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It is absolutely remarkable that an organisation which stands accused of
so many human
rights violations itself should spawn a pressure group with
this name. As Richard Behar wrote in TIME,
"The disingenuously named Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a Scientology group at war with psychiatry, its primary competitor. The commission typically issues reports aimed at discrediting particular psychiatrists and the field in general. The CCHR is also behind an all-out war against Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac, the nation's top-selling antidepression drug. Despite scant evidence, the group's members -- who call themselves "psychbusters" -- claim that Prozac drives people to murder or suicide. Through mass mailings, appearances on talk shows and heavy lobbying, CCHR has hurt drug sales and helped spark dozens of lawsuits against Lilly."Source: TIME Magazine, May 6, 1991 page 50: Special Report (cover story) Copyright © 1991 TIME Magazine
The hysteria with which CCHR attacks psychiatry, in its leaflets, media appearances and public protests (they even sell "Psychiatry kills" t-shirts), gives them no regard for accuracy in their statements. No attempt is made to distinguish psychiatry from psychology or neurophysiology. No distinction is made between extreme forms of therapy and "talking cures", and the great similarity of scientology to many other "talking cures" goes unmentioned. To a scientologist, all these activities are the work of "the psychs".
This disregard for facts is also shown in a Psychiatric Times article from November 1996, which discovered that CCHR brochures were misrepresenting sources in order to create shocking "facts" about the effect of psychiatry on society. In June of 1990, Professor Sir Martin Roth, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Cambridge, won a libel suit against the Newcastle Times, which had published some totally false allegations based on a "report" from the CCHR.
Scientology's attack on mental health practitioners stems from policy letters written by L. Ron Hubbard, which are now public record thanks to Sir John Foster's report of 1971.
In a policy letter entitled "Enquiry Rumour UK", Hubbard boasts that,
"Obviously we could have had a ball and put psychiatry on trial for murder, mercy killing, sterilization, torture, and sex practices and could have wiped out psychiatry's good name."but says that disobedience from some of his subordinates prevented this. (Source: Page 143 of the Foster Report, electronic version at http://www.demon.co.uk/castle/audit/foster07.html). In the same document, he advises,
(3) Stress sex and blood in psychiatry and collect data and mount an all out attack in the press on psychiatry, so that "Mental Health" sees that they are going to get hurt and will cool off.
The book, "What Is Scientology" says, "As the stepchild of Bismarck, Hitler, and Nazis, psychiatry and psychology formed the philosophical basis for the wholesale slaughter of human beings in World War I and II."
This hatred of the mental health professions perhaps stems from their total dismissal of Dianetics, the bogus mental-health "science" that he created. I speculate that he also wanted his followers to avoid qualified mental health practitioners because the diagnosis of dedicated Scientologists as mentally unbalanced or even psychotic would of course be terrible publicity for the organisation. In a separate document, quoted on page 149 of the Foster Report, Hubbard claims that psychiatry:
In an article for the Southern California Psychiatrist in 1991, the eminent psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West (RIP 1999) describes attempts to disrupt conferences of the American Psychiatric Association and reports that the strategy of using front groups has been disturbingly successul. He claims that the then head of CCHR, Dennis Clarke, has no scientific or clinical expertise.
Ron's intense, irrational hatred lives on in his followers. Talking to individual scientologists, I have come across claims that psychologists want to destroy mankind and that psychiatric therapy routinely involves heavy doses of drugs and electro-convulsive therapy.
The UK branch of the CCHR is based at Saint Hill in East Grinstead, the site of Scientology's national headquarters.