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July 25, 1996

Conservative California Readership Strongly Supports Medical Marijuana Initiative

July 22, 1996, Sacramento, CA: A California ballot initiative (Proposition 215) that would permit patients who have the approval of a licensed physician to use marijuana for medical purposes received a strong vote of confidence from the results of a recent poll conducted by the Orange County Register. Responding to the question: "Do you think marijuana should be legalized for medicinal use?" readers answered "yes" by nearly a three to one margin. In all, over 1,100 Californians participated in the poll, with 73 percent responding that they approved of the use of medical marijuana.

"The results of the Orange County Register poll are quite significant because of the widely acknowledged conservative political slant of the paper's readership," announced NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. "These findings, coupled with the results of similar polls conducted both in California and nationally, demonstrate that there is ample support for the legalization of medical marijuana among both political conservatives and the general public."

The results of the Orange County Register poll are the latest in a series of polls indicating strong support for medical marijuana. A 1995 survey conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) demonstrated that 83 percent of the American public agreed that patients who find marijuana an effective therapeutic agent should be able to use it legally. In addition, six California polls - including one conducted by the Binder Research Group - have shown that a strong majority of Californians support medical marijuana.

For more information please contact either Dave Fratello of Californians for Medical Rights at (310) 394-2952 or Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

Welfare Reform Bill Amended To Deny Convicted Drug Users Federal Benefits

July 22, 1996, Washington, D.C.: An amendment introduced by Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas) that would deny federal assistance-based benefits to those individuals convicted of drug offenses - including marijuana misdemeanors - has been overwhelmingly approved by the Senate. The amendment is part of an overall welfare reform package (S. 1956) that is currently in conference committee and is expected to be sent to the president's desk shortly. It is not yet known if Clinton will sign the bill.

The amendment proposed by Gramm would deny for five years all "means-tested" federal benefits, including programs such as welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, and student loans, to any individual who is found guilty of a minor drug offense. Those found guilty of drug felonies would be ineligible for life.

"If we're serious about our [anti-]drug laws, we ought not to give people welfare benefits who are violating the nation's drug laws," said Gramm.

Gramm's amendment struck a chord with some congressmen, including Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) who voiced strong opposition to the measure. "Under this amendment, if you are a murderer, a rapist, or a robber, you can get federal funds; but if you are convicted even for possession of marijuana, you cannot," he said. "[This amendment] would undermine the whole notion of providing drug treatment as an alternative sentence to a first-time drug offender if the individual requires federal assistance to obtain the treatment. ... It is overly broad and is strongly opposed by [both] the [Conference of] Mayors and the National League of Cities."

"Over 10 million individuals have been arrested on marijuana-related charges since 1965 with nearly one-half million arrested in 1994 alone," stated NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. "This amendment could potentially make millions of otherwise law abiding Americans ineligible for federal benefits and is yet one more example of how our nation's alleged 'War on Drugs' is nothing more than a war on marijuana smokers."

The amendment passed by a 75 to 25 vote.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

Thousands Expected To Gather On Washington State Capitol In Support Of Marijuana Legalization

July 1996, Olympia, WA: Washington state marijuana law reform proponents are anticipating a crowd of thousands to gather on the front steps of the Washington state capitol for the first ever Hemp Education Day on August 5. In past years, marijuana reform events such as the Seattle Hempfest have drawn crowds in excess of 20,000 people. Organizers of the upcoming festival are hoping to harness the popularity of past gatherings and transform the Washington hemp reform movement into a strong political force.

"We are aware that in the current political climate, you can't even discuss [the] issue [of marijuana law reform] publicly or privately without being singled out in the media as ... 'pro-drug,'" stated event organizer Gideon Israel. "We must use this opportunity to open up a forum for truth and free expression on this matter. ... Hemp Education Day will provide a soapbox for the people of Washington state, lawmakers, and other citizens to educate and be educated [about] marijuana."

Activists scheduled to speak at the rally include NORML Legal Committee member Jeffrey Steinborn, Esq., Hemp BC owner Marc Emery, author Jack Herer, Don Wirtshafter of the Ohio Hempery, medical marijuana patient Ralph Seeley, and others. The gathering is planned to take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information on Hemp Education Day, please call (360) 459-9107.

Anti-Drug Ad Called Homophobic By Gay Watchdog Group

July 1996, New York, NY: A recent public service announcement produced by the Partnership for a Drug Free America (PDFA) has been branded homophobic by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a media watchdog organization based in New York City.

The ad, scheduled to air nationwide this month, depicts a teenager named David whose life plummets downhill because of an addiction to heroin. The ad concludes with the narrator saying, "And now I have sex with men for money, to support my habit. ... I wish I didn't have to be like this."

According to GLAAD, the ad suggests that drug use ultimately leads males to engage in homosexual sex and portrays homosexuality as a social ill more severe than drug use.

"The spot sends a misguided message to America's young people and specifically to lesbian and gay youth," stated GLAAD managing director William Waybourn. "The ad has the potential to exacerbate higher-than-average risks gay and lesbian youths face for substance abuse and suicide by implying that being gay is worse than being addicted to heroin."

Although GLAAD has voiced their objections about the PSA to the Partnership, PDFA President Richard Bonette responded that he will not pull the ad.

"While I appreciate your concerns, I simply disagree with your perspective and, therefore, cannot honor your request to remove 'David' from distribution," said Bonette.



Regional and other news

Body Count

Nine of the 15 felons sentenced by Multnomah County courts in the most recent week received jail or prison terms for controlled-substance violations, according to the "Portland" zoned section of
The Oregonian, delivered to subscribers in the central metropolitan area. (July 25, 1996, p. 5, 3M-MP). That brings the total so far this year to 210 out of 385, or 54.54 percent.

Did OCTA '97 Really Raise $58,085 And Spend $67,260?

That's what state election records indicate, as reported July 23 by The Oregonian in a summary about how much various initiative campaigns spent to get on the November ballot ("Initiative supporters shell out $4 million," pp. B1 & B3). Tucked away at the bottom of a column listing "Initiative Financing" were the numbers for initiatives that "Didn't qualify for ballot." The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, denoted as "Legalize marijuana," reportedly "Raised" $58,085 and "Spent" $67,260.

As anyone familiar with the OCTA campaign knows, those numbers are way too high. The editor went over the actual finance reports with Chief Petitioner Paul Stanford to get the real story.

That story is kind of hard to appreciate without a good sense of irony, if not humor. OCTA was confronted with some unprecedented book-keeping difficulties posed by the donation of a house in which the renters were busted for growing pot. Both of the "Raised" and "Spent" figures above include $50,000 equity in the house. The OCTA campaign did a title search and almost closed a sale on the house when it found out a forfeiture action had been filed against the renters instead of the owner. So the house was rented out while the legalities were being sorted out. Hence the "Spend" figure also includes about $8,000 in rent from the house - before it burned down. (The renters charge "arson" but the fire department says "probably bad wiring." Employees of the same company that canceled the insurance removed the cancellation notice from the household mail while there on business.) To make a long story short, although the $50,000 figure was included in state campaign finance reports, OCTA never saw the actual money. Not that OCTA volunteers are proud of it, but the official papers filed with the state show the campaign raised just $4,683 in cash donations, $2,116 in donations of other items, and totaled just $15,146 in cash expenditures. Unless a lawsuit against the insurance company can be financed, and the proceeds protected from forfeiture, the $50,000 is up in smoke.

OCTA '99 Organizing Meeting

We will do better next time! According to OCTA '97 Chief Petitioner Paul Stanford, more than a third of the signatures were gathered in the last 60 days of the campaign as activists from all over the state came out of the woodwork. Anyone and everyone who wants to help maintain and expand our organization and help speed the transition to the next campaign is welcome to two meetings 7 pm Saturday, Aug. 3, and 7 pm Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the American Anti-Prohibition League/Phantom Gallery, 3125 SE Belmont St. in Portland. (Tri-Met Route 15.) Two other organizing meetings will also take place 3 pm Sunday, Aug. 11, at the 1996 Northwest Hemp & Music Festival in Eugene (see below); and 7 pm Saturday, Aug. 31, at Mt. Tabor Park in Southeast Portland, in the crater amphitheatre. Please bring your input and suggestions. For more details call Floyd Ferris Landrath of the AAPL at (503) 235-4524 or e-mail him at

The 1996 Northwest Hemp And Music Festival

Legacy Productions is sponsoring the first-ever event during the daylight hours Sunday, Aug. 11, at Lumberyard Park, also known as the place of Bill Conde, longtime Oregon hemp activist and one-time gubernatorial candidate. To get there from out of town, take Exit 209 off Interstate 5. Seven bands are scheduled to play, and though the lineup hasn't been publicized, the bands scheduled to play reportedly include Calobo and Clan Dyken. The promoter has told Portland NORML Director T.D. Miller that the list of hemp speakers will include Jack Herer, Chris Conrad, Elvy Musikka and others, but no advertisements have publicized those names and the promoter has not yet returned a call from the editor. The complete lineup will be included next week, if available. In any case Portland NORML, the American Anti-Prohibition League and other activist groups will staff information tables at the event to register voters and sign up new supporters. Tickets cost $30 in advance through Fastixx, 503-224-8499 in Portland or 1-800-992-8499 elsewhere around the state.)

Fully Inform Juries

The Portland campaign to leaflet new jurors and inform them of their right to nullify laws they consider unconstitutional continues 9 am to noon every Monday at the Multnomah County Courthouse, 1021 SW Fourth Ave. For more details check out the World Wide Web pages of the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) at or call 1-800-835-5879. To help or find out more about the local FIJA campaign, call Floyd Ferris Landrath at (503) 235-4524.

'Cannabis Matters'

It's not as slick as NBC News but it's a lot more factual. "Cannabis Matters," the cable-television show about cannabis and drug-policy issues, produced by Portland NORML, can be seen on Portland Cable Access:
Date                     Time               Channel

Aug.   5                 1 pm                   11
Aug.  20                 7 pm                   33
Aug.  25                 1 pm                   27
Sept.  2                11 pm                   11
Sept. 17                 7 pm                   33
Sept. 22                 1 pm                   27
Oct.   7                11 pm                   11
If you would like to see "Cannabis Matters" more often, call Linda Hawkins at Portland Cable Access, (503) 288-1515. To be a part of the project or to appear on the show, call "Cannabis Matters" prime mover T.D. Miller at (503) 777-9088 or e-mail him at

'Hemp News' Archived

All 37 issues - 1.7 megabytes - of wire stories by AP, Reuters and other reputable wire services covering cannabis and drug-policy news for almost three years, from Nov. 10, 1992, through Oct. 16, 1995, have been archived in Portland NORML's Web pages at Paul Stanford, president of Tree-Free EcoPaper, originally compiled and posted "Hemp News" to plug his hemp-paper business on the Internet. Researchers and the curious alike will appreciate the compendium of dated and referenced articles, compiled together for the first time at a permanent Web site. The URL above takes Web browsers to a directory listing each headline in all 37 issues.

Drug Task Forces Produce Mixed Results

Justice For Sale: Who's Winning the War?
Dayton [Ohio] Daily News, July 16, 1996
By Wes Hills, Jim Bebbington and Rob Modic

* Despite a substantial investment of time and money, drug task forces produce mixed results

More than 700 federally funded drug task forces cover most of the nation. Last year, they arrested 337,000 people, confiscated almost 200 tons of marijuana and seized more than 40 tons of cocaine.

But did they make a dent in the nation's drug problem?

The few evaluations of their success over the last seven years don't provide many answers.

'It is not clear ... whether task forces have been an effective deterrent to either the street- or mid-level dealers," a Justice Department survey of a third of the nation's drug task forces stated. "It is clear that task forces have not eliminated the drug problem.'

They've spent a lot of money trying. Since 1989, the federal government has spent more than $1 billion to train and equip task forces all over the country. The task forces, however, have mostly stuffed prisons with street-level dealers and users while raking in tons of marijuana.

Just 19 percent of the 3,215 arrests in 1994 by Michigan's 25 regional task forces were classified as major drug dealers. Half of the arrests involved first-time drug offenders.

Researchers in Indiana in 1991 found that 40 percent of 982 defendants initially charged with felonies were convicted of misdemeanors. Another 36 percent were convicted of the lowest-level felony.

Those findings were similar to those found by the Dayton Daily News in its survey of cases by the Greene County Drug Task Force for 1993 and 1994.

Only two cases ended as first-degree felonies, a prosecutor's most serious charge. And nearly 90 percent of the 179 cases ended as low-level felonies or misdemeanors or were dismissed entirely.

In only about one-fourth of the cases did somebody go to prison.

The mixed results come despite a massive investment of taxpayer money into the nation's key frontline drug program. Last year, 731 drug task forces in 43 states got $146.8 million in federal dollars and four times that amount in local funds.

The federal money has been funneled to the states through the Justice Department's Edward Byrne Memorial Fund, first established in 1989. This year, $550 million will be channeled through the Byrne Fund to go for drug task forces and startup costs of other anti-drug programs, and another $500 million will go directly to local governments.

That money was never intended to last forever. The federal funds were supposed to get the task forces off the ground, which they have. Property acquired from big-time drug dealers through legal forfeitures would then keep the program afloat.

None of that happened.

A Justice Department report published in February showed two out of three task force commanders believed they would shut down without federal funds.

"The vast majority of task forces are small, comprised of 10 or fewer personnel," the report said. "These small organizations are more dependent (sometimes totally dependent) on federal funding than the mid- to large- size task forces."

The funding is about to become tighter.

In January, the Office of Criminal Justice Services, the Ohio agency that disperses the federal funds, sent down orders that the state's 33 drug task forces must become self-sufficient within three years - a move that could pressure the task forces to pull in more money through forfeitures.

Seizing even more property may prove difficult. According to a U.S. Justice Department report scheduled for release this year, the nation's task forces last year obtained $37.4 million in forfeitures of cash and property - barely a quarter of the federal funds funneled to them through the states in 1995.

For the most part, those funds have gone to the states with few strings attached. Robert A. Kirchner, chief of program development for the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Justice Department's arm that oversees the Byrne program, said his office doesn't look closely into how well the money is spent. BJA asked the states to report on the number of arrests and convictions and the quantities of seizures and forfeitures the task forces made. "But we don't go further because that isn't in our funds," Kirchner said.

Michael J. Sabath, one of the leading experts in criminal justice who has attempted to research drug task forces since the mid-1960s, said governments have been reluctant to evaluate the success of the drug teams.

"It's a real can of worms both politically and with the methodology," he said. "Not all task forces have the same objectives. Some are set up to go after the mid- and upper-level dealers. Some are to build relationships with local law enforcement agencies...."

Most task force commanders in Ohio believe their efforts are having an impact on the nation's drug problem, judging by a 1992 University of Cincinnati survey.

The survey queried 17 of the state's 33 task force commanders, and all but two gave the task forces high marks.

Cameron Holmes, an assistant attorney general in Arizona and one of the government's leading authorities on forfeiture law, said the country's drug enforcement efforts are hampered by a patchwork of law enforcement agencies that simply cannot cope with the multistate or international drug operations.

Other nations have border-to-border law enforcement agencies better able to match wits with the drug lords, he said.

"We have got to have more organizational advantages and task forces are an important step that doesn't undermine the existing political establishment," he said. "Without task forces, you have totally disparate and totally uncoordinated events....:

Other experts say the task forces have succeeded in fostering better cooperation among neighboring departments and orchestrating a more regional approach to drug enforcement.

But the emphasis is to bring in more money through forfeiture clearly has some of them concerned.

"You have to have a clear way of monitoring what goes on, making sure the undercover officers are doing what they are supposed to be doing without spinning," said Kip Schlegel, a professor of criminal justice at Indiana University.

"You can spin out of control. That's the biggest fear in my mind. They have real potential to be loose guns."

By the numbers, it's a billion-dollar drug war, but who's paying the price? [p. 4A]

GRAPHICS: BILLION-DOLLAR DRUG WAR: Federally funded task forces target drugs and arrests A U.S. Justice department report scheduled for release later this year shows 43 states funded 731 drug task forces with $146,800,489 in federal money during the period July 1, 1994 to June 30, 1995. The task forces took credit for 337,000 arrests and seized 43 tons of cocaine (all forms) and 195 tons of marijuana and 36.1 million marijuana plants. The government estimated the value of the drugs seized at $72.9 billion. However the task forces' total seizures and forfeitures fell far short of the federal funding they received. They seized $57.6 million and obtained forfeitures of $37.4 million. (#1) U.S. COUNTIES COVERED BY BUREAU OF JUSTICE ASSISTANCE TASK FORCES IN 1990 (map of U.S. with states indicated.) (#2) 1994 TASK FORCE RESULTS (comparison of Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Michigan and Indiana by number of funded task forces, federal dollars (in millions), number of arrests, number of convictions; arrests by type of drug; value of property seized (in millions), value of property forfeited (in millions); weight seized by type of drug.) (#3) FEDERAL FUNDING Task forces nationwide received nearly $1 billion from 1989-'94 (list of states with total amount received from each) SOURCE: Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice.

[Note - "Reefer Madness: Portland Wages a New War on Pot," from the March 29, 1995 Willamette Week, about the Portland area Marijuana Task Force, is posted at A June 2, 1996 article from the Vancouver, Wash., Columbian, on the Clark-Skamania task force, has just been posted at The Portland-based task force was also a topic of the May 30 and June 6, 1996 Portland NORML news releases.]

'Confessions Of A Narc'

Zychik Chronicle, July 22, 1996, Part 2

(ZC) This is the second exclusive source the ZC can now offer you. This source is a 30-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department. He spent his last 20 years as a narc. When he first started as a narc, he was told "The rules don't apply here." When I asked him which rules he was referring to, he told me about the "Ernest Hemmingway award for creative writing."

Yet, in all his experience, no supervisor ever directly told him to lie. Not that they were honest. They didn't have to because "I was expected to lie."

He was directly beseeched "by brother officers to lie."

Let me give you one small example: "I saw a fellow officer plant dope on a mouthy whore." The officer was retaliating for the woman's defiance. My source who we'll call CWC - Cop With a Conscience, along with his partner, told their supervisor what their fellow officer had done.

Two things happened: 1) The officer was eventually transferred. He was not fired. He was not reprimanded. 2) CWC's report and his partner's were never entered into the official record, thus the woman upon whom the drugs had been planted ended up being convicted of a felony.

A comment by CWC explains one element of creating an underclass, "They [the underclass] all know The Man will lie on you."

As for going public with what he knew at the time: "My partner and I, we would have been killed, or framed, or run out of law-enforcement, or disgraced."

Every time I write about cops, I feel regret because I know there are lots of good cops out there. Again, CWC's comments are revealing: "There is a terrible debate going on in law-enforcement, right now. Half the cops and maybe more want to legalize, decriminalize drugs. The rest of them enjoy the police state. They enjoy the power that the 'drug war' gives them. They never had this power before George Bush and Ronald Reagan. . . Before the Reagan Administration we [law-enforcement] just flat-out lied."

Next week I'll explain how an honest cop lies.

DEA Chemist Allegedly Filed False Reports

Dallas Morning News, July 19, 1996, "Metro" Section, p. 34A

Hundreds of Drug Cases May Be In Jeopardy
Chemist with DEA in Dallas reportedly acknowledged filing false reports
From Staff and Wire Reports

Hundreds of federal drug cases in a seven-state region could be affected by revelations that a Drug Enforcement Administration chemist in Dallas reported results on drug evidence without conducting the required tests.

U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins of Dallas said Thursday that federal officials are compiling a list of cases affected in the 100-county Northern District of Texas.

"We'll notify the courts and the defense lawyers," Mr. Coggins said of any cases in which perjured testimony may have been given to juries "In some cases, there will be motions for new trials."

He declined to say whether any drug investigations have been wrecked irreparably.

Veteran DEA chemist Anne Castillo was suspended last month after reportedly being confronted and acknowledging that she had been filing false reports since February of this year. She could not be reached for comment Thursday.

"It's a very disturbing situation, one that is unique in my experience. I don't know what else I can say beyond that," said Howard Schlesinger, director of the DEA laboratory in Dallas.

Mr. Schlesinger said Ms. Castillo did the full range of controlled-substance testing at the laboratory on hundreds of pieces of evidence.

"If you're talking about what happened since February, it's hundreds of cases, but she's been our employee here for many years and we don't know the possible extent. No one knows what happened before," he said.

Veteran Dallas defense attorney James M. Murphy said he would be surprised if more than a few dozen cases are returned to court for new trials.

A majority of drug cases involve guilty pleas and do not require testimony from DEA laboratory chemists, Mr. Murphy said.

"In a lot of these cases, the defense will stipulate to the identity of a drug," Mr. Murphy said. Ms. Castillo's revelation "will only affect cases, that went to trial where she testified falsely."

Investigators will want to know next "whether any member of the government knew about this besides her," Mr. Murphy said. "If that's the case, then you've got a different ballgame. You've got government-sponsored perjury."

Mr. Coggins said he has no reason at this time to believe that any other DEA chemists or federal officials participated in the submission of false reports on seized drugs.

The Dallas lab tests evidence from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, primarily for federal agencies.

Johnny Phelps, head of the Dallas DEA office, said the matter is being investigated by the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility. He declined to discuss it.

It is unclear whether Ms. Castillo's testing lapses are correctable.

In some cases, the disputed evidence is intact and may be retested by other chemists. But if discrepancies turn up in older cases, the evidence may no longer exist, according to Mr. Schlesinger.

"She's worked here for many years. Some of the evidence samples are here, and some are not. We're doing everything we can," he said.

US Agent Leaked 'Narco-Tapes' On Colombia's Samper

Sunday, July 21, 1996

WASHINGTON (Reuter) - A DEA agent who was fed up with U.S. policy in the fight against cocaine traffickers said he leaked tapes linking Colombian President Ernesto Samper to the Cali drug cartel two years ago.

In an interview with the Washington Post published Sunday, retired Drug Enforcement Agency veteran Joe Toft was quoted as saying he disobeyed direct orders from Washington and leaked the cassettes to a Colombian television network reporter.

"I saw this thing as another complete cover-up," Toft told the Post. "I did not see the possibility of the U.S. government doing anything. We were just spectators. So I said, 'The hell with it.' Someone had to do something."

The tapes, dubbed the "narco-cassettes," were broadcast the day after Samper's 1994 election victory, sparking Colombia's worst political crisis in decades and an investigation into charges the Cali cartel financed the president's campaign.

The corruption scandal has sent U.S. relations with Colombia into a tailspin. Washington decertified Colombia as a partner in the drug war in March and has threatened to impose economic sanctions. It also revoked Samper's U.S. visa on July 11, a month after Colombia's Congress absolved Samper of any criminal wrongdoing.

Toft, a veteran of three decades of anti-drug service, was the DEA station chief in Bogota from 1988 until he resigned in 1994 after Samper's election.

He told the newspaper the tapes were handed to the then-U.S. ambassador in Bogota, Morris Busby, three days before the election by Luis Alberto Moreno, the campaign manager of Samper's rival Andres Pastrana.

The tapes contained a telephone conversation tapped by police in which Cali cartel leader Miguel Rodriguez Orejueal tells an associate he gave $3.5 millon to Samper's election campaign, Toft said.

The tapes confirmed what U.S. officials already suspected, that Samper was linked to the drug lords, but Washington decided not to use the recordings to upset his presidential bid, Toft said.

Disgusted by the U.S. government's unwillingness to act, the DEA agent decided to leak the tapes himself, and resigned six weeks later.

'Donny The Punk' Dies

The ensuing obituary was posted July 23 to C-JUST, the criminal-justice list-server.

To: Multiple recipients of list CJUST-L (CJUST-L@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU)

There will no longer be any postings from Stephen "Donny" Donaldson on this list, as he lost his life to AIDs on 7/18/96.

As a Correctional Officer, I have often fought with this man about the extent of same-sex rapes in our prisons and jails, and I have disputed many of the things he stated, both here and in the Newsgroup Alt.Prisons.

However, it saddens me to hear that his voice on the Internet is now silenced, as he seems to have been a very brilliant man who was tenacious about the his WWW site ( and was outspoken about Internet censorship.

Here is a press release from SPR:

Stephen Donaldson, 49 -- Led Reform Movement Against Jailhouse Rape

Stephen Donaldson, president of Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc., an organization dedicated to ending the rape of prisoners and assisting survivors of jailhouse rape, died on Thursday, July 18 in New York City, where he lived. He would have been 50 on July 27. The cause of death was a indeterminate virulent infection complicated by an AIDS-defining condition. Mr. Donaldson was infected with HIV as a result of having been raped in prison.

Born Robert A. Martin, Jr., in Norfolk, Virginia, he started using the name Stephen Donaldson in the late 1960's, originally as a pseudonym for his involvement in the gay liberation movement. Stephen Donaldson. Under both identities, Mr. Donaldson had numerous "firsts" to his name: he was the founder in 1966 of the world's first gay student organizations (at Columbia University), and was the first sailor to publicly fight discharge from the U.S. Navy for "homosexual behavior." His defenders included New York State Representatives Ed Koch and Bella Abzug. In 1977, he became the first U.S. Navy veteran to have a homosexual discharge upgraded to fully Honorable Discharge under President Jimmy Carter.

But it was another first -- a brutal episode in a Washington, D.C. jail -- that catapulted Donaldson to national prominence in 1973, as the first survivor of jailhouse rape to discuss the issue publicly. He called a press conference to describe his experience after being jailed for trespass at the White House during a peaceful Quaker protest against the bombing of Cambodia. His jailhouse experience was at first relatively innocuous until the warden of the jail, suspecting that Donaldson, a former Associated Press reporter, might be writing an expose of brutal prison conditions. The warden transferred him to a cellblock with violent offenders, where he was gang-raped approximately 60 times over a two-day period. Upon being released, he underwent rectal surgery at a Veteran's Administration hospital. He later testified about his experience at a Washington, D.C. city council hearing. The Washington Star-News, calling for the resignation of the head of the D.C. jail , called Mr. Donaldson "a man of uncommon understanding."

Mr. Donaldson went on to become a prominent spokesman on the issue of prison rape. In 1984 he became Eastern regional director for Stop Prisoner Rape (then called "People Organized to Stop Rape of Imprisoned Persons") and was named president of the organization in 1988, a position he held at the time of his death.

As director of SPR, Mr. Donaldson wrote op-eds that appeared in The New York Times and USA Today and was the subject of numerous interviews and news articles, including profiles in The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and Penthouse magazine. Most recently, Mr. Donaldson was featured in a widely publicized segment on prison rape on CBS' "Sixty Minutes."

His advocacy work included authorship of an influential U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief in Farmer v. Brennan outlining the current state of knowledge on prisoner rape. While he lectured widely on this issue, Mr. Donaldson continued his own education. In 1984 he underwent training at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City as a male rape crisis counselor. He subsequently served as co-chair of the Men's Counselors Group of the Center and organized and chaired the Committee of Male Survivors of Rape as part of New York City's Task Force Against Sexual Assault.

Under Mr. Donaldson's leadership, SPR established a World Wide Web site with information about the organization, including descriptions of his own and others' experiences of prison rape. In April 1996, concerned that his Web site might be censored under the recently enacted Communications Decency Act, Mr. Donaldson testified as a plaintiff in ACLU v. Reno, the landmark challenge to the CDA. Mr. Donaldson told a three-judge panel in Federal District Court in Philadelphia that the information he provided included "patently offensive" descriptions of prison sexual victimization. If the law were enacted, he told the judges, he would face the threat of jail for refusing to remove what he considered valuable and possibly life-saving information from the Internet. On June 26 of this year the judges ruled in favor of Mr. Donaldson and 19 other plaintiffs, granting a motion for a preliminary injunction against the law. The case is expected to reach the Supreme Court in the October 1996 term. Mr. Donaldson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Columbia University. He held a presidential appointment as University Seminar Associate at Columbia University, where he lectured on prisoner sexuality. He also lectured at the New York University Law School and Fordham University Law School on prisoner rape, and was a junior author (with Cindy Struckman-Johnson) of "Prison Sexual Coercion," reporting results of a survey of the Nebraska prison system.

Other "firsts" include being the first native-born American ordained in the orthodox (Theravada) Buddhist Order on American Soil , and the first ethnically non-Indian American to be initiated into the Veerashaiva sect of Shaivite Hinduism in Bangalore, India in 1988.

As Donny the Punk, he was also a respected writer and personality in the punk rock and anti-racist skinhead movements.

Mr. Donaldson requested that no funeral services be held. A Quaker memorial meeting will be scheduled after one month. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Stop Prisoner Rape, P.O. Box 2713, Manhattanville Station, New York, NY 10027-8817. More information about Stop Prisoner Rape is available on the World Wide Web at

Mr. Donaldson is survived by his stepmother, Brigitte, by three brothers, Paul, Bruce and Rolf and by his lifetime companion Judith Jones and his lover Tony Santiago.

---- End Included Message ----

Columnist Robert Scheer On Michael Irvin

Liberty Sacrificed in Drug War
Los Angeles Times, July 23, 1996
Michael Irvin wasn't hurting anyone but maybe himself, so why the heavy punishment?
By Robert Scheer

If Michael Irvin does the least little thing wrong in the next four years, he will face 20 years in the penitentiary. That's the word from the prosecutors and the judge who accepted the Dallas Cowboy star's no contest plea to cocaine possession. "Irvin," the local district attorney warned, "is walking around with the keys to the penitentiary in his pocket."

I know that there are more deserving cases to write about, but I can't let it go. Some warning bell keeps going off in my brain suggesting that if we can put someone away for 20 years for a victimless crime, we are in serious trouble.

I got alarmed by scanning the Internet and reading dozens of columns, mostly by underpaid sportswriters, about how this overpaid sports star had betrayed some sacred trust and should now be banished. Paint a C on his forehead and leave him to wander in that cultural desert of football-less Sundays -- at least for six games. Then there were those letters of outrage from sports fans who insist on having the last word in denigrating the very sports stars they once cravenly idolized. Nowhere did I find even the suggestion that the war on drugs is out of whack when the mere possession of a drug can lead to 20 years in prison.

Lost in this brouhaha was the simple issue of personal freedom. What business is it of the government to incarcerate someone simply because drugs are present in his residence? In Irvin's case, no noise was being emitted that disturbed neighbors, walls and people were not being smashed inside, and the purported sexual activity was no wilder than what pops up unsolicited on my local cable service. If Irvin had been drunk out of his mind on beer or bourbon and doing exactly what he did, no one would have thought to bother him.

The crusade against drugs has reached such a point of hysteria that we now equate the mere possession of drugs with the commission of serious antisocial activity. In this context, it seems thoroughly plausible to lock this man up and throw away the key if he just fails one of those random urine tests he is now required to take 10 times a month.

But what if his record, off the field and on, is otherwise perfect? Should we taxpayers pay upward of $50,000 a year to incarcerate a football player who as a free man would be paying the government at least $400,000 a year in taxes? Last year was Irvin's best, and he certainly earned his Super Bowl ring. Clearly, if he had been using drugs, they did not impair his performance or his earning capacity.

Drugs may or may not undermine one's productivity, just as there are those who can handle a martini and two glasses of wine at lunch, while others go berserk after a few beers. Substance abuse is a personal medical issue and should be handled as such.

Please don't send me heartfelt letters about how some loved one self-destructed with drugs. I know they are all true, but those sad tales are overwhelmed by the number of people who have killed themselves and others with alcohol. We have winos and we have connoisseurs of fine wine, and if alcohol were illegal, jail time would serve the needs of neither.

There is a long list of writers and artists who claim they have done better work because of illicit drugs. Timothy Leary, for example, lived to a ripe old age, despite or because of extensive drug use, and he seemed quite lucid even to the end. Leary should not have been allowed to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but what he did in the privacy of his own home was his own business.

None of this is to suggest that Michael Irvin was having a heightened artistic experience in that hotel suite, only that he wasn't hurting anybody other than possibly himself and other consenting adults. Maybe continued use would have destroyed him, and maybe it wouldn't have, but we do know that the obsessive national crusade to regulate the personal behavior of free citizens is ineffective, costly and destructive.

The net result is that the price of drugs and the profit for criminals has increased, we have the largest percentage of our citizens in jail of any modern country and more people than ever use illegal drugs. The war on drugs, with its emphasis on harsh criminal penalties, has proved a stunning failure. But, sadly, no leading politician is willing to stand up and say so. They are all addicted to getting reelected, a habit that truly rots the brain.

Molinari Inhaled

San Francisco Chronicle, July 23, 1996

GOP Keynoter Used Pot, Says It Was 'Wrong Thing to Do'

Washington (AP) -- Representative Susan Molinari, Bob Dole's choice to give the keynote address at the GOP convention, admitted yesterday to experimenting with marijuana "less than a handful of times" during her early college years. "It was the wrong thing to do," she says.

"If I knew then what I do now, I wouldn't have done it," Molinari said.

Molinari, 38, issued the statement in response to several published reports that revealed her past marijuana use.

The New York Representative, personally selected by Dole to give the convention's centerpiece speech, is the latest Republican official to acknowledge past drug use -- as the Clinton administration comes under fire for setting up a special drug testing program to allow 21 staffers with admitted prior drug use to work at the White House.

House speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., who has criticized the administration for not being a good role model on the drug issue, has acknowledged he tried marijuana during graduate school in the 1970s. In defending the White House against GOP attacks, White House spokesman Mike McCurry also said he smoked marijuana occasionally in the 1970s.

Drug Czar Suggests 'Amnesty' For Former Pot Smokers (Why Not Current Ones?)

"Clinton's drug czar suggests `amnesty' for former users"

WASHINGTON (AP, circa July 25, 1996) - With narcotics use by public officials heating up as an election-year issue, President Clinton's drug czar is suggesting an amnesty of sorts for Americans who have used drugs in the past.

"No Americans should be precluded from serving their country in any position as long as they now reject all illicit drug use," Barry McCaffrey said in a position paper released yesterday. "We call upon the 50 million Americans who have tried and now do not condone drug abuse to join in the nation's anti-drug effort."

William Bennett, who held the same job as head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George Bush, described McCaffrey's statement as "damn disappointing."

Focus on the drug issue has been intense in recent weeks. Earlier this month the White House revealed some current Clinton aides are regularly tested for drugs because FBI security checks revealed "extensive and-or recent drug use found in their backgrounds."

McCaffrey insisted the position paper wasn't motivated by politics. But it was issued at a time when the White House and Republican lawmakers are trading barbs over the drug histories of politicians in both parties.

Instead, he said, the policy statement is aimed at providing guidance to millions of Baby Boomers - many of whom used or experimented with drugs - as they struggle over how to discuss that touchy issue with their kids.

"This new generation that is now running America - the school principals, the police chiefs, the business leadership, many of them were exposed to illegal drugs in the '60s and '70s, and rejected it, because it scared them," McCaffrey said in a telephone interview.

"What we're saying to that age group is, `Look - you're running the country now. Let's tell our children that the drug revolution didn't work.' "

McCaffrey said his plea is directed both at local community leaders and Washington policy makers: "It's for everyone, really."

Those explanations did not mollify Bennett, saying he questioned whether McCaffrey "has become an apologist for the White House."

"This is a very weak, very tepid statement, and cannot be taken literally," Bennett said. "This isn't the kingdom of Heaven where if one repents, one gets in. These are policy positions in the White House, and acts should have consequences."

The former Army general's statement comes as Republicans continue to hammer at the White House on the drug issue.

Campaigning yesterday in Pennsylvania, Bob Dole, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, said he would never overrule the Secret Service if it recommended that White House passes be denied employees because of past drug use.

"They won't be there when I'm in the White House," he said. "No wonder we're losing the war on drugs when you've got such a big, big problem in the White House itself."

The White House has said of the 21 current and former workers placed in the special random-testing program, none has ever tested positive.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich has also blasted White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry for not admitting that his past drug use was a mistake.

"I was a kid in the 1970s. Did I smoke a joint from time to time? Of course I did," McCurry said last Wednesday. "The FBI knows that. The point is, if I use drugs now, in any shape or form, I'm gone, I'm history."

"They have a presidential press secretary in the White House, on camera, who says, of course he did marijuana in college, as though every student in America this year ought to say, `Well, I can be like Mike McCurry,' the Georgia Republican said Saturday.

But Gingrich himself has handled the issue in much the same way, saying the fact that he and friends dabbled with drugs during the 1970s "was a sign we were alive and in graduate school in that era."

Anti-drug experts said they hoped McCaffrey's statement doesn't get lost in the political debate.

"This has become sort of the politics of accusation - who did what, when," said James Copple, president of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, an organization with 4,000 chapters nationwide. "The message has got to be broader and deeper than that."

'Bad Cocaine Mix Sends 25 To Emergency Rooms'

Orlando Sentinel Tribune, July 11, 1996, "Metro" section, p. A14.

Baltimore - About 25 addicts were treated at hospital emergency rooms in a period of less than 24 hours after using a potentially lethal mix of cocaine and an unknown substance that made them agitated and paranoid, hospital officials said Wednesday. The drugs undermined the addicts' ability to sweat, which could be life-threatening. Doctors were trying to identify the unknown portion of the mixture, which police said was probably given away free by dealers to win new customers.

'LA Logs Record Amount Of Marijuana Seized'

Los Angeles Times, July 18, 1996

LOS ANGELES - A record amount of marijuana was seized by Los Angeles police in the first six months of 1996 -- more than all of last year -- and police say the drug is more powerful than during the 1960's.

So far in 1996, police have seized 29,845 pounds, surpassing the record last year of 24,964 pounds, said Lt. Bernie Larralde of police narcotics division.

Marijuana now being used is twice as powerful as the variety used in the 1960's and is grown in hydroponic condititions to enhance its potency in the active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol.

"I caution parents today: It's a different marijuana you are letting your kids do today -- it is totally different," Larralde said. "And if parents are permissive because they believe it was relatively harmless back then, it is not relatively harmless. The impairment is greater; the likelihood of addictability is much higher."

He said authorities fear that marijuana is a "gateway" drug that leads users to go on to harder drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

"Hopefully we won't have a big increase in heroin and cocaine users, but chances are the demand for those other drugs is going to increase, not decrease," Larralde said.



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