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A fun night of art, music and fundraising!

A fun night of art, music and fundraising!

We welcome you to participate and attend a fun night of fundraising on

January 15th, 2010 at Trinity St. Paul, 427 Bloor St. West from 7-10pm

for PsychOUT: A Conference for Organizing Resistance Against Psychiatry, being held at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto on May 7-8, 2010.

The purpose of this global conference is to provide a forum for psychiatric survivors, mad people, activists, scholars, students, radical professionals, and artists from around the world to come together and share experiences of organizing against psychiatry.

An outstanding social justice activist, feminist and excellent speaker Anna Willats will emcee this fun and entertaining night. We are also proud to feature these outstanding singer-songwriters:

• Social justice activist/feminist Faith Nolan
• Juno Award folksinger Roger Ellis
• Bill Yurick who will sing the anti-Big Pharma song “The Pill Song”
• Parkdale outreach worker/pianist Bob Rose
• Tom Smarda self-taught folksinger who wrote and will sing the “Lubicon Song”
• Erick Fabris and other artists.

Refreshments will be served.

We deeply appreciate and need whatever donations of art or money people can offer.

Admission is $10, $5 for unemployed people.

All proceeds are going to fund major expenses of the PsychOUT Organizing Committee which is organizing PsychOUT,Conference.

For more information, please contact: psychart@psychout.com

Oak Ridge Death of Kulmiye Aganeh

Letters Editor
The Toronto Star

Dear Editor,
Isabel Teotonio’s article re the horrific death of 22-year-old Kulmiye Aganeh is somewhat inaccurate and full of omissions. (“Mother wants answers as to why son died.” Aug. 17). First, Kulmiye’s mother Ikram Said did in fact listen to and act on his pleas for a lawyer – to say she “never listened” is not true. Second, Kulmiye was not “schizophrenic”; a psychiatrist concluded he was not “mentally ill”. Kulmiye was understandably angry at being fraudulently labeled, drugged and locked up in psychoprisons like Whitby Mental health Centre and the Oak Ridge hellhole of Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre. Third, Kulmiye “collapsed” and died within minutes after guards forcibly injected (overdosed) him with 85 milligrams of zuclopenthixol, another dangerous neuroleptic. Fourth, racism as a major factor,raised by several human rights activists at the conference, was not mentioned.The Midland OPP’s criminal investigation into this homicide and the subsequent inquest will probably be another whitewash.
Don Weitz
1401-38 Orchard View Blvd., Toronto,Ontario M4R 2G3

CAPA letter to Canadian Pensioners Concerned


Dear Canadian Pensioners Concerned,Ontario Division,

We wish to call CPC’s attention to the psychiatric procedure called electroshock (“electroconvulsive therapy”/”ECT”). Contrary to popular belief, electroshock was never banned or restricted in Canada. Unfortunately, it is increasingly administered to women, mainly elderly women, usually without informed consent or against their will. We have compiled ECT statistics from the Ontario government’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that clearly show that two to three times more women than men are electroshocked, the overwhelming majority of these women are 60 years and older.

Since electroshock always causes some permanent memory loss and brain damage and since elderly women are its main targets, electroshock should be considered a form of elder abuse and violence against women. In this context, we urge you to read these two major articles by one of us, Dr. Bonnie Burstow:
”Understanding and Ending ECT: A Feminist Imperative”. Canadian Woman Studies, vol.25, numbers 1,2, 115-122 ( 2006), and
“Electroshock as a Form of Violence Against Women”. Violence Against Women, Vol 12, no.4. 372-392 (April 2006). Dr. Burstow is on the faculty in the Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto; she is also a widely-respected feminist, trauma specialist, author, chair of the Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA), a long-time friend and colleague.

For your further information, we are also pleased to attach a copy of the article titled “Electroshocking Elderly People: Another Psychiatric Abuse”, International Journal of Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy, vol.15 no.2 (May 1997), written by Don Weitz. We also are attaching a copy of a recent media release, “Stop Shocking Our Mothers and Grandmothers”, the theme of a Mother’s Day event on May 10,2009 in Toronto, organized by CAPA. Similar anti-shock events on Mother’s Day were also held last month in Montreal and Ireland, and last year in Ottawa as well.

We would appreciate your forwarding this letter and attachments to the CPC Board including Co-chairs Sylvia Hall and Margaret Watson, and Ms. Moyra Haney, chair of your Health/Environment Committee.
We very much hope that CPC puts electroshock on its agenda as a major health and human rights issue that must be addressed. If so, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to your reply.

Dr. Bonnie Burstow, Chair, Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault
Dianne Moore, Executive Member
Don Weitz, Executive Member
Executive Committee, Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault

Contact: Dr. Bonnie Burstow, bonnie.burstow@utoronto.ca, ph:416-538-7103; Don Weitz, dweitz@rogers.com, 416-545-0796

Immediate Release – June 8, 2009

CAPA Endorses Vigil-Memorial for Esmin Green in New York
and announces a Support Vigil in Toronto on June 19, 2009, 8pm

The Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) officially and wholeheartedly endorses WE THE PEOPLE’S Vigil for Esmin Green in New York City on June 19, 2009. The first Vigil was held last year in New York and Toronto. Ms. Green’s very tragic death in the emergency ward of King’s Country Hospital Center in Brooklyn on June 19, 2008 was totally preventable and outrageous and cries out for international protest and justice now. It’s important to remember that the death of this poor black woman was a direct result of race-and-class driven indifference and neglect by members of the hospital’s psychiatric, medical and nursing staff. Almost equally outrageous and unjust, the deaths of thousands of other brothers and sisters in American, Canadian and European psychoprisons have not been reported by mainstream media or covered up. Ms. Green’s death, including her sudden collapse, in King’s County Hospital could not be covered up because it was caught on the hospital’s own video cameras and widely posted on YouTube. Although Ms. Green’s family recently won a court-ordered judgment of $2 million, a city report of the investigation into her death at King’s County Hospital is pending.

CAPA is also proud to announce it is organizing and coordinating a support vigil-memorial on June 19, the same day of WE THE PEOPLE’s Vigil in New York. The CAPA Vigil-Memorial is being held in front of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, a branch of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), on the northeast corner of Spadina Ave. and College St., at 8pm. ‘The Clark’ houses CAMH’s admission department and its notorious ‘ECT’ unit where thousands of people, mostly women, have been electroshocked, frequently without informed consent or against their will. During our vigil, we are paying respect not only to the memory of Esmin Green but to many other sisters and brothers and friends who have died from medical neglect and psychiatric tortures such as forced drugging and electroshock in psychoprisons across Canada. The deaths of Esmin Green and many others must never be forgotten!

Everybody is welcome.
Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault – http://capa.oise.utoronto.ca
Contact person: Don Weitz, Toronto, 416-545-0796; Lauren Tenney, New York, 516-319-4295

The International Campaign to Ban Electroshock (the ICBE) supports the CAPA vigil-memorial for Esmin Green who died tragically in New York.

Esmin Green will not be forgotten ever. Esmin was tortured by psychiatry and its neglect towards her. Esmin need not have died at all but she did. Why?
Esmin waited for over 24 hours in an emergency room and no one took notice of her being physically ill and then falling over onto the floor. She died and still no one took notice. This is an injustice! This is abuse! This is neglect! This is criminal what happened to Esmin.

Psychiatry is notorious for torturing people and they have been doing this for over 100 years now.
Psychiatry tortures people with their toxic drugs, their brain damaging electroshock, their labelling of people with bogus mental illnesses that do not exist, and being stigmatized with these so called labels, with restraints, and locking people up against their will.
In Ontario, CTO or otherwise known as Community Treatment orders still exists today whereby psychiatric survivors are forced to take toxic psychiatric drugs in the community or they are forced back into a psychiatric facility. This is social control of the people of Ontario.
Psychiatry is the biggest medical fraud out there today. Psychiatry is dangerous and evil.
Esmin was one of psychiatry’s victims. May we never forget what happened to her. It could happen to me or you or to someone you know.
Psychiatry will be dismantled as it is not gaining the ground it once did as people are becoming aware psychiatry is not a real science it never was
and how psychiatry has a hall of shame as long as highway 401.
Esmin did not deserve to be treated this way. Her human rights were violated.
her dignity was violated, her medical rights were violated and as a human being she was left there to die on a hospital floor with no concern for her at all.
May we take one minute of silence now to remember Esmin.
I thank all of you who have come out and have supported this Esmin Vigil-Memorial today.
Shame! shame on psychiatry – Psychiatry will come tumbling down to its knees.
Millions of people have been tortured by psychiatry.
What happened to Esmin is despicable, unethicial, barbaric, an atrocity and a crime against humanity.
We are not able to be with you all today but we are with you all in spirit.

We remain in solidarity,
Sue Clark-Wittenberg and Steven Wittenberg
directors of the International Campaign to Ban Electroshock
The ICBE in Ottawa

a legal victory over forced drugging!


May 22 2009

Jim Gottstein

In an important decision issued today, William S. Bigley v. Alaska Psychiatric Institute, http://psychrights.org/States/Alaska/CaseXX/S13116/090522BigleyvAPIsp-6374.pdf, the Alaska Supreme Court significantly advanced psychiatric patients’ constitutional due process rights when the state seeks to force them to take psychiatric drugs against their will.

“One of the things they held,” said Jim Gottstein, President and CEO of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) and the attorney who handled the case, “is that if the State is holding someone in a psychiatric facility, they must provide a feasible alternative to the forced drugging if the alternative satisfies the State’s asserted justification. The State’s only other option is to let the person go.”

The Court also held that in order to allow the person a realistic opportunity to prepare a defense, when filing a forced drugging petition, the State must provide a written statement of the facts underlying the petition, including the reasons for the forced drugging, information about the patient’s symptoms and diagnosis; the medication to be used; the method of administration; the likely dosage; possible side effects, risks and expected benefits; and the risks and benefits of alternative treatments and nontreatment. “This is very important,” Mr. Gottstein said, “because up until now, they just checked a box that said the person was incompetent to decline and the facility wants to drug the person. Then the State comes in with a witness who testifies untruthfully and there is no way to have been prepared to rebut it.”

Equally important, the Court ruled the person’s lawyer must be given access to the person’s medical and psychiatric records in advance of the hearing and adequate preparation time. “The problem is judges have been misled for years that these drugs increase safety and are beneficial to patients,” according to Mr. Gottstein, “The truth is they decrease safety, are ineffective for most, are physically very harmful, and prevent many people from recovering. The evidence on this is clear, but the way these cases have been rushed through without allowing adequate time for a defense, these facts have not normally been revealed to the judges.”

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the defense of people facing the horrors of forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock. PsychRights is further dedicated to exposing the truth about psychiatric interventions and the courts being misled into ordering people subjected to these brain and body damaging drugs against their will. Extensive information about these dangers, and about the tragic damage caused by electroshock, is available on the PsychRights web site: http://psychrights.org/.

# # #

James B. (Jim) Gottstein, Esq.

Law Project for Psychiatric Rights
406 G Street, Suite 206
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Phone: (907) 274-7686) Fax: (907) 274-9493

Law Project for
Psychiatric Rights

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the defense of people facing the horrors of forced psychiatric drugging. We are further dedicated to exposing the truth about these drugs and the courts being misled into ordering people to be drugged and subjected to other brain and body damaging interventions against their will. Extensive information about this is available on our web site, http://psychrights.org/. Please donate generously. Our work is fueled with your IRS 501(c) tax deductible donations. Thank you for your ongoing help and support.

The Ottawa ECT protest flyer: ELECTROSHOCK PROTEST MAY 10th, 2009

Hello everyone:

Below is the Ottawa ECT protest flyer:


Meet at the Centennial Flame  FOR MORE INFO CALL SUE:  613-721-1833 see the ICBE website: intcamp.wordpress.com   “events”

The International Campaign to Ban Electroshock (ICBE) is holding its second annual protest against electroshock (ECT)  ECT is still around, it never left.  130 hospitals in Canada continue to give ECT.  ECT is not safe nor are the ECT machines.  A recent study byHarold Sackeim reports that ECT causes brain damage 100% of the time.  People are not being told the truth about ECT.

See Breggin.com for more info.
See the Blog and News section to read this article.

Approximately 14,000 ECTs are given in Ontario yearly.  100,000 Americans get ECT yearly, worldwide it is estimated that 1 to 2 million people get ECT yearly.  Sue Clark-Wittenberg the director of the ICBE had ECT which damaged her.  Sue suffers from permanent memory loss and has difficulty learning new things.   Sue says “I don’t want anyone to go through what I did.  I was tortured”  The ICBE deems ECT to be barbaric, unethical, inhumane, torture and a crime against humanity.  The ICBE is working with others around the world to  help end ECT universally.

Sue (Ma’at) Clark-Wittenberg MFI member

Director, International Campaign to Ban Electroshock (ICBE)

Website URL:  intcamp.wordpress.com

Electroshock is a crime against humanity

CAPA’s Media Release-Shock Protest on Mother’s Day, May 10/09

Media Release – May 2009


Date: Mother’s Day, May 10, 2009
Time: 1:15pm (March) & 2pm (demo)
Place: Queen’s Park, Toronto

The Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) announces another public
protest against psychiatry’s use of electroshock (“electroconvulsive
therapy” or “ECT”).   CAPA is a political action organization that
addresses psychiatric violence (see website below).  This special Mother’s
Day event is co-sponsored by Maggie’s and the Association of Part-Time
Undergraduate Students of the University of Toronto and is endorsed by
over 20 women’s, human rights, and social justice organizations.  This is
an international protest which occurs every year and which takes place in
locations throughout the world including Montreal and Cork Ireland.  This
year’s Toronto protest starts with a march at 1:15 pm at the NE corner of
Spadina and College (in front of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry,
CAMH); the rally, which includes shock survivor-testimony, speeches, and
entertainment, starts at 2:00 pm in Queen’s Park.  The keynote speaker is
MPP Cheri DiNovo.  Entertainment includes the legendary singer and
activist Faith Nolan.

The event is being held on Mother’s Day because a disproportionate number
of women generally and elderly women in particular are subjected to ‘ECT’
and ‘ECT’ is now considered the treatment of choice for postpartum
depression.  According to ‘ECT’ statistics (see Burstow 2006), 2-3 times
more women than men undergo ‘ECT’; approximately 70% of patients shocked
are women; 50% of these are women 65 and over.

The largest study in electroshock history was conducted in 2007 by Harold
Sackeim et al. At the level of statistical significance, it proves that
that electroshock always causes brain damage, including permanent memory
loss, and that women and the elderly suffer the most damage from it.
Other important pieces of research show that women are greatly traumatized
by the damage (see Burstow, 2006) and that despite claims to the contrary,
electroshock is no more effective than placebo (Ross, 2006).

This damage is authorized and paid for by the state and we demand that the
state put an end to it.  On May 10th, we call on psychiatry and the state
to stop shocking our mothers and grandmothers.  Join us in delivering this
challenge.   Eat with us, listen to testimony and other speeches, enjoy
the entertainment.  This is a child-friendly event (bring your children).
This is a BYOMAG event  (bring your own mother and grandmother).   Let’s
make Mother’s Day count.

Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault: http://capa.oise.utoronto.ca,
Contact persons: Dr. Bonnie Burstow, 416-538-7103; Don Weitz, 416-545-0796

CAPA Statement re Shock Machines

Food and Drug Administration Dockets Management Branch (HFA-305 5630 Fishers  Lane, Room 1061 Rockville, MD  20852 Docket Number FDA-2009-N-0392

The Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) strongly opposes the FDA’s intention to reclassify shock (“ECT”) machines from Class-III  (high-risk) to Class-II (low-risk).

CAPA is a grassroots, political action organization of electroshock survivors, psychiatric survivors, health professionals, academics, social justice and antipsychiatry activists; it plans and organizes strategic actions against electroshock and psychiatric drugs – its two priorities. We wish to point out that several CAPA members have undergone electroshock and suffered permanent memory loss and brain damage from this allegedly “safe and effective treatment”. Since its founding over five years ago, CAPA has spoken out against electroshock, organized educational events such as public forums, free public lectures, and nonviolent public protests. CAPA has repeatedly and publicly called for an immediate ban.

CAPA’s continuing resistance to electroshock is based on several scientific facts and the personal testimony of many shock survivors:  Shock machines deliver up to 400 volts of electricity (Cameron, 1994) It has been established to a point of statistical significance that all forms of ‘ECT’ cause brain damage. The FDA has never tested shock machines for medical safety and therapeutic effectiveness. (Andre, 2009) During the shock treatment, electrodes are placed above the temporal lobes, the site of memory function in the brain Every shock treatment causes a grand-mal epileptic seizure. convulsion and coma (Breggin, 1997,1998) Shock treatments cause many devastating effects – particularly brain damage, permanent memory loss, problems in concentration and learning, loss of creativity, and sometimes death. It has destroyed the careers and lives of many (Friedberg, 1977; Breggin, 1998, 2008; Frank, 1990, 2006; Sterling, 2002; Funk, 1998; Report of the Panel, 2005)

Thirty years ago in a report on medical devices, the FDA officially listed 8  “risks to health” including brain damage and memory loss (Federal Register,1979; Andre, 2009) Women and the elderly are very vulnerable and suffer the most severe memory loss and brain damage (Sackeim, 2007); elderly women are the most vulnerable (Burstow, 2006; Weitz, 1997) 2 to 3 times more women than men are electroshocked; women experience electroshock as a form of violence against women (Burstow, 2006a, 2006b)  Shock treatments shorten the life of elderly patients (Black et al, 1989; Breggin, 1997, 2008; Kroessler & Fogel, 1993; Weitz, 1997) Since psychiatrists and other physicians frequently violate the patient’s right to informed consent, shock treatments are generally coercive (Breeding, 2000; Report of the Panel, 2005) Electroshock triggers terror and trauma in most patients. (Breggin, 1998; Report of the Panel, 2005)

Given these facts, we conclude that shock machines pose unacceptably high risks to the health and lives of hundreds of  thousands of people. We urge the FDA not to be pressured by the American Psychiatric Association, which is currently lobbying to reclassify them in Class-II. Until they are banned, all shock machines should remain in Class-III. We also recommend that the FDA start testing shock machines for their medical safety; we are confident they will be proved medically unsafe. As engines of destruction, shock machines have no place in the health care system of the United States and all other countries. They should have been banned long ago.

Dr. Bonnie Burstow, Chair
Dianne Moore Don Weitz Executive Committee,
Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA)


Andre, L. (2009). Doctors of Deception: What They Don’t Want You To Know About Shock Treatment. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Black, D.W., Winokur, G., Mohandoss, E., Woolson, R.F. and Nasrallah, A. (1989) “Does treatment influence mortality in depressives? A follow-up of 1076 patients with major affective disorders.” Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 1(3), 165-173.

Breeding, J. (2000). “Electroshock and Informed Consent.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 40, 65-79.

Breggin, P. (1997). Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry. New York: Springer Publishing Company. Ch.8 “Electroshock for Depression”, 129-156.; 2nd  edition, 2008.

Breggin, P. (1998). Electroshock: Scientific, Ethical, and Political Issues. International  Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine (11), 5-40.

Burstow, B. (2006a) “Electroshock As a Form of Violence Against Women”, Violence Against Women, vol.12 no.4. 372-392.

Burstow, B. (2006b). “Understanding and Ending ECT: A Feminist Imperative”. Canadian Woman Studies, vol. 25, numbers 1,2, 115-122.

Cameron, D.G. (1994).  “ECT: Sham Statistics, the Myth of Convulsive Therapy, and the Case for Consumer Misinformation”, The Journal of Mind and Behavior, vol.15, numbers 1 and 2, 177-198

Federal Register (November 28, 1979). “Classification of Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices”. Vol.43, No.220, 55729.

Frank, L. (1990). “Electroshock: death, brain damage, memory loss, and brainwashing”. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 11, 489-512.

Frank, L. (2006). The Electroshock Quotationary [online http://endofshock.com.%5D

Friedberg, J. (1977).  Shock treatment, brain damage, and memory loss: a neurological perspective. American Journal of Psychiatry 134: 1010-1014.

Funk, W. (1998). “What DiffErenCe Does IT Make?”: Journey of a Soul Survivor. Cranbrook, B.C.: Wildflower Publishing Company [self-published].

Kroessler, D. and Fogel, B.S. (1993) “Electroconvulsive therapy for major depression in the oldest old”. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 1(1), 30-37.

Sackeim, H.A et al (2007). “The Cognitive Effects of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Community Settings.” Neuropsychopharmacology, 32, 244-54.

Sterling, P. (October 2002). Comments on Brain Damage and Memory Loss From Electroconvulsive Shock. Dublin, Ireland: Wellbeing Foundation.

Weitz, D. (1997).  “Electroshocking Elderly People: Another Psychiatric Abuse”. Changes: International Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy, vol.15 no.2