------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Search Ahead (Local Correspondent Notes Police In Vancouver, Washington, Are Using Constitutionally Dubious Tactics To Snare Nervous Motorists) Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 20:50:49 -0700 (PDT) From: Terry Miller (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Drug Search Ahead (fwd) To all, Just so you know... TD *** -- Forwarded message -- Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 16:54:24 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Drug Search Ahead Hello, Some disturbing news from our friends at Laughing Bird Books. Ian, the proprietor, tells me that on his return home from his second shift job as a tow truck dispatcher, while exiting from I-5 on 4th Plain Road in Vancouver, after turning right onto 4th Plain he encountered a sign reading "Drug Search Ahead" accompanied by flares on the road. After one block, Ian turned onto St. Johns Blvd. at the light but never encountered any type of stop, nor did he see any activity related to an auto stop. This was apparently a ruse similar to the ones used elsewhere in the country on the freeways. This ruse is used to make people nervous and do something stupid, Like litter or stop for no apparent reason, turn suddenly etc. They just keep getting more insane with this perversion of power, I really consider this type of road block either real or imagined as a form of domestic terrorism. It certainly is abuse of lawful powers. I wish it were good news, Tony
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana Laws Mean Little To The Suffering (Op-Ed In 'Orange County Register' By A Man Whose Cancer-Stricken Mother Vomited For Six Days Without Food Or Water - Until A Little Cannabis Let Her Eat Like A Horse And Work In Her Garden The Next Day) Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 10:01:25 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: Marijuana Laws Mean Little To The Suffering Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 10 May 1998 Author: Fred Hermon - Santa Ana, Calif. MARIJUANA LAWS MEAN LITTLE TO THE SUFFERING It saddens me to reads of attitudes toward medical marijuana such as were expressed in Todd Chisam's "Clever marijuana ruse" letter on April 30. When cancer strikes someone close to you, as was the case with my mother, you'd, if need be, enter the gates of Hell to find a substance to lessen the victims suffering. At that point, law means nothing. Threats of arrest go unheeded. The whole "system" of drug laws, prevention, politics and such become barriers to easing the pain of that person you love so much. My mother was dying of breast cancer. She had been cut to pieces by surgeons, her breasts gone, baldheaded from radiation treatments, vomiting from chemotherapy sessions, six days without being able to eat a bite of food or sip a teaspoonful of water. In desperation, I gave her a small amount of marijuana. Her vomiting stopped immediately. She ate like a horse for ten hours straight. The next morning she was out of bed and working in her garden. The awful suffering ended, thanks to marijuana. The substance gave her six months more of life. In the end she died in her own bed at home, without pain. Tell me, all you oh-so-cleaver posturing politicians, police chiefs or whatever, what is your answer? What would you have families like mine do in cases such as ours? Maybe salute the flag while our loved ones scream in pain? Folks, when you've lived through what my family has, you'll look at the medical marijuana issue in a new light. It'll change your politics, I guarantee you. You'll see through the bigwigs out there who are using the issue to win re-election and retain their cushy government jobs.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Remember Marijuana On Election Day (Letter To Editor Of 'Oakland Tribune' Urges California Voters To Remember Gubernatorial Candidate Dan Lungren's Efforts As Attorney General To Thwart Their Will Regarding Proposition 215 And Medical Marijuana) Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 10:01:18 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: Remember Marijuana on Election Day Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff Source: Oakland Tribune Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 10 May 1998 Our Newshawk writes: "Interestingly the editor decided it was necessary to define 'medicinal hemp.'" REMEMBER MARIJUANA ON ELECTION DAY Dear Editor, If Dan Lungren were more interested in implementing Proposition 215 than impeding it, the voters of California would have only the federal government to about on this issue. Who cares whether medicinal hemp (marijuana) has medical value? It is indisputable that if provides symptomatic relief for a large number of suffers. Just ask them. Aspirin, also, provides mostly symptomatic relief. It also kills several hundred children and several thousand people a year through accidents and overdosing. Few, except a few thousand illegal drug traffickers, want to extend prohibition to include aspirin. One hopes the voters of California will remember Lungren's opposition to implementation of Proposition 215 on election day. Gerald M. Sutliff, Emeryville (CA) *** From: "ralph sherrow" (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Reminder: Politically correct Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 19:03:37 PDT Politically Incorrect with Todd McCormick & Woody Harrelson will be aired on Friday 5-15-98 at midnight. Set your VCR's to this new time. Ralph
------------------------------------------------------------------- Don't Forget (List Subscriber Reminds You That 'Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher' Will Feature Medical Marijuana Defendant Todd McCormick And Hemp Activist And Actor Woody Harrelson On Thursday, May 14 - Another List Subscriber Says The Show Airs Friday, May 15)Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 19:15:37 -0700 (PDT) From: turmoil
To: email@example.com Subject: HT: politically incorrect Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Don't forget : Todd and Woody Harrelson will be on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect, May 14. Tune In! email@example.com Seattle Music Web firstname.lastname@example.org http://seattlemusicweb.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Slain Old West-Style Lawman Among 122 Officers To Be Honored ('Associated Press' Article About Washington State Police Officers Who On Monday Will Receive The State's Law Enforcement Medal Of Honor, Given Only To Those Who Died, Were Grievously Injured Or Showed An Act Of Valor In The Line Of Duty, Notes Nobody Remembered The One Who Died Enforcing Prohibition, Shot By His Own Drunk Friend In 1931) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen - Olympia" (email@example.com) To: "-Hemp Talk"
Subject: HT: WA Alc prohibition cops gets award Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 16:49:07 -0700 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Sad to say, but this can illustrate to all the Drug War policemen how much they'll be appreciated --- in the future - Bob_O *** Slain Old West-style lawman among 122 officers to be honored The Associated Press 05/10/98 4:40 PM Eastern MABTON, Wash. (AP) -- Until word arrived that Marshall George Warring would receive the state's highest law-enforcement honor, police in this Yakima Valley town knew nothing of the rough-and-tough cowboy lawman. Warring roamed south-central Washington's Horse Heaven Hills on horseback searching for moonshiners and their bootleg whiskey, and was killed in 1931 when he was shot by a drunken friend. He's the only Mabton officer to die in the line of duty. Now, 67 years later, Warring is to be among 122 law enforcement heroes who will receive the state's Law Enforcement Medal of Honor on Monday. The medal is the state's highest honor for law officers and is given only to those who died, were grievously injured or showed an act of valor in the line of duty, said Detective Thor Gianesini of the Tumwater Police Department. Gianesini is a member of the committee that awards the medals. The medal was established five years ago to be given to the 247 officers -- city, county, state and federal -- who have been killed in Washington while serving their communities, Gianesini said. After this round of awards, all 247 officers will have received a medal. The ceremony is to be held Monday at the Criminal Justice Training Center in Seattle. Family and friends of the deceased will accept the medals, which will be handed out by Gov. Gary Locke. State Attorney General Christine Gregoire will address the audience. Of the 122 medals to be given, 119 will honor officers who have died between 1855 and 1997. Three medals will be given to officers for recent acts of valor. The Mabton Police Department didn't know one of its own had died in the line of duty until it got a letter from Gianesini, stating that Warring was entitled to the medal. Officer Mike Britton, who was put in charge of finding out more about Warring, initially found little information. Many city records have been destroyed in fires. But two local men -- 92-year-old Milton Holloway and 87-year-old Earl Shirk -- can paint a vivid picture of Warring from their memories of youth. Warring was a "tall, slim cowboy" who was always riding horseback, Shirk said. Warring would ride across the vacant lot where neighborhood boys played baseball only to be bucked by the wild horse he was trying to break, Shirk said. In addition to serving as marshal, Warring rounded up wild ponies off the Yakama Indian reservation and hauled hay to boxcars for farmers. Holloway and Shirk remember that Warring was especially hard on moonshiners who brewed their booze in stills hidden in the Horse Heaven Hills. "I think (the moonshiners) liked him but they kind of stayed clear of him," Shirk said. When Britton finally pieced together the story of Warring's death, it turned out moonshine was involved. One morning, Bryon Miller of Mabton came home after a drinking binge, Britton learned. Warring had thrown Miller in jail a few times for beating his wife, Hattie, while he was drunk. Other times, Warring spared Miller a few nights in jail by bringing him home with him. "He and George were really good friends -- when Miller was sober," Holloway said. One day, Hattie called for help, and Warring was shot by Miller shortly after arriving at the home. "Why Miller would do anything like that -- it wasn't in his nature," Shirk said. "I guess moonshining was the cause of it." Warring died at a hospital in Sunnyside, leaving behind a wife and teen-age daughter named Ruby. Miller was found guilty of murder and was hung three years later at the Walla Walla state prison, Holloway said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- GOP Vs. Democrats (Letter To The Editor Of 'The Dallas Morning News' Says The Republican Position On Social Issues, Particularly Needle Exchange, Is Loaded With Mean-Spirited Negativity) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: "MN"
Subject: MN: US TX: PUB LTE: Gop Vs. Democrats Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 07:41:02 -0500 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sun, 10 May 1998 Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Author: David Alison GOP VS. DEMOCRATS My problem with the Republican Party is neatly presented in your April 30 quote from House Majority Whip Tom DeLay. He opposes slowing the spread of AIDS through needle exchange programs, calling this a way to oppose "a deadhead president that supports a program that gives free needles to drug addicts." The Republican position on social issues is loaded with this sort of mean-spirited negativity. It's an "I'm OK, you're a pile of horse apples" approach to things that appeals to the worst in us. Those addicts, for example, don't drop in from Mars. They are our fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, neighbors, co-workers and students. They are as trapped in illegal drugs as others are trapped in other drugs - such as alcohol and tobacco - for which the politicians take bribes (excuse me, "contributions") to keep available. While the Democrats have their own brand of looniness, they do have one distinguishing characteristic, and that is the compassion so glaringly absent from judgmental declarations such as this last one from the gentleman from Sugar Land. I'm sure that a lot of Texas' middle-class converts to the millionaire's party will lose their enthusiasm for the GOP when the economy slows. Then, when they're downsized and apply for help from what's left of the social safety net, they'll hear the DeLays scold them for being shiftless no-goods. DAVID F. ALISON, Carrollton
------------------------------------------------------------------- Where Being Black Means Being A Police Suspect ('New York Times' Article About Racial Profiling In The Affluent Community Of Mercer Island, Washington, Fails To Examine Role Of The War On Some Drug Users In Prevalence Of Racial Profiling) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: "MN"
Subject: MN: US NY: Where Being Black Means Being A Police Suspect Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 15:31:17 -0500 Importance: Normal Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: May 10, 1998 Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Author: Timothy Egan WHERE BEING BLACK MEANS BEING A POLICE SUSPECT MERCER ISLAND, Wash. -- A conservative in style and outlook, long active in business and the community, 53-year-old Wayne Perryman is not the kind of man who would seem to invite police interrogation. He stands out on this island in only one regard -- he is one of only 300 blacks among the 21,000 residents of one of the wealthiest communities in America. "I've been stopped twice by the police for walking," said Perryman, who has lived on Mercer Island for 20 years. "The last time, not long ago, was while I was walking to lunch." The officer asked where he had been. "I said, 'What do you mean, where have I been?"' Perryman recalled. "He said, 'We got a report of a black guy hanging around this office complex.' Now, I'm a black who's not quick to call racism, but this is getting really old." Perryman's complaint, echoed by more than a dozen middle-class blacks and people of Hispanic descent who live in this community of software billionaires and mega-yachts, is not unique to Mercer Island. Whether in the Gold Coast suburbs of Connecticut or in Beverly Hills, minorities have long complained that police in wealthy communities view them with suspicion simply because their color does not match the neighborhood. But Mercer Island, the Seattle suburb that is home to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and the former professional basketball stars Bill Russell and Fred Brown, likes to think of itself as an island of civility and tolerance. The pulling over and persistent questioning of residents who look "different" has prompted Mercer Island's police force to question the way it does business. Part of the problem, people here say, may be residents themselves, who as a reflex sometimes call police when they see a black person. "We tell people to call us whenever they see anything that looks like suspicious behavior," Mercer Island's police chief, Jan Deveny, said. "But simply being black is not suspicious behavior. And we've got to get that word out to people." The department has been holding a series of no-holds-barred community meetings intended to help officers understand what it is like to be continually stopped. The most recent complaints on the island have come as a furor has developed across Lake Washington in Seattle over remarks by Seattle's police chief, Norman Stamper. In an interview last month with The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamper said that as a young officer in San Diego, he had been part of a "cop culture" that baited and harassed black, Hispanic and gay people. While many people have supported Stamper and applauded him for his candor, the Seattle Police Officers Guild has said his remarks unfairly smeared all officers of that generation. "Police officers are very sensitive about their public image," the guild president, Mike Edwards, said in a written statement. Stamper has apologized to the guild, but has not backed down from his remarks about police behavior. His comments ring true to some blacks on Mercer Island. Atteh Nettur, a music teacher from Africa, takes a bus from Seattle across the Lake Washington floating bridge to teach children on Mercer Island. As soon as he enters the island, he says, he is in another world. Three times this year, he said, police have been called to question him. "The last time it happened, a student said to me, 'Hey, African teacher, the cops are here for you again,"' he said while awaiting the bus on Mercer Island. He said the officers question him about routine things, then leave. He said he had never been charged with a crime. Henry Mack, who is black and was a janitor for the Mercer Island School District, was stopped so many times by police that teachers in the district gave officers a poster with Mack's photograph, printed with the words, "Not Wanted." Mercer Island, with its large, sometimes ostentatious waterfront homes and impeccably landscaped yards, is five minutes by bridge from Seattle on one side and Bellevue on the other. Known as the Rock, the island is a low-crime, generally neighborly community of good schools and passionate children's sports leagues. Blacks and Hispanic people each make up slightly more than 1 percent of the island's population, which is about 90 percent white. About 8 percent of the population is of Asian descent. Police harassment has been a persistent complaint by some blacks. "Whenever a black person drove onto the island, police cruisers would follow, regardless of how familiar the car and driver might be," Karen Russell wrote in a New York Times Magazine article 10 years ago. A Harvard Law School graduate, she is the daughter of Russell, the former Boston Celtics star and Seattle Sonics coach, and grew up on Mercer Island. While he acknowledged past mistakes, Deveny, in an interview last week, said he thought the problem had been solved. But in the past few months, dozens of new complaints emerged. In response to critics, Deveny and all officers in the 31-member department have been meeting with black residents of the island who complain about their cars' being stopped by police, especially those stopped at night. One man, who works nights, has been stopped more than 10 times. "You hear these stories from these people, and it's very powerful," said Deveny, who has headed the department for 24 years. "I'm trying to get my officers to consider what they're doing, what it's like to being pulled over for no reason." Even blacks who have lived on the island for decades complain of continually being stopped and questioned. "I moved here in 1969, so they know me now," said Celestine Massey. "But I have been followed, stopped, questioned time and again for no reason other than I was a black woman." Ms. Massey, a former teacher, said a police car had once followed her all the way to her driveway. She recalled: "I said, 'What did I do?' They said, 'You didn't make a full stop back a few miles ago."' Several years ago, Ms. Massey helped to form a group of blacks that brought grievances to police. Since then, the relations between minorities and officers have improved somewhat, she said. But problems persist. "The police stopped my son one night recently," Ms. Massey said. "It was for plain nothing. It was for being on Mercer Island and being a black." The practice known as "profiling," in which police stop people because they match a racial profile of a suspected criminal, has generally been held by courts to be illegal search and seizure. In a recent decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, the judges ruled in favor of two blacks -- a picture editor with Sports Illustrated and a program analyst at the Bank of New York -- who were returning from a baseball game at Dodger Stadium to their hotel in Santa Monica when they were stopped by police. Officers shined searchlights on their car, ordered them out at gunpoint and handcuffed them. The men were released after questioning. Officers said they resembled suspects in other cases. The men then sued and won in 1994. On appeal, the 9th Circuit Court sided with the plaintiffs in 1996. In a strongly worded decision, the judges wrote, "The burden of aggressive and intrusive police action falls disproportionately on African-American and sometimes Latino males." The court also made note of something blacks on Mercer Island have brought up. "There's a moving violation that many African-Americans know as DWB -- Driving While Black," the judges wrote. Deveny, the police chief, said his officers were not supposed to target people of a certain race. Violent crime is not a problem on the island, but there is persistent trouble with car break-ins and car prowling. "The bottom line is that you have a lot of rich people here," said Dennis Gac, a white businessman who works on the island and was with Perryman when he was stopped recently. "So, if somebody even looks suspicious, the cops are going to pull him over." Deveny said police had tried to get away from stereotyping by hiring minorities. But the first black officer hired, Sharon Stevens, sued the department in 1996, charging racial and sexual harassment. In her complaint, Ms. Stevens said a fellow officer left an advertisement from Kentucky Fried Chicken on her desk, implying that she would be better off working there. Another officer drew a cartoon that she found racially insensitive. Her suit was settled out of court last month, and neither side would discuss the terms. But Deveny confirmed two of Ms. Stevens' complaints and said he considered her a good officer. She now works for Seattle police. The Mercer Island Police Department has recently hired a black and a Hispanic officer, Deveny said. People of Hispanic descent also complain of police harassment. One, Juana Villafranca, said: "I clean offices at night, and when I come home to Mercer Island, they stop me as soon as I get off the freeway. Now I have to clean in the day because they stop me so much." Several island residents have taken their complaints to the U.S. attorney's office in Seattle. But the office would not say whether an investigation was under way. Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Another Day, Another Atrocity ('New York Times' Columnist Bob Herbert Describes Anew The Indifferent Cruelty Wielded By New York Police And The Rudolph W. Giuliani Administration, 'Gun-Waving Storm Troopers' Who Toss Grenades In The Homes Of People They Consider Illegal Drug Offenders - Only Once Again, The Victims Were Innocent)From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: "MN"
Subject: MN: US NY: OPED: Another Day, Another Atrocity Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 15:39:52 -0500 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com (Dick Evans) Pubdate: Sun, 10 May 1998 Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Author: Bob Herbert ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER ATROCITY. This time the gun-waving storm troopers from the Police Department smashed in the door and invaded the apartment of a quiet and law-abiding family in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. The cops, in riot-type gear, set off a stun grenade, which gives the impression that the apartment is being bombed, and then handcuffed everybody, including a petrified mentally retarded teen-aged girl who was pulled naked from a bathtub. As the family members trembled and wept, the cops began their search, rummaging arrogantly through the most personal of items. They claimed, in this home of a retired baker, to be looking for drugs and guns. None were found. "I ran to the bedroom when they came in," said Cecelia Shorter. "They came after me and they handcuffed me." Mrs. Shorter said she was afraid her daughter Phebi, who is 18, would misunderstand the orders being given by the police. "I was screaming, 'Please don't shoot! Please don't shoot! She's mentally retarded!' " Within minutes the entire family was handcuffed -- Mrs. Shorter, who is 47, her husband, Basil, 62, Phebi and Phebi's 14-year-old sister, Isis. "I cannot describe to you how bad I felt seeing my two daughters handcuffed," said Mrs. Shorter. "I felt helpless," said Basil Shorter. The sudden fear that sweeps over an innocent family whose home is invaded by the police is mixed with the sense of rage that results from being so profoundly humiliated. You have no choice but to keep your mouth shut. The fear, as reasonable as it is real, is that you will be shot to death if you say the wrong thing. Neither the Mayor nor the Police Commissioner believe these raids on the homes of the innocent are a problem. If they were occurring in wealthy, white neighborhoods, that would be different. They would end. But they happen only in poor black and brown neighborhoods. And the administration of Rudolph W. Giuliani has made it clear in one policy after another that it is no friend of the people in those neighborhoods. Police Commissioner Howard Safir said the raid on the Shorters' apartment was not a mistake, which leaves the inference that they were drug dealers and that drugs just happened not to have been found during the raid. That is a lousy inference to leave. There is no evidence whatsoever -- none -- that the Shorters were involved in drugs or any other illegal activity. "Any kind of checking would have let the police know this was not a place they should be breaking into," said Harvey Weitz, a lawyer who is planning to sue the city on behalf of the Shorters. "How many times are good people going to have to go through this?" he asked. He noted that the invasion of the Shorters' apartment is the fourth bad police raid to come to the public's attention since late February. In each case the apartment dwellers were traumatized and their belongings trashed, but the police came away with nothing. The legal action is "less about money than it is about trying to wake people up," said Mr. Weitz. "The police need to find out what it is in their procedures that allows them to make these mistakes." He added: "If you do make a mistake, fine. Issue an apology. Tell the people, 'I'm sorry. We're wrong. You did nothing wrong. You're a perfectly decent, respectable family.' Make it clear that there was no basis for the raid in the first place. Nothing like that has been done. No one in the Shorter family has ever been in trouble with the law. Basil Shorter, who described himself on Friday as "very depressed," wanted to get that point across to the police officers who were mistreating his family. He mentioned it when it had become clear that no drugs or guns would be found. "I told one of the officers that I was a law-abiding man," he said. The officer, noticing a Caribbean accent, asked where Mr. Shorter was from. Mr. Shorter replied that he had been born in Jamaica, but that he was an American now. He said the officer told him: "Jamaica sucks. The Jamaican people suck. This is America and if you don't like it, go back to [expletive] Jamaica."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Van Shooting Revives Charges Of Racial 'Profiling' By New Jersey State Police ('New York Times' Account Of An April 23 Traffic Stop In Which Two New Jersey State Police Officers Fired 11 Shots Into A Van Shows How The Drug War Exacerbates Law Enforcement's Race War On Minorities) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: "MN"
Subject: MN: US NY: Van Shooting Revives Charges Of Racial 'Profiling' By N.J. State Police Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 15:28:26 -0500 Importance: Normal Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: May 10, 1998 Author: John Kifner VAN SHOOTING REVIVES CHARGES OF RACIAL 'PROFILING' BY N.J. STATE POLICE The furor over an incident in which two New Jersey State Police officers fired 11 shots into a van during a traffic stop comes against a backdrop of years of allegations that troopers in New Jersey have illegally used race-based profiles to stop black and Hispanic drivers in hope of making drug arrests. In the incident on April 23, Troopers John Hogan and James Kenna stopped a van carrying four New York City men, including Danny Reyes, 20, who is Hispanic. The others, Keshon Moore, 22, the driver; Rayshawn Brown, 20, and Leroy Grant, 23, are black. Three of the men were wounded in the shootings, two seriously. Police contend they stopped the van because it was speeding. As they approached the van on foot, they said, it went into reverse, striking Hogan and prompting the troopers to open fire. But the occupants of the van say that they were not speeding and that the van went into reverse by accident. Johnnie Cochran, the high-profile defense lawyer, has entered the case, citing the state's record and charging that the shooting was a result of racial profiling. "This is a case of young men driving while black or brown," he said at a news conference Friday. That charge was at the center of the court case that led a Superior Court judge to conclude in 1996 that the New Jersey State Police had a policy of "selective enforcement" by "targeting blacks for investigation and arrest." The ruling followed one of the state's longest evidentiary hearings -- six months of testimony and 200 exhibits, many of them statistical surveys of drivers and traffic stops on the southernmost 26-mile stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike. Judge Robert Francis found that troopers looking for drug suspects had pulled over an inordinate number of black drivers over a three-year period simply because of their race. "It basically confirms what attorneys throughout the state have known for a long time, that the state police have been targeting minority motorists," said Gloucester County Public Defender P. Jeffrey Wintner. He succeeded in getting the evidence thrown out in the cases of 19 black suspects who had been stopped on that stretch of the turnpike and charged with drug offenses. The traffic survey that was central to the defense of the 19 suspects was perhaps the most thorough documentation of the contention that the police regularly pulled over black drivers, particularly young men, because the police thought they were likely to be involved in the drug trade. The survey first determined that some 98 percent of all the drivers along the stretch of the turnpike were going over the speed limit of 55 miles per hour, giving the police latitude to stop virtually anybody. The survey found that while 13.5 percent of the drivers on the stretch of highway were black, 46 percent of those halted by the police over a 40-month period were black. "They were pulling over blacks out of all proportion to the population of the turnpike," said Fred Last, a public defender who helped design the survey. Dr. John Lamberth of Temple University, who conducted the survey, said the disparities in the statistics were so huge they precluded any probability of coincidence. "The normal statistical signal for that is .05," he recalled in a recent telephone interview. "The difference in these results was so wide, so big, I couldn't even get the computer to spit out a number. It poured out like 32 zeros, and we still hadn't gotten a number yet. These were things we just don't see, its so far off the wall." Francis agreed, saying: "The statistical disparities are indeed stark." He added that the "utter failure" of police commanders to monitor the arrests or "investigate the many claims of institutional discrimination, manifests its indifference if not acceptance." The New Jersey State Police have consistently denied that troopers stop drivers on the basis of their race. But one striking result of the survey, both the judge and Lamberth noted, was that troopers using radar tended to stop black drivers at near their rate in the highway population, while the troopers on road patrol cruising without radar, who could more freely choose who to stop, arrested far more blacks. "As they got more discretion, they stopped more blacks," Lamberth said. "It is a telling argument that they are profiling. They get promoted on the basis of the number of arrests they make, and there is the general mythology that blacks are more likely than whites to have contraband." The controversy over profiling is not limited to New Jersey. Katheryn Russell, a criminology professor at the University of Maryland, writes of the frequency with which black men are subjected to traffic stops in a book on race relations, "The Color of Crime" (New York University Press, 1998). "It seems that no matter what black men do in their cars, they are targets for criminal suspicion," she writes. "It is so commonplace for black men to be pulled over in their vehicles that this practice has acquired its own acronym: DWB (Driving While Black)." David Rocah, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union in Newark, N.J., cited similar cases in Delaware, Florida, Pennsylvania and Illinois. "The very fact that it has a name -- DWB -- should tell you something," Rocah said. "This is documented in study after study. Driving is a completely disparate experience for whites and minorities." Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Grand Beginning Or Grandstanding? Anti-Drug Resolution A Symbol Of Something ('Associated Press' Notes A Non-Binding Anti-Drug Resolution Sponsored By Freshman New Jersey Congressman Mike Pappas, A Republican From Rocky Hill, Sailed Through The House Of Representatives 408 To 1 Last Week) Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 11:17:18 -0400 From: Scott Dykstra (email@example.com) Organization: http://www.november.org/ To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: CanPat - Fwd: email@example.com: NJ anti-drug resolution sails through Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Just wanted you guys and gals to know that Ron Paul is the ONLY one who didn't sell his ass in this one...... Scott *** Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 12:46:38 EDT Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: first-class From: email@example.com (SCN User) To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: email@example.com: NJ anti-drug resolution sails through ya know I'm gettin a little scared of what appears to me to be a manifestation of the same kind of emotional hysteria coming from the warmongers seeping into many of the folks fighting them. I can hardly slight anyone for being emotional or hysterical, knowing what evil is being perpetrated...but that kind of thinking is counter-productive and self defeating. I'm referring to the one dimensional labeling going on. I think it's dangerous. But then there's something like this... *** From: firstname.lastname@example.org ("W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen - Olympia") To: email@example.com ("-News") Subject: NJ anti-drug resolution sails through Date: Sun, 10 May Grand beginning or grandstanding? Anti-drug resolution a symbol of something Associated Press, 05/10/98 13:42 WASHINGTON (AP) - Non-binding and not very controversial, an anti-drug resolution sponsored by a freshman New Jersey congressman sailed through the House of Representatives last week. It stood as a symbol, most agreed. But of what? Where proponents saw a strong statement of government's commitment to fight drugs, critics saw empty words representing a Congress that talks more than it acts. The ``sense of Congress'' resolution sponsored by Rep. Mike Pappas, R-Rocky Hill, declares that all schools should be drug-free; that distribution and use of illegal drugs in schools is ``unacceptable''; that drug-fighting agencies should commit to ``a renewed effort''; that politicians and parents each have a role; and that Washington's goal should be drug-free schools by the year 2000. The resolution pledges no money, changes no law, orders no specific change in strategy. Unlike a bill, the resolution does not go on to the Senate and then the White House to be signed into law. It passed by the huge margin of 408 to 1. The sole dissenter was Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, a libertarian who stands alone in his belief that the federal government should leave tasks like fighting drugs to the states. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., voted for the resolution but derided it as ``an empty political gesture.'' ``Today, the Congress will make this simplistic statement about a very complex problem,'' Miller said during brief floor debate on the Pappas resolution. ``It will scapegoat our nation's young people for the problem for which, in reality, we all should be taking responsibility for.'' So did it really matter? Republicans like Pappas insist it did. Pappas likened the resolution to an anti-drug television commercial that shows a father and his daughter side by side in silence. The commercial's message: another lost opportunity to discuss drugs. ``Passing resolutions and making a statement - `This is wrong' - is very important,'' Pappas said. Pappas' spokesman, Sean Spicer, said the resolution should be viewed in the context of the overall drug effort that Republicans recently began under the guidance of House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich created the Speaker's Task Force for a Drug-Free America and named 29 House Republicans, including Pappas, to design a ``World War II-style victory plan'' to save young people from illegal drugs. At a crowded gathering on April 30, House Republicans donned blue ribbons and signed a pledge to pass laws this year that will finally turn the tide in the drug war. One of the proposed laws has already passed the House. It would ban federal funding for clean needle programs that proponents say reduce the spread of AIDS. Other upcoming initiatives on the Republican agenda would suspend student loans to recipients convicted of a drug-related offense, provide money to businesses for drug-free workplace programs, tighten border patrols and increase penalties for dealing methamphetamine. The Clinton administration has a 10-year drug-control strategy that it revamped this year to focus more on youths from 9 to 19. But Republicans say President Clinton has dropped the ball on drugs, leaving them with an important responsibility and a potent political issue. ``There's a vacuum of leadership that must be filled,'' Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said at a news conference the day after Pappas' resolution was approved. Pappas told reporters, ``We're not going to speak out of both sides of our mouths.'' Many Republicans contend Clinton lost the moral authority on drugs because of comments such as his admission during the 1992 campaign that he tried marijuana as a young man but ``didn't inhale.'' ``That's the wrong signal,'' Pappas said. He hopes his ``sense of Congress'' resolution sent the right one.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dominicans Allow Drugs Easy Sailing (Classic Drug Warrior Yellow Journalism In The 'New York Times') Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 22:21:51 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Dominican Republic: NYT: Dominicans Allow Drugs Easy Sailing Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (kevin b. zeese) Pubdate: Sun, 10 May 1998 Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Authors: Clifford Krauss and Larry Rohter Editors note: This Sunday NYT article was followed up Monday by the article 'LETHAL PARTNERS' on Monday. Sorry we got them posted out of order. - Richard Lake, Sr. Editor Dominicans Allow Drugs Easy Sailing SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- In the early 1990's, Colombia's drug barons were fed up and eager to rearrange their business. Impatient with the Mexican traffickers who were demanding half of every load delivered and distributed in the United States, they went looking for a country with weak law enforcement, proximity to the United States and established drug distribution networks. It did not take long for them to find the Dominican Republic. By the spring of 1995, Colombian cartels were ensconced here and looking to expand their network, which is what led one boss to invite Hidalgo Elías Vélez, the Colombian owner of a struggling tropical-woods business here, to a lavish party outside Bogotá and recruit him as an agent. The Dominican Republic was "excellent," Mr. Vélez, now serving a prison term here, recalled being told by his Colombian host. "You don't have any problems with your merchandise," the Colombian said. "Getting the money out is easy." Compared to their Mexican and Colombian counterparts, the Dominican authorities were so inexperienced, unprepared and ill equipped, "you don't even have to pay protection." The Colombian drug cartel leaders also recognized, Mr. Vélez said in an interview recently, that low-level Dominican drug dealers based in New York City were pushing their way up to the next echelon of the drug business, bidding for a bigger share of the wholesale distribution of cocaine and heroin in the New England and mid-Atlantic states. Just a few years later, the alliance between Colombian cartels and their Dominican partners has changed the geography of the drug trade once again. For the first time since American authorities began trying to blockade South Florida in the early 1980's, a significant portion of the drugs sold and profits made in the Eastern United States is moving through the island countries of the Caribbean, with the Dominican Republic, a nation of eight million, serving as the main gateway. With that flood of drug profits have come a wave of corruption and a growing threat to political stability throughout the region. The amount of money from the United States laundered through Dominican financial institutions has doubled over the last three years, according to United States Customs Service estimates, to more than $1 billion annually. Much of this is being invested in real estate, banks and businesses here. At the same time, Dominican and Dominican-American drug traffickers are popping up in Puerto Rico, Haiti and the English-speaking Caribbean as the heads of smuggling operations. Since they are willing to work for commissions of only 25 percent, or sometimes even for cash rather than merchandise, they are increasingly favored by the Colombian cartels. The Dominicans are supported by Colombian cartels determined not to repeat the error they made with Mexican rings, which are now gobbling up the Colombians' markets in the United States and even trying to encroach on operations in South America. A University of Miami expert on international drug trafficking, Bruce Bagley, put it this way: "When the Colombians saw the Mexicans becoming greedier and even develop into rivals, they began to look to the Dominicans as more reliable partners." The Colombians moved huge amounts of drugs through the Caribbean in the early 1980's, prompting the Reagan Administration to mount its major crackdown. That in turn spurred the Colombians to emphasize other routes, primarily through Mexico. The alliance that ensued has ravaged that country's already weak judicial system, corrupted high officials and shaken its growing partnership with the United States. While the bulk of Colombian cocaine and heroin continues to move through Mexico, the Colombian traffickers have in the last few years come full circle, returning to the Caribbean as a base of operations. A big obstacle remains in the way of this new breed of techno-savvy Dominican trafficker: Leonel Fernández, the country's reformist President. Mr. Fernández, 44, a lawyer, grew up in Manhattan, where in the 1960's he watched a drug culture emerging around him. It was then, friends say, that he developed an antipathy for narcotics and the corruption they engender. But as President, Mr. Fernández must combat a recalcitrant Government bureaucracy and a political opposition that controls the Congress and is becoming increasingly dependent on drug money, American and Dominican officials say. Those drug profits are finding their way into the economy in this island nation. Office buildings, hotels and shopping centers are springing up in Santo Domingo, Santiago and San Francisco de Macorís -- often in a gaudy style that some describe as narco-deco. Dominican banks have opened branches as far away as Thailand, raising new fears about the growing economic influence of the traffickers. "There is a process of Colombianization going on," Marino Vinicio Castillo, the outspoken law-and-order crusader whom Mr. Fernández chose as the leader of his anti-drug program, warned in an interview here. "It is a very serious threat," he said, adding, "The Colombians may not have been able to detect it happening there, but here we can see the narcotics traffickers covertly infiltrating the banking system, political parties and the media." The Safe Drug Channel: A Nation Ill-Equipped Against Traffickers To hear Mr. Vélez and American officials tell it, the Dominican Republic in the mid-1990's was a drug dealer's paradise. Less than 24 hours from Colombia by fast boat, and only 75 miles from Puerto Rico and American territory, this country was forced to rely on a weak, corrupt and ill-equipped military as its main line of defense. Traffickers were aided, Mr. Vélez said, by Colombian military officials, who were routinely selling the coordinates of the American and Dominican vessels on patrol in the Caribbean. With that information in hand, it became a simple matter to land drug cargos of a ton or more on isolated beaches here. "You can get eight days of information for $5,000," said Mr. Vélez, "and I know because I went to Cartagena and saw it happen with my own eyes." His job was to supervise the landings and deliver shipments to a warehouser known to him only as Robocop. "Without that information, we wouldn't have been able to do what we did." At that time, as during much of the last three decades, the Dominican Republic was ruled by Joaquín Balaguer. Now 91 and still politically active, Mr. Balaguer came to office after the American invasion of his country in 1965, and kept himself in power through a mixture of guile, rampant voter fraud and other forms of corruption. But when the Colombians were moving in here, Washington's main policy focus was not on drugs. Instead the Clinton Administration was desperately seeking the Balaguer Government's cooperation with a United Nations economic embargo aimed at toppling the military dictatorship in Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. After a come-from-behind victory in a runoff vote, Mr. Fernández succeeded Mr. Balaguer on Aug. 16, 1996, promising change and less corruption. American officials expressed pleasure, describing him as a Kennedyesque figure who knew the United States intimately and shared the view of trafficking as a menace to both countries. Cables from the American Embassy in Santo Domingo in late 1996 drew a grim picture of the situation Mr. Fernández had inherited. One described how corrupt personnel routinely incapacitated airport X-ray machines here to let drugs through. A second cable detailed corruption as "widespread among airport employees, the national police, military security and the army's J-2," the military intelligence division. From the start, Mr. Fernández was also hamstrung by his party's weakness in Congress, where it controlled less than a tenth of the seats. He has since faced an uphill fight to cleanse a corrupt bureaucracy, replace judges and prosecutors who delayed and undermined drug cases, and cajole banks to tighten rules aimed at thwarting money launderers. "Fernández can only go so far," said John F. Forbes, a senior United States Customs investigator who works on Dominican money-laundering cases. "The head of General Motors can fire people, but the President is stuck with the existing civil service and bureaucracy from 30 years of one-man rule." The results so far, American and Dominican officials acknowledge, have been mixed. On the positive side: Dominican drug suspects are for the first time being extradited to the United States; the tiny budgets allotted to anti-drug agencies have been increased; more than 50 properties linked to narcotics-related crimes were seized last year; wiretaps are more widely used to monitor trafficking groups, and a newly appointed high court has been given powers to remove corrupt, incompetent judges from lower courts. In a report issued in March certifying that the Dominican Republic is cooperating fully with American anti-drug efforts, the State Department noted that under Mr. Fernández's leadership, "promising reforms began in 1997." But the department also noted that the Dominican Government "only achieved sporadic seizures" of cocaine and heroin last year, "as it has not adequately motivated its police and military forces to join in the struggle against the illicit drug trade." Drug Enforcement Administration figures indicate that only 1.2 metric tons of cocaine were seized in the Dominican Republic in 1996, compared with 3.6 metric tons in 1995. Last year, the figure rose slightly, to 1.35 tons, but arrests for drug-related offenses declined, and the impatience of American officials has increased accordingly. "The fact is that under President Fernández, not a single drug-related case has been prosecuted," said a State Department official who deals with Dominican policy. And in a recent intelligence report, the Drug Enforcement Administration asserted that "Colombian and Dominican trafficking organizations continue to maximize well-established cocaine routes through the Dominican Republic" and that "heroin trafficking continues to be on the rise." Meanwhile senior aides to Mr. Fernández, under pressure from voters demanding that campaign promises to ease poverty and improve public services be fulfilled, are divided as to how much emphasis to put on cooperation with the United States to fight drug trafficking. Mr. Castillo, President Fernández's drug czar, cited the flow of "narco-dollars" into local political campaigns. He expressed concern that cooperation might become more difficult after crucial elections scheduled for Saturday to choose the legislature that would have to approve any new anti-drug treaties or laws. Dominican officials say they are doing the best they can with meager resources at their disposal, which are being drained by the need to patrol a long, porous border with Haiti. And they assert that even more drugs flow through the American commonwealth of Puerto Rico than their country. The country's attorney general, Abel Rodríguez del Orbe, criticized the United States for a "lack of cooperation." "If we had the proper equipment," he said, "planes with infrared lights, for example, we'd be finished with this plague in a year." The Bend in the River: A Tough New Leader Allows Extradition At the peak of their criminal careers, Maximo Reyes and Francisco Medina were among the most wanted men in New York City, accused of the contract killings of more than 30 people on behalf of Dominican trafficking groups. With the police closing in, they returned to the Dominican Republic, certain that they were finally beyond the reach of American authorities. Last August, however, President Fernández broke with decades of tradition and bypassed the Dominican Congress, signing an executive order that sent the two men back to New York City to face charges. That day, law enforcement authorities in New York City detected a dramatic increase in telephone conversations among Dominican traffickers alarmed that they would no longer enjoy impunity in their homeland. In a larger sense the episode illustrated the strategy that the Fernández administration, trying to turn a liability into a strength, has adopted. With limitations on equipment, personnel and spending that weaken its ability to interdict drugs, the Dominican Government has instead decided to use the instruments of law to attack traffickers and curb the enormous profits they make. "The only thing the cartels fear is extradition," said Mr. Castillo, the country's anti-drug program director. "That is the most powerful tool in the hands of both Governments." Heartened by Mr. Fernández's cooperation, the Clinton Administration is now seeking the extradition of more than 30 other Dominicans wanted in the United States. But that process promises to be even more controversial and convoluted, with resistance rising in the Dominican Congress and media coverage against returning those on the list, including the two most prominent, Edmon Elías and Ricardo (Tito) Hernández, both influential businessmen. Mr. Elías's interests include casinos as well as hotels and other real estate investments; Mr. Hernández is an owner of the popular Cibao Eagles baseball team. Both face charges in Miami concerning a Mexican-American named Luis Cano. They are accused of having helped him buy airplanes he reportedly used to smuggle 10 tons of cocaine into the United States. Mr. Hernández did not respond to calls requesting comment, but Mr. Elías, in an interview here, denied wrongdoing, calling himself "an enemy of drugs and a friend of the United States" and dismissing the charges as a "fantasy." He acknowledged that he had introduced Mr. Cano to leading Dominicans but said Mr. Cano had gained his confidence under false pretenses. Still, Dominican law enforcement officials describe the country's casinos, Mr. Elías's among them, as a main mechanism by which drug profits are laundered here. They say that banks, boutiques, businesses, sports betting parlors -- almost all forms of private enterprise -- are being used to turn illicit cash into tangible, legitimate assets. As a result, Dominican officials and business people say, more and more drug money is flowing in unimpeded. The problem is probably most acute, they maintain, in cities like Santiago and San Francisco de Macorís, in the northern Cibao Valley, birthplace of many of the most notorious Dominican traffickers based in the United States. For instance Santiago, the country's second-largest city, has in the last two years gained many new businesses like as auto dealerships and hardware stores. That would not be suspicious in itself, since the Cibao Valley is enjoying a tobacco-led economic boom. But many of these new businesses are selling their products below cost. As one Santiago businessman put it: "How can you buy steel rods or cement blocks in the capital, transport them up here and then sell them for less than you originally paid? There are suddenly a lot of people around who went to New York as nobodies a few years back and have come back with lots and lots of money whose origins no one seems able to explain." Along the country's north coast, multimillion-dollar weekend homes are also going up. Nor is it unusual to come across expensively protected country mansions adorned with stained glass windows, mock Greco-Roman pillars and tile images of the Virgin of Altagracia, the country's patron saint. "All this recycled money that can't be traced is creating a new culture," said a lawyer in San Francisco de Macorís. "You go into a restaurant, and there are all these guys wearing ostentatious rings and glittering medallions of the Virgin of Altagracia, flashing big wads of thousand-peso notes and boasting about their big cars outside. It's a new reality that is very disturbing to us and which no one seems able to control." The Course Yet Uncharted: A Reformer's Future In the Voters' Hands This week, voters here will go to the polls for elections that Dominican and American officials regard as crucial to the Fernández Government's success during its two remaining years in office. At the moment, the President's party controls only one of 30 Senate seats and 10 of 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, meaning that no legislation can be passed without the backing of at least one of the two main opposition parties. The Fernández administration has expressed support for tougher money-laundering legislation and streamlined extradition procedures, which Congress would have to approve to go into effect. So it is obvious why the stakes in the vote are so high. Mr. Castillo, the Dominican anti-drug chief, said trafficking groups here and in New York and Colombia had responded by funneling money into the campaigns of candidates they believe will vote against the proposals. "This is the greatest problem we face in these elections," he said. "Not only that, narcotics traffickers from New York are putting their own people, by which I mean their brothers and cousins, into the campaigns, and some of the candidates know that." American officials have long harbored similar suspicions of the Dominican political process. During the 1996 presidential campaign here, in fact, the Drug Enforcement Administration, responding to a Central Intelligence Agency inquiry, took the highly unusual step of organizing a sting operation in the United States against Mr. Fernández's chief opponent, José Francisco Peña Gómez, in an effort to determine whether he and his party were involved in drug trafficking. Mr. Peña Gómez was running well ahead of Mr. Fernández in election polls when he took his campaign to New York City's large Dominican immigrant community early that year. At a rally at the Washington Heights headquarters of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, or P.R.D., members of his staff were approached by a couple who said they were representatives of a Colombian cocaine cartel but in reality were Drug Enforcement Administration agents working undercover. The pair offered the Peña Gómez campaign an immediate $50,000 and said $250,000 more would be forthcoming each month if Mr. Peña Gómez, once elected, would agree to let five planeloads of drugs land unobstructed. Such an agreement was already in place with Dominican military and police authorities, they said, urging Mr. Peña Gómez and his aides to check the authenticity of their claim with the officials involved. One of his New York representatives later met the drug agents at an office at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, but Mr. Peña Gómez eventually rejected the overture, and shortly afterward he sent a letter of protest to President Clinton. American suspicions were again aroused, however, when, just days after Mr. Peña Gómez won the first round of the election and declared himself "virtually president," several of his party members were detained and a shipment of 778 pounds of cocaine seized, according to Dominican officials. In an interview here, Mr. Peña Gómez attributed the case, which those officials say is still pending, to a political vendetta against his party. "An accusation like this can destroy a person in this country," he said, "and that's what my enemies are trying to do to me. I was the victim of a campaign in which false denunciations were made to middle-level American officials in an effort to involve me in this." Recent polls indicate Mr. Peña Gómez as favorite in the race next month for mayor of Santo Domingo, the second-most-important elected post in this country. But Mr. Peña Gómez is also suffering from an advanced case of pancreatic cancer. The struggle to succeed him as party leader is already under way, and American and Dominican law enforcement officials said there is ample evidence that some of the contenders are receiving support from drug traffickers. "The narcotics traffickers don't like to have all their eggs in one basket," a senior Dominican Government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "And so they donate to all the parties. But the biggest problem is in the P.R.D. We don't like to say that publicly, however, because then people think we are acting from political motives." In the United States, Federal drug agents and local law enforcement officials have also been looking closely at the party's branches and leaders throughout the Northeastern United States. The drug enforcement agency's documents identify the party's New England headquarters in Worcester, Mass., as a major drug distribution center. They say that local party officials in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, some of whom have previous drug convictions, are also involved in such activities. Even if the drug traffickers' candidates are defeated, the rings will offer no respite, warned Mr. Vélez, the Colombian businessman who is in custody here. The Colombian cartels, having established an enormously lucrative foothold in the Dominican Republic, will stop at nothing to expand it, he said, even if that means "killing judges, lawyers, cops and reporters," as well as ordinary citizens who stand in their way. "In whatever country they establish themselves," Mr. Vélez said, "the cartels get involved in politics and the economy, buying up properties and infiltrating all aspects of public and private activity. That's what's coming here, and this country isn't prepared and doesn't know how to stand up to it. It's going to be a catastrophe."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug War News Not Fit To Print (Letter To The Editor, Any Editor, By Michael Levine, Former DEA Agent And Author Of 'Deep Cover, The Big White Lie And Triangle Of Death,' Discusses The Difference Between The Reality Of The So-Called War On Drugs, And The Fraudulent Way It Is Presented To The World Through Easily Manipulated Mass Media Coverage) From: "ralph sherrow"
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Drug war news not fit to print Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 01:01:53 PDT Subject: Drug War News NOT Fit to Print Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 00:58:52 EDT From: Expert53 (Expert53@aol.com) Dear Editor: The following is submitted as a letter to the editor, or, an opinion piece. DRUG WAR NEWS NOT FIT TO PRINT by Michael Levine Host: of THE EXPERT WITNESS radio show WBAI, 99.5 FM, Tuesdays, 7-8pm New York City Author: of Deep Cover, the Big White Lie and Triangle of Death After 25 years as a federal agent in the war on drugs and three decades as a court qualified expert witness in all matters relating to that war, I have always marveled at how the American taxpayer can spend as much as $50 billion a year (the latest federal and state drug war budget combined) and almost $1 trillion dollars since President Nixon declared war on drugs in 1972, and tolerate having absolutely nothing to show for that money, without a whimper of complaint. As if that weren't bad enough a recent poll of Americans conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that 78 percent of the public believes anti-drug efforts have failed yet 66 percent were willing to pay more taxes to fight drugs. How can that possibly be? Answer: We have all been the victims of decades of federal bureaucracies and mainstream media selling us the need for a war on drugs, pretty much the way (and this is no hyperbole) organized crime sells protection to taxpaying businessmen. Before you shake your head and dismiss what I've just said, check out my facts. In fact, you can see a glaring example of that sell right on the front page of Today's New York Times (Sunday 5/10/98) in a headline article entitled "Dominicans Allow Drugs Easy Sailing." Apparently the writers of the article, or their editor, have rediscovered for twentieth time since the early eighties when I was heading investigations into Dominican drug gangs for the Drug Enforcement Administration, that the Dominican Republic is an "important" part of the route cocaine follows on its trek from Colombia to the United States. As a test this article is not only not news that is fit to print, but that it is part of a sell or con job, review about five years of New York Times drug war articles keeping my observations in mind, compare them to today's article and I am certain that the game will become readily apparent. As you read the articles about drugs you will note that the subject country (i.e. "danger point in the drug war") shifts from the Dominican Republic to Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela, Russia, Argentina, Lebanon, Nassau, the Bahamas, Panama, Bolivia, Peru, basically hitting every country in the world and then back again; the criminal organizations shift between the Medellin Cartel, to the Russian mafiya, to the Italian Mafia, to the Mexican Mafia and back again; the names of the "evil drug barons" shift from Manuel Noriega to Carlos Escobar, to Raul Salinas de Gortari, to Roberto Suarez, to Gacha, to Ochoa, to Orijuela, to Arce-Gomez or any one of dozens of other names featured by The Times over the past few years and back again - yet the "news" story is basically exactly the same. In fact, it is almost a fill-in-the-blanks duplicate including a space for maps with arrows and diagrams to illustrate drug routes. And it is not just The New York Times. This pro forma drug story is reprinted almost weekly by all the other mainstream magazines and newspapers from The Washington Post to Newsweek, and retold ad nauseam by every mainstream media broadcasting company from Frontline to CNN, and all deliver virtually the same message that today's New York Times piece ended with: "...It's going to be a catastrophe.." Is this news, or is this the continued con job of the American taxpayer? Now let's examine some major news stories from the past and see if we can't answer that question ourselves: "SOVIET ACCUSED OF PLOT TO CONTROL WORLD'S DOPE SUPPLY," kind of makes the Dominican Republic look like jaywalking doesn't it? Well it comes from the Universal News Service and was the headline for many US Newspapers on February 20, 1931. Or how about this one from Universal News Service picked up by The New York Times as well as many other US newspapers on 12/9/34: "TONS OF ILLICIT NARCOTICS FROM EUROPE-NEW MENACE TO U.S., EXPERT REVEALS." These stories are more than 64 years old, but I defy anyone to find a difference, other than the locations, names and amounts, from today's New York Times headline story. I can cite a steady flow of articles published by mainstream print media and news specials and documentaries produced for television and radio, covering the last 60 years, that are, in essence, with names and places ever changing, the same story. But I think, for some, I have already made my point. During my quarter of a century as an insider I was always struck by the startling difference between the reality of the so-called war on drugs, and the fraudulent way it was presented to the world through easily manipulated media coverage. (See my books The Big White Lie and Deep Cover for real-life outrageous examples that were never factually contested by anyone in government or media). What I came to realize was that both the federal and state bureaucracies receiving a drug war budget, nations receiving our taxpayer dollars under the banner of drug war, and the mainstream media vendors of drug war "news" have a common customer, or as we say on the street, "mark" - the American taxpayer. Media uses alarmist drug stories to sell their product and the bureaucracies use the media to project their need for more tax funds. This tacit agreement can be reduced to a single sentence: "You give us 'news' to sell our television program/documentary/newspapers, and we will sell your agency's budget needs to the American people and congress," An agreement that is all about money, not truth. Definitely not news that is fit to print. This explains why, when I began my career in Federal law enforcement in 1965, there were two federal agencies enforcing the federal drug laws - The Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the Customs Agency Service - whose combined forces were less than 400 men world-wide, and whose total budgets were less than $10 million, and the current federal, drug war budget is above $19.5 billion (not counting the combined state budgets) which is doled out to something like 60 federal regulatory, covert and military agencies, and the problem, by any measure is worse than it ever was. This also explains why (as I stated at the beginning of this piece) 66 percent of Americans polled last month - despite more than a trillion dollars wasted during the past 20 year - want to increase our drug war spending. When, on my radio show, I say that you can lay every so-called "news" story ever printed about our endless drug war end-to-end and the result will be exactly the same story reprinted on enough paper to create a roll of toilet paper about the size of a small galaxy, some people think it's funny. It's not meant to be. What isn't funny is that, at a time that deserving children cannot afford a college education, the social security system is in danger of collapsing, hard working Americans cannot get health insurance or afford medical care, millions are without homes and adequate food, the national debt will impoverish many future generations and our nation's public education systems have fallen behind most of the other industrialized nations - our government is still spending $50 billion a year on that same meaningless story. I just can't wait to see Part two of today's piece.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Study - NAFTA Boosts Drug Trafficking ('Dallas Morning News' Says A US Task Force, Operation Alliance, Has Concluded In A 63-Page Report, Two Years In The Making, That The North American Free Trade Agreement Has Made It Easier Than Ever For Mexican Illegal Drug Sellers To Smuggle Goods Across The Border - Phil Jordan, A Former High-Level Official With The Drug Enforcement Administration, Says, 'While I Was At DEA, I Was Under Strict Orders Not To Say Anything Negative About Free Trade') Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 21:10:58 EDT Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Study: NAFT boosts drug trafficking Posted at 4:31 p.m. PDT Sunday, May 10, 1998 Study: NAFTA boosts drug trafficking The Dallas Morning News MEXICO CITY -- The landmark North American Free Trade Agreement has made it easier than ever for Mexican traffickers to smuggle drugs, and American authorities aren't doing enough to counter the fast-growing threat, a U.S. task force has concluded. Sophisticated drug gangs are investing in everything from trucking companies and rail lines to warehouses and shipping firms to shield their trafficking activities, according to a confidential report by Operation Alliance, a task force led by the U.S. Customs Service. Drug traffickers are using ``commercial trade-related businesses .. to exploit the rising tide of cross-border commerce,'' said the 63-page report, ``Drug Trafficking, Commercial Trade and NAFTA on the Southwest Border.'' While many U.S. officials avoid even talking about potential free trade-trafficking ties, Mexican smugglers have been busy hiring consultants to learn how to take advantage of NAFTA, some former drug agents say. ``For Mexico's drug gangs, the NAFTA was a deal made in narco-heaven,'' said Phil Jordan, a former high-level official with the Drug Enforcement Administration. ``But since both the United States and Mexico are so committed to free trade, no one wants to admit it has helped the drug lords. It's a taboo subject. ``While I was at DEA, I was under strict orders not to say anything negative about free trade. Now it's come back to haunt us.'' Authors of the Operation Alliance report, nearly two years in the making, say they weren't out to judge NAFTA. They merely wanted to know if traffickers were exploiting rising U.S.-Mexico trade to further their illicit enterprises. What they found out is that Mexican drug gangs are more savvy than ever, having learned that they can often get more done with an MBA than an AK-47. The Operation Alliance report, marked ``law enforcement sensitive,'' says traffickers were so gung-ho about free trade they began studying its intricacies even before NAFTA was approved on Jan. 1, 1994. And the report gently criticizes American authorities for not keeping pace. ``If drug traffickers are researching NAFTA, it would be wise for more in the law enforcement community to do the same,'' it says. The free trade agreement is aimed at wiping out all tariffs between the United States, Mexico and Canada by the year 2008. Its supporters say it has been a great success, doubling to $168 billion trade between Mexico and the United States. They dispute the suggestion that the trade agreement has boosted drug trafficking. ``There's no question that drugs are continuing to go across the border. But you can't pin the rap on NAFTA. That's a simplistic leap that some people make,'' said a Senate source who requested anonymity. Even before NAFTA, traffickers routinely hid drug loads in commercial shipments. But some former drug agents say free trade has given smugglers the upper hand. ``If you believe NAFTA has not adversely affected the fight against drug traffickers, then you must believe in the tooth fairy,'' said Tom Cash, a former high-level DEA official. The sheer volume of U.S.-bound cargo, some 400 million tons per year, makes it harder to find contraband, he and others say. ``The Customs Service has tried to play down the idea that inspectors have less ability to stop drugs from coming across the border, but I think it's irrefutable,'' Cash said. Border inspectors are under intense pressure to speed the flow of people and goods, he said, and can't always do thorough inspections. Mexican traffickers are believed to smuggle an estimated 330 tons of cocaine, 14 tons of heroin and hundreds of tons of marijuana into the United States every year. Some American agents are particularly concerned about a rise in the use of railcars in trafficking. In 1997 alone, Customs inspectors seized more than 5,500 pounds of marijuana from railcars, almost double the amount for the previous nine years. ``You'll see railroad cars loaded with freight containers coming across the border, and some of the trains will have 100 or more cars, double-stacked,'' said Richard Gorman, special agent in charge of the DEA office in Phoenix. ``If you were to try to inspect all that, you'd have trains backed up all the way to the Guatemalan border.'' Since NAFTA's approval, Customs has added inspectors, agents, drug-sniffing dogs and intelligence analysts to cope with the flood of people, trucks and cargo entering the United States. And the agency has had some successes. One of the most recent was the seizure of 1,743 pounds of cocaine last week from a flatbed truck entering Nogales, Ariz., from Mexico. The cocaine was cleverly hidden inside two large diesel engines. ``Smugglers' techniques have become extremely sophisticated,'' said Celia De La Ossa, the chief inspector in Nogales. And with or without free trade, she said, agents will continue fighting the drug gangs. ``NAFTA has reduced tariffs, but it has done nothing to eliminate Customs inspections,'' she said. Even so, Operation Alliance says U.S. authorities can do more. Agents should beef up inspections at Laredo, El Paso, Nogales, Ariz., Otay Mesa, Calif., and other busy crossing points, the report said. Inspectors must learn more about NAFTA and how traffickers are using it to mask their operations. They should figure out better ways to better trace cargo shipments. And they need to do a better job inspecting cargo containers and railcars, the report said. Failing to act will only make things worse in the future, when the trade agreement's full provisions take effect, the report said. Jordan agreed. ``The more we hush it up, the more drugs, the more poison flows onto our streets.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Secret Look At Mexican Police ('Associated Press' Account In 'The San Jose Mercury News,' About Two Mexican Sociologists Who Spent Two Years In A Mexican Police Academy Viewing The Force From The Inside, Is Longer Than Thursday's Version) Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 09:43:53 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Mexico: A Secret Look at Mexican Police Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 10 May 1998 Author: John Rice - Associated Press A SECRET LOOK AT MEXICAN POLICE Undercover study in an unidentified city portrays a force riddled with criminal gangs MEXICO CITY -- Two classmates at the police academy admitted to murders. A few others had not completed primary school. And most of the would-be cops formed friendships sharing marijuana during recess. Nearly all wound up as police officers in Mexico after graduating from an academy where instructors taught the finer points of taking bribes, according to Mexican sociologists who spent two years viewing a Mexican police force from the inside. The study portrays a police force riddled with what amounts to criminal gangs bent on extorting money from drivers, shopkeepers and criminals in one of the mega-suburbs ringing Mexico City. The authors insist that one would find similar circumstances in many other Mexican cities. It is an apparently unprecedented inside account of one of Mexico's most pressing political issues: an explosion in crime. Tourist attacks double The number of reported tourist attacks -- both on foreigners and Mexicans -- has doubled, for example, in the first months of this year, to an average of 20 a day in Mexico City, according to the Tourism Ministry. And many attacks aren't even reported. The U.S. State Department last month warned visitors to be extra cautious in the capital, where it said crime had reached ``critical levels.'' Current and former officers are implicated repeatedly in killings, kidnappings, drug trafficking and old-fashioned street-corner bribery. ``Restructuring the police force will touch many interests. It would be very difficult,'' said Adrian Lspez Rivera, who says he spent two years as a police officer, working under the supervision of his teacher, Nelson Arteaga Botello of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico. None of the police-officer candidates knew they were the subject of a study. The two men refused to name the city where they did their research and changed the names of those they quoted. The report was excerpted in the prestigious magazine Nexos. Mexico City Police Chief Rodolfo Debernardi indicated he was not surprised by Nexos' characterization of the neighboring police force. ``Disgracefully, that has existed and we have to diminish those kinds of activities,'' he said in an interview, insisting that his own force was attacking corruption. Academic probes are rare Academic probes of Mexican police forces, however, are rare -- and require great courage. ``The problem is that studying the police is dangerous,'' forcing investigators to immerse themselves in the police culture, Arteaga said. The fact that the story could be published at all is a sign of greater transparency in Mexico, though he said the new political openness had not reduced corruption in cities. Lspez entered the police academy about four years ago with a seemingly unpromising group. Many were ``people who had great difficulty writing, even reading.'' One candidate told Lspez he'd hacked a man to death for suggesting his brother was gay. ``As a policeman, nobody will hunt me for the dead guy.'' One officer, identified as ``Andris,'' admitted beating his first wife to death and fleeing vengeance-minded brothers. He was quoted as saying he had a new girlfriend he ``beats for the heck of it. What's more, she has no brothers.'' A more typical case was the candidate who figured he could buy a minibus with three years of salary and bribes. Others were former officers from other jurisdictions who had been fired for drugs, robbery or excessive violence. Recruitment a problem Recruitment is a serious problem, Arteaga said, and most of the candidates were relatives and friends of current officers. Bribes were enough to overcome problems meeting physical or academic requirements. A psychologist giving a personality test said he would reject all except those who ``place between the pages of the test the money according to the result you would like.'' While courses on law were weak, there were other lessons. Several instructors urged students to ``rob with professionalism,'' according to the report. ``You don't ask for money, only wait,'' a professor was quoted as saying. ``The people are going to give it to you automatically; you don't have to say anything.'' Commanders demanded a minimum of $9 a day. For use of a good patrol car, the payoff was about $60 a day. Officers then earned about $360 a month. ``The policeman always has hopes that a robbery represents not only a moment to carry out his work -- arrest criminals -- but also permits him to obtain something else: to rob what is being robbed,'' the report said. Once on the street, Lspez said, those who failed to take and share bribes were shunted to marginal assignments. Debernardi insists that in his department the problems are being addressed through greater supervision, higher entrance standards and rotation of commanders. Officials have campaigned against payoffs to superiors. Police departments throughout Mexico have repeatedly tried cleanup campaigns, firing thousands of corrupt officers annually. Arteaga doubts it will help. ``You can't purify the police of all the corrupt members,'' Arteaga said, ``because the moment you do that, what you are doing is sending delinquents to the street.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Canada In Uproar Over Immigration Law (Knight Ridder News Service Says A Year-Old Law That Gives Immigration Inspectors The Power To Ban Foreigners From The United States For Five Years Has Canadian Newspapers And Radio Networks Inundated With Stories About US Border Agents In Detroit And Other Ports Acting Like 'Cowboys,' Threatening To Lock Up Canadians, Blowing Smoke In Their Faces And Calling Them Liars) Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 18:18:49 +1200 (NZST) To: email@example.com From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) Subject: Canada in uproar over immigration law Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Posted at 6:10 p.m. PDT Sunday, May 10, 1998 Canada in uproar over immigration law BY TIM DORAN Knight Ridder News Service DETROIT -- A year-old law that gives immigration inspectors the power to ban foreigners from the United States for five years has Canadians in an uproar. Canadian newspapers and radio networks have been filled with stories about U.S. immigration inspectors in Detroit and other ports acting like ``cowboys,'' threatening to lock up Canadians, blowing smoke in their faces and calling them liars. ``It's unbelievable that these people work at the border,'' said Steve Williamson, a 28-year-old Oakville, Ontario, resident banned by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service last year at the Ambassador Bridge, linking Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit. Critics say the law gives low-level government employees unprecedented power to act as jury and judge. Inspectors at the border, with approval from their supervisors, decide if foreigners are lying and then ban them. And their decisions cannot be appealed, although a waiver may be granted to enter the United States during the five years. ``It seems so un-American,'' said Sarnia, Ontario, Mayor Mike Bradley, referring to the lack of appeal. But a spokesman for the INS in Washington said the law is being applied fairly; only a few Canadians have been banned, and those who don't lie about their visit have nothing to fear. The ban, called expedited removal, provides a faster alternative to deport foreigners illegally trying to enter the United States. ``The Canadian press has made this a cause celebre,'' said Russ Bergeron, senior press officer for the INS. ``Far from being unfair or harsh to Canadians, our implementation of expedited removal at the northern border has been extremely fair.'' The issue has the attention of Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Michigan, who helped draft the 1996 immigration law that included expedited removals. Joe McMonigle, Abraham's communications director, said the senator's concerns have been raised with the INS, and new legislation is under consideration. The change, effective April 1, 1997, was to crack down on fraud, but is possibly being handled incorrectly, McMonigle said. Williamson said it was in his case. He thought he had done everything right to start his equipment rental business in Phoenix. He checked with his lawyer and applied for a visa. While waiting for approval, he packed his duffel bags last June and headed for Chicago, Denver and Arizona to visit friends. He planned on vacationing, Williamson said, but inspectors searched his Jeep and luggage and found papers related to his venture. They put him in a room for five hours, interrogated and intimidated him, he said. They accused him of forging a document and coerced a statement from him that he was coming to the United States to work, he said. Williamson, who said he has crossed from Canada into New York numerous times, wrote the inspector's name and badge number on the statement. He said he was making the statement under duress. The inspector saw it, crumpled it and threw it at him, Williamson said. The inspector then got up, took his jacket off, put his hand on his gun and walked behind Williamson, he said. ``It was right out of a movie at that point,'' Williamson said. He eventually wrote a statement. He was fingerprinted and photographed and sent back to Canada. His business plans are in limbo. Williamson said he did not plan to work before his visa arrived. He also did not know he needed to return to Canada once he got the visa and come back into the United States before he could start working. If the inspectors had told him, he said, he would have turned around and waited in Canada until his visa came through. ``To this point still, I haven't done anything wrong,'' he said. ``Somebody made a judgment, a bad judgment, and I'm paying the price.'' Williamson is now part of a lawsuit in federal court in Washington that seeks to stop expedited removals. The law does not allow those detained to contact a lawyer or make phone calls, and Anna Gallagher, lawyer with the American Immigration Law Foundation, said the decisions should be reviewed by an unbiased immigration judge. The INS has asked for a dismissal of the lawsuit. Carol Jenifer, INS district director in Detroit, said she has received a few complaints, but believes her agents act properly. Bergeron defended expedited removal and said Williamson entered the United States with the intent to see friends and then start working after his visa arrived, which is illegal. In a given year, 100 million people cross the northern border, and from April 1, 1997, through Feb. 28 only 359 Canadians were banned through expedited removal from all U.S. ports, INS figures show. And 93 percent of those found to be eligible for expedited removal at the northern border are allowed to just go home.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Re - Coast Apathy Feeding Local Drug Trade (A Letter Sent To The Editor Of 'The Reporter' In Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, Says It Is Not Apathy That Feeds The Local Drug Trade, It's The Lucrative Black Market For Drugs, Made Artificially Expensive By Our Reckless Subsidization Through Misplaced Law Enforcement) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Sent: Coast apathy feeding local drug trade Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 11:29:43 -0700 Lines: 51 To the editor, I agree in part with RCMP Cpl. Bob Hall's definition of "harm reduction", (Coast apathy feeding local drug trade, May 4). "To me, harm reduction means reducing harm to the citizens of our community who are being victimized by criminals." I differ with Hall on the cause of this harm and criminality. In 1994, B.C. Chief Coroner Vince Cain recommended the decriminalization of the currently prohibited drugs citing, among other compelling reasons, the fact that over 60% of all property crime is prohibition-related. When I read of drive-by shootings, biker gang turf wars, the spread of HIV, deaths due to the varying potency and impurity of black market drugs and the tragic deaths of two small children whose father had been making weed-oil at home, I place the blame on our failure to regulate these drugs. The harm caused by Cpl. Hall's perpetuation of "reefer madness" myths to fatten law enforcement budgets was recently exposed in the Vancouver Sun by VPD whistleblower Gil Puder and described by B.C. Justice F.E. Howard, who ruled: There is a consensus that there are, indeed, social and economic costs attached to the prohibition of marihuana. In summary, they are as follows: 1) countless Canadians, mostly adolescents and young adults, are being prosecuted in the "criminal" courts, subjected to the threat of (if not actual) imprisonment, and branded with criminal records for engaging [in] an activity that is remarkably benign (estimates suggest that over 600,000 Canadians now have criminal records for cannabis related offences); meanwhile others are free to consume society's drugs of choice, alcohol and tobacco, even though these drugs are known killers. 2) disrespect for the law by upwards of one million persons who are prepared to engage in this activity, notwithstanding the legal prohibition; 3) distrust, by users, of health and educational authorities who, in the past, have promoted false and exaggerated allegations about marihuana; the risk is that marihuana users, especially the young, will no longer listen, even to the truth; It is not apathy which feeds the local drug trade. It is the extremely lucrative black market for drugs made artificially expensive by our reckless, if well-intentioned, subsidization through misplaced law enforcement. Matthew M. Elrod 4493 [No Thru] Rd. Victoria, B.C. V9C-3Y1 Phone: 250-[867-5309] Email: email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Burmese Junta Forces Farmers To Grow Opium (Britain's 'Sunday Times' Says An Investigation By The Newspaper And Human Rights Groups Has Established That The Military Government Of Burma, The World's Biggest Producer Of Opium, Has Driven Thousands Of Villagers From Their Homes In A Programme To Transform Rice Fields Into Poppy Plantations, Despite Receiving Millions Of Pounds A Year From The United Nations To Combat Drugs) Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 15:06:28 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Burma: Burmese Junta Forces Farmers To Grow Opium Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Martin Cooke
Pubdate: Sun, 10 May 1998 Source: Sunday Times (UK) Contact: email@example.com Author: Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy, Rangoon BURMESE JUNTA FORCES FARMERS TO GROW OPIUM THE military government of Burma, the world's biggest producer of opium, has driven thousands of villagers from their homes in a programme to transform rice fields into poppy plantations, despite receiving millions of pounds a year from the United Nations to combat drugs. An investigation by The Sunday Times and human rights groups has established that the junta is secretly expanding the number of opium farms in designated "drug-control areas". The regime has used video footage which appears to show poppy fields being destroyed to support applications for UN aid. But interviews with farmers, soldiers and former civil servants have confirmed that the military presides over a huge network of opium-producing villages in regions officially said to be drug-free. Last January 5,000 people were evicted from one village alone - Ngape, in the Arakan Yoma mountain range in central Burma. The government claimed they had been ordered out for refusing to destroy poppy crops. However, a farmer who sought refuge on Burma's border with India said: "We had never grown opium before. The soldiers said we had to plant poppies or lose our land." Opium farmers were brought in from other parts of the country, according to a 34-year-old woman from Ngape who left her home and possessions behind. "This was not a drug clearance scheme - the army hijacked our land to grow drugs," she said. Aid workers admit that restrictions on their movements render them powerless to make checks. "There is no independent monitoring," said a source at the UN drug control programme, which will spend £4m in Burma in the next year. Under the totalitarian rule of the State Peace and Development Council, Burma has become a narco-dictatorship. According to officials in Washington, Burma produces 250 tonnes of opium a year, more than twice as much as Afghanistan, the second-largest manufacturer. Robin Cook, the foreign secretary, says in a forthcoming report by the South Asian Information Network, a British human rights group: "The failure of the regime to address this issue, the production of heroin - indeed, their apparent willingness to abet and profit from the drug trade - deserves the strongest condemnation." The victims of Burma's burgeoning narco-economy can be seen in bamboo huts in many outlying areas, where addiction to opium is widespread. Pang Sak, in the northern Kachin state, has become known as the "village of the widows" following hundreds of deaths from overdoses. Doctors claim there are "drug addicts in every house here". Among those who died after being forced by the military to cultivate opium poppies instead of rice was the father of Aung Than, a seven-year-old boy who now uses an opium pipe himself. "The smoke makes my hunger go away," he said. Next door, the women of the Nhkum family are mourning three sons, aged 13, 17 and 21, all of whom died from overdoses of heroin. The poppies are everywhere. In Chin state, northwestern Burma, which the government has proclaimed free from opium production, retired police officers said poppy fields were plentiful. The army has set aside more than 15 acres of land around some villages to grow the crop. Each grower is obliged to pay an annual licence fee of about £25 to the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, a government department funded by the UN, and £13 to the police. Every cultivated acre yields 6kg of opium paste, which is sold for £220. Ten villages can yield enough opium to produce 80kg of pure heroin in refineries - worth £15m on Britain's streets. Farmers and former couriers say six new refineries to turn raw opium into heroin have sprung up along the Chindwin river - all reportedly guarded by Burmese army battalions. One former army officer said his superior had recently taken 35kg of heroin in his car and sold it for £500,000 on the Indian frontier. Myo Min, a border trader, told Images Asia, a human rights group based in Thailand, that he had seen many military officials transporting drugs. "Army officers and soldiers participate in the drug trade. I saw high-ranking military personnel buying and carrying opium and heroin. I have never seen them arrested." Other traders and drivers on the border of Burma and India said they had been issued with military passes signed by Khin Nyunt, one of the most powerful men in the junta. On the Thai-Burma border, a checkpoint guard in eastern Shan state said he had stopped a trailer loaded with heroin and had been presented with a pass signed by Khin Nyunt. He telephoned the general's office in Rangoon and was told to let the trailer pass as the drugs were being transported to a destruction centre. The load was never seen again.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Campaign - 'Independent On Sunday' Wins Unique Freedom Award (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Continues Its Weekly Push For The Reform Of Marijuana Laws By Noting Its Own Success At This Year's '18 Awards' For Adult Media And Entertainment - Judges From Print And Broadcast Media Gave The IOS A Unique Award For Its Influential Campaign To Decriminalise Cannabis Use In Britain, Which Began Last September) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: "MN"
Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Campaign - IOS Wins Unique Freedom Award Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 15:02:41 -0500 Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org ((Zosimos) Martin Cooke) Pubdate: Sun, 10 May 1998 Contact: e-mail: email@example.com Mail: Independent on Sunday 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf London E14 5DL England Editor's note: The IoS Cannabis Campaign has web pages at http://www.independent.co.uk/sindypot/index.htm CANNABIS CAMPAIGN - IOS WINS UNIQUE FREEDOM AWARD The Independent on Sunday has won a special award for "Commitment against Censorship". In a ceremony held at north London's Alexandra Palace to mark this year's "18 Awards" for adult media and entertainment, the newspaper was praised for its influential campaign to decriminalise cannabis use in Britain, which began last September. Judges, from print and broadcast media, singled out the IOS campaign as worthy of its own unique award. The event was hosted byMark Lamarr and Ulrika Jonsson. The IOS award was accepted by Real Life's Callum McGeoch. Others awarded for helping to push back social boundaries included Time Out magazine, former Independent columnist Helen Fielding, comedian Paul Whitehouse and the controversial radio broadcaster Chris Morris. The Prodigy won in the best music category, Crash as best film for 1997 and the Royal Academy of Art's Sensation show was picked as best exhibition. The awards, in their second year, are designed to encourage freedom of expression. They are organised by Henry Cobbold and his company Wambam, the same group behind the newly-launched national "Classification not Censorship" campaign. "This was the most important award of all," said Mr Cobbold, heir to the Knebworth estate. "Papers are becoming more and more conservative, but of all the broadsheets the IOS is the one that stands out." In keeping with the Mardi Gras theme of the evening, the waiters and waitresses wore only body paint and the walls of the palace were decorated with nude living statues. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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