------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Problem's No Secret (Letter To Editor Of 'Bulletin' In Bend, Oregon, Responds To Its Article About Poly-Drug Abuser, Asking, 'What's The Point?') Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 20:02:42 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: MN: US OR: PUB LTE: Drug Problems No Secret Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Curt Wagoner (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sunday, 15 Feb 1998 Source: The Bulletin Page: F-2 Author: Gerald Sutliff, Emeryville, Calif. Contact: email@example.com Mail: My Nickel's Worth, 1526 NW Hill St., Bend, OR 97739 Website: (http://www.bendbulletin.com) DRUG PROBLEMS NO SECRET I read in the Bulletin's recent series on youth drug use of Lequita Twete's difficulties in surviving her drug addictions and wondered what is the point? Perhaps you intended it as a warning to parents. We parents were, or should have been, aware that there would be many hazards "out there" when we had our children. The headline "Drugs not a problem? Think again" suggests that there are some who believe otherwise. Such believers will be hard to find. Perhaps it is intended to be a warning against reforming or liberalizing our prohibitionist drug laws. That's pointless too, because, as the article makes clear, drug law reform cannot make "Illegal" drugs anymore available. Drug abuse is a problem that is made worse by prohibitionist drug laws. If experience is our guide we must predict that Ms. Twete will fall off the wagon again. Should that happen, she will not be helped by being sent to prison, where daily life is a dreary, unrelenting challenge and drugs are plentiful. Finally, she did not do a "Clinton" when she first tried marijuana. She tried it, she liked the experience and/or the people associated with it. She kept looking for better, stronger drugs that would give her respite from whatever devils were pursuing her. Many people use drugs, both legal and illegal, every day without becoming abusers. Good luck and my best wishes to Ms. Tewte.
------------------------------------------------------------------- DARE Fails Test (Letter To Editor Of Bend, Oregon, 'Bulletin,' Says Last Sunday's Fear Fest About Illegal Drug Use By Teens Just Shows DARE Has Been Ineffective)Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 19:39:08 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US OR: PUB LTE: DARE Fails Test Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Curt Wagoner Pubdate: Sunday, 15 Feb 1998 Source: The Bulletin Page: F-2 Author: Curt Wagoner Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: My Nickel''s Worth, 1526 NW Hill St., Bend, OR 97739 Website: http://www.bendbulletin.com DARE FAILS TEST I would sincerely like to thank Jeff Nielson and Greg Bolt for their enlightening articles in last Sunday's edition concerning teen drug use here in Central Oregon. They showed us unequivocally what failures prohibition and the war on drugs truly are. It also showed us what a failure the expensive and unsuccessful DARE program has been considering most of the kids in Central Oregon have participated in these classes. Can you spell a-c-c-o-u-n-t-a-b-i-l-i-t-y ? The DARE program needs to be scrapped for the piece of garbage that it is and the sooner the better.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot, Trust, Truth In Legal Tangle ('The Herald' In Everett, Washington, Says Local Defense Lawyers Are Crying Foul Over Government's Use Of Attorney Mark Mestel's Own Private Investigator As Confidential Informant Implicating Him In Cannabis Cultivation Ring)Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 14:04:34 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: Pot, Trust, Truth In Legal Tangle Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb. 1998 Source: The Herald, Everett, WA, USA Contact: email@example.com WebPage: http://www.heraldnet.com Section: B, Page 1 Author: Scott North and Jim Haley, Herald Writers Note: You can contact Scott North by phone at 425-339-3431 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jim Haley can be reached at 425-339-3447 or at email@example.com . POT, TRUST, TRUTH IN LEGAL TANGLE Mark Mestel is one of the best defense attorneys in Washington, a veteran of more than 400 jury trials, from multimillion dollar lawsuits to death penalty cases. The compact and muscular Everett lawyer also is an expert in wing chun kung fu, a Chinese martial art known for rapid-fire hand strikes. It's no wonder, then, that in the courtroom, Mestel has a reputation for pulling no punches. Police and prosecutors in Snohomish County learned long ago to regard him with wary respect: Make an error in a criminal investigation, Mestel will exploit the lapse. Lose focus on the witness stand, he'll hand you your head. For most of this decade, Mestel's sidekick has been Dale Fairbanks, a former Sultan police officer turned private investigator. A large man with a warm smile, Fairbanks has an uncanny ability to get witnesses to relax, to talk, to maybe say more than they intended. The skill has led to the identification of murderers and the exoneration of innocent people. The working relationship between Mestel and Fairbanks was so close that, up until a few months ago, the detective-for-hire had an office in the basement of the lawyer's Moose Tower building in Everett. But no more. Their futures and reputations are now snagged in a messy legal tangle resulting from the dismantling of a large marijuana-growing ring that operated in Stanwood and Eastern Washington, starting in 1994. At issue is the credibility of both men and the legality of the federal government's decision to use Fairbanks as a secret informant in the drug case. Mestel had served as an attorney for at least three of the nine defendants charged with conspiring to grow marijuana and to hide drug money in business investments. Area defense attorneys are crying foul over the government's tactics, protesting that Fairbanks' involvement may have breached the confidentiality guaranteed between attorneys and their clients. Prosecutors and police, meanwhile, contend the case is about dope, pure and simple, and argue in court papers that this is a situation where criminals abused their relationship with a respected lawyer to "obstruct justice and perpetrate a fraud on the court and the government." A pivotal hearing to determine whether evidence gathered in the case can be used at trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle. In 1996, Mestel made a bid to become a state Supreme Court justice. Although he finished third in the statewide election, the attorney drew 127,000 votes and was ranked "exceptionally well qualified" by a majority of Puget Sound lawyers. One of Mestel's campaign billboards stood along I-90 in Eastern Washington, on the property of Greg Haynes, a Warden man now charged in the pot-growing conspiracy. Mestel's relationship to Haynes is now central to the case. Fairbanks has testified in federal court, under oath, that Haynes sent Mestel marijuana, and that the attorney allegedly filed documents misleading judges about who might be involved in the drug conspiracy. Court papers show Haynes, Mestel and Fairbanks met each other in 1994, after Haynes retained Mestel to help him respond to allegations that he had sexually assaulted a north Snohomish County woman. No charges were filed. Later that year, a fire in a barn in Stanwood led authorities to one of the hidden pot farms federal prosecutors allege was run by Haynes. Vehicles found at the scene of the fire connected the blaze to the Eastern Washington defendants. Mestel and Fairbanks worked to keep the Stanwood property from being seized and sold by the government under laws designed to strip drug traffickers of their assets. That civil case concluded in 1995, court records show. Fairbanks became a government informant in January 1996 court records show, after the ring allegedly resumed its activities, setting up shop in an underground pot-growing operation buried beneath an alfalfa field at Warden, a windswept hamlet near Moses Lake. The private investigator's integrity has been the focus of a blistering attack by Haynes' current attorney, Allen Ressler, who wants a federal judge to throw out the case against his client. In court papers, he alleged that Fairbanks began sharing secrets about the pot ring with police as early as 1995. The private investigator was promised $150,000 by the government for his work, and detectives "heartily exploited" that relationship, he alleged. "The government's systematic invasion of the attorney client relationship merits dismissal of the indictment," Ressler wrote. In an interview, Fairbanks denied the reward money was a factor in his decision to work as an informant, and maintained that federal agents offered him compensation well after the case began. The reward is not contingent on whether anyone is convicted, he said. Mestel also has publicly weighed in against Fairbanks. At a federal court hearing in August, Fairbanks testified he delivered marijuana from the Warden farm to Mestel at Haynes' request. The investigator also alleged Mestel took legal steps to hide Haynes' involvement in the earlier Stanwood pot-growing operation. Mestel flatly denies the allegations. "He testified that he brought me pounds of marijuana, and it's simply not true," Mestel said. "I have no comment other than the allegations against me aren't true." "Don't you think with my reputation (as a drug-case defense lawyer) that, if they had information I was given marijuana, they'd be down in 10 minutes with a search warrant?'' he added. Mestel, at his own expense, took and passed a lie-detector test in September, denying he received drugs from Haynes, court records show. Early this month, Fairbanks, at his own expense, took a lie-detector test regarding his testimony about Mestel. He, too, passed, according to documents that he showed The Herald but as yet are not part of the court record. In response to the dueling polygraph results, Mestel pointed to transcripts of an October hearing in U.S. District Court, where a judge questioned Fairbanks' credibility after defense attorneys highlighted inconsistencies in the investigator's grand jury testimony. After years of working with defense attorneys, Fairbanks said he's not surprised to find himself under attack. "If you can't try the case on the merits of the case, you try the witnesses," he said. "That's what is happening here." Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Whalley declined comment on whether federal investigators are looking into Fairbanks' allegations about Mestel. He did note that all but Haynes and one other person charged in the federal drug conspiracy have pleaded guilty and are now awaiting sentencing. One of the defendants who has pleaded guilty is former Mestel client Todd Hollibaugh. Hollibaugh is prepared to testify that he and others in the drug ring conspired to dupe Mestel into supplying the court with documents that hid Haynes' alleged involvement in the Stanwood marijuana farm, according to court papers. Further, Mestel's polygraph results show he had no knowledge that ring members resumed growing marijuana underground after the fire, Whalley said. The attorney-client relationship cannot protect fraud, nor can it protect activity the lawyer knows nothing about, the prosecutor said. Fairbanks' involvement in the pot case surfaced in July, shortly after dozens of federal, state and local law officers unearthed the Warden pot farm and found several hundred plants. Federal prosecutors are involved in the case not only because of the amount of marijuana seized, but also because the defendants allegedly engaged in a large-scale money laundering conspiracy. The case has become a rallying point for the state's criminal defense lawyers. The government's use of a defense lawyer's investigator as a paid informant undermines the presumption of confidentiality that is key to the attorney-client relationship, said Mark Muenster of Vancouver, president of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Defense lawyers have summoned volunteers to consult with Mestel clients who want an independent evaluation of their cases to determine whether Fairbanks' past involvement gives them grounds for legal action today. "Picture yourself in place of one of Mark Mestel's clients," Muenster said. "You wouldn't have confidence if the government used the same investigator as your lawyer, unbeknownst to your lawyer." The ability of attorneys and clients to freely share information without fear of prying eyes is a cornerstone of the legal system, said Muenster, whose brother, John Muenster, is Mestel's former law partner. "No lawyer can represent clients if he has conflicts of interest," Muenster said. The same is true of the lawyer's employees, including the investigator. "He can't have two masters. He can only have one." For his part, Fairbanks insisted he kept a clear line between work he did on Mestel's cases and work he did on the drug investigation. "I have 27 file boxes for cases that I've worked on since 1989 or 1990," Fairbanks said in an interview. "Each contains many files. I would challenge anybody to find one case -- one -- in which I provided information to any law enforcement agency that was contrary to our client's interests." Fairbanks also said he never was a direct employee of Mestel, and frequently found himself working both sides of a case, at different times. One client, the Snohomish County PUD, has employed Fairbanks for years to help investigate power thefts, the majority of which turn out to involve indoor pot farms. Fairbanks said he has helped law officers prepare search warrants leading to arrests and charges for several people who later became Mestel clients. Fairbanks said he decided to talk with drug detectives about Haynes during the summer of 1995, after the man allegedly became friends with Mestel and then tried to recruit Fairbanks as a security adviser for his pot-growing enterprise. Fairbanks alleged that the final straw came when Haynes put marijuana in his car for Mestel. Whalley said he specifically instructed the investigator in writing that the government was not looking for a snoop inside a lawyer's office. "I instructed him that I do not want to know about Mestel's clients, or any client, except a client who is involved with you in an ongoing crime. Period. I wrote it down and gave it to him to read," Whalley said. The federal prosecutor also said Fairbanks made the legally correct call in notifying authorities about the Warden drug operation. When somebody is approached and asked to engage in criminal conduct, "he has three choices," Whalley said. "He can say, 'No,' and just break it off completely. He can say, 'Yes,' and not tell anybody and become a co-conspirator. Or he can tell the police." Shortly before the case went public, Fairbanks went into the pawnshop business and put aside private investigations for the time being. Fairbanks said he bears Mestel no ill will and regrets the legal fallout. "We both will probably take a lot of personal loss over this, whatever that may be -- business, friendships, acquaintances," he said. At the same time, he's not apologetic for assisting police. "A good friend of mine told me 'You are either part of the problem or part of the solution,' " Fairbanks said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Sonny Bono Was Not Drug Free After All (List Subscriber Recounts And Speculates About Seattle 'Post-Intelligencer' Item Saying Late GOP Senator From California Had Valium And 'Another Sedative' In His System) Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 23:37:07 -0800 (PST) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Darral Good) To: email@example.com Subject: HT: Sonny Bono was not DRUG FREE after all. Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com On page A-3 of the Friday P-I [Seattle Post-Intelligencer] there was this little bit of news that the Republican congress probably does not want to be mention on talk radio (oops TOO LATE - I already have) The Republican congressman Sonny Bono's toxicology results were released by the Nevada cops on Thursday. The tiny article (sorry I didn't bring it with me tonight) started out saying that he was not on drugs or alcohol (but alcohol is a drug). Then it went on to mention that trace amounts of Valium and another sedative WERE FOUND (Drug free MY ASS) It had some words from the California (he died in Nevada) poison control center spokesperson that the tiny amount probably played no part in the congressman running into a tree. I probably agree with that. I think it was KARMA for his Republican agenda of welfare reform and salvage logging. BUT what really burns me up about this whole thing is how come it takes SO LONG for a congressman's drug test to come up positive compared to say, an Olympic snowboarder? And I know that Valium goes out of the body pretty quick. that means he could have been on it at the time of death. And IF he had a prescription (you can bet I'm going to try and find out) HOW COME they did not mention that to the press RIGHT AWAY? And if he was on Valium and "another unknown sedative" why did they need any tests to find out? Couldn't they have asked his DOCTOR? Or did the good Republican get his medicine from an alternative source?
------------------------------------------------------------------- QuickTrading Company Site Update (Fred Quick Of QuickTrading Book Company, A Top Seller Of Cannabis-Related Titles, Offers Ecstacy For Half-Price Over Web - $10 Book Debunks Myths About Rave Drug, Both MDMA And Herbal Form) Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 23:21:02 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Fred Quick) Subject: QTC Site Update At Long Last Quick is Back With: * A Brand New Look * Bud, Plant, and Garden of the Month * All New Ask Ed Online * High-Tech Hydro Tips SPECIAL OFFER: Order a copy of Ecstasy through Quick online and receive it at half-price ($10.00). Ecstasy debunks several myths about the 'rave' drug through frank discussion about the uses and effects of both synthetic and herbal ecstasy in contemporary culture. The book includes a full color section with photos from Burning Man and top U.S. rave clubs. This is a limited time offer. COMING SOON: ED ASKS BACK. Ed challenges you to a monthly competition available only through Quick online. Answer a new question from the Guru every month. The best answer wins prizes. We apologize for the delay in remodeling our web site. We've been hard at work on several new Ed Rosenthal titles arriving in bookstores and online in March. Please continue to submit your questions to Ask Ed Online. A free grow book goes out for each question Ed answers. Take it easy, Stoners. Fred Quick *** Quick Trading Company * Quick Trading Archives * Quick Trading Online www.quicktrading.com - Online home of Ask Ed and your complete source for information on marijuana cultivation and much more... Send your comments, questions, and suggestions to Webmaster@quicktrading.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Will Fear Again Rule The Neighborhood? ('Los Angeles Times' Examines Infusion Of Resources Beginning Four Years Ago By City Of Los Angeles In Unprecedented Effort To Salvage Alvarado Corridor, A Once Fashionable Neighborhood West Of Downtown That Had Degenerated Into West Coast's Largest, Most Violent Market For Illegal Drugs) Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 14:55:08 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Will Fear Again Rule the Neighborhood? Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Bartman
Source: Los Angeles Times Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.latimes.com Pubdate: 15 Feb 1998 Author: Dan Weikel, Times Staff Writer SPECIAL REPORT * Despite reassurances by the LAPD, which is changing or ending two programs credited with helping slash crime and make streets safer in what is still the West Coast's worst open drug market, residents wonder. . . WILL FEAR AGAIN RULE THE NEIGHBORHOOD? Four years ago, the city of Los Angeles undertook an unprecedented effort to salvage the Alvarado corridor, a once fashionable neighborhood west of downtown that degenerated over the years into the West Coast's largest, most violent market for illegal drugs. The Los Angeles Police Department pumped about 120 additional officers into the area, turning it into a laboratory for a law enforcement strategy that melded traditional police task forces with community-based programs formed to address the "quality of life" block by block. At the same time, other city departments, which for years had ignored pleas by police and neighborhood activists, finally began to grapple with the widespread urban decay that had contributed to the area's high crime rate--cutting, for example, the time it took to get streets repaired, buildings inspected and trees trimmed. Today, arrest records and experts' assessments indicate that the Alvarado corridor is still the West Coast's largest drug bazaar, but it isn't what it used to be: the illicit equivalent of a pharmaceutical outlet mall. Reports of violent crime have declined in each of the last four years. The number of homicides has plummeted from 149 in 1992 to 52 in 1997 in the LAPD's Rampart Division, which polices the corridor. Crimes of many sorts have fallen even more dramatically within the two-square-mile corridor. But whether the city can extend the substantial gains of the last four years is uncertain. As part of his drive to reorganize the Police Department and hold his commanders more accountable, Chief Bernard C. Parks is altering or dismantling two of the most popular and successful programs that have helped reverse the tide in the corridor. His approach includes moving the officers in charge of community-based policing back into patrol cars--a citywide policy--and terminating the nearly 2-year-old Narcotics Enforcement Team, which put 10 to 12 extra patrol officers per shift on the streets of the Alvarado corridor. The team was disbanded this weekend. Despite assurances from Parks that police service will improve in the long run, some local activists and Neighborhood Watch leaders who have spearheaded anti-crime efforts are not so sure. "Anyone can see that these programs have worked," said Bertha Wooldridge, president of Westlake Protectors, one of the largest Neighborhood Watch groups in the corridor. "Police visibility will be gone, and drugs might get to be as blatant as they were before. We cannot let our guard down." The corridor lies within two of the city's poorest and most neglected neighborhoods--Pico-Union and Westlake. It is bordered by 3rd Street on the north, Pico Boulevard on the south, Union Avenue on the east and Hoover Street to the west. Alvarado Street divides the area. In the middle is venerable MacArthur Park. When the drug market peaked in the early 1990s, more people were murdered, robbed and assaulted in and around the corridor than in any other part of Los Angeles. Drug dealers, many of them gang members, openly worked the major streets and intersections, where they hailed passing motorists, including Mayor Richard Riordan during an official tour with the neighborhood's councilman, Mike Hernandez. Customers poured in from everywhere back then, and their BMWs, Chevrolets and Toyotas blocked traffic as they queued up to buy. Shantytowns of homeless addicts sprang up overnight. Law enforcement was so overwhelmed that frustrated citizens tried in vain to disrupt the market themselves with baseball bats, bullhorns and spotlights. "It was as if the world had gone mad," said Sgt. Brian P. Gilman, who was assigned to the corridor in the early 1990s. "I remember all the people who milled around MacArthur Park at night looking for crack. Through the smoke and haze of the bonfires, they looked like something out of Dante's 'Inferno' or 'Night of the Living Dead.' " Police sweeps of that park--once home to more than 1,000 addicts, drug dealers and transients--provided only temporary relief, because arrested traffickers were soon replaced by a new crop of dealers. Worse, the crackdowns spread drug dealing into the surrounding neighborhoods. After a slow start, things began to change in Rampart, the busiest of the LAPD's 18 divisions. The frequent turnover of station commanders was halted. Audits indicated that the station was 50 sworn officers short of its full complement of 300, a situation that was corrected. Eventually, that staffing was increased to 400, not counting the Narcotics Enforcement Team members, who were on loan to Rampart from the other 17 divisions. In September 1995, the LAPD launched a series of drug and anti-gang task forces in the corridor that lasted until July 1996. About 700 people were arrested. Reported robberies dropped 31%, burglaries declined 28%, assaults dropped 9% and car thefts were reduced 17%. The downward trend has continued to this day, helped along by a 1997 court injunction restricting the activities of 18th Street, the largest gang in Southern California. "Four years ago, we committed ourselves to cleaning up the area," said Capt. Nick Salicos, Rampart's commander for 4 1/2 years. "It has been very difficult. Personnel is limited. We've robbed Peter to pay Paul. Now people are telling me it is better than 10 years ago." Part of that improvement can be attributed to community-based policing as practiced by the department's senior lead officers and the Narcotics Enforcement Team, which maintained an intense and visible police presence in the corridor. Until now, the department's 182 senior lead officers have been responsible for making community-based policing work on the street. Instead of making arrests and solving specific cases, their main assignment has been to eliminate the conditions that contribute to crime. Senior lead officers acted as liaisons between the public and the department. In the Alvarado corridor they tackled such problems as a robbery-plagued bus stop and public nuisances, like abandoned buildings that were havens for drug users and the homeless. Senior Lead Officer Teresa M. Velez helped revitalize the intersection of 7th Street and Burlington Avenue, which had been overrun by transients and drug dealers. Two blocks away, she coordinated the efforts of at least eight city and state agencies to raze Hope House, an abandoned halfway house on South Bonnie Brae Street that had become home to 200 transients and drug addicts. The city is trying to establish Hope and Peace Park at the site. The Police Department is in the process of returning Velez and the other senior lead officers to patrol. Parks wants their old duties to be shared by all patrol officers and their sergeants in an attempt to infuse the whole department with the community-based policing philosophy. The chief says he hopes to avoid the lack of support for community-based policing and internal resentment that can result from a "split force," which assigns some officers to community-based duties while the vast majority of their colleagues perform traditional roles. "Senior lead officers should not be the only ones who do community-based policing," Parks said. "We need to spread it through the department to be more effective. Specialized officers or units are not always the answer." Critics question whether patrol officers and sergeants will have time to perform their new duties in addition to making arrests, maintaining order and solving individual crimes. Some fear that the police will become less accessible under the new policy. "I have mixed feelings about the changes," said Tom Coyle, an executive of the Los Angeles County Medical Assn. and former chairman of Westlake Neighborhood Watch. "If community-based policing is still given a priority and the sergeants and officers attend meetings with the public, then I think the plan can work." But Coyle said he doubts that officers will have time for community-based policing when they are swamped by an inordinate number of crime reports and calls for service in a division whose crime rate is still high. "It looks like they are taking away the catalysts that have helped make the gains possible," Coyle said. "It used to take six or seven hours to get a patrol car to respond to a burglary. There are so many radio calls in Rampart Division, officers will have little time to do anything else." In response to such concerns, Parks said sergeants will have more clout in getting city departments to respond because of their higher rank. The public can still bring concerns to station commanders or to a senior lead officer under the reorganization plan, he added. "We are going to slowly walk the public through these changes, so that no one is left behind," the chief said. While the department remakes the duties of the senior lead officer, it has done away with the Narcotics Enforcement Team, which some supporters called a model of community-based policing. The experimental program was designed to help push drug dealing off the street by creating an obvious police presence. The team, which took the field in April 1996, was made up of 22 officers supervised by three narcotics detectives. The team patrolled a shifting square-mile area of the corridor. The job was mostly nuts and bolts police work, two shifts per day, five days a week. Team members gathered intelligence for narcotics investigators, broke up drug deals, monitored gang members and checked out suspicious circumstances. Their patrol cars were like plow horses, going up and down the blocks. "You're not going to make the 'French Connection'-type of bust in this unit," said Det. Rick De Martino, head of the operation, before it ended. "When we are on the street, people aren't afraid to get out of their homes. They are able to get their laundry and shopping done without dope dealers and gangbangers bothering them." Since the team appeared on the corridor's streets, reports show, serious crimes--especially robberies and assaults--have dropped 8 to 10 percentage points more than in the rest of the Rampart Division. In 1996 alone, Rampart reported a 27.6% decline in reports of eight serious crimes, from murder to burglary. In the areas patrolled by the Narcotics Enforcement Team, the drop was 34.5%. But as he prepares to hold his field commanders more accountable, Parks, as a matter of fairness, wants all officers on loan to other divisions throughout the department returned to their original assignments. "People think [the Narcotics Enforcement Team is] a good concept, but it took resources away from other divisions that need resources," the chief said. "We need to let the bureaus decide how to use their resources before we ask them to give up their resources." Parks said that if the Central Bureau, which oversees the Rampart Division, wants to, it can come up with mini-teams to replace the Narcotics Enforcement Team in the Alvarado corridor. He noted that the bureau has 1,800 officers. "Central Bureau does not want the problem to return, and it will work to keep the problem down," Parks said. "The chief of the bureau says he has the resources to deal with the situation." In addition, the number of sworn officers in Rampart will remain at the expanded 400. But community activists, some veteran narcotics officers and Councilman Hernandez, who represents the Pico-Union and Westlake areas, contend that the narcotics team was one of the major reasons drug-related crime dropped in the corridor. They did not want it to go, considering that the corridor has the worst drug problem in the city. "We've managed to get the lid back on the boiling pot," said former Westlake Neighborhood Watch chief Coyle. "The number of hands is now slipping off the pot. It's getting harder and harder to keep the lid on." Hernandez, who has worked to bring more city services, commercial development and police officers to his district, said he would try to have the Narcotics Enforcement Team reinstated. "It's effective, and the need exists," he said. "You solve problems by dealing with them until they are solved." Narcotics agents say drug trafficking still pervades the corridor, and could mushroom on the streets again if law enforcement is reduced. Felony drug arrests in the Rampart Division have actually been climbing, from 3,393 in 1992 to 3,785 in 1996, some of the highest figures in the department. In many parts of the corridor all it takes is a nod or a hand sign to the right person and a dealer will emerge from around a corner or the alcove of a business. Buyers still cruise certain blocks in their cars, flashing $20 bills to get the attention of dealers. "It's better than it used to be, but it's still horrible out there," said Det. George Lusby, who heads an undercover narcotics unit in Rampart. "There certainly is the potential for the reemergence of open dealing on the street." Another veteran narcotics officer, who requested anonymity, was more blunt. "We've been lucky to have [the team] for two years. Without it, the corridor could revert to the way it was. I give it a month." A few weeks ago, during a meeting at Esperanza Elementary School in the heart of the corridor, the commander of the Rampart Division tried to dispel some of these worries in front of 25 concerned citizens and Neighborhood Watch leaders. Parks' proposals would not cripple crime-fighting capabilities, Capt. Salicos said, because other units would assume some of the Narcotics Enforcement Team's responsibilities. "We've had a phenomenal drop in crime for four years," Salicos told the group. "Things are going well right now. It's premature to start gnashing your teeth. Don't start writing letters to the chief. You will lose credibility." But John Mills, who has headed the Los Angeles chapter of More Advocates for Safe Housing for 10 years, still vividly recalls the days when stray bullets from drive-by shootings penetrated the walls of his 10th-floor apartment on Union Avenue. Once, he was almost hit. "I just don't know," he said after the meeting. "In this game, in this town, police visibility means a lot. I wish they would leave things as they are."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Predatory Billboards Encourage Addictions (Dick Gregory In 'San Francisco Examiner' Applauds Removal Of Billboards By What He Says Are Predominantly African American And Latino Communities Where Tobacco, Alcohol Industries Use Them To 'Push Their Drugs') Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 22:57:48 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: Predatory Billboards Encourage Addictions Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Frank S. World"
Source: San Francisco Examiner Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.examiner.com Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 Author: Dick Gregory PREDATORY BILLBOARDS ENCOURAGE ADDICTION WE ARE TAKING them down. In the foreseeable future, alcohol and tobacco billboards will be just a bad memory, a sad reminder of the alcohol and tobacco industries' predatory marketing practices. When I say "we," I mean the predominantly African American and Latino communities where the tobacco and alcohol industries use billboards to push their drugs. The industries would not dare install in suburban areas the ads with which they paper the inner cities, because they know it would not be tolerated. The underlying racist assumption that this is somehow all right is an insult to the integrity of our communities and the fabric of our nation. The ads tell a cruel lie. They tout alcohol and tobacco as sources of happiness, good sex, success and power. Their imagery includes scantily clad women, musicians, tigers and other fierce creatures, genial frogs and penguins. Yet the truth is that alcohol and tobacco cause untold suffering, death and despair, particularly among our young people, and rob our communities of their strength and vitality, We cannot turn off billboards, cannot turn the page. They tower over our homes, playgrounds, schools and businesses. They blight our neighborhoods. One study in a Latino community found that children had to pass by as many as 60 alcohol advertisements on their way to school every day. What kind of message is this to our young people, who already face such formidable barriers as they come of age: racism, sexism, economic oppression, violence, poor schools and job shortages? According to the alcohol and tobacco industries, the best promise we can offer them is the temporary quick fix of addictive drugs. The big alcohol and tobacco companies use their tremendous political and economic muscle to convince politicians to leave their marketing practices alone. When that doesn't work, they hire teams of attorneys to find every potential loophole in the law. Perhaps most brazen is their claim of First Amendment protection. When it comes to billboards, the courts have soundly rejected the industries' arguments. The news that cities across the country are taking action is indeed heartening. First Baltimore, then Chicago, started the ball rolling. San Francisco, Oakland, Cleveland, Los Angeles and New York, to name just a few, are not far behind. We should celebrate the grass-roots leaders who have worked with such determination and energy to reclaim inner-city horizons. Clearly, the fight is not over. There are more legal loopholes, lawsuits and back-room deals to contend with. When we the people come together, our power is awesome. In our confrontation with the alcohol and tobacco industries, they represent darkness and we represent the light. To know how much power we have over darkness, go into a dark room and turn the light on. Darkness vanishes. Darkness never wins over the light. Dick Gregory, Massachusetts-based social justice activist and comedian, wrote this commentary for the Marin Institute for Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Straight Edge, Bent View - Suburban Gangs Says No To Drugs, Smoking, Sex But Yes To Violence ('Houston Chronicle' Says 'Straight Edger' Teen Gangs In Salt Lake City, Utah, Eschew Mormon Vices, Travel In Packs' From 'One Bloody Melee To Another') Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 19:33:20 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: Straight Edge, Bent View -- Suburban Gangs Says No To Drugs, Smoking, Sex But Yes To Violence Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Art Smart (ArtSmart@neosoft.com) Source: Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 Author: Louis Sahagun STRAIGHT EDGE, BENT VIEW Suburban gang says no to drugs, smoking, sex but yes to violence SALT LAKE CITY -- Two years ago, Clinton Colby Ellerman announced a shift that made his parents sigh with relief: He'd sworn off alcohol, drugs, smoking -- even sex -- and taken up the cause of animal rights. Never mind that he'd also had crossed M-16 assault rifles tattooed on the back of his head and was inspired by the deafening and aggressive anthems of a hard-core punk movement calling itself "Straight Edge." "At first, my mom and dad thought it was good thing," recalled Ellerman, 21, during an interview at the Salt Lake Metro Jail. "It would have been a good thing if the violence had been taken out of it." A month ago, a state court judge ordered Ellerman to spend two years in jail for his role in a July 1996 raid on a local mink farm. His 19-year-old brother, Joshua, also a Straight Edger, is facing federal charges carrying a minimum 30-year prison sentence in connection with the March 1997 bombing of a fur breeders cooperative. What's Straight Edge? That's what everyone in Utah wants to know as federal agents and state and local police chase its local followers from one fur farm raid, arson or bloody melee to another. Gradually, the story of a vicious offshoot of a national subculture is emerging here. Straight Edge -- whose followers favor shaved heads, combat fatigues, Doc Martens and pierced and tattooed flesh -- began in New York in the mid-1980s as a quiet rebellion against apathy and addiction. The movement still exists, with factions acting mostly as peaceful "moral watchdogs" wherever there is punk rock. Lately, however, Straight Edge groups from Southern California to New York have been trying to disavow their Utah brethren. In Utah, no sooner had police detectives noticed the Straight Edgers in the early 1990s than they began receiving reports of bombings and arson attacks that targeted animal-product stores -- including leather furriers and fast-food stands -- and assaults and stabbings at punk-rock concerts. Ever since, Straight Edgers have been destroying notions about the causes of gang violence in a state where growing up these days can be a pretty safe and comfortable affair. These are mostly young, middle-class, Anglo vegetarians who communicate through their own Web sites and view themselves as courageous sober soldiers in a dangerously corrupt and polluted society. And they enforce their mantra -- True 'Til Death -- with brass knuckles, baseball bats, knives, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs. According to Utah law enforcement authorities, the number of these "suburban terrorists" has jumped from a few dozen to more than 1,000 in five years -- and shows every sign of growing further. At least 40 cases of arson, vandalism and serious assault -- including the torching of a Salt Lake City McDonald's -- have been traced to Straight Edgers. The fact that several high schools have become gathering places for Utah's Straight Edge scene has prompted officials to ban students from scrawling phrases such as "Drug Free" and "Stay Sober" on their backpacks. Salt Lake City psychologist and gang expert Terie Weiderhold is trying to make sense of what she has dubbed "Utah's home-grown, upper-class gang." "Perhaps our Straight Edgers are different because in the Mormon culture, kids are told from Day 1, 'Don't do drugs, alcohol, tobacco or premarital sex,' " she said. "What is not emphasized, however, is, 'Don't fight.' "Of course, that's not to say that Mormons are violent," she added. "But since they don't participate in things that other gangs are involved in, our Straight Edgers may be finding an escape from boredom and a source of identification in violence." Salt Lake County Sheriff's Deputy Scott Perry, who is in charge of security at Kearns High School, a few miles southwest of Salt Lake City, would not argue with that. At Kearns, five Straight Edgers recently "put the boots to another student who needed stitches to put his face back together," he said. "It's the darnedest thing I've ever seen," Perry said. "We only have about 100 Edgers out of a total student body of 2,100 students. But they're predatory, travel in packs and go out of their way to fight. "Their weapon of choice is pepper Mace, which they spray at each other for laughs," Perry said. "Now they're immune to the stuff, which makes it hard on us when there's a gang fight. I've hosed them down with Mace and they just kept on fighting." Conflicts between Straight Edgers and outsiders have become almost routine at schools, shopping malls and punk-rock hangouts throughout the 100-mile Wasatch Front. With a dozen Straight Edgers in jail or facing serious criminal charges, and dozens more under law enforcement surveillance, even die-hard Salt Lake City animal-rights activists are severing ties with the group they once depended on for recruits. "Generally, Straight Edge has been a boost for the animal-rights movement; they've added fresh blood," said J.P. Goodwin, spokesman for the Dallas-based Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade. "In other cities, they've helped organize activities. But they're nothing like the weird scene in Salt Lake City."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Gingrich Blasts Clinton's Anti-Drug Plan As A 'Timetable For Defeat' ('Los Angeles Times' Account Of Dueling Radio Broadcasts Saturday Quotes Clinton Saying Drug Use Down By Half Since 1979 And Gingrich Saying It's Up Among Teens By 70 Percent Since 1992) Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 19:29:19 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: Gingrich Blasts Clinton's Anti-Drug Plan As A 'Timetable For Defeat' Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Art Smart (ArtSmart@neosoft.com) Source: Los Angeles Times Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 GINGRICH BLASTS CLINTON'S ANTI-DRUG PLAN AS A 'TIMETABLE FOR DEFEAT' WASHINGTON -- President Clinton's plan for cutting illicit drug use in half over the next decade was attacked harshly Saturday by House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., who ridiculed the proposal as "a hodgepodge of half-steps and half-truths." Calling Clinton's anti-drug strategy a "timetable for defeat," Gingrich pledged that the Republican-dominated Congress would propose more sweeping legislation to shrink drug use. Gingrich delivered the GOP response to Clinton's weekly radio address, which focused on the administration's anti-narcotics plan. In Clinton's speech, he called upon parents to join the government in ridding the United States of the scourge of drug use. Clinton said his new 10-year plan to cut illegal drug use by 50 percent is based on the "very encouraging news in recent months that more and more of our young people are saying no to drugs" and that latest overall the number of Americans who use drugs has fallen by one-half since 1979. The recent White House report -- written by Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, coordinator of drug-control strategy -- said that in 1996, 13 million people in the United States were drug users, down from a peak of 25 million in 1979. In contrast to Clinton's assertion that progress had been made in the fight against drugs, Gingrich said the battle is "going downhill." Gingrich focused on a reversal in trends that began earlier this decade for teen-age drug use: After years of decline, the usage rate among teenagers surged. The increase in "drug use among teens has skyrocketed an unthinkable 70 percent" since 1992, Gingrich said, and he said "a resounding silence from the White House on drugs" bears part of the blame. Administration officials have acknowledged concern about teen-age drug use, but they were encouraged by a recent study showing that drug use among younger teen-agers appears to be leveling off. Declaring that Clinton's plan will be "dead on arrival in this Congress," Gingrich pledged to seek passage of "the largest, most dynamic, most comprehensive anti-drug strategy ever designed." Gingrich provided no details or funding estimates, only the general outlines of his approach.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Chill Out Dude, You're A Hero (Columnist Rick Gibbons In 'Ottawa Sun' Says, 'The Point Is That Somehow Rebagliati Accomplished Something Far Beyond Capturing An Olympic Gold Medal - Somehow, He Also Turned Entire Country On Its Head, Triggering Renewed Debate On Issue Of Legalizing Marijuana - The Nightly News Tells Us Drug Industry In Canada Is Largely Organized And Controlled By Criminal Bike Gangs And Colombian Drug Kingpins, But Make A Good-Looking Boy Next Door The Poster Child For Illegal Marijuana Use And Public Opinion Shifts Rather Dramatically') From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Chill out dude, you're a hero Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 11:53:18 -0800 Source: Ottawa Sun Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: February 15, 1998 Author: Rick Gibbons Chill out dude, you're a hero Leave it to the indefatigable Don Cherry to cut through this week's frenzied debate over the plight of Canada's newest Olympian. By my reckoning Cherry arrived in Japan Friday in the nick of time to save his employer, the CBC, from going completely over the cliff in its coverage of Ross Rebagliati, the Olympic snowboard gold medalist from B.C. who was briefly stripped of his medal after failing a drug test that discovered traces of marijuana. Now, there's no doubt the two-day drama was the biggest Canadian angle of an otherwise disappointing Games so far and, as host broadcaster, the CBC was going wall-to-wall in its coverage. But anyone who witnessed CBC host Brian Williams' fawning interview with Rebagliati in the aftermath of the brouhaha would think the kid had just won the Nobel peace prize and not just finished a seven-hour interrogation with Japanese police on a suspicion he'd been cutting the grass a little too close to the Olympic snowboard hill. Breathlessly, Williams begged Rebagliati to recount every step in the drama while constantly reminding him that an entire country was behind him. Enter Don Cherry. "I feel sorry for the kid and I'm glad he got (the gold medal) back and everything," Cherry mused in his debut Coach's Corner segment between periods of Canada's first hockey game. "But I've been watching this here and you guys have been treating him like a hero." Bravo, Don Cherry. You summed up the feelings of millions of bewildered Canadian parents who both cheered and lamented the message being transmitted to their sons and daughters in the wake of the sensational scandal. At the very least, Cherry's words were a welcome splash of cold water into the face of a story that had grown out of all proportion. In fact, at the rate things were going, I'd half expected that Rebagliati would be asked to carry Canada's flag in the closing ceremonies by the time the CBC had completed the job of elevating the kid from self-confessed pot smoking snowboarder to full sainthood. (Hey, it may happen yet.) But, admittedly, the CBC was not alone in this. No less than the Prime Minister of Canada called Rebagliati to express the entire country's admiration for having survived the trauma of being caught with traces of an illegal substance in his urine. Surely, a visit to 24 Sussex is next. Maybe things would have been different had Rebagliati been caught with marijuana in his suitcase rather than in his bladder, but I'm not so sure anymore. The point is that somehow Rebagliati accomplished something far beyond capturing an Olympic Gold medal, in itself an amazing feat. Somehow, he also turned the entire country on its head, triggering a renewed debate on the issue of legalizing marijuana. Only days ago it would have seemed ludicrous to believe that the prime minister, solicitor general, leader of the official opposition and just about anyone else near a microphone would suddenly be rooting for a young man who'd just professed to a worldwide audience that he'd committed an act that's still considered illegal on this side of the ocean. This by someone we'd never heard of a scant few days ago. I suspect part of the explanation for this remarkable response is found in the demeanor of the man at the centre of the firestorm. Ross Rebagliati is a smooth, articulate, good looking young man with a good head on his shoulders and a mop of blonde curly hair to top it off. It isn't exactly the typical face that we're accustomed to linking to the drug trade in Canada, is it. The nightly news can tell us the drug industry in Canada is largely organized and controlled by criminal bike gangs and Colombian drug kingpins. But make a good-looking boy next store the poster child for illegal marijuana use and public opinion shifts rather dramatically. There are now renewed calls for a review of Canada's outdated drug laws, at least as they apply to marijuana use. And given the craziness of the past few days, don't rule out that changes will result. Little wonder Rebagliati's pot-smoking buddies in Whistler, B.C. are planning a big welcoming home party. As for getting an invitation, just watch for the first puff of smoke. Rick can be e-mailed at email@example.com. Letters to the editor should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
------------------------------------------------------------------- When The Smoke Clears . . . (Staff Editorial In 'Ottawa Citizen' Says Ross Rebagliati Affair Demonstrates Most Of Canadian Public No Longer Accepts Myth That Marijuana Is A Serious Danger That Warrants Criminalization - If Parliamentarians Still Take Seriously Their Responsibility To Reflect Public Will In A Considered Way, Sweet Smell Of Frank Debate Will Soon Waft Through House Of Commons) Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 01:09:15 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Chris Clay
Subject: EDITORIAL: When the smoke clears... Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen DATE: February 15, 1998 CONTACT: email@example.com WEBSITE: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/ EDITORIAL: When the smoke clears... 0ver the last year, we tried very hard. So did The Economist and Alberta Report. Financier George Soros has spent $15 million trying. Nobel Prize-winner Milton Friedman, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, and commentator William F. Buckley have all tried. In fact, just about every policy analyst in the field has tried. Despite all this, the political powers-that-be refused even to discuss legalizing marijuana. And then a little bit of dope was found in Ross Rebagliati's pee. Suddenly, bright television lights shone down on stammering MPs, and many Canadians who may never have thought about the issue are asking, so why is it illegal? The snowboarder from Whistler may have inadvertently done what all the incontrovertible evidence and the best efforts of many could not: The political powers may finally be forced to answer for marijuana criminalization. An honest debate is far from certain, however. With the honourable exception of Alexa McDonough - who favours decriminalization - party leaders would sooner scrap their pensions than give a straight answer about legalization. But they may not be able to keep ducking the weed. The reaction of the Canadian public to the Rebagliati scandal confirms what has become increasingly clear: Most of the public no longer accepts the myth that marijuana is a serious danger that warrants criminalization. If parliamentarians still take seriously their responsibility to reflect the public will in a considered way, the sweet smell of frank debate will soon waft through the House of Commons.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Campaign - Let Cool Heads Decide (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Continues Its Weekly Push For Reform Of Marijuana Laws With Staff Editorial About House Of Lords' Decision To Hold Inquiry On Both Medical And Nonmedical Uses Of Cannabis) Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 12:13:57 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Campaign Editorial: Let Cool Heads Decide Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Zosimos Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 Source: Independent on Sunday Contact: Email: email@example.com Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL England Editors note: The IoS Cannabis Campaign has web pages at http://www.independent.co.uk/sindypot/index.htm LET COOL HEADS DECIDE THE Independent on Sunday cannabis campaign won a major victory last week with the announcement that, for the first time, the use of the drug for medicinal as well as recreational purposes is to be the subject of a high-level parliamentary investigation. Our campaign to decriminalise cannabis use in Britain has prompted a vigorous national debate. The Government has remained aloof. Now it will be forced to confront the facts, which are to be compiled and assessed by a sub-group of the influential House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee. "The decision to inquire into the scientific case for and against continuing to prohibit the medicinal and recreational uses of cannabis was taken because of the high level of interest in the subject in both houses and in light of the recent British Medical Association report," said a House of Lords spokesman. Last November, the BMA rigorously examined all the scientific evidence supporting the use of cannabis to treat a growing list of ailments and concluded that, contrary to the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, it does have therapeutic properties. The Lords sub-committee charged with investigating the wider use of cannabis is to be chaired by Lord Perry of Walton, a doctor, pharmacologist and former vice-chancellor of the Open University. He said: "The Select Committee chose the brief and have given me the job. We intend to begin hearing evidence next month." It is planned that the sub-committee hearings will begin at Easter and the full report will be ready in the autumn. Lord Perry said: "When the report is compiled there will be a debate in the House of Lords and our findings will be made public. After the debate, the findings will be put to the Government and they will have to respond. A parliamentary inquiry has considerable powers." Among those assisting the inquiry are Lord Porter of Luddenham, who won a Nobel Prize for chemistry, and Professor Heather Ashton, emeritus professor of clinical psychopharmacology at the University of Newcastle and author of the BMA study of the therapeutic potential of cannabis. She said: "I believe that any investigation by Parliament will help raise the level of understanding among policymakers. In my experience it takes at least 20 years to get just one piece of information over to MPs. "Personally, I have reservations about the use of cannabis in treating long-term illness and there are obvious problems to resolve concerning the use of the drug with the mentally ill and other vulnerable groups. I hope the Lords will also consider the psychological aspects and the specific question of increased tolerance among regular users. On the recreational side I have worries concerning traffic accidents and the effects on pilots." Greg Poulter of the drugs charity Release believes the inquiry is a significant step. "I am delighted that their Lordships have had the courage to grasp the nettle of investigating the recreational aspects of cannabis as well as the medical. It will be hard for the Government to ignore this committee's findings and it may put an end to their head-in-the-sand attitude." Important questions for their Lordships to consider are: 1) Is cannabis addictive? Some scientists believe that long-term use leads to heavy dependency; others say this is rare and is not "true" addiction. 2) How quickly does the psychoactive (mind-altering) effect wear off? This aspect is vitally important as the Government intends to introduce roadside cannabis testing. The tests are so sensitive that they can detect tiny quantities of the drug up to a month after it was smoked or ingested. But scientific tests have shown that, within a few hours, cannabis in brain cells falls below the concentration required for detectable psychoactivity. 3) Does it affect fertility? Many who argue against decriminalisation say that cannabis use leads to diminished sperm-count in men and suppresses a hormone that women need to conceive. Most scientific studies have failed to find any evidence of this. In studies that have shown an impact, it is modest, temporary and of no apparent consequence for reproduction. Some tests on animals dosed with sustained and extremely high levels of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, have shown impaired fertility. 4) Does cannabis harm the brain? Opponents of cannabis use the claim that it destroys brain cells. Their evidence is based on an early, controversial, study of brain damage to rhesus monkeys which had been exposed to six months of high-concentration cannabis smoke. Recent, more carefully conducted research found no evidence of brain abnormalities in monkeys exposed to the equivalent of four to five cannabis joints daily for a year. 5) Can it cause mental illness? Many who work in mental health and welfare fear that cannabis is responsible for psychosis, especially among young people. But no convincing scientific evidence has been produced to show that even long-term use causes psychological damage. 6) Are cannabis smokers more likely to get lung cancer? Some scientists argue that burning cannabis contains agents that can cause cancers of the mouth, neck and lung. 7) Does cannabis damage memory and the ability to learn? It is accepted that cannabis users' short-term memory is affected. No evidence has yet been found that even long-term use permanently impairs memory or other cognitive functions. 8) Does cannabis use lead to hard drug abuse? Statistical evidence does not support this. The majority of cannabis users never use another illegal drug.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hidden Agenda To IRA Hits On Drug Dealers (England's 'Sunday Times' Says Irish Republican Army Boasts Of Killing 'Enemies Of Nationalist Community' And Cast Themselves As Guardians Against Drug Barons, But Direct Action Against Drugs, Cover Group For IRA, Only Eliminates IRA's Competition In Drugs Trafficking Used To Fund Irish Civil War)Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 13:51:06 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar (email@example.com) Subject: MN: Ireland: Hidden Agenda To IRA Hits On Drug Dealers Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Zosimos (email@example.com) Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 Source: Sunday Times (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org HIDDEN AGENDA TO IRA HITS ON DRUG DEALERS A BOY aged 16 became the latest victim of drugs in Northern Ireland last week. He collapsed and died, with his distraught girlfriend at his side, after taking ecstasy which he may have mixed with other substances. The parents of the schoolboy, from Larne in Co Antrim, have told police they want no publicity because they wish to grieve in private and also to avoid having the son they loved branded a drug user. While the scale of the drugs problem in the province is growing significantly, the teenager is one of a very few to have died from an overdose. Most deaths involving drugs are of dealers shot by the IRA. Brendan "Bap" Campbell was the ninth person to be killed by Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD), a cover name used by the IRA, when he was shot outside a Belfast restaurant last week. DAAD emerged in April 1995, during the first IRA ceasefire, but the terrorists had murdered dealers before then. In October 1992, the IRA shot dead Samuel Ward and wounded eight others in a purge against the Irish Peoples' Liberation Organisation (IPLO), which it claimed was heavily involved in pushing drugs. The IPLO was disbanded under threat of further attacks. In April 1994, IRA members tortured and then shot Francis Rice from the republican Markets area of Belfast, accusing him of being a drug dealer. Dozens of others have been ordered to leave their homes, or shot in "punishment" attacks. Republicans openly justify such killings of "enemies of the nationalist community" and cast themselves as guardians against drug barons. The murders are tolerated by sections of the nationalist community, who revile drug dealers more than terrorists. Few tears were shed for Campbell, 30, who drove a flashy sports car and enjoyed a lifestyle far beyond the means of the people who bought his drugs. Yet Campbell was murdered not because he sold drugs, but because he refused to play by the IRA's rules. Unlike other dealers, he refused to give terrorists a percentage of his takings in return for their permission to operate. There is evidence that DAAD is being used not to eliminate the sale of drugs, but to enable the IRA to control the lucrative trade. Police and dealers say the IRA controls the distribution of drugs to criminals on both sides of the border. Narcotics are smuggled into Ireland through Dublin and Cork and distributed after prices and quantities are agreed at meetings in hotels in Dundalk and Drogheda. The IRA does not handle the drugs, but oversees the operation and takes a percentage from each deal. In return, it sanctions the dealers' activities and moves against their opponents. Campbell openly defied the IRA. He shot an IRA gunman who tried to kill him in 1995 and was one of two men who launched a grenade attack on Sinn Fein's headquarters in Andersonstown in November last year. Last month the IRA took its revenge by shooting him twice in the chest as he sat drinking in a Belfast bar. He survived because he was wearing a bulletproof vest. Shortly afterwards, Campbell and an associate travelled to London and met gangsters. They discussed setting up a supply route for consignments of ecstasy, cannabis and other drugs into Northern Ireland. They wanted to establish a freelance operation and made it clear that the IRA would not receive any of the profits. Associates believe Campbell's killers were told about his movements by another dealer who was given a stark choice: accept the IRA's terms and turn in Campbell, or be killed himself. They point to recent drugs seizures in west Belfast as clear evidence that the IRA is now an important player in the drugs scene: on Wednesday, two days after Campbell was killed, ecstasy tablets with a street value of £67,000 were found in the Ballymurphy area, an IRA stronghold. One former close associate of Campbell's said: "He was not killed because the IRA is opposed to drugs, but because he wouldn't play the game by their rules. "People have got to realise that the IRA is up to its neck in drugs. Nobody would even think of selling drugs in west Belfast unless it gave the okay. The IRA could wipe out the drugs scene in nationalist areas in a very short time, but it doesn't want to. It only wants to wipe out the opposition." -------------------------------------------------------------------
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