Saturday, 8 January 2011

Torturing of Children in Straight Inc Owed by Melvin Sembler

Torture is the calculated physical and psychological assault on the individual, a practice used to instill fear, punish or degrade, to dehumanize, or to obliterate the self. It is often said that anyone who has been tortured remains tortured, long after the physical wounds have healed. Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain by one human being against another, thus it leaves particular kinds of mental and psychological scars. This trauma is different from other traumas because torture is a violation committed in secret and in spite of official denial. Many believe that torture only occurs in the most repressive regimes but the reality is that torture is widespread in all parts of the world. Although it is often perpetuated by police or security forces, it can also be carried out by armed forces, detaining authorities such as immigration officials, hospital staff, or prison wardens. Torture can be physical or psychological. New methods of torture are unfortunately being invented every year. Many can understand severe beatings, extraction of nails or teeth, burns, electric shocks, suspension, suffocation, excessive light, heat, cold or noise, sexual aggression (rape and other sexual violence), forced nudity, isolation and sensory deprivation as torture. But psychological torture can be just as traumatic and the psychological wounds of both physical and psychological torture last a lifetime.


The coercive and abusive methods of Straight Inc. were designed to obliterate the sense of self and instill fear and obedience to authority in young teens. Some of the abusive methods of Straight Inc. included sleep deprivation, beatings, sexual humiliation, sexual assault, prolonged sitting or standing in forced positions, isolation, and detention for prolonged and indefinite periods of time, forcing one teen to abuse another, and prolonged denial of rest, sleep, food, water, adequate hygiene.


After these claims, the United States Senate revoked the license of STRAIGHT, Inc. in 1993, citing that the government should not be financing "cruel and inhuman behavior modification." Many victims continue to suffer in silence and torture victims commonly report feelings of fear, guilt, shame, anger, disillusionment, insecurity and humiliation. For victims of torture coming forward to speak about what happened to them is very difficult. This is true for the tens of thousands of US children who were physically and psychologically abused and even sometimes sexually abused in the program called Straight Inc.

What happened behind the closed doors of Straight Inc. is very deeply personal and highly traumatizing and so speaking about it can evoke for survivors a range of emotions. Survivors are afraid to speak publicly and may not have fully revealed their experiences to families and friends, in some instances they may not have come to terms with it themselves. One publicized case was that of Samantha Monroe, who claimed she endured beatings, rape, forced hunger and was locked in a janitor's closet in pants containing her excrement. She claims her mother was told her daughter was a liar. See her account of what happened: http://www.alternet.org/story/27725/


But victims of the abuse came forward again this month to tell of an emotional wound that will never heal. Listen to the straight survivors tell about their ordeal on Medical Whistleblowers’ BlogTalk radio show and how they feel about what they have been through.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/medicalwhistleblower/2010/12/22/straight-inc--legacy-of-abuse-continues-1H

Survivors of torture find it very difficult and challenging to try to move forward with their lives. Many who had spent time in Straight Inc. and other abusive teen rehabilitative centers speak with frustration that the fact that their torture actually occurred has not been publicly acknowledged. Survivors have individual and often have different conceptions of justice, some speak of the importance of criminal prosecutions, and others speak about civil compensation, rehabilitation or prevention of recurrence. But for everyone there is a need to restore that sense of dignity and control that was taken from them when they were tortured.[1]

The United States of America which has signed the UN Convention Against Torture and therefore has an obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish those who do torture. The essence of the ethical and legal protections for human subjects is that the subjects, especially vulnerable populations such as prisoners, detainees and those in medical custody must be treated with the dignity befitting human beings and not simply as experimental guinea pigs. But the reality is that society has a deep seated prejudice toward the weak or powerless and there is a special stigma in the cases of persons who claim to be psychologically injured and who need to seek compensation or support. Governments are a reflection of the pervasive reactions to the horror of torture and so therefore denial, indifference, avoidance and repression are common. Impunity of the perpetrators will prolong, or in some cases deepen, the mental scars borne by the victim or by members of their families, as denial of the wrong makes psychological healing difficult. To obtain any justice through the court system, the torture victim is expected to testify to and provide a recounting of the violation suffered in order to create a public record of the event, and while this truth– telling may have a reparative value for many victims, it may also be deeply traumatic bring to the surface old emotional wounds. In addition those suffering from the mental anguish of torture do not always show physical scars and thus it is easier to deny the extent of their trauma and suffering. Can we afford to endorse the kinds of political compromises that give rise to de jure or de facto amnesties for perpetrators of torture when the right to reparation for victims of a wrongful act is a well-established principle of international law?[2]

For 17 years Melvin Sembler[3] and his wife Betty operated one of the most destructive and world’s largest chain of juvenile rehabilitation programs, Straight, Inc. As many as 50,000 kids were in the Straight program. Straight, Inc. is the biggest violator of human rights and civil liberties that the USA has ever seen. This was torture – there was deliberate degrading and humiliating treatment, sexual abuse, physical beatings, lack of proper food or sanitation, deliberate sexual humiliation, sleep deprivation, and lack of medical care. With inhuman conditions of confinement likened to Korean prisoner of war camps[4] and amidst thousands of law suits alleging severe child abuse, the Straight Inc was finally shut down after a US Congressional investigation. The International Survivors Action Committee Corporation (ISAC)[5] estimates that two Straight clients died wrongfully for every one thousand who survived after being incarcerated for any length of time at Straight. So the estimate is that as many as a thousand children perished as a result suicide secondary to the psychological trauma of being tortured in Straight Inc. During his research Wes Fager[6] was able to document 40 suicides of known Straight Inc abuse.[7] Five percent of children and adults who attended Straight Inc. did so with court order and some even after child abuse allegations had already been filed against the facilities.

But an important lesson we can learn from the history Melvin Sembler’s Straight Inc. is that any revulsion authorities have to cruelty and mistreatment of teens can be redeemed by the transformative power of political contributions. Melvin Sembler was a very successful political campaign fundraiser. People at the highest levels of the US government have endorsed and approved of Straight and its spin off programs including Nancy Reagan, George Bush Sr., Jeb Bush, and George Bush Jr.

Mevin Sembler has been a Republican fundraiser since 1979, raising a record $21.3 million at a single dinner in April 2000. During the 1988 Presidential campaign, Sembler served on the National Steering Committee and the National Finance Committee for the George H.W. Bush for President Campaign. Additionally, he was Finance Co-Chairman for the state of Florida for the George Bush for President Campaign, and played an instrumental part in raising funds for the Fund for America's Future. He served on President Reagan's White House Conference for a Drug-Free America and was an adviser on drug policy to President Bush and to Florida's former Governor Bob Martinez. He served as Co-chairman of the Republican National Committee's Team 100 and Finance Co-Chairman of the American Bicentennial Presidential Inaugural, and from 1993 to 1995 he was Finance Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. Sembler served as Finance Chairman for the Republican National Committee from 1997 to 2000. He also served as Florida's National Committeeman to the Republican National Committee from his election in 1994 until 2000. Prior to his appointment as Ambassador to Italy, Sembler was the Chairman of the Drug Free America Foundation. Sembler presently serves on the boards of the International Council of Shopping Centers, American Enterprise Institute, American-Australian Education Leadership Foundation, George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, Republican Jewish Coalition, and the Moffitt Cancer Center.

After extensive federal and state investigations into the child abuse, the Straight Inc. program just changed its legal name and continued business as usual. This gave rise to a myriad of programs under various names but all with the same abusive treatment of children. Torture which is prohibited under US law and under International law had been used by Straight Inc as a means to perpetuate extensive medical insurance fraud some of which involved fraud against the US taxpayer. As Straight Inc. branched out it started using governmental grants and political power to fuel its growth.

In 1982 Donald Ian Macdonald, MD was appointed Director of Medical Research for Straight-national, and in 1986 Richard H. Schwartz, MD was Director of Research for Straight-Springfield. The 1991 report by author Richard Lawrence Miller titled Teens and marijuana: Ethics of research accuses Straight's Doctor Richard Schwartz of performing medical experiments on Straight clients without their informed consent. In 1971 the United States Senate's Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights under the directorship of Senator Sam Ervin began an investigation of the US government's role in behavior modification. Ervin's 650 page report was published in November 1974 under the title "Individual Rights and the Federal Role in Behavior Modification." In the report about The SEED which was Straight’s predecessor, the “brainwashing” methods used were likened to those methods employed by North Koreans against American servicemen during the Korean War. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) had funded The SEED under NIH. NIDA was at that time directed by Dr. Robert L. DuPont, Jr. Senator Ervin directed Dr. DuPont and NIDA to require The SEED to issue NIDA human consent forms to SEED participants and to their parents acknowledging that they were participating in human experimentation as required by NIDA's own regulations.

Melvin Sembler, a real estate magnate and strip-mall developer, earned his fortune as chairman of the Sembler Company, a Florida-based real estate company. Mel and Betty Sembler had a son in The SEED. When it closed Mel, Betty and some other SEED parents formed their own SEED-like program in 1978 which they called Straight, Inc. Straight was quickly accused of criminal child abuse by Florida's licensing and investigating agency the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS). Bob Marshall, the principal investigator for HRS was fired and thus further investigation was halted. There is sound evidence that the HRS report was covered up. One of the Straight Inc victims, Jerry Vancil who testified disappeared, and has never been seen or heard from since--dead or alive. Melvin Sembler responded to the allegations of child abuse by replacing Straight’s clinical director Jim Hartz with Miller Newton[8].

In 1983 Reverend Doctor Miller Newton, Straight's national clinical director, left Straight in Florida to setup his own second-generation Straight in New Jersey. In 1989 California health authorities closed down his expansion program in that state for reasons of criminal child abuse. Straight moved into the facility and took over Newton's clients. In just over a year later state authorities closed the California Straight too citing: "Documentation on file indicates that there have been incidents where children have been subjected to unusual punishment, infliction of pain, humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, coercion, threat, mental abuse or other actions of a punitive nature, including . . . interference with daily living functions such as eating, sleeping or toileting, or withholding of medication."[9]

The NIDA was not the only federal agency to have funded The SEED. The Law Enforcement Assistance Agency (LEAA) had also made grants. Under pressure by Senator Ervin LEAA Administrator Santarelli announced the cancellation of all LEAA funding for medical research, psycho surgery, and behavior modification because, in his words, there "are no technical skills on the staff to screen, evaluate, or monitor such projects." LEAA had been approached by Straight to fund its startup because Straight Inc. realized that NIDA would demand that Straight Inc. parents and children sign human consent forms acknowledging that their kids were participating in a medical experiment.

Straight which was founded in 1976 after The SEED was shut down, needed startup money but it was still too risky to approach NIDA for funds as much had been made in the newspapers about NIDA's relationship to The SEED. It was a certainty that NIDA would have to ask Straight parents and their children to sign human consent forms acknowledging that their kids were participating in a medical experiment. But LEAA had not been setup to fund programs involved in human experimentation and thus it had no policy for human consent forms. True, LEAA Administrator Santarelli had held a news conference announcing the cancellation of all LEAA funding for medical research, but after Senator Ervin retired, LEAA staff quickly forgot the guidance of their own administrator. Straight Inc. managed to get two startup grants from the LEAA in 1976 and again in 1977 for $50,000 each. Around 1978 NIDA's director Robert DuPont left NIDA and became a paid Straight consultant. Straight then went national and became the largest juvenile drug rehabilitation program in the world--and one of the most destructive. International standards about the use of human subjects for experimentation in medical or psychological research were ignored. LEAA had no oversight or protections for the human rights of minor children forced into Straight Inc behavioral modification programs.

In 1983 a former patient won $220,000 from a jury for unlawful imprisonment that involved regular beatings at the Straight, Inc., facility in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 1985 the Semblers fearing civil suits by the victims of the abuse and fearing possible criminal prosecution, had changed the mission of Straight, Inc. from "treatment" to "education" and its name from "Straight, Inc." to "Straight Foundation, Inc." Another Florida patient won a $721,000 jury award in 1990. Dozens, if not hundreds, of other suits were settled out of court. [10] In 1995, two years after Straight had to be closed; Betty Sembler changed the name of the educational foundation again to the Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF)[11].

From 1997 to 2000, Sembler served as Finance Chairman for the Republican National Committee and from 1994 to 2000 as Florida's National Committeeman to the Republican National Committee. He then lent his fund-raising skills to the presidential campaign of George W. Bush, helping raise a then-record $21.3 million during a single campaign dinner in 2000[12]. After his election, the younger Bush named Sembler Ambassador to Italy. Sembler served as U.S. Ambassador to Australia and Nauru during the presidency of George H.W. Bush. [13] Sembler was an adviser to Mitt Romney during the race for the 2008 Republican Party presidential nomination. According to Opensecrets.org, during the period 1989-2009, Sembler donated nearly $500,000 to political races and conservative political action committees. Sembler also supported former Bush administration figure I. Lewis Libby by serving as chairman of the Libby Legal Defense Fund, which raised money for the ultimately unsuccessful defense of Libby, Dick Cheney’s former chief staffer, against perjury and other charges related to the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name.

So today Straight has morphed into an organization called the Drug Free America Foundation, which specializes in helping small businesses set up Drug Free Workplaces, and in promoting national and international drug policy. Through the Drug Free America Foundation and other think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, Melvin Sembler still influences drug policy in this country by promoting public policy that allows coercive and abusive treatment methods. This child abuse is not limited to the U.S.A. Now the former staff of the KIDS program has established an abusive teen rehabilitation center in Canada, the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC)[14]. The abuse of children in residential centers has not stopped but has gotten even more governmental power to hide its true nature from law enforcement and regulators. Abusive teen rehabilitation centers are now even more numerous and the industry is still not regulated by the US federal government. There is no adequate means to monitor these facilities for human rights abuses. Those who profit from this child abuse continue use their financial gains for political power including now undisclosed contributions to non-profits to hide the real source and identity of the funds from the American public.

Melvin Sembler co-founder and CEO of Straight Inc. claims that Straight Inc. no longer has any financial assets – all the financial profits disappeared after the victims of Straight Inc. abuse started to win their cases in a court of law. Obtaining diplomatic immunity by becoming President George Bush Jr’s Ambassador to Italy, the money from Straight Inc. just disappeared into a myriad of complicated real estate transactions. Competent and dedicated FBI agents who were trying to pursue the money trail were told to not pursue their cases. Family court Judges who felt that justice had finally been served by court findings of damages to the victims, found that redress and restitution were denied because the court ordered damages were never paid by Melvin Sembler and his business associates. Private attorneys who spent endless hours compiling the needed documentary evidence were thwarted in their pursuit of justice for the Straight Inc survivors. One attorney tried to assemble a civil RICO case involving thousands of victims’ cases but when the FBI could not assure the payment of money to those who had already won their court cases, further legal pursuit of reparation to victims seemed pointless.

The White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives[15] grant program was started by Present George W. Bush in order to create funding for the developing network of substance abuse treatment centers that were the result of Straight Inc. The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives grant program was designed to give money to faith-based organizations that worked with populations that might be eligible for federal money such as at-risk youth and ex-offenders (LEAA grants), the homeless and hungry, drug addicts, HIV/AIDS patients (NIH and NIDA grants) and welfare to work families (Drug Free America Foundation and the Right to Work program). Straight Inc. founders had discovered that one of the major impediments to their financial growth was the lack of start up funds that would then lead to access to federal grant funding of research. They needed a way to facilitate cooperating facilities to get money in order to perpetuate the Straight like programs that would allow scientific experimentation on behavioral control on a grand scale behind closed doors. According to the Department of Justice, organizations that hire people on the basis of religious belief maybe be entitled to receive federal funds while maintaining that hiring practice under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb, even if the law creating the funding program has a ban on religious discrimination. This opened the way to bias and preferential hiring practices by facilities obtaining Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Thus persons who are willing to cooperate with human experimentation practices without informed consent are placed in positions of leadership within these abusive residential facilities. Compliance with international human rights law or federal requirements is abandoned in these facilities due to absence of training of the staff, who often have little or no experience other than they are graduates of the teen residential program. In Straight Inc. these persons were often actually minor children currently enrolled in the Straight Inc. program who were obligated to abuse others in order to get released from the program themselves. In Teen Challenge former addicts, felons and child molesters became directors of the facilities because criminal back ground checks which would usually be required to receive federal research funds were not required for these start up grants.

The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives allows the perpetrators of abuse to acquire federal grant money for research while not requiring informed consent paperwork. With cooperating doctors drawn from the American Society of Addiction Medicine[16] (ASAM founded by Dr. Ruth Fox) and protection through the Federation of State Physicians Health Programs[17] (which will threaten the license of any mandated reporter who dares to report these abuses) the perpetrators assert HIPPA privacy concerns to protect their financial and client medical records from the purview of federal investigators and regulators. The Federation of Physicians Health Programs (FPHP) obtained the approval of the American Medical Association (AMA) and other professional associations by providing malpractice risk management protections to large and small hospitals that do large scale drug clinical trials on human subjects and who receive generous research grants from pharmaceutical companies. This was necessary for the role out of the major profit making aspect of this plan – the use of the Texas Algorithm Project to use pharmaceutical drugs in clinical trials on these vulnerable populations without the need to fill out informed consent paperwork or to abide by human rights law. This surmounted the problem of finding volunteers to offer to participate in pre-trial and 1st level clinical trials necessary for approval of drugs by the FDA. Why bother with messy informed consent paperwork? Court ordered treatment or enforced guardianship makes all that unnecessary.

Yet Melvin Sembler’s financial empire and political power continued to grow as did the Ruth Fox Endowment Fund run by the ASAM. In the 2010 national election in which many judges as well as US Senators and US Representatives were up for election, Melvin Sembler stood publicly in support of the American Future Fund and the American Crossroads and its affiliate — Crossroads GPS.[18] Both are shadowy nonprofit organizations which purport to be exempt from tax under section under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Both organizations are registered as a 501(c)(4), which means they can receive unlimited donations and do not have to disclose their donors due to a recent decision by the US Supreme Court.

In January 2010 five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited funds promoting or attacking candidates in local, state and federal elections. This opened the way for unlimited election campaign spending by corporations. Corporations such as Melvin Sembler’s Florida real estate corporation were already spending considerable amounts of money to influence elections, but Citizens United v. FEC allowed CEOs to spend as much as they want and hide their campaign contributions from the public. Corporate front groups can sponsor campaign advertisements supporting the candidates of their choice and the public will never know who is funding the ads. Thus Melvin Sembler as an anonymous corporate donor can influence the election of federal judges and the election of members of the US Congress and not have the US public even know which political candidate is beholden to him for campaign contributions through American Crossroads or American Future Fund. This is how money gained in medical insurance fraud, fraud against governmental programs and financial profits gained from abusing children finds its way into national politics and thus influences the investigative and legislative environment facilitating the criminal enterprises.

In March 27 2008 a complaint by Public Citizen[19] was filed against American Future Fund - violations of Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 as amended. American Future Fund failed to register and report as a political committee with the Federal Election Commission and to comply with the obligations applying to such committees. The group called American Future Fund (AFF), which is based out of Iowa, has spent millions opposing selected incumbents across the country. AFF has not shared with the US public their real reasons for their targeting particular elected officials and judges in multiple states. Neither have they volunteered to provide the names of their contributors to the Federal Election Commission. American Future Fund in 2008 received $7.5 million in donations and was spending approximately $6.3 million in the 2010 election.[20] Sandra Greiner, Director and President of American Future Fund, was previously an Iowa State Senator and is currently an Iowa State Representative. American Crossroads and its affiliate — Crossroads GPS, reportedly planned to raise $52 million. In the state of Kansas the American Future Fund poured an estimated $900,000 to defeat an incumbent Attorney General, Steve Six in the November 2, 2010 election. Attorney General Steve Six served as the highest ranking Department of Justice official in the state of Kansas and was thus responsible for all investigation and prosecution decisions made for any administrative, civil or criminal case in the state. Attorney General Steve Six was noted for aggressively investigating and prosecuting medical fraud and also was an effective prosecutor against those who abuse children, prosecuting those who do human trafficking and do pornography.

There are several teen rehabilitation facilities in Kansas run by Teen Challenge USA.[21] Teen Challenge is considered by HEAL[22] to be a teen torture center, managed on the same principles as The SEED and Straight Inc. Teen Challenge is a national faith-based residential drug treatment program that is in many states including CA, WA, TX, AL, AZ, AR,CO, CT, ID, IL, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY,OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA. The programs have no medical component and center instead of around prayer, Bible study and religious conversion. Teen Challenge currently operates five drug treatment centers in Texas – none of which have a state license, but only two of which have formally registered their status as a faith-based facility exempt from state licensing. As exempt faith-based drug treatment centers, Teen Challenge facilities are not required to have licensed chemical dependency counselors, conduct staff training or criminal background checks, protect client confidentiality rights, adhere to state health and safety standards, or report abuse, neglect, emergencies and medication errors. Even prior to seeking an exemption from state licensing, a 1995 state inspection revealed that Teen Challenge was not compliant with numerous state health, safety and quality of care standards. Teen Challenge USA has been reported to be abusive and has even hired staff even though they were already registered child sex offenders. It would seem to be common sense to not hire a known convicted sex offender to be director or on staff of a facility that treats children, but that is exactly what Teen Challenge in Winthrop Maine did – not once but twice – two registered sex offenders on staff.

Prior to the November 2010 election the grassroots non-governmental organization, Public Citizen had filed a complaint to the Federal Election Commission against both the Crossroads GPS and American Future Fund alleging violations of federal election campaign laws and requesting that the Federal Election Commission take immediate steps to enforce the law and expose these groups’ secret financing to light of day. Currently Melvin Sembler can secretly donate any amount of money anonymously to these secret non-profit funds like American Future Fund and Crossroads- GPS and by doing so control who will be the highest Department of Justice official –the State Attorney General as well as which sitting judges will continue to serve the bench. That is the kind of non-transparent political power that allows this system covert governmental power to continue to allow abuse children to continue, and to allow those corporations who violate human rights to flourish and prosper in the United States of America. Constitutional civil rights and human rights have little chance of success when millions of dollars are spent to unfairly bias the election of judges or the State Attorney General.

Thus to stop further abuses of children and teens in residential programs the US must identify those that enable this activity to flourish and shut off the perpetrator’s access to grant money and political power. In order to prevent or halt further abuse, it is important to know the identity of the key actors. Explaining the role of the enablers as well as the perpetrators can make governmental officials adopt new due diligence commitments to avoid be complicit in what is actually criminal activity. Economic sanctions, reduction of various forms of governmental assistance as well as public media attention can all help to shine a light on the problem. Focused pressure on key individuals can gain their attention and cause them to rethink their actions or inactions.

Melvin Sembler was the Honorary Chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition and served on the board of the Florida Holocaust Museum.[23] On the Florida Holocaust Museum website it states: The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of innocent men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The Museum is dedicated to teaching the members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides.

When the Florida Holocaust Museum appointed Melvin Sembler a member of their board did they look behind the millions of dollars of money he made running abusive teen rehabilitation centers and into the eyes of the children he tortured at Straight Inc.? We can question whether the dignity of human life is honored with this appointment considering the hundreds of teens who committed suicide as a result of Straight Inc. psychological torture and experimentation in mind control on children without informed consent and in violation of federal and international law.

The Straight Inc. survivors need to feel that the US government will create effective measures aimed at the stopping the continuing violations and teen residential treatment programs and a verification of the facts with full public disclosure of the truth especially for abuses occurring in residential programs today. Much information is already available through several US Congressional investigations; the most recent was done by the House Education and Labor Committee chaired by Representative George Miller. H.R. 911: Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009 passed the US House of Representatives on Feb 23, 2009[24] but still has not yet received any real action in the Senate. This act was “To require certain standards and enforcement provisions to prevent child abuse and neglect in residential programs, and for other purposes.”

For 17 years Straight Inc. and some of its medical doctors were in violation of international law by being in violation of both the Helsinki Declaration and the Nuremberg Code. Straight Inc. was just a big human research project funded in part by the US government and using techniques developed by CIA mind control expert Dr. Ruth Fox. A recent report by the Physicians for Human Rights[25] regarding CIA interrogations of detainees and prisoners delineated the role of physicians and psychiatric experts in the planning, monitoring and assessment of brutal interrogations. The PHR report was entitled “Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Evidence of Experimentation in the “Enhanced” Interrogation Program.” 27-page report The report states: "Such acts may be seen as the conduct of research and experimentation by health professionals on prisoners, which could violate accepted standards of medical ethics, as well as domestic and international law. These practices could, in some cases, constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity." The CIA medical personnel subjected detainees to sleep deprivation and stress positioning in order to determine which subsequent practices would increase the subjects’ susceptibility to severe pain and thereby be able to apply that knowledge to further interrogations.

Melvin Sembler in coordination with Dr. Ruth Fox, CIA subcontractor on mind control techniques and guru of addiction medicine, together designed the Straight Inc. behavioral mind control program. The Atlanta The SEED parents group which started Straight Inc. worked with Dr. George Douglas Talbott MD and Judge Marsh and the Talbott Marsh Recovery Center to further their behavioral modification research. Judge Marsh court ordered recalcitrant teens into the Talbott Marsh Recovery Center in Atlanta Georgia. Judge Marsh also court ordered any dissent Defender of Human Rights doctors into the custody of Dr. George Douglas Talbott by making allegations against their medical licenses. Arbitrary detentions (some illegal and some court ordered) and brutal psychological abuse by Dr. George Talbott did silence medical professionals after the suicides of over 20 and threats to remove medical licenses from others. Thus the Straight Inc. managed to start up their program even while the US Congress was issuing a report condemning the torture tactics of The SEED and shutting The SEED down with a Congressional decree. Their legacy continues today in experimentation on vulnerable populations such as Medicaid and Medicare recipients, homeless persons, and persons with substance abuse treatment problems. These programs that abuse the vulnerable patient/client’s right to informed consent. Currently all over the USA, programs are federally funded which use coercive behavioral control tactics developed by American Society of Addiction Medicine[26] (ASAM)’s founder and guru, Dr. Ruth Fox MD.[27] Protected by those that enable this pervasive network of abusive control, unregulated by governmental authorities and with lack of any transparency or accountability, these abuses of human rights continue today unabated behind closed doors of mental health institutions, prisons, homeless shelters, community mental health outreach centers, residential treatment centers and other similar institutions. The Federation of State Physicians Health Programs[28] protects the doctors who participate in these abusive covert clinical trials against vulnerable populations by threatening the medical licenses and professional careers of any medical doctor, therapist, psychologist or other mandated reporter courageous (or foolish) enough to report these human rights abuses.

These are gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law and we need guarantees of non-repetition. We must have effective regulatory control over residential treatment centers and wilderness camps. We also must not give de jure or de facto amnesty to the founder and CEO of Straight Inc. Melvin Sembler and should require him to make effective and adequate reparations to the victims of this institutional child abuse. Many victims feel that a public apology including acknowledgment of the facts and acceptance of responsibility is particularly pertinent because the US government knew of the abuse but still failed to protect the children. The United States as a part of the international community should keep faith and human solidarity with victims, survivors and future human generations, and to reaffirm the international legal principles of accountability, justice and the rule of law.

Additional Notes and References:


[2] The right to reparation for victims of a wrongful act is a well-established principle of international law Chorzow Factory Case (Germany v Poland), 1928, PCIJ, ser. A, no. 17, p. 47.

[3] Melvin Floyd Sembler is a Florida businessman who operates his businesses primarily under Florida incorporation, with The Sembler Company, his principal place of business located at 5858 Central Avenue, Saint Petersburg, Florida, 33770.

Betty Sembler is a Florida business owner operating through her company the Defendant Drug Free America Foundation, Incorporated located at 5999 Central Avenue ATE 301, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33710.

Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. is a successor-in-interest to numerous predecessor companies, primarily being Straight, Incorporated and Straight Foundation, Incorporated. DFAF is a “non-profit organization.” DFAF primarily resides at 5999 Central Avenue ATE 301, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33710. Under its former corporation title and name, Straight, Incorporated, the DFAF also claimed to be a non-profit organization.

The Sembler Company is a corporation with its principal place of business located at 5858 Central Avenue, Saint Petersburg, Florida, 33770. The Sembler Company’s predecessor in interest, Straight and other companies, actually insured and shielded The Sembler Company garnered monies from the families and children placed at Straight.

[4] Straight Inc kept children in inhuman conditions of confinement likened to Korean prisoner of war camps. http://drugfreeamericafoundation.blogspot.com/2005/02/conspiracy-theory-is-straight-some.html

[5] The International Survivors Action Committee Corporation (ISAC) was a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created by survivors of Straight, Incorporated. ISAC works “to expose child abuse within privately owned behavior modification centers, drug treatment centers, specialty boarding schools and teen boot camps.” http://www.isacgroup.org

[8] Miller Newton Miller Newton (aka "Father Cassian Newton") (full name: Virgil Miller Newton III) worked with thousands of adolescents at Straight , Inc. when he was the clinical director. 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. 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.] After the collapse of Straight, Inc. his name appeared in relationship with the now closed Kids of Bergen County

http://www.kidsofbergencounty.com/kobcfacts.htm

During the early stages of establishing Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC) he is mentioned as consultant although never present. Reports mention that he is now living under the name of Fr. Cassian Newton in Madeira Beach, Florida. According to the state of Florida he is not allowed to work with children.


[9] Letter dated June 27, 1990 from Fred Dumont, Santa Ana, California District Manager for Dept. of Social Services to Straight National Headquarters explaining why California state authorities ordered the program run by Miller Newton closed.

[10] Maia Szalavitz, “Why Jesus Is Not a Regulator,” American Prospect, April 8, 2001.

[11] Drug Free America Foundation Inc., which specializes in helping small businesses set up Drug Free Workplaces. Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. is a successor-in-interest to numerous predecessor companies, primarily being Straight, Incorporated and Straight Foundation, Incorporated that were constructed or run, in part, by slave labor. DFAF is a “non-profit organization.” DFAF primarily resides at 5999 Central Avenue ATE 301, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33710. Under its former corporation title and name, Straight, Incorporated, the DFAF also claimed to be a non-profit organization. Besides criminal child abuse Straight is noted for fraud and deception. Now look at supposed panel of drug policy experts provided in the Amicus Curiae Brief filed for the current Ashcroft v. Raich medical marijuana suit before the US Supreme Court. 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 through the Drug Free America Foundation and their Drug Free Workplaces program. So who really is this wide spectrum of drug experts from all across America in this Amicus brief. 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 co-founder 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. These are the signers:

  • 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. Dr. Newton, now Father Cassian, returned to Florida and rejoined Drug Free America Foundation! 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.)

[12] John Gorenfeld, “Ambassador de Sade,” Alternet.org, November 8, 2005.

[13] “Biography: Melvin Sembler,” U.S. State Department, January 28, 2002 Former Ambassador to Italy (2001-2005); Former Ambassador to Australia and Nauru during the presidency of George H.W. Bush (1989-1993) http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/7043.htm

[14] Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC) Now the former staff of the KIDS program has established an abusive teen rehabilitation center in Canada, the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC) Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC) is a behavior modification program marketed as a drug rehabilitation program. It is based on the program philosophy as used by Straight, Incorporated. It was found around 1992. It is accredited as a "Community Based Program" through the Canadian Accreditation Council on Human Services, but not as a day program for drug treatment or as a residential treatment facility because it didn't meet the standards. More than a dozen former patients and staff of the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center allege the residential program manipulated people into treatment, held them against their will and administered abusive therapy. One patient claimed that she was not an addict at all. Patients alleged that when they reported abuse to the center, they were either told they were liars or it was their own fault. The center, which opened in February 1992 with $500,000 in public funding, has operated for nearly 17 years. It receives $400,000 a year in provincial funding. The harshest critics are former patients of the center, some of whom went on to work there as counselors despite having no formal training. Despite its critics, the center has committed supporters, who helped raise half a million dollars at a fund raising event in 2008. It costs $50,000 a year to treat a patient at the center. Patients who cannot afford treatment are subsidized. All staff not including clinical counselors and peer counselors are former clients or parents of former clients. Program has a registered nurse - states this nurse has an "addictions certificate". Nurse is the mother of a former client. Clients are prevented from attending school until they reach level 3. No private communication with parents until homecoming. All communication is very strained communication as it is strictly supervised by the oldcomer. If the conversation veers in a direction not acceptable to the oldcomer the meeting is ended and the client is taken away. Letters are opened, read, and kept by staff. Clients do not get their mail until the 4th level at which point they are given directly to the client. Parents are told their children are manipulative little liars, parents are told not to trust their children. Their children are bad, they have hurt them and they will lie about abuse or anything to try to get out of the center. The parents are told there is no communication allowed because parents are weak and may believe their child even though the child will lie. Parents are told to ignore the process of their child's treatment and to "work their own program". Parents are told they are more sick than the client child, and need to focus on their own treatment. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/02/13/abuse.html#socialcomments Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/02/13/abuse.html#socialcomments#ixzz1ADVmE8vC
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/02/13/abuse.html#socialcomments#ixzz1ADVy40I4

[15] White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives – A video on the Teen Challenge Training Center Inc website shows President George Bush Jr. praising Teen Challenge and its Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Teen Challenge Training Center, Inc. Phone: (717) 933-4181 Fax: (717) 933-7108

http://teenchallengetc.com/index.html

http://teenchallengetc.com/videos.html

[16] American Society of Addiction Medicine, 4601 N. Park Avenue, Upper Arcade #101, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, Phone: 301-656-3920, Fax: 301-656-3815, email@asam.org ASAM collects money for the Ruth Fox Endowment Fund.

[17] Federation of State Physicians Health Programs, Jonathan H. Dougherty, MS, Executive Director, Federation of State Physician Health Programs, Inc, Telephone: (518) 439-0626, Fax: (518) 439-0769, E-mail: doughj@albmed.org, Vickie Grosso, FSPHP Staff Assistant, Telephone:(312) 464-4574, Fax: (312) 464-5841, E-mail: Vickie.Grosso@ama-assn.org, Mailing Address: Federation of State Physician Health Programs, c/o American Medical Association, 515 North State Street - Room 8584, Chicago, IL 60654

[18] American Future Fund P.O. Box 13434 Des Moines, IA 50310 The American Future Fund operates as a 501(c)(4). March 27 2008 a complaint was filed by DFL against American Future Fund - violations of Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 as amended. The American Future Fund failed to register and report as a political committee with the Federal Election Commission and to comply with the obligations applying to such committees. The American Future Fund evaded basic disclosure requirements of the Federal Elections Commission by not filing a statement of organization and by refusing to file required reports. In this manner the AFF has evaded the oversight of the Federal Election Commission and failed to be in accordance with basic disclosure requirements and has spent money to influence elections. The AFF claim to provide Americans with a conservative multi-state advocacy group to communicate a free market viewpoint and to have a mechanism to communicate and a voice for free market ideals focused on bolstering America’s global competitiveness across the country.

Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies – Crossroads GPS, 1401 New York Avenue NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005

[19] Public Citizen, 1600 20th Street NW Washington, D.C. 20009 (202) 588-1000 http://www.citizen.org ProtectOurElections.org, ProsperityAgenda.us, AmericanCrossroadsWatch.org, htp://www.citizen.org, Kevin Zeese, P.O. Box 9596, Washington, DC 20016, 301-996-6582, Chris Holman, 215 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003, 202-454-5182, 202-454-5182

[21] Teen Challenge USA Teen Challenge USA Headquarters, P.O. Box 249, Ozark, Missouri, 65721, (417) 581-2181 phone, (417) 581-2195 fax, Website: www.teenchallengeusa.com Email: info@teenchallengeusa.com

Teen Challenge International, USA is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Unlicensed counselors were hired at the Teen Challenge facilities. In one Teen Challenge facility in Winthrop Maine, a known child molester became manager of a Teen Challenge facility. Shondi Fabiano listed officially as a co-head of Teen Challenge New England by the website of the Northern New England District of the Assemblies of God, and who is officially listed as a lifetime-registered sex offender for second-degree child molestation and sexual assault in the third degree. An online check of sex offender registries, including the Florida sex-offender registry run by Florida Department of Law Enforcement, also shows Shondi Fabiano also has a history of 2nd degree sexual assault conviction in Kent, RI. Shondi Fabiano listed her residence as Teen Challenge in Maine’s sex offender registry. Shondi Fabiano was convicted of Second Degree Child Molestation in Rhode Island. She is listed on the National Sex Offender Public Registry. http://www.nsopr.gov For additional information: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/5/2/17850/21034

Another sex offender Dennis Knox was also at Teen Challenge in Maine Registered Sex Offender Dennis Knox is the second rapist employed by the Teen Challenge in Winthrop, Maine. Dennis Knox, age 35, was convicted of gross sexual assault after raping an unconscious female. He is listed on the Maine Sex Offender Registry. http://sor.informe.org

At Teen Challenge there was also evidence of educational neglect (educationally insufficient material) and reports of physical, mental, sexual, and emotional abuse. There were many reports of abuse including forced missionary activity, possible violation of child labor laws, and forcing people to sign over paychecks to Teen Challenge. Florida has a nearly identical scheme to the one Texas had until recently, in that centers can be completely exempted from regulation by joining the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies--and Teen Challenge happens to be a member of FACCCA.

Action 9 reporter Todd Ulrich in Orlando, Fla. uncovered an unlicensed telemarketing operation at the Sanford Teen Challenge. Men convicted of financial crimes took customers' credit card information over the phone. They were paid 33 cents a day for a 40-hour work week. They were instructed to lie to potential customers about timeshare vacations from the "Disney Planning Center Resort." Further investigation revealed that the timeshare company has no relationship to Disney. Sanford Teen Challenge director Wayne Gray resigned in the wake of the scandal, and then fled when approached by Todd Ulrich for a follow-up story. Florida's Division of Consumer Services, which regulates telemarketing, is continuing its investigation.

Former Sanford, Fla. Teen Challenge director Wayne Gray, who resigned in disgrace when Action 9 news exposed an unlicensed telemarketing scam that paid workers 33 cents a day, turned up 1300 miles away in Oklahoma. Gray is now the Executive Director of Oklahoma Teen Challenge. No word yet on whether any of the Oklahoma Teen Challenge locations is running a telemarketing operation.

[22] HEAL, Human Earth Animal Liberation, 126 SW 148th St, Ste C100-422, Seattle, WA, 98166-1984, (877)845-3232 http://www.heal-online.org/childtortureusa.htm

[23] Florida Holocaust Museum, 55 Fifth Street South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, Tel: 727.820.0100, Fax: 727.821.8435

[24] H.R. 911: Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009 passed the US House of Representatives on Feb 23, 2009 but still needs to be brought to a vote in the Senate. It has died on the floor due to the influence of Melvin Sembler and his extensive control of campaign fundraising.

[25] Physicians for Human Rights http://phrtorturepapers.org/?dl_id=9 National Office/ Physicians for Human Rights, 2 Arrow Street, Suite 301, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA, Tel: (617) 301-4200, Fax: (617) 301-4250 or Washington Office, Physicians for Human Rights, 1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005, Tel: (202) 728-5335, Fax: (202) 728-3053

[26] American Society of Addiction Medicine, 4601 N. Park Avenue, Upper Arcade #101, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, Phone: 301-656-3920, Fax: 301-656-3815, email@asam.org ASAM collects money for the Ruth Fox Endowment Fund – started in honor of her work with alcoholics and drug addicts and her research on mind control and behavioral modification.

[27] Dr. Ruth Fox MD was the founder of the ASAM and was a subcontractor for the CIA that did mind control experiments. She did research on LSD on alcoholics. This research and its human rights abuses were the subject of the US Congress’ report by The Church Committee. The Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-ID) in 1975. A precursor to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the committee investigated intelligence gathering for illegality by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after certain activities had been revealed by the Watergate affair. Mind control (also referred to as 'brainwashing,' 'coercive persuasion,' 'thought reform,' and the 'systematic manipulation of psychological and social influence') refers to a process in which a group or individual systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s), often to the detriment of the person being manipulated. Dr. Ruth Fox working with ASAM Director George Douglas Talbott MD designed a covert plan to replace The SEED with Straight Inc. even over the objections of the US Congress and to continue the mind control research on vulnerable teens.

The CIA had a mind control project called MKULTRA. Project MKULTRA, or MK-ULTRA, was the code name for a covert, illegal CIA human research program, run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence. This official U.S. government program began in the early 1950s, continuing at least through the late 1960s, and it used U.S. and Canadian citizens as its test subjects. The published evidence indicates that Project MKULTRA involved the use of many methodologies to manipulate individual mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs and other chemicals, sensory deprivation, isolation, and verbal and sexual abuse.

Project MKULTRA was first brought to wide public attention in 1975 by the U.S. Congress, through investigations by the Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller Commission. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKULTRA files destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms' destruction order. In 1977, a FOIA request uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents relating to project MKULTRA, which led to the Senate Hearings of 1977.

[28] Federation of State Physicians Health Programs, Jonathan H. Dougherty, MS, Executive Director, Federation of State Physician Health Programs, Inc, Telephone: (518) 439-0626, Fax: (518) 439-0769, E-mail: doughj@albmed.org, Vickie Grosso, FSPHP Staff Assistant, Telephone:(312) 464-4574, Fax: (312) 464-5841, E-mail: Vickie.Grosso@ama-assn.org, Mailing Address: Federation of State Physician Health Programs, c/o American Medical Association, 515 North State Street - Room 8584, Chicago, IL 60654

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thisis well written! It was as you said it was. I was there 82-83 as an adult 18 tears old! They would not let me leave. I was transported across state lines with out my consent. Beaten starved chronic exhaustion... The list goes on! I am diagnosed with PTSD as a result of my stay. That place never went away , It has hidden and called it self many other names. Just know this fact as you sit all comfortable in your easy chair there is a child being tortured one day at a time!

Sincerely
Rich Moroski
POW from the War on Drugs 82-83 St.Pete FL and Springfield VA