Arnold Andrews, R.I.P., & OPERATION PAR
Wes Fager, editor of www.theStraights.com (an Internet newspaper about child abuse in therapeutic communities), documents the sickening history of OPERATION PAR, including ties to the Bush "faith-based" syndicate, CIA mind control, and figures relevant to the Comair crash story.
Ky. crash kills 'servant' of poor
Arnold Andrews worked behind the scenes for decades for the bay area's downtrodden.
August 29, 2006
Arnold Andrews, who was killed in a commuter plane crash in Kentucky on Sunday, rarely made news - but left his imprint all over the Tampa Bay area.
He helped everyone from migrant workers, Cubans and hurricane victims to children with cancer, and the drug and alcohol addicted. One of his latest projects was a training center for homeless families in St. Petersburg.
"He did so much behind-the-scenes work for people," said Hillsborough Commissioner Ronda Storms, who met him eight years ago. "Just completely causing big and small things to be done on behalf of people who had no voice and no power."
Andrews was among 49 people killed when a Comair regional jet crashed after taking off from Lexington's Blue Grass Field airport.
Andrews, 64, was an executive with WestCare Foundation, a non-profit that runs mental health and substance abuse programs. He had attended a company board meeting in Lexington and was scheduled to return Saturday night.
But HIS PLANE HAD A MECHANICAL PROBLEM, he told longtime friend and colleague Bob Neri when the two spoke Saturday night. ...
FOR 23 YEARS HE WORKED FOR OPERATION PAR (Parental Awareness and Responsibility), a drug treatment program serving Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee and Lee counties. He started as a volunteer and counselor and left as executive vice president.
"We've lost someone who behind the scenes has masterminded quite a few things," said Watson Haynes, a friend of 35 years who worked with Andrews at Operation PAR.
Andrews became executive director of Catholic Charities in St. Petersburg for a decade, serving also as vice chair on Catholic Charities USA.
"He had a real fondness for the poor and the downtrodden," said Sheila Lopez, chief operating officer of Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg Inc., who also worked with him at Operation PAR. "He loved working in particular with migrant workers. His dream was to build the San Jose Mission."
Andrews was key in getting grants to set up the residential community for low-income farm workers in Dover in Hillsborough County. ...
Drug Free America Foundation, formerly known as Straight, Inc.
From 1976-1985 it was known as Straight, Inc. and had a reputation for abusing kids as a drug rehabilitation program. In 1985 it changed its name to Straight Foundation, Inc. in order to protect its money and its principals from civil suits. In 1995 it was changed again to Drug Free America Foundation. DFAF is a national and international drug policy think tank and provider of services for drug free work places.
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Florida's Supreme Court strikes down statue of limitations, allows abuse law suit 20 years later
In 1995 a woman identified as S.A.P. filed a lawsuit accussing the state of Florida of concealing details of how she was "beaten, burned choked and denied food" in 1979 at the age of 3 and 4. The judge threw it out under Florida's 4 year statue of limitations law (section 768.28(13)). S.A.P. appealed and the matter made its way to Florida's Supreme Court. On November 27, 2002, in a 5-2 decision, Florida's Supreme Court ruled that the "statute of limitations" could not stop a lawsuit against the state "when one of the allegations in the suit says the state concealed facts about the abuse and delayed the filing of the lawsuit." [Source: Naples Daily News 11/28/02 by Jackie Hallifax, AP]
1. 1973: Pinellas County States Attorney James T. Russell and County Sheriff Don Genung invite The Seed, Straight's progenator, to Pinellas County. Russell and 6th Circuit judges join The Seed's advisory board.
2. 1978: The Dale Report confirms child abuse at Straight. State Attorney James T. Russell does absolutely nothing while state health officials bow to political pressure from the Sembler crowd, hide the abuse in its official report, and fires its chief investigator.
3. 1978: Sixteen year old Jerry Vancil exposes child abuse at Straight to St. Pete Times but state investigation is dropped when Vancil dissapears. He has never been seen or heard from since (dead or alive) and the state has never bothered to look for him (or his body).
4. Ray Waymire, acting chief of police for the city of St. Petersburg, Fl., was a founding Straight board member.
5. 1987: HRS (state health department) received a complaint from a kid who escaped from Straight only to be brought back in handcuffs by a sheriff's deputy.
6. 1989: Clary Report--Florida state health officials (HRS) bow to political presure once again and allow abuse to continue. Straight Foundation secretary Donald Sullivan, MD resigns to run for state Senate and joins committee that would oversee any investigation of Straight while his wife Irene Sullivan joins Sixth Circuit and attends Betty Sembler's birthday party.
7. States Attorney James T. Russell shows favortism to Sembler by failing to prosecute anyone in his clan over the Great Cooper's Point Land Scam while his former assistant state attorney Louis Kwall (whose former partner is now a 6th Circuit judge), who may have investigated the torture of Leigh Bright, et. al., but took no action if he did, becomes attorney for one of those involved in the land scandal; joins Sembler's powerful Republican Pary Machine; and his wife becomes the Sheriff's attorney.
8. 1990s: A teenager who had escaped from Straight met with an HRS (Florida state health department) official to file a complaint against Straight. Instead the HRS official called the police who escorted the child back to Straight for further abuse.
9. The Governor, his wife, the Lieutenant Governor, the Mayor and
everybody else joins the Advisory Board of Straight (now called DFAF).
10. The Sixth Circuit and the cops collude with Straight.
11. Operation PAR is a rehabilitation tool used extensively by Pinellas County's 6th Circuit. It appears that Operation PAR has become the new treatment arm of Straight (now DFAF).
12. Florida's 6th Circuit gags Ray Bradbury to keep him from exposing its own involvement in Straight and The Seed.
13. 1978: US Congressman C.W. "Bill" Young receives three out-of-state complaints against Straight and forwards them to James T. Russell. Russell investigates but does absolutley nothing and Young lets the ball drop. (St. Pete Times, 4/30/78, p. 15B) [Also see Young and Straight; Young and pork for Sembler's Treasure Island; Sembler tells Young to give Itlalians $10M of our money.]
14. How Phil Elberg overcame the statue of limitations in the Lulu Corter case.
15. RICO and how attorney Wendall Turley overcame the statue of limitations to sue the Hare Krishna church for abusing its children 25 years ago. link
16. Suicide or Murder? (Straight and 40+ suicides)
17. Over 40 suicides: Florida jury convicts mother of child abuse resulting in suicide after judge allows a psychological autopsy to determine state of mind of deceased teenager (e.g. whether actions taken by mother drove girl to suicide).
Claims Bill. Beyond suing for recompensation, there is another possible avenue of relief. That's a claims bill. Let's say the U.S. government did wrong by knowingly exposing thousands of our soldiers to the plant defoliator Agent Orange. The US Congress can pass a special bill to give a monetary award to those who had been put in harms way. Could the Florida legislature be educated to the problem that Florida state officials colluded with Straight, looked the other way, failed to prosecute, backed down to political pressure from Mel Sembler? Could the legislature be humbled into doing the right thing and make amends for what Florida state officials allowed to happen to thousands of kids by authorizing a special claims bill to reimburse them for the harm state officials caused by their reckless failure to do their jobs. link
If David Miscaviage can go to his deposition as Admiral Farragut, then Keith Henson can go as Bozo the Clown.
Posted by Wes Fager at 3:05 PM 4 comments Links to this post
DFAF carries the logo OJJDP
OJJDP is the US government's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. If you go to Drug Free America Foundation's (formerly Straight, Inc.) web page, at the bottom right appears the logo OJJDP. What does this mean? Could DFAF and OJJDP be one and the same? (new 2/26/05)
Posted by Wes Fager at 2:13 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Friday, February 25, 2005
Has Op PAR become the treatment arm of the Drug Free America Foundation?
Or: 3 strikes and the Sixth Circuit is OUT! This article also appears on Tampa Bay Independent Media. SUMMARY Operation PAR is the biggest drug rehabilitation program in the southeast. In recent years PAR has been infiltrated by officials formerly associated with the defunct Straight, Inc. program. In its heyday Straight was the biggest juvenile rehab chain in the world, but it had a reputation for the dastardly abuse of its young clients (over 40 former clients have commited suicide) as can be seen in these links:
• a newspaper montage on Straight
• professionals comment on Straight
• the US Senate calls the methods of The Seed (the model upon which Straight is based) Communist-styled brainwashing
• Straight civil suits
• Montel Williams Show on Straight (video trailer)
• George W. Bush praises Straight (video)
• Straight Kids (a video trailer)
• Miller Newton, Straight's former national clinical director, and now with a DFAF subsidiary, settles for $11 million for abusing kids
• Tough Love rejects Straight
Straight was founded and operated by US Ambassador to Italy, Melvin Sembler and his wife Betty. Today Straight is called Drug Free America Foundation. Today it specialzes in helping small businesses set up Drug Free Workplaces, and in promoting national and international drug policy. Many of Florida's Sixth Circuit justices were publicly supportive of Straight, Inc. and its predecessor The Seed. Betty Sembler and many others tied to DFAF/Straight have joined Operation PAR. The Sixth Circuit works closely with Operation PAR. Operation PAR has had no reputation for abuse. This report looks at the question, has Operation PAR become the treatment arm of DFAF? And, if so, should the Sixth Circuit be aware of it? ---
In the early 1970s a remarkable woman from Pinellas County Florida named Shirley Coletti was so concerned that her teenage daughter was using drugs that she worked with James T. Russell, the county prosecutor, and Sheriff Don Gedung to found a juvenile drug rehabilitation program they called Parental Awareness and Responsibility or Operation PAR. Op PAR has become so successful that in 2001 PAR sent a representative to the National Institute on Drug Abuse's National Conference on Drug Abuse Prevention. But Shirley Coletti did not represent PAR at the conference; a woman named Betty Sembler did. A few years after PAR was founded, Betty Sembler had been another Pinellas County mother concerned that one of her teenagers was into the drug scene. But she did not send him to PAR; she chose instead a controversial Fort Lauderdale-based therapeutic community called The Seed.
The Seed had been founded by a comedian and recovering alcoholic named Art Barker. The St. Petersburg Times reported that Barker had a mail-order degree in psychology. Barker had ambitions to make The Seed a national program. James T. Russell and Sheriff Gedung visited the program and recommended opening a Seed expansion facility in Pinellas County. Sixth Circuit (Pinellas /Pasco County) Judge Jack Dadswell had two kids in The Seed in Fort Lauderdale. He had been on the Executive Committee which had brought The Seed to St. Petersburg in Pinellas County. Sixth Circuit Justices William L. Walker and James B. Sanderlin had served on The Seed’s Advisory Board along with Russell, Gedung and Dr. Charles J. Crist, vice chairman of the Pinellas County school board and father of Charlie Crist (Florida's Attorney General). Thirty years ago Sixth Circuit Judge Jack Page boasted about sending kids to The Seed "on a daily basis." Today it's Judges Walt Logan and Dee Anna Farnell who brag about sending one kid a day to Operation PAR.
In 1974 the US Senate published a report that likened the methods of The Seed to those used by North Koreans on American servicemen (brainwashing). The Seed fell from grace after that but Betty Sembler and her husband Melvin were so enamored with The Seed that they opened their own version of The Seed which they called Straight, Inc. Mel Sembler was very wealthy and politically connected too and the two of them were able to accomplish what Art Barker had not. They made Straight a national-level program with treatment camps all over the country.
Besides peddling their program to politicians, the Sembler's were very successful in marketing Straight to the 6th Circuit as this marketing minutes shows. In 1977 Judge Page (the judge who sent kids to The Seed "on a daily basis") had called Straight "excellent"; but word of Straight's abuses were quickly leaking out. Turns out, Straight was much more destructive than The Seed had been. By 1981 Judge Page and other 6th Circuit justices had stopped sending kids to Straight. Judge Page says he started sending kids to PAR instead. He noted that a court order to Straight could involve more time than a sentence to jail for the drug offense for which the juvenile had been brought to him in the first place. He noted that PAR is a shorter program and a little more “normal” than Straight.
In 1985 the Semblers, fearing civil suits (and perhaps fearing possible criminal prosecution as well) changed the mission of Straight, Inc. from "treatment" to "education" and its name from "Straight, Inc." to "Straight Foundation, Inc." And then they created a brand new organization to treat kids for addiction which they called "Straight, Inc."! [See Straight: Piercing the Corporate Veil] In 1989 Florida health authorities tried to close Straight's flagship treatment camp in Pinellas County, but it appears that Mel Sembler used his political connections to keep it open. The new Straight, Inc. finally closed in 1993 amidst law suits and allegations of child abuse all over the country. And for the first time in 17 years DFAF and Betty Sembler found themselves without ties to a drug treatment business. James T. Russell, the man who brought The Seed to Pinellas County, never indicted Mel and Betty Sembler for their role in Straight, Inc. In fact the only person Russell ever prosecuted from Straight was a male adult counselor who went ot prison for sexually molesting a teenage male client. James T. Russell never even indicted anyone connected with Mel Sembler in 1988 for conspiring to defraud the taxpayers of Clearwater, Florida in The Great Cooper's Point Land Scam .
In 1995, two years after Straight had to be closed, Betty changed the name of her educational foundation again. This time to Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF). But Ms. Sembler will always feel she has something special to offer those suffering from addictions, her fiasco at Straight, Inc. notwithstanding. After Straight closed she joined the board of directors for Operation PAR. And so it came to pass that it was Betty Sembler, and not Shirley Coletti, who attended the 2001 NIDA conference representing Operation PAR. (That same year Mrs. Sembler spoke to the US Congress as a representive of DFAF. So this dual hatted grandam of the "War on Drugs" and self proclaimed "drug prevention and policy expert" represents DFAF when she wants to talk drug policy and represents PAR when she wants to talk drug treatment.)
Betty Sembler is not the only person with ties to Straight who has come over to PAR. Susan Latvala is chairman of the board of directors of Operation PAR. She is also on DFAF's Advisory Board. Former St. Petersburg police chief Terry Hensley is the former executive director of DFAF. Before that he was a director at Op PAR. The former director of Straight - St. Petersburg is an Interim Executive Director at Operation PAR. The former director of Straight - Sarasota is director of marketing for Operation PAR. Judge Irene Sullivan is on one PAR committee; her husband Donald was formerly secretary of Straight Foundation.
Betty's treatment concept through the use of politics (with its influx of taxpayer money) seems to have reached Operation PAR. The Sembler's were able to persuade George H. W. Bush and Nancy Reagan to visit Straight. Already Jeb Bush and his mother Barbara have made separate visits to Operation PAR. The web page for The White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy caries a feature article on Operation PAR. Wes Fager, editor of www.theStraights.com once editorialized on his concern of Mel Sembler's plan to test all American teenagers as a rite of passage for getting a learner's permit and that possibly Sembler and/or his associates would be paid to do the testing. If a teen shows positive on this invasion of his privacy and if he is just a user he would possibly go to a Sembler-inspired drug rehab program. But if he is a dealer, he would go to a private prison for punishment and treatment. (See Sembler's plan to make all 16 year-olds pay drug testers for the right to drive .) Operation PAR is already working with law enforcement in America. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been granting PAR $64,000 a year since 1999. In 1995 the Florida Attorney General's office granted Operation PAR $59,000. Operation PAR runs a pilot program to rehabilitate prostitutes which as been funded by the St. Petersburg Police Department. Also Operation PAR works with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Internationally, PAR runs a prison program in Barbados. Today Operation PAR is an $18-million, 500-employee agency treating 8,000 to 10,000 people yearly making it the biggest, most comprehensive drug treatment agency in the southeastern United States!
Blacks and addiction in Pinellas County. A study done by the St. Petersburg Times in the early 1980s found that Operation PAR clients were typically black, had demonstrated a drug dependency beyond casual use of marijuana, and paid on a true sliding scale based upon income. That same study found that Straight clients were typically white, the fees were steep, and casual use of marijuana was cause for admittance.
After the street violence in the predominantly black Midtown section of St. Petersburg in 1996 the community opened Family and Substance Abuse Center to treat black addicts. But by 2003 no public money had ever been freed up for the operation of that program (unless the person in need had committed a crime and had been subsequently court ordered). Any available operational money went to Operation PAR and to other established treatment programs elsewhere in the region. So much for failed drug rehabilitation for Midtown. But the city did manage to free up $ 1.3 million to buy land to build a $ 5 million shopping center in Midtown. Urban Development Solutions, a nonprofit headed by Larry Newsome and the NAACP's Daryl Rouson, got the contract. The city council leased land to UDS for $5 per year and loaned it $1.35 million for construction. The loan is interest free and UDS doesn't have to make payments for 10 years. And who is UDS' business partner in this project? The Sembler Company. [See Coalition Building: Sembler and the NAACP.]
Op PAR receives a lot of its income from government grants, and from government Medicaid and Medicare payments. Last year it received a $ 4 million federal grant to build a development center and therapeutic community. In 1999 PAR was accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Today PAR can also be reimbursed by managed health care providers in addition to receiving its government grants. PAR even bought and operated a mental hospital which is ironic since Susan Latvala, chairman of the board at PAR, has been very chummy with the Church of Scientology™. Scientologists strongly oppose the profession of psychiatry, though many consider Scientology™'s Dianetic™ processing as a sort of poor man's alternative to psychiatric counseling. PAR's Dr. Betty Buchan even endorses Narconon™ the drug treatment regimen so closely aligned with Scientology™.
Two Strikes against the Sixth Circuit. Justices Page, Logan and Farnell are not the only 6th Circuit judges with a working relationship with Operation PAR. Sixth Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley is or was a member of the board of directors at Operation PAR. Judge Lauren Laughlin works with Operation PAR to do drug assessments for the court. Pinellas County prosecutor James T. Russell helped found PAR. PAR runs a program for the county sheriff's department. Judges are always looking for an alternative to rehabilitate or punish young offenders in lieu of sending them to jail. That's understandable, but the judges need also understand that these places of businesses are, after all, just that--places of business--even many of the non-profits. The more people they treat, the more money they make. The more people referred to them by the courts, the more money they make. And the longer a person stays in treatment, the more money they make. Twice before Florida's 6th Circuit has placed its money on juvenile rehabilitation programs endorsed by or operated by Betty Sembler. And twice before that court has struck out. To our knowledge, there has been absolutely no history of abuse at Operation PAR and that's great. But the court should be reminded, from time-to-time, of its own endorsements of The Seed, Straight and Operation PAR, and the links these programs have to one another. [See The skinny on Florida's Royal Court under Judge George Greer.)
Straight, Inc. used to be the treatment arm of DFAF but today DFAF has no drug abuse treatment arm. Or does it? Drug Free Workplaces of Tampa Bay is an arm of DFAF. According to SAMHSA, there are 147 substance abuse programs within 100 miles of Pinellas County, and yet DFWTB's web page links to one, and only one, of these 147 programs--Operation PAR! Why? What is the true relationship between Op PAR and DFAF? On Feb. 12, 1999 Betty Sembler and Shirley Coletti attended Governor Jeb Bush's Drug Summit in Tallahassee but they had to be back in Tampa that evening to attend an Operation PAR fund raiser co-chaired by Karol Bullard, wife Sembler's business partner Fred Bullard. No problem, the two just hopped aboard Mel Sembler's private jet and flew to Tampa. Lennie Bennett, a gossip columnist for the St. Petersburg Times, covered the day's events writing that Betty Sembler is "one of PAR's founders." Well that is not true, but we might was well start believing it. After all, who runs PAR today--Shirley Coletti or the Straight crowd?
 DFWTB links to several sites, but only one of them is a drug treatment program--OP PAR.
If David Miscaviage can go to his deposition as Admiral Farragut, then Keith Henson can go as Bozo the Clown.
Posted by Wes Fager at 9:35 PM 3 comments Links to this post
The Conspiracy Theory: Is Straight some sort of Richard Nixon CIA-NIH mind-control experiment gone awry?
by Wesley Fager (c) 2005
Thomas Constantine (former director of the DEA) is on the Advisory Board of Straight under its latest name (Drug Free America Foundation). Karen P. Tandy (Administrator DEA) is also on the Advisory Board. Former Drug Czar Robert DuPont of Bensinger & DuPont is another board member. Dr. DuPont administered the US government's grant to The Seed, Straight's predecessor, when he was the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (an NIH subsidiary). Later he became a paid Straight consultant. Peter Bensinger, DuPont's business partner, was another director of the DEA.
Guy M. Tunnell, Commissioner, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (Florida's state police) and former FDLE commissioner James "Tim" Moore are also on the board. Former White House drug czars Rober DuPont, MD (a former paid Straight consultant) and Donald Ian MacDonald, MD (Straight's former national medical research director) are members of the International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse (a DFAF subsidiary). Richard Schwartz, MD, former medical research director for Straight - Springfield is another forum member.
Former CIA director George H. W. Bush made a TV commercial for Straight out of the Oval Office and appointed Straight founders Mel Sembler and Joseph Zappala to ambassadors to Australia and Spain, respectively. His son President George W. Bush appointed Sembler to ambassador to Italy. His son Governor Jeb Bush is on the Advisory Board for Straight (under its current name, DFAF) along with his wife Columba and his Lt. Governor Toni Jennings. DFAF is funded by the US government. Perhaps it's a good time to wonder whether Straight (and its predecessor--The Seed) is some sort of Richard Nixon CIA-NIH mind-control experiment gone awry?
In the early 1950s accounts started coming out of Red China about a remarkable discovery to change men's minds. It was quickly called brainwashing in the West, though one prominent psychiatrist suggested "mendicide" or "death of the mind" as a more appropriate title. After careful scientific analysis it was finally dubbed thought reform by the Western medical establishment. What the Chinese had devised are "re-education" schools which they call Seventh of May Academies. In reality they are prisons for political prisoners which they call "students". Academy students are deprived of food and sleep, of toilet facilities and baths, of medicine. Their hands are chained behind their backs so they have to eat their meager rations and lap water out of a bowl like an animal. They defecate like a dog or cat without being able to wipe themselves. People spit in their faces and they are beaten, scolded, and incessantly urged to "tell all" in a process called "struggling". The students live under constant fear that they may be executed at any time.
As the Chinese thought reform student is being systematically humiliated, he is made to invent a trumped-up confession and then to spend the next three years of his life re-writing it, perfecting it, rehearsing it, and defending it, until, it is felt, he actually comes to believe his own made-up story! Once it is deemed the student is sufficiently confused about his own confession, he starts taking classes to learn Communist doctrines [re-education]. Psychologically the student becomes depressed over his present milieu and overloaded with deep feelings of guilt and shame for what he has admitted to, including confessions to turn in his friends and family members for real or dreamed-up crimes. For years he is afforded no exercise, diversions, or free time for relaxation or contemplation to think things out because he spends his three years in a small cell with eight other inmates. No one graduates unless everyone does what is asked. And what is asked is that they all come to truly believe their confession. There is a nightly court where a judge questions the student about his confession and tries to trip him up, and where guards might beat him, but it is his fellow cellmates who wake him through the day and night depriving him of sleep. It is his fellow prisoners who constantly urge him to "tell all" and who spit in his face. There is no trust. Everybody rats on everybody else in order to save himself.
Many newage (one word rendition of "New Age", rhymes with sewage. Coined by cult buster and magician The Amazing Randi) cult leaders have read these accounts of brainwashing (just as this author has) and some have attempted to use some of these techniques on members of their own organizations. Cult apologists, citing findings in Lifton's own work, argue that you can't really cleanse someone's mind. Whether brainwashing truly works or not, I'll leave that to the cult apologists to convince a judge. But I will tell you there is no denying that brainwashing is cruel, physically and psychologically damaging, and can lead to death by suicide from humiliation and depression. And, I can also tell you that, many cult leaders use it because they think it works, or at least they don't know of any better way to exert total control over their subordinates. Some cults, claiming they can make sane men saner and smart men smarter, have been accused of using thought control in their program. This is the so-called human potential movement.
The newage cults are not the only westerners who have shown interest in Chinese Communist thought reform. The United States government is another. In the 1960s the CIA started experimenting with thought reform and in the use of mind altering drugs to control one's thoughts as possible ways to combat brainwashing, and also as a way to try to persuade enemy agents into becoming double agents for the United States. The U.S. prison system is another government agency which has investigated brainwashing. Their interest is in a way to rehabilitate prisoners. Incredibly, in 1962 Dr. Edgar H. Schein, associate professor of psychiatry at M.I.T., addressing the topic "Man Against Man: Brainwashing" at a seminar for prison wardens and psychologists chaired by James V. Bennett, the then director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, told his audience:
My basic argument is this: in order to produce marked change of behavior and/or attitude, it is necessary to weaken, undermine, or remove the supports of the old patterns of behavior and the old attitudes'; this can be done 'either by removing the individual physically and preventing any communication with those whom he cares about, or by proving to him that those whom he respects are not worthy of it and, indeed, should be actively mistrusted.' Dr. Schein told his audience that he had gotten most of his ideas by studying the techniques used by North Korean and Chinese Communist on GI prisoners of war, but cautioned his audience not to be put off by this fact: 'These same techniques in the service of different goals may be quite acceptable to us. . . I would like to have you think of brainwashing not in terms of politics, ethics, and morals, but in terms of the deliberate changing of human behavior and attitudes by a group of men who have relatively complete control over the environment in which the captive population lives.' [Corrective Psychiatry & Journal of Social Change, Second Quarter, 1962.]
Thought reform is not the only tool in the arsenal of government agencies and mind control cults. Some newage ideas are coming right out of professional western psychology. Primal Scream, for one, where the patient lays on the floor in his therapists' office and screams to the top of his lungs. Another is rebirthing where a person is wrapped in a blanket and slowly emerges reliving the birthing experience. Two counselors are in prison in Colorado today for rebirthing a defiant little girl named Megan. She did not come out of her the blanket alive.
Aversion therapy is another popular tool for behavioral modification. One father, fearing his teenage son was gay, sent him to a program that placed an erection detector on the child's penis. The child was shown pictures of nude males and if the detector sensed movement in the young boy's genitals, he was given an electric shock. The boy committed suicide. Synanon Church. In 1958 in California a recovering alcoholic named Chuck Dederich formed a foundation to treat heroin addicts which he called Synanon. The heart of Synanon was a brutal, verbal peer group confrontation called "The Game" (or synanon with a small "s") where addicts shouted indictments at one another. That is, addicts aided in their own recovery. Synanon was no more effective than anyone else but some slick marketing strategies plus national exposure in a book by New York psychiatrist Daniel Casriel and spreads in Look, Life and Ebony magazines made the Synanon Game a new standard of addiction treatment. Programs like Phoenix House and Daytop are based on synanon-style confrontations though they prefer to call themselves the more professional sounding therapeutic communities.
A remarkable series of events converged on the month of June 1970 which has forever affected the way the world has come to look at addiction treatment. Woodstock had just occurred and shown us that middle class whites were using drugs. And Charles Manson and Green Beret Captain Jeffery MacDonald had scared us into believing that drugs make middle class kids want to kill. Through the winter of 1970 the nations' newspapers and magazines were forecasting a heroine epidemic amongst middle class American teenagers which would begin in June of 1970. All sorts of drug treatment programs started springing up all over the place. Charles Manson's trial began in June and the month before, in May, Narconon™, the drug rehabilitation program affiliated with the Church of Scientology™, was incorporated on the west coast. But many of the new treatment programs were Synanon-based therapeutic communities like Elan (if you've been keeping up with the Michael Skakel / Martha Moxley murder trial). Another was The Seed which opened for business in June 1970 on the east coast in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Seed was a synanon for kids-only. It was unusual in that as a start-up, experimental program founded by a high school graduate and recovering alcoholic, it got a grant for $1 million (in 1970 dollars!) from the federal government's NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse )--a subsidiary of the sprawling NIMH (National Institue of Mental Health). Psychiatrist Robert L. DuPont, Jr. was then the director of NIDA. The CIA had experimented with LSD on prisoners at the NIH's lock-up hospital in Lexington, Kentucky where NIH had set up its own experimental synanon which it called MATRIX.
This has made more than one conspiracy theorist wonder whether The Seed was some sort of CIA-backed mind control experiment to turn long-hair, pot smoking American teenagers into mindful and obedient, clean-cut kids with button-down, collared shirts who would fight our wars and vote for Richard Nixon's Republican Party. The theory gets even more intriguing when, in 1974, the U.S. Senate published a report which likened The Seeds methods to the brainwashing techniques employed by the North Koreans against American servicemen during the Korean War. The Senate report was
a principal reason for The Seed to stop its expansion programs.
Drug Free America Foundation (Straight). But out of the ashes of one of those Seed expansion programs, some former Seed parents including Melvin Sembler (now Ambassador to Italy) and his wife Betty Sembler, opened their own Seed-like program which they called Straight, Inc. which grew to become the largest chain of juvenile drug rehabilitation programs in the world. Straight was so successful , in large part, because Robert DuPont (the man who had administered the unusual NIDA contract to The Seed) left NIDA and became a paid consultant for Straight! He claims that he got Nancy Reagan involved in Straight. He has stated in deposition that it was his idea that Straight go national. He defended Straight in many of its civil suits against it for abusing kids. Today Straight is a drug policy think tank operating under the name Drug Free America Foundation and Robert DuPont is on its Advisory Board.
DFAF does not run the Straight treatment program anymore (though Betty Sembler and so many other former Straight officials have infiltrated Operation PAR, another therapeutic community for drug rehabilitation, that a great case can be made that PAR is the new treatment arm of DFAF.) DFAF no longer operates the old Straight program but second-generation Straights continue to operate all over the country and there have been allegations of abuse at some of them. [Look at the people who endorse Straight on the flier at top left. George Bush is the former director of the CIA during the Nixon administration. Robert DuPont is the founding director of NIMH'S NIDA. In World War II Congressman Charles Bennett had been an intelligence officer assigned to the secret Counter Intelligence Corps. And Dr. Maxie Maultsby taught Rational Emotive Therapy to Straight's Dr. George Ross at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY., the same city where the NIMH operated an experimental, federal lockup hospital on addictions and where the CIA conducted LSD experiments on inmates.] The juvenile heroine epidemic never did materialize in June 1970 but a plethora of treatment programs to combat it did. Now thanks especially to synanons any businessman can open up a lucrative drug rehab program for teens. Today there are all kinds of specialty schools for defiant, middle class teenagers and rich kids (and some wards of the state). They are variously called wilderness programs, boot camps, emotional growth schools, achievement camps, religious boarding schools, and synanon-based therapeutic communities. Kids are treated for drug addiction, sexual orientation, eating disorders, low academic performance, or for just plain being defiant. And the programs are not cheap either, some costing as much as $60,000 a year. Accusations of abuse have been leveled at some of these programs and there have been some deaths.
Many of these specialty schools employ aspects of behavior modification including elements of Communist Chinese brainwashing, and some develop novel ways to effect these techniques to avoid criminal prosecutions. Instead of using chains to restrain ( which, criminally, is bondage) they pick fights with clients and then have 4 or 5 of his fellow clients painfully restrain him. In Straight food deprivation is achieved by giving a kid food!--plain peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast, for lunch and for supper, no jelly, just big globs of peanut butter, for up to 30 days until the child is sickened at the thought of another peanut butter sandwich. Like so many involved in the human potential movement, many kids in newage rehabilitation programs are tricked or forced to tell their deepest darkest secret (confession) as a primary step towards recovery, often citing AA ("admitted to God, myself, and another human being") as the reason. This extorted information may then be used against the confessor, relentlessly. Many of these programs use the Chinese peer group concept--no one gets out unless everyone complies. In the Straight cult inmates actually spit in one another's faces just like their counter parts in Chinese Seventh of May Academies. In many of these programs kids are allowed no unmonitored contact with their own parents until they earn that privilege. In many of these programs kids are not allowed to discuss what happens in the program. In order to control parents, parents are often subjected to some form of a control program of their own where they will typically attend parent meetings in the evening or attend a weekend seminar from time-to-time. It would be another decade after June 1970 before the established psychiatric hospitals would catch on to the the lucrative market of teenage drug addiction; that's another story altogether. But the message about any program which treats teens is this. If a child can be sexually molested in a Catholic Church, can he not be sexually molested in a treatment program for teens--or physically assaulted or psychologically abused? How can a parent consent to place a child in any program where he can not contact that child at reasonably specified time periods? How can a parent consent to not ask his child what happens in this program? And how can a well-meaning judge sentence a teenager to such a place or even recommend such a place? Look, everybody knows there are kids with problems who need help, and there are many fine programs available which are genuinely concerned with helping kids in trouble. But judges need to realize that all of these places, like private prisons, are, after all, businesses.
A warden in a publicly operated prison has incentive to get a prisoner rehabilitated and back to society at large as a productive citizen. In a privately owned prison, the longer a prisoner stays, the more money the warden and guards make. Is this not an inducement for prison wardens and guards to pick fights with prisoners to stop early paroles? And while we are on private prisons, the conspiracy theorists among us ask why George H. W. Bush, former director of the CIA, is so interested in Straight which is a private prison.
And why is Wackenhut, the nation's second largest operator of private prisons, so filled with former CIA men? Why is George H. W. Bush so close to Straight founders Mel Sembler and Joe Zappala, two Floridian construction moguls.? And why is a Florida-based private prison operations company running private prisons in Texas?
Previously we reported that Governor Jeb Bush, his wife Columba and his Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings, along with other prominent Florida Republicans had joined the advisory board of Straight under its new name--Drug Free America Foundation. That report is here. DFAF has now publicly disclosed its members and backers, so we have some new names to add to the list. Historically, Straight targeted the children of affluent white parents for drug treatment (See $95 million charity for white kids) Thus it is not surprising to learn that Darryl Rouson, President of the St. Petersburg Chapter of the NAACP, has joined DFAF's Advisory Board. Susan Latvala, the Pinellas County Commissioner who is so chummy with the Church of Scientology, joined Rouson along with Christy McCampbell, Director of Public Safety, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (See Advisory DFAF Board. See Never Again on Advisory Board.) Foundation founder Betty Sembler's biography is here. More surprising than the inclusion of Darryl Rouson is the revelation that Stephanie Haynes of the Drug Prevention Network of the Americas is now a special DFAF advisor. In 1996 Texas Governor George W. Bush appointed Stephanie Haynes to the board of directors of the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA). In 1989 TCADA yanked the license of Kids of El Paso, Miller Newtons's brutal rendition of Straight, and in 1991 Straight-Dallas closed after being advised by TCADA that it was going to revoke Straight's license for reports of child abuse. (See Haynes)
Posted by Wes Fager at 8:22 PM
Man dies of heroin overdose at Operation Par two days before his graduation from the program
Man dies of heroin overdose at Operation Par two days before his graduation from the program story
Posted by Wes Fager at 6:17 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Operation Par to receive 1.5 million fed grant
Posted by Wes Fager at 6:14 PM 1 comments Links to this post
Operation PAR's Dr. Betty Buchan endorses Narconon™
Posted by Wes Fager at 6:13 PM 0 comments Links to this post
DFAF Adv. Bd. member Susan Latvala and husband Jack (former director of the Fl. state Republican Party) get chummy with the Church of Scientology™
Posted by Wes Fager at 6:08 PM 2 comments Links to this post
Operation Par counselor with extensive criminal record arrested for armed rape
Posted by Wes Fager at 6:05 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Operation Par defends its hiring screening process in wake of assault by one of its counselors
story Reader's shouldn't be overly surprised at PAR's ability to screen its employees. In 1999 it took them over a year to learn that its CEO had been convicted of a DUI. story PAR fired its medical director in 1994 as soon as it learned that he had been accused of sexual abuse of a teenage boy. story
Posted by Wes Fager at 2:16 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Operation PAR tackles faith-based by W. Fager
Faith-based rehabilitation is a concept that assumes that men of God need no state oversight to administer social programs such as drug rehabilitation. It is a concept first popularized in Texas by then Gov. George W. Bush who is today trying to make it the law of the land. In a clear violation of "separation of church and state" the president presses for awarding federal grant money to church-based social programs.
Many fault the President for assuming that all men of God should be trusted out of hand. Look at Father Bruce Ritter and Covenant House, for example. During his 1984 inaugural address President Ronald Reagan singled out Father Bruce Ritter as one of the nation's "un-sung" heroes for his work at Covenant House, a program to take in homeless children. In 1989 President George H. W. Bush launched his "thousand points of light" initiative from Covenant House. Four months after Bush's award, Father Ritter stepped down from Covenant House amidst allegations he was having sex with the young boys he saved from the streets and that he was fraudulently handling charitable funds.
The President's brother Jeb Bush is pushing the faith-based initiative in Florida. But, like Texas, Florida has had problems with church-based social programs as reported in An intro to ABC Pensacola News Report on faith-based schools by W. Fager. Look at Reverend Doctor Miller Newton. Miller Newton was formerly the national clinical director for Straight, Inc. He hurriedly left Florida in 1982 amidst a flurry of criminal and civil allegations for abusing teenagers. He moved to New Jersey and setup his own Straight-like program he called Kids of Bergen County. From there he setup his own chain of juvenile rehabilitation programs he called Kids Centers of America. In 1989 state health authorities closed down his Kids of Southern California for abusing kids. So Straight moved in and took over his clients. Next year California health authorities closed down Straight of Southern California for abusing kids. Similarly state authorities closed Kids of El Paso and Kids of Salt Lake City. In 1993 three counselors at Kids in New Jersey were convicted of assault. In 1999 another was convicted of assault. Reverend Newton finally closed his flagship facility two years ago after paying out over $11 million to former clients for abuse and to the federal government for Medicare fraud. The New Jersey Law Journal labled Father Newton's treatment regimen "medical quackery." Reverend Newton has moved back to Florida and taken on an alias--Father Cassian. Straight watchers have been very concerned that Jeb Bush will let him organize a faith-based treatment program for youths in Florida, because, by ordination and education, he is a man of God. Father Cassian has not established a social program for youths, but he has joined a subsidiary group of DFAF! In 1984 Straight, Inc. was ordered by a jury in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia to pay Fred Collins $220,000 for falsely imprisoning him. The jury felt that Mr. Collins had not sufficiently proved that he had been abused while incarcerated at Straight, otherwise the judgment would have surely been for much more. Fred Collins had been an honor roll engineering student at Virginia Tech who had come to Straight to visit his brother there during Spring break. But during prescreening as a requirement to see his brother, a Straight counselor had looked into Fred's eyes, determined that they were red, and ordered him into treatment against his will. The counselor who made the decision to incarcerate Fred Collins was a former Catholic priest named Chris Yarnold. During deposition Mr. Yarnold admitted he did not know what laughing gas was, nor did he know the active ingredient in marijuana [THC]. When asked, in court, if he knew how the hallucinogenic factor in drugs worked, he replied, "No. All I knew was drugs affected people." He declared that he had known Mr. Collins had been smoking marijuana because his eyes had been red at intake. He admitted that contact lenses could make one’s eyes red, but on physical examination of Collins at the trial, he failed to notice that Collins was then wearing contact lenses. Later Yarnold became director of the ill-fated Straight-Sarasota.
Today Chris Yarnold is director of marketing at Betty Sembler's Operation Par. He represents Op PAR on Florida's Faith and Community-Based Treatment Committee. Operation PAR is looking for individuals to serve on its interfaith advisory board.
Mr. Yarnold is standing in the line to get that fat faith-based money along with Joy Margolis. Joy is Straight's former mouthpiece. Now she is a member of Jeb Bush's Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Advisory Board. A second link is here.
Also read Child Abuse in Florida's Faith-based Programs by Wes Fager.
Posted by Wes Fager at 2:14 PM
Disinfopedia on DFAF
Posted by Wes Fager at 2:12 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Report spells out Straight's violation of human rights and civil liberties
Posted by Wes Fager at 5:57 PM 0 comments Links to this post
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Wes Fager is the editor of www.theStraights.com--an Internet newspaper about child abuse in therapeutic communities. For information on Wes Fager read his Bio or do a Google on "wes fager" and "wesley fager."
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