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When the first large asylum was built in Australia, at Tarban Creek in New South Wales, the Superintendent made a requisition that hints at the treatment the inmates were to receive when the “lunatic asylum” opened:
“63 iron bedsteads, six chairs for violent cases, 16 cribs of wood for dirty cases, 12 pairs of leather hobbles of various sizes for males and females, 12 hard belts of strong leather and iron cuffs attached to them with straps, 12 cuffs and belts for the hands in less violent [cases]” (Dax, 1975)
The Tarban Creek Asylum was opened in 1838, and it accepted patients from Victoria who were transported there by ship from Melbourne. The state of Victoria had not yet been founded, and the area was still administered by the British colonists from New South Wales. Prior to this a smaller asylum had been opened in 1811 in New South Wales, before which the insane were kept in jails. The close connection between the prisons system and the psychiatric system has persisted to the present.
The next asylum was built in Tasmania (Van Dieman’s Land) which was then a prison colony along with Norfolk Island, to the east of Tasmania. This occurred in 1829 and was followed by an additional larger asylum at Port Arthur in 1842. The Australian psychiatrist Professor Eric Cunningham Dax wrote of Port Arthur in A World History of Psychiatry (1975):
“In 1842 an asylum was opened at Port Arthur. There were four dormitories, a central hall, 24 cells, and a padded room. One patient spent long hours in a cage. Port Arthur then had an evil reputation, and Britain, in a wave of belated guilt, ordered the penal settlement to be abandoned, so that by 1879 only 64 prisoners, 126 paupers (presumably housed in the invalid block), and 69 lunatics remained. They were called “imperial lunatics”!
“Another matter of psychiatric interest at Port Arthur was an adjacent establishment at Point Puer which contained up to 730 delinquent boys, mostly aged 9 to 18. Some were transported for trivial offences. It appears that Governor Arthur made a real attempt to educate and train them as stonemasons, sawyers, and in other trades.” (p.707)
The training and retraining of young people was one of the many agendas of psychiatrists and mental hygienists, but they had to compete for the minds of the young with the Churches, which had a longer history of both teaching children and looking after the poor and disadvantaged. It was the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church in Australia that controlled most of the primary and high school education in these areas in Australian schools, but this was to change, according to the plans of the mental hygiene movement and medical profession.
One way in which the psychiatric profession formed an unholy alliance with the Anglican and Catholic Churches, was by providing the initial incarceration, enforcement of ‘compliance’ (obedience) and drug treatment of young people and collaborating with Church organizations in their subsequent training in menial occupations, whilst providing on-going supervision and enforcement of drug treatment. Cunningham Dax refers to such programs in From Asylum to Community, and continued developments of this alliance are evident in an examination of today’s youth-training programs and psychiatric treatment and followup programs. Dax wrote, of the then new system in the late 1950s:
“Prior to 1954 there were no full-time chaplains within the mental hospitals. Since that time the Anglican Church have appointed five and the Presbyterians one, and it is hoped that three other full-time chaplains from the Catholic and the Methodist churches and another Anglican will be engaged before long. They are jointly appointed by the Church and the Mental Hygiene Department. There is a chaplains’ advisory committee which discusses the terms and the conditions of appointment, and the training. Opportunities are available for the chaplains of the various denominations to discuss their work together and a series of successful seminars have been held which have extended from a single day up to a full residential week. Three Anglican chaplains have been abroad for training.” (p.34)
Dax does not say which countries the chaplains were trained in but it was undoubtedly Britain or America. Dax, who was born in Britain and graduated in medicine at the University of London in 1935, is Anglocentric in his perspective, and, along with common medical views of British and British trained psychiatrists had fundamental belief in “physical treatments” and drug treatment over “talk therapies” and psychotherapy of a more gentle nature. This has been a feature of Australian psychiatry since the time of Cunningham Dax, especially in the public hospital system, where the only treatment is drugs and electric shocks. Psychotherapy is generally held “to not work for serious mental illness”, and “psychoanalysis”, by which is usually meant Freudian analysis, is suspected (with good reason) to confuse the psychotic further. Dax does not mention psychoanalysis, or Freud, and makes only passing references to psychotherapy, which he says the psychologists employed by the Mental Hygiene Authority and public hospitals were actively discouraged from doing. He writes:
“Neither the psychologists nor the social workers are encouraged to do psychotherapy as it is felt that they are more usefully used in their own special fields. On the other hand, it is hoped to extend the group activities for both these associates within their own specialties” (p.34)
In territorial fashion he defines what he sees the role of psychologists to be in this new empire controlled and dominated by psychiatrists:
“Nine years ago there was an establishment of seven psychologists; now there are nineteen. They have not as yet been widely used in the mental hospitals, but more within the clinics and particularly in those for children. The ways in which they have been occupied within the Department are therefore as follows:
Intellectual Deficiency Here the psychologists are particularly concerned with assessing the intellectual abilities of the patient and his capacity for development. They give remedial teaching, so the child may develop to the maximum of his ability. They supervise the patients’ activities so as to direct them towards gaining a therapeutic benefit. They are able to guide the patients into appropriate occupations or activities towards training them to live in the community.
Children In child guidance clinics some of the psychologists are used for play therapy or counselling, but the practice varies. Intellectual and vocational testing, educational assessment and advice on overcoming difficulties, and remedial educational therapy are regarded as some of the psychologist’s functions in this field. They do valuable work in the instruction of the staffs of institutions for adolescents and children, especially through group activities. Also they usefully undertake the management of parents; group discussions for remedial training.
Adults In this field the psychologists undertake the intelligence, educational, vocational and projective testing, and they direct the junction with the occupational therapists. They can set out patients’ records in such a way that they will supply the needed data for statistical records. Similarly they can prepare and plan controlled psychiatric experiments in a way capable of statistical analysis.
Research They carry out research into the various aspects of human behaviour and the best means by which patients, in all the psychiatric fields can be taught fully to use their abilities and skills.” (p.34)
As far as spiritual needs of his patients, and of the Australian population generally, Dax assumes that the Church can provide this:
“Chaplain’s functions within the hospitals relate to the patients’ spiritual needs and welfare and to their way of life, and therefore the duties of the chaplain may be defined as follows:
To see whether each patient admitted wants, or is likely to want, his spiritual help, and always to be available at a definite time for patients to visit him.
To arrange for prayers, services and religious observance for the patients of his own denomination.
To supervise the care of the hospital chapel.
To co-operate with the chaplains of the other denominations for the welfare of the patients.
To act as educational officer in the hospital and so to interest himself in such items as the library, debates, drama, English lessons, recreations, current affair discussions, choral societies, music, and the patients’ magazine.
To be available to see patients’ relatives and to communicate, as needs be, with their clergy.
To participate with the other medical associates in the treatment, resocialization and rehabilitation of the patients.
To further the understanding between the mental hospitals and the general public by interpreting the hospitals’ functions to the community” (p.35)
In other words, the mental hygiene movement seconded the Christian Churches, starting with the Anglican Church, as public relations agents for the treatments, diagnoses and propaganda provided by the psychiatric profession, which controlled the “mental hospitals”, despite the fact that what they were doing and teaching were the very antithesis of what Jesus of Nazareth did and taught. They also seconded the psychology profession, which competes with the psychiatry profession, to implement psychiatrist-designed treatment programs, administer psychiatrist-approved “intelligence tests” and “personality tests” for psychiatric diagnoses made by the psychiatrists (not the psychologists), and process statistics which could be used by the medical and psychiatric profession, and, it turns out, the pharmaceutical industry.
The care of intellectually deficient children was already a self-appointed responsibility of the Christian Churches in Australia, and the conditions in which these children were kept from the earliest days of British colonization is a national disgrace. Although Dax does not write about mistreatment of psychiatric patients during his own years of office, his description of the conditions at the Kew Cottages in the 1950s gives some indication of how unwanted children were treated in Melbourne:
“There were open drains, children caught worms by drinking the water, there was little storage accomodation, the paint was drab and peeling. The children’s clothing was awful; the small boys had unlaced boots, long moleskin trousers turned up at the bottom, adult football jerseys which had been given to the cottages by a football club with old army jackets on top and whatever hats they could collect. They were dirty and had very little washing accomodation indeed. Many played in a shed during the day in a half-nude state, there was a battery of lavatories with eight or ten adjoining seats but there was no way of swilling the excreta out of the trough except by walking thirty yards for water. They passed urine into the open drains. The patients ate from tins with their fingers, slept on straw mattresses and the place smelt of stale food and excreta and unsatisfactory drainage.” (p.125)
Although there were improvements in the cosmetic appearance of many of the metropolitan institutions in the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, the abusive treatment of young people in Australia, including forced labour, separation from families, and arbitrary punishment were to continue under the joint supervision of the Mental Hygiene/Health Authority (and its successors) and Church Organizations, later accompanied by bigger and bigger doses and combinations of crippling drugs. Dax explains:
“The intellectual deficiency colonies are partly under the care of the Mental Hygiene Authority and partly of several voluntary organizations. One of the latter is really a day-centre, organized on a residential basis because it is in the middle of a sparsely populated district, where the pupils cannot come by transport each day, in other ways it is similar to the retarded children’s day-centres. There are eighteen boarders there who go home for holidays and frequently for weekends. A few day-children are taken. The other two voluntary residential colonies are run by the Catholic Church. Marillac House for retarded children from 6 to 16 was opened in 1943 by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul. In 1961, there were ninety-six girls, of a higher intellectual level than the children in the retarded children’s centres and mostly of about special school standard.
“The Brothers of St John of God opened an institution in New South Wales in 1947 for the training of intellectually handicapped boys, and another in 1953 in Victoria. The children in the main training centre are at the special school level, but a lodge adjoining was later opened for those who were no more than the day-centre level. In 1957 they opened a farm colony and there are now 95 boys in the residential unit, and 40 in the farm colony.” (p.124)
The Church directly sold out to the corporate interests of the chemical industry and psychiatric profession by selling Churches for conversion into psychiatric treatment centres, where the treatments were inevitably chemicals, combined, at times, with surgical mutilation and electric shocks, physical restraint and solitary confinement, forced labour and brainwashing. Dax writes:
“The Clarendon Clinic [in East Melbourne] was formed by redesigning a church, its vestry, a church hall and an adjacent house. The body of the church has been converted into a therapeutic workshop and the vestry into four consulting rooms. The church hall has been made into a cloak-room, sitting- and dining-room, and a hall for the rooms, offices and staff rooms and a female toilet block.
“The clinic was designed to supply the needs of those patients who had been many years in hospital, had been rehabilitated there by the new methods used, and were now fit for community care. However many of them were unable to earn a living at first or to find accomodation except by the use, at least on a temporary basis, of one of the departmental hostels. Moreover, many of them still needed some medical care, and were therefore followed up by their own medical staff who could visit the Clarendon Clinic to see them.”
The “new methods used” are inadequately described by Dax, but included insulin comas, chemical shock using cardiazol, injected and ingested tranquillisers, electric shocks (an older treatment) and brain mutilation by “psychosurgery”. He explains of the upgrading of “Larundel receiving house” into a major treatment centre, which it remains today:
“Larundel has a residential early-treatment unit and a short-term rehabilitation hospital attached. At Mont Park [the adjoining hospital] there is a longer term treatment hospital with a long-term rehabilitation hospital attached; this has a subdivision consisting of the general, medical and the surgical services and the neurosurgical unit, together with a geriatric hospital. Opposite to Larundel is a repatriation hospital for psychiatric cases attributable to war service. Within two miles is the old private hospital which is being used for geriatric patients but which may be converted later into a short-term alcoholism treatment centre” (p.177)
As they plotted to convert a general hospital for the elderly to an “alcoholism treatment centre”, the Mental Hygiene Authority and associated hospitals explored new treatments for their captives and converts with the aid of the then new “Mental Health Research Institute” in Parkville, Melbourne. Dax writes:
“In 1954 the Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Alan Stoller, was appointed, but much of his time in that year was spent in an Australia-wide survey of mental health needs and facilities, so he did not take up his position until 1955. Shortly after this the Mental Health Research Institute was built and officially opened by the late Sir Ian Clunies-Ross.
“In 1955 a Mental Health Research Fund was founded consisting of an annual grant by the Victorian government to the University of Melbourne…Within the first year the University Department of Anatomy was able to demonstrate its work on the neuro-anatomical basis of emotion and growth on mongoloid children. The Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology were working on cerebral sedatives and analeptics while the Department of Pathology was doing research on cerebral arteriosclerosis.
“By the beginning of 1956 the Mental Health Research Institute was able to give demonstrations of the work proceeding in the Department on the incidence of schizophrenia, Huntington’s Chorea, juvenile delinquency, the clinical effects of tranquilizing drugs, electro-encephalographic studies of brain-damaged children and the results of infero-medial leucotomy [psychosurgery]. Studies had also been made on the treatment of excitement with lithium and its effects were being tried out at several hospitals.” (p.139)
The passage above reveals the connection between the mental hygiene movement, the University of Melbourne, the Mental Health Research Institute in Parkville and the public hospitals, including Royal Park Hospital, also in Parkville. In all these institutions the main focus was on drug treatments, although Dax was also enthusiastic about brain surgery for the treatment of psychological problems. At Royal Park Hospital, Larundel and other psychiatric hospitals electric shocks to the brain were also used for various conditions, the names of which have been changed over the past forty years. Electric shocks to the brain, usually called ECT in Australia, are used against people’s wishes in dozens of hospitals in Australia, today. The use of electrical shocks in Australia dates back to the 19th century, and it has been an unchanging feature of Australian psychiatry over the past century, although the “discovery” of ECT is usually attributed to Cerletti in Italy in the 1940s. Such is the nature of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment terminology as well as history: it is subject to frequent changes. Thus electric shocks to the brain have been called “electroconvulsive therapy” or ECT, “shock treatment”, “electroshock”, “electroplexy” and “electro-therapy”. The same class of drugs have been called “analeptics”, “neuroleptics”, “anti-psychotics”, “major tranquillisers” and “psychotropics”. The use of lithium was experimented with, in Dax’s terminology, for “excitement” (a suspect indication, indeed), but now it is used for “mania” and “bipolar affective disorder”. Previously “bipolar affective disorder” (BAD) was called “manic depression”.
Lithium was first used on psychiatric patients by the then 39 year old superintendent of Bundoora repatriation hospital in Victoria, Dr John Cade. This occurred in the 1940s, and since then the Victorian and Australian psychiatric hospitals have been avid dispensers of lithium, often referred to as a “mood stabiliser”. Although it may indeed prevent fluctuations in mood, the ingestion of lithium is accompanied by a range of unpleasant and dangerous side-effects and is extremely toxic in overdose. Lithium is toxic to the kidneys and thyroid in particular, and, since the toxicity margin is recognised to be low, regular blood tests to check lithium levels (also used to check compliance with drug-taking) are necessary if this drug is prescribed, as it often is done in Australia. It also dulls emotional reactions generally and produces a range of unpleasant mental side-effects in many who are forced to take the drug under threat of incarceration if they “fail to comply” with treatment.
The medical education system in Australia has, since its inception, like the military, been rigidly hierarchical, with professors at the top and medical students at the bottom, and the ladder is climbed by the acquisition of degrees and publications, together with less easily identified factors, which come into operation in the mysterious “upper echelons” of the academic world, an area where global politics plays a greater role than most people realise.
The Mental Health Research Institute in Parkville, Melbourne is Victoria’s biggest psychiatry research institution and is affiliated with the University of Melbourne, the city’s oldest university. The Institute was initially set up at Royal Park psychiatric hospital in the 1950s, shortly after, as was revealed in the press recently, several Nazi ‘scientists’ were smuggled into Melbourne.
The previous director of Royal Park Hospital, the psychiatrist Norman James, was, after the closure of the notorious hospital, appointed Chief Psychiatrist of Victoria during the autocratic reign of Premier Jeff Kennett (who, after being voted out of office assumed the lucrative job of CEO of ‘Beyond Blue’, part of the Federal Government’s ‘depression initiative’, which will be examined later). James wrote the opening chapter in the undergraduate textbook Foundations of Clinical Psychiatry (1994) titled “A Historical Context”.
In it he wrote:
“It was in the asylums that the first widely available and effective biological treatments were developed. Freud himself trained in neurology and recognised that the severely mentally ill required organic forms of treatment. The discovery of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) by Cerletti and Bini who worked in a mental hospital in Rome in 1938 led to a simple and readily applied treatment for those who suffered from severe depressive illness and related disorders. Despite the advent of World War II, ECT was rapidly adopted as a treatment internationally.
“The discovery of lithium in 1949 as a treatment for mania and as a prophylaxis for bipolar disorder (manic depression) was made by Dr John Cade, a distinguished Australian Psychiatrist. This was soon followed by the development of major tranquillisers, the neuroleptics, by Delay and Deniker in Paris in 1952, although the initial idea of their application in psychiatry occurred in a general hospital when it was noted that they were effective tranquillisers for patients undergoing surgery. Shortly after this Nathan Kline made the discovery that a drug being tested for its effect in tuberculous patients had an antidepressant action and thus the first specific antidepressants were discovered, again in a large mental hospital and this time in Orangeburg, New York”.
Professor Edward Shorter, in A History of Psychiatry (1997) gives more details of John Cade’s less than exacting methodology in his rapturous description of the “medical discovery” of lithium:
“The story began in 1949 with John Cade, the 37-year-old superintendent of the Repatriation Mental Hospital in Bundoora, Australia [Victoria]. Cade, like Neil Macleod in late-nineteenth-century Shanghai, had not lost his scientific curiosity despite his provincial isolation. He was determined to see if the cause of mania was some toxic product manufactured by the body itself, analogous to thyrotoxicosis from the thyroid. Not having any idea what, exactly, he might be searching for, he began taking urine from his manic patients and, in a disused hospital kitchen, injecting it into the bellies of guinea pigs. Sure enough, the guinea pigs died, as they did when injected with the urine of controls. Cade began investigating the various components of urine – urea, uric acid and so forth – and realized that to make urine soluble for purposes of injection he would have to mix it with lithium, an element that had been used medically since the nineteenth century (in the mistaken belief that it could serve as a solvent of uric acid in the treatment of gout).
“Then Cade, on a whim, tried injecting the guinea pigs with lithium alone, just to see what would happen. The guinea pigs became very lethargic. “Those who have experimented with guinea pigs”, he wrote, “know to what degree a ready startle reaction is part of their makeup. It was thus even more startling to the experimenter that after the injection of a solution of lithium carbonate they could be turned on their backs and that, instead of their usual frantic righting reflex behavior, they merely lay there and gazed placidly back at him.”
“Cade had stumbled into a discovery of staggering importance, yet he was able to develop it only because of his resoluteness in taking the next step. He decided to inject manic patients with lithium… he injected 10 of his manic patients, 6 schizophrenics, and 3 chronic psychotic depressives. The lithium produced no impact on the depressed patients; it calmed somewhat the restlessness of the schizophrenics. But its effect on the manic patients was flamboyant: All ten of them improved, though several discontinued the medication and were still in hospital at the time Cade wrote his article late in 1949. Five were discharged well, though on maintenance doses of lithium.” (p.256)
No mention is made in this book, or in Professor James’ account, of the toxicity and risks associated with swallowing (or injecting lithium), which are, in particular damage to the kidneys and thyroid. So dangerous is this drug, that regular blood tests must be done to guard against acute and chronic toxicity. According to the MIMS Annual (1993), its “adverse reactions”, better described as “dangers and toxicity”, are briefly described as follows:
“Administration of lithium carbonate may precipitate goitre requiring treatment with thyroxine, but this regresses when treatment is discontinued. The ECG [electrocardiograph] may show flattening of the T wave. Hypercalcaemia, hypermagnesaemia, weight gain and oedema may occur, and skin conditions may be aggravated. The toxic symptoms are referable to the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. These must be known by the patient and his or her nurses and relatives. Those referable to the gastrointestinal tract are anorexia, nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal discomfort and diarrhoea. Those referable to the central nervous system are lassitude, ataxia, slurred speech, tremor (marked) and agitation. If none of these are present, the patient is not intoxicated. Patients suffering from lithium toxicity look sick, pale, grey, drawn and asthenic. It is vital to bear in mind that lithium can be fatal, if prescribed or ingested in excess…At serum lithium levels above 2 to 3 mmol/L, increasing disorientation and loss of consciousness may be followed by seizures, coma and death.”
Heralding the “discovery” of lithium by Cade by a Victorian psychiatrist as a great moment in medical science, the Victorian medical establishment, including Professor Norman James, has long been insistent on the treatment of “manic” and even “hypomanic” people with lithium. This is despite the known risks and toxicity of the drug.
Lithium is said, by Australian psychiatrists, to “stabilise the mood”, and it is assumed that people who have had even brief episodes of “elevation” or “abnormal excitement” need long term mood stabilization with the drug. This includes single episodes of “hypomania”, which is described in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM IV as follows:
“A Hypomanic Episode is defined as a distinct period during which there is an abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood that lasts for at least 4 days (Criterion A). This period of abnormal mood must be accompanied by at least three additional symptoms from a list that includes inflated self-esteem or grandiosity (nondelusional), decreased need for sleep, pressure of speech, flight of ideas, distractibility, increased involvement in goal-directed activities or psychomotor retardation, and excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (Criterion B)”. (p.335)
As if it makes the diagnostic criteria “precise” and “specific”, the DSM adds that:
“If the mood is irritable rather than elevated or expansive [which are not further defined in the DSM IV], at least four of the above symptoms must be present.”
It is incredible that “increased goal directed activities” and “non-delusional increase in self-esteem” could be cited as evidence of mental illhealth rather than an indication of improved health. Furthermore DSM IV adds that:
“The change in functioning for some individuals may take the form of a marked increase in efficiency, accomplishments or creativity.” (p.335)
It is strange that this mental state should be viewed as an “abnormal” one, but at least the American Psychiatric Association (unlike the Australian psychiatric establishment) does not advocate incarceration or forced drugging for “hypomania”. The reference manual says:
“In contrast to a Manic Episode, a Hypomanic Episode is not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning or to require hospitalization, and there are no psychotic features.”
The University of Melbourne’s Foundations of Clinical Psychiatry is not as clear in their distinction between “hypomania” and “mania” and “hypomania” has only two references to it, one relating to diagnosis and one relating to treatment. Under “Abnormal states of mood elevation” is written:
“Far less commonly [than depression], a persistent elevated mood occurs. Similarly, a continuum of severity if found with the mild states difficult to distinguish from normality. Moderate severity Hypomania, or severe state Mania, are obvious, the patient’s behaviour having serious consequences if treatment is not swiftly initiated. Most manic patients also experience depressive swings, and this condition is therefore referred to as Bipolar Mood Disorder.” (p129)
The recommended treatment is described under “management of elevated mood states”:
“The assessment and treatment of the patient suffering from acute hypomania or mania is essentially the management of the acutely psychotic patient. Organic conditions, including drug-induced states, need to be excluded. For reasons of safety, most patients need hospitalisation which, because of the lack of insight, may need to be recommended. The mainstay of pharmacotherapy are the neuroleptics, such as Haloperidol or Chlorpromazine. Although lithium carbonate is an effective antimanic agent at relatively high concentrations risks of toxicity discourage its use. Occasionally, for particularly severe cases, ECT is needed.” (p.144)
The drugs recommended for the treatment of “hypomania” and “mania” turn out to be the same ones recommended for “schizophrenia” and “ECT” is electroconvulsive treatment (shock treatment), which is used for “depression” as well as its “opposite”, “mania” and also for severe or “intractable” psychosis (including that supposedly due to “schizophrenia” or “schizoaffective disorder”). Unlike many other parts of the world, where ECT has been banned or seriously restricted, in Australia the use of electrical shocks has increased in recent years and is used more widely (in more centres and for more reasons). Most of the psychiatric hospitals in Australian cities give patients ECT, often against their will.
Involuntary ECT in the State of Victoria is said to be restricted to “emergency cases”, but it is left to the individual psychiatrist to define what constitutes an “emergency”. The systems of appeal open to the protesting patient are very limited. They can appeal to the Chief Psychiatrist, Norman James, who has the authority to stop the abusive use of drugs or ECT. It is most unlikely that he would, however. James, who was previously head of psychiatry at the Royal Park Hospital is a keen advocate of both ECT and the use of “neuroleptic drugs”. It is he who wrote the opening chapter of Foundations of Clinical Psychiatry. In it, he wrote an intriguing passage:
“The asylums inaugurated as a result of humanistic urges soon became grossly overcrowded, despite the fact that some were among the largest and most expensive buildings erected by the governments of the day. Numerous difficulties beset them. As a result of their isolation they became large, impersonal, human warehouses. Patients had few if any rights and were completely at the mercy of their carer – a largely untrained workforce from which has arisen the modern profession of psychiatric nursing. There was a total lack of any specific physical treatment for mental illness until the advent of ECT [so much for walking in gardens, music and warm baths]. Those who did improve did so largely by the passage of time and the happy advent of a spontaneous remission [not ‘recovery’]. These conditions led to a cycle of scandals, public inquiries, usually some temporary improvement and then a relapse into previous conditions or worse.” (p.9)
It could be time for another public inquiry.
In psychiatric wards and Mental Health Review Board hearings the psychiatric patient is judged guilty unless proven innocent. Unfortunately innocence (of ‘mental illness’ or ‘personality disorder’) cannot actually be proved according to prevailing psychiatric theory which does not view humans in terms of “guilty” or “innocent”. All psychiatric patients are “officially innocent”, just “unfortunately inflicted with an (invisible) illness”. One which “unfortunately tends to run in families”. Thus entire families are stigmatised without laying blame on any individual. It is not the fault of the family or the individual to be afflicted with illness: it is “just one of those things”. Maybe genetics plays a role. That way individuals in the family can scan their relatives (and in-laws) for evidence of insanity.
As for the diagnosed patient, regardless of whether he or she is called a “mental patient”, “schizophrenic”, “nutcase”, “client” or “consumer” there is no escape from the judgement of “defective” and the accompanying stigma. Even if no evidence can be found at a particular time of mental illness, the patient can be accused of “masking” (hiding) their madness or be in remission.
Yesterday I had a call from the long-time councillor Steve Griffiths in response to my call a few days ago about plundering of native wildlife. Griffiths has a background in ‘special education’ and a degree in social work; he has been the boss of the ‘Moorooka Ward’ of the Brisbane City Council (BCC) since 2004. Before being elected to Council he worked for the euphemistically-named, abusive and corrupt Queensland ‘Mental Health’ system (as a social worker).
I have only met Griffiths once, back in 2013 when I sought his support for my innovative frog-breeding program that resulted in my being forcibly taken by Moorooka Police to the PA hospital and locked up on several occasions on the instigation of my hostile, racist neighbour Jeff Miller of 74 Fegen Drive. At this time, Griffiths was not interested in my frog-breeding program or bird sanctuary.
In 2015 I was locked up again after Miller made a false report to the police that I was “armed with what appeared to be a meat-cleaver” and “slashing at a tree”, which he claimed was to “intimidate him”. This was on my 55th birthday (22 September) after I had been visited by my mother Kamalini who owns the property. It later began evident that Miller had been colluding with my father Brian Senewiratne – they had each others’ numbers and spoke to each other, though neither spoke to me. From the police report, when I was maliciously charged with “going armed to cause fear” by Moorooka Police (naming Miller as the ‘victim’) it is evident that after I was locked up Miller and my father gave the police the home-made knife together though my father got my mother to sign the receipt.
The knife was not a ‘meat-cleaver’, I was not ‘slashing at a tree’ and was not trying to ‘intimidate’ Miller or anyone else. It was a small ornamental knife I had made from a broken shard of mirror with a handle made of paperbark (held together with PVA glue). It was a utilitarian work of art. I had tested it out by cutting a groove into the paperbark (Melaleuca) tree across the road and had not even seen Miller spying on me from his property. In his report to the police he stated that he knows I “dislike him with a passion” for reporting me on “a number of occasions” in relation to my “behaviour”. Because of this, according to his statement, he was afraid I would run across the road and stab him!
I first realised that Miller was a racist back in 2012. Back then there was only a half fence separating our front and back gardens. Miller had positioned a number of metal sculptures in his back garden facing mine. These were made from pipes he had acquired from work as a gas fitter, crudely welded to make figures. These were human figures and a dog.
One day he showed me his new creation. It was a small stout figure with one testicle. “I have called it One Hung Low” he told me. Heidi (his wife) and I had a good laugh about that one”.
I got the joke. “One Hung Low” is an old Australian joke at the expense of Chinese names. I told him I didn’t think it was funny.
Returning to 2015, Miller’s statement to the police said that he had been keeping a “hand-written diary” on me since 19 August (2015) and he could “produce it” for the police, which he did. This is how I found out about the role of Steve Griffiths and his father Colin who, in a blatant act of nepotism, has been employed by his son in his Moorooka office for many years (paid for by Brisbane rate-payers).
Miller’s statement to the police dated 22.9.2015 (the day I was abducted from my home and taken, naked and handcuffed to the PA hospital):
‘SENEWIRATNE has been a nuisance to my family and the community since mid 2012. By nuisance I mean, SENEWIRATNE has been abusive, intimidating and threatening towards me and my family”.
This was a blatant malicious lie. I had been very nice to the Miller family and even lent my saxophone and keyboard to their daughter Katie who was a musical prodigy on saxophone. She stopped playing soon after that. Miller made his children afraid of me, but I have always been nice to them. However I did complain to his wife Heidi about the false reports her husband had made about me. She reported this to the police claiming she was “intimidated”.
The “hand-written diary” Miller wrote begins with the date 26-8-15 with the number of Steve Griffith’s office: 3403 1730 under which is written:
“1) Call Col Regarding Romesh Spook [sic] to Susan. Said Col would Ring Back”
‘Col’ is Colin Griffiths, Steve Griffiths’s father.
“2) FRI [friday] 28-8-15
Call Col SAT [saturday] 10 am. What’s Happening
He called Mother [my mother Kamalini]
WED Night 26-8-15
1) LOUD ph call to Mother Late Arvo [afternoon]
2) 10-10-30 WED Night Abusive phone call to Sara
1) Mother Called Hosp [hospital] and Spoke To Case Worker. SaiD He was Released Last Week all OK – NO Follow Up. She Though There was a problem after her Phone call WED arvo (who would have thought)
Col called me back and Advised
SaiD he would Talk to another minister (Health)
Suggested Having a meeting with the Case Manager, mother etc
Col called Police on my behalf, $ 12-30 approx”
From these notes it appears that Colin Griffiths wanted to be paid 12 to 30 dollars for his “services”. At no stage did Colin or Steve Griffiths attempt to contact me themselves and verify the truth about what Miller was alleging. Neither did the police, the health minister (Lawrence Springborg) or the PA Hospital. They acted as if the false allegations were true.
I raised this matter with Steve Griffiths when he called me back yesterday and told him that Miller was racist and didn’t like Asians or dark-skinned people. His response was, “There is plenty of racism towards white people, believe me.” He also defended the actions of his father Colin and Jeff Miller. He claimed, against all evidence, that Miller was “genuinely concerned” about my mental health.
I also told him about the evidence I had of trafficking of native wildlife, including (but not exclusively) birds (especially parrots). At first he expressed doubts about this but I was able to provide evidence to support the allegation based on 10 years of observation including my most recent evidence (that I have posted on YouTube).
He then said he did not think there was much “council” could do about it and also said he did not think it was a responsibility of State Police (QPS) to investigate.
1, The history of eugenics and the paranoia about “overpopulation” in what was called the “Third World” in the 1960s and 1970s.
2. The exhortation by Sir Charles Darwin (British nuclear physicist and grandson of the famous biologist) at the California Institute of Technology (CALTECH) in 1959 to apply their minds to developing a solution “more brutal than warfare” to reduce the population of what he called “backward countries” whose increasing populations he claimed was a threat more serious than nuclear warfare.
3. The publications by the Stanford University professor Paul Erlich, including the influential best-seller “The Population Bomb”.
4. The 1950 recommendation by Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet for Australian scientists to develop the biological weapons industry and use bioweapons offensively against civilian populations in Indonesia and Asia, saying that “poverty and disease alone have kept our coloured neighbours in check”.
5. The Syphilis progression studies done in Tuskegee on “Black” Americans.
6. The other nations that have been involved in the development of biological weapons during the Second World War and Cold War.
7. The 1969 request to the US Senate by Dr. Donald Macarthur for money to develop a refractory germ that causes collapse of the immune system and his claim at the time that many countries were working on such a germ.
8. The research that was done at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute at the University of Melbourne by Macfarlane Burnet after he returned from a visit to the British biological warfare laboratories at Porton Down. This was on genetic engineering using plasmids, T-cell and B-cell (lymphocytes) function and monoclonal antibodies. It is also relevant that before he got involved in immunology, Burnet was interested in what were called “exotic viruses” which were systematically collected from tropical regions and injected into a range of experimental animals (including monkeys and, at this time, chimpanzees).
9. The global epidemiology of AIDS, vested interests in creating disease, and the history of scientific racism, colonial atrocities in Africa and the history of Belgian biological and chemical warfare as well as that of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
10, The reasons behind what were called “Pattern 1” and “Pattern 2” epidemiology of AIDS and the fact that the previous targets of genocidal eugenics programs were notable “high risk populations”.
11. The sources for funding of the AIDS programs and their connection with the white-supremacist eugenics movement.
I have proved beyond doubt that looking directly at the Sun is essential for health of the eyes and that Isaac Newton was wrong when he said it is dangerous. This was Newton’s biggest mistake, and precipitated hundreds of years of heliophobia (irrational fear of the Sun) in the West (and subsequently in the East as well).
I started looking at the sun in 1995, when I was 34 years old. I also stopped wearing sunglasses, which I had worn since I was about 20 years old (when I was a medical student and followed a warning by our lecturers at the University of Queensland that looking even briefly at the Sun burns to retina). By the time I was 34 years old I was unable to tolerate glare and was noticing a deterioration in my visual acuity compared to when I was a child, when I had exceptional eyesight).
I approached looking at the Sun with trepidation at first; now it is part of my daily routine and my eyesight continues to improve. I have noticed a particular improvement over the past few months when I have been doing my own style of yoga, which includes ‘Salute to the Sun’ while looking directly at the Sun. The Salute to the Sun was invented in the Sri Lankan eastern port city of Trincomalee (Thirukonamalai in Tamil). It is intended to be done facing the Sun and looking at it.The reasons for this can be explained scientifically. Looking at the Sun exercises the intraocular muscles, including the iris and ciliary muscles. When the iris contracts the pupil dilates. This allows more light into the eyes. When you look at bright light sources the pupil constricts. Looking at the Sun, the pupil constricts maximally and the iris is exercised (the iris is not under voluntary control but is influenced by the autonomic nervous system).
The rays of the Sun are effectively lasers due to the distance of the Sun. Lasers are light rays that are parallel and have the same wavelength and frequency (which are related). You can consequently correct visual deficits by looking at the Sun, though there are many other things you can do to improve vision – noting that there are some things that can only be read wearing magnifying lenses. When lasers were first invented the military-industrial complex wanted to use them to cut, burn and kill. They made laser guns and now they have made laser cannons. The technology can be used to correct vision, something that the Mossad knows all about – they are the ones who developed laser eye correction. I have refined laser eye correction using the direct rays of the Sun together with laser discs (compact discs – CDs and digital versatile discs – DVDs).
It is also known that smoking ganja improves vision by correcting the pressure of the fluid in the eye (intraocular pressure, which is called glaucoma when it is too high). Cannabis has been known to be an effective treatment for glaucoma for a long time. It is also known to divers and underwater photographers that ultraviolet light is essential for seeing the full spectrum of Nature’s colours in the sea.
The New York ophthalmologist William Bates advocated looking at the Sun in the 1920s but predicated that his work would be suppressed by the medical profession and optometrists whose livelihood depended on prescribing glasses (spectacles) and surgery. He was right. His work and even his name were not mentioned to me in my medical training at university, the public hospital system or my ‘Continued Medical Education’ (CME) run by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).
With my new exercise program that I’m calling Arya Chakravarthy Therapy (with the excellent acronym of ACT) my health has improved considerably, and I am using my original techniques to recover from several decades of poisoning with dopamine-blocking drugs that are still making me dribble saliva. To my immense relief, I was told last week that the PA Hospital is not going to force these poisons on me any more (though they offered me oral antipsychotic drugs as well as the anti-Parkinsonian drug benztropine for the hypersalivation, both of which I refused). I also have a hypothesis that looking at the Sun protects against the development of cataracts (lens opacities) and that the claim that ultraviolet (UV) light causes cataracts is incorrect and another manifestation of heliophobia. This hypothesis remains to be tested.
Founder and Director at Holistic University Network (HUN)43 articles
I have had a couple of weeks to reflect on the week I was locked up at the Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital in Brisbane and observe the effects of the drugs that have been forced on me. I am very angry about it and with the doctors who negligently and cruelly denied me my right to freedom and ordered that I be injected unnecessarily in the A&E Department (I had not had an accident and there was no emergency), forced to take oral antipsychotic drugs in hospital (under threat of being injected if I refused, for which “Security” would be called) and that antipsychotic “depot” injections be restarted.
I have good reason to believe that there has been a deliberate effort to humiliate me by the psychiatrists in charge, who have appointed a series of junior doctors to “diagnose” and “treat” me. Of the past 5 psychiatrists who have been put “in charge” of me, none has been an Australian or an Australian graduate, although I was seen for a “second opinion” by a Dr. Frances Dark, who has been a psychiatrist at the PA for 28 years, including many years in common with my hostile father, Dr. Brian Senewiratne.
I liked Dr. Dark when I met her for about an hour. Her name had been suggested for a “second opinion” by the psychiatrist who had been put in charge of me this time (in the ‘East Wing’ ward). His name, he told me, was “Dr Parashar”, but he would not tell me his first name or where he qualified. Parashar told me when he saw me the day after I was locked up there that he had spoken to “Dr. Joseph” and he wanted to restart the “depot” This was a long-acting preparation of a dopamine receptor-blocking drug called Paliperidone (made by the Belgian company Janssen, which is now part of Johnson and Johnson). The injections themselves are manufactured in Poland for an American company called SMP. SMP stands for ‘Standard Motor Products’!
Janssen markets this drug as “Invega Sustenna”. Its effects are indeed sustained, but this drug has the opposite effect of invigoration. It blocks receptors for the essential neurotransmitter dopamine, which is involved in complex cognition (frontal lobes) as well as emotions (limbic system) and movement (basal ganglia). It also has important roles in endocrine metabolism, especially related to the pituitary gland that is connected by the pituitary stalk to the hypothalamus. These well-established facts explain some of the many adverse effects of these drugs, including sexual dysfunction, immune suppression, anhedonia, hyperprolactinaemia, Parkinsonism, Tardive Dyskinesia, overheating, heart disease (and sudden death), hypersalivation (which the psychiatrists call “drooling’, which they treat with drugs that block the neurotransmitter Acetyl Choline (ACh) – causing yet more side-effects) and slurred speech. The so-called “health workers” (a range of whom now call themselves “clinicians”) in the Australian hospitals also systematically ignore and minimise the adverse effects. People who are concerned about them are routinely pathologised as having “somatic concern”, which is described in “rating scales” such as the PANSS and BPRS as signs of “schizophrenia” and mental illness, rather than reasonable concerns about the poisoning that mental patients are routinely subjected to.
In 2016 a new Mental Health Act (MHA) was passed in Queensland. Under the new act the system was supposed to be more “patient-centred”. They abolished the much-abused “Involuntary Treatment Orders” (ITOs) but merely changed the name to “Treatment Authority” (TA). According to both the new Act and the previous MHA, five criteria need to be met for continuing to keep people on ITOs/TAs. These include that they continue to show signs of ongoing mental illness, and that they pose an imminent risk to society or themselves. The loophole they have used for at least the past 20 years is to argue that the patient will “deteriorate” (posing risk to themselves) if they refuse treatment or refuse to agree that they are mentally ill (termed “lack of insight” which is also listed as a sign of psychopathology by the PANSS and BPRS rating scales). This is a reverse Catch-22. In Heller’s satirical comedy, the Catch-22 was that since war is madness, anyone who wanted discharge from the American military because they were mentally ill should be refused, since they were sane. In the psychiatric system, the opposite situation prevails. The patients are called mentally ill simply for refusing to agree that they are.
This is very cruel, given the many prejudices and biases inherent in the diagnostic criteria and doctrines of European (and Anglo-American psychiatry).
I have been under the “authority” of Anup Joseph since November last year when he replaced Tarun Sehgal, who is also Indian and very much junior to me. Neither Joseph nor Sehgal were prepared to accept that my father supported the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) and Frances Dark (who has known him for many years) also said she did not know it. This is despite the case manager Nigel Lewin and registrar Sagir Parker (who is also Indian) checking on the Internet and confirming that what I had said about my father had been true all along. Frances Dark told me, to my surprise, that my father is still influential despite his age (and behaviour), that he was a well-known PA Hospital “character” and that though she didn’t like to say it, I would not be free of the psychiatric system till my father “passes on”. Both she and Lewin accepted that my father got me locked up because he didn’t like me, and that he had provided false information to the hospitals in an effort to convince psychiatrists that I am mentally ill and “psychotic”. Lewin also told me he knows that my father was abusive and cruel to both me and my mother when I was growing up. ‘I know, I know” he said, “But when are you going to let it go?”
Parashar, Tarun Sehgal and Anup Joseph answer to the “Psychiatry Director” Manaan Kar Ray, who came to Brisbane to take up the position from England in 2018, where he had been director of the “Cambridgeshire and Petersborough Foundation Trust” psychiatric unit, and, he boasts on his LinkedIn profile, responsible for a large workforce and budget. He had been invited “down under” (as he called it in a presentation promoting his “Promise” campaign against coercion in 2016) by David Crompton, who was executive director of Metro South Health and Hospital Service (MSHHS) for many years, during which I was locked up and chemically tortured many times under a series of so-called “psychiatrists”. There are lots of “executives” running Metro South, headed by a CEO on a big salary. The Executive Director of Psychiatry for many of the years I have been persecuted by this hospital was Dr. Balaji Motamarri, who is also an Indian graduate (from PGIMER). His few publications admit in the small print that he has accepted “fees and/or hospitality” from a number of drug companies, including Janssen. He has promoted the use of LAIs (Long-Acting Injectables) also known as “depot injections”. Motamarri also claimed not to know that my father supported the Tamil Tiger terrorists, but said he didn’t want to see the evidence I offered to provide when I talked to him on the phone last year. Then behind the scenes was a sinister old psychiatrist by the name of Paul Schneider, who locked me up five times on my father’s instigation in 2001 (when I came back to Brisbane from Melbourne in the hope of better treatment and more understanding of my work in my home state and hometown). Clarifying this, I do not mean better psychiatric treatment – I just wanted to be left alone. I was quite happy with my mental state, even if my family was not.
Shortly after I was locked up I asked if an appointment could be made for me to see the director Manaan Kar Ray. On my second visit to see Anup Joseph he told me that he had discussed me with Kar Ray, and they had decided to increase the dose of the Paliperidone back to 100 mg (it had been reduced to 75 mg due to the readily evident side-effects of drooling and slurred speech), but both refused to talk to me on the phone. Neither visited me during the week I was locked up under the authority of Parashar. This is high-handed treatment, to say the least. It is also grossly negligent to advise that depot injections which had made me very unwell be restarted on the basis of hearsay without checking the veracity of the claims by talking to me directly, and also doing a proper mental state examination. This is what Joseph did, and Parashar and Dark agreed with.
I had told Frances Dark that I was angry that the psychiatrists all refused to read my work on the neurosciences, psychiatry and psychology. They argued (and Motamarri agreed, when I spoke to him on the phone) that what I have written is “not relevant”. They have also refused to look at my work on the Internet and would not even Google my name. They pointedly refuse to address me as “doctor” but they use the title for respect, credibility and authority themselves. The “doctors” routinely hide their responsibility for the negligent and abusive decisions they make by saying it is the decision of “the team”. The fact is that it is a rigidly hierarchical system, run by executives who do not even visit the wards. I was told by the charge nurse that Kar Ray is informed by the “NUMs”. NUMs are “Nurse Unit Managers”. It is administration gone mad.
I told one of the male Filipino nurses that my considered opinion was that the people running the health system are more interested in money and promotions (with a salary increase) than healing people. He agreed. In addition, the psychiatry registrar Sagir Parker told me that “we all know that pharmaceutical corruption is rampant”. What he admitted was common knowledge did not dissuade him from trying to “qualify” as a psychiatrist in what he admitted is a corrupt system (I videotaped this admission when Nigel Lewin brought Parkar to my house when he came to inject me). He also admitted, when I pressed him on it, that the psychiatrist he reported to was none other than Paul Schneider. Schneider also wrote the first script out for Paliperidone 150 mg after I was discharged by Jumoke Banjo (from Nigeria) who had locked me up and chemically tortured in 2017 (for 10 days), again on the instigation of my father. This dose was reduced to 100 mg due to slurring of my speech and hypersalivation (drooling). They also caused me to have no ejaculate at all, but this was not of concern to the cruel doctors who ordered this abusive treatment.
Dr. Dark asked me if I wanted her to read my work. I had been allowed home for an hour with Nigel Lewin and had brought two of my publications with me – “Music and the Brain – Therapeutic Use of Music”(2001) and “An Integrated Model of the Brain and Mind” (1999) back to the hospital. She initially took the books but then changed her mind and said, “They say neither a borrower nor a lender be” and gave them back to me. However, she promised to read my work online and I asked her to do a search on Google for “Golden Ant Enterprises”. She asked when I was going to be discharged and I told her Nigel had said the plan was for discharge in two days time. She said she’d get back to me the next day.
The next day she came to see me in the early afternoon. Instead of reading my publications as she had promised, or looking me up on the Internet, she told me she had read all the MHRT Clinical Reports since 2009. She said I had provided my perspective and she wanted to get that of “the service”. I protested that these reports are thorough character-assassinations, make numerous false claims about me, don’t say a single nice thing about me, fail to mention any of my academic and professional achievements and omit other important facts (including that my father, who organised many of my incarcerations, was a long-time employee of the hospital). Dr. Dark told me, to my disappointment, that she was advising that they go ahead with the depot injections.
I have said that I liked Frances Dark. Even after she negligently and abusively recommended that I be injected I was polite to her and thanked her for the opinion. Then I got home and checked her out online. There is a single YouTube clip featuring a lecture she gave (presenting slides with her voice but no images of her) and a LinkedIn profile indicating that she has 74 connections. I have more than 13,000 connections on LinkedIn and had more than 70 connection requests waiting for my approval when I returned from the week I spent locked up. Dark’s presentation is on substance abuse, which she says is not an area of her expertise, says she is a swimmer and that is “her thing”, claims to have expertise in “rehabilitation” and says a lot about “schizophrenia” that I found highly offensive. She claimed that young people generally, and especially young “schizophrenics” have immature, poorly developed frontal lobes. This is ageist nonsense. In addition, the drugs that are used to treat schizophrenia cause permanent brain damage, cognitive decline and shorten life expectancy by many years (I told this to the psychiatrist Mark Taylor who corrected my claim that it was by 15 years by saying it was “only” shortened by 13 years, and the best survival statistics come from treatment with Clozapine!)
The initial decision to inject me with depot Paliperidone was made by a middle-aged middle-eastern psychiatrist by the name of Falih Al-Sudani who came and saw me when I was locked up on the instigation of my father in 2012. I had been locked up in the double-locked “AOA” (Acute Observation Area) now called the “HDU” (High Dependency Unit) for several days without footwear or a change of clothes. He told me the decision had been made to start me on “depot” after a discussion between him and Paul Schneider. He said, in a blatant lie, that the drug did not cause any side effects. This is an example of criminal negligence. It is the legal responsibility of doctors to warn patients of drug risks and side effects.
“Dr” Parashar repeated this gross negligence and told me that depot Aripiprazole did not cause any side-effects. I said it too is a dopamine-blocker but he countered that it is a “partial agonist”. I knew that I would not be released unless I accepted the abusive injection, which was given to me immediately before I was allowed to leave (on Wednesday). During the week I was locked up I was given oral Aripiprazole, which had the effect of making me drool again. This distressing and stigmatising side-effect was the main reason that the case manager Raghavan Raman had refused to comply with injecting me 8 months ago. Since the drug had been stopped the hypersalivation and slurred speech had largely but not completely resolved. I have reason to be concerned that the years of dopamine-blockers have caused permanent damage to my nervous system.
I have also developed both bacterial and fungal infections and am developing a peripheral neuropathy with numbness in my toes. For the first few days in hospital my blood pressure was also high (up to 185/120) but this was the effect of internalised stress and I was able to bring it down by relaxation strategies. I was offered Benztropine (Cogentin) for the hypersalivation, but I refused this. I was also told that I am mildly anaemic. My health has deteriorated considerably in the past two weeks and I am drooling uncontrollably on my desk as I type this. I am very angry about this. My younger daughter is only 10 years old and I don’t want to be crippled and killed slowly.
I was taken to the PA Hospital because of another malicious report by my next-door neighbour Jeffrey Mitchell Miller, who does not like “Asians” or “Blacks”. He also dislikes people who are “mental”, and has made this clear to me since 2008, when my mother bought the house I am living in, since I was homeless and had been living in a garage for a year, blacklisted from renting properties after being repeatedly locked up since 1995. Miller was already living at 74 Fegen Drive when Sara di Genova and I moved in on 16 October, 2008. I extended my hand in friendship and invited Miller and his family to dinner shortly after we moved in. He did not reciprocate. I only realised about his prejudice towards Asians later, when he showed me a new sculpture he had installed in his back garden, made out of copper pipes he had acquired from work.
“This one is called “One Hung Low”, he said, showing me that the sculpture had one testicle lower than the other. “Heidi and I had a good laugh about that one”, he told me. It was an old joke laughing at Chinese names and Chinese people and I was not amused.
Miller works for a local gas and electricity company called “GasElec” and drove a Mercedes-Benz van saying “Catering Services Division” and the personalised number-plate “GAS 21”. He owns several cars and loves Holdens. Prior to 2008 he was trying to renovate an old Holden, with the help of a friend. He mistreats animals, and dislikes nature, especially ants. He poisoned the trees that the Brisbane City Council planted on the nature strip because they were, in his opinion, “infested” by ants. He drinks heavily after he returns from work and used to spend a lot of time revving his cars. His young daughter was a talented saxophone player (indeed a prodigy) but she doesn’t play anymore.
Miller has done his utmost to get me “kicked out of the neighbourhood” over the past 10 years. He first reported that I was “throwing things out of the window” in 2010, when I was cleaning my bedroom and throwing out old clothes to make room. I was locked up for a week under Dr. Daniel Varghese, whose family I had known since the 1970s (his uncle Paul and I were batch-mates at the University of Queensland and I was a frequent visitor to their family home when Paul’s father George was still alive).
Between 2012 and 2015 Miller got me locked up several times by reporting me to the police and psychiatric system. This stemmed from his ire at the ecological project I began in an effort to breed Striped Burrowing Frogs and Green Tree Frogs by running water continuously through shallow channels and ponds that I dug with a spade. When I did this I found out some interesting things about the history of the house I am living in and have established Golden Ant Enterprises at.
When I ran the water from my two outside taps I found that the water pooled in a depression under the house. I dug this hole to about a metre and uncovered the stump of a large tree. The rear tap emptied onto a cement box and fed underground to what became a pond under the house. This was part of the original 1942 septic system built by American soldiers during the Second World War, when all the houses on Fegen Drive were built (out of asbestos). I also found that the there was a manhole in the back garden and found that it had a bifurcation – one pipe led to Miller’s back garden and the other flowed towards the creek. When I dug in the front garden I found that a more recent PVC pipe had been laid draining my water to Miller’s property. It became evident that he had set up this system before I moved here, but I wasn’t sure of its purpose.
As a result of the topography of the land, as well as Miller’s diversion system, when I ran my water constantly, instead of draining to the creek (as the Council’s newer drainage sign says it does) the water drained into Miller’s property, making his back garden soggy. I apologised for this and built a clay retaining bund to prevent it. Miller was not satisfied with this and reported me to the Brisbane City Council as well as taking out an Emergency Examination Order (EEO) to get me taken to the PA Hospital for by the Moorooka Police (members of which he knew) for “assessment”. I was accused of “digging trenches” and “flooding my yard”, claims which are still evident in subsequent PA Hospital “Clinical Reports” for the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT).
There was also the additional factor of my family’s role. My father Brian and sister Shireen are very hostile to me. Both Shireen and my father worked for many years at the PA Hospital; Shireen trained as a surgeon at the hospital at the same time as my father was working as a visiting consultant on one of the medical wards. My father had Miller’s number and Miller had his. They used to ring each other but I don’t know what they said, however my mother told me Miller rang him frequently. I also heard my father say (when I was talking to my mother on the phone), “Ring Miller, Camel (her name is Kamalini). We can jump up and down but the hospital won’t listen to us.” When my mother demurred he said, “What about the other neighbours?”
I also have the statements that were made by the Moorooka Police and Miller (to the police) in September 2015, after Miller reported that I was armed with a knife that looked like a meat-cleaver, was “slashing at a tree” in order to “intimidate” him, and he feared that I would run across the road and stab him because of the hatred he imagined I had for him. He said that I hated him because he had reported me to the mental health system.
It is true that I dislike Miller, but I was not “slashing” at the tree and did not even see him spying on me from his garden. I am not in the habit of threatening people with knives or stabbing people. I also have the police recording of the police call record from 22 September 2015 (my 55th birthday) when this event occurred. These indicate that the Police reported that I had “weapons” in my house including knives, a hacksaw and bolt-cutters. It is true that I have a few knives in my kitchen and a single saw, but I don’t have bolt-cutters. These are tools, not weapons and the knife I used to cut a groove in the Paperbark (Melaeuca) Tree that got Miller so alarmed was not a “meat-cleaver”. It was an ornamental knife that I had fashioned from a broken sliver of mirror with a handle made of Melaleuca bark, held together with PVC glue.
The police reported that the knife was “found” by my father after I was locked up and he and Miller gave the knife to Constable Nick Giunta together. His report was that when the police came to the house (while I was being held in the hospital) both Miller and my father were present. The police receipt, however, has the signature of my mother rather than my father.
After I was locked up I was interviewed in the West Wing ward by two officers from the Moorooka Station (Nick Guinta and Kirsty Silman) who told me I was being charged with “going armed so as to cause fear”. Miller was described in their report as the “victim”. I asked the Charge Nurse to sit in on the interview. He was no help and made me even more anxious by telling me I’d probably be put on a “forensic order”. Nigel Lewin, the case manager (who is a British-trained nurse) urged me to get professional legal advice and my mother offered to pay for it. This was after I had been locked up for two months under Dr. Justin O’Brien who told me shortly after I was locked up at the PA that my parents had sold my house and I would not be able to return here. I was devastated.
The police eventually dropped the charges. This was after I wrote a letter to the police prosecutor explaining what really happened. Prior to this, I followed the advice of Nigel Lewin and my mother and sought legal advice from a criminal lawyer by the name of Trent Jones at Russo Lawyers. Jones obtained the police report for which I had to pay him $600 following which he advised that the case against me was “strong” and I should plead guilty for which he wanted to be paid a further $4000 to represent me in court. He advised that pleading not guilty would cost me about $8000. He charged me $1200 for this negligent advice. I sacked him and successfully represented myself.
When my mother bought this house she did so against the wishes of my father. I had been living for a year in the garage of a Polish couple by the name of Pawel Obrocki and Gosia Osielska at 33 Arras Street, Yeronga. I had met Obrocki in 2006, when I was camping in the Border Ranges National Park in northern New South Wales. I have visited this national park since 1978 when it was still the Wiangaree State Forest. I was taken there by a fellow medical student who also collected butterflies. He had told me you can catch Richmond Birdwings there and took me to a rocky outcrop called “The Pinnacle” where there were many Jewels (beautiful species of Lycaenid) doing what is called “hill-topping” – flying round and round hilltops. I stopped catching and killing butterflies only in 2010. Prior to this I have collected butterflies in Fiji, Nepal, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Java, Japan and Sri Lanka.
My whole family were involved in collecting, back in 1968 when we were introduced to the “hobby” by my father’s secretary and lover Joyce Achong. It was Joyce who bought us several copies of “The Butterfly Fauna of Ceylon” by the retired British Surveyor-General L.G.O. Woodhouse, published by The Colombo Apothecaries’ Company in 1942. I treasured my soft-cover copy of this book, while my mother had a hard-cover edition. This was my reference text when we collected butterflies, which became something of an obsession of mine. My ambition was to collect male and female “specimens” of all the species in the book, identify them, pin them out, dry them and display them in the cabinets that my father got made by carpenters in Sri Lanka and Australia to house my collection. I only later realised his true motives. These were a prelude to harvesting the valuable wildlife of the North and East of Sri Lanka during the war, and I was the collector. I didn’t just collect butterflies – I collected other insects, bird feathers and wings (I shot the birds with an air-gun I was given for my thirteenth birthday), shells, coral, snakes, animal skins and skulls as well as flowers for my mother to identify, draw and paint. I enjoyed this, but most of my collection was acquired by my father. I still have the butterfly and shell collection, which I was allowed to bring to Australia, when we migrated from Kandy in 1976.
My collections are very valuable. I also had a coin collection including ancient Sri Lankan coins that were given to me by George Somasunderam, the husband of my grandmother Daisy’s younger sister, Ruby. “George Uncle” as we called him lived in Jaffna and had a big collection of valuable coins. He also collected stamps as did my father’s father Philip Senewiratne, whose collection was acquired by my father and added to by my mother when we were in England. I have memories of spending hours in the public library while my mother identified the stamps in the collection in the Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue, writing in pencil the value of each stamp. My sister and I were given stamp albums in 1966, and I was very interested in collecting stamps from foreign nations. In the 1970s I was allowed to add to the main family stamp collection and was allowed to take it with me when I left the family home after I graduated as a doctor (in 1983, till which time I lived with my parents and sister on a 10-acre block of mostly forested land at 292 Pine Mountain Road, in what was then called “Mount Gravatt East” but was renamed “Carina Heights”).
When I was locked up under Justin O’Brien in 2015 my father pressured my mother to evict me and put the house up for sale. Two days after I was locked up he sent him a fax saying the house had already been sold, which was not true. I was told by O’Brien that my chance of returning here was between “zero and Buckley’s”. I was told that “my things” had been put in “storage” and I would have to pay for this. Then I was told by a woman by the name of Claire Gamble (who was acting as “my” case manager since Nigel Lewin was away on holidays) that I was being relocated in a small town in near Kingaroy by the name of Nanango. I was told that my family had found a property there and my mother was negotiating to buy an old house on a small acreage for me to live in – away from civilisation.
I had never heard of Nanango, so Gamble showed it to me on her mobile phone. I agreed to the plan. It was better than being in hospital. However, I was then told that the plan had “fallen through” and I would need to see the “homeless team”. This was very traumatic. To add insult to injury I was moved from West Wing to “Grevillea Ward” – the psychogeriatric ward. This was hell. I rang my mother in tears and begged to be allowed to return home. I am an upbeat person, but the trauma had made me suicidal. My mother conferred with my father and they agreed to let me return home.
When I was driven home by Clare Gamble I was shocked. My beautiful garden had been destroyed. All the trees and shrubs I had planted since 2008 had been cut down leaving only stumps . These included 3 pine trees, several young Frangipani Trees (including the one I had planted over my daughter Zoe’s placenta), a beautiful young broad-leafed Eucalyptus, a young Banyan Tree (that Sara had given me as a bonzai), two Grevilleas, two Banksias, a beautiful flowering Wattle and a Quandong Tree. In addition, all my ferns and potted plants had been stolen. The house was completely empty except for a treasured photo of different Indigenous Australians from a 1950s atlas that was thrown on the floor of my bedroom, and my Ebony mask from Tanzania that was on the front steps. I also found a pile of my daughters’ art that had been thrown in pile in the front garden along with some of my own, which had been vandalised, torn and defaced. The Buddhist shrine I had made had been destroyed. A year later I found the Buddha statue in my parents’ garden.
When I went to the Mt Gravatt Storage King, where my property had been taken by my father (in the back of his trailer with the help of a stooge of his by the name of Gajan) I found that everything had been jumbled together, including food taken from the kitchen, which was rotting and attracting rats. The removalists I employed refused to move some of the property as a result. When eventually I got my property back from the storage unit I found that many of my valuables were missing. These included all my Aboriginal art, my coin album, stereo amplifier, video camera, SLR camera and memory sticks. There was an obvious effort to sabotage my musical work, with theft of my drumsticks, cymbal and I-Lok (electronic key to use Pro-Tools) and other percussion instruments. A year later, when I was locked up again at the PA Hospital, more of my musical instruments were stolen, including my four guitars and Fender bass as well as a brand new Lenovo laptop computer. They also stole more of what had been left of my coin collection. I reported this matter twice to the police but they have not retrieved my property or interviewed any suspects.
In 2013 my father was invited as a “senator” of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) to give a presentation in the USA on Tamil refugees in Australia. He said that the policy of Australia is the same as that of Sri Lanka – “violate their basic rights, torture them, drive them mad and get them to commit suicide”. I have reason to think that this is actually hismodus operandi.