In a 1969 article, "Today’s Terrorism," published in a Scientology journal, Hubbard claimed that "the psychiatrist and his front groups operate straight out of the terrorist textbooks. The Mafia looks like a convention of Sunday school teachers compared to these terrorist groups." The psychiatrist, Hubbard went on, "kidnaps, tortures and murders without any slightest police interference or action by western security forces." Later, Hubbard wrote that, in society, "there’s only one remedy for crime — get rid of the psychs! They are causing it!"
CCHR's views on psychiatry are a reflection of the position held by Thomas Szasz, whose writings express very strong opinions against psychiatry. CCHR advocates that there is no biological evidence to support psychiatric theories of mental disorders.
Efforts for psychiatric reform
CCHR promotional leaflet, inviting members of the public to "report psychiatric abuse"
The CCHR continued to lobby for legislative reform on mental health issues such as the keeping of detailed computer records on involuntarily committed patients and their families, and "drug experimentation" without patients' consent. The CCHR would typically request a tour of a psychiatric hospital, issue a public report based on patient testimony and other sources, and then push for legal investigations and reform. Its early focus was on involuntary commitment procedures.
Since then, the group has organized media campaigns against various psychiatrists, psychiatric organizations and pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Prozac. One campaign is said to have caused a major fall in sales of Prozac, causing considerable commercial damage to the company.
In 2003, the CCHR presented a report with the title "The Silent Death of America's Children" to the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, with case histories of several dozen under-aged psychiatric patients who had died as a result of psychotropic drug treatment and restraint measures in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In 2004, the CCHR sponsored a bill requiring doctors to provide patients with information about a medication's side effects before prescribing any psychotropic drugs, while also mandating a legal guardian's signature. Opponents of the bill argued that these additional procedures might discriminate against mentally-ill patients while delaying treatment. The bill attracted widespread disagreement from the medical establishment, including the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, who opposed it on the grounds that it compromised informed consent. The Massachusetts Psychiatric Society also opposed the bill, believing that it would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.
On 5 October 2006, National Mental Health Screening Day, the CCHR picketed outside of Riverside Community Care in Wakefield, Massachusetts, holding a protest rally against mental health screening. According to journalist Gary Band in the Wakefield Observer, "The protest fell somewhat flat because Riverside has not conducted these screenings since 2001."
From 1988 to 1990 the Australian government held the Chelmsford royal commission inquiry into Deep Sleep Therapy (DST). For a decade prior, the CCHR had been pushing for an investigation of the Chelmsford Private Hospital in New South Wales, and its head, Dr. Harry Bailey, who had been practising DST from 1963 to 1979. Honorable Justice John (J. P.) Slattery, Royal Commissioner, is quoted as stating that the CCHR "contributed considerably to advance the cause of the Chelmsford patients in their campaign for an open inquiry into the hospital." The inquiry discovered that deep sleep therapy had killed 24 patients, not counting patients who had killed themselves, and close to a thousand had suffered brain damage. Of the former patients, 152 received reparations from a fund totaling in excess of 5 million dollars.
Chelmsford Hospital was forced to close in 1990, and two of its psychiatric staff were brought on charges in 1992. Dr. Bailey himself stepped down in 1979 due to the CCHR's protest campaign, and committed suicide by drug overdose in 1985, the night before he was subpoenaed to appear in court. His suicide note read, in part: "Let it be known that the Scientologists and the forces of madness have won."
CCHR's relationship with the Church of Scientology is mediated through the church's Office of Special Affairs (OSA). Critics of Scientology have charged that CCHR is merely a front group for the church and have pointed to internal church documents that appear to describe CCHR's campaigns as a means of extending the influence of the Church of Scientology. Until recent years, a number of CCHR offices were listed at Church of Scientology Org locations.[original research?]
In 1988, the CCHR claimed that Professor Sir Martin Roth of Newcastle University had used LSD in tests on mental patients in the 1960s. The statements were publicised in the Newcastle Times newspaper, which was ordered by an English court to pay "very substantial" libel damages to Roth after the court found that CCHR's claims were "highly defamatory" and "utterly false."
The group has implied that the September 11 attacks were influenced by psychiatrists. Hubbard, who headed the Church of Scientology, claimed psychiatrists caused decline in the universe eons ago.
Jan Eastgate, President of the CCHR and winner of the Church of Scientology Freedom Medal for her work on human rights, has been implicated in covering up the sexual abuse of an 11-year-old girl in the Australian branch of the church. Eastgate was head of the Australian CCHR at the time and the girl was abused by her Scientologist stepfather between the ages of 8 and 11 years. Eastgate, who denied the allegations, labelling them "egregiously false", was arrested on 30 March 2011 on charges of perverting the course of justice but later released on conditional bail.
Retired neurologist Dr. Fred Baughman has served as a medical expert for the CCHR. Although psychiatrist Peter Breggin worked with CCHR from 1972, he later dissociated himself from the organization in 1974 as a result of his disagreements with actions taken by the Church of Scientology.
Marie L. Thompson, writing in the 2006 book Mental Illness, commented that the CCHR has been a "highly effective activist organisation", which by 2005 was represented by 133 chapters in 34 countries.
CCHR have produced a number of documentaries promoting their view of modern psychiatry. These include Making A Killing, Prescription for Violence, The Marketing of Madness, Dead Wrong and Psychiatry: An Industry of Death which was made to accompany the CCHR's museum of the same name.
The Marketing of Madness: Are We All Insane?
The Marketing of Madness is a documentary which alleges that the mental health industry is an unscientific field driven solely by the profit motive, to the detriment of patients.
One of the interviewees is Claudia Keyworth, an advocate of 'Bio-Energetic medicine' (a form of quackery), who believes that healing is best accomplished using the "energy field of the human body". On the topic of mental illness, she asserts: "they say you have a chemical imbalance of serotonin and dopamine, but there's never been a study to prove that, ever."
The documentary claims that psychiatrists have convinced the public that normal, negative human experiences are mental illnesses.
An example used in the movie is the assertion that psychiatrists seek to label typical shyness as a "social anxiety disorder".
However, patients are diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder only at debilitating levels, where there is an "intense fear in social situations". Unlike a shy individual, a person diagnosed with social anxiety disorder is likely to suffer from symptoms such as nausea, stammering, and panic attacks.
^"About CCHR". CCHR International. Citizens Commission on Human Rights International. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
^"Industry of Death exhibition on psychiatry walks a fine line". Canada.com. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2012. "“A major purpose of Scientology is to destroy psychiatry and replace it with its own pseudo-counselling techniques. And CCHR is one of Scientology’s front-group weapons attempting to achieve that goal,” says Stephen Kent, a University of Alberta sociologist specializing in new religions and cults. Scientology holds that psychiatrists are “cosmic demons,” he says."
^Kirsten Stewart (2 July 2005). "Scientology's political presence on the rise". The Salt Lake Tribune. "The church [of Scientology] kept a low profile, paying professional lobbyists to press its cause or relying on CCHR, which skeptics call a front group designed to recruit Scientologists and replace psychiatry with Dianetics."|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^"[ Fence Post ]". Chicago Daily Herald (Letters to the Editor|format= requires |url= (help)). 4 January 2001. "Dangerous program / In a letter to Fence Post (Dec. 12), Susan Stozewski of the Chicago Church of Scientology attempts to promote a drug rehab program called Narconon. I wish to warn readers that Narconon is a front group for the Church of Scientology. I found from personal experience that Narconon is a sham and is, in fact, a slick device to lure unsuspecting people into Scientology. An acquaintance of mine recently discovered that she had serious liver damage from Narconon's bogus "purification" program and she now cannot get health insurance coverage. Another Scientology front group to beware of is the CCHR or Citizens Commission on Human Rights. The CCHR is using tax-exempt funds in a covert campaign to discredit psychiatric-psychology treatment. The CCHR has an extensive network of agents that are distributing distortions about psychiatric treatment and medications such as Prozac and Ritalin. This is a very dangerous thing and people should be aware that it is going on. / Jim Beebe / Northbrook"|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^"U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejects Scientologists' petition". Business Wire (reprinting Eli Lilly press release). 1 August 1991. "The petition sought the removal of Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride, Dista) from the market and was filed in October 1990 by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a Scientology front group. The FDA is to be commended on its careful review of pertinent scientific data, which led to this most recent reaffirmation of the safety and effectiveness of Prozac. From the start, the campaign against Prozac, of which the CCHR petition was a part, has been a dangerous deception. Scientology's disinformation is a menace to the public health as it attempts to frighten patients away from appropriate medical care and safe and effective medicines."|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^ ab"Scientology faces wave of cyber attacks". Cape Times. 4 March 2008. "LOS ANGELES: “We were born. We grew up. We escaped.” So reads the motto of ExScientologyKids.com, a website launched last week by three young women raised in the Church of Scientology who are speaking out against the religion. Their website accuses the church of physical abuse, denying some children a proper education and alienating members from their families. One of the women behind the site, Jenna Miscavige Hill, is the niece of David Miscavige, the head of the church, and Kendra Wiseman is the daughter of Bruce Wiseman, president of the Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights, a Scientology-sponsored organisation opposed to the practice of psychiatry."|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^"'Church' that yearns for respectability; Business of religion; Scientology". The Times. 23 June 2007. "Hubbard's empire ... Citizens' Commission on Human Rights: assets £4,000; turnover £43,000"|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^"The Scientology Church of Hollywood". The Globe and Mail. 11 September 1993. "Scientology's physical presence in Los Angeles and Hollywood is massive. It owns at least seven large buildings, staffed by 2,500 members, and is associated with a wide array of local organizations - "front groups" to their detractors. Some are directly affiliated, like the Citizens' Commission on Human Rights, an anti-psychiatry group, and Author Services, which represents Mr. Hubbard's books and hires actors like Roddy McDowall and Bruce Boxleitner to read the Scientology founder's books on tape. Others have Scientologists on staff and use church methods."|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^"Scientology's War Of Retribution On Deep-sleep Therapy". The Age. 22 April 1991. "Internal documents from the Church of Scientology, the parent organisation of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, indicate that behind the church's public battle to expose abuses of psychiatric patients lies a hidden plan of retribution."|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^"Scientology organizations". Charleston Gazette. 10 July 2005. "Scientology operates several drug rehab, education and anti-psychiatry organizations. / · Narconon: The church's drug-rehabilitation program was founded 35 years ago. It has 145 centers in 38 countries. Narconon is based partly on Scientology's belief that drugs accumulate in body fat. / · Crimonon: A prison program founded in 1972 that draws on Scientology principles to rehabilitate prisoners. The program rejects traditional mental-health care. Hubbard believed that Scientology could help rid the planet of crime. / · Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR): Established in 1969 as an anti-psychiatry organization, CCHR promotes Hubbard's teachings against modern psychiatry. It charges that psychiatry has no scientific foundation, that psychiatric drugs cause violent behavior and that chemical imbalances have never been proven."|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^Fink, Max (2004). Ethics in Electroconvulsive Therapy. Philadelphia: Brunner-Routledge. p. 12. ISBN0-415-94659-X.
^Thompson, Marie (2007). Mental Illness. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. p. 96. ISBN0-313-33565-6.
^ abcdeBenjamin, Gedan. "Bill Would Curtail Presecriptions for Mentally Ill". The Boston Globe.
^"CCHR Chapters Worldwide." Citizens Commission on Human Rights. Retrieved 26 September 2009. "Citizens Commission on Human Rights International 6616 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028"
^Kent, Melissa (18 January 2006). "Strange meeting of minds takes place". The West Australian (Perth).
^Katharine Mieszkowski (1 July 2005). "Scientology’s war on psychiatry". Salon.com. Retrieved 23 September 2012. "The controversial church, whose founder called shrinks "terrorists" and which labels mental illness a fraud, is closer than you think to implanting its extreme beliefs in the nation's laws and schools."
^"Tom Cruise, Scientology Bash Psychiatry; APA Fires Back". Skeptical Inquirer. 1 September 2005. "Mark Plummer, a former Scientology member for fourteen years, states: "Their goal is to take over entirely the field of mental health. Their beliefs stem from Hubbard's dogma that psychiatry is evil. Scientology teaches that psychiatry views people as 'meat bodies' without a spiritual aspect, and that Scientologists alone should be allowed to treat mental illnesses." Church leader David Miscavige agreed, stating quite clearly at the International Association of Scientologists in Copenhagen: "Objective one-place Scientology at the absolute center of society. Objective two-eliminate psychiatry in all its forms.""|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^Harold Mandel. "CCHR reports on association of psychotropic drugs with violence". CCHR (press release published on examiner.com). "The CCHR is the world's leading mental health wartchdog and has been working tirelessly for decades to investigate hundreds of acts of senseless violence, working alongside investigative reporters, law enforcement, as well as legislative hearings, such as those held in Colorado following the 1999 Columbine massacre. The ringleader of this massacre, Eric Harris, was found to be under the influence of the antidepressant Luvox. ... While there has never been one simple explanation for what drives a human being to commit such shocking acts, all too often the CCHR has uncovered one common denominator in hundreds of cases, prescribed psychotropic drugs, which have been well documented to cause mania, psychosis, violence, suicide and in some cases homicidal ideation. It is a horrible injustice that the general public is not generally being informed about the well documented links which have been shown to exist between psychiatric drugs and violence."Missing or empty |url= (help);|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^"Are drugs to blame for shooting sprees? Letters". Western Daily Press. 31 July 2012. "it is the drugs themselves that can create the very violence or mental incompetence they were supposed to 'treat'. At least 13 of the recent school shootings were committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs. There have been 109 wounded and 58 killed. A hearing into the documented violenceinducing side-effects of psychiatric drugs is long overdue. There is an abundance of evidence, studies, warnings and case histories to support an investigation, one without a predetermined outcome. That means an investigation without pharma funding or pharmafunded 'experts'. ... Brian Daniels National spokesperson Citizens Commission on Human Rights (United Kingdom)"|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^E. Fuller Torrey and Michael B. Knable. (2005). Surviving Manic Depression. New York: Basic Books. p. 295. ISBN0-465-08664-0.
^Valerie L. Love; Edna D. Copeland (1992). Attention Without Tension: A Teacher's Handbook on Attention Disorders (ADHD and ADD). Atlanta, Ga: Resurgens Press. p. 114. ISBN0-929519-10-8.Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)
^Stephen A. Kent, "The Globalization of Scientology: Influence, Control and Opposition in Transnational Markets," Religion, v. 29, n. 2, April 1999, p.147-169
^ ab"Prof's Libel Victory Over LSD Claims". Northern Echo. 22 June 1990.
^Hubbard Communications Office Bulletin 26 August 1982, "Pain and Sex". Cited in Atack, Jon (1990). A Piece of Blue Sky. New York, NY: Carol Publishing Group. ISBN0-8184-0499-X., p. 288. "[The psychs] are the sole cause of decline in this universe ..."
^Lieberman, J.A.; JM Kane, J. Alvir (1997). "Provocative tests with psychostimulant drugs in schizophrenia". Psychopharmacology (Berl).91 (4): 415–433. doi:10.1007/BF00216006. PMID2884687.Cite uses deprecated parameters (help);|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^Nutt DJ (2008). "Relationship of neurotransmitters to the symptoms of major depressive disorder". Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 69 Suppl E1: 4–7. PMID18494537.
^Rossetti ZL, Lai M, Hmaidan Y, Gessa GL (1993). "Depletion of mesolimbic dopamine during behavioral despair: partial reversal by chronic imipramine". Eur. J. Pharmacol.242 (3): 313–5. doi:10.1016/0014-2999(93)90257-I. PMID8281997.