------------------------------------------------------------------- No Laws Broken In Strip Search ('The Oregonian' Notes Fourth Amendment Protections For Middle School Girls In McMinnville, Oregon, Have Been Abrogated By State Laws) The Oregonian 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Letters to editor: email@example.com Web: http://www.oregonian.com/ March 28, 1998 No laws broken in strip search Yamhill County district attorney bases his decision on a state police report By Dana Tims and Inara Verzemnieks of The Oregonian staff McMINNVILLE - Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry said Friday that no laws were broken in the Jan. 29 strip search of girls at Duniway Middle School, although mistakes in judgment were made. Forty-five girls between the ages of 12 and 14 were detained after thefts were reported in a third-period gym class. Forty-four were students in the class, but school officials also pulled a girl out of another class who had been in the locker room during the gym class period. All but seven of the girls were strip-searched by women police employees. A school district official halted the process an hour after it began. "I don't feel there was sufficient probable cause to search these girls," Berry said. His decision not to press charges was based on his review of a 1,000-page report the Oregon State Police compiled on the Duniway incident at the McMinnville Police Department's request. Sixty people were interviewed in the state police investigation, which lasted one month. "Mistakes have been made," Berry said. "Now we need to learn from those mistakes and move on." The two adults who oversaw the search have already faced some consequences for their roles. McMinnville Police Officer Kent Stuart, who was the school resource officer, was transferred to patrol, and Pat Jenkins, Duniway vice principal, resigned. But the city and the school district still face civil repercussions as a result of the search: 11 people have filed notices of their intent to sue. Dean Klaus, whose daughter was among those searched, said Berry's decision not to file charges seemed like the right thing to do. "I didn't think any good could have come out of that," Klaus said, adding that he thinks the investigation was important to help "bring the facts forward." The statute that Berry most closely examined for possible violation was official misconduct, which requires that someone knowingly performs an act that constitutes an unauthorized exercise in official duties, according to Oregon law. Berry said there was no evidence of criminal intent underlying the actions of Jenkins or Stuart. According to the findings of the state police investigation, this is what happened at Duniway that day: About 11 a.m., the girls discovered that their locker room had been ransacked. Money, a compact disc player, compact discs, candy, jewelry and makeup were missing. They told their gym teacher. She told Jenkins, who summoned Stuart to come with her to the gym. Stuart asked the guilty party to come forward. No one did. After consulting with Jenkins, Stuart told the girls, "If you don't come forward you will be strip-searched," Berry said. Again, there was no response, and Stuart called two women employees from the police department to come and conduct the search. The girls were led two-by-two into the locker room, where they were asked to remove their coats, shoes and socks. Jenkins stood by during some of the searches and personally searched many of the girls' backpacks and binders. Stuart waited outside in the gym to make sure none of the students left. The women police employees patted the girls down and asked them to shake out their bras, unbutton their pants and quickly pull their underwear down and up to see whether any of the stolen items might fall out. Two weeks earlier, a student was caught committing a theft, and officials found stolen money concealed in her underwear, Berry said. "I'm confident that played a role in the action that was ultimately taken," he said. Well into the searches, Jenkins called Val Just, personnel director for the McMinnville School District, to tell her what was happening. After Just consulted with the school district's attorney, she called Jenkins back and told her to stop the search. The remaining girls who were not physically searched were taken to Jenkins' office and questioned. None of the missing items was recovered. McMinnville school district officials said Friday they had no comment about Berry's findings. The McMinnville Police Department also had no comment. The department will use the state police report in its own internal investigation.
------------------------------------------------------------------- San Jose Police Scan Pot Files ('San Francisco Chronicle' Says San Jose Police Are Going Through Patients' Files Seized Monday From The Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center And Calling Doctors To Determine Whether The Drug Was Indeed Recommended For Their Patients) Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 10:07:42 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US CA: San Jose Police Scan Pot Files Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Section: FRONT PAGE Author: Maria Alicia Gaura, Chronicle Staff Writer Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 SAN JOSE POLICE SCAN POT FILES Patients, Doctors Protest Probe Of Cannabis Center San Jose police are going through patients' files seized this week from the county's only medical marijuana clinic and calling doctors to determine whether the drug was indeed recommended for their patients. The seizure of the confidential records from the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center and the telephone calls to doctors listed in the files have raised concerns among AIDS patients who fear being identified. Physicians also say they worry about losing their federal licenses to prescribe drugs. ``What are they doing with our files?'' said one distraught patient, who declined to give his name. ``Are we facing retaliation now? Will we face surveillance? They have my address now, and my phone number, and information about my illness.'' The man was one of many patients who gathered in protest at the year-old Cannabis Center yesterday. Police raided the center Monday and arrested executive director and Cannabis Center co-founder Peter Baez, charging him with selling marijuana to a patient without a valid physician's recommendation. Baez disputes the charges, contending that three center workers had received an oral recommendation from the patient's doctor. Although the center was not closed Monday, police seized all patient files and then returned copies of the files to center workers. Baez complained yesterday that receipts were not provided for all of the seized files, and that portions of some files that have been returned are missing. According to Baez, between 150 and 175 patients have told him they plan to file a class-action lawsuit charging the San Jose Police Department with violating the confidentiality of their medical records. Baez said he would join the suit, as his personal medical files were also taken. Police and officials from the Santa Clara County district attorney's office confirmed that police investigators are looking through the approximately 270 client files seized from the center Monday and are calling doctors to ask for confirmation of clients' illnesses, as well as to discover whether they recommended marijuana use. Deputy District Attorney Kristina Warcholski said yesterday that patients should not be apprehensive about the fate of their files. ``We would like the AIDS community to know that we are not interested in disseminating information about anyone's medical history,'' she said. ``We are only interested as to whether a violation of law concerning the dispensing of medical marijuana took place.'' According to county health officer and AIDS physician Martin Fenstersheib, the only ethical response a doctor could make to such a request is to say that patient information is confidential. That is the response police have gotten after calling his clinic this week, Fenstersheib said. ``Our No. 1 concern is that of patient confidentiality,'' Fenstersheib said. ``We have to maintain the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship, and the patient has to agree to the release of any information. ``In addition, physicians are going to question who is on the other end of the phone,'' he said. ``It could be anyone.'' Doctors are also fearful of the police calls because although state law allows use of medical marijuana, the law is being challenged by the federal government. Marijuana use for any purpose is still illegal under federal law, and physicians must apply to the federal government to maintain their licenses to prescribe drugs. If doctors refuse to divulge the requested information, police will ask patients to sign a release of their medical records, Warcholski said. And if patients refuse to comply, ``We will try to otherwise determine whether the person has a legitimate right to marijuana,'' she said. This week's raid and arrest at the center came as a surprise to center volunteers, who said the relationship between the center, the city and local police has been unusually cooperative for the past year. Baez and Jesse Garcia, the founders of the center, worked with city officials to draft strict city rules governing the distribution of medical marijuana after state voters approved Proposition 215, which legalized its use. Center workers have successfully screened out not only five prescription forgers but several federal agents who attempted to infiltrate the operation. Baez's arrest was shocking to clients and volunteers because he was cooperating with the police investigation and also because he suffers from colon cancer and had undergone surgery shortly before his arrest. Baez and clients of the center are worried that the arrest and raid mean that the support of city officials, which they once enjoyed, has evaporated. ``The government is getting between me and my doctor,'' said Don Altier, a San Jose resident suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. ``No one should have access to my records without my approval, and I'm going to tell my doctor not to release anything.'' Fenstersheib called the recent turn of events unfortunate. ``Things have deteriorated now that the federal government is trying to close the medical marijuana centers (in six California cities),'' he said. ``It's particularly unfortunate because, at the bottom of this, it's the patients who are going to suffer.'' Police spokesman Chris Moore said that police have no intention of stopping the legitimate use of medical marijuana in San Jose. ``We are not denying access to anyone,'' Moore said. ``We are doing our best as a city to make sure it is done in an appropriate place and manner. But they've got to follow the law, and we can't turn a blind eye to that.'' (c)1998 San Francisco Chronicle
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lawyer - Teen's Killers Called Him 'Narc' ('Orange County Register' Says An Eyewitness Has Made A Statement Describing The Killing Of A 17-Year-Old Boy Coerced Into Being An Informant By Police In Brea, California) Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 13:05:40 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Lawyer: Teen's Killers Called Him 'Narc' Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 Author: Stuart Pfeifer and Tony Saavedra-OCR LAWYER: TEEN'S KILLERS CALLED HIM 'NARC' The attorney for Chad MacDonald's mother says a 97-page police report includes an eyewitness account of the youth's beating death. The killers of Yorba Linda teen-ager Chad MacDonald called him "a (expletive) narc" and made racial slurs while beating the youth at a Norwalk drug house, the family's lawyer said Friday after reading Brea police reports. Attorney Lloyd Charton said the information - from a witness to MacDonald's killing - was contained in 97 pages of police reports released Friday to the 17-year-old's mother. Charton refused to give the documents to the media, despite permission from a juvenile court judge and police allegations that he was releasing only items favorable to his side. Charton said at a news conference in Santa Ana that the documents also disclose that a student told Brea police after MacDonald's body was found March 3 that she had been warned to stay away from him because he had fingered a separate Orange County methamphetamine lab and something bad was going to happen. The reports also said, according to Charton, that an Orange County prosecutor told MacDonald on Feb. 19 that drug charges against him would be dismissed if he completed one last undercover buy. Assistant District Attorney John Conley said he was prohibited by laws that protect juvenile privacy from confirming or denying the allegation. Charton said records showed that MacDonald made one supervised buy as a drug informant, gave information to police that led to the shutdown of a meth lab and bought drugs on one occasion without police authorization. Brea Police Chief William Lentini said Charton's information was slanted, inaccurate and incomplete. "He's releasing stuff piece-meal," Lentini said. He said information in the reports indicated that MacDonald was killed for other reasons and not because he had been a police informant, but that he, too, was precluded from commenting at length. Lentini has said from the beginning that MacDonald wasn't working for Brea when he went to the Norwalk home.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lawyer - Teen Was Trying For Last Deal ('Orange County Register' Notes The Orange County District Attorney's Office Had Also Coerced The 17-Year-Old Boy In Brea, California, To Be An Informant Before He Was Tortured And Strangled And His Girlfriend Raped And Shot) Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 13:22:18 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Lawyer: Teen Was Trying for Last Deal Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 Author: Stuart Pfeifer and Tony Saavedra-OCR LAWYER: TEEN WAS TRYING FOR LAST DEAL Confidentiality of juvenile proceedings prohibits comment from law enforcement officials. A prosecutor allegedly told Chad Allen MacDonald at a court hearing last month that he would dismiss narcotics possession charges if the youth completed another drug buy as a Brea police informant, a family lawyer said Friday. The offer, which the lawyer said is outlined in police reports released to MacDonald's family, is the first indication the Orange County District Attorney's Office approved of the youth's informant work before he was slain this month. Attorney Lloyd Charton said he wouldn't publicly release the police file because the reports could identify people who have cooperated with police and others in the drug business. "These documents have things in it that could get people hurt and I'm not doing it," the attorney said. Assistant District Attorney John Conley said he could not comment on his office's involvement because of state laws that require juvenile court proceedings to remain confidential. "The judge has put us in a situation where one side can talk and the other can't and I'm very frustrated," Conley said. "Hopefully, early next week we'll see if the judge will allow us to talk as well. Charton's news conference was the latest salvo in an increasingly bitter debate between MacDonald's family and Brea police on whether the 17-year-old's work as an informant led to his death. Police deny MacDonald was working for them on the day he was killed. Charton said that the youth agreed to work for police after he was arrested Jan. 6 while driving in Yorba Linda with half an ounce of methamphetamine. MacDonald disappeared March 1 after driving with his girlfriend to a reputed drug house in Norwalk. The youth's tortured and strangled body was found March 3 in a south Las Angeles alley. Charton said the report indicated the accused Hispanic killers made racial slurs while beating MacDonald and calling him "a (expletive) narc." "Yeah, they said because he was a 'white guy,' but that's a red herring. Chad was killed because he was a snitch," Charton said. Brea police officials said Charton failed to release information that showed other potential motives for MacDonald's death. Brea police had petitioned presiding Juvenile Court Judge Ronald Owen for permission to publicly release the police investigative file. But Owen, instead, gave the documents to MacDonald's mother, as well as permission to release what she wished. Brea Police Chief William Lentini said the decision left him unable to respond to Charton's allegations. The judge "said he thought the mother had a surviving interest in the information about Chad." Lentini said. "Clearly (Charton) will pick out the information that is beneficial to his case." Charton has not disputed that MacDonald was a drug user and methamphetamine dealer in Yorba Linda. He has criticized police for not putting the teen into the juvenile system, where he likely would been sentenced to a six-month rehabilitation program instead of re-introducing him to the drug world. On Feb. 19, when MacDonald appeared in court, Charton said the police report shows that "Chad was told by the DA if you make another buy for the detectives I will dump al the charges." That night, at about 7:25 p.m., Brea police arrested him a second time for possession of two grams of methamphetamine. MacDonald told the officers that he was working as an informant for a Brea detective. The officers released MacDonald to his mother and said the detective would contact him, Charton said. "Chad never heard from that officer again. There were no charges. There was nothing ever done," Charton said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Orange County Teen Informer Case Has Parallels (Lengthy 'Orange County Register' Article Notes The Chad MacDonald Case In Brea, California, Is Just One Of Several Around The Country In Which Teenage Informants Have Been Killed) Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 13:40:41 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: OC Teen Informer Case has Parallels Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 28 Mar 1998 Author: Stuart Pfeifer, Peter Larsen and Kim Christensen-OCR O.C. TEEN INFORMER CASE HAS PARALLELS Chad MacDonald's story is one of several in which families say informants died or were at risk. Gregory "Sky" Erickson was 15, an aspiring professional golfer from Estherville, Iowa. Last May, he sat in a conference room with police and prosecutors who wanted to make a deal. Arrested during a traffic stop for allegedly possessing a small amount of methamphetamine, Erickson could avoid prosecution by digging up information on area drug dealers, recalled his father, Gregory Erickson. A week later the teen-ager was found beaten and shot to death. His body had been set on fire and dumped across the Minnesota state line. "I feel responsible because I talked him into this," the elder Erickson said. "There's just a lot of people that miss the hell out of him." While police say the boy was killed over a drug debt, his father contends he was slain because he had been an informant. His story resembles one now playing out in Orange County involving the death of a Yorba Linda teen-ager who was killed, his mother says, because he had been a drug informant for Brea police. Neither case is unique. From the Atlantic Coast to Silicon Valley, there have been other situations involving juvenile informants, some that have had deadly results: A Roanoke, Va., teen-ager was slain by a man from whom the boy had bought drugs as a police operative. A San Jose youth was plucked from a county juvenile-detention hall to work undercover for police on a bust that resulted in the death of one man and the wounding of an officer. While legal, the use of minors as police informants has drawn sharp criticism from juvenile-justice advocates and experts on police conduct. "I think it is improper, and I don't think they should be doing it," said James J. Fyfe, a Temple University criminologist who has testified as an expert witness in police-misconduct cases. "The primary responsibility of the police is to protect lives," he said. "A drug arrest is not worth putting a kid's life at risk." Many police agencies don't condone the practice and say they don't employ minors as snitches. But others argue that using juveniles is sometimes the only way to infiltrate drug operations. The controversial practice was thrust into the public spotlight after Chad Allen MacDonald, 17, of Yorba Linda was tortured and strangled at a Norwalk drug house earlier this month. His mother alleges that in the weeks before his death he'd made drug buys for Brea police to avoid prosecution on a methamphetamine charge. Chief Bill Lentini says MacDonald was on his own the day he died. He would neither confirm nor deny the boy's previous involvement with his department, but said juveniles had made at least five drug buys for Brea police investigations. While many police officials say that minors are used sparingly if at all - and almost always are required to have written permission from their parents - several cases illustrate why the practice is controversial. IOWA YOUTH'S ROLE DISPUTED In the Iowa case, police ultimately arrested 10 people in connection with Sky Erickson's killing. His father says they are people the 15-year-old turned in to police. "Do I think there should be an age limit for who can act as an informant? Well, it's pretty obvious that a 15-year-old wasn't able to handle what took place," Gregory Erickson said. Clay County Attorney Mechael Zenor said there had bee "some discussion" about the youth's providing authorities with information about drug dealing, but that he died before he could act on that arrangement. The suspects later told investigators it was revenge over a drug debt that prompted the killing, Zenor said. "The whole motive was that he owed a drug debt to these bad guys and he didn't pay up." said Zenor, who is prosecuting Erickson's accused killers. So far, six of the 10 have been convicted. Had Sky Erickson been prosecuted as a juvenile after his first arrest, he probably would have spent about sex months in juvenile custody the same sentence MacDonald would have received. Zenor doubts it would have prevented Erickson's death. "Oh, come on," he said. "That would be a hell of a stretch to say if he had gone to rehab he wouldn't have been killed. He would have still owed the money when he got out, and the motivation was the money." POLICE: TEEN VOLUNTEERED Sixteen years after Cecil Calloway was slain, his family still blames the police who used the 16-year-old as an informant in Roanoke, Va. "Even though he was streetwise, by him being that young I know he didn't understand what could happen to him," said his sister, Jo Ann Calloway, 29. Her family believes Cecil Calloway met police officers while he was in a detention home for boys after getting nabbed for stealing and truancy. After he got out, he began hanging out with a Roanoke vice officer named Pete Sullivan. Calloway said she believes her brother thought he was buying drugs for a cop who wanted them for illegal personal use. Sullivan, now a sergeant, said the boy knew police were using his information and drug buys to arrest dealers. "He walked in and just volunteered," he said. "We didn't have any charges on him, he wasn't working anything off; he just came in off the street and wanted to help us. He just said he wanted to get the drugs off the street." Cecil did a good job, he said, helping on the arrests of three or four dealers. It was a job for which he was paid a small amount of money and in which he took some measure of pride. "We found out later that he was going around telling people he was a junior narc," Sullivan said. But it wasn't Cecil's bragging that led to his death, Sullivan said. It was the fact that one of the dealers Cecil bought from followed him down the street and saw him get into a car with two vice officers. Robert Earl Rose, a nightclub owner known as Mr. E, heard that Cecil was working for the cops. Rose had recently been arrested - not long after selling drugs to Cecil - and police say he sought revenge. Rose was convicted of shooting and bludgeoning the boy and dumping his body on a remote stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. He died in prison in 1994 while serving a life sentence. "It's a risk they take," Sullivan said of juvenile informants. "They know it in the back of their minds. And we take every precaution we can with our informants. We don't throw them to the wolves with their eyes closed. I feel bad about it. But I don't fee responsible for it." The Calloways sued the city, the Police Department and Sullivan for $500,000, alleging they failed to protect Cecil. The suit was dismissed, but police now require officers to get parental permission before using juveniles. "My brother, he was just flat out used," Jo Ann Calloway said. INFORMANT KILLS HIMSELF In 1989, the mother of Robbie Williamson, 17, sued the city of Virginia Beach, Va., after the teen-ager killed himself with drug overdose. Dorothy Williamson alleged that police had used her son as an informant without her permission and had failed to take into account his troubled past. He was on probation at the time for theft and burglary, and had been in out of a psychiatric treatment facility. "If they had talked to his probation officer, taken the time to talk to me, they would have found out how unstable Robbie was," she said in court papers. Police and city officials contended the boy volunteered and knew what he was doing. If Robbie had been younger and less mature, they said, his mother's permission would have been sought. "Robbie was 17 at the time, and he was judged be the people he was working with to be mature enough to make that decision on his own," said L.Steven Emmert, a senior city attorney who added that the youth was used only as a source of information, not as an undercover agent. His mother's lawsuit contended that his status as an informer became known to drug dealers through police negligence. Threatening phone calls began the day after his information led to the arrests of several dealers, she said. The family said in court that Robbie killed himself because of those threats, Emmert said. The judge dismissed the case in 1992, ruling that the boy's constitutional rights had not been violated. His mother refiled her suit in state court, seeking $2.5 million. The city settled it for $48,750 but admitted no liability. Emmert said the city now uses juvenile informants only in "extremely limited" situations, and only with parents' written consent. Detectives no longer may use juveniles without a captain's approval. LAWMAKERS WANT CHANGE Change has been proposed by legislators because of the MacDonald killing. Assemblyman Scott Baugh, R-Huntington Beach, last week proposed emergency legislation that would prohibit police from using juveniles in similar cases. State Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco, has called for a hearing before the Senate's Public Safety Committee. Nationwide, there is no consensus on how or whether minors should be used as police informants. Often, police department have no policy on the issue until controversy arises. That's what happened in Lexington, Ky. in the mid-1980s, after two teen-age boys were used by police in a male prostitution sting. A 16-year-old - who said he agreed to work after he was arrested for auto theft - and his 14-year-old cousin posed as male prostitutes and were picked up by a Lexington lawyer and driven to his apartment. The older boy - whose mother had given he consent - wore a microphone so police could listen to what happened. But before officers arrived the younger boy - whose family knew nothing of the police operation performed oral sex on the man for $20. His mother later filed a lawsuit, seeking $12.5 million from 20 defendants. It was settled out of court. The mayor of Lexington called the undercover operation "a mistake" that "sort of got out of hand" and issued strict guideline: police could use juveniles only as a last resort and only with the approval of the public safety commission, commonwealth and county attorneys, and a social worker. The International Association of Chiefs of Police - with 16,200 members in 104 countries - has no specific policy position on the issue, said spokeswoman Sara P. Johnson. Its model policy on confidential informants recommends only that juveniles be used in accordance with department policies and state laws. However, a background paper on confidential informants warns law enforcement agencies to exercise caution with juveniles and says it is "essential" that two officers be present at meetings with juvenile informants and that written consent forms be signed by a parent or legal guardian. Some juvenile-justice advocates contend that minors should never be used. "It is irresponsible to put someone at that age at that abount of risk," said Dan Macallair, associate director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, a nonprofit group in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. "The worst label, the most dangerous label that could be put on a kid in some of these neighborhoods is 'a snitch' or 'a narc' or whatever word they're using," Macallair said. "That alone can put a kid in serious danger." In the mid-1980s in San Jose, a 17-year-old Juvenile Hall inmate was released to police investigating a drug and theft ring. "They checked him out like a library book," said Scott Ewbank, a San Jose lawyer and member of the Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Commission. The undercover operation went bad, sparking a shootout. The juvenile ducked in time to dodge a bullet, but one officer was wounded and a suspect killed. Paul Lepak, a Santa Clara County deputy probation officer, said the use of teen-age informants is simply too risky. "You're basically putting a child in a situation that is dangerous from the get-go," he said. "I can't imagine any agency wanting to do that. The liability is just tremendous." Ewbank said he will ask the commission to make sure that no Santa Clara County agencies are using juvenile informants. "I'm hoping that lesson from 13 years ago isn't forgotten," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Democrats Consider Medical Pot (Longtime Marijuana Law Reform Activist Carl Olsen Writes A Letter Recounting His Recent Successes Working With The Iowa State Democratic Party And Getting Them To Support A Medical Marijuana Platform) Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 20:31:59 EST Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: "Carl E. Olsen"
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Democrats consider medical pot This is a note to let you all know how much your efforts over the past few years have made a difference in the way people think. Today, I was elected to the state platform committee of the Iowa Democratic Party. My purpose for being on the committee is to advance a platform plank calling upon the federal government to allow the medical use of marijuana. At the county level, the chair of my subcommittee on government and law was an attorney for the Des Moines Police Department. Another member of that subcommittee was a legislative staff member of the Iowa Democratic Legislative Caucus. My plank was adopted by that subcommittee without any opposition. It was also adopted by the subcommittee on Health and Human Services. The chair of the county platform committee was a Des Moines police officer. During debate on my platform plank, the only comment from the floor was that it was a shame we couldn't be discussing complete legalization of marijuana. My plank was adopted by the full committee and assigned the position as the first plank in the government and law section of the Polk County Democratic Platform. I was elected to move on to the fourth congressional district platform committee. At the district meeting, my plank was adopted without comment and assigned to the second position in the government and law section, directly behind a plank endorsing President Clinton's agenda as stated in his State of the Union speech. As the only member of the government and law subcommittee of the fourth congressional district platform committee, I was given the task of prioritizing the approximately 40 planks in my section of the district platform document. Of course, I moved my plank ahead of Mr. Clinton (making him number 2). During the debate on my proposed changes, the acting chair of the district platform committee (the same Des Moines police officer who chaired my county platform committee) announced that the Democratic candidates had asked that my plank be removed from the district platform. He also mentioned that Iowa law recongizes the medical use of marijuana, and that the states of California and Arizona had legalized the medical use of marijuana in their states. He said that it would be better if the issue of medical marijuana was deferred until two years from now, because there would be a better voter turn-out in a presidential election year. There was some heated debate at that point as several members of the committee wanted to know if all controversial issues would be removed from the district and state platforms. Some questioned whether the Democratic Party stood for anything. One woman (who was also elected to the state platform committee) almost broke down into tears as she described a 19-year-old relative who had died from cancer, and how his father had to become a criminal just to get him marijuana to relieve his nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy treatments. I described the situation of a Waterloo, Iowa, man, who was arrested for possession of 3 ounces of marijuana and given a 10-year prison sentence which was suspended for a 10-year term of probation. He was accused of violating his probation for using marijuana, but an Iowa district court judge ruled that the Iowa law protected his use of medical marijuana after his doctor testified that marijuana was the only medicine that worked to relieve his pain. A motion to strike my plank was soundly defeated by a voice vote (about 80% to 90% in favor of keeping it in the platform), and my medical marijuana plank remains the number one priority in the government and law section of the Fourth Congressional District Platform of the Iowa Democratic Party. As you can tell, there is going to be considerable debate on this issue as it moves to the state platform committee, and possibly to the state convention. I can expect opposition from the candidates both at the state platform committee meetings and on the floor of the state convention, although I have a feeling it will survive at both. I will be called upon to defend my plank. I ask that you pray for me to be articulate and persuasive. I want to tell you that I was simply overwhelmed by the support I got from my fellow rank and file Democrats on this issue. You all deserve thanks for the tremendous work you've done in educating the public on this issue. I want to thank each and every one of you for your efforts. I wish I could name you all, but there are just too many of you to count. You all know who you are and what this means to all of us. Peace and blessings my brothers and sisters. Sincerely, Carl Olsen firstname.lastname@example.org Post Office Box 4091 Des Moines, Iowa 50333 (515) 262-6957 voice & fax NORML News archived at http://www.calyx.com/~olsen/ http://www.commonlink.com/~olsen/
------------------------------------------------------------------- $4 Million Plan Targets Meth ('Des Moines Register' Says Iowa Democrats, Accusing The GOP Of Dragging Its Feet While Methamphetamine Use Increases Across The State, This Week Proposed A $4 Million Plan Targeting The Crank Market) Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 18:50:07 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US IA: $4 Million Plan Targets Meth Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: "Carl E. Olsen" Source: The Des Moines Register Author: Shirley Salemy, Register Staff Writer Note: Reporter Shirley Salemy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Contact: email@example.com Webform: http://www.dmregister.com/letter.html Website: http://www.dmregister.com/ Pubdate: Saturday, March 28, 1998 $4 MILLION PLAN TARGETS METH Democrats say the GOP drags its feet while the drug spreads across Iowa. With less than a month remaining in the legislative session, an 11th-hour issue is percolating at the Statehouse: Iowa's devastating methamphetamine addiction. Democrats this week proposed a $4 million plan to combat the growing problem plaguing communities from Sioux City to Muscatine. They argued the Republicans controlling the Legislature have done nothing meaningful to attack the problem. Now House Republicans hope to counter that measure by developing legislation that takes a "comprehensive approach," said Rep. Jeffrey Lamberti, R-Ankeny, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The rush of legislation was preceded by revelations that the vast majority of methamphetamine in Iowa is not home-cooked, but funneled through a sophisticated pipeline from Mexico and California. Iowa's Drug of Choice The drug - also known as crank, ice and speed - first flourished with the motorcycle gangs of the 1960s and 1970s. These days, its cheap, highly addictive, long-lasting fix is the choice of Iowa drug users, no matter their income, age, gender or where they live. The details of the House Republicans' proposal are still being worked out, Lamberti said. But it likely will affect meth users, dealers and suppliers. He also said the GOP would have to work within existing budget targets. Under consideration are mandatory minimum sentences for meth dealers and an outlaw of appeal bonds for convicted dealers, he said. The proposal by Democrats includes money to create a 15-member "meth strike force" to further investigate clandestine meth labs and drug manufacturers. It also would establish grants so local law enforcement authorities could increase training, staff and equipment. Chances Aren't Good In addition, the plan would boost funding for meth addiction treatment and target teen-agers to keep them from using the drug. The prognosis for the Democrats' proposal has not been good. Sen. Dennis Black, D-Grinnell, said he unsuccessfully offered it as an amendment to the health and human-rights budget. "It's high time that Iowa government leaders develop some courage and declare an all-out war on methamphetamine," Black said. But in response to the Democrats' plan, Lamberti said: "Dumping more money is not going to solve the problem. It's not a money problem. It's punishment." Gov. Terry Branstad acknowledged recently more can be done to fight meth, but he stands by his record. "You never do enough, dealing with something this dangerous and serious," Branstad said. "But I would stack up what we've done in Iowa against any state in the country. We've been very aggressive in education, public information and tougher penalties." Branstad cited the drug-testing bill passed this session as the most significant this year to fight meth. Users have said that if drug testing had been done at their workplace, they wouldn't have gotten tangled with the drug, he said. Drug-Abuse Summit But on March 19, Branstad sent a letter to Alan Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, inviting him to a town meeting in Des Moines this fall to explore other steps. Charles Larson, the state's drug czar, said one important step could be locking up meth dealers and manufacturers after their conviction. If they are allowed out on appeal bonds, many keep cooking the drug and teaching others to do the same, he said. "That would send an immediate signal to the drug community: You're out of business," Larson said. He said mandatory minimum sentences also are necessary to break people's addictions and the groups that make and deal the drug. He hopes the random drug-testing legislation recently signed by the governor also will stymie the meth problem. More investigators also might help. Iowa is part of the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which means federal money is funneled to the state to fight meth manufacturing, importation and use. According to Larson's office, drug task forces operate throughout the state, covering 74 counties and 80 percent of the population. The Iowa Department of Public Safety's Clandestine Lab Response Team works to bust local manufacturers and clean up hazardous materials that are left behind. But House Speaker Ron Corbett, R-Cedar Rapids, said news of the sophisticated meth pipeline means the state might need to focus on adding drug-enforcement officers. Harsher Penalties Corbett also is interested in stiffer penalties for users unless they tell who sold them the drug. "That way we can start moving up the ladder to the drug kingpin or the main people involved in the organization," he said. During the summer, he wants to study the state's substance-abuse treatment system and how it is faring under the added pressure of meth addicts. Democrats, meanwhile, plan to keep pressing the issue and hope to win approval of their proposal. "We're going to keep the pressure on," said House Minority Leader David Schrader, D-Monroe. On Monday, away from the Statehouse spotlight, U.S. attorneys in Iowa and other officials will inaugurate a public-information campaign called "Life or Meth." The campaign, developed by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, includes an educational video, crank hot line and television spots. One TV announcement shows what appears to be a kid dancing to music, said Stephen Rapp, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa. In reality, the teen-ager is convulsing on the floor next to a toilet. "We're trying to get out there and make this drug unacceptable," Rapp said. RELATED BILLS Iowa lawmakers this year and last have introduced bills related to the growing problem of methamphetamine use. Here are some of the measures that became law, and others that are proposals: Someone 18 or older who manufactures methamphetamine in the presence of a minor shall be sentenced up to an additional five years in confinement. Enacted. Judges are permitted to impose a longer jail term for someone who manufactures crank in hotel rooms. Enacted. Random and unannounced tests of workers for use of alcohol or other drugs. Enacted. State officials would report to the Legislature and the governor the extent of methamphetamine use in the state, options for early intervention and the availability of treatment for substance abuse and mental illness by Dec. 15, 1998. Proposed. Someone 18 or older who unlawfully manufactures and delivers meth to someone younger than 18 would be guilty of a class A felony and sentenced to life in prison. Proposed. Drivers would be considered operating a vehicle while intoxicated if they have any amount of a controlled substance or other drug not prescribed present in their system. Proposed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Suburban Family Terrorized As Cops Raid Wrong House (Unsourced News Article Says More Than A Dozen Illinois State Police Broke Down The Doors Of A Woman's Home In Harvey, Illinois, Ignited A 'Flash-Bang' Device, Handcuffed Her 13-Year-Old Son And Peppered Her 7-Year-Old Daughter With Questions Before They Realized They Had The Wrong Address - Harvey Police Chief Philip Hardiman Says, 'I Don't Know If We'd Apologize - It's Not Unusual For That To Happen') Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 05:44:47 EST Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: Anti-Prohibition Lg
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Cops raid "wrong" house in Chicago suburbs Suburban family terrorized as cops raid wrong house March 28, 1998 BY MICHELLE ROBERTS CRIME REPORTER LaDana Ford said she was awakened early Friday morning when more than a dozen police officers kicked in the front and back doors of her Robbins home, stormed inside and ``stuck flashlights and guns in my face.'' Then Harvey police and Illinois state troopers ignited a ``flash-bang'' device in the family's hallway for diversion, searched closets for drugs, handcuffed her 13-year-old son and peppered her 7-year-old daughter with questions, Ford said. Then they realized they were at the wrong address. ``We were terrified,'' said Ford, 31, a security guard who lives with her two children in the south suburb. ``I kept screaming, `You hit the wrong house. You hit the wrong house.' But they didn't want to hear anything I had to say.'' On Friday, Harvey Police Chief Philip Hardiman confirmed that Ford's home was mistakenly raided during an investigation by his department. ``We make out search warrants when we get information from drug informants,'' he said. ``Sometimes they give us incorrect information, and warrants are made out for one house when we're really looking for the house next door. ``I think that's what happened here,'' he said. ``That happens from time to time in any police department.'' Hardiman defended his officers, who were working with a special drug unit of the State Police. When asked if the department would apologize to Ford, Hardiman replied. ``I don't know if we'd apologize. It's not unusual for that to happen sometimes, but I will say it doesn't happen that often.'' Hardiman said he does not know when officers realized they were at the wrong address, but said the department would pay for damage to Ford's home. ``I know they realized that there were no drugs there,'' he said. Ford said the experience was terrifying, and that officers refused to show her the warrant. ``It was hard seeing my son sitting in his room on the bed in handcuffs,'' she said. ``He's 13, and they wouldn't let me talk to him. ... '' ``I asked both of my kids if they wanted to stay home from school [Friday] because of the raid,'' she said. ``They both went to school. They're afraid to be here.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Legalism (List Subscriber Describes Doug Husak's Theory Of Social Psychology, That Prohibition And Other Socially Divisive Edicts Are Created And Maintained To Enhance The Solidarity Of Conformists - Like The Proposed Flag-Burning Amendment, It Reinforces A Need To Separate 'Us' From 'Them') Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 06:05:13 EST Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: Robert.Goodman@godi.adirondack.fidonet.org (Robert Goodman) To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: legalism Organization: Paradigm Shift East * USR 33.6K x2 firstname.lastname@example.org (Arthur Livermore) said in his copyrighted post: > Drug warriors must be closet drug pushers. Why else would they > support a system of drug prohibition that creates a subculture > that perpetuates the "specialness" of marijuana? Well, there's the phenomenon that Doug Husak describes as "legalism". This is the idea that there's a motivation to promulgate such edicts just so as to produce a subculture. Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes and who doesn't. The result is, or attempts, to enhance solidarity among both the conformists and the non-conformists, by better being able to identify both. Both the subculture and the regular culture benefit in some sense by this means, although not all individuals in those subcultures and regular subcultures so benefit. I don't know whether readers outside the USA are aware of this, but in this country for decades there's been probably the starkest example of legalism fought over -- prohibition of desecration (as by burning) of the American flag. There's not much protest value in flag burning unless it's illegal, and there's no reason for it to be illegal except its symbolic function -- that is, legalism. So both flag burners and those who revile flag burners would benefit by its illegality. I believe the creation and isolation of a subculture to be a major reason for prohibition. The prohibitionists will claim to revile such a subculture, but they desire its existence. So, probably, do many drug users. Of course, so do the drug purveyors, but that's from pecuniary interest, not legalism. Robert Fidonet: Robert Goodman 1:2625/141 Internet: Robert.Goodman@godi.adirondack.fidonet.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Secret Heartbeat Of America' (Bulletin From The Militia Of Montana About A Video Documentary By Newport Beach, California, Investigative Reporter And Producer Daniel Hopsicker, About Federally-Protected Illegal Drug Smuggling Through Then-Governor Bill Clinton's Arkansas)Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 00:55:03 -0800 From: Paul Freedom (email@example.com) To: Cannabis Patriots (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: CanPat - [Fwd: [mom-l] Secret Hearbeat of America] Sender: email@example.com Hi cannabis patriots. There's some noise here so read below. The Militia of Montana is selling a video about the CIA, Oliver North, Bill Clinton, Arkansas, cocaine smuggling stuff. So take it for what it's worth. PF *** Mar 1998 13:34:46 -0800 (PST) Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 12:51:27 -0800 From: "Randy L. Trochmann" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Organization: A.P.I.C. Service Subject: [mom-l] Secret Hearbeat of America Subject: Secret Heartbeat Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 18:26:06 EST From: email@example.com (UNAmerican Activities Inv Comm.) "Will 'Fornigate' uncover the REAL Clinton scandals?" Newport Beach, California. Investigative reporter/producer Daniel Hopsicker, whose 2-hour TV special "The Secret Heartbeat of America" exposes federally-protected drug smuggling through then-Governor Bill Clinton's Arkansas, announced plans recently to confront Congressional lawmakers with evidence that Clinton was directly involved in drug smuggling through the Mena Arkansas airport during the 1980s. "This intern business is part of the cover-up," states Hopsicker. "Our investigation into drug smuggling at Mena revealed eyewitnesses willing to testify that Clinton visited the airport alone while Governor and had meetings with Barry Seal, the most famous cocaine smuggler of the '80s, who imported $5 billion worth of cocaine into the United States." Hopsicker was told by a well-placed source in Hollywood that the contents of his 2-hour show were too explosive to air in America. "He told me, 'This won't air while Clinton's President," states Hopsicker, "which came as a shock, since I'm also the producer of a business news show which has been airing internationally on NBC." That left him no choice, he states, but to "bring our show to the American people any way we can. "We've got a true story - an all-too-real true story--of some actual American heroes who came face-to-face with a powerful criminal organization whose influence extended into the highest reaches of our state and federal government," says Hopsicker. "Barry Seal, Oliver North, and Maj. Gen. Richard Secord all participated in a massive CIA-protected drug smuggling operation through the Mena Arkansas airport while Clinton was governor--and there is persuasive evidence that the operation helped place him in the White House." The 6-month investigation exposed links between smuggler and CIA agent Barry Seal and Oliver North's infamous "Enterprise", the subject of the Iran/Contra Congressional hearings in the late 1980s and includes numerous startling links between Clinton and former President George Bush. "Drug smuggler Seal was in direct and frequent contact with George Bush. In fact, when he died in a hail of gunfire, he had Bush's unlisted phone number in his blood-stained pants. Now we've been able to tie Clinton to Seal's Mena operation, and prove CIA involvement in cocaine smuggling in support of the Contras, we feel it is imperative to the country that Clinton not be allowed to resign over his already-documented sexual indiscretions, without these far more serious charges being given an airing." To order the video send $20.00 + $3.00 shipping to: Militia of Montana, P.O. Box 1486, Noxon, MT 59853 *** Join the Militia of Montana Email Alert List by sending a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the words "subscribe mom-l" in the body of the message. If you have any problems please contact me and I will do this for you. *** SUPPORT A PATRIOT -- BUY FROM A PATRIOT Buy -- Sell -- Trade on the Patriots Internet Marketplace Advertise on the American Patriot Internet Classified Service http://www.logoplex.com/classifieds email@example.com *** LOGOPLEX -- the Patriot Internet Resource Center CREATE YOUR INTERNET PRESENCE ON LOGOPLEX For information on getting your message, product or service on the Internet, send your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.logoplex.com/LogoPlex/info.html
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ex-Chief In Mexico Charged With Drug Ties, Reports Say ('Reuters' Says Adrian Carrera Fuentes, Former Director Of The Federal Judicial Police, Mexico's Equivalent To The FBI, Was Detained Friday And Arraigned Without Bail On Charges Of Being On The Payroll Of The Arellano Felix Drug Gang) Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 15:19:11 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: Mexico: Ex-chief in Mexico Charged With Drug Ties, Reports Say Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Dick Evans Source: Reuters Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 EX-CHIEF IN MEXICO CHARGED WITH DRUG TIES, REPORTS SAY MEXICO CITY - A former Mexican police chief was arrested yesterday on charges of being on the payroll of the Arellano Felix drug gang, local media reported. Adrian Carrera Fuentes, former director of the Federal Judicial Police, equivalent to the FBI, was detained early in the morning and arraigned without bail, said national broadcaster Radio Red. A spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office said she could not confirm the reports. Neither could the office of the top prosecutor for the Federal District. Local reports said Carrera Fuentes had long been suspected of having links to the Arellano Felix brothers, who allegedly operate out of Tijuana. The Arellano Felix clan is one of Mexico's most-wanted fugitives and is also on the FBI's most-wanted list. Carrera Fuentes would be one of the highest-level drug arrests in Mexico since its anti-drug chief, General Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, was held last year on suspicion of protecting the rival Juarez cartel. Meanwhile, the US Senate voted 54-45 yesterday against a Republican-led resolution proposed by four senators that sought to revoke the approval Clinton gave last month in his annual evaluation of other countries' anti-drug efforts. Proponents of the resolution complained Mexico had failed to stop drug cartels smuggling billions of dollars of cocaine, heroin, and other drugs into the United States.
------------------------------------------------------------------- If Emery Was Mayor, 'Weed' Not Be Bored ('London Free Press' In London, Ontario, Interviews Former Resident Marc Emery, Now A Famous Marijuana-Law Reform Activist In Vancouver, British Columbia, Who Says He'd Move Back To London If Elected Mayor) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: Column: If Emery was mayor, 'weed' not be bored Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 08:07:14 -0800 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: London Free Press Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: March 28, 1998 Author: PAUL BERTON If Emery was mayor, 'weed' not be bored Don't groan. Marc Emery says he'll come back to London if we want him. The former downtown business owner and infamous gadfly loves the place. "If they make me mayor, I'll come back.'' He's not joking. You might think he'd be sick of us. Find us provincial, parochial, small-minded. Not at all. At least not any more than the rest of the continent. He says Vancouver, his adopted home since 1993, is the most broad-minded community in North America. Now, even they seem to be tiring of him. The latest straw, though not probably the last, is an article profiling his businesses in the April 2 edition of Rolling Stone magazine. Emery may be old news to Londoners, but he's making headlines in newspapers across the continent, not the least of which was the Wall Street Journal, which has featured him, complete with picture, on the front page. Until the recent Rolling Stones profile, Emery ran a series of businesses in Vancouver, which he says grossed about $3.5 million a year and generated about $80,000 or $90,000 in salary for him. Once employing as many as 43 people, they include: * Cannabis Canada, a magazine about marijuana, hemp and all things related. * Cannabis Cafe, a restaurant he says cost him $250,000 to build in Vancouver, which is famous because customers smoke pot there with apparent impunity. Just like Amsterdam, I guess. Emery says such places will spring up across the country soon, even in London, despite the fact marijuana possession is still an offence in Canada. * The Little Grow Shop, a store for marijuana and hemp cultivators. * Hemp *.C., a retail store known in street slang as a "head shop.'' * A cannabis seed mail order business, which generates a great deal of income. * The Hemp *.C. legal assistance centre, which generates no income and offers free legal help to people charged with marijuana-related activities. Emery, who has been charged 17 times for such things as assaulting a police officer and drug trafficking, has been forced to detach himself from all the businesses, he says. Vancouver city hall would have refused to renew his business licence if he had not made himself scarce, he says. Pressure from south of border The Rolling Stone article seemed to be the catalyst, but, he says, U.S. justice officials were exerting pressure, partly due to the fact his cafe has become a popular tourist destination and partly because he took out full-page ads in Vancouver papers advertising it to world leaders in Vancouver for the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum last year. Despite his absence, however, he vows the operations, like those he left in London, will prevail. "I only leave successful businesses.'' There are those who say there is a fine line between genius and insanity. You can't help thinking that while talking to Emery. He speaks non-stop in eloquent staccato, railing against politicians, bureaucrats, police, vested interests, the justice system, the status quo and the endless meddling by city hall in the affairs of business. It's just like the old days. As owner of City Lights book shop on Richmond Street, an organization with which he still maintains a business relationship, and the founder of the Mystic Bookshop on Dundas Street east, he was forever railing against government and the downtown business association, of which he was an unwilling member. In his London days, before he left for Indonesia in the early '90s complaining of a "deep-seated dissatisfaction" with the country's social system, he flouted the Sunday shopping laws and railed against censorship. He was convicted in 1992 for selling copies of a 2 Live Crew album the courts said was obscene. He protested London's bylaws regarding sidewalk signs. He condemned the school system and pulled his two kids out, educating them at home instead. Both are now grown. One plans to take sailing lessons. Another is travelling in Asia. His wife, tiring of her husband's public profile, left him last month. His next move is anyone's guess. For those who either lament his loss or believe we are well rid of him, consider this. "I like London. I could come back. Never rule that out." As mayor, he would certainly make things happen. Paul can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters to the editor should be sent to email@example.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- US May Boost Military Aid To Colombia's Anti-Drug Effort ('Washington Post' Says The Clinton Administration, Alarmed By Recent Setbacks To The Colombian Military, Is Considering Increasing US Military Assistance Within The Framework Of The War On The Illegal Drug Industry) Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 06:56:20 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: WP: U.S. May Boost Military Aid to Colombia's Anti-Drug Effort Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Washington Post Author: Dana Priest, Washington Post Staff Writer Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 U.S. MAY BOOST MILITARY AID TO COLOMBIA'S ANTI-DRUG EFFORT Alarmed by recent setbacks to the Colombian military in its decades-old war against rebel armies, Clinton administration officials are considering increasing U.S. military assistance to the government within the framework of cooperation between the two countries to fight drug trafficking. The administration is debating whether to supply sophisticated communications equipment, intelligence support and training to the military in the southern half of Colombia, where thousands of guerrillas are protecting drug traffickers and may be engaged in production themselves, according to officials from the National Security Council and State and Defense departments. Officials are also weighing a Colombian request to buy 12 Cobra attack helicopters, which would make Colombia the first South American country to receive sophisticated U.S. weapons since President Clinton lifted a ban on such sales last year. Regional U.S. military commanders support the request "because they need it," said one officer. U.S. officials say that military aid would be aimed at helping Colombian forces fight drug traffickers who have made the country the world's largest producer of coca leaves and cocaine, accounting for an estimated 80 percent of cocaine sold in the United States. But as ties between the Colombian guerrillas and drug traffickers have grown tighter in the last year, national security officials acknowledge that the line between fighting drug traffickers and fighting rebels has become blurry. "We continue to have a counternarcotics focus but are sensitive to the fact there's a connection" between drug traffickers and insurgents, a senior national security official said. "But we are still not ready to join the military side . . . in a way that is unconnected to counternarcotics." Nevertheless, 726 Colombian troops received training -- most of it not designated as counternarcotics courses -- from the Defense Department's Special Operations Command in fiscal 1996, according to Pentagon documents. The instruction -- including small unit river and coastal operations and light infantry techniques -- was conducted by Army special operations forces and Navy SEALS, according to the documents. The training, which continues this year, was exempted from restrictions at the time of U.S. military aid to Colombia. The efforts to help the Colombian armed forces reflect changing U.S. attitudes about the gravity of the threat to the government posed by drug-financed rebels. U.S. aid to Colombia's military has been virtually nonexistent since the late 1980s because the Colombian army, as well as the right-wing paramilitary groups that operate with its support, has been implicated in scores of civilian massacres, disappearances and cases of torture. Aid to the military was formally cut off in 1996 because U.S. officials believe President Ernesto Samper took $6.1 million from the Cali cocaine cartel for his 1994 presidential campaign. The government was also "decertified" by the Clinton administration after U.S. officials concluded that it was not cooperating fully in fighting drug traffickers. Last summer, a deal was struck between the two countries that would allow military aid to resume if Colombian army units would participate in screening to identify and remove human rights violators. Although the administration declined to certify Colombia again this year, Clinton decided to waive economic and aid sanctions on national security grounds. Colombia is the largest recipient of U.S. counternarcotics aid in South America, including 200 U.S. troops stationed mostly at radar sites that monitor suspected drug-carrying aircraft. U.S. assistance to the military and to the Colombian National Police -- which, unlike the military, was not barred from receiving aid -- tripled from $28.5 million in 1995 to nearly $100 million in 1997, much of it transfers, repairs or upgrades of helicopters needed in the jungle as well as field gear and counternarcotics training, according to State Department figures. The Defense Department also is sending Colombia $30 million worth of equipment, including three Boston Whaler-type boats, 20 UH-1H helicopter hulks for spare parts, 15 utility vehicles and 1.1 million rounds of ammunition for weapons recently mounted on helicopters. Starting next year, up to $20 million a year is earmarked for riverine training by Navy SEALS. The Defense Department also is set to send the Colombian military $2.5 million in used radio equipment, 1,000 M-16A1 rifles and 500 M-60 machine guns. This and other equipment, however, have been held up because Colombia has failed to move quickly to screen members of its army brigades for human rights abuses, the stipulation the Clinton administration attached to military aid last summer. While this conditional aid has gone to the Colombian navy and air force, only one brigade-size unit of the 125,000-troop Colombian army has been cleared to receive help, U.S. officials said. U.S. officials are waiting for transfers of two alleged human rights violators before authorizing equipment for a second brigade. Some U.S. officials say they feel a sense of urgency to assist the military after a startling defeat of government troops this month in the southern province of Caqueta. On March 1 a company of troops from the 52nd Battalion encountered dozens of guerrillas while looking for drug labs and attempted to pursue them. As a second army company moved in to support the troops, 400 to 600 rebels surrounded both companies, killing 62 soldiers and taking 30 prisoners. The rebels were from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the largest of Colombia's insurgent groups, with about 11,000 members. Along with the National Liberation Army (ELN), which has 7,000 adherents, the rebel armies control an estimated 40 percent of the country. Army-backed paramilitaries, who are often aligned with drug traffickers, are believed to control up to 15 percent. With drug profits, the guerrillas are self-sustaining and do not receive outside assistance, U.S. defense analysts said. But officials at the State Department, which has been more cautious about increasing U.S. involvement in one of the world's most violent countries, are more skeptical and recently opposed the transfer of three Black Hawk helicopters to the Colombian National Police. "We are really not interested in getting sucked into this," said State Department official. Human rights activists here and in Colombia are fighting the transfer of more helicopters and equipment because of reports that troops have strafed towns in areas after guerrilla advances, said Colletta Youngers, senior associate at the Washington Office on Latin America. They also are concerned that the United States will become embroiled in a counterinsurgency reminiscent of the divisive U.S. support of the government of El Salvador in the 1980s. But defense officials and some Republicans in Congress say those concerns are overblown and that Colombia is on the verge of losing the war altogether, which they say could result in a narcotics-dominanted state. "Is anyone interested in an El Salvador, Vietnam-style ramp-up? No," said one defense official involved in the discussions. "But we are dissatisfied with the shackles we're putting on ourselves . . . the training is so little it borders on irrelevant." (c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Thousands Ready To Roll Up For Cannabis March (Britain's Independent' Gives A Last-Minute Update On Today's March Through London In Support Of Decriminalisation) Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 15:07:52 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: UK: Thousands Ready To Roll Up For Cannabis March Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Martin Cooke Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 Source: The Independent (UK) Author: Graham Ball Contact: email@example.com Mail: The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, England THOUSANDS READY TO ROLL UP FOR CANNABIS MARCH REPRESENTATIVES of Britain's leading drug-reform groups met last night to form a new front to fight the drug laws on the eve of the London cannabis march. Danny Kushlick, director of the drug-policy group Transform said: "It is the first time all the different groups in Britain have agreed to combine in this way." The plan is for the new alliance to co-ordinate its activities to create maximum impact. "The three main areas of co-operation will be in lobbying MPs, building membership and working with the media," Mr Kushlick said. The meeting, held at the Quaker International Centre in Euston, was attended by more than 50 delegates. It was held last night because so many representatives were in London for today's Independent on Sunday march in favour of the decriminalisation of cannabis which begins in Hyde Park at noon and goes on to a rally at Trafalgar Square. Thousands of people are expected to attend. "We will discuss the possibility of fielding a candidate at a forthcoming European parliamentary election," Mr Kushlick said, "and organise a series of events all over Britain in June to raise awareness of the United Nations General Assembly special session on anti-drug policies". Groups represented at last night's meeting included Transform, Release, The Green Party, the Drug Policy Review Group, the CLCIA, UKCIA and the Scottish Campaign to Legalise Cannabis.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Letter From The Editor (Rosie Boycott, Editor Of Britain's 'Independent On Sunday,' Explains Why She Believes In The Newspaper's Campaign For Cannabis Decriminalisation And Will Be Out There Today Marching Through London In Support Of The Cause) Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 14:53:35 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: UK: PUB LTE: Letter from the Editor Newshawk: Martin Cooke Source: The Independent Author: Rosie Boycott Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR TODAY, I shall be out on the streets of central London marching for a cause I believe in. While at the Independent on Sunday, I decided to launch a campaign for the decriminalisation of cannabis - not heroin, cocaine, or other hard drugs but pot, which has very few harmful side effects and even better, can alleviate the suffering of multiple sclerosis sufferers. At noon today, MS groups will join me, MPs, MEPs and supporters of our campaign as we wend our way from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. It will be an intensely exciting occasion, one that marks a high-point in our six-month effort. But there is still much work to be done - while studies released by the World Health Organisation and British Medical Association point to the relatively benign affects of cannabis versus other drugs, most notably alcohol, and many public figures from the media, medicine, science, the arts, even the police have voiced their support, the Government refuses to budge. That is why we are marching today, and, hopefully, at last, Tony Blair and Jack Straw will listen and understand this is one campaign that is not going to go away. THIS week, The Independent invited the main party leaders to sign up to the Prime Minister's powerful statement attacking racism which he delivered in Southwark 10 days ago. Here at The Independent we applauded his sentiments. So too did William Hague and Paddy Ashdown, who echoed his views. As our political editor, Anthony Bevins, wrote in the paper on Wednesday, racism is endemic in our society. Barely had Tony written this than the Director-General of the Prison Service, Richard Tilt, said that Afro-Caribbean people were more prone to suffer "positional asphyxia" than white people. There were "physiological differences as well," he added. Mr Tilt did at least admit that there was racism in the Prison Service, but attitudes like his - which reminded me of the Bell Curve controversy in America - show how urgent the party leaders' commitment truly is. As a newspaper, The Independent has always stood firmly behind its belief in racial, cultural and sexual freedom for all. But we can never be complacent. As Mr Hague said, "more needs to be done to bring down the barriers of ignorance and mistrust which still exist in parts of our society." SO, Canadian teenagers have gone wild for Prince William. Ten thousand hysterical girls turned out to see him as "Wills Mania" swept through Vancouver. In my teenage daughter's life, William's reign as the king of pin-ups lasted for only a part of the autumn term following Diana's death. It ended abruptly with the arrival of Leonardo DiCaprio, star of Romeo and Juliet, Titanic and now The Man In The Iron Mask. William, as far as my daughter is concerned, is history. She is, however, disgusted by her mother's poor judgement: three years ago, while I was editing Esquire, I went to a party at Giorgio Armani's. As I sat down to eat, a young man flopped into the seat beside me. His name was Leonardo DiCaprio. His blond hair was hanging over his eyebrows, his jeans and trainers decidedly scruffy. "Put me on the cover of your magazine. I'm going to be the most famous actor in the world within three years." At that point his fame was limited to his ( totally brilliant) performance in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. I didn't put him on the cover. My daughter cannot believe it. LAST Monday, the Independent reporter Steve Goodwin set off to climb Everest. The office clapped as he departed for his flight from London to Kathmandu. As someone who read Jon Krakauer's extraordinary account of climbing Everest, Into Thin Air, when it first appeared as an extract in America's Outside magazine, I am moved and impressed by Steve's guts. Technology (solar panels, satellite phones, digital cameras) permitting, you'll be able to follow the ascent day by day in the pages of The Independent over the next 10 weeks. He has our very best wishes. ROSIE BOYCOTT
------------------------------------------------------------------- Why We're Marching Today (Staff Editorial In Britain's 'Independent' Says Today, Thousands Of People Will March In London To Show Their Support For Decriminalising Cannabis, A Campaign Begun Last September By The 'Independent on Sunday' - By 4 PM This Afternoon, Those Who March Will Have Earned Their Place In The History Of The Struggle To Decriminalise Cannabis) Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 19:12:42 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Why We're Marching Today Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 Source: Independent, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Mail: Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, England Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Why we're marching today Last September, the 'Independent on Sunday' called for the decriminalisation of cannabis. Today, thousands will be in London to add their support. Graham Ball recalls how the campaign took off Today, for the first time in 30 years, the streets of London will be thronged with people who want the freedom to smoke cannabis without fear of arrest. The reason they are there is due to a campaign begun six months ago by our sister paper, the Independent on Sunday, which has attracted support from thousands of readers, as well as doctors, politicians, and people from the worlds of business and the arts. The paper's editor, Rosie Boycott, opened the campaign by disregarding the hypocrisy that has traditionally surrounded this subject to write frankly about her own experiences. "I rolled my first joint on a hot June day in Hyde Park in the summer of 1968. Just 17 and desperate to be grown-up. Since my first joint, I have smoked a good many more, although I hardly smoke at all nowadays. The habit has given up on me. But I don't see why people who share my earlier enthusiasm should be branded as criminal. "The truth is that most people I know have smoked at some time or other in their lives. They hold down jobs, bring up their families, run major companies, govern our country, and yet, after 30 years cannabis is still officially regarded as a dangerous drug," she wrote. Last September, the honeymoon period enjoyed by the new Labour Government was coming to a close. It had become clear by then that on the issue of drug law reform the new Home Secretary, Jack Straw, was happy to endorse the same hard-line policies of his predecessor, Michael Howard. Rosie Boycott's decision to "out" herself struck a chord with those who had hoped for a more radical approach from new Labour. "I quickly realised that I was pushing against an open door. There are plenty of people, who like me, believe it is high time we adopted a more sensible approach to cannabis," she said this week. Paul McCartney, Anita Roddick and Richard Branson were among the first to endorse the campaign. In the following weeks they were joined by the highest achievers from the worlds of arts and entertainment, literature, medicine, and intellectually accomplished. Janet Suzman, the classical actress, Labour's Ken Livingstone, Professor Colin Blakemore, Harold Pinter and Martin Amis soon followed. The support of so many celebrities encouraged readers to add their names, and to date more than 14,000 have signed; each week more join. The campaign received its first boost last October when, surprisingly, the most senior judge in England and Wales backed calls for a public debate on the legalisation of soft drugs, including cannabis. Lord Bingham of Cornhill, the Lord Chief Justice, made it clear that while he was not expressing a personal view on decriminalisation, it was an issue that merited consideration. "It is a subject that deserves, in my judgment, detached, objective, independent consideration," he said. Many reformers saw this statement as a deliberate riposte to Jack Straw's earlier announcement not to grant a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the working of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act which prohibits the use of cannabis. In the same month an opinion poll commissioned by the IoS revealed that 80 per cent of people wanted the current laws relaxed and that more than one third wanted the immediate decriminalisation of cannabis for recreational purposes. In November, the medical side of the argument was significantly advanced by the British Medical Association's decision to publish an 80-page review which overturned the old assumption that cannabis was a drug with no therapeutic benefits. Demands for doctors to be allowed to prescribe cannabis as a medicine had been growing for more than a decade. Strong anecdotal evidence had suggested it was good for treating muscle spasticity connected to Multiple Sclerosis, anorexia, some forms of epilepsy, glaucoma, asthma and hypertension. The influential BMA urged the Government to "consider changing the Misuse of Drugs Act to allow the prescription of cannabinoids (active chemical compounds in cannabis) to patients with certain conditions causing distress that are not adequately controlled by existing treatments." They went further and recommended that "while research is under way, the police, the courts and other prosecuting authorities should be made aware of the medical reasons for the unlawful use of cannabis by those suffering from certain medical conditions for whom other drugs have proved ineffective". Whilst the Government has turned a deaf ear to the report, there is evidence that the magistrates have responded. The IoS campaign consistently revealed cases where individuals suffering from crippling disease had been convicted or sent to prison for using cannabis to ease their pain. Following the BMA report, some courts took a more lenient approach in line with their recommendations and issued admonishments and lighter fines to invalids in the dock. The case for applying the criminal law to protect public health suffered another setback with the leaking of a World Health Organisation report in February. The report, that had been suppressed by officials, contained analysis by an expert panel of scientists, which determined that long-term use of cannabis was less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. The magazine New Scientist, which broke the story, said: "Politicians will just have to bite the bullet - cannabis will have to be decriminalised." However, the one event to make most impact on the campaign came from the least likely source. On Saturday 13 December, a young woman bought a small amount of cannabis from a young man in a London pub. An unremarkable event, commonplace even. Except that young man with the £10 deal was William Straw, son of the more famous Jack. The issue of the 17-year-old's identity loomed over the whole of last Christmas, until early in the New Year it was revealed that the Home Secretary had turned in his son and expected him to face the consequences. In the end, he got off with a caution, and the woman who set the deal up, a reporter from the Daily Mirror, was accused of entrapment. The incident proved embarrassing for the Government, although the Prime Minister was quick to give his minister his full support, and proved once and for all that cannabis use is more widespread than even the most fervent advocate had suspected. And so we come to the march. After six months of debating the case in print, it was clearly time to turn words into action. Throughout the campaign, the involvement and support of readers has been vital. The passions raised by the question of cannabis decriminalisation run deep. It was agreed that the best way to harness the energy and enthusiasm of those who have so eagerly supported the campaign was to invite them to "stand up and be counted" And by 4pm this afternoon, those who march will have earned their place in the history of the struggle to decriminalise cannabis.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Campaign On The Move (BBC News Service Says 11,000 Marched Through Central London Today In Support Of Decriminalising Cannabis) Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 18:54:05 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: UK: Wire: Cannabis Campaign On The Move Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Rev. Dennis Shields" Source: BBC News Service Pubdate: Satruday, 28 March 1998 CANNABIS CAMPAIGN ON THE MOVE About 11,000 people have joined a march through the streets of central London in support of decriminalising cannabis. The rally was described as the biggest of its kind in Britain for decades. Supporters from all over Europe joined the pro-cannabis demonstration. People were openly smoking cannabis at the march as they congregated behind a huge "legalise it" banner, despite police warnings that they risked being arrested. Police said they did not make any arrests or cautions despite the dozens who were smoking. The rally was organised by the Independent on Sunday newspaper and led by the Labour MP Paul Flynn, who is campaigning for the decriminalisation of the drug. "Before anyone takes a step, this march is already a success," he said beforehand. "At last we are having a serious debate about the perils of prohibition. "The fact is that prohibition is fuelling the increased use of all drugs in this country, which is now the drugs capital of Europe." Pro-cannabis campaigners also point to the therapeutic effects of the drug in support of their case. Verity Leeson, 20, from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was in her wheelchair at the front of the march smoking cannabis. "I think they should legalise it," she said. "I have been smoking cannabis for two years on my doctor's advice. It helps my condition, it's a good painkiller and it relaxes me." The campaign has brought strong opposition from anti-drug groups who believe that cannabis is harmful to health and to society. Glenys Weaver, of Parents Against Drugs, disagrees with any relaxation of the drug laws. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I don't think the drug should be legalised," she said. "My son is a heroin addict, and it has devastated our family and so many other families, and it all started through the use of soft drugs like cannabis." But Howard Marks, a pro-cannabis campaigner turned quasi-celebrity, said the march was necessary to raise awareness of the issue. "It's necessary because the government doesn't seem to listen to anything else," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Thousands Throng London In Pro-Marijuana March ('Reuters' Says About 10,000 People Took To The Streets Of London On Saturday To Campaign For The Legalization Of Marijuana In The Biggest March In Support Of Reform In Modern Times In Britain) Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 16:37:35 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: UK: Wire: Thousands Throng London In Pro-Marijuana March Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Mike Gogulski Pubdate: 28 Mar 1998 Source: Reuters Author: Ellis Mnyandu, Reuters THOUSANDS THRONG LONDON IN PRO-MARIJUANA MARCH LONDON - About 10,000 people took to the London streets on Saturday to campaign for the legalization of marijuana in the biggest pro-drug march of modern times in Britain. Many protesters smoked the drug openly during the march through central London, while police stood by and watched. Others waved banners with slogans such as "Dope is hope," "Free the weed" and "Change the law and condemn your children to prison no more." The march, organized by the Independent on Sunday newspaper which is campaigning to decriminalize the drug, was attended by participants from as far afield as Italy and the United States. "The government should legalize cannabis now. Alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis. I've been smoking weed (cannabis) since I left school," said a young woman who identified herself as Trixta. "People need it medicinally and recreationally," she said, offering to supply some cannabis if needed. Around 65,000 people a year are charged with possession of cannabis in Britain, where using the drug for personal use is illegal. Many offenders are let off with only a caution. Campaigners say the drug is less dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes and its prohibition boosts the illegal drugs market. Debate over the use of cannabis intensified after revelations that the 17-year-old son of interior minister Jack Straw sold a small amount of the drug to an undercover reporter. The Labor government continues to reject calls to reverse a 27-year-old ruling outlawing the drug, which is sometimes used to relieve the suffering of the chronically sick. Jane Moor, a 55-year-old suffering from multiple sclerosis, said she had been dependent on cannabis for the last six years. "I don't mind being a criminal if I can be happy and feel better," she said as she steered her wheelchair through Trafalgar Square. Doctors, politicians, pop stars and businessmen were among those supporting the newspaper's campaign. "What we want to see is (parliament) debating (legalizing marijuana) openly, freely and weighing up the evidence from the World Health Organisation and from the British Medical Council. People want to be involved," said editor Rosie Boycott. Paul Flynn, a pro-cannabis Labour member of parliament, said the government was plagued by "ignorance and hypocrisy" on the issue. He told the crowd: "Prohibition must end quickly for those people who are terribly sick. It's the best medicine in the world." Copyright (c) 1998 Reuters News Service
------------------------------------------------------------------- Thousands March To Legalize Pot ('Associated Press' Version) Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 15:32:11 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: UK: Thousands March To Legalize Pot Newshawk: Mike Gogulski Source: Associated Press Pubdate: 28 Mar 1998 THOUSANDS MARCH TO LEGALIZE POT LONDON (AP) -- About 10, 000 protesters, some openly smoking marijuana, marched in London on Saturday demanding legalization of the drug. More than a dozen groups, which argue that marijuana is less harmful or addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, organized the march from Hyde Park Corner to Traflagar Square. Two victims of multiple sclerosis, a progressively paralyzing illness, joined the march in wheel chairs. "I have been smoking cannabis (marijuana) for two years on my doctor' s advice," said multiple sclerosis sufferer Verity Leeson, 20. "It helps my condition, it' s a good painkiller and it relaxes me." Many demonstrators smoked marijuana as they assembled at Hyde Park behind a huge banner declaring "legalize it." Police reported no arrests. The editor of a liberal national weekly newspaper, The Independent on Sunday, also helped organize the march. "I do not think the kids of today should be turned into criminals for smoking cannabis," said editor Rosie Boycott. "It does people no harm." Home Secretary Jack Straw -- whose 17-year-old son was arrested but not charged earlier this year for selling about $16 worth of marijuana -- says the government has no plans to legalize the drug. Copyright 1998 Associated Press.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Junkies Could Teach Us A Thing Or Two About Pure Desire, Reckons David Concar ('New Scientist' Article About Laboratory Research Into Desire, Craving, Sex, Drugs, Withdrawal, Relapse, And Liking Versus Wanting, By University Of Pennsylvania Psychologist Anna Rose Childress) Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 11:36:06 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org From: Peter Webster
Subject: NS Article: Junkies could teach us a thing or two... NOTE that New Scientist has set up a special URL for its recent edition on marijuana at http://marijuana.newscientist.com/ New Scientist 28 March 1998 contact: email@example.com http://www.newscientist.com/ns/980328/features2.html Junkies could teach us a thing or two about pure desire, reckons David Concar FORGET fornicating monks and American presidents. For a lesson on lust in its purest, most pathological form, think drugs. Think cocaine, heroin and nicotine--and how slavishly addicts crave them. That, at any rate, is the advice of Anna Rose Childress. And to be fair to this University of Pennsylvania psychologist, she does--unlike the monks and presidents--practise what she preaches. For years, Childress has been studying the intense cravings of cocaine addicts, trying to work out what these feelings really consist of in the brain. Think of strong sexual desire and multiply it ten thousandfold, some of her patients have told her. Now Childress is calling their bluff. She and her colleagues are trying to find out whether the urge for drugs really is like the urge for sex--or whether we automatically use sex as the benchmark to describe all our desires. Childress isn't the first to suspect that addictive drugs home in on and corrupt brain systems that evolved to make us succumb to other temptations of the flesh. There's plenty of evidence from lab rats pointing in this direction, and when you think about it, it would have been pretty profligate of natural selection to give our brains separate "desire systems" for everything from ice cream and claret to the smiles of young female interns. Even so, no scientist has previously pursued the common ground between sex and drugs by sending colleagues out to the local video shop for some sex films. Nor has anyone previously shown such movies to a bunch of willing males while scanning their brains. Childress has done both. The idea grew out of earlier experiments on cocaine craving, when her team measured the blood flow of addicts watching a home-made video showing people pretending to buy and use drugs. As the addicts craved, a couple of structures lit up deep in the brain's limbic system, seat of our basic emotions. But higher up in the cerebral cortex, home to reasoning and willpower, there was no more activity during drug craving than there had been when the addicts were watching a wholesome nature video. Losing control That fits with what many researchers have suspected about drug urges: that they well up from the brain's evolutionarily ancient inner circuitry. Childress says craving is "about losing control to the old brain and not thinking about the consequences". And if that sounds like an apt description of the average middle-aged man's capacity to make a fool of himself sexually, you could be right. It's early days with the sex study, but preliminary findings suggest that those explicit videos also stimulate the same parts of the limbic brain. The identities of the two structures that flare up also make perfect sense, says Childress. One of them is the anterior cingulate, which helps control the attention levels so crucial both to a drug deal or for focusing on an object of desire. The second structure is the amygdala--a thoroughfare for incoming information that plays a part in alerting us to possible dangers or rewards, as well as enabling the brain to form Pavlovian associations. Again, this adds up. Over time, addicts report that everything associated with using drugs comes to seem important. A mere glimpse of a dealer or old drug haunt is often enough to trigger overwhelming desire. Similarly, sex, in the form of scantily-clad women--or these days, men--is invariably used to build powerful associations between, say, cars and desire. As Childress observes: "They're hoping your amygdala will link these two so that hereafter cars will take on a rosy glow for you." Of course, having a brain that is alert to naked bodies or drug cues in the environment isn't the same as desiring sex or drugs. Besides, urges wax and wane, and sometimes we cave in and sometimes we don't. To home in on the seat of desire in the brain, we must take a closer look at craving. One theory sees craving as an inevitable outgrowth of withdrawal. People get into a negative state of mind and body because they're not getting the things they're used to or need. They crave whatever it is that will make them feel normal--food if they're starving, heroin if they're a junkie, fornication if they're a sex-starved monk. A second theory casts craving in a more hedonistic role: once you've experienced the buzz of that chemical high or orgasm, your brain commands you to experience it again. In this view, craving is the drive for some sort of euphoric release. And of course, the more miserable you're feeling, the more desirable that pleasure seems. In fact, neither view quite stacks up. Take nicotine withdrawal. In a pioneering study at the University of Pittsburgh, Saul Shiffman and his colleagues have found that the cravings which lead so many former smokers to relapse are not caused by withdrawal symptoms. They are not even caused by not smoking. The problem with most research into craving is that it relies on people's reports of how they felt just before they were faced with temptation. But memories are fallible. So what Shiffman and his team did was to supply 214 volunteers about to stop smoking with palmtop electronic diaries. In the days leading up to "quit day", and for weeks afterwards, the volunteers had to record the date, time, duration and intensity each time they craved a cigarette, together with information about what they were doing at the time, and how they were feeling. The palmtop computers were also programmed to beep randomly and request answers to the same questions so the researchers could measure background levels of craving too. Against the odds, the electronic diaries revealed that the cravings for cigarettes became less intense and less frequent during periods of abstinence than they were when smoking was "allowed". The lesson here, says Shiffman, is that the best way of stimulating craving and keeping it at a high level is to keep taking the drug. That accounts for the proverbial first drink which triggers the alcoholic binge, but it also raises another question. If abstinence weakens craving, why is staying on the wagon so difficult? One answer might be that craving is not what pushes most addicts over the edge after all. Shiffman's electronic diaries tell a different story, however. Volunteers with the strongest urges to smoke turned out to be the ones most likely to relapse later that day or the next. So craving is a factor in relapse and we are still left with the puzzle of why abstinence is such hard work for so many people. Pleasant urges Shiffman says that while drug urges do become weaker and less frequent after quitting, they also become more tormenting because silencing them with a quick smoke or fix is no longer an option. The electronic diaries support that view: before "quit day", the smokers were not only less likely to rate their urges to smoke as unpleasant, but they sometimes described them as enjoyable. So perhaps pleasure-seeking is what craving is really all about? Wrong again, say Kent Berridge and Terry Robinson of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Based mainly on rat findings, their papers attack the everyday assumption that "wanting" and "liking" are two aspects of the same thing. In most normal situations, they say, yes, desire and pleasure do go hand in hand. But it's a superficial marriage. In the brain, wanting and liking are handled by different chemical systems, and while these systems usually move in concert, it's not hard to push them in opposite directions. Berridge and Robinson have recently discovered how to do this with food. Normally, lab rats will not just pursue sugary snacks in a maze, they will lick their mouths and paws with rodent-like pleasure when consuming them. That changes, however, when you destroy--or block with drugs--cells just beneath the limbic system that specialise in producing the neurotransmitter dopamine. Now the animals will no longer seek out food, yet, say Berridge and Robinson, they still appear to enjoy the sugary snacks when the experimenters force them on the rats. What's been snuffed out is not the liking of food, but the wanting of it. In addicts and others plagued with compulsive desires, the opposite happens: the impulses from the brain's "wanting" system are revved up and cut loose from feelings of pleasure. Desire, as Berridge puts it, "gets a life of its own". He does seem to have a point. Over time, addicts grow to want heroin and cocaine more and more, yet often claim to like them less and less. As for nicotine cravings, they're clearly out of all proportion to the pleasure the substance gives (it's actually a poison, remember). But perhaps the most striking evidence that desire need not be wedded to an expectation of pleasure comes from research showing that the desire for drugs can influence people without them being aware of it. Bizarre as it may sound, wanting can be an entirely unconscious process, neither propelled nor accompanied by feelings of any kind. In lab studies, for example, human heroin addicts will, like rats, press a lever to obtain pleasurable injections of morphine. No surprises there. Less predictably, though, the same addicts will, later on, also work hard at pressing a lever for tiny doses that produce no buzz at all--despite the fact that sham injections fail to move them to press a lever. When questioned, the drug users cannot explain why they are prepared to work for the boring real injections but not for the equally boring sham injections. So what is motivating them? Desire. Not the rich and complex kind that a Nabokov or Lawrence would write about, but a stripped down, primitive version. Those tiny morphine doses are whetting the addicts' appetites, but imperceptibly. They are pressing a "want" button deep in the brain's unconscious inner circuitry. At last, then, we seem to be closing in on the place where the seeds of desire are actually sown. Berridge and Robinson suggest we look no further than the network of nerves in the brain that includes the dopamine-producing cells they fiddled with in rats. Sometimes known as the "reward pathway", the network runs through the heart of the limbic system, receiving signals from the brain stem. It is famous among addiction researchers because drugs such as cocaine, heroin and nicotine all stimulate it to pump out dopamine. Until now, it's been unclear whether the pathway is mainly a font of pleasure or of desire, but Berridge and Robinson argue there are good reasons for regarding it as a desire system. They point out that in rats the pathway starts pumping out dopamine before they get the sugary snack, shot of heroin or copulation they so enjoy. Also addictive drugs don't just stimulate this nerve network in the short-term, they crank up its long-lasting sensitivity. Robinson says that the pathway becomes hyperactive, just as you'd expect if it had more to do with long-lasting drug effects like vulnerability to craving than with short-term pleasures. So much for lab observations. What about the real world? Here, predictably, not everyone believes the distinction between wanting and liking is quite so clear-cut. Childress says that human drug users tend to get more empathy if they insist they no longer enjoy it, much as a philanderer insists the sex was not enjoyable. "My patients," she says, "both want and like, and both are intense." Either way, if fornicating monks of bygone centuries had known about this slither of nerve tissue, they would probably have seen it as the devil's own work: the physical seat of temptation. Not that it would have done them much good. For as Aldous Huxley reminds us: "A firm conviction of the material reality of Hell never prevented medieval Christians from doing what their ambition, lust or covetousness suggested."* And like every drug user, Huxley knew a thing or two about temptation. * Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception, 1951 The drugtext press list. News on substance use related issues, drugs and drug policy firstname.lastname@example.org -------------------------------------------------------------------
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