------------------------------------------------------------------- Signature Count (Paul Loney, An Attorney And Chief Petitioner For The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Initiative Petition, Says The Campaign Has Officially Collected 44,879 Signatures Of The 73,261 Needed By July) Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 09:33:51 -0700 (PDT) To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Belmont Law Center) Subject: Signature count As of 13 June 1998, we have 44,879 signatures counted and stored. Many Thanks and Praises. Paul L
------------------------------------------------------------------- Border Slaying (Staff Editorial In 'The Dallas Morning News' Says The Recent Shooting Death Of A 27-Year-Old Prohibition Agent Near Nogales, Arizona, Is 'Yet Another Reminder Of The High Cost Of Keeping Drugs Off America's Streets' - But Fails To Admit Prohibition Has Only Increased Such Drugs) Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 09:28:05 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US TX: Editorial: Border Slaying Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 Editor: Rena Pederson, email@example.com BORDER SLAYING U.S. should press Mexico to help locate killer The recent shooting death of a 27-year-old Border Patrol agent near Nogales, Ariz., is yet another reminder of the high cost of keeping drugs off America's streets. Every family in America at risk of having drugs destroy the lives of its sons and daughters should acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice made by Border Patrol Agent Alexander Kirpnick. The young man who joined the agency in 1996 after immigrating from Russia in 1988 was fatally wounded by marijuana smugglers west of Nogales. U.S. border guards seize eight to 10 tons of marijuana in southern Arizona each month. "This is the worst incident of violence along our stretch of the border," said a Border Patrol spokesman in Tucson. "We see it as an indicator of the increased flow of drugs across the border and the smugglers' willingness to use violence." How true. The border has become a hot spot ever since U.S. anti-drug agents began closing down drug smuggling routes through the Caribbean to South Florida a decade ago. Agent Kirpnick was the first agent to die in the line of duty in the Tucson sector since 1983, but he was the fourth agent to be shot since mid-1995. In a similar incident in Texas, Border Patrol Agent Jefferson Barr was killed by smugglers near Eagle Pass on Jan. 19, 1997. Additional Border Patrol agents were being assigned to the border even before the latest incident of violence, but the issue now is one of justice. One smuggling suspect has been arrested by the Border Patrol. Washington should urge the Mexican government to cooperate in tracking down the other four suspects detained by Agent Kirpnick before he was shot. Mexican officials already may have arrested one. The Mexican government should act as a good neighbor by trying to identify the agent's killer and to extradite him to the United States to stand trial here.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tobacco Bill Survives Senate But Still Faces House ('Washington Post' Article In 'The Seattle Times' Says The McCain Tobacco Bill Survived A Series Of Near-Death Experiences And This Week Moved A Long Way Toward Approval In The Senate, But It Still Faces Hostile House Republicans And The Simple Passage Of Time, With The 105th Congress Adjourning This Fall) Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 10:18:18 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Tobacco Bill Survives Senate But Still Faces House Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Saturday 13 June 1998 Source: Seattle Times (WA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Author: Saundra Torry and Helen Dewar, The Washington Post TOBACCO BILL SURVIVES SENATE BUT STILL FACES HOUSE The national tobacco bill has survived a series of near-death experiences and this week moved a long way toward approval in the Senate. But it faces a perilous gantlet - from hostile House Republicans to the simple passage of time - that threatens enactment before the 105th Congress adjourns this fall. Only a few days after Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said the bill was "dead in the water," the Senate - struggling to keep from collapsing under the weight of its own disarray - broke a stubborn stalemate by adding a big election-year tax cut. A Few Problems Left By the end of this past week, a huge list of potentially lethal problems had been whittled to just a few, including a fight over competing proposals to compensate tobacco farmers and a battery of amendments drafted by conservative Republicans intent on sinking the bill. The bill has been toughened in some respects and weakened in others, but despite some misgivings about its most recent turns, public health advocates are still satisfied that its passage would be a historic leap in the fight against underage smoking. "What a difference a week makes," Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said last week as he and several other key supporters predicted that the measure would win Senate approval soon. Even some opponents conceded that eventual approval is likely. "Probably in despair, (the Senate) will do whatever it has to to get a bill out," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Time is short, and the bill's opponents have been counting delay as a major weapon. Much may depend on whether the Senate, which already has spent nearly three weeks on the bill, can avoid further protracted delays. One of the keys is Lott. With his long and close ties to the conservatives who dominate the Republican side of the Senate, he is expected by associates to give the bill's critics ample time for substantive amendments. But if the bill is to move, he eventually would have to crack down on the delaying tactics of his allies by forcing it to a vote, which will take 60 votes. Pressure is building on Lott to bring the debate to a close. It comes not only from Democrats and other backers of the measure but also from the backlog of other business, including defense, higher education and spending bills for the next fiscal year that must be passed shortly to avoid being trampled in the rush to adjournment. Only 12 weeks of work time remain before the targeted Oct. 9 adjournment. Lott opposed Democratic efforts to force action this week but did not rule out the possibility of doing so on his own at another time. Those following the bill have found Lott's intentions impossible to read. The majority leader has played an enigmatic role throughout the debate. With a brother-in-law who participated as a lawyer in settlement negotiations with cigarette makers, he has voted "present" on most key amendments. But, as majority leader, he plays a critical role in moving all legislation, including scheduling, deal-making and massaging egos, and the tobacco bill is no exception. Lott has made no secret of the fact that he believes the bill taxes and spends too much. But, according to many colleagues, he has worked behind the scenes to keep it from falling apart - an outcome that could damage Republican candidates in this fall's elections and tarnish his own reputation for keeping the trains running on time. The Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is an ambitious vehicle that would impose the largest price increase ever on cigarettes - $1.10 per-pack over the next five years - and broad restrictions on a $50 billion industry once considered politically invincible. As conservatives and anti-smoking forces have amended it, the measure has become a strange amalgam that now attacks underage smoking, illegal drug use and the so-called "marriage penalty" in the tax code. Supporters have misgivings about the current product, but many key senators are looking for those problems to be negotiated away in an ultimate House-Senate conference, with heavy input from the White House. "We'll have plenty of leverage in conference, and you can't forget that this remains an extraordinarily tough tobacco bill," an administration official said last week. What Worries Critics This is precisely what worries some of the bill's critics, who, according to Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga., are increasingly apprehensive about what may come out of a conference. But if there are huge differences between House and Senate versions, consensus may be difficult to achieve - and take longer than the pre-shrunk election-year schedule allows. The House has not even begun to tackle the issue. House GOP leaders, who have called the Senate bill a big tax-and-spend measure, are pushing for a far narrower approach, focused tightly on teenage smoking and drug use. A bipartisan bill similar to McCain's has also been introduced and could gain support from Republican moderates. The fact that the Senate bill has survived so many close calls for so many days with so much intact leads many to believe it will eventually pass - but not without further struggle. "This is a textbook case in the use of every legislative trick in the book," said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., one of the bill's staunchest supporters. Opponents have tried to talk it to death, amend it to death, use tactical maneuvers and use the clock . . . You've seen it all, and you'll probably see more before we're done." A small group of conservatives, including Majority Whip Don Nickles, R-Okla., essentially Lott's deputy, remain determined to derail the measure, despite the tax cut and drug-prevention amendment that were attached at their urging. Asked last week whether the bill was going to live or die, Nickles raised his arms rifle-like and joked, "I'll get my gun." What Worries Supporters The bill's supporters are even more worried about the split over how to help tobacco farmers, which has bubbled beneath the surface for weeks. One proposal, by Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., would pay farmers $18 billion over three years and end the government support program. The other, sponsored by Sens. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., and Wendell Ford, D-Ky., would cost less and keep the program alive. The three senators have been unable to reach a compromise, and Ford said he has as many as 70 amendments ready to swamp the bill if his proposal does not succeed. Each day, the measure's vulnerability is emphasized. While the bill's proponents reluctantly accepted the tax cut at the insistence of Republicans, its inclusion has angered other supporters. Public health groups and the National Governors Association are concerned that billions in tobacco revenues, destined for state coffers and anti-smoking programs, have been diverted to pay for the tax cut.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Illegal Drug Scene Spurs Rise In Police Corruption ('The Los Angeles Times' Says Law Enforcement Corruption, Sparked Mostly By Drug Prohibition, Has Become Rampant In Big And Small Towns - The Number Of Federal, State And Local Officials Sentenced To Federal Prison Has Multiplied Five Times In Four Years, According To A New Study, 'Misconduct To Corruption,' Compiled By Officials From 15 Cities And The FBI, Which Will Be Reviewed This Weekend By Police From More Than 50 Major Cities Meeting In Sun Valley, Idaho)Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 09:52:56 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Illegal Drug Scene Spurs Rise in Police Corruption Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Fax: 213-237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 Author: Jack Nelson, Ronald J. Ostrow, Times Staff Writers ILLEGAL DRUG SCENE SPURS RISE IN POLICE CORRUPTION * Number of officials jailed has multiplied 5 times in 4 years, study says. Effect is felt in big, little towns. WASHINGTON--Law enforcement corruption, sparked mostly by illegal drugs, has become so rampant that the number of federal, state and local officials in federal prisons has multiplied five times in four years, from 107 in 1994 to 548 in 1998, according to a new study. The official corruption, which has raged for years in the nation's big cities, is also spreading to the hinterlands. "It's a big problem across the country, in big towns and small towns, and it's not getting any better," says Chicago Police Supt. Mike Hoke. Hoke was head of the force's narcotics unit until three years ago, when officials, suspecting that some officers were deeply involved in the drug rackets, put him in charge of internal affairs to begin an investigation that is still underway. "So far, we've sent 15 police to the penitentiary," Hoke said. "And we're not done yet." Los Angeles, New York, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Washington, New Orleans and Savannah, Ga., are among the other cities that have experienced major law enforcement scandals involving illegal drugs in recent years. And many smaller communities, especially in the South and Southwest, have been hit by drug-related corruption in police or sheriff's departments. Police officials from more than 50 major cities are meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho, this weekend to review the new report, "Misconduct to Corruption," compiled by officials from 15 cities with assistance from the FBI. The authors of the report sent questionnaires to 52 cities. Of the 37 that responded, all acknowledged continuing problems with general corruption and misconduct in 1997. Altogether, they reported 187 felony arrests of officers and 265 misdemeanor arrests. Eighty-five officers were charged with illicit use of drugs, 118 with theft, 148 with domestic violence and nine with driving under the influence of alcohol. The report cited several cases of officers robbing drug dealers. In Indianapolis, one of two officers charged with murdering a drug dealer during a robbery admitted that they had been robbing drug dealers for four years. A big-city police chief, the report concluded, "can expect, on average, to have 10 officers charged per year with abuse of police authority, five arrested for a felony, seven for a misdemeanor, three for theft and four for domestic violence. By any estimation, these numbers are unacceptable." Numbers Tell Only So Much "You can't just look at the numbers" in measuring the effect on the community of "a police officer abusing citizens through corruption," said Neil J. Gallagher, deputy assistant director of the FBI's criminal investigative division. "Corruption erodes public confidence in government." Gallagher, as special agent in charge of the New Orleans FBI office several years ago, directed an investigation that led to convictions of 11 officers and a sweeping overhaul of the city's police department. Underlying causes of corruption there, he said, ranged from "severely underpaying officers to lack of training, poor selection of officers and very little command and control." Some veteran police executives said that, despite recurring reports of corruption, they have the impression that the problem of police corrupted by drug money has subsided somewhat in recent years. In this camp is Robert S. Warshaw, associate director of the National Drug Control Policy Office at the White House and former Rochester, N.Y., police chief. Warshaw said that law enforcement agencies have become much more aware of the problem and "there's a high level of accountability internally." Many other experts see little or no abatement of police corruption. "It's going on all over the country," said former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara, "and corruption ranges from chiefs and sheriffs on down to officers. Every week we read of another police scandal related to the drug war--corruption, brutality and even armed robbery by cops in uniform." McNamara, now a research fellow at the Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, has concluded that preventing drug trafficking is "an impossible job." "The sheer hopelessness of the task has led many officers to rationalize their own corruption," McNamara said. "They say: 'Why should the enemy get to keep all the profits?' Guys with modest salaries are suddenly looking at $10,000 or more, and they go for it." Even veteran officers can succumb. One is Rene De La Cova, a federal Drug Enforcement Administration supervisor in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., whose photograph ran in newspapers from coast to coast in 1989 when he took custody of Panamanian strongman Manuel A. Noriega from the U.S. military forces who had captured him. Five years later, De La Cova pleaded guilty to stealing $760,000 in laundered drug money and was sentenced to two years in prison. Protecting Others Seen as a Virtue Police often work in a culture in which protecting their colleagues is a virtue. Ed Samarra, police chief in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Va., learned that during his five years in the internal affairs section of Washington's police department. "I never encountered an officer willing to talk about the conduct of another officer, even if he was videotaped committing a crime," Samarra said. "Some went to prison even though they could have remained free if they had agreed to cooperate." More than 100 Washington officers were arrested during Samarra's five years in internal security. In every instance, he complained, the police union "said our responsibility is to defend our people regardless of whether they are guilty." In Alexandria, by contrast, the police department has a reputation for zero tolerance of misconduct. The police union tells new officers to report misconduct by their colleagues. Those who lie, it warns, will be fired. In Los Angeles County, Sheriff Sherman Block credited his own task force with directing an investigation from 1988 to 1994 that led to the conviction of 26 former narcotics deputies--about 13% of those assigned to narcotics enforcement--for skimming drug money they had seized. Not all county officials agreed with Block that his aggressive internal investigation had been so successful that the scandal actually "somewhat enhanced" the sheriff's department's reputation. He was widely praised, however, for rooting out corruption and condemning the deputies for violating their oaths and dishonoring their badges. The Los Angeles Police Department, while sharply criticized for use of excessive force, has been remarkably free of corruption linked to money or drugs. The independent commission that examined the department in the wake of the Rodney G. King beating noted in its 1991 report that the department had done "an outstanding job, by all accounts, of creating a culture in which officers generally do not steal, take bribes, or use drugs. The LAPD must apply the same management tools that have been successful in attacking those problems to the problem of excessive force." New Orleans, which had one of the nation's most corrupt police departments in the early 1990s, is widely recognized today for its reforms--a sharp increase in hiring standards, pay increases of up to 25% and a reorganization and restaffing of the internal affairs unit. New Orleans officials, working with the FBI, uprooted the bad cops and tightened controls that not only curbed corruption and drug dealing but also helped reduce homicide and other crime rates. Sting Operation Becomes Violent In the FBI's New Orleans sting operation, undercover agents acted as drug couriers who were protected by police officers. The situation became so violent that at one point FBI agents overheard a policeman using his bugged patrol-car phone to order another policeman to kill a woman who had filed a brutality complaint against him. Ten minutes later, before the agents could act, the woman was shot to death. An FBI memo on the killing noted that the undercover operation was terminated earlier than scheduled "because of the extreme violence exhibited by the officers, which included threats to kill the undercover FBI agents acting as couriers and also to steal the cocaine being shipped." Eleven officers and a civilian police employee were convicted of corruption and about 200 police officers were fired. In another major FBI sting operation earlier this year, 59 people in metropolitan Cleveland, including 51 law enforcement and corrections officers, were arrested on charges of protecting the transfer or sale of large amounts of cocaine. DEA Administrator Thomas A. Constantine, a former New York state police superintendent, said that many police departments have adopted policies similar to Alexandria's zero tolerance for misconduct. These departments, he said, have beefed up their internal security units and are recruiting better quality officers by providing better salaries and conducting thorough background checks. But many police departments have failed to take these steps. Raymond Kelly, the U.S. Treasury Department's undersecretary for enforcement and a former New York City police commissioner, contended that many departments conduct inadequate background checks and some are using internal affairs units as "dumping grounds" for problem officers. Kelly said that police forces should be careful to check the lifestyles of their drug investigators. "I've never seen an officer get involved in corruption to put food on the table," he said. "It's always for something like cars or drugs or girlfriends." As New York's deputy police commissioner in 1992, Kelly headed an investigation of the department's internal affairs unit during a drug-linked corruption inquiry. Kelly, seeking to become more directly involved in law enforcement and the war on drugs, has stepped down as the No. 2 Treasury Department official to become commissioner of the Customs Service. In that role, which he will begin next week, his first challenge will be to take a hard look at Customs' internal affairs unit. Copyright Los Angeles Times
------------------------------------------------------------------- Report Tracks Problem Of Corrupt Cops ('San Francisco Chronicle' Version) Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 23:36:25 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Report Tracks Problem Of Corrupt Cops Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom O'Connell) Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ REPORT TRACKS PROBLEM OF CORRUPT COPS WASHINGTON - In greater numbers and in more places than ever, police are succumbing to the temptations posed by huge sums of cash from illegal drugs. Official corruption has become so rampant that the number of federal, state and local officials in federal prisons has grown fivefold over the last four years, increasing from 107 in 1994 to 548 today, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons. Although only a tiny fraction of the nation's law enforcement officials are behind bars, the increase in their numbers reflects a harsh reality: Despite the government's "war on drugs," the problem is defying concerted efforts to stamp it out. Police officials of 52 major cities are meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho, this weekend to review a new report, "Misconduct to Corruption," compiled by officials from 15 cities with FBI assistance. The authors of the report sent questionnaires to all 52 cities. Of the 37 that responded, all acknowledged continuing problems with general corruption and misconduct in 1997. Altogether, they reported 187 felony arrests of officers and 265 misdemeanor arrests. Eighty-five officers were charged with illicit use of drugs, 118 with theft, 148 with domestic violence and nine with driving under the influence of alcohol. 1998 - Chronicle News Services
------------------------------------------------------------------- DEA Extends Deadline For Public Comment (Bulletin From The Colorado Hemp Initiative Project And The Hawai'i Hemp Council Notes You Now Have Until June 30 To Protest The Drug Enforcement Administration's Plans To Spray Toxic Herbicides On Wild Hemp In The United States) Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 23:08:41 -0600 (MDT) From: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" (email@example.com) Subject: DEA Extends Deadline for Public Comment *** DEA ERADICATION PLAN DEADLINE FOR COMMENT EXTENDED TO JUNE 30 Please re-distribute and re-post this announcement. For more information and updates, see: http://www.levellers.org/cannabis.html *** ACTION ALERT: Stop Herbicide DEAth Squads Prepared by the Colorado Hemp Initiative Project (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Hawai'i Hemp Council (email@example.com) Updated June 12, 1998 DEA Takes Public Comment on Chemical Herbicides to Eradicate Cannabis The "Draft Supplement to the Environmental Impact Statements for Cannabis Eradication in the Contiguous United States and Hawaii" (DSEIS) is available online at: http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/programs/cannibis/pubmeet/fednoti.htm (Note: the misspelling of cannabis is the DEA's, not ours.) Deadline for written comment: June 30, 1998 Comments can be sent to: Mr. Jack Edmundson Project Leader Environmental Analysis and Documentation USDA/APHIS/PPD 4700 River Road, Unit 149 Riverdale, MD 20737-1238 Phone: (301)-734-4844 Fax: (301)-734-5992 Summary: This plan is an update to the 1985 and 1986 Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) on cannabis eradication. In the Draft Supplement EIS (DSEIS), the DEA seeks to add triclopyr as an herbicide replacement for paraquat (which has been discovered to be toxic to humans since it was approved in 1985) and add amine formulations of 2,4-D to its list of approved chemical herbicides. The DEA will continue the use of glyphosate (Roundup). The DEA also seeks to implement a new technology, called "aerial directed treatment of herbicides" from helicopters, which it claims to be safer than "broadcast aerial treatment". The DEA would also like to allow the use of certain chemical dyes as markers in combination with aerial application. Please use this opportunity to speak out against chemical pollution. *** DEATHS CAUSED BY PESTICIDES EACH YEAR = 10,000 DEATHS CAUSED BY CANNABIS IN OVER 10,000 YEARS OF CONSTANT USE = ZERO *** Distributed as a public service by the: Colorado Hemp Initiative Project P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466 Vmail: (303) 448-5640 Email:
Web: http://www.welcomehome.org/cohip.html http://www.levellers.org/cannabis.html "Fighting over 60 years of lies and dis-information with 10,000 years of history and fact." ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE??? *** To be added to or removed from our mailing list, send email with the word SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE in the title.
------------------------------------------------------------------- DrugSense Focus Alert Number 68 - Rosenthal Attacks DrugSense, MAP, And You! (DrugSense Gives You Ammunition To Help Fulfill Yesterday's Prediction By 'New York Times' Prohibitionist AM Rosenthal That 'Hours After Publication Of This Column, Masses Of Denunciatory E-Mail Letters To The Editor Will Arrive At The Times') Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 09:22:18 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: (ANOTHER) URGENT FOCUS Alert ROSENTHAL ATTACKS DRUGSENSE, MAP, and YOU! FOCUS Alert No. 68 Abe Rosenthal NY Times ABE ROSENTHAL ATTACKS DRUGSENSE, MAP, and YOU! It's unfortunate that right on the heels of the News York Times excellent editorial we must go from accolades to reprimands but this latest Rosenthal rant cannot go unchallenged. We have generated a number of Focus Alerts lately and the response levels have been terrific. We hope your writing talent and persistence can generate another good letter (or even just a sentence or two) to respond to the obvious negative reference to the MAP effort as well as the outstanding press coverage generated by other reform groups. Disparaging remarks from one of reforms most strident critics is not new but this is a direct frontal assault. Abe Rosenthal is not likely to change his mind but his direct reference to our letter writing shows clearly what an impact we're having. Please write the New York Times and respond to the article below. Thanks as always for your dedication. We're winning one letter at a time. WRITE A LETTER - HELP CHANGE THE WORLD Persistence overcomes Resistance *** PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID ( Letter, Phone, fax etc.) Please post your letters or report your action to the MAPTalk list if you are subscribed, or return a copy to this address by simply hitting REPLY to this FOCUS Alert or E-mailing to MGreer@mapinc.org *** CONTACT INFO New York Times email@example.com "EXTRA CREDIT" Got a 6-800 word masterpiece that is pertinent to national or int'l drug policy issues? Send it here. Get an Oped in the NYT and you're are an overnight reform celebrity. Editorials firstname.lastname@example.org *** Newshawk: email@example.com (Dick Evans) Source: New York Times (NY) Author: A. M. Rosenthal Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 POINTING THE FINGER The three-day meeting on fighting drugs was one of the more useful United Nations conferences in decades. It was well led by Pino Arlacchi, the Italian Mafia-buster, drew chiefs of state and narcotics specialists from every part of the world, and wound up with a plan to eliminate the growing of illegal heroin and cocaine in 10 years -- certainly difficult but certainly doable. So, months before the opening Monday, a campaign to attack the conference was planned. It was worked out by Americans who devote their careers and foundation grants not to struggling against narcotics but legalizing them under one camouflage or another. Before the first gavel, they were ready with advertisements writing off the conference, had rounded up American and European signatures denouncing the war against drugs as a failure, and had mobilized their network of web sites. They convinced one or two convincible journalists that people opposed to the anti-drug effort had been banned from talking at meetings of specialists and organizations. That's strange, because at the very first forum I attended there were as many legalizers as drug fighters making statements and asking questions. The propaganda was professionally crafted. Hundreds of well-known people and wannabes signed an opening-day two-page advertisement in The Times. It had no proposals except for a "dialogue," which already has gone on a half-century. The word "legalization" was not used. Legalizers and their financial quartermasters know Americans are 87 percent against legalization. So now they use camouflage phrases like "harm reduction" -- permitting drug abuse without penalty, the first step toward de facto legalization. One signer told me that she did indeed favor legalization but that in such campaigns you just don't use words that will upset the public. I have more respect for her, somewhat, than for prominent ad-signers who deny drug legalization is the goal. And for signers who, God help us, do not even know the real goal, here's a statement by Dr. Ethan Nadelmann, now George Soros' chief narcotics specialist and field commander, in 1993 when he still spoke, unforked, about legalization: "It's nice to think that in another 5 or 10 years . . . the right to possess and consume drugs may be as powerfully and as widely understood as the other rights of Americans are." Plain enough? The conference is finished, legalizers are not. Hours after publication of this column, masses of denunciatory E-mail letters to the editor will arrive at The Times. Judging by the past, the web-site chiefs will announce gleefully that virtually all the letters The Times printed supported them, and how much that publicity would have cost if they had to pay for it. Anti-drug letters will arrive too late. Now, I have a problem. Knowing that Americans are so against legalization and the multiplication of addiction, crime and destroyed souls it will create, I ask myself why I write about legalizers at all. They live by publicity, which can mean more millions from Mr. Soros and a few other backers. But the legalization minority includes many intellectuals, academics, journalists and others with access to lecture rooms, print and TV. So consistently do they spread their falsehood that the drug war has failed that even some Americans who want to fight drugs believe there's no use trying. America still suffers agonizingly from illegal drugs, but as President Clinton told the U.N., overall U.S. drug use has dropped 49 percent since 1979, cocaine use has dropped 70 percent since 1985, crime usually related to drugs has decreased five years in a row. Yet the anti-drug movement has never rallied to tell Americans about the legalizers, identities and techniques. Washington and the U.N, including Mr. Arlacci, have even softened their language -- such as not using the phrase "drug war" anymore. Washington's big new anti-drug ad campaign will be useful, but not very, unless it not only urges parents to talk to children, but parents to talk to other parents, about the legalizers, in or out of camouflage. Surely it is time for the President to dissect America's legalizers and publicly point the finger at them. If he is too delicate, or politically fearful, the rest of us will have to do the job of denying them acceptability or cover; it's worth the space. *** Sample Letter (SENT 6/13) Dear Editor: In his latest diatribe denouncing those who are opposed to our foolish drug laws (POINTING THE FINGER NYT 6/12) Abe Rosenthal laments that letters to the New York Times that are in favor of the drug war will arrive too late to be published. What nonsense! Letters from those who think the drug war is a booming success are non existent. Rosenthal's one man crusade to prop up and put a fresh face on the dying, unpopular, and monumentally wasteful "war on drugs" is comprised largely of tired rhetoric, hostility, and resentment. Abe is correct in one respect. The Times will get a lot of letters from those people who are wise to the fact that $50 billion will be wasted on the drug war again this year and the result will be, as it has been for decades, that any school child can buy illicit drugs at will anywhere in the country. This certainly sounds like a waste of money to me. I wonder why Abe doesn't think so? These letter writers don't have the luxury of having access to print space on demand for any disparaging rant like the oft printed but rarely accurate Rosenthal. I challenge the New York Times to print every letter on the subject of Rosenthal's editorial. Let's see how many support him and his love of the war on drugs and how many think he's full of hooey. Mark Greer (contact info) *** Mark Greer Media Awareness Project (MAP) inc. d/b/a DrugSense MGreer@mapinc.org http://www.DrugSense.org/ http://www.mapinc.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- MAP Chat Room Open Tonight (The Media Awareness Project Sponsors An International Online Forum 9 PM Eastern Time Saturdays-Sundays - No Special Software Required) Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 15:29:47 -0400 To: email@example.com From: Richard Lake (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: HT: Reminder: http://www.mapinc.org/chat/ TONIGHT Sender: email@example.com We sponsor an interactive chat room for activists. Point your web browser to: http://www.mapinc.org/chat/ and join the discussion. The chat starts at about 9:00 p.m on Saturday and Sunday night Eastern time in the U.S. and Canada. Folks drop in and leave as their time allows over about a three hour period. No special software required. While most the folks who stop by to chat are from Canada and the United States, we have had visitors from Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, the U.K. and New Zealand. Richard
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug War Vets Say Don't Police Marijuana (An Op-Ed In 'The Vancouver Sun' By Neil Boyd, A Criminology Professor At Simon Fraser University, John Conroy, The Lawyer Who Defended Randy Caine In His Constitutional Challenge, And Gil Puder, A Vancouver Police Officer, Explains How One Letter From The Attorney-General Could Decriminalize Cannabis And Improve The Lives Of All British Columbians) Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 00:06:02 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Drug War Vets Say Don't Police Marijuana Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Anonymous Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 Source: Vancouver Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.vancouversun.com/ Authors: Neil Boyd, John Conroy, and Gil Puder Note: Neil Boyd is a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University; John Conroy is a lawyer; he defended Randy Caine; Gil Puder is a Vancouver police officer and college instructor. DRUG WAR VETS SAY DON'T POLICE MARIJUANA * A cop, a lawyer, and an academic believe one letter from the attorney-general directing police not to enforce the law of the land would diminish the contribution of cannabis to criminal acts like gang cultivation: *** The moderate use of cannabis by healthy adults, even over many years, risks neither the health of the user nor of society, scientific and medical researchers are beginning to agree. Remember these words, reader, when you next participate in, or are exposed to, the highly charged, long overdue debate over Canada's illicit-drug policies - and, equally important, their impact on individual Canadians and our swamped justice and health-care systems. Remember them especially if that debate degenerates into an exchange of volleys between prohibitionist drug-warriors and laissez-faire libertarians in which the principal casualty is socially responsible alternatives to their extreme positions. Implicitly, the Canadian courts have done much recently to publicize the emerging medical and scientific consensus that cannabis is relatively benign.  Last August, the Ontario Court (general division) in R. v Clay found a general agreement among the experts that moderate use of marijuana causes no physical or psychological harm.  Last December, the Ontario Court of Justice (provincial division) in R. v Parker declared that persons possessing or cultivating cannabis for their personal medically approved use were exempt from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The court stayed possession and cultivation charges against an epileptic user.  In April, the provincial court of British Columbia in R. v Caine granted an absolute discharge to a recreational pot user. "The current widespread use of marijuana does not appear to have had any significant impact on the health-care system of this province and, more importantly, it has not been perceived by our health-care officials as a significant concern, either provincially or nationally,'' the judge wrote. Marijuana is clearly the leading candidate for "delisting" from the illicit-drug trade. We would like to propose a first, modest step forward: The legislation that "criminalizes" marijuana use is the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. It is federal legislation and it may be unrealistic to expect Ottawa to change it. Not only can centrist governments be rather clumsy when addressing community interests, but the increasing potential for either an election or leadership contest makes our justice and health ministers unlikely risk-takers. Law enforcement falls under provincial jurisdiction, however, and thus appears to be a more practical place to begin drug-law reform. Consider the consequences of this possible policy directive: Effective this date, the provincial Attorney-General directs all Chiefs of Police and RCMP Commanding Officers to adhere to the following guidelines when they, or members under their command, enforce the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, with respect to cannabis (marijuana): S. 4(1) Possession shall not be enforced against a person who has achieved the age of 19 years, except when that person is found to be in possession in the following circumstances: 1. In a public school or on school grounds; 2. While consuming cannabis on public property. 3. While operating a motor vehicle or vessel when impaired; 4. Of the quantity possessed exceeds 30 grams. S. 5(1) Trafficking shall not be enforced against a person when all parties to the transaction have reached the age of 19 years, the quantity of cannabis exchanged is no more than 30 grams, and there is no profit arising from the transaction. Cultivation of no more than three cannabis plants shall be permitted upon private property. Any exception to these restrictions requires the specific approval of the commanding officer of the jurisdiction. Enforcement of any municipal anti-smoking bylaws will continue to be expected. Suddenly, consenting adults might consume marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, without fear of prosecution. Canadians are regularly criminalized for simple possession: Nearly 20,000 people were prosecuted in 1996; the Caine prosecution involved half a gram. Although some of these people already had records, a significant number were labeled criminals for the first time, creating potential disabilities for employment and travel. Under our proposal: q People could cultivate plants for personal use, thereby, avoiding the criminal black market. q Parents concerned about having pot at home could obtain a small amount, without fear of arrest. Doctors and nurses seeking marijuana for their patients would no longer have to send them to drug dealers offering a potentially contaminated product. Under our proposal: * Enforcement priorities such as drug-free schools and trafficking to young people could be continued or enhanced. * Large-scale cultivation operations would probably continue, primarily for export, but would be fewer in number and thus more vulnerable to police intervention. Recreational users would no longer be contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to the criminal-gangs operators. * With credibility restored to law enforcement, the courts would be more likely to view those charges brought forward with more seriousness. There are international and Canadian precedents for the use of a provincial directive like the one proposed here. A two-year study of decriminalization in the state of South Australia reported no increase in marijuana use, compared to other Australian states continuing criminal prohibition. Holland maintains criminal sanctions for simple possession, yet a long-standing official non-enforcement policy has resulted in some of the lowest marijuana use in the Western world. Belgium recently announced that it will decriminalize. Regional policing policies for federal law have a long history in Canada. In December, B.C.'s attorney-general announced comprehensive diversion guidelines for Criminal Code enforcement of property crime and minor assaults. Some police officials may protest, but their views fall contrary to the majority of citizens; in B.C., 63 per cent of the public favour decriminalization. (The objection of police leaders - those who have typically supported the status quo - would certainly raise the issue of whether an agency truly believes in, or is merely paying lip service to community-based policing.) We must emphasize that we are not advocating marijuana use and recognize that any substance, lawful or not, might be abused. Yet the irrational and hypocritical treatment of cannabis is causing great harm to important Canadian institutions. Change must be effected, and soon, for the law to regain its rightful place of respect in society.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hemp Farmers Still Await Go-Ahead From Ottawa ('New Brunswick Telegraph Journal' Version Of Recent News About The Canadian Government Reneging On Its Pledge To Allow Industrial Hemp Production) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Canada: Hemp farmers still await go-ahead from Ottawa Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 12:46:23 -0700 Lines: 104 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: New Brunswick Telegraph Journal Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 Author: MARK REID - Telegraph Journal Hemp farmers still await go-ahead from Ottawa Some application errors have delayed the process MONCTON - Poor paperwork is spoiling the province's inaugural attempt to grow hemp. Enterprising farmers from across the province eagerly sent in applications to grow the sister plant of marijuana in early April. Now, more than two months later, most of the farmers are still waiting for the go-ahead from Ottawa - thanks to hundreds of error-filled applications, says a Health Canada spokesperson. "Probably a majority of applications had to be returned because things were wrong," says spokesperson Bonnie Fox-McIntyre. "There was information missing. It's taken several weeks to sort out. In some cases, we're still waiting for more information from farmers." Last March, Ottawa caved to pressure from agricultural groups and hemp sellers to change the law which made industrial hemp production illegal. Hemp is a strain of cannabis that, unlike its cousin marijuana, does not contain large amounts of the chemical THC, the ingredient that gets users "high." While hemp doesn't have the same high-inducing qualities as marijuana, it until recently shared the same stigma as being an illegal, dangerous plant. Hemp's bad reputation is not shared by countries outside of North America. In countries like China, Russia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain and France, hemp is a source of more than 25,000 products, including paper, building materials, textiles, rope, soap, cosmetics, food additives and paint. The change of regulations that allows the growing of hemp was considered a victory by many as an acknowledgement of the fibre's potential as a cash crop for Canada's farmers. Some believe this could be the beginning of a brand new industry for Atlantic Canada, if farmers and governments act quickly enough. Now, however, it seems valuable planting time is being lost to bureaucratic red tape. Chuck Schom is a St. Stephen-area would-be hemp grower. He's working with several other New Brunswick farmers to grow test plots of hemp. This spring has been perfect for planting, but so far the farmers' planting machinery isn't moving. "I've got 10 farmers and a partner out there saying, 'Hey let's get some action here,' and I can't get any action," Mr. Schom said. "So it's frustrating, yes." Hemp, unlike most other crops, is regulated by Health Canada because of the crop's ties with marijuana. Hemp does contain some THC, but not enough to get a user high. That said, prospective hemp farmers must submit to ultra-rigorous testing and background checks before receiving their licences. Ms. Fox-McIntyre says some farmers have forgotten to attach their criminal background check with their licence application. Others failed to give the coordinates of their farm fields, which is information that is needed for proper surveying. Ms. Fox McIntyre says farmers with muddled applications were notified and had their applications returned. The farmers were then asked to redo and then resubmit their applications for further scrutiny. The end result is that an application process that should take no longer than a week or two has taken months and may take even longer. Making matter worse for some farmers is that Ottawa is processing applications on a first-come, first-served basis. That means farmers down on the list who have made mistakes on their applications may have had to wait weeks before the application errors were even discovered. Ms. Fox-McIntyre said her department is taking the situation very seriously. However, she said no one is really to blame for the application foul-ups. She chalks the whole experience up to rookie errors on both sides. "We don't have a master plan. This is the first year - there's no precedent to tell you how long it takes. I don't think the fault lies in any one place because this is the first year." Mr. Schom agreed that this year's delay is largely "teething pains." However, he's still concerned about getting the licences issued quickly so farmers here can salvage what's left of the growing season. "It's teething pains, but it doesn't make it any easier," Mr. Schom said. "It's frustrating and there's more than a little concern on my part because I know the clock is ticking."
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Hard Line (The Toronto 'Globe And Mail' Prints An Op-Ed From 'The Wall Street Journal' By The Notorious American Drug-War Zealot, Dr. Sally Satel, Opposing Heroin Maintenance And Trying To Discredit Its Recent Success In Switzerland) Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 20:14:26 -0400 From: Carey Ker (email@example.com) Subject: Canada GE: OPED -- The Hard Line To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: The Globe and Mail, page D9 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Saturday, June 13, 1998 Autor: Sally Satel The Hard Line By Sally Satel The Wall Street Journal New York One hundred years ago, German chemists introduced heroin to the world Last Saturday, the New York Academy of Medicine held a conference celebrating the drug's latest use, "heroin maintenance": medically supervised distribution of pure heroin to addicts. The Academy's First International Conference on Heroin Maintenance introduces to our shores the latest example of the pernicious drug treatment philosophy, "harm reduction." Harm reduction holds that drug abuse is inevitable, so society should try to minimize the damage done to addicts by drugs (disease, overdose) and to society by addicts (crime, health-care costs). Its advocates present harm reduction as a rational compromise between the alleged futility of the drug war and the extremism of outright legalization. But since harm reduction makes no demands on addicts, it consigns them to their addiction, aiming only to allow them to destroy themselves in relative "safety" -- and at taxpayer expense. The recent debate over needle exchange illuminates the political strategy of harm reductionists. First, present the public with a specious choice: Should a drug addict shoot up with a clean needle or a dirty one? (Unquestioned is the assumption that he should shoot up at all.) Then, misrepresent the science as Health and Human Services secretary Donna Shalala did when she pronounced "airtight" the evidence that needle exchange reduces that rate of HIV transmission. And so it is with heroin maintenance. First, the false dichotomies: pure vs. contaminated heroin: addicts who commit crime to support their habits vs. addicts who don't. Then the distortion of evidence. The Lindesmith Center, one of the conference sponsors, claims that "a landmark Swiss study has successfully maintained heroin addicts on injectable heroin for almost two years, with dramatic reductions in illicit drug use and criminal activity as well, improving health and social adjustment." In fact, the Swiss "experiment," conducted by the federal Office of Public Health from 1994 to 1996, was not very scientific. Addicts in the 18-month study were expected to inject themselves with heroin under sterile conditions at the clinic three times a day. They also received extensive counseling, psychiatric services and social assistance. Results: The proportion of individuals claiming they supported themselves with illegal income dropped to 10 per cent from 70 per cent; homelessness fell to 1 per cent from 12 per cent. Permanent employment rose to 32 per cent from 14 per cent, but welfare dependency also rose to 27 per cent from 18 per cent. These numbers may look promising, but it's hard to know what they mean. Addicts received so many social services -- five times more money was spent on them than is the norm in standard treatment -- that heroin maintenance itself may have played no role in any overall improvement. Definitions of success were loose as well. Anyone who kept attending the program, even intermittently, was considered "retained." By this standard, more than two-thirds made it through -- a much higher retention rate than in conventional treatment. But considering that the program gave addicts pharmaceutical-grade heroin at little or no cost, it's astonishing that the numbers weren't higher. What's more, the researchers did not compare heroin maintenance with conventional treatments such as methadone or residential abstinence-oriented care. They abandoned their plan to assign patients randomly to heroin maintenance or conventional methadone -- because, among other reasons, the subjects, not surprisingly, strongly preferred heroin. The Swiss heroin experiment was born out of desperation. in the mid-1980's, the Swiss government became disenchanted with drug treatment and turned to a policy of sanctioned drug use in designated open areas. But this was unsuccessful; the most visible failures being the squalid deterioration of Zurich's Platzspitz Park (the notorious "Needle Park") and the syringe-littered Letten railway station. It is telling that harm-reduction efforts have evolved in countries that provide addicts with a wide array of government benefits. Rather than throw up their hands at the poor record of drug rehabilitation, the Swiss and others should acknowledge tha extent to which welfare services enable addiction by shielding addicts from the consequences of their actions. In February, the International Narcotics Control Board of the UN expressed concern that "before completion of the evaluation by the World Health Organization of the Swiss heroin experiment, pressure groups and some politicians are already promoting the expansion of such programs in Switzerland and their proliferation in other countries." And indeed, the trials' principal investigator and project directors have traveled to Australia, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere promoting heroin maintenance. Even if heroin maintenance "worked" -- if it could be proved that heroin giveaways enhanced the addicts' health and productivity -- we would still have to confront the raw truth about harm reduction. It is the public-policy manifestation of the addict's dearest wish: to use free drugs without consequence. Imagine extending this model -- the use of state-subsidized drugs, the offer of endless social services and the expectation of nothing in return -- to America's hard-core addicts. This week the UN General Assembly opened a special session on global drug-control policy. Harm-reduction advocates will tell the world body that drug abuse is a human right and that the only compassionate response is to make it safer to be an addict. But heroin maintenance is wrong. As an experiment, thus far it is scientifically groundless. As public-health policy it will always be a posture of surrender. Dr. Satel is a psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rival Strategies Face Off At UN (The Toronto 'Globe And Mail' Presents An Op-Ed By Ethan Nadelmann Of The Lindesmith Center, 'The Pragmatic Approach,' From 'Foreign Affairs') Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 20:45:01 -0400 From: Carey Ker (email@example.com) Subject: Canada GE: OPED -- The Pragmatic Approach To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: The Globe and Mail, page D9 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Saturday, June 13, 1998 Author: Ethan A. Nadelman Rival Strategies Face Off at UN Eighty Canadians have joined hundreds of world leaders and activists in signing a petition calling for the liberalization of drug laws. The petition was presented this week at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly. The petition urges the adoption of more innovative measures in dealing with the drug trade and drug addiction than those afforded by the criminal justice system. However, the UN session adopted a hard line in its declared goal of stemming the world production of heroin, cocaine and marijuana within the next ten years. International dignitaries such as former UN secretary-general Javier Perez de Cuellar, former U.S. state secretary George Shultz and former U.S. surgeon-general M. Jocelyn Elders were joined in signing by such Canadians as Senator Sharon Carstairs, New Democratic Party leader Alexa McDonough, former Ottawa mayor Marion Dewar, lawyers Clayton Ruby and Edward Greenspan, and author Jane Jacobs. The protest is backed by the New York-based Lindesmith Center and drug-reform groups from around the world. These groups promote such programs as needle-exchange and heroin maintenance and they lobby for the decriminalization of street drugs. Here are two articles, one reprinted from Foreign Affairs Magazine, the other from the Wall Street Journal, offering very different perspectives on this volatile issue. *** [Portland NORML notes - The essay below seems to be condensed from an article in the January-February issue of 'Foreign Affairs' titled 'Commonsense Drug Policy'. The article referred to from 'The Wall Street Journal' is Sally Satel's column, above.] *** The Pragmatic Approach By Ethan A. Nadelmann Foreign Affairs Magazine New York Both at home and abroad, the U.S. government has attempted to block resolutions supporting harm reduction, suppress scientific studies that reached politically inconvenient conclusions, and silence critics of official drug policy. In May 1994 the State Department forced the last-minute cancellation of a World Bank conference on drug trafficking to which critics of U.S. drug policy had been invited. That December the U.S. delegation to an international meeting of the U.N. Drug Control Program refused to sign any statement incorporating the phrase "harm reduction." In early 1995 the State Department successfully pressured the World Health Organization to scuttle the release of a report it had commissioned from a panel that included many of the world's leading experts on cocaine. Why? Because the report included the scientifically incontrovertible observations that traditional use of coca leaf in the Andes causes little harm to users and that most consumers of cocaine use the drug in moderation with few detrimental effects. Hundreds of congressional hearings have addressed multitudinous aspects of the drug problem, but few have inquired into the European harm-reduction policies described above. When former Secretary of State George Shultz, then -Surgeon General M. Joycelyn Elders, and Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke pointed to the failure of current policies and called for new approaches, they were mocked, fired, and ignored, respectively - and thereafter mischaracterized as advocating the outright legalization of drugs. In Europe, in contrast, informed, public debate about drug policy is increasingly common in government, even at the EU level. In June 1995 the European Parliament issued a report acknowledging that "there will always be a demand for drugs in our societies . . . the policies followed so far have not been able to prevent the illegal drug trade from flourishing." The EU called for serious consideration of the Frankfurt Resolution, a statement of harm-reduction principles supported by a transnational coalition of 31 cities and regions. In October 1996 Emma Bonino, the European commissioner for consumer policy, advocated decriminalizing soft drugs and initiating a broad prescription program for hard drugs. Even Raymond Kendall, secretary general of Interpol, was quoted in the August 20, 1994, Guardian as saying, "The prosecution of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens every year is both hypocritical and an affront to individual, civil and human rights . . . Drug use should no longer be a criminal offense. I am totally against legalization, but in favor of decriminalization for the user." One can, of course, exaggerate the differences between attitudes in the United States and those in Europe and Australia. Many European leaders still echo French President Jacques Chirac's punitive, U.S.-style antidrug pronouncements. And the Dutch have had to struggle against French and other efforts to standardize more punitive drug laws and policies within the EU. Conversely, support for harm-reduction approaches is growing in the United States, notably and vocally among public health professionals but also, more discreetly, among urban politicians and police officials. The 1996 victories at the polls for California's Proposition 215, which legalizes the medicinal use of marijuana, and Arizona's Proposition 200, which allows doctors to prescribe any drug they deem appropriate and mandates treatment rather than jail for those arrested for possession, suggest that Americans are more receptive to drug policy reform than politicians acknowledge. But Europe and Australia are generally ahead of the United States in their willingness to discuss openly and experiment pragmatically with alternative policies that might reduce the harm to both addicts and society. Public health officials in many European cities work closely with police, politicians, private physicians, and others to coordinate efforts. Community policing treats drug dealers and users as elements of the community that need not be expelled but can be made less trouble some. Such efforts, including crackdowns on open drug scenes in Zurich, Bern, and Frankfurt, are devised and implemented in tandem with initiatives to address health and housing problems. In the United States, in contrast, politicians presented with new approaches do not ask, "Will they work?" but only, "Are they tough enough?" Many legislators are reluctant to support drug treatment programs that are not punitive, coercive, and prison-based, and many criminal justice officials still view prison as a quick and easy solution for drug problems. The lessons from Europe and Australia are compelling. Drug control policies should focus on reducing drug-related crime, disease, and death, not the number of casual drug users. Stopping the spread of HIV by and among drug users by making sterile syringes and methadone readily available must be the first priority. American politicians need to explore, not ignore or automatically condemn, promising policy options such as cannabis decriminalization, heroin prescription, and the integration of harm-reduction principles into community policing strategies. Central governments must back, or at least not hinder, the efforts of municipal officials and citizens to devise pragmatic approaches to local drug problems. Like citizens in Europe, the American public has supported such innovations when they are adequately explained and allowed to prove themselves. As the evidence comes in, what works is increasingly apparent. All that remains is mustering the political courage. Ethan A. Nadelmann is director of the Lindesmith Center, a drug-policy research institute in New York.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Plague On Both Their Houses (Letter Sent To The Editor Of The Toronto 'Globe And Mail' Notes Both Ethan Nadelmann And Dr. Sally Satel Have Built Financially Rewarding Careers Out Of The Continuing War On Drugs, And Suggests Freedom Is A Better Alternative Than Either Harm Reduction Or The War On Some Drug Users) Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 20:03:53 -0700 (PDT) To: letters@GlobeAndMail.ca From: email@example.com (Alan Randell) Subject: A plague on both their houses Editor Globe and Mail Toronto letters@GlobeAndMail.ca June 13, 1998 Dear Editor: The title says it all, "Battle of the drug warriors (June 13). Both Ethan Nadelmann and Sally Satel have built financially-rewarding careers out of the continuing war on drugs, and to judge by the tenor of their articles, neither wants the problem solved any time soon. No surprise there. Why would drug war mercenaries want peace? Ms Satel wants the current situation to continue, with its concomitant problems of death, HIV epidemics, burgeoning crime and jammed courts and prisons. Mr Nadelmann, on the other hand, invokes the mantra of "harm reduction", which means that heroin and cocaine users are not punished but supplied, at taxpayers' expense, with drugs and/or needles. Had Nadelmann been around during alcohol prohibition to promote his dopey harm reduction ideas, alcoholics today would be handing over doctors' prescriptions at the pharmacy for free booze while the rest of us would be relying on the neighbourhood bootlegger. In any event, both Nadelmann's and Satel's approaches ensure lots of jobs for drug "experts" like them. Incredibly, neither mentioned the word, "marijuana", the most popular illegal drug of all, or, indeed, the word, "prohibition," which is the underlying cause of the whole problem in the first place. I should like to suggest a third option - freedom. We can put an end to the suffering and brutality of drug prohibition simply by restoring to our people the freedom to ingest or manufacture or distribute ANY DRUG, a freedom that was taken away from them during the early years of this sorry century - ANY DRUG, whether or not the state's doctors feel it is harmful. So let's do it. Let's end drug prohibition and treat ourselves to the spectacle of thousands upon thousands of unemployed drug experts, drug lawyers, drug judges, drug prison guards and drug police officers protesting in the streets. God willing, Ethan Nadelmann and Sally Satel will be in the crowd, perhaps carrying signs, "Will write pompous anti-drug articles for food." Alan Randell
------------------------------------------------------------------- Government Defies Court Order To Open Files On 'Illegal' Drug Sting ('The Ottawa Citizen' The Federal Government Is Blocking The Disclosure Of Legal Opinions And Other Documents Showing How RCMP Brass Approved Undercover Currency Exchange Operations In Montreal And Vancouver) Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 10:18:18 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Government Defies Court Order To Open Files On 'Illegal' Drug Sting Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 Source: Ottawa Citizen (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/ Author: Andrew McIntosh, The Ottawa Citizen GOVERNMENT DEFIES COURT ORDER TO OPEN FILES ON 'ILLEGAL' DRUG STING Privy Council Refuses To Release Secret Cabinet Documents; Justice Department Stops Trial In Mountie Money-Laundering Operation Privy Council Clerk Jocelyne Bourgon said the documents are exempt from disclosure. VANCOUVER -- The federal government, defying a court order, is blocking the disclosure of legal opinions and other documents showing how RCMP brass approved undercover currency exchange operations in Montreal and Vancouver. Deputy RCMP Commissioner Terry Ryan and Jocelyne Bourgon, Clerk of the Privy Council, have each filed sworn affidavits in British Columbia Supreme Court, saying the documents about the police-run currency exchanges are confidential. The covert currency exchanges were designed to flush out drug dealers looking for a quick way to convert tainted Canadian cash into U.S. dollars and bank drafts. But, as the Citizen has reported this week in a series of articles examining the Montreal operation, the cash-strapped and short-staffed undercover unit was overwhelmed by the amount of business it received and could keep track of only a fraction of the illicit drug loot and suspected cocaine dealers passing through. While the RCMP eventually arrested a handful of criminals and recovered $16.5 million in laundered cash, more than $100 million in known and suspected drug money exchanged at the Montreal counter simply vanished, fuelling as much as $2-billion worth of street-level drug sales. Rather than disclose sensitive legal opinions about the legality of the currency exchange operations -- after a British Columbia Supreme Court Justice ordered them made public during a criminal case -- Crown prosecutors asked the judge to stay charges against a B.C. man accused of laundering drug money. And last week, Supreme Court Justice Mary Humphries did stay the charges against the accused, alleged marijuana dealer Frederick Creswell. The Privy Council Office, which reports directly to the prime minister, is the federal department that helps manage the affairs of the cabinet and its key committees. As Clerk of the Privy Council, Ms. Bourgon is the federal government's top public servant. In the affidavit she filed with the B.C. Supreme Court, Ms. Bourgon claimed the documents involved are cabinet confidences and are exempt from disclosure under the Canada Evidence Act. An appendix to her affidavit lists 39 different records or documents that she says are covered by cabinet confidentiality, protecting them for 20 years. The documents include communications between several cabinet ministers, minutes of cabinet meetings, draft legislation, discussion and background papers for ministerial review and briefing notes. In his affidavit, RCMP Deputy Commissioner Ryan said documents exchanged by the police force and its legal advisers in the federal Justice Department are "intended to be communications of a confidential nature." Some are secret communications between deputy justice minister John Tait and the RCMP commissioner in 1993 or 1994, a time when the Montreal and Vancouver operations were both under way. Another document is a legal opinion produced in the 1980s by the former associate deputy attorney general of Canada, Don Christie, about the legality of so-called "reverse sting operations" such as the storefront currency exchanges. The Mounties used Mr. Christie's legal opinion to take the position that the Vancouver and Montreal storefront operations had been deemed legal by federal Justice officials. The Mounties believed that it would be all right for police officers to help drug trafficking, money-laundering criminals exchange their tainted Canadian currency for U.S. dollars because the crimes that officers were trying to detect -- and eventually stamp out -- using the technique were serious. At the time, it was illegal for anyone to have in their possession the financial proceeds of criminal activities. There was no exemption for police officers conducting criminal investigations, though the laws have since been changed. However, the RCMP never made customers of its currency exchanges fill out forms and show identification, as required under federal money-laundering laws, when they exchanged sums exceeding $10,000. When a Montreal man who used the covert RCMP currency exchange was subsequently accused of money laundering, he challenged the legality of the police-run operation in 1995. Quebec Court Judge Pierre Pinard ruled the operation was legal. But when substantial evidence of possible RCMP neglect and wrongdoing began to emerge during the Quebec proceedings, Justice Pinard stopped witnesses and questions from defence lawyers, saying three separate times that he was not there to "conduct a royal commission into the RCMP." Two years later, Madam Justice Humphries examined the legality of the Vancouver operation -- which was entirely modeled after the Montreal storefront -- and declared the RCMP's conduct illegal in that case. In a judgment handed down in January 1998 in the case of Mr. Creswell, Madam Justice Humphries said RCMP officers had knowingly possessed proceeds of crime and failed to get suspects to properly report large currency transactions as required by law. Both were crimes for anybody else who behaved in such a manner, she said. "What is it that makes these officers agents of the Crown and immune from the operation of the law in these circumstances?" she wrote. "Is it that they are pursuing a valid investigation? That their superiors approved the plan? That it worked? That they did not physically harm anyone? That their motives were for the public good? That the end justified the means? That each officer was genuinely convinced his actions did not constitute a crime? "In my view," she concluded, "none of these alone or in combination is enough to justify taking the decision as to what is illegal in this country out of Parliament's hands and putting it into the hands of the officers of the RCMP." The legal opinions and cabinet documents about the currency exchanges are being sought by criminal lawyer John Conroy, who represents Mr. Creswell, a resident of Abottsford, B.C. Mr. Creswell was arrested by the RCMP in 1996 and charged with 22 counts of possessing the proceeds of crime and money laundering. The RCMP alleged that Mr. Creswell used the undercover RCMP currency exchange counter to further his alleged drug-dealing activities in marijuana. Mr. Conroy wants to know what the RCMP and its federal legal advisors knew and discussed before they went ahead with the Vancouver covert operation. On April 1, Madam Justice Humphries agreed with him, rejecting Ms. Bourgon's claim of cabinet confidentiality and ordering the Crown prosecutor in the case to disclose the legal opinions and other documents. "Where there has been a ruling, as there has been here, that the police conduct was illegal," Madam Justice Humphries wrote, "there is an issue which must be dealt with as to whether the conduct is such as to bring the administration of justice into disrepute or is otherwise an abuse of process." She added that the Court needs to examine all the circumstances surrounding the currency exchange operation and what research the police and their legal advisors did to decide that such an operation would be deemed legal. The federal lawyers in the case, Cheryl Tobias and Paul Partridge, were instructed by their Justice department bosses to ignore the court order to disclose the legal opinions. They did not give the court any reasons. The Crown has decided it will appeal the ruling by Madam Justice Humphries. The RCMP's undercover company in Vancouver, which operated under the name Pacific Rim International Currency Exchange, was modeled on the troubled and problem-plagued sister operation run by RCMP peers in Montreal between 1990 and 1994. The Montreal operation was called the Montreal International Currency Center. The Citizen reported this week that during its four-year existence, the RCMP's Montreal company facilitated efforts by Columbian drug traffickers and Canadian biker gangs to import almost 5,000 kilograms of cocaine and sell it throughout central Canada. The RCMP was so short of staff and resources, only a small fraction of the suspects who used the services of the covert currency exchange to launder drug money were investigated, the documents show. There were too few investigators and surveillance teams, there was too little money and not enough technical resources to investigate all the criminals who walked in off the street to use the currency exchange, The Citizen found. Police manpower shortages were so bad that a full two years into the operation one incensed RCMP investigator, Const. Mike Cowley, complained in writing to his superiors that "without the necessary resources and personnel to do proper and complete investigations, it seems like all we are doing is offering a money laundering service for drug traffickers." The Montreal operation exchanged a stunning $141.5 million in known or suspected drug money during its four years of operation and made a $2.5 million profit from its activities during the period. Meanwhile, investigators lost track of $125 million in known and suspected drug money, which ended up floating around North American crime circles and translates into an estimated $2-billion worth of street-level drug sales. Copyright 1998 The Ottawa Citizen
------------------------------------------------------------------- Harm Reduction And Needle Exchange Programmes (The British Medical Journal, 'Lancet,' Lets Notorious Portland, Oregon, Prohibitionist Sandra S Bennett Deflect One Letter To The Editor About Her March 14 Piece Opposing Needle Exchange Programmes, But Truth Wins Out In The Second Letter) Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 00:42:20 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK PUB LTE: Harm reduction and needle exchange programmes Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ricky Bluthenthal Source: Lancet, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.thelancet.com/ Pubdate: 13 Jun 1998 HARM REDUCTION AND NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAMMES Sir--It is profoundly troubling that Sandra Bennett (March 14, p 839)1 cites as "telling indications of the failure of needle exchange programmes" (NEPs) the deaths of two proponents of NEPs from an alleged drug overdose. One of the two individuals she names was John Watters, Director of the Urban Health Study. Personally and professionally, Watters was a committed and tireless researcher whose life's work reflected his passionate belief that public-health interventions and the search for knowledge had to be extended to those from whom society and the medical community often turned away. His contributions to HIV prevention and drug abuse research included not only evaluation of different harm reduction strategies such as street-based education,2 but also the development of innovative methods for community-based sampling of a difficult to access and often hidden population. These studies included the finding that users of NEPs were less likely to engage in syringe sharing,3 a risk factor for HIV infection among injection drug users. Many publications and several major reports support the belief that NEPs do not promote drug abuse in a community, are associated with a reduction in high-risk drug practices, and are likely to reduce the risk of HIV infection. Contrary to Bennett's speculations, studies indicate that NEPs are not associated with an increased risk of hepatitis C4 or with an increase in the number of discarded needles.5 The contention that Baltimore, MD (one of many metropolitan areas throughout the world with an NEP), has a high mortality rate hardly proves that one factor is causally related to the other. Identifying the most effective ways to reduce HIV transmission among injection drug users throughout the world is a critical public health priority. Evidence concerning the potential harm as well as the benefit of NEPs needs to be rigorously examined and openly debated. However, lowering the level of this debate to personal innuendo and insinuation is not the way to go. The preventable death of any individual, whether well known or forgotten, is a tragedy. Exploiting these tragedies to score debating points cheapens us all. Alan R Lifson Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA 1 Bennett SS. Needle-exchange programmes in the USA. Lancet 1998; 351: 839. 2 Watters JK, Downing M, Case P, Lorvick J, Cheng YT, Fergusson B. AIDS prevention for intravenous drug users in the community: street-based education and risk behaviour. Am J Comm Psych 1990; 18: 587-96. 3 Watters JK, Estilo MJ, Clark GL, Lorvick J. Syringe and needle exchange as HIV/AIDS prevention for injection drug users. JAMA 1994; 271: 115-20. 4 Hagan H, Des Jarlais DC, Friedman SR, Purchase D, Alter MJ. Reduced risk of hepatitis B and hepatitis C among injection drug users in the Tacoma syringe exchange program. Am J Publ Health 1995; 85: 1531-37. 5 Oliver KJ, Friedman SR, Maynard H, Magnuson L, Des Jarlais DC. Impact of a needle exchange program on potentially infectious syringes in public places. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 1992; 5: 534-35. Author's reply Sir--It is tragic enough when someone decides to try an illicit substance and becomes addicted, but it is even more distressing when the user is a physician, a person whom the population relies on to be wise, honest, compassionate, and law abiding. Although Alan Lifson recites a number of Watters' contributions, the fact remains that Watters died of a heroin overdose. Like Watters, many of the leaders of the movement to legalise psychoactive and addictive drugs for personal recreational use are professionals, who perhaps seek to justify, sanctify, and exonerate their own illegal and dangerous involvement with illicit drugs. Several studies have shown that even a small amount of cocaine can cause a fatal cardiac episode.1,2 In 1980, Lester Grinspoon of Harvard, an outspoken supporter of legalisation, wrote that "used no more than two or three times a week, cocaine creates no serious problems",3 and in 1988 that cocaine is "a relatively safe, nonaddicting euphoriant agent", and dismissed the idea of cocaine dependence as "moralistic exaggerations".4 There is no doubt that such misleading and unscientific rhetoric, published in prestigious medical journals and repeated on university campuses across the USA, played an important part in the explosion of cocaine use and related deaths. Government-endorsed needle-exchange programmes will give the same message--ie, that it is okay to do it if you do it carefully. The proliferation of needle exchanges as a factor in the death rate in Baltimore was only postulated, but it certainly cannot be disregarded. However, a flyer from the Baltimore City needle exchange states "This program is free and confidential. No identification is needed. There is no minimum age requirement. All that is needed is a desire to live healthier".5 If health and safety were truly a concern of those using injection drugs, then their own personal vial of bleach would be a cheap, easy, and confidential way to avoid HIV contaminated needles, and the use of condoms could prevent sexual transmission of the disease. But many of those using NEPs use them mainly as a resource for finding a supply of drugs, and share needles anyway. Lifson would do well to look carefully at the Canadian studies on needle exchange and the explosion of drug addiction in those cities in which needle exchange programmes have been entrenched. If saving lives is the goal, needle exchange is not the answer. Sandra S Bennett Northwest Center for Health and Safety, PO Box 5853, Portland, OR 97228, USA 1 Liberthson RR. Sudden death from cardiac causes in children and young adults. N Engl J Med 1996; 334: 1043. 2 Morris DC. Cocaine heart disease. Hospital Pract 1991; 26: 83-92. 3 Grinspoon L, Bakalar JB. Drug dependence: non-narcotic agents. In: Kaplan HI, Freedman AM, Sidock BJ, eds. Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry, 3rd edn. Maryland: Williams and Wilkins, 1980. 4 Gawin FH, Ellinwood EH Jr. Cocaine and other stimulants. N Engl J Med 1988; 318: 1173-82. 5 Baltimore City Needle Exchange (April 1-30), 1998. Sir--In her response 1 to your Jan 10 editorial 2 urging the lifting of the federal ban on funding for needle-exchange programmes (NEP) in the USA, Sandra Bennett suggests that overdoses among injection-drug users (IDUs) could result from NEP use. Although there is some debate about the causes of fatal drug overdose,3 it is possible to explore whether there is an association between NEP use and non-fatal overdoses. To do this, we examined cross-sectional data collected by the Urban Health Study from 1114 street-recruited, active IDUs in six San Francisco Bay Area communities in 1997. Study participants were asked to report if they had ever overdosed, how many times they had overdosed, and the month and year when they last overdosed. Of the 1114 respondents, 469 (42%) reported that they had overdosed, 137 of whom overdosed in 1996 or 1997 (referred to hereafter as recent overdose). IDUs who reported that the syringe exchange was their usual source of syringes in the past 6 months and who also reported use of the NEP in the 30 days before interview were classified as NEP users. In our respondents, NEP users were less likely than non-users to report recent overdose (10=B79% vs 14=B73%, p(0=B709). To assess whether the absence of an association between recent overdose and NEP use was due to confounding by other factors, we used multiple logistic regression. Included in the regression model were factors previously associated with overdose (sex, years of injection, alcohol use in the past week, frequency of injection, frequency of heroin injection, and the use of various drugs in the past 30 days). In this model, NEP use was not significantly associated with increased likelihood of recent overdose (adjusted odds ratio 0=B773 [95% CI 0=B750-1=B707]). Indeed, there was a trend towards a protective effect against overdose. No studies to date have found an association between NEP use and increased drug use at the individual or community levels, nor have they been found to foster the use of injection drugs.4 Drug overdose is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among IDUs and is worthy of prevention interventions in its own right. In our sample, 12=B73% of respondents reported a recent overdose. We support the increased use of overdose-prevention strategies, such as expansion of the capacity and diversity of drug treatment, distribution of naloxone to heroin users, and heroin prescription for long-term, treatment-adverse IDUs. Funding was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (grant R01-DA09532) and AIDS Office of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. *Ricky N Bluthenthal, Alex H Kral, Jennifer Lorvick, Elizabeth A Erringer, Brian R Edlin University of California, Urban Health Study, Institute for Health Policy Studies, School of Medicine, Box 1304, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA 1 Bennett SS. Needle exchange programmes in the USA. Lancet 1998; 351: 839. 2 Editorial. Needle-exchange programmes in USA: time to act now. Lancet 1998; 351: 75. 3 Darke S, Zador D. Fatal heroin "overdose" a review. Addiction 1996; 91: 1765-72. 4 Normand J, Vlahov D, Moses L, eds. Preventing HIV transmission:" the role of sterile needles and bleach. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1995.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Bolivian Legislator Who Just Says `Yes' To Coca ('The New York Times' Portrays Evo Morales, Who's Not Embarrassed To Be Photographed Caressing The Coca Bushes That Grow On His Property - During His Election Campaign In The Tropical Region Of Chapare, Which Produces 85 Percent Of The Refined Cocaine Produced In Bolivia, He Ran On The Slogan 'Vote For Coca!' And Won 70 Percent Of The Vote In A Field Of 10) Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 00:23:37 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Bolivia: A Bolivian Legislator Who Just Says `Yes' to Coca Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: isenberd@DynCorp.com (Isenberg, David) Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Author: Clifford Krauss A BOLIVIAN LEGISLATOR WHO JUST SAYS `YES' TO COCA LAUCA ENE, Bolivia -- Like congressmen all over the world, Evo Morales hugs babies and makes fist-thumping speeches. But that's where the similarities end. For starters, this congressman chews coca leaves in public. In fact, as Morales returned to his district recently, he was not at all embarrassed to be photographed caressing the coca bushes that grow on his property. During his election campaign last year, he ran on the slogan "Vote for coca!" He won 70 percent of the vote in a field of 10, which is perhaps not particularly surprising since his district, the tropical region of Chapare, produces 85 percent of the refined cocaine produced in Bolivia every year. At age 38, Morales is the spokesman for six of the seven coca grower unions in Bolivia, and he is the single most powerful politician standing in the way of efforts by the United Nations and the U.S. and Bolivian governments to fight the Bolivian cocaine trade. Since President Hugo Banzer Suarez announced in January his intention to eradicate the coca industry in Chapare by the year 2002, Morales has been leading road blockades and accusing the president and his family of being international traffickers themselves -- charges that he has failed to substantiate but that have won him screaming newspaper headlines and considerable national television exposure. "We'll see who wins in 2002," Morales said, while discussing future protest strategy with the deputy mayor of the town of Villa Catorce over an ample helping of stewed chicken and rice. "If in 2002 there is no coca in Chapare, Banzer wins. If our people are still growing coca, I win." Cocky is a good word to describe the Bolivian legislator. He applauded and laughed when his colleagues made speeches against him in the halls of Congress recently, and he exchanged hearty greetings with policemen who man road blocks in his district. When he plays soccer, he likes to wear the number 10, the number worn by Diego Armando Maradona, the great Argentine star. Still single, he was quoted in a 1995 Bolivian newspaper interview that one day he wanted to be married in a church made of coca leaves. "He's an egotist, but when he enters the room he demands attention," said Oscar Torrico Alvarado, a center-left congressman from neighboring Cochabamba. Morales is controversial, to say the least, although a Dutch human rights group nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 for protecting the rights of peasants who say they are doing nothing more than growing a crop that has been grown in the Andean region for hundreds of years. After Morales openly called on coca growers to defend their lands against army and police units, the government blamed him personally for the killing of three police officers and the wounding of 15 others in a string of ambushes staged since April. He has also been blamed for a rash of threats members of his organization have made to coca growers who have signed agreements with the government to stop growing their illegal crops, a charge that he only partly disputes. "Any threats have been spontaneous," he said. The government party is trying to strip him of the legal immunity from prosecution that he is granted automatically by being a federal legislator. But a majority in the Chamber of Deputies opposed the move to sanction him in large part because it would set a precedent that could someday backfire on a sizable number of congressmen with questionable ethics. Meanwhile, Bolivian law enforcement agencies are trying to find out if he has any ties with international drug traffickers, but U.S. and Bolivian officials concede that they have come up nothing solid so far. "He's a very capable union leader and he knows how to inspire and prepare young people," said Brig. Gen. Walter Cespedes Ramallo, the top Bolivian army commander in Chapare. "But he has to know that to support coca cultivation in Chapare he is defending the interests of the narcotraffickers." Traveling with Morales through his district is an object lesson on how coca permeates the politics and economics of the area that votes for him so resoundingly. Touring his district in sandals and blue jeans, he got out of his van to talk to a woman drying coca leaves on her front yard in the town of Villa Catorce as she complained about the increasing number of peasant associations in the region who were abandoning the crop for fear of government reprisals. "These are our problems," he said, nodding his head glumly. But then, shaking off his own concerns that the unity of the coca growers may be cracking under government pressure, he added, "These are not really unions -- they have no members." The main event of the day was a coca growers union meeting in this sweltering town of wooden shacks set on stilts. As he arrived, the growers were listening to radio reports of an ambush of a government eradication team that left one policeman dead and three wounded. "Did we lose any people?" he asked. During the meeting a young woman flanked by her children began crying uncontrollably about the loss of income her family would suffer if the government campaign was effective. Sitting behind a pile of coca leaves, Morales responded, "It's time to stop crying and start organizing!" Then he went into a blistering attack on the government. "They speak of sedition and treat us like guerrillas," he said. "Banzer is using Chapare to distract the rest of the country from all the other problems the nation faces." Discussing the attempts by his opponents in Congress to strip him of his immunity, he steamed, "Congress is the first mafia of the state. All they know how to do is lie and steal." The 300 union members cheered, and many took copious notes to take back to their locals. Like many of the people of Chapare, Morales originally came from the highlands to find a more prosperous life. He came from a poor subsistence farm family, worked in bakery and took up the trumpet as an adolescent, and even became a professional for awhile. His band specialized in playing the tinku and diabladas, traditional Indian fight and protest music. He never finished high school, and then entered the army. His life-defining epiphany, he said, came in 1978, when he took part in a military action against a march by coca growers protesting a military coup. "When ordered to shoot, I shot over the heads of the protesters," he recalled. "I saw that the biggest defenders of democracy were the cocaleros." Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drugs Fear On Greek Killings ('The Herald Sun' In Australia Says Greek Police Believe Two Melbourne Men Found Dead Off The Greek Coast May Have Been Innocent Victims Of The Local Trade In Illegal Drugs) Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 09:45:49 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Australia: Drugs Fear on Greek Killings Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ken Russell Source: Herald Sun (Australia) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 Authors: Paul Anderson and Sarah Pellegrini DRUGS FEAR ON GREEK KILLINGS TWO Melbourne men found dead off the Greek coast could have been the victims of a drug-related homicide. Sources close to the investigation last night said Greek police believed they could be innocent victims of the local trade. It was still unclear how the two men were killed although family members believe they were murdered in a contract killing gone wrong. On June 3, a fisherman found George Karalis, 28, of Keilor East, and his cousin George Loizos, 31, floating in the sea near Rafina, about 50km from Athens. According to unconfirmed reports, a Greek autopsy showed Mr Loizos had suffered propeller wounds to his chest and may have been restrained at the time of his death. Mr Karalis's body was returned to Melbourne on Tuesday night, and the State Coroner is investigating. A Coroners' Court spokesman said: "Nothing has been determined yet as to a cause of death or the circumstances surrounding the death. "It's too early even to speculate." The spokesman said it was not unusual for the body of a Victorian to be returned home from overseas, despite any continuing police investigation interstate or abroad. "Usually in this type of case, (the return of the body) has been initiated by a party other than police. Like the family for example," he said. A cousin of both men, Mr George Milonas, said Mr Loizos, a film editor, moved to Greece after growing up with Mr Karalis in Melbourne. Mr Karalis, a building engineering student, left Australia for a working holiday in America last November. He then flew to Greece in May to spend time with Mr Loizos in Nea Makri, north of Athens. Mr Milonas confirmed that the pair borrowed a boat on June 2 to meet their Australian uncle on the island of Euboea, but were last seen leaving for Porto Bouphalo after the uncle failed to show up. The two were found dead the next day. Mr Milonas said he had spoken to Mr Karalis every few days during his trip. "He left a message on my message bank on the Saturday before he died," he said. "It was about 10 minutes long and he was just bagging me. He was such a joker, a really good guy." Mr Milonas said his cousin had met a girl in America and was very excited about the relationship. The girl, Heather, had bought an airline ticket to Athens to meet him just hours before hearing of his death. Immediate family heard of the death through reports on a Greek cable television show. "The two Greek authorities handling the incident aren't telling us much, other than that it may have been a contract killing, and we only found out that through the Greek paper," Mr Milonas said. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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