Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Four studies suggest that Straight's quackery can lead to various post-Straight maladies--including suicide

Study by British Medical Journal on body carving. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has long recognized that spectator animals, kept from their natural environment and confined in small cages become depressed, prone to sickness including mental illness, and many resort to self-mutilation in reaction to stress or boredom. Now a new study by The British Medical Journal (11-23-02) and opinions by American experts conclude that kids exposed to abuse or violence, have abused drugs, have impulsive behavior or kids who have low self-esteem can become so overwhelmed with emotions that they cannot express that they may resort to carving on their bodies as a form of self - expression. "It's a coping strategy to deal with intolerable pain, but it works for them so it's a way of surviving," says Wendy Lader, PhD. story1 story2 And here's a resource for help.

Lack of sunshine causes depression. Tell-tale signs are depression, lack of energy, sleeping too much, eating too much, and gaining weigh. The medical name is Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD and it is caused by lack of sunshine. The cure is good ole' summertime where days are longer. But suppose you are in Straight where you can not see the sun even in the summer. story Related story here.

Depressed teens and young adult suicide. A study done by Dr. Myrna Weissman of the New York State Psychiatric Institute found that teens who suffer depression are twice as likely to suffer depression as adults than teens who do not suffer depression. She also found that they are five times more likely to commit suicide in their high school to early adulthood Depressed adolescents grown up.

US Air Force determines that long stay in abusive captivity can lead to post release suicide. Washington Post related article1 related article2 related article3 related article4

Monday, December 19, 2005

Why the St. Pete Times won't cover the protest of a museum's awards banquet

Straight was headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fl. Much of what we know of Straight's atrocities comes from the St. Petersburg Times. Bruce Epstein is a former writer for the Times who once recommended Straight in a Times' article as a resource to parents even though a Pinellas County jury had awarded a former Straight client $721,000 for being abused at Straight! Not only was Epstein a Straight board member, he was a founding board member of the Florida Holocaust Museum. When former Straight clients threatened to protest the museum, the museum responded by making Epstein its director. The St. Petersburg Times might not like the idea of a protest of a Holocaust museum any more than we do, but it is a newsworthy story. The protesters are not protesting the Holocaust, they are protesting one Holocaust museum for being in Mel Sembler's pockets and for hiding behind the museum's aprons. The Times needs to get out of Mel Sembler's pockets too and report on this upcoming protest. Read The ethics of naming rights for St. Pete Times Forum.

Museum Awards Banquet to be protested for ties to Straight

The Nazi program for the extermination of European Jewry is the most vile, disgusting, horrific treatment of a people by another people in the 20th Century and probably in all of human history. The story of what the Nazis did must be told and retold forever in books, films, plays and Holocaust museums. Like the Nazis, Straight, Inc. was another great 20th Century violator of civil liberties and human rights. Over 40 former Straight clients have committed suicide.

Straight founder Melvin Sembler has enhanced his businesses and has received political protection from the crimes of Straight by buying powerful Republican politicians. Now Mel Sembler and former president of Straight Foundation Walter Loebenberg have teamed up to found the Florida Holocaust Museum. They say they are humanitarians and philanthropists trying to do good deeds. Many former Straight clients feel the museum is a ruse to further protect them from their reputations as officers at Straight. Lobenberg founded the museum and Mel and Betty Sembler were founding directors. But that's just for starters. Read now The case to protest the Florida Holocaust Museum.

The 2006 Awards Banquet will be held at the A La Carte Event Pavilion, 4050 Dana Shores Drive, Tampa. Here is a map. Protesters should meet around 4:30 PM in the parking lot of the Golf Country Club across the street from the pavilion. They plan to picket until around 8:00 PM. They request that you bring your own signs. They will have a new flier to hand out but state that volunteers are welcome to make their own. The protest will be video taped and broadcast on the Internet later that evening.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Seventh Steppers renounce their Straight graduation status in droves

12-10-05 Straight is a cult for many reasons including its use of destructive brainwashing methods and its use of deception. Another reason is because clients never really left. The few who never caught on and graduated quite often became staff at Straight. Whether they later worked for Straight or not, almost all graduates joined Straight's aftercare support group and fundraiser known as The Seventh Step Society.

Mel Sembler proudly displays an on-line picture album of his accomplishments on his company's web page. [See Mel's photos.] If you view his photo album, at bottom center is a photo of Mel receiving Nancy Reagan and Princess DI at the Straight camp in Springfield Virginia which later had its license revoked for abusing children. Beside that photo Mel writes:

Although best known as a leading shopping center developer, Sembler is also renowned for his activism in the anti-drug movement. In 1976, Sembler and his
wife Betty founded STRAIGHT, an adolescent drug treatment program. During its 17 years of existence, STRAIGHT successfully graduated more than 12,000 young
people nationwide from its remarkable program.
It is probably safe to assume that almost all of those graduates were Seventh Steppers. Unfortunately, among Sembler's 12,000 successful graduates were beautiful young people like Glen Steepleton and Christine Stottlemeyer who have committed suicide. Jeff Leugers was president of the Seventh Step Society in Ohio. He shot himself dead. Ray Bradbury is another of Sembler's successful graduates. In fact, Ray Bradbury was the national director for the Seventh Step Society! Today he has to take meds to get through the day. He is being sued by Mel and Betty for intentional infliction of emotional distress resulting, the Semblers allege, from Bradbury's attempt to sell Mel's penis pump on eBay.

Today, former Straight graduates are renouncing their graduate status from Straight in droves--and many have some choice words for Mel and Betty. Yet Mel Sembler says, next to his children, Straight is the greatest thing he and Betty ever did! Read now the comments by some of their successful graduates. LINK

Sir Walter Loebenberg is a self-proclaimed philanthrapist [sic]

11-30-05 On July 10, 1998 Walter Loebenberg, formerly president of Straight Foundation, donated $200 to the campaign of T. M. "Tom" Woodruff who was running for state senate as a Republican. His occupation is listed as philanthrapist on the donation form. Since "philanthrapist" is not a word we assume he meant philanthropist (someone who makes charitable donations intended to increase human well-being) and not philanderer (a man who likes many women).

12-03-05 Walter ain't alone--a testimonial link

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What killed Jesus Christ?

I sit at a computer and research and write all day long. Years ago my body responded with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In one stretch I sat before my machine for weeks, putting in 16 hour days. Sometimes holding my bathroom visits until I could not hold it any longer. My ankles starting filling with fluid. It started getting painful. Then one day it happened. My ankles were so swollen I could but barely walk. My wife and daughter talked me into going to the emergency room at our local hospital. The doctor gave me a powerful diuretic and I started eliminating a lot of fluid. Finally they let me go home, but gave me a prescription to see a battery of doctors as soon as possible. Heart doctor, pulmonary, vascular . . . They all said the same thing--get up frequently and take a walk or jog. My GP suggested I get a wireless keyboard so I could work from a lounge chair with my feet elevated, so I bought one--but it did not help [I never took it out of the box].

It was the vascular guy who made the impact. "You know what killed Jesus Christ don't you?" he had asked. I thought he was about to tell me a good joke. "The cross," I answered. "Yes, but what was actually the cause of death?" he responded. "Hanging there, upright, unable to move," he continued without waiting for a second reply, "his bodily fluids drained down to his lower extremities. This placed great strain on his heart and he had congestive heart failure." Well, I'd never heard that. I knew that position abuse was a powerful tool used in torture and brainwashing but I never knew it could be deadly!

On June 16, 2004 Senator Richard Durbin addressed his colleagues on the floor of the US Senate to propose an amendment that would outlaw the use of "position abuse" and other tortures on Moslem detainees in US military prisons. He noted that the US Supreme Court ruled against "position abuse" as late as 2002 in a case called Hope v. Pelzer. According to the magazine American Progress, "Hope, a prisoner, was handcuffed to a "hitching post'' for seven hours in the sun and not allowed to use the bathroom. The Court held that this violated the 8th Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment." The Court ruled:

"The obvious cruelty inherent in this practice should have provided [the prison guards] with some notice that their alleged conduct violated Hope's constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Hope was treated in a way antithetical to human dignity--he was hitched to a post for an extended period of time in a position that was painful, and under circumstances that were both degrading and dangerous."

But Senator Durbin is not just against using "position abuse" on Gulf War detainees. He is against using any types of tortures, including sleep deprivation. He talked about the 1944 case of Ashcraft v. Tennessee which also made it to the US Supreme Court. In this case the Supreme Court held that "a confession obtained by depriving a suspect of sleep and continuously questioning him for 36 hours was involuntarily coerced." Justice Hugo Black , giving the majority opinion, wrote:
"It has been known since 1500 at least that deprivation of sleep is the most effective torture and certain to produce any confession desired [quoting the Wickersham Commission]. ..... We think a situation such as that here shown by uncontradicted evidence is so inherently coercive that its very existence is irreconcilable with the possession of mental freedom by a lone suspect against whom its full coercive force is brought to bear."
American Progress, quoting from Durbin's speech to the Senate, reported, "Former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin wrote about his experience with sleep deprivation in a Soviet prison in the 1940s:
In the head of the interrogated prisoner a haze begins to form. His spirit is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire: to sleep, to sleep just a little. ..... Anyone who has experienced this desire knows that not even hunger or thirst are comparable with it. ..... I came across prisoners who signed what they were told to sign, only to get what the interrogator promised them ..... uninterrupted sleep!"
Position abuse and sleep deprivation are two tortures that were routinely employed at Mel and Betty Sembler's Straight program. Read what they did to Leigh Bright.
Leigh Bright was a Virginia teenager who was in Straight's re-education center in Saint Petersburg, Florida in 1982. Her story comes from her court testimony and from an accounting by Dr. Arnold Trebach in The Great Drug War. Ms Bright testified that she has arthritis and was having problems doing her exercises at Straight, Inc. in June 1982, so she was taken into a shower stall to exercise where she was marathoned [Bomb Squad] by staff and old comers who started pushing her around the stall. She testified that they picked her up and threw her to the floor. One girl pulled her up and down by the hair until her head was numb. She kept telling them she had to go to the bathroom, but they wouldn’t let her go. When they finally did, they kept trying to pull her off the commode as she was using it. When she had finished, she stated, a girl started twisting her arm until another girl told her to stop or she would break it. They made her use a paper towel to scoop her own feces out of the toilet.

After three hours of this she was forcefully taken to stand before the GROUP of 600 Straight kids where kids would stand up and say she was no good. One old comer yelled for the GROUP to leave her alone when Straight’s national clinical director, Reverend Doctor V. Miller Newton went over and started screaming at the girl. Two girls came up and put their hands over Leigh’s mouth so she couldn’t breathe. Dr Newton, who was an ordained minister, in front of 600 kids, grabbed Ms. Bright by her hair and threw her to the floor stating, "I want this girl the fuck out of my GROUP." She was taken into the intake room where Dr Newton told the old comers to keep her awake until Monday night. Since this occurred on a Saturday, Ms Bright was kept awoke for 80 hours, during which time girls would push her and make her stand for 12 hours at a time all the while calling her a whore. Finally on Monday night she was allowed 3 hours sleep.

On another occasion Ms Bright testified she had to stand through an entire rap with her back bent half-way to the GROUP. When she tried to bend her legs to relieve the ache five girls restrained her by putting her on the floor and sitting on her for over and hour.

Ms Bright testified that she had a bladder infection when she entered Straight in May but Straight wouldn’t let her go to a doctor. Finally in June Straight let her see a doctor because she had doubled over and started crying. The doctor gave her a prescription for a vaginal infection but Straight did not give her the medicine until July. On another occasion she reported she had excruciating pain in her ears whenever she opened her mouth but again Straight would not let her see a doctor. When Straight finally did let her see a doctor, he said she had a bone problem and needed to see an orthodontist. In the meantime he told her to eat soft foods. Straight did not give her soft foods nor they let her see an orthodontist.

Ms Bright remembered another girl who was not allowed to see an orthodontist. That girl, Ms. Bright reported, had such a bad problem with her braces that she went around with the entire wire sticking out of her mouth! [In an unannounced site visit by officials from Virginia’s Department of Mental Health conducted on February 14-15, 1990 client interviewee # 3 reported that she had had orthodonal surgery just prior to entering Straight and usually sees an orthodontist once a month, but had not seen an orthodontists in four months at Straight. Her teeth bleed when brushing, she reported, because she did not have a special toothbrush to use with braces. She reported to authorities that she believed she could not see an orthodontist until she made Phase 2.]

One day, Ms. Bright says, she related to her old comer that she wanted to commit suicide [not surprisingly]. Later, her old comer stood her up in front of GROUP and announced that Leigh wanted to commit suicide, whereupon GROUP started mocking her. After that, for almost a week, she was made to wear a blue shirt with he words PSYCHOTIC written on it. Whenever parents were around like at Open Meeting, Straight would make her take the shirt off. After that, Ms Bright estified, she never talked about suicidal thoughts to anyone.

Dr. Newton has written a sworn statement acknowledging that he did once restrain Ms. Bright, but only because she had become "physically vicious". "I used only recognized restraint techniques, including a grip on the hair, which causes a person to release anything she is holding or biting," Newton declared.[1] Read here the log of complaints against Dr. Newton when he fled Florida in 1983. Read here about Dr. Newton's $11 million in settlements with former clients for abusing them in New Jersey. A watchdog group for abusive priests of the Orthodox Catholic Church of America lists Father Cassian (formerly known at Straight and Kids as Reverend Doctor Doctor V. Miller Newton).

Last month, in a PumpGate court deposition, Betty Sembler made this incredible statement about Miller Newton, "[Miller Newton is] a very close and dear friend and a valued one." Then she calls him "an outstanding individual." Mr. Newton is even a participant on the International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse, a front group for Betty's Drug Free America Foundation.

In his June speech, Senator Durbin reminded the gathered Senators that, "Eleanor Roosevelt was the Chair of the U.N. Commission that produced the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948. The Universal Declaration states unequivocally, "No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.'' " Just six months later on December 10, 2004 on the occasion of Human Rights Day, Ambassador Melvin Sembler, AO wrote an Op-Ed for La Nazione/Il Resto del Carlino/IL Giorno in which he stated, "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a revolutionary document when the United Nations passed it in 1948. It remains so today. Americans take a justifiable pride in the central role that Eleanor Roosevelt played in its drafting and passage." He continued, " Its opening words resonate around the world in 2004 with the same force they did in the wake of World War II, and bear repeating: “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equality and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.”

Menachem Begin had been tortured before the UN Declaration, Leigh Bright after. How dare Mr. Sembler make such a hypocrtical, public statement in opposition to torture!!!

FOOTNOTES
1 St. Petersburg Times, 1-30-83, p. 1B.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Late Great Straight Holocaust and starvation by peanut butter

Just one example this time--Starvation. An important part of Thought Reform is food deprivation. In Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, Pot's Cambodia, Sadam's Iraq and Amen's Uganda federal authorities were able to starve people because they did not have to answer to anyone. The dictator was the law. But food deprivation of a minor in a democracy presents a problem, since it is illegal. So how do you legally starve a child in a democracy?

[The Church of Scientology(TM) has a program called the Rehabilitative Project Force that its adult parishioners may attend. Church critics say it is a brainwashing center. But brainwashing requires starvation and RPF folks are feed all the beans and water they can eat. Now beans are a leguminous plant chocked full of protein. One thing about eating leguminous plants -- they give off gas. The gas expands in one's stomach and can give a bloated feeling of being more filled that one really is. But the greater issue is this: I love Navy beans. But if you give them to me for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for several days there will come a point that I'll tell you, give me one more bowl of beans and I'll vomit. I'll stop eating. And I'll lose weight. ]

How did Straight implement food deprivation? Peanut butter -- that's how. Peanuts are a leguminous bean plant full of protein. And what kid does not like peanut butter? It bloats one full of gas. Straight gave many kids what they called peanut butter choker sandwiches. Sandwiches thich with peanut butter. But after a few days of nothing but peanut butter, a child becomes tired of that. Give me another thick peanut butter sandwich and I'll be sick. The kid doesn't eat and so loses weight. If the kid's family sues, you tell the judge, hey your Honor, we gave that kid all the peanut butter he could eat. It's not our fault he refused to eat it. In 1985 Straight-Atlanta paid former client Susan White $37,000 in an out-of-court settlement. Ms. White claimed she was put on a diet of peanut butter and water for 29 days because she would not admit to having a drug problem she did not have. Her suit was handled by the ACLU.

Straight was preceeded by a federally funded program called The Seed. The Seed lost its federal funding and virtually closed after the US Senate accused it of using North Korean brainwashing methods on children. The man who managed the federal grant to The Seed was National Institue on Drug Abuse (a subsidiary of NIH) director Dr. Robert DuPont who was also the second White House Drug Czar. After Dr. DuPont left federal service, he became a paid consultant for Straight boasting that he encouraged Nancy Reagan to get involved with Straight and that it was his suggestion that Straight go national. Straight got sued all over the place and, invaribly, Dr. DuPont was used as an expert witness for Straight. The fact is the more people who sued Straight, the more money DuPont might stand to make defending Straight. Listen to his deposition for the Michael Daniels trial on April 6, 1988 where he is asked about peanut butter diets (pp. 69 - 70).

Q. “Do you feel that if a person were placed on a peanut butter diet for any length of time that could not in any way be considered mental abuse?

A. “I think it’s unpleasant. I would put it in the category of being unpleasant, not more than that. You have to understand that peanut butter is a mainistay in my diet, but of course I select it.”

Q. “Doctor, you don’t eat peanut butter all three meals of your day, do you?”

A. “It comes close sometimes but--”

Q. “Do you ever eat peanut butter for all three meals of your day?”

A. “No, but probably two.” “...If a person were allowed to eat nothing but peanut butter and that went on for even a period of days when there was no other food offered to that person, that would be upsetting. Now, abuse, I don’t know. I think it’s distressing, let me put it that way. I wouldn’t go beyond that.”

The point is if you want to deprive a kid of food in a democracy, you need a trick and it wouldn't hurt to have big gun expert witnesses too.

According to The Simon Wiesenthal Center in LA, The SS called Dachau a "re-education centre". Now that's important because Straight calls its camps "re-acculturation centers." Jews in Hitler's concentration camps were made to defecate publicly like cats and dogs. Straight kids eliminated and wiped publicly before an oldcomer. These things are important because Walter Loebenberg, president of Straight Foundation, founded the Florida Holocaust Museum. On the board of directos are or have been Mel Sembler, Betty Sembler and Straight board members Jay Synder and Dr. Bruce Epstein. Dr. Epstein has been director of the museum. Many Straight survivors feel that the Museum is just a smoke screen to hide their work at Straight, and so they have protested Museum functions.

In April 1998 Stephen Goldman who was then director of The Florida Holocaust Museum said, "There's no irony in it being here. Our lessons are those of tolerance and breaking down of barriers." He was talking about hosting "Stealing Home: How Jackie Robinson Changed America." Well I take exception to that. In 1978 Florida’s Bureau of Criminal Justice Planning and Assistance released a report on Straight finding that in its first 18 months of operation Straight had enrolled 450 youths but only one had been black. Five years later Straight's national clinical director admitted that out of 260 young clients at Straight - St. Petersburg there were no blacks! How can you run an institution that abuses children and then start a Holocaust Museum. How can you treat just white kids because they have more money, and then have a display to a great American baseball player because he is black!

So you see the difference Victor. You can not feed an American kid fish head soup, or worse, nothing at all because the police will take you to jail. But in Nazi Germany it was the police themselves who fed people fish head soup. Who's going to arrest them. Time and space limits my argument just to the starvation issue; there are so many more. Straight is not just a step in the direction of what happened in Germany; it is a GREAT leap in that direction.

Victor, God love you, I could never be able to comprehend how you feel and your point is soundly taken -- Straight is not as bad as Hitler's Germany and absolutely NOTHING can even begin compare to THE HOLOCAUST. Still 75,000 American kids had their civil liberties and human rights violated. What do you call it? The Straight Incident? That's fine. But as for me I'll continue to call it The Late Great Straight Holocaust.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Clary report: Did Mel Sembler quash a state attempt to close an abusive drug rehab?

The Clary Report, Ambassador Mel Sembler, Florida state Senator Donald Sullivan, MD and his wife Judge Irene Sullivan

Straight closed its flagship program in Saint Petersburg on April 13, 1993 amidst an investigation of Straight being conducted by Lowell Clary, Acting Inspector General for Florida’s Department of Health and Human Services (HRS) now called the Office of Children and Family. Mr. Clary had begun his investigation back in December because of damaging documents about Straight's operations which he had received from Richard Bradbury. Mr. Clary released his findings on May 19, a month after Straight, Inc. had closed. His report, which is presented below in its entirety, insinuates that Melvin Sembler and " unnamed state senators" probably pressured HRS to grant Straight-Saint Petersburg a license in 1989 when an on-site inspection team was preparing to deny the license. According to the report Harry Moffitt, an HRS senior program specialist, said that deputy assistant secretary Linda Lewis questioned why Florida would continue to let Straight operate in spite of allegations of withholding medication and food from clients, depriving them of sleep and using excessive force against them. That when Ms. Lewis brought this up to Ivor Groves, an assistant secretary to HRS, she had been told that she would be fired on the spot if she did not do as told. Groves denied the conversation and Lewis did not recall it. The report also revealed a definite pattern of abuse or excessive force used against clients at Straight facilities. See the five page report here:

Post Clary: Straight's Dr. Donald Sullivan, MD oversees Florida's Office of Children and Families--the office that would investigate Sembler--if an investigation was ordered

Donald C. Sullivan, MD is a respected orthopedic surgeon in Saint Petersburg, Florida. In 1992 he was successfully elected to the Florida state Senate as a Republican. One thing that former Senator Sullivan can be credited for is making Saint Petersburg Community College a full four year college. [ Betty Sembler sits with Florida's drug czar Jim McDonough on on the advisory board of the Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training (MCTFT)--a program funded by the U.S. Department of Defense through the Florida National Guard and hosted near Betty's house at Saint Petersburg Junior College. MCTFT is the federal government's program to train law enforcement officers, nationwide, in counter drug task force efforts.] Besides his work in education, Senator Sullivan served on the state Senate's Children and Families Committee which oversees Florida's Office of Children and Families, the very same office that the Clary Report insinuates was prepared to deny Straight's license in 1989 when political pressure was put on it to grant a license. This all occurring, of course, before Senator Sullivan came aboard.

Former Senator Sullivan says he had been persuaded into running for the state Senate in 1992 by his friend, then state Senator, John Grant, a Republican from Tampa. (Between 1994 and 1996 Senator John Grant got $4,000 from eight separate $500 donations from the Sembler clan. Joseph Garcia, former Chairman Straight Executive Committee and former Executive Vice President and Treasurer of Drug Free America Foundation contributed $250 to John Grant's 1996 campaign. [Source: Florida Department of State Division of Elections]) Interestingly, Wesley Pennington, the president of Straight, ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the state assembly in 1992. Interesting because according to a document submitted by Straight Foundation to the IRS as part of its tax package, in May 1992 Donald Sullivan, MD was the secretary of the board of directors of Straight Foundation, Inc. Check out the 1996 annual report for Straight Foundation (which now calls itself the Drug Free America Foundation) in which the state's office of corporations is instructed to remove Donald Sullivan from its list of officers.

Post Clary: Dr. Sullivan's wife Irene Sullivan becomes a Sixth Circuit judge

In the preface to an article written by Saint Petersburg Times reporter William R. Levesque on October 29, 1998, Mr. Levesque writes: "Critics say the endorsements blur the line between party politics and non-partisan judicial campaigns." He writes: "In two fliers, the Republican Party of Pinellas County urges residents to vote the party ticket, . . . Included in the list are Irene Sullivan, a candidate for circuit court judge, and George Brown. . ." Irene Sullivan, who is the wife of Dr. Donald C. Sullivan, got her judgeship. (Irene Sullivan received $1,000 from Mel and Betty Sembler in four separate $250 donations between 1997 and 1998. Walter Loebenberg donated $500 to Ms. Sullivan's campaign in 1998 and $250 in 1997. Former Straight board members or advisory board members attorneys Guy Perenich and Myron Mensch, Dr. Bruce Epstein and wife Amy (Amy is not a former board member), and Mel Gross and Raymond Bourgholtzer threw in $650 combined. DFAF Advisory Board member Susan Latvala and her husband state senator Jack Latvala donated $550 between 1997 and 1998. Irene's husband and former Straight Foundation secretary Donald Sullivan, MD gave the maximum allowed of $500. But all of this pales to insignificance compared to what Irene Sullivan donated to her own campaign fund. She gave $99,000 of her own money to become a judge. [Source: Florida Department of State Division of Elections])

For Betty Sembler's 70th birthday everybody gathered at Gratzzi's Italian restaurant to wish her well. Judge Irene Sullivan was there. Instead of gifts Betty had asked everyone to contribute to the DFAF.

The Clary finding is not the only time Mel Sembler's cronies put heat on state licensing officials either. Straight had opened in 1976 and by 1978 was in danger of being shut down because of numerous allegations of serious child abuse. The man who led the investigation had been Robert G. Marshall, district director of the state's licensing authority for drug rehabilitation programs in Pinellas County for the state office of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS). Naturally, a special citizen's committee called Parents Associated Inc. had been created to investigate--the investigator, Bob Marshall. Prominent on that citizen's committee had been Pinellas County Judge Jack Dadswell and Mack Vines who would be the chief of police by 1980. (Terry Hensley, another Saint Petersburg Police Chief, would later become the executive director of the Straight Foundation under its new name the Drug Free America Foundation.) A spokesperson for HRS Secretary William J. "Pete" Page, Jr. has admitted that Straight officials had called to complain about Marshall. Straight board member John White said that on one occasion a Straight official complained to Page about Marshall, but he did not know who it was. Even Melvin Sembler confirmed that some Straight officials had contacted Mr. Page about the HRS investigation of Straight, but, according to a newspaper account of the time, like Senator Curt Kiser 10 years later, he can't remember who they were. In any event Straight did not close but the investigator Bob Marshall was fired!

An interesting thing happened after the man destined to be the chief of police for Saint Petersburg investigated HRS' Bob Marshall. One of his assistants, Lt David Milchan, who had headed the Youth Services Division of the St. Petersburg Police Department, had frequently referred families to Straight. In fact he was on the Straight Advisory Committee. Well it seems he just got tired of being a police officer after all those years of service. No he didn't bother retiring. He just up and quit and took a job with HRS. So now Straight had managed to get Bob Marshall fired for investigating Straight and get a former board member working for HRS to boot. Well after a bit David Milchan decided that he wanted to be a policeman after all, and so he went back to law enforcement. But not as a mere lieutenant. He went to Saint Petersburg Beach which is the city of residence for Straight co-founder Joseph Zappala and, in 1981, was given the job of Chief of Police! The Saint Petersburg Beach Lions Club annually awards the Joseph Zappala Policeman of the Year Award.

Related stories:

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Drug Free America Foundation, America's foremost conservative think tank on drug policy, founded in deceit

Drug Free America Foundation is a non-profit setup by Melvin and Betty Sembler as a think tank to influence national and international drug policy. Also, it helps small businesses set up Drug Free Workplace Environments through a grant by the U.S. Small Business Administration. But DFAF was founded in fraud. In 1976 Melvin and Betty Sembler were principal founders of Straight, Inc.--one of the most destructive juvenile drug rehabilitation programs the world has ever seen. By 1985 Straight had faced so many law suits and criminal investigations that a shell corporation was created to buffer Mel Sembler from civil suits and from possible criminal indictments, and to protect Straight's financial assets. The shell corporation was called Straight Foundation, Inc.

In 1985 the foundation misrepresented itself to the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations by stating it had been formed, in part, to fund treatment programs when, in fact, it had been formed to fund Straight, Inc. and Straight, Inc. almost exclusively. It also raised funds for Straight, Inc. and, it appears, only for Straight, Inc. In reality it leased Straight, Inc.'s property back to itself. In 1995 Straight Foundation, Inc. changed is name to Drug Free America Foundation and changed its mission to its current ones. Perhaps Melvin and Betty Sembler should be in prison for their roles at Straight. Instead they've bought their way into politics and are major players in establishing national and international drug policy.
See: dfaf shell story
Semblers and national drug policy
Semblers and international drug policy

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Halloween Message. Be careful what you read.

Historically, the ACLU has helped our great nation make giant gains with civil liberties. But sometimes they just don't know when to shut up as in the Boston ACLU 2000 defense of NAMBLA's web page privacy. According to the Boston Globe The North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) officials in the past have said "their main goal is the abolition of age-of-consent laws that classify sex with children as rape."

We believe that a five year old boy might trade oral sex to an adult for an ice cream cone and be all the more merry for it. But when that lad turns 14, knowledge of homosexuality and peer pressure can make him think he's a queer and cause him to commit suicide. We believe this is how Straight, Inc. (the late great juvenile drug rehabilitation program) aided in the murder of so many of its former clients. [Over 40 former Straight clients have committed suicide!]

Last year the school board of Puyallup, WA ruled to ban Halloween festivities during school time. A major reason? Celebrating Halloween would offend Wiccans (real witches). Well what is the ACLU doing about it? And what about werewolves, vampires and The Creature from the Black Lagooni?

So what are the Marines doing wrong in the photo? They are praying, that's what. They are bowing their heads in prayer. When we received an email that an ACLU spokesman named Lucius Traveler saw the photo and went ballistic stating, "These are federal employees on federal property and on federal time. For them to pray is clearly an establishment of religion, and we must nip this in the bud immediately," we went ballistic too. So we investigated. Did Mr. Traveler actually say that? Turns out the ACLU does not even have a Mr. whatever his name is. It's all just a hoax.

But really, as for the ACLU you gotta' love 'em when you need 'em; and damn 'em when you don't. Like I say, the ACLU has made some great strides for us all; but then they've done some odious work too. This time they're off the hook. As for the Marines--God bless them one and all! Semper Fi.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Dr. Riddile receives award prompting Leigh Bright and Wes Fager to write letters of protest

References:
a. MetLife/NASSP PR on Dr. Mel Riddile
b. Wash Post on Dr. Mel Riddile

Recently Dr. Mel Riddile, former national executive director of Straight, was named top high school principal in America by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. This prompted Wes Fager, editor of theStraights dot com, to send the following eMail to Michael Carr of NASSP:
_____________________
Dear Michael Carr, NASSP

I was dissapointed to learn that Dr. Riddile has been selected by your organization as National High School Principal of the Year. Dr. Riddile is the former director of Straight-Springfield, Virginia and the former national director of Straight, Inc. For 17 years Straight, Inc. was the biggest juvenile drug rehabilitation program in the world (though Dr. Riddile was not with the program all that time). But Straight was also one of the most destructive rehab programs the world has ever seen. It operated on deceit, fear, intimidation, and untested methods brainwashing. Mental and physical abuse were rampant. Eventually this national-level program had to close all its treatment camps under mounting civil suits and investigations from state criminal and child welfare agencies.

And while Dr. Riddile is being recognized today for his current work and receiving a $5,000 check, I think it is important to note that over 40 of Straight's former clients have committed suicide.

Wesley Fager
ed, http://www.thestraights.com

Related story:
A story extolling the virtues of Dr. Riddile and his recent award in The Washington Post on 10/23/05 led former Straight student Leigh Bright to send a letter to the editor to theStraights dot com and to the Wash Post.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Felony exploitation of children?

Accordig to USA Today, May 27, 2005, a music store manager in Port Richey, Florida has been charged with felony exploitation of the elderly and was held on $10,000 bail at the Pasco County jail. According to the charge Scott Heyder, manager of a music store, sold a 79 year old woman 11 organs over an 18 month period, including four in one day. The organs keep getting more expensive and Mr. Heyer kept selling to her despite pleas from the woman's family to stop it. What states, including Florida, have a felony exploitation of minors law on the books and what are the statues of limitation? [Related docs: 1996 Florida legislature revises statues on elderly and child exploitation MSWord html ]

Massachusetts looks at making it illegal for adults to strike a child

The Commonwealth of Masschusetts is considering a bill to make it a crime to use corporal punishment on children (defined as anyone under 18 ). The proposal states: " “Corporal punishment”, the willful infliction of physical pain, including but not limited, to hitting, whipping, slapping, spanking, kicking, biting, striking with an object, pinching, punching, poking eyes, twisting limbs, boxing ears, shaking, “hot-saucing” (putting undiluted Tabasco sauce or soap in the mouth), administering electric shocks, or any other unreasonable use or degree of force. (b) It shall be unlawful in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for any adult to inflict corporal punishment upon a child." link

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Mel Riddile, Straight's former national clinical director, protested at awards ceremony

We have received word that on June 22, 2005 Melvin Riddile, Ph.D., the principal of J.E.B. Stuart High School in Fairfax County, Virginia was presented an award in Williamsburg, Virginia for being the best principal in Virginia. But the ceremony was protested by a handful of Straight survivors. Dr. Riddile is the former national executive director of Straight, Inc. and during the early 1980s Dr. Riddile was the director of the Straight camp in Springfield, Virginia (in Fairfax County). For 17 years Straight, Inc. was one of the most destructive juvenile rehabilitation programs in the world. Straight stopped treating kids for addictions in 1993 and today is an internationally recognized think tank on American and international drug policy. Today it calls itself Drug Free America Foundation and its founder (who is the former chairman of the finance committee for the national GOP) Melvin Sembler is our Ambassador to Italy. While DFAF no longer treats kids for addictions, Kids Helping Kids of Cincinnati, Ohio does.

Kids Helping Kids was founded in part by Dr. George Ross who, like Dr. Riddile, has a Ph.D. in Education. Dr. Ross is Straight's former national education director. A few months after Straight had opened in Virginia, back when Mel Riddile was director of the Virginia program, a young Straight escapee named Fred Collins was awarded $220,000 by a jury in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia for being falsely imprisoned by Straight. Virginia authorities did not prosecute Dr. Riddile or anyone else for their roles at Straight, but state authorities in Kentucky tried to prosecute Dr. Ross for his alleged role of violating civil liberties at Possibilities Unlimited--another Straight-like program he founded in Lexington, Kentucky.

Straight-Cincinnati voluntarily closed in Ohio after state criminal authorities took it to court on multiple criminal counts. Today Kids Helping Kids continues to operate out of the old Straight facility. Recently some Straight survivors urged Dr. Riddile to speak out against Kids Helping Kids. They allege he personally knows "people who were involved with KHK." When Dr. Riddile refused to speak out against Kids, the Straight survivors passed out the following flier at the awards ceremony for Dr. Riddile. Here is a copy of the Riddile flier that was eMailed to us.

Related articles:

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Straight's former national executive director represses right to free speech

A while back we reported on President Bush's visit to a Fairfax County, Virginia High School last January. Out of 24 high schools in that country we were not surprised that the Pres selected J.E.B. Stuart High because the principal at Stuart is Dr. Mel Riddile. Dr. Riddile is the former national director for Straight, Inc. and the former director of the notorious Straight treatment camp in Springfield, Virginia. Thirteen former clients from Straight-Springfield went on to commit suicide or murder. (See What caused the 1980 epidemic of juvenile suicides in Fairfax County Virginia? and Abuses at Straight-Springfield. Note that most of the data in these reports occurred after Dr. Riddile's term at Straight-Springfield.) We got our information for our previous report from an article on J.E.B. Stuart's web page that implied, by omission, that the President was speaking to the students at that high school. The President opened his remarks saying, "I want to thank all the students here today." Now we have learned that only 75 of the school's 1400 students were allowed to attend the assembly. Most of the audience was made up of adult Republicans sycophants. One student who planned to protest the President's visit was expelled from school. His story made it to NPR. Whenever Nancy Reagan visited a Straight camp recalcitrant inmates were restrained in anterooms so the repression of free speech at J.E.B. Stuart does not surprise us. story

Wes Fager's letter to Bill O'Reilly on biased reporting by St Pete Times

We know that John Couey probably killed 9 year-old Jessica Lunsford. We know this because, according to the Citrus County Florida authorities who are holding him, he admitted to the killing. But this confession likely will not make it to trial. Why? Because Couey kept asking for an attorney but the authorities failed to get him one. What's more, at least three others may have abetted Couey in his flee to Georgia before being captured but none of them have been arrested. The abduction and murder of Jessica Lunsford made national news and the subsequent botching by Citrus County authorities has been the subject of criticism by FOX News host Bill O'Reilly and by U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite. Not surprisingly the once mighty St. Petersburg Times stood by the incomptence of the Citrus County's Sheriff's Office and the prosecutor's office. And when the national media criticized Florida officials The Times jumped all over Bill O'Reilly. For example, on June 21, 2005 The Times editorialized, "In recent weeks, Fox television's minister of misinformation Bill O'Reilly has attacked these law enforcement agencies and the St. Petersburg Times for their actions. 'They're covering up something there,' he has blustered, while offering not a shred of proof to back up this absurd conclusion."

Like PumpGate these things are highly predictable. The abduction and murder of a little girl makes national news. When the authorities botch the investigation, if the local press fails to report the failures, the national press will. The Times blasts O'Reilly for doing its job and O'Reilly blasts back interviewing a former Citrus County assistant prosecutor. That interview is here.

This is not the first time O'Reilly has crossed paths with The Times, though he doesn't realize it yet. My email to Bill O'Reilly explaining this follows:

Dear Bill:

You don't realize it but the blotched Jessica Lunsford investigation is not the first time you've crossed paths with the Tash/Barnes St. Petersburg Times. In April you had Calvina Fay of the St. Petersburg-based Drug Free America Foundation on your program as an expert on the ease it is for one to get medical marijuana. You disagreed with Ms. Fay on the use of marijuana by talk show host Montel Williams to ease the pain he suffers from MS. In January Montel aired a segment about a ruthless, amateurish former juvenile drug rehabilitation program called Straight, Inc. Over 40 former Straight clients have committed suicide. Straight was founded by former finance chair to the national GOP and US Ambassador to Italy Melvin Sembler. Straight no longer treats kids for addictions and in 1995 changed its name to Drug Free America Foundation. Now people such as yourself are duped into calling on DFAF to defend national drug policy. And the reason you don't know any better is because The Times won't report on it because it is in Sembler's pockets and because a respected pediatrician and former Straight board was a medical writer for The Times.

Wes Fager

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Great Drug War now in second edition

In 1983 a young man named Fred Collins made a daring escape from a private prison annex by throwing a chair through a window and climbing out. Having been starved for months he looked like a victim from a Nazi concentration camp. Amazingly, the prison annex happened to be the home owned by his own parents! The prison was the infamous Straight, Inc. which operated juvenile torture camps in the name of drug abuse treatment all over the country. In 1984 a federal jury awarded Mr. Collins (who had been an honors student at Virginia Tech before being shanghaied into Straight) $220,000 for being falsely imprisoned. $180,000 was for punitive damages alone! Arnold Trebach is a professor emeritus of law and social justice at American University. He learned about the trial from the local papers and was aghast from what he read.

In 1986 Professor Trebach published a book about the Reagan drug war of the Eighties and of the harm it caused to ordinary Americans as well as to our concepts of freedom. Today, to his own surprise, Professor Trebach is an admirer of Ronald Reagan for his dealings with the old Soviet Empire. Nevertheless, while the Reagans claimed to believe in personal freedom, they launched a campaign that justified perverse intrusions into the very bodies and bodily fluids of American citizens. Ronald Reagan endorsed Straight brochures and Nancy visited most of the Straight torture camps. Professor Trebach called his book The Great Drug War. An entire chapter is devoted to the Collins' trial and to the abuses of Straight up to that time. Psychology Today has this to say about TGDW, "At last! A professor, attorney, and writer who offers a reasonable and realistic approach to the drug problem in America." In the 1980s Arnold Trebach (and his Drug Policy Foundation) was the only intellectual voice around exposing institutional abuse in bogus treatment centers.Now a second edition of The Great Drug War, with a new introduction, is available. We wish the new edition could have been called The Late Great Drug War but this insidious, phony war rages on. The book is published by Unlimited Publishing, LLC. It should be a required text for the cause of reform by high school and college teachers in courses dealing with health education, drug policy, criminal justice, sociology, social work, and history. See Professor Trebach's write-up at www.trebach.com.

Order The Great Drug War at Amazon.com today.
School book stores should order from Baker & Taylor.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The O'Reilly Factor vs. Calvina Fay

Last month Fox News Bill O'Reilly interviewed Calvina Fay of the Drug Free Foundation. The topic: medical marijuana and how easy it is to get it in states that allow for this substance. Both O'Reilly and Fay were concerned over how easy it is to obtain. And then O'Reilly mentioned Montel Williams and his plight with MS. O'Reilly said that if the cigarette helped Montel live with the pain he didn't Americacare how much he smoked. Here Calvina took an opposing view. It was obvious that Bill O'Reilly did not know that his own FOX News wrote a blistering report a couple of years ago about Straight or that Straight is now called Drug Free America Foundation--the group that his guest Calvina Fay is with. It was obvious that O'Reilly did not know that in January Montel aired a story on the horrors of Straight. Straight should have been prosecuted for insurance fraud, deceptive business practices, criminal child abuse. Instead it just changed its name and mission. Mel and Betty Sembler are now self-proclaimed drug policy experts and people like the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the US Supreme Court and Bill O'Reilly seek out their opinions on how this country should wage a war on drugs. Somebody needs to contact Bill and Montel, give them the background on DFAF and get them to hold another conference with Calvina, Mel and Betty, only this time include people like Arnold Trebach, Kevin Zeese and myself. The issue when it comes to DFAF and drug policy is not what is best for the nation. The issue is why should any reasonable person listen to anything Mel and Betty have to say--about anything. Related article: Mel and Betty on national drug policy

Mel Riddile, former National Executive Director for Straight, Inc., named 2005 Outstanding Principal in Virginia

The award was announced in the Falls Church News Press. Riddile's background is given in the article but there is no mention of Straight. It is stated, however, that Principal Mel Riddile is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Mental Health Association of Northern Virginia. This is ironic because in 1984 a federal jury in northern Virginia awarded Fred Collins $220,000 because he had been held prisoner in the Straight camp in northern Virginia that was directed by Mel Riddile. Reports have it that young Collins had looked like a starved victim of the Holocaust when he finally escaped from Straight. Riddile went on to become the national executive director for Straight. Fred Collins returned to his studies and became a Ph.D. in mathematics. And the Virginia Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse yanked Straight's license after 9 stormy years of allegations of criminal child abuse. Dr. Riddile will receive his award in June in Williamsburg, Va. We have already received emails from those who would like to protest the award's ceremony. See Fornits for a discussion. story Fred Collins' abuse fornits discussion

Friday, April 01, 2005

14 years ago the Clownstown Chamber of Commerce tried to build a Shrine to Mel Sembler. Now Craig Sher, CEO of Sembler Co, is chairman of the Chamber!

Last month Ambassador Melvin Sembler, AO, SO, ILNRA had a $113 million Shrine dedicated to himself in Rome. He had personally negotiated the deal. 14 years before the St. Petersburg, Fl. Chamber of Commerce tried to build a monument to his greatness. Now Craig Sher, CEO of Sembler Company, is chairman of the COC. How many teachers and firemen will be laid off in order to have funds to build whatever next the COC has planned for Melvin? An Italian paper is talking about Sembler and major, criminal child abuse. The Washington Post is talking about his $113 million folly to himself. The Internet is abuzz about his penis pump. And all the St. Pete Times (his hometown paper) can come up with is that the CEO of his company chairs the COC which has already tried to build a monument to this guy. It's time for Sembler/Barnes/Tash and all those on the board of Straight (now DFAF) to go. spt related article

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Straight, Inc., now called Drug Free America Foundation, makes misleading News Advisory on Supreme Court's Medical Marijuana Ruling

On March 30, 2005 the US Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision in Ashcroft v. Raich on whether raw marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes. DFAF has announced that its personnel will be available for comment upon the decision of the court. The news advisory states "Founded in 1995, Drug Free America Foundation . . . " We take issue with this statement. DFAF was not founded in 1995. It was founded in 1976 under the name Straight, Inc. which became notorious as one of the most brutal, destructive drug rehabilitation programs in the world. Over 40 former clients have committed suicide.

In 1985 Straight, Inc. changed its name to Straight Foundation, Inc., ostensibly to educate the public on the dangers of drug use, factually to protect founder Mel Sembler from criminal prosecutions and civil suits and to protect Straight's money and property from future civil suits. A new organization was created to treat kids for addictions. It was called Straight, Inc.!!! The foundation granted the new Straight money until once again it became self sufficient and started paying its profits back to the protected foundation in the form of rent. The new Straight, Inc. closed in 1993 under criminal investigations and law suits including a $20 million suit for damages by a Virginia man.

Straight's reputation for abuse notwithstanding [see Overview of Straight's Abuse] Program founders Mel and Betty Sembler felt that the knowledge that had gained at Straight uniquely qualified them to be drug policy experts and so in 1995 they changed the mission of Straight Foundation once again, this time to help small businesses setup Drug Free Workplaces and to be a think tank and a national advisory group for national and international drug policy. The name was also changed again to its current name Drug Free America Foundation. [See Piercing Straight's Corporate Veil.]

Besides criminal child abuse Straight is noted for fraud and deception. Now look at the Amicus Curiae Brief filed for the current Ashcroft v. Raich medical marijuana suit before the US Supreme Court. The brief is a friends of the court statement. It tells the judges, "Your honors, you are judges and not experts in drug use and drug policy, but we are. And we are willing to use our time and our money to give you our collective, unsolicited opinion on how you should vote. Who are we? We are doctors, lawyers and drug policy experts from all across America and we think there is no scientific basis for using medical marijuana. We think that would be a bad thing.

But some of the signers of the brief or their associates are involved in drug testing. They want stiff anti-drugs laws and they want to be paid to do the testing. So who really is this wide spectrum of drug experts from all across America shown at the right. First of all the brief was prepared by Attorney David Evans. A few years ago David Evans and Dr. Eric Voth prepared an Amicus Brief in support of the US government's opposition of California Proposition 215--a state initiative for medical marijuana use. David Evans was with The Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs and Dr. Voth was Chairman of the Institute on Global Drug Policy. But Calvina Fay, Executive Director of DFAF, is a cofounder of The Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs, and the Institute on Global Drug Policy is a subsidiary of DFAF. Today David Evans is also a member of DFAF'S Institute on Global Drug Policy. Now look at the signatories on the brief:

  • The Drug Free America Foundation (Straight, Inc.) is at the top of the list.
  • The Drug Free Schools Coalition. David Evans is executive director of the this coalition along with the likes of Colleen Wienhoff, former Vice Chairman of the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). She gets paid to do drug testing. Evans is also with the The Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs, an organization co-founded by Calvina Fay, Executive Director of DFAF.
  • Save Our Society From Drugs was founded by Betty Sembler.
  • The International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse is another subsidiary of DFAF. Father Cassian Newton is one member of the International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse. Back when he was known as Reverend Doctor Virgil Miller Newton, Father Cassian had been the national clinical director for Straight, Inc. He left on the heels of criminal investigations and law suits--one culminating in a $721,000 jury verdict in 1990--a suit in which Dr. Newton had been accused of throwing Karen Norton against a wall. After Straight Newton setup his own chain of abusive teen rehabs. After CBS' West 57th St. exposed him; county prosecutors raided his program; four counselors were convicted for assault; he settled with federal prosecutors for $45,000 in return for not being prosecuted for 254 counts of insurance fraud; and after he and his team settled with two clients for $11.5 million for abuses sustained, Dr. Newton, now Father Cassian, returned to Florida and rejoined Drug Free America Foundation! Read The Miller Newton Story. [Donald Ian Macdonald, MD, Straight's former national research director, and Robert L. DuPont, Jr., MD, a former paid Straight consultant, are also members of ISMFDA.]
  • The Institute on Global Drug Policy is, as we saw above, a subsidiary of DFAF.
  • Students Taking Action Not Drugs is also an arm of DFAF.
So the brief leads the judges to believe that drug policy experts from all over America have taken their time and money to give them their collective opinion, when the fact is (according to the brief's title page) it is all one organization, Straight, Inc., steeped in criminal crimes against humanity, now called Drug Free America Foundation, trying to convince the US Supreme court to obey the wishes of Mel and Betty Sembler. (In truth, if you look at the body of the brief there are many endorsers not connected to DFAF.)

We are making no statement on the rightness or wrongness of the medical marijuana initiative. We are saying that the apparent principals behind the opposition have no business having the ear of the highest court in the land. We are saying that the public should not consult with the DFAF, its subsidiaries or associates about the outcome of the upcoming Supreme Court decision. We are saying that instead Melvin Sembler, Betty Sembler and Miller Newton, among others, should be investigated for their roles in Straight and for the deaths of over 40 former Straight or Straight-related clients.Related articles:

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Overview of Straight's abuses

Melvin Floyd Sembler is a multi-millionaire from Saint Petersburg, Florida. He is also the US Ambassador to Italy. But how did he get to be a multi-millionaire? And how did he get to be a US ambassador--not once but twice? And what are these stories spreading around linking him and his wife Betty Sembler to child abuse? Mr. Sembler used to sell ladies underwear in a ladies apparel store in Dyersburg, Tennessee. He married the store owner's daughter and expanded the business into shopping center construction and management. In the early 70s he moved the shopping center construction business to Pinellas County Florida where it flourishes today under the name Sembler Company. In 1987 Sembler Company got caught buying a piece of swampland[2] in Florida (using insider information) for $1 million and almost selling it overnight (with the aid of its insider) to the city of Clearwater, Florida for $2.65 million. The local press caught wind so in the end the company only made $1 million on the deal.

The Semblers have admitted that about the time of their move to Florida they put their number two son into a controversial, federally-funded drug rehabilitation program chain called The Seed. In 1974 the US Senate published a study that likened The Seed's methods to Communist brainwashing. (See Individual Rights and the Federal Role in Behavior Modification by the US Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights.[3]) Under such a scathing indictment The Seed withered but out if its ashes the Semblers created (with the aid of federal grants) their own rendition of The Seed which they called Straight, Inc. A half dozen directors left Straight in its first year. One of them inferred that Straight was worse than The Seed. And indeed it was.

The idea (as perfected by the Communist Chinese) is to strip a kid of all self esteem and then build him back up in the straight image. Life starts anew at Straight and all time before Straight is one's druggie past, even the period when he was just five years old. As in Chinese Seventh of May Academies (brainwashing prisons) kids (12 - 21) were deprived of food and sleep, painfully restrained without cause, spat upon in their faces and not allowed to wipe the spit off, made to urinate and to defecate on themselves (young girls on their period bled in their pants). Kids constantly yelled at other kids trying to get them to admit to drug usage or sex acts they may or may not have committed. Kids were coaxed or terrorized into signing confessions (true or false) of an utmost personal nature. [This is the criminal act of extortion. Kids are tortured for information about themselves that can be potentially used to silence the child while his parents continue to pay Straight's fees (eg. money exchanges hands). The information can be used to keep the kid and his family from speaking out against the program once he leaves and it can also be used to discourage civil suits and criminal complaints.] This bizarre, experimental treatment lasted two years--though Straight officials invariably told prospective parents that their kid might make it through in a few months.

In such a confused, terrorized and humiliated state of mind many kids carved on their bodies just like caged animals often do. So they had to be watched 24/7, even when they wiped themselves on the toilet, to guard them from committing suicide. But Straight had no plan to guard them once they left Straight. Over 40 former clients from Straight and follow-on Straights, that we know about, have committed suicide after leaving. (See Straight: Suicide or Murder.[4]) Straight targeted the children of affluent white families and though most clients were teenagers there were some adults in their early 20s as well as children as young as 12. Unfortunately, records, media reports and eye witness reveal that many kids being treated for drug addiction at Straight were not drug addicts. Heath officials in Boston cited Straight for treating one little girl age 12 for drug addiction when her records indicated that all she had done was to sniff a magic marker! Yet through the years tens of thousands of American teenagers were held hostage while Straight claimed exorbitant success rates and earned nearly $100,00 million in the process. From 1976 to 1993 Straight, Inc., with treatment camps all over America, was the biggest juvenile rehabilitation program in the world! Much of its spectacular success was due to endorsements by the likes of Nancy and Ronald Reagan. George Bush the elder even made a TV commercial[5] for Straight.

In 1990 Straight invited two prominent Canadian psychology professors from Simon Frasher University to visit its treatment camp in Springfield, Virginia to dispell the rumors, once and for all, of brainwashing. Professor Beyerstein's concluded that Straight was indeed using Communist brainwashing techniques and published his findings in his report Treatment, Thought Reform and the Road to Hell. The other professor, Dr. Bruce K. Alexander, subsequently wrote a book on Canadian drug policy titled Peaceful Measures: Canada's Way Out of the 'War on Drugs'. On page 75 he wrote this about Straight, Straight officials have generously allowed me to witness some of their group sessions firsthand . . . I believe that Straight's treatment can be fairly compared with 'brainwashing' in prisoner-of-war camps as documented by Brown (1963, chap. 2)*. Thus, procedures that would be reprehensible in any context outside of a prisoner-of-war camp are considered acceptable 'treatment' in the case of drug addiction. * The quote is from Techniques of Persuasion: From Propaganda to Brainwashing by J. A. C. Brown.

Take the quick tour of Straight's abuses:

Now read:

Now read the story of Straight's former national clinical director, Reverend Doctor Miller Newton.

In 1985 Straight faced yet another law suit for abusing a minor. Scared for his personal liability, Melvin Sembler and his board of directors changed the mission of Straight from rehabilitation to educating the public of the dangers of drug use. And changed the name from Straight, Inc. to Straight Foundation, Inc. Then a new organization was formed to treat kids for addictions. The new organization was called--Straight, Inc. all over again. The foundation of course held all the assets--property and cash. It leased the property back to the treatment program. Mel Sembler went with the foundation where he felt he could not be sued for what the treatment arm did. (See Straight: piercing the corporate veil. [11]) In 1989 health officials in Florida tried to close Straight's flagship treatment center in St. Petersburg but there is evidence that Mr. Sembler used his growing political clout to quash [12] that effort. Straight, Inc. finally closed in 1993 amidst law suits and state investigations, but the foundation did not. In 1995 Straight Foundation, Inc. changed its name yet again to its current name: Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF) [13]. The mission was changed again too. The current mission is a. to help small businesses setup Drug Free Workplace Environments, and b. to be a national drug policy think tank. Melvin Sembler is the former national finance chairman for the national Republican Party. He has given a lot of money to Republicans and has helped raised millions more. George H.W. Bush made him ambassador to Australia. George W. Bush has made him our current ambassador to Italy. At his Senate confirmation hearings Sembler stressed that he was selected because of his humanitarian work at Straight. (On his official state department web page [14] Sembler claims that he and Betty saved 12,000 kids at Straight.) But Melvin Sembler was given ambassadorial jobs because of his money. [See Sembler's contributions to the Republicans. [15] ] And because of his money the Republican Party helped Straight [16] become the power it became.

This site is mirrored at www.theStraights.com/overview-abuses.htm

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ambassador Melvin Sembler, wife Betty and Straight, Inc.:should they be ambassadors of national drug policy,or jailed?

by Wesley Fager © 2003 (updated 3/30/05)

They [groups hoping to profit from drug legalization] don't care about civil liberties or our nation's children. . . They only care about getting rich . . . Betty Sembler, from a letter[1] dated July 6, 2004 to a US Representative.

Melvin Sembler is the US ambassador to Italy and like most ambassadors appointed by George Bush he bought his way in so--so what. Melvin Sembler and his wife Betty Sembler have dark pasts--that's what. Pasts dealing with abuse of teens on a grand scale. Read Overview of Straight Abuses. And now they feel those pasts uniquely qualify them above all others to set national and international drug policy. Read now the Semblers' plan for a national drug strategy by making all teens pee in a bottle as a rite of passage to get their driver's license.

Be sure to read the companion article about Mel and Betty taking sites on international demand reduction in Ambassador Melvin Sembler & wife Betty: self-proclaimed international drug policy experts (link).

Also read A STUDY OF THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE DRUG FREE AMERICA FOUNDATION. INC. (formerly Straight Foundation, Inc.) IN AMERICAN AND INTERNATIONAL DRUG POLICY (link).

Melvin and Betty Sembler: self proclaimed drug policy experts.

As a drug prevention and policy expert, caring mother and grandmother, I urge you--do not vote for the Hinchey- Rohrabacher amendment. Betty Sembler, from a letter [1] dated July 6, 2004 to a US Representative.
Some think that Melvin and Betty Sembler should have gone to prison for what their Straight program did to tens of thousands of teenagers--but that will never happen. Instead Mr. Sembler bought into Republican politics and is now the US Ambassador to Italy. His Drug Free America Foundation (formerly called Straight Foundation) is one of the major power brokers setting national and international drug policy. In 1988 Melvin Sembler recommended a novel solution to the US drug problem. "Test every 16-year-old for drugs before we issue a drivers license," he declared then.[17] It appears that Mel and Betty Sembler, through their DFAF, are trying to realize this unconstitutional goal. But who will be paid to do the actual testing? The DFAF does not do drug testing but its partner National Drug and Alcohol Testing, Inc. in St. Petersburg does. NDATI received $234,000 from the Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1998. Calvina Fay, executive director of DFAF, used to operate a drug testing company. Just before coming to DFAF she was the director of the Houston Drug-Free Business Initiative which had as a charter sponsor Drug Screens, Inc.--a drug testing company. Calvina's former Houston group got $170,000 from the SBA while DFAF itself took in $314,539. Read now how Mel and Betty Sembler have turned the knowledge they have gained about drugs from treating children at Straight, Inc. into a formula for setting national and international drug policy. Read how they have been the major force chipping away at the Fourth Amendment to make our kids pee in a bottle in order to get their driver's license.

The Semblers' and DFAF's National Drug Control Strategy

Initiative 1. Make all Americans under age 40 be drug tested

1A. Make high school athletes pee in a jar. In 1992 in Veronia School District vs Acton an Oregon school district tried to force high school athletes to undergo drug testing in violation of their IV Amendment right protecting them from unreasonable searches and seizures. This was an easy sale because a good argument can be made that contact sports players are at a greater risk of injury if they are on drugs. Veronica School District called in former drug czar and founding director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Robert DuPont, MD to be its expert witness. Dr. DuPont testified that suspicionless drug testing of high school athletes was for their own good. The courts ruled in favor of suspicionless drug testing of school athletes.

But Robert DuPont is on DFAF's Advisory Board and is tied directly to Straight, Inc.
DuPont is tied to The Seed, Straight, DFAF and had a big-time financial conflict of interest to boot. Betty Sembler was Jeb Bush's finance co-chair when he ran unsuccessfully for governor of Florida. After that he created the Foundation for Florida's Future to keep his political machine alive. Major contributors to his foundation were Melvin Sembler and H. Wayne Huizenga. Among other enterprises, Huizenga owns Psychemedics, the world's premier drug hair testing company. Robert DuPont is the chairman of the scientific advisory board for Psychemedics. DuPont has partnered with former DEA head Peter Bensinger to form Bensinger and DuPont. One contract they have is to prescreen workers for the US Post Office for illegal drug use. It is the biggest prescreening program in the world. Thus while it may be in a kid's best interest to be tested before playing sports, Dr. DuPont possibly stands to make money by testing them for drugs! Furthermore, Robert DuPont is on the Advisory Board for DFAF along with Florida Governor Jeb Bush. When he headed NIDA Dr. DuPont oversaw the government grant to The Seed. Later DuPont left federal service and became a paid consultant for Straight! In fact he has testified that it was his suggestion that Straight go national. Dr. DuPont has testified for Straight as an expert witness in many of its civil suits for abusing kids.

1B. Make high school kids participating in ANY school activity (including the history club or chess club) pee in a jar. Getting the courts to suspend a child athlete's Fourth Amendment rights is easy--just argue it's for his own good because he could get hurt more easily in contact sports if he's high on drugs. But getting the courts to agree to do the same for a girl in the glee club was more challenging. The case which again went to the US Supreme Court for that was Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma Petitioner v. Earls Respondent. David Evans of The Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs wrote an Amicus Curiae brief for the court in favor of the testing. But Calvina Fay, Executive Director of DFAF, is a cofounder of Evans' Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs and Evans is also a member of the Institute on Global Drug Policy, a DFAF subsidiary. Among the signers of the brief were: Drug Free America Foundation; Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs; Institute on Global Drug Policy; Eric Voth, MD, director of Institute on Global Drug Policy; Bensinger DuPont & Associates; Robert L. Dupont, MD; Peter Bensinger; Julie Murdoch, Esq. of Bensinger, DuPont & Associates; Donald Ian Macdonald, MD--Straight's former national research director turned White House Drug Czar; Stephanie Haynes, Save Our Society From Drugs™--a Betty Sembler foundation. In other words not only did Straight's former paid advisor, now DFAF Advisory Board member, Robert DuPont sign, but his business partner Peter Bensinger signed, their business signed, and Julie Murdock, an employee signed. And these guys get paid to do testing!

1C. Make ALL HIGH SCHOOL KIDS pee in a jar. This is the logical next step and it is surely imminent.

1D. Make ALL KIDS IN AMERICA who turn 16 pay those who run the drug testing industry a fee as a rite of passage to get their driver's permit. In 1988 Melvin Sembler recommended a novel solution to the US drug problem. "Test every 16-year-old for drugs before we issue a drivers license," he declared then.[1] This is coming.

1E. Make ALL AMERICANS UNDER 40 be drug tested. Sembler's drug testing expert Robert DuPont once wrote the article Never trust anybody under 40 [22]. This is coming.


Initiative 2 Kill the medical marijuana initiative

2A Kill medical marijuana initiatives in the states. In November 1996 California voters passed Proposition 215 which permitted Californians to use marijuana for medical purposes. The federal government fought the initiative and took the case to the US Supreme Court which ruled for the federal government. Attorney David Evans of The Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs and Dr. Eric Voth, Chairman of the Institute on Global Drug Policy, co-authored an Amicus Curiae brief in support of the US government's effort to remove the proposition.

But both Evans and Voth are tied to DFAF. Calvina Fay, Executive Director of DFAF, is a cofounder of Evans' The Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs and Voth's Institute on Global Drug Policy [18] is a subsidiary of DFAF. Today David Evans is also a member of the Institute on Global Drug Policy.

In 1998 Betty Sembler representing her SOS™ group worked with Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles' cabinet to stop a medical marijuana initiative there. Time Moore, chief of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, worked with her. He is now on Straight's (DFAF's) advisory Board. link

2B Kill national initiatives to support medical marijuana (Smoke 'n Mirrors). In 2002 Angel McClary Raich and others sued US Attorney General John Ashcroft for the right to use medically prescribed marijuana to treat various illnesses. By 2004 the matter had worked its way up to the US Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Raich, et. al. An apparently diversified group of professionals from all over America wrote the Amicus Curiae Brief shown below to support the government's position.

Just look at all those impressive professional organizations agreeing with government to disallow the use of medical marijuana! Now take a closer look at the endorsers:
    • The Drug Free America Foundation (formerly Straight, Inc.)
    • The Drug Free Schools Coalition. David Evans is executive director of the this coalition along with the likes of Colleen Wienhoff, former Vice Chairman of the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). She gets paid to do drug testing. Evans is also with the The Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs, an organization co-founded by Calvina Fay, Executive Director of DFAF.
    • Save Our Society From Drugs [19] was founded by Betty Sembler.
    • The International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse [20] is another subsidiary of DFAF. Father Cassian Newton is one member of the International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse. Back when he was known as Reverend Doctor Virgil Miller Newton , Father Cassian had been the national clinical director for Straight, Inc. He left on the heels of criminal investigations and law suits--one culminating in a $721,000 jury verdict in 1990--a suit in which Dr. Newton had been accused of throwing Karen Norton against a wall. After Straight Newton setup his own chain of abusive teen rehabs. After CBS' West 57th St. exposed him; county prosecutors raided his program; four counselors were convicted for assault; he settled with federal prosecutors for $45,000 in return for not being prosecuted for 254 counts of insurance fraud; and after he and his team settled with two clients for $11.5 million for abuses sustained, Dr. Newton, now Father Cassian, returned to Florida and rejoined Drug Free America Foundation! Read The Miller Newton Story. [Donald Ian Macdonald, MD, Straight's former national research director, and Robert L. DuPont, Jr., MD, a former paid Straight consultant, are also members of ISMFDA.]
    • The Institute on Global Drug Policy is, as we saw above, a subsidiary of DFAF.
    • Students Taking Action Not Drugs [21] is also an arm of DFAF.
The brief is clearly fronted by America's two foremost, self-proclaimed experts on drug policy: Ambassador Melvin Sembler and his wife Betty Sembler through their Drug Free America Foundation (Straight).

In 1999 DFAF issued this press release against medical marijuana. Link

In March 2001 Betty Sembler testified before a House Committee drilling Rob Kampia on medical marijuana.

In Arizona DFAF fought legalization issues and Maricopa County prosecutor Rick Romely joined DFAF's Advisory Board.


Initiative 3. Kill the move for legalization and for treatment in lieu of prison for possession of small amounts of marijuana

    In Ohio. Betty worked with Hope Taft, governor of Ohio. Read The Governor’s Sub-rosa Plot to Subvert an Election in Ohio.

    In Michigan. On May 3rd and 4th, 2000 the DEA and DFAF cosponsored an anti-legalization conference in Lansing, Michigan titled, "Training the Trainers: Putting the Brakes on the Drug Legalization Movement."


    The Semblers' and DFAF's International demand reduction Drug Control Strategy

    The DFAF works hand-in-hand with the Drug Prevention Network of the Americas (DPNA) and Global Drug Prevention Network (GDPN) for worldwide demand reduction. Stephanie Haynes (who represented Betty Sembler's S.O.S.™ when she signed the Amicus brief for Pottawatomie County) is now director of DPNA. Take a look at some DFAF / DPNA sponsorships:

    Last year DFAF and DPNA sponsored a series of conferences [26] in South America.

      • September 12-14, 2002, Sound Drug Policies, Montevideo, Uruguay
      • September 20-21, 2002, Preventive Drug Education, MedellĂ­n, Colombia
      • September 26-27, 2002, Drug Prevention Education, Mexico City, Mexico
      • October 24-25, 2002, NGO Coalition Building, Santiago de Chile, Chile
      • October 28-30, 2002, Sound Drug Policies, Lima – Peru November 13-14, 2002, Sound Drug Policies, Buenos Aires – Argentina

    International Task Force on Strategic Drug Policy. This is a task force under the Office of National Drug Control Policy (Office of White House Drug Czar John Walters). DFAF's Calvina Fay is its principal contact. The task force met in Brussels from Feb. - Mar., 2005 to draft a strategy to fight the war on harm reduction. Other members include Betty Sembler and Eric Voth. Former White House Drug Czar was Robert DuPont is a former paid consultant for Straight and today is on DFAF's Advisory Board. Former Drug Czar Donald Ian Macdonald is the former national research director for Straigth, Inc. A Straight memo states that former Drug Czar Bob Martinez would work to get Straight a license. Ronald Reagan's Drug Czar Carlton Turner who accompanied Nancy Reagan on her first visit to Straight endorses the front page of Father Newton's book Not My Kid with these words: "Not My Kid should be required reading for any parent concerned about their children's future." Father Newton was Straight's former national clinical director who was personally responsible for abusing children. Turner spoke at a Straight fund raising dinner in May 1982.. link1 link2

    For additional information on Mel and Betty's international drug policy read Ambassador Melvin Sembler and wife Betty: self-proclaimed international drug policy experts (link).


    What are the Semblers really after?

    Used to be when armies crawled on their bellies. When soldiers were placed on KP, peeled their own potatoes and had mess sergeants. But that was before high presidential contributors convinced the president they could do it cheaper. People like Vice President Dick Cheney who used to run Halliburton [27] which, among other lucrative DOD contracts, feeds all those soldiers in Iraq. Dick Cheney's good friend Mel Sembler is on Jeb Bush's Council of 100 [28]. That's the shadow government in Florida that recommended (and is now helping to implement) to Jeb Bush the privatization of state government jobs. Mel Sembler has many management companies. Will he bid on the management of these jobs newly turned over to the private sector? Mel Sembler wants every 16 year-old in America drug tested. His cronies would share in the profit made by administering the tests. And what is Sembler's plan if a kid shows up positive? If it turns out the kid is just a user will he be court ordered to a Sembler-based therapeutic community for treatment? The Sembler's may have lost their Straight treatment program, but a good case can be made that another Pinellas County, Florida drug rehabilitation program, Operation PAR [29], has become the drug treatment arm of DFAF. [There have been no allegations of abuse at PAR.] But if a kid shows positive and the ensuing investigation finds that he is a drug pusher would the kid be sent to prison? And if so, a private prison?

    In September 1989 George H.W. Bush announced a whopping $7.9 billion anti-drug strategy that calls for tougher punishment for users and for more federal spending on law enforcement, prison construction, treatment and prevention.[30] How much of that budget and future budgets did the Semblers get for treatment and prevention? The conspiracy theorist amongst us are alarmed about Wackenhut, a big operator of private prisons, because it was founded by a former FBI agent and because it hires former FBI and CIA agents. George Bush directed the CIA and his friend Mel Sembler builds shopping centers. How hard would it be for Sembler Company to retool and construct private prisons.

    According to former White House Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey, American drug policy has led to the creation of a vast "drug gulag" of federal and state prisons. Due to American drug policy the prison population has quadrupled since 1980 making the incarceration rate in America the highest among western democracies. According to Human Rights Watch[31], "Most drug offenders are white. Five times as many whites use drugs as blacks." But "nationwide, black men are sent to state prison on drug charges at 13 times the rate of white men." Mel Sembler's Straight program catered to white children [32] because their parents were better able to pay Straight's bill.

    While almost all of us agree that it is wrong to abuse a child under any circumstance, many of us feel it is morally reprehensible for one man to make money off the imprisonment of another man. Eighteen years ago there were just five privately-owned prisons in America maintaining just 2,000 prisoners. Ten years later there were almost 20 private companies, operating 100 prisons, housing 62,000 prisoners. Today Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) alone houses 62,000 inmates! CCA stocks are sold on the NYSE [CXW]. Their value leaped from $8 a share in 1992 to $30 in 1995. CCA, Wackenhut and Esmor are the three top purveyors of private prisons in this country. Eight years ago Forbes rated Wackenhut as one of the top 200 small businesses in the land. (Read: "Sodexho Marriott Stops "No More Prisons" Show at American University -- Event Was Planned to Highlight Company's Ties to Private Prison Industry" (link) .

    Most people think George Bush was Mel Sembler's first choice for president in 1992. He was not. Sembler backed the Republican governor of Tennessee, Lamar Alexander. CCA was founded in 1983 by two Nashville businessmen. Gov. Alexander's wife Honey invested $8,900 in CCA. In 1985 Lamar Alexander backed a $250 million contract to CCA to take over the operation of Tennessee's prison system. To avoid any conflict of interest, Honey Alexander traded her CCA stocks to a friend for 10,000 shares in South Life Corporation, a life insurance company. She sold her stocks in 1989 for a net gain of $133,000.00. In the end CCA's privatization effort failed and all but one of the affected prisons were returned to state control.[33], [34] Charles L. Overby, formerly special assistant for administration to Governor Lamar Alexander, is on the board of directors of CCA.[35] J. Mark Tipps, campaign manager for Lamar Alexander's presidential bid and deputy chief counsel for the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee's special investigation of campaign finance in 1997, is a lobbyist for CCA or Wackenhut as is Lewis Donelson of Baker Donelson Bearman & Caldwell who was also finance commissioner under former Gov. Lamar Alexander. In 1996 and 1998, private prison corporations contributed more than $284,000 to political party committees in Florida alone, four-fifths to the Republican Party. [36]

    W.G. “Bill” Bankhead is the "tough love" Secretary for Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice. He has awarded several contracts to Ramsay Youth Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: RYOU), formerly Ramsay Health Care, Inc., to operate juvenile prisons in Florida. He is a member of the Advisory Board for DFAF. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) [37] has been granting Betty Sembler's Operation PAR $64,000 a year since 1999. Guy Tunnell, commissioner of FDLE, and James "Tim" Moore, former commissioner of FDLE, are members of the Advisory Board for DFAF. In 1995 the Florida Attorney General's office granted Operation PAR $59,000. Charlie Crist, the present AG, has been a friend of Mel's son Brent since childhood. Operation PAR runs a pilot program to rehabilitate prostitutes which as been funded by the St. Petersburg Police Department. Op PAR board member Terry Hensley is the former executive director of DFAF. Before that he was chief of police for St. Petersburg. Operation PAR works with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. It appears that Betty Sembler had something to do with the creation of the St. Petersburg-based Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training organization that trains law enforcement officials nationwide in drug interdiction. She serves on MCTFT's Advisory Board with Pinellas County's sheriff Jim Coates and Guy Tunnell, commissioner of FDLE. Betty Sembler is Florida Governor Jeb Bush's former finance co-chairman. In 2000 Jeb Bush proposed to spend $16.4 million for the construction of more juvenile residential centers so that incarceration stays could be increased by five months. Jeb Bush is on the Advisory Board for DFAF. His wife Columba and his lieutenant governor, Toni Jennings, are also on DFAF's Advisory Board.

    The big fear is that as Sembler helps perpetuate the phony War on Drugs, the parents of teenagers will be made to pay Sembler's cronies to be drug tested. Then if a kid shows positive but is found not to be a dealer he will be forced into a drug rehab program that might be run by the Semblers or their cronies. If it is determined that he is a dealer, he might be sent to a private prison conceivably built by and/or operated by the Semblers or, like CCA, one that is closely associated with one of Sembler's cronies.

    Mel Sembler was lampooned by Gary Tradeau in the Doonesbury comic strip and received Florida's Sour Orange Award for buying his first ambassadorship. He was chastised in his hometown newspaper because some businessmen proposed to the chamber of commerce that they build a granite monument to him. In 2005 the Washington Post gave him its Narcissist Run Amok award for getting American taxpayers to buy and refurbish a mansion in Rome for $113 million and then name it after himself. Editorials in his local paper have mentioned the Sembler name in articles with the words foul odor and rotten in the title. He is quoted in the book 776 Even Stupider Things Ever Said, his degree in communications from Northwestern notwithstanding. He has made a mint building and managing shopping centers--his forte being in hiring former municipal or county commissioners to lobby his projects. He has used his wealth to buy into politics and to get fellow Republicans to endorse him and his Straight program.

    Melvin and Betty Sembler are two very public figures who are major violators of human rights and civil liberties, and it is disheartening to watch this dynamic duo, so unqualified in law and drug policy, chip away at the Fourth Amendment. It is almost eerie how their goal and method is the complete antithesis of what another dynamic duo, Charlie Houston and his student Thurgood Marshall, did to the Fourteenth Amendment. Mel and Betty ran a drug program that targeted almost exclusively white kids and denied those kids education; Houston and Marshall worked to get equal education for black kids. Houston and Marshall gradually chipped away at the the Fourteenth Amendment (due process and equal protection) and Plessy v. Ferguson (separate but equal) by introducing a series of law suits to give blacks more and more rights to an education, culminating on May 17, 1954 when the US Supreme Court agreed with them in Brown vs. the Board of Education that "equal but separate" schools for blacks are not "equal" to schools for whites.

    It's worth noting that through the years two of Mel and Betty's biggest critics have been the old Old St. Petersburg Times when it was run by Eugene Patterson. Patterson won a Pulitzer Prize for his editorials opposing racism and was vice chairman of the US Civil Rights Commission from 1964-68. Another critic is Arnold Trebach, Professor Emeritus of Law and Social Justice at American University. Professor Trebach was chief of the US Justice Department's Civil Rights Division when it was trying to implement integration in the south after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision.

    Mel and Betty are gradually chipping away at the Fourth Amendment in Veronia School District, Pottawatomie County, and the rest so that drug testers can be paid to look inside our bodies without probable cause just because the technology now exists to do that. And to think, this First Couple of American Drug Policy got on their anti-drug high horse because of a union they made on May 17, 1953 (the day they got married, exactly one year to the day before Brown vs. the Board of Education was decided) which produced a son who got involved in the illegal drug scene.[38]

    References:
    A Study of the Involvement of the Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. (formerly Straight Foundation, Inc.) in American Drug Policy [39] (link) by Wesley Fager

    The Drug Prevention Network of the Americas and the worldwide, "demand reduction" reach of Straight [40] (link) by Wesley Fager

    Footnotes:
    1. RohrabacherHincheyPaul
    2. http://www.tampaindymedia.org/bin/site/templates/default.asp?area_2=imc/open newswire/2005/Jan/3206.7041015625.dat
    3. http://thestraights.com/images/seed-Ervin-brainwash.htm
    4. http://thestraights.com/theprogram/suicides.htm
    5. http://thestraights.com/video/bush.rm
    6. Straight headline montage
    7. http://thestraights.com/professional-comments.htm
    8. http://www.thestraights.com/legal/matrix-civil-criminal.htm
    9. http://www.webdiva.org/fox/
    10. http://www.montelshow.com/featured_promo/upload/01-18-05 hi.wmv
    11. http://www.thestraights.com/financial/st-fdn-piercing-veil.htm
    12. tampa indy Feb 2005
    13. http://dfaf.com/
    14. http://www.usembassy.it/mission/amb/amb-bio-en.htm
    15. Sembler family contributions
    16. http://thestraights.com/gop.htm
    17. The St. Petersburg Times, 7-31-88, p. 8D.
    18. onpointradio
    19. http://dfaf.org/search.php?search=save+our+society
    20. http://dfaf.org/globaldrugpolicy.php
    21. http://dfaf.org/press/detail.php?id=7
    22. a. DuPont, R.L. (1989c). Never trust anyone under 40: What employers should know about drugs in the workplace. Policy Review, Spring 1989, 52-57 b. http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/cbook/chap12.html
    23. http://www.gdpn.org/dpna/events/reports/taskforce.htm
    24. http://www.vancourier.com/052102/opinion/052102op1.html
    25. http://thestraights.com/news/archieve1.htm#rome-summit
    26. http://www.gdpn.org/dpna/events/training/lima.htm
    27. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4121538/
    28. http://www.whoseflorida.com/council-of-100.htm
    28f. St. Petersburg Times, Sept. 6, 1989
    29. http://thestraights.com/articles/op-par-and-dfaf.htm
    30.
    31. http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/drugs/war/key-facts.htm
    32. frontpageextension.htm#whitecharity
    33. Politics for Profit: The Rich Rise of Lamar Alexander by Doug Ireland in The Nation for April 17, 1995
    34.a. http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=869
    34.b. http://www.tndp.org/newsroom/releases/april04/alexander.htm
    34.c. http://www.spectacle.org/595/lamar.html
    35. http://www.correctionscorp.com/board.html
    36. Private Prisons, Politics & Profits By Edwin Bender July 1, 2000
    http://www.followthemoney.org/press/ZZ/20000701.phtml
    37. http://www.co.pinellas.fl.us/bcc/juscoord/funding.htm
    38. http://www.sembler.com/newsletters/0330893-newsletter_lr.pdf
    39. http://thestraights.com/reports/dfaf-and-drug-policy.htm
    40. http://thestraights.com/articles/dpna.htm
    33. 28b. America's Private Gulag by Ken Silverstein
    41. http://thestraights.com/articles/dpna.htm

    Document Location:
    http://www.thestraights.com/drugpolicy.htm