Friday, March 28, 2014

(In)Justice for Whistleblowers under the "Transparent & Accountable" President

From a 2011 interview with Sibel Edmonds, famed FBI whistleblower and the Editor of

...much the state of the State as it pertains to whistleblowers involved in  "national security" and "law enforcement."

In 2008, Candidate Barack Obama promised to protect whistleblowers; in 2009 Now President Obama's transition team, promised transparency, accountability and the protection of whistleblowers...

Tom Drake, a former NSA senior executive, was indicted in 2010 for "espionage" after leaking, to the media, allegations that the nation's largest intelligence organization had committed fraud, waste and abuse. His first television interview since that indictment was with "60 Minutes" interview:

Chelsea Manning has been tortured, abused, tried and convicted of espionage for downloading and releasing video and information about war crimes committed by and hidden by the US military.

“If you had free reign over classified networks… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

  • the Collateral Murder video that exposed the killing of unarmed civilians and two Reuters journalists by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq

  • the Afghan War Diary that revealed uninvestigated civilian casualties and contractor abuse

  • the Iraq War Logs that revealed civilian casualties, and uninvestigated reports of torture

  • the US diplomatic cables that revealed the role that corporate interests and spying play in international diplomacy

  • Since his incarceration (prior to trial, 8 months was spent in solitary confinement at Quantico,  forced to dress and undress, standing naked for extended periods of time until "passing inspection" and allowed only 1 hr to walk around his cell in shackles - all in order to degrade and humiliate him), he has been awarded....
    Sam Adams Award (2014) – Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence
    Sean Macbride Peace Prize (2013)– International Peace Bureau
    In His Footsteps Award (2013) - Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
    Nobel Peace Prize nominee (2014, 2013 & 2012) – Movement of the Icelandic Parliament, Oklahoma Center for Conscience and Peace Research, and former Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire
    Person of the Year (2012) - UK Guardian
    2013 Peace Prize  – US Peace Memorial Foundation
    Peacemaker of the Year (2013) – The Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County
    Hero of Peace Award (2013) – Eisenhower Chapter of Veterans for Peace
    SF Trans March Award (2013) – San Francisco Trans March
    SF Pride Grand Marshal Runner-Up (2013) – SF LGBT Pride former Grand Marshals
    People’s Choice Human Rights Award (2012) - Global Exchange
    ...for his revelations.

    As for his "trial," his former lawyer wrote this statement - a scathing review of the hypocrisy of the process and the administration:

    Then there is Aaron Swartz, founder of Demand Progress - which launched the campaign against the Internet censorship bills (SOPA/PIPA) and won;  idealist; genius (as well as the once  part owner of Reddit - the irony not lost on me that Reddit has become the antithesis of  the Swartz' ideal).

    Aaron Swartz courtesy of The New Yorker

    Swartz had a history of depression and, at times, had discussed his suicidal ideation, but, with the US DOJ actively harassing him, threatening and prosecuting him for gaining access to and releasing documents from MIT's JSTOR (4.8 million documents that were usually sold on-line through membership), he committed suicide on January 21, 2013.

    It should be noted that JSTOR did not want to pursue prosecution...The DOJ insisted on pursuing prosecution going for a sentence of 35 years.

    The life of Swartz as a coder and an Internet thinker is well known. A believer in free access to knowledge, in 2010 Swartz installed a computer in an M.I.T. supply closet and downloaded a large number of old academic articles. He was detected, caught, and charged by a federal prosecutor with thirteen felonies; in January of 2013, before his trial, Swartz killed himself. 
    And from Democracy Now!:

    Next, Barrett Brown, activist, journalist and friend of transparency was to be tried for publishing links...LINKS! Links pointing to a chatroom in which information about and from the Stratfor hack was posted... along with 16 other counts ranging from obstruction of justice to threatening a federal officer to identity fraud.  If convicted, he could have been looking at over 100 years in prison.

    From Rolling Stone

    The more ridiculous charge, steaming from those pesky links....(or as prosecutors claimed, trafficking in data, including credit card numbers, that was stolen from private intelligence firm Stratfor by reporting and posting those links), along with 11 other charges, were dismissed, in early March this year,  after prosecutors, finally were thunderstruck (godsmacked) with a modicum of sanity (but I can't make that statement with any assurance), requested that the judge dismiss them.

     Rolling Stone describes Barrett:
    Encountering Barrett Brown's story in passing, it is tempting to group him with other Anonymous associates who have popped up in the news for cutting pleas and changing sides. Brown's case, however, is a thing apart. Although he knew some of those involved in high-profile "hacktivism," he is no hacker. His situation is closer to the runaway prosecution that destroyed Aaron Swartz, the programmer-activist who committed suicide in the face of criminal charges similar to those now being leveled at Brown. But unlike Swartz, who illegally downloaded a large cache of academic articles, Brown never broke into a server; he never even leaked a document. 

    Then we have Jeremy Hammond .....

    .... convicted and in prison for his part in hacking, downloading and actually releasing millions of emails proving Stratfor's spying on activists and citizens, collecting and selling data and information to client corporations (as well as the US government and others).

    Selling data and information...just what private contractors aren't doing, so says the transparent and accountable president.

    Hammond, 28, has pleaded guilty to one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) relating to a 2011 cyber attack on Strategic Forecasting, Inc, known as Stratfor – an information analysis company based in Austin, Texas. Working alongside a fellow hacker operating under the internet handle Sabu – who was later revealed to be an FBI informant – Hammond downloaded an email spool from Stratfor containing millions of files and sent the data to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks which released them as the “Global Intelligence Files”.
    Entrapment and overkill - two of the DOJ's favorite activities.....

    Jeremy is now serving 10 years in prison.

    I won't get into Edward Snowden - hero to truthseekers and truthsayers around the globe.

    I don't want to set off apoplexy in those who jumped to silly conclusions before they bothered to actually hear anything from this whistleblower, now sitting in Russia until its time to move again.

    Even the name sets off irrational self-righteous indignation in those "standing strong for transparency"... that's when many fall lock step with the gaggle of geese calling "Off with his head."

    A simple invocation of the in newly coined "obscenities" - "Edward Snowden" or "Glenn Greenwald" - sets off irrational petulance in many, on both the Right (some claiming he is a Russian spy out to destroy America) and the somewhat Left (some claiming he is a RW egomaniac out to make a name for himself, or just a patsy of Glenn Greenwald, and out to destroy Obama)...

    Never understanding it never has been a "right" or "left" thing....Only a Truth thing.

    As for the paradigm shaking information, Snowden gathered and released?  Much is met with more denial, deflection and logical fallacies (and phalli),  unsheathed.

    I have yet to hear a logical critique of Edward Snowden as a person or as it relates to his revelations from or by a single detractor- especially as it relates to his actions.  Lots of fear-mongering, character assassinations and spun talking points but no logical critique...

    Leading us back to the transparent and accountable president - The president now sitting in the Oval Office for 5 years; The president that has continued the war on truth and transparency as he escalated the war on whistleblowers - seems to have done it all.......

    ..... in order to remain unaccountable.


    Monday, March 24, 2014

    #FreeJustina - When children are used as political pawns, it is the children who lose #OpJustina

    2 weeks ago, I wrote about Logan River Academy. A private enterprise squeezing the life and health out of troubled youths for big bucks.  An institution that has bedded court systems and politicos in order to assure a steady flow of young minds in trouble, through their doors, in order to reap state and private funds.

    Bad enough, they have the courts in many locations in their hip pocket, but the abuse of those with whom they are charged is abhorrent....and it is the abuse of those locked behind those doors that spurred the creation of  "Shutdown Logan River Academy" and the investigation of Logan River Academy by some of the good people from the Collective known as Anonymous...

    All too often, we have heard long winded diatribes and pompous screeds  from politicians,  courts, social service agencies and physicians as they tout  the "sanctity of the family."

    When it comes to acting on those principals, all too often, we see those same politicians, courts, social service agencies and physicians fail - in fact, purposely fail -  to respect the "sanctity of the family" as they take power over and destroy that very basis of American society - for power and money.

    And it is when those agents, charged with protecting and defending the innocent, the ill, the young, the old, the people, perpetrate the destruction of families, the abuse of children and the mistreatment of innocents, we must take a stand.

    Now we are confronted with another case of blatant abuse by bureaucrats, physicians and judicial system, who, on the surface, are touted as protectors of the innocent and the ill - advocates for victims of abuse, but instead, have become the perpetrators of abuse.

    Justina Pelletier, a 15 year old from Hartford, Connecticut, is another victim of a nightmare created by  charlatans.

    It has been a year since the State of Massachussetts "Child Protective Services" took custody of Justina and placed her under the sole care of a physician at Boston Children's Hospital who negated her medical diagnosis, removed her from treatment for the rare genetic disorder with which she suffers, declared her mentally ill and institutionalized her at the Wayside psychiatric facility in Framingham, MA.  The system has denied the parents and Justina, their rights and acted against the "sanctity of the family."

    Justina was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease by Tufts, only to have Children’s Hospital cast aside that finding — and then take custody of the teen for a year with the blessing of DCF and a judge — insisting her problems were psychiatric and not physical.

    “This 13 month experiment that Boston Children’s Hospital has done did not work in fact it just about killed her,” Pelletier says.

    The Pelletiers are now on the verge of regaining some control over Justina’s treatment albeit with strings attached. Lou Pelletier asked lawmakers how parents can essentially be accused of child abuse and their daughter legally wrestled away simply because of a disagreement over her diagnosis.
    “She did much better under the care of her parents, than under DCF and government,” says Reverend Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition. “The legislature needs to get involved with this and not step back.”

    State Rep. Paul Heroux (D-North Attleboro) got the Pelletier’s version Thursday and wants more. “Due process would say both sides should be heard before judgment’s made,” Heroux says.

    The Pelletiers would like to see the process that has engulfed their daughter rethought from square one with whatever legal changes arise, perhaps taking on Justina’s name.

    “We’ve allowed Boston Children’s, and DCF and this judge to do things that no family should ever have to go through again,” Pelletier says.
    They argue that an infamous accused killer has enjoyed more privileges in jail this last year than their daughter. “If the Boston bomber is being treated better than my daughter, Justina Pelletier, I think that speaks volumes,” he says.

    The Pelletier family has only been allowed to visit Justina for an hour each week. She was recently moved from Children’s to the Wayside psychiatric facility in Framingham. But at a March 17th hearing, she might be moved to Connecticut — much closer to home — with her original Tufts doctor reclaiming oversight of her medical care.

    The importance of Justina's story gets lost as it translates to fodder for talk shows and sensationalized headlines (now overshadowed by the latest theory about Malaysian Flight 370 and the latest propagandized rantings of neo-cons and exceptionalists trying to march us off to war) but we must not allow the light shining on her abuse and the destruction of her family to fade away.

    And, again, some of the good people with the Collective known as Anonymous are heeding the call...

    And #OpJustina is born...

    The judge charged with reviewing and ruling on the custody case has delayed his ruling until tomorrow...

    A call to action on behalf of the family and on behalf of justice...

    A tweetstorm is being held today, all day with peak to be held tonight at 8:30PM Eastern Time / 5:30PM Pacific Time.

    More information can be found at ShutdownLoganRiver,com

    Be the Change

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

    Open Letter to John Kerry, et al, concerning the Keystone XL Pipeline - From Kali

    The Kali Yuga

    RE:      Supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline Project - 
               Helping to bring more Global Climate Change..YAY

    Dear Secretary Kerry:

    I believe the Keystone XL pipeline is in the best interest of the on-going destruction of the planet. My friend, Shiva, and I can just sit back and watch as humans destroy everything around them.

    Hey. everyone needs a little relaxation and time off. We have been working hard to bring the destruction of the universe to bear one more time and, frankly, I am getting a little tired...Give a girl a break. Build that pipeline - let that heavy sands oil drip into the aquifer and lay to waste the entire US bread-belt; let the belching smokestacks pour more pollution into the air and water.

    Thank you for your consideration and I urge you to act swiftly - I really am in need of some time in the drought ridden West (brought to you by the ever increasing temperatures) to work on my tan...

    Yours in promoting drastic climate change.

    Kali (or Kala) 

    "Consort of Shiva and sitting (and in full relaxation mode now) Brahman

    PS: Look me up sometime...we could have tea

    Friday, March 21, 2014

    BOOM! ~~~~ #WaveOfAction April 4, 2014 ~~~~ #WorldwideWave

    "Seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice."

    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

    Occupy! Veteran Scott Olsen, injured during protest, wins $4.5 M settlement against Oakland

    Scott Olsen, on the ground, October 25, 2011, after being shot in the head with bean-bag 
    Scott Olsen, on the ground, October 25, 2011, 
    after being shot in the head with bean-bag

    The suit was filed for injuries sustained after a city police officer shot him in the head with a beanbag ( shotgun-fired beanbag consisting of lead birdshot wrapped in cloth) during the protest, nearly killing him and leaving him with permanent brain damage.

    Video taken of the incident, October 25, 2011:

    According to SF Gate:

    Scott Olsen, 26, was among more than 1,000 demonstrators protesting the police clearing of an Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall when he was struck by the beanbag Oct. 25, 2011. Widely-viewed images of him falling in the street, and being carried away while bloodied, ignited outrage and sparked further protests.

    At a news conference, Friday, not far from where he was injured at 14th Street and Broadway, Olsen said he never expected to return from service as a Marine in the Middle East, only be injured by police in downtown Oakland.

    "I guess I thought that I wasn't in Iraq anymore, you know, I'd be more or less safe," Olsen said. "I wasn't going to get shot. I wasn't going to be attacked. Oakland police proved me wrong in that, and it makes me feel less safe in general, especially around people who are supposed to be protecting you. I don't feel safe at all around police."

    Olsen said he is still being treated for his head injury and hasn't been actively working. "I didn't win part of my brain back that's dead," he said. "It's hard. It was a hard recovery process."
    Oakland was the site of one of the larger actions and occupations ( Frank H. Ogawa Plaza renamed Oscar Grant Plaza by Occupy in honor of the victim of a 2009 shooting by Bay Area Rapid Transit Police) during the Summer and Fall of 2011. Oakland saw marches with numbers swelling to 20,000-30,000 (November 2 General Strike) with some estimates of 100,000 and gained national attention by the degree of ineptitude and violence on the part of the City's Mayor Jean Quan and its police force.

    The October 25 action started as an attempt by police to clear Oscar Grant Plaza. The protesters numbered to 2500-3000 as the police came in to tear down the camp. The Revolution was social media-ized as were all the Occupations and Actions by Occupy around the planet.

    According to Twitter feeds from protesters and reporters on the ground, the police came in with armored vehicles, humvees, flash grenades, rubber bullets and hostility.


    Scott Olsen was shot, close range, and hit. As he lay on the ground and protesters tried to reach him, police shot a “flashbang” grenade into the group as they tried to tend to Scott's wounds.

    According to East Bay Express:
    Olsen, who is now 26 years old and has permanent brain damage, was struck in the head by a shotgun-fired beanbag that consisted of lead birdshot wrapped in cloth. At the time, he was standing about 15 feet from police barricades at 14th Street and Broadway. The firing of the beanbag round was a blatant violation of OPD's own crowd control policy. Then, while Olsen lay on the ground, an Oakland cop lobbed a “flashbang” grenade into a crowd of people who had rushed in to help the wounded veteran. Video of a dazed and bleeding Olsen being carried to safety by fellow demonstrators went around the world within hours. 
    Occupy Oakland retook the plaza the following day and led a demonstration of thousands that shut down the Port of Oakland on November 2, 2011. 
    In 2012, this reporter and independent investigator Jacob Crawford identified Robert Roche as the Oakland police officer who lobbed the CS “flashbang” grenade” toward a prone Olsen and the group of people who rushed to his aid (Full disclosure: Jacob Crawford worked as an investigator for Olsen's attorneys Jim Chanin and Rachel Lederman in this case. This reporter was not involved in the lawsuit). OPD fired Roche for his actions, but he is challenging the termination in arbitration. The Oakland police officer who shot Olsen has still not been identified, according to court documents.

    And from Democracy Now!

    Justice for Scott Olsen was found today; justice for thousands more still to be attained.

    And as for Occupy? OCCUPY still Lives!

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

    Which of these do not belong on this list? Torture, Spying on citizens, War crimes, United States. America, WTF?

    "This Is Not Torture" by Guy Colwell. Pencil on Paper; 2008

    How many thought the answer, to the title question, was "United States"?  How many realized it was a trick question? All 4 items belong together. 

    I would love for the answer to have been "United States" but, sadly, the US belongs on the list of nations that abuse civil and human rights as well as nations committing some of the most obscene crimes against humanity.

    Torture - "The US does not torture" said Barack Obama in 2008 and in 2009, issued Executive Order 13491 to "cease" any use of torture;  We are "the beacon of hope," said Ronald Reagan, 1986,  as he proclaimed "Human Rights Week"..

    The US does torture - we have been using torture since our inception; We continued to use it as presidents claim us to be "the beacon of hope" and declare we "do not torture."

    Except that isn't quite true.

    According to "TORTURE IN THE UNITED STATESThe Status of Compliance by the U.S. Government with the International Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment," Prepared By The Coalition Against Torture and Racial Discrimination, A Joint Working Group of Non-Governmental Civil and Human Rights Groups in the U.S., For Submission to the United Nations' Committee Against Torture in Conjunction with the Initial Compliance Report of the United States Government with the Convention Against Torture; Compiled and Edited By Morton Sklar, Director, World Organization Against Torture USA; October, 1998 (note: this was compiled during the Clinton Administration)

    "Torture, which is identified by CAT as including all forms of government sponsored (by affirmative action or by acquiescence) cruel and inhuman treatment and punishment, or other forms of severe pain and suffering, both physical and psychological, currently is taking place in the United States in a number of important areas."
    1. The Death Penalty 
    "While application of the death penalty as part of the lawful criminal justice process is not prohibited under the CAT and other international human rights instruments, certain important limitations on the use of capital punishment have been established which the U.S. government is not observing. Contrary to the vast majority of other nations, and to the requirements of international human rights treaties the U.S. has endorsed, the U.S. continues to execute juvenile offenders, with 12 executed in the past 20 years, and 69 more currently on death row. In recent years, both the U.S. government and a number of states also have substantially expanded the number and type of crimes that have been made subject to the death penalty, again despite prohibitions to this effect in international human rights treaties. The tendency to prosecute juveniles as adults for serious criminal violations that might involve the death penalty has been increasing. 
    Serious questions also have been raised about the inherent cruelty involved in certain applications of the death penalty and the inordinate period of time that some prisoners awaiting execution are kept on death row as a result of governmental delays. The horrifying "burning" of Pedro Medina that took place during his execution in Florida on March 25, 1997 when an electric chair malfunctioned, served to dramatize the inherent brutality involved in the death penalty. 
    The discriminatory impact of capital punishment on racial and ethnic minorities and low-income people, persuasively documented by the recent report of the Death Penalty Information Center, adds substantially to the inequity and inappropriateness of the practice. All these problems have been compounded by recently enacted laws that significantly reduce opportunities of prisoners facing execution to appeal their convictions and sentences to federal courts, and to obtain free legal assistance at the appeals level............"

    2. Prison Conditions and the Treatment of Refugee Detainees
    "Despite the U.S. government's claim that adequate legal protections exist under the Constitution and laws to prevent instances of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" with respect to prisoners in detention, the fact remains that a substantial number of these types of abuses continue to take place in U.S. prisons. In fact, as part of the crackdown on crime that is taking place in our country, prison abuses and extra-legal punishments are becoming more frequent rather than less, as new forms of prisoner control and harassment are introduced, such as widespread use of long-term solitary confinement, arbitrary application of punitive violence and long-term restraints, increasing use of control unit and super-maximum prison facilities that isolate prisoners and impose other harsh treatments on a punitive basis, and the re-introduction of "chain gangs" for both men and women prisoners. The practice of indiscriminate use of largely untested chemical sprays and electronic stun equipment to control and punish prisoners has become widespread, often with harsh and painful results disproportionate to any potential threat. These devices frequently are being used on an arbitrary and unnecessary basis. 
    The tendencies to "privatize" detention facilities and to house prisoners in facilities far from their homes make it more difficult to monitor and prevent these practices. Protections for prisoners also have been weakened by new laws reducing the ability of prisoners to bring their situations to the attention of the federal courts. 
    Special problems related to abusive treatment of detainees are experienced by those seeking asylum status, many of whom are held in criminal facilities and mixed with the criminal population, while awaiting determination of their claims. The case of Fauziya Kasinga, a women seeking to escape female genital mutilation in Togo, only to find herself subjected to serious sexual and physical abuses while in detention in the U.S. for 16 months, epitomizes the problems that detained refugees face despite their legitimate fear of persecution or torture, and the fact that they have committed no crime...."

    3. Physical and Sexual Abuse of Women in Prisons 
    "Gender based physical and sexual abuse is too common an occurrence in prisons in the U.S. Recent on-site evaluations of conditions in women's prisons have found extensive gender-based mistreatment, physical abuse and outright sexual assault. A pattern and practice has been found to exist, throughout the prison system, but especially at state institutions, of male prison personnel engaging in rape, sexual assault, sexual taunting, and unwarranted visual surveillance of female prisoners in showers and bathrooms. Similar types of abuses against women have been attributed to law enforcement personnel policing the border between the U.S. and Mexico to prevent unlawful immigration. To make matters worse, most states are failing to address custodial sexual misconduct because they do not have adequate policies and criminal sanctions in place (or refuse to apply them), and do not provide proper training for custodial personnel. The strong tendency is to punish the prisoners who have been abused, rather than their abusers. In the report they submitted in 1995 to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, the U.S. Government, in the judgment of Human Rights Watch, "vastly underestimated the problem of sexual abuse in women's prisons in the U.S., and greatly overstated the degree to which it is being remedied." 
    4. Return of Refugees to Situations of Torture and Persecution, and Their Long-Term Detention Under Abusive Conditions 
    "3 of the Convention Against Torture establishes an unconditional right of an emigree who has experienced or faces torture to not be expelled (refouled) back to their country of origin where they are likely to face additional torture. Although the U.S. government makes frequent assurances that it recognizes and observes the right of victims of torture and persecution not to be refouled, in fact it has adopted many practices and policies that help to produce this unfortunate (and prohibited) result. This includes the practice of "interdicting" boat people at sea, and automatically returning them without analysis of potential refugee status. This approach recently was approved by the U.S. Supreme Court under the dubious principle of "extra-territoriality," which considers actions taken by the U.S. government outside the nation's territorial limits as not subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. law and international human rights treaty obligations. 
    Increasing instances of refoulement of refugees and torture victims also are taking place as a result of the newly enacted Illegal Immigration Reform Act of 1996, which calls for "expedited return" of those seeking entry without proper papers, and significantly reduces opportunities for legitimate refugees to make effective asylum claims. Unless individuals are quickly identified as likely victims of torture or persecution during a very brief interview with an immigration officer immediately after their arrival, they are automatically returned to their countries of origin. Victims of persecution, especially torture and rape, often need time and medical or psychological treatment before they can tell their stories. These are not provided in expedited processing, nor is the opportunity to obtain legal or other representation that would help victims deal with the asylum process. 
    Part of the reason for the problem is that the Government has been very slow and uncertain in recognizing the need to include torture as an alternative ground for preventing expedited return. It was not until the end of October, 1998, just days before this report was published, that the U.S. Congress adopted legislation implementing domestically the primary requirement, included in Article 3 of the Torture Convention, that victims of torture or those facing the prospect of torture not be sent back to the countries they are fleeing. INS, to its credit, has acknowledged that all government officials are bound by the Article 3 non-return requirement. But the agency, using the failure of the U.S. Congress to adopt implementing legislation for CAT as an excuse, for some period of time refused to issue formal regulations providing more specific guidance to its officials and to the public on what the standards mean and how they should be enforced. Instead INS had to rely on internal memoranda and ad hoc procedures for dealing with torture claims that, while helpful, did not provide sufficient long-term, clear-cut guidance on these important procedures, nor reliable information on the results of CAT cases that are decided. As a result of these deficiencies, applicants for CAT protection have not been given access to the documents related to the decisions being made in their cases. Under INS rules, they even would be denied the right to appeal rejections of their CAT claims to the courts. 
    In addition, past history suggests that the policy of unlawful refoulement of victims of torture and persecution is applied on a highly discriminatory basis, with Black people and Hispanics from certain Latin American countries (such as Haiti and El Salvador) receiving distinctly unfair and biased treatment. For many years, during the horrific regimes of "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his son, "Baby Doc" Duvalier, Haitian refugees were routinely excluded from the U.S. primarily on the basis of their race, according to the findings of a federal judge. As recently as 1997, Congress, for a number of months (until a public outcry forced a change in policy) excluded Haitians already in the U.S. from special protections granted to resident aliens who arrived in the U.S. in past years as escapees from other repressive Latin American regimes. Until October, 1998, these protections still were being provided to Haitians on a different and more temporary basis than asylum seekers from other Latin American countries, perpetuating the pattern of discrimination that has been in effect for many years, primarily for racial reasons. This discrepancy in treatment may finally have been corrected in the Omnibus Budget Act passed by Congress at the end of October, 1998, which includes provisions finally granting Haitians the same ability to apply for legal status as has been granted for some time to other long-term resident aliens. 
    In addition to the problem of refoulement of torture victims and those legitimately fearing torture, another common practice of the U.S. Government that violates CAT is the long-term, sometimes indefinite detention of large numbers of refugees and torture victims under conditions that frequently are abusive and inappropriate to their circumstances and needs. Often they are placed in state and county prisons and jails, mixed with criminal populations, and subjected to shackling and other forms of punishment geared to the criminal population, although they have committed no crimes. The facts that (with few exceptions) they do not represent a danger to the community, are not likely to flee (because they have legitimate grounds for seeking asylum), and that many asylum seekers are in serious need of medical or psychological assistance not available in detention, often are not taken into account. Neither is the fact that their detention and abusive treatment in prisons is likely to aggravate problems associated with traumatic stress syndrome that they suffer as victims of persecution or torture in the recent past. For women, especially those who have been victims of rape in the context of their persecution, conditions of detention also are conducive to forms of sexual abuse and harassment that reinforce the problems caused by the violations they have experienced. 
    What makes these problems even more worrisome is that the INS currently lacks the means of even keeping track of the numbers of refugees and torture victims who are being detained, and the length of time of their detention. These statistics are kept by individual detention facilities, but are not compiled on a national basis by the INS."
    5. Failure to Extradite or Prosecute Torturers 
    "Under international treaties all governments are equally responsible for the effective criminal prosecution of violators of the most significant international standards of conduct, such as war crimes, terrorism or torture. This principle of "universal enforcement" means that a government finding this type of offender within its borders must either extradite them for prosecution by the country where the offense occurred, or initiate prosecution themselves. The U.S. government has strongly supported this approach, as is the case, for example, with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, the truck bombing of the U.S. barracks in Dharhran, Saudi Arabia, and other similar terrorist and war crime activities. However, the U.S. government recently declined to extradite or prosecute Emmanuel Constant, an alleged Haitian torturer, purportedly to keep from focusing public attention on the fact that Mr. Constant may have been receiving payments from the Central Intelligence Agency during the time when he was engaged in torture related activity. Instead, the government entered into an agreement with Mr. Constant to find him a safe haven in neutral territory, over the strenuous objections of the Haitian government." 
    6. Failure to Provide for Adequate Domestic Implementation 
    "Despite the obligation under CAT to take necessary action to assure domestic implementation and to provide effective remedies to victims of violations, the U.S. government has not taken sufficient steps to enforce CAT's provisions in domestic law. Although a general law affirming the basic principles of the treaty was adopted, specific legislation implementing the critical Article 3 non-return prohibition of CAT, and making this standard legally enforceable at the domestic level, was not made part of U.S. law until October, 1998. As important, the provision that was adopted contained restrictions on coverage that were not consistent with the unequivocal prohibitions of CAT. It incorporates restrictions on judicial review of rejections of Article 3 non-return petitions, and denies Article 3 protection to certain categories of asylum seekers, such as criminals and terrorists, which is not in accord with the language and intent of CAT. 
    A related problem is that a reservation was added by the U.S. Senate to the instrument ratifying CAT suggesting that its provisions were not "self-executing," and therefore could not be enforced domestically by victims of violations. The Human Rights Committee of the United Nations, in General Comment 24, has suggested that a "non-self executing" reservation runs directly counter to the underlying necessity for international human rights treaties to be enforceable domestically, and renders "ineffective ... rights which would require [a] change in national law to ensure compliance." The U.S. government's non-self executing claim makes the need for specific implementing legislation even greater. This problem is further compounded by the fact that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA -- the appellate body for asylum cases) has erroneously applied the non-self-executing reservation to prohibit the use of CAT's provisions in regular asylum proceedings. 
    As noted above (section 4), one of the most notable deficiencies in terms of domestic implementation is the failure of the newly enacted Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, and its implementing regulations, which seek to establish one unified, comprehensive system for processing all immigration and asylum claims, to acknowledge that torture provides an entirely separate and additional ground, along with fear of persecution, for not returning someone to their country of origin. This is a significant omission, since in order to establish fear of persecution as a basis for asylum it is necessary to link the persecution that has occurred or is feared to one of five specifically enumerated reasons -- race, religion, nationality, political opinion or social group. Under the Convention Against Torture no such linkage is required, and the reason for the torture need not be considered, making it easier for a torture victim to prove eligibility for non-refoulement. INS has issued an internal guideline to its personnel acknowledging that they are bound by CAT's non-return prohibition, and administrative procedures have been set up on an ad hoc basis to review CAT Article 3 petitions. But the INS and the BIA refuse to accept CAT's applicability to regular asylum cases, and have rejected efforts by asylum seekers to invoke Article 3 as an additional basis for preventing deportation, in large part because of the long delay in Congress' adoption of implementing legislation for Article 3. 
    Consistent with the requirement of Article 14 of CAT, additional implementing action also is required to provide for adequate compensation and treatment of torture victims. Although the U.S. government has adopted legislation affirming the right of victims to be compensated by their abusers through tort claims, this is limited to torture taking place abroad, and does not address the equally important needs of assuring compensation for torture experienced in the U.S., and providing adequate medical treatment and psychological counseling to victims from foreign countries." 
    7. Arms Sales and Other Assistance by the U.S. Government that Support Torture in Foreign Countries
    "While CAT does not specifically address the problem of governments providing arms or other assistance that is used to promote torture in other countries, it is reasonable to interpret the prohibition against torture as preventing these forms of "indirect" support for acts of torture committed abroad. Two forms of assistance along these lines by the U.S. government have recently begun to receive public attention and condemnation. First, the government transferred or authorized the sale of military equipment to several governments that have used these armaments in acts of torture. Human Rights Watch has documented that U.S. weaponry sent to Turkey, notably small arms and helicopters, has played a major role in a wide range of abusive practices committed against the Kurdish minority civilian population. Along similar lines, Amnesty International in its April, 1998 review of human rights violations by the U.S., has reported several cases involving the transfer of electronic stun equipment to governments likely to use them to engage in human rights violations, such as the shipment of 10,000 shock batons to Turkey. Similar problems have been raised in connection with proposed arms shipments to Peru and Indonesia. 
    Another form of support for torture relates to training foreign police and military personnel in torture techniques. Reports have surfaced recently about U.S. supplied training manuals and courses given in the School for the Americas that advocated or encouraged torture as an instrument for dealing with insurgents. There also have been reports of U.S. military trainers being sent to Sri Lanka and other countries, in situations that suggest that their work may be related to operations to control the civilian populations through techniques that involve torture and other forms of abusive treatment and punishment....."
    8. Abuse in Treatment of Those Considered Mentally Ill
    "Practices used in the care of mentally disabled persons in government operated facilities, such as extended and indefinite use of restraints, long-term isolation, and the involuntary administration of dangerous chemical treatments, frequently involve prohibited elements of punishment, intimidation, coercion and discrimination that cannot be justified by medical or safety considerations...."
    9. Involuntary Human Scientific Experimentation
    "Considerable evidence recently has surfaced that the U.S. government, in past years, has conducted a number of what have been classified as "scientific" experiments on human subjects without their knowledge or consent. This includes large-scale exposures to radiation emissions, and purposeful denial of available medical treatment to African-American syphilis victims, allegedly for medical testing. Recent media disclosures and admissions by government officials suggest that the scope of these "experiments" has been far wider than previously acknowledged. As was true for the human experimentation conducted by the Nazis in prison camps during World War II, the "so-called" scientific aspects of these tests do not eliminate the cruel and abusive elements that were involved. Nor do they justify the severe pain and suffering imposed on individual test victims. Although the tests that have been publicly acknowledged took place some time ago, sufficient action has not been taken to compensate victims, and to assure that similar forms of abusive experimentation would be prevented in the future, especially in newly emerging areas of technology and weapons development."

    Under Reagan, it was Central America (From "Ronald Reagan's Torture" by Robert Parry, September 8, 2009):

    Lost amid the attention given George W. Bush’s “war on terror” torture policies was the CIA’s cryptic admission that it also engaged in interrogation abuses during Ronald Reagan’s anti-leftist wars in Central America, another era of torture and extra-judicial killings. 
    The 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report, released last month, referenced as “background” to the Bush-era abuses the spy agency’s “intermittent involvement in the interrogation of individuals whose interests are opposed to those of the United States.” The report noted “a resurgence in interest” in teaching those techniques in the early 1980s “to foster foreign liaison relationships.” 
    The report said, “because of political sensitivities,” the CIA’s top brass in the 1980s “forbade Agency officers from using the word ‘interrogation” and substituted the phrase “human resources exploitation” [HRE] in training programs for allied intelligence agencies. 
    The euphemism aside,  the reality of these interrogation techniques remained brutal, with the CIA Inspector General conducting a 1984 investigation of alleged “misconduct on the part of two Agency officers who were involved in interrogations and the death of one individual,” the report said (although the details were redacted in the version released last month). 
    In 1984, the CIA also was hit with a scandal over what became known as an “assassination manual” prepared by agency personnel for the Nicaraguan contras, a rebel group sponsored by the Reagan administration with the goal of ousting Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government. 
    Despite those two problems, the questionable training programs apparently continued for another two years. The 2004 IG report states that “in 1986, the Agency ended the HRE training program because of allegations of human rights abuses in Latin America.” 
    While the report’s references to this earlier era of torture are brief – and the abuses are little-remembered features of Ronald Reagan’s glorified presidency – there have been other glimpses into how Reagan unleashed this earlier “dark side” on the peasants, workers and students of Central America.

    And under Barack Obama (From Jeffrey Kaye, for The Guardian, "Contrary to Obama's promises, the US military still permits torture." January, 2014):
    The Obama administration has replaced the use of brutal torture techniques with those that emphasize psychological torture.... 
    .....On 22 January 2009, President Obama released an executive order stating that any individual held by any US government agency "shall not be subjected to any interrogation technique or approach, or any treatment related to interrogation, that is not authorized by and listed in Army Field Manual 2 22.3."
     But a close reading of Department of Defense documents and investigations by numerous human rights agencies have shown that the current Army Field Manual itself uses techniques that are abusive and can even amount to torture.
     Disturbingly, the latest version of the AFM mimicked the Bush administration in separating out "war on terror" prisoners as not subject to the same protections and rights as regular prisoners of war. Military authorities then added an appendix to the AFM that included techniques that could only be used on such "detainees", ie, prisoners without POW status.
     Labeled Appendix M, and propounding an additional, special "technique" called "Separation", human rights and legal group have recognized that Appendix M includes numerous abusive techniques, including use of solitary confinement, sleep deprivation and sensory deprivation.
     According to Appendix M, sleep can be limited to four hours per day for up to 30 days, and even more with approval. The same is true for use of isolation. Theoretically, sleep deprivation and solitary confinement could be extended indefinitely.

    Released, by my favorite bloodhound on the hunt for truth, Jason Leopold, an interview ...

    (From 3/18/2014, Nicole Sandler Show)

    ... and his article for Al Jazeera, "Revealed: Inside the Senate report on CIA interrogations," on March 18, 2014, comes the background story behind the battle between Dianne Feinstein, Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and John Brennan, the newly appointed Director of the CIA.  A battle that came into the public view with revelations that the CIA had spied on and tried to gain access to documents from computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee as they related to the Senate Committee's investigation of  the CIA and its interrogation program:
    A still-classified report on the CIA's interrogation program established in the wake of 9/11 sparked a furious row last week between the agency and Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein. Al Jazeera has learned from sources familiar with its contents that the committee's report alleges that at least one high-value detainee was subjected to torture techniques that went beyond those authorized by George W. Bush's Justice Department. 
    Two Senate staffers and a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information they disclosed remains classified, told Al Jazeera that the committee's analysis of 6 million pages of classified records also found that some of the harsh measures authorized by the Department of Justice had been applied to at least one detainee before such legal authorization was received. They said the report suggests that the CIA knowingly misled the White House, Congress and the Justice Department about the intelligence value of detainee Zain Abidin Mohammed Husain Abu Zubaydah when using his case to argue in favor of harsher interrogation techniques
    Jason's revelations may shock some (I certainly hope so) but, to those of us who have actually paid attention to the story of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and other Black Sites, it is verification of testimonies, interviews and statements given during Winter Soldier; interviews with former translators; interviews and statements from former guards, attorneys, physicians, CIA interrogators, medics, etc.; The  ICRC (Report on torture and treatment of detainees at Guantanamo, Bagram and other black sites); and CagePrisoners (organization based in the UK started by former detainees and human rights activists).  Testimonies interviews and statements that no one wanted to hear.

    We, the US (us), are not exceptional - We are no different than those nations that we describe through their on-going human rights abuses.

    My hope is that one day, the "people" will finally wake up, take responsibility, and move out of the darkness of inhumanity, bringing the nation into the light of civilization and peace. 

    We can be so much better than this...
    We can actually BE the America that too many, here, actually buy that we are as they refuse to look at the truth.  Until we look at our own disease, we will never treat it. Until we treat it, we will continue to let the disease control us (US)....

    Until then, I will continue to ask..America, WTF?

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

    Logan River Academy: GTMO tactics as "residential treatment" - Anonymous investigates

    "'The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens.'
    -Jimmy Carter

    Logan River Academy, a private "residential treatment facility" and member of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs or NATSAP (please note:  I don't see Joint Commission (JACHO), the Council on Accreditation (COA), and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), who accredit mental health programs and providers, noted in their literature), was founded, approximately 13 years ago, in the small college city of Logan City, Utah (population 126,442 as of 2010 census and home to Utah State University) ...

    From their marketing website:

    One of the Premier Residential Treatment Centers for Struggling Teens

    Logan River Academy has a great deal of experience and success in helping boys and girls, ages 12-18, who are having difficulties in the home, community and school. We help students struggling with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues including: autism spectrum disorders, adoption issues, anxiety, oppositional behavior, bipolar disorder, borderline issues, PTSD, substance abuse, depression, ADHD, impulse control, peer pressure, anger management, self-esteem, grief/loss issues, family relationships, communication, and academic struggles.

    Adolescence is a period when individuals undergo intense moral, emotional, intellectual, and physical transformation. It is a particularly challenging phase because, as children change into adults, they begin to form a sense of individuality. These changes can cause emotional upheavals and confusion for the teenagers and their families alike.

    That is why, as one of the leading schools for struggling teens, we are committed to helping teenagers cope with their feelings of fear, anger, and anxiety.

    Balance Is Essential for Lasting Change

    Logan River Academy is a residential treatment center that aims to help struggling teens sustain a healthy and balanced life. Our focus for the adolescents we serve is to see them happy and productive. We are aware that emotional and behavioral issues are difficult to deal with when combined with the pressures of daily life.

    We are among the premier schools for struggling teens and we have successfully developed a program that helps teenagers who have gone astray get their life back on track. We do that by combining an environment that is conducive to positive change with a highly effective clinical and academic program.

    A Safe Environment for Growth

    Our program emphasizes a balance between a structured residential environment, therapy provided by licensed clinicians, and a fully accredited school with certified teachers. As a residential treatment center for struggling teens, we strongly believe a balanced approach with strength in these three areas is essential in achieving lasting change. We incorporate all three crucial elements into each student’s individualized treatment plan. In addition to our general residential treatment program we offer separate specialized programs for the following:
    • An Autism Spectrum Disorder Program 
    • A Separate Girls Program–The Country Home
    • Tavasi–A transitional living program for boys
    Our adolescent residential treatment center and struggling teen boarding school is composed of concerned and highly skilled professionals who strive to create a nurturing environment at our campus. Each of us is dedicated to helping our students achieve stability and happiness by teaching them the skills essential to becoming a productive individual.

    If you are looking for a treatment center or boarding school for a struggling teen that completely understands your needs, look no further than Logan River Academy. Give us a call at 1-866-755-8400 today.
    Sounds like a wonderful, healing experience for troubled youth, right?

    I am sure that is what Michael Joseph Carter's family thought before Michael was admitted to Logan River:

    Sure, this is one experience...and as those of us, with any experience in dealing with "troubled youth" (acting out adolescents) know, some adolescents -especially those locked into their acting out and opposition - exaggerate and lie as they try to manipulate the system.  That could explain this away...well, at least until one hears or reads testimonials from parents, professionals and former "students," aka, "Survivors".....

    From Shutdown Logan River...Testimonials and Commentary:
    Logan River Academy Parents and other Adults:

    P. J. Jobin - Fairfax, VA - 2013-11-01

    "We actually chose to send our son to Logan River Academy, after paying an experienced Educational Consultant who highly recommended it... The decision was the worst we have ever made, as our intention was to HELP our son, NOT punish him. We very quickly learned that the living environment at LRA was negative and hateful. There were only a couple of staff members who seemed to care at all (one has since left); but the rest--especially the dorm staff--used their size (frustrated ex-athletes) and authority to intimidate and emotionally torture the boys who actually NEEDED understanding and emotional support more than anything else. --Plus, for a place that calls itself a "residential treatment center", there was very little actual therapy or 'treatment' at all. We pulled our son after only 5 months, the last 3 of which were spent primarily in "devo" (solitary). Unbelievably, when he/we told them he was leaving at the end of the month, they put him directly into "devo" because of what they labeled as "discharge attitude"! --Thankfully, he is now thriving at home, attending a small high school that treats students with respect and dignity--something Logan River Academy knows little about. --But he bears permanent emotional scars that I/we will not forgive LRA for."

    Nathalie Polakoff - Los Angeles, CA - 2013-11-06

    "My son was sent to that facility by Los Angeles Superior Court order. He told me he witnessed terrible things happening at Logan [River] Academy."

    Roslynn Martin - Westborough, MA - 2013-11-19

    "My cousin's son is there. He is not getting the care and help he truly needs."

    Tania Dangtran - Sparks, NV - 2013-11-07

    "Abuses to friend' son at this facility. Solitary confinement is cruel torture!"


    J Christine Schneider - Los Angeles, CA - 2013-11-06

    "I am a mother and a child psychiatrist. These practices are cruel and must be brought to light. There is no place for them in any institution."

    Michele Miller - SLC, UT - 2014-03-13

    Because Utah is a haven for greedy men who set up these prisons for adolescents where they are allowed to be abused mentally and physically and it's called therapy. NOTHING ABOUT WHAT GOES ON AT LOGAN RIVER AS DESCRIBED BY THE YOUNG MAN ON THE VIDEO IS THERAPEUTIC! These 'therapists' need to be investigated by DOPL and these schools, institutions, etc. need to be investigated often and randomly by the state to be sure that no abuses are occurring. Including abuses of power, which is what these people are doing. Every person involved in tormenting, torturing, physically assaulting or in all other ways subjecting these kids to emotional and physical abuse needs to be charged with those crimes. They also need to be reported to and excommunicated from the LDS church. These adults and students are the complete opposite of what someone who allegedly follows Christ. They are sadistic and obviously have huge anger issues of their own. Places like this need to be shut down now! Has this place been reported to the state for abuse? No parent has the right to pay people to abuse their child. I'm a therapist and have been for 32 years. What this young man is describing is like a POW camp and is as traumatic as one.

    Jenny Powers - RN, BSN, BA-Psychology - 2013-11-20

    "'The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens.'
    -Jimmy Carter

    As a Psychiatric RN and member of this society, I firmly believe that Logan River Academy must not only be shut down, but must also be held accountable for the human rights abuses of the vulnerable youth who have suffered in its facility.

    My heartfelt wishes for the healing and recovery of its survivors."

    Troy Burnett - Kelseyville, CA - 2013-11-22

    "This is important to me because I worked in human services for 25+ years, in a variety of positions, serving children and adults with a variety of labels. Institutions and group homes are not the answer, even under the best of circumstances. They are real-life Zimbardo studies without end."

    Melody Dunn - Dale, TX - 2013-11-14

    "I worked at a residential treatment facility for children for four years in in Texas and this place is ridiculous. Shut them down."

    Eric Quintero - Sgt / USMC - Glenview, IL - 2013-11-14
    "These are extreme human rights violations and the offenders should be tried with Crimes Against Humanity. These violations of moral decency are beyond reproach!
    The cowardly "men" guilty of this mass child abuse operation lack all decent moral conviction and thus deserve every ounce of wrath the courts can muster against them."

    April Morrow - Indianapolis, IN - 2013-11-02

    "As an employee working in residential treatment I understand the challenges. However, children entrusted in our care deserve dignity and respect we would give our own kids. Keep the standard high."

    Gregory Sacca - MSW, LCSW - Somerville, MA - 2013-10-06

    "As a social worker who works with children who often have cognitive and emotional difficulties I find that this is certainly not a therapeutic environment for a youth in need of help.
    Gregory Sacca, MSW, LCSW"

    Minki Kleinman - Brooklyn, NY - 2013-11-04

    "As a special educator I know there are better ways to teach children. NO CHILD should be hurt emotionally in the name of education, EVER."

    John Parton - Culver City, CA - 2013-10-12

    "I'm actually working on a documentary about the troubled teen industry, and shit like this makes me sick.These centers are almost totally unregulated, and abuse runs rampant. And I'm gonna sign damn near anything that advocates redress of these hellholes."

    Benjamin Brown Esq. - Pleasantville, NY - 2013-10-15

    "Really shocked to learn of these practices, and of the involvement of a major public school district in them... 'Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants...' I hope this Petition brings attention to the methods of LRA and similar institutions, so the public can decide if they should be allowed to continue."

    Stephanie Mann - Alameda, CA - 2013-11-05

    "Children learn behavior from adults. Adults... empower youth so they take full responsibility for their behavior. I wrote a book on this topic."

    Survivors - former "students":

    Max R.Date: October 7, 2013 at 11:19:09 PM EDT
    Subject: Re: First Hand Survivor of LRA
    I was admitted in to LRA on July 3rd 2012 and discharged on August 27th 2013. I am now in a boarding school. I was not court ordered but my parents hired transporters to remove me from my home by force. The transporters treated me well and drove me all the way from Houston, Texas to Logan, Utah. Upon entering LRA I was strip searched down to my boxers, and I was then ordered to use my fingers to outstretch all the waist band of my boxers outward to ensure there weren't any hidden contraband items. A staff named Darby Golden was extremely physically abusive when it came to PI's and would throw fists and slam kids heads onto the wooden floors, often causing blood and scarring. Please do not use my name if investigating this (Darby Golden quit soon before I discharged). I got along with a staff named Chandler Olsen, he was one of the few staff who actually cared about the well being of his students. Staff like Andrew Burris had zero regard for our well being and were emotionally abusive to the students they didn't like. I graduated the program by achieving the highest level..."

    From a different individual, also named Max R.

    "Also I want to call this place out for something horrible they did right before I was released. I will respectfully leave out all names. Around July of 2007 a 17 year old girl who had previously been released was readmitted. Apparently before she was readmitted she started talking to one of the staff members on myspace. They talked for months and when she was readmitted they decided to have sexual relations. I don't like to get in other people business, but the response from LRA was so disgusting I have to share it. Soon after it happened everyone at LRA found out. I guess the therapist and staff members wanted to keep it on the hush because we were told if we talked about it we would receive class IV for program corruption. It was terrible we couldn’t even tell our parents. The most appalling part of this whole ordeal though, was how they dealt with the staff member. Instead of firing him and risking the story leaking, they allowed him to continue working there under the promise that he wouldn't go on the girls floors. Not only is that really messed up, but it proves that they really don't care about anything, but their own asses."

    Cristina L Mota - Velasco - 2013-11-12

    "I was put on "devo" for over 6 months and i wasn’t able to talk to anyone. I claim that was not legal butthey keep telling me that as long as I eat and shower all was legal I was on depression and no one did anything to help me I cried all day long day and night I hated it I could talk to my parents and if I did they said it was bull shit just to manipulate them to get me out of there, they just put me on some meds devo was HELL !!!! just a little white room more than 6 months while my parents paid thousands and i couldn't do ANYTHING or they would RESTRAIN me the worst experience ever the saddest worthless meaningless I don’t wish anyone go through that I even developed a panic disorder in devo."

    Troy Jobin - Fairfax, VA - 2013-11-01

    "I went to this so called school/jail and I was put in a solitary confinement a.k.a development for over 3 months at a time. I'm now free from this school and feel amazing but I don't think any person in the world deserves to go that place. STOP LRA NOW!!!"

    Grace McGrade - Los Angeles, CA - 2013-11-08

    "I was a LRA from Oct 2011 to April 2013. I was emotionally traumatized. Let it be noted that the females at this facility suffer a different kind of shame and abuse. We were always given harsher punishments, had to abide by different and more limiting rules, and were never allowed to have conversations without staff present. I spent at least half of my time in DEVO."

    Britton Danton

    "LRA is an awful place.. I'll do whatever I can to save Michael from the bs and mental and physical torment that he's in for.. "

    Lucas Conrad - Richmond, Virginia - 2013-11-11

    "I was a student there. The things that I witnessed were damn near from a horror scene at times. The staff members (BYU students) would pick out autistic students and physically and psychologically fuck with them to the point where they would be in tears crying. I spent 7 months of my time in devo for trying to run from this pitiful excuse of a treatment facility."

    Brian Collins - Austin, TX - 2013-10-23

    "I was a victim of this program. I was mentally tortured and still have a scar that will never go away."

    Allison Holleman - San Ramon, CA - 2013-10-22

    "I've been there. It's awful. Over 10 years ago. 2002"

    Vlad I. - San Jose, CA - 2013-10-06

    "This program and place is a horrible excuse to destroy any chance of working on whatever you need to. I saw kids getting abused, injected, and neglected at this horrible place. worst year of my life."

    Mary Elizabeth Grillo - Coalinga, CA - 2013-11-06

    "Oh cool wish I had family that cared as much as you do. Any ? Ask me spent like 2 years in DEVO and 1 out

    I was there 9/2/07-10/31/09"

    Meredith Cohen - Spokane, WA - 2013-11-14

    "I endured the abuses of this facility for 18 months the first time and 2 months the second time. Please save our youth who are trapped in this ugly system from long-term damage."

    Evelyn S. - Newport Beach, CA - 2013-12-26

    "Well I was sent by my IEP, which meant my stay at Logan River Academy was funded by them, the transportation was arranged by them, and they determined how long I was enrolled at LRA. Officially on paper, I had an IEP for diagnosed depression. My psychiatrist at the time was the one who recommended getting an IEP so schools would accommodate to my needs and make it easier for me to attend school, because he found the depression to be debilitating. And it was, I struggled with everyday life things, even attending class was extremely stressful for me. Although I think he was trying to help, I didn't know know that having an IEP would eventually allow them to send me to Logan River Academy. Yes, escort services are common for kids being sent to residential treatment facilities. I was woken up at about four in the morning with two strangers in my room. A female and a large male. Escort agencies purposely hire physically intimating males to scare the kids into compliance. They didn't tell me where I was going, just that I was going to Utah. I was only allowed to change. Maybe it was because I was exhausted, or maybe it was because I understood I didn't have a choice, but I didn't resist..."

     And these are just some of the testimonials .....

    Our friendly freedom fighters from the Collective known as Anonymous investigate:

    Logan River may be the posterchild for abuse claiming to be "mental health treatment" but it is not a "one off"...

    From a briefing held in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., Capitol Hill, February 2009, "Abuse of Youth in Residential Placements: A Call to Action", sponsored by the Alliance for the Safe, Therapeutic, and Appropriate Use of Residential Treatment on (ASTART) and co-sponsored by the Community Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Youth (CAFETY), "Abuse of Youth in Residential Treatment"

    ........... Just a small part of the briefing.

    In 2007, even the GAO did a full report on the abuses in these "Treatment Programs" as they reviewed multiple deaths and claims of abuse (that report can be found "here"...)

    One can find more on conferences, testimony and action - or inaction -  by an ineffectual government "here"...

    Some of the abuses found at many of these "Treatment Programs"  include:

    •   Murder (homicide)
    •   Enslavement
    •   Deportation or forcible transfer
    •   Imprisonment or severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law
    •   Torture
    •   Rape, forced pregnancy, forced abortions
    •   Persecution against persons not of Christian faith, especially those of Jewish faith
    •   Persecution of persons who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered
    •   Enforced disappearance of persons
    •   Other inhumane acts that intentionally cause great suffering, or serious injury to body, to mental or physical health
    •   Psychological, emotional, and sexual trauma leading to suicide.

    But we continue to send our youth to them...

    One of the biggest issues is the privatization movement and the use of our courts to fill private, often religion based, facilities that receive government money but have few watchdogs...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 repealed Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the federal cash assistance program, and replaced it with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a cash assistance program primarily operated by the individual states.  Prior to PRWORA, determination of which applicants qualified for federal benefits was performed by a public agency staff in civil service. (Title I, Section 104)  President George W. Bush’s “Charitable Choice” Faith-based initiative was intended to reduce the size of government, but not necessarily the amount spent.  His applied method shifted the responsibility for delivery of numerous social services from government agencies to newly-recognized, Faith-based organizations.

    Privatization of social services by delegation to contractors and subcontractors for service provision raises due process and accountability issues. Social service programs involve provision of adequate food, adequate clothing, adequate shelter, and minimal preventive public health care.  Although the government has been viewed as the most obvious provider of these programs, faith-based programs have also frequently provided services to those in need including residential treatment.

    The use of subcontractors or outsourcing has often been used to abdicate social and moral responsibility.  There are significant legal, political and economic advantages to the perpetrator of human rights abuses, of using subcontractors, because it ultimately helps obscure the relationship between the perpetrator and the actual act.  It is a politically valuable device, because even if abuses are exposed, it will frequently look as if someone else (the contractor) was responsible.  This ultimately makes it difficult to hold a violator legally accountable and to be able to apply appropriate sanctions.  Thus the very effective human rights tactic of public shaming, in these circumstances, often becomes ineffective.  Outsourcing to contractors permits the perpetrators to ignore the societal norms and to conceal the perpetrators breach of those norms.  In addition, it legally protects perpetrators from both legal prosecution and embarrassment.  Subcontracting to corporations providing services such as prisons, healthcare and the military are particularly problematic, as in these settings there is reduced transparency to the public and less scrutiny by law enforcement.  When operated as a for profit business, cost reductions can lead to inadequate care, lack of adequate programming and abuse.  Outsourcing allows the perpetrator to not just abdicate responsibility but also assists the aggressor in maintaining a respectable public persona in the public eye. This often amounts to abuse of state-sanctioned power and authority.  Often outsourcing is presented to the public as necessary to cut costs. The use of subcontractors makes it more difficult to determine who is responsible for abuses and these cases are very complex."

    And so it goes - privatized, de-regulated and social services defunded...

    Bringing it all back home to Logan River Academy....

    On-going reports of extensive use of solitary confinement (aka, "Precaution" and "Development"), physical abuse and "faith based" indoctrination .... legitimized and funded by judicial systems, insurance companies and your friendly social services safety net...

    Help us stop the abuse. #ShutdownLoganRiver

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