------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com From: Dave Haans (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: TorStar Article: Teenagers at risk from marijuana, U.S. study says 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 (email@example.com) 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Dave Haans
Subject: SENT: Re: Teenagers at risk from marijuana, U.S. study says Note: I cc:'d this to email@example.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: [snip] 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Editorial: DARE Doesn't Work Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. DARE DOESN'T WORK 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 kids. 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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Editorial: Legalize Hemp Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com Website: http://www.essential.org/monitor/monitor.html LEGALIZE HEMP 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 products. * 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US: Wire: AIDS Advisers Want Shalala Fired Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: GDaurer Source: Associated Press Pubdate: 1 Apr 1998 AIDS ADVISERS WANT SHALALA FIRED 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 issue. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Wed, 01 Apr 98 13:42:02 EST Subject: Soros Harm Reduction Fellowship Application Sender: email@example.com 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 to: * 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, 1998. To receive a copy of the fellowship application form, please call (415) 554-1900 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.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 Address Tel. (h) Tel. (w) E-mail Proposal Title One-sentence description of your proposal How did you find out about the Fellowship? Sponsoring Organization Name of Organization Type of Organization Address Proposed Supervisor Tel. Fax E-mail 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. Signature Date 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: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com 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 http://www.dallasnews.com firstname.lastname@example.org DEA steps up hunt for slaying suspect Bounty, task force grow as officers chase leads in Mexico to solve agent's ambush 04/01/98 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' paradise. 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 silver. "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 lovers. "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 enforcement. "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 remember." 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: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Anti-Prohibition Lg (email@example.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 children. "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 pistol. 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 justice. 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 watch". 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: Colombia: U.S. to Boost Aid to Colombia Drug Battle Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Pubdate: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 Author: David LaGesse (email@example.com) The Dallas Morning News U.S. TO BOOST AID TO COLOMBIA DRUG BATTLE 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 Americans. 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 insurgency. 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 Colombia. 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) firstname.lastname@example.org using -f Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 18:54:13 -0800 (PST) From: Ben
To: email@example.com cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: HT: April Freedom Fighter of the Month: Nora Callahan Sender: email@example.com Source: High Times, April 1998 FREEDOM FIGHTER OF THE MONTH NORA CALLAHAN AND THE NOVEMBER COALITION A VOICE FOR DRUG WAR POWS 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 snitch. 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 rapists. "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 firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site www.november.org.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Drug War Industrial Complex Interview with Noam Chomsky Date: Thu, 09 Apr 1998 16:01:33 -0700 Lines: 319 Sender: email@example.com 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 THE DRUG WAR INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX INTERVIEW WITH NOAM CHOMSKY, 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 them. 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 Mississippi. 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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