What made you want to become a writer?

I first decided to become a writer at age 19 when I was at university. This was when I discovered that being a good writer forces you to go beneath the social platitudes you hear every day and examine how you yourself really think and feel about things.

How did your political views evolve throughout the years?

I first became interested in politics as a child because my parents had nightly political discussions at the dinner table. They were both conservative Republicans and bitterly unhappy about the wealthy kingmakers who they believed had hijacked US democracy. They were particularly frustrated that grassroots Republican precinct workers were being denied a voice in choosing candidates for office. It bothered them that most candidates were chosen by a corrupt secret process.

I shared their conservative views until starting medical school at 21. During the height of the Vietnam War, I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which had the reputation of the most radical campus in the country. My exposure to daily protest demonstrations, riots and street theater totally radicalized me. It was during this period I recognized that the so-called levers of democratic rule weren't being corrupted by Republican kingmakers but by powerful Wall Street corporations.

Because my parents had raised me not to take what I was taught or read at face value, it was really easy to make the transition from conservative Republican to radical anti-capitalist.

What made you interested in political activities?

I first became a political activist at 14, when my mother encouraged me to work for a local Republican candidate for Congress. My role was to organize my teenage friends to help distribute campaign literature at local shopping centers. When I was 16, I went door-to-door campaigning for conservative Republican Barry Goldwater.

By the time I finished my psychiatric training at age 30, I had decided that voting and working for political candidates was a waste of time. At this point, I became more focused on grassroots organizing as a method of influencing government policy. The first grassroots organization I joined was Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador - to protest Reagan's illegal covert war against El Salvador in the early 1980s.

How did the US government react to your political activities?

I first became aware the US government was monitoring my activities in 1986, when I joined a support committee for two former Black Panthers who were occupying an abandoned school with the goal of transforming it into an African American Museum. Over the next four years I was subjected to an escalating pattern of psychological harassment and intimidation. This took the form of phone harassment, stalking, mail theft and several attempts on my life. In 1987 a brief affair with a former government operative led me to be railroaded into a psychiatric hospital.

How does the US government see dissidents, whistleblowers and activists?

The US government views dissidents, whistleblowers and activists as criminals. Most are prosecuted on either terrorism or espionage charges. However many have been covertly assassinated. I'm aware of several activists - with ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and various civil right groups who experienced psychological harassment similar to what I was subjected to.

How did you get involved with the shadow government?

I was only indirectly involved with the shadow government - via the brief affair I mention above and approximately 10 special forces and intelligence personnel who privately sought my professional help.

When you look back at the time when you worked for the US government, is there anything you would change?

The only time I officially worked for the US government was in 1966 when I was briefly employed by the US Post Office and in 1975-76 when I worked at the Salt Lake City Veterans Administration Hospital as part of my psychiatric training.

 

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall: Retired child psychiatrist, activist, author, blogger, and journalist with new young adult novel called A Rebel Comes of Age.