Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Ray Alert #9

MindFreedom International - please forward
Human Rights in Mental Health - Ray Alert #8


   Christmas Eve 2008

   What Would Jesus Do About Forced Electroshock?

   An Open Letter to the Lutheran Church [ELCA] from MindFreedom
International [MFI]

   by David W. Oaks, Executive Director, MFI

As we send you this, we understand Ray Sandford of Minnesota is
receiving another involuntary electroshock this Christmas Eve
morning, 24 December 2008.

As you know, your agency Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota
(LSSMN) is charged with being General Guardian for Ray. This is a
reply to your recent misleading public statement about the
MindFreedom Campaign to End Ray Sandford's Forced Electroshock
(copied at bottom).

Regularly for months -- presently every other week -- attendants wake
Ray up early in his group home, Victory House. He is escorted the few
miles to a hospital. Under court order and against his repeated and
clear objections, Ray is put under anesthesia, electricity is run
through brain head, and he is given another electroshock, also known
as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT.

Ray has received about 35 so far.

Ray calls our office most days, and it's always good to hear from
him. He told me yesterday, "It's a painful, awful experience. Every
time. It takes away memory viciously. It is scary as hell every time
I go."

Ray says he always objects. "I say, 'I don't want to do this. I don't
want to do this,' which I've known since the first time. Everyone
figures I'm totally nuts."

One day Ray asked his local library about groups working on human
rights in mental health, and Ray contacted MindFreedom International.
Ray asked us to start a public campaign to support his right to say
"no" to electroshock.

I had hoped your church would be an ally in Ray's campaign. Instead,
I have found you to stand by silently with arms folded, or even worse
your spokespeople appear to at times oppose Ray's campaign.

In my 32 years of human rights activism, Ray is one of the most
focused individuals I've ever encountered in his persistent and
reasonable requests to end his forced electroshock. The fact that his
forced shock is outpatient and ongoing is especially outrageous.

Ray's heroism has moved me and many others. Countless people have
responded to support the Ray Campaign, and Ray reached millions of
people on National Public Radio.

On 16 December 2008, the "Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America" [ELCA] issued a reply to a number of people who have
expressed concern about Ray as a result of MindFreedom's human rights
alerts. (See below.)

It is significant for ELCA to issue a public statement about a
MindFreedom International campaign. With more more than four million
baptized members, ELCA is the largest Lutheran denomination and one
of the largest Christian denominations in the USA. We at MindFreedom
are eager for dialogue with ELCA.

Unfortunately, Miriam L. Woolbert of ELCA's Communication Services
replied to those contacting ELCA that groups like MindFreedom are
"misdirecting you and many other people."

Ms. Woolbert did not provide any example or quote of such
"misdirecting." Her main points appear to be that ELCA is not a
"participant" in any involuntary electroshock, and that ELCA cannot
speak about Ray because of confidentiality.

MindFreedom's alerts never claimed that ELCA is in charge of the
involuntary electroshock of Ray. MindFreedom International encourages
people to contact ELCA to ask you "to stand with Ray."

Even if ELCA representatives feel you cannot speak specifically about
Ray, we ask ELCA to stand shoulder to shoulder with all their agency
clients, like Ray, who are receiving involuntary electroshock. ELCA
could at least begin by expressing concern or joining in dialogue.

We continue to encourage all people who care to contact ELCA, and
ELCA's local congregations, with strong but civil messages.

Because of ELCA's misleading statement about the Ray Campaign this
action is especially urgent, including for those who have already
contacted you.

Most importantly, Ray is asking us all to take this action.



People may e-mail ELCA headquarters at Or use their web
form by clicking on "e-mail" on this web page:

We also encourage all concerned people in the USA to contact local
ELCA congregations, which they can find by entering their postal code


MindFreedom Suggested Message to ELCA and Local Congregations [your
own words from the heart are best]:

I am not being misdirected by MindFreedom International or anyone else.

I am not saying you are in charge of anyone's forced electroshock.

I am not asking you to break confidentiality of any client.

I am simply asking:

Will you stand now with Ray Sandford, and all those who are oppressed
by extreme psychiatric abuse?

What is ELCA's position on the forced, outpatient, maintenance
electroshock of clients you and your agencies are charged to guard?

Why isn't ELCA expressing concern about these human rights
violations, which amount to torture?

How can ELCA use this opportunity to seek dialogue on human right and
alternatives in the mental health system?

[your name & contact]

[Please copy your e-mail to; selected e-mails
will be published on the web and/or mailed to Ray.]


For more info the Ray Campaign see:

The MindFreedom Board of Directors includes several individuals who
have personally experienced the unimaginable horror of an involuntary

The board endorses this public statement to ELCA, and asked me to
quote from the famous letter written by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
in the Birmingham Jail on 16 April 1963.

Forty-five years ago, Rev. King was responding to church leaders who
discouraged his own activist campaign:

"...I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the
white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our
strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents,
refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its
leaders; and too many others have been more cautious than courageous
and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-
glass windows...

"So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with
an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo.
Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power
structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent
and often even vocal sanction of things as they are."

[More excerpts below.]


For those who would like more detail about this exchange between
MindFreedom and ELCA about the Ray Campaign:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about Lutheran Church [ELCA] and Forced
Electroshock of Ray Sandford

*** How does Ray Sandford's feel about Lutheran Social Services of
Minnesota (LSSMN)?

Ray has approved this alert, and asks everyone to contact the
Lutheran Church [ELCA]. Ray knows that their agency LSSMN is not
directly in charge of his forced shock. Ray said, "In some ways
Lutheran Social Services is compassionate and helpful. They've
visited me and are a support system. They manage my finances my
fairly. But Lutheran Social Services does not listen to me. They
don't see you. They asked me to not do this campaign. They should
support the person who doesn't want electroshock. Tell them I don't
want shock!"

*** Does ELCA oversee Ray's forced electroshock?

To repeat, ELCA is not directly in charge of Ray's forced
electroshock. We can understand ELCA being sensitive to this
question. Media are starting to pay attention, and National Public
Radio covered Ray's story.

The legal jargon can get complicated. On 16 December, television
station WCCO-TV in Minnesota mis-reported that Ray's "guardian ad
litem" Terri Bradley, who is the court-appointed person specifically
and narrowly in charge of overseeing Ray's forced electroshock, and
who testified in court for Ray's forced shock, works for LSSMN. WCCO-
TV has since issued a public retraction.

Legally speaking, LSSMN is "general guardian" for Ray, but not
"guardian ad litem" specifically on the electroshock.

*** What has ELCA said about forced electroshock?

Representatives of Luthern Social Services of Minnesota (LSSMN), an
agency that is sponsored by ELCA, have refused to speak out about the
abuse of their clients like Ray by repeated, "maintenance" forced
oupatient electroshock.

On the contrary, LSSMN representatives, including their employee
Tonya Wilhelm, have sought to discourage Ray and advocates such as
myself from speaking out publicly about Ray's abuse. My first contact
with Ms. Wilhelm ended with her laughing loudly, saying this would be
between our lawyers, and hanging up.

Helpful MindFreedom voluteers in Minnesota are now prohibited from
even visiting Ray. Ray is kept from a follow-up visit to the
Minnesota Center for Independent Living. Ray is not being offered
humane alternatives to electroshock. Mail sent to Ray is re-directed
to LSSMN for screening. LSSMN attorney George Borer wrote MFI on 1
December "emphasizing" that they do not consent to MFI disseminating
info that Ray provided for the campaign that they consider "private."

In a newspaper report on 18 November, Eric Jonstaard, director of
LSSMN, did speak out about Ray to a reporter. Unfortunately, Mr.
Jonstaard took the opportunity to chastise MindFreedom for using
Ray's full name in the Ray Campaign, as Ray has specifically and
repeatedly authorized MindFreedom and NPR to do.

For more info on the Ray Campaign see:

*** What is ELCA's link to LSSMN?

Through his bravery, Ray has offered us all an opportunity to create
dialogue. Instead, Mr. Jonstaard seeks to distance ELCA from the
situation by saying that ELCA is "not related to the situation"
except for a "loose" sponsorship of LSSMN.

Not related?


ELCA's sponsorship of LSSMN is official, financial, legal, direct,
public and documented.

LSSMN's web site states that LSSMN is "owned" by six Minnesota synods
of ELCA, and credits ELCA as one of its "primary" funding sources for
their 2009 budget of $90 million.

Owned? A primary funding source?

How is that "loose"? Perhaps a lack of close oversight is part of the

This dialogue should not be about technical quibbling. ELCA has a
deep moral obligation to address oppression of any of their clients,
or any human being for that matter. ELCA's agencies receive millions
of dollars in scarce taxpayer funding to guard these clients.

In Minnesota alone, Mr. Jonstaard says that LSSMN is responsible for
800 "vulnerable adults." How many have experienced involuntary
psychiatric drugging and electroshock? LSSMN's Tonya Wilhelm told
MindFreedom's David Oaks that involuntary electroshock of LSSMN
clients like Ray in Minnesota is "not uncommon."

The moral failure of involuntary electroshock over the expressed
wishes of the individual is not only committed by the individual
flipping the switch, but by all those aware of the torture but who
remain silent.

*** What about Ray's confidentiality?

First and foremost, Ray has repeatedly, consistently, and
passionately spoken out, as he puts it so clearly, for "No more shock
for Ray." He has signed a release of information form. He approved
MFI and National Public Radio using his full name in a broadcast that
reached an estimated two million people. LSSMN's attorney admits the
First Amendment protects the rights of this campaign.

The ELCA statement claims that "confidentiality" keeps them from
addressing Ray specifically. In MindFreedom's opinion, agencies such
as LSSMN have the legal discretion and moral obligation to speak out
about abuse of their clients to legislators, media, and the public if
they choose. Ray has asked for LSSMN to do this.

At what point does confidentiality become cover-up?

However anyone interprets privacy laws, everyone admits it is
completely legal for ELCA and LSSMN to speak out in general to the
media and legislators about the policy of involuntary electroshock
itself, which can impact a number of their agency's clients.

ELCA has addressed other tough issues over the years. For instance,
one of ELCA's predecessor churches ordained female pastors as early
as 1970. ELCA publicly wrestles with other controversial topics
including abortion and homosexual pastors.

So what about joining a discussion about issues impacting people
diagnosed with psychiatric disabilities? Isn't it time? Isn't it past

*** Isn't ELCA right that this is a matter entirely up to the courts?

According to eye witnesses, and Ray himself, his most recent court
hearing on 16 December, held in a hospital basement, was a mockery of
justice. Ray was not able to secure a better attorney. His court-
appointed attorney, Jon Duckstad, who Ray says has barely
communicated with him, did not call one independent expert witness to
defend Ray, and has refused offers of free help from other attorneys.

Social justice requires not just courts, but a sense of individual
and group moral responsibility.

Washing ones hands as Ray is escorted to a forced shock on Christmas
Eve is not acceptable.

*** Where else can people raise concerns with the ELCA community?

You may choose to bring this matter up with your own faith community,
and ask them to begin to address these topics themselves and contact
local ELCA congregations.

Also, by coincidence, the next ELCA Churchwide Assembly will take
place 17 to 23 August 2009 in Minneapolis, the very region where Ray
is receiving his regular, outpatient, forced electroshock.

It is time for all religious organizations to dialogue about the
human rights and dignity of some of society's most oppressed
citizens, people who experience psychiatric atrocities.

One would expect many of ELCA's participants would want to lead the
faith community on the neglected social justice issue of human rights
in mental health, rather than silence public discussion.

To quote ELCA's web site about their church:

"It's a story of a powerful and patient God who has boundless love
for all people of the world, who brings justice for the oppressed."

*** Why do you quote a civil rights leader such as Martin Luther
King, Jr. about psychiatric oppression?

The civil rights movement was the inspiration for many social change
movements, including the movement led by survivors of psychiatric
abuse that began in the USA in 1970.

Other relevant quotes by MLK from his letter from a Birminham Jail
include the following:


"I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and
states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about
what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice
everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly,
affects all indirectly....

"An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and
natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law
that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statues
are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the

"You may well ask, 'Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches, and so
forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?' You are quite right in
calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct
action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and
foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused
to negotiate is forced to confront the issue...

"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's
great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White
Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate,
who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a
negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace
which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with
you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of
direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the
timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept
of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a 'more
convenient season.' Shallow understanding from people of good will is
more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill
will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright


Here is the reply ELCA has been sending to many people who have
expressed concern about Ray:

Statement from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA] About
Campaign Against Forced Electroshock of Ray Sandford



Date: December 16, 2008 7:36:03 AM PST

Thank you for writing concerning a story you have heard or seen in
the public media. The ELCA is not related to the situation, except as
a sponsor of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, one of 280 such
organizations in the Lutheran Services in America network.
Sponsorship is a fairly loose term from a churchwide perspective, and
usually means that people in the area of the affiliated agency
represent the church on the agency's board, and individuals and
congregations may also contribute some funding to the agency.

Here is a response from Lutheran Services in America which explains
the situation about which you are concerned:

To respond to your inquiry and comments regarding a recent story
about the medical situation of a vulnerable adult under a civil
commitment proceeding, who also has a court appointed guardian:

As a guardian, Lutheran Social Service has both a legal and ethical
duty to keep the specific details of clients' care and treatment
confidential. While we can't discuss the client specifically, we can
speak in general about how we carry out our work.

Lutheran Social Service is appointed by the court to serve as a
guardian or conservator to over 800 vulnerable adults in Minnesota.
We are court-appointed to take on this role when individuals lack the
capacity to make decisions about their affairs and there are no
family members who are either able or willing to take on that

A civil commitment is a separate proceeding in the State of
Minnesota. When a person is civilly committed, a decision to impose
electroconvulsive therapy ("ECT") is a decision made by a commitment
court and not the court appointed Guardian. In the commitment process
someone, normally a health care professional, brings a petition for
ECT treatment for the individual. The individual is assigned an
attorney and a guardian ad litem (not Lutheran Social Service) who
act as advocates either to oppose or to consent to the petition. The
commitment court hears evidence from medical professionals and then
makes a decision on whether to impose the ECT treatment. The court
decision is then appealable by the client and the client's attorney.
Under Minnesota Statute §524.5-313, a general guardian such as
Lutheran Social Service has no authority to impose ECT treatment
against the known conscientious, religious or moral beliefs of the
individual. The general guardian is not a participant in the civil
commitment process regarding the forced imposition of ECT treatment.

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota has a long tradition of serving
vulnerable children and adults, and careful systems are in place to
ensure that decisions are made with the person's best interest in mind.

Eric Jonsgaard, Senior Director
LSS Guardianship Options

I hope this helps you understand the situation, and that you will
tell whoever suggested that writing to the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America might help make a difference that they are
misdirecting you and many other people.

Miriam L. Woolbert
ELCA Communication Services


The above was sent by ELCA to a number of people in response to Ray
Alert #7 about National Public Radio coverage of Ray's campaign,
which you can hear or read here:

For more information on the Ray Campaign see:




For information about joining MindFreedom today, click here:

Business as usual

Back in the 1980ies I was a member of A.I.D.A. (Association Internationale de Défense des Artistes), an Amnesty affiliate, whose purpose it was to support artists who were kept political prisoners. People like Orhan Taylan, Karl Gaspar and Wei Jingsheng.

In 1986 I translated several texts about and by Wei Jingsheng (from English into German) for the production of Ariane Mnouchkine's The Trial against Wei Jingsheng at Munich. With a short repreive in 1993, Wei spent almost 19 years in prison, from March 1979 to November 1997, five of them in solitary confinement, isolation.

Solitary confinement was his situation in 1986 when I did the translations. I read about a small cell with a window, high above, that allowed Wei to see a square of the sky. There was serious concern, that he would "go mad" under these circumstances.

If anything is "abnormal" about me, it is my ability to identify. With the victims of injustice, assault, betrayal, abuse... you name it. And, by the way, it doesn't make a difference if the victim in question is a human being, an animal, a plant, a thing, whatever. I identify. I become the victim. I suffer. Why? Because I have been the victim myself. I didn't know then. It took many years and several crises to figure out. Crises: fights for freedom, for independence, for justice. Revolutions. Political, yes. Crisis is also always political. What is the difference between a dissident and a mad person? The dissident is conscious about what s/he is opposing.

I walked about, locked up in a small cell, with only a square of the sky to see. I was about to "go mad". I "went mad ", to a certain extent. To the rest of the extent, I was able to channel my revolution into activism.

One thought kept on milling around in my mind: I would have to go to China and free Wei. Now! Free Wei. Free me.

A similar thought crossed my mind tonight, when I got the news about Ray. Sometimes it's not so easy to turn identification into acceptance and compassion.

I wonder, when it will dawn on people in general, that what is called "help" for "the mentally ill" is nothing but additional, and often the ultimate, oppression of people who have been victimized and deprived of a constructive language of their own.

What I've heard about Ray's hearing, reminds me horrifyingly of Wei's trial: A complete farce. The outcome decided in advance. But while the self-appointed "democracies" in this world loudly protest human rights violations in countries like China, they are blind to the human rights violations that take place right in the middle of them, among their own people. Business as usual.

This is for all the dissidents who have been denied a voice of their own, and who are kept political prisoners under the guise of "help":

Peter Gabriel Biko Live 1986

"You can blow out a candle
But you can't blow out a fire"

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Blog awards - and Happy Holidays!

I hadn't really given it a serious thought before, had just noticed somewhat mixed emotions in passing. The thought that it might happen one day had crossed my mind a couple of times, but I'd passed it off just as quickly as it had popped up. So, I was badly prepared. My fault. I should have thought this through, and made an announcement in advance.

Well, as some of my readers probably have noticed, it happened the other day: Mark at psych survivor 2.0 gave me an award.

I'm happy, I'm grateful, really! But I also have these mixed emotions, that make it impossible for me, to accept the award. My mixed emotions have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with anyone out there in the blogosphere personally.

Partly, they have to do with the concept of receiving an award for doing something, that actually might be called rather egoistic. - The question is: Why do I blog and for whose sake? The answer is: Because I need to understand - the world and myself - so, consequently, I do blog for my own sake. Primarily.

If my understanding of the world and myself can be of any value to others, that's great. But the truth is, the more of a dialogue - here or anywhere else - the more I understand. I would have to give an award to virtually everyone I do communicate with, have communicated with in the past, and will communicate with at some point in the future, disregarded whether there's agreement or not. And, frankly, do we need to award each other for something as basic to humanity as communication? Other than by respecting the other and being compassionate?

The other part of my mixed emotions is of a more "profane" nature: There's just too much "chain-", sometimes even "pyramid-", about many blog awards. "Chain-" and especially "pyramid-" stuff ranks under "noise" in my universe. I don't like noise.

Now you can call me a spoilsport, a fusspot, holier-than-thou, ungrateful, whatever. But know, that I don't judge anyone who accepts these awards. It's totally fine with me, if you accept them. I would have loved to give you one. It just doesn't feel right to me to accept one myself. My pain-in-the-behind-intuition, yeah.

Thanks to you Mark, again, for considering my blog!

And now to something far more cheerful (although not half as hilarious as this):

Non-Denominational Holiday Record

Friday, 19 December 2008

My favourite pizza base

...that isn't really a pizza but a pie base, although I use it for "pizza".


500g flour (Italian wheat flour, "tipo 00" is best)
1 sachet of dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar (cane sugar)
100g butter
2 eggs
180ml lukewarm water
1 teaspoon salt (Himalaya or sea salt)

Sieve the flour into a bowl and mix it with the dried yeast and sugar. Add butter, eggs, salt and water, start bringing in the flour-yeast-sugar-mix with a fork, finish working the rest of the flour-mix in with your hands and knead until you have a smooth dough.

Cover the bowl with a damp cloth, and leave to rise in a warm place for at least 15 minutes. Knead again, then spread the dough on a baking sheet covered with baking paper, or divide the dough up into three to four portions if you want to use a pie tin (about 9.5 inches ∅). Place the toppings of your choice on the dough, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes at 220∘C/ 430∘F.

Topping suggestions:

1. Tomatoes, red pepper, corn, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, tuna, olives, garlic, and cheese

2. Tomatoes, red pepper, spinach, salmon, lemon or garlic pepper, and cheese

As far as they are available, I use organic ingredients. It's healthier for you and the environment, and it tastes better!

A slice of the spinach-salmon-variant, cooked in a pie tin.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

National Public Radio on Forced Electroshock of Ray Sandford

15 December 2008

Today, National Public Radio's show "Day to Day" aired a segment
about the involuntary electroshock of Ray Sandford.

You may listen to the nearly nine-minute segment online for free here:

or use this web link:

The NPR show interviews Ray Sandford along with David W. Oaks,
director of MindFreedom and many others, including Ray's mom, about
the ethical debate over forced electroshock.

Ray Sandford is a Minnesota resident who is court ordered to have
electroshock over his expressed wishes on an outpatient basis. Ray
contacted MindFreedom International to launch a campaign that has
reached millions of people about Ray's right to say "no" to his

Every other Wednesday Ray is escorted from his group home residence
to receive another electroshock against his wishes. Ray's most recent
electroshock was on 10 December 2008, which was also United Nations
International Human Rights day.


Because of MindFreedom's campaign, Ray has at least been given a new
court hearing, scheduled for *tomorrow*, Tuesday, 16 December 2008 at
8:30 am. If you live in St. Paul/Minneapolis area, please try to
attend. Ray said the hearing is at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. For
address and directions click here:

If Ray loses, his next forced electroshock is scheduled for Christmas
Eve, 24 December 2008. It would be approximately his 36th electroshock.

For more information on MindFreedom's campaign to stop the forced
electroshock of Ray Sandford, including a photo of Ray, frequently
asked questions and how to help out, click here:

     ** ACTION ** ACTION ** ACTION **

If you politely insist when you call the office of the Governor of
Minnesota, you are finally able to talk to a staff person about the
topic of involuntary electroshock.

If you just get diverted to voice mail, call back later and ask to
speak to a staff person.

Unfortunately, the staff person is simply saying that Governor
Pawlenty believes he can do nothing.

Please help Governor Pawlenty realize that he has self-determination
and empowerment! The Governor could at least help Ray get better
legal representation.

Call the Governor's office from anywhere in the world phone (651)

 From inside Minnesota phone toll free (800) 657-3717.



Please spread the word! Circulate this news about the NPR show to all
those who may be interested.

LET THE MEDIA KNOW about the NPR coverage of the Ray Sandford campaign!

Many mainstream media did not believe forced electroshock of an
individual living out in the community could be happening in the USA.
Tell media to listen to the NPR show here:

or use this web link:

Note that after registering on that NPR web site you may also leave a
*comment* about the show about Ray. Estimated number of listeners of
Day to Day is two million on 200 radio stations. Because of cutbacks,
NPR recently announced the show would be cancelled in March 2009.


Encourage Everyone to Join MindFreedom International During the Fall
2008 Support Drive

Build the people power it will take to stop the kind of torture that
Ray is experiencing!

For information about how you can join MindFreedom today, click here:

Friday, 5 December 2008

Ray Alert 5: Next Forced Shock International Human Rights Day 10 Dec!

MindFreedom International - Ray Alert #5
Win Human Rights in Mental Health - Please Forward!


   Ray's Next Scheduled Involuntary Outpatient Electroshock is:
   10 December -- International Human Rights Day!

by David W. Oaks, Executive Director, MindFreedom International

This Wednesday, 10 December 2008, human rights activists all over the
world will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the signing of the
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

10 December is the UN's official International Human Rights Day.

10 December is also the day that Ray Sandford is scheduled to receive
his 35th involuntary outpatient electroshock.

NEW ON WEB: Learn Ray's story -- Frequently Asked Questions About Ray
Sandford Campaign, click here:


   Latest News on Ray Campaign

Unless action is taken swiftly, then this Wednesday morning, as he
has been for most mornings in the last few months, Ray will be
awakened early by staff in his room at the group residence Victory
House near Minneapolis.

Once more an escort will bring him against his will the 15 miles to
Mercy Hospital, where once more -- under court order -- doctors will
place electrodes on his head for another electroconvulsive therapy
(ECT), or electroshock, that can and has wiped out precious memories
and cognitive abilities from Ray.


   The Good News About Ray Campaign:

Because of MindFreedom's campaign to support Ray Sandford:

* The Minnesota Governor's office reports receiving "hundreds" of
complaints. Thank you everyone!

* Three agencies are now working to replace Ray's non-responsive
court-appointed attorney with a new attorney.

* National media has finally interviewed Ray for an upcoming broadcast.

   The Bad News: It is Not Enough! Speak Out Now!


    ** ACTION ** ACTION ** ACTION **

It is time to take the Ray Campaign up a notch, peacefully but strongly!

Let this become a top issue in the Governor's office.

Telephone Governor Pawlenty's office *NOW*:

Call any day, but especially call *before* Ray's scheduled
electroshock next Wednesday, 10 December 2008.

Call from anywhere in the world phone (651) 296-3391.

 From inside Minnesota phone toll free (800) 657-3717.

You have the best chance of reaching staff from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Central Time weekdays.



Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has completely stone-walled!

* His office refuses to issue any statement on the policy of forced

* He claims he can do nothing, that the courts are in charge, when he
could at least make sure Ray gets better legal representation for a
stay or appeal.

* His office operators have been instructed to immediately redirect
calls about Ray into a voice mail. No one we know of has ever heard
back. Some operators have hung up on callers.

* Meanwhile, the Governor is sponsoring a $200-a-head luxury hotel
conference about International Human Rights Day!

   It is time to get creative!

* Ray will not give up!

* We will not give up!

* Don't you give up!

   Please be peaceful, but be CREATIVELY MALADJUSTED in your next
phone calls to Governor Pawlenty's office.

First, get the name of the operator and write it down. Then start by
asking polite but firm questions about advocacy...

* about citizen input...

* about who to talk to about mental health policy...

* about the names and phone numbers of the Ombudsman office

* about mental health policy and the mental health division...

* about how poor people can have adequate legal representation...

And only then ask about why the Governor is refusing to speak out
about Involuntary Outpatient Electroshock (IOE)?

Insist on speaking to a live real person about this issue.

If you do not get a real person with a real reply, CALL BACK.

If an operator hangs up on you, call back and ask to speak to a
manager and complain.



Telephone Governor Pawlenty's office *NOW*:

Call any day, but especially call *before* Ray's scheduled
electroshock next Wednesday, 10 December 2008.

Call from anywhere in the world phone (651) 296-3391.

 From inside Minnesota phone toll free (800) 657-3717.

You have the best chance of reaching staff from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Central Time weekdays.

If you do receive any helpful information or leads, e-mail it to news-


   Learn more about Ray on the all-new "Frequently Asked Questions"
page about the Ray Campaign.

Learn about:

* The back story about Ray.

* How MindFreedom filed an official torture complaint about the State
of Minnesota to the United Nations.

* And what else you can do to help.

Click on the Frequently Asked Questions page here:


A clickable version of above Ray Alert 5 is on web here:


   Get Around the Media Blackout! Forward this human rights alert to
all people who care about human rights, on and off the Internet!


Encourage Everyone to Join MindFreedom International During the Fall
2008 Support Drive

Build the people power it will take to stop the kind of torture that
Ray is experiencing!

For information about how you can join MindFreedom today, click here: