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The Picket Report
by Wes Fager
Congress shall make no law...abridging...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
from the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

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Folks,  it's time to end the abuse once and for all.  And its time to end Mel Sembler's reign as the Man in the Gray Robes behind this phony "War on Drugs".  

You can reach this page by selecting the protest button at top left of www.thestraights.net


The views and reports made by guest reporters (including snagged reporters) on this page are not necessarily shared by The Oakton Institute or theStraights dot com.  They are the observations of what one person perceived he or she witnessed at an event.   theStraights dot com welcomes comments and reports from those who have been a target of a picket and will make reasonable efforts to publish counter reports or replies. 

Volunteers sought

We are recruiting volunteers to be regional picket coordinators.  We also need for potential picketers to let us know of your availability to do a picket.  Regional coordinators will contact you when pickets are planned.  eMail us



Picket Schedules

Apr 22, 2005 Nat'l Survivors Input Day, St. Pete, Fl  

downloadable fliers

The Influence of Straight (DFAF) on National and International Drug Policy
What you should know about Straight Legacy Programs
Flow chart of the Straights--a graphic.  Note: you may have to play around with this one.  For example, in Paint Shop Pro V6.01, select File/Print Preview/Setup and select "fit to page",  then print it.  MS Windows users might try the print option to "fit to page".
Civil suits and criminal charges.
What professionals are saying about the Straights.
Straight legacy parents, state licensing officials, insurance companies, professional medical people beware.   

Planning a protest?

If you are planning a protest, please let us know so we can  include it on the schedule above.



Information sought.

If you have photos or a story on a Straight-related picket please let us know and forward photos to us for display on this page.  If you would like to be a regional picket director or would like to be notified of a picket in your area,  please let us know. EMail us.

Intelligence Reports



Picket Reports



Florida Holocaust Museum Award's banquet 2/12/2005








St Pete for Peace
at Sembler Company
Jan. 20, 2005

The St. Pete for Peace crowd opposes right wing Republican elitism, the War in Iraq and Straight. They protested Bush's Inauguration Day. Many Straight survivors favor Bush, others oppose him so the turnout from the Straight crowd was understandably poor. But for those few who did show, this was the first time an anti-Straight crowd protested at The Sembler Company. The poor protest turnout was reminiscent of the DATIA workshop protest in 2002. The US Supreme Court had just decided that kids in any school activity could be drug tested without probable cause for their own good. DATIA is an organization behind drug testing. The more kids are tested, the more money it can make. Straight survivors were aware that Drug Free America Foundation was a major player in an Amicus Brief presented to the court. Some Straight Survivors favor legalization of drugs, others do not. The protest was hampered because groups like Norml who favor drug legalization also protested the conference--but for different reasons.
our write up

Citizens for Legitimate Government write-up


  Florida Holocaust Museum Award's banquet 1/17/2004

On Saturday afternoon January 17, 2004 over 20 picketers protested the Florida Holocaust Museum's Awards banquet at the Hyatt in Tampa, Florida for the museum's ties to former Straight officials. story


Florida Holocaust Museum, 4/3/04


theStraights coverage link; Fornits coverage at link



  St. Valentine Day surprise for the Semblers.
Treasure Island, Fl.
A combined crowd of Uhuru (a political group seeking social justice for blacks) and those aware of the Straight Holocaust descended upon Ambassador Sembler's Treasure Island home on the day after Valentine, 2004. Significantly, none of the anti-Straight crowd had ever been involved in Straight. story
National Recovery Week at
TD Waterhouse Centre, Orlando, 9-11-2003
Karen Castellio of Channel 13 News in Orlando was filming the events of National Recovery Week at the TD Waterhouse Centre on 9-11-2003 when a bunch of SAFE protesters showed up in the foreground. They were protesting the fact that the event was sponsored by SAFE and also the fact that the federal government is endorsing controversial drug rehabilitation programs. The purpose of the protest is here. The Press Release is here.


Wes Fager's solo protest of Church of Scientology™'s Flag Headquarters Clearwater, Fl.
July 27, 2003







DATIA, Italian Embassy, Commonwealth Attorney's Office in Fairfax, Va., July 18, 2002

A march to protest Straight's continuing involvement in national drug policy, and also to show solidarity with those currently engaged in a civil suit in federal court with the Straight legacy program SAFE in Orlando, Fl. 

Scott had come to Washington, DC from Philadelphia while Nick drove up from Florida to protest the DATIA workshop. Why would people involved in Straight so long ago come so far to protest?  [Photo: courtesy Shelby Cornwell]


Story is here.

Protesters at the Italian Embassy. Shelby holds "Straight, Inc. nothing to brag about" sign. William and Wes (in orange) kneel. Candy is on far right. [Photo: courtesy Shelby Cornwell]

July 12, 2002

Picketers on-line in the parking lot of the strip mall, staying off SAFE property.  Notice the storage bins in the background.  Straight treatment camps were usually in warehouses in industrial parks like this huge warehouse Miller Newton ran his KIDS program from in New Jersey. [Photo courtesy Chris Tyler]

Florida's finest taking five.



Captain Monroe manning the "bullhorn" at her command post across from SAFE .  Notice the trash in the background--not the typical setting for a medical district.  [Photo courtesy Chris Tyler]


Story is here.

Click here for additional picket pictures.

For additional information on SAFE click here.  And as for SAFE,  GregFL is right:.  WE WILL BE BACK.  

Addendum to SAFE Picket, July 29, 2002. After the picket, several people called or visited the Orlando Sheriff's Department regarding the two incident reports that had been filed. Those concerned felt that the Sheriff's Department was not taking the alleged restraint of a SAFE client and the alleged assault of one of the protesters seriously. But the Sheriff's department has filed both reports which can be found here.

1946 report for alleged trespassing page 1
1946 report for alleged trespassing page 2
1946 report for alleged trespassing page 3
2119 report for alleged forcing a person into a car and assault page 1
2119 report for alleged forcing a person into a car and assault page 2


June 7, 2002 residence of ambassador Mel Sembler


Picketers at Mel Sembler's US residence on June 7, 2002.  From left, Toni, Richard, Kim, Marti (hidden by Kim), Sammie, and Jodi. [Photo courtesy of Kelly Mathews of www.webdiva.org ]
The weather could not have been more splendid to help make this, the Second International Conference on Juvenile Rehabilitation Abuse, a huge success. The festivities actually started on Thursday afternoon when radio WMNF of Tampa did a follow-up interview with former Straight students. Richard Bradbury, Samantha Monroe and Chris Tyler with yours truly piped in via telephone. I got up at 4:30 Friday morning to work some more on my speech, and tuned into www.sptimes.com --the on-line version of The Saint Petersburg Times (America's Newspaper)--and was surprised to see a picture of Richard, Sammie and Chris right on the top of the front page pointing to an-inside story about Straight abuses and about our conference. When I checked again at 5AM the story had been moved further into the paper, but for a short while it had actually been right on top. 

I arrived in Tampa at 4:45 that afternoon and was immediately whisked off to Treasure Island and the US residence of our Ambassador to Italy, Mel Sembler. Or should I say to the public street in front of his home. Mel and his wife Betty are the founders of Straight, Inc. and we were there to protest our President's decision to make him an ambassador in spite of the reputation of criminal child abuse which the Straights have brought upon themselves. There were probably 20 picketers there and a photographer from The St. petersburg Times.

Some rich guy stopped to talk to Marti and Sammie for about a half an hour. [Photo courtesy of Kelly Mathews of www.webdiva.org ]

Betty had recently hurt her foot in an automobile accident and at some point during the picket a delivery van delivered flowers making us think that she was perhaps at home. There was a private security guard in the front yard. Marked police cars were parked all over the place with three plain clothes officers stationed across the street. At one point one of the picketers stepped off the public street onto the Sembler's arched driveway (an apparent accident) and was told by the security guard that if it happened again, she would call the police. She must have thought it had happened again because soon after a police car showed up. We were hoping they would come in mass with sirens blasting and blue lights spinning to help bring public attention to the event, but it was just the lone cruiser without fanfare.

One thing.  Though there were 20 people on hand and The Times reporter took several pictures,  The Times management did not feel that this picket was newsworthy enough to publish a report.  I think that tells us something.  The picketers  must grow in numbers sufficiently large enough to reach the point that somebody down there feels that when people fly in from around the country to protest an ambassadorial appointment,  then something must be driving them on.  I don't yet know what the answer is,   but maybe 25 or 100 people picketing Mel Sembler or his icon,  and maybe even the Tampa Bay Holocaust Museum plus Bay Walk--maybe that's the formula we need to experiment with in the future. Was the Times bought off. Read The ethics of naming rights for St. Pete Times Forum may go deeper than previously reported


Orlando 2000

Click here for one contiguous segment on the WAMI video, or below for  individual segments:

Richard Bradbury (the man who closed Straight down under the name Straight) is back leading the November 2000 picket of SAFE, Orlando.   Listen to Richard on the horn with Loretta Parrish, Director of SAFE, Inc., and check out the picket photos:




WAMI TV news segment on SAFE-Orlando sparks a picket.   

In response to a two-part expose of the Sembler-based synanon called SAFE, Inc. in Orlando, Florida by TV station WAMI in Miami and in response to one's family story,  A Woman Named Alba,   claiming it has been ripped apart by SAFE, Inc  a general picket of that juvenile therapeutic treatment program was conducted on November 24, 2000.     Surprisingly,   SAFE was  endorsed,  in writing,  by Florida Governor Jeb Bush just prior to the segment's release even though he had been warned that the station was looking at alleged abuses at SAFE. Straight co-founder Betty Sembler,  who still runs Straight Foundation under its new new name,  Drug Free America Foundation, was Jeb Bushes finance co-chairman.  Her husband Mel Sembler,  another Straight co-founder and a big contributor to George, Sr.'s presidential campaign,  is the  finance chairman for the national GOP.   Former President George Bush  is an an ardent Straight backer which should come as no surprise to cult watchers  since he has been a paid mouthpiece for the Moonies.  Besides his father,  Jeb Bush's mother, Barbara, and his brother, president-elect  George W. Bush, Governor of Texas,  have also worked closely with Straight lending support to Straight Foundation which now calls itself  the  Drug Free America Foundation, Inc.   

Mel Sembler's old nemesis Richard Bradbury.  Richard Bradbury spent 8 long years trying to expose the abuses of Straight.  Here he is once again.  This time exercising his constitutional right to protest SAFE--a Straight descendent program in Orlando, Florida.  November 2000.


On November 24, 2000 picketers flew-in from around the country,  one man from as far away as Detroit,  to protest the treatment of clients at the Sembler-based synanon in Orlando called SAFE, Inc.  From left to right, Ginger Warbis (a former student in Straight-Sarasota), Kimberly Fee (a former student in KIDS of Bergen County), Richard Bradbury (a former student and counselor in Straight-St Petersburg),  Barbara (a former parent in SAFE,  Inc.) and Cliff (just a concerned citizen).  The cameraman had been in The Seed.

The November 24 picket of SAFE included representatives from three generations of  The Seed  including representatives from The Seed, Straight-Springfield, Virginia, Straight-Cincinnati, Straight-Saint Petersburg, Florida, Straight-Sarasota, Florida, SAFE, Inc. and KIDS of North Jersey,   plus Jodi James and Scott "Bullhorn" Bledsoe representing the drug policy reform movement.  Three protesters flew in from out of state, the furthest being from Michigan. Thank you Kathy Martin and Ginger Warbis for organizing this event and a special thanks to Alan Cohn and station WAMI for a job well done.

[Note:  A "synanon" spelled with a small "s" is a therapeutic approach developed and perfected in the 1950s and 1960s at Synanon Foundation, later Synanon Church, whereby addicts aid in their own recovery by shouting brutal, verbal indictments at one another. They are the basis for most modern-day, confrontational synanons which are today euphemistically called confrontational-type "therapeutic communities". A Sembler-based synanon is a synanon developed at Straight, Inc. in the 1970s for kids in drug rehabilitation. ]   



Out of the Past

On New Year's Day 1988 Melvin and Betty Sembler were trying to enjoy brunch in their back patio when something drew Betty to the front door.  "Honey,  did you know we were being picketed?"  she called back to Melvin.  It was none other than a slim Richard Bradbury with his associate Dusty Hopkins.   [Photo: Neil McGahee, The Tampa Tribune]


Just ask Claire DeCunzo Martin of Columbia, Maryland (above).  Having been a parent in Straight-Springfield, Virginia  she knew what Maryland residents were in for in 1991 when authorities ran Straight out of Virginia allowing them to take their young clients with them.  It was as if Fairfax County's Commonwealth Attorney Robert Horan was saying, 
"Straight we've had enough of your abuses.  If you want to abuse our kids, do it in Maryland." [Photo: a protest of  Straight-Columbia, Maryland 8-7-91, from The Howard County Sun, photo by Denise Sanchez]


In May 1983 Straight parents Edie Bean, left, and Melanie Cook came out to US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia to protest a jury award of $220,000 to Fred Collins for being falsely imprisoned by Straight.  Seventeen year old Lora Klevin, with her parents Bill and Vonne Klevin standing by,  speaking from a podium,  told the crowd,  "I remember how miserable my life was when I was on drugs.  Straight turned my life around."   Ronald Goldfarb,  Straight's attorney said,  " . . . this certainly isn't Auschwitz."  [Photo: The Journal (Fairfax), 5-26-83, p. A3, by Tracy Woodward]  

Laura Faehner, 18, of Olney Maryland is at a protest in 1991 of Straight's move from Virginia to Maryland.  She told a reporter that she felt Straight saved her life but she remembers some of the bad times too.  Like the time she and four other girls in the program became sick and they made all five girls,  "throw up in the same bucket."  [Photo: Howard County Sun, Denise Sanchez, 8-7-91]
Straight parent Steve Ogle represents a group of Straight parents who are mad as hell because the state of California has closed Straight of Southern California for child abuse.  They were in front of  the state's Department of Social Services in Santa Ana, California but  were unable to sway Fred Dumont,  Santa Ana, California District Manager for Dept. of Social Services to change his mind.  Just a month before Mr. Dumont had notified Straight in writing that they were being closed for, among other reasons, "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."  [Photo: Yorba Linda The Star, 8-9-90, by Bruce Balley.]

On November 30, 1991 Elizabeth Steiner (left)  traveled up from Florida with Richard Bradbury, David Pearson of Largo, Florida, and a fourth person to picket Straight-Atlanta.  [Photo: Don Plummer, Marietta Daily Journal, 12/1/91]  
  Joe Harrington and Wes Fager protesting the Church of Scientology 

Wes Fager, on the right, in cold weather training for pickets with former Scientologist Joe Harrington,  picketing the founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C. on March 13, 1998.  [Photo courtesy of Arnie Lerma of www.lermanet.com .  Story in photos at http://www.lermanet.com/dcpicket.htm ]
This web page is offered as a public service and as an educational resource to those interested in learning about the potential dangers of abusive, Straight-based synanons.   The page is the on-line publishing arm of the Oakton Institute for Cultic Studies.