Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Kid Who Wasn't Rescued

The Kid Who Wasn't Rescued

By Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator

On Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, Brock Tucker was "apparently his cell... Department Spokeswoman Brooke Adams would not disclose how Tucker hanged himself or what he used, saying the release of that information could pose security risks."  (Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, Friday October 3rd, 2014)

Brock Tucker lived with a traumatic brain injury.  His family sought assistance to get him proper care for that injury.  Social Services in Utah placed Brock in a non-medical, behavior modification facility which is known primarily by the informed as a private youth detention center, not a proper treatment nor long-term care facility.  "The Provo Canyon School is not a school in the traditional ordinary or classic sense. It does offer classes on a secondary level to its resident population, and in most instances does a good job in its formal teaching. Provo Canyon School is also a correctional and detention facility. Students are restricted to the grounds Students are confined. Some students are locked in and locked up with varying degrees of personal liberty restored as each progresses through the institutional program. If a student leaves without permission, he is hunted down, taken into custody and returned."  (Source: Ruling by Judge Clarence A. Brimmer, Jr. in Milonas and Rice et al v. Provo Canyon School et al--see:


Tucker reportedly had his head bashed against a brick wall repeatedly by staff while attending Provo Canyon School.  His family reported these complaints to the Ombudsman and other Utah authorities.  Those authorities then moved Tucker to an equally questionable and abusive "treatment facility" in Utah.  Tucker's family tried to get him out of the system when the abuse began.  But, Utah is so corrupt (and we are finding this in other States too) that freeing him from the hands of abusers became seemingly impossible.


Tucker took his freedom into his own hands, escaped the facility and stole a car.  He was apprehended and chose to be tried as an adult believing he would finally be free of institutional abuse.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.


Tucker spent the remainder of his legal minority in prison at the Central Utah Correctional Facility.  He was reportedly found hanged in his cell on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014.  HEAL volunteers had received a letter from Brock Tucker on September 8th, 2014 showing him hopeful about his parole hearing in December and in relatively good spirits.  Tucker seemed relieved to be out of the youth "treatment/detention" facilities.  And, again very hopeful regarding his chances of release in December.


There are many factors that could lead to serious speculation regarding foul play in Tucker's death.  I personally believe foul play was involved and the reasons involve a legal battle and another pending legal battle.  Here are a few of the reasons we believe Brock Tucker may have been murdered and that there is a cover up:

  1. Recent communications by Tucker showed no signs of suicidal thought nor severe depression.
  2. A recent victim of Provo Canyon contacted HEAL for help and we asked Tucker's family to help provide local support.  It was the very next day that Tucker was killed.
  3. J. Ralph Atkin (aka Jerry Clayton Atkin) is co-founder/co-owner of the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS) in addition to Zions Bancorporation (Bank),, (NPR--Utah), Fortune 1000 Group, Inc. (Canada--a now apparently defunct software development firm), Leucadia National Corp (former owner of WilTel Communications which is now owned by Level 3 Communications.  And, Level 3 works with so we still see partnerships under new corporate "brands".  Sources Include: and
  4. Robert Lichfield co-founded WWASPS with Atkin and formerly worked as a director for Provo Canyon School.  In 2008, Lichfield (WWASPS) and Mel Sembler (Straight, Inc. a direct "descendant" of the Synanon cult) were Mitt Romney's campaign co-chairs.  (Source: The Synanon cult which branched and continues to operate today under multiple names and under multiple corporate umbrellas (with tight personal and professional relationships with each other) was identified as a "wealthy authoritarian cult" in a New York Times Article (source:  CEDU was formed out of the Synanon cult.  Television personalities such as Dr. Phil send their teen "guests" to facilities operating under this cult.  Romney's company, Bain Capital, owns Aspen Education Group which continues to operate CEDU programs along with their "competitors"/friends at UHS, Inc. (who now owns Provo Canyon School as well as many "former" CEDU facilities/programs while maintaining original management and staff).  (For the matrix showing political and professional associations between cults and abusive teen programs, visit:
  5. Brandon Burr, former clinical director at Aspen Education Group's Aspen Ranch in UT designed and oversees the "treatment" at Central Utah Correctional Facility.  He currently works for yet another behavior modification youth program, Equine Journeys, in UT. 

Based on the access, criminal propensities, and other facts available, I believe that foul play was involved in Brock Tucker's death intended in part to send HEAL, and anyone who tries to stop this child-torturing, family-bankrupting "wealthy authoritarian cult", a message.  But, all that achieved was sadness and anger.  And, we will use those emotions to fuel our efforts to expose and close all members of this "wealthy authoritarian cult" engaging in criminal activities and deserving of the harshest of penalties.  We will work with the authorities whenever possible to see these people are brought to justice.  We hope you will continue to join and support our efforts.  Brock deserved better.  And, to honor all of those who have died as a direct or indirect result of institutional abuse, we will not stop until these people are locked up, all children are reasonably safe, and these "programs" are closed.

Friday, September 19, 2014




By Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator


This blog article is written from my personal philosophical point of view and does not necessarily represent the philosophy of HEAL or any other HEAL representative.  It is a public response to a query submitted by Claude Bisson of Boulder Creek Academy in ID. 


Let me first provide definitions for Good and Evil as I understand them:


GOOD:  All which strives for life, truth, love, beauty, and liberty.


Life: All living things and life giving things (i.e. water, air, sun, soil, etc.).


Truth: Honest perception, conception, definition, and communication.


Love: Welcoming spirit of kindness and goodwill.


Beauty: That which reflects, enhances, and enlightens.


Liberty: Free will unencumbered by oppression and guided by GOOD.


EVIL: All which strives for death, confusion, hate, grotesqueries, and oppression.


Death: The cessation of life.


Confusion: Using deception to create doubt and uncertainty in others.


Hate: Aloof spirit of violence and ill will.


Grotesqueries: All acts that foster EVIL and cause doubt in the existence of GOOD.  (An example of a grotesquerie would be someone raping a child or defrauding families while enslaving their children.)


Oppression: That which strives to destroy liberty as defined under GOOD above.


Based on my understanding and the above definitions, I believe that EVIL would not desire forgiveness.  Therefore, I believe EVIL would not be forgiven.  And, I believe GOOD is always capable of love and that forgiveness is an act of love.  Therefore, if the question is "can GOOD forgive EVIL", I believe the answer is yes.  But, can EVIL be forgiven is an entirely different question.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams: Remembering The Activist

Robin Williams: Remembering The Activist

by Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator

Robin Williams was many things including a great entertainer and activist.  Williams performed benefit concerts and supported human rights efforts with and for the American Civil Liberties Union (, Comic Relief (, UNICEF ( and Amnesty International (    (Additional Sources:,

The ACLU works as a guardian and defender of civil liberties in the US.  Their work includes children's rights and youth rights.  HEAL supports the work of the ACLU.  To learn more, visit:

The Comic Relief benefit concert ran periodically from 1986 through 2010.  Comic Relief appears to still be organizing.  Comic Relief is an entertainment-based charity working to provide resources to those who are financially challenged.  HEAL members have donated to Comic Relief and supported its efforts.  For more information, visit: 

UNICEF is the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund.  UNICEF both advocates for global children's rights as well as reports on and intervenes on serious human rights crises involving children and child exploitation.  HEAL supports UNICEF.  For more information, visit:

Amnesty International addresses international human rights violations, including some criticism of human rights abuses in US institutions.  Amnesty International also works on children's rights around the world.  HEAL supports Amnesty International (Sources: and  

Beyond the charitable and activist work Robin Williams engaged in, he also chose roles that impacted audiences emotionally, politically, and philosophically.  "Dead Poets Society" ( addressed issues related to the oppression of youth and progressive educators by fascistic school authorities.  "Man of the Year" ( addressed issues related to corruption of public elections.  In "Law and Order: SVU", in 2008, Robin Williams played a man pushed over his rational limits who tried exposing fascism in the US through unethical acts. (

We have lost a friend and ally this week.  May his life and work continue to inspire others to use their celebrity for good and their voice for progress.
In loving memory of Robin Williams, 1951-2014.

Update: Robin Williams committed suicide while in "rehab" at Hazelden.  Hazelden recommends multiple fraudulent and abusive programs through their network.  (Source:

Sunday, August 3, 2014



by Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator


1700s (Pre-Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary Colonial America)

What tools and practices were used to silence dissent and oppress everyday people in the 1700s?

In the 1700s, the same abuses of slavery, indentured servitude, and incarcerating/imprisoning those with opposing political views tormented everyday people.  In Virginia, the first "mental hospital" was used to silence dissenters.

"Virginia’s Acting-Royal Governor and Chief Administrative Officer Francis Fauquier (1758-1768) struggled with the legality of imprisoning the innocent, as well as the lack of treatment for them. Publicly run hospitals specifically for the insane had been in practice for a century in France and England. Fauquier proposed a similar idea to be implemented on American soil.

The hospital was born of unruly times. In 1766, pre-Revolutionary-War America experienced growing anti-British grumblings and political unrest. Just one year prior, a 1765 British Stamp Tax had been imposed on the colonies. Mass riots and pillage ensued. Eventually the tax was repealed. Fauquier gave a speech calling for citizens’ gratitude and obedience to the British Parliament for this concession.

He also proposed the mental health hospital in this speech. Given the juxtaposition, it has been suggested that the governor was likening the violent protests against the Stamp Tax to unreasoned acts of the mentally ill. He described the insane as “persons who are so unhappy as to be deprived of their reason,” a phrase that could equally describe unruly dissenters. Taking this further, one might wonder if Fauquier hoped these protesters would be similarly contained.

What qualified as mental illness? A list of “supposed or assumed causes of insanity” for the hospital’s 754 patients in 1879 identifies 46 such causes. Many, such as excessive study, seduction, matrimony, or the fall of the confederacy, are unlikely to make the modern DSM. But some are familiar (e.g., loss of property, disappointment in love, intemperance, excessive fatigue, and ill health)."  Source:

In the 1700s, political dissidents were labeled mentally ill in Virginia.  This practice appears in 2014 with individuals like Keith Ablow (Fox News Contributor) "diagnosing" individuals with mental illness that do not share his political views.

"Recently, Fox's chief of psychiatry and right wing political hack, Dr. Keith Ablow, psychoanalyzed Bill Maher on Fox & Friends, "the morning happy-talk show that Ailes uses as one of his primary vehicles to inject his venom into the media bloodstream." This deep delving into the DSM IV was a reaction to Maher's satiric comments about Bristol Palin. Fox needed to hit back so they brought on Ablow to explain, in a professionally concerned manner, that Maher's comments stemmed from a deep seated hatred of conservative women. Ablow has also provided "diagnosesis " for Chaz Bono regarding his transgender status (none of Ablow's business) and Media Matters president, David Brock who was totally trashed, albeit in a "professional" manner. This seems to be Fox News' newest and rather creative line of personal attack, given that these "virtual" evaluations focus on what Dr. Ablow thinks are personality disorders in whomever he attacks. (Whoops, diagnoses) This could represent a violation of professional ethics; but for Fox News, character assassination, given by a board certified physician, trumps any issues of professionalism." Source:

Returning to the 1700s, we find the dreaded "Asylums".  Places where the sick and outcast were sent for "treatment".  These "asylums" were abusive, inhumane, and dehumanizing.

"These men and women were often kept chained or locked up in their homes. Beatings and malnutrition were common among them, if they weren’t locked up at home, sometimes the more violent mentally handicapped were tied to the stake at their local workhouse or poorhouse. Dr. William Perfect, a doctor in England who cared for th[ese] “unfortunates” as they were called, remembered being called in 1776 by English Officers to see, “a maniacal man they had confined in their workhouse...He was secured to the floor by means of a staple and an iron ring, which was fastened to a pair of fetters about his legs, and he was handcuffed. Continual visitors were pointing at, ridiculing and irritating the patient, who was thus made a spectacle of modern several feats of dexterity, such as threading a needle with his toes,” Such was the treatment of these unfortunates, and thus remained with the formation of the Asylum. The Asylum is defined as a dated institution offering shelter and support to the mentally ill.

However th[ese] early institutions were far from providing the support and care that these individuals needed. They beat, experimented, and learned from the mentally insane, causing one of the most formalized and institutionalized forms of patient treatment available that this world has ever seen. Once these institutions were abolished for more civilized and educated forms of treatment and containment in the 20th century, the memory and spirits of the criminally and medically insane were left to ro[am] the empty corridors and halls of the Asylum. This gave birth to the American Haunting, and gave rise to the most well known haunted sites in the world."  Source:

Those individuals unwilling to be subjugated, enslaved, and abused were imprisoned and "diagnosed" with "mental illness" for being unable to control their unhappiness.  While most articles covering historical abuses claim that things improved in the 19th and 20th centuries, those claims are overall unfounded.  While public outcries resulted in lip service claiming new and more humane hospitals and sanctuaries, the brutality of forced labor, enslavement, and inequality continued throughout the United States and continues today.

"For many years, asylums were not facilities aimed at helping the mentally ill achieve any sense of normalcy or otherwise overcome their illnesses. Instead, asylums were merely reformed penal institutions where the mentally ill were abandoned by relatives or sentenced by the law and faced a life of inhumane treatment, all for the sake of lifting the burden off of ashamed families and preventing any possible disturbance in the community.

The majority of asylums were staffed by gravely untrained, unqualified individuals who treated mentally ill patients like animals. A case study describes a typical scene at La Bicetre, a hospital in Paris, starting with patients shackled to the wall in dark, cramped cells. Iron cuffs and collars permitted just enough movement to allow patients to feed themselves but not enough to lie down at night, so they were forced to sleep upright. Little attention was paid to the quality of the food or whether patients were adequately fed. There were no visitors to the cell except to deliver food, and the rooms were never cleaned. Patients had to make do with a little amount of straw to cover the cold floor and were forced to sit amongst their own waste that was also never cleaned up (Butcher 37). These conditions were not all unique to La Bicetre, and this case study paints a fairly accurate picture of a typical scene in asylums around the world from approximately the 1500s to the mid-1800s, and in some places, the early 1900s."  Source:

In 2014, HEAL has found multiple behavior modification programs that treat enrolled children and adults like animals.  And, most of these facilities are not properly licensed and have no on-site professionally licensed staff.  Even those that have professionally licensed staff often oppress their professional staff and ignore recommendations for improving living conditions for children at these facilities.  Last week (July 30th, 2014), HEAL spoke with a whistleblower staff who is joining other whistleblower staff in exposing the conditions at a facility operating in the Gulf Coast area.  The whistleblower with whom we spoke said the condition of the program, facility, and enrolled children was worse than Guantanamo Bay.  And, based on our own experiences and research, we agree. 

Teen Challenge requires its enrollees to sign "civil rights waivers".  (See:  That is current information confirmed on August 3rd, 2014.  This is one of many tools used to manipulate and oppress those who innocently seek help from those who do not have human rights and compassion at the foundation of their enterprises. 

"The rise of child labor in the United States began in the late 1700s and early 1800s. When the Industrial Revolution started, many families had to find someone to work or they wouldn't survive. When European immigrants came they weren't strangers to hard work. When they came they brought opinions or values that said that children should work. That's when children really started working. Many families moved from rural areas to cities newly industrialized. When it all started it went widespread and no one became concerned when the children didn't even get a modest education...

...With the knowledge that children worked in factories, mines, and other jobs lets talk about their wages and hours. A normal day for these abused children was anywhere from 12 to 19 hours a day. Most kids don't even go to school for 7 hours. An average day of work for adults is around 10 hours. These little children work 6 days a week, all year long. Kids today only go to school for 5 days. Then the extremely low wages were only a fraction of what adults got, if they got pay at all. They even tried to justify giving orphans nothing by saying that they provided clothing, shelter, and food. These "necessities" were never given to the orphans. All the time children were exhausted and hungry after these long hours.." (Source:
Children were denied education and forced to labor with no compensation.  This condition continues today throughout the US and around the world.  While the 18th century claims improvements for child welfare over the 17th century and each century claims to have improved these inhuman institutions, the reality is things really haven't changed that much. 
New paint, indoor plumbing (for most, but, not all institutionalized youth in 2014), and deceptive marketing practices do not equate to more humane "treatment" facilities.  In many states, these facilities operate with no oversight and the same exploitation and abuse covered in this series continue through the United States and around the world. 

As this series of articles continues, the focus will remain on institutional child abuse, labor exploitation, poverty, slavery, indentured servitude, injustice, and effective movements and moments that nurture and accelerate progress.  Please come back for more.

Thursday, July 31, 2014



By Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator

1600s Continued

What was life like for children in the 1600s?

"Forms of child labor, including indentured servitude and child slavery, have existed throughout American history. As industrialization moved workers from farms and home workshops into urban areas and factory work, children were often preferred, because factory owners viewed them as more manageable, cheaper, and less likely to strike. Growing opposition to child labor in the North caused many factories to move to the South. By 1900, states varied considerably in whether they had child labor standards and in their content and degree of enforcement. By then, American children worked in large numbers in mines, glass factories, textiles, agriculture, canneries, home industries, and as newsboys, messengers, bootblacks, and peddlers."  Source:


"As early as 1642, Massachusetts had a law that gave magistrates the authority to remove children from parents who did not "train up" their children properly. In 1735, an orphan girl in Georgia was rescued from a home where she was sexually abused.8 In 1866, Massachusetts passed a law authorizing judges to intervene in the family when "by reason of orphanage or of the neglect, crime, drunkenness or other vice of parents," a child was "growing up without education or salutary control, and in circumstances exposing said child to an idle and dissolute life."9 Whether or not a statute authorized intervention, judges had inherent authority to stop abuse."  Source:

In the above quote, the meaning of "train up" is to teach to read and write, not batter into subservience. 

"In 1642, Massachusetts Bay Colony passed the first law in the New World requiring that children be taught to read and write. The English Puritans who founded Massachusetts believed that the well-being of individuals, along with the success of the colony, depended on a people literate enough to read both the Bible and the laws of the land. Concerned that parents were ignoring the first law, in 1647 Massachusetts passed another one requiring that all towns establish and maintain public schools. It would be many years before these schools were open to all children. Only in the mid-nineteenth century was universal free public schooling guaranteed – in time, made compulsory — for Massachusetts children."  Source:

In 2014, 23% of United States citizens are illiterate.  The inability to read, write, and comprehend written works and communications has a devastating impact on child welfare and overall human rights.  Source:  60% of individuals incarcerated in the United States in 2014 are illiterate. 

 "Youth crime has been strongly linked to illiteracy and truancy. Government figures for 2002 – 2003 show 40% of young offenders entering prison were below level 1 (i.e. would not achieve a G at GCSE English). This is also true of adult offenders, with 80% having the writing skills of an 11 year old.

This is not the only factor. There are often deeper language and communication difficulties which drastically limit an offender's ability to respond in emotionally laden situations, making it more likely that they will lash out and be violent.

These individuals are also likely to have been the victims of abuse of violence themselves. For some children a group of their peers may provide more care and protection than can be found at home or school. For them it may be a rational choice to join a gang rather than be left out of one."  Source:

As you can see, coupling modern knowledge with long-term problems adversely affecting children as a class in the United States, we find an overall pattern of progress towards universal human rights by some and resistance to progress by those who stand to lose their ignorant, easily controlled, and subservient "employees" should better human rights laws be enacted and enforced.

What about institutional abuse of children in Colonial America?

HEAL considers slavery and indentured servitude to be forms of institutional abuse and therefore such is covered in the above discussion.  In addition, we can look at the abuses at "orphanages" or the "boarding schools" of the 17th century.

 "Valentina Tikoff’s essay provides a history of the orphanages in Seville from the late 1600s to the early 1800s. Through institutional policies and family strategies, many children who still had one or even two living parents ended up in the care of “orphanages.” What we might think of as orphanages would more properly be called the foundling home in eighteenth-century Seville. This was simply the place where abandoned babies passed through before ending up in the care of a wet nurse, if they even survived that long. In contrast, the “orphanages” were more like boarding schools, where children might, for example, be trained as sailors.

Widowed parents pressed the authorities to admit their children to these institutions, which in fact became quite socially selective."  Source:

 "In the United States, an early means of caring for orphans was by indenture. The first American child was indentured in 1636, in Massachusetts. Indenture was often free labor rather than protection. Later, children were placed in almshouses with their parents, and the feeling was that they would set children on a road to life, "free from permanent ignorance, pauperism, and vice." By the mid 1800s they were recognized as just the opposite. Yet, in 1927, there were still children placed in almshouses throughout the country."  Source:

What we have here in 2014, is a system that has changed its names and claims while continuing to operate as 17th century child labor and abuse institutions.  It is important for advocates and activists to understand the long history of institutional abuse in the United States in its many forms and the efforts over time to improve conditions for children in the US and around the world.  What we are seeing in 2014 is not only resistance to continuing progress, but, intentional opposition to progress with intent to return to and/or continue exploiting families and traffick in children.  This issue is understood from a variety of perspectives by a wide variety of people and organizations.  Those who wish to engage in the movement for progress including teen liberty, must understand what progress has been made overtime and what we can do to protect and reinforce existing policies and laws as well as enhance policies and laws to better protect children and families. 

Healthy and Tasty Vegan Recipes

Healthy and Tasty Vegan Recipes

by Angela Smith


From time to time, I will post a vegan recipe on this blog and provide some nutritional information to assist readers who would like to adopt a more sustainable diet.


Today's recipe is Chili Rice Casserole.  This recipe provides nearly 4x (4 times or 400%) the iron per serving than found in a serving of meat and slightly more protein than found in a serving of meat.  In addition, it is a 99% fat free dish!  One serving of this dish amount to approximately 425 calories and it is very satisfying! 


Chili Rice Casserole


1 - 15 oz. Can of Vegan Chili (Hormel's Vegetarian Chili is vegan and other brands have vegetarian and vegan options as well.)


1 Cup of Uncooked Rice (2 Cups of Cooked Rice--I prefer white rice with this recipe)


1 & 1/3 Cup of Corn


Directions:  Prepare rice per package instructions.  Add Chili and Corn, stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed and mixed.  Heat for 5-7 minutes on low/simmer.  And, enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2014




By Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator


The following is the first installment of a series of articles giving a brief history in chronological order of a sampling of examples of institutional abuse occurring in the United States of America (Colonial America from 1607-1783).  This is in no way a complete list of institutional abuse occurrences in the United States of America.  It is simply a crash course of sorts in institutional abuse and those who oppose and have opposed it from 1607 to the present (2014) in the United States of America.


For our purposes, we are choosing not to go back to the Spanish expeditions that began in 1492.  Institutions had to be formed to abuse and oppress in a systemic form.  Systemic institutional abuse for our purposes here refers to any institution that engages in a system of social injustice and human rights violations as understood post Nuremberg and post-civilized philosophy that promoted democratic and just values (i.e. Plato's Republic written in 360BCE (or approximately 2374 years ago). 


An extensive review of world history and in-depth analysis of various cultures and cultural/social reform movements may provide readers with an even greater understanding of the progress that has been made and the work that is still needed to both protect existing human rights and social justice access and standards and keep improving human rights and social justice access and standards for all human beings.


"Human rights are norms that help to protect all people everywhere from severe political, legal, and social abuses. Examples of human rights are the right to freedom of religion, the right to a fair trial when charged with a crime, the right not to be tortured, and the right to engage in political activity. These rights exist in morality and in law at the national and international levels."  (Source:


Most readers may not need much information on American Indian and African/African American oppression, so, for those that do or would like to refresh your memories regarding these important lessons from American History, please visit: and 


Our focus will now turn to the institutional abuse and oppression of men, women and children, starting in the 1600s and moving forward.  It is important that everyone who seeks to stop institutional abuse in the 21st century understand the history of such abuses and the various campaigns and efforts to stop those abuses.  This will aid in identifying the actual "enemy" as well as understanding strategy and guarding against counter-intelligence activities by the opposition.


1600s (Colonial America)


Social Injustice in Jamestown Courts & Colonial Governance


"The first Africans in colonial America were brought to Jamestown by a Dutch ship in 1619. These 20 Africans were indentured servants, which meant that they were to work for a certain period of time in exchange for transportation and room and board. They were assigned land after their service and were considered free Negroes. Nonetheless, their settlement was involuntary.


The status of Africans in colonial America underwent a rapid evolution after 1619. One early judicial decision signaled the change in European attitudes toward Africans. In 1640, three Virginia servants—two Europeans and one African—escaped from their masters. Upon recapture, a Virginia court ordered the European servants to serve their master for one more year and the African servant to serve his master, or his master's assigns, for the rest of his life."  (Source:  (Also see sentencing disparity and slavery loophole connection perpetuating this injustice today:,, and


"Virginia and Maryland operated under what was known as the "headright system." The leaders of each colony knew that labor was essential for economic survival, so they provided incentives for planters to import workers. For each laborer brought across the Atlantic, the master was rewarded with 50 acres of land. This system was used by wealthy plantation aristocrats to increase their land holdings dramatically. In addition, of course, they received the services of the workers for the duration of the indenture.


...A contract was written that stipulated the length of service — typically five years. The servant would be supplied room and board while working in the master's fields. Upon completion of the contract, the servant would receive "freedom dues," a pre-arranged termination bonus. This might include land, money, a gun, clothes or food. On the surface it seemed like a terrific way for the luckless English poor to make their way to prosperity in a new land. Beneath the surface, this was not often the case.


Only about 40 percent of indentured servants lived to complete the terms of their contracts. Female servants were often the subject of harassment from their masters. A woman who became pregnant while a servant often had years tacked on to the end of her service time. Early in the century, some servants were able to gain their own land as free men. But by 1660, much of the best land was claimed by the large land owners. The former servants were pushed westward, where the mountainous land was less arable and the threat from Indians constant. A class of angry, impoverished pioneer farmers began to emerge as the 1600s grew old. After Bacon's Rebellion in 1676, planters began to prefer permanent African slavery to the headright system that had previously enabled them to prosper."  (Source:


The Colonial court and governing systems were clearly oppressive and not democratic.  Poor immigrants of European descent as well as involuntary immigrants of European (i.e. Irish, see: and African descent were subjected to, often involuntary, indentured servitude.  This system continued fairly unabated until the early 1900s.  You read that correctly, the early 1900s.  (Source:


Both the Abolitionist Movement (1800s) and Labor Movement (1800s) grew in the US in response to economic inequality and brutal working and living conditions for all "voluntary" and involuntary laborers.  (See: and  So, this type of institutional abuse was encoded into law and custom in the United States since Colonial times. 


What was life like for indentured servants and enslaved people?


"Speaking from everyday experience, Jacobs is eloquent here in summarizing everyday dimensions of enslavement: extreme labor, poor rations, family destruction, child sexual abuse and rape, whipping and other violence, and the intense pursuit of those seeking freedom."  (Source:


Ignorance is still used along with violence as a tool of enslavement.  (Source: and  To choose to remain ignorant when so much valuable historical information and discussion is available through public libraries, universities, and online resources is to choose slavery and stall progress.  It is a disservice to our ancestors who fought and died for the rights we have today and for the rights they hoped we would continue to fight for, defend, and protect now and in the future.


Systemic Oppression of Women


"Married women could not make contracts, even for their own labor. A wife had no legal identity separate from her husband's. The interests of a wife and her children were to be determined and represented solely by her husband.

Property was power in the colonies, and married women would have neither.

Divorces were rare, and usually men were allowed to beat their wives, just as they beat their slaves and servants and dogs and horses. When a wife chose to run away from an unbearable marriage, her husband could advertise for her capture and return in local newspapers; just as he could advertise for the return of his runaway slaves and servants." (Source:


""Puritan court records further reveal that WIFE ABUSE is not a recent development. Between 1630 and 1699, at least 128 men were tried for abusing their wives. . . The punishments for wife abuse were mild, usually amounting only to a fine, a lashing, a public admonition, or supervision by a town-appointed guardian" (Domestic Revolutions 11).

"Even in cases of abuse, Puritan authorities commanded wives to be submissive and obedient. They were told not to resist or strike their husbands but to try to reform their spouse's behavior" (ibid).""  (Source:


Clearly, the Colonial American courts and governments were oppressive to women and contributed to vile human rights conditions for women in the United States.


"...[T]he truly dramatic transformation came in the 17th century (aka 1600s), with what Foucault styled "the great confinement of the poor". All across Europe, the mad were herded together with other social pests into giant warehouses, the archetype of which was the Hopital General in Paris. This amounted essentially to street-sweeping, an official edict of exclusion and sequestration. With little or no medical warrant, its rationale was not curing the deranged but securing them. Its aim was at bottom political - it was a way of silencing the mad, indeed of turning madness into "unreason", a state utterly negative, emptied of humanity...  The rising count of long-stay inmates was thus a symptom of society's desire to ostracise social nuisances; the high percentage of female patients pointed to the bother patriarchy had with unruly women."  (Source:


The problem of warehousing people in the above manner was not limited to Europe nor was it limited to the 1600s.  In the United States of America, this problem existed from nearly the beginning.  And, arguably the first battle in the United States to stop these abuses was fought by Dorothea Dix in the 1840s in Massachusetts.


"Those who had underestimated the determination and dedication of Dorothea Dix, however, were brought to attention when they heard her say that the sick and insane were "confined in this Commonwealth in cages, closets, cellars, stalls, pens! Chained, beaten with rods, lashed into obedience." Thus, her crusade for humane hospitals for the insane, which she began in 1841, was reaching a climax. After touring prisons, workhouses, almshouses, and private homes to gather evidence of appalling abuses, she made her case for state-supported care. Ultimately, she not only helped establish five hospitals in America, but also went to Europe where she successfully pleaded for human rights to Queen Victoria and the Pope."  (Source:

Unfortunately, one who seeks the truth will find, these disgusting human rights abuses and institutional abuses have almost always existed and have often been a mainstay of human civilizations around the world and in the United States.  This "war" has many victims, many casualties, and many warriors.  In future installments of this series, we will discuss other examples of institutional abuse and the heroes who fought and continue to fight for universal human rights and social justice.  Don't allow anyone to "beat you into submission"!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Effective Activism and Advocacy v. Astroturf Organizations and Posers

Effective Activism and Advocacy v. Astroturf Organizations and Posers

by Angela Smith


"An unsuspected enemy is doubly dangerous." ~L. Frank Baum wrote in "The Emerald City of Oz"


Effective activism and advocacy requires dedication, commitment, great research, civic literacy, and intelligent strategy.  Most activists and advocates are dedicated and committed to their causes, but, often fall short when it comes to great research, civic literacy, and intelligent strategy.


Dedicated and committed individuals who recognize injustice and abuse and wish to do something can: work on their own; with an organization; or may even start their own organization.  Individual activists working alone can do great research, advance their civic literacy, and even strategize effectively without much help and without joining an organization.  If an individual activist wishes to join forces with an established organization or create their own, there are a few important issues they must consider first if they wish to be effective in their activism and advocacy. 


It is vitally important that individuals who care about a specific cause enter volunteerism with their eyes open and with significantly developed goals for their cause to avoid the pitfalls of misdirection, disorganization, manipulation, and inefficacy.  A good rule to follow here is not to assume anything, including that the organizations know what they are doing or are effective. 


Once an individual has identified at least one significant goal they have and is seeking an organization that can help them achieve that goal, they need to determine if the organization they've selected shares that goal and what the organization has done or is doing to further that goal.


To determine if an existing organization is effective in strategizing and succeeding in regards to short-term and long-term goals, ask the following questions:  (If an organization or individual activist avoids answering questions, responds with insults or disrespect, and acts and speaks differently in public than in private, this is a serious indicator that the individual or organization may be an Astroturf Organization, poser, or provocateur.)


1.  Does your organization share my goal [insert goal here]?  And, if so, can you tell me more about what your organization has done to achieve this goal?  (If you have more than one goal related to a specific cause, ask this question regarding each goal.)


Sample Q & A


Q: Does HEAL wish to stop institutional abuse and further children's rights in the US?


A:  Yes, HEAL works to stop institutional abuse and to further children's rights in the US.


Q:  What has HEAL done in its efforts to stop institutional abuse and further children's rights in the US?


A:  HEAL is perpetually building a database of detailed information regarding fraudulent and abusive facilities for children and teens that includes news articles, victim and family reports, lawsuits, and law enforcement records to provide information to assist journalists, victims and their families, attorneys, law enforcement, and regulatory agencies in their efforts to report on and hold accountable violating facilities and programs.  In addition, we provide survivor and parent support to help individual victims and their families as well as to assist with preventing institutionalization in the first place.  We filed Initiative 999 in Washington State in 2008 to improve laws to better protect children and families from fraud and abuse.  Unfortunately, we did not get the needed signatures before the deadline and it did not go to the ballot for public consideration.  For more information on Initiative 999, see:  Because collecting 224,800 valid registered voter signatures in Washington State between March and July is next to impossible without a very healthy bankroll or hundreds of dedicated signature gatherers, that effort was unsuccessful.  But, it is public record and remains so on the Secretary of State website.  And, we think that is a success in its own right.  Moving forward we are developing our State Action Plan and working to educate our volunteers and members so they can be a "lobbyist" for children in their home States.  For more information on this project see and  [If an organization cannot provide information on their goals or their efforts that clearly shows action and not just talk, they should probably be avoided if your goal is to be effective.]


2.  Who founded your organization and who funds your organization?


Sample Q & A


Q:  Who founded HEAL and who funds HEAL?


A:  HEAL was founded in 2002 as a registered student organization at the University of Washington.  Angela Smith is co-founder of HEAL.  Smith is a survivor of institutional abuse.  Smith is also a graduate of Highline Community College and the University of Washington.  Smith also successfully completed 1 year of law school and is on extended hiatus from law school due to personal matters.  Beyond that, you can learn more about Angela Smith by visiting  Most of the other founding members of HEAL moved or stopped being actively involved after graduating from the UW in 2005.  To learn more about our chapter coordinators, please visit their webpages linked on our homepage at  HEAL is primarily funded in-house by our primary volunteers and coordinators.  However, we do receive less than $500 per year from donations through our site, by mail, and at events.  [If the organization refuses to provide information regarding founders or funding, this is another red flag.  If the organization claims to be, or you later learn it is, funded by or run by individuals or businesses with a vested interest in perpetuating the injustice by providing false information, misleading victims regarding their options for seeking justice, or undermining effective actions by feeding confidential information to the offending individual, business, or organization that results in their avoiding investigation and accountability, volunteer somewhere else.  And, don't align yourself with those who would ask you to be willfully blind because of their own misguided loyalties.]


3.  How can I help? 


Sample Q & A


Q:  How can I help with the teen liberty campaign?


A:  It depends on your skills, the amount of time you have, and what you are interested in doing.  For people who don't like the public eye or spotlight, research, survivor support, and parent support are all areas where HEAL needs more help.  If you don't mind being in the spotlight, you can: organize and participate in marches and protests; volunteer for public speaking events (i.e. guest speakers at colleges and high schools, etc.); become a coordinator; or be a media liaison.  You can participate and support our existing campaigns and efforts, or get our help in developing your own campaign.  For more information, see  [If an organization cannot provide you information on volunteer opportunities and/or asks for money and ignores your offer to volunteer, that is a red flag.  Avoid organizations who are more interested in your pocketbook and hosting lavish events than they are in your ideas and organizing effective campaigns.]


Since this is a blog article and not a book, the suggested question portion ends here.  It is very important that you don't take what people say or what other people say at face value.  In the case of HEAL, our primary campaign is teen liberty and our opposition is a multi-billion dollar industry with far-reaching government ties and influential relationships.  We are effective and resourceful.  And, we are experienced, informed, and involved.  If an individual makes a celebrity of themselves with one action (i.e. representing victims in one case against the opposition), don't assume they are on your side.  Find out if they've done anything besides that case and talking about that case.  Don't recommend or align yourselves with individuals because they charmed or impressed you with their celebrity or public persona.  Demand evidence that they have done anything to further the cause beyond celebrating their own notoriety for the last 20-30 years.  And, check any public documents to see if there are inconsistencies or clear misinformation in the celebrity's writings and statements.  If you don't know if someone has written or said something that is false, find someone who would know and get their help with research and forming an opinion.  If someone refuses to answer your questions, insults you, disrespects you, or otherwise shuts you down, don't admire them.  You deserve honest replies to your questions, consideration, respect, and validation.  Those who redirect the conversation and fail the transparency test will lead you astray.  Beware!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Wacky World of William J. “BJ” Howard

The Wacky World of William J. “BJ” Howard

By Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator (with commentary by Tim Brown, HEAL Coordinator and Gail Hernesto, Industry-Insider and Friend to William Howard)

William “BJ” Howard claims to be a graduate of Penn State and an instructor at the University of Phoenix.  Howard claims to have taught individuals now working for what HEAL believes to be a fraudulent and abusive residential program based on dozens of firsthand reports from families regarding fraud and abuse at Red Rock Canyon School in UT.  We also base our position on lawsuits that have been filed against Red Rock for fraud and abuse as well as news reports regarding abuse at this facility.

HEAL has been engaged in a discussion with William Howard regarding our concerns regarding Red Rock Canyon School.  Howard has sung the praises of Red Rock Canyon School while never having worked for, enrolled in, or enrolled a loved one in the program.  Howard has made sweeping claims regarding improvements and progressive problem-solving at Red Rock with absolutely no firsthand basis for making such claims and while providing absolutely no evidence that his claims are true to any degree.

Howard ignores documentation regarding the failures of Utah to protect children and families from abuse.  Howard ignores documentation of widespread fraud and abuse in residential programs for youth even after being given a copy of the Congressional Hearings from 2007/2008 providing ample evidence that supports HEAL’s position.  And, Howard provides only emotionally charged antagonistic accusations as a basis for HEAL to make any changes to our current statements and position regarding Red Rock.

Howard uses emotional manipulation and veiled threats as opposed to facts and evidence to support his claims regarding Red Rock Canyon School.  For instance, when asked for evidence Howard demands HEAL take his word alone as gospel and instead of providing any real evidence continues to disparage HEAL volunteers as unethical, unfair, and engaging in criminal “slandering” of at least two of Red Rock’s employees simply because HEAL does not respect Red Rock nor degrees “earned” at the University of Phoenix.  HEAL provided evidence of widespread fraud at the University of Phoenix.  But, Howard claims to have taught for the University of Phoenix and compares complaints regarding the University of Phoenix to complaints against Harvard or Yale.  HEAL’s reply was that it is absurd to compare the University of Phoenix to Harvard or Yale for many reasons including that Harvard and Yale have never lost a class action lawsuit for systemic fraud. 

Howard demanded that his former students and friends’ names be removed from the Red Rock staff list even though both still work for the program and they belong on any accurate staff list regarding Red Rock.  HEAL provides three options for editing and removal of staff names.  But, we require the staff to contact us directly for more information.  And, we provide programs on our watch lists the opportunity to have HEAL review their materials and post or engage in published dialogue regarding our concerns and their program methodology.  But, as usual, Red Rock and its supporters refuse to provide any real evidence or information and want HEAL to be silent, bullied, and oppressed by harassing e-mails from truly unidentified sources.  (We were unable to find any information online supporting any claim made by Howard including his education, work history, and affiliation with Red Rock/Red Rock staff.)  Howard refused to provide HEAL with any additional contact information and refused to speak with us by phone to clear up any issues he was having with our web content. 

But, in Howard’s mind, HEAL is the problem.  We won’t take him at his word with no supporting evidence.  We won’t take his friends’ names off the staff list for the program for which his friends work as long as they continue to work there and/or in this industry.  And, we won’t remove our concerns regarding the University of Phoenix.  We also won’t praise CA or UT because neither state effectively protects children and families from fraud and abuse.  You need only watch CNN on a regular basis to know that there is rampant fraud and abuse that CA and the US are not effectively addressing.  (See:

But, forget the news, court reports, investigations, government reports, and anecdotes from victims of fraud and abuse.  Why?  Because William Howard says so.  And, in his world, that is the only voice of authority that matters.

HEAL received further indirect communication from Howard through his friend and associate Gail Hernesto.  Hernesto claims to work and/or have worked for multiple residential programs for youth.  Hernesto uses the same tired “blame the victim” and “excuse the abuse” arguments popularized by pedophiles and child abusers.  Apparently, Howard forwarded his conversation with HEAL to Hernesto and Hernesto decided to contribute her own baseless and unsupported commentary.

Hernesto said, “You do not seem to understand troubled youth and their various disorders, such as, oppositional defiance, rebelliousness, authority problems, and a
number of other serious mental difficulties. Many are master manipulators and are very good at making things up, which is why witnesses are sought to find out what really happened. They also lie to their parents to maneuver them as they wish and when they get home they maintain their facade instead of owning up to their fabrications. Fabrications, by the way, which their peers, who witnessed the incidents, declared were outright falsehoods or made big when they were really small and insignificant.”

Tim Brown, HEAL Coordinator, replied to Hernesto’s rant stating: “This is B.S.  I am a witness to the fact that there is abuse going on in programs. Many of the people running these programs are serial liars.”

Bottom line, Hernesto and Howard are shills for the industry spouting unsupported and undocumented drivel while denying the mountain of evidence regarding institutional abuse and fraud at poorly and often entirely unregulated residential youth programs.  If you are among the minority who buys the lies the industry sells and/or yourself are a seller of those lies, please know we are onto your nonsense and will continue to speak the truth and share information we find of value and import with our community.

[If you are a legitimate and above-board residential program we are investigating, you may discuss and/or address our concerns by following the guidelines at and/or]