Friday, May 10, 2013

Aubrey Levin: Convicted forensic psychiatrist's past in South Africa during Apartheid regime comes back to haunt him: Global News.

POST: "The verdict heard around the world," by Claude Adams, published by Global News on May 9, 2013.

GIST:  "For the men and women of the Greefswald Facebook page, it seemed like justice would never come. . . They’d been waiting 40 years and more—exchanging their stories, nursing their grievances, consoling one another, wondering if they would ever find resolution. Most of them were still teenagers when they say they were traumatized in South Africa. The focus of their anger was Aubrey Levin, and the effect he had on their younger years. But the world had moved on, now they had children and grandchildren. Still, they say they bore the psychic scars......The people on the Greefswald Facebook page did not play a role in Levin’s trial. They gave no evidence; made no allegations. But, from afar and through social media, they followed every twist and turn of the trial over four months, and when the jury brought in a guilty verdict last January, they were overjoyed. “Canada has done us a massive favor,” said Gordon Torr in Wimbledon, England, whose memory of Levin is still vivid after 40 years. He said Levin’s conviction would help “remove the shackles of silence” from the men and women who encountered Levin while they served in the South African Defence Force decades ago, under apartheid. Now, he said, their stories could emerge. Greefswald was the name of a military detention camp in South Africa during the turbulent apartheid years—a place where young conscripts were sent if they were judged to be “deviant.” You got that label if you were gay, smoked marijuana, or were a conscientious objector. Gordon Torr called it an “experimental gulag” meant to turn “psychos, sub-normals and deviants” into fighting men. The presiding psychiatrist was Dr. Aubrey Levin, who flew in several times a year by helicopter from Pretoria to see how the therapy was going. Gerald Proctor says the idea was to turn the conscripts, many of them still teen-agers, into “usable cannon fodder.” To that end, says Proctor, they were subjected to sleep deprivation, forced to train in double time, and given extreme punishments. “Total isolation, complete domination, no accountability” is how he describes it. Proctor later fled to Denmark, where he was accepted as a refugee.........Levin will be appealing his conviction next fall, and a re-trial of three cases on which the jury could not agree, is expected to begin in early 2014. Meanwhile, he is free on bail.

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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

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