Portland NORML News - Sunday, January 25, 1998

Leave Medical Pot Issue To Science (Stupid Tacoma, Washington 'News Tribune'
Editorial Ignores US Government's Policy Of Denying Science
Behind Medical Marijuana)

From: WWonders 
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 08:55:54 EST
To: randy@speakeasy.org
Cc: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: Editorial: Leave medical pot issue to science
Organization: AOL (http://www.aol.com)
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

The News Tribune, Tacoma, WA.
Sunday, Jan. 25, 1998 - page B 6
Email to leted@p.tribnet.com
Mailing Address: The News Tribune, P.O. Box 11000, 1950 S. State St.,
Tacoma, Wa. 98411, Phone: (253)-597-8742

Leave medical pot issue to science.

The overwhelming defeat of Initiative 685 last November should have settled
the question of whether Washington State ought to circumvent the U.S.
government's drug-review process by legalizing "medicinal" marijuana.

But some cannabis proponents are still trying to fight this battle in the
political arena rather than deferring to the scientific deliberations of the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the National Institutes of Health. State
Sens. Jeanne Kohl and Pat Thibaudeau, both Seattle Democrats, have
introduced a bill that would let "seriously ill patients" smoke marijuana with
permission of a doctor. Backers of the failed I-685 are talking about putting
yet another initiative on the ballot if the Legislature rejects the Kohl-
Thibaudeau bill, as it would be wise to do.

The push for summary approval of therapeutic marijuana serves as a good
reminder of why this country long ago opted to let hard research and cautious
reviews - not anecdotes and emotional testimonials - govern the legalization
of potent drugs.

Marijuana activists are quite accurate in asserting that pot can ease the
nausea of chemotherapy, stimulate the appetites of AIDS patients and relive
the symptoms of several other conditions. But they tend to minimize the
hazards of smoking marijuana - which include addiction, lung damage,
accelerated heart rates and potential impairment of the immune system. And
they rarely acknowledge that the same symptoms that marijuana treats can also
be treated - usually more effectively - by other medications, including a new
generation of anti-nausea drugs and a synthetic form of THC, the chief active
ingredient of marijuana itself.

The use of crude marijuana as a medicine thus raises complex scientific and
clinical questions that are best answered by such reputable research
organizations as the National Cancer Institute, the National Neurological
Disorders and the FDA. Cannabis ought to be compared to state-of-the-art
alternative treatments in well-designed studies, as the National Institute of
Health concluded last August, marijuana shows some therapeutic potential -
but it should be subject to the same risk-to-benefit tests that other drugs
must pass before they are widely prescribed.

Initiative campaigns and legislative votes are no substitute for sober
scientific review that ought to take place before dope-smoking is dignified
with the status of legitimate therapy. Such a review appears to be on its
way; in December, the Drug Enforcement Administration asked the Department
of Health and Human Services to conduct a "scientific and medical evaluation"
of marijuana as a potential medicine. there will be a scientific verdict on
medicinal marijuana. Those who want to rush legalization through the
political process give the distinct impression they are afraid of what that
verdict will be.

Letter To 'News Tribune' (In Response To Its 'Leave Medical Pot Issue
To Science' Editorial - First-Person Account Of Dying Father's Marijuana Use)

Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 12:17:32 -0800 (PST)
From: pcehthns@scn.org (SCN User)
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: letter to tribune
Reply-To: pcehthns@scn.org
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

I know you all know my story all too well by now. Nevertheless, here's my

From: pcehthns@scn.org (SCN User)
To: leted@p.tribnet.com
Cc: pcehthns@scn.org
Subject: letter to editor
Date: Wed, 28 Jan

Dear Editor,

I am disturbed by your editorial "Leave medical pot to science"
(Jan. 25). Last January 26 my father, a 40 year tobacco smoker, died in
my home of brain/lung cancer.

When my father arrived in my home after completing chemotherapy he
weighed a mere 85 lbs. and couldn't hold down a single egg because of the
nausea and wasting syndrome associated with his treatment.

I was told my father would die within weeks. At the suggestion of a
family member we decided we would try offering my dad a small amount of
marijuana orally in the form of baked goods. The result was short of
miraculous. The first day he was able to enjoy and keep down an entire meal.

He went on to defy the predictions of his doctors and stun the
hospice nurses by living a full four months after I was told to "just
keep him hydrated". Those four months were invaluable to him, as he
remained alert, engaging, and active until the last few days.

In your editorial you suggest it's unwise to propose legislation
allowing for the compassionate use of medical marijuana because of the
"addictive" nature of the drug and the "damage" to the lungs of those
using it.

Are you suggesting that the morphine and other drugs prescribed by my
father's doctors had no potential for abuse? Do you think my father's
health was in danger from eating a brownie with an herb that has never
resulted in a known fatal overdose?

I'm appalled and infuriated that my father, a veteran and a lifelong
law abiding citizen, had to die a criminal to steal a few precious months
of quality life. Those months will remain sacred to me and my family forever.

I've done my studies and I know the true danger lies in hysteria and the
monetary stranglehold the pharmaceutical companies hold on public policy
makers in Olympia.

Vivian McPeak

Alison Bigelow Responds To Tacoma 'News Tribune' Editorial (Brief History
Of Government's Refusal To Acknowledge Science Behind Medical Marijuana)

Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 14:16:04 -0800
From: Allison Bigelow (whc@CNW.COM)
Reply-To: whc@CNW.COM
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: my response to the Tacoma News Tribune's Editorial
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

To the Editors:

In response to your editorial titled "Leave medical pot issue to
Science", I must say that I am appalled. For years now cannabis
activists have been calling for scientific review and studies to be
done. We want them to be done, because we are confident that marijuana
is an effective medicine that can be used with relatively harmless side

Every attempt to gain the Federal authorization needed to run these
scientific tests has been stalled. Our own state's legislation
appropriated funds for tests to be run at the University of Washington
two years ago now, and these tests are still awaiting Federal approval.

As a matter of fact, the review to be done by the Department of Health
and Human Services at the request of the DEA that was mentioned in your
editorial is a direct result to an Administrative Petition filed on July
10, 1995, by petitioners Jon Gettman, a former president of the
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and
Trans High Corporation, publisher of High Times Magazine. As recently as
March, 1995 the DEA refused to consider reevaluating the status of
marijuana claiming that they were "unaware of any new scientific
studies" that might change their mind. Gettman and High times then
provided the agency with voluminous and specific documentation which led
the DEA to reverse itself.

You characterize patients and activists as "those who want to rush
legalization." In 1988 Judge Francis Young, the Administrative Law Judge
for the DEA found after intense review that marijuana is "one of the
safest therapeutically active substances known to man." That review was
also the result of a lawsuit brought by activists. I'd say we've been
patient long enough, watching friends and family members die as
criminals, or suffer without legal access to medicine. Commentaries such
as your own are full of misinformation. Many of your readers have
already done their homework. It seems that it is time that you did, too.


Allison Bigelow,

Member of the Board of Washington Hemp Education Network


Ralph Seeley Lived His Life As Testament To Life Itself (CR Roberts, A Friend
Of The Late Cancer Patient And Medical Marijuana Activist, Writes A Eulogy
For Tacoma's 'News Tribune')

From: WWonders (WWonders@aol.com)
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 20:43:33 EST
To: randy@speakeasy.org
Cc: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: Re: Tacoma editorial (fwd)
Organization: AOL (http://www.aol.com)
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

In a message dated 1/27/98 10:44:05 PM, Randy said


>A state senator asked that we post any responses to the Tacoma Tribune
>editorial from Sunday

Could you key this in and post it ?



Ralph Seeley lived his life as testament to life itself

C.R. Roberts ; The News Tribune (crr@p.tribnet.com)

Ralph Seeley wasn't supposed to die. The man I met nearly 11 years ago -
my colleague, a columnist who shared this space on opposite days back
when we both began at The News Tribune - was meant to go on living. But
he died late Wednesday night.

The cancer he'd had for a decade finally won. Over the years, it was a
battle worth watching. I honestly thought he'd live for a long, long

I was sure because he always came home, came back - from whatever
surgery, from whatever hospital visit, after whatever ominous news from
his doctors. There was never a hint that he was prepared to surrender.

Indeed, the rules of engagement were as clear as Alpine air. He would
continue to live, savor life, inspire others and fight whatever
foolishness that dared get in the way.

He'd been a chief petty officer in the Navy, where he oversaw the
reactor on a nuclear submarine. He wrote for The Bremerton Sun, then
joined The News Tribune. While here, he was named by the American
Society of Newspaper Columnists as one of the nation's best. After
leaving journalism, he attended law school. At his first solo jury
trial, he won for his client a record $9 million - a judgment later
overturned by an appeals court.

In between all that he was a horseman, a pilot and a fisherman. Of late,
he'd been learning to play the cello. I remember helping him carry that
cello into various hospital rooms. And I never heard a nurse complain
about the music.

We played poker on Monday nights. (He helped teach me how a good player
draws to a hand of two-pair.) And if he happened to be in a hospital on
a Monday night, then that's where we'd play, Ralph and his friends.
Please don't tell the doctors about those little bottles of whiskey we'd
smuggle in to take the edge off the treatment.

I suppose he was best known for his work trying to legalize marijuana
for medicinal use. He relished the debate as much as he believed in the
cause. He knew he was right because he'd experienced for himself the
ravages of chemotherapy and radiation. He knew firsthand that marijuana
offered relief where other drugs - dangerous, legal and sometimes
ineffective drugs - could not.

For Ralph, the issue was simple - as simple as truth and as plain as
justice. That others might disagree with him for complicated or
political reasons didn't make him angry so much as it made him shake his
head, chuckle and wonder when the world would start making sense.

He loved his wife, Judith, and his family. He loved the law. He loved to
teach and he liked to talk. I think he liked knowing that underdog
Davids would always, somehow, slay their Goliaths.

He lived as full a life as any man could ever want - but let me tell you
how he died. He died peacefully.

He'd been on a respirator since late Saturday night. A blood clot had
shaken loose and swum perhaps to his lung (he had only one), and the
clot stopped his heart and robbed him of oxygen. So he lay in bed for
four days, hooked to machines that buzzed and beeped and displayed a
universe of mysterious green numbers. He wasn't - as the word goes -

His family arrived throughout the week. They held a 24-hour vigil.
Scores of friends visited. One Wednesday night, the time came.
Medication was reduced. Slowly the numbers fell.

Another machine softly played Tchaikovsky, and the music rose beside
prayers - prayers and then laughter as those around the bed shared
stories. Stories and tears.

Watching him go, slowly, someone recalled his days as a pilot. He once
owned a seaplane, and it was as if in dying he were flying again.
Landing, calmly, easily. Coming in over some quiet and blue mountain
lake, looking down, circling, tasting the wind.

In the end there was no drama, no argument, no stubborn appeal.

ACT UP Has Not Made A Deal With AMR (Steve Michael Of ACT UP
In Washington, DC, Sponsors Of Medical Marijuana Initiative 57 And Now 59,
Says Americans For Medical Rights' January 20 Press Release Erred)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 08:20:43 EST
Reply-To: VOTEYES57@aol.com
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: VOTEYES57@aol.com
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: there is no DC compromise initiative

ACT UP Washington Alert

ACT UP has not made a Deal With AMR!

Let me again correct the record. I have seen numerous postings that indicate
ACT UP Washingtonians (the sponsors of Initiative 57 and now 59 have made
deals with AMR.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While it is true that several of
us associated with Initiative 57 did meet with the AMR folks--it is not
accurate to say deals have been made.

Based on my read of DC election laws it will be impossible for the AMR folk
to qualify their initiative for the September 15th Democratic ballot. The
local Initiative, #59 will begin gathering on February 4th. That gives us
three and one half months to qualify our measure. AMR will have about five
weeks to accomplish the same task.

We have both a volunteer and a paid organization in place and are ready to
go. Yes we have been fundraising from sources not associated with George
Soros. We can and will qualify this Initiative.

The sad thing is that the AMR folks continue to spread misinformation both
nationally and locally. That hinders our work and continues to put DC's sick
at risk.

We urge individuals and groups that are interested in supporting medical
marijuana in the District of Columbia to join our team. We need volunteers
and we need contributions.

Steve Michael
sponsor, DC's Medical Marijuana Initiative
Yes on 59!!!!

409 H Street NE,
Washington, DC 20002

In the next few days I will be posting announcements about our kick-off

Book Review, 'San Francisco Chronicle' ('Corruption On The Border - Intrigue
And Chaos In Tijuana,' By 'Los Angeles Times' Reporter Sebastian Rotella,
Shows Interdiction To Be A Corrupting Failure On Both Sides Of Border -
Also An Investigation Of The Complicated Webs Of Conspiracy
Surrounding The 1994 Assassination Of Mexican Presidential Candidate
Luis Donaldo Colosio, Containing Many Tantalizing Scooplets)

Subj: Book Review, SF Chronicle
From: "Tom O'Connell" 
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 16:14:41 -0800 (PST)

The post NAFTA border boom has been a boost for the illegal drug market. No
surprises, but at least the corruption is being documented. Unfortunately,
this reviewer doesn't tell us the author's attitude toward drug policy in

Some one on the lists who reads the book should post a follow-up- this may
be a resource for us to cite.


Corruption on the Border
Intrigue and chaos in Tijuana

Underworlds and Politics at the
US.-Mexican Border By Sebastian Botella
W.W. Norton; 320 pages; $25


On California's southern frontier drug smuggling has become a
multibillion-dollar business, corrupting officials on both sides of the
border and spawning violence that has severely destabilized the Mexican

It's heady material for a writer, and Los Angeles Times reporter Sebastian
Rotella rises to the occasion. In "Twilight on the Line" he exhaustively
and eloquently describes the intrigue and chaos of the area on and around
Tijuana, Mexico.

In recent years, Rotella shows, Tijuana has grown from a backwater for U.S.
tourists to a sprawling metropolis of 1.5 million. It is an industrial
powerhouse and the most important crossing-point for drugs and migrants
along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rotella's investigation of the complicated webs of conspiracy surrounding
the 1994 assassination of presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio
contains many tantalizing scooplets. He traces the plot through the
long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to the Arellano Felix
brothers' drug cartel and across the border to the gangs of San Diego's
Barrio Logan. He finds no smoking gun and is careful to distinguish between
fact, rumor and disinformation. But the story is made all the better- and
all the more shocking-for his caution.

Rotella describes in telling detail how drug money has permeated nearly
every level of government and law enforcement. In Tijuaua the dividing line
between cops and crooks is often fuzzy, and their philosophy is invariably
the same: "A beefy veteran detective of the Baja state police- thick gold
chains around a thick neck, a gold bracelet, a steady stare-described the
semiotics of murder to a cross-border visitor as he drank beer and ate lamb
in the wood-paneled booth of a spacious restaurant. 'You shoot someone in
the back, it means they betrayed someone. You shoot them in the face, it
means they talked. It all has meaning. It's like a language."

Rotella never descends to hectoring or condescension toward Mexicans, as
many U.S. reporters do. Nor does he resort to parple prose. Some of his
most insightful writing is about the people caught in the border
immigration faceoff: the Border Patrol agents, the migrants and Mexico's
Grupo Beta, an elite police squad that helps protect the border crossers
against thieves and rapists.

Rotella is surprisingly sympathetic to all three sides, and he shows how
many honorable people are doing their best within the confines of the
system. Yet he is decidedly skeptical about U.S. immigration politics. The
periodic crackdowns on the border in the mid-1990s merely helped drive
honest immigrants into the hands of the border mafias, he says. The results
were "no fast solutions, no easy answers. Immigration had been slowed, but
the trade-off was that the smuggling mafias were becoming a bigger, tougher
business. The lines between transporters of drugs and immigrants started to

A blind spot in "Twilight on the Line" is that it ignores the kind of
organized crime that probably affects more people along the border than any
other: the labor mafia controlled by the government, large corporations and
unions linked to the PRI. For most of Mexico's 900,000 workers in border
assembly plants, or maquiladoras, this oppressive system blocks any
independent organizing and keeps wages at rock bottom. Those who make the
mistake of dissenting are fired by management and beaten by PRI goons.

Of course, this sort of crime is not as cinematic as drug smuggling,
assassinations or hordes of immigrants sprinting across the desert. It is
more humdrum and it rarely gets press attention.

Nor does Rotella address how drug lords have taken advantage of NAFTA to
smuggle their wares. Because of vastly increased volumes of trade crossing
the border, traffickers are able to hide drugs in legitimate shipments that
are rushed through customs. In fact, many drug lords are believed to have
invested heavily in legitimate import-export businesses as a means of
obtaining cover.

Rotella's greatest strength is the spare beauty of some of his prose. His
description of the scene at the Tijuana line as the Border Patrol sends
back a group of illegal crossers is typically bleak yet affectionate:
"Shaven headed U.S. Marines, tattooed homeboys in baggy pants, high school
girls in shorts and halter tops, ambling tourists in serapes. The revelers
and the released prisoners flowed together obliviously, their worlds
intersecting without seeming to touch. They drifted into the crowd of taxi
drivers hustling for fares, the vendors and beggars and smugglers, the
smoke from the taco stands, the dance music and cantina neon."

Robert Collier is on the staff of The Chronicle.

Newsom Vows To Step Up Fight Against Drugs (Gavin Newsom, Youngest Member
Of San Francisco Board Of Supervisors, Begins Monthly Series
Of Town Hall Meetings On Drugs, Pledging To Press For More Residential
Drug Treatment Programs For Youth)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 12:25:39 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Newsom Vows To Step Up Fight Against Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: San Francisco Examiner
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Website: http://www.examiner.com
Author: Scott Winokur OF THE EXAMINER STAFF
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998


Supervisor promises to use budget surplus for inpatient care

"I have no interest in being part of the way things have been done around
here. What we have been doing is absolutely, unequivocally wrong."

Gavin Newsom, youngest member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors,
concluded a rousing, youth-oriented town hall meeting on drugs Saturday
with those remarks - vowing to press for more residential drug treatment
programs for The City's substance-abusing youth.

Newsom also pledged to systematically canvass The City's neighborhoods
throughout the year in search of new community-based solutions to an old

He said similar town hall meetings would be held monthly and possibly
continue into 1999.

He also promised to initiate action within six months aimed at setting
aside a portion of The City's budget surplus for inpatient care for
drug-using youths.

Now, Newsom said, only Walden House, a nonprofit drug treatment center, is
able to care for this population.

"The thing that was overwhelming at this meeting was the lack of
residential treatment programs," Newsom said afterward. "There's $38
million left in the surplus. We can do it through an ordinance or a

"I expect to be doing something."

Gathered at Potrero Hill Neighborhood House with about 50 community
activists, drug experts and youth workers, Newsom heard dozens of speakers
blast government, the police and the school system for their purported
failure to address the needs of inner-city youths, women and small

"City bureaucracies move very slowly and they need constant pressure from
community groups to keep going," said panelist Michael Siever of the
treatment on Demand Planning Council.

According to Siever, treatment on demand - a policy backed by Mayor Brown -
requires $20 million to be implemented without waiting lists. But "nowhere
near that amount of money" is in sight, Siever said.

Newsom agreed - but made it clear he wanted to distinguish himself from the
legislative pack.

Noting recent board committee action on his plan to increase the
availability of methadone to heroin addicts, he said, "Bureaucracy does
move slowly, but dammit, it's not going to move as slowly as it has!"

Reuben Goodman, describing himself as a former crack cocaine user, told the

"Your methadone legislation is literally going to save lives. I want to
thank you for your heroism on that."

Most speakers, however, pointed to what they perceived as glaring faults in
the system.

*Goodman said drug users were discriminated against in the emergency room
of San Francisco General Hospital:

"There's a triage nurse and because she thinks people are under the
influence, she puts them out in the cold and calls security if they don't
go willingly."

But hospital official Chris Wachsmuth said the emergency room did not turn
away any patients, including evident alcoholics or drug users - and could
not under law.

She said, however, that patients necessarily are rank-ordered in terms of
need for care, with some forced to wait hours before they can be seen.

*The Rev. Timothy Dupre, chairman of the city Juvenile Justice Commission
and director of Morrisania West, a youth agency in San Francisco, said
treatment on demand wasn't enough.

Dupre called for a "holistic" approach to the "cancer of substance abuse"
reaching into every aspect of the at-risk population's lives.

*Substance abuse treatment workers Nika St. Claire and Elizabeth Sullivan
urged a concentration on women and children, saying both groups received
less than their fair share of drug prevention and treatment funding.

*Ramon Calubaquib, director of Asian Youth Prevention Services in San
Francisco, said attention had to be paid immediately to the problem of
crystallized methamphetamine use in the Filipino community.

"This is more potent than crack cocaine," Calubaquib said.

Saturday's meeting, Newsom said, was "the beginning of a process."

If the young supervisor follows through on all he promised, it could be a
process that elevates him to a leadership position legislators twice his
age have failed to achieve on this exceptionally difficult issue.

A Light For Prisoners Of Prohibition (Letter To Editor
Of 'San Francisco Chronicle' Says, Across The Nation, Loved Ones
Have Begun Leaving Lights In Their Windows Until Fathers, Mothers, Siblings
And Children - All 'Prisoners Of Prohibition' - Can Come Home - When
Our Nation's Government Said It Would Sue The Cannabis Clubs, We Decided
To Put A Light In Our Window Too - We Urge All Californians Who
Support Proposition 215 To Do The Same)

Subj: PUB LTE: SF Chronicle, 1/25
From: "Tom O'Connell" 
(by way of Richard Lake )
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 19:38:11 -0500
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Pubdate: Sunday, January 25, 1998


Editor -- Thursday, Jan. 29, 1998, is the 78th anniversary of the day
the18th Amendment to the Constitution -- prohibition of alcohol--went into
effect. That dismal legislative failure was ultimately repealed, but the
legacy of misguided prohibition policy remains.

In 1996 over half-a-million people were arrested for possession of
marijuana. The numbers don't adequately describe the pain their
families suffer. Across the nation, first in Delaware and then in the
state of Washington, loved ones have begun leaving lights in their
windows until fathers, mothers, siblings and children -- all
``prisoners of prohibition'' -- can come home.

California voters are prisoners of prohibition too. The 56 percent majority
who passed Proposition 215 (Compassionate Use Act) are about to see their
votes nullified by the federal government. The Justice Department has
filed suit to close six cannabis clubs that provide medicinal marijuana to
the sick and dying.

We voted for Proposition 215 so that our friend who is struggling to live with
the AIDS virus and digestive disorders could obtain marijuana to increase
appetite, regain weight and be able to maintain the pill regimen necessary to
control the AIDS virus.

A year ago our friend was a walking skeleton; now this person can do the
things that are important to life. When the cannabis clubs close, our
friend will have to go to the street to find marijuana, by federal law a
criminal who risks imprisonment.

When our nation's government said it would sue the cannabis clubs, we
decided to put a light in our window too. We urge all Californians who
support Proposition 215 to do the same.


Palo Alto

The Real Issue (Another Letter To Editor Of 'San Francisco Chronicle'
Says The Real Issue California Voters Addressed With Proposition 215
Wasn't Distribution System - They Meant, `We Don't Like A Policy - Now Work
With Us, Please')

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 12:49:33 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE's: A Light For Prisoners Of Prohibition
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family ; "Frank S.
World" ; "Tom O'Connell" 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998


Editor -- Sure, Proposition 215 was poorly written, but the real issue
isn't about marijuana. Sure, no ``distribution system'' was envisioned --
but any in the initiative would have violated federal law. But the issue
wasn't really allowing medical marijuana via popular vote.

I suspect the real reason Proposition 215 (medical marijuana) was so poorly
written was that it was a desperate cry for sanity by those drowning in a
sea of insanity where the voices of reason were drowned out by the crashing
cacophony of all these messages that are supposed to be doing our children
so much good (while leaving the decision as to whether they can buy any
drugs up to criminals).

So be it, Billy and Dan and Pete and Dianne and Barbara. Stick your heads
in the sand. I only hope your constituencies will react by voting you, or
those you might dare endorse, out of office.

The issue isn't ``pot,'' folks. The issue is that we essentially told them
``We don't like a policy -- now work with us, please.'' Somebody ought to
teach these government servants exactly who runs this country.


Bars Unplug Lottery Machines To Protest Ban ('Santa Maria Times'
Says California's New Prohibition On Smoking In Bars Prompts Day-Long
And Week-Long Lottery Boycotts In City Of Tracy, And Sonoma, Humboldt,
Riverside Counties)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 02:00:38 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Bars Unplug Lottery Machines To Protest Ban
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison
Source: Santa Maria Times, California
Contact: Santa Maria Times 3200 Skyway Drive Santa Maria, CA 93456-0400
Author: Karyn Hunt, Associated Press
Pubdate: Sunday, January 25, 1998
Page: B-10


SAN FRANCISCO -- Some bar owners are so mad about a law banning smoking at
their establishments that they're unplugging lottery machines to send the
state a message: If you won't let customers light up, we won't sell

In the past two weeks, day-long and week-long lottery boycotts have been
organized in the city of Tracy, and in Sonoma, Humboldt and Riverside
counties. In addition, organizers are trying to put together a 24-hour
blackout of the keno-like Hot Spot game on Feb. 2, proprietors said.

"We just shut them down to show how upset we are about not allowing our
smoking customers to come in," said Rod Ridout, owner of AA Bar & Grill in
Eureka who turned off his machine Monday.

"We felt this would be the one way the state would pay attention to us.
Without us being turned on or taking people's money and running it through,
there's no income for the state," he said.

The California Lottery, which gives a large percentage of its income to
education, sent $757 million to schools last year and has given schools $9
billion since it began in 1985. All ticket sellers are given a machine that
allows them to plug in the numbers players request for games such as Super
Lotto, Fantasy 5, Daily 3 and more.

The boycott won't do any good, though, lottery spokeswoman Norma Minaf
said. With more than 19,000 ticket distributors in the state, the drop in
sales so far has been negligible.

And retailers only hurt themselves because they have to meet sales quotas,
she added. If they turn their machines off for any length of time, they
won't meet those requirements and their machines will be taken away.

What's more, Minaf said, retailers get to keep 6 percent of their sales so
they're emptying their own pockets.

"It's been very small, basically we see no effect on sales," Minaf said.
"The only thing this is doing is inconveniencing lottery customers who will
have to go elsewhere to purchase their tickets."

O'Rourke said a statewide boycott would make a difference, though. And he
is determined to make it happen because his business has been hurt by the
smoking ban.

"It's killing me," he said. "It's a matter of rights. My customers aren't
criminals and for an officer of the law to walk in and give them a citation
and treat them like criminals isn't right.

"We're just going to shut the lottery down until we get some relief from
the state on this smoking deal."

Smokeeasies (Writer Of Letter To Editor Of 'San Francisco Chronicle'
Ridicules California's New Ban On Smoking In Bars, Notes Barkeeps
Are More At Risk From Drunks Than Tobacco - Knows Of One 'Smokeeasy' Already)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 12:22:11 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: LTE: Smokeeasies
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/


Editor -- What is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world? A
bartender. It is not because of secondhand smoke, but because of having to
deal with drunken people. If the state was so worried about a bartender's
health they would outlaw alcohol, not tobacco. That's next on their Big
Brother agenda.

In the long run this prohibition is going to hit home. How? rock `n' roll
music. Why? Bars are going to be going out of business and there is not
going to be any place for new rock bands to play, so we are going to be
stuck with the Rolling Stones and Beatles forever.

This prohibition is already creating Smokeeasies. I know of a bar, where if
you knock proper on a back door they will let you in a special room where
you can smoke cigarettes and drink. Al Capone would love it.


San Anselmo

Films About Prisoners Take Top Sundance Awards ('Chicago Tribune' Writes That
'Slam,' Documentarian Marc Levin's Gritty Fictional Tale Of A Black Poet
Jailed For Marijuana Possession In Washington, DC, Received Top Prize At The
Festival In Utah Established By Robert Redford)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 21:44:54 -0500
Subject: MN: Films About Prisoners Take Top Sundance Awards
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: Chicago Tribune
Contact: tribletter@aol.com
Website: http://www.chicago.tribune.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998


PARK CITY, Utah -- The filmmakers took their cameras behind bars, and the
two movies that resulted won the Sundance Film Festival's top awards
Saturday night.

``Slam,'' documentarian Marc Levin's gritty fictional tale of a black poet
jailed for marijuana possession in Washington, D.C., received the dramatic
category Grand Jury Prize. Liz Garbus' and Jonathan Stack's ``The Farm,''
an intimate look at five inmates inside one of America's largest maximum
security prisons, shared the documentary Grand Jury Prize with ``Frat
House,'' which follows filmmakers Todd Phillips and Andrew Gurland as they
join a fraternity and secretly record the brutal hazing rituals they endure.

All three films had built excellent word of mouth throughout the festival,
and last week Trimark Pictures bought the worldwide rights to ``Slam'' for
a reported $2.5 million.

``Slam'' also became the second award-winner in two years to depict the
lively form of poetry performance known as poetry slam. Last year's
Audience Award co-winner ``love jones'' was set amid Chicago's black
underground poetry scene.

``Slam'' screening audiences erupted in applause at the self-affirming raps
by actors Saul Williams and Sonja Sohn, who reprised their verses at
post-film question-and-answer sessions and parties.

The dramatic category Audience Award, voted on by festivalgoers, went to
Chris Eyre's ``Smoke Signals,'' which also collected the Filmmakers Trophy,
awarded by filmmakers at the festival. Sherman Alexie adapted ``Smoke
Signals'' from his own novel about a young American Indian coming to terms
with his father's death.

It is being called the first movie written, directed, produced by and
starring Native Americans to get wide distribution; Miramax plans to
release it later this year.

``This is more than just a movie for Indian people,'' Alexie said after the
awards. ``This is social, cultural, economic and political history.''

``Smoke Signals'' also represents a coup for the Sundance Institute, which
gave the movie's screenplay an award two years ago and assisted in its

The Audience Award winner for documentaries was ``Out of the Past,'' Jeff
Dupre's exploration of how history has marginalized gays and lesbians.
``Divine Trash,'' Steve Yeager's profile of filmmaker John Waters set
during the making of his gross-out classic ``Pink Flamingos,'' received the
documentary Filmmakers Trophy.

Penelope Spheeris' ``The Decline of Western Civilization, Part III'' won
the Freedom of Expression Award, which goes to a documentary that
investigates and informs the public about a pressing social issue. Unlike
Spheeris' first two ``Decline'' movies, which focused on the musicians in
Los Angeles' punk and metal music scenes, this one explores the sad lives
of young punk fans who tend to be alcoholic, homeless drug-users who had
been abused by their parents.

In the directing category, Darren Aronofsky won the dramatic feature prize
for ``Pi,'' a hallucinogenic depiction of a brilliant, haunted
mathematician working toward a staggering breakthrough. Its title actually
is the mathematical symbol for pi, meaning that it may do for movies what
the symbol for the Artist Formerly Known as Prince has done for music.

``We've got that in our contract to keep (the symbol),'' Aronofsky said,
referring to the movie's reported $1 million-plus distribution deal with
Live Entertainment.

Julia Loktev won the documentary directing award for ``Moment of Impact,''
her examination of the car accident that incapacitated her father.

Columbia College graduate Declan Quinn won the Cinematography Award for his
work on ``2by4'', Jimmy Smallhorne's tale of an Irish construction worker
in New York City. On the documentary side, cinematographer Tom Hurwitz was
honored for ``Wild Man Blues,'' Barbara Kopple's chronicle of Woody Allen's
recent jazz-band tour through Europe.

Andrea Hart received a Special Jury Prize for Achievement by an Actor for
her fearless performance in ``Miss Monday.'' She plays a high-strung
British business executive who engages in a horrific display of binging and

Lisa Cholodenko won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for ``High Art,'' a
grim love story between a heroin-snorting lesbian photographer and her
female neighbor.

The Special Recognition in Latin American Cinema Award went to Carlos
Marcovich's ``Who the Hell Is Juliette,'' from Mexico.

The awards were presented before a crowd of filmmakers, actors, sponsors
and reporters at the Park City Racquet Club. For the second year in a row,
Sundance Institute President Robert Redford was a no-show.

Last year an avalanche near the Sundance Institute kept him away. This year
he sent word that he was too busy finishing work on his upcoming film ``The
Horse Whisperer.''

Marijuana Use Sets Off League's Smoke Alarms ('Washington Post' And National
Basketball Association Owners Wring Their Hands Over The Goose
That Lay-Ups The Golden Egg And Consider Whether To Kill It)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 18:52:11 -0500
Subject: MN: US DC: WP: Marijuana Use Sets Off League's Smoke Alarms
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Chris Clay 
SOURCE: Washington Post
Pubdate: January 25, 1998
Author: Bill Brubaker, Washinton Post Staff Writer
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/


As an NBA all-star in the 1960s and 1970s, Washington Wizards General
Manager Wes Unseld said he watched players smoke marijuana and, as a
consequence, "act weird." How weird? "It's like the old joke that goes: A
guy's watching a football game with 60,000 people. He sees the team get
into the huddle and he swears that they're talking about him," Unseld said.
"You know, that kind of stuff."

Marijuana was not a concern of the league's back then. But a generation
later, as the NBA has grown into a global, star-powered industry with an
average annual player salary of $2.2 million and marketing offices from
Melbourne to Mexico City, the issue of marijuana use has attracted the
attention of league executives.

Since last summer four high-profile NBA players have been involved in
marijuana-related criminal cases. The latest involves one of the most
popular players on Unseld's team: Forward Chris Webber, 24, who on Tuesday,
after being stopped by police for speeding, was charged with three
misdemeanors, including possession of marijuana.

"I suspect it's a problem in the league," NBA deputy commissioner Russ
Granik said in an interview last week, after Webber was arrested. But
Granik said he has no evidence to support his suspicions of marijuana abuse
in the 390-player league. "If I did I wouldn't tell you," he said from his
office above New York's Fifth Avenue. "But I don't have any facts and

The NBA has formally proposed to the players' union, the National
Basketball Players Association, that marijuana be placed on the league's
list of banned substances along with cocaine and heroin and that players be
tested for marijuana use. The NBA is the only one of the four major sports
leagues that does not list marijuana as a prohibited substance.

"I'm sure the fan would like to know that players on the court are not
playing under the influence of any drugs," Granik said. As for testing
players, "We've made it plain to the union . . . we would be perfectly
willing to have the league office and club [employees] tested on a similar
basis as long as it didn't violate state laws," Granik said.

Under the NBA's drug agreement, jointly negotiated by the league and union,
players can be disciplined for using or selling cocaine or heroin. Only
rookies are subject to mandatory testing for illegal drug use, and
sanctions range from mandatory treatment for first-time offenders to
expulsion from the league. Marijuana users can be disciplined by the NBA
commissioner, David Stern, but only if their use resulted in a criminal

February 7 in New York, a day before the NBA All-Star Game at Madison
Square Garden, union representatives from the 29 teams are scheduled to
discuss the league's proposal for the first time as a group.

"It's an issue that we intend to spend a great deal of time on at our
meeting," said Billy Hunter, the union's executive director. "What I hope
to do is get a consensus from the players as to what they think our policy
should be with regard to marijuana usage."

Hunter contends, however, that few, if any, NBA players are using
marijuana. "This is a problem only in the sense that it seems to get so
much notoriety and media attention," said Hunter, a former U.S. attorney
for the Northern District of California.

The notoriety comes largely from criminal cases over the past year
involving the four players -- Philadelphia's Allen Iverson, Toronto's
Marcus Camby, Portland's Isaiah Rider and Washington's Webber -- and from a
New York Times story last October that asserted that 60 percent to 70
percent of all NBA players smoke marijuana and drink excessively.

The Times said its story was based on conversations with more than two
dozen players, former players, agents and basketball executives. "If they
tested for pot, there would be no league," former Phoenix Suns guard
Richard Dumas, who was banned from the league for drug and alcohol use, was
quoted as saying. "Weed is something guys grow up doing, and there's no
reason for them to stop."

None of the six current NBA players quoted in the story said they used
marijuana themselves or named players who did.

"When you say, 'What's the percentage [of players who use marijuana]?' all
I know is that four people have been apprehended," Hunter said last week.
"There's a tendency to want to [lump] guys together and say: 'Well, if two
or three are smoking then more of them must be.' "

Hunter added, "I think there's a tendency to say that because a lot of
these guys dress in the idiom or style that young kids, at least minority
kids, dress that we've now got a . . . gang-related association."

Iverson, the 1996-97 NBA rookie of the year, pleaded no contest last year
to a concealed weapon charge, and a marijuana possession charge was
dropped. Rider pleaded no contest to a marijuana possession charge, and
Camby avoided prosecution on a possession charge by agreeing to do
community service.

Webber was stopped for speeding Tuesday morning while driving his 1998
Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicle in Prince George's County. He
eventually was charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest and
marijuana possession. The butt of a marijuana cigarette and other marijuana
residue was found in his vehicle, according to the charging documents.

"I'm a little disappointed," Unseld, said of Webber. "But I'm still going
to give the guy the benefit of the doubt."

Webber has declined to publicly discuss his arrest. But Unseld said he
believes the marijuana cigarette allegedly found in Webber's vehicle may
have been used by a friend of the basketball star.

"I think it's a real chance that it could be someone else's," Unseld said.
"I am not down there on a daily or hourly basis with [players]. But from
what I've seen of the guy, he's got his head on straight. You know, [he] is
immature like most 24-year-old kids are. But [marijuana] wouldn't be
something that I would be overly concerned that he would be involved in."

On Friday, Webber was summoned to New York to meet with the NBA's security
director, Horace Balmer. "The purpose of the meeting is to make sure that
the player understands what his responsibilities are as an NBA player,"
Granik said before the meeting, "and [to inform Webber] that if he is
convicted of a criminal offense there will likely be some penalty appended
to it from the commissioner's office."

The NBA's drug policy is a subject some players don't want to touch. On
Wednesday, before the Washington-Portland game at MCI Center, four Wizards
players, including Webber, declined to discuss any aspect of the program.

"I'm not talking about anything that involves that," said Juwan Howard, the
Wizards' union representative.

"I play basketball," forward Tracy Murray said. "I'm only going to answer
questions about basketball."

In the opposing team's dressing room, Portland's Rider said, when asked
about the drug policy: "I don't want to talk about nothing like that.
Nothing. Interview's over, man."

But Golden State Warriors guard Muggsy Bogues said in a telephone interview
last week, "Marijuana is a drug, and it doesn't belong in the profession. .
. If it starts to become an issue, it needs to be addressed. It becomes a
stigma [on the league], its image and identity."

NBA and union executives are mightily concerned about the league's image.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the NBA's image was damaged by a
series of cocaine-related arrests, the league and union agreed something
had to be done. The result was a drug program -- much like the one in
effect now -- that at the time was widely considered the toughest and most
comprehensive in sports.

In 1996, during negotiations for the latest collective bargaining
agreement, the league unsuccessfully tried to update the drug policy. The
league and union agreed instead to "use their respective best efforts" to
negotiate a new drug agreement before the start of the 1997-98 season.

Last January, the NBA sent the union a 40-page proposal that included
adding marijuana to the list of banned substances. The proposal "doesn't
emphasize punishment like our current drug program," Granik said.

Hunter said he has not responded to the proposal because it is largely
punitive. He said it calls for a five-game suspension for first-time
offenses involving marijuana, six months for a second offense and a
lifetime ban for any player who distributes marijuana.

"For the most part, our players are pretty exemplary," Hunter said. "But
for whatever reason a pretty graphic picture has been drawn that gives the
impression that everybody in the league is smoking marijuana."

Hunter said he is confident there is limited marijuana use because players
have denied using the drug in conversations with union employees.

"We have what's called a player programs unit," he said. "We employ six
former NBA players, retired vets who are assigned to the 29 teams. They
visit those teams with a couple of drug experts and put on programs about
use, the consequences, etc. And in the course of doing that they also
conduct surveys to try to determine who, if anybody, is using marijuana."

Asked how these surveys are conducted, Hunter said the six union employees,
including former Washington Bullets player Bobby Dandridge, "just ask"
players if they use marijuana.

"Bobby Dandridge, for example, has a very close and personal relationship
with the guys on the four teams that he's responsible for," Hunter said.
"So if you ask me: When I wanna play cop, how do I come up with my
information [about drug use]? Someone like Bob Dandridge who has
relationships with the guys will get information and relay it to me.

"Based on our efforts, I guess what we've come up with is: The guys that
got apprehended [for] smoking marijuana is the extent of the numbers [of
players who use marijuana]. Everybody else is denying usage."

Hunter said he considers these denials credible, and he questioned whether
marijuana use has a negative effect on an athlete's ability to perform.

"I don't condone the use of marijuana," Hunter said. "But I haven't seen
any tests or results that demonstrate there's a direct correlation between
a person's inability to perform basketball and at the same time use drugs.
. . . I'm not saying that may not be the case. I'm just saying I'm not
aware of any studies."

Alan I. Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the
National Institutes of Health, said studies have proven that "marijuana
modifies mood perception, emotional state, short-term memory and it also
can affect motor coordination . . . things that are important to being an

"A lot of people think marijuana is just a benign substance," Leshner
added. "The fact is: It's not."

As he fielded questions about Webber's arrest last week, Unseld said
marijuana should be added to the NBA's list of banned substances.

"I don't have a clue how many players are using it," he said. "But I'm not
sitting here saying I'm stupid enough not to have known guys who do it.
When I was playing I knew -- and everyone knew -- guys who were indulging
too much in it.

"And I can tell you one thing: These guys acted a little weird."

Police Feast On Military Surplus ('Washington Post' Article
About How Millions Of Dollars Worth Of Used Military Surplus
Is Given To Civilian Police Every Year - Preferably For Use
In War On Some Drug Users)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 17:49:33 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US WP: Police Feast on Military Surplus
Newshawk: rlake@mapinc.org
Source: Washington Post
Author: Leef Smith, Washington Post Staff Writer
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Pubdate: Sunday, January 25, 1998

Editor's note: The key to the surplus is "If several departments are vying
for the same item, officials said, preference is given to whichever
department plans to use the item to counter drugs...."

A Deal They Can't Refuse


It's the stuff that law enforcement dreams are made of: warehouses full of
rifles and bulletproof vests, electrical generators big enough to power
small towns, armored vehicles for riot control, even a helicopter just
waiting to be flown home.

There are no price tags, no fees, not even taxes. If you wear a badge and
have a purpose, it's free for the taking.

And it's taken. Every year, millions of dollars worth of used military
surplus -- from camouflage pants to boats -- are hauled away by law
enforcement agencies across the state.

The program, taken over and reorganized in 1995 by the Defense Logistics
Agency, has been a boon to smaller police departments that would otherwise
have to do without some of the more exotic bells and whistles of the
criminal justice trade.

"Many of the [law enforcement] agencies wouldn't have the property they do
now if it weren't for the program," said Virginia State Police Lt. Michael
Bolton, the state coordinator for the effort. "It's a wonderful deal."

In turn, the program gives the military a way to get rid of its excess
property. And there's a lot of it, most of which sits in warehouses at
Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service Offices across the country. The
closest to Northern Virginia are at Fort Belvoir and the Quantico Marine
Corps Base.

So far, the Fauquier County Sheriff's Department is one of the area's
biggest participants in the program, picking up about $223,000 worth of
vehicles and other equipment in the last two years. That's big money for
Fauquier's force, where budget constraints mean doing more with less.

So far, the department has acquired 13 vehicles, four copy machines, four
fax machines and a portable generator capable of powering four schools.
Like much of the equipment given away by the military, the generator needed
major repairs. The sheriff's department spent about $8,000 to fix the
generator, but that's nothing compared with its estimated value of $90,000.
The acquisition, according to the department, was a tremendous value and a
real no-brainer. "Everything we get offsets local tax dollars," said
Fauquier Sheriff Warren Jenkins. "It's a big help to us. We probably
wouldn't have gotten these things otherwise."

Manassas police also are enthusiastic participants in the program. Last
year, the department picked up $12,700 in goods -- including 110 gas masks
and filters to be used for riots or large-scale disturbances at the Adult
Detention Center, where large amounts of pepper spray could be deployed --
as well as more than a dozen M-16 rifles for the SWAT team. The department
also got nine decorative M-14 rifles that will be used by its honor guard.
Officials said none of the equipment needed repair.

"We saved a tremendous amount of money," said Lt. William Spencer, adding
that the Manassas department is scouting for a Humvee or all-terrain
vehicle for the SWAT team. "I really don't want to go out and spend $20,000
on a Ford that's going to get all shot up."

By using the program, Fauquier officials said, they have been able to free
up money to purchase other vital equipment. For example, the department
acquired a Chevrolet Suburban for use by its SWAT team. As a result, the
department had enough money left in the budget to buy several patrol cars.

"We're a small police department, and we have to spend dollars very
wisely," Lt. Butler Grant said. "A lot of smaller departments just aren't
aware of how much good equipment is out there for minimum expense that can
stretch your budget dollars. . . . Whenever I can find equipment I can use
and the cost is minimal, then we thank the government for doing this."

Although the property is free, agencies must pay to shuttle their new items
from the military facilities where they're stored.

The most popular items are usually aircraft, weapons, Kevlar helmets,
night-vision devices and armored vehicles. Fragmentation vests, which are
worn over bulletproof vests to provide additional protection, also are a
hot-ticket item. In addition, the program is instrumental in providing
departments with more mundane items, such as furniture and computers, that
they need but sometimes can't afford.

Bolton said he's working with Winchester police to upgrade their rifles
from hunting weapons to military sniper rifles. "They make do with what
they have," Bolton said, "but most major law enforcement agencies have
sniper rifles. They don't use them very often, but it's good to have that
type of equipment."

Aircraft are available, and Norfolk police, who are trying to establish an
air wing, have been the first to request one. They will soon be the proud
recipients of a UH-1 Huey helicopter.

The program allows law enforcement agencies to acquire property for any
purpose related to their duties. If several departments are vying for the
same item, officials said, preference is given to whichever department
plans to use the item to counter drugs and terrorism.

Any equipment passed up by local law enforcement is then sent to charitable
programs, and then to public sale. Items such as rocket launchers and tanks
are, of course, excluded.

Thermal Imaging Raises Law Enforcement Questions (While 'Roanoke Times'
Notes Several Courts Are Split Over Whether Infra-Red Heat Scans
Violate Fourth Amendment, Its Legality In Virginia
Has Let At Least One Magistrate Sign A Warrant For A Marijuana Grow
Where None Existed)

Newshawk: Michael ([2]Miguet@NOVEMBER.ORG)
Pubdate: Sunday, January 25, 1998
Source: The Roanoke Times (Southwestern Virginia)
Author: Diane Struzzi, The Roanoke Times
Contact: [3]karent@roanoke.com

Some View Devices As An Invasion Of Privacy


Criminal defense lawyers, civil libertarians and others contend the
equipment infringes on Fourth Amendment rights. - ----
In late November, Roanoke County police got a tip that some residents
in Southeast Roanoke County were growing marijuana in their home.

The informant was specific: 20 plants could be found in the basement;
on weekends, a large amount of traffic frequented the home on a wooded

But the tipster's information was several months old, and police
didn't think it was enough to convince a magistrate to issue a search
warrant. So they checked with the power company to see if the
homeowners' electric bills were abnormally high -- possible evidence
of an indoor marijuana-growing operation.

When the homeowners' electric bills didn't raise a red flag, police
didn't give up. Instead, they brought in a "thermal imager," a
controversial, high-tech device that measures heat -- the use of which
has been struck down by courts in some states.

A state police agent flew over the neighborhood Dec. 17 in a
helicopter and aimed a thermal imager at the suspect house -- and some
neighboring houses for comparison purposes. They got the reading they
wanted, confirming that the targeted house had an "extreme heat

Five days later, based primarily on those results, police asked for a
search warrant. A magistrate granted the request. But when police
searched, they found no marijuana plants. Investigators confiscated --
and are analyzing -- seeds, some pills and a small amount of plant
material and white powder.

Two months after the initial tip, police have not charged the
residents, which is why they are not identified in this story. Roanoke
County Vice Sgt. Chuck Mason says he will decide whether to charge
them after lab results are returned.

Mason describes the case as routine. He estimates that his
investigators use thermal imaging three to six times a year to
corroborate information and resolve complaints. However, according to
Circuit Court files, the December affidavit in Southeast Roanoke
County is the first time Roanoke County investigators have used the
technology to form the "probable cause" of a marijuana search -- the
legal threshold for granting a search warrant.

Criminal defense lawyers, civil libertarians and some who study the
technology contend the equipment is easy to manipulate and infringes
on the Fourth Amendment, the constitutional guarantee against
unreasonable search and seizure.

"The only new information in this warrant is that this house was a
little warmer than the others," said Kent Willis, director of the
Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. "The broader
question is the issue of using technology to invade our individual
privacy. We know the government can't wiretap without a warrant first.
But we also know the government can make reasonable public

Where does the use of infra-red technology, or thermal imaging, sit on
that spectrum?

The question has yet to be answered by the U.S. Supreme Court. But
several state appeals courts and federal district courts are split on
their decisions.

The Louisiana Court of Appeals and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals, which includes Alabama, Florida and Georgia, have upheld
investigators' use of infra-red technology to obtain a search warrant.
But the states of Montana and California have said that its use
violates state and federal rights. Last month, a Pennsylvania
appellate court ruled on a case involving a heat scan, overturning the
conviction of a man charged with possessing and manufacturing
marijuana. The court said the scan violated the defendant's rights by
constituting an illegal and warrantless search.

"Just because you suspect crime, [it] isn't enough" for a search, said
David Baugh, a Richmond criminal defense lawyer who has also worked as
an assistant U.S. attorney.

"It's whether you can check it out in a lawful, nonintrusive manner,"
he said. "The police have a responsibility to check it out, yes. But
do they have the right to do it to this degree of intrusiveness?"

Advocates of thermal technology underscore its passive nature since it
merely detects the amount of heat radiating from an object. For more
than 30 years, infra-red technology has been used extensively in the
military, particularly during conflict and reconnaissance missions. In
the Persian Gulf War, the technology was used to lock onto targets and
assess bomb damage, according to Brian Yasuda, an electronics engineer
at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. The base boasts
the U.S. Air Force's premier research and development lab for
infra-red technology.

After the war, the military stepped up its research on nonmilitary
uses and shared its findings with commercial companies. Yasuda works
with, among others, Northrop Grumman Corp. and Texas Instruments. Law
enforcement has become a profitable and viable market for many of
these businesses.

The technology is used not only to detect "hot zones" where indoor
marijuana growing operations may be found but also to reveal missing
persons, track suspects at night and view forest fires.

Police in Roanoke and Roanoke County say they have recently used
thermal imaging, most notably during the 1994 investigation of the
"Phototron" marijuana ring, which grew potent, high-quality pot. Nine
were convicted on drug charges in that investigation.

Roanoke Vice Lt. Ron Carlisle said his officers use thermal imaging
sparingly because it is expensive to fly over a region and get a
reading. New hand-held thermal imaging technology may make it more
cost-effective, he said.

"We use the more traditional police investigatory methods to first
uncover pot-growing operations before we resort to expensive
technology," Carlisle said. "It's not like we peek inside your house
and see what you're doing. It's just a heat reading. That's all it

And that, say critics, is what investigators should emphasize to
magistrates who are granting searches based on the technology. Heat
readings do not tell investigators conclusively that there is an
indoor marijuana growing operation somewhere, say experts.

The heat emissions of neighboring houses do not reflect anything
significant, according to Carlos Ghigliotty, owner of Infra-red
Technologies in Maryland who has been working in the field for 15
years and has testified as an expert defense witness on the topic. He
contends investigators use the technology improperly to create the
information they want.

For instance, it is easy to increase the contrast on a photo image to
make the differences look more dramatic, he said. Ghigliotty also says
comparing one house with another is not relevant, since different
houses are made with different materials with varying degrees of

Investigators' initial research for the Roanoke County search came up
empty. Even after they found that electric bills were not unusually
high, they continued the investigation. But if the power bills are not
unusually high, then how would the home emit an "extreme heat source?"

"It still produces heat," Mason said. "But you're going into an area
where I'm not qualified to render forth opinions."

Virginia State Police, which operated the thermal imager in this case
and has at least one officer trained in the technology, would not
comment on the search warrant or the technology.

The probable cause did not raise any questions for Roanoke County
Magistrate James Stewart, who issued the warrant within five minutes
of hearing the probable cause. Following internal policy, he directed
questions about the affidavit to Chief Magistrate Bobby Casey, who
said thermal imaging is one of many reasons used to support search
warrant requests.

"Until we get a ruling from the court, then we accept any technical,
proven data up to that point," Casey said.

All of this is little comfort to the targets of the search. One of the
residents said he allowed police to rifle through his possessions only
after he saw the search warrant. But now he is not convinced the
search was valid.

"I already feel very violated," he said. "They didn't find what they
were looking for or anything they can charge me with. ...


Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 18:05:12 -0500 (EST)
From: "Kelly T. Conlon" (conlonkt@mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA)
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
Subject: Re: US: 2 arts on Police State


> Advocates of thermal technology underscore its passive nature since it
> merely detects the amount of heat radiating from an object.

Oh boy, that's a howler. By that standard, bugging a telephone without a
warrant is passive because the tape is only "passively" detecting and
recording electromagnetic waves to a device.


Transcript - McCaffrey Discusses Drugs Use Among Teenagers
(Interesting Quotes On CNN's 'Both Sides With Jesse Jackson' -
The Reverend Doesn't Take On Drug War But Faults Crack/Cocaine
And Other Racial Sentencing Disparities)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 17:39:18 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US: CNN Transcript: McCaffrey Discusses Drugs Use Among
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Richard Lake
Source: CNN - Both Sides with Jesse Jackson
Pubdate: Aired January 25, 1998 - 5:30 p.m. ET
Contact: cnn.feedback@cnn.com


JESSE JACKSON, BOTH SIDES: Welcome to the program. My guest is four star
General Barry McCaffrey, a man of war brought in two years ago to fight the
drug problem in this country. We're winning some battles, but what about
the war? We'll find out. Welcome to this program, General McCaffrey.


JACKSON: On both sides, whatever the issue you will hear my agenda. I have
one. But I'm open to hearing others and who knows, there just might be some
common ground. General, before we talk, let's learn more about you. Here's
a report from Lee Thornton.


LEE THORNTON, BOTH SIDES (voice-over): When he became director of the
Office of National Drug Control Policy two years ago, General Barry
McCaffrey said war is straightforward, assign a mission and get the job
done. McCaffrey knew a lot about that. He developed the successful left
hook Persian Gulf War strategy that destroyed units of Saddam Hussein's
Republican Guard. But the general said the battle against drugs would most
likely never end. And after a quick Senate confirmation, McCaffrey made it
clear that results would not come swiftly.

MCCAFFREY: Americans, we all want to knock this thing dead in two years.
It's not going to happen. This is a 10 year struggle to protect our children.

THORNTON (voice-over): But there has been progress since McCaffrey assumed
office. Last year, the U.S. Coast Guard tripled its seizures of cocaine. In
December, 1997, the White House announced the Southwest Border Initiative,
an ambitious strategy to stem the flow of drugs at the Mexican border
within five years. Through cooperative efforts, drug traffic through Peru
and Bolivia is down. And overall, drug use in the U.S. is down. But
McCaffrey says the threat is constant and clear.

MCCAFFREY: And so it's still out there and that's a problem. Now, the
second problem is our children are using drugs in increasing numbers.

THORNTON (voice-over): So as concerned as he is about interdiction and
international cooperation, McCaffrey is equally concerned about the
continuing demand. He's developed a 10 year strategy to combat that demand.
Part of it, a youth media ad campaign.

TEENAGER: This is your brain, this is how, this is what happens to your
brain after snorting heroin. This is what your body does. It's not over
yet. This is what your family goes through and your friends and your body
and your job and your self-respect and your future. Any questions?


JACKSON: General, several months ago, we were on this program and we were
talking about the rising use of heroin among youth as early as the eighth

MCCAFFREY: The eighth grade, yeah.

JACKSON: Where is that now?

MCCAFFREY: Well, we're in a shocking, dangerous situation in terms of new
drugs affecting America. Drug use among children is down last year very
slightly. That's the good news. Secretary Donna Shalala and I and Secretary
Dick Riley in Education are cautiously optimistic that what we're doing is
going to help. But at the same time we have to recognize last year 141,000
people tried heroin for the first time, high purity, low cost, it's back.

JACKSON: This is this basic eighth grade lower age group that were taking
the heroin?

MCCAFFREY: Well, what we're saying about the eighth grade, more eighth
graders are using heroin now than 10th or 12th graders. So the problem is a
new generation of children came along, they were inadequately educated
about the dangerous of drug abuse and they're using drugs again.

JACKSON: Well, are you handling that by building more jails for these youth
or is there some rehabilitation process?

MCCAFFREY: Well, I think we've got a shocking situation on jails. We've got
1.6 million Americans behind bars at local, state and federal level.
According to Joe Califano and Columbia University, probably 50 to 80
percent of them are there for a drug related reason. Now the solution,
though, the president's drug strategy, what we're trying to achieve is to
go talk to adolescents, put out a message, a preventive message in their
early years that you shouldn't smoke cigarettes, abuse alcohol or smoke
pot. Those are the three major gateway behaviors that get young people into
trouble later on in life.

JACKSON: But then you have this ad campaign going. Do you think that youth
at the eighth grade level, ninth, 10th, really respond to a TV ad?

MCCAFFREY: Well, I think primarily they respond to their own parents, their
own mother, their high school coach, their home room teacher, their
minister or coach. Those are the primary influences on young people. And
having said that, by the time you finish high school in our country, you've
had 12,000 hours of formal instruction, you've watched 15,000 hours of
television. So we're persuaded that an additional important part is a
consistent message that tells them drugs are wrong and that ought to
include the Internet, radio, television and print.

JACKSON: But you've got public service announcements saying don't try drugs.


JACKSON: Then you have movies glorifying pot and glorifying crack and
heroin and guns and sex and violence. It seems that the ratio of impact of
the PSA cannot compare with the commercial industry that dries the
glorification of drugs.

MCCAFFREY: Well, I think that's a good point. In other words, a couple
billion dollars in cigarette advertising, possibly $5 billion in alcohol --
or excuse me, I had that reversed, a lot of money out in the commercial
marketplace that are sometimes giving the wrong message. But our $195
million from bipartisan support by Congress will get us a serious presence
on the Internet, television and radio.

JACKSON: But it seems that the response to this strain of heroin, this pure
form of heroin that's often taken by young, white, suburban youth, the
response basically has been for these young white youth rehabilitation,
let's get them well. But for young black youth on crack, the answer has
been to lock them up. It seems as if there are two sets of rules and two
responses to the same crisis.

MCCAFFREY: Well, the numbers are unsettling, I would agree with you. But I
remind Americans, when you look at drug abuse and its impact on America, it
affects all communities, not the same ways, but drug use in America is
primarily employed, seven out of 10. It's overwhelmingly white.
Seventy-four percent of drug users are white. As a matter of fact, when you
look at younger African-Americans, they have lower rates of use of
cigarettes, cocaine, heroin and alcohol than whites do.

JACKSON: But it's 55 percent of those in jail are black. So you have this
dilemma of five grams of crack cocaine, five years mandatory, 500 grams of
powder, you can get probation. So those who bring it in seem to get a break
and those who get trapped on a silly, cheap high go to jail. Must we not
address that as we seek to have moral authority addressing this issue?

MCCAFFREY: Well, I think there's no question. Now, the attorney general,
Janet Reno, and I put together an idea, gave it to the president, who
approved it, and we sent it to Congress. We've got to resolve some of these
apparent unjust disparities in sentencing. But our argument was based less
on justice than we argued it's bad drug policy and bad law enforcement
policy. So what we're going to try and do is get a little move sensible
approach. But the center part of the strategy is if you've got a drug
problem, we've got to give you access to treatment in prison and then in
follow on care or we're wasting our time.

JACKSON: Somehow it seems that our own appetite, maybe our society is so
wealthy or so egregious, some kind of values crisis here is driving the
demand. But what about the supply? It seems that in a couple of countries
that there is some slowing down of the drug supply. But Mexico, it seems to
be 70 percent of the drug flow. How can we stop it coming from the greatest

MCCAFFREY: Well, let me remind you, only six percent of America is using
drugs. It's a disgracefully high number and our intention is over the next
decade to drop that by half and we think that's achievable, but we're not
alone in the world having a drug problem. And I remind our global partners,
we've got 600,000 heroin addicts. Pakistan may have three million. There's
terrible drug problems throughout the hemisphere. Cocaine is looking for
new markets. Our cocaine use is down by 75 percent in the last 15 years.

JACKSON: But what about our impact on the supply side of it? In other
words, we associate with our foreign policy if a nation is engaging, say,
in communism, in the ideology we abhor, our foreign policy is determined by
that. But if it is dealing in drug trafficking, we seem not to have the
same degree of fierceness or determination in a foreign policy relationship
with that country.

MCCAFFREY: Yeah. Well, many of these countries are equally as threatened as
we are and equally concerned. The violence, the corruption that comes along
with drug abuse is a tremendous threat to Mexican, Panamanian, Peruvian
institutions of democracy as well as ours. But there is some good news now.
Peru, we are starting to see spectacular progress in reducing coca
production. Bolivia, this year, apparently has for the first time in a
decade made significant progress. Mexico, we think, last year destroyed
more drugs than any other nation on the face of the earth.

JACKSON: But we share 2,000 miles of border with Mexico. Do we really have
the money, the capacity to stop the flow across the border as well offer
more incentives on the Mexican side to slow down the production and to stop
the production?

MCCAFFREY: Well, we could do a lot better than we are and so the attorney
general and the secretary of the treasury, Bob Rubin, and I and others are
looking at how we can provide technology to the Customs Service and how we
can do a better job giving the Border Patrol the resources they need and to
work in cooperation with Mexico. We simply can't address this problem
unless we do it as a partnership with the 94 million people that live to
our south.

JACKSON: But it seems that we must see this massive drug flow coming off
with Mexico and still say let's have a fast track policy, it does not alter
our foreign policy. With China, we know there's a drug flow there and we
say but let's pursue the relationship because of trade. Yet with Nigeria,
we say there is a drug policy, therefore let's not communicate with them
until -- drugs as well as democracy are big factors in how we deal, say,
with Nigeria. Why the inconsistency and why not be as tough on the supply
flow of drugs wherever the supply is coming from?

MCCAFFREY: Well, of course, your question is a good one, how do we
influence foreign partners? And in Peru and Bolivia we're making
significant progress, in Mexico, in other parts of the world. Burma and
Afghanistan, as an example, are the source of much of the world's
heroin production and it's much more difficult to sort out what do you do
about those two nations. So our view has been where we have a democratic
government to work with let's form a partnership, they're equally at
threat, and let's try and reduce the source of drugs. I would also add now
10 years from now when my daughter is sitting here talking to you as the
drug czar, she'll report that cocaine is no longer the number one threat to
America, but it may be methamphetamines produced here in the United States.
So we are also a drug producing nation.

JACKSON: So in a real sense, none of us are safe until all of us are safe?

MCCAFFREY: I agree. Our children are all at risk.

JACKSON: We're going to come right back to talk more about drugs and the
demand side which drives the drug trade right here at home. Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #1: Doesn't get straight As.

UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #2: Doesn't get straight As.

UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #3: The average kid can live on French fries.

UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #4: I could live on pizza and ice cream.


UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #5: The average kid trusts their friends more than

UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #6: The average kid is totally bored.


UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #8: The average kid has a lot more on their mind than
you think.

UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #9: The average kid is pretty strange.

UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #10: The average kid has been offered pot.

UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #11: He has been offered pot.

UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #12: The average kid thinks everybody else smokes it.

UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #13: The average kid doesn't.

UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER #14: The average kid is anything but.



JACKSON: Welcome back. I'm talking with General Barry McCaffrey. He's the
man tapped by the White House to head the Office of National Drug Control
Policy. General McCaffrey says the term war on drugs is misleading and he
has said there will always be a demand for drugs. And that leads us back to
the issue of demand, general. We all can think of the enemy out yonder.
It's China, it's Nigeria, it's Mexico, it's Peru, it's out yonder and yet
the drive, the demand for drugs, the money for drugs, the hunger for drugs
comes from our country. What can we do to reduce the demand for drugs?

MCCAFFREY: Well, your point is a good one. Sixty-seven billion dollars a
year is what Americans are spending on illegal drugs. So that becomes an
engine that in some ways drives international crime and pulls these
substances through Mexico and through our Caribbean partners. We've got to
reduce demand and we're persuaded by the studies that if you want to reduce
the number of Americans addicted, and by the way, there's only four million
or so addicted, a giant problem, 14,000 dead a year and $70 billion worth
of damage, but it's four million addicted Americans, you simply have to get
them between their middle school years and age 19 without being involved in
drug use.

JACKSON: You basically see this as a national sickness, our Achilles heel?

MCCAFFREY: Well, I think it's a, we've got to remind ourselves 80 percent
of our kids have never touched an illegal drug. So most of them don't want
to wreck their lives. But a lot of them are at risk and we simply have to
get them through those formative years without being involved in drug use.

JACKSON: But our response has been, you know, since 1980 a 250 percent
increase in prison construction, the number one industry in upstate New
York now is the jail industrial complex with 1.7 million in jail, 80
percent because of drugs, non-violent crimes. Ninety percent of them are
high school dropouts. It seems that our solution has been more to lock them
up than to rehabilitate them on the back side or to prevent them on the
front side.

MCCAFFREY: Yeah. Well, I don't, I think you're right on target. You know,
the president and I and others just put in front of the American people a
proposal that the attorney general would try and develop legislation to
give us the authority to allow states to use some of the prison
construction money to provide drug treatment in prison and during follow on
care. We simply can't arrest and jail our way out of this problem. If
you're in prison because you're a compulsive drug user, we've got to
provide access to treatment or we'll never get at a solution.

JACKSON: Not long ago in New York City, the 30th precinct, 30 police were
indicted for distributing drugs. The police precinct was the drug
distribution center. Last week in Cleveland, Ohio, a drug bust, 44 police
officers. I mean what do you do in terms of sending a clear message that
those who have the badge and gun to protect them must face more severe and
swift punishment?

MCCAFFREY: Well, I think we ought to remind ourselves we take great pride
in general in American law enforcement. The levels of corruption that we've
encountered off this drug issue are surprisingly small. Now having said
that, there is so much money at stake that it constantly tests these
democratic institutions and where we find wrongdoing, it has to be punished.

JACKSON: Well, you see we've come rather strong on stopping it at the
border and are punishing other nations and are locking up the youth. But
then it seems that when the trusted public servant protected by a gun and
badge is caught, we seem to have a weak spot or a sense of disbelief. We
may be underestimating just how extensive those who are charged with
enforcing the policy are, in fact, perpetrating the problem.

MCCAFFREY: Well, we ought to remain skeptical of our own institutions,
you're right. That's healthy. At the same time...

JACKSON: Philadelphia, Cleveland, New York, Chicago, L.A. This is what
fueled the sense of conspiracy about the CIA and drug trade because of the
evidence here of that level of police involvement and we seem to be less
resolved to address that issue.

MCCAFFREY: Well, I hope not. You know, I think it has to be done. We have
to protect our land and sea borders. We've got to be resolute with our
allies. But to borrow your own line, which I use in public all the time, if
you want to run an interdiction program on cocaine, start at your own nose.
So, again, it's back to our children, it's in our home communities. We
don't have a national drug problem, we have a serious of community drug

JACKSON: I'm glad that you quoted me on TV. I've not seen it in writing.
But thank you, general, I need that. General, on a serious note, you have
this 10 years strategy because you say it's not an instant wipe out.


JACKSON: What can happen in the 10 year rhythm and how is it going?

MCCAFFREY: Well, I think part of what we've got to understand is if you
invest up front on prevention, if you apply effective treatment programs
for those behind bars, we can gradually grind down the 13 million Americans
using drugs and reduce the number of those who are addicted.

JACKSON: Given the impact of drugs on people's bodies, their minds, their
families, how can anyone ever have gotten the idea that taking heroin or
shooting it was like all right, cool, chic?

MCCAFFREY: Well, it's astonishing.

JACKSON: I mean the glorification of it.

MCCAFFREY: Yeah, absolutely. It's on selected movies and selected music as
romanticizing the use of drugs. Now you and I see drug use at close range.
If you talk to a hospital room physician, a night judge in a court, a
police officer, you see the reality of drug abuse, the devastating impact
on people's lives. We simply have to focus in on this. It's not normal
behavior. It's not romantic. It's an ugly sight.

JACKSON: A drug addict cannot maintain a marriage.

MCCAFFREY: They're unemployable.

JACKSON: Cannot raise a child. Cannot keep a job.

MCCAFFREY: They're a third of all the HIV in America, they're a third of
all the industrial accidents. They're a significant amount of our car
crashes. It's a devastating illness in America.

JACKSON: And yet we see drugs as cool and smooth and relaxing as opposed to
more dangerous than any other foreign threat. General, we're going to come
right back. Stay with us. This matter of drugs and supply and demand. Don't
go away.


JACKSON: General, this matter to you is rather personal. I see you wear a
bracelet of a young person who died. Tell us about that.

MCCAFFREY: Well, it's a bracelet of Tisch Elizabeth Smith, (ph) who was a
young college girl. Her mother gave it to me about a year ago when Jim
Burke (ph) of the Partnership For A Drug-Free America and I were having our
anti-heroin conference and the mother gave it to me. Her daughter had never
used drugs, alcohol, cigarettes. First semester at college smoking pure
heroin and crack cocaine and put herself brain dead. And I want to remind
myself that, you know, I tell people if you want to worry about the war on
drugs, sit down at your own kitchen table and talk to your own children.
That's who's at risk.

JACKSON: You know, I think the most misleading part of these ads about
drugs is that we see the kids, you know, take a shoot and they look real
fierce. But the fact is taking drugs is fun. It's delightful. But it's
short-term pleasure, long-term pain and early death. We must not, we must
see the drugs as the work of the devil. I'll be back here next week with
another news maker, with another important issue important to all of us and
again thank you, General McCaffrey, for your work. Join me again here next
Sunday at 5:30 Eastern. Keep hope alive.

(c) 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.

Colombia Fails In Try To Impress Drug Czar ('San Jose Mercury News' Version
Of 'Dallas Morning News' Article Says During McCaffrey's Visit To Colombia
Last October 18-21, Police Assault On Cocaine Processing Lab
Turned Into Fiasco As 400 Guerrillas Killed Two And Shot Up Five Helicopters)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 12:40:34 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Colombia Fails In Try To Impress Drug Czar
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998
Author: Tod Robberson of the Dallas Morning News
Note: Also published in the Dallas Morning News under the title "Colombia
Struggling To Counter Drug Image"


BOGOTA, Colombia -- It was envisioned as a chance to convey a vivid image
to the American public: White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey standing amid
the smoldering ruins of two captured cocaine-processing laboratories.

Colombian officials wanted to use a two-day jungle raid last October as
tangible proof of Colombia's cooperation in the war on drugs.

But when the raid ended, a Colombian police major and another
anti-narcotics police agent lay dead inside one of five shot-up
helicopters. Police had to abandon the cocaine labs amid an onslaught by up
to 400 Colombian guerrillas. Subsequent anti-narcotics raids were sharply

The operation, designed in part to reverse Washington's 2-year-old
``decertification'' of Colombia as an ally in the war on drugs, ended
abruptly as ``a disgrace,'' Col. Leonardo Gallego, the anti-narcotics
police commander, conceded.

One participant in the raid later described it as ``sending two good men to
their deaths for the sake of public relations.''

Attempt to win favor

The raid, largely overlooked amid the media commotion surrounding
McCaffrey's Oct. 18-21 visit, underscores the lengths to which Colombian
officials have gone to win the Clinton administration's favor ahead of its
annual certification review of nations linked to drug trafficking.

That review, currently under way for 1998, appears to be going badly for
Colombia, with early indications from Washington suggesting that the
hemisphere's largest cocaine and heroin exporter will again be decertified.

Colombian officials say that not only means enduring another year as an
international pariah but also entails the loss of millions of dollars in
U.S. economic aid and billions of dollars in lost international investment.

Getting off the U.S. decertification list has become something of a
national obsession, to the point that President Ernesto Samper has hired
European and U.S. public-relations firms to reverse Colombia's tainted

Gallego said in an interview last week that he had hoped to take the
American drug czar on a tour of a captured drug-production facility.

``We had received confidential information about the existence of two large
cocaine-processing laboratories,'' he recalled. ``There had been a general
idea for (McCaffrey) to get to know the focus of our operations, and for
this reason, a number of places were pre-selected,'' including a jungle
site about 150 miles southeast of Bogota, the capital.

On the day McCaffrey arrived here, Gallego dispatched roughly 40
anti-narcotics agents to the riverside site, accompanied by at least two
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents. According to one participant
in the raid, it quickly became obvious that scores of Colombian guerrillas
had been guarding the sprawling site and that they were still nearby when
the police arrived.

Throughout the night, they fired potshots at the police, taunted them with
loud music and apparently tried to elicit return fire by making several
dozen runs past the site in a motorboat. The police were so fearful of a
blood bath that they did not dare return fire, the participant said.

After surveying the site for himself the following day, Gallego said he
realized that not only was it far too dangerous to be visited by McCaffrey,
it was too dangerous for his own men to remain there. He ordered an
immediate helicopter evacuation. As the helicopters were taking off, the
guerrillas unleashed a massive barrage.

Two killed in attack

Five U.S.-supplied helicopters were hit, including one occupied by national
police Maj. Jairo Castro and anti-narcotics agent Carlos Bol(acu)var
Gonzalez, both of whom were killed instantly.

The participant in the raid said, ``These troops were sent to the lab site
to preserve it for McCaffrey's visit.''

A U.S. Embassy official said the site was never discussed as a possible
venue for McCaffrey to visit, and that any visit to a jungle site would
have been ruled out as too dangerous, given the likelihood of guerrilla
activity. Had the site been recommended, the official said, ``We would have
said no.''

Colombia Struggling To Counter Drug Image ('Dallas Morning News' Version
Elaborates More Than San Jose Paper's)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 12:13:39 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: Colombia Struggling To Counter Drug Image
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com
Discussion forum: http://forums.dallasnews.com/dallas
Author: Tod Robberson / The Dallas Morning News
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998


Economic aid, world credibility ride on showing efforts to banish

BOGOTA, Colombia - It was envisioned as an opportunity to convey a vivid
image to the American public: White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey
standing amid the smoldering ruins of two captured cocaine-processing

Colombian officials wanted to use a two-day jungle raid in October as
tangible proof of Colombia's cooperation in the war on drugs.

But when the raid ended, a Colombian police major and another
anti-narcotics police agent lay dead inside one of five shot-up
helicopters. Police had to abandon the cocaine labs amid an onslaught by as
many as 400 Colombian guerrillas. Subsequent anti-narcotics raids were
sharply curtailed.

And the operation, designed in part to reverse Washington's 2-year-old
"decertification" of Colombia as an ally in the war on drugs, ended
abruptly as "a disgrace," Col. Leonardo Gallego, the anti-narcotics police
commander, conceded.

One participant in the raid later described it as "sending two good men to
their deaths for the sake of public relations."

The raid, largely overlooked amid the media commotion surrounding Mr.
McCaffrey's controversial Oct. 18-21 visit to Colombia, underscores the
lengths to which Colombian officials have gone to win the Clinton
administration's favor ahead of its annual certification review of nations
linked to drug trafficking.

That review, currently under way for 1998, appears to be going badly for
Colombia, with early indications from Washington suggesting that the
hemisphere's largest cocaine and heroin exporter will again be decertified.

Colombian officials say that not only means enduring another year as an
international pariah but also entails the loss of millions of dollars in
U.S. economic aid and billions of dollars in lost international investment.

Getting off the U.S. decertification list has become something of a
national obsession, to the point that President Ernesto Samper has hired
European and U.S. public relations firms to reverse Colombia's tainted

Col. Gallego launched his own public relations offensive last year,
insisting that his country had eradicated more illicit crops than any other
nation in the world and adding, "Let's hope the international community -
especially the United States - clearly recognizes this effort."

He began by inviting foreign dignitaries and reporters on anti-narcotics
missions. In September, he escorted Tony Lloyd, the British Foreign Office
minister for Latin America, and British Ambassador Leycester Coltman on an
eradication flight. With the British officials perched nearby, a fumigation
plane was swooping down on an opium poppy field when guerrillas opened
fire. The pilot was wounded in the leg, but Col. Gallego insisted the
Britons were never in danger.

Mr. McCaffrey visited one month later. Col. Gallego said in an interview
last week that he had hoped to take the drug czar on a tour of a captured
drug-production facility.

"We had received confidential information about the existence of two large
cocaine-processing laboratories," he recalled. "There had been a general
idea for . . . [Mr. McCaffrey] to get to know the focus of our operations,
and for this reason, a number of places were pre-selected," including a
jungle site about 150 miles southeast of Bogota, the capital.

On the day Mr. McCaffrey arrived, Col. Gallego dispatched roughly 40
anti-narcotics agents to the riverside site, accompanied by at least two
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents. According to one participant
in the raid, it quickly became obvious that scores of Colombian guerrillas
had been guarding the sprawling site and that they were still nearby when
the police arrived.

"I repeatedly said to . . . [others present] that I hoped no one got
killed," the participant said.

Nevertheless, Col. Gallego ordered the agents to remain at the site
overnight. As many as 400 guerrillas surrounded the area, according to one
police estimate. A U.S. Embassy official said the number could have been as
low as 50.

Throughout the night, they fired potshots at the police, taunting them with
loud music and apparently tried to elicit return fire by making several
dozen runs past the site in a motorboat. The police were so fearful of a
bloodbath that they did not dare return fire, the participant said.

After surveying the site for himself the following day, Col. Gallego said
he realized that not only was it far too dangerous to be visited by
McCaffrey, but it also was too dangerous for his own men to remain there.
He ordered an immediate helicopter evacuation. As the helicopters were
taking off, the guerrillas unleashed a barrage.

Five U.S.-supplied helicopters were hit, including one occupied by national
police Maj. Jairo Castro and antinarcotics agent Carlos Bolivar Gonzalez,
both of whom were killed instantly.

"Frankly, they were impacts of bad luck for police and good luck of the
guerrillas," Col. Gallego said. He insisted that as soon as he realized on
the first day how dangerous the site was, he ruled out sending McCaffrey

The participant in the raid said, "These troops were sent to the lab site
to preserve it for McCaffrey's visit. That's why they were ordered to stay
there overnight. ... It was planned from the beginning for McCaffrey to go
there with photographers and reporters."

A U.S. Embassy official said the site was never discussed as a possible
venue for McCaffrey to visit, and that any visit to a jungle site would
have been rulwed out as too dangerous, given the likelihood of guerrilla
activity. Had the site been reecommended, the official added, "We would
have said no."

The commander of the national police, Gen. Rosso Jose Serrano, threatened
to dismiss Col. Gallego over the incident, according to one anti-narcotics
official. U.S. Embassy and DEA officials requested a wholesale reassessment
of the way such anti-narcotics raids are conducted, while Col. Gallego was
warned to pursue a more cautious approach in the future.

"There is no question that we have to make a joint effort to get...[the
police] to be more careful," one official said.

Ironically, political fallout from the raid apparently has resulted in a
sharp reduction in ground assaults by the anti-narcotics police.

Col. Gallego, visibly subdued during an interview, denied that there had
been any drop-off. But statistics provided by his office shoed that ground
assaults on illicit laboratories had fallen nearly 400 percent during
November and December, compared with the same period in 1996.

Mexico Arrests Former Governor For Drug-Lord Ties ('Reuters' Quotes Mexican
Attorney General Saying Former Jalisco State Governor Flavio Romero de Velasco
Traveled Through Europe And Africa With Known Drug Traffickers,
Accepting Gifts)

Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 08:28:53 -0500
Subject: MN: Mexico: Wire: Mexico Arrests Former Governor For Drug-lord Ties
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: 25 Jan 1998


MEXICO CITY - A former governor has been jailed for his ties to known drug
lords, the Mexico attorney general's office said.

Former Jalisco state governor, Flavio Romero de Velasco, traveled through
Europe and Africa with known drug traffickers from whom he accepted gifts,
the office said in a statement released late Saturday.

``It is the conclusion of this government office that Romero de Velasco
laundered money with the drug trafficker Rigoberto Gaxiola Medina, who has
escaped Mexican justice since April 4, 1997,'' the attorney general's
office, known as the PGR, said.

Justice officials jailed Romero de Velasco early Saturday after uncovering
state financial records that tie the respected former governor with drug
traffickers Gaxiola and Jorge Abrego Reyna, the PGR said.

The now 73-year-old Romero de Velasco was governor of the western state
from 1977 to 1983. Jalisco traditionally houses some of Mexico's top drug

The PGR said it began investigating Romero de Velasco in August 1997 after
he phoned the office of President Ernesto Zedillo, claiming a close
personal relationship that the PGR said does not exist.

It said Romero de Velasco, ``discussed affairs of a supposedly financial
nature that are completely unrelated and inappropriate to be discussed with
the president's office.''

According to the PGR, Romero de Velasco also tried to bilk attorney Raul
Carranca of 500,000 pesos, or $60,314, by saying he would be named Interior
Minister of the country and offering favors. Romero de Velasco would have
thanked Carranca for the loan, by appointing him Attorney General.

Romero de Velasco did not become Interior Minister.

Residents of Jalisco have said the former governor's ties to drug lords
were well known, but that he was respected because he kept the state safe
and peaceful.

The PGR said the arrest proved its determination to apprehend corrupt
public officials. Mexico's government has been plagued with ties to drug
lords within its ranks, with five army generals arrested in the past 12
months on drug charges.

There Are Two Sides To Decriminalizing Drugs (And Mordechai Richler's
Editorial In Canada's 'Calgary Herald' Comes Down Squarely
In Favor Of Decriminalization, After Recapping The British Scandal
Involving The Home Secretary's Son Selling Cannabis)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 13:18:28 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: Canada: Editorial: There Are Two Sides To Decriminalizing Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Chris Clay 
Source: Calgary Herald
Contact: letters@theherald.southam.ca
Website: http://www.calgaryherald.com/
Author: Mordechai Richler
Section: Comment / Page A13
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998


LONDON - Goodfella Henry VIII used to boil poisoners alive. Inhibited by a
more gentle disposition, I would not advocate the same for all British
tabloid journalists, poisoners of the printed work, but neither would I
rule out a dunking for Daily Mirror reporter Dawn Alford, who recently
brought an already suspect trade into even more disrepute.

A few weeks ago the British home secretary's 17-year-old son, William, was
arrested for offering the fetching, 27-year-old Alford (Ten Pounds) worth
of cannabis in a London pub. Scandal. In a dull week the British press made
a meal out of the news, speculating on whether the embarrassed home
secretary would have o resign. The home secretary, Jack Straw, happens to
be something of a puritan. He has pronounced parents responsible for their
children's transgressions and has even suggested that he might impose a
curfew on young offenders. He is also on record for being adamantly opposed
to even considering the legalization of soft drugs.

And then, lo and behold, his very own son. who seems to fancy the
occasional toke, became a victim of a sleazy tabloid entrapment.

Responding to an anonymous tip about alleged drug dealing, "socially
concerned" Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan dispatched his bimbo of a
reporter, and an equally attractive girlfriend, to a pub to come on to
young William. Alford pretended to be a trainee real estate agent in search
of a wowsy time. Some fun. Some games. Plying the home secretary's son with
a good deal of beer, she let on, at pub closing time, no doubt batting her
eyelashes, how much she'd fancy some dope. So the obliging William obtained
1.93 grams of cannabis for her from a friend and was able to read about his
favor rendered in the next morning's Daily Mirror. of the Daily Mirror
behaved disgracefully, that's the nature of the beast, but, as it turned
out, the righteous Jack Straw would behave even worse, and win praise for

Mindful of the Daily Mirror's steadfast support of Labor, he didn't barge
into the editor's office to smash him one for entrapping his son. Instead,
his manner smarmy, he publicly thanked the editor for bringing his son's
sin to his attention and marched William over to the police station to be
charged. In the end, William was let off with a caution, but I doubt that
things between the pious, calculating home secretary and his son will ever
be the same again.

Surely the time has come to recognize that the prohibition of soft drugs,
readily available in any Montreal bar I've ever been to, doesn't work any
more than did the earlier attempt at prohibiting the sale of alcohol. Of
course drugs can be addictive, but the same can be said of Harlequin books.
Or TV sitcoms. Or cellular phones. Or, for that matter, cigarettes or
booze. Fortunately, however, most of us can handle it. The so-called War
on Drugs has so far been a huge and expensive failure, which has only
served to enrich mobsters and corrupt the police. If, as Pierre Trudeau
once famously argued, the government has no business in the nation's
bedrooms, neither is it the government's affair if many prefer marijuana
to nicotine, the latter probably more dangerous to our health, but I do not
look to Jean Chretien, constantly glancing over his shoulder at Preacher
Manning, to do the bold thing and decriminalize drugs. On the other hand,
Paul Martin, salivating at the taxes he could reap from the legal sale of
marijuana, might spring for it.

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, who can hardly be confused with Mick
Jagger, once argued in Newsweek: "On ethical grounds, do we have the right
to use the machinery of government to prevent an individual from becoming
an alcoholic or drug addict? For children, almost everyone would answer at
least a qualified 'yes'. But, for responsible adults, I, for one, would
answer, 'no'." Me too.

Cannabis Campaign - A Cure For Hiccups? (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday'
Continues Its Weekly Push For Marijuana Decriminalization With An Item
On The New 'Lancet' Study)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 14:19:09 EST
Originator: medmj@drcnet.org
Sender: medmj@drcnet.org
From: Zosimos 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: OPED: Cannabis Campaign: A cure for hiccups?
Subj: Cannabis Campaign: A cure for hiccups?
1. sundayletters@independent.co.uk
2. Independent on Sunday
1 Canada Square,
Canary Wharf,
London E14 5DL

Independent on Sunday (UK)
25 January 1998

A cure for hiccups?

THE current edition of The Lancet, Britain's most respected medical
journal, reports on a newly discovered therapeutic use for cannabis. It can
cure hiccups.

The magazine quotes research carried out by the Aurora Medical Group in
Milwaukee in the United States where doctors treating a patient suffering
with Aids found that after minor surgery he developed persistent hiccups.
They found that the drug Chlorpromazine could control the hiccups, but only
during sleep. By day they tried a cocktail of intravenous drugs, all of
which failed.

On day six they discovered that acupuncture did control the hiccups, but
only for an hour. On day eight, the patient, who had never used cannabis,
smoked the drug and the hiccups stopped. Other treatments were tried but
did not work. When the patient smoked cannabis again, the hiccups stopped
and did not recur.

The report concludes: "Because intractable hiccups is an uncommon
condition, it is unlikely that the use of marijuana will ever be tested in
a clinical trial."

e-mail your comments to cannabis@independent.co.uk

All You Need Is Pot, Says McCartney (The Former Beatle Tells Britain's
'Independent On Sunday' Cannabis, Not LSD, Was The Creative Force
Behind 'Sergeant Pepper' - Which Is Still The Number One UK Album
According To New Poll)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 23:13:10 -0500
Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Campaign: All you need is pot, says McCartney
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Sunday, 25 Jan 1998
Source: Independent on Sunday
Contact: Email: cannabis@independent.co.uk


Cannabis, not LSD, was the creative force behind the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's
Lonely Hearts' Club Band album, Sir Paul McCartney revealed last night,
writes Tarquin Cooper.

He disclosed the drug's role in an interview with the Independent on Sunday
as it was announced that Sgt Pepper had been voted Britain's favourite
album in a poll for Channel 4. Sir Paul, a supporter of the Independent on
Sunday's cannabis campaign, recalled how he broke the news of the influence
of pot to the Beatles' producer, Sir George Martin. "When George asked me,
'do you know what caused Pepper?' I said, 'in one word - pot'."

The producer refused to believe him saying, "But you weren't on it all the
time." Sir Paul said he had replied: "Yes, we were."

The album, featuring such hit songs as "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds", "A
Day in the Life" and "With a Little Help from My Friends", has sold more
than 4 million copies world-wide since its release in 1967.

The poll results were: 1 Sgt Pepper, Beatles; 2 Stone Roses, Stone Roses; 3
Revolver, Beatles; 4 The Bends, Radiohead; 5 (What's the Story) Morning
Glory, Oasis; 6 Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd; 7 OK Computer,
Radiohead; 8 Never Mind, Nirvana; 9 Astral Weeks, Van Morrison; 10 The
White Album, Beatles.

How We Fought And Lost The Drugs World War (A Lengthy But Excellent Essay
By 'The Independent On Sunday' On How And Why Drug Prohibition
Was Doomed To Fail, With Many References To Its US Origins And What The UK
Can Expect If It Continues Following America's Example)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 23:42:14 -0500
Subject: UK: How We Fought And Lost The Drugs World War
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake Newshawk: Zosimos
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998
Source: Independent on Sunday
Author: Phillip Knightley
Contact: sundayletters@independent.co.uk
Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL


Almost a tenth of world trade is in illegal narcotics. It is the nightmare
of our age. We investigate the men, the money, and how we let the enemy win
the battle. By

FOR MORE than 25 years the United States and its Western allies, including
Britain, have waged the first world war on drugs. That war is now lost. The
most powerful nation on earth, which put a man on the moon and defeated
communism, has not been able to beat the drug barons of small third world

The unpalatable truth is that despite the longest war in American history,
today's world is awash with drugs. The breaking of the £1bn heroin ring
announced with such pride by Scotland Yard last week makes scarcely a dent
- three-quarters of all drugs still get through.

The major change in the past 25 years is that drug-taking has become an
established practice in Western culture. A staggering 97 per cent of London
clubbers have taken drugs and 57 per cent do so regularly. Ecstasy, an
illegal drug, is a £lbn-a-year industry, and kids spend as much on it as
the whole nation spends on tea and coffee.

But this is peanuts compared with the United States, where 85 million
Americans have tried an illegal drug and where today they spend nearly
$70bn (£42m) a year on drugs-including $38bn on cocaine, about $10bn on
heroin, and $7bn on marijuana.

They have said yes to drugs. In keeping with the first of the two defining
principles of the 20th century, free will and the free market, they have
claimed their right to take whatever they like - arguing that it does not
harm anyone else - and have declined to recognise the moral authority of
the state.

Nor do they seem concerned about health risks - as the US comedian Jerry
Seinfeld says, "Tobacco, alcohol, drugs. The only warning anyone takes any
notice of is the 'dry clean only' label."

To meet this demand for drugs, world production of cocaine has more than
doubled in the past 10 years and of heroin more than tripled. This makes
the production and distribution of drugs an integral part of the global
economic system.

The United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) says that the world drug
trade is now a bigger industry than either iron and steel or motor
vehicles. It estimates the annual turnover in drugs to be at least $400bn,
about 8 per cent of total international trade. The accumulated profit from
drugs (the mark-up on cocaine and heroin is about 20,000 per cent) just
floats around the world banking system. No one knows how much it amounts
to, but estimates put it at $500bn.

This is one reason why the war was lost - the Allies could not buck the
market. As Joseph D McNamara, the former police chief of San Jose, says,
"All the cops, armies, prisons and executions in the world cannot impede a
market with this kind of tax-free profit margin."

THE BORDER between the United States and Mexico is about 2,000 miles long;
it is the only border in the world shared by a highly-developed country and
a Third World one. It is here that the fight goes on to stop heroin and
cocaine entering America.

This has been the front line in the world's drugs war, and if anti-drug
forces were to have any chance of success, this was a battle they had to
win. Yet reports from the front have been remarkably few - for the simple
reason that the US administration has been too embarrassed to admit what
has been happening.

In truth, the border between Mexico and the United States has, to all
intents, disappeared. Drugs pour across it day and night. Cartels that span
Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru have corrupted American customs
officials. Drugs that do not get through by road, do so by air (some are
flown in Latin American military jet fighters) and by sea (on container
ships and in shrimp boats).

Peter Lupsha, who is professor emeritus of political science at the
University of New Mexico and one of the leading Latin-American experts in
the United States, has specialised in what he calls the "narco-democracy"
of Latin America and the links between Latin American politicians and drug

He says bluntly, "The United States is now facing a military elite in Latin
America that is deeply involved in the narcotics business and has the
resources - men, planes, ships, and communications. They have Americans on
their payroll, sometimes former members of American special forces, who
know how to tap telephones, do code encryptions, and who have the
communications skills to put them on the level of a nation state."

THE MAIN BORDER crossing point into the United States for the huge trucks
bringing goods from the maquilladora factories of Mexico's free trade zone
is Otay Mesa, next door to Tijuana. Compared with Tijuana, where the
day-tourists and the holiday-makers shuttle back and forth with little
formality, the security at Otay Mesa is formidable - with good reason. This
is where much of the cocaine and heroin from Latin America enters the
United States.

It would be a difficult area to police at any time. The North American Free
Trade Agreement (Nafta) removed all duties on cross border trade,
encouraging American, Japanese and Korean companies to set up factories in
Mexico, where labour is cheap, to manufacture goods and components for sale
in the United States. Trucks from these factories enter America in a
never-ending, 24-hour-a-day stream.

If American customs officers were to stop and search every truck for drugs,
the system would grind to a halt and the roar of complaint from the
factories and importers would be heard all the way to Washington DC. So
they rely on random searches, tip-offs from informers and suspicious
behaviour, all the while knowing that, according to the Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) some of their colleagues in the customs service are

In an attempt to minimise this corruption, all the interior walls of the
customs offices at Otay Mesa - and along the entire border - have been torn
down so that everyone can see and hear what everyone else is doing and
saying. A customs officer on duty at one lane will suddenly find himself
switched to another, so as to prevent any prior arrangement with the driver
of a truck carrying drugs. Huge x-ray machines housed in a lead-shielded
building like a giant car-wash peer intotrucks which senior US customs
officers pull at random from the waiting lines.

And still the drugs pour in, for the simple reason that the drug barons
have let it be known that they are prepared to pay any US customs officer
$50,000 in cash for each truck he is able to wave through - just a small
slice of the $7bn the drug barons' budget each year for bribery and

When President Nixon first declared war on drugs, the Nobel prize-winning
economist Milton Friedman predicted, "Since immense sums are at stake it is
inevitable that some relatively low-paid police and other government
officials - and some high-paid ones as well - will succumb to the
temptation to pick up easy money." He has been proven right.

The DEA has been warning for some time that customs officers policing the
US-Mexico border had succumbed to temptation and that the authorities had
underestimated the extent to which Mexican drug barons had corrupted
Americans. A senior US customs official in San Diego was quietly retired
and the anti-corruption measures described above were introduced, but to
little noticeable effect.

Mexican and American journalists who write about the drug trade - and there
are not many because of the fear of being shot- say that the drug cartels
responded by buying into the trucking companies that operate the Nafta run
and by setting up elaborate warning systems.

"Spend a couple of hours at Otay Mesa," one US radio journalist told me,
"And you'll notice a lot of guys on either side of the border just hanging
around, chatting a lot of the time on their cell phones. They're spotters
for trucks on drugs runs. They tip off the driver about what time to come,
which lane to use, what to say, and the DEA can't tap into their calls
because they all have encryption or scrambler devices."

But can it really be beyond the enterprise, skill, devotion and undoubted
bravery of the American law enforcement agencies to stop Latin American
gangsters from flooding the streets of the United States with narcotics? To
understand why they have failed we have to look at who the new drug barons
are, and the role they play in the US economy.

Those Americans waging the war on drugs used to comfort themselves that
they had a last line of defence in Latin America - the military. No longer.
A loose alliance of senior military officers in Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and
Mexico have become the new tsars of the narcotics business. Their
connections go back to military academies.

Peter Lupsha says, "There are day-to-day military collegial links between
these people, particularly from the military colleges of Peru which both
the Bolivians and the Mexicans consider to be excellent. This new military
elite runs these countries and they all have deep narcotics connections.

"They are the ones who brought in former American military specialists to
help organise the drug trade on military lines. This is why we find air
force planes from these Latin American countries used to fly out drugs. The
Latin American drug barons are no longer just gangsters. They are
formidable opponents with political protection."

But does not this situation - an alliance of drug producers, military
elites and politicians in at least four Latin American countries, one of
which, Mexico, has a border with the United States - offer the "clear and
present danger" to American national security that would justify a powerful
response from the political establishment?

"This analysis in unacceptable in Washington. It is unacceptable to the
drug enforcement community in Washington - not with the field people, not
the DEA agents and the customs in the field," says Professor Lupsha. "But
the hypocrisy in Washington is that it says it is waging a global war on
drugs when it knows that there are more important issues on the American
agenda than the drugs war."

What could possibly be more important?

"Banking and free trade. The banking community, the business community and
Wall Street have deep connections and investments in Mexico and would not
want those investments disturbed by allegations that the political elite in
Mexico is involved in narcotics. You have to face facts. The narcotics
business in Mexico is worth between $27bn and $32bn a year. Mexico cannot
afford to lose that from its gross domestic product. But neither can the
United States or Wall Street investors."

So the drugs war is a sham'?

"Absolutely. If Washington was serious about the drugs war it would hit the
drug barons where it hurts - in their pockets. It would use the Federal
Reserve system and the Chips electronic money transfer system in Washington
to cut off the transfer of illegal monies.

"At the same time you would have to eliminate all off-shore banks, all
off-shore tax havens, as legitimate hide-outs for capital. If you did that
I believe you could minimise this tremendous flow of drugs. But you can't
do that because legitimate business in the United States does not want the
off-shore tax havens closed. Stalemate."

OF COURSE this penetration of the drugs industry into legitimate business
applies in Britain as well. In international financial circles, London is
known as the money laundering capital of the world, and, although City
financial institutions will never admit it, a lot of the money laundered
has its origins in drugs.

THE FIRST war against drugs was fought on two fronts - against the
suppliers and the consumers. We have seen how it has failed in the supply
front, but what happened to all the effort the authorities put into
convincing us to "Say no to drugs?" This has not worked either, and, like
the US, we are now a nation of drug-takers.

A Home Office study, "Tackling Local Drug Markets", estimates that there
are 30 million drug deals each year in London alone. No longer is
drug-taking confined to those on the social fringes. A cursory study of the
people mentioned in drug-related stories in the national press turned up
the following trades and professions: plumbers, photographers,
psychiatrists, doctors, journalists, receptionists, accountants, actors,
dancers, chefs, waiters, investment bankers, TV executives, models, airline
cabin crew, solicitors, barristers, and even police officers.

The Grampian police force random tests its officers to make certain that
they have not been taking drugs. The Law Society helpline says that there
is "an alarming level" of cocaine and heroin addiction among solicitors and
barristers. The British Medical Association says that 13,000 doctors have a
drugs problem. A former Daily Mail journalist has revealed what happened
when the Princess of Wales was scheduled to visit Northcliffe House in
Kensington. A senior executive announced that bomb squad officers would
first check the building using dogs which could sniff out explosives and
"other substances". There was a stampede as journalists raced to empty
their desk drawers. The habit among journalists is not confined to the
Daily Mail.

NO LONGER is it possible to claim that adolescent drug-takers come from
socially-deprived families. The case of the son of the Home Secretary, Jack
Straw put paid to that idea and the president of the Police
Superintendents' Association, Brian Mackenzie, says that when he headed a
drug squad he was surprised at how many young people involved in drugs come
from "excellent families".

When Noel Gallagher, star of the rock band Oasis, said that taking drugs
was "like having a cup of tea", he was pilloried. Yet that is how an
enormous number of young Britons now regard drugs. In Notting Hill, where
heroin, cannabis, cocaine and Ecstasy are as readily available as antiques
from little shops or food from the street market, people told Home Office
researchers that they liked getting their drugs there "because they could
do their weekly shopping at the same time or have a cup of coffee while
waiting for the dealer".

It should be clear from the above that when Britain's first drug squad was
launched in Oxford back in 1966 and the then Chief Constable, Clement
Burrows, ordered it to "Crush the heroin problem in two years," he did not
know what he was taking on. In Oxford 30 years on the heroin problem is
still there and getting worse, as it is elsewhere in Britain.

A growing number of the "great and the good" have recognised this. The
Daily Mail, a newspaper which has - despite the tastes of some employees -
traditionally been strongly against drugs, published an editorial on 3
January this year saying, "Manifestly, the battle against drug abuse is
being lost. There were only 33 registered addicts in Britain in 1958. Today
there are more than 25,000; and for countless youngsters, substances like
cannabis, Ecstasy and LSD are simply part of the culture."

The Mail's stablemate, the London Evening Standard, had already decided
last year that drug use had become socially acceptable, that the present
anti-drugs policy was bankrupt, and that its only achievement had been to
drive up the price.

Brian Iddon one of Labour's Bolton MPs, has called for a Royal Commission
to consider drug legalisation. The Liberal Democrats have long advocated a
review of the drugs law. Lord Young of Dartington, an influential
educationalist, says that current anti-drug measures are bound to fail and
that "it is only a question of when defeat will be accepted".

Even the police have their realists. The nature of their work means they
are not the most radical of people, so we should take note when senior
officers such as Commander John Grieve of Scotland Yard say that they
recognise that the anti-drug laws are not working, and call for change.
There are probably many who agree with him, but public debate among
officers has been discouraged.

So PC George Evans, who is serving with Greater Manchester Police, was
probably speaking for many others when he wrote in Police Review, "We fail
to understand that drug use has been part of human culture for centuries.
Relaxing of the laws on drugs would result in large financial savings which
could be used for education and treatment.

"Criminals would be hit as selling illicit drugs would become unprofitable.
Instead we continue down the same well-trodden path which we know does not
work. We continue to delude ourselves that this is the right thing to do.
The truth is that we are frightened and lack the political will."

Some would say that if Britain had been tougher from the start - heavier
penalties, longer sentences, zero tolerance - then drug taking would not
have become an epidemic. But nowhere else in the world has the war against
drug-takers been fought on such relentless terms as in the United States.
And its failure there, too, has been spectacular.

Cannabis Campaign - When Straw Compared Pot To Thalidomide
(Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Suggests UK Drug Warrior Cribbed
From America's Califano - Or Else Small Minds Think Alike)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 22:09:53 -0500
Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Campaign: When Straw compared pot to Thalidomide
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Sunday, 25 Jan 1998
Source: Independent on Sunday
Contact: Email: cannabis@independent.co.uk
Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL

Editor's note: The IoS Cannabis Campaign has web pages at:

When Straw compared pot to Thalidomide

THE Home Secretary, Jack Straw, is refusing to allow doctors to prescribe
cannabis to their patients because he fears that it could be as dangerous
as Thalidomide, writes Graham Ball.

Thalidomide was a medicinal drug given to pregnant women in the 1960s as a
remedy for morning sickness and nausea but was later found to be the agent
responsible for widespread defects and abnormalities in babies. Mr Straw
made this remarkable comparison in a televised confrontation with the
satirist, Mark Thomas, which was broadcast on Channel 4 last Wednesday.

The Home Secretary said: "It does not follow that because there are no
deaths from a drug, it is therefore not harmful. There was a drug which was
quite good for its original purpose in the 1960s, called Thalidomide but it
turned out to have terrible side-effects. It is said that the continual use
of cannabis can cause personality disorder and many other serious side

The programme makers had surprised Mr Straw by arriving at his constituency
surgery at the Ivy Road Community Centre in Blackburn with three men who
confessed to using cannabis for medical reasons.

"You could see he looked worried when we turned up but I told him we wanted
a serious discussion and after about an hour, when he had seen all of his
other constituents, he decided to go for it," said Thomas, a new-wave
satirist who has established a reputation for what he calls direct comedy

The interview was calm and cordial until Thomas challenged Mr Straw to say
whether or not he was happy that people who were sick risked arrest and
criminal conviction for taking a substance that relieved their symptoms.
"If any of these men were now to produce cannabis in this office they would
be arrested. Are you happy with that?" he said.

At this point Hamish Crisp, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, produced a
hand-rolled cigarette and lit it within a few feet of the Home Secretary.

Mr Straw became agitated and stood up to indicate that the interview was

"It is not a question of happiness, it is whether or not we should obey the
law, which we all should. I thought this was to be a serious discussion not
some sort of stunt."

A few seconds later a uniformed police officer entered the room and
officially cautioned 43-year-old Mr Crisp. "I have been led to believe that
cannabis has been smoked," said the officer somewhat apologetically.
"Unfortunately cannabis is illegal and we must obey the letter of the law,".

Mr Crisp was then searched but cannabis was not found on him. The Home
Secretary had mistaken the hand- rolled cigarette for a cannabis joint.
Afterwards a defiant Mr Crisp, who uses crutches to walk, said: "I did it
deliberately to see how he reacted under pressure. I was not very impressed.

"Jack Straw was absurd when he compared cannabis to Thalidomide. People
have been using cannabis all over the world for thousands of years without
serious side-effects."

Geoff Atkinson, the producer of The Mark Thomas Comedy Product, asked
Channel 4 to extend the programme to include more of the interview with the
Home Secretary.

"We had no intention of getting involved with the police but I believe that
if people had been able to see more of the scenes where police made a
crippled man get on to his feet so they could search him it would have made
a very telling point about how absurd our current laws are. It was
humiliating," he said.

The Independent on Sunday has seen the full, un-cut interview in which the
Home Secretary challenges the newspaper, among others, to prove to him that
cannabis is harmless.

"It is open to any group like the Independent on Sunday to put money into
research to show that there really is a therapeutic medicinal use for
cannabis and that the side-effects are not such as to require it to be
generally banned. The ball is in the court of the people who make these
claims for it," he said.

Mr Straw said that only when he was presented with overwhelming evidence
would he be prepared to go to the House of Commons to change the current

Campaign Supporters (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Prints The Names
Of Some Of The People Who Are Standing Up In Support
Of Its 'Cannabis Campaign' To End Marijuana Prohibition)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 23:26:44 -0500
Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis campaign - Campaign supporters
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Sunday, 25 Jan 1998
Source: Independent on Sunday
Contact: Email: cannabis@independent.co.uk
Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL

Editor's note: The IoS Cannabis Campaign has web pages at:



Professor DH Mellor, Cambridge Athene Reiss and Harry Mount, lecturers at
Oxford University


Helen Donlon music and literary PR, London


Brighton and Hove Green Party Antony Niall, the Sexual Freedom Coalition,
London Sushila Dhall, Green Party, Oxford


Richard Jones, barrister Alan Cooper M Phil, Cert Adult Ed, M Brit Soc
Crim, Crime Consultant, Wales


KR Smith, Cumbria WM McGill, Hertfordshire Terry Vincent, Birmingham
Jonathan Conroy, Co. Tyrone, Ruth Carroll, Dublin Katrina Asbury,
Merseyside Gillian Lawrence, London Drew Joseph, Glenn Gourlay, Michael
Francis, Judah Adolphe, all Croydon Adrian Thomas, Jason White, Thornton
Heath, Karl Hoosang, all London Lewis Wilde, Ian Langrish, Christine
Langrish, Paul Fletcher, Richard Cummins, Jason Kelly, Hazel Smethurst, S
Cummings, all Salford D Jones, Gwent S Donald, L Skinner, Caroline
Smallcombe, Pontypool L Foster, Cwmbran Mr and Mrs D Stokes, Mid Glamorgan
Robert, Joy and Tim Bagwell, Dorset J Pagram, Sherborne Rosemary Sylvester,
Shaftesbury James Schofield, Bedfordshire Richard Bamforth, Surrey Fraser
Lee, Kent James Cotton, Nottinghamshire Gwen Evans, Amanda Race, Manchester
George Mortimer, Richard Campbell, Fife Daniel Swann, Somerset James Daly,
Falkirk Mark Brownlee, Gary Paton, Aberdeen Ben Daine, Keele University
Liam Murphy, B Starmer-Smith, Derek Murphy, Eddie Hobden, all Midhurst,
West Sussex Jonathan Gowar, Chichester M Loveridge, Jamie Bridge, C Allen,
Debbie Bridge, T Bridge, all London Daniel Brooks, London Morris Anmar,
London John Thompson, London Ricky Philby, Kent Lorraine Auguste, London
E13 Chris Kelly, Cinzia Sansivieri, Spiros Primentas, Frederic Dugenitais,
all Wolverhampton Roxanne Wright, Ipswich Paul Jackson, Rachel Howard,
Gemma Mead, Leicester Mr M Upshall, Devon Jon Oliver, Kerry Johnson,
Penzanzce, Cornwall Bob Morrison, London Phineas Williams, Tabitha Peet,
Gareth Chileb, Keri Howells, John De Silva, JS Mackay, Ruth Grove, Robin
Clothier, SE Price, Hedouin Frederic, all Guildford, Surrey William Evans,
London Louise Quayle, Cobham Rob Morgan, Brighton Helen B Searle, Cambridge
Iain Philips, Cheshire P Bingham, Inverness JM Bingham and Mrs V Bingham,
Bristol Isobel and Miss M Donaldson, Orkney Isles Stephen Russell and
Allison Crookes, Sheffield Ruth Maddison, Leeds Helen R Searle, Cambridge
Brendan Buxton, Cleethorpes I Phillips, Middlesex L Jones, Wales Jeremy
Smith and Juliette D Smith, Worcester. G Cummins, Hertford Susi Mulligan,
Lincolnshire Stuart Barker, Deri Steele-Morgan, Ian Jones, Ryan Davies,
Simon Jones, Kirsti Bohata, west Wales Frank Lorvik, Oslo, Norway Jude
Noon, London. Johan Martinsson, Markus Henriksson, Jonatan Liljedahl,
Joakim Lagerqvist, Christian Bolstad, Jonas Thorell, all Sweden Ludwig
Rang, Philip Gough, London Dan Daddick, Iris Thornhill, Rob Chester, M Ra,
Steve Smith, Rob Cad, Pavi Dainey, all Peterborough Simon Freeman, Paul
Kimbar, Camille Freeman, Rachel Webb, Stephen Whitfield, all Cheltenham Zav
Byrd, Cornwall Michael Sibley, Adrian Gascoyne, Gloucester Noel
Nowosielski, Pippa Hutchinson, Leeds Mark Tattwater, Andy Bruguier, Robert
McCulloch, Steven Holland, Adrian Mansfield, all London J Marshall, Surrey
Richard Hopkinson, Nottingham Martyn Hopley, Craig Stenner, Lucie
Griffiths, Janet Thomas, all Staffordshire Kev Sowells, Chris Dilworth,
Emma Ogden-Hooper, John Stendall, Adam Cowley, Stephen Bingham, Karen
Hunter, all London Andre Hergenioller, Markus Skotarzik, Germany Huot Elie,
Sheffield R Spollin, Southampton, Hampshire K Paragioudakis, L Dalla, M
Vaitsi, Plutarchos Pilichos, Psarreas Vangelis, all Keele University Nathan
Dymer, Will and Luke Kozak, Adam Molland, Paul Benson, Jim Gale, all
Salisbury, Wiltshire Ian Holmes, Bath Steven Hatfield, C Lissaman, M Read,
M Smyth, Kevin Northby, Darren Easton, Wayne Page, Gavin Wood, Stu Albon,
all Cambridge Nyk Zietara J Garvie, A Mackenzie, Derek Hicks, W Robinson, D
Campbell, Aberdeen Barbara Taylor, Glasgow Anne McGonighe, Aberdeen Nadir
Elyakhlifi, Garjany Yannick, France Amaya Arais-Garcia, Spain Nonny
Melville, Gwent E Ramet, S Welchman, J Mole, all Cardiff L Probert, Swansea
J Townend, Bridgend John Rolph, P Chandler, Robert Thompson, I Page, J
Marples, all Dover, Kent Robert Palfrey, Gregg Harrison, Lawrence Knight,
Gabriel Tsiattalou, Lloyd Fletcher, Tomos Osmond, all Wales P Morgan,
Gareth Jones, Katherine Hudnott, all Bournemouth, Hants Matthew Ashley,
Leicester Elizabeth Oliver, Neil Payne, Dorset Tanya Neilson, Paul Duncan,
R Thirkettle, Sid Tuck, all Norwich Christine and Jonas Van Nilsson, Thomas
Jahnse, Andreas Sollen, Tara Gordon, Rob Bullough, Sara Baroni, Simona
Gioia, Nicola Martinsen, KG Devereux, Skott Styles, S Christa, G Rodney,
Denis Canning, Paul Davey, Matt Harding, Abrar Raf, all London Carol Reid,
Jean Francois Gaillard, Paris, France Malin Lindstrand, Daniel Rieglert,
Sweden Richard Pearce, Steven Carroll, Simon Moxon, Stephen Holmes, all
Liverpool Carole Haines, W White, V Varley, Simon Pook, D Amiley, B Grover,
all Manchester Carl McGlone, Karen Lloyd, P Nevills ,D Carr, Shropshire
Nick and Rachel Welton, Guildford J Carpenter, Oxford B and A Stewart,
Perth Robert Warhurst, Toni Villanueva, Kev Coffey, Christine Ord-Clarke,
Erika Dwek, Marilyn Crook, all Leeds Jane King, Harrogate Ray Loughlin,
Carleton K Badleigh, Victoria Fairweather, Annie Stanage, Bucks Carol
Newland, Herts L Berry, Suffolk Paul Leonard, Cambridge H Stewart, Matthew
Perham, Paul Simons, Lucie Silveira, all Staffordshire Ross Chester, Lisa
Hawke, Bristol James McLeavy, Glasgow Jon and R Shepherd, Shih-Yu Phang,
Matthew Molway, Abdul Molid, Martina Welch, Alun James, Mirwan Ahmed,
Baljinder Khera, all Wolverhampton Juliet Ennis, Tim Prince, Dylan Owen,
all Wales Lisa and Jenny Quinn, Caz Forrester, Isle of Bute, Scotland
Hedwig Landman, Thomas Muir, Huddersfield Christa Hale, Barry Gibson, J
Krol, E Lloyd, B Sownos, I Jackson, D Hopkins, R Richardson, Stephanie
Coisdale, J Western, G Western, all Wales Ken Ruston, Doncaster Alice
Shaell, Matthew Fisher, Harrow M Cooper, Wales Arnold Landwaard, Holland
Anthony Harris, Sydney, Australia Kirsten Clayton, Sarah Chambers, S
Janjua, Dahlia Nahome, London Jamie Phillips, Miranda Peters, London Chris
Nicholl, Worcestershire Ross Ralph, Tom Smith, Hants Ben Braun, West Sussex
Colin Murray, Miriam de Las Casas, Nicholas Walker, S Ryan, C Dickens, all
Gloucester Peter Harris, Swansea Sean McCarthy, Shanene Buckby, Colin Lay,
Northants Gary Kennedy, Kellie Chappell, London Philip Crittenden,
Gloucester Virginia Helsen, Robert Miles, Paul Cartner, Daryl Conway, A
Almond, A Vaughan, J Davies, all Wales Gerard O'Hare, Manchester Sheridan
Hough, P Styles, Simon Davies, Vanessa Gurd, Lee Spencer, Hannah Meehan,
Luke Winsbury, Gary Keating, all Brighton, East Sussex Kai Weightman,
Cornwall Mark Brooker, Bristol Ned Palmer, London Mark Roberts, Ross-on-Wye
Natasha Santos, Charlotte Feltham, Terry Smith, Michelle Ambrose, Sam
Welton, Joe Tomlinson, Darren Hildrow, all Cornwall D Bellotti, J Brown,
East Sussex Franceschini Andrea, Nuvoletta Davide, Ciriello Sara, Alberto
Todeschini, Ivonne Bonato, Pierivigi Scazzeri, Ruben Bilbao, Paola Camacho,
all London Tony Vallance, Leigh James, Karen Milton, Launa Anthony, Tim
Scessor, all Peterborough Nagio Girdlestone, Lincolnshire Michael Peterson,
Shetland Isles Ben Sibree-Paul, Shaukai Khan, Paul Fauset, Tim Barnard,
Phil Swindin, Richard Penn, Rob Sewell, Anne Mortensen, all Sheffield

We have been inundated with responses to our campaign. Next week we will
print another list of supporters, so please keep writing. We regret that
because of the size of the postbag, we cannot reply to your letters.

Compiled by Tarquin Cooper

Drug Money Corrupts The Met (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday'
Says More Than 250 Of London's Metropolitan Police
Are Under Suspicion)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 07:11:30 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: UK: Drug Money Corrupts The Met
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998
Author: Kim Sengupta
Source: Independent on Sunday
Contact: sundayletters@independent.co.uk


A worried officer tells KIM SENGUPTA that large-scale bribery is back in

OVER a vodka and tonic in a mirrored and smoky bar at Ludgate Circus in the
City of London, a young Scotland Yard detective explained law, finance and
the facts of life. "This is about the size of my salary," he said, pointing
at the measure of spirits. "And this is what I can make if I put some of
the gear we nick back on the streets," he added, filling the glass with
tonic. "And that's what some of my colleagues in the Met are doing."

As a detective sergeant in a specialist squad, the officer earns about
£25,000 a year without overtime, which is becoming increasingly rare as
budgets are cut. Should the 33 year old let one of his informants put 100g
of cocaine on the streets, he would receive the lion's share of the £6,000
that would be made. A similar amount of heroin would net him a share of
about £5,000 and Ecstasy would fetch around £10 a tablet.

The choice of venue for our meeting was apt. The Ludgate Circus pub,
previously called the Albion, was where one of the more celebrated
incidents in past actions against police corruption took place. Almost a
quarter of a century ago, two detectives were having a friendly chat at the
bar when one of them realised he was being secretly taped by his colleague.
The two men ended up rolling on the floor, tussling for the recorder.

Soon after this incident, the then Scotland Yard Commissioner, Sir Robert
Mark, called in an outside force to clean up the CID in "Operation
Countryman". The branch was so corrupt that Sir Robert hoped it would
become one that "caught more criminals than it employed".

Many police officers, as well as members of the judiciary, believe that the
wheel has come full circle and the Yard is once again being subverted by
bent coppers. The police commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, has said that Sir
Robert, now in his 80s, has sent him a letter of support in his battle
against corruption.

Sir Paul recently said that the problems he is facing are even worse than
those his predecessor faced. He said: "In the Sixties and Seventies you had
institutionalised, low-level corruption with lots of people on little
earners here, there and everywhere. Because of the huge explosion in
organised crime and drugs we have now got officers who can take bribes of
£50,000 or £80,000 to subvert a job or a series of jobs, or who are
prepared to recycle drugs for significant profit."

Just last week it was claimed that detectives from the Flying Squad
arranged for a robber to be let out of jail for the day to hold up a
security van, recruited a crooked security guard as part of the plot and
then stole the guard's £100,000 share of the loot.

This despite the fact the Yard had set up undercover units after a series
of corruption cases. The most notorious culminated in the jailing of
Detective Constable John Donald of the South East Regional Crime Squad for
11 years after he was exposed by BBC's Panorama for accepting thousands of
pounds from a crook, Kevin Cressey.

More than 250 officers are said to be under suspicion. A former Flying
Squad detective sergeant, Duncan Hanrahan, who has turned supergrass
against former colleagues, has around-the-clock protection because it is
feared attempts may be made on his life.

The Yard has also reopened investigations into the unsolved murder of
private eye Daniel Morgan 10 years ago. It is suspected he was killed
because he was preparing to reveal information about crooked officers.

All this is viewed with grim frustration by the former Inspector of
Constabulary, Frank Williamson, who was head of the investigation which led
to the exposure of corruption in the police force in the Seventies. Despite
his success, he resigned from the service in l972 because he felt his
position had been made untenable by harassment and lack of support from the
Home Office.

The 77-year-old, who was the basis for the character of reforming officer
Roy Johnson in the acclaimed BBC2 drama series Our Friends in the North, is
now living in retirement in Macclesfield, Cheshire. During his
investigation, files were stolen from his office, his phone was tapped, and
he was accused of having a "fixation" with dishonesty.

Mr Williamson said: "At the time we faced tremendous obstruction - a golden
opportunity was lost to attempt to permanently eradicate corruption in the
Metropolitan Police.

"I feel no satisfaction in hearing about the latest allegations of
corruption, but to tackle an illness one must first of all accept one is
ill. If one keeps on saying there are only a few rotten apples and
everything else is fine, one is missing the point. I hope the problem will
be tackled, but I am not very optimistic."

His frustration is shared by Commander John O'Connor, a former head of the
Flying Squad. He said: " Sir Paul Condon has had five years in the job.
Just remember the Russian saying 'a fish rots from the head'. He cannot
blame anyone else. He is in charge."

Let ICI Make Ecstasy, Says Drug Squad Ex-Chief (Britain's 'Sunday Times' Says
Edward Ellison, A Former Head Of Scotland Yard's Drug Squad,
Has Angered Ex-Colleagues And Politicians By Demanding That Drugs
Such As Ecstasy Should Be Legalised And Manufactured By Reputable Firms)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 21:06:01 -0500
Subject: MN: UK: Let ICI Make Ecstasy, Says Drug Squad Ex-chief
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: phil@shuv.demon.co.uk
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998
Source: The Sunday Times
Author: Rajeev Syal
Website: http://www.the-times.co.uk/
Contact: editor@the-times.co.uk


A FORMER head of Scotland Yard's drug squad has angered his ex-colleagues
and politicians by demanding that drugs such as ecstasy should be legalised
and manufactured by reputable firms. Edward Ellison, a former detective
chief superintendent, said the drugs should be taken out of the hands of
criminal suppliers and manufactured by chemical companies such as ICI.

His comments have sparked a furious backlash. Keith Hellawell, the "drug
tsar" appointed by Tony Blair to co- ordinate the government's strategy
against illegal substances, said that, if implemented, Ellison's demands
would harm young people.

"A growing body of research demonstrates the short and long- term physical
and mental harm caused by this drug. This evidence applies just as much to
'pure' as to adulterated tablets. Legalisation would simply put young
people's health at greater risk."

Ellison, 53, who was head of the drug squad from 1982 to 1986 and later
worked in the murder squad, argues that legalisation of ecstasy, as well as
other class-A drugs, would stop hardened criminals from exploiting the

"It's absolutely clear that it is the criminals who are making the profits,
producing the drug and benefiting from the illegal situation. If we just
decriminalise the drugs, it still leaves supply in their hands.

"I would take the entire drug supply chain out of the hands of the
criminals and put it in a place where there is education, knowledge,
quality control."

His comments, made on a programme entitled Nothing But the Truth, which
will debate the decriminalisation of ecstasy this week, have enraged
doctors. Most believe there is strong evidence that long-term use of
ecstasy leads to depression, liver damage and damage to the nervous system.

An editorial in last August's Police Review said many officers believed in
decriminalisation. But relatives of those who have died from ecstasy
condemned this view.

Margaret Keighley-Bray, whose daughter Debbie died from one tablet of
ecstasy, said legalisation would encourage abuse: "You cannot tell me of
anyone who has died from one cigarette or one drink. There are plenty of
people who have died from one ecstasy tablet."

Clampdown On Date-Rape Drug ('BBC Online News'
Says The British Department Of Health And The Home Office Have Agreed
To Re-Categorise Rohypnol From Schedule 4 To Schedule 3
Of The Misuse Of Drugs Act Of 1971)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 21:38:58 -0500
Subject: MN: Clampdown On 'date-rape' Drug
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998
Source: BBC Online News
Website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/


Tougher restrictions are being imposed on a prescription sleeping pill and
painkiller linked to date-rape cases.

The drug, Rohypnol, disorientates victims leaving them unable to fight off
their attackers.

It also clouds their memories, meaning people remember little of their
experience until days later when forensic evidence has been lost and the
drug has disappeared from their blood.

Now the Department of Health and the Home Office have agreed to tighten up
the rules governing possession of the drug, re-categorising it from
Schedule 4 to Schedule 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

This means it will be illegal for anyone to own the drug unless they can
prove it is for legal purposes.

Currently, possession of the medicinal form of the drug is allowed even if
the owner cannot demonstrate a legitimate reason for having it.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The new regulations will take effect some
time in the next few months."

Rohypnol, the brand name for Flunitrazepam, is prescribed privately in
Britain for back pain and insomnia.

It is readily available in Britain for just £1 a tablet and has gained
popularity among clubbers who use it to come down after taking Ecstasy or

The drug, which is 10 times the strength of Valium, is tasteless,
colourless and odourless, so is completely undetectable when slipped in a

Manufacturer Rosche are modifying the drug with a blue dye so it can no
longer be slipped into victims' drinks.

Scottish Drugs Chief Set To Quit Over Funding Cut (Britain's 'Sunday Times'
Says David Macauley, Outspoken Director Of Scotland Against Drugs, Looks Set
To Quit After Government's Announcement Last Week It Was Cutting
The Group's Funding By 75 Percent)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 07:50:16 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: UK: Scottish Drugs Chief Set To Quit Over Funding Cut
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Source: Sunday Times UK
Author: Lucy Adamson
Contact: editor@sunday-times.co.uk
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998


DAVID MACAULEY, the outspoken director of Scotland Against Drugs, looks set
to quit after the government's announcement last week that the group's
funding is to be cut by 75%.

Donald Dewar, Scottish secretary, reaffirmed support for the anti-drugs
campaign for a further three years, but said funding would be reduced to
£1m. The campaign will be refocused to concentrate on local community
issues and fund-raising business initiatives. Advertising campaigns will be
dropped. The campaign's advisory committee, which consists of more than 30
members from business, the church and the media, as well as health
professionals, will be reduced to a panel of six.

Sir Tom Farmer, Kwik-Fit chairman, will remain as chairman and Macauley's
£40,000 post as executive director is secured for the next three years. A
deputy chairman from the government-funded Drug Action Teams, which
specialise in safer substitute drug programmes, will be appointed shortly.

Although in public Macauley has pledged his commitment to the campaign and
the new board, friends say it is unlikely he will remain after the
restructuring in April as he has been offered lucrative contracts within
the private sector.

Macauley would not confirm or deny speculation over his position. He said:
"If the board maintains its focus on business and media - that is my area
of expertise - then I would be happy to continue."

However, he admitted that the next few months would be uncertain. "We are
awaiting further instructions but we would look to the new board members
for guidance, whoever they may be."

The new board is yet to be appointed by the Scottish secretary but
nominations will come from politicians previously on the advisory
committee, including Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National party,
Jim Wallace, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and Sam Galbraith,
Scottish health minister. The Conservative party has not had a member on
the advisory committee since its election defeat.

Just Say No To A Drugs Campaign That Has Zero Resonance ('Scotsman On Sunday'
Op-Ed Asks Whether 'Scotland Against Drugs' Campaign
Succeeded In Stopping A Single Person From Taking Drugs)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 19:20:49 -0500
Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Just Say No To A Drugs Campaign That Has Zero
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: shug 
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998
Source: Scotsman on Sunday
Page: 13
Author: Alan Cochrane
Contact: Letters_sos@scotsman.com


Alan Cochrane hopes Labour's new drugs policy will get down to the
grassroots issues without wasting money on advertising

In many ways it was a faintly ridiculous sight - all those middle-aged
politicians waddling around in sweatshirts and back-to-front baseball hats
exhorting young people to stay off drugs. However, we shouldn't necessarily
berate the then Secretary of State Michael Forsyth for launching his all-
party initiative, Scotland Against Drugs.

Neither he nor George Robertson nor Alex Salmond, who joined him on the
battle-bus, could help their age or their lack of relevance to the young
people they were addressing. The blaze of publicity which attended the
campaign launch at least focused the minds of the entire population on the
scale of the drugs problem in Scotland. For that at least Forsyth and those
who supported him deserve credit.

But, perhaps inevitably, the caravan moved quickly on and the bulk of
drug-free Scotland went about its normal everyday business, tut-tutting as
it did so about all these nasty drug-takers.

In the meantime considerable sums of taxpayers' money continued to be spent
on the SAD advertising campaign - money which, following a complete
reappraisal by the government, is now to dry up.

And about time, too. There have been predictable howls of protest that some
of the best and most-recognised advertising in the field of health
education is now to be placed on the scrap heap. But what we should
remember is that this was not designed as an Oscars ceremony for the
advertising industry. This was not a campaign designed to win plaudits for
the artistic and PR skills of the practitioners involved.

The carefully-drawn-to-be-shocking posters, billboards and TV commercials
may well have had a high recognition factor (the ad man's nirvana) but the
crucial question of whether they succeeded in stopping a single person from
taking drugs went unanswered.

The 'Just Say No' ethos lay at the heart of the effort and while all of
those Trainspotting-type images may well have had an impact with an adult
population which has only the sketchiest knowledge of the drugs culture, it
had zero resonance with those most at risk.

It is always tempting for adults to tell young people what not to do; we do
it all the time. However, experience over the generations should tell us
that they seldom listen. This has certainly been the case over the drugs
campaign. In talking to drug users in young offenders' institutions (YOI) -
my road to Damascus on this subject - last year it was clear that they
thought the whole thing worse than useless. What they wanted - and need -
was information to prevent them harming, or worse killing themselves, and
not lectures about just saying 'no'. That and counselling and
rehabilitation, both of which cost money.

There is a sophistication about drugs among even the youngest of teenagers
which defies the belief of all but those most closely involved and the
slick advertising campaign we have seen in recent years has come nowhere
near to addressing it.

But at least it was up there, in your face. And, as such, it has been
relatively easy for the authorities to justify the expenditure to the
public. We could see where the money was going. It is now of the utmost
importance that the government explains in the fullest possible detail what
it plans to put in its place with its dramatic change of tack. The
Secretary of State has said that the emphasis - and the resources - would
now be on "community effort to prevent drug abuse". All very well but what
does it mean?

In my experience community effort depends very much on the community, while
sitting-in on a drugs awareness group with young offenders at Polmont YOI
last year it was clear that several of them were desperate to get of drugs
and urgently required one-on-one drug counselling. While the young prison
officers in charge of the group did what they could, the unfortunate fact
was that properly trained personnel were what the teenagers needed.

And here they were entirely in the hands of Scotland's local authorities.
Young prisoners from all over the country serve their sentences at Polmont
and social workers involved in drugs counselling have to travel there from
the inmates' home towns. But whether they do or not depends crucially on
one thing - resources.

If there are several inmates from one local authority, and it is
geographically close to Polmont, then it might be cost- effective to
dispatch someone to offer counselling. If, however, that authority is a
long way from Polmont and has only one young man needing help, then the
powers-that-be may well decide that such a journey doesn't make economic

The result is that some inmates get help while others, in a similar plight,
simply do not qualify. It is a hopeless hotch-potch of a policy which
causes much unnecessary misery.

Donald Dewar is correct to switch the emphasis of Scotland's drug policy
but it is also imperative that we have a truly national approach. Harm
reduction is better than the largely ignored 'Just Say No', which is
effective for only the very young, but it must be applied uniformly across
the country.

In addition, resources should be concentrated at establishments, such as
Polmont, which are at the sharp end of the drug abuse problem instead of
leaving it to the vagaries of local government spending priorities.

There is nothing to be ashamed of in changing course on finding ways of
tackling Scotland's drugs problem - it is truly massive and may well prove
to be insoluble. But by spending what money is available on the ground
where it is needed, rather than on slogans, we are at least recognising how
desperately difficult a task we face.

Russian Grannies Sell Their Drugs (An Interesting Socioeconomic Look
At Penniless Pensioners By Britain's 'Sunday Times')

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 07:55:40 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Russian Grannies Sell Their Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 1998
Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Author: Mark Franchetti, Moscow
Contact: editor@sunday-times.co.uk


AT first sight they look like typical Russian grandmothers as they waddle
over the icy pavements. But the grey-haired babushkas in the narrow streets
around the Lubyanka, the headquarters of the former KGB, have a more
sinister purpose: they are dealing in drugs.

Unable to live on their meagre state pensions, scores of otherwise
respectable old people have gone into business to feed Russia's growing
drug habit. Their medicines, ranging from painkillers and sleeping pills to
anaesthetics, are bought by addicts too poor to afford heroin and used to
make powerful narcotics such as "vint", a favourite local stimulant.

Natalya, 61, a former doctor who says she has received no pension since
November, was unrepentant as she stood in a pedestrian subway last week,
selling morphine. "I do it because I need the money. I have two children
studying at university to support," she said. "The addicts buy from us
because it's cheaper. And they know we can't do a runner with the money."

Elderly pushers make little effort to conceal their trade, which can earn
them up to £150 a day - a huge sum in Russia where the average pension is
£30 a month.

There is no shortage of potential buyers: some estimates put the number of
drug addicts in the former Soviet republics at more than 9m, six times as
many as in 1991.

Some police officers have been bribed by the pushers to turn a blind eye.
However, in an apparent move to curb the trade, at least 10 babushkas have
recently been sentenced to three years in jail for drug trafficking. Daily
raids have become commonplace.

At the nearby Kitai Gorod police station up to 50 elderly pushers are
brought in every day. They are searched, held for a few hours and usually
released after paying a £30 fine.



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