Author Topic: Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen  (Read 21149 times)

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Offline Deborah

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« on: January 27, 2005, 02:29:00 PM »
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Issues & Alibis

There has been a lot of attention paid to Alberto Gonzales? record of statements regarding the use of torture in Iraq. These questions, on their own, are quite serious. There are additional troubling prospects regarding his nomination for the office of Attorney General. I do not believe that he is in any way an appropriate nominee for anything related to law enforcement policy. In the year 2001, I wrote countless letters to Senators opposing a large number of Bush?s nominees. This time around, there is only one nominee who I have very serious concerns about, and that?s Alberto Gonzales.

Alberto Gonzales? record as the primary person responsible for setting a policy which encouraged the use of torture overseas is one which not only raises serious concerns about how he would enforce the law with regards to overseas personnel, it also raises questions about how he would implement the law here in the United States with regard to law enforcement officers, and prison guards. These are extremely relevant questions whose answers are extremely important given the responsibilities with which Attorney Generals are entrusted:

What would he do to prevent police brutality? What would he do to curb the spread of rapes within U.S. prisons -by inmates to other inmates, as well as by prison guards to inmates? What would he do curb institutional child abuse?

My concerns regarding these issues run deep. I know that these issues are important both in Iraq, and here in the United States. Torture is a problem here in the United States as well as overseas. When I was eleven years old, my parents sent me away to a camp which was marketed as a ?hyperactivity treatment? camp. It was  called the Academy Of New Horizons in St. Johnsville, N.Y. The owners, Mary Pauer and Neil Schwartz, subjected me and a handful of other kids to many of the same forms of torture and humiliation which were used in Abu Ghraib- including forced nudity, being tied naked to a tree or in a hammock, being forced to stand in one place for several hours in the heat, being physically beaten, and they attempted to force us to recite humiliating things about ourselves. They kept me there for the winter for a ?school? season, and did more of the same, only in the winter the forced outdoor nudity was much more painful. This was done to anyone who didn?t allow themselves to be completely controlled by the school?s staff- they were not trying to enforce reasonable forms of adult supervisory control, but manipulative and degrading forms of control- control meant to achieve demoralization.

This was what they marketed as ?hyperactivity treatment?- they beat and abused children until the kids were afraid to move, so when they returned home, they appeared calm and the school appeared to have done its job. As an adult, now, I can safely say there was nothing therapeutic about what they were doing there, and I have scores of later opinions from medical and psychological health professionals to back that conclusion up. What they did there was torture with the goal of breaking people?s spirit for the purpose of creating the illusion that they somehow ?cured? hyperactive children  - ten, eleven, twelve year old children. I was subjected to the worst of this treatment because I ceded nothing to them and refused to let them demoralize me. The school?s NY location was apparently forced to shut down, but then they relocated to Delaware and assumed the name Cedars Academy. They are now owned by a company called Aspen Schools. The first owner, Mary Pauer, still works there. That?s the kind of accountability you have when the police in areas where there are institutions like those are either poorly equipped or unable, or unwilling to investigate the practices of institutions where torture might be taking place.

From what I know about the goings on within places like that, I know for a fact that torture is a serious problem in a wide range of institutions where people have wide latitude with which to supervise others. Any place where people can wield unchecked authority over others, is a place where abuse can occur, and it does occur with frequency in prisons, schools, camps, hospitals, and other institutions.

We need an attorney general who will take aggressive steps to crack down on institutions like those, where torture is used to intimidate and control people. Alberto Gonzales needs to somehow convince the nation that he can be trusted, that he will reliably investigate and disrupt institutions where torture is used, here in the United States, as well as overseas. If he doesn?t plan on doing that, especially in light of his track record, which he has yet to fully explain, then he definitely should not be considered for Attorney General. It would be ludicrous to suggest that safety or security is a priority if nothing is being done to ensure the safety of those of our children who can easily be abused ? where their parents are unable to see how their children are truly being treated- where the only people who could possibly do something to protect these kids are the law enforcement officials whose actions, on some level, are partially the responsibility of the Attorney General. Mr. Gonzales needs to explain what he intends to do to stop that kind of activity here in the United States, as well as abroad.

He owes that to the soldiers in Iraq, to the families here at home, and to the American children who currently suffer as victims of institutional torture and abuse, who may have been watching television when the torture in Abu Ghraib was first publicized, the children who then must have thought their own situation truly hopeless if that type of treatment is something their own government seems to endorse. Those kids need to know that the next attorney general will at least attempt to find out if they are being abused or tortured, and put a stop to it. They await Mr. Gonzales? answers.

Mike Schiller is an editorialist, poet, and founder of an internet based policy analysis group, Dem-Elections-Strategy

2004 Michael A. Schiller
Written by Mike Schiller

Permission automatically granted to reprint and/or republish this article, as long as the article is not edited and the authorship information remains intact.



[ This Message was edited by: Deborah on 2005-01-27 11:29 ]
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Hidden Lake Academy, after operating 12 years unlicensed will now be monitored by the state. Access information on the Federal Class Action lawsuit against HLA here: http://www.fornits.com/wwf/viewtopic.php?t=17700

Offline Anonymous

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2005, 08:16:00 AM »
Help me Deborah, I just enrolled my son at Cedars Academy in Delaware and then our first phone call he is crying a begging me to come get him.  He says the staff tell lies and not to believe them.  He just completed a year at another Aspen program and this was supposed to be a move up...but seems worse.  Are there any good boarding school for children with severe learning disorders out there. I am so scared for him.
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Offline Anonymous

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2005, 08:18:00 AM »
This the is desparate mom again. I guess from reading there are other people experiencying this trauma
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Offline Deborah

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2005, 09:07:00 AM »
Sorry I missed your request Anon Mom.

I can't tell you what to do... but I'll tell you what I would do.

Personally, I'd take crying and begging seriously. I would demand that they set up an UNMONITORED phone call with my son, so he could speak freely. Confirm with him that no one is in earshot.
Ask enough questions to determine the extent of what's happening, letting him do most of the talking. I'd ask clarifying questions, but nothing leading. If I were convinced that things weren't kosher, I'd hang up, telling him to hang in there... I'd see what I could get done about what was happening. Then I'd drive there immediately and pick him up, unannounced. Then file a complaint with CPS, the local sheriff, and anyone else who might need to know.

If they wouldn't allow me to speak to my son unmonitored, I would be there before the end of the day.

I wouldn't send my child to any facility that limited contact or visits. Period. Depending on his 'disabilities' there are probably resources in your own community. Goggle his disability and see what returns.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
gt;>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Hidden Lake Academy, after operating 12 years unlicensed will now be monitored by the state. Access information on the Federal Class Action lawsuit against HLA here: http://www.fornits.com/wwf/viewtopic.php?t=17700

Offline Anonymous

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2005, 09:35:00 AM »
Deborah, Thanks for replying so quickly. We spent 3 years in the publick school system with failure after failure with IEP. Then he refused to go to school, so I chose what I thought was a great school, well, better than sending him to a Residential Treatment Center.  He did progress and appeared to be thriving there until a couple months ago. Then the school called and wanted to transfer him to Cedars. We have nothing in our small county to offer him. My gut instinct tells me that something is not right. He is 16 and has to go to school by law.  He does have problems, but this school seems to be making it worse.
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Offline Anonymous

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2005, 11:00:00 AM »
Go get your son.
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Offline Nihilanthic

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2005, 04:55:00 PM »
Anon, set up an account and contact me with a private mssage, or use AIM, MSN, YIM, or email.

Look up Chi3. She came here just like you, and got her daughter out, and saved her from further bullshit at CSA.

I suggest you go get your kid and find out whats really going on. Being afraid and reluctant to move and letting your kid get hurt more is immoral and unjust.

Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis.
--Sigmund Freud, Austrian-born psychologist

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DannyB on the internet:I CALLED A LAWYER TODAY TO SEE IF I COULD SUE YOUR ASSES FOR DOING THIS BUT THAT WAS NOT POSSIBLE.

CCMGirl on program restraints: "DON\'T TAZ ME BRO!!!!!"

TheWho on program survivors: "From where I sit I see all the anit-program[sic] people doing all the complaining and crying."

Offline Anonymous

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2005, 01:22:00 PM »
Michael is actually lying about the Cedars Academy.  Sad but true.
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Offline Antigen

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2005, 02:04:00 PM »
Quote
On 2005-02-04 06:35:00, Anonymous wrote:

My gut instinct tells me that something is not right. He is 16 and has to go to school by law.  He does have problems, but this school seems to be making it worse."


Well, listen to your gut and check into the homeschooling laws and support organizations in your area. Some are cooler than others, but in every state, there's a way around compulsory school attendance. What you and he do as an alternative is pretty much wide open, aside from meeting the state's paperwork requirements.

Necessity is the excuse for every infringement of human freedom.  It is the argument of the tyrant and the creed of the slave.  
-- William Pitt, 1763

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"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
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Offline Antigen

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2005, 02:08:00 PM »
Quote
On 2005-10-18 10:22:00, Anonymous wrote:

"Michael is actually lying about the Cedars Academy.  Sad but true."


Really? What would you know about it? Seriously. What's your relationship to the program?

The plans of true believers for our lives may well be better than our own when judged against some abstract official standard, but to deny people their personal struggles is to render existence absurd.
http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/6n.htm' target='_new'>John Taylor Gatto

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Offline Anonymous

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2005, 03:27:00 PM »
I know the program.  I worked there for a number of years.  Not while Michael was there, but probably within a couple years.  If the people running the program had suddenly abandoned all they believe and started allowing any form of abuse, I'm certain I would have heard about it from friends of mine who remained there after I left.  But last I hear, things are pretty much as they were when I left.
It's a fairly small program, and the directors are aware of what is going on with each student and staff member on a daily basis. There is a fairly formalized approach for working with the students, which staff members must adhere to. (And no, the formalized approach does not include beating, hitting, nudity, tying up, or any of the other things Michael describes.)
The students who go there, for the most part, have not had easy lives. Learning problems combined with behavior problems have caused enormous frustration on the part of the students and the educators. As behavior problems develop, they naturally escalate. By the time students get to a program like Cedars, they have usually built up a complex set of negative behaviors and avoidance techniques that they come to rely on in stressful social or academic situations, and which are preventing social and academic growth.
From the start, Cedars makes students responsible for their own behavior. The complex negative behaviors are no longer a means of escaping a stessful situation. Instead the behavior is addressed on the spot, and the student is called upon to come up with a more appropriate alternative behavior before moving on to whatever the present activity was meant to be. They cannot play one adult against another, because all adults are following the same program. To most students, this comes as a shock.  The negative coping techniques they've come to rely on over the years are not being allowed, and they no longer serve as a means of avoidance.  The student may respond with fear, anger, and often redoubled efforts at avoidance through escalating negative behaviors.
Those who make the leap, and begin to own their own behavior, can show a great deal of progress. Most soon move far beyond the negative behavior cycle and are able to concentrate on learning. Those who don't may end up playing the "abuse" card, since this is the one thing guaranteed to draw immediate attention and sympathy, as well as a sense of urgency, and succeed in manipulating an already rueful parent into removing them from the school.
Cedars is not an easy program for children. It's very structured, and it calls on them to do things that are personally very difficult for them. But it does so in a humane, caring, and fully accountable way.  To characterize this as abuse is a terrible disservice to the many kids who have benefited and continue to benefit from this program.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2005, 02:21:00 PM »
Yes, Michael is in fact lying about the Cedars Academy. It is a great program - always has been.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2005, 03:33:00 AM »
I am a victim of Neal Swartz abuse and his program of genoiced against the L.D. ? Dyslexic. Why Neal Swartz escapes justice? He has both the Republicans and Democrsts, Far-Right and Far-Left, Liberals and Conservatives under his take.
Who he controls?
1. The GOP
2. Demcrats
3. The Courts
4. The Law Enforcement
5. The Local Government
6. Our Government
7. The Peace movement
   
This why I have a told hatered of the Peacemovement, Saddam Hussine, Slobodand Milosevic, Tiomthy McViegh, Osama bin Laden, David Duke, Louis Farrakhan and every Far-Right winger and every Far-Left Winger, Racists and every sucm bag that reminds me of Neal Swartz. As for the writer of that artical Mike S. he's is nothing but a collaborator of Neal Swartz. Neal Swartz must be brought to justice for his crimes against humanity. IF NOT HE NEEDS TO STOP BY ANY MEANDS NECESSARY::soapbox::  ::soapbox::
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Offline Anonymous

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2005, 07:01:00 PM »
Did you ask any of these questions?
Forget the website. It looks like summer camp. All of these places have websites that make them look like summer camp.

Here is what I want you to ask:
-what is the average turnover of staff?
-what qualifications and certifications do staff have?
-what is the minimum qualficiaion & certification you must have to get a job there?
-what is their treatment plan? do the work on a basis of positive reinforcement and cooperation or another system of demerits and penalities?
I am concerned that your son has not progressed enough to move up a level.
-what is their SYSTEM of reward?  Is it written down?   What is their SYSTEM for when things are not going well?  Get both in writing NOW.  Give them a fax number, tell them you're waiting.
-is a parent welcome to visit at any time, even without prior notice?
-what is the average length of stay for a student?

If there is ANY doubt, then I want you to get your kid right now.  The next call you make will be to a SPECIAL EDUCATION ATTORNEY, who will review the documents on your son (all the assessments etc). make recommendations if he or she feels more assessments are needed, and will help you work with your school district.

Do NOT leave your child if you are not comfortable, or if they are not able to give you any answers to any of the above questions.  

Good luck.  My heart goes out to you.  I know you have tried very hard, but sometimes you do need extra help.   :wave:
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Offline Troll Control

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Gonzales; Torture Overseas Compared to, Cedars Academy/Aspen
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2005, 07:03:00 PM »
Quote
On 2005-10-18 10:22:00, Anonymous wrote:

"Michael is actually lying about the Cedars Academy.  Sad but true."


Upon further research and questioning of former "students," it seems that you are the liar here.  Sad, but true.  Program supporters are, by nature, some of the biggest liars adn cheats out there (except for the wide-eyed newbie staff that get roped in then leave when they see which way the wind blows).

It surely seems that, as an employee, you'd have much stronger motivation to lie than a grown man who is obviously well-adjusted despite the horrifying experience of your shitty treatment center.
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