Portland NORML News - Wednesday, April 1, 1998

Teenagers At Risk From Marijuana, US Study Says ('Reuters' Version
Of Yesterday's Propaganda In 'Toronto Star' Has Been Edited
To Remove Even More Nuances)

Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 09:42:37 -0500
To: mattalk@islandnet.com, editor@mapinc.org
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
Subject: TorStar Article: Teenagers at risk from marijuana, U.S. study

Note: This version of the story seems to have been changed from the
original Reuters article in some disturbing ways. Most disturbing is that
the headline, and the first paragraph have been changed to "teens" from
"troubled teens". The last part of the article is chopped up, with a few
paragraphs deleted.

Dave Haans
Graduate Student, University of Toronto
WWW: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca:8080/~haans/

Newshawk: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
Source: Toronto Star
Pubdate: April 1, 1998
Page: A21
Contact: LetterToEd@thestar.com

Teenagers at risk from marijuana, U.S. study says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Teens who use marijuana can quickly
become dependent on the drug, U.S. researchers report.

More than two-thirds of teens referred for treatment by social service or
criminal justice agencies complained of withdrawal symptoms when they
stopped using marijuana, Dr. Thomas Crowley of the University of Colorado
and colleagues reported yesterday.

``This study provides additional important data to better illustrate that
marijuana is a dangerous drug that can be addictive,'' Dr. Alan Leshner,
head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which paid for the
study, said in a statement.

``It also identifies the devastating impact marijuana dependence can have
on young people and highlights the fact that many both need and want help
dealing with their addiction,'' he added.

Crowley's team at the university's Addiction Research and Treatment Service
studied interviews, medical examinations and social histories of 165 boys
and 64 girls aged 13 to 19.

More than 80 percent of the boys and 60 percent of the girls were
clinically dependent on marijuana.

When asked, 97 percent of the teens said they still used marijuana even
after realizing it had become a problem for them.

Eighty-five percent admitted their habit interfered with driving, school,
work and home life, while 77 percent said they spent ``much time'' getting,
using or recovering from the effects of marijuana, according to the study,
published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Most also said their problems started before they started using marijuana.

``About 825,000 youths were arrested and formally processed by juvenile
courts in 1994,'' Crowley said in a statement.

``About 50 percent of these youths tested positive for marijuana at the
time of arrest and many fit the profile of the teens in this study, making
them at high risk for marijuana dependence.

President Clinton's anti-drug leader, retired general Barry McCaffrey, said
the study "underscores ... that marijuana is a dangerous drug, and its use
can lead to severe consequences for vulnerable young people."

Re - Teenagers At Risk From Marijuana, US Study Says (Letter Sent To Editor
Of 'Toronto Star' Points Out Its Bias)

Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 10:15:08 -0500
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans 
Subject: SENT: Re: Teenagers at risk from marijuana, U.S. study says

Note: I cc:'d this to ombud@thestar.com

To the editor,

Re: Teenagers at risk from marijuana, U.S. study says (April 1, 1998)

I realize that newspaper editors must economize space, deleting certain
less-important paragraphs and words from the articles they receive over
news wires. However, you changed the meaning of this article entirely when
you modified the report of a study on troubled teens to appear to apply to
all teens, not simply those who have been incarcerated in the U.S., and
forced to undergo drug treatment.

As an analogy, would you ever consider changing a story focusing on, say,
Asian Gangs, to apply to all Asians? I would hope not!

The article itself was misleading enough (as I'm sure other letters to the
editor will point out) -- you did not have to make it more so.

Dave Haans
Toronto, Ontario

Contact Info:


Dave Haans
Graduate Student, University of Toronto
WWW: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca:8080/~haans/

DARE Doesn't Work (Staff Editorial In 'Perspectives -
A Mental Health Magazine,' Discusses The Most Comprehensive Research
Project To Date, Led By Dennis Rosenbaum, Head Of The Criminal Justice
Department At The University Of Illinois)

Date: Sun, 28 Jun 1998 03:10:14 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: Editorial: DARE Doesn't Work
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: cozmi@shaw.wave.ca (Deb Harper)
Pubdate: April-June 1998
Source: Perspectives: A Mental Health Magazine
Section: Editorial: Volume 3, Issue 2
Contact: http://www.cmhc.com/rateus.htm
Website: http://www.cmhc.com/perspectives/
Note: Perspectives is an on-line journal.


Drug Education is Needed, But This Isn't It

The DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program has been one of the most
popular drug education programs of all time. Led by a local police officer
in elementary and middle school, the program's curriculum centers on
teaching children the evils of illicit drug use. But the most recent
research confirms an alarming trend which past journalists have also
noted... DARE largely fails at its main task -- stopping kids from trying drugs.

In fact, the most comprehensive research to date on DARE studied the effect
of the program on 1,800 Illinois children from fifth grade through high
school. Dennis Rosenbaum, head of the criminal justice department at the
University of Illinois, led the study. The conclusions of the researchers?
DARE provides no beneficial effect on student drug use. The six-year study
not only didn't find any differences between students who were in the DARE
program and those who did not have DARE education, but the DARE education
made have an adverse effect on kids' drug activity in the suburbs. The study
found children living in the suburbs who were exposed to DARE training
actually had a significantly higher level of drug use than kids who didn't
have DARE education.

Taxpayers money, to the tune of $220 million per year, goes to fund DARE
programs. Should so much of taxpayers dollars go toward an ineffectual
program which may actually increase drug usage among children in some
communities? We don't think so.

Reason magazine actually reported on the troubles with the DARE program back
in March, 1995. (See also the letters to the editor followup.) Parents,
taxpayers, schools, and the police have all been silent on these facts for
far too long. Good money is being thrown after bad because change is
difficult, especially for established programs which have a large
"feel-good" factor associated with them. Nobody wants to be blamed as the
person responsible for removing DARE from their school, for fear that even a
bad program is better than none at all.

Yet this most recent research is also the most troubling. If DARE isn't just
a bad program with very little empirical support (or certainly no strong
empirical support, as it should have if it's going to be an integral part of
thousands of communities' drug education efforts), but a program which may
contribute to more kids trying drugs, then action must be taken sooner
rather than later. DARE spokespeople, quoted in the press from various
sources, suggest that this study was using the "old curriculum," and hence
the "new and improved" DARE curriculum is immune to these research findings.
In fact, the "new and improved" DARE curriculum is largely unchanged from
the old curriculum.

This kind of reasoning from the DARE organization also begs the question,
however. Shouldn't extensive research into a program's effectiveness (or
lack thereof) be conducted before that program is unleashed onto millions of
school children? Shouldn't basic standards exist to ensure that taxpayers
money is being well-spent on curriculum that works ahead of time, rather
than finding out years later?

This type of reasoning also fails to address the ongoing problems within the
DARE curriculum itself, as noted in the Reason article way back in 1995.
DARE shouldn't seek to hide behind marketing mantras, but instead should
embrace the empirical research and look at ways of making substantial needed
changes in their program to ensure it is effective (or at least doesn't
cause any harm!).

Drug abuse in America is an ongoing, serious problem which often begins in
childhood. Children often turn to substances such as marijuana, cocaine, and
alcohol under peer pressure or to deal with the extreme emotional roller
coaster that is commonplace in the teenage years. Programs must be designed
and shown to be effective which help kids understand that there are hundreds
of other ways to fit in with your friends and to cope with your emotions.
This education doesn't have to take place in a school classroom, however.
Families and parents could take back this responsibility and ensure their
children learn about the dangers of drug use. Too many times, parents don't
know how to approach such topics with their children. The alternative,
however, is that children not taught in some way will be bound to learn the
hard way -- through real-life experience.

DARE should be improved to the point where there is an overwhelming amount
of research which confirms it is a useful, efficient, and effective drug
education program. If the research can't show this -- as it has yet to do so
-- schools, parents, and researchers need to look at alternatives to DARE
which may be more effective in getting the needed information about drugs to

APA Reference Grohol, J.M. (1997). DARE doesn't work. [Online]. Mental
Health Net. Available: http://www.cmhc.com/archives/editor30.htm [1997,
April 1].

Legalize Hemp (A Staff Editorial In The 'Multinational Monitor'
Urges Reform For Environmental Reasons)

Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 02:39:14 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: Editorial: Legalize Hemp
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Steve Young 
Pubdate: April 1998
Source: Multinational Monitor
Section: Sec. 1, Page 26
Contact: monitor@essential.org
Website: http://www.essential.org/monitor/monitor.html


There is no magic bullet solution to the dilemma of how to protect the
world's forests. It is clear, however, that forest-preservation strategies
in the United States and around the world must go beyond efforts to set
aside land in national or privately run parks.

As Ned Daly describes in "Demanding Reduction in the Wood and Paper
Markets," a crucial element of a comprehensive forest-protection strategy
must be reducing the demand for wood products. That means less use of wood,
recycling of wood products and substituting other, more
ecologically-friendly fibers for many current uses of wood.

Among the most environmentally benign of available alternative fibers is
industrial hemp. There is just one catch: it is illegal to grow in the
United States.

It is time that hemp, which can be used for items ranging from paper
products to carpets, from textiles to food oil, from construction material
to paints, once again be made legal in the United States.

In March, a coalition of farmers, environmentalists and businesses
petitioned the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to let U.S.
farmers grow industrial hemp. (Essential Information, the publisher of
Multinational Mon-itor, is among the petitioners.) The immediate reaction of
the DEA and the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy was
negative. The DEA and the White House should rethink their policy before
taking furrther action.

The drug agencies' current opposition to hemp legalization is based on a
groundless concern that legalizing hemp will make it harder to enforce legal
proscriptions against using or growing industrial hemp's cousin, marijuana.

Whatever the merits of marijuana criminalization, legalizing industrial hemp
should not in any way interfere with enforcement efforts against marijuana
growers and users. Industrial hemp is bred to contain such a low level
ofTHC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana, that it cannot reasonably be
considered a drug. It is easily distinguished in fields from marijuana:
marijuana plants are short and bushy, with many leaves and is harvested for
its flowers and leaves; industrial hemp, tall and straight, with leaves at
the top of the stalk, is harvested for its stalks before flowering occurs.
There is virtually no possibility of marijuana being illicitly grown in the
middle of a field of industrial hemp, because the cross-breeding between the
two plants quickly eliminates the THC content in marijuana seeds. Despite
these facts, and noting the genuine concern among many law enforcement
agents about the effect of industrial hemp legalization on marijuana use and
growing, the petitioners for industrial hemp legalization suggest a heavily
regulated licensing scheme for industrial hemp seeds and growing permits
that should satisfy residual law enforcement fears.

Legalizing industrial hemp has the potential to yield substantial
environmental benefits, especially as a substitute for wood in paper making.
Industrial hemp yields two-to-four times more pulp per acre under
cultivation than do trees. Paper made from industrial hemp is also stronger,
able to be recycled more times and longer lasting than paper from trees.
Compared to wood, fewer chemicals are required to convert hemp into paper pulp.

Industrial hemp also could serve as an environmentallv sound substitute for
other products:

* Hemp has valuable qualities as clothing material. It takes color and
absorbs moisture better than cotton, is "breathable" and extremely durable,
softens when washed and needs little ironing. It can be blended with cotton
to obtain the benefits of both fibers. About 30 percent of pesticides used
in the United States are sprayed on cotton; hemp, by contrast, can be grown
with little or no use of pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, thanks to its
natural resistances.

* Hemp can be used in building materials such as fiber-board.

* Hemp contains cellulose, a basic building block of many plastics. Hemp
could be the basis for a range of plastic products now made from petroleum

* Hemp seed oil could be used for motor oil or as all-purpose lubricant. It
may also work as a substitute for petroleum diesel.

Other nations, including the United Kingdom and Germany, already recognize
the benefits of industrial hemp, and permit hemp cultivation within their
borders. It is time the United States joined the ranks of advanced nations
and permitted the domestic production of industrial hemp.

AIDS Advisers Want Shalala Fired ('Associated Press' Says Members
Of The Presidential Advisory Council On AIDS Are Preparing To Vote
On A Resolution Calling For The Ouster Of Health And Human Services Secretary
Donna Shalala Due To Her Inaction On Needle Exchange)

Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 23:21:23 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US: Wire: AIDS Advisers Want Shalala Fired
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: GDaurer 
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: 1 Apr 1998


WASHINGTON (AP) - President Clinton's top AIDS advisers are preparing to
vote on a resolution calling for the ouster of his health secretary in a
growing battle over needle exchanges.

A congressional moratorium on the federal funding of needle exchanges
expired Tuesday. That means communities could use federal health money to
give drug addicts clean needles as soon as Health and Human Services
Secretary Donna Shalala certifies that such programs help stop the AIDS
virus without increasing drug use.

Scientific consensus is that they do, but Shalala is still considering the

Members of the Presidential Advisory Council on AIDS, which just two weeks
ago unanimously expressed no confidence in the administration's commitment
to fight AIDS, now is signaling more frustration. Members drafted a
resolution calling for Shalala's resignation; the full council will vote on
it next week.

The draft, obtained by The Associated Press, cites a ``pattern of inaction,
misrepresentation ... and broken promises'' that has ``seriously eroded the
secretary's and the administration's credibility on all AIDS prevention and
related public health matters.''

The council says 33 Americans every day catch the deadly virus through
tainted needles.

Shalala's office had no immediate comment.

Soros Harm Reduction Fellowship Application (Bulletin
From The Lindesmith Center In New York City Explains How To Apply
For A Grant - Submission Deadline October 2)

From: lbeniquez@mail.sorosny.org
Date: Wed, 01 Apr 98 13:42:02 EST
Subject: Soros Harm Reduction Fellowship Application
Sender: owner-tlc-cannabis@soros.org

Please see below the text of the Soros Harm Reduction Fellowship Application.
The application is also attached as a document in Microsoft Word.

Fall 1998 Soros Harm Reduction Fellowship Application

The Lindesmith Center is a policy research institute founded in 1994 as a
project of the Open Society Institute, with offices in New York and San
Francisco. The Center undertakes and supports innovative projects relevant to
drugs, drug users, and drug policies overlooked or ignored in public discussion
and government-funded programs and research. The Lindesmith Center is a project
of the Open Society Institute, a private operating and grantmaking foundation
that promotes the development of open societies around the world. The Open
Society Institute develops and implements a variety of U.S.-based and
international programs in the areas of educational, social, and legal reform,
and encourages public debate and policy alternatives in complex and often
controversial fields. This application and information on The Lindesmith Center
are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.lindesmith.org

Soros Harm Reduction Fellowships

The Lindesmith Center focuses on broadening the debate on drug policy and
promoting policies and treatments that minimize the adverse effects of both drug
use and drug prohibition - an approach known as "harm reduction." Soros Harm
Reduction Fellowships promote the development of innovative health, criminal,
and/or civil justice programs concerning harm reduction and other drug policy
reform objectives. Applicants must propose a project, study, or pilot program
relating to harm reduction or other drug policy reform efforts and must secure
sponsorship from a nonprofit or government organization whose mission will
permit the applicant to implement the proposed idea. Possible sponsors might
include (but are not limited to) advocacy groups, social service agencies,
hospitals and health care organizations, public defender agencies, religious
organizations, prosecutors' offices, prisoners' rights groups, and victims'
services agencies. Up to four Fellowships will be awarded per year.

Stipend, Benefits, Duration, and Debt Relief: Postgraduate Fellows will receive
a stipend of up to $32,500. The Fellowship will be awarded for 12 months and may
be renewed for an additional 12 months. In addition, limited relief for graduate
education debt payments may be provided. Sponsoring organizations will be
requested to provide medical benefits and to cover overhead costs necessary to
support the fellow's project.

Eligibility: Applicants must be in their final year of graduate school, medical
school, or law school, or have received their postgraduate degree within the
last six years. Individual applicants and sponsoring organizations can be based
in the United States or abroad.

Selection Criteria: Selection is based on the applicant's achievements and
demonstrated commitment to public interest work related to issues of harm
reduction or other areas of drug policy reform; the need for the proposed
project; the proposed project's potential for success; the responsiveness of the
project to the target population; and the individual's and sponsoring
organization's capacity to implement the project. Fellows will be expected to
begin work no later than September 1999, but may start as early as January 1999.
Fellows will spend their first week in-residence at The Lindesmith Center.

Issues in the field of drug policy reform include, but are by no means limited

* Promoting access to: sterile syringes for injection drug users, methadone and
other opioids for opiate-dependent persons, adequate treatment for individuals
suffering from chronic pain, noncoercive drug treatment programs for substance
abusers, and medical marijuana for seriously ill persons whom it might benefit;

* Contesting the incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders and the lengthy
mandatory minimum terms to which many nonviolent drug offenders are sentenced; 
Advocating on behalf of individuals in danger of losing their children, homes,
jobs, benefits, or right to remain in this country for violations of drug laws;

* Protecting privacy by advocating restrictions on drug testing in the
workplace, public housing, and schools;

* Protecting people, especially children and persons receiving public
assistance, from arbitrary or unreasonable drug searches;

* Challenging irrational discrimination against personal drug use;

* Restricting the use of state and federal civil and criminal
forfeiture powers;

* Challenging the militarization of the war on drugs;

* Preserving the confidentiality of the records and identities of individuals
undergoing drug treatment;

* Increasing substance abuse treatment options, the quality of treatment, and
program offerings of drug courts;

* Ensuring that drug laws do not interfere with the free exercise of religion.

Fellowship applicants must provide:

1. Professional or Graduate School transcript(s)

2. Two letters of recommendation, to be sent with the application materials, not
under separate cover

3. Resume

4. Letter of commitment and a tax-exempt qualifying letter or the equivalent
from the sponsoring institution

5. Description of fellowship proposal in 2,000 words or less addressing each
aspect in the following order: the need for the proposed project; project goals
and objectives; project activities; the applicant's commitment to drug policy
reform; the nature of the sponsoring organization; how the proposed project
complements the organization's work; the type of supervision that the
organization will offer; and the means of and standards for evaluating the
effectiveness of the proposed project.

6. Applications must be received by October 2, 1998.

Note: No applications or supporting materials will be accepted via fax or e-
mail. Proposals must be submitted in 12-point type, single-spaced, with one-inch
margins. Applicants must provide an original and six copies. The applicant's
name should be printed or typed in the upper right-hand corner of each page of
the submission. All applicants will receive written acknowledgment of the
receipt of their application, and finalists will be notified by mid-November,

To receive a copy of the fellowship application form, please call (415) 554-1900
or send an email to shrf@sorosny.org with the subject line "Application Form"
(case sensitive). Other inquiries may also be sent to this address.

The Lindesmith Center plans to create an additional program of pre- and post-
doctoral fellowships for scholars from the social sciences, historical studies,
and related fields. For more information please call (212) 548-0695.

General Information (print or type)

Last Name
First Name
Tel. (h)
Tel. (w)
Proposal Title
One-sentence description of your proposal

How did you find out about the Fellowship?

Sponsoring Organization

Name of Organization
Type of Organization
Proposed Supervisor

If the organization has previously received a grant from The Lindesmith Center
or a grant from the Open Society Institute, please list on a separate page.

All the information provided is true and complete. I understand that giving
false or misleading information would make my application invalid.


Applicants will receive written acknowledgment of the receipt of their
application. Finalists chosen for interviews with the Fellowship selection
committee will be notified by telephone by mid-November 1998. The volume of
applications received prohibits critiques of those not selected.

Submit this form and application materials to:

Soros Harm Reduction Fellowships
The Lindesmith Center
Open Society Institute
400 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019

Completed applications must be received by October 2, 1998.

DEA Steps Up Hunt For Slaying Suspect ('Dallas Morning News'
Says The Drug Enforcement Administration Is Even Using Spy Satellites
In Its Search For Agustin Vasquez Mendoza Of Michoacan, Mexico,
A Laborer And Sometime Marijuana Field Worker
Accused Of Setting Up A Fake Drug Deal In 1994
In Which Veteran DEA Special Agent Richard Fass Of Phoenix Was Killed)

Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 08:49:33 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: adbryan@onramp.net
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: ART: DEA steps up hunt for slaying suspect

I'm real sorry this agent died, but was he a murder victim or
a casualty of the war on drugs? Agent Cass' life was wasted on
a fruitless task as were the soldiers who gave their lives in
Viet Nam. Were any of the Vietcong ever on the FBI's top ten?

>From the 4-1-98 Dallas Morning News

DEA steps up hunt for slaying suspect

Bounty, task force grow as officers chase leads in Mexico to solve
agent's ambush


By Tracey Eaton
The Dallas Morning News

MEXICO CITY - The way U.S. drug agents figure it, you can run, but you
can't hide forever, not even in Mexico, a traditional fugitives'

U.S. law officers are stepping up efforts to capture Agustin Vasquez
Mendoza, a laborer and sometime marijuana field worker accused of
setting up a fake drug deal in 1994 in which veteran DEA Special Agent
Richard Fass of Phoenix was killed.

Spy satellites are scanning Mr. Vasquez's home territory in the rugged
Mexican state of Michoacan. The size of the U.S.-based task force
looking for him has been tripled to 12. He has been added to the FBI's
"Ten Most Wanted" list. And the bounty for information leading to his
capture has been doubled to $200,000.

"You assault or murder a DEA agent, and we will pursue you no matter
where, no matter how long," said Mike Huerta, a Phoenix-based DEA agent
who heads the task force. "We'll even look for you in your own country."

The search hasn't been easy, even though Mr. Vasquez isn't exactly a
sophisticated globe-trotting criminal. Agents who have investigated him
say he can barely read or write, let alone make his own phone calls.

An FBI poster describes him as a 5-foot-3, 110-pound laborer who
considers himself a ladies' man. Mr. Vasquez, now 28, favors cowboy
boots, pricey slacks and gold chains. He has brown hair and a 3-inch
scar on his right forearm, and two of his front teeth are capped with

"To find him, we're really going to have to go back to basics, to get
inside his mind," said a Drug Enforcement Administration official taking
part in the manhunt. "Using technology alone to catch him may not
necessarily work. It's like using an F-14 to chase a biplane. It's not
always an ideal situation."

Agent Fass, 37, was killed June 30, 1994, in Glendale, Ariz., while
posing as a methamphetamine buyer.

Left behind were his parents, his wife, Theresa, and four children.

"I can remember looking at his daughter's face during the memorial
service," said DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine, who still gets
choked up recalling the agent's funeral. "The look on that kid's face
was one of terror. She knew. Her father was gone."

Mr. Vasquez is accused of sending two men to kill Agent Fass so they
could steal the $160,000 he was carrying for the drug purchase. The two
men and an accomplice were quickly arrested and later convicted. Mr.
Vasquez, who was not at the scene, fled to Mexico.

Jailing Mr. Vasquez is a top priority, said Greg Williams, the DEA's
chief of operations.

"We're retracing our steps to make sure we've covered every potential
lead, and we're working with the Mexicans daily to try to locate
Vasquez," he said. "Traffickers and other individuals have to realize
that if they harm an agent, the agency's not going to rest until the
suspects are brought to justice."

Using high-tech surveillance, informants and other investigative tools,
DEA agents have come up with possible whereabouts for the suspect
several times. They relay the information to Mexican authorities who are
responsible for making any arrests in Mexico. But Mexican agents have
come up empty-handed.

Asked whether he's committed to capturing Mr. Vasquez, Mexico's top
anti-drug official nodded.

"Yes, we want to catch him and all the others suspected of breaking the
law," said Mariano Herran, head of Mexico's counternarcotics agency, the
Special Prosecuting Office for Crimes Against Health.

What makes the pursuit difficult, agents say, is that Mr. Vasquez is
thought to be holed up in an area of Michoacan state that is virtually
controlled by drug traffickers.

"A large-scale network of crooks there protects itself from law
enforcement and the military. People look out for each other," Agent
Huerta said.

Large plots of poppy plants - used to make heroin - and marijuana are
grown in Michoacan. Traffickers in the state also operate sprawling
methamphetamine labs, DEA agents say.

Mr. Vasquez is thought to be hiding in the countryside near the town of
Apatzingan, DEA agents say. He was born nearby in a tiny settlement
called El Rancho Guayabo.

According to one U.S. law enforcement source, when Mr. Vasquez was a
boy, he saw his father shot to death by the husbands of two of his

"He had a rude upbringing," the source said. "He grew up in an area
where there's no respect for authority."

DEA agents say Mr. Vasquez has held jobs in the United States and Mexico
over the years.

"From all the intelligence we're getting, he's not really an upper-level
trafficker of any sort," Mr. Williams said. "He'll go up into the fields
in Michoacan and cultivate and cut marijuana. He comes into town just to
buy goods, then returns to the countryside."

Agent Fass came from a very different world, growing up in a
working-class Tucson neighborhood and dreaming of getting into law

"When Richard talked about working at the DEA, we went along with it
because we saw how serious he was," said his mother, Rose Fass, who
keeps his childhood toys along with his awards, photos and badges in a
display case in her living room in Tucson.

"He was so interested in his job. He wanted to get all that junk - all
those drugs - off the streets."

Mr. Fass joined the agency in May 1987 and served in the United States,
South America and the Caribbean.

"He was a great guy, always smiling, always laughing," said Terry
Parham, a DEA agent who worked with Mr. Fass in Argentina in 1991. "But
he was real serious about his work. He's someone you'll always

After seven years of dangerous undercover work, Agent Fass was promoted
to an administrative post in Monterrey, Mexico. His colleagues in
Phoenix gave him a farewell luncheon and wished him luck.

He insisted on carrying out a final assignment late that afternoon,
going undercover to buy 22 pounds of methamphetamines as part of a deal
Mr. Vasquez allegedly set up. He went into an auto repair shop just
outside Phoenix, and the deal quickly went sour.

Two men drew their guns, forced the agent and two informants to a back
room and shoved them to the ground to be executed.

"Richard realized he was in trouble. As a last resort, he did what he
had to, to try to survive. He pulled his gun and got off a round,
injuring one suspect," Mr. Huerta said. "The two informants were able to
escape. I credit Richard for saving their lives."

But one of the dealers returned fire, shooting off the agent's trigger
finger and knocking his gun from his hand. The dealer then shot Agent
Fass five times in the head and chest as he begged for his life.

The agent's mother said her one consolation is that her son died quickly
- within an hour - and wasn't brutally tortured like Enrique Camarena, a
DEA agent murdered in Mexico in 1985.

"It was bad enough," she said, "but it could have been worse."

US Trained Mexican 'Torture Squad' (Britain's 'Guardian'
Says An Elite Anti-Drug Force In Mexico Is Accused Of Using Skills
Learned At Fort Bragg, North Carolina, For Killings And Kidnappings)

Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 14:25:31 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Anti-Prohibition Lg (aal@inetarena.com)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Guardian: on US trained Mexican 'torture squad' (fwd)

The Guardian
London, England

US trained Mexican 'torture squad'

An elite anti-drug force is accused of using skills learned at Fort
Bragg, North Carolina, for killings and kidnappings

By Phil Gunson in San Juan de Ocotan, Mexico

Wednesday April 1, 1998

It was around 2 am when a dozen US-trained commandos stormed the low,
breezeblock wall surrounding Victoria Lopez's dusty backyard. Led by
an officer later identified as Lt Col Julian Guerrero, the hooded
soldiers - who wore dark uniforms with no insignia - smashed in her
bedroom door while she cowered in a corner with her three youngest

"I knew they were soldiers because they wore military boots," Dona
Victora said. "But they never identified themselves."

Having wrecked much of her furniture, the troops left in search of her
eldest son Salvador, one of around 30 boys and young men picked up
that night on suspicion of having relieved a drunken soldier of his

Twenty-nine of them later straggled back to this poor community near
Guadalajara, the victims of torture which in one case required three
weeks in hospital. But Salvador Jimenez Lopez never came home.

His battered corpse was recovered nearly a week later from a shallow
grave a few miles away. Several months later his mother has yet to see
the post mortem report. But a witness said that Salvador's tongue had
been torn out.

Dona Victoria's uninvited guests belonged to the Gafe (an acronym for
Air-Mobile Special Forces Group). Their commando skills were acquired
courtesy of the US taxpayer.

Mexican military planners created the Gafe in the aftermath of the
1994 Chiapas debacle, when a few thousand poorly-armed indigenous
guerrillas showed the army was ill-equipped to fight a modern
"low-intensity" war.

Under a 1996 agreement with Washington, Gafe officers are trained in
"counter-narcotics" operations by the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort
Bragg, North Carolina. The stated aim is to supplement the rather
ineffectual efforts of Mexico's corruption-prone police.

The US defence department insists: "Counter-drug training differs in
object, scope and nature from counter-insurgency training." Some
military experts regard the difference as minimal.

In any case, said Raul Benitez, a Mexican defence specialist: "They
are not just for the drug war. They are for everything. Depending on
the particular threat that exists in the region, that's what they
specialise in."

US official sources say Gafe training includes "a substantial human
rights component". But in one three-month period last year in the
state of Jalisco (where San Juan de Ocotan is located), the official
state human rights commission received 16 complaints about operations
apparently involving the unit.

In every case, the soldiers wore masks or face paint and no insignia.
They raided hotels and restaurants without presenting search warrants,
and frequently kidnapped suspects.

The complaints were given to the national human rights commission,
which has yet to take any action. The commission, often criticised as
ineffectual in relation to the army, will not return phone calls on
the subject.

The worst incident with which the Gafe has been linked is the Colonia
Buenos Aires case, named after an inner-city district of Mexico City.
Last September, a military-led police raid resulted in the kidnap of
six youths whose tortured corpses later turned up in two different,
remote locations. A report in the La Jornada newspaper cited anonymous
police sources saying the killings were carried out by Gafe members
illegally infiltrated into a since-disbanded, elite police unit. The
Guardian traced one of the sources, who initially agreed to talk then
backed out. "If I tell you about this," he said, "they'll track you
down and demand to know who gave you the information. These people are
very dangerous."

Twenty-eight Gafe members, including 13 officers, are in military
custody pending an investigation into the San Juan de Ocotan incident.
But the victims and their relatives have little confidence in military

The Pentagon admits that some of those involved had received training
at Fort Bragg. Officials described the incident euphemistically as one
in which, "some soldiers sought retribution for an alleged theft of a

The Buenos Aires incident is also said to have been triggered by the
theft of a watch.

Victoria Lopez has refused the army's offer of compensation until
Salvador's killers are brought to justice. "My son wasn't an animal
but a human being," she said.

US To Boost Aid To Colombia Drug Battle ('Dallas Morning News'
Says The Clinton Administration Will Ask For A 40 Percent Increase
In Funding, At Least That's The Figure The Newspaper Gives
For Adding $21 Million On Top Of The $30 Million Already Requested
By The US State Department)

Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 09:57:06 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: Colombia: U.S. to Boost Aid to Colombia Drug Battle
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com
Pubdate: Wed, 1 Apr 1998
Author: David LaGesse (dlagesse@dallasnews.com) The Dallas Morning News


Republicans say administration has resisted helping nation in past

WASHINGTON - Clinton administration officials said they will significantly
boost aid to Colombia's drug fight, including asking Congress for at least
40 percent more in funding.

"We cannot cede any ground to the narco-traffickers," said Randy Beers,
acting head of the State Department's counternarcotics section. "We need to
increase our operational tempo in Colombia."

Appearing before the House International Relations Committee,
administration officials said they were responding to the growing strength
of Colombia's traffickers, who increasingly ally themselves with
revolutionary guerrilla groups. The insurgents have become more brazen in
recent months, ambushing an elite corps of Colombia's military and
attacking civilians - including the kidnapping last month of several more

Colombia's government now ranks as the most threatened in Latin America,
said Gen. Charles Wilhelm, commander of U.S. troops in the region.

"The current tactical situation is bleak," he told the panel.

The officials didn't detail their plans but said the added money will help
expand air and surface interdiction efforts, increase the destruction of
coca and poppy fields and strengthen law-enforcement and judicial reforms.

But congressional Republicans accused the administration of responding too
slowly to Colombia's problems. The House committee has tried in vain for
nearly two years to force the State Department to transfer helicopters and
guns to Colombia's national police, said Committee Chairman Benjamin
Gilman, R-N.Y.

"We couldn't fathom what the resistance was," he said.

Part of the resistance stemmed from the opposition of human rights groups.
They fear that the equipment will be used by Colombian military units that
are notorious for human rights violations.

The administration also remains suspicious of the anti-drug commitment of
Colombia's central government. U.S. officials have criticized Colombian
President Ernesto Samper for alleged connections to drug traffickers.

That led President Clinton to rate Colombia a noncooperative ally in the
drug fight, which cut some forms of aid for two years. The decision wasn't
supposed to affect counterdrug aid but complicated the transfer of some
assets, officials said.

Mr. Clinton again rated Colombia an uncooperative partner this year but
waived the restrictions on aid because of concerns about its growing

Mr. Gilman and other Republicans welcomed what they said was an apparent
change in administration attitude. They questioned, however, whether the
White House would follow through.

"Your program sounds ambitious," Mr. Gilman told the administration
officials. "I hope you'll back that up with significant resources."

Mr. Beers said the White House soon would ask Congress for at least another
$21 million in aid for Colombia for the coming year. That would join $30
million already requested by the State Department for programs in Colombia.

The department also provides about $30 million from other funds, including
$25 million for air operations in Colombia and $5 million in training.

Spending more might require taking money from other countries in the
region, particularly Bolivia and Peru, the administration officials said.

The budget request for Bolivia already was cut significantly next year
because Congress has demanded that the White House buy three advanced
Blackhawk helicopters for Colombia's police, administration officials say.

Mr. Beers told the House panel that the administration continued to
question the deployment of the Blackhawk helicopters, which are faster and
have greater range than the Vietnam-era Huey helicopters already provided

A leader of Colombia's police told the panel, however, that his force needs
the advanced helicopters to reach ever-expanding coca fields.

"The narco-guerrillas know what the range of a Huey is," he said.

Freedom Fighter Of The Month - Nora Callahan ('High Times'
Feature Article About The November Coalition And Its Bimonthly Newspaper,
'The Razor Wire,' Intended To Educate The Public
About The 500,000-Plus Prisoners In America's Drug Gulag)

talk@hemp.net using -f
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 18:54:13 -0800 (PST)
From: Ben 
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
cc: november-l@november.org
Subject: HT: April Freedom Fighter of the Month: Nora Callahan
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Source: High Times, April 1998


by Steven Wishnia

COLVILLE, WA--The 500,000-plus prisoners in America's drug gulag inhabit
an isolated, subterranean world, whether literally underground, like the
federal ADX maximum-security prison in Florence, CO, or behind the walls
in remote rural towns. The deeper they are in--serving mandatory minimums
like 11 years and three months, 19 years and seven months, 24 years with a
five-year "tag"--the further they are cut off from normal life.

Which is where the November Coalition comes in. Founded in the spring of
1997, it has put our five issues of a bimonthly newspaper, recently
renamed The Razor Wire, intended to educate the public on the consequences
of "mass incarceration due to the Drug War," says coalition director Nora
Callahan, former head of the Washington State chapter of Families Against
Mandatory Minimums. Starting with a mailing list of 14 prisoners last May,
she says, the paper now reaches about 1,000, in nearly all of the 92
federal prisons and 75 to 85 state prisons, and has a total circulation of
over 3,000.

The Razor Wire mixes missives from prisoners--jailed medical-marijuana
users Will Foster and Alan Carter-McLemore might be the best-known--with
reprints of editorials by activists like Kevin Zeese and DRCNet's Adam
Smith. It was initially conceived as a Web site by prisoner Dave Perk,
but, explains Callahan, "We had to do a paper, because prisoners can't see
the Internet, contrary to popular belief."

Callahan, 44, has a strong personal stake in the issue. Her brother Gary
is serving a 27-and-a-half-year sentence on cocaine-conspiracy charges.
The main evidence against him, she says, was a duffel bag with traces of
white powder in it; the two men actually caught with the 80 pounds
testified against him and got no jail time.

Gary Patrick Callahan's case is typical of the prisoners who tell their
stories in The Razor Wire, and on "The Wall" on the group's Web site. Many
claim to have been convicted solely on hearsay, or on informants'
testimony in "no drug" conspiracy cases. Others were peripheral players in
the drug business, trapped by the rules that hold anyone involved in a
drug enterprise responsible for the entire amount handled unless they turm

James Doherty, a 49-year-old father of five, is serving 10 years in a
prison 2,000 miles from his home for "a minor role in a marijuana grow."
Amy Ralston Pofahl, 37, is doing 24 years after her Ecstasy-manufacturing
ex-husband testified against her. Tyrone Love Jr., in for 19 and a half
years for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams of crack, was transferred to
the Florence ADX after the October 1996 sentencing-guidelines riots. "My
story is not unique. Young black men an being fed into the justice system
by the thousands every single day," writes John Griffin, sentenced to 30
years for "a few grams of heroin." Mark Ingraham, whose sister designed
the mock jail cell which the November Coalition takes to demonstrations
like the Seattle Hempfest, died of liver disease in 1997, halfway through
a 10-year sentence for growing herb.

Even when their protestations of innocence seem dubious, the basic issue
remains. "They were not my plants and I don't believe they were marijuana
either," writes a man jailed for 2,200 seedlings, "but even if they were,
would it be worth 135 months of a man's life?" Over and over, they
reiterate that they are serving longer sentences than convicted killers or

"These are real people with mothers, not the demons that legislators say
they are," explains Callahan, who quit her job as a graphic designer to
concentrate on the organization. More than half of the group's funding
comes from inmate contributions, and 12 volunteers help out. The Drug
Policy Foundation also supports their work.

Family issues are another focus. With increasing numbers of women in
prison, the number of "Drug War orphans" is also rising. One spinoff from
the coalition is a support group for depressed wives, especially needed
around what they call the "hellidays," Callahan says. Last Christmas, the
group asked people to place a light (preferably an electric candle) in a
front window as a symbol of support for Drug War POWs.

The Razor Wire has had few problems with censorship by prison authorities,
except for being banned in the Florence ADX. If the paper is too
incendiary, muses Callahan, it will be censored, but if it's too tame, it
would be pointless to publish. "We sit on the edge," she says. "I get a
lot of advice from the guys in there." A more perplexing problem is trying
to reach prisoners outside the coalition's rural white base, to cross the
racial lines, often violently defined, within prisons.

Callahan cautions that "we're not prodrug, more anti-Drug War." But she
argues that keeping drugs illegal, as opposed to the Dutch coffeeshops or
the old British registered-addict system, only insures that the black
market will be profitable, and is responsible for "the veritable gulaging
of America."

"Sentiment in this country is definitely changing," she notes
optimistically. "I don't think it'll take much to push it over." On the
other hand, she reminds potheads grimly, "Don't forget the Drug War
prisoners. Every night when you're enjoying your smoke, think about the
18-year-old boy in the county jail being raped all night while awaiting
arraignment for a bag of pot."

Since the 1984 Drug War escalation, the number of drug-law violators in
prison in the United States has increased sixfold; they now constitute a
quarter of the nation's state prisoners and 60 percent of federal inmates,
according to the federal Drug Policy Information Clearinghouse. And
prisons continue to proliferate: New federal prisons open at a rate of
almost one a month, and for-profit operators are increasingly getting into
the business.

"The new prisons aren't being built for us," Callahan quotes James "Opie"
Roe, an unemployed Montana logger jailed for five years in a federal pot
sting. "They're being built for the people who are still free."

The November Coalition can be reached at PO Box 309, Colville, WA 99114;
phone (509) 684-1550; e-mail moreinfo@november.org; Web site

The Drug War Industrial Complex Interview With Noam Chomsky
(The Venerable Psychiatrist And Social Theorist Tells 'High Times'
The War On Some Drugs Is Just One Of Many Forms Of Population Control
Instituted And Maintained By Rich Power Elites Who Understand
That Propaganda Is Much More Effective When It Is Combined With Terror)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Drug War Industrial Complex Interview with Noam Chomsky
Date: Thu, 09 Apr 1998 16:01:33 -0700
Lines: 319
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Paul Freedom and Chris Donald
Source: High Times Magazine
Web: http://www.hightimes.com/
Pubdate: April 1998
Author: John Veit

The War on Drugs

April 1998 by John Veit

HT: You've defined the War on Drugs as an instrument of population control.
How does it accomplish that?

CHOMSKY: Population control is actually a term I borrowed from the
counterinsurgency literature of the Kennedy years. The main targets at the
time were Southeast Asia and Latin America, where there was an awful lot of
popular ferment. They recognized that the population was supporting popular
forces that were calling for all kinds of social change that the United
States simply could not tolerate. And you could control people in a number
of ways. One way was just by terror and violence, napalm bombing and so on,
but they also worked on developing other kinds of population-control
measures to keep people subjugated, ranging from propaganda to
concentration camps. Propaganda is much more effective when it is combined
with terror.

You have the same problem domestically, where the public is constantly
getting out of control. You have to carry out measures to insure that they
remain passive and apathetic and obedient, and don't interfere with
privilege or power. It's a major theme of modern democracy. As the
mechanisms of democracy expand, like enfranchisement and growth, the need
to control people by other means increases.

So the growth of corporate propaganda in the United States more or less
parallels the growth of democracy, for quite straightforward reasons. It's
not any kind of secret. It is discussed very frankly and openly in business
literature and academic social-science journals. You have to "fight the
everlasting battle for the minds of men," in their standard phraseology, to
indoctrinate and regiment them in the way that armies regiment their
bodies. Those are population control measures. This engineering or
manufacture of consent is the essence of democracy, because you have to
insure that ignorant and meddlesome outsiders - meaning we, the people -
don't interfere with the work of the serious people who run public affairs
in the interests of the privileged.

HT: How does the War on Drugs fit into this?

CHOMSKY: Well, one of the traditional and obvious ways of controlling
people in every society, whether it's a military dictatorship or a
democracy, is to frighten them. If people are frightened, they'll be
willing cede authority to their superiors who will protect them: "OK, I'll
let you run my life in order to protect me," that sort of reasoning.

So the fear of drugs and the fear of crime is very much stimulated by state
and business propaganda. The National Justice Commission repeatedly points
out that crime in the United States, while sort of high, is not off the
spectrum for industrialized societies. On the other hand, fear of crime is
far beyond other societies, and mostly stimulated by various propaganda.
The Drug War is an effort to stimulate fear of dangerous people from whom we
have to protect ourselves. It is also, a direct form of control of what are
called "dangerous classes," those superfluous people who don't really have
a function contributing to profit-making and wealth. They have to be
somehow taken care of.

HT: In some other countries you just hang the rabble.

CHOMSKY: Yes, but in the U.S. you don't kill them, you put them in jail.
The economic policies of the 1980's sharply increased inequality,
concentrating such economic growth as there was, which was not enormous, in
very few hands. The top few percent of the population got extremely wealthy
as profits went through the roof, and meanwhile median-income wages were
stagnating or declining sharply since the '70's. You're getting a large
mass of people who are insecure, suffering from difficulty to misery, or
something in between. A lot of them are basically going to be arrested,
because you have to control them.

HT: It's absolutely true, but how do you prove it?

CHOMSKY: Just by looking at the trend lines for marijuana. Marijuana use
was peaking in the late '70's, but there was not much criminalization. You
didn't go to jail for having marijuana then because the people using it
were nice folks like us, the children of the rich. You don't throw them
into jail any more than you throw corporate executives into jail - even
though corporate crime is more costly and dangerous than street crime. But
then in the '80's the use of various "unhealthy" substances started to
decline among more educated sectors: marijuana and tobacco smoking,
alcohol, red meat, coffee, this whole category of stuff. On the other hand,
usage remained steady among poorer sectors of the population. In the United
States, poor and black correlation - they're not identical, but there's a
correlation - and in poor, black and hispanic sectors of the population
the use of such substances remained steady.

So take a look at those trends. When you call for a War on Drugs, you know
exactly who you're going to pick up: poor black people. You're not going to
pick up rich white people: you don't go after them anyway. In the
upper-middle class suburb where I live, if somebody goes home and sniffs
cocaine, police don't break into their house.

So there are many factors making the Drug War a war against the poor,
largely poor people of color. And those are the people they have to get rid
of. During the period these economic policies were being instituted, the
incarceration rate was shooting up, but crime wasn't, it was steady or
declining. But imprisonment went way up. By the late '80's, in terms of
imprisoning our population, we were way ahead of the rest of the world, way
ahead of any other industrial society.

HT: Who benefits from incarcerating young black males?

CHOMSKY: A lot of people. Poor people are basically superfluous for wealth
production, and therefore the wealthy want to get rid of them. The rich
also frighten everyone else, because if you're afraid of these people, then
you submit to state authority. But beyond that, it's a state industry.
Since the 1930's, every businessman has understood that a private
capitalist economy must have massive state subsidies; the only question is
what form that state subsidy will take? In the United States the main form
has been through the military system. The most dynamic aspects of the
economy - computers, the Internet, the aeronautical industry,
pharmaceuticals - have fed off the military system. But the crime-control
industry, as it's called by criminologists, is becoming the fastest-growing
industry in America.

And it's state industry, publicly funded. It's the construction industry,
the real estate industry, and also high tech firms. It's gotten to a
sufficient scale that high-technology and military contractors are looking
to it as a market for techniques of high-tech control and surveillance, so
you can monitor what people do in their private activities with complicated
electronic devices and supercomputers: monitoring their telephone calls and
urinalyses and so forth. In fact, the time will probably come when this
superfluous population can be locked up in private apartments, not jails,
and just monitored to track when they do something wrong, say the wrong
thing, go the wrong direction.

HT: House arrest for the masses.

CHOMSKY: It's enough of an industry so that the major defense-industry
firms are interested; you can read about it in The Wall Street Journal. The
big law firms and investment houses are interested: Merrill Lynch is
floating big loans for prison construction. If you take the whole system,
it's probably approaching the scale of the Pentagon.

Also, this is a terrific work force. We hear fuss about prison labor in
China, but prison labor is standard here. It's very cheap, it doesn't
organize, the workers don't ask for rights, you don't have to worry about
health benefits because the public is paying for everything. It's what's
called a 'flexible' workforce, the kind of thing economists like: you have
the workers when you want them, and you throw them out when you don't want

And what's more it's an old American tradition. There was a big industrial
revolution in parts of the South in the early part of this century, in
northern Georgia and Kentucky and Alabama and it was based mostly around
prison labor. The slaves had been technically freed, but after a few years,
they were basically slaves again. One way of controlling them was to throw
them in jail, where they became a controlled labor force. That's the core
of the modern industrial revolution in the South, which continued in
Georgia to the 1920's and to the Second World War in places like

Now it's being revived. In Oregon and California there's a fairly
substantial textile industry in the prisons, with exports to Asia. At the
very time people were complaining about prison labor in China, California
and Oregon are exporting prison-made textiles to China. They even have a
line called "Prison Blues."

And it goes all the way up to advanced technology like data processing. In
the state of Washington, Boeing workers are protesting the exports of jobs
to China, but they're probably unaware that their jobs are being exported
to nearby prisons, where machinists are doing work for Boeing under
circumstances that the management is delighted over, for obvious reasons.

HT: And most of these prisoners are nonviolent drug offenders.

CHOMSKY: The enormous rate of growth of the prison population has been
mostly drug related. The last figures I saw showed that over half the
federal prison population, and maybe a quarter in state prisons, are drug
offenders. In New York State, for example, a twenty-dollar street sale or
possession of an ounce of cocaine will get you the same sentence as arson
with intent to murder. The three-strikes legislation is going to blow it
right through the sky. The third arrest can be for some minor drug offense,
and you'll go to jail forever.

HT: The Drug Czar's office estimates that Americans spend $57 billion
annually on illegal drugs. What effect does this have on the global economy?

CHOMSKY: Well, the United Nations tries to monitor the international drug
trade, and their estimates are on the order of $400 to $500 billion - half
a trillion dollars a year - in trade alone, which makes it higher than
oil, something like 10 percent of the world trade. Where this money comes
and goes to is mostly unknown, but general estimates are that maybe 60
percent of it passes through US banks. After that, a lot goes to offshore
tax havens. It's so obscure that nobody monitors it, and nobody wants to.
But the Commerce Department every year publishes figures on foreign direct
investment - where US investment is going - and through the '90s the big
excitement has been the "new emerging markets" like Latin America. And
it turns out that a quarter of US foreign direct investment is going to
Bermuda, another 15 percent to the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands, another
10 percent to Panama, and so on. Now, they're not building steel factories.
The most benign interpretation is that it's just tax havens. And the less
benign interpretation is that it's one way of passing illegal money into
places where it will not be monitored. We really don't know, because it is
not investigated. This is not the task of the Justice Department, which is
to go after a black kid in the ghetto who has a joint in his pocket.

HT: What do you think of the US policy of offering trade and aid favors to
countries who promulgate so-called antidrug initiatives?

CHOMSKY: Actually, US programs radically increase the use of drugs. Look
at the big growth in cocaine production that has exploded in the Andes over
the last few years, in Columbia and Peru and Bolivia. Why are Bolivian
peasants, for instance producing coca? The neoliberal structural-adjustment
policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which are run
by the US, try to drive peasants into agro-export, producing not for local
consumption but for sale abroad. They want to reduce social programs, like
spending for health and education, cutting government deficits by
increasing exports. And they cut back tariffs so that we can pour our
highly subsidized food exports into their countries, which of course
undercuts peasant production. Put all that together and what do you get?
You get a huge increase in Bolivian coca production, as their only
comparative advantage.

The same is true in Columbia, where US "food for peace" aid, as it is
called, was used to destroy wheat production by essentially giving
food - at what amounts to US taxpayer expense - through US agro-exporters
to undercut wheat production there, which later cut coffee production and
their ability to set prices in any reasonable fashion.

And the end result is they turn to something else, and one of the things
they turn to is coca production. In fact, if you look at the total effect
of US policies, it has been to increase drugs.

HT: Well, anybody who looks into the history of American drug policies in
this century...

CHOMSKY: I'm putting aside another factor altogether, namely clandestine
warfare. If you look into the history of what is called the CIA, which
means the US White House, it's secret wars, clandestine warfare, the trail
of drug production just follows. It started in France after the Second
World War when the United States was essentially trying to reinstate the
traditional social order, to rehabilitate Fascist collaborators, wipe out
the Resistance and destroy the unions and so on. The first thing they did
was reconstitute the Mafia, as strikebreakers or for other such useful
services. And the mafia doesn't do it for fun, so there was tradeoff:
Essentially they allowed them to reinstitute the heroin-production system,
which had been destroyed by the Fascists. The Fascists tended to run a
pretty tight ship; they didn't want any competition, so they wiped out the
Mafia. But the US reconstituted it, first in southern Italy, and then in
southern France with the Corsican Mafia. That's where the famous French
Connection comes from.

That was the main heroin center for many years. Then the US terrorist
activities shifted over to Southeast Asia. If you want to carry out
terrorist activities, you need local people to do it for you, and you also
need secret money to pay for it, clandestine hidden money. Well if you need
to hire thugs and murderers with secret money, there aren't many options.
One of them is the drug connection. The so-called Golden Triangle around
Burma, Laos and Thailand became a big drug-producting area with the help of
the United States, as part of the secret wars against those populations.

In Central America, it was partly exposed in the Contra hearings, though it
was mostly suppressed. But there's no question that the Reagan
administration's terrorist operations in Central America were closely
connected with drug trafficking.

Afghanistan became one of the biggest centers of drug trafficking in the
world in the 1980s, because that was the payoff for the forces to which the
US was contributing millions of dollars: the same extreme Islamic
fundamentalists who are now tearing the country to shreds.

It's been true throughout the world. It's not that the US is trying to
increase the use of drugs, it's just the natural thing to do. If you were
in a position where you had to hire thugs and gangsters to kill peasants
and break strikes, and you had to do it with untraceable money, what would
come to your mind?

HT: Where do you stand on drug legalization?

CHOMSKY: Nobody knows what the effect would be. Anyone who tells you they
know is just stupid or lying., because nobody knows. These are things that
have to be tried, you have to experiment to see what the effects are.

Most soft drugs are already legal, mainly alcohol and tobacco. Tobacco is
by far the biggest killer among all the psychoactives. Alcohol deaths are a
little hard to estimate, because an awful lot of violent deaths are
associated with alcohol. Way down below come "hard" drugs, a tiny fraction
of the deaths from alcohol and tobacco, maybe ten or twenty thousand deaths
per year. The fastest growing hard drugs are APS, amphetamine-type
substances, produced mostly in the US.

As far as the rest of the drugs are concerned, marijuana is not known to be
very harmful. I mean, it's generally assumed it's not good for you, but
coffee isn't good for you, tea isn't good for you, chocolate cake isn't
good for you either. It would be crazy to criminalize coffee, even though
it's harmful.

The United States is one of very few countries where this is considered a
moral issue. In most countries it's considered a medical issue. In most
countries you don't have politicians getting up screaming about how tough
they're going to be on drugs. So the first thing we've got to do is move
out of the phase of population control, and into the sphere of social
issues. The Rand Corporation estimates that if you compare the effect of
criminal programs versus educational programs at reducing drug use,
educational programs are way ahead by about a factor of seven.

HT: But alarmist drug-propaganda programs like DARE and the Partnership for
a Drug-Free America's TV ads have been found to increase experimentation
among teenagers.

CHOMSKY: The question is, what kind of education are you doing?
Educational programs aren't the only category. Education also has to do
with the social circumstances in which drugs are used. The answer to that
is not throwing people in jail. The answer is to try and figure what's
going on in their lives, their family, do they need medical care and so on?
This very striking decline in substance abuse among educated sectors, as I
said, goes across the spectrum - red meat, coffee, tobacco, everything.
That's education. It wasn't that there was an educational program that said
to stop drinking coffee, it's just that attitudes toward oneself and
towards health, how we live and so on, changed among the more educated
sectors of the population, and these things went down. And none of it had
to do with criminalization. It just had to do with a rise in the cultural
and educational level, which led to more care for oneself.



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