------------------------------------------------------------------- Frank Carsner Dies (Sandee Burbank Of Mosier, Oregon, Notes Premature Passing Of Portland Medical Marijuana Patient) From: "sburbank"
To: "Phil Smith" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Frank Carsner Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 13:26:46 -0800 I am sorry to report that Frank Carsner from Portland has died. Frank was our friend and ally in the fight to fix drug laws Although Frank was in poor health and discomfort, he and his son were at the Town Hall program last year about medical marijuana, where they both spoke about their personal experiences. Frank will be missed, but never forgotten. Condolences to his wife, Pam, and family can be sent to 8605 N. Calvert Portland, OR 97217 A service will be held at the Willamette National Cemetery tomorrow, Tuesday the 17th, at 2PM.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Citizen Petitions - Portland Can Do Better When Verifying Signatures - Medical Marijuana Supporters Have A Legitimate Gripe (Staff Editorial In 'Portland Press Herald' Faults Election Officials In Portland, Maine, For Disenfranchising Voters Who Signed Mainers For Medical Rights' Initiative Petition)Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 22:58:40 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US ME: Editorial: Citizen Petitions Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Dave Fratello <firstname.lastname@example.org> Source: Portland Press Herald Pubdate: Monday, February 16, 1998 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.portland.com/ CITIZEN PETITIONS Portland Can Do Better When Verifying Signatures Medical marijuana supporters have a legitimate gripe. No matter how one feels about the issue of legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, no one can feel good about the way the City of Portland has handled a referendum petition on that topic. Mainers for Medical Rights wants to put a question on the November ballot that would give terminally ill cancer patients and others legal access to marijuana in Maine. To do that, it needed to have more than 51,000 verified signatures on a petition to the Secretary of State's office by Feb. 1. The petitioners were close, but were short 2,433 signatures. The reason they fell short, however, wasn't because the supporters of the referendum failed to do what the law required of them to put the measure on the ballot. Rather, Portland's election officials failed in their duty to verify more than 3,000 signatures submitted by the group within the prescribed time limits. While these officials claim they were bogged down preparing for last week's referendum on repeal of the law extending civil rights protections to homosexual citizens, there should be no excuse for missing the deadline. The law specifies that the city has five days in which to examine and validate the signatures submitted to it. It failed to meet that deadline. A democracy depends on good election practices. Citizens must have confidence that those overseeing the process of proposing and voting on laws for this state have the ability to carry out their jobs. Mainers for Medical Rights have appealed the rejection of their petition in court. Secretary of State Dan Gwadosky hopes they are successful, as do we. To his credit, City Manager Bob Ganley also acknowledges that the signatures should have been verified on time. That doesn't diminish the work the city has to do, however. Whether it needs a better computer system or more help, it is not acceptable that Maine's largest city cannot live up to its obligations under the law.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Maine Calendar Of Events '98 (Bulletin From Don Christen Of Maine Vocals Lists Upcoming Events Of Interest To Hempsters) Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 02:22:49 -0800 From: Donald Christen (firstname.lastname@example.org) Organization: Maine Vocals To: email@example.com Subject: CanPat - MAINE Calendar of events '98 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Maine Vocals Calender of Events '98 April 20 Patriots Day Som. County Courthouse Skowhegan, ME May 23-24 May Dazes ? Portland, ME June 13-14 Freedom Fest Richard Nystrom Vienna, ME July 10-11 Independence Jam ? Bangor, ME July 24-25 ? Berlin NH Aug 14-16 Hempstock Harry Brown's Farm Starks, ME Sept 12-13 Addison County Allen Gabaree Addison, VT Oct. 3-4 Harvest Fest. Harry Brown's Farm Starks, ME ? -- tentative plans and dates for new events.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Czar - Gingrich 'Irresponsible' ('Associated Press' Says US Drug Policy Chief Barry R. McCaffrey Charges House Speaker Newt Gingrich With Playing Partisan Politics In Rejecting Out-Of-Hand President Clinton's 10-Year Plan To Reduce Number Of Illegal Drug Users In Half) Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 19:20:04 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US: Wire: Drug Czar: Gingrich 'Irresponsible' Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Kevin Zeese Source: Associated Press Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 DRUG CZAR: GINGRICH 'IRRESPONSIBLE' WASHINGTON (AP) -- White House drug policy chief Barry R. McCaffrey charged Monday that House Speaker Newt Gingrich was playing partisan politics and being ``irresponsible'' in rejecting out-of-hand President Clinton's plan to reduce illegal drug use. ``I've got an enormous concern about this,'' McCaffrey told The Associated Press. ``My immediate reaction is that this is irresponsible.'' Clinton and Gingrich both talked about drug policy in separate radio addresses Saturday, with the speaker dismissing the president's long-term plan as a ``hodgepodge of half-steps and half-truths'' and saying he will ask the House to pass a resolution asking for the White House to withdraw it. He described it as the ``definition of failure.'' ``This strikes me as this brilliant man Newt Gingrich conducting drug policy by what I would have termed in my last life as ``ready, fire, aim,''' said McCaffrey, a retired Army general. ``I'm sympathetic to partisan wrangling and know that Newt Gingrich is looking for issues for the midterm election, but that's not what I signed up to do. I'm afraid he's going to do a disservice to a comprehensive strategy.'' Gingrich's spokeswoman, Christina Martin, said the Republican from Georgia had met McCaffrey several times and tried to work with him. ``There's nothing hasty or political about Speaker Gingrich's deep disappointment that the Clinton administration cannot put together a serious strategy for saving America's teens in a more timely and effective manner,'' Martin said. ``The bottom line: the speaker worries that the slower, more ineffective America's drug plan is, the more young lives lost and damaged.'' Clinton said he hopes to cut the number of Americans using drugs in half over the next decade. To accomplish that, the administration has budgeted $17.1 billion for next year for expanded prevention education, more border patrol and Drug Enforcement Agency agents, more community policy and expanded prisoner treatment. ``We put thousands of hours of work into it,'' McCaffrey said. ``Before we went to print we had the support of law enforcement officers, academics, mayors, ... this has been a non-partisan approach to the problem that is widely supported around the country.'' Gingrich, in his radio address, asked why it should take a decade to cut drug use when the Civil War was won and slavery abolished in just four. The speaker, who has made a drug-free America the first among four long-term goals for America, said the GOP-led Congress would pass its own anti-drug agenda. Other goals are better education, lower taxes and reforming Social Security. He suggests building community anti-drug coalitions, giving parents more anti-drug information, creating drug-free workplaces through market incentives and starting a national clearinghouse for anti-drug information. McCaffrey said the administration, with Republican help, had implemented some of those ideas such as community coalitions and a national youth strategy.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Notes From A Media Training Seminar By Michael Shellenberger (List Subscriber Shares Tips On Getting Print, Broadcast Media To Improve Coverage Of Drug Policy Issues) Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 13:14:38 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com From: Harry Bego
(by way of Richard Lake ) Subject: PR: Notes from media training Here are some very good PR notes from a recent seminar which was sponsored by Common Sense for Drug Policy (member of the 'Coalition'). *** NOTES FROM A MEDIA TRAINING SEMINAR BY MICHAEL SHELLENBERGER Dawn Day, Dogwood Center February 1998 MAJOR POINTS -Cultivate individual reporters, e.g. develop personal relationships; return their phone calls promptly; help them find sources even if they are not planning on quoting you. -When giving an interview, keep on the message. We do not need to respond to the questions that are asked. This is especially important at the beginning of a half-hour television debate format because, if successful, this lets you set the agenda for the show with your answer. -We live in a media-saturated culture. Keep a story alive. Plan more than one event so the story keeps going for as long as possible. CULTIVATE INDIVIDUAL REPORTERS -If the reporter knows us and is favorable toward us, he/she will be more willing to listen to our pitch. -If we know the reporter, we will know how to pitch the story. -The pitch to the reporter must also be designed to help the reporter sell the story to the editor. -Give reporters tips on good stories, even ones that are unrelated to our topic, if we can. This will help make the reporter happy to hear from us. -Thank reporters for good stories on our topics. PROBLEM REPORTERS, INACCURATE STORIES -Deal with difficult reporters by finding a way around them. It is usually unproductive to complain to the reporter's boss. -If we need to correct an old news story, rather than ask for a correction, it is better to pitch a new story. PITCHING A STORY -Call a print reporter before 3 p.m. if possible. After that they may have a deadline. -When you call, first ask if the reporter has a minute to talk. If not, ask when would be a good time to call. -If the reporter says he/she is not interested, ask why. And ask who else in their organization might be interested. -Develop a thick skin and be willing to keep calling. -Recognize that we are helping them do their job better, by giving them information, story ideas and contacts. They will (usually) appreciate our help. PRESS RELEASES -A press release is a written pitch. It is usually thrown away -After sending the press release, it is important to call to see if it was received and be ready to send another IMMEDIATELY. -Think of a press release as a reason to call and talk to a reporter. -Send to a specific reporter. We may have to send to an assignment editor with radio or TV. STAYING ON THE MESSAGE -Ex: in the medical marijuana issue, stay on imprisoning patients; do not discuss increasing drug use among children or getting regulatory approval, even if questions come up on these topics. -Ex: FAMM stays on the idea that long sentences are wrong. Tries not to get tied down in the details of individual cases, such as what exactly did Kimba Smith do. WAYS TO GET INTO THE MEDIA -Create a story. (Image the story and work backwards. FAMM has done this with stories about prisons and families that have been hurt.) -Anticipate and influence the debate -React to the debate (1). If we get a call from a reporter, it is likely that other reporters are interested in the story as well. It may well be an opportunity for us to develop a press release or other media opportunity. -React to the debate (2). Be flexible. When the other side does something stupid, be ready to take the time to capitalize on it. -Get our theme into TV shows. Ex: try get needle exchange into the TV show ER. EVENTS, TYPES OF (these are opportunities to build relationships with reporters, rally our supporters AND find new supporters) -Press conferences. -Forums, meetings, hearings. These are often difficult to make into news, but can be useful as background/education for a reporter, if you can get the reporter to attend. To make news out of a forum, tie it to a local news story, e.g., a forum in Boston by a lawyer reform group highlighting overcrowded court dockets in Boston. -Press breakfast briefings (do not need a news hook for this, just education for reporters) -"Tours," site visits where we bring experts along with reporters to view how something actually operates. -Editorial board visits (offer a briefing; the board will want research--have good citations, know the facts.) -Law suits (ex: beef industry suit against Oprah warns others that if criticize the beef industry you will be hurt.) -Civil disobedience (ex: running needle exchange in some areas) EVENTS, TIPS FOR -Rehearse testimony/statements -Draw a news story out for several days by using several different events. Ex: begin with a background breakfast for reporters. Another day do a press conference. Meet with a key group a third day. Write an op-ed for a paper a few days later. -Consider different locations. NYC and DC are saturated with stories, so perhaps another city would be better for some stories. -Consider timing. July and August, when Congress is out of session, are good times for reformers to get a message out from DC. -Consider targeting local media. They may be easier to get into. Local media are what local political leaders read, and those groups are an appropriate part of our target audience. EVENTS, PICKING AN APPROPRIATE MESSENGER -Ex: on medical marijuana, use MDs and patients. In general, it is good to use people affected by a policy. -Ex: consider an unexpected messenger such as a police official who favors ending the drug war. -Ex: public relations groups now offer to create grass roots organizations for clients; they even are able to generate calls to legislators by calling households and then using a switch to put the call through to the legislator, if the household member expresses an interest in doing so. EVENTS, STUDIES AS -More effective if conclusions are "new;" have a connection to a political movement, are part of an annual series, or are hooked somehow to a current issue. -Helpful if linked to "hot" symbols, such as violence, race, children, etc. -Helpful to have a political leader release a study, as Sen. Barbara Boxer does on some environmental issues. -Easier to sell if the focus of the study be simple and repetitive. i.e. the Sentencing Project annual report on incarceration. -Try to have state level data, so that even a national report can be covered from a local angle. -Helpful if done by senior researchers at prestigious institutions, thus adding weight and credibility to the information. Also, in this case we pitching someone else, which is usually easier than pitching ourselves. MESSAGES, CONTENT OF -What sells is sex, violence, kids, celebrities, furry animals, conflict. Ex: on the juvenile crime bill in Congress, fight by talking about children being raped, beaten up and committing suicide. Then on background add other issues that we think are important, such as race and that prevention works. But get the attention with the sensational. - Remember that individual rights does not sell very well. We need to be arguing that sensible drug policies will be saving our children. -Speak in terms of values such as security of the family and justice. Show injustice by putting a human face on it. -The phrase we need to be "smart" about drugs not "tough" seems to work well. -Look for a woman's angle. The Nike sweat shop story was made appealing to women's groups by pointing out how Nike uses women's empowerment issues to sell shoes but exploits young girls as workers in its overseas factories. MESSAGES, PRESENTATION OF -Keep message simple/singular. Ex: needle exchange programs save lives. -Put a human face on the story. FAMM does this. This approach can also be used to get stories through reporters who are not generally sympathetic to our viewpoint. -Use good props. Ex: giant check to illustrate the $1000/month an AIDS patient had to pay for medicine. Ex: Picture of widow/nurse next to husband's grave talking about how medical marijuana relieved her husband's pain at the end of his illness. -It is important to have our facts right and well documented. What we say is scrutinized more carefully than what the establishment says. -We need to be willing to express anger and outrage. This rallies our allies as well as causes a problem for the other side. -We need to be oppositional. This helps get the media attention and helps us to be heard. -We need to pitch our stories as entertainment. (60 minutes is entertainment as well as news.) So we need to have a cast of characters and a story. -Point to solutions. TIPS FOR OP-EDS -Timing is more important than quality -Local slant -Make personal, if possible -Short paragraphs, only 1-3 sentences long. TIPS FOR TELEVISION -Dress in gray, blue, or brown. Avoid patterns or big jewelry. -Talk in sound bites -Avoid "uh" or "er." Use pauses. -Do interview in natural light, if possible -Get a copy on video or audio to evaluate self REGIONAL VS NATIONAL -Find ways to bump the story up to the national level. This occurs sometimes after a story has had regional coverage for a while. This relates to stretching a story out, so it is ongoing. -The Kimba Smith was first a local issue. Then it appeared in EMERGE Magazine. Now it is the centerpiece of a college education tour being sponsored by FAMM and the NAACP with Congresswoman Maxine Waters involvement. (Kimba Smith is an African American college student sentenced to 24 years in prison for her peripheral role in a drug conspiracy involving her former boyfriend.) RACE Race has played a central role in the creation and perpetuation of the situation we are fighting. We need to be more effective in reaching African American and Latino communities with our messages. WHY ARE THE MEDIA UNRESPONSIVE -Conglomerate ownership is more conservative. -TV news is expected to show a big profit, so they don't have time to research stories. NOTE: we can turn this to our advantage, if we figure out how to create good stories for them. -When all else fails, we can buy ads. A local TV ad for Good Morning America (in a major market) costs $1200 for 30 seconds. *** firstname.lastname@example.org is our list for discussion of public relations issues. See the agenda of current issues at legalize.org/global/coord/ It is stressed that contributions to this list must be on-topic and to the point. Off-topic matters should be dealt with in private. To unsubscribe from this list, send a message to email@example.com, with unsubscribe pr as text of the message.
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Wants Drug Treaty To Replace Certification ('Los Angeles Times' Says Clinton Administration Is Tired Of Annual Debate With Congress, And With Mexico And Other Nations Who See Current Process As Unilateral, And Wants Pact Creating Hemispheric Alliance With Penalty Mechanism) Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 16:29:30 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: U.S. Wants Drug Treaty to Replace Certification Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times Contact: email@example.com Fax: 213-237-4712 Pubdate: February 16, 1998 Author: Stanley Meisler, Times Staff Writer U.S. WANTS DRUG TREATY TO REPLACE CERTIFICATION Clinton administration, tired of annual debate, seeks pact creating hemispheric alliance and penalty mechanism. Mexico, other nations oppose current process as unilateral. WASHINGTON--The Clinton administration, weary of the bruising annual debate with Congress over whether to certify that Mexico and other nations are cooperating in the war on illicit drugs, wants to drop that process altogether and replace it with an international treaty. A Western Hemisphere treaty on drugs has been discussed for several years. For the first time, however, the administration has said it regards the treaty as a substitute for certification--rather than an extra weapon in the drug fight. "I hope in five years the United States, as one of 31 or 30 countries, has become part of a multinational attack," said Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the White House anti-narcotics czar. "As we do, that will bury the certification process." The proposed anti-drug treaty would create a Western Hemisphere alliance to fight the production and transportation of drugs and set up a secretariat to make sure that alliance members complied with its provisions. The treaty will have a prominent place on the agenda when President Clinton and other Western Hemisphere leaders meet at the Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile, in April. The certification system was slipped into the Reagan administration's omnibus anti-drug law in 1986 by members of Congress who believed that a weapon was needed to pressure other countries into preventing the production or transshipment of drugs on their territory. The measure was barely noticed in news reports at the time but has since become one of the most controversial aspects of American drug policy. The prospects for dropping certification are uncertain. There is still strong support for it within Congress, which has the power under the law of reversing the president's certification ruling within 30 days. It will take time for the United States and the other Western Hemisphere countries to work out a tough treaty that might persuade Congress that there was an effective substitute for the process. But the willingness of McCaffrey--who is highly respected by Congress--to talk for the first time about burying certification means that the administration is convinced that an alternative to the combative system must be found. Any change in the certification system would come too late to head off this month's certification report card and a probable repetition of last year's battle over Mexico. Under the law, the State Department must certify by March 1 every year whether countries that produce or transport drugs are cooperating fully with the United States to halt the trade. Countries that fail to win the department's approval are subject to a cut in U.S. foreign aid and other sanctions. The department certified Mexico last year, as it had in the past. Refusal to do so would have created a foreign policy mess, humiliating Mexico, damaging its cooperation in the anti-drug effort and poisoning U.S.-Mexican relations on many issues. Even so, many members of Congress berated the administration for the decision. As evidence that Mexico had failed as a cooperative partner in the drug fight, they cited endemic corruption and the shocking allegation that Mexico's federal anti-narcotics czar had actually been on the payroll of a drug cartel. Some State Department officials and members of Congress insist that certification has worked well, in the sense that it has pressured some countries to become more aggressive in their anti-drug campaigns. But it has generated resentful anger every year as foreign countries bristle at the prospect of the United States sitting in judgment of them and issuing a public report card. Moreover, it has created tension between the White House and members of Congress who feel the administration certifies some countries for fear of offending them. The administration and some influential members of Congress feel that these tense side effects far outweigh the good that comes out of the process. Mexican officials have consistently opposed the process as unilateral and inappropriate. Among those in favor of scrapping the certification process is Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-Ga.), who describes the nation's strategy in the international battle against drugs as flawed. "Instead, the United States should adopt a multilateral approach," he wrote in the current issue of the Harvard International Review. Coverdell, a former Peace Corps director, is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and, according to his staff, has been in close contact with McCaffrey about the proposed international treaty. Coverdell has scheduled a subcommittee hearing just before the end of this month to review the certification process and discuss alternatives. The administration is expected to release this year's decisions on certification shortly before then. But it will not be easy to persuade Congress to drop certification in favor of an international treaty. Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.), for example, insists that there is no reason to abandon the present system even if an international anti-narcotics treaty is signed. "I'm willing to work on an international level," he told a conference of diplomats, journalists and drug specialists recently. "But don't mess with our [certification] law. It's going to get tougher." Because of this kind of opposition, Indiana Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, believes that ratification of an international treaty will not be enough to sidetrack the certification process. Hamilton, who recently called the process "nuts" for discouraging cooperation instead of enhancing it, insists that Congress must overhaul the system substantially. Hamilton and some Democratic allies would like to change the law so that the president would no longer have to issue an annual public assessment of each country but would still have the authority to impose sanctions on any nation deemed uncooperative. Advocates of a Western Hemisphere anti-narcotics treaty believe it could replace the certification process because all members of the alliance would pledge full cooperation in the war on drugs. To fulfill its mission, however, the treaty would need a strong secretariat with authority to punish countries violating its provisions. That may prove a bottleneck. The administration proposed the treaty at the first Summit of the Americas in Miami in 1994. The leaders agreed unanimously, but it has been difficult since then to work out details of how to enforce a treaty. In a report to Congress in September, the State Department acknowledged that persuading other governments to agree on the proposed treaty's mechanisms remained "a tough sell." But the administration still hoped to obtain "a comprehensive commitment to implementation" at the Santiago summit in April.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hope And Doubt - Another New Drug-Fighting Deal Between US And Mexico ('Houston Chronicle' Staff Editorial About 'New' Strategy Agreed To By Mexico And US Says 'Mexico Has Been Its Own Worst Enemy' In Annual Certification Process)Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 16:50:22 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US TX: Editorial: Hope And Doubt - Another New Drug-Fighting Deal Between U.S. And Mexico Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Art Smart
Source: Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 HOPE AND DOUBT Another new drug-fighting deal between U.S. and Mexico The United States and Mexico's announcement of a joint strategy to fight drug trafficking is an all-too-familiar reprise that merits hope, but also healthy skepticism. The announcement comes two weeks before the White House must report to Congress on the anti-drug performance of countries notorious for trafficking in drugs. At stake, of course, is Mexico's certification. The annual certification process requires the president to evaluate a country's drug-fighting efforts. If that country's efforts are deemed weak, it is decertified, requiring the United States to vote against loans and credits from international financial institutions. In recent years, the whole process has come under fire, and a re- evaluation is in order as to whether certification is a help or a hindrance in gaining cooperation. As it stands, however, Mexico has been its own worst enemy in the process. Its cause was hurt last year by the arrest of its top ranking drug-fighting official for allegedly receiving money from a trafficker and this year by questions surrounding its new interior minister, Franciso Labastida, and his alleged connections to drug traffickers when he was governor of the northwestern state of Sinaloa. The "new" drug-fighting agreement touts better police cooperation, increased exchanges of information on the activities of traffickers and better facilitation of their extradition for trial in the United States. The plan also calls for a more aggressive approach in going after drug cartel assets in both countries, using seizures to finance anti-drug efforts. There can be little argument that better cooperation between the United States and Mexico is needed in the drug war. Mexico's corruption is disturbing. The United States' insatiable appetite for drugs is alarming. Both countries have a lot to answer for.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Bloody Battle Rages For Drug Lord's Empire ('Dallas Morning News' Says Battle For Control Of Amado Carrillo Fuentes's Empire Has Claimed Lives Of At Least 50 People In Ciudad Juarez) Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 13:11:06 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: Mexico: Bloody Battle Rages For Drug Lord's Empire Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Bartman
Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 Author: Alfredo Corchado-Dallas Morning News BLOODY BATTLE RAGES FOR DRUG LORD'S EMPIRE Carrillo's death has left Juarez, Mexico, residents in grip of fear, violence CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - Few lament the death of purported drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes as much as some residents of this bullet-riddled town. "Juarez is a mess," grumbled Jorge Olvera, a bartender of a popular downtown watering hole. "When Amado was alive at least there was a sense of order to the madness." Since the drug lord's purported freakish death following 8 1/2 hours of plastic surgery and liposuction last July, the bodies have piled up as blood spills in a nasty fight over control of a $10 billion annual drug empire just across the U.S. border town of El Paso. The battle for control of Mr. Carrillo's empire has claimed the lives of at least 50 people in Juarez, some slain in spectacularly brutal fashion. Last month, a former federal police commander with alleged ties to narcotics traffickers sat inside a Jeep parked outside a hotel on a Sunday afternoon when a man with an AK-47 assault rifle opened fire, State Judicial Police investigators said. At least 51 slugs struck the commander, Hector Mario Varela Mendoza, more than 10 tearing through his skull, police forensics expert Dr. Enrique Silva Perez said. Still other victims vanish - more than 150, about 17 of them U.S. citizens from El Paso, according to human-rights groups. The fear instilled in residents is so great that Juarez Mayor Enrique Flores Almeida recently took out three-quarter-page advertisement in Mexico City newspapers, pleading with President Ernesto Zedillo for help. "Ciudad Juarez has become a battleground for rival drug traffickers who fight for control of the city," he wrote. "My government looks on with indignation and impotency while the police assigned in charge of fighting drug trafficking have proved inefficient with pathetic results and sorry consequences for the city." One of the most troublesome revelations for both sides of the border since Mr. Carrillo's death has been the depths to which society participates directly and indirectly in the drug trade. Some in law enforcement say that as many as 100,000 people in Juarez alone are in some way involved, a figure U.S. officials say is difficult to confirm or deny. Many say that beyond the drug lords and their most trusted aides, there are tens of thousands of "mules" recruited from impoverished colonias to cross small amounts of drugs across the border. On the U.S. side there are dozens of homes that serve as stash areas for drugs. One man nicknamed El Lonjas said he has been on the payroll of drug lords for years. He often sneaks in 10 to 20 pounds of marijuana, or cocaine across in his old clunker. He earns an "easy $500 to $1,000," per load, he boasted, depositing up to $30,000 in an El Paso bank per month. Following the death of Mr. Carrillo, El Lonjas said the upheaval has dented his livelihood. He has three children to feed, plus a wife who works at a manufacturing plant. "Much has changed," he said from a bar in downtown Juarez. "Nowadays, I don't know who to trust, or what to expect. I can't wait to get back to our regular routine." Since 1848 when the U.S.-Mexico boundary lines between El Paso and Juarez were drawn, the two cities have stood cheek to cheek, along a meandering Rio Grande overlooking a transnational community that's grown to 1.9 million people. When one city sneezes, the other catches cold, goes the saying here. The killing spree has left many with more than just a bad cold. Many are simply dead scared. "I don't go to Juarez as often as I used to," said Annie Alaniz, a senior student at Burges High School in El Paso who, like many of her fellow students, flocks to the Mexican side in search of fun on weekends. "But when I do go I feel like I'm dancing on pins and needles, always looking over my shoulder." Even before the fight for control of the drug empire, Juarez had spiraled toward chaos. Law enforcement agents acknowledge that they hadlong considered Mr. Carrillo a ruthless killer, responsible for the deaths of more than a hundred people since he took over in 1990. He also corrupted hundreds of police, the former drug czar, and even, some say, elected officials in Mexico, pumping as much as $500 million during his career just for bribes, according to one former top U.S. law enforcement agent. Yet as bad as he was, there was a sense of eerie order in Juarez while he was alive, officials said. Mr. Carrillo valued loyalty and routine, officials on both side of the border say. Killing was a last resort. Explained George A. McNenney, the U.S. Customs Service special agent in charge in El Paso: "Amado [Carrillo Fuentes] was an evil genius. He was considered a diplomat within and outside the organization. Everybody won. . . . He believed in a system of give and take, and he believed in negotiations. 'What does it take for you to be loyal.' That seemed to be his philosophy. "There was no war," he added. "Drugs moved on time. Payments were made on time. He was amazing, a tremendous organizer." These days, Mr. McNenney said, the organization is going through some tough changes - "like any USA corporation they're going through some downsizing" - though the methods are obviously vastly different. When news of Mr. Carrillo's death spread, many of his cronies felt that "the boss is gone. We don't have to pay anymore. Well, now they're paying with their lives," he said. "That's what I mean by downsizing." Making matters worse, a bloody fight to fill the void left by Mr. Carrillo rages among the drug lord's most trusted aides. Younger brother Vicente and one of his senior lieutenants, Juan Jose "Blue" Esparragoza Moreno, battle against Rafael Munoz Talavera, the former drug boss in Juarez who recently completed a federal prison term, according to some Mexican state judicial officials. Mr. Talavera previously took out an ad in Mexico City denying any involvement in the drug killings. Recently, authorities said they are seeking four suspected triggermen they believe responsible for many of the drug-related assassinations. Despite roadblocks around the city, authorities reported no arrests. U.S. officials also say the "black hand" of the Arrellano Felix brothers drug cartel from Tijuana is also involved, a claim some Mexican officials dispute. In any case, the Juarez cartel remains as powerful as ever and the killings in Juarez show no sign of ending anytime soon, U.S. and Mexican sources say. Some U.S. officials predict the violence may linger on for another year or so. Juarez Police Chief Jose Luis Reygadas, a former accountant, oversees a police force of 1,270 officers, plus a special unit of 450 special agents, to protect a city of more than 1.2 million people. Critics say many of his officers are undertrained, underpaid and corrupt. Moreover, because drug trafficking is a federal offense, local police have no jurisdiction over investigations, and even when they try to help, the results can be disastrous. Recently, a band of men in a black suburban opened fire on a Chevy blazer driven by El Pasoan Francisco Alberto Alanis Talamantes in downtown Juarez. Mr. Alanis lost control of the vehicle and was killed by bullets. When senior police officer Jorge Frias Orosco and his partner, both armed with .38-caliber pistols, stopped the men believed to be members of the hit team, they were sprayed with bullets from an AK-47. Mr. Orosco was killed. His partner survived. "We're obviously at a disadvantage," Chief Reygadas said. "This is no way to fight a war." Eventually, Mr. McNenney predicts, some form of board of directors will replace Mr. Carrillo, who also presided over the Mexican Federation, the powerful group of drug traffickers that oversees an overall $30 billion a year drug industry in Mexico. "For now it will be difficult to maintain a sense of peace, or order," he said. "The murders will continue to get out of hand because there are too many interests involved."
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Agent's Indictment Imperils Drug Case ('San Jose Mercury News' Says Federal Agent In San Francisco Responsible For Assembling Complex Case Against Thanong Siriprechapong, A Wealthy, High-Living Member Of Thailand's Parliament Charged With Smuggling 49 Tons Of Cannabis Into US, Has Been Indicted For Accepting $4,000 Kickback And Pair Of Nikes From Informant In Same Investigation) Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 09:50:41 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: U.S. Agent's Indictment Imperils Drug Case Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: San Jose Mercury News Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 Author: Howard Mintz - Mercury News Staff Writer Thanong is charged with smuggling 49 tons of marijuana into the United States. U.S. AGENT'S INDICTMENT IMPERILS DRUG CASE Kickback charge mars effort with Thailand; suspect may go free Thanong Siriprechapong, a wealthy, high-living member of Thailand's parliament nicknamed ``The Little Duck,'' was one of those targets who make every U.S. law enforcement agency salivate. Believed to have managed a far-flung international marijuana smuggling ring operating throughout the Pacific Rim, Thanong has been identified by U.S. officials since the late 1980s as an emblem of Thailand's unique blend of corruption, drug trafficking and politics. When Thailand overcame a bitter internal debate tinged with nationalism and agreed to ship Thanong to San Francisco in January 1996, it was a coup for U.S. drug fighters. The Bangkok government had never before extradited one of its citizens here to face U.S. criminal charges. Even Attorney General Janet Reno made a special point of publicly praising Thailand for cooperating in the capture of Thanong, a flamboyant peasant-turned-politician at the center of a Thai corruption scandal. But for U.S. officials, the euphoria of two years ago has evaporated. In the end, $4,000 and a pair of Nikes may permit the Little Duck to slip from the grasp of American justice -- ironically as a result of what could turn out to be this country's own brand of corruption. Because of kickback allegations against a federal agent and coverup accusations against federal prosecutors, what once was hailed as a promising, precedent-setting partnership with Thailand has deteriorated into a bizarre, cautionary tale of the risks posed by reaching into Southeast Asia to pursue criminals. The Justice Department, which believed it had an airtight case against Thanong, now finds itself mired in an embarrassing, self-inflicted misadventure with potential consequences for future overseas law enforcement operations. In the short term, the government's missteps could allow Thanong, now in custody, to go free. The reason? The San Francisco federal agent responsible for assembling the complex case against Thanong has recently been indicted on a charge of accepting a $4,000 kickback from a key informant in the investigation. The informant, court papers show, was paid more than $100,000 for his tips in the investigation of Thanong, or ``Thai Tony,'' as federal investigators refer to him. At the same time, federal prosecutors are under attack by defense lawyers and a judge for allegedly hiding the explosive bribery information for nearly a year. That has prompted the judge to express concern that the indictment of Thanong, as well as Thailand's historic decision to extradite him, may be irreparably tainted by possible U.S. government misconduct. To experts on international law enforcement issues, the case could hinder future U.S. efforts to extradite foreign nationals from countries already reluctant to cooperate, particularly in Southeast Asia's so-called Golden Triangle, a drug-producing haven encompassing parts of Thailand, Laos and Burma. And without such cooperation, law enforcement officials would face additional hurdles in prosecuting cases against elusive foreign drug traffickers. ``From a political point of view, the argument we make when we extradite somebody is that they will get a fair trial in the U.S.,'' said Washington, D.C., attorney Ralph Martin, a former official in the Justice and State departments. ``If we extradite a guy and (another country) finds out about corruption here, it is going to make future extraditions much harder.'' U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi of San Francisco, whose office has suffered a black eye from the affair, still hopes to salvage the case by arguing Thanong should not be rewarded for errors unrelated to the drug smuggling allegations. Indictment attacked But Thanong's lawyers have asked U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to dismiss the smuggling indictment. Among other things, defense attorneys say Thailand never would have extradited Thanong if officials there had known they were relying on information supplied by a federal agent now suspected of corruption. ``A grand jury might indict a ham sandwich, but we don't know that the government of Thailand would agree to extradite one,'' said Thanong defense attorney Karen Snell, a member of a large defense team that includes San Francisco lawyer Tony Serra, famous for his work in drug cases. Walker is expected to decide by this spring whether to dismiss the charges against Thanong. The federal agent, Frank Gervacio, is expected to stand trial on the bribery charge before that time. Gervacio, a 15-year, decorated veteran of the U.S. Customs Service, was indicted in September after an investigation by the Justice Department's public integrity unit. Gervacio has pleaded not guilty. In court papers, he is depicted by his own lawyer as a fallen, alcoholic agent who succumbed to the pressures of undercover drug work to the point of once putting a gun to his own head. John Jordan, Gervacio's attorney, did not return detailed phone messages seeking comment. But Gervacio's predicament could produce a result impossible to foresee two years ago: The agent goes to jail while Thanong goes free. Gervacio and other federal law enforcement officials had worked years to build a case against Thanong. The investigation dates to the Reagan administration, when the interdiction of Thai marijuana shipments to the West Coast produced links to ``Thai Tony.'' >From 1987 to 1991, documents filed in San Francisco federal court show, investigators assembled a case identifying Thanong as the financial backer and organizer of a marijuana smuggling ring that touched down in Hong Kong, Laos, Vietnam and such U.S. cities as San Francisco, Long Beach, San Diego and Portland, Ore. Reliance on informants Relying in large part on informants, federal prosecutors in 1991 obtained a secret indictment against Thanong charging him with exporting at least 49 tons of marijuana to the United States from 1973 to 1987. For U.S. officials, the snag was bringing Thanong to San Francisco to stand trial. An internal U.S. Customs report, written in late 1995, cited State Department memos outlining the Thai government's ``adamant refusals to consider'' extradition because it was viewed ``as an affront to the sovereignty and national pride of Thailand.'' Federal agents first moved on Thanong in 1992 by seizing a Beverly Hills mansion he owned, as well as a Mercedes-Benz. But the case did not become public until 1994, when the sealed indictment was revealed to the Thai press at a time when the Thai government was in a constitutional crisis. Thanong was then a member of the opposition party, under attack for its links to voter fraud and drug trafficking. When the United States moved to extradite Thanong, political opponents seized on the issue. He became the target of a probe in Parliament, according to court records and Thai press accounts. He resigned shortly after the drug case against him became public. From the start, he depicted himself as a victim of political foes and a pawn in U.S. efforts to use economic pressure to win Thai cooperation with its drug war. ``His visibility was important,'' said Herbert Phillips, a leading Thai expert and retired University of California-Berkeley professor. ``The whole business of Tony being extradited had to do with political machinations in Thailand. Tony was viewed as somebody expendable.'' Court papers filed by Thanong's lawyers offer a view of him very different from the international drug smuggler described by federal investigators. Thanong, now 46, grew up in the poorest northern Thai provinces and amassed a personal fortune estimated at $160 million. Thanong maintains his riches came from a flourishing real estate business that included one of Thailand's major hotel chains. But U.S. officials insist the wealth is connected largely to the drug trade. In January 1996, after losing appeals in the Thai courts, Thanong was placed on a Northwest Airlines flight to San Francisco to face the federal indictment. By last spring, Thanong appeared ready to concede defeat and enter a plea deal with prosecutors. The deal: Plead guilty in exchange for a prison term ranging from 13 to 20 years. At the time, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Lyons, the lead prosecutor in the case, issued a warning letter to Thanong's lawyers. ``Let me make myself clear,'' he wrote. ``If this matter does go to trial, I intend to seek mandatory life imprisonment of Thanong after conviction.'' The case looked headed for a satisfactory conclusion for the government. But Lyons, when he wrote the warning letter, had been keeping a secret throughout plea negotiations: the Gervacio investigation. Gervacio had come forward to his bosses in the U.S. Customs Service in September 1996 and disclosed that he accepted $4,000 from government informant Michael Woods in 1992. Woods' tips had effectively launched the Thanong investigation in 1987, according to court records. Also, Woods put the $4,000 in cash on the seat of Gervacio's car just after Gervacio had helped arrange a bounty of more than $100,000 for the informant's work in the probe, court papers show. Woods and Gervacio had become buddies, apparently crossing the normal boundaries of an agent-informant relationship. They drank together, Gervacio attended Woods' wedding, and Woods gave the agent a $100 pair of running shoes, court documents state. Gervacio, full of despair and worried the $4,000 he eventually spent on clothes for his daughter would jeopardize the Thanong case, confessed to former San Francisco Customs chief Rollin Klink. ``What I received from Mr. Woods was of an innocent nature and not a bribe,'' Gervacio said in a letter to Klink filed in court. ``I have been carrying this misjudgment and guilt with me for five years where I am now at the point having to reach out for help. I am greatly ashamed and embarrassed to have done something like this.'' Klink declined to comment. Gervacio's lawyers now maintain the indictment amounts to a government betrayal because he volunteered the information about the Woods payment out of concern over its impact on the Thanong case. Gervacio's downfall has indeed posed a serious threat. Gervacio was the lead agent in the investigation, making his credibility crucial. He was the only government witness to testify before the federal grand jury that indicted Thanong. The Thai courts, court papers show, relied heavily on his accounts of informant testimony in deciding to extradite Thanong. Also, Lyons was told in September 1996 about Gervacio's admission but did not disclose it to Judge Walker until June 1997. During that time, the veteran prosecutor was not only negotiating the plea deal but also defending Gervacio's credibility against defense claims the agent had misrepresented facts in the extradition. Prosecutor's past reprimands Lyons has been reprimanded more than once in the past by federal judges for misconduct. Thanong's lawyers say he hasn't learned his lesson, violating evidence rules by not disclosing the Gervacio matter promptly. ``I think he betrayed me and the other lawyers,'' fumed William Osterhoudt, one of Thanong's attorneys. Gervacio's admission may have remained secret, but Thanong had second thoughts about his plea deal. After firing his original defense team in June 1997, he decided to go to trial. At that point, Lyons came forward and told all he knew about Gervacio to Judge Walker, who then made the information public. The case has fueled mounting criticism of U.S. Attorney Yamaguchi and his office, which over the past year has encountered numerous problems with local federal judges over prosecutorial missteps. And prosecutors picked the wrong judge for foul-ups in the Thanong case. Walker, an advocate of the legalization of drugs, has a record of punishing the government for misconduct in drug cases. In fact, he once suppressed evidence in a major cocaine case because he found Gervacio untruthful. The judge has sent strong signals that he is troubled by the government's conduct in the Thanong case. In one order, Walker openly questioned the government's rationale for withholding information about Gervacio's situation for so long. ``Only the most cynical assessment of our citizenry could lead to the belief that a government agent's acceptance of kickbacks from a recipient of government largess -- whose good fortune the agent arranged -- would be of no interest to the public,'' Walker wrote last summer. Defending his actions Lyons declined to comment, but he has defended his actions in court papers and in hearings. In particular, he insists he was not required to disclose the material because he did not intend to use Gervacio as a witness at trial. Further, federal prosecutors maintain that Gervacio's problems are immaterial to the facts of the indictment against Thanong, who allegedly has been identified as a drug trafficker by more than a dozen government informants. ``Thanong Siriprechapong was a major importer and smuggler of marijuana into the United States for many years,'' the government said in a brief filed last month. ``Nothing that has transpired during the difficult process of calling him to justice for these offenses could warrant the windfall for this guilty defendant of dropping the charges and setting him free on the public.'' Even if Walker decides against dismissing the indictment -- a rare punishment for government misconduct -- federal prosecutors face major obstacles in a trial once a jury hears of the Gervacio payout and the agent's relationship with Woods. And Thanong has one of the best attorneys, Tony Serra, to handle a trial if the indictment is not dismissed. ``We brim with optimism,'' Serra said. ``This case shows that (the government) comes to this situation with dirty hands.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Let Prisoners Hang Onto Their Law Libraries (Letter To Editor Of 'San Jose Mercury News' Criticizes California Governor Pete Wilson's Proposal To Remove Lawbooks From State Prisons) Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 09:51:03 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: Let Prisoners Hang Onto Their Law Libraries Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: San Jose Mercury News Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 LET PRISONERS HANG ONTO THEIR LAW LIBRARIES GOV. Pete Wilson's proposal to remove lawbooks from state prisons (Page 3B, Feb. 10) is one of his worst. A number of prisoners in California file suit each year challenging their conditions of confinement as well as seeking post-conviction relief. The vast majority are filing their legal materials themselves because they cannot afford legal representation, and pro bono assistance is scarce. Many were initially represented by public defenders who, although they may have done their best to defend their clients, are subject to heavy caseloads and are not always able to devote a reasonable amount of attention to each case. As a result, errors have been made which should be reviewed. Filling out a standard form without the ability to research relevant legal texts is akin to putting someone in the pilot's seat without training him how to fly. That's not a plane that most people would want to fly on. The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides for access to the courts by inmates. For the past 20 years, this has meant that inmates will receive legal assistance provided by someone trained in the law or have access to a law library. Inmates need a realistic means to address illegal or invalid convictions and sentences as well as challenge unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Inmates are an easy political target. Who wants to preserve the rights of murderers, child molesters and rapists? The problem is that the legal system is not perfect, and as a result, we end up convicting individuals who are not always guilty. I would imagine that the total dollar amount spent on legal materials in state prisons is not an astounding figure compared with other expenditures. A cut in this area is one that is far too costly too make. Lolly P. Belanger Felton
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Return Of The Gold (First Of Two Letters To Editor Of 'New York Times,' From Assistant Professor Of Chemistry, Says Case Of Canadian Snowboarder At Olympics Who Had 17.8 Nanograms Of Marijuana Traces In His System When 15 Is The Legal Limit, Is Not So Much A Lesson In Chemistry As In How Fast Science Is Outstripping Ability Of Nonscientists To Comprehend New Tools - Second Letter Says If Medal Hadn't Been Returned, Message Would Have Gone Out To Youngsters That Marijuana Is Considered Performance-Enhancing Substance) Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 16:36:38 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: NYT PUB LTEs: The Return of the Gold Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Dick Evans" Source: New York Times Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 THE RETURN OF THE GOLD To the Editor: Re "These Games Are a Lesson in Chemistry" (Sports of The Times, Feb. 12) the restoration of the gold medal to the Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati, who had been found to have 17.8 nanograms of marijuana traces in his system when 15 is the legal limit, is not so much a lesson in chemistry as in how fast science is outstripping the ability of nonscientists to comprehend the repercussions of the new tools available to them. At a time when the eating of a poppyseed roll can put a measurable quantity of opiates in your system, the International Olympic Committee has to decide the level at which drugs are "performance-enhancing" at the time of the performance as well as the acceptable levels of others, like steroids, that might be used to attain a superhuman performance. ROBERT F. DRAKE Bronx, Feb. 13, 1998 The writer is an assistant professor of chemistry, Bronx Community College. *** To the Editor: The decision to let Ross Rebagliati keep his gold medal despite testing positive for marijuana was the right call (Sports pages, Feb. 13). Had the arbitration panel ruled against Mr. Rebagliati and upheld the International Olympic Committee, a message would have gone out to youngsters that marijuana is considered a performance-enhancing substance by the Olympics. In the absence of any proof that its use enhances performance, athletes need not be tested for it in the first place. RICHARD M. EVANS Northampton, Mass., Feb. 13, 1998
------------------------------------------------------------------- Olympics - Marijuana Decision May Be Wrong Drugs Message - Police ('Reuters' Says Japanese Police Question Canadian Snowboarder Rebagliati For Nearly 10 Hours, Search His Room And Luggage, Sending A Clear Message To Adults They Should Spend Their Next Vacation Somewhere Else) Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 17:41:48 -0500 From: Cheryl Dykstra & Scott Dykstra
Organization: Dykstra Computer Repair Service To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: CanPat> This is bull - - - -!! Sender: email@example.com 05:06 AM ET 02/16/98 Olympics-Marijuana decision may be wrong drugs message - police NAGANO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Japanese police expressed concern on Monday that the decision to allow a Canadian snowboarder who tested positive for marijuana to keep his gold medal may have sent a wrong message to children. A Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel decided last Thursday that there was no legal basis for disqualifying Canadian Ross Rebagliati who tested positive for marijuana after winning a snowboarding gold medal at the Winter Olympics. ``We are worried that the decision could give a wrong impression about marijuana to young people, many of whom are snowboarding fans,'' a senior Nagano police officer said. ``Marijuana is banned in most countries of the world. But after the news of the decision, young people may think there is nothing wrong with smoking marijuana,'' he said. Japan has strict anti-drug laws and does not allow anyone convicted of drug use into the country. Possession of marijuana can carry a five-year jail term. Rebagliati, who won his sport's first Olympic gold medal in the giant slalom eight days ago, was disqualified by the IOC on Wednesday after post-race urine samples showed traces of marijuana. Canada immediately appealed and said the racer had not used marijuana for 10 months but had been exposed to other people's smoke, especially in his home town of Whistler where team officials said many young people smoked the substance. After questioning Rebagliati for nearly 10 hours and searching his luggage and room in their own inquiry, Japanese police said they did not find any marijuana in Rebagliati's possession.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Remind Your Children That Marijuana Is Harmful (Louise Brown's 'Growing Pains' Column In 'Toronto Star' Says Parents Who Think 'All This Olympic Coverage Is Making Cannabis Seem More Socially Acceptable' Should Stick To Same Old Message That Has Made It Easier To Obtain Than Beer - 'Drugs Can Lead To So Many Dangers, We Just Don't Need Them In Our Lives' - No Comment From Canadian Physicians, Alcohol Manufacturers)And it is a criminal offence." This is not the first time celebrities have admitted using drugs, she adds. "Our kids have known for ages that some musicians use drugs and that doesn't make it okay. We need to explain to children that some people take more risks than others, but the drugs still carry those risks, no matter how popular it may seem." Parents should also jump on this opportunity to discuss drugs with their children, suggests Andrea Stevens Lavigne, co-ordinator of the Addiction Research Foundation's youth prevention programs. With about 25 per cent of Ontario high school students admitting they have at least tried marijuana, it's an issue that parents can't ignore, she says. "Parents have to be much more open than ever before about what can happen when kids use cannabis. It impairs physical co-ordination much the way alcohol does. It has a higher concentration of tar than tobacco smoke. It poses respiratory risks, can shorten breath and can lead to lung disease over time. And if used at parties, the impaired judgement can lead kids to take risks, which is important for them to know in this age of AIDS." Yet marijuana is easier for kids to get these days than alcohol, says Walker. Stevens Lavigne agrees that a lot of kids try it and some then settle into a circle of friends who become focused on the drug culture. "Most kids do experiment and most kids do come out all right in the end -- but only when their parents have given a very clear, strong message that they do not support drugs. "Kids are too smart for parents to lie to them. No, marijuana is not lethal. Yes, it's extremely easy to get. But drugs can lead to so many dangers, we just don't need them in our lives -- and that's the message parents should give." Walker reminds young people that although Rebagliati did keep his medal in the end, the drug culture in which he lives almost caused him to lose it. "I say to kids: 'Don't glorify marijuana. Look at how close that Canadian champion came to losing everything.'" *** Growing Pains appears Mondays. Readers can contact Louise Brown by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to her c/o Life Section, Toronto Star, One Yonge St., Toronto, Ont. M5E 1E6. Brown also writes a column for Starweek magazine.Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 13:20:07 -0500 To: email@example.com From: Dave Haans
Subject: Art: Remind your children that marijuana is harmful Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: The Toronto Star Pubdate: Monday, February 16, 1998 Author: Louise Brown Column: "Growing Pains" Page: E2 Contact: LetterToEd@thestar.com Remind your children that marijuana is harmful So, is marijuana okay, your child asks, since that snowboarder got to keep his gold medal? Parents and teachers have been dancing around kids' drug questions faster than a shredder on a half-pike ever since snowboarding threw marijuana into the international spotlight last week. Suddenly, "weed" is being discussed by fresh-scrubbed athletes on worldwide TV. Drug dealers in downtown Toronto have seized the moment and are selling sheets of acid with the Olympic rings on it. And across the country, parents, teachers and youth workers have found themselves on the defensive. "I'm worried that all this Olympic coverage is making cannabis seem more socially acceptable than it should be. It makes our job (in drug prevention) harder," says counsellor Wayne Walker of the Hospital for Sick Children's substance abuse treatment program for teens. "Some of the kids in my program now argue marijuana can't be bad, because the athlete was allowed to keep his gold medal. They look up to these Olympic faces in the paper. "But cannabis is harmful. The THC in it takes away any motivation, so kids end up skipping school and then they get into even more trouble. "It's also the stepping stone drug to harder chemicals. It can be the beginning of a snowball effect." But that's not the message kids have heard this past week. After years of listening to parents say drugs are bad, children suddenly overheard adults appear to shrug off the discovery of traces of cannabis in gold medallist Ross Rebagliati's urine last week on the grounds that after all, "it was only grass." Having unwittingly sabotaged their own drug prevention lectures, what should parents now tell their kids about marijuana? Forget the old Reefer Madness scare tactics, say drug councellors, but stick to the fact that marijuana does carry risks. "Nothing has changed just because a famous snowboarder has said he has used it," says Carmen James-Henry, a public health nurse in Toronto who was preparing a drug prevention program last week for students at Malvern Collegiate and Glen Ames Junior High. "Parents and teachers have to be clear with children that no matter what famous people may do, we do not condone or encourage the use of marijuana. It is addictive. It slows down your reaction time, reduces your concentration, affects your schoolwork and impairs your judgement about simple safety issues like crossing the street.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Uneasy Mix Of Marijuana, Sport ('Associated Press' Article In 'Los Angeles Times' Quotes Various Olympic Officials, Athletic Figures, Assessing Where Status Of Cannabis, Sports And Drug Testing Will End Up) Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 16:19:09 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: The Uneasy Mix of Marijuana, Sport Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times Contact: email@example.com Fax: 213-237-4712 Pubdate: February 16, 1998 Author: Ted Anthony, Associated Press Writer THE UNEASY MIX OF MARIJUANA, SPORT NAGANO, Japan--Ban the steroids. Eighty-six the growth hormones. Regulate the Sudafed and watch the caffeine intake. But marijuana? At the Olympics, no one's sure quite what to say, though they've spent a lot of words on that uncertainty during the past few days. "The International Olympic Committee must be very tough to ban these social drugs," says Juan Antonio Samaranch, the IOC's president. "Fundamental values are at stake," says Francois Carrard, the IOC's general secretary. "There are a lot of mixed messages," says Carol Anne Letheren, head of Canada's Olympic committee. She's right. At 17.8 nanograms of cannabis per milliliter of urine, Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati certainly wasn't high. He may not have even gotten high -at least not since last April. But around the world, Rebagliati's name has become synonymous with marijuana, and the odd episode that engulfed him last week created a debate new to the Olympics: What effect does a recreational drug like marijuana have on an Olympic athlete -and what should be done, legally and socially, to discourage it? "A lot of people use it -at certain times. It's as common as alcohol," says U.S. snowboarding bronze medalist Ross Powers of Bennington, Vt., who says he doesn't. "But I don't think you really need to test for it." Marijuana, of course, differs from the drugs that tend to surface at the Olympics. It doesn't give an energetic edge. It doesn't make your muscles artificially stronger. It does, however, have one effect those others don't: It taps into the American -and, by extension, global -approach to recreational drugs as an issue of ethics, morality and character. That's why Rebagliati's positive marijuana test -though he insists he inhaled it as second-hand smoke at a party last month in Canada -threw people here off last week even after an appeals board gave Rebagliati his gold medal back. Behind the media questions and the official statements seemed to lurk a wagging finger, a cold eye cast toward anyone who might have had the temerity to even think about something other than athletics, let alone engage in a vice. "We still try to emulate that wonderful Greek ideal world of the Olympics," says Henriette Heiny, director of the International Institute of Sport and Human Performance at the University of Oregon. "And when the real world clashes with it, there's always a real uproar. But the Olympics aren't that ideal anymore." Neither are other sports, to be sure. Yet just how prevalent marijuana is among athletes, both professional and amateur, is a question with a sketchy answer; few statistics are available simply because testing is not widespread. The NBA, which saw 1986 Celtics draft choice Len Bias die of cocaine use before he ever played a pro game, is talking about adding marijuana to its list of banned substances -a move its players' union opposes but some players don't. "I'm all for it," San Antonio's David Robinson said earlier this month. "If something is illegal, then they shouldn't allow it, and the league should say that we have no tolerance for it." And in the NHL, which doesn't test, Players Association chief Bob Goodenow went so far as to say that no league players competing in Nagano use marijuana. "Case closed," he said. That doesn't mean it plays no role in the pros and major colleges. Last month, the Washington Wizards' Chris Webber was charged with possession of marijuana, among other things. And on Sunday, UCLA center Jelani McCoy quit the team after being suspended, then reinstated; news reports indicated he'd been sanctioned for using marijuana. Are the Olympics any different? "I don't know that most sports fans are going to be jarred by marijuana in the Olympics any more than in the NBA or NFL. They realize the Olympics is just as much of a business as a professional sport," says C. Peter Goplerud III, the law dean at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and an expert in sports law. "The purity of competition that might have existed at one time is long gone." Samaranch, for his part, isn't hesitant to use the moral bully pulpit. "It is not doping," Samaranch said. "But I think it's an ethical point, a point of principle, and we have a duty to fight against it. Many people can say, `Well, marijuana is a very light drug.' But many people say marijuana is a beginning to hard drugs." The IOC hopes to have a new marijuana policy in place before the Sydney Games in 2000; it appointed a task force over the weekend to study the issue. Such a policy wouldn't solve the moral-ethical issue. But it would certainly help Olympic organizers offer a united front on just what it is they really don't like. Then, of course, there's the most basic point -something that was discussed but discarded in The Big Rebagliati Debate. It's the idea that an athlete truly committed to his or her sport simply wouldn't take the risk -either of being caught or of turning gold-medal ability into disappointing finishes. "When you are involved in high-performance sports, you need to take care of your body and your mind in the best possible way that you can," Heiny says. "Marijuana is more of a kids' social partying thing nowadays. I don't think it's anything that people who have serious goals and objectives are using."
------------------------------------------------------------------- International Olympic Committee Weighs In On Medal Controversy ('Los Angeles Times' Quotes IOC Director General Francois Carrard Saying Five-Member Group To Consider Banning Cannabis For Next Games And Will Scrutinize Marijuana Use In Context Of 'Matters Of Social And Ethical Concerns, And Fundamental Values Which Are At Stake' - Doesn't Sound Like Freedom Of Choice Is One Of Them) Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 16:32:08 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: IOC Weighs In On Medal Controversy Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times Contact: email@example.com Fax: 213-237-4712 Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 Author: Mike Kupper IOC WEIGHS IN ON MEDAL CONTROVERSY Caught off guard by the Ross Rebagliati-marijuana controversy, the IOC will look into use of the drug by Olympic athletes, hoping to avoid future misunderstandings and preserve "fundamental values." Rebagliati, the Canadian snowboard champion, lost his gold medal temporarily, after testing positive for marijuana, then got it back after winning an appeal on the ground that pot was not among the drugs specifically forbidden in the Olympics. The IOC said at a press conference Saturday that the lack of an agreement with the International Ski Federation, which has marijuana on its list of banned drugs, left it with no choice but to return the medal. "Because the agreement did not exist, no other judgment was possible," said Francois Carrard, IOC director general. The IOC is working on a revised medical code and hopes to have it in place before the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. Carrard said the five-member group scrutinizing marijuana use will consider "matters of social and ethical concerns, and fundamental values, which are at stake."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Store Review Is Reefer Madness - Judge Said Store Owner Man Of Good Moral Character (Staff Editorial In 'Victoria Times-Colonist' Says Attempt By Police In Victoria, British Columbia, To Have City Council Review And Then Lift Ian Hunter's Business Licence For Sacred Herb Hemp Store Makes As Much Sense As Stripping Canadian Snowboarder Ross Rebagliati Of His Olympic Gold Medal)Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 19:41:54 -0800 (PST) To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Alan Randell) Subject: Pot store review is reefer madness Newshawk: Alan Randell Pubdate: February 16, 1998 Source: The Victoria Times-Colonist (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial OUR VIEW Pot store review is reefer madness Judge said store owner man of good moral character The attempt by the Victoria police to have city council lift Ian Hunter's business licence for his Sacred Herb - The Hemp Store makes as much sense as stripping Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati of his Olympic gold medal. Victoria police confirmed last week that because of Hunter's conviction last September on marijuana charges, his business licence "falls into the parameters of a person who should not have a business licence" under city bylaws. Hunter was indeed convicted and fined $500 in B.C. Supreme Court for possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking (hundreds of seeds he sold from his store), cultivation of marijuana (plants he grew in the window of his shop) and possession of magic mushrooms. He is appealing the minimal fine. But before city council takes the rare step of lifting his licence, it should stop and take a look at the circumstances surrounding his case. Hunter, Victoria's best-known marijuana advocate, virtually begged authorities to arrest him on pot charges - openly flouting laws which he believes to be out of touch with society's current mores - as the first step in his effort to see marijuana decriminalized. During his court battle, he urged jurors to exercise their political will and find him not guilty, thus sending a message to Ottawa that marijuana laws are archaic. When convicted, he said he was disappointed but that he had lost only a battle, not a war, and planned to fight on - appealing the decision to B.C. Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, if necessary. It is interesting to note what Supreme Court Justice Montague Drake said at sentencing after observing Hunter, who represented himself, throughout the trial. Calling Hunter a man of "good moral character," he said he couldn't quarrel with Hunter's motives because any citizen is perfectly at liberty to do what he or she can do to change the law. Hunter, contacted after the Olympic reversal which allowed Rebagliati to keep his gold medal, called the athlete's ordeal a victory and hoped it would put the issue of decriminalization of marijuana on the "front burner of public discussion." That fits Hunter's very public crusade, which is no reason to yank a business licence. Eleanor and Alan Randell 1821 Knutsford Place, Victoria BC Canada V8N 6E3 E-mail: email@example.com Telephones: Home 250-721-0356, Work (Alan) 250-952-2926
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug User Abuse Must Be Stopped (Letter To Editor Of Alberta's 'Lethbrige Herald' Retorts, If Government's Brutal Pogrom To Punish Innocent Drug Users Is Laissez-Faire, Then Hitler Was A Libertarian) Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 16:52:08 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: Canada: PUB LTE: Drug User Abuse Must Be Stopped Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Kathy Galbraith Pubdate: Monday, 16 Feb 1998 Source: The Lethbrige Herald Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.lis.ab.ca/lherald/ DRUG USER ABUSE MUST BE STOPPED Editor: I am grateful to your correspondent, Paul Wilkinson (Letters,Jan.26) for reminding us that possessing a Ph.D. degree is no guarantee that you do not occasionally talk through your hat. If the Canadian government's brutal pogrom to punish innocent drug users is "laissez-faire", then Hitler was a libertarian. Unfortunately, drug prohibition is supported by many educated ignoramuses such as Dr.Wilkinson, thereby forcing us to re-learn the terrible lessons of alcohol prohibition all over again. To paraphrase Hegel, "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". Alan Randell Victoria
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Caribbean Connection - Puerto Rico A Major Gateway To The US ('Washington Post' Says Cocaine, Heroin Traffickers Have Shifted Tactics, Making Island Territory Most Important Way Station Of Growing Smuggling Route Through Caribbean, According To Usual Law Enforcement Officials, Experts On Drug Trade) Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 15:56:32 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US: WP: The Caribbean Connection Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Kevin Zeese Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 Source: Washington Post Section: Front Page, page A1 Authors: Douglas Farah and Serge F. Kovaleski, Washington Post Foreign Service Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm THE CARIBBEAN CONNECTION Puerto Rico a Major Gateway to the U.S. SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A shift in tactics by cocaine and heroin traffickers has made this island territory the most important way station of a burgeoning smuggling route through the Caribbean, according to law enforcement officials and experts on the drug trade. Colombian drug cartels, which produce virtually all of the world's cocaine and an increasing amount of its heroin, have shipped most of their U.S.-bound drugs through Mexico in recent years. While that remains the dominant route, stepped-up interdiction efforts at the U.S.-Mexico border - plus the ever-increasing demands of Mexican traffickers - have led the Colombians to diversify by putting new emphasis on the Caribbean. The Colombian cartels have subcontracted their Caribbean smuggling to Puerto Rico-based trafficking gangs whose leaders are from the Dominican Republic, according to law enforcement officials. The Dominicans ship the cocaine and heroin via islands throughout the archipelago, often using small, fast boats that are almost certain to escape detection by law enforcement agencies - and that can easily outrun any patrol craft that happens to get lucky. A given shipment of cocaine or heroin might hopscotch its way north through several island nations, authorities say. But for the Dominican traffickers, all roads eventually lead to Puerto Rico. Since Puerto Rico is U.S. soil, there are no customs checks between the island and the American mainland. The traffickers apparently consider shipping the drugs onward to their destinations in Washington or New York or Chicago a mere formality. "Once the drugs are in Puerto Rico, they might as well be in Kansas," said Felix Jimenez, special agent in charge of the Caribbean for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. "There are 72 flights a day from here to the mainland, and San Juan is the busiest port in the Caribbean and the fourth-busiest in the United States. You can put coke on a plane here and have it in Los Angeles in less than 24 hours." The United Nations Drug Control Program, in a report to a regional conference held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in December, estimated that 250 tons of cocaine destined for the U.S. market, or about 40 percent of the total, passes through the Caribbean. This is a significant increase over estimates a year ago that about 30 percent of the cocaine reaching the United States passed through the Caribbean. In addition, law enforcement officials said, almost all the growing flow of Colombian heroin now passes through Puerto Rico on its way to the lucrative markets of the eastern seaboard of the United States. The illicit flow of cocaine and heroin has brought with it a sharp increase in crime and drug abuse, with National Guardsmen at times patrolling the most drug-infested housing projects here and police sealing off whole neighborhoods for drug sweeps. The drug trade, Gov. Pedro Rossello said in a recent interview, "is the biggest threat that we have to the existence of our society as we know it." Rossello said drug trafficking "has wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico" and is his administration's top priority. "It has poisoned our youth and injured our capability for the future," he said. "All we want to do is raise the resistance so that the traffic will be shifted elsewhere." Rossello is not alone in his lament. Throughout the Caribbean, authorities say drug trafficking has brought new social, political and economic problems that threaten to overwhelm often fragile governments. For example, in the Dominican Republic - the home of the major new Caribbean traffickers - officials estimate that of a population of 8 million, at least half a million Dominicans used cocaine or marijuana last year. Officials estimate that as much as $1 billion in illegal drug profits was laundered through the nation's financial system last year. Of 10,000 drug cases in the past seven years, fewer than 100 have resulted in prison sentences. Pino Arlacchi, United Nations undersecretary general for drugs and crime, said at the Santo Domingo conference that the Caribbean was being swept up in a global trend in which "vast sums of illicitly acquired monies allow drug criminals to gain political and economic power and corrupt democratic institutions." "The sad reality is that drug trafficking and abuse, as well as the legitimation of the proceeds of criminal activity, are negatively affecting the Caribbean in terms of health, corruption, internal security, violence, economic development and the integrity of financial institutions," Arlacchi said. "The corruption that exists in parts of the region helps drug criminals to damage the Caribbean social fabric. We must avoid letting traffickers deepen their roots. ... Poverty and the drug trade are related. Fragile and distorted economies, poor governments and corruption are the inevitable consequences of criminal activities. Innovative Traffickers The drugs brought into Puerto Rico arrive largely in low-riding "go-fast" boats, vessels that can outrun most law enforcement boats. Using Global Positioning System devices that allow drug loads to be located on the high seas with great ease and accuracy, several small boats will often converge on a single large load dropped from the air or a larger ship. If police presence is detected, the speedy boats split up and head in different directions, virtually guaranteeing that the bulk of the shipment will get through. And the drug traffickers are constantly innovating. Last year they began to use small, semi-submersible boats that could carry up to 440 pounds of cocaine all the way from Colombia to Puerto Rico. While not operating completely under water, the boats rode low enough to be almost covered by the sea, making them virtually undetectable. Traffickers also use isolated roads to land aircraft loaded with drugs. The groups are so compartmentalized, according to knowledgeable sources, that one group of people will be hired solely to lay out lights on the road to show an airplane where to land. Another group will be contracted to unload the flight, and a third to remove the lights. "They can slip in and out virtually undetected," said one law enforcement official. "With the technology they have, they can message each other, coordinate a drop with great precision and move the merchandise before we can even decode their messages. Unless we have specific intelligence, it is virtually impossible to stop them." In one of the largest raids ever carried out here, Puerto Rican police arrested 1,039 people on Dec. 17 in a series of raids across the island. The raids netted 1,356 3.5-ounce bags of cocaine; 133 small bags of heroin; 58 firearms; 60 vehicles and $205,582 in cash, according to Puerto Rican law enforcement officials. Using evidence gathered in the raids, the police said, they were able to bring murder charges against 40 people, including Wess Solano Moretta, alleged leader of one of San Juan's most powerful drug organizations. "They [Colombian drug trafficking organizations] have persons in charge of distribution, laundering, records and exporting," said Puerto Rico's attorney general, Jose Fuentes Agostini. "The Colombians are operating like a giant corporation with different levels of management and subsidiaries in different countries. This is a business organization here, not gangs with jackets and switch blades who are cutting each other up." The drugs leave Puerto Rico in every imaginable way, according to law enforcement officials. Smugglers favor cargo ship containers, but also use commercial airline flights, cruise ships and express mail. Between October 1996 and June 1997, a joint task force led by the Coast Guard seized 24,000 pounds of illegal drugs on the high seas as the drug traffickers were attempting to reach Puerto Rico, according to Adm. Robert E. Kramek, commandant of the Coast Guard. The drugs had a street value of $1 billion, he said. On July 31, federal agents arrested more than a dozen people working for Delta Air Lines. They were charged with organizing shipments of cocaine on Delta during a three-year period. DEA officials said the alleged smuggling ring introduced between 13,200 and 22,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States during that time. The street value of the drugs was more than $1 billion, the DEA said. The suspects are awaiting trial. And this fall, federal agents uncovered 7,513 pounds of cocaine in a single container in a ship bound for the United States. 'Quiet Invasion' But while the transshipment of drugs through here is a concern, officials and residents here say the greater devastation is caused by the cocaine and heroin left behind as payment for the services of those involved in the drug trade. It is not hard to find evidence of the impact. The windows of the guard houses at Las Margaritas housing project here in San Juan are pocked with bullet holes. Those wishing to enter the complex, with its bare courtyards and its graffiti-covered walls, must have their identification checked by riot-equipped National Guardsmen brandishing M-16 rifles. Despite this military presence, residents say, gunfire still pierces the night. Drug dealers still manage to do business. Not far away, in a neighborhood called Barrio Figueroa, police sealed off an area of several square blocks one recent night and then swooped in from all sides. Rows of haggard, dazed men and women were flushed out of narrow alleys and run-down wooden houses. Police lined them up against a cement wall and frisked them, quickly filling a large plastic bag with crack pipes, syringes and small bags of drugs. Other residents heckled from their windows, asking why the cops were going after such small fry instead of the big fish who run the drug trade. "It's tragic to see what the quiet invasion of these drug traffickers has done to this island. It is slowly tearing this place to shreds by creating generations of addicts and killers with no values," said Sylvia Castillo, 27, a schoolteacher in San Juan. "People don't look straight ahead anymore when they walk the streets around here. They are constantly looking behind to make sure nobody mugs them or tries to kill them," she said. "Drugs have taken us hostage here. They have changed our way of life. I mean, look around. Now we have to live behind gates and bars. And if you are lucky enough you can afford to pay for an armed guard," said Manny Mendosa, 38, an unemployed mechanic from San Juan. "I don't think Washington has done enough for us. It is only concerned about stopping drugs from getting to the mainland. Meanwhile, we are getting killed out here." Drugs and Death Of the 868 murders in 1996 on this island of 3.7 million people, 80 percent were directly related to drug trafficking, said Pedro Toledo, the police superintendent. Another 10 percent of the homicides were indirectly attributable to drug trafficking, he said. In 1986, only 30 percent of the island's murders were drug related, officials said. Health officials here estimate there are at least 67,000 people on the island who are drug abusers or dependent on drugs, but said the figure could be far higher. Health officials said they had detected a rise in the use of Colombian heroin, a huge problem because the heroin is much purer than before. While heroin sold on the streets in the 1970s was less than 10 percent pure, it is now often close to 90 percent pure. The purity leads to a much more immediate dependency on the drug, health workers said. The growing trafficking and accompanying violence has forced the government to call out the National Guard in an unprecedented step to wrest back control of parts of the city taken over by drug runners. Of the 180 housing projects in San Juan, 80 have been taken over by the National Guard. The troops usually stay for periods of several months, while metal fences are put up around the project perimeters, small police stations built, guard houses installed and the projects generally refurbished. Then, aside from controlling security at entry points, the National Guard withdraws, and the job of keeping the streets safe falls to small groups of policemen, who often patrol on bicycles. "It helps things for a while, but not for long," said one weary senior police officer here. "People get tired of the hassle of getting in and out. Policemen start dating the girls in the project, and pretty soon the drug sellers come back, not as boldly, but quietly making sales." Peering from the metal bars over the windows of small cement bloc houses at Las Margaritas project one day last fall, several residents warily watched visitors, then backed away and refused to talk when approached. "Things are bad here, you can trust no one," said an elderly woman who declined to be interviewed or give her name. "They still sell drugs here. Leave us alone." Just after she closed her window, two young men wearing sunglasses and gold chains rounded the corner, stopped and peered at a visitor. "Those are some of the drug dealers, but we have not been able to catch them yet," said a policeman who watched them saunter by. "They still get in and out of here and sell dope because young people here want to buy. They are getting bolder all the time." Crackdown in the Barrios In November, the local government began a program to crack down on "megapuntos" like Barrio Figueroa - areas of wholesale sales and distribution of cocaine, crack and heroin. Most of these drug markets are located in poor housing projects where the National Guard is not active. "It is important that we take back the streets, that we maintain a presence here so the drug traffickers are not here," said Lt. Col. Adalberto Mercado, head of the Puerto Rican anti-narcotics police. But not everyone agrees that simply cracking down on the most obvious drug-sale sites is a solution. Anibal Acevedo Vila, a spokesman for the opposition Popular Democratic Party, said the crackdowns only forced dealers to relocate from metropolitan areas to smaller towns in the surrounding mountains. "The government has used [the sweeps] to give the impression that it is dealing with the drug problem, but it is not enough," Acevedo said. "They are not dealing with supply or demand. They are just dealing with the distribution without attacking the roots of the problem." "First, the fact is that this is a big business, and they are not going after the big players," Acevedo added. "On a second level they are not dealing with the health and social problems caused by drugs here." Drug corruption has also seeped into Puerto Rico's prison system. An August 1997 report by a court-appointed monitor recommended the U.S. government take over the prisons because violent drug gangs virtually controlled the penal system. The 340-page audit, the result of a 1979 class-action lawsuit over prison overcrowding, found that gangs had control of the incoming mail, in effect meaning that drugs and contraband were allowed to flow into the prison unchecked. The study concluded the "authority of the staff had been ceded to inmate domination to a degree that was never before seen." Puerto Rican government officials said the size of the police force has been increased significantly over the years and that the government has been attacking the demand problem through a number of programs. They include an aggressive media campaign and a treatment component involving doctors, psychologists and social workers. Furthermore, drug courts were established in 1994 in which judges try to identify first-time nonviolent offenders, who they may allow to receive drug treatment in lieu of full jail terms. So far, about 600 people have been treated in this program, usually for a period of about 18 months. But, Gov. Rossello said, "I don't think anyone can attack the demand side in the short run." The real question is what can be done to significantly reduce the flow of drugs through Puerto Rico, and the ensuing social havoc, given the island's open shoreline, geographic location and history of centuries of involvement in contraband of all sorts. "These criminals have unlimited budgets, they can spend whatever they want. But we have limited resources. It is a difficult fight," Attorney General Fuentes said. "I use the word fight and not war because by definition a war is supposed to end. This will be with us for a long time."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cartels 'Buying' Haiti ('Washington Post' Says Corruption Is Widespread And Drug-Related Corruption Epidemic - No Successful Prosecutions Of Drug Cases In Haiti In At Least Two Years - Though President Rene Preval Has Orchestrated Arrests In Recent Months Of Nearly Three Dozen Officials, Including Police Officers, A Prosecutor, Two Judges, Mayors, And Council Members On Drug Charges That Include Complicity In Drug Trafficking And Dealing) Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 16:17:53 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: Haiti: WP: Cartels 'Buying' Haiti Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Kevin Zeese Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 Source: Washington Post Page: A22 Author: Serge F. Kovaleski, Washington Post Foreign Service Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ CARTELS 'BUYING' HAITI Corruption Is Widespread; Drug-Related Corruption Epidemic PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti-Last March, authorities arrested a Colombian man as he arrived at the international airport here lugging several suitcases stuffed with 1,650 pounds of cocaine destined for the United States. Two weeks later, under mysterious circumstances, the suspect was allowed to leave Haiti unpunished, according to Haitian and U.S. law enforcement sources. In the words of one U.S. investigator, "No one knows what . . . happened to him or the drugs." Around the same time, a Haitian driving a Mercedes-Benz through Port-au-Prince was pulled over in a routine traffic stop by police, who discovered 22 pounds of cocaine stashed in the trunk of the car. But a senior government official soon ordered the release of the driver and his car, law enforcement sources said. Then in November, police seized a large cocaine shipment from a truck apparently en route to the neighboring Dominican Republic that they had detained at a roadblock in the southern port town of Miragoane. Within hours, a group of the officers was back at the station dividing a large chunk of the find among themselves. This time, though, part of the haul was recovered by anti-drug police, who also arrested seven officers, as well as a justice of the peace and a court clerk for allegedly falsifying the initial report on the quantity confiscated. When the Clinton administration spearheaded an international mission in 1994 to reinstate democratic rule in Haiti, rebuilding the country's crooked and dysfunctional law enforcement institutions was to be a cornerstone of the effort. The military government at the time had for years forged strong, lucrative ties with South American drug traffickers, giving several notorious drug lords carte blanche to live and conduct business here. U.S. officials hoped to move the traffickers out. Today, however, a growing epidemic of drug-related corruption is poisoning that U.S.-backed endeavor and allowing Colombia's powerful cocaine and heroin cartels to utilize this impoverished Caribbean island more than ever as a major transit point to the United States. Now that the U.N. peacekeeping mission here has ended, authorities fear the situation may get worse. A senior U.S. official said this month that it is now estimated that 7 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States passes through Haiti. In recent months, nearly three dozen officials -- police officers, a prosecutor, two judges, mayors, council members -- have been arrested on drug charges that include complicity in drug trafficking and dealing. The crackdown has been part of an attempt by President Rene Preval to counter what many observers consider the most serious threat to this nation's fragile democracy. "Nowhere does a narco-dollar go further today than in Haiti," said another U.S. investigator, referring to the ease with which cartels can smuggle and harbor drugs here. "As a transshipment venue and a 'stash house' for traffickers, Haiti is bigger than ever, it has never been worse, in large part thanks to narco-corruption." "The situation is quite simple here. People, including some police, are so desperate for food and other things that dealing drugs or working for drug traffickers would not be a second thought for many Haitians. Look what happened in Flamand," said Port-au-Prince street vendor Michelle Beaux, 28, referring to an incident last November when people in a southern fishing village attacked smugglers transferring drugs from a vessel and split up more than 1.5 tons of cocaine to sell. "It is very easy to take advantage of poor people, and the drug traffickers know it. It is also very sad what they are doing," Beaux said. "We all look to God to help us, but that is different than the fast money the drug traffickers offer people," said Rafael Charles, 29, as he sat in his wheelchair on a Port-au-Prince street begging for money. "A lot of Haitians, including politicians, have sold their souls for that money. And nobody seems to be watching. Many of us have no choice. We have to eat, and we want nice things." The porous border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic enables Haitian smugglers -- sometimes police officers -- to deliver narcotics freely from the largely unprotected shores of their country to their Dominican counterparts. They, in turn, move the contraband into the United States by boat or plane, mostly through the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, about 80 miles away. A portion of Haiti's drug shipments is smuggled directly from the island to eastern U.S. cities, such as Miami and New York, on large container ships or individual "mules" flying on commercial airplanes. Law enforcement officials noted, however, that Haiti for the most part has become a feeder for Dominican traffickers, who not only work as transporters for the Colombians, but have extensive sales networks in profitable U.S. markets like New York City. "Haiti's long history of economic and political instability, along with rampant official corruption, have increased the inherent attractiveness of the country as a crossroads of the drug trade," James S. Milford, retired acting deputy administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said in testimony last year at a House subcommittee hearing on drug trafficking in the Caribbean. "There is such a society of desperation and poverty that it is easy [for drug traffickers] to get protection from the community," said Sandro Calvani, the representative in the Caribbean for the U. N. Drug Control Program. Said one Haitian law enforcement official: "Basically, the drug cartels are buying this country from the bottom up and from the top down. They are corrupting everyone from poor townspeople to police officers and judges with cash, and sometimes product, to make sure they consolidate their positions on the island." Investigators said that up to a dozen suspected Colombian traffickers are living in Haiti, trying to co-opt more public officials here while managing the movement of vast amounts of cocaine and heroin. Observers noted, however, that one break with the past has been the creation of the Hatian National Police department's Office of the Inspector General, which has gone after corrupt officers on the force. All told, more than 200 officers have been fired for reasons ranging from alleged drug trafficking and dealing to excessive force. At least 60 are in prison awaiting trial, and Preval is considering appointing a special prosecutor to handle the increasing number of cases. The inexperienced and low-paid Haitian National Police, a force of 5,300 officers that is largely U.S. trained, has proven to be brazenly susceptible to corruption. In November, for example, three officers were arrested on charges of working for a suspected drug dealer to torture and kill her enemies. Judges are generally paid even less than police officers, who earn about $80 a month. Late last year, Preval was forced to intervene in two corruption cases, ordering the arrest of one judge because he inexplicably released a reputed Dominican drug trafficker and relieving another judge who was accused of taking bribes in several drug-related cases, according to government officials. There have been no successful prosecutions of drug cases in Haiti in at least the last two years. In a recent interview, police chief Pierre Denize acknowledged that corruption is a major problem. "A corrupt system is very much alive," Denize said. "We have ports that are really open ports. There is nonexistent and ridiculously weak security. Sure, they [traffickers] love Haiti, understandably so. Basically it comes down to the point of least resistance. This is the regional point of least resistance."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tobacco Firm 'Knew Product Was Addictive' (Britain's 'Independent' Says Internal British American Tobacco Documents Presented In A US Court In Minnesota Show Company Feared Losing Smokers And Considered Developing Alternative Products That Would Also Be Addictive But Produce No Smoke - Tobacco Manufacturers' Association Denies Smoking Addictive, Notes 11 Million People Gave Up Smoking In Last 20 Years In UK - 'What Is Addictive? Coffee, Tea, Sex And Shopping Are All Said To Be Addictive - We Refute The Addiction Argument And Always Have') Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 22:12:07 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: UK: Tobacco Firm 'Knew Product Was Addictive' Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Zosimos Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 Source: The Independent Author: Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor Contact: email@example.com TOBACCO FIRM 'KNEW PRODUCT WAS ADDICTIVE' MPs are to be asked to investigate claims that Britain's biggest tobacco company knew 20 years ago that its profits depended on the addictive nature of cigarettes. The claims are based on internal British American Tobacco papers presented in a US court case in Minnesota, which show that the company feared losing smokers, as they died or gave up, and considered developing alternative products that would also be addictive but produce no smoke. It is the starkest evidence yet that the tobacco industry recognised that the success of its business was based on nicotine addiction. The document, dating from 1979, is one of 10,000 released in the Minnesota case in which Medicaid, the US state organisation, is claiming the tobacco companies should pay the costs of treating tobacco related diseases. Ash, the anti-smoking charity will today call on the Commons health select committee to investigate the tobacco business so that the document and others like it can be released in the UK. Clive Bates, director of Ash, said: "The document shows the chilling logic of a company understanding that its whole business depends on addicting its customers to nicotine, but recognising that its harmful effects are a strategic threat to its customer base." The memo, dated 28 August 1979, records discussions held among staff at BAT's research organisation in Southampton. It says the company is explicitly searching for a "socially acceptable addictive product" involving: a pattern of repeated consumption; a product which is likely to involve repeated handling; the essential constituent is likely to be nicotine or a direct substitute for it; the product must be non-ignitable (to eliminate inhalation of combustion products and passive smoking). The memo adds: "We also think that consideration should be given to the hypothesis that the high profits additionally associated with the tobacco industry are directly related to the fact that the customer is dependent on the product." The tobacco industry has never publicly admitted that its products are addictive. Mr Bates said yesterday: "I wish every smoker could read this document. It is the language that is remarkable, taking as its starting point the addictiveness of the product and then explaining how the profits flow from that. It makes a mockery of the argument that smokers have a free choice whether to smoke. If they are made dependent on the product they don't have the freedom not to smoke." Yesterday the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association was continuing to deny that smoking was addictive, and warned that taking a single document out of context was open to misinterpretation. A spokesman said 11 million people had given up smoking in the last 20 years in the UK undermining claims that the habit was addictive. "What is addictive? Coffee, tea, sex and shopping are all said to be addictive. We refute the addiction argument and always have done." He added that the document was "probably an exercise in formulating policy looking at all the various aspects of tobacco and the smoking habit".
------------------------------------------------------------------- Bid To Coax Drug Growers Out Of Trade (Ireland's 'Examiner' Describes European Community's Attempt To Step Up Its Multi-Million Pound Effort To Coax Latin Americans To Produce Something Less Lucrative Than Illegal Drugs) Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 20:02:42 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: Ireland: Bid To Coax Drug Growers Out Of Trade Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Zosimos Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 Source: The Examiner (Ireland) Author: Dan Collins Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org BID TO COAX DRUG GROWERS OUT OF TRADE THE EU is stepping up its multi-million pound effort to coax Latin American producers into areas other than illegal drugs. This was one of the anti-drugs tactics which emerged from a recent meeting of EU Foreign Ministers and their counterparts in 12 South American countries. A spokesman for Foreign Minister David Andrews, who attended the series of meetings in Panama City, said, yesterday, all sides had recognised two significant points. Firstly, the crucial importance of removing European demand for illegal drugs and secondly, the need to steer Latin American drug producers towards alternative sources of income. The EU has already provided some incentives for Latin American growers to channel their energies into legal operations. And this strategy is expected to be further developed prior to next June's special general assembly of the UN, which has placed the fight against illicit drug trafficking at the top of its agenda. "The entire world community needs to adopt an integral strategy aimed at countering the grave social threat posed by the drugs problem, whose destructive impact respects no geographical boundaries," Mr Andrews said. While in Panama, the Minister also lobbied support for Ireland's bid for election to the UN Security Council in 2000. "Ireland is a determined defender of the UN's paramount position within the international community. We want a reformed, revitalised and financially strong United Nations. Our presence on the Security Council would enable us to pursue that aim with increased vigour and to greater effect," the Minister said. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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