------------------------------------------------------------------- Editors Fret About Rising Public Distrust Of Press (Ombudsman Column In 'Sacramento Bee' Covers A Meeting In Washington, DC, Among Hundreds Of The Nation's Newspaper Editors Featuring The Insights Of Samdra Mims Rowe, Editor Of Portland's 'Oregonian,' The Most Untrustworthy Newspaper In The World) Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 19:16:43 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Editors Fret About Rising Public Distrust of Press Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (email@example.com) Source: Sacramento Bee (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sacbee.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 Author: Sanders LaMont THE OMBUDSMAN: EDITORS FRET ABOUT RISING PUBLIC DISTRUST OF PRESS Washington- Hundreds of the nation's newspaper editors gathered here last week to try to figure out what to do about the distrust they feel from readers everywhere. By the end of a week devoted to critical self-examination, most seemed to agree with Sandra Mims Rowe, editor of the Portland Oregonian and president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, when she characterized the current era of American journalism as "a time of frighteningly low respect for the newspapers we hold dear." In a sometimes blistering critique of the performance of the press in recent months, she challenged editors to work to turn around their performance and win back the confidence of readers. The opening session of the conference began with a District of Columbia high school choir singing inspirational songs, including "The Impossible Dream." Whether the dream of restoring credibility to newspapers around the country is realized will depend, Rowe told the editors, on the quality of leadership in the future, and learning from mistakes of the past. "In the face of intensive pressure and in hot pursuit of story, the salient standard in the early Clinton-Lewinsky coverage appears to have been that someone said it, therefore we wrote it; the wire service sent it, therefore we printed it. "That is not leadership," she said. "It is a sorry squandering of the credibility we have." The society has undertaken a four-year project to study, understand and presumably turn around what surveys and research almost universally reflect as a declining trust in newspapers and the media. The project was initiated a year ago by Rowe before the current scandal gave impetus to her concerns. The society met for its annual session in the nation's capital, and spent most of the week listening to editors, educators and others try to figure out why American newspapers are losing credibility with readers, and what to do about it. The next step in the four-year process will include research into specific markets to determine exactly what readers' concerns are, and development of training materials to help individual newspapers re-establish what seemed last week to be badly battered standards. Rowe did not let any members of the audience off the hook when she reminded them that one individual editor exercising good judgment and clear leadership can make the difference between proud public service and failure, and it is done one decision at a time. She offered hope in her remarks, but nailed the responsibility for failure or success right on the editor's door. Rowe's call for clear-eyed leadership was met with some defensiveness, though politely stated. Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of the Washington Post, assured other editors his paper does not have a stake in the current scandals, and is just trying to do a good job. But when he was questioned directly on whether the newspaper's standards on the use of confidential sources had changed, as some in the audience feel had happened recently, Downie responded with non-specific assurances. That led a Bremerton, Wash., editor to observe, "The rules seem somewhat different here in Washington [D.C.]." In an earlier session the Post's ombudsman, Geneva Overholser, observed during a panel discussion on a hypothetical case that "we have our standards, we just don't live up to them." That might have been the theme for the week's debates, and some fear it could be carved on the gravestone of newspapers. The discussions on restoring credibility became somewhat entangled in the obviously differing points of view between editors in and around Washington, and those farther away. Deborah Howell, editor and Washington bureau chief for Newhouse News Service, acknowledged in the introduction of a discussion of the use of confidential sources that "most people I know wanted to talk about nothing else but Clinton-Lewinsky," and then acknowledged that "inside the Beltway [surrounding D.C.] we thought the president was toast. We were wrong." Also apparent in the discussions in and out of the conference rooms was the concern that local newspapers apply tougher standards to their own reporters than they do to services that provide the majority of national and international news in most American newspapers. Most newspapers get the bulk of their national reports from the Associated Press and the wire services served by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post. McClatchy Newspapers, including The Bee, uses those sources plus reporters based in Washington to watch out for its readers' interests. In the question periods and in panel discussions, editors frequently made reference to what they call "the two-source rule" for unidentified sources in news stories. That "rule," which was a guideline used by the Post during the Watergate era, has never been universally adopted, as a few irate editors pointed out at a session here on Wednesday. In fact, several said that some readers feel sources should always be identified. In his defense of the Post, Downie said that readers have to trust the newspaper they read based on experience with that newspaper. He argued that the system of unidentified sources exists as created by politicians and officials, not the press, and that the fundamental test for readers is whether they believe their newspaper. Rowe and others noted that unidentified sources are not the only problem eroding credibility for readers. Among the concerns she and other editors cited were: In the corporatization of newspaper companies, Wall Street often becomes more important than Main Street, and in some companies the quest for profits reduces the ability of the newspaper to pursue the news adequately. Training and wages for newspaper personnel are rarely adequate, leading to confusion about standards and a brain drain out of the industry. Newspapers do not have to be dragged along into the mud when other media, recently including Internet sources and broadcast outlets, fail to meet a newspaper's standards. Newspapers do not have to follow television news in the tendency to "dumb down" in the quest for ratings. New media, including the Internet Web sites that have grown in the past year, do not adopt newspaper standards and should not be treated as if they do. And in the discussion in the halls, it became apparent that the view from Washington is not the same as the view from the rest of the country. One editor pointed out that the farther away from Washington she traveled, the farther back in the local newspaper the stories about accusations over Clinton's sex life appeared. TWO EXAMPLES of what newspapers can do to address the problems were cited by Rowe. Some newspapers recognized that the O.J. Simpson trial was not the top news story of the day every day for months, and appropriately moved it inside the newspaper. And editors at several newspapers - including The Bee - are taking the time to address readers' concerns through columns written to explain to readers the standards and values the newspaper wants to uphold, which leads to better understanding and accountability. She praised San Jose Mercury News Editor Jerry Ceppos for being willing to apologize and acknowledge to readers last year that the newspaper had failed to live up to its standards. "Without saying so directly," she said, "he made clear the Mercury News stands for quality." The debate last week, Rowe said, is not about what editors have a right to do, "it is about doing the right thing." Newspapers can regain lost ground by being devoted to believability -- which includes accuracy and more -and being open about weaknesses, nurturing journalists with a passion for responsibility and maintaining the character of their newspaper. For the next three years the editors' society plans to keep the issue of credibility at the top of their agenda, the first time any single subject has dominated discussion by the nation's top editors for more than one year. Whether the studies, discussions and projects that result make any difference for newspaper readers remains for the editors to demonstrate over those years. THE OMBUDSMAN deals with complaints and concerns about The Sacramento Bee's content. His opinions are his own. You can contact the Ombudsman by mail at P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, 95852. E-mail to email@example.com, fax at 556-5690, call directly at 442-8050 or through BeeLine at 552-5252, category 5678. Copyright 1998 The Sacramento Bee
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Team Helps Kids Left Behind ('San Diego Union Tribune' Describes San Diego County's New 'Drug'-Endangered Children Squad, Established With A $250,000-A-Year Grant From The State Of California, Designed To Help Find Appropriate Homes For Kids Whose Parents Are Taken Away By Authorities On 'Drug' Charges, Including, Presumably, Marijuana Offenses - A Pilot Program In Oroville, Southeast Of Chico, Yielded 121 Children In Just 18 Months Of 1994 And 1995 - A Majority Could Not Be Returned Home Because Their Parents Continued To Use 'Drugs' And The Kids Were Put Up For Adoption) Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 22:24:50 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Drug Team Helps Kids Left Behind Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Tom Murlowski"
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 Author: Angela Lau - Staff Writer DRUG TEAM HELPS KIDS LEFT BEHIND When parents are jailed, group finds children new homes They are the forgotten part of the equation when law enforcement agencies raid a methamphetamine laboratory or arrest drug-using parents. Kids left behind each year when their parents head to jail are shunted back and forth among relatives, friends and neighbors for temporary shelter, officials say. No one keeps track of whether they go to school or even receive medical services. "We were never sure if the home they went to would be better -- maybe the relatives themselves are drug users for all we know," said Dr. Wendy Wright, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital who is a member of the county's new drug-endangered children's team. Set up with a $250,000-a-year state grant to help find appropriate homes for kids whose parents are taken away by authorities, the team has been developing multiagency cooperation that will involve a social worker in every drug bust, Wright said. The grant will last three years. The team also will make sure the children are not returned to the same unhealthy environments. After the parents are released, the adults might continue their drug habits, said Deputy District Attorney Robert Amador. "People who make meth are not careful -- toxic chemicals can be absorbed by inhaling or through the skin," Amador said. "You can find stains on the carpet where babies crawl around. Many of them have tested positive for narcotics. We need to treat these kids as victims of crime." A pilot program in Oroville, southeast of Chico, reported that of 121 children taken into custody in 18 months of 1994 and 1995, 14 tested positive for methamphetamine, said Susan Webber-Brown, a Butte County district attorney's investigator in charge of the program. The effects of environmental exposure to methamphetamine are not known because there have been no studies, Webber-Brown said. One of the Butte County kids, however, developed leukemia. Of the children taken into custody when their parents were arrested, a majority could not be returned home because their parents continued to use drugs, and the kids were put up for adoption, Webber-Brown said. In San Diego County, officials said they cannot predict the number of children to be served by the program because there are no data to compare. But a study is under way. After four drug busts in February, five children from two families were placed in foster care, according to Patti Rahiser, spokeswoman for the county's Children Services Bureau. The first year will concentrate on North County, where two-thirds of the county's meth labs are believed to be, Amador said. A social worker will coordinate among law enforcement agencies before a drug bust or will be called in when an unexpected drug seizure occurs. The worker will take the kids to Polinsky Children's Center, where they wait for background checks on relatives or friends who can house them. Those who do not have eligible relatives will be placed with foster families or in other facilities. At the same time, the District Attorney's Office will consider child endangerment charges against the parents. The Butte County program proved a reprieve to many kids, Webber-Brown said. "The older teen-agers were embarrassed to live in the conditions at home -- the majority of them attended school infrequently because they didn't have clothes to wear and or didn't fit in," she said. "The majority don't want to go home until their parents are well." Copyright 1998 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Web Of Lies May Have Snared Young Drug User Turned Informant (Update From 'Los Angeles Times' On The Case Of 17-Year-Old Chad MacDonald, Who Was Tortured And Killed Because He'd Been Turned Into A Drug Informant By Police In Brea, California) Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 10:03:27 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Web of Lies May Have Snared Young Drug-User-Turned-Informant, Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Fax: 213-237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Pubdate: April 5, 1998 Author: Scott Martelle, Bonnie Hayes, Times Staff Writers WEB OF LIES MAY HAVE SNARED YOUNG DRUG-USER-TURNED-INFORMANT Killed Allegedly by People Who Knew of His Ties to Police Chad MacDonald, a 17-year-old from Yorba Linda, spent the last months of his life playing at the edges, balancing his involvement with illicit drugs against his role as juvenile police snitch. When he slipped off that edge, the fall was dramatic, resonating far beyond his Orange County neighborhood to spark broad condemnations of the Brea Police Department's use of juvenile informants and calls in Sacramento for laws banning the practice. Before MacDonald fell, before he was tortured and killed, before his girlfriend was raped and shot and left for dead in the Angeles National Forest, he appeared to be that most typical of suburban youths, a likable jock who cherished his ride--a white 1991 Nissan pickup. But he was also, in the last months of his life, living at the center of a net of deceit--as a runner, a go-between, who used his prized truck as a methamphetamine courier service between a Yorba Linda dealer and the dealer's customers. Police reports and interviews with many of the troubled young man's friends and family and his family's attorney indicate that word was out on the streets of Yorba Linda that if you wanted drugs, particularly meth, MacDonald would be a good person to find. The local high school students knew it. Drug dealers knew it. Even the police knew it. Which is why, when a Brea traffic cop pulled MacDonald over early Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 6, the officer was interested in more than traffic laws. "I . . . told MacDonald that his name and vehicle were floating around Yorba Linda as being involved with selling narcotics and asked him if it was true," the unidentified officer wrote in his report after arresting MacDonald on suspicion of possessing 10.99 grams of meth. (The Brea Police Department is under contract to patrol Yorba Linda.) "MacDonald said that he used to be involved in narcotics a long time ago, but he was now straightened out." It wasn't the last lie MacDonald told. He lied to his mother. He lied to his friends. He lied to the police who agreed to drop the drug possession charges if he turned snitch. He lied to his fellow drug dealers. In the month since the youth's battered and strangled body was found in a South Los Angeles alley, the MacDonald family lawyer and police reports have cast him as a youth willing to cut deals to save his own skin while continuing to use the meth that got him into trouble in the first place. In the last week of his life, as word circulated on Yorba Linda streets that he was cooperating with police, MacDonald stayed away from home, holed up in a motel in Norwalk and made regular visits with his girlfriend to a ramshackle drug house nearby. Although the family's lawyer, Lloyd Charton, insists that MacDonald went to the house to set up one last deal for the cops, police reports indicate that Brea police had already dropped him as an informant and were moving forward with criminal drug possession charges against him. The reason: He wouldn't stop using meth. The habit wouldn't die until he did. In some ways, the mystery of Chad MacDonald lies not in his death, but in his life, and why he stepped so willingly and fully into the world of drugs. Father's Death Shatters Promise of the Future Chad Allan MacDonald Jr. was born April 7, 1980, to Chad Allan MacDonald Sr. and Cindy Saroli MacDonald, a Detroit couple who staked their future on a move to Southern California. The promise of that future was shattered just after 2 a.m. March 5, 1981--a month before the baby's first birthday--when Chad MacDonald Sr., drunk, ran into a light pole less than a mile from home. He was killed and MacDonald's mother was severely injured, left partially disabled and unable to work. "[She is] not a well person," said her brother, Chris Saroli. "She's paralyzed in her right arm. . . . You would never know it talking to her, but when she's put under pressure, she cracks." Thirteen months after her husband's death, Cindy MacDonald married Mark L. Shyken. It was a troubled marriage from the start and ended in April 1986, according to court records. The couple had two sons together. But Shyken's problems with alcohol and cocaine, which eventually landed him in rehabilitation, led Cindy MacDonald to seek restraining orders against him, in part because he exposed their children to drugs, she charged in court filings. Shyken, who family members said has turned his life around, did not respond to requests for an interview. His relatives declined further comment. Chad MacDonald, Saroli said, was acutely aware that Shyken wasn't his father. "I think it bothered him more than he let on," Saroli said. "He knew in his heart that he didn't have a dad. That true bond was missing in Chad's life. . . . [Shyken] cared for Chad, I believe that, but [Shyken] went down another road." Through it all, Cindy MacDonald and her boys remained close to her side of the family, a rambunctious crew known for sloppy kisses and bearhugs, Saroli said. But there was darkness in the home too. Police picked up MacDonald a month before his ninth birthday over an unspecified vandalism incident, records show. Police also reported finding him at an under-age drinking party in 1995, when he was 15. Cindy MacDonald started noticing changes in her son last summer, around the time her father suffered three heart attacks, family lawyer Charton said. The grandfather survived, but his illness had a profound effect on MacDonald. "He went into a deep depression," Charton said. "Reflecting back, [Cindy] thinks that's what caused the depression that led to the drugs." Friends, though, said MacDonald was already involved with drugs. They said that last fall he began using meth more often and lost about 20 pounds over the winter. 'I Will Do Anything to Correct My Mistakes' It didn't take MacDonald long to decide that the best way to get out of the January drug bust was to do a little work for the police. Police reports say MacDonald began cooperating as he was being booked, acknowledging that he used and sold meth. "I will do anything to correct my mistakes," the reports quote MacDonald as saying, prompting an officer to ask if he would cooperate in identifying the supplier. The reports say that MacDonald agreed then to work with drug investigators and that his mother signed a permission form when she picked him up. Saroli contends that police took advantage of his sister. "They forced her to do something she couldn't even really understand the full consequences of," he said. "She trusted them, and they let her down." Over the next week, MacDonald and Brea Police Det. James Griffin spoke several times about setting up a drug purchase at a suspected drug house near Esperanza High in Anaheim. On Jan. 15, after police wired MacDonald with a fake pager, he bought meth from a woman at the house. Police raided the house a few days later, but no drugs were found and no arrests were made. MacDonald continued to feed information to the police while cutting his own deals on the side, using his arrangement to explain to his mother why he was out late so often, police reports say. Justin Wright, 18, a former classmate, said in an interview that he was a passenger in MacDonald's truck around that time and watched him sell drugs to a walk-up customer in a parking lot. "We were just sitting there, and I looked over and he was counting all of this money," Wright said. "I was, like, 'Whoa, dude, what's up with that?' and he just said something about business being good." MacDonald's juggling act began crumbling Feb. 19, the day he appeared in court on charges relating to the Jan. 6 arrest, a tactic police were using to pressure MacDonald. The hearing was delayed 30 days to give the teenager more time to help set up one more bust. About 7:30 that night, a Brea police officer noticed a white Nissan pickup following a car too closely. He pulled the pickup over and found MacDonald behind the wheel and in possession of 2 grams of methamphetamine and a small amount of marijuana. MacDonald told the officer that he was trying to find a phone to call Det. Griffin because he had just bought the drugs as an informant. "MacDonald seemed very nervous and jittery," the officer wrote. The youth's handlers told the officer that they had no knowledge of the buy, and to arrest him. There, on the side of the road, MacDonald was told that he was done working as an informant because he had violated their agreement, police reports say. He was released that night to his mother. Youth Is Called a 'Snitch' at Party The teenager was now in more trouble than he could know. Within a few days of the second arrest, MacDonald left home for Norwalk, making daily visits with a male friend to the drug house, according to lawyer Charton. MacDonald mailed a note to his mother saying that "he was trying to straighten his life around, he got a job and was going to school," police records say. Charton said the friend told him that MacDonald kept saying he needed to "do one more buy." But the friends were also on a three-day party binge. A familiar face showed up--the woman who earlier sold MacDonald meth at the Orange County drug house, which had led to the unsuccessful police raid, Charton said. "[She] told all of those gang members that Chad was the little [expletive] who narcked on her," Charton said. Two people pulled guns as MacDonald furiously denied that he was working with police, Charton said, adding: "They thought they were dead right there." But the confrontation eased under MacDonald's emphatic denials. MacDonald returned to the motel early Sunday, March 1, and slept through the day. His girlfriend, 16, showed up at the motel that afternoon and spent the night, Charton said, adding that the youth, accompanied by the girl, went back to the house Monday to do more drugs. While they were partying, Charton said, Florence Lela Noriega, 28, walked up to the girlfriend and punched her in the face before turning to MacDonald and calling him a "snitch." Two men--identified by police as Michael Lucas Martinez, 21, and Jose Alfredo Ibarra, 19--jumped MacDonald and began beating him, Charton said. (Noriega and Martinez have been arrested, and Ibarra is a fugitive.) That morning, the girlfriend's mother called police to report her missing. About 24 hours later a motorist spotted the girl near the San Gabriel Reservoir. She had been raped, shot and left for dead. That afternoon Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies called Cindy MacDonald to tell her about the girl. She hadn't seen her son for five days, and at the suggestion of deputies filed a missing person's report, the police reports say. It would be another day before investigators connected the body found in South Los Angeles to her missing son. Police asked Cindy MacDonald why she didn't file the report sooner. "Mrs. MacDonald said," the report states, "because this has happened before." Times researcher Sheila A. Kern and staff writer Tina Daunt contributed to this story. Copyright Los Angeles Times
------------------------------------------------------------------- Iowa Alert - Your Help Needed (Carl Olsen Of Iowa NORML Asks Activists To Help Stop An Anti-Methamphetamine Bill In The State Legislature That Would Also Increase Harm To Marijuana Users) Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 17:58:11 EDT Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: "Carl E. Olsen"
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Your help needed We have a really nasty bill heading for enactment here tomorrow. The bill, among other things, would increase the penalties for simple possession of marijuana from a simple misdemeanor (a six month jail sentence) to an aggravated misdemeanor (a two year prison sentence). It would also allow a police office to ask for a urine test if the police officers has a reasonable suspicion that a drive is operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol (detection of any metabolite of a controlled substance will be considered evidence of impairment). As you can see, this is a really nasty bill. It's being promoted as a "get-tough" on methampetamine bill and includes mandatory minimum sentences for possession of methamphetamine. This bill passed by 96-3 last Tuesday night (March 31) in the Iowa House of Representatives. So far, the press hasn't said anything about the impact on marijuana users. For full details, see: http://www.commonlink.com/~olsen/NORML/alert.html http://www.calyx.com/~olsen/NORML/alert.html http://olsen.drugtext.nl/NORML/alert.html The was amended by the Iowa Senate on Thursday, so it will still have to be approved by both the Iowa Senate and the Iowa House of Representatives this week. We are planning to send three medical patients, two of which receive marijuana legally from the federal government, to lobby the Iowa Legislature tomorrow (Monday, April 6, 1998). So far, we've raised $200 to cover their expenses. We could use a few more cash donations to cover expenses. If you have a few dollars to spare, please send to: Iowa NORML Post Office Box 4091 Des Moines, IA 50333 Sincerely, Carl Olsen
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hash Bashers Advocate The Medical Use Of Pot ('Detroit News' In Michigan Says 4,000 People Attended The 27th Annual Celebration Of Cannabis Saturday At The University Of Michigan In Ann Arbor, Which This Year Focused On Medical Marijuana) Date: Sun, 05 Apr 1998 20:28:27 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US MI: Hash Bashers Advocate The Medical Use Of Pot Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Frank S. World" Source: The Detroit News (MI) Author: Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.detnews.com/ Pubdate: Sunday, April 5, 1998 HASH BASHERS ADVOCATE THE MEDICAL USE OF POT 'No More Jailing Of Patients,' Smoker With AIDS Says Nikki Cilk, 22, of Ferndale joins a crowd of 4,000 at Saturday's Hash Bash at the University of Michigan. By Jodi S. Cohen ANN ARBOR -- Winds carried the smells of burning incense and marijuana across University of Michigan's central campus Saturday during the 27th Hash Bash. A crowd of 4,000 consisted of many people in their 20s, many of whom weren't even born when the first Hash Bash brought pot smokers from around the country to celebrate the city's $5 pot law in 1971. On Saturday, the crowd smoked and listened as speakers praised pot, disparaged the police and called for legalization of medicinal marijuana. Police arrested 40 people, including one U-M student, for drug possession and other offenses. "This is a political rally because there are people who have stopped us from enjoying the herb," said Adam Brook, who has organized the event the past eight years. "But even worse, they will take your dope." Organizers used the event to push the issue of marijuana as medicine. In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, which allows doctors to recommend the use of marijuana and other drugs for medicinal purposes. That same year, the U.S. Justice Department reported that marijuana seizures in the country were up nearly 300 percent but the number of arrests for marijuana possession remained relatively unchanged. The study also found that the majority of the users were teen-agers and that enough marijuana to make four cigarettes costs between $5 to $15, depending on where the drug was bought. The Justice Department also found that 25 percent of people entering drug treatment programs have problems with marijuana use. In Michigan, where pot was legal for medicinal use from 1979-87, there is no effort to legalize marijuana. "I think it is a cause that definitely needs to be addressed," said Kyle Dupuy, 24, a U-M senior studying psychology. Joe Hart, director of Medical Cannabis Providers and one of about a dozen speakers, pleaded for the legalization of medicinal marijuana. Hart, who has AIDS, said he smokes "half of a joint" before and after he eats to prevent nausea. "There should be no more jailing of patients. Doctors should treat and prescribe medicine, not the police," Hart said. Signs read "Life Sucks, Get High," and this year's event had an unofficial mascot, a person dressed as a life-size bong, a water-filled pipe used by pot smokers. Meanwhile, anti-drug activists held a counter rally called "Keep Off the Grass." "Hash Bash will go on. But we're saying that not everyone agrees with Hash Bash," said Ann Arbor police officer Jamie Adkins, who organized the anti-pot event. Music and free food attracted some people to the rally, as did the message that substance abuse is dangerous. "Hash Bash sends a totally wrong message and glamorizes drug use and makes it seem harmless," said Darnell Jackson, director of the Michigan Office of Drug Control Policy. Hash Bash onlookers were celebrating recreational use of marijuana. "This is beautiful. All these stoners coming together. We wanted to come here to support marijuana," said Kyle Clarey, 21, of Grand Rapids. There also was an element of commercialization. Hawkers sold T-shirts with a parody of the South Park TV show where "Stoned Kenny" lives in "Hash Park" instead of South Park. Jodi Cohen is an Ann Arbor free-lance writer. Copyright 1998, The Detroit News
------------------------------------------------------------------- Needle Exchange Succeeding In Boston ('Associated Press' Article In Massachusetts' 'Standard-Times' Quotes A Variety Of Advocates Of The State's Needle Exchange Program Saying The Effort Works So Well At Checking The Spread Of AIDS Without Encouraging Drug Use That It Should Be Implemented Everywhere) Date: Sun, 05 Apr 1998 22:07:38 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US MA: Needle Exchange Succeeding In Boston Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John Smith Source: Standard-Times (MA) Contact: YourView@S-T.com Website: http://www.s-t.com Pubdate: Sun 5, Apr 1998 Author: Associated Press NEEDLE EXCHANGE SUCCEEDING IN BOSTON BOSTON -- Advocates of the state's needle exchange program say the effort to check the spread of AIDS without encouraging drug use works so well here, it should be implemented everywhere. The pitch for the program that allows addicts to swap dirty needles for clean ones is directed at U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala. It comes just as a moratorium on federal funding for such programs has expired. "This is definitely an opportunity for people to express their views and do some organizing now," John Auerbach, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, told a Boston newspaper. The needle exchange program was launched four years ago in the state. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be transmitted by dirty needles shared by drug users. Activists and health care providers who favor clean-needle exchange say studies show the program doesn't lead to an increase in drug use. In fact, they say, it has the opposite effect. One out of every five people who participated in the program in Boston or Cambridge over the past three years was referred to drug treatment, according to Auerbach. Department of Public Health records show that 3,500 to 6,000 people use needle exchanges each year, and about 600 of them are referred for treatment. One needle exchange program at the Family Planning Council of Western Massachusetts in Northampton served 195 people and successfully referred 88 of them to drug treatment programs. Some of the studies that suggested needle exchange has curtailed the spread of HIV while leading addicts into recovery were federally funded. "We definitely have demonstrated that, far from being a deterrent for people to seek treatment, needle exchange can actually be a vehicle for people to seek treatment," Auerbach said. A group of AIDS activists plans to demonstrate in favor of needle exchange on Tuesday morning when U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher is scheduled to speak in support of the program at the USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard. Critics of the program argue that the government should encourage addicts to change their lifestyles rather than spend money supplying them with clean needles. Anything other than abstinence sends the wrong message to young people, according to Robert Maginnis of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. But statistics prove the program saves lives, according to Robert Greenwald, director of public policy and legal affairs for the AIDS Action Committee in Boston. Greenwald cited studies by the General Accounting Office in 1993, University of California in 1993, and the National Research Council.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Bogota's Dark Side - And - The Plano Effect (Two Letters To Editor Of 'Dallas Morning News' About US Military Intervention In Colombia - The First, From The Editor Of 'Colombia Bulletin - A Human Rights Quarterly,' Says The US State Department's Repetitious Insistence That Colombia's Civil War Is Attributable To 'Narco-Guerrillas' In Spite Of All The Evidence To The Contrary Raises Serious Questions About The Real Intentions Of The United States In Colombia) Date: Sun, 05 Apr 1998 22:20:14 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: LTEs: Bogota's Dark Side and The Plano Effect Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Pubdate: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 BOGOTA'S DARK SIDE Re: U.S. policy on the so-called "drug war" in Colombia ("U.S. military involvement in Colombia may change," March 18, Tod Robberson. The guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia certainly are what you might call "involved" in drug trafficking. However, their involvement is quite minimal and primarily only in certain isolated regions of Colombia. Former Ambassador Myles Frechette has recognized as much many times. It is also very interesting to hear Gen. Barry McCaffrey's spokesperson say, "We are certainly not going to intervene in the way the Colombian military handles their affairs." Yet almost 10,000 Colombian soldiers have been trained at the School of the Americas, hundreds of others at other military bases, hundreds of "advisers" sent to Colombia to teach counterinsurgency (beginning with "Plan Lazo" in the early '60s) and over $1 billion in military aid sent to Colombia in the last 10 years. A much more serious problem in Colombia is the total lack of respect for the most basic human rights. Colombia has averaged about 3,000 political murders per year for the last 11 years. Seventy percent of those murders find responsibility with the Colombian military, police and the paramilitary death squads it created and with whom it openly cooperates. The left political opposition in Colombia has been decimated. Since 1985 when it was founded, over 4,000 members of the tiny political party Patriotic Union have been murdered. Unfortunately, as was the case in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and the contras, the U.S. military has steadfastly supported, trained and armed the forces responsible for this bloodbath. If the guerrillas in Colombia can be termed "narco-guerrillas," then, quite easily, the Colombian military and policy can as well. To the extent that these institutions have not profited greatly from the traffic in drugs, I must point out that the two biggest leaders of the paramilitary armies, Carlos Castano and Victor Carranza, are heavily involved in drug trafficking to fund their counterinsurgency operations, involvement much greater than guarding airstrips and blackmailing traffickers. The State Department and the Pentagon have long known these facts. Their continued silence about it with repetitious insistence on the "narco-guerrilla theory" raises serious questions about the real intentions of U.S. intervention in Colombia. MICHAEL LOPEZ, Editor, Colombia Bulletin: A Human Rights Quarterly, Buffalo, N.Y. *** THE PLANO EFFECT I read with interest The Dallas Morning News' various excellent stories regarding the civil war in Colombia and its increasingly widespread effects within Colombia as well as the increase of U.S. advisers. Colombia is confronting one of the best financed armies in the world. This army of terrorists and mercenaries do the bidding of drug lords in exchange for huge sums of drug money. It is difficult to imagine a more horrific scenario than one in which the drug lords are able to displace Latin America's oldest democracy and set up a true narco-government. If the war in Colombia does not represent a situation in which the vital interests of the United States are at stake, then it is difficult to imagine when such interests are ever at risk. When Colombian President Ernesto Samper leaves office this year, it will provide an opportunity for the United States to expand its cooperation with the Colombian army and counternarcotics police units. The consequences of the drug lords being victorious justify making the war against them a truly joint one. The potential repercussions of such joint action between Colombia and the United States and the possible necessity of future escalation are both alarming and obvious. However, what are the consequences of failing to assist Colombia? The reality is our children are already dying because of the war in the jungles of Colombia. One has only to look to Plano for a stark and brutal confirmation of that fact. Let us join hands with the Colombians and together stand against the forces who poison our children and steal their childhood. CHARLES E. WATERBURY, Arlington
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Joint Debate (Pro And Con Arguments Over Cannabis Law Reform In New Zealand's 'Sunday News') Date: Wed, 8 Apr 1998 13:23:24 +1200 (NZST) To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) Subject: PUB NZ: The joint debate Source: Sunday News (NZ), p.15 Authors: David Hadorn and Tom Scott Pubdate: Sunday, 5 April 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org The Joint Debate It's been smoked by students, artists, musicians and even a US president (though he didn't inhale). Now a high-powered group of government advisers says cannabis should be legalised. Do you agree? Yes, says Dr David Hadorn, health policy advisor: Parents, how do you get your kids to eat green beans at tea-time? Simple: just tell them they can't have any. Every parent knows the best way to make something attractive to kids is to forbid it. That's why cannabis prohibition laws aren't working and will never work. By making cannabis illegal we make it more glamourous, which increases its use by young people. And we make matters worse by telling fantastic tales, such as "smoking cannabis is like sticking a knitting needle up your nose into your brain and twirling it around." [A famous Tom Scott aphorism.] This is irresistible stuff for kids. ("Man, I have got to try that!") For the sake of argument, let's assume that all the bad stuff claimed by the anti-cannabis campaigners is true. Let's assume cannabis is addictive (like alcohol and tobacco), causes illness, or whatever. But remember that, despite warnings, cannabis is popular, with roughly half of all young adults aged 18 to 30. And don't forget cannabis grows like a weed. It would take scorched-earth napalm tactics to rid New Zealand of cannabis. So trying to ban cannabis is like trying to ban sex. It can't be done and anyway too many people are doing it. Cannabis is already here, in a big way, and it's here to stay. We might as well grow up and admit it. Regulating it in the same way as alcohol and tobacco could bring in around $50 million per year in taxes. That money could be used for effective drug education and treatment programmes with a lot left over for other things. And that's on top of the $18 million spent each year by police trying to save people from what is at worst a bad habit. Let's get real about cannabis. What we're doing now is backfiring. There's got to be a better way. *** No: says Tom Scott, co-author of the Great Brain Robbery. Smoking cannabis lowers intelligence, impairs memory and is linked to mental illness. If you decriminalise it more people will smoke it and all the associated problems will go up as well. Leslie Parr, the man who murdered his girlfriend in Wellington by decapitating her, and we found guilty by reason of insanity, was a heavy cannabis user. I'm not saying it was the cannabis that caused it but his family believes that it played a role in his emotional disintegration. In the Raurimu massacre, Stephen Anderson took himself off his schizophrenia medication and self-medicated with cannabis. David Grey in Aramoana was a cannabis user. Martin Bryant in Tasmania was a heavy cannabis user. I wouldn't argue that anyone who takes cannabis is going to end up killing people, but there are links to anti-social behaviour. You don't get any intoxication cost-free. It took a long time to discover the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer and heart disease. Now the tobacco companies are shelling out $300 billion in America. If cannabis is legalised, which it might be, then I can imagine 15 years down the track there will be parents suing Benson and Hedges or whoever sells it. I speak to a lot of high schools and the teachers tell me that they have no doubt that on Monday morning when kids come in after a weekend of smoking they are lethargic. Talk to any parent or any teacher whose kids have become heavy cannabis users and it's heart-breaking. It should be a decision for society to make after a very informed debate. My worry is what it does to people during maturation and adolescence. Cannabis is stored in the body and the impairment of the brain lasts a lot longer.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Campaign - The Message Marches On (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Continues Its Weekly Push For Marijuana Law Reform By Summarizing Last Saturday's March Through London In Support Of Decriminalisation, Sharing Mail From Those Who Attended, And Noting A Jury Acquitted A Medical Marijuana Cultivator Last Friday) Date: Sun, 05 Apr 1998 16:46:33 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Campaign: The Message Marches On Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Martin Cooke Pubdate: Sun, 5 April 1998 Source: Independent on Sunday Author: Graham Ball Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL England Editors note: The IoS Cannabis Campaign has web pages at http://www.independent.co.uk/sindypot/index.htm THE MESSAGE MARCHES ON The sun shone, the bands played and everyone had a great time on the great Independent on Sunday decriminalise cannabis march last week. The police estimated that 11,000 marchers gathered in Hyde Park but an autonomous observer has calculated that 15,000 arrived for the rally in Trafalgar Square. There were no arrests during the two-mile march and everyone, including the police, can congratulate themselves on the good natured, party-like atmosphere of the whole event. Many campaigners from Scotland and parts of Wales sent messages of support and regret at not being able to make the long journey to London. While others, some with unhappy previous personal experience of the law, stayed away for fear of being arrested. After the march the Drugs Tsar, Keith Hellawell, denounced the campaign in a newspaper interview as a 'red herring'. "That must be proof positive that you are getting through to him, why else would he try so hard to marginalise the march?" wrote Brian Flowers of Brighton. Here is a sample of the many other messages from supporters. "It was good to see everyone using their basic human right to peaceful protest. I believe that last week's march was just the beginning. If we can continue with this pressure over the coming year(s) maybe we will be criminals no longer," said Graham Powell of Cambridge. "The rally was the nearest thing to a free festival I have been to for years. I danced my life out down Park Lane and outside Fortnum and Mason's. I had to get a train home at 7pm so I hope I didn't miss any of the after-rally fun," writes Ana Heyatawin, Gloucestershire. Yorick Brown e-mailed from Leeds to say: "It was great to be with like-minded people last week, the backing of a national broadsheet makes a difference . keep the pressure up and maybe some day the laws in this country will be based on intelligent and considered opinion, rather than knee-jerk reactions and mass hysteria." One writer, who asked for his name to be withheld, reported: "I saw loads of policemen laughing, joking, lazing around in vans and yawning, it just goes to show that cannabis smokers are not a problem to the police. Can you imagine that number of drinkers all together? What a nightmare." * A CROWN Court jury has cleared a man who was accused of growing and supplying cannabis to relieve his wife's acute Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. The jury, in Warrington last Friday, accepted taxi driver Alan Blythe's defence of "duress of circumstance" by a majority decision. In doing so they ignored the judge's suggestion that Mr Blythe had failed to prove duress of circumstances for the charge of cultivation. The court was told that 10 cannabis plants, pots of cannabis bush heads and a variety of growing equipment was found during a 7.30am raid on the Blythe's home in Runcorn last July. In evidence Mr Blythe described how his wife could hardly work and attacks of extreme dizziness. "After these attacks she would be absolutely suicidal," said Mr Blythe. After the case he said he would go to prison rather than see his wife suffer more of the agony which had made her suicidal.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police Swoop On Drugs-For-Sale Website (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Says 'The National Criminal Intelligence Service Is Investigating The First Drugs-For-Sale Website' But Then Says A Similar Site Was Closed Down In March - And Prints A Lot Of Stuff The Police Don't Want Potential Manufacturers Of Designer Drugs To Know About What They Can Find On The Internet) Date: Sun, 05 Apr 1998 20:15:11 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: UK: Police Swoop On Drugs-for-Sale Website Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" Pubdate: Sun, 05 Apr 1998 Author: Ken Hyder Source: Independent on Sunday Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org POLICE SWOOP ON DRUGS-FOR-SALE WEBSITE The National Criminal Intelligence Service is investigating the first drugs-for-sale website amid growing concern that the internet is proving an easy gateway for the sale and manufacture of illegal drugs. Websites which publish recipes for new drugs are also being monitored by the NCIS, which is worried that the internet could trigger a wave of synthetic drugs. More than 30 designer drugs available on the internet are so new that they are perfectly legal - because the legal process of adding them to lists of controlled drugs cannot keep up with the speed at which they are being created. In March, an internet drugs-for-sale site appeared for a few days, offering a range of drugs, before being closed down. Sergeant Peter Miles at the NCIS synthetic drugs unit said: "We are now trying to trace the people placing these ads." Much of the interest in new synthetic drugs can be traced to American chemist Alexander Shulgin, who has published two books on ecstasy-like drugs; many of his recipes are easily found on the internet. Shulgin is a 73-year-old Californian chemist known as the Calvin Klein of designer drugs, and is credited with the ecstasy explosion. Concern is growing that the use of the internet will make the sale of fake tablets more widespread - an estimated one million ecstasy pills are sold at raves. But many of these drugs are counterfeit. When ecstasy proved popular, other dealers muscled in, ripping off customers with fake pills by copying the original trade mark. In an attempt to give the impression of quality, rave and dance drugs advertised on the internet are often stamped with known trade marks, such as Rolls-Royce, Mercedes, Rolex, Nike, Camel and Lacoste. NCIS officers said that one ecstasy variant, 2CB - which is illegal - has already been found in Britain. An internet website exists which lists all its ingredients and states: "2CB is not exactly easy to make, but it is pretty straightforward. "There aren't any very tricky reactions or especially messy procedures and the chemicals are not particularly suspicious to obtain." One of the ads on a drugs-for-sale website offered a range of ecstasy (MDMA) and other synthetic drugs. The advert touted pills using their trade-mark brands and boasted: "ALL OTHER PILLS, you name it...we got it." Detective Constable Les Fiander of the NCIS squad is concerned that the publication of two underground drugs books by Shulgin, and the publication of his drugs recipes on the internet, will give drugs users an appetite for new synthetic drugs. "It's a matter of concern that these recipes are in the public domain. It could make life easier for drug traffickers," he said. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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