-fashion. The sinister pact between judges and psychiatrists has become a nightmare for those persecuted by psychiatry, because it makes locking people away a purely mechanical routine procedure for which nobody feels responsible any more: The judge can say to himself that he is simply going along with the evaluation of the psychiatrist, while the psychiatrist is let off the hook because, in the end, it is not his decision but that of the judge.
The inconvenient “educated layperson” has completely lost his voice, while the demigods in white – who are sponsored by the pharmaceutical lobby – take merciless decisions in alliance with the justice system about the fate of those who have been labelled as psychologically unstable.
It cannot be disputed that deprivation of freedom itself is an objective deprivation of liberty. Article 5 (1) of the ECHR is rendered invalid for those affected.
In human rights law, the grounds for such a deprivation are then listed. In other words: No circumstance not listed there may be used as grounds for deprivation of freedom.
Now, however, Switzerland has been locking people up in psychiatric institutions happily for decades because they are considered to pose a danger to themselves or others. But however you read the provision – forward, backwards, or back-to-front: These dangers are not listed.
If one includes the dangers to the self and third parties which pose a threat to public order, then the behaviour of the bodies of forced psychiatry proves itself to be downright schizophrenic. As substantiated by the organisations Exit and Dignitas, every person has the right to kill him or herself.
After all, how many people have already died as a result of smoking?! If we look at the potential dangers in modern industrial societies and take the lethal weapon that is the car, we will see that since it has been around, more people have met their fates on the roads than were killed on the battlefields in the Second World War – not to mention those who were crippled or injured, gravely or otherwise.
What is more, many studies show that so-called mentally ill persons are no more dangerous than the average population. Every judge whose decision has caused a person to be sent away to be subjected to forced psychiatry, and who then gets into his car and drives home after a day’s work, is much more dangerous.
Despite all of this, psychiatrists who use force continue to tick the boxes marked “danger to self and third parties” happily, without ever adding a single word to specify the nature of these non-justiciable abstractions. It would be more honest if, instead of using their waffle and pieces of text shoved into the judgements, these people and the usual deprivers of freedom would keep it short and sweet by using the good old category “because We feel like it”...
Article 6 (1) of the ECHR establishes the principles of an impartial tribunal, and a fair and public trial for habeas corpus proceedings.
These do not apply.
In the negotiations, affected persons regularly fight their cases completely alone against the cumulative power of the doctors representing the institution. Each of these “experts” – who are colleagues of the institution’s doctors, I might add – tend to side with them.
How could this person, who has already been deprived of his/her freedom, relegated to the rank of “mentally ill person” thanks to the commitment, and literally rendered mad by the limitation of all of his/her human rights, possibly be a match for the rhetoric prowess of these demigods in white coats?
The gravest crime against the human right to a fair trial is the fact that no proof at all is brought in these court proceedings. What the judiciary sells as “proof” – i.e. the “expertise” of the “expert witnesses”, is completely unfit to be presented as evidence. What do these people do? They browse through the files and pick out whatever the pen pushers have noted down.
This cannot be allowed to happen, of course.
Everything noted in the files must be verified in accordance with the rules of proof of the Code of Civil Procedure, all informants must be interviewed as witnesses during the hearing and the person who has been subjected to forced psychiatry must be given the right to a cross-examination.
As things stand, the practice of punishing someone merely for being under suspicion is still in use as it was in the era of the Inquisition. At that time, it was enough for one person to denounce another in order to set the wheels in motion for a court case. Today, it is enough for a call to be made by the bodies of the forced psychiatry industry, and the victim will end up institutionalised.
This disastrous system is able to carry on because, ever since it has existed, forced psychiatry has operated under the veil of as much secrecy as possible. Their bastions are inaccessible to the public, and the court proceedings are held in secret. The state pretends that it must protect the privacy of people who have been committed to psychiatric institutions.
In reality, the opposite is true!
The state has to hide its own outrageous actions.
Article 7 of the ECHR prohibits punishment without law. Anyone who disputes the criminal nature of a forced commitment along with all the sanctions enforced in the institution which we have yet to list, must be assumed to be on the side of the perpetrators. The proof of this is the fact that, in its high security wings, the state also subjects people persecuted solely on psychiatric grounds – i.e. people who are guilty of no crime – to exactly the same conditions as those who are subject to criminal proceedings.
Article 8 of the ECHR guarantees the human rights to a private life and home.
There is no respect for the home when the commandos break in to the rooms of the people to be committed to psychiatric institutions as though they were carrying out a raid!
I have heard countless descriptions of such occurrences – and not only from clients. During my visits to these institutions, which in total have lasted several weeks, I have been able to experience the atmosphere of despair which reigns in the wards. I have also inspected several dormitories.
How can there be privacy in such places?
Articles 9 and 10 of the ECHR enshrine the human rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and expression.
What a farce!
Somebody who has been pumped full of the malicious nerve poisons used in such institutions can neither think nor speak freely and clearly.
And to add insult to injury, anyone who makes use of his human right to express in words his displeasure at being treated with these poisons by the institution, will simply receive a higher dose in return.
And what do our readers think? Is it possible for people committed to institutions to exercise the right to freedom of assembly and association set out in Article 11 of the ECHR?
The answer is obvious. The institutions are nothing other than communities of coercion. In this climate of deprivation of freedom and the impossibility of exercising one’s human rights, fruitful coexistence is completely ruled out.
Article 12 of the ECHR guarantees the human rights to marry and found a family. Two of the most basic human rights are literally suspended in the institutions.
Article 13 of the ECHR gives anyone whose human rights have been violated the right to “effective” remedy before a national authority.
Nowadays, anybody can browse the case law of the Swiss Federal Court, which is published on the internet. Switzerland ratified the European Convention on Human Rights in 1974. As we already know, it has been used over a million times during the past quarter of a century. If we add the 13 years since the turn of the millennium, the total is even higher.
Now, let us search for the number of cases in which the Federal Court established that human rights violations occurred.
The sobering result is that the millions of cases of involuntary commitment were all considered to conform with human rights.
The Federal Court uses a primitive and crude trick to deflect all complaints based on Article 13 of the ECHR. Article 5 (5) of the ECHR and Article 429a of the Swiss Civil Code afford victims the right to seek amends and claim compensation. The Federal Court takes the deliberate and calculating decision to reject all complaints of this nature.
It therefore comes as little surprise to see how many such complaints have ever been approved in Switzerland since 1974.
A search in the case law of the Federal Court reveals not a single approval to date...!
Switzerland as well hasn’t admitted not even one single penal complaint against any authority of coercive psychiatry. If someone is going to deposit such a complaint in a police station, the normal reaction of the police is to call a psychiatrist who will send this person to the crazy house.
The betrayal of human rights in Switzerland is worse than we can ever imagine.
The spirit of hypocrisy oozes out of every pore of this country.
After the crimes have been committed, lies are told in a way reminiscent of what happened at Auschwitz.
Of course, there is method in the deviousness of the justice system. The citizens of this country are constantly reminded that human rights are valid, and that compensation may be sought in the case of violations. Full of trust, victims of forced psychiatry turn to the courts, the cases go on and on, the complaints are mercilessly rejected but the judgements are carried on, full of hope – until they reach Strasbourg. Then, after what has often been ten years of effort, the final decision comes back:
I hereby inform you that, on (date), the European Court of Human Rights with a single judge in session (name) decided to declare your complaint, which was lodged on (date) under the number given above, to be inadmissible. The Court established that the conditions set out in the Convention were not met. To the extent that the points made in the complaint fall within its remit, the Court has, on the basis of all the available documents, reached the conclusion that the complaint identifies no cause to suspect that a violation of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Convention or its additional protocols has occurred. This decision is final and cannot be appealed at the Court, the Grand Chamber or any other authority. We therefore ask for your understanding that the office of the ECHR cannot give you any further information about the decision made by the single judge, nor can it enter into any further correspondence with you about this matter. You will not receive any further correspondence relating to this matter, and your complaint file will be destroyed one year after the date of this decision. This letter has been written in accordance with Article 52A of the Rules of Procedure of the Court. signed, Section Registrar
Those who have already been worn down resign themselves to their fate. Quite a few still go on to desperately seek coverage from the media. In vain. The media are in bed with the justice system.
By making every single complainant unsuccessful, the potential for all victims to rise up together is “elegantly” quelled.
And now we come to the really fundamental human rights violations. Article 2 of the ECHR protects the right to life.
Here is a quote:
“A recent study shows that, for 6 out of 7 US states investigated between 1997 and 2000, mentally ill persons recorded by the public health system have a life expectancy which is 25-32 years shorter than that of the general population” – Dr. Volkmar Aderhold (Member of the renowned German Society for Social Psychiatry (DGSP)): Mortality caused by Neuroleptics, in Soziale Psychiatrie 4/2007. The link to this study can also be found in the Annual Report 2009 of the PSYCHEX association.
This means that anyone who, at the age of 20, is dragged alternately through psychiatric institutions and so-called “forced medication residences”, sees an average of at least 25 years shaved off his or her life.
A clear case of murder in instalments!
Unbelievable. It is impossible to imagine a bigger scandal?
The Nazis invented the term “Betreuung”, which supposedly meant “care”. They claimed they were caring for the people in the concentration camps (Sternberger/Storz/Süskind, Aus dem Wörterbuch des Unmenschen, dtv 1970, p. 24 ff).
The Swiss invented the term “Fürsorge” to supposedly mean “care”. They claim to be caring for the people who are kept in the bastions of psychiatry – which are equipped with high-security locks.
And what is worse? To force a person into a gas chamber disguised as a shower room and to kill him instantly, or to execute him by giving him daily doses of malicious nerve poisons with terrible, pathogenic effects and side effects over the course of 30 years?
And, just as a reminder, the psychiatric practices in Switzerland are no different to those in America. We know this from having exchanged experiences with colleagues there. The eugenicist Eugen Bleuler, a former director of the Burghölzli clinic in Zurich, wrote the first textbook for aspiring psychiatrists. The Burghölzli clinic enjoys worldwide renown, and Zurich is a bastion of forced psychiatry. People travel to Switzerland from all over the world to learn more about the subject.
The following demonstrates whose brainchild the most famous protagonists of the subject were (from Marc Rufer, Wer ist irr? Bern 1991, p. 99 ff.):
“We must divide humanity into roughly two halves: one upper, socially more useful, healthier or happier and one lower, socially less useful, less healthy or less happy. If we draw a line down the centre between them, we can posit the following. Anyone who, along with the means he used to get there, belongs unambiguously to the upper half, is obliged to reproduce in great number; while anyone who clearly belongs to the lower half – especially anyone who is an unsuccessful, unhappy or socially damaging person in terms of physical infirmity, stupidity, mental illness, crimes and nervous illnesses, should be obliged/see it as his social duty to avoid reproducing under any circumstances, ... anyone who can be considered close to the middle line should make sure he reproduces in moderation” (August Forel).
“The further medical science advances, the better the services are that it can offer to the individual, and the more dangerous it becomes to the race, because it maintains the weak at the expense of the strong; so you don’t exactly need to have super-human intelligence to see that we should be seriously worried about the future of civilised peoples. In this way, it seems to me that, if nothing is done to counter the artificial protection of the weak by implementing artificial selection, the only possibility is that the best part of humanity – the civilised peoples – will be doomed as a result of the weakness they show towards their own shortcomings... How this degeneration should be countered remains open to debate. However, it is hardly conceivable that this should take any other form than excluding the weak from reproduction. It is up to science to find ways forward – without taking into account views and feelings which are from a past culture and are damaging to our present situation” (Eugen Bleuler).
"A not so easy question to be answered is whether it should be allowed to destroy lives objectively 'unworthy of living' without the expressed request of its bearers. (...) Even in incurable mentally ill ones suffering seriously from hallucinations and melancholic depressions and not being able to act, to a medical colleague I would ascript the right and in serious cases the duty to shorten—often for many years—the suffering" (Bleuler, Eugen, 1936: "Die naturwissenschaftliche Grundlage der Ethik". Schweizer Archiv Neurologie und Psychiatrie, Band 38, Nr.2, S. 206).
Both of these eugenicists also published works in Germany prior to the Second World War, and doubtless contributed arguments to the “scientific” foundation of the extermination camps there.
Switzerland has never distanced itself from its own monsters. Forel’s portrait even decorated 1000 Franc notes in Switzerland for a while.
Article 3 of the ECHR prohibits torture.
This prohibition does not apply in psychiatric institutions.
Anyone who refuses to swallow the malicious nerve poisons is surrounded by up to a dozen nurses, touched violently, pushed down and tied to a table with leather belts around their hands, feet and waist. As soon as this has happened, the poison is pumped into their body with a syringe. Victims often lose consciousness.
This is what the District Criminal Court in Berne had to say about the actions of a private perpetrator in 1993:
“One of the cruellest and most vile things a person can do to another is to use medicines to make him or her unconscious against his or her will.”
What is crueller and viler? Being robbed of one’s consciousness by a single perpetrator, or by a horde of psychiatric nurses?
The effects of these chemical agents range from drowsiness, sleepiness, tiredness, lack of energy and interest, a feeling of indifference, reduced creativity, reduced libido, impotence, grave and severe motor disorders, cramps, and numerous other physical complaints – to complete unconsciousness and death.
Average death rates always show variations in both directions. One also finds older people who are subjected to forced psychiatric treatment. They stand out because of their determination, desire to resist, stubbornness and other similar qualities. One hears about their strategies, which are aimed at successfully surviving what is practically the institutions’ only “treatment concept” – i.e. pumping their victims full of poisons.
They are able to count not least on the understanding of nurses, who are sceptical towards these courses of treatment with poisons which are carried out with military precision. Countless such nurses have got into contact with me or the association. It is precisely these people, however, who tend to resign from their jobs early, because they simply do not want to take part in these monstrous practices any longer. Those that remain are cunning and indifferent. There is no shortage of sadists in the institutions.
The high death rate must primarily be because of those unfortunate people who, like obedient sheep, do not resist the poisons – which are praised as “gifts”. Even while they are still alive, they almost look like corpses creeping through the desolate corridors behind the gates. Even once they have been released, they obediently follow their prescriptions.
The Swiss Federal Court refuses to qualify these inhumane and humiliating treatments within and outside the institutions correctly as torture. It is impossible for this to happen if an order has been given by a doctor. The justification given could not be any more stupid. Whether this is justified or not – the doctor is given a licence to torture. The experiences of the victims do not count in the least.
Who – we ask ourselves – is responsible for deciding what amounts to torture? First and foremost, it should be the victim himself!
That is perfectly clear.
It should certainly not be the perpetrators or the bodies which back them. That would be just as absurd as if one had left it up to the Inquisition or the Nazi criminals to decide whether torture had taken place or not.
As usual, it will just be a matter of time before the judgement of history will set the record straight.
Like swallows in spring, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture - Juan E. Mendez - has already spoken out:
The Special Rapporteur on Torture makes a number of arguments relevant to this debate. He argues that the abuse of psychiatric treatment "requires greater attention",103 a view justified by his observation that "within institutions as well as in compulsory outpatient treatment [.... Psychotropic drugs, including neuroleptics and other mind-altering drugs, may be administered to persons with mental disabilities without their free informed consent, against their will, under duress or as a form of punishment".104 Moreover, the Special Rapporteur explicitly links side effects of the administration of drugs to torture. He explains that the side effects of psychotropic drugs are "tremors, chills and convulsions, and apathy and numbness in the person concerned".105 He notes that the forced administration of psychotropic drugs has been recognised as a form of torture,106 and makes clear that "the forced and non-consensual administration of psychotropic drugs, especially neuroleptics, for the treatment of mental illness must be strictly scrutinised. Depending on the circumstances of the individual case, the suffering inflicted and the effects on the health of the person concerned may constitute a form of torture or ill-treatment "107 (https://www.folter-abschaffen.de/ and unabridged speech by Juan E. Mendez available there).
Article 4 of the ECHR prohibits forced labour.
People who are officially certified as infirm and unable to work are recklessly forced to do menial tasks. These are cleverly camouflaged as ergotherapy. I have seen with my own eyes how those in the institutions have been forced to count and pack screws or fold and pack leaflets for the Free Democratic Party of Switzerland.
In general, in addition to being subjected to the grave human rights violations already listed, those who refuse to comply with the orders of the institution’s bodies can suffer any of the following sanctions: Being bundled off into an isolation cell, being forced to stay in their room, being forbidden to use the phone, write, receive visitors, go out, take holiday, smoke, having their internet use restricted etc..
Now that we have described the gravity of the situation – which cannot be overstated – we come to the justifications given for such occurrences.
Let’s take a classic example.
The father of somebody who will later be qualified as mentally ill is a factory worker, while his mother pushes goods over a scanner in a shop day in, day out, making sure that money flows into the coffers and books of the company.
With increasing urgency, the son is asking himself where he should fit into today’s modern society of production, consumption and waste disposal. An academic career is completely out of his reach.
He is not exactly inspired by the example set by his parents to decide to spend his life as a welder, machinist, turner or doing any other job in a workshop, as a construction worker, an accountant in a big office or in any other subordinate role.
Very hefty discussions ensue. The situation escalates.
Let us just say here that, even as early as this highly critical phase, his parents do not know what to do other than to reach for the phone and call the emergency psychiatrist.
To calm the situation, it is agreed that the boy is to be given his own flat so that he can use his increased freedom to secure the apprenticeship he wants to begin.
But things don’t work out. Things don’t work out with teachers or school staff. The young man is absent more and more often, and is becoming increasingly withdrawn.
Including those diagonally opposite, his flat borders no fewer than 9 others in his tenement block. Televisions are turned off at ten or eleven o’clock in the evening. The residents are quiet in the evenings because they have to get up early to operate machinery, collect rubbish, sort post, stack shelves or push buttons.
But what’s that noise coming through the wall? Is it heavy metal or rap? Whatever it is, it’s stopping the poor neighbours from getting some sleep.
All it takes is for one of them to reach for the phone.
What happens then is something that I have not only heard in thousands of client testimonies, but have also experienced first hand in the sense that people have called me and told me that the police is at the door demanding it be opened, without giving so much as an explanation.
I then carried on talking to them until it became clear from the noises and voices I heard that the lock had been broken and, in most cases, a commando including two police officers, two paramedics and a psychiatrist had forced entry.
As soon as this happened, I asked the caller to give the receiver to the police officer so that I could negotiate with him.
In vain. In most cases, the phone was hung up without a single word being said.
The next day or later – because the effects of the forcibly administered drugs prevented him from calling us – I then found out which institution the person was committed to, either directly or from the association’s daily records.
And now for the crucial question: is the act described in my example – causing excessive noise at night – really a good enough reason to subject somebody to measures which render all of his human rights invalid?
Of course not!
Anyone who cannot think of the obvious solution must be a sandwich short of a picnic themselves.
It is perfectly understandable that nobody wishes to be disturbed at night. Breaking open the door and committing the person causing the disturbance to an institution, however, is most definitely a step too far!
Causing excessive noise at night is considered a transgression. It would be appropriate or proportionate for the police officer in question to demand that the offender open the door so that the matter could be discussed. If the offender refuses, this is still by no means a good enough reason to break into the flat by force. It would be sufficient for the police officer to explain to the offender through the door that there had been a complaint about the excessive noise, and to give the offender a warning at most. If another complaint of the same type were to be made, the police should use force to break down the door if necessary before confiscating the corpus delicti – the stereo – and reporting the offender.
When I recall all of the cases I have defended personally before the courts – as a result of which I was aware of all the relevant circumstances – I can say that in not a single case of a person being committed to a psychiatric institution was this severest of measures preceded by an event which would have given good cause for it.
To anyone who objects to this statement and tells me I should try living with a “mentally ill” person myself, I would say that I have taken many victims to my home directly from the institution, where I have given them shelter for months. Not once would I have dreamed of having them committed again.
Experience has shown me that for somebody to be committed, two idiots are needed. It is enough for one of the persons in the conflict to not behave idiotically, and the fatal commitment does not occur.
When one is familiar with enough cases, the phenomenon of forced psychiatry is easy to decrypt.
We need only to find a reason behind the seemingly inexplicable fact that in scenes such as these which play out every day, the persons which have the misfortune to end up in institutions are those who live in a community who call the institution at the drop of a hat, while others – who are surrounded by people who can cope with the conflict – are spared such treatment. We must also explain why it is the case that, whenever a conflict between two people ends with a commitment to an institution, it is guaranteed that it will be the party who is not well integrated into working life who is committed, while the party who is in work will remain free.
This puts us on the right track straight away.
Because if we now analyse what holds this world together at its very core, the riddle solves itself.
The occurrences I have described here are brought about by a construction which could not be any more brazen.
When countries were first marketed as democracies, the idea of democracy was not sparked like an explosion amongst the entire population – no! – originally, it was the idea of one person. The creator of the idea simply had the resources of power at his disposal in order to be able to assert it.
In specific terms, this happened as follows: He, with the help of his power, like-minded people and his propaganda machine, was the one who appointed the majority of parliamentarians, and therefore also the governments and judges chosen by them. Minorities were more than welcome as a smokescreen to cover up this betrayal. As soon as this had happened, he ordered his staff to establish an issuing bank, to let every last cent of the money printed and minted there flow into the private banks founded by him and his entourage.
These banks are all organized as public limited companies (French: sociétés anonymes). The power of disposal is embodied by shares on which there are no names. The founders thus remain anonymous and, even if the banks periodically throw shares on the market to multiply their balance sheets, they take great care to always remain in possession of the majority of shares. This allows them to enforce all the decisions they deem appropriate against the minority shareholders. One can therefore assume that there are a very small number of anonymous majority shareholders who rule the world with their money.
The banks do not, of course, push the hard cash and the self-created book money, which in the meantime exceeds this amount by a factor of about ten, over the counters as gifts but as loans including interest obligations, above all to the entrepreneurs who, as profit-seekers, ideologically form the hinge between the anonymous “lords” of the earth and the "people". Via interest and compound interest, of millions thus have become billions and of billions trillions. Now the anonymous top villains are already heading for the quintillions. In order to generate the exponentially exploding interest debts together with the fat entrepreneurial profits, it is necessary to produce, tempt to consume and to dispose of waste. The people are not only burdened with the associated heavy work - as consumers they must also pay the bank interest and entrepreneurial profits added to the products!
As no reasonable and normal person wishes to be degraded by doing all the necessary factory and menial tasks voluntarily, the working masses must be made submissive with a system of threats. The “elements” which do not function properly, or which cause a disturbance, are unceremoniously deprived of their freedom for trivial reasons, before being tortured with malicious nerve poisons. The harsh examples set with individuals who do not comply keep the whole populace in check (deterrents for individuals and the masses).
The “care” mentioned in Swiss legislation (Article 397a of the Swiss Civil Code; other states use similar euphemisms to cover up this betrayal) which is meant to be given to “the mentally ill, addicts and depraved people” in institutions, is just a euphemism.
Forced psychiatry has to make people feel terrible. Otherwise, people in institutions would feel well and would enjoy staying there.
Without the threats of forced psychiatry, who would do slave labour?
It is perfectly clear now: forced psychiatry has absolutely nothing to do with care – it is a pure instrument of domination. It is an industry which literally treads on corpses. As crows do not peck out other crows’ eyes, and therefore the crow of the justice system does not peck out the eyes of the crow of psychiatry, all their crimes have gone unpunished until now.
I know that this annihilating critique is hard to digest because I too know what is needed before the scales fall from your eyes. Due to a lack of knowledge about the aforementioned details, uninformed citizens have no chance of perceiving or evaluating forced psychiatry any differently to how I was able to 40 years ago.
I will now briefly illustrate how the propaganda of misinformation peddled by the media, who are at the service of the masters, works – using the example of an article recently published in Beobachter (a product of Axel Springer Schweiz AG).
The title already says a lot: The straitjacket is outdated.
This is certainly not the case!
Force still dominates everyday life in the bastions of psychiatry. The straitjacket may have been abolished, but it has been replaced by a much more perfidious instrument – the chemical bludgeon. I have already listed the effects of these malicious nerve poisons, which can include death.
There is no mention of these in the article written by a certain Walter Noser.
According to his waffle, over 27 innocent citizens are forcibly committed every day. That would mean nearly 10,000 people over one year.
This is completely wrong. He bases his statements on data which the Swiss Citizens Commission on Human Rights (with whom PSYCHEX, which was criticised by the Beobachter publication, has nothing to do) is meant to have distributed on flyers, and adds that it can be assumed that the figure is roughly correct.
If we cautiously assume the proportion of involuntary commitments according to the aforementioned SHO study from 2000-2002 to be 60%, and apply this to the year 2009 with 60,000 commitments, we arrive at a figure of 36,000. If we believe Prof. Ernst, the number is 40,000, while Prof. Uchtenhagen estimates over 54,000.
With his nearly 10,000 forced commitments, Noser has served us up a masterpiece of his art of misinformation and misdirection.
The competent critique made by the PSYCHEX association is described by him as “abstruse”.
However, I think this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. As an example of one of the PSYCHEX association’s abstruse claims, he cites the following sentence:
Nowhere in the world are so many people locked up as in Switzerland.
Why is this sentence meant to be abstruse? Has he disproved it with any kind of example?
I have been invited to present at the annual congresses of both the ENUSP in London and the German Association of those with Experience of Psychiatry (BPE) in Kassel. The PSYCHEX association is informed about forced psychiatry all over the world via newsletter. We have never heard of another national figure which is higher than that of Switzerland’s involuntary commitments.
The German medical magazine Deutsche Ärztezeitung published the following on 09/05/2012:
Between 1990 and 2002, the rate of involuntary commitments in Germany rose by 67% from 114.4 to 190.5 (per 100,000 of the population), by 24% in the UK from 40.5 to 50.3, and by 16% in the Netherlands from 16.4 to 19.1.
A fall in involuntary commitments is reported in Italy – by 12% from 20.5 to 18.1 – and in Sweden, by 17% from 39.4 to 32.4. The lowest rates in Europe are to be found in Portugal, with 6 persons per 100,000, while the highest can be found in Finland, with 218 per 100,000.
According to the Swiss Hospital Statistics 2009, the total rate of all voluntary and involuntary commitments is 7.7 per 1,000 inhabitants, or 770 per 100,000. If one takes out the 60-90% involuntary commitments, the rates range between 462 and 700 – definitely significantly higher than in the 7 European countries I have just mentioned.
A real damp squib from the Beobachter!
Although this Walter Noser was well aware of the existence of the PSYCHEX association, he did not consult any of our members. Instead, he spoke to the head physician of Interlaken psychiatric services. He lets this man spout claims that fewer than one percent of all admissions result in forced treatments.
When one takes into account the fact that Walter Noser is a former psychiatric nurse, one realises that he and the head physician are foxes which have been allowed to guard the hen house.
Our association can disprove the head physician’s claim with our own data. As has already been mentioned, we receive testimonies in both oral and written form. When we send a client documents, we generally send a questionnaire in which the following questions are asked, among others:
5. Have you been forced to take medication? If yes, which medication and in which doses?
6. Have chemicals been injected into your body against your will?
Have you been held down or chained down by institution staff?
7. Have you been threatened with being injected with drugs to make you unconscious if you refused to ingest the chemicals?
Have you been threatened in any other way?
From both oral and written testimonies, we know that patients across the board are forced to ingest these poisons.
Of course, it is necessary to know the context here. Nobody shouts about the function of forced psychiatry as an instrument of domination. And yet, just as is the case with marauding monetary policy, it is covered up with all the methods one can think of. This means that even the staff in the institutions themselves usually doesn’t have the faintest idea about the evil and scandalous purposes for which forced psychiatry is misused. In order to retain a certain level of psychological stability themselves, doctors and nurses must suppress the unpleasant and dramatic scenes they are a part of – or believe that the patient is taking part in them voluntarily. From those malign characters in the whole setup, one can surely only hear lies spread intentionally.
The testimonies of our clients allow us to have access to the reality. Admittedly, it is correct that of all our questions about forced treatment, those asking whether the person has been injected with chemicals against his or her will and whether he or she has been held down or chained down by staff, were answered with YES less frequently than the other questions about force.
This does not mean, however, that the question of force has been dealt with. In this respect, it can be said that in the institutions, the same principle of creating deterrent effect to individuals and the masses is applied as is the case in forced psychiatry overall and in criminal law.
The following is an explanation of these terms, which are used frequently in criminal law: Harsh examples are made of individuals in order to deter offenders from reoffending – this is called creating a deterrent effect to individuals. At the same time, however, the example is also meant to send a message to the whole population that they should not act in the same way as the individual. This is called creating a deterrent to the masses.
We all know that a bank robbery – even though it is just about that vile thing, money – can all too easily end in the death of the offender. The marksmen who take up their positions in such cases serve to give the masses a drastic demonstration of what will happen to them if they decide to try and take money from these strictly guarded coffers.
In the institutions, meanwhile, those who persist in refusing to ingest the poisons are overpowered and injected with drugs in the aforementioned way.
This process is part of daily life in the institutions, so fellow inmates can follow the kerfuffle and listen in on the screams. Word gets around quickly about these incidents.
And it is precisely the harsh examples which are made of these individuals which have the effect that all the others comply nolens volens when they are required to ingest the poisons several times daily.
Without these examples – these constant demonstrations of power, the others would not accept to swallow the poisons.
Thousands of descriptions have given us a very precise idea of how this happens. “If you don’t take the medicine, we’ll have to inject it,” is how the brutal threat goes. Most patients surrender. Those who continue to resist are overpowered by groups of nurses. During my visits, I have been able to observe these ghostly scenes – the rehearsed way in which staff encircle the victims and touch him or her violently – with my own eyes.
And why, indeed, are the poisons from the pharmaceutical industry produced both as tablets and in liquid form? Our spies – i.e. clients – can explain this too. Many patients try to trick the staff supervising the ingestion by keeping the poisonous tablets under their tongues and then spitting them out at the next available opportunity. This is precisely why the pharmaceutical industry also supplies the poisons in liquid form.
Of course, veteran victims of forced psychiatry have mastered the art of pretending to swallow poisons in liquid form. To counter this, the institutions use the highly-feared depot injection. This involves injecting the poisons into the body, where they are absorbed over a certain period of time. Our clients report the most terrible things about this process. As absorption can take place in an irregular fashion, serious complications may ensue which often means that emergency admission to a hospital is required. Here is one point about that. If the victim dies as a result of the so-called “neuroleptic maligne syndrome” or “sudden death”, the psychiatric institution does not record this as a death, but as a “discharge”.
The way in which this Walter Noser is trying to deny the existence of the omnipresent force used in the institutions is completely monstrous.
It is not difficult to guess the cui bono of his blows directed at PSYCHEX. From our clients’ testimonies, the association not only knows the conditions in the institutions inside out – it also publishes details about them. Our homepage receives up to 1700 hits per day.
It is therefore high time that the officiating masters should decide to set the conglomerated power of the press they control in motion against our unfiltered presentation of the reality.
This will never be able to prevent the association from laying bare the similarities that the instrument of domination which is forced psychiatry has with the Inquisition and the Holocaust.
When they occurred, the ideologies of the Inquisition and of racial hygiene were unchallenged and impossible to challenge, while the Inquisitors and Nazi criminals were highly respected personalities.
Critics were suppressed.
History never ceases to repeat itself.
It is to be expected that the relevance of what I have presented here will only be recognised once history has passed judgement on these events.
Autumn 2012 Edmund Schönenberger
Barrister at law
Revised 2015 / 2021
The amendment to legal guardianship law which came into force on 01/01/2013 changed absolutely nothing. All it did was create even more new euphemisms for violations of all human rights. It is just a new way of expressing the same things: