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Lavabit email service abruptly shut down citing government interference


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http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/08/lavabit-email-shut-down-edward-snowden

The email service reportedly used by surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden abruptly shut down on Thursday after its owner cryptically announced his refusal to become "complicit in crimes against the American people."

Lavabit, an email service that boasted of its security features and claimed 350,000 customers, is no more, apparently after rejecting a court order for cooperation with the US government to participate in surveillance on its customers. It is the first such company known to have shuttered rather than comply with government surveillance.

Silent Circle, another provider of secure online services, announced on later Thursday night that it would scrap its own encrypted email offering, Silent Mail.

The founder of Lavabait, Ladar Levison, wrote on the company's website: "I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit." The news was first reported by Xeni Jardin the popular news site Boing Boing.

Levison said government-imposed restrictions prevented him from explaining what exactly led to his company's crisis point.

I feel you deserve to know what's going on – the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this," Levison wrote. "Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

Silent Circle said in a blogpostthat although it had not received any government orders to hand over information, "the writing is on the wall".

Privacy advocates called the moves unprecedented. "I am unaware of any situation in which a service provider chose to shut down rather than comply with a court order they felt violated the constitution," said Kurt Opsahl, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Several technology companies that participate in the National Security Agency's surveillance dragnets have filed legal requests to lift the secrecy restrictions that prevent them from explaining to their customers precisely what it is that they provide to the powerful intelligence service – either wittingly or due to a court order. Yahoo has sued for the disclosure of some of those court orders.

The presiding judge of the secret court that issues such orders, known as the Fisa court, has indicated to the Justice Department that he expects declassification in the Yahoo case. The department agreed last week to a review that will last into September about the issues surrounding the release of that information.

There are few internet and telecommunications companies known to have refused compliance with the NSA for its bulk surveillance efforts, which the NSA and the Obama administration assert are vital to protect Americans. One of them is Qwest Communications, whose former CEO Joseph Nacchio – convicted of insider trading – alleged that the government rejected it for lucrative contracts after Qwest became a rare holdout for post-9/11 surveillance.

"Without the companies' participation," former NSA codebreaker William Binney recently told the Guardian, "it would reduce the collection capability of the NSA significantly."

Snowden was allegedly a Lavabit customer. A Lavabit email address believed to come from Snowden invited reporters to a press conference at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport in mid-July.

While Levinson did not say much about the shuttering of his company – he notably did not refer to the NSA, for instance – he did say he intended to mount a legal challenge.

"We've already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals," Levinson wrote. "A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company."

He continued: "This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States."

Opsahl noted that the fact that Levinson was appealing a case before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals indicated the government had a court order for Lavabit's data.

"It's taking a very bold stand, one that I'm sure will have financial ramifications," Opsahl said.

"There should be more transparency around this. There's probably no harm to the national security of the United States to have it publicly revealed what are the legal issues here," Opsahl continued.

The justice department said it had no comment to make. Representatives from the NSA, White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

 

 

 

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      http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/08/26/the-raping-of-america-mile-markers-on-the-road-to-fascism/
       

       
      Indeed, on a daily basis, Americans are being forced to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are—our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States. - See more at: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/08/26/the-raping-of-america-mile-markers-on-the-road-to-fascism/#sthash.hwkipabw.dpuf  
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    • By thegente
      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-13/freedom-and-central-planning-can-never-coexist
       
       
      Freedom And Central Planning Can Never Coexist  08/13/2015 22:30 -0400

      Bond Corruption default ETC Obama Administration Obamacare  

          inShare2   Submitted by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,
      The average person is a statist, whether he realizes it or not. It is important that liberty activists recognize and accept this fact because the truth of our limitations as a movement determines the kinds of solutions into which we should ultimately put our time and energy. The fantasy of a final grand march of an awake and aware majority on the doorsteps of power is just that: a fantasy. Some people might argue that given more time, such an event could be organized or could happen spontaneously. But these people seem to forget that the immediacy of any crisis inspires awareness and cuts the bindings of complacency for only a certain percentage of any given population. With “more time” often comes more complacency, not less.
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      I will say that the constitution and the Bill of Rights are representations of natural law and inherent conscience, and it has taken elitists over two centuries to mostly dismantle them.  At this point, a complete end to any form of federalization may be called for, but the founders certainly tried their best to create a government system that could be controlled by the people.
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      In a culture where vigilance is encouraged rather than labeled paranoia, in a culture where productivity is enabled rather than obstructed, in a culture where free thought is treated with interest rather than disdain, government holds no value.
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      Governments and the elites behind them retain control over populations through the use of central planning. Central planning is essentially a bureaucratic structure that bottlenecks productivity, resources, academia and ideas until all progress and expression require approval. That is to say, central planning is a machine that turns rights into privileges. It also sets up bureaucracy as the final arbiter of who is considered an authority in any particular field and who is a “layman.” These designations are not based on individual ability, intelligence or accomplishment. Rather, they are based on subservience and the level of blind faith in the establishment each person is willing to display in order to attain professional status.
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      In the U.S., central planning is surely prevalent and socialization is on a fast track. But Americans, whether they know it or not, still retain the ability of independent response — as we saw at Bundy Ranch, for instance, or in the defense of shopkeepers in Ferguson, Missouri, despite threats from government. We will lose our advantage of independent action if we allow the following changes to occur within our culture without a fight.
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      Centralized Health Standards
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      Population Planning
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      Overt Militarization Of Police
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      Centralized Economy
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      Beyond trade controls, centralization will culminate in economic “harmony” through multilateral currency schemes, ending in a one-world currency. A single currency system by default calls for a single economic authority, and this by default calls for a single political authority. A one-world currency is not only a fiscal coup for central planners; it is also a stepping stone toward world government.
      Cashless Society
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      The examples listed above may be measured as extreme, but every single one has support within our existing government structure either legally or through actual programs already being implemented. The speed at which they might occur is an unknown, but the desire for them by central planners is absolutely certain. There is no good or benevolent form of central planning. There is no scenario in which the system will not be abused because such power concentrated in the hands of any group of human beings invites abuse. Therefore, the only prudent course, the only solution to the absolute terror of complete state power, is to reduce government down to a shell of its current size or to remove its existence entirely and focus on localized systems and independent trade and infrastructure development. If the federalized state as an edifice no longer exists, then it can no longer be exploited by evil people.
      Average: 5         Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)     inShare2   »Login or register to post comments 1813 reads Printer-friendly version Send to friend - advertisements -
       
         
    • By thegente
      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-18/tell-next-idiot-who-thinks-youre-unpatriotic


       
      Tell This To The Next Idiot Who Thinks You're "Unpatriotic" on 06/18/2015 22:00 -0400
       
      default Iraq Kuwait  

          inShare   Submitted by Simon Black via Sovereign Man blog,
      I’ll never forget the Oath of Office I took when I was commissioned as an Army Intelligence Officer all those years ago.
      The most important part is where you swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic.”
      That was the part that kept ringing in my head as George W. Bush went on TV in the run-up to the Iraq war talking about weapons of mass destruction.
      We had been on the ground in Kuwait since late 2002, months before the invasion of Iraq kicked off. And every time Bush told that lie, I thought about my oath.
      I’m disappointed to admit that, back then, I didn’t have the courage to go up against the big Army machine… to march into my Battalion Commander’s office and say, “Sir, we must defend the Constitution against the President of the United States.”
      I knew I would get crushed.
      When I left the military, I started noticing all the other ways in which the government turned the Constitution into a punchline. And that practice has only accelerated.
      I came up with a different solution. Instead of fighting some faceless machine, I voted with my feet and left the country.
      That, coupled with my drastically reduced tax bill thanks to being an overseas expat, has prompted a lot of use of the word ‘unpatriotic’ since I started writing this letter six years ago.
      I find this appallingly ignorant.
      The American Revolution itself was predicated on the inequity of taxation without representation.
      Are your interests represented when they buy bombs and body scanners? Mine certainly aren’t.
      Yet people who define patriotism by the frequency and rapidity of their flag-waving think that we all have some collective duty to ignorantly believe whatever we’re told by the government.
      I disagree. So does the New Oxford American Dictionary, which defines ‘patriot’ as
      “a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.”
      There’s that phrase again– ‘defending against enemies.’
      Who exactly are these ‘enemies’, by the way? Are they men in caves who hate us for our freedom? Arab teenagers with intense sexual angst and a collection of firearms?
      No. The real enemies are not foreign… but domestic. It is the apparatus of government itself that has collapsed upon the founding document of the nation.
      It’s not unpatriotic to lament how far a government’s practices have diverged from its Constitution.
      It’s not unpatriotic to want to be free.
      And it’s not unpatriotic to take steps to make that happen.
      In fact, people who think it’s everyone’s patriotic duty to pay taxes are only feeding the beast that makes them less free.
      And it’s entirely delusional to think that all of this can change by going to a voting booth.
      There’s no politician that’s going to change this.
      Nobody is going to stand on stage and say, “My plan is to eliminate entire departments of government, fire half of all government workers, terminate social security, and default on the debt.”
      Elections are pointless charades. But rather than vote for new people, we can simply vote to restrict the resources they have available.
      Yes, there are legal obligations to pay tax. And everyone should abide those obligations or risk pointless imprisonment.
      But with proper planning, tax obligations can be minimized.
      In my case, I left the country.
      This provides up to $100,800 in tax-free income based on the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, and that’s before taking into account additional deductions, allowances, and exclusions.
      Recently I used my tax savings to finance a new prosthetic leg for an amputee war veteran that had been abandoned by the US government, and to buy food for earthquake victims here in Nepal.
      Had I not taken steps to reduce my tax bill, a big chunk of my income would have paid for more soldiers to get their legs blown off, and more bombs to be dropped by remote control on brown people.
      Instead, now I get to decide how my income and savings can best have an impact on the interests that I believe in.
      Let’s call it “representation without taxation”. And it’s completely legal as long as you follow the rules.
      Sure, not everyone has the ability to leave the country. But there are options to fit any lifestyle and circumstance.
      In addition to taxes, for example, it’s important to consider moving a portion of your savings abroad where it can’t be confiscated or frozen by capital controls.
      Safeguarding your wealth is a huge part of this strategy, in fact.
      The larger point is that taking steps to preserve your wealth and freedom is not unpatriotic.
      And for anyone who truly cares to defend your country from its domestic enemies, starving the beast is one of the most powerful tools you have available.
    • By thegente
      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-20/justice-department-rolls-out-early-form-capital-controls-america

       
      Zero Hedge ReadsActing Man Alt-Market Bearish News Boom Bust Blog Capitalist Exploits China Financial Markets Chris Martenson's Blog Contrary Investor Credit Writedowns Daneric's Elliott Waves DealBook Demonocracy Dr. Housing Bubble ETF Daily News ETF Digest First Rebuttal ForexLive Gains Pains & Capital Global Economic Analysis Hedge Accordingly Implode-Explode Investing Contrarian Jesse's Cafe Americain Liberty Blitzkrieg Market Folly Market Montage Max Keiser Minyanville Mises Institute Naked Capitalism Of Two Minds Oil Price Rebooting Capitalism Shanky's Tech Blog Slope of Hope StealthFlation Stratfor TF Metals Report The Burning Platform The Daily Crux The Economic Populist The Hammerstone Group The Market Ticker The Trader The Underground Investor The Vineyard Of The Saker Themis Trading Trim Tabs Blog Value Walk Variant Perception View From The Bridge Wolf Street   Home Justice Department Rolls Out An Early Form Of Capital Controls In America Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/21/2015 17:51 -0400


      Greece None Reality Rosenberg

          inShare   Something stunning took place earlier this week, and it quietly snuck by, unnoticed by anyone as the "all important" FOMC meeting was looming. That something could have been taken straight out of the playbook of either Cyprus, or Greece, or the USSR "evil empire", or all three.
      This is how the WSJ explained it:
         
      The U.S. Justice Department’s criminal head said banks may need to go beyond filing suspicious activity reports when they encounter a risky customer.
       
      “The vast majority of financial institutions file suspicious activity reports when they suspect that an account is connected to nefarious activity,” said assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell in a Monday speech, according to prepared remarks. “But, in appropriate cases, we encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem.”
       

       
      The remarks indicate that banks may be expected to do more than just file SARs, a responsibility that itself can be expensive and time-consuming.
       
      Some banks already have close relationships with law enforcement, said Kevin Rosenberg, chair of Goldberg Lowenstein & Weatherwax LLP’s government investigation and white collar litigation group. Ms. Caldwell’s remarks “speak to moving forward in a more collaborative way,” said Mr. Rosenberg.
       
      A tip-off from a bank about a suspicious customer could lead law enforcement to seize funds or start an investigation, Ms. Caldwell said.
      What does this mean, and why is it so critical? Simon Black of International Man explains:
      * * *
      Justice Department rolls out an early form of capital controls in America
      Imagine going to the bank to withdraw some cash.
      Having some cash on hand is always a prudent strategy, and especially today when more and more bank deposits are creeping into negative territory, meaning that you have to pay the banks for the privilege that they gamble with your money.
      You tell the teller that you’d like to withdraw $5,000 from your account. She hesitates nervously and wants to know why.
      You try to politely let her know that that’s none of the bank’s business as it’s your money.
      The teller disappears for a few minutes, leaving you waiting.
      When she returns she tells you that you can collect your money in a few days as they don’t have it on hand at the moment.
      Slightly irritated because of the inconvenience, you head home.
      But as you pull into your driveway later there’s an unexpected surprise waiting for you: two police officers would like to have a word with you about your intended withdrawal earlier…
      If this sounds far-fetched, think again. Because it could very well become a reality in the Land of the Free if the Justice Department gets its way.
      Earlier this week, a senior official from the Justice Department spoke to a group of bankers about the need for them to rat out their customers to the police.
      What a lot of people don’t realize is that banks are already unpaid government spies.
      Federal regulations in the Land of the Free REQUIRE banks to file ‘suspicious activity reports’ or SARs on their customers. And it’s not optional.
      Banks have minimum quotas of SARs they need to fill out and submit to the federal government.
      If they don’t file enough SARs, they can be fined. They can lose their banking charter. And yes, bank executives and directors can even be imprisoned for noncompliance.
      This is the nature of the financial system in the Land of the Free.
      And chances are, your banker has filled one out on you—they submitted 1.6 MILLION SARs in 2013 alone.
      But now the Justice Department is saying that SARs aren’t enough.
      Now, whenever banks suspect something ‘suspicious’ is going on, they want them to pick up the phone and call the cops:
      “[W]e encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem, who may be able to seize the funds, initiate an investigation, or take other proactive steps.”
      So what exactly constitutes ‘suspicious activity’? Basically anything.
      According to the handbook for the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council, banks are required to file a SAR with respect to:
      “Transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more…”
      It’s utterly obscene. According to the Justice Department, going to the bank and withdrawing $5,000 should potentially prompt a banker to rat you out to the police.
      This may be a very early form of capital controls in the Land of the Free. This is the subject of today’s Podcast. You can listen in here.
       
       
    • By thegente
      Oh boy...now I've heard it all. I guess I must be bat-shyte bonkers according to "them"....hahaha
       
       
      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-21/if-you-question-authority-you-are-mentally-ill-report-finds
       
       
      "If You Question Authority, You Are Mentally Ill", Report Finds     inShare   Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum via Acting-Man blog,
      Only the Sheeple Are SaneThis post is about an issue that is by now a bit dated (though the topic as such certainly isn’t), but we have only just become aware of it and it seemed to us worth rescuing it from the memory hole. In late 2013, the then newest issue of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM for short) defined a new mental illness, the so-called “oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD.
      As TheMindUnleashed.org informs us, the definition of this new mental illness essentially amounts to declaring any non-conformity and questioning of authority as a form of insanity. According to the manual, ODD is defined as:
      In short, as Natural News put it: According to US psychiatrists, only the sheeple are sane.
          […] an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.
      Every time a new issue of the DSM appears, the number of mental disorders grows – and this growth is exponential. A century ago there were essentially 7 disorders, 80 years ago there were 59, 50 years ago there were 130, and by 2010 there were 374 (77 of which were “found” in just seven years). A prominent critic of this over-diagnosing (and the associated over-medication trend) is psychologist Dr. Paula Caplan. Here is an interview with her:
      Allen Gregg in conversation with psychologist Dr. Paula Caplan
      As MindUnleashed notes:
       

          “Are we becoming sicker? Is it getting harder to be mentally healthy? Authors of the DSM-IV say that it’s because they’re better able to identify these illnesses today. Critics charge that it’s because they have too much time on their hands.
       
      New mental illnesses identified by the DSM-IV include arrogance, narcissism, above-average creativity, cynicism, and antisocial behavior. In the past, these were called “personality traits,” but now they’re diseases. And there are treatments available.”

      Edward Abbey on what happens when no-one ever stirs things up
       
      There is an obvious danger involved with such loose definitions such as the one employed in identifying the alleged illness of “ODD”. A chilling example was provided by the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s. In a 1959 speech, Nikita Khrushchev made the following remark:
      Obviously, questioning the best socio-economic system ever devised had to be a sign of insanity, and after Khrushchev’s speech Soviet psychiatrists immediately went to work to discover and institutionalize all those mentally ill “communism deniers”.
          “Can there be diseases, nervous diseases among certain people in the communist society? Evidently there can be. If that is so, then there also will be offenses which are characteristic of people with abnormal minds. To those who might start calling for opposition to communism on this ‘basis,’ we say that now, too, there are people who fight against communism, but clearly the mental state of such people is not normal.”
      The road to what followed had already been paved in 1951, when in a joint session of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences and the Board of the All-Union Neurological and Psychiatric Association, several leading neurologists and psychiatrists were accused of pursuing an “anti-Marxist and reactionary” deviation from the teachings of Pavlov. The session took place on Stalin’s behest so as to “free Soviet psychiatry of Western influences”.
      The psychiatrist who wrote the policy report associated with this purge was Andrei Snezhnevsky, who invented (err, “discovered”) a new mental illness, which he termed “sluggish schizophrenia”. After Khrushchev’s 1959 speech, the term was widely adopted and the illness was diagnosed throughout the Eastern Bloc. The symptoms of the alleged “illness” were such that even the slightest change in behavior patterns could henceforth be interpreted as a sign of mental derangement. Political dissent was for instance considered to by a symptom of “sluggish schizophrenia with delusions of reform”.
      Snezhnevsky personally signed a decision declaring several prominent dissidents legally insane – among them also neurophysiologist Vladimir Bukovsky, who was the first to expose and criticize the abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union and spent altogether 12 years in prisons, forced labor camps and locked up in psychiatric hospitals for his efforts.
      Snezhnevsky’s theories became the only ones acceptable in Soviet psychiatry, and it was obviously held to be quite dangerous to oppose them. Ironically, in 1970, one year before Vladimir Bukovsky managed to smuggle out 150 pages that documented the silencing of political dissenters with the aid of psychiatry in the Soviet Union, the American Psychiatric Association named Snezhnevsky a “distinguished fellow” for his “outstanding contribution to psychiatry and related sciences” at its annual meeting in San Francisco.
       

      Soviet psychiatrist Andrei Snezhnevsky, hero of socialist labor, owner of two Orders of Lenin as well as four Orders of the Red Star and USSR state prize.
      Photo credit: tapemark.narod.ru
       
      Money and the Invention of new Categories of Disease There is a basic problem with psychiatry and psychology: they are largely thymological, as opposed to natural sciences. If you break your arm and visit 10 different medical doctors, you will get the same diagnosis from every single one of them – they will all tell you that your arm is broken. A standardized treatment exists for dealing with a broken arm.
      Make a list of psychological problems you are experiencing and visit ten different psychiatrists, and chances are very good that you will receive 10 different diagnoses coupled with 10 different proposals for treatment (including prescriptions for very powerful psychotropic drugs). Genuine severe mental disorders may be connected with chemical imbalances in the brain to some extent (no conclusive proof for this actually exists), but by and large there is little that can be objectively “measured”. The psychologist or psychiatrist must largely rely on the same ability that also characterizes the work of the historian – i.e., what Mises called “understanding”. They can only judge behavior.
      So why have so many former “personality traits” been transformed into symptoms of mental illness? One major reason is money. Here are a few data points that shed light on the monetary side of the psychiatry business; the data are by now slightly dated, but they suffice to get the point across. As of 2010:
      Stefan Molyneux whom we got the above data from also reports that according to the US National Institute of Mental Health (in 2010) “26% of Americans suffer from mental illness” and “nearly 58 million Americans will suffer from an episode of mental illness in any given year”. There you have it – we’re literally surrounded by lunatics. As Molyneux rightly points out: if there is a disease for which we have effective cures, then application of this cure should reduce the prevalence of the disease.
          Global sales of anti-depressants, stimulants, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic drugs had reached more than $76 billion per year.
       
      Globally, 54 million people were taking anti-depressants that are known to cause addiction, and often violent and homicidal behavior.
       
      In the US, 20% of all women were taking mental health medication in 2010. Essentially every fourth female is prozac’d into quietude.
       
      20 million children worldwide had been diagnosed with mental disorders and were prescribed stimulants and/or powerful anti-depressants.
       
      In 2002, more than 100 million prescriptions were written for anti-depressants alone (cost: $19.5 billion nominal)
       
      In France, one in seven prescriptions is for a psychotropic drug and more than 50% of the employed were taking such drugs (as of 2010, 1.8 million people).
       
      Between 1986 and 2004, combined spending on anti-psychotic drugs and anti-depressants jumped from $500 million to $20 billion.
       
      In the US, the mental health budget, adjusted for inflation, has soared from $33 billion in 1994 to $ 80 billion in 2010 (similar increases have occurred elsewhere).
      (data via Stefan Molyneux)
      For instance, a number of infectious diseases have been nearly, or completely exterminated by effective vaccines. We should therefore expect that with the arrival of psychiatric medications that allegedly “correct chemical imbalances in the brain”, there should be a decline in the number of mentally ill people. The first such medications were introduced in the mid 1950s. So what happened? In 1955, there were 355,000 adults confined to mental hospitals all over the US on account of being diagnosed as mentally ill by psychiatrists. After 50 years of medical treatment with anti-psychotic drugs, that number has risen to more than 4 million patients (as of 2007). Some success!
      While the prescription of psychiatric medications to children soared from the mid 1980s to today, so did the number of youth receiving disability payments from the government for mental disability. It rose from 16,200 in 1986 to 561,569 in 2007 (a 35 fold increase). It appears that all those meds prescribed to “ODD” and “ADHD” children have had the exact opposite effect from that advertised.
       

      Number of Americans disabled by mental illness since Prozac was introduced.
       
      Again, there exists no convincing proof as of yet for any chemical, biological or genetic causes of mental illness. The categorizations found in the DSM are arrived at by “peer consensus”, not by any objective measurements. And yet, drugs that alter chemical balances in the brain are prescribed as treatment. The greater the number of new diseases manufactured by said consensus, the more treatments can be prescribed. As Dr. Thomas Dorman, internist and member of the Royal College of Physicians of the UK, and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, put it:
      It is not too difficult to see the enormous monetary incentives that are driving this business of declaring as many people as possible to be mentally ill. There no longer is such a thing as a harmless “eccentric”. Any deviation from the norms laid out by the psychiatric profession mean one is in need of treatment. Only the sheeple are sane.
          “In short, the whole business of creating psychiatric categories of ‘disease,’ formalizing them with consensus, and subsequently ascribing diagnostic codes to them, which in turn leads to their use for insurance billing, is nothing but an extended racket furnishing psychiatry a pseudo-scientific aura. The perpetrators are, of course, feeding at the public trough.”
      Stefan Molyneux’s podcast on mental illness from which we have taken most of the statistics presented above can be seen here:
       
       

         
      Stefan Molyneux on mental illness.
      Freethinkers Medicated Into Silence by Good SerfsHowever, there may be another reason why anti-authoritarianism specifically has made it onto the list of behaviors held to be symptomatic of mental illness. Psychologist Dr. Bruce Levine has laid the problem out in an article entitled “Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill”. A few pertinent excerpts follow below. First Dr. Levine explains why there seem so few anti-authoritarians in the US. The reason in his opinion is that many have been medicated into silence:
      (emphasis added)
          “Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.
       
      Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psycho-pathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities.”
      But why does this happen, apart from the monetary incentives discussed above? Why are psychiatrists so eager to medicate anti-authoritarians into a stupor? In Dr. Levine’s opinion, the reason is that the career of most psychiatrists involves an extraordinary degree of compliance with authorities, to the point where they are not even aware anymore of how obedient they have become. When confronted with patients who aren’t exhibiting a similar degree of obedient behavior, they immediately suspect that there is something to diagnose and treat:
      (emphasis added)
          “The selection and socialization of mental health professionals tends to breed out many anti-authoritarians. Having steered the higher-education terrain for a decade of my life, I know that degrees and credentials are primarily badges of compliance. Those with extended schooling have lived for many years in a world where one routinely conforms to the demands of authorities. Thus for many MDs and PhDs, people different from them who reject this attentional and behavioral compliance appear to be from another world—a diagnosable one.
       
      I have found that most psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily compliant with authorities but also unaware of the magnitude of their obedience. And it also has become clear to me that the anti-authoritarianism of their patients creates enormous anxiety for these professionals, and their anxiety fuels diagnoses and treatments.
       

      “I see before me words you should not have written…”, by Raymond Pettibone, the cover artist of punk band “Black Flag”.
       
      In connection with ODD diagnoses, Dr. Levine not unreasonably asks “Do we really want to diagnose and medicate everyone with “deficits in rule-governed behavior”?”. As he points out, many of the people who have enriched humanity with revolutionary new scientific concepts, inventions or works of art, would have been diagnosed as mentally ill anti-authoritarians in today’s day and age and may well have been medicated into a such a daze that their creations would never have seen the light of day. He cites Albert Einstein as a pertinent example:
      (emphasis added)
          “Albert Einstein, as a youth, would have likely received an ADHD diagnosis, and maybe an ODD one as well. Albert didn’t pay attention to his teachers, failed his college entrance examinations twice, and had difficulty holding jobs. However, Einstein biographer Ronald Clark (Einstein: The Life and Times) asserts that Albert’s problems did not stem from attention deficits but rather from his hatred of authoritarian, Prussian discipline in his schools.
       
      Einstein said, “The teachers in the elementary school appeared to me like sergeants and in the Gymnasium the teachers were like lieutenants.” At age 13, Einstein read Kant’s difficult Critique of Pure Reason—because Albert was interested in it. Clark also tells us Einstein refused to prepare himself for his college admissions as a rebellion against his father’s “unbearable” path of a “practical profession.” After he did enter college, one professor told Einstein, “You have one fault; one can’t tell you anything.” The very characteristics of Einstein that upset authorities so much were exactly the ones that allowed him to excel.”
       

      It is probably a good bet that a Haldol-addled Einstein wouldn’t have excelled at much. Well, he even looked crazy: theoretical physicist and reputed anti-authoritarian Albert Einstein, who invented a few unimportant little formulas like E=mc2. Rumor has it he also invented gravity, which we have been struggling against ever since.
      Photo credit: Getty Images
      As Dr. Levine points out, once they are diagnosed as mentally ill, anti-authoritarians are especially likely to become victims of a vicious cycle:
         
      “Many anti-authoritarians who earlier in their lives were diagnosed with mental illness tell me that once they were labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis, they got caught in a dilemma.
       
      Authoritarians, by definition, demand unquestioning obedience, and so any resistance to their diagnosis and treatment created enormous anxiety for authoritarian mental health professionals; and professionals, feeling out of control, labeled them “noncompliant with treatment,” increased the severity of their diagnosis, and jacked up their medications.”
      (emphasis added)
      Dr. Levine then concludes that the direction in which the system has evolved is indeed reminiscent of a “Sovietization”; just as the ruling classes once employed an authoritarian religious establishment to enforce compliance with the status quo, they can nowadays rely on psychiatry to do the job:
         
      “What better way to maintain the status quo than to view inattention, anger, anxiety, and depression as biochemical problems of those who are mentally ill rather than normal reactions to an increasingly authoritarian society.
       
      […]
       
      So authoritarians financially marginalize those who buck the system, they criminalize anti-authoritarianism, they psychopathologize anti-authoritarians, and they market drugs for their “cure.”
      (emphasis added)
      Evidently the system provides ample scope for both intentional and unintentional abuse.
      Conclusion:In order to prevent misunderstandings, we should point out that we don’t want to assert here that there exists no such thing as mental illness, or that psychiatry is completely useless in diagnosing it or providing effective treatment. The same holds for psychotropic medication: there certainly exist medications that can be helpful in alleviating symptoms of severe mental conditions and allow people to lead fairly normal lives that would otherwise be out of reach for them (i.e., we don’t fully agree with Stefan Molyneux’s conclusions; this is simply based on the fact that we personally know of two cases in which appropriate medication helped people exhibiting severe symptoms associated with schizophrenia).
      However, it is important to realize that the sciences dealing with the human mind are thymological in nature and cannot make claims based on objectively measurable physical quantities. And yet, the field has turned into a “growth industry” in every respect; the number of behaviors regarded as “abnormal”, as well as the number of medications prescribed for treating such behaviors has grown exponentially. This is a dangerous development and the fact that almost every quirky personality trait is suddenly deemed a sign of disease is certainly giving one pause (it is dangerous in several respects: consider for instance the great number of mass murderers who were prescribed psychotropic drugs. Correlation is not always causation of course, but still…)
      The psychopathologizing of anti-authoritarian behavior is yet another step on what looks like an increasingly slippery slope and it strikes us as especially harmful. As Dr. Levine inter alia points out: “It has been my experience that many anti-authoritarians labeled with psychiatric diagnoses usually don’t reject all authorities, simply those they’ve assessed to be illegitimate ones.”
      In other words, the term “anti-authoritarian” does not necessarily stand for a blanket rejection of all authorities, but rather a healthy questioning of the legitimacy of existing authorities. This seems all the more necessary today, when governments in the name of providing all-encompassing security (a task at which they are predictably failing) are seeing fit to let individual liberty die a death of a thousand cuts.
       

      Anti-authoritarian street art that has unexpectedly popped up on a wall in Montreal.
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