Portland NORML News - Tuesday, January 27, 1998

Three Officers Shot - Man In Custody In Southeast Standoff
(Portland's NBC Affiliate, KGW NewsChannel 8 Story
About Marijuana Task Force's Warrantless Break-In Notes Station Complied With
'Police Requests Not To Show Live Images Of The Suspect Being Hauled Away
By The Police SERT Van' Naked, Bleeding And Without Medical Attention)

Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 22:52:05 -0800
From: Paul Freedom (nepal@teleport.com)
Organization: Oregon State Patriots
To: Cannabis Common Law (cannabis-commonlaw-l@teleport.com),
"libnw@circuit.com" (libnw@circuit.com)
CC: Clifford Schaffer (schaffer@smartlink.net)

All this over marijuana and a man's guns!!!

>From kgw.com

One Portland officer is dead and two others injured, one critically, in a
violent standoff in Southeast Portland late Tuesday. Police have a suspect
in custody after an afternoon that closed off a wide area east of Interstate
205. A handful of schools kept their students inside the walls, holding off
the usual afternoon bus runs while gun shots were being exchanged. In all,
six schools were affected by the incident. By Tuesday evening some
roadblocks remained in place in much of the area, while police collected
evidence. Massive traffic snarls occurred in the regions around the ramps
leading to and from I-205 at Division and Powell.

Mayor Vera Katz called on Portlanders to grieve and pray, over the tragic
events of the shootings today in southeast Portland. Shaken and choking on
emotion, the mayor told reporters this evening she had met with family
members and expressed grief for their loss. Police Chief Charles Moose
criticized some media organizations for showing pictures of the crime scene
in the face of requests not to do so. NewsChannel 8 had complied with the
police requests during the siege and only used aerial pictures of the scene,
after police had granted clearance. NewsChannel 8 also complied with police
requests not to show live images of the suspect being hauled away by the
police SERT van.

The critically injured officer was out of surgery by early evening with
multiple gunshot wounds. Surgery had lasted four hours. Doctors at OSHU say
they are "cautiously optimistic" about her progress despite extensive
internal damage. One report is that the bullets hitting the officer had
passed through the kevlar vest worn by officers at scenes like this. The
officer killed in the melee is considered the first woman officer in
Portland to die in the line of duty. The third officer shot today is in good
condition with a gunshot to a hand at Emanuel Hospital.

The man taken in custody is reported to be Steven Dons, age 37. Dons was
taken to OHSU with a single gunshot wound to the chest. No other details
about him are available except that neighbors are telling The NewsChannel
that the occupant of the home had collected a large number of guns in the
house. One neighbor is telling reporters the occupant of the home had
collected a large amount of marijuana upstairs in the house. The crime scene
location is reported by The NewsChannel to be 2612 Southeast 111 between
S.E. Division and Clinton Streets.

The episode began around noon when gunshots were fired. One report suggests
officers had walked up to the house connected with a possible investigation
in progress. Then the shots rang out and one officer went down. Others then
rallied to the scene and the standoff continued until about 3 p.m.

Three Police Officers Ambushed Outside House, One Dead, Two Wounded
('Associated Press' Description Of Marijuana Task Force Assault In Portland
Omits Fourth Victim, Doesn't Explain How Someone Getting Their Door
Broken Down By Armed Intruders Lacking A Warrant Can 'Ambush' Anyone)

January 27, 1998

Three police officers ambushed outside house; one dead, two wounded

The Associated Press
01/27/98 5:00 PM Pacific

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Three officers were shot -- one
fatally -- Tuesday as they forced their way through the door
of a home that neighbors say was stocked with
high-powered weapons.

Police with black body armor
and shields surrounded the house
and three hours later fired on the
lone suspect inside. He was
stripped by officers and driven
away naked and bleeding on the
tailgate of an armored SWAT

Police spokesman Cliff Madison
said the three officers involved in
a drug investigation went to the
home in southeast Portland just
before noon.

"They knocked down the door
and they were met by gunfire," he said.

One of the officers, a woman, was dead on arrival at
Legacy Emmanuel Hospital. Another female officer was in
critical condition with wounds to the chest and arm. A third
officer, a man, was treated at the scene for a gunshot
wound to the hand.

Trauma surgeon Dr. Linda Erwin said it appeared the
bullets were fired by a high-powered assault weapon that, in
the case of both seriously wounded officers, tore through
their bulletproof vests.

The suspect, identified as 37-year-old Steven Dons, was
hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and

Those who once worked with Dons at the Astro Jet gas
station and car wash across the street said he often bragged
about his connection to drugs and weapons.

"He used to say, `He could have it done,"' said former
co-worker Dave Shaddon. "If someone made him mad --
he could take them off this Earth."

A neighbor who gave his name as Jim told KOIN-TV that
"it sounded like a war zone out there" when dozens of shots
rang out.

He said the occupant was known to have a large arsenal of
weapons -- including AK-47 assault rifles -- and that police
had been called to the small gray house weeks before on
complaints of weapons being fired.

"I looked out and saw a couple of cops pull another one
out," said Devin Moore, who was working at his parents'
convenience store across the street from the shooting.

After the shooting at home at Southeast 111th and Division
Street, about 70 officers descended on the area around the
house. Some officers kneeled behind squad cars, others
carried plastic shields.

Residents, some carrying babies, scrambled outside. Others
were warned to stay inside. The area was blocked off to
traffic and police told a school in the area to keep pupils

Madison said it appeared the suspect inside the house
followed police movements by watching live coverage from
news helicopters that hovered overhead.

"You are endangering police officers' lives," an angry police
Chief Charles Moose told reporters afterwards. "We asked
you again and again and again to get out of there."

Some officers at the scene and at the hospital were seen
crying. One uniformed officer leaned against an ambulance
and broke down in tears.

Gov. John Kitzhaber, who was expected to announce his
re-election bid Wednesday in Portland and three other
cities, abruptly canceled Tuesday afternoon, saying through
a spokesman "it's no time to discuss politics."

It was the third police shooting in Portland since last
summer, and the fifth police fatality since 1960.

Eight days earlier, a police sergeant was shot during a traffic
stop. A bulletproof vest was credited with saving the life of
Sgt. David Howe, 42, who suffered only bruises from the
bullet's impact.

Last July 20, Officer Thomas Jeffries, 35, was killed in a
shootout with a fleeing suspect.

Three Police Officers Shot In Oregon, One Dead ('Reuters' Version Says Cops
Were Shot Indoors, After They Forced Their Way Into The House)

Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 05:56:29 -0800
From: Paul Freedom (nepal@teleport.com)
To: Cannabis Common Law (cannabis-commonlaw-l@teleport.com)
Subject: CnbsCL - Three police officers shot in Oregon; one dead
Sender: owner-cannabis-commonlaw-l@teleport.com

09:16 PM ET 01/27/98

Three police officers shot in Oregon; one dead

(Updates with details of shooting, officer out of surgery)

PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - A police officer was killed and
two others were injured Tuesday in a shootout at the home of a
criminal suspect, officials said.

A female officer was dead on arrival at a hospital, and a
second female officer was in critical condition after surgery
for abdominal wounds, but doctors said they were ``cautiously
optimistic'' she would survive.

A male officer was being treated for a superficial wound to
the hand, a spokeswoman for Legacy Emanuel Hospital said.

None of the officers were identified immediately.

A male suspect was seen being taken from the scene naked and
bleeding and was being treated for gunshot wounds to the chest
and abdomen at Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital.

The shooting broke out shortly before noon PST (3 p.m. EST)
when between five and 10 officers, including detectives from the
drugs and vice unit, arrived at the house to ``contact'' a
suspect, Portland police Lt. Cliff Madison said.

Police forced their way into the house and immediately were
struck by a fusillade of bullets from an automatic or
semi-automatic weapon, Madison said.

Officers returned fire and then retreated to wait for
reinforcements. Residents in the surrounding four square blocks
of the southeast Portland neighborhood were evacuated for
several hours until the suspect was struck by a blast from a
police shotgun and subdued.

Dr. Linda Erwin, a surgeon at Legacy Emanuel, said it
appeared the officers had been hit by bullets from a
''high-powered assault-type weapon'' that penetrated their
protective vests.

Police Officer Fatally Shot - Other Officers Injured (Version From KOIN,
Portland's CBS Affiliate)

Found at http://www.koin.com/

Police Officer Fatally Shot
Other Officers Injured
Partly obscured photo of naked Dons being hauled off by cops
PORTLAND, Updated 5:35 p.m. January 27, 1998 - After
a stand-off that lasted most of Tuesday afternoon, one
police officer was killed and two injured in a shooting
incident in southeast Portland.

KOIN-TV reports the suspect has been identified by
police as 37-year-old Steven Dons. As you can see in the
picture, he was naked when taken into custody. He was
taken to OHSU with a gunshot wound to the chest.

First reports from the scene came in around 12:15 p.m.
when shots were heard, streets blocked off and dozens
of officers arrived on the scene.

Hospital spokesperson Claudia Brown says one female officer was dead on
arrival at Emanuel Hospital. The only details known about the slain
policewoman are she was a veteran officer and from the east precinct.

A second female officer was conscious when she arrived at the hospital.
Brown says she is out of surgery and in intensive care in critical condition
recovering from gunshot wounds to the abdominal area.

KOIN reports an injured male officer stayed at the scene to help his
colleagues. His injuries were not believed to be serious. It is not known if
he was shot.

According to the police scanner, the shootings took place at a house near SE
111th and Division Street. At least 30 units were at the scene.

The police scanner revealed that the house was full of automatic weapons and
Ambulance at scene
Channel 6000 received an e-mail from a viewer who
says he lives about four houses away from the
shootings. He says originally nine shots were fired,
then about seven more. The family members were
told by a police officer to stay on the far side of the
inside of their house.

Some streets surrounding the area are still closed, but
the I-205 on-and-off ramps are open now.

Children from area schools are now able to leave or be
picked up.

The Line Four Division bus has been diverted to Powell, between 92nd and
122nd Avenues, due to police action in southeast Portland. The rest of the
route is unchanged.

Tri-Met also has dispatched a bus to the scene to help with evacuations.

Join the discussion - What's Your Opinion?
Thoughts on Portland Media and Breaking News?

Related Story:

Katz and Moose Respond to Tragedy

Carolyn Leary, Channel 6000 Staff Writer

Katz And Moose Respond To Tragedy (KOIN, Portland's CBS Affiliate,
Lets Portland's Mayor And Police Chief Put Their Spin
On Warrantless Break-In By Their Marijuana Task Force)

Found at http://www.koin.com/

Katz and Moose Respond to Tragedy
Portland Mayor Vera Katz
PORTLAND, Posted 5:59 p.m. January 27, 1998 - Mayor
Vera Katz and Police Chief Charles Moose are calling on
the Portland community to pull together in the aftermath
of the a shooting incident today that killed one police
officer and critically wounded another.(Full Story)

At Emanuel Hospital, where the injured officer had just
been moved to intensive care after surgery, Mayor Katz
told reporters, "This is the time for all of us to grieve,
to grieve together and to pray for the officer who just
came out of surgery and is going to have a recovery but
it will be a difficult one."

"And it's probably a time for this community to ask about the kinds of
weapons we allow people to have," she said.

The mayor also stressed how important it is for the community to come
together and be strong together.

Moose, visibly upset, underlined to reporters that Portland is not immune
from this type of senseless violence.
Portland Police Chief Moose
"We just had a police officer shot. Fortunately his body
armor saved his life. So it does happen in Portland, and
the people that want to pretend that somehow this is some
little farm town where police officers don't have a very
dangerous job, are missing the whole point."

Moose also lashed out at the media's coverage of the
shooting incident.

"Having your cameras and your helicopters are putting our
police officers in danger and you refuse to get them out of
the air," he said. "Request after request after request, and you in
your zealousness to do whatever it is you do for a living, put our
officers in danger and continue to do that. So maybe our community
needs to talk about the fact that we all have responsibilities and no
one entity is beyond responsibility."

"Certainly our hearts go out to the loss for our organization, to our
community," Moose added. "We just want to reiterate that our police officers
will continue to do their jobs. Because we take an oath to keep the
community safe. It is a very dangerous job, but it is our job and we will
continue to do it."

Moose urged the community to support its police officers, pointing out how
tough it will be for officers to take the next call, keeping in mind what
just happened.

Join the discussion - What's Your Opinion?
Thoughts on Portland Media and Breaking News?

Carolyn Leary, Channel 6000 Staff Writer

Oakland Writes Up Support For Pot Club ('Oakland Tribune' Says
Oakland City Council Likely To Go On Record Tuesday Night Opposing
Federal Lawsuits Against Six Medical Cannabis Clubs In Northern California,
Including The Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative - City Funding Of Defense
Considered - Resolution Also Calls On Alameda County Board Of Supervisors
To Declare State Of Medical Emergency Allowing Sales To Continue)

Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 17:36:00 -0800
Subject: MN: US CA: Oakland Writes Up Support For Pot Club
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff
Source: Oakland Tribune
Contact: triblet@angnewspapers.com
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 1998
Author Kathleen Kirkwood, Staff Writer


OAKLAND - The city is ready to fire off a strongly worded response to the
Clinton administration's crusade against California cannabis dubs but it
stops short at offering tangible support to medicinal pot users.

The Oakland City Council, which has already directed its police to give a
wide berth to medical marijuana users, is likely to go on the record
tonight opposing federal lawsuits to shut down six clubs in Northern

The federal action, filed by U.S. Attorney Michael Yarnaguchi earlier this
month, threatens the health of medicinal pot users and encourages street
narcotic peddlers to sell cannabis to Oakland's ill citizens," according to
the council resolution.

Councilmember Nate Miley (East-mont-Seminary) said he wants to beef up the
resolution with some kind of legal or funding support for cannabis clubs.
"I want us to do what is morally and ethically right," Miley said.

Even before voters approved the medicinal marijuana initiative -
Proposition 215 - in November, the council had agreed to support the
Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club.

The club operates a low-key facility downtown, carefully screening members
and requiring both identification and a doctor's note. Marijuana for
medicinal purposes is sold on the premises, but is not used there.

In addition, the council resolution calls upon the Alameda County Board of
Supervisors to declare a state of medical emergency that would allow sales
of medicinal marijuana to continue.

County Supervisor Mary King said she was unclear about specifics regarding
such a declaration, but it seemed applying it to the use of medical
marijuana would be "irresponsible."

King, however, said she opposed the federal litigation against medicinal
pot clubs, calling it a "waste of taxpayer time and money.

At the Oakland Cannabis Club, one of six named In the lawsuit, staffers
said they were hoping for a more substantial show of support - such as
funding for legal defense.

But the city's resolution is a start, said Jeff Jones. "It's hard to get
mad at the city for not doing enough," said Jones, who helped found the
Oakland club in 1995 as a distribution service to patients who use
marijuana to suppress the side effects common to AIDS treatments, glaucoma,
cancer and other debilitating diseases.

"I'm a little disappointed it's not more strongly worded," Jones said. The
club established offices in downtown Oakland In July 1996 and now has 1,100

The U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco filed suit earlier this month,
directed at clubs in Oakland, San Francisco, Marin and Santa Cruz. It's the
first time federal officials have attempted to use national drug laws to
supersede state laws, such as the November 1996 voter-approved initiative
that legalized medical marijuana in California.

Last year, the state's 1st District Court of Appeal sided with Lungren in
saying cannabis clubs are not protected by Prop. 215.

Oakland City Council Resolution (Attorney Rob Raich's Follow-Up
Quotes Portion Of City Council's Unanimous Endorsement Of Oakland CBC,
Strong Condemnation Of Federal Lawsuit)

Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 23:10:05 -0800
To: dpfca@drugsense.org
From: raich@jps.net (robert raich)
Subject: DPFCA: Oakland City Council Resolution
Sender: owner-dpfca@drugsense.org
Reply-To: dpfca@drugsense.org
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/

The City of Oakland has become the first governmental jurisdiction to
condemn the federal government's lawsuits against cannabis buyers'
dispensaries. Tonight the Oakland City Council Unanimously passed a
Resolution supporting the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative and calling
on the federal government to dismiss its lawsuits.

Among other things, tonight's Resolution:

-- finds that the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative has served the City's
"residents with a well-organized, safe, and responsible opportunity to
obtain cannabis;"

-- states that "federal law enforcement policy impairs public safety by
encouraging a market for street narcotic peddlers to sell cannabis to
Oakland's ill citizens;"

-- "urges the federal government to desist from any and all actions that
pose obstacles to access to cannabis for Oakland residents;"

-- endorses Sen. "Vasconcello's call for a statewide summit on the
distribution of medical marijuana;"

-- endorses further medical marijuana research (At the meeting, the
Councilmembers amended the Resolution to delete a reference to SB 535
because they do not trust anything supported by Lungren.); and

-- urges "federal policy makers to dismiss current lawsuits impacting
California's cannabis buyers' clubs."

(Oakland was also the first jursidiction to endorse what became Proposition
215, a full year before its passage.)

Rob Raich

Panel Backs Marijuana, Heroin Ban ('Richmond Times-Dispatch' Says
After A Telephone Call To Former Drug Czar Robert DuPont, The Virginia
Legislature's House Courts Of Justice Committee Has Voted To Repeal
State's 1979 Medical-Marijuana Law)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 18:18:38 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US VA: Panel Backs Marijuana, Heroin Ban
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia)
Contact: feedback@gateway-va.com
Website: http://www.gateway-va.com/xgr97/0127xgr.htm
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 1998


Bill concerns medicinal use; alternative remedies cited

BY TYLER WHITLEY Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

The House Courts of Justice Committee voted yesterday for banning the use
of marijuana and heroin as prescribed medicines in Virginia.

The decision charts a different course for Virginia than California and
Arizona, which recently approved laws allowing the medicinal use of
marijuana. Virginia officials were surprised to learn earlier this month
that a law allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana had been in Virginia's
code since 1979.

The vote, which advances the bill to the House floor, was taken after Dr.
Robert DuPont, a federal authority on drug usage, said there were effective
alternatives to marijuana.

DuPont spoke to the committee by phone from his Chevy Chase, Md., home.
Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William and sponsor of a bill banning the
use of marijuana, had gotten in touch with DuPont Saturday and he had
agreed to be available for the committee. Del. C. Richard Cranwell,
D-Roanoke County, had told Marshall to find a drug expert to testify on the
proposed bill.

In answer to a series of questions posed by Cranwell over the telephone,
DuPont said marijuana once was considered medically useful for treatment of
glaucoma and to hold down nausea in patients being treated for cancer.

But, he said, substitutes have been developed that no longer make the
substance useful. The same holds for heroin for the treatment of severe
pain, he said.

DuPont was the nation's second drug czar and is a former director of the
National Institutes of Health.

Satisfied that the drugs no longer are necessary for medical purposes, the
committee voted in favor of bills introduced by Marshall and Del. Jay
Katzen, R-Fauquier, to ban the use of marijuana, and by Del. Clifton A.
(Chip) Woodrum, D-Roanoke, to ban heroin.

Roy B. Scherer of Richmond, a marijuana advocate who once brought a
marijuana plant into the state Capitol, and two other men said the
delegates were reacting politically rather than scientifically.

A very short list of patients

''The body is a complex machine,'' Scherer said. The common medicinal
substitute for marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), doesn't
always work, he said.

Jon Gettman of Loudoun County said only eight people in the United States
have a doctor's prescription to use marijuana.

They were allowed to continue under grandfather provisions after the
federal government banned the medical use of marijuana, he said.

Marshall said labeling marijuana as a medicine sends the wrong message to

Voters in California and Arizona last fall approved the medical use of
marijuana, setting off an outcry that reached to the White House.

A surprise for Virginia

Then, to the surprise of many drug officials and medical experts, it was
learned Virginia has had a comparable law on the books since 1979.

It provides that no doctor can be prosecuted for dispensing or distributing
marijuana for treatment of cancer or glaucoma.

The law has seldom been used.

The medical provision was added to a bill adopted by the 1979 General
Assembly that generally loosened the marijuana laws.

Yesterday, while voting for the ban on the use of marijuana and heroin for
medical purposes, the committee adopted an amendment to make sure research
on the effects of the two drugs could continue.

The vote on banning heroin was unanimous. Three delegates, A. Donald
McEachin, D-Henrico, Jerrauld C. Jones, D-Norfolk, and Kenneth R. Melvin,
D-Portsmouth, voted against the marijuana bill.

Jury Sets Award At $3.3 Million For Wrongful Arrest ('Los Angeles Times'
Notes The Drug War Just Got More Expensive - Jury Orders Los Angeles Police
Department To Pay Head Wrestling Coach At Cal State Fullerton
For Lost Olympic Opportunity 11 Years Ago After Suspected Heroin Sale)

Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 17:47:16 -0800
Subject: MN: US CA: Jury Sets Award At $3.3 Million For Wrongful Arrest
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Author: GEOFF BOUCHER, Times Staff Writer
Pubdate: January 27, 1998

LAPD Ordered to Pay Fullerton Coach

Jury sets award at $3.3 million for wrongful arrest 11 years ago on
suspicion in a drug case.

Wrestler testified his Olympic hopes were derailed.

SANTA ANA--A jury Monday ordered the Los Angeles Police Department to pay
the head wrestling coach at Cal State Fullerton $3.3 million for his
wrongful arrest 11 years ago on suspicion of selling a pound of heroin in
front of undercover police.

For Ardeshir Asgari, 34, a former world-class wrestler who testified that
his Olympic hopes were derailed by the arrest, the verdict against the LAPD
was vindication.

"I feel good, and I feel like a multimillionaire," Asgari said a few hours
after the verdict in Orange County Superior Court. "What happened destroyed
my life. My life has never been the same since what happened."

The jury decision Monday awarded Asgari $800,000 for false arrest and $2.5
million for emotional distress suffered when he was arrested in 1987 and
jailed for seven months while on trial for drug charges.

The native of Iran, whose 1982 defection made sports headlines around the
world, said he believes his ordeal was the product of a plot by a loyalist
to his home country who provided bogus information to LAPD detectives.

"They wanted to make me look bad; they didn't want me to compete for the
U.S.," he said.

Asgari was accused of selling $35,000 worth of heroin in 1987 to a police
informant as LAPD undercover detectives looked on. At the heart of the case
was a briefcase containing the brick of heroin.

Detectives testified that they had seized the briefcase containing Asgari's
California driver's license and a pound of Persian brown heroin. The
contents of the briefcase were checked into evidence, but the briefcase
itself was not--an omission Asgari's attorney said denied his client the
chance to prove he had never touched it.

"It was very convenient, and drug dealers always put their license in with
the drugs so someone can return it if it gets lost," attorney Steven A.
Silverstein said sarcastically. "So many things were unexplainable that we
came to the conclusion that this was either the most inept police
department in the world or there was something going on here."

Asgari testified in his criminal trial that he was set up by a fellow
Iranian native whom he befriended. While prosecutors alleged that Asgari
arranged several meetings with police informants and even provided a sample
of drugs in a Fullerton parking lot, Asgari maintained that he was an
unknowing bystander and never had contact with the heroin.

Asgari was found not guilty, and a civil suit followed. He won a
$1.3-million verdict against the LAPD.

The department's attorneys appealed the size of the judgment. Asgari had
argued that the LAPD should pay for the seven months that he spent in jail,
and the jury had agreed. But on appeal, the department argued that it
should only be responsible for his incarceration between the time of his
arrest and his first court appearance, when he entered the court system.

The state Supreme Court agreed and, in 1992, ordered a new trial, but only
on the amount of the judgment.

That appeal appears to have backfired, with the second civil jury on Monday
delivering a far larger judgment after finding that the arrest itself had
far-reaching repercussions in Asgari's personal and professional life. Los
Angeles Deputy City Atty. Jeff Gallagher, who represented the city in the
case, could not be reached for comment after the verdict Monday.

Michael P. Stone, the attorney for the arresting officer, said he was
surprised by the amount of the judgment.

"They embraced the plaintiff," said Stone, who represented LAPD Det.
Ruperto Sanchez. "They embraced his claim, and that tells the tale. . . .
The amount was at the top of the range of our expectations. We thought it
could be a couple hundred thousand up to a couple of million."

Sanchez, called a "dirty and corrupt cop" by Silverstein in the earlier
civil trial, remains an LAPD narcotics investigator and has never been
disciplined in connection with Asgari's arrest. Stone said the 30-year
veteran of the force "had every legitimate reason" to believe Asgari was
dealing heroin, and the officer "never conspired or intentionally engaged
in any misconduct" in the case.

Asgari said he remains bitter toward the detectives who arrested him, and
he has not wavered from his testimony that they were part of a plot to ruin

His ordeal was especially difficult, he said, because he had come to a new
country seeking a fresh start.

He recounted Monday his time in the Iranian army, his bloody stint at the
front in the Iran-Iraq war and his decision to defect three years later
while competing at an international military meet in Venezuela.

Several years later, as a refugee in the United States, Asgari became an
All-American wrestler at Cal State Fullerton and was ranked second in the
nation by Amateur Wrestling News. His success earned him an invitation to
the U.S. trials for the 1988 Olympics, an opportunity he was denied because
he was behind bars. "It was the worst thing that ever happened to me," he

On Monday, though, Asgari's thoughts were on the future. He plans to use
some of his money to fund the 24-man wrestling team he has coached since
1992, and he hopes to someday guide them to a national championship.

"Right now, team practice tomorrow is more on my mind than that money,"
Asgari said. "A PAC-10 championship is more important to me now. The money
can help, but it's not the important thing."

Unlikely Freedom From Fear ('Los Angeles Times' Says All Across United Sates,
Open Air Drug Markets Are Disappearing As Sellers And Buyers
Take 'Domino's Approach' - Pagers, Delivery In 30 Minutes)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 01:44:27 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Unlikely Freedom From Fear
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Pubdate: January 27, 1998
Author: Bonnie Hayes, Times Staff Writer


For years, drug dealers and buyers claimed their streets. But residents are
finding new hope as criminals abandon the neighborhoods with the help of
new technology.

ANAHEIM--About a mile from Disneyland, on a narrow street with pitted
patches of dirt where sidewalks should be, a barefoot girl in a pink
sweatsuit skips rope. She counts aloud in Spanish as a group of laughing
children dash around her.

Rosario Zamora, 43, smiles at them from her doorway. These are her children
and those of her neighbors, but this is not the same Dakota Street she has
known for 20 years. There are no empty shell casings, no splatters of fresh
blood. She cannot recall the last time the children found tiny bundles of
crack cocaine on their way home from school. This street, hopeless for so
many years, has been resuscitated.

"We've lived forever inside," Zamora said. "Now our children are playing in
the sun."

A relative peace has fallen on this and other previously drug-plagued
communities across the country, and it's being credited in part to the
least likely of sources: the drug dealers themselves. Where once they
peddled their illegal wares on neighborhood curb sides, dealers now are on
the move. Under increasing pressure from police, they have abandoned
streets here and elsewhere, including parts of Los Angeles and New York, in
favor of a less risky strategy that is fast becoming an industry standard.

Dealers have learned to use their pagers and cellular telephones to move
their trade indoors. They have created a system of telephone codes and
couriers to connect with customers without being exposed to the eyes of
watching police. The technique is different from the way that drug dealers
have employed such electronic devices in years' past, and it has left
police scrambling to keep up.

"The days of buying straight off the street are gone," said LAPD Det. John
Hunter. "Everything, everything is call and deliver now."

While the street drug markets still exist in some places, some officers
refer to the new scheme as the "Domino's approach" to peddling drugs: "You
call us and we'll have it to you in 30 minutes or less."

The trend is having a fortuitous side effect on many beleaguered
neighborhoods by sweeping out the more unsavory and dangerous elements of
the open-air drug markets and giving residents a sense of safety.

"The crooks, without even trying, have actually helped make it happen,"
admits Anaheim police Lt. David Severson. The retreat from traditional
drive-thru drug markets is attributed to a simple fact--dealers don't want
to get caught--and the ready technology. Drug users are less willing to
shop at street corners routinely staked out by police. And dealers, in
their perpetual pursuit of more profit with less risk, aren't opposed to
exercising a little more discretion.

When police started advancing on the street-level drug dealers by posing as
buyers, collecting hours of surveillance videos and reinforcing patrols, it
was the dealers' turn to respond, said William McDonald, a research
consultant at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. "They got
telephone numbers, they got beepers, and they got their customers to call
in," McDonald said. "And for now, until the cops develop a strategy to beat
this new pattern, the bad guys are on top of this game."

Declining Drug Arrests Officials say measures like community policing and
stricter laws for repeat offenders have contributed to a steady drop in
drug arrests nationwide. But they also say that the numbers, particularly
for the last five years, reflect the growing effectiveness of the
call-and-deliver business, a venture that experts are just beginning to

In 1996, law enforcement officials nationwide arrested 216,342 people on
suspicion of dealing or manufacturing street-level drugs--the smallest
number since 1988, according to FBI statistics. Conversely, the number of
user-related arrests, including possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia,
climbed to an all-time high of 1.1 million. Robin Waugh, a DEA spokeswoman,
said the figures prove that drugs are being sold "just as regularly, just
not as blatantly."

The change has delivered a blow to drug cops who now must wade through
layers of security checks set up by wary drug dealers to net even the
smallest undercover drug buy. Officers who for years garnered most of their
undercover drug arrests from no-hassle, walk-up street sales are now
starved of connections. Said Waugh: "Everything is telling us drug use is
on the rise. So where are the dealers? We're not finding them as quickly as
we used to."

The neighbors who once had a street-level view of their decaying
communities hardly care. After years of walking their children past
prostitutes, of being awakened by gunfire and intimidated into silence,
they are celebrating freedom.

This mood is especially apparent in Anaheim, where Alfred Coy and other
residents are using the reprieve from drugs and crime to salvage a
neighborhood they virtually surrendered long ago. Coy, 33, lives on North
Anna Drive, a U-shaped street of khaki-colored, low-slung apartment units.
Drug dealers once infested the area. They casually rolled joints on the
sidewalk between sales. They ordered children to hide large stashes of dope
in their underwear. Residents became apathetic about their street, with its
broken sidewalks and sandbox yards. The gang members who ruled boldly all
day and night delivered a standing order that no one dared to challenge:
stay away, stay alive.

Now residents gather at impromptu meetings at the 40-unit apartment
building that Coy manages with his wife, Maria. Tenants are encouraged to
report crime and join his loose-knit block watch. His first-floor unit has
become an unofficial break room for Anaheim police, who stop by to sip
coffee with neighbors and dole out silver badge-shaped stickers to

"We feel safer right now than we ever have before," said Coy, who moved
here four years ago. "We used to turn the corner and see 10 or 15 dealers
working at the same time. But they are nearly all gone."

Drug vendors had become so rooted on Dakota Street that few neighbors
noticed the first signs of relief when it began a year or so ago. "We were
not believing at first," said Zamora, who raised four children here, amid
the random shootouts and street brawls that would send her family
scrambling for cover. They would sometimes scrunch together in the bathtub,
or stretch out on the floor.

"All of a sudden we thought, 'They've left, but why?' " she recalled. "And
then we said, 'Who cares?' "

Police in other cities beset with drug problems also started to notice
fewer calls for help and a slow but steady drop in drug arrests. Last year
in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., drug dealers all but deserted the area near
Holiday Park, just steps away from the Atlantic Ocean. An area that was
once so clogged with potential buyers that dealers swaggered down the line
of cars to take orders suddenly cleared. Tourists looking for nearby
museums and galleries were no longer confronted by gang members peddling

"It was like an invisible street sweeper started coming through," Fort
Lauderdale Police Capt. Paul Urschalitz said. "Only we didn't order it, and
we sure as hell didn't know where it was taking everything."

Streets where drugs are openly bought and sold can still be found in many
cities. But the transition from open-air street markets to personal
delivery has forced the trade underground, where it can thrive.

"Where we could once do regular, routine drug sweeps and count on getting
15 or 20 arrests at a time, we're now coming up with nothing," Urschalitz
said. "The dealers have insulated themselves. Instead of staying put,
they're doing business everywhere, all over the place, in your backyard and

The system works like this: Customers page dealers, who call back and take
their orders. A meeting place is designated for an exchange that takes a
matter of seconds--at a bus stop, a grocery store, the post office, the
buyer's living room. Usually the dealers employ runners, or "mopes," to
deliver the drugs, a system that further insulates the supplier. Delivery
workers earn anywhere from $5 a sale to 50% of all profits. Numeric
beepers, which barely existed before 1991, and cellular phones are pivotal.
They are inexpensive and easy to acquire. For as little as $30 a month, a
customer can have both.

Drug dealers, especially, have elevated their use to a coded art form. One
pusher who deploys a four-man troop in Anaheim and Santa Ana under the
street name "Opie" says he instructs his runners and customers to use
designated codes whenever possible: *100 means a $100 sale, 711 and 55
delineates two easy drop-off spots--the phone booth at the local 7-Eleven
convenience store or the side parking lot of a nearby Arco station.

When calling the pager, buyers input the codes after their telephone
numbers, sending a trail of digits--sometimes up to 20 numbers long--across
the dealer's pager screen. The universal 911 signal at the end identifies
when an emergency delivery is needed. A double 911 signals big profits.

"That says to me, 'I'll pay more if you get it here fast,' " said the
dealer, who spoke on condition that he not be identified by his real name.
"You see that and it takes priority over anything else."

Codes provide an important defense for dealers if an arrest is made.
Officers may seize the pagers and immediately scroll through the bank of
numbers, hoping to glean leads on buyers or dealers. But the scrambled
string of numbers they often find is useless. Opie said he hasn't been
arrested for 18 months, a record stint of freedom for the 26-year-old.

"I used to get picked up like four times a year," he said. "But I don't see
the cops no more, and they don't see me."

He said leaving his perch on the corner of Standard and East McFadden
avenues in Santa Ana two years ago was a "management decision." Working the
neighborhood nearly six years allowed him to develop a regular crop of
customers, most of whom followed his suggestion to pack it up and move off
the street.

"If you're still slinging on the street corner, you're losing out," he
says. "It's like wearing a sign that says, 'Bust me.' "

Little-Known Change His take on the changing drug scene was evident
recently in Los Angeles, where a team of undercover detectives spent more
than two hours trolling for drugs one Friday afternoon. They scoured a
commercial strip of Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood that had always
been a "slam dunk" for witnessing street sales. No one was selling or
buying. Yet, when the same undercover detectives paged a suspected drug
dealer from a nearby pay phone, they received a prompt callback and--after
dropping the name of a reference--were guaranteed a delivery. The officers
had obtained the pager numbers the old-fashioned way: from a snitch looking
to cut a deal. Within minutes, they had two grams of cocaine in hand and an
18-year-old delivery man in custody.

"It may be the in-your-face sort of confrontation that's taken leave, but
don't think for a minute it's not still out there," said Alfred Blumstein,
a Carnegie-Mellon professor who researches how drugs move through the
American market. "Our problems haven't gone away.

"Those open-air markets are a street-level mainstay," said Blumstein, who
has published reports on national crime trends. "They've been around since
the beginning of time. I doubt that will change, even though transactions
are becoming more private and one-on-one."

Police in most cities haven't yet explored how the shift from drive-thrus
to deliveries is affecting neighborhoods, if they have linked the two
elements together at all, experts say. The Community Policing Consortium in
Washington is attempting to track the development by collecting data from
law enforcement agencies nationwide. Details are emerging slowly.

"People are probably so caught up in the successes of seeing neighborhoods
cleaning up and dealers disappearing that they're not really looking at how
the dealers are adapting," said consortium coordinator Carl Bickel. "I'll
bet most communities haven't figured out where the crime is going, or even
stopped to think about it yet."

Next Step For Troubled Teens Is The Right One ('San Jose Mercury News'
Story On 'Next Step' YWCA Diversion Program For Santa Clara County Juveniles
Who Have Violated Alcohol, Other Drug Laws)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 01:16:28 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Next Step For Troubled Teens is The Right One
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Author: Donna Kato, Mercury News Staff Writer
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 1998


WHAT is respect?

Yvonne Sorrentino poses the question to the eight teens who sit facing her.

They fidget. There are mumbled answers, barely audible. More fidgeting.

``It's backing each other up,'' someone finally says, loudly. Clearly.

For the last 10 weeks, these teens have spent their Wednesday evenings at
the downtown YWCA in a program called Next Step. They've been ordered by
the Santa Clara County juvenile court to attend a year-long series of
workshops designed to give them hope, clarity and respect for themselves.
And others. The alternative is Juvenile Hall.

If Next Step works the way it's supposed to, the participants will stay
clean and off the streets. They will avoid further legal proceedings except
for checking in with a probation officer. Their futures will no longer be
careening toward detoxification centers, prisons or the morgue.

What the teens in the class have in common is that they were all first-time
offenders and drugs or alcohol were involved at the time of their arrest.
Jonathin, 15, says he was hauled in for public drunkenness. Felicia, 15, is
a heroin addict. Ben, 16, was caught tagging, but also had a problem with
marijuana. Others were gang bangers, shoplifters, truants.

``I call them on their attitudes,'' says Sorrentino, 39, the program
director and coordinator of Next Step and the reason, the kids say, that
they keep coming back week after week. To them, she's the real thing,
someone who's gone through what they're going through.

``She makes us feel real good,'' says Jonathin. ``I been through these
programs and the thing is, they're dumb and boring -- makes me wanna bounce
right out. Yvonne -- she makes me wanna come in here every week.''

``She's like a big sister,'' says Angelo, 16, who joined the class simply
because he heard good things about it from Jonathin. Although he's on
probation, the workshop isn't a requirement for him. But he says it's
helped him set goals and kept him from drinking.

``She doesn't preach or lecture,'' says Angelo. ``She puts something good
in your thoughts and it stays there.''

Those thoughts include a future.

``By the time they get to me, they've messed up and this is a chance for
them to get clean,'' she says. ``But for a kid to want to stay clean, they
have to have an incentive. I say to them `Let me teach you some skills that
will help you get through life.' They respond to that.''

Next Step, a pilot project of the YWCA and the county's juvenile court,
started exactly a year ago. While the young participants -- all minors --
are usually given a choice of programs by the juvenile court, Next Step
appeals because it provides more than lectures. It stresses both physical
and mental recovery. Each participant is expected to complete the entire
program over the course of a year. The alternative if they fail to show up:
back to court. The first ``team'' to complete the full run of workshops
will graduate Friday. So far, 80 teens -- an ethnically-mixed group of
white, black, Latino and Asian youth -- have participated in Next Step.

Surviving their youth

Jonathin's and Angelo's team is just finishing the first phase, called
Survival Skills for Youth, a 10-week series of classes that best can be
described as teaching the basics: communicating effectively, managing
money, controlling anger and goal-setting. They talk about life expectancy
-- will they live to be 20? 70? 100?

>From the first class on, they are asked to think and act as a team, even
>coming up with a name that describes their spirit. Role-playing games
>teach them to be assertive without aggression.

Next, they move on to ``Job Club,'' another series of workshops where they
will learn about work ethics, plan careers and find part-time jobs. They
also will be enrolled in a martial arts class to learn self discipline. At
the same time, parents are encouraged, or ordered by a judge, to join the
``Parent Project,'' a program that teaches parents how to cope with
troubled adolescents.

By this time next year, Sorrentino hopes the members of this class -- who
call themselves the Bomb Dosh Click -- will be doing well in school or
working full or part-time, with definite plans for a productive future.
Some participants already work at places like Togo's, Blockbuster Video,
Starbucks and Lucky supermarket.

``What takes courage?'' Sorrentino asks the class.

``Staying clean,'' says Felicia.

Resisting a relapse

``Not hanging out with the same bad crowd,'' says Sean.

``Knowing I can get somewhere and I can do something with my life,'' says

Ben, the tagger, starts telling the others about how difficult it is to
ignore his brother when the sibling is smoking pot in his bedroom.

``I've been clean since Oct. 19,'' says Ben, ``and I just walk away from
the door but I can smell it and I get kind of nervous because I always
relapsed on smoking weed before.''

His teammates encourage him to shut the brother's door and to resist the urge.

Ben comes to the conclusion that gaining respect from having courage is
more important than smoking the joint.

It's the kind of cognitive thinking that the members of this class weren't
doing at the beginning, says Sorrentino, clearly proud of their progress
and the discussion that's evolved from Ben's predicament.

``For the first time, they're able to look people directly in the eye,''
she says, ``to give and accept compliments. Understand what it means to
have good character.''

Sorrentino's empathy and effectiveness come from her own background. She
was raised in poverty in the barrios of East Los Angeles with ``15 people
in a two-bedroom house,'' she says. She was surrounded by relatives who
were drunk or high or both. By the time she was seven, she was visiting
uncles in jail. By the time she was 12, she was in a gang. A friend's
shooting death -- at the hands of her own leader -- was Sorrentino's
wake-up call. She began to ease her way out of that lifestyle. Her story
fascinates and inspires the Next Step teens.

Some who have gone through the year-old program return as peer counselors,
or just to visit.

Not everyone succeeds

``Respect was something that really sunk in,'' says Jennifer LaBarr, 18,
who just completed the entire program. About a year ago, she was caught
with drugs. She came to Next Step to avoid going through a program at
Juvenile Hall. At first, she says she thought it was going to be another
series of lectures she'd have to endure. But by the third week, she had a
job. Now she has two part-time jobs and is about to enroll in college. Her
relationship with her parents improved -- ``I talk a lot with them now,''
she says.

Although the program appears to be a success -- officials hope to take it
into the continuation schools at some point -- Sorrentino says a few teens
have slipped through her fingers.

``One kid was so heavily into gangs that he said, `Save me by locking me up
because I will die on the streets.' The reality was that he was right,''
she says. He violated probation by having illegal gang tattoos put
prominently on his neck. ``Now he's locked up. But you know, he didn't rob
or hurt anyone to be put away. He did it with tattoos.''

If nothing else, she wants the teens enrolled in the program to know what a
little success feels like.

``It's a wake-up call to change for the better,'' she says.

Court Program Offers Addicts Hope ('San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune'
Article About Diversion Program For Felony Drug Offenders
Administered Personally By Judge Using Once-A-Month Chat Sessions -
'Most Successful Locally In Curbing Drug Addictions' But Paper
Doesn't Say According To Whom Or What Criteria)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 01:52:50 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Court Program Offers Addicts Hope
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison
Source: San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune
Contact: slott@slnt01.sanluisobispo.com
Website: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/
Pubdate: Tuesday, January 27, 1998
Author: Danna Dykstra


... and a second chance at life

SAN LUIS OBISPO -- "You are all here because you have a problem with
drugs," Superior Court Judge Christopher Money said as he surveyed the
courtroom packed with probationers.

On this day, some 25 men and women -- each sentenced by the judge for
felony drug offenses -- wait among the throng of probation officers, drug
counselors and family members for their turn to be called to the bench.

They are people who admit to being drug addicts; people hand-picked by
Money himself. In addition to attending court-ordered drug programs, they
are required as part of their probation to appear once a month during the
lunch hour for a one-on-one chat with the judge.

Money calls these drug treatment reviews. By all accounts, the fledgling
program has been the most successful locally in curbing drug addictions.

Money, who was instrumental in launching the program, limits the number of
participants to about 35. In the six months since its inception, the judge
has "terminated" roughly a dozen probationers from the program because they
consistently attend drug treatment meetings and have made great strides in
turning their lives around.

The county Probation Department is seeking grants to expand the program to
three courtrooms. Federal funds are also being sought to pay for extensive
drug treatment services, something sorely lacking in this county, said
Probation Chief John Lum.

"Judge Money had the foresight to recognize that if we want to make an
impact on the problem of people addicted to substances, we need to do
something different than what we've been doing," said Lum.

Using Money's monthly review as a model, a team of representatives from the
Probation Department, the Public Defender's Office, the Sheriff's Office,
the District Attorney's Office and county Drug and Alcohol Services was
created to develop a uniform strategy for dealing with drug addicts.

The plan is to provide treatment services, from the moment a drug offender
is booked into County Jail, to more intensive scrutiny by probation
officers and other professionals whose common goal is to support the
recovery of alcoholics and drug addicts. While the concept targets adult
offenders, the goal is to ultimately expand to include juvenile drug

"I handle one-third of the felony calendar, and you can see from those
cases the magnitude of the problem we have in this county, mostly with
methamphetamine," said Judge Money. "These are people with tragic stories,
from all backgrounds and with great promise that was ruined because of
their addiction."

Money said by making people accountable and encouraging them to stick with
their court-ordered treatment, their chances of beating their addiction are
greatly improved.

Money recognizes part of the recovery process allows for occasional
relapses. He tends to be more lenient on those who are making an effort. He
chooses those for the program who indicate a willingness to work on their

For those who don't attend their programs, have lost contact with their
probation officers and don't show up for their monthly court appearances,
he issues a warrant for their arrest.

"It's amazing how many of these people are doing so well," said Gary
Joralemon, a deputy probation officer who supervises the adult felony unit.

"At sentencing the judge explains to certain people that he wants to see
them on a more regular basis. A lot of these people have never had a
success in their life; we don't have a lot of high achievers on probation.
So when they have a superior court judge pat them on the back and genuinely
wants to see them succeed, that really means something."

Once a month Money gives up a lunch hour to spend a few minutes asking each
participating probationer about his or her progress. He offers
encouragement even to those who admit to using drugs in the weeks since
their last informal appearance.

The judge then asks the individual's probation officer for an assessment of
the progress. "Why haven't you been to your NA meetings?" Money gently
probes one dark-haired man in his 30s, who said he works in construction.
"It's important that you go to these meetings -- you will not be able to
control your problem without them," Money continued. "I don't want you to

The man promises to attend more meetings. Like all probationers ordered to
Money's treatment review, he is then escorted to a room to meet with a drug
counselor. Sometimes those who show are tested on the spot for drugs in
their system.

Probation officers carry into court portable urine tests that give instant
results. Probationers who test positive for drugs are taken to jail.

At the judge's discretion, those who regularly attend treatment programs
and consistently test negative for drugs are dropped from the treatment
review program.

To be "terminated" from the program is a graduation day of sorts. The
probationer merits an emotional round of applause from the judge and all
those looking on in the courtroom.

One woman who appeared to be in her 40s told the judge she had a job and
hadn't tested positive for drugs for months. Her probationer officer

"I'm very proud of you," Money told the woman. Turning to her probation
officer, the judge continued: "Due to her success, I recommend that she be
terminated from the program."

Following a round of applause, the woman beamed as though she'd never been
applauded for anything in her life. Jay Aguilar said he has been addicted
to drugs since he was a boy growing up in Oceano. The 28-year-old father of
four girls said his latest drug of choice is heroin.

He said he hasn't used drugs for three months, and his probation officer
who pays regular home visits confirmed Aguilar's tests have been clean.

"Every day is recovery for me; I don't want to fail at this," Aguilar
assured the judge.

"I believe you," Money responded warmly. "I know it's hard. But I know you
can do it."

Outside the court room, Aguilar said his drug addiction has cost him his
family. He is currently separated from his wife and daughters, although he
is working to restore his family.

"You gotta want to change, or you won't," he said. "But it's the support
from the judge and my probation officer that has really helped. Judge Money
has given me lots of chances -- I think he really cares -- and these
monthly reviews give me something to think about when I'm out there on my
own. Every time I think about using, all I have to do is think, 'Wait a
minute -- I gotta face the judge,' and that picture in my mind takes the
desire right away."

Saying No To Drugs (Letter To Editor Of 'Orange County Register'
By Drug Awareness Chairman Of The Elks Club In Garden Grove, California,
Says People Opposed To DARE Want Its Funding
For Their Unspecified 'Political Agenda')

Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 17:38:28 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: LTE: Saying No To Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com


Officer Frank Caruso's Golden Pen Award is well deserved ["DARE's 'straight
talk' can be effective, "Talk Show, Jan. 25]. There are people out there
who would destroy the good work that he and others like him have
accomplished and would continue to accomplish.

If these people can convince the general public that DARE is not working
they will have access to those funds to further their own political
agenda. The fact is that Dare program is working.

Teaching youngsters the ramifications of using drugs, then letting them
decide for themselves to say no and be armed with a way to say it is "the
key to prevention."

Joe Pitta
Garden Grove

Mr.Pitta is a drug awareness chairman of the Garden Grove Elks.

Nevada Initiative Effort (Locals' Help Needed For Medical-Marijuana Campaign)

Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 09:28:13 EST
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: VOTEYES57@aol.com
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Nevada Initiative effort

ACT UP Washington has been contacted by a group of AIDS and cancer activists
in Nevada. They have asked us to help them qualify a medical marijuana
initiative in their state.

We have agreed.

We are currently working on connecting people from all across the state of
Nevada to build a working coalition of volunteer activists. The locals have
strong fund raising capacity and are individuals that we have worked with on
national AIDS policy in the past.

If any of you know of any individuals and groups in the State of Nevada or on
the borders of Nevada that would like to become part of Nevada's push to make
medical marijuana legal for people with serious diseases please contact

Steve Michael
ACT UP Washington

Group Upset Over Libraries' Rejection Of Marijuana Research Book
('Associated Press' Account In 'Boston Globe' Of Censorship
By Upstate New York School Libraries Of Zimmer & Morgan Book,
'Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts - A Review Of The Scientific Evidence,'
Donated By ReconsiDer, A Drug Policy Reform Group That Includes Doctors,
Judges And Law Enforcement Officials)
Link to earlier story
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 08:03:25 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US NY: Group Upset Over Libraries' Rejection Of Marijuana Research Book Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net Source: Boston Globe (MA) Author: Associated Press Contact: letters@globe.com Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 Website: http://www.boston.com/ GROUP UPSET OVER LIBRARIES' REJECTION OF MARIJUANA RESEARCH BOOK SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Cheryl Weeks recognized instantly that some people would take exception to a book that discredits what it calls the ``myths'' about marijuana. In a library, though, a diversity of viewpoints is a treasured goal. So Weeks, a Binghamton high school librarian, said yes to the book when some of her other peers said no. ``On most issues, such as abortion, birth control, we try to represent all sides. This was just one side of another issue,'' Weeks said Monday. ``Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence'' is earning praise as one of the most comprehensive reviews ever assembled about research on the drug. But Binghamton was the only one of five school districts in upstate New York to accept the book when it was offered as a donation by a Syracuse-based group that advocates a rethinking of what it calls the nation's failed drug policy. ``We don't see it as an advocacy book. It's a comprehensive review of the existing literature,'' said Nicholas Eyle, executive director of ReconsiDer. ReconsiDer, which includes doctors, judges and law enforcement officials, offered the book to high school libraries in five major upstate cities: Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. Albany and Rochester rejected the book outright. In Buffalo and Syracuse, the school districts' health committees are reviewing the book but are expected to turn it down too, said Eyle. Dave Albert, a spokesman for the Albany School District, said a veteran librarian reviewed the book and decided it was ``biased and one-sided'' and was contrary to school curriculum. Additionally, the high school library already has a number of books on marijuana in its collection, including one that deals directly with the legalization of marijuana, Albert said. ``It's a tough situation. We certainly don't want to censor anything. But on the other hand we want to make sure that the information is presented accurately in a non-biased way and that both sides are presented,'' he said. The Rochester school district rejected it on the same grounds, an official said. But Eyle scoffs at that reasoning, noting that nearly a third of the 233-page book is devoted to reference citations covering more than three decades of studies. It has earned praise from a wide spectrum of reviewers ranging from conservative William F. Buckley Jr. to Rolling Stone magazine editor-in-chief Jann Wenner. It has also been commended by both University of Virginia law professor John S. Battle, who was associate director of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse appointed by President Nixon, and Dr. Louis Lasagna of Tufts University, who authored the National Academy of Sciences 1982 report on marijuana. The book presents 20 assertions about marijuana, which the authors term ``myths.'' After citing the ``myth,'' each chapter cites sources for it and gives the authors' conclusion in one hundred words. An essay follows expounding on their reasons. ``We don't present marijuana as completely harmless but the information does dispel many of the myths and exaggerations that have been promoted over the years,'' said Lynn Zimmer, an associate professor of sociology at Queens College in New York City. She is one of the books co-authors, along with John P. Morgan, a pharmacologist from the City University of New York Medical School. The authors said they found that many claims regarding marijuana, while based on a kernel of truth, have been exaggerated, distorted or politicized to demonize a substance that an estimated 70 million Americans have tried. Among the ``myths'' refuted: -Marijuana's harms have been proved scientifically. -Marijuana is highly addictive. -Marijuana is a gateway drug to harder drugs. -Marijuana kills brain cells. -Marijuana impairs memory and cognition. -Marijuana impairs the immune system. -Marijuana interferes with male and female sex hormones. -Marijuana today is more potent than in the past.

Drug Education Suspended After Teacher Wears Officer's Loaded Pistol
In Classroom ('The Daily Gazette' In Schenectady, New York,
Says Johnstown School District Has Suspended Its DARE Program Indefinitely
And Teacher For Two Days After She Wore DARE Officer's Holstered Gun
Around Warren Street Elementary School)

Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 22:13:15 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US NY: Drug Education Suspended After Teacher Wears Officer's
Loaded Pistol In Classroom
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Walter Wouk 
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 1998
Source: The Daily Gazatte (Schenectady, NY)
Author: Jim Mcguire, Gazette Reporter
Website: http://www.dailygazette.com/
Contact: gazette@dailygazette.com


JOHNSTOWN - The Johnstown School District has suspended its DARE program
indefinitely and a teacher for two days after she wore the DARE officer's
loaded holstered gun around Warren Street Elementary School.

The Jan. 14 incident elicited statements Monday from Johnstown city
officials and Board of Education President Edith Grahn. City officials
contend that while Officer Jeffrey Dunn, instructor of the Drug Awareness
Resistance Education program, and second-grade teacher Jan Wenskoski acted
unwisely, the school board overreacted in deciding to halt the DARE program.

A prepared statement read by Johnstown Councilwoman Kay Cole, chairwoman of
the personnel committee, questioned and lamented the school board position.

"The Johnstown Police Department is being forced to end its involvement
with the DARE program . . . for the remainder of the school year," Cole said.

Cole said the school board is upset that Dunn "briefly allowed a teacher to
wear his holster and gun even though the gun was always safely secured in
the holster." While poor judgment was evident, Cole said, attempts to
"reach a compromise" with the school board failed. She said school
officials insist Dunn be removed as DARE officer.

Grahn said the DARE program will remain on hiatus while the board
investigates the matter and explores its options. "We do want him out of
the classroom for now," Grahn said of Dunn. She said the board will
probably discuss the issue Feb. 4.She said school officials are exploring
the possibility of using another police agency to teach the DARE program.
It was the board's position in an executive session conducted last week,
she said, that Dunn exercised "very poor judgment" in allowing the teacher
to wear his gunbelt.

A number of parents of elementary school children have notified the
district, Grahn said, that if Dunn returns to Johnstown classroom they will
not enroll their children in the DARE program.

One school official who asked not to be identified said that while allowing
the teacher to wear the gunbelt was a mistake, the children enjoyed the
spectacle of their teacher - who was also wearing Dunn's uniform jacket -
dressed as a police officer.

In the statement issued by Cole, she quoted Dunn as saying, "I feel that I
can make up for this mistake with a renewed commitment to helping the youth
of this community in other ways."

Cole issued the statement after an hour-long council executive session
attended by Dunn and Police Chief James Cook. "Hopefully we can turn this
unfortunate incident into something positive for the kids of Johnstown,"
said Cole, who emphasized the Police Department is evaluating alternative
methods of helping city children including sponsoring dances and other
recreational activities.

"We are going to continue to reach out to the kids," Chief James Cook said
in the statement.

Police officials said Dunn will probably receive a letter of reprimand.
Cook said there is no departmental policy regarding relinquishing control
of an officer's gun.

Police officials acknowledge the gun, a Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic
pistol, was loaded, but said the holsters are designed to make it difficult
for an untrained person to remove the weapon .Cook said Dunn, a former
deputy in the Fulton County Sheriff's Department, has been on the Johnstown
force for more than two years and DARE officer since spring.

Johnstown Central Council PTA officers reached Monday declined comment. One
PTA official, who spoke on the condition she not be identified, said the
incident constituted a serious lapse in judgment by both the officer and
the teacher. She said parents are upset.

Wenskoski could not be reached for comment. School Superintendent Joel
Pollak declined comment.

Tobacco Historically Given Little Media Coverage ('Mother Jones' Magazine
Faults Other US Media For Soft Coverage Of Smoking Industry - Which,
'Basically Had Everybody In Their Pocket' - Including The AMA)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 14:24:21 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Tobacco Historically Given Little Media Coverage
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: Mother Jones
Contact: x@mojones.com
Website: http://www.mojones.com/
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 1998
Note: "Mother Jones is a magazine of investigation and ideas for
independent thinkers."


ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In March 1968, three Army platoons searched a small
South Vietnamese village for Viet Cong. They didn't find any, but they
killed 347 unarmed men, women and children.

Investigative journalists unearthed the secret of the My Lai massacre more
than a year later. The stories spilled across front pages and filled the
airwaves, sealing America's revulsion to the war.

The body count at My Lai represents roughly one-third the number of
Americans who die each day from diseases linked to tobacco. Yet for much of
this century, the dangers of smoking received scant attention from
journalists who usually revel in ferreting out government scandals or
corporate malfeasance.

Some experts maintain that enough information about smoking's adverse
effects was out there in bits and pieces to warn smokers they were
indulging in a risky habit. That will be among the tobacco industry's
defenses in the landmark consumer fraud trial that opened last week in St.

The state of Minnesota and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota are
suing major cigarette manufacturers, seeking reimbursement for the medical
costs of treating smoking's victims.

Jurors will be asked to decide whether the tobacco industry conspired for
decades to promote a false public controversy about the perils of smoking.
The jury won't be asked another question: Was the press doing its job?

The industry may call witnesses who will claim consumers knew the risks
because the news media had long reported them.

Other experts maintain the full extent of smoking's risks weren't
adequately reported, and that the tobacco industry hid evidence of the

``I think there's no question that the media under-investigated the
story,'' said Richard Daynard, who heads the Tobacco Products Liability
Project at Northeastern University in Boston. ``The question is whether it
was bad journalistic judgment, or worse.''

``The media would get an `F' on all levels,'' said Dr. Alan Blum, a family
physician in Houston and founder of Doctors Ought to Care, or DOC.

Anti-smoking activists fear Daynard's worst assessment: that tobacco
advertising dollars bought silence from the media. Fearful of angering
advertisers and losing revenue, many publications shied away from in-depth
journalism on smoking, they contend.

``Journalists don't want to touch that one for a second,'' said Gene Borio,
whose online tobacco resource site has become a major clearinghouse for
daily information in the tobacco war.

The Tobacco Institute, the industry's trade group, declined comment for
this article, citing the pending litigation.

But the financial factor in the relationship between tobacco and the media
is considerable: In 1996, tobacco firms spent more than $657 million on
advertising, up substantially from the $512 million the year before,
according to Advertising Age magazine.

``They (journalists) don't even want to consider the connection between
advertising and editorial,'' Borio said. ``It's the reason we're in the
state we're in today. The tobacco industry was saying, `Trust us, this is
it.' They had more aggressiveness in getting their story out to the public,
and that was through advertising. It brought promulgation, and it brought
silence on the part of the media. The advertising established the fact that
if you ran a tobacco story, you threatened to cut a big hole in your
advertising budget.''

Or you threatened to get yourself fired, as then-journalist Paul Maccabee
discovered in 1982. The morning after he wrote a story for the now defunct
Twin Cities Reader on the Kool Jazz Festival, the alternative weekly's
publisher, the late Mark Hopp, called him into his office.

Two-thirds of the way into his music review, Maccabee wrote about what he
saw as the irony of a tobacco company -- in this case, Louisville,
Ky.-based Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. -- sponsoring a jazz festival
when so many jazz musicians had died from addictions to alcohol, drugs or

``The publisher said, `If I have to crawl to Louisville, Kentucky, on my
knees and beg them not to take their ads out of the Twin Cities Reader, I
will do that. Paul, you're fired,''' recalled Maccabee, who now runs a
public relations firm in Minneapolis.

``I was stunned,'' said Maccabee. ``It had never crossed my mind in a
million years that the publisher of an independent, muckraking weekly would
take action against a reporter who was poking in a music column. It wasn't
like I was doing a story on a surgeon general's report.''

The media haven't been afraid to investigate the government (the Pentagon
with My Lai, the White House with Watergate) or major corporations (Dow
Chemical, Monsanto, Exxon), but when it comes to tobacco, ``There seems to
be, even today, a lack of interest in pursuing really hot stories,'' said
Elizabeth Whelan, president of the American Council on Science and Health,
a consortium of physicians and scientists based in Washington.

Whelan, who has studied the connection between tobacco advertising and
media coverage of smoking, cited a story earlier this month on a California
biotechnology firm that pleaded guilty to conspiring with a tobacco company
to export high-nicotine tobacco seeds.

For the first time, the government charged a firm in a criminal case
related to alleged ``spiking,'' or artificially increasing, the nicotine
content in tobacco, something the industry long denied that it did.

``That got minimal coverage,'' Whelan said. ``I think that's incredible.''

Press coverage of tobacco-related issues has increased in recent years,
fueled by a flood of documents from lawsuits filed against tobacco
companies. The documents have shown that cigarette companies knew much more
than they were telling for years.

The tobacco industry presented a united front through the jointly financed
Tobacco Institute and the Council for Tobacco Research -- both largely
public relations apparatuses, according to internal documents released in

Much of the groups' work was disputing scientific studies that said tobacco
was harmful or maintaining the jury was still out on the dangers of
smoking. In a memo written in May 1972 by Tobacco Institute vice president
Fred Panzer to the association's president, Horace Kornegay, Panzer
described the group's strategy as ``brilliantly conceived and executed over
the years.''

Panzer wrote that their job was to ``cast doubt about the health charge''
by using ``variations on the theme that `the case is not proved.'''

But while Tobacco Institute spokesmen were telling the media that tobacco
wasn't addictive and it wasn't a drug, the industry knew it was. In a 1963
memo, Brown & Williamson's top lawyer, Addison Yeaman, wrote, ``Moreover,
nicotine is addictive. We are, then, in the business of selling nicotine,
an addictive drug effective in the release of stress mechanisms.''

And while the Tobacco Institute was denying any link between smoking and
cancer, industry scientists knew it existed. A 1946 letter from a chemist
for cigarette maker Lorillard to the firm's manufacturing committee stated,
``Certain scientists and medical authorities have claimed for many years
that the use of tobacco contributes to cancer development in susceptible
people. Just enough evidence has been presented to justify the possibility
of such a presumption.''

The May 27, 1950, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association
published the first major study definitively linking smoking to lung
cancer. The same issue carried another study that found 96.5 percent of the
lung cancer patients interviewed were moderate-to-heavy smokers.

Later that year, the British Medical Journal carried a study that found
heavy smokers were 50 times more likely than nonsmokers to contract lung

The general-interest media eventually got around to doing stories on the
issue. The December 1952 issue of Reader's Digest republished journalist
Roy Norr's groundbreaking article, ``Cancer by the Carton,'' which had
appeared a couple of months before in the Christian Herald.

The media's and the scientific community's growing interest in the health
effects of smoking motivated tobacco companies to form the Tobacco Industry
Research Council. Its creation was announced in a two-page ad that ran in
448 U.S. newspapers on Jan. 4, 1954.

Three months later, the council published a booklet, ``A Scientific
Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy.'' The booklet named 36 scientists
who questioned the harmfulness of smoking; it was distributed to doctors
and more than 15,000 members of the media.

Spotty media scrutiny continued, with some exceptions. In 1955, CBS-TV's
``See It Now'' program aired the first television show linking smoking with
lung cancer and other diseases. (Ironically, the show's host, Edward R.
Murrow, appeared on the program without his trademark cigarette. He died of
lung cancer in 1965.)

The 1964 Surgeon General's report on smoking was front-page news;
otherwise, there were few major or lengthy stories about tobacco, other
than occasional articles on quitting smoking.

In the search for journalistic ``balance,'' articles on smoking would
usually carry responses from Tobacco Institute spokesmen, ``and their
response was always given equal weight, and their response sounded so
silly,'' said Jeanne Weigum, president of the Association of Non-Smokers of

``The tobacco industry would get some savvy, bogus research written, get it
published someplace and then it would get quoted,'' said Weigum. ``Once
it's quoted in the legitimate media, it becomes fact, kind of an urban

Lawsuits have forced the cigarette makers to release many of their closely
guarded secrets, including their own research confirming that smoking was
unhealthy. Those documents have shown what the industry knew and when it
knew it, increasing media interest.

``I would say that up until relatively recently -- recently being the last
two years -- there has been proportionately very, very little coverage of
tobacco, based on the criteria of how many people it kills and the
ramifications,'' said John Banzhaf, a law professor and head of Action on
Smoking and Health in Washington. ``We now are to the point where the
litigation has brought out a lot of secret documents, and secret documents
create an interest in the press.''

Despite the criticism, most legitimate media have long maintained that
advertising doesn't determine what's news.

``There are in most newsrooms ... feelings of anxiety and even hostility at
any suggestion that advertisers should influence reporters or editors or
news policy,'' said John Seigenthaler, longtime editor and publisher of the
Nashville Tennessean and founder of the First Amendment Center. ``I think
in those days, it remained a matter of tension if anybody from the
advertising department came across the Berlin Wall that separated news from
the business side.''

Still, Seigenthaler said he can't think of any examples of investigative
journalism on the dangers of tobacco from the 1950s or '60s.

But Seigenthaler doesn't think advertising pressure affected news judgment.
In a view shared by others, he said reporters and editors were generally
apathetic about the health aspects of tobacco because many of them smoked.

``The culture was quite different, but I don't think editors or journalists
even thought about the health problems,'' he said. ``At least not until the
(1964) surgeon general's report, and really not until more recent surgeons
generals like (Dr. C. Everett) Koop really jumped on it.''

``The problem that I have always seen, and it's somewhat less insidious
(than advertising considerations), is just that the media didn't see it as
important or sexy to the public,'' said Banzhaf, of Action on Smoking and

Smoking, he said, ``is just not as exciting as AIDS. Smoking has always
killed 10 times more people than AIDS, but look at the publicity.''

Despite journalists' defensive assertions that their publications are
unswayed by advertiser pressure, a number of studies have shown a
correlation between how much tobacco advertising a magazine publishes and
how many negative stories it runs on smoking.

In one such study, Whelan, of the American Council on Science and Health,
examined 13 different women's magazines over five months in 1996. It
mirrored a similar survey she did a decade earlier.

``During this five-month period, no magazine carried a feature story on
preventing lung cancer (now the leading cause of cancer death in women) or
on smoking's role in causing cervical, pancreatic, bladder and other
malignancies, or on the prominent role of smoking as a cause of heart
disease,'' Whelan wrote of her study.

The magazines did, however, play up the risks of cheese addiction, the
toxic effect of displaced anger, dioxin in tampons, grilled meat and red
dye No. 3.

Coverage of tobacco issues in women's magazines has improved over the
years, Whelan said. When she did a similar study a decade ago, ``our
magazine surveys found no references whatsoever to the dangers of

In 1978, the Columbia Journalism Review surveyed seven years of leading
national magazines to gauge coverage of tobacco. The magazine said it
couldn't find a single article that would have given readers ``a clear
notion of the nature and extent of the medical and social havoc being
wreaked by the cigarette-smoking habit ... one must conclude that
advertising revenue can indeed silence the editors of American magazines.''

Cigarette companies haven't hesitated to pull their ads from magazines they
thought were being unfair.

In 1957, after Reader's Digest published two hard-hitting anti-smoking
articles, American Tobacco, maker of Lucky Strikes, dropped its ads.

One of the most famous such incidents involved the progressive magazine
Mother Jones, and it cost the magazine dearly. The January 1979 issue of
the magazine carried an article with the headline ``Why Dick Can't Stop

As a courtesy, the editors notified tobacco advertisers beforehand about
the article so they could pull their ads from the issue if they desired.
The tobacco companies responded by canceling their ads for that issue --
and several years' commitment for ads in Mother Jones.

Tobacco advertising was banned from television and radio in 1971. The
implementation of the ban was actually delayed a day to allow a final rash
of cigarette commercials to run during the Super Bowl.

The media are not solely to blame for scant coverage of the adverse effects
of smoking, a number of experts contend. Health professionals, particularly
the medical profession, are also at fault, said Robert Proctor, a professor
of the history of science at Penn State University.

``I blame the scientists as much as the media, if not more so,'' said
Proctor, whose book, ``Cancer Wars,'' was published in 1995. ``The National
Cancer Institute still only spends 3 percent of its budget on smoking, even
though smoking causes 30 percent of all cancers. I think that's pretty
scandalous. Science is much more political than we're willing to realize.''

Research on smoking's health effects has long existed in medical journals,
said Proctor. The first definitive links between lung cancer and smoking
were found by German physicians in the 1930s.

Even before that, a German study published in the 1780s linked lip cancer
to pipe smoking. British researchers linked nasal cancers to snuff in the
1760s, he said.

``Those were reported in medical journals, but I don't know if they were
reported in popular literature,'' said Proctor. ``Even the Indians probably
knew that tobacco caused health problems.''

Blum, the Houston physician who founded DOC in 1977, also believes the
scientific community must shoulder some of the blame for not widely
reporting tobacco's ill effects.

``The question that has not been asked is not what did the tobacco industry
know and when did they know it, but what did the health community know and
when did they know it?'' said Blum.

He cited the American Medical Association, the nation's largest physicians
group. A month after the landmark surgeon general's report on the dangers
of smoking came out in 1964, the AMA told the Federal Trade Commission that
it agreed with the tobacco industry that it wasn't necessary to place
health warnings on packs of cigarettes.

In a letter to the FTC, the AMA said that ``local, state and the federal
governments are recipients of and dependent upon many millions of dollars
of tax revenue' from the sales of tobacco products.

Two weeks before it sent the letter, the AMA accepted a $10 million grant
from six tobacco companies to do tobacco research.

``That meant that the AMA knew about it,'' said Blum. ``It's a scandal of
revisionism to the point where it doesn't matter anymore. All I'm saying
is, look who was in cahoots with the tobacco industry. Everyone has cut a
deal to hide their cahootness. The industry basically had everybody in
their pocket.''

Montana Prison Still Calm A Week After Tobacco Ban (Eighty Percent Of Inmates
At Facility In Deer Lodge Smoked Or Chewed Tobacco - No Riot Yet But Warden
Mike Mahoney Says, 'It's A Little Early' - Officials Admit Money That Inmates
Would Have Spent On Illicit Drugs Is Being Used To Buy Tobacco - Guess Who Profits)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 14:29:40 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: NYTimes: Montana Prison Still Calm A Week After Tobacco Ban
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: New York Times
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 1998


HELENA, Mont. -- It sounds like a recipe for trouble. Ban all forms of
tobacco in a prison where 80 percent of the more than 1,200 inmates and
half the guards smoke or chew tobacco.

But a week after the total ban started at the State Prison in Deer Lodge,
officials said last week, there had been no trouble.

``It's a little early,'' said the warden, Mike Mahoney. ``We probably don't
have all of the tobacco out of the institution. As we do shakedowns and
find stashes, we might start seeing more withdrawal.''

Some inmates said tensions had increased. ``As with most addicts, the first
day or two you cut them off it's OK,'' said Greg Jellison, who has been
serving a sentence for robbery for 12 years. ``But things are starting to
get a little nasty. The guards are nitpicking.''

Over several months, officials had gradually reduced the number of
cigarettes inmates could buy at the canteen. Starting on Jan. 1, no tobacco
was sold, and inmates were supposed to turn in personal caches.

``We didn't provide any nicotine gum or nicotine patches,'' said a
Corrections Department spokesman, Mike Cronin. ``But we did provide
counseling, and that seems to have kept trouble from brewing.''

The prison physician, Dr. Robert D. Jones, said the prisoners could expect
it to be six to eight weeks before overcoming withdrawal symptoms.

The Montana ban is part of a national trend toward tobacco-free prisons.
California, Florida, Maryland, Texas, Vermont and Utah are among the states
with varying prohibitions on smoking in prison.

The primary reason, officials say, is economic. Because the justice system
is handing down longer sentences and the prison population is growing
larger and older, health costs are increasing.

Another factor is a growing number of inmates' suits against the
authorities, contending that they had suffered from exposure to secondhand

But smoking continues in places, and some prison officials say money that
inmates would have spent on illicit drugs is being used to buy tobacco, in
effect creating a black market for cigarettes.

Banning cigarettes in prisons has not been easy. In Vermont, officials
instituted a ban on all tobacco in 1992 and then partly rolled that back,
allowing smoking outside.

``It's difficult for people who haven't been able to conform to the basic
rules of society, with negative reinforcement, to give up something they're
addicted to,'' said Michael O'Malley, director of security and operations
for the Vermont Corrections Department.

Vermont relented, he said, because prisoners ``were picking up disciplinary
reports and being put into higher levels of custody for essentially smoking
in the boys' room.''

``The largest number of people in maximum custody were there for smoking,''
O'Malley said.

Inmates can possess cigarettes, but not matches and lighters, which have to
be kept outside.

Texas, which banned smoking in 1995, has stuck to a hard line. Officials
maintain a complete ban.

That does not mean that the institutions are smoke free. Cigarettes are
contraband, with a single cigarette selling for as much $5 or $1 for a
couple of puffs. Inmates smoke on the sly, with one prisoner standing next
to an air vent while another watches for guards, in return for a few puffs.

Texas has had one disturbance over the policy. ``It occurred over which
gang would control tobacco,'' said a spokesman for the Criminal Justice
Department, Larry Fitzgerald. ``Tobacco has become very valuable.''

Banning smoking also means that the prison workers have to comply. In
Montana, around 200 employees at the prison, including guards, signed a
petition against the smoking ban, concerned that it would threaten

Extending the ban to employees is ``the only legitimate way to do it in
this kind of environment,'' Mahoney said. ``Staff will need to be counseled
and advised.''

One inmate, Dennye Harris, predicted that there would be problems in a
month or two. ``That's when all the tobacco will be gone,'' Harris said.
``There will be a lot more confrontations. Right now, when stress builds,
people walk away and have a cigarette as a way of calming down. I was
addicted to PCP, and kicking PCP was nothing compared to cigarettes.''

Harris, who has been an inmate for 12 years, said he quit smoking four
months ago.

Some inmates said they were nervous about the potential effects of the ban.
``Inmates are talking about having sitdowns,'' said Jellison, who added
that he did not smoke.

``Most people get killed in this prison over stupid things,'' Jellison
said. ``It would be a real shame if someone lost their life over a

James Brown Faces New Charges ('Los Angeles Times' Says Godfather Of Soul
Busted For Marijuana, Guns - Recently Released From Treatment
For Painkillers)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 01:47:15 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: James Brown Faces New Charges
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Pubdate: January 27, 1998


AIKEN, S.C.--James Brown was arrested Tuesday on charges of possession of
marijuana and unlawful use of a firearm, less than a week after he was
released from a hospital where he was recovering from misuse of

The "Godfather of Soul" turned himself in Tuesday afternoon and was charged
with two counts of unlawful use of a firearm while under the influence of
alcohol or a controlled substance and simple possession of marijuana,
sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank said.

He was released on bond, Frank said, but the deputy did not know the amount
and court officials could not be reached for comment.

A woman at Brown's Augusta, Ga., office who would not give her full name
disputed that late Tuesday. She said Brown had been at home and at
rehearsal all day. Brown's attorney, Buddy Dallas, could not be reached
for comment.

The charges stem from evidence that deputies found at Brown's home when
they went to take him to the hospital under a Probate Court order. A police
report that listed the case as a "mental transport" said they found guns at
his home, but did not mention marijuana.

Brown was released from a hospital in Columbia Jan. 21 after nearly a week
of treatment.

Epilepsy Sufferer Is Big Game To Cops (Canadian Medical Marijuana Patient
Terrorized By Edmonton Police, Who Tell Him They're There
'Because We Had Been Too Vocal' Over Marijuana Laws)

Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 12:59:45 +0100
From: Dan (chaplain@hempbc.com)

Epilepsy Sufferer is "Big Game" to Cops

By Dan Loehndorf

Ken Kirk uses marijuana to control his epilepsy. Sure, he grew a few
plants to supply himself with medicine. But the only "harm" he has ever
done was against ignorance. As pope of the Reformed Druids, a group
which believes prohibition is illegal, he has spoken repeatedly about
the benefits of marijuana and hemp. Unfortunately, at 3:30 in the
morning, on January 20th, ignorance took the opportunity to strike back,
in the form of the Edmonton Police Department.

In "big game" safari style, the police armed themselves with
outrageously superior weaponry to hunt an unarmed, peaceful being who
was doing nothing but minding to his health. It wasn' t enough just to
bag their game, however, they also wanted to destroy his home and
humiliate him.

First they smashed his door in with a battering ram, then they lobbed in
smoke and concussion grenades. The rug and a chair melted, and a
chandelier was blown to pieces while white fog filled the room. Then the
Edmonton Police Force stormed in carrying rifles and shouting "Get the
fuck down now! Get the fuck down!"

From his bedroom, Ken Kirk could hear the noise. He and his partner 
stayed in their covers. Then the bedroom door was 
kicked in, and the two were dragged naked from their bed and to the
floor. Mr Kirk was then forced to watch while a police officer crushed
one boot into his partners back, pinning her against the rug. The great hunter
had bagged his game, and was now posing, rifle and all, for the
traditional conquered-prey photo op.

"When I think of it," says Mr Kirk, "it makes me more angry than
anything I've witnessed in my life."

Kirk quoted his rights as a Canadian. He informed the police that he was
using marijuana to control his epilepsy. He recited parts of the Terry
Parker Supreme Court ruling. He kept on talking even after a police
officer approached him with a threat. "Shut up or I'll kick in your

Just as Ken Kirk began wondering why an offense less serious than a
traffic ticket was being enforced so brutally, events took a more
sinister turn. The arresting officer, Constable Thomas Farquhar, led
them to the living-room and spoke soothingly to Ken and his partner.

"He wanted us to reevaluate our lives because we had been too vocal in
the past, too visible," recounts Mr Kirk, They'd quit busting us and
leave us alone if we shut up.

During the raid the police seized 7 budding pot plants, 3 little clones,
and 1/2 oz of dried material from male plants. They also stole marriage
pictures, mason jars, an old friend s legitimate obtained RCMP cap, a
cardboard box, and lists of friends phone numbers.

"Of course the bust has inspired us to be even more vocal. We have
freedom of speech! I believe these intimidation tactics were used by the
gestapo [in WWII Germany] as well," says Mr Kirk.

Ken Kirk goes to court on February 26th, where he will plead "not
guilty" and begin a challenge similar to Terry Parker's, which saw a
victory for medicinal marijuana in Ontario. He also plans to argue for
religious use.

Meanwhile, the police continue to violate Canadian's constitutional
rights, to destroy their homes, to assault them and steal their medicine
- all in the name of a law created for the excuse of protecting our

If you wish to offer support to Ken Kirk, he may 
be reached at the following e-mail address:
Ken -- mailto:dr.kenkirk@mailexcite.com


From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Re: CC: Epilepsy Sufferer is "Big Game" to Cops (fwd)
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 17:04:37 -0800
Lines: 62

-------- Forwarded message --------
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 16:15:55 -0800
From: Eliezer Dvir (eliezer_dvir@bc.sympatico.ca)
To: creator@hempbc.com

Re: CC: Epilepsy Sufferer is "Big Game" to Cops

Cannabis Canada wrote:
> Epilepsy Sufferer is "Big Game" to Cops
> By Dan Loehndorf
> Ken Kirk uses marijuana to control his epilepsy.
> Meanwhile, the police continue to violate Canadian's constitutional
> rights, to destroy their homes, to assault them and steal their medicine
> - all in the name of a law created for the excuse of protecting our
> health.

Dear All:

I am not only being denied the access to this medication, but am also being
denied access to medical treatment in any form. Please note my Website at:
http://www3.bc.sympatico.ca/eliezer_dvir/ You will find more disgusting
information (violations of REAL laws, which destroyed my life, basically,
and which I have no access to justice for).

I am 'living' in constant, unremitting agony, with neuromuscular spasms
that are totally uncontrolled without either the herbal medication or the
chemical replacement (to which I am being presently denied) - clonazepam.
If there is any help you can offer me relative to obtaining legal
assistance in order to gain access at least to some form of positive
medical treatment (my area of travel is extremely limited, even with the
electric scooter I use - I can barely make it to the shop on Hastings [I
'live' only about 8 blocks from there] to visit more than once in three or
four months - or the HandyDart system or any other form of transportation;
all of this based purely on the fact that I am not physically capable of
travelling more than about 16 blocks [round-trip distance]), to which all
Canadians have the right to.

Please feel free to contact me at any time relative to these matters. If
you have any practical, realistic advice, PLEASE contact me A.S.A.P.; I am
not exactly a well person, as I am sure you will understand, and require
this advice urgently. If you are familiar with any physicians that are
truly compassionate people and will make a home visit, that is what is
currently necessary (through no fault or involvement of my own), purely
because of the fact that I have been denied access to medical treatment for
a lengthy period of time already, and my physical condition is so poor that
going anywhere out of my front door to my apartment is a virtual
impossiblity at this point.

Most sincerely, Mr. Eliezer Dvir

P.S. There are numbers of people associated with the crowd that are more
than familiar with me and the situation I am involved in that can provide
you with information regarding this (Sasha, Christine, Hillary), and I am
sure they will be more than willing to answer any other questions you may
have that I have not covered here.

Most sincerely, Mr. E. Dvir

Roll Up (Britain's 'Guardian' Writes About Howard Marks On The Occasion
Of The UK's 'Favourite Drug Dealer' And Recent Candidate For Parliament
Giving A Reading At The Smoke-Filled Shepherd's Bush Empire In London -
Welsh Hempster And Indiana Ex-Con Authored 'High Time - The Life And Times
Of Howard Marks' And 'Mr Nice')

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 19:45:12 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: UK: Roll Up. . .
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Source: The Guardian (London, England)
Contact: letters@guardian.co.uk
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 1998


Andy Beckett meets a 'star' who really has
the joint jumpin'

Jupes and Dav are two Asian lads from Slough,
about the same age as Jack Straw's son William.
Last Friday evening, as the east wind stabbed into
west London, they were shuffling around on the
pavement, with a purpose in mind that might trouble
the Home Secretary.

'We can't give you our real names,' said Jupes. Beneath his big new coat,
his slim feet were skittering about. 'My mum doesn't know I smoke
cannabis.' He had a plastic bag in his hand. It held something weighty and
rectangular, perhaps the size of a paperback. And that was what it was: a
dirty-edged and creased copy of the autobiography of Howard Marks.

The cover photograph was sly and familiar: dark eyes, open shirt, the
solicitous smile of 'Mr Nice', Britain's favourite drug dealer. Behind
Jupes and Dav, poster-size, it was all over the front of the Shepherd's
Bush Empire. Marks was due to read there in an hour. Dav had bought
tickets. Jupes was chattering faster and faster: 'I've read the book - it's
wicked. I'm definitely going to get him to sign it ... He's so charismatic.
I've seen lots of clips of him on telly.' He caught his breath. 'I'd vote
for him.' There were more willing constituents inside. The Empire holds
about a thousand people; Marks hadn't quite managed that but the alcoves
were heaving. There were students, sensible young men with gelled hair and
older men with suits and briefcases. There were many women, at least two
wearing pearls. There were couples and the odd hippie, wandering from wall
to wall. Men in expensive overcoats, with no-messing faces, made mobile
phone calls.

Then they sat down and laughed. Marks had done this before: the
half-stagger onstage, the slouch among his props (bottle of whisky, bottle
of wine, enough weed for a tour), the gentle bobbing of his big stoner's
head, a shaggy emblem, still, of his great days in the seventies. He told
the stories well. He did his Oxford scrapes from the sixties, as his Welsh
valley lilt rose and fell; then his pot-smuggling through southern Ireland,
his pints with co-operative IRA men, his pipes with productive Afghan

And as he talked, he smoked. His joints were so fat that bits dropped from
them. He began an anecdote about a dope factory in Kashmir, took a long
pull, smiled, and forgot how to continue. The cheers brought him round. In
every row, fingers were busy with Rizla papers. After an hour, the theatre
was a pale-grey haze.

It was time for the Q&A. Queues formed behind microphones. The questioners
pursed their lips and tried not to giggle. Did Howard have any drug money
stashed away? 'There may be a safety deposit box somewhere.' Had he tried
Ecstasy? 'Yes. It was an injection of pleasure.' What did he think of
skunk? 'I get out of my head on skunk, yeah.' And the Welsh rugby team? The
state of the Rhondda? The state of the IRA? The final questioner just
thanked Marks for coming. A well-dressed young man said, to laughs and
applause: 'You made me want to go out and be a drug smuggler.' Howard Marks
is 52. He has a face as creased as an old banknote. He is always stoned.
Yet over the last three years, since he emerged from prison exile in
Indiana, he has become what the New Musical Express can unblushingly call
'an all-round counter-cultural figurehead'. That face is almost a logo now:
tobacco brown, with its puff of white spliff smoke and tumble of black
curls, grinning at gigs and gallery openings, in nightclubs, on magazine
columns, record sleeves, websites, flyers. Marks has been booked by the
Shepherd's Bush Empire for three more Fridays. Ticket prices are up from
#10 to #12 and a national tour will follow. Sales of Mr Nice, which has
been out for a year and a half, are still accelerating. At Virgin
Megastores, it is stacked beside Hanif Kureishi and Irvine Welsh.

Howard's two agents would expect nothing less. David Godwin, the literary
one, also represents Arundhati Roy, the last Booker Prize winner; James
Herring, the theatrical one, does Frank Skinner and David Baddiel for
Avalon Promotions, the most prominent comedy agency. Week by week, Marks
keeps all these interested parties happy: he goes on television; he chooses
records in Melody Maker; he writes for Loaded and the Big Issue; and, most
usefully perhaps, he runs an Internet site that promotes all his projects.

These are overlapping and various. Besides the readings, there is the audio
version of Mr Nice. And a voiceover for a dance record (Happy 'n' High). A
T-shirt ('Time Well Wasted'). Appearances on discussion panels. Attempts to
get arrested for pot smoking. Attempts to get elected to Parliament. An
application for the post of government 'drugs czar'. Cleverly, each stunt
and spin-off carries the banner of cannabis legalisation. Marks seems to be
campaigning, not cashing in.

Many a hippie, however, has had an eye for a cottage industry. Far from
slackening his ambitions, Marks's hourly joints and japes have made them
palatable. Last summer, for example, he made a film about sloth for Channel
4. 'I know society sees me as slothful,' he began, as he shuffled, in his
wreck of a shirt, along seething London pavements. 'Idle. Stoned most of
the time. The worst kind of sinner in today's work-obsessed world... ' A
dozen sentences later, he had advertised his life story, the plot of Mr
Nice, and his clear suitability for documentaries.

Marks is just as smooth to interview. He looks impeccably shambolic: his
trainers untied, a teenager's puffa jacket with 'Drug Enforcement' on the
back, a purple record bag swinging from his stooped shoulders. He flops in
a leather armchair and reaches straight for his Rizlas. Then he talks about
work: 'I'm still full of improvements I'd like to make to the show. Like
changing the presentation... And I might want sponsors for the pot-dealing
game on the website. They could have their own flags on the board.' His
wide charmer's eyes flick up: 'I'd only accept makers of psychoactive
products, of course... ' Marks's mobile phone lies on the table in front of
him. He has a notebook in his front pocket. In his dealing days, as his
publicity always mentions, he had '43 aliases, 89 phone lines and 25
companies'. He still lives for the trill of the quick opportunity. This
means, in effect, very little stoned lounging at all: 'I'm terribly active.
[As a dealer] I worked terribly hard, harder than anyone I knew. I still
do. I get up early and I work.' He always has. Before his five dead years
in prison, even before his two decades as the supplier of - if you believe
him - a tenth of the world's marijuana, Marks was an industrious lad. At
school in South Wales, he worked for his O-levels with 'obsession and
tenacity'. He got 10, 'with very high grades', became head prefect, then
escaped down the M4 to Balliol College at Oxford.

Mr Nice plays this part of his life, like the rest of it, for laughs:
Marks's Elvis impersonations, Marks's blunder through college etiquette,
the female students' surrender to his earthy valley charms. Yet the
quick-witted pragmatism of all this stands out just as sharply. Marks left
Oxford with a network: contacts for getting pot, certainly, but future
famous authors (Redmond O'Hanlon) and journalists (Lynn Barber) too.

For the next two decades, Howard gave them gossip. His small village of
disguises, his escalating scams, his entanglements with MI6 - all these
brought 'the fame I'd longed for ever since I was a weak swot at school'.
Marks started a publicity sideline 'to get off on the glamour and
notoriety', giving an interview to Tatler and collaborating on his first
biography, High Time: The Life And Times Of Howard Marks (1984).

Being caught, in 1990, only swelled his profile. Lynn Barber was on hand,
at the Independent On Sunday, to offer 4,000 words of sympathy to 'an old
boyfriend of mine'. And while Marks was in Indiana, trying to humour crack
dealers (he taught English - he didn't 'slouch it'), he kept popping up in
the diary columns of the posher English newspapers: in 1992, signing a
petition for pot legalisation; in 1993, as Bill Clinton's supposed
predecessor at 46 Leckford Road, Oxford. This newspaper interviewed him in
prison, at length. Literary agents watched out for an early release.

When it came, in April 1995, David Godwin was the quickest. He had worked
on High Time; this time, he was on the phone to Marks within a day. He flew
to Marks's house in Majorca, stayed the weekend and suggested Marks write
an autobiography. Godwin got the first chapter the same week. Marks got a
contract for #100,000. His publicised plans to become a prison lawyer were
quietly put aside.
Super Furry Animals album cover
The marketing of Mr Nice was a small masterclass
in advertising synergy. Barber did another
interview, and Marks said he had stopped
smoking pot. A rising Welsh band called
the Super Furry Animals put him on their
album cover. The Guardian ran a
serialisation and in September 1996, when
the book went on sale, the Super Furry
Animals kindly released a single called
Hangin' With Howard Marks.

Lots of people still wanted to, he swiftly
realised. After being out of circulation, in
jail and on the run, since the mid-eighties,
Marks looked less like a wearisome hippie
and more like a prophet of the new and vast
British drug culture. He started giving talks:
at the back of bookshops, at Megatripolis,
a kind of monthly indoor Glastonbury in
London, at the Oxford Union debating
society. A lot of the time, too, Marks
himself just hung around, leaning against
walls in clubs, receiving admirers and
rolling joints, just talking in his soft,
confiding way. The chuckle still worked.
Last year he decided to stand for
Parliament, in three seats at once.

The Legalise Cannabis Party did not win terribly many votes in May: 765 in
Norwich South, 512 in Norwich North and 388 in Southampton Test. But that
was only partly the point; he was also winning customers. 'There were
hordes of people following him around,' says one of Marks's campaign
workers. 'Everything he said, everything he did, was quotable.' Over the
summer, Mr Nice was selling about 1,000 copies a week. Its author was
reading to audiences of 50 or 60, who'd paid a few pounds each.

Then, in the autumn, the Shepherd's Bush Empire took a risk. Instead of
booking a band as usual, the theatre would buy space in the music press and
sell Marks instead. 'Come and meet him. You'll like him,' ran the publicity
line. In November, a thousand people did. By the end of the month, Mr Nice
was doing 2,300 copies a week, by the middle of December 3,300, by
Christmas 5,300. 'Charm sells books,' says Godwin. 'It sells and sells and
sells.' Last Friday at the Empire, there was a lady of 59 in the back row.
She had a tartan shawl over her shoulders and tucked-in, tidy hair. 'This
is not my cup of tea for an evening,' she said, as the techno hissed and
thumped from the interval sound system. 'I usually go to the West End to
see a good show.'

Marks, however, had her approval. For a start, his family had been
neighbours in Wales: 'They were more middle-class, we were more
working-class.' And he had made something of himself. 'He's an icon. It's
like going to see Tom Jones.' She glanced at the stage and the smoke
drifting to and fro. 'I've never taken the stuff myself. But all this is
very interesting. He's been involved with the IRA and he's been involved
with the Mafia ... I must read the book.' Marks and his agents have plans
for further products. The BBC is working on a four-part 'drama-documentary'
based on Mr Nice. There is a feature film coming. Marks's publisher talks
about 'different markets'; Godwin wants him to go to Australia, then write
a history of marijuana and a film script about a fictional drugs scam.

Marks, meanwhile, wants to be what his young fans most admire: a DJ. He
tried it at after-show parties for the Super Furry Animals. Then he remixed
one of their singles last year, another tribute to him called The Man Don't
Give A Fuck. It was their biggest hit (number 16). He has started getting
bookings: this Friday he is playing at The Kitchen, a club night in

Marks sees only one problem: 'I have no musical talent.' He smiles and the
middle-aged sag in his cheeks disappears. Self-deprecation is another
talent. The success of Mr Nice 'astonished' him; it will, he says, acting
the Oxford man again for a moment, 'necessarily be a transient interest'.

This is probably wise. There is a certain risk, after all, in being a man
past 50 who tells magazines he likes speed garage. And being a senior
hipster could get boring: 'If it came to be something I just trotted out
for a bag of money ... I hope. . .' He laughs, 'I'd make the right
decision. I don't want to be rubbing shoulders with Richard Branson.' For
all Marks's stories and his links to dangerous and mysterious persons, he
is a mild kind of ex-criminal. He knows it, of course. 'There's a certain
respectability in my brand of anti-establishmentarianism,' he says
smoothly. And, in a way, he is quite old-fashioned, with his gentleman's
adventures abroad and his profits from a public appetite for minor
naughtiness, or at least for the retelling of it.

The Shepherd's Bush Empire was a safe, slightly smug place last week, warm
with the laughter of mutual recognition. The real modern drug-taking was
probably going on outside: on the grey estates, in the fine white terraces,
without jokes or showing-off or any sense that it was out of the ordinary.
Were Howard Marks to get bored of spin-offs, or were his cannabis campaign
to make progress, he would not be short of customers.

Organised Crime In Edinburgh - How Much Fiction Is Fact? ('The Scotsman'
Examines The Flood Of Films, Novels And Television Dramas Depicting Glasgow
As A Very Criminal Capital, But Finds Little Evidence Organised Crime Exists There
At All)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 19:45:31 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: UK: Organised Crime in Edinburgh: How Much Fiction is Fact?
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Source: Scotsman
Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 1998


Films, novels and TV dramas all depict a very criminal Capital. Have they
got it right? Martin Hannan checks out the underworld

THE imminent arrival of teams of beautiful, slim prostitutes from Chechnya
has created understandable panic in Edinburgh's sleazy saunas.

In the concrete enclaves of "outer Edinburgh", the drug dealing "Home Team"
has beaten off the unwanted attentions of incomers from Paisley.

Outside a Leith pub, a man who started a fight was beaten to a pulp by the
pub's bouncers. The baseball bats were found in the bouncers' den.

Of the above three scenarios, only the last is "real life" and the others
are most definitely fiction, plucked from the pages of recent crime writing
set in Edinburgh.

There has never been as much crime writing set in the Capital, but how much
of it merges with observable fact? How realistic are the portrayals of the
criminal underbelly of this outwardly prosperous place? Does the fact
measure up to the fiction in Janus City?

The fiction certainly involves variety. In just one recent book, Ian
Rankin's The Hanging Garden, Edinburgh was invaded by Yakuza gangsters from
Japan, a Nazi war criminal, and very nasty heavies from the drugs trade in
Paisley, including one Mr Big muscling in on another Mr Big's patch with
blood-spattered results.

The fiction writers suggest that organised crime - pimping, drug dealing
and protection rackets - are rampant in the city. The reality is somewhat
more prosaic, according to a senior detective in Lothian and Borders CID
who says bluntly: "There is no real organised crime in Edinburgh."

Some years ago the police in Edinburgh deliberately switched resources into
intelligence-gathering, and it has paid handsome rewards. Surveillance
operations and a whole host of informants across the city keep the police
in the know, and now no-one is allowed to get too big for their boots. Nor
is there any noticeable Mafia or other external influence in the city.

As for anyone moving into the city," says the detective, "we'd know about
it very shortly afterwards. Edinburgh's criminals protect their patch."

With the police and city councils relaxed views of prostitution as
practised in the city's numerous saunas, there is little scope for gross
exploitation of prostitutes. The Mr Big of that world apparently owns just
three saunas.

Rumours of "security firms" engaging in a war over protection rackets are
just that - "rumours, and dodgy at that" according to the detective. Even
the soccer casuals' activities are waning.

The crime statistics, too, show that in Edinburgh, as in the UK as a whole,
violent and sexual crimes are still a very small proportion of total crime.

By far the biggest number of reported crimes in Edinburgh concern acts of
vandalism. But even here, the Capital comes out well when compared with
other cities.

While the drugs trade remains a worry, the police and Customs and Excise
have had one major success recently. The man who was Edinburgh's undisputed
"Mr Big" is now in prison with 27 years of his 28 year sentence still to
serve. At the age of 53, Roderick McLean lived a life of opulent luxury
with a smart town house in Inverleith Row, a mansion overlooking Granton
Harbour and luxury cars aplenty.

But his fortune had been built on drugs.

It was rumoured that he was protected because he was a police informer, a
charge strenuously denied by both him and the police. He went too far,
however, when he linked up with the Octopus, the Dutch Mafia, in an attempt
to smuggle three tonnes of cannabis worth #10 million into Scotland.

The smugglers' boat was intercepted at sea and McLean tried to burn the
evidence with tragic results - customs officer Alastair Soutar was killed
as he tried to board McLean's boat.

Roderick McLean, whose neighbours had no idea of his evil trade, was
arrested and his criminal gang smashed. Legal moves to recover his
ill-gotten gains are under way.

McLean's greed brought him jail but showed the possible extent of
Edinburgh's real crime problem. Because crime in Edinburgh is massively and
overwhelmingly related to drugs.

Curiously it is on screen and not in novels that drugs are seen to be
Edinburgh's "theme". Trainspotting and Looking After Jo Jo, which both star
Robert Carlyle, have portrayed a drug-ridden milieu unimaginable to a
Morningside matron, but a daily reality to the residents of parts of
Sighthill, where much of Jo Jo was filmed.

They are not the first films to chronicle the Edinburgh drugs scene. Writer
Peter MacDougall's powerful Shoot for the Sun starring Brian Cox and Jimmy
Nail was the first film to do so in the mid-Eighties. It depicted Nail,
then a new star, selling drugs to children, and caused a minor sensation.
Outraged residents of the schemes in which it was shot were falling over
themselves to criticise its vivid portrayal of junkie life in Edinburgh.

MacDougall says: "People did not believe that such things were happening,
or perhaps they didn't want to." Now Jo Jo is covering much the same ground
as MacDougall's earlier work and is being lauded for its authenticity.
MacDougall commented: "I have not seen Looking After Jo Jo. I don't need
to. I wrote it many years ago."

Sighthill was the background for most of the exterior shots for
Edinburgh-born director John Mackenzie's series, and in the rain and cold
northerly wind, the bleak angular concrete flats look even less
prepossessing than on television.

The series is a major hit in these parts, and not just because local people
were in it, but everyone around Sighthill emphasises that it is a piece of
history and has no relation to present day reality.

Kerry McCutcheon and Brian Nicholson live near to the locations for
filming. Their verdict was a "brilliant" chorused in unison. McCutcheon,
18, says: "It's very realistic. That must have been what it was like back
in the early Eighties. But the drugs scene is different now."

Nicholson adds: "The area's cleaned up now. There's no much hard stuff
here. If you want smack (heroin) then Aberdeen's the place."

Donna Kinsey, 19, lives in Hermiston Court, which overlooks the place where
Jo Jo McCann is supposed to have lived. She says: "Everybody around here
has been talking about it. The area is no longer like that, they say. When
I first came here I was warned about the crime rate, but I have never been
bothered and have good neighbours."

Asked if it is realistic, another woman resident comments with a dig at
Robert Carlyle's accent: Na, we don't talk like that.

Some people are sensitive, however. The run-down and slightly shabby
Sighthill Hotel, familiar to many journalists who trained at nearby Napier
College, shows the door to reporters.

High in the flats overlooking Sighthill, however, are individual houses and
rooms which are known to be places where drugs can be obtained. Often with
several locks, these houses are the homes of known dealers, but so discreet
are they that neighbours have no clue as to what is going on behind those
closed doors.

Frank Deasy admits that he wrote Looking After Jo Jo as a "period piece",
but he warns that the ingrained drug culture of many areas has bred a new
generation of offenders. "Jo Jo's generation had children, children who
grew up in drug-addicted households, accustomed to violence and
manipulation. They will be a generation with an awesome capacity for crime
and violence. For them, the economic and chemical imperative of drug
addiction mean that social taboos on violence have broken down."

Although Dublin-born Deasey set his drama in Edinburgh, the same problems
could be found in any city, he says: "It could be Glasgow, Dublin or any
British city. That it was set in Edinburgh was pure fluke."

That will come as no relief to the city's tourist board, which is not
commenting but is known to be less than happy at such a depiction of

Back in the mid-Eighties, drugs were so openly available that a Channel 4
reporter once filmed a binman selling dope off the back of his van to
children outside council flats in north Edinburgh.

Heroin was plentiful and relatively cheap, but the modern generation has
switched to softer drugs, especially E - Ecstasy - and prescription drugs
which are easy to obtain.

A senior member of the drugs squad says: "There are now different trends
from the Eighties. Back then, the outbreak of HIV had a real effect on drug
usage in the Lothians. Users stopped injecting smack and a lot of good work
was done through the methadone (heroin replacement) programme. People
involved with drugs also keep to their own areas and we have seen no
evidence of any mass organised syndicate working throughout the city."

Criminal lawyer John Scott agrees: "There's no evidence of a drugs boss or
a cartel, but drugs and drink are involved in 95 per cent of the crime I
deal with. Drug users undoubtedly have switched from heroin to prescription
medication like Temazepam and Diazepam, but there are still some hard drugs
about, especially, funnily enough, in the better-off areas."

Violence follows drug usage almost automatically, yet Scott maintains that
most violence is still domestic, committed against someone known to the

"They maybe have a disagreement with their partner or friend and it gets
fuelled by drink and drugs and the next thing you have a fight," he

The man in charge of policing the city centre is Superintendent Alex Brown,
whose fictional counterpart in The Hanging Garden is neither as young, fit
or slim as this former stand-off for Lismore Rugby Club.

He confesses: "I've not even read the book yet."

Again, fiction and fact diverge. Supt Brown is more likely to be dealing
with recalcitrant drunks than heavyweight gangsters. "The chief current
issues are street disorder associated with late night drinking. I'm not
sure that's very much of a story for a writer."

As to the Mr Big who allegedly plagues his patch in The Hanging Garden, he
is not known to the real police at St Leonard's. "There is no-one of such
status that we could class him in that category. There is also not any
sense of organisation and structure in Edinburgh's crime."

So have the writers just made it up? Yes, says Quintin Jardine, author of
the acclaimed Skinner novels featuring an Edinburgh detective.

Jardine's next publication - Skinner's Ghost - is the seventh in the
series. He says: "My books are about cops and robbers, about Skinner
chasing the murderer.

"I go out of my way to make them accurate but not to the point where the
reader gets bored. Yes, I make up the crimes, and use Edinburgh as a
backdrop because it is the place I know best.

"The police in Edinburgh are doing a very good job and crime is falling,
but I like to think that Ian Rankin and I are helping to improve their

Rankin, whose novels feature Inspector John Rebus, says his "baddies" are
based more on Glasgow characters such as the dead "drugs godfather" Arthur

He adds: "I don't pore over the newspaper looking for real-life cases, but
I do sometimes use real incidents, like the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) coming
to Britain, and extrapolate them, give them an Edinburgh setting."

Rankin also has a cautionary tale for those who blend fact and fiction. He
says: "My previous book Black and Blue rested on the theory that Bible John
was alive and well. The week before the book was due to come out,
Strathclyde Police started digging up a suspect's grave in Lanarkshire. I
was on to them for months waiting for the investigation to end. If it had
been Bible John in the grave, my book was sunk.

"My mates joked that I should change his name to Testament Tam, but it
wasn't funny - you have to be very careful when you are dealing with real

* Additional material by James Kirkup.

Results In The Summer Of Heroin Blackspots Studies ('Irish Times'
Quotes Chris Flood, Irish Minister Of State
With Responsibility For Drugs Strategy, Saying Three Studies In Dublin
And Another In County Cork, Will Assess What Services Are Needed
In Areas Most Affected By Heroin)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 14:06:37 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: Ireland: Results in the Summer of Heroin Blackspots Studies
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Source: Irish Times
Contact: lettersed@irish-times.ie
Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407
Author: Catherine Cleary
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 1998


The results of four studies into services for areas worst affected by
heroin should be available by the summer, according to the Minister of
State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, Mr Chris Flood.

Three of the pilot projects, announced last week by the Government as part
of the 30 million young people's facilities and services fund, are in
Dublin. The fourth is in Togher, Co Cork.

The Dublin project areas are: the north-east inner city; the canal flat
complexes of St Michael's House, Dolphin House, St Teresa's Gardens and
Fatima Mansions; and Jobstown.

Speaking at the publication of the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI)
policy document on youth and drugs, Mr Flood said 750,000 earmarked in the
Budget would be spent on finding out what was needed in the areas.

The pilot projects would develop a "more focused and better co-ordinated
response by the statutory authorities to the needs of the communities".

He denied the 30 million allocation represented a U-turn in the
Government's position on funding for youth services. The funding was the
result of "deliberations" by the Cabinet sub-committee on social inclusion.

The president of the NYCI, Ms Jillian Hassett, said the announcement had
"given an important boost to organisations working against drugs." She said
strategies should "build on the experience and expertise of organisations
already working in this field" and they should have a strong youth

The council policy on drugs opposes the legalisation of cannabis. It
recommends prevention measures, harm reduction strategies, drugs education
and involving youth organisations in anti-drugs initiatives.

Council vice-president Mr Malcolm Byrne said 40 per cent of young people
identified drugs as the most important social issue, "ahead of crime, ahead
of unemployment".

The chairman of the Ballymun Local Drugs Task Force, Mr Sean O Cionnaith,
said governments had tried to ringfence the drug problem in working-class
areas. "It's about attempting to tackle a problem which the politicians
ignored for years. If we're to be serious about saving people from drug
deaths, 30 million is a beginning. But it is only a beginning."



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