------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Hypocrisy (Letter To The Editor Of 'The Arizona Daily Star' Summarizes The Double Standard In Federal Policies Regarding Assisted Suicide In Oregon And Medical Marijuana In California And Arizona - 'It's OK To Give You Poison In Oregon If You Want To Die, But It's Not OK To Use A Plant In Arizona Or California To Make You Feel Better While You're Alive - Your Vote Counts, Unless The Government Disagrees') Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 21:55:41 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US AZ: PUB LTE: Drug Hypocrisy Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Source: Arizona Daily Star Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/ Author: David Smith DRUG HYPOCRISY Re: the June 9 editorial titled ``Right call on assisted suicide.'' On the one hand, Attorney General Janet Reno stands for the doctors against the Drug Enforcement Administration in Oregon. She said doctors shouldn't be in jeopardy of being punished if they prescribe lethal drugs to terminal patients to relieve their suffering. She said the federal government should respect the wishes of 60 percent of the Oregon voters who passed an assisted-suicide initiative. On the other hand, Reno said if a doctor in Arizona or California recommends that a terminal patient use cannabis (a non-lethal substance) to relieve his or her suffering, the doctor's license should be revoked and criminal charges possibly should be filed against him or her. The voters (56 percent in California, 2-1 in Arizona) who approved medical marijuana initiatives were dismissed as dupes or victims of slick advertising and sleight-of-hand text in the propositions. So it's OK to give you poison in Oregon if you want to die, but it's not OK to use a plant in Arizona or California to make you feel better while you're alive. Your vote counts, unless the government disagrees. Is that clear?
------------------------------------------------------------------- When Hysteria Wins (Letter To The Editor Of 'The San Francisco Chronicle' By A Retired Chemical Engineer Derides 'The Stupidity And Unfounded Hysteria Surrounding Asbestos And Secondhand Cigarette Smoke' - A Person Walking Down A San Francisco Street Receives More Toxins From Truck And Car Exhaust Than A Person Sitting In A Closed Room With A Cigarette Smoker All Day) Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 11:40:11 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: When Hysteria Wins Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 WHEN HYSTERIA WINS Editor -- Congratulation on Ms. Lochhead's column on loss of common sense to hysteria. As a retired chemical engineer who smokes and has a long history of working and playing with asbestos, I have sat and laughed at the stupidity and unfounded hysteria surrounding asbestos and secondhand cigarette smoke. Tests designed to prove a point and the subsequent statistical figures quoted are not worth the paper they are written on. If one sets out to prove something good or bad, the basic concept of statistical analysis is invalid and it becomes a biased study. A person walking down a San Francisco street receives more toxins in the air they breathe from trucks and cars than a person sitting in a closed room with a cigarette smoker all day. Again thanks to The Chronicle for publishing Ms. Lochhead's column. Maybe a few people will read it and profit from the message she gives. WILLIAM C. BRIGGS Concord
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Prison For The Future ('The North County Times' Says California's First Privately Built Prison, To Begin Construction This Week In Kern County At A Cost Of $94 Million, Is Destined To Become A Battleground In A Big-Spending Political War In A State Where Politicians And Voters Have Consistently Embraced Enhanced-Sentencing Laws, But Have Shied Away From Nearly Every Recent Proposal To Build New Prisons) Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 03:28:56 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: A Prison For The Future Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Nora Callahan Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 Source: North County Times (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Timm Herdt, Star State Bureau Chief Note: Author's email address is: Herdt@staronline.com A PRISON FOR THE FUTURE Kern County: Private firm is ready to make a bid to house state's felons. Sometime this week, bulldozers will begin to carve the high-desert landscape of Kern County to make way for a $94 million development unique in California: a massive, privately built prison. Sometime later this month, a Senate committee will consider a constitutional amendment that would assure that not a single felon convicted in California courts will ever spend a day inside it. In a state where politicians and voters have consistently embraced enhanced-sentencing laws, but have in recent years shied away from nearly every proposal to build new prisons, the private project in California City is destined to become a battleground in a big-spending political war. On one side is the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which has become one of the state's most powerful unions because of its fast-growing membership and its savvy alliance with Gov. Pete Wilson. It is joined by every major public-safety union in the state. On the other is the Corrections Corp. of America, the nation's largest private-prison firm. It is joined by others in the industry as well as nearly every association of local governments in the state. At stake is the ability of California to house all its convicted felons beyond the year 2000, the continued clout of a union that has negotiated starting salaries of $38,000 a year for state prison guards, and a $94 million speculative investment of a growth-driven company. "In California, you're facing a prison crisis," said David Myers, the company's regional president for the West Coast. "The state has nothing on the drawing board to meet that crisis. And with nothing on the drawing board, there is a likelihood of court intervention, triggering early releases of inmates." Corrections Corp. officials are banking that, by taking the initiative to build now, they will force the issue of privatizing prisons in California. While this is one of 27 states that contracts with private prisons, the state has taken only limited and cautious steps. Only about 3 percent of state inmates are in private facilities, and those are at small institutions that handle only low-risk inmates. A number of other states have been much more aggressive; that is why in just 15 years Corrections Corp. has built 72 jails and prisons in 19 states, three countries and Puerto Rico. In one way, the California City proposal has already forced the issue in the Legislature. Sen. Bill Lockyer, D-Hayward, the former Senate president pro tem and current candidate for attorney general, has introduced a proposed constitutional amendment that would bar government agencies from contracting out for public safety services. Although city representatives fret that the measure might prohibit such fringe activities as hiring private meter maids, the intent is clearly to block private-prison operators from gaining a foothold in California. Lockyer's SCA 30, co-authored by Ventura County's Jack O'Connell and nine other Senate Democrats, has passed two committees and is expected to come before the Senate Public Safety Committee soon -- perhaps as early as next week. As a political maneuver, it is a clever strategy. The prison guards' union, after a profitable eight-year alliance with Wilson, is shopping for new friends. Trying to eliminate competition that might hire guards who are either nonunion or affiliated with a different union is a good way for Democrats to make friends. Myers said his company, too, will be making contributions to state political candidates, "but we can't compete with the CPOA." There are respectable policy arguments for and against privatizing prisons. Myers insists states always save money by contracting with his company. Critics say private operators usurp an essential government responsibility and that the cost-cutting of profit-driven managers will ultimately result in prisons that are unsafe. In the end, it is hard to see how Corrections Corp. can lose on its gamble. Within two years, the Department of Corrections will have absolutely nowhere else to turn to house new inmates. If no state contract is signed before then, Corrections Corp. can fill most of its beds in California City with federal inmates or those from other states. Until the issue is resolved, however, politicians from both parties -- particularly those running this fall -- will do whatever they can to keep the issue hot enough to maximize campaign contributions from each side.
------------------------------------------------------------------- If Initiative Drive Succeeds, Nevada May Emerge As Drug-War Battleground ('The Las Vegas Review-Journal' Talks To A Lot Of Cops And Others Who Make Their Livings Off Prohibition, But No Sick People Who Would Benefit From The Medical Marijuana Initiative Being Circulated By Americans For Medical Rights - The Initiative Faces Many Obstacles - In Nevada, Constitutional Amendments Must Be Approval By Voters Twice In Two Consecutive Elections) Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 11:26:57 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US NV: If Initiative Drive Succeeds, Nevada May Emerge As Drug-War Battleground Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 702-383-4676 Postal: P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, Nev. 89125 Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/ Author: Rafael Tammariello Review-Journal IF INITIATIVE DRIVE SUCCEEDS, NEVADA MAY EMERGE AS DRUG-WAR BATTLEGROUND If the drive to force a medical-marijuana initiative onto Nevada's November ballot succeeds, and if voters approve it, don't expect the Las Vegas Valley's caliche to spawn thickets of autumn cannabis. And don't bogart your breath awaiting the ribbon-cutting for the Fremont Street Reefer-Buyers Club. This is Nevada, where constitutional amendments must meet with voter approval in two consecutive elections. Because the medical marijuana initiative would alter the constitution, the Silver State wouldn't see legal cannabis until the millennium celebrations have given way to the re-release of "2001: A Space Odyssey" -- that is, assuming the pot medicalizers win every electoral battle and fend off any legal challenges between now and the November 2000 elections. Tuesday at 5 p.m. looms the deadline for backers of the initiative to present their petitions to the secretary of state's office, which then has 25 days to verify that the requisite 46,764 John Hancocks have been gathered from registered voters residing in at least 13 of Nevada's 17 counties. If the measure's boosters and their pollsters are right, the concept of legalized marijuana for sick people is so popular it will qualify for the ballot handily and -- like similar 1996 initiatives in California and Arizona -- meet with strong voter approval come Election Day '98. A potential hang-up to the petition drive is that it was slow out of the blocks, in part because of a ruling by the Nevada attorney general -- later neutered in District Court -- that no individual could contribute more than $5,000 to an initiative campaign. And, if anything's driving the medicalization initiatives in Nevada and other states, it's cash from very wealthy men who seek to end the war on drugs or radically modify it. If the Nevada marijuana medicalization petition qualifies for the November ballot, expect fierce opposition to it from Nevada law enforcement. But so far, no group has attempted to thwart the petition drive itself. The movement does, however, have plenty of philosophical and financial support from out-of-state drug-war opponents, notably billionaire philanthropist George Soros of New York; wealthy University of Phoenix founder John Sperling of Arizona; and Peter Lewis, an Ohio insurance magnate. Donations from these individuals and the organizations through which their money is funneled animate the Nevada medical marijuana petition drive, which is expected to cost about $150,000. "We're producing (signatures) at a rate of several thousand a day statewide -- about 15,000 a week. We need 46,000 but we are shooting for 75,000," said Dave Fratello, communications director and treasurer of Americans for Medical Rights, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based group that organized the 1998 marijuana petition drives in Nevada and several other states. Fratello is also the day-to-day coordinator for those campaigns. AMR is the main conduit for cash (from Soros and others) to initiatives aimed at legalizing marijuana for therapeutic use in Nevada, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Maine and the District of Columbia. AMR has purchased the services of Progressive Campaigns Inc. (also of Santa Monica), a savvy outfit with a strong track record and a reputation for spotting efforts to sabotage petitions by loading them up with duplicate names and invalid signatures. Progressive Campaigns was instrumental in qualifying California's Prop 215. Angelo Paparella, president of Progressive Campaigns, said Wednesday the Nevada initiative has an "85 percent to 90 percent" chance of qualifying for the ballot, and that similar campaigns in Colorado, Oregon and Washington "look very good." (Progressive Campaigns got California's Prop 215 qualified.) Does it matter to Nevadans that the $150,000 or so being spent on the Silver State marijuana petition is being financed and coordinated almost entirely by outsiders? Does it matter to the electorate that most of the signature-gatherers -- about 70 of them, who must be registered Nevada voters -- are piece-work professionals, earning $60 to $80 a day? Does it matter that the medical pot campaign is bankrolled by out-of-state millionaires? "The opponents make a big deal about it," said Fratello, "but I'm not sure how much it resonates among voters. It is only with their (Soros' and others') support that we can get this issue before voters. So (voters) tend to appreciate the fact that it's before them and not worry so much about how it got there." Signing a petition to force the measure onto the November ballot, Fratello added, does not imply an endorsement of the law itself. Gov. Bob Miller, a former prosecutor, declined to comment directly on the initiative drive. His spokesman Richard Urey said Miller "has nothing to say except to restate his core beliefs -- that any initiative that makes (drugs) more available sends a wrong message to youth" and that marijuana medicalization tends to undermine educational programs aimed at combatting drug use. Janine Hansen, the Sparks-based president of the conservative, 3,000-member Nevada Eagle Forum, said her group has taken no stance on the petition drive -- but it will formulate a position if the measure qualifies for the ballot. "We have serious concerns about illegal drugs and this might be one avenue to lessen that -- one avenue to break down the barriers to illegal drugs," Ms. Hansen said. As for Attorney General Frankie Sue del Papa, her spokesman Bob Harmon said the state's chief law enforcement officer wants "to wait to see if it does qualify and assess it at that time to see what we need to do." But fierce opposition to the measure is certain to arise from Nevada law enforcement, particularly from officers on the front lines of the drug war. Metro Lt. Steve Gammell, who serves as vice president of the Nevada Narcotics Officers Association, vehemently opposes medicalization of pot and sees the campaign as an attempt to cloak the drive for drug legalization in the rhetoric of medicalization. "My opinion is I have zero tolerance for any unlawful drugs," Gammell said. Marijuana is, "far and away the most abused drug we have." In the 15 months between January 1997 and March of 1998, Metro's Narcotics Section alone seized 8,051 pounds of narcotics, including 5,165 pounds of marijuana. Dave Fratello, of AMR, contends one reason Nevada was targeted for a medicalization drive was that the state marijuana "law is so harsh." That was true when possession of even one seed of dope was treated as a Class E felony and could earn the offender a minimum one year and a maximum of four years in state prison (plus a $5,000 fine). But those days are long gone. Indeed, said Gammell, small-time possession cases -- a joint or two found on a first-time offender, for example -- are for all practical purposes never prosecuted in Nevada. Nevada Department of Prisons spokesman Glen Whorton backs up that assertion, saying simple possession -- now handled through drug courts or probation -- lands nobody in the state slammer these days. Said Whorton, "A guy has to work at it to come to prison in that regard." Gammell said Nevada -- where one has to possess more than 100 pounds of marijuana before he can be hit with even the lowest-level trafficking penalties and must possess more than five tons before he's treated as a mid-level trafficker -- needs much tougher drug laws, not softer ones. Legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, he argued, would communicate a malignant message to young people who have been taught at school, at home and through the DARE program that illegal drugs are evil and dangerous. "It's counterproductive to every household -- to every household that teaches children not to use drugs. It tells kids you're talking out of both sides of your mouth." Plus, said Gammell, research by the California Narcotics Officers Association turned up plenty of links between drug-legalization groups such as NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and marijuana medicalization outfits such as Americans for Medical Rights. "That's really the point behind this: To legitimize marijuana; and full legalization would be the next goal. There is very much of an underlying motive here," Gammell said. Legalization groups, he contends, don't really care about sick people but rather use them as props in the propaganda war against drug prohibition. "It's just a scam to legalize dope -- that's all it is," he said. Undermining the drug war and ending drug prohibition are, indeed, the goals of some in the marijuana medicalization movement, and they make no secret about it. Rob Stewart, spokesman for the Drug Policy Foundation -- a leading Washington-based think tank on drug-legalization and medicalization issues (also launched with the help of Soros' money) -- said some on the foundation's staff support outright legalization of prohibited drugs while others argue that medicalization is the way to go, especially because public opinion polls show strong support for medical marijuana but heavy opposition to legalization. Stewart also conceded that some of the "medicalizers" see Nevada-type initiatives as "a good first step toward decriminalization." Of the successful marijuana drives in California and Arizona, Stewart said: "I think its (the drug war's) image as a black and white political issue is falling apart." Is it possible that the drug war, as a result of state-by-state de-escalation, will simply and suddenly collapse like communism? "The prediction is right," Stewart said. "The time frame is the impossible part." Lawrence Matheis, executive director of the Nevada Medical Association, said his group's general position on the marijuana issue is (1) it opposes recreational use of the drug, and (2) strongly encourages the federal Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health to conduct scientific studies on the possible medical uses of the drug. He stresses the need for clinical tests to determine marijuana's efficacy in treating maladies. If the NMA participates in the discussion over medicalization, its role will be to provide good information. "Our concern," said Matheis, "is that the government has laws based on whether something is popular or unpopular. Now, it is less a matter of science and more a matter of personal opinions. It's a slippery slope when government says what can be offered or supplied and what cannot be" based on politics rather than science. Matheis questioned the very concept of using the political process to settle a scientific argument. He asked: "Is this really a question of finding a medical excuse for legalizing marijuana use? Is this a freedom issue? If it's really about freedom to use, that should be confronted head-on. (The medicalization movement) is not largely being driven by physicians. It's driven from the demand side." From a marketing point of view, Matheis said, it makes sense for marijuana legalizers to frame the debate as a medical issue if they lack popular support for outright legalization. The problem with addressing the marijuana question through the initiative process, he said, is that "it forces a medical conclusion" in a field where there is no scientific consensus. "It either has to be studied more or we have to admit that we are really trying to decriminalize the possession and use of a substance," Matheis said. Some strict libertarian intellectuals, such as Thomas Szasz, professor emeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York in Syracuse, actually oppose both the drug war and the medicalization of illegal drugs on the grounds that individuals have an absolute right to ingest whatever chemicals they want -- without interference from government, cops or doctors who, he contends, have forged "a satanic pact with the state." Szasz wrote: "The advocates of medical marijuana have embraced a tactic that retards the repeal of drug prohibition and reinforces the legitimacy of prevailing drug policies. Instead of steadfastly maintaining that the war on drugs is an intrinsically evil enterprise, the reformers propose replacing legal sanctions with medical tutelage, a principle destined to further expand the medical control of everyday behavior." Szasz said doctors who stand between adults and the drugs they need -- or simply want -are no more than policemen in white coats. Public statements such as those -- advocating full-blown legalization for any use whatsoever -are what got Dennis Peron, the originator of the California initiative, blackballed by the AMR, Fratello said. Although there are legalizers within the ranks of the AMR, the group's stated goal is to move marijuana from the Drug Enforcement Administration's Schedule 1 to Schedule 2. Schedule 1 drugs, which include marijuana, heroin and LSD, are illegal in the United States (except for highly restricted research purposes) because they are deemed to have no accepted medicinal use and possess a high potential for abuse. Federal law prohibits doctors from prescribing Schedule 1 drugs, and their possession and sale can net heavy prison sentences. Schedule 2 drugs, on the other hand -- while they can be addictive in the extreme -- are legal, medically useful, and can be prescribed. Schedule 2 drugs include morphine, cocaine and dilaudid (a painkiller several times more potent than morphine). Also included on Schedule 2 is a drug whose brand name is Marinol, which contains delta-9-THC, the compound in marijuana that produces a high and is used (although rarely) in treating nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. Many advocates of medical pot (in smokable form) contend Marinol is so potent it alters consciousness and renders patients far more "stoned" than smoked marijuana. The Physicians' Desk Reference, the doctor's "drug bible," warns that Marinol can produce panic, paranoia, hallucinations and other nasty side effects. Peter Barcus, chief executive officer of Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas, which cares for terminally ill patients, said Marinol, with its potential side effects, is very seldom requested by or prescribed for hospice patients -- and that requests from dying patients for smokable marijuana are also very rare. Doctors, he said, already have access to a wide a range of powerful analgesics, such as morphine, to treat cancer pain. As to the medical marijuana initiative, Barcus said, "I don't think it's an urgent, burning issue that the hospice industry is clamoring to have passed." Don Campbell, the Las Vegas lawyer who successfully challenged the attorney general's ruling that campaign contributions to initiative drives be limited to $5,000, and who helped draft the language of the Nevada marijuana initiative, said, "I've always thought that having marijuana in Schedule 1 was insane -- that marijuana was in the same schedule as heroin was goofy." Campbell, who served as chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force for Nevada from 1981 to 1986, said he personally believes marijuana belongs on Schedule 4, along with low-level prescription drugs such as Valium and Darvon. While Campbell sees eventual medicalization of marijuana is "a certainty," he added: "Given my experience with the federal government, I don't think the government is going to go gently into the night on this." Indeed, top federal and state officials campaigned mightily to defeat the Arizona and California pot petitions and intensified the fight even after voters had spoken. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno threatened to yank the prescription powers of doctors who recommended pot, thus ruining their careers; national Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey condemned the initiatives as frauds -- as "stalking horse(s) for legalization" and called Prop 215 "a cruel hoax that sounds more like something out of a Cheech and Chong show." Former Presidents George Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford condemned the measures. Several state and federal officials insinuated that California and Arizona voters were too stupid to realize what they had just done at the ballot box. Notably silent in the cacophony following the victories of Props 200 and 215 was President William Jefferson ("I didn't inhale") Clinton. Despite the rhetorical artillery barrage from D.C., Arizonans passed Prop 200 with 65 percent of the vote; in California, Prop 215 won with 56 percent. But the Arizona Legislature neutralized the law by requiring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve any drug before it could be recommended by Arizona doctors. (The FDA doesn't recognize Schedule 1 drugs as useful for anything.) And while a handful of cannabis clubs, which fill pot "prescriptions" for patients, still operate in California, others have been shut down through various legalistic mechanisms employed by federal and state drug warriors. The AMR and other proponents of medical pot learned from their mistakes in Arizona and California. The Nevada initiative language is designed to short-circuit interference from federal and state authorities and addresses other issues that came to light in 1996: -- The Nevada initiative would amend the state constitution, making it difficult or impossible for the Legislature to nullify or weaken it. -- The Nevada measure would allow a patient afflicted with certain, specified diseases to use marijuana "upon advice of his physician," meaning doctors would not risk having their prescription privileges yanked. -- Unlike the California law, which allows patients to use marijuana "for any illness for which marijuana provides relief" -- an open-ended provision that could mean pot for boredom or backache -- the Nevada law would permit cannabis use only to treat symptoms of specific diseases such as cancer, AIDS and glaucoma. (The Legislature could add to the list.) -- Unlike the Arizona law, the Nevada version would legalize for medical uses only cannabis -- not heroin, LSD or other Schedule 1 drugs. -- Unlike either the Arizona or California law, the Nevada constitutional amendment specifies that medical pot cannot be used in public. (Even if you're an AIDS patient, no firing up a bong at Wet 'n' Wild.) -- The Nevada law, unlike its California counterpart, contains strict provisions for medical use by minors (written authorization by a doctor; parental consent and parental control of the acquisition and use of the plant). -- The Nevada law also sets up an official registry of patients and their attendants authorized to posssess marijuana. Police -- but nobody else -- would have access to the list if a question of legal possession arose. -- In Nevada, it will be the job of the Legislature to authorize methods by which eligible patients can be supplied with marijuana (perhaps by licensing private pot farms, allowing counties to sell permits as they do for rural brothels, or distributing pot confiscated from illegal traffickers).
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Fortunes Of Mary Jane ('The Las Vegas Review-Journal' Prints Some Facts And Figures About Marijuana, Not All Of Them Necessarily True, Though It's Worth Noting The ABC News/Discovery Channel Poll, Conducted By Chilton Research Services In May 1997, Which Found 69 Percent Of Americans Agree That Doctors Should Be Allowed To Prescribe Marijuana As They Do Any Other Controlled Drug) Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 02:35:10 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US NV: The Fortunes Of Mary Jane Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org FAX --702-383-4676 Mail -- P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, Nev. 89125 Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/ THE FORTUNES OF MARY JANE -- All drugs (including heroin, cocaine and opium) were legal and available without prescription in the United States until the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, which subjected many medicines to federal regulation. Marijuana remained legal in the United States until 1937. -- In the 1970s, some states (notably Alaska) legalized personal use of marijuana, but by the 1990s pot had been almost universally recriminalized although penalties for simple possession were eased. -- Medical marijuana initiatives passed with heavy majorities in California and Arizona in 1996, although the Arizona Legislature nullified that state's voter-approved initiative. (An Arizona group called The People Have Spoken is attempting to reverse the legislature's action.) Several "cannabis-buyers clubs" in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas remain in operation, although they face court challenges on various grounds and opposition from some law enforcement agencies. -- Petitions to legalize, for medical purposes, the use of marijuana are circulating in Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Maine and the District of Columbia. An Alaska measure has already qualified for the November ballot. -- In Arkansas, petitioners are trying to qualify a radical ballot measure that legalizes marijuana as "both an agricultural product and a recreational intoxicant" and forbids the Legislature from passing laws prohibiting its possession or use by adults. -- In Florida, a constitutional amendment effort is under way to place medicalization on the 2000 ballot, despite rejection of such a measure by the state's Constitution Review Committee. -- An ABC News/Discovery Channel poll, conducted by Chilton Research Services, in May 1997 found that 69 percent of Americans agree that doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana as they do any other controlled drug. A Luntz Research national poll in November showed 62 percent support for medical marijuana, and other polls have shown similar results. Two recent polls undertaken for Americans for Medical Rights show about the same level of support in Nevada for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. -- These same polls and others, however, show overwhelming opposition to legalizing marijuana for non-medical reasons. -- Illicit marijuana use is on the rise in the United States. According to the latest figures from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, marijuana use doubled among 10th graders since 1992, to 34 percent. According to the University of Michigan's respected annual "Monitoring the Future Study" of drug use, nearly half (44.9 percent) of American youngsters have smoked pot by the 12th grade. -- About 60 million Americans have tried marijuana at least once, including President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. By contrast, there are about 50 million current U.S. cigarette smokers. -- Outside of California, the only Americans who may legally use marijuana are eight ill people who, under the 1970s-era "compassionate use" program, receive marijuana grown on a 7.5-acre federal pot farm at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Mississippi. The government dope is shipped by plane to Raleigh, N.C., where it is machine-rolled into cigarettes, packed in cannisters of 300 joints each and sent to medical centers for patient pick-up. The Bush administration junked the "compassionate use" project in 1992, but patients already enrolled in the program (their numbers had dwindled to eight by late 1997) still receive the drug legally from Uncle Sam. When these eight die, the residual "compassionate use" program dies with them.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Prohibition Brought Burglars To Lake Forest ('The Chicago Tribune' Notes That Edward Arpee's 1963 Book, 'Lake Forest, Illinois, History And Reminiscences 1861-1961,' Suggests That Alcohol Prohibition Led To A Rise In Burglaries As Thieves Sought 'The Good Stuff' In The Homes Of The Wealthy - Juries Nullified Such Cases, Reasoning That Since It Was Against The Law To Possess Liquor, They Couldn't Convict Anyone For Stealing It) Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 15:53:41 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US IL: Prohibition Brought Burglars to Lake Forest Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chicago.tribune.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 Author: Marc Davis PROHIBITION BROUGHT BURGLARS TO LAKE FOREST America's most unpopular law made criminals of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens. With the passage of Prohibition in 1919, drinking or possessing alcoholic beverages became illegal. Enterprising local citizens and more than a few Chicagoans responded by opening speak-easies, roadhouses and nightclubs all over Lake County. Citizens flocked to these joints to consume their drinks in peace, secure in the knowledge that in most cases the authorities would not come crashing through the doors with axes and arrest warrants. Burglars, however, were breaking into the homes of the wealthy, especially in Lake Forest, in increasing numbers in quest of the better pre-Prohibition booze, "the good stuff." Author Edward Arpee writes of the thefts in his "Lake Forest, Illinois, History and Reminiscences 1861- 1961," published by the Rotary Club of Lake Forest in 1963. Lake Forest police reports, according to Arpee, showed a different break-in every night between Dec. 11 and 21, 1919, in which only alcohol was stolen. After the burglars were apprehended, they were acquitted because juries seemed to hold the view--according to Arpee--that because it was against the law to possess liquor, they couldn't convict anyone for stealing it. Prohibition was repealed in 1933.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Year Later, Marine Killing Of Goatherd Remains In Dispute ('The Washington Post' Says Residents Of The Texas Border Town Of Redford Believe There Is No Good Explanation For The Death One Year Ago Of 18-Year-Old Esequiel Hernandez Jr., Killed By Four Camouflaged Marines On An Anti-Drug Mission, And They Believe The Federal Government Has Tried To Keep The Incident Quiet) Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 15:12:24 -0400 To: DPFT-L@TAMU.EDU From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US TX: Year Later, Marine Killing of Goatherd Remains in Dispute Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: DrugSense Source: Washington Post Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 Author: Sue Anne Pressley, Washington Post Staff Writer Page: A03 YEAR LATER, MARINE KILLING OF GOATHERD REMAINS IN DISPUTE REDFORD, Tex.-It was a clear, still evening a year ago, with plenty of daylight left. Esequiel Hernandez Jr., just turned 18, guided his herd of 43 goats over this rugged terrain near the Mexican border, a lanky youth toting an old .22 rifle. Suddenly four strange men appeared: U.S. Marines on a secret drug surveillance detail, armed with M-16s. What happened next may be forever in dispute. But when it was over, Hernandez lay dead, fatally shot by a Marine corporal, and this close-knit community of 100 people alongside the Rio Grande was beginning a long fight -- still not won -- to find answers to their questions about the tragedy. Rep. Lamar S. Smith (R-Tex.) has launched a congressional inquiry into the shooting, providing what residents see as perhaps the last hope for a full airing of the case. But no matter what Smith finds, a lot of resentment already has built up here since the fatal shots were fired. "The community is still outraged, hurt and still frightened," said the Rev. Melvin LaFollette, an Episcopal priest who belongs to the Redford Committee for Justice, formed to protest the May 20, 1997, shooting. "When you send armed spies into the midst of a populated community and start shooting people, it's going to take a while to get over it, especially when the government refuses to admit responsibility or guilt." The Hernandez case has come to symbolize the perils of bringing armed soldiers to the U.S. border with Mexico. In so doing, it has called into question the drug-fighting strategy that sent the Marines into this remote desert community of hills, alfalfa fields and long-entrenched families of mostly Mexican descent. Because of the shooting -- described by critics as the first slaying of a U.S. citizen by a U.S. on American soil since Ohio National Guardsmen killed four Kent State University students during a demonstration in 1970 -- all ground troops involved in the drug-fighting effort along the border were pulled from patrol work last July by the Pentagon. But Congress is considering sending them back, which fills residents here with fresh anxiety. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. (D-Ohio) won approval on the House floor last month for an amendment to the defense spending bill that would send as many as 10,000 troops to the Mexican border to help other law enforcement agencies intercept drug smugglers. Protests arose immediately from Texas House members, who said the measure would make the state look like Berlin during the Cold War. In reply, Traficant said that although his constituents live far from Mexico, "80 percent of the heroin and cocaine going up their arms and noses comes from the border." Their clash was part of a debate that has raged for years without resolution as the United States seeks to gain control over a 1,900-mile border with Mexico, balancing the need for increased commerce and humane treatment of Mexican laborers against a struggle to keep out the flood of illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. The Marine Corps has long contended that the shooting here was in self-defense, that Hernandez had fired his rifle twice in the direction of the Marines and was about to shoot a third time when Cpl. Clemente Banuelos opened fire. But many residents here feel that Hernandez's death has never received the attention from the news media or the federal government that it deserved. And, as time has passed, and both state and federal grand juries declined to return indictments against the Marines, they have become convinced no one is going to take the blame. In announcing his plan to investigate the case and serve subpoenas on the Justice and Defense for information, Rep. Smith described Hernandez as "an innocent young American . . . killed by his government," adding that "the public has never been told the full story." Among other things, Smith said no one at the scene offered first aid to Hernandez and he wants to know why. In addition, Smith said he will ask who decided to position the Marines in the Redford area in the first place and how they were trained to deal with residents. "Did someone really believe that a youth with a .22 rifle had decided to conduct a frontal assault on a team of U.S. Marines?" he asked. "Did they think their only option was to shoot him?" Here in Redford, an isolated farming community 200 miles southeast of El Paso and a long, winding 20 miles from Presidio, the nearest settlement, such decisions made by a faraway federal government now seem to carry a personal stake. A collection of old adobe homes surrounded by farming equipment and horse pastures, the community was first known as "El Polvo," Spanish for "the dust," and is linked to the Mexican town of Mulato, just across the river. Residents here have not forgotten Esequiel Hernandez, a quiet youth with a quick smile who was known as "Junior" or "Skeech" and was well-regarded by his teachers at Presidio High School, where he was completing his sophomore year. They believe there is no good explanation for his death, and they believe the federal government has tried to keep the incident quiet. "There is nothing we can do," said Postmaster Rosendo Evar, whose family has owned the same farm here since 1876. "We didn't know the Marines were down here. The Border Patrol brought them here. They should have familiarized themselves with the local people." Evar, who was also then the local school bus driver then, last saw Hernandez the afternoon of his death, as he drove the young man home from school. "He was always a nice kid," Evar said. What happened later that evening, at about 6:30 p.m., is a source of constant sorrow for the Hernandez family and their neighbors. "They [government and military officials] just wanted it to pass over. It was just a Mexican kid killed; let the people forget about it, let this thing die," said family spokesman Margarito Hernandez, 29, Esequiel's oldest brother. Margarito Hernandez believes Esequiel was carrying the old rifle, as he always did, to protect his goats from coyotes and rattlesnakes. He said his brother was only 300 yards from his home when he was fatally wounded, and that his father, Esequiel Sr., a farm worker, was chopping wood outside when he heard what he thought was a gunshot and began to have "a weird feeling." LaFollette, the priest, said that at the death scene, the Marines were dressed in camouflage gear and had blackened faces, making it difficult for the youth to have seen them clearly. But Jack Zimmermann, a Houston attorney and former Marine who defended Banuelos, said important facts have become lost. "There is no question, [the Marines] know he saw them," he said. "He looked right at them, raised his rifle deliberately, and shot twice at them. No one has ever contended he knew they were Marines, but he knew they were people." There also are taped radio transmissions of the Marines' conversations with others about being fired on, he said. Supporters of the Marines' effort on the border suggest that the Hernandez case is being used by political groups who believe the border should remain open and who regularly protest the activities of the U.S. Border Patrol. Zimmermann said that this has been "a horrible experience" for Banuelos, who is assigned to Camp Pendleton in California and is planning to leave the military soon. "He did what his country asked him to do, and he has been accused of committing murder," said Zimmermann, who also gained attention during the 1993 Branch Davidian standoff with federal authorities as one of two outsiders allowed to negotiate face-to-face with sect leader David Koresh. "I've said all along that no criminal conduct occurred, and the military investigation concurred, and the state grand jury concurred, and the federal grand jury concurred." But LaFollette and others here will never be convinced, describing the situation as "a big coverup." In they question why none of the investigating agencies has ever released a ballistics report on Hernandez's weapon to back up the Marines' contention they were fired on. The local district attorney, Albert Valadez, has refused over the months to reveal the ballistics results, saying they are evidence in a continuing investigation. LaFollette also wonders why the autopsy reports show the young man "had to be facing away from [the Marines] from the angle the bullet entered him. . . . We think they used him for target practice. "Toward the federal government in general, this has always been a law-abiding, patriotic place," he said. But now many Redford residents, he said, are paranoid about who is watching them go about their business. "I couldn't tell you now I'm not sure there's nobody looking in my window at me," LaFollette said. The anniversary of Hernandez's death was marked here with a memorial Mass at the local Roman Catholic church. A tree has been planted in his honor at the high school. In the modest family home, his room remains untouched, with one major difference. Not long after Esequiel was killed, his younger brother, Noel, 11, burst into the bedroom, sobbing with grief, and ripped the Marine recruiting poster from the wall. Esequiel had been thinking about joining the Marines. "He couldn't stand to look at it anymore," Margarito Hernandez said. (c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Report Shows More Cops Involved in Illegal Activities ('Seattle Times' Rewrite Of Yesterday's 'Los Angeles Times' Article) Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 11:37:57 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Report Shows More Cops Involved in Illegal Activities Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Source: Seattle Times (WA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 Author: Jack Nelson and Ronald J. Ostrow, Los Angeles Times REPORT SHOWS MORE COPS INVOLVED IN ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES 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, which has raged for years in the nation's big cities, is spreading to the hinterlands. So rampant has it become 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. "It's a big problem across the country, in big towns and small towns, and it's not getting any better," said Michael Hoke, superintendent for internal affairs of the Chicago Police Department. "Dope dealing is probably the only growth industry in Chicago's inner city," he said, and some police officers can't resist the temptation to siphon off a share for themselves. 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 under way. "So far, we've sent 15 police to the penitentiary," Hoke said. "And we're not done yet." Hoke and police officials of 51 other 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 assistance from the FBI. 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. 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." Los Angeles, New York, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Washington, New Orleans and Savannah, Ga., are among 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. "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 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." New Orleans is widely recognized today for its reforms - a sharp increase in hiring standards, pay increases of up to 25 percent and a reorganization and restaffing of the internal affairs unit.
------------------------------------------------------------------- DrugSense Focus Alert Number 69 - LA Times Drug War Corrupts Cops (DrugSense Asks You To Respond To Yesterday's Article By Writing A Letter In Support Of 'The Los Angeles Times' And Protesting Drug War Corruption - Sample Letter Included) Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 12:53:44 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: (Yet ANOTHER) FOCUS Alert No. 69 LA Times Drug War Corrupts Cops FOCUS Alert No. 69 LA Times - Drug War Corrupts cops FRONT PAGE! I don't know how long we can keep up this incredible pace of generating letters but we just keep getting excellent reasons to ask you to keep on writing them. I am delighted with all the recent efforts. What a demonstration of what can be done by working together! We have had a Focus Alert on many of the nations largest publications in the last few days and will undoubtedly see published letters in many of them soon. Now the LA Times (Circ. 1.2 million) has come out with a major front page editorial on the drug war corrupting law enforcement. It's just too good to pass up. So here we go again. WRITE A LETTER TODAY- LIVE IN A FREER WORLD TOMORROW Just DO it! *** 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 L.A. Times Letters to the Editor: email@example.com (LA Edition) firstname.lastname@example.org (Orange County edition) Please send your letter to _both_ "EXTRA CREDIT" Send a 6-800 word Op-Ed piece on the drug war or police corruption Op-Ed Page: email@example.com *** ORIGINAL ARTICLE US: Illegal Drug Scene Spurs Rise in Police Corruption Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times ( CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 *** Sample Letter (SENT 6/14) Dear Editor: It is not the least bit surprising to learn that the drug war has increased police corruption convictions by an incredible 500% in the last 4 years (Illegal Drug Scene Spurs Rise in Police Corruption LAT 6/14). The drug war is destined not only to corrupt police but to usurp individual freedom and Constitutional rights until and unless we implement some sensible drug policies in this country. When we put the police on "commission" as we have with asset forfeiture laws that allow confiscation of property without due process and then reward law enforcement with some or all of that property, civil rights become a thing of the past. Hundreds of innocent victims have had cars, boats, money, and houses confiscated for no other reason than fitting a "profile" most were never charged with a crime and few ever had their property returned. They are simply too poor or uninformed to fight city hall. Cops are human. When they make a paltry wage for risking their lives every day it's easy to rationalize that taking something from drug dealers (or "possible" drug dealers) seems justified. The prosecutions are only the tip of the iceberg. The actual corruption, poor attitude, and hopelessness at ever winning the drug war is not only rampant in our police forces but devastating to our entire society. The solution? Implement sane drug policies that actually put us in back control of the distribution process instead of making millionaires out of criminals, tax sales to adults, restrict sales to children (effectively for a change), free up law enforcement to do it's job of protecting citizens from harm, and start acting like a society that has a bit of common sense. 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
------------------------------------------------------------------- This 10-Year War Can Be Won (Letter To The Editor Of 'The Washington Post' From A Self-Described Expert On Drugs And Drug Policy Praises The Clinton Administration's 10-Year-Plan For The War On Some Drugs, Saying Newt Gingrich's Complaint That The Civil War Took Only Four Years Ignores The Fact That The Civil War Marked The Culmination Of Many Decades Of Abolitionist Activism That Gradually Changed Americans' Attitude Toward Slavery - But Ignores The Fact Such Activism Was Carried Out By Private Individuals Against The Government, Not Vice Versa, As Is The Case With The War On Some Drug Users) Subj: US: WP OPED: This 10-Year War Can Be Won From: Richard Lake
Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 21:09:38 -0400 Newshawk: DrugSense Source: Washington Post Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 Author: David F. Musto Note: The writer is a professor of child psychiatry and the history of medicine at Yale School of Medicine. Section: OPED - Page C07 THIS 10-YEAR WAR CAN BE WON After three decades of studying the history of drugs and drug policy in the United States, I was impressed (and surprised) by the Clinton administration's recent proposal for a 10-year drug strategy. Here, at last, comes recognition of the need for a steady and consistent policy over an appropriate span of time. A common fault in drug policy has been anticipating or promising dramatic results within an unrealistically brief period. Therefore, when the Speaker of the House rejected the strategy's goal as too drawn out and defeatist, I wondered whether our drug policy could ever escape the insistent, immediate demands of our political life. Newt Gingrich feels that a 10-year strategy indicates pessimism and perhaps lassitude in dealing with the drug problem. The Civil War, he says, "took just four years to save the Union and abolish slavery." Why can't we solve the drug problem, another form of slavery, in just a few years? A look at our first drug epidemic, which peaked between 1900 and World War I, reminds us that the duration of a wave of drug abuse has been roughly a half-century even in the face of severe penalties and popular condemnation. To approach the drug problem as if it were the gasoline shortage of the 1970s is to misunderstand the nature of the problem. Reducing and stopping drug use requires fundamental changes in the attitudes of millions of Americans, and that shift in attitude is more gradual than we would wish. When Mr. Gingrich praises the decline in drug use among young people from 1979 to 1992, he is talking about a decline that was just one or 2 percent a year. Declines in drug use are gradual, at least when compared with the heated promises we have heard for three decades about a quick elimination of the problem. Thus a 10-year strategy is reasonable in that it promotes a steady pressure against drug use less affected by shifting political forces. An approach that transcends more than two presidential terms even carries a hope that the issue can be lifted out of partisan conflict. Demanding quick solutions to the drug problem inevitably leads to frustration because the decline rate is never as steep as promised. This may lead to more severe penalties, the scapegoating of minorities and, finally, discouragement. Can we say anything positive about the congressional statement contained in the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act that the United States should be drug-free by 1995? Such misperceptions of our experience with drugs create a sense of failure, even though drug use generally has declined since 1980. Promises of a quick-fix may energize concerned citizens for a while, but the larger effect is to discourage them. Repeated, hyped, short-term drug campaigns to end drug abuse "once and for all" (a federal government slogan of 1972) are reminiscent of cocaine use: Every time the same dose is taken the impact lessens, the temptation to increase the dose escalates and, finally, you have burnout. Gingrich's claim for the Civil War suggests he was not wearing his historian's cap when he spoke. The Civil War marked the culmination of many decades of an abolitionist campaign that gradually changed Americans' attitude toward slavery. Altering perceptions is at the heart of such principled efforts, and it cannot be done quickly. This is the wisdom of John Adams's observation that the American Revolution was "done and the principles all established and the system matured before the year 1775." For Adams, to focus on the War of Independence was to lose sight of the "revolution in the minds of the people" that occurred in the two decades before the shot was fired at Lexington. This is the historical perspective we must bring to the campaign against drug abuse, not simplistic references to short wars that supposedly ended prolonged and embedded social evils. (c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tobacco Bill Excesses (A Staff Editorial In 'The Seattle Times' Says The US Senators Who Are Tacking On Ideological Decorations To The Once-Promising McCain Tobacco Bill Will Cause The Bill To Collapse Inevitably And Mercifully Of Its Own Weight - But Ignores The Possibility That The Bill Itself Is An Ideological Decoration) Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 21:15:42 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US WA: Editorial: Tobacco bill excesses Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Source: Seattle Times (WA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Pubdate: Sunday 14 June 1998 Author: OPINION - Seattle-Times TOBACCO BILL EXCESSES IF you thought the primary purpose of the federal legislation was to curb teen smoking, punish cigarette-makers for past deceptions, or recoup health costs for victims, think again. Democrats and Republicans have latched onto the package as an all-purpose vehicle for tax-cut goodies - even as they push for a bipartisan, multibillion-dollar tax hike on cigarettes that will disproportionately hit middle- and lower-income Americans. The shiniest new ornament hung from the tobacco Christmas tree is a $46 billion tax break for married couples pushed through this week by the Senate GOP leadership. Eliminating the so-called marriage penalty is an idea worth considering, but on its own merits, and with a full and open airing of the true costs and impact of ostensible fixes. Same goes for providing relief to self-employed workers who buy health insurance in the individual market, another additive to the tobacco bill advocated by both Republicans and Democrats. There are serious regulatory problems in that segment of the insurance market. But leeching off the tobacco bill won't solve the underlying problems. For good measure, Republicans have also larded the tobacco bill with $3 billion in new anti-drug efforts. The GOP is also attempting to attach a pro-school-voucher amendment that would pay for students who have been victims of drug crimes to switch from public to private schools. Political freeloaders are tacking on ideological decorations to a once-promising tobacco bill that inevitably - and mercifully - will collapse of its own weight.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dope Fans Air Their Enthusiasm ('The Vancouver Province' In British Columbia Notes Protesters Smoked Pot Yesterday Outside The Vancouver Art Gallery While The Mayor And Police Chief Attended A Nearby International Conference For Prohibitionists) Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 22:53:56 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Dope fans air their enthusiasm Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Herb Source: Vancouver Province (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.vancouverprovince.com/ Pubdate: Sunday, June 14,1998 Author: Brian Foden, Staff Reporter DOPE FANS AIR THEIR ENTHUSIASM Aromatic protest held right outside drug conference While Vancouver's mayor and police chief attended a nearby drug conference, protesters smoked pot outside the Vancouver Art Gallery yesterday. Led by green-haired David Malmo-Levine, advocates of legalizeing pot attending a "smoke-in/hemp rally/love in" eagerly lit up dope handed to them. "It's good to smoke marijuana on the inside of the crowd, not the outside - and if you see someone being arrested and you don't think they should be, give them a hug and don't let go," Malmo-Levine told a crowd of more than 100. The advice was unnecessary, since no police arrived. It was no coincidence that next door at the Robson Square Conference Centre, an international symposium on crime prevention and drug treatment was under way. Hosted by a coalition spear-headed by Vancouver Mayor Philip Owen and police Chief Bruce Chambers the symposium featured speakers from Sweden, Switzerland, and U.S. One speaker was Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh, who reiterated his call for a national drug strategy. Based on a 1994 report by a former B.C. coroner, the strategy includes mandatory life sentences for major drug importers and traffickers. It also involves more treatment programs for addicts and public education and awareness programs. "I believe very strongly that we need a multifaceted approach to this issue. There's action that needs to be taken," he said. As for the illegal pot-smoking that took place just outside the conference centre? "I know nothing about it," Chambers said. "It's still an offence under the Criminal Code and, where appropriate, we will enforce it." Malmo-Levine, 27 said more protests are planned.
------------------------------------------------------------------- High Priest Of Pot Loses His Licence ('The Vancouver Province' Says Ian Hunter Is The 'Biggest Marijuana Advocate' In Victoria, British Columbia, But That He Lost The Business Licence For His Downtown Store, The Sacred Herb, After The City Council Voted 6-3 To Pull It As A Result Of Several Acts Of Civil Disobedience) Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 03:37:23 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: High Priest Of Pot Loses His Licence Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Herb Pubdate: Sunday, June 14, 1998 Source: Vancouver Province (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.vancouverprovince.com/ Author: Barbara Mclintock, Staff Reporter HIGH PRIEST OF POT LOSES HIS LICENCE VICTORIA - The city's biggest marijuana advocate has lost his business licence. City council voted 6-3 to pull Ian Hunter's licence for his downtown store, The Sacred Herb. "This is war!" shrieked one of Hunter's supporters from the back of the council chamber as Mayor Bob Cross cast the deciding vote. (A two-thirds majority is required to deny a business licence.) Police had asked council to review Hunter's business licence after he was convicted in B.C. Supreme Court last year of three drug-related offences: Trafficking in marijuana seeds, growing a marijuana plant in his store and possessing a small amount of "magic mushrooms." Police said an undercover officer had also bought marijuana from one of Hunter's employees in the store, though not from Hunter. Hunter was fined $500. Police Chief Doug Richardson told council the department "feels revocation (of the business licence) is necessary" because all the incidents involved took place in the store itself. Hunter said the actions had all been "pure civil disobedience" aimed at getting him charged so he could test Canada's marijuana laws in court. He described himself as a minister in the Mission of Ecstasy church which uses marijuana as a sacrament, and said the shop also served as headquarters for the church. He said the shop had been described as "a little bubble of freedom and tolerance in Victoria," and urged council not to become involved in discriminatory and arbitrary action against that. But the majority of council members said the criminal convictions were enough to yank the licence.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Relax Marijuana Laws - Federal Study ('The Ottawa Citizen' Says The Canadian Centre On Substance Abuse, A Federally Funded Think Tank, Has Published A New Study, 'Cannabis Control In Canada,' Which Proposes Dropping Jail As A Possible Punishment For Marijuana Possession - Instead, The Offence Would Become A Civil Violation, Subject To A Fine Only) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Cannabis Culture) To: email@example.com Subject: CC: Relax marijuana laws: federal study Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 07:46:12 -0700 Lines: 95 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Cannabis Culture (http://www.cannabisculture.com/) Source: Ottawa Citizen Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun 14 Jun 1998 Section: News A1 / Front Author: Jim Bronskill Relax marijuana laws: federal study Cannabis possession warrants fines, not jail time, government report says A federally funded think-tank on drug abuse recommends decriminalizing marijuana possession. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (http://www.ccsa.ca/) says existing criminal penalties against marijuana smokers have done little to enhance public health and safety, while placing a heavy burden on police and the justice system. The centre's newly published study, Cannabis Control in Canada, proposes dropping jail as a possible punishment for marijuana possession. Instead, the offence would become a civil violation, subject to a fine only. ``The available evidence indicates that removal of jail as a sentencing option would lead to considerable cost savings without leading to increases in rates of cannabis use,'' says the study. The new approach would remain consistent with Canada's international treaty obligations to prohibit marijuana possession. But it would spare those convicted of the offence from being saddled with a criminal record. The study warns, however, that far from being a benign drug, marijuana can have harmful effects on the respiratory system, physical co-ordination, fetal development and memory. It says decriminalization should be accompanied by new prevention programs and a strong message that the move does not signal less concern for the potential problems caused by cannabis use. The paper was prepared last month by the centre's National Working Group on Addictions Policy. The centre was created by Parliament in 1988 to promote debate on substance abuse issues and to support organizations involved in education, prevention and treatment. ``The vast majority of Canadians no longer favour jail sentences for simple possession of cannabis,'' concludes the study. ``The civil violation option offers the best opportunity to achieve the most appropriate balance between the need to reduce the harms associated with cannabis use and the need to restrain the costs and harms involved in attempts to control use.'' The federal government, however, appears wary of the proposal. A recent Health Department memo obtained by the Citizen notes that once an activity has been legalized, it is very difficult to outlaw it again. ``Moving too swiftly to liberalize the use of marijuana may result in an inability to control problematic use in future,'' says the memo by the department's assistant deputy minister for policy. Intense public debate about drug policy was sparked by last winter's decision to temporarily strip Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati of his Olympic gold medal for having a trace of marijuana in his system. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in Canada, with possession accounting for about half of the more than 60,000 drug offences recorded annually. About 2,000 people are jailed for possession each year. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians have a criminal record for marijuana possession, making it potentially difficult for them to enter certain countries or gain employment in some professions. The federal government softened the laws somewhat last year, making possession of a small amount of cannabis punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Individuals cannot be fingerprinted and no easily traceable information appears in computer databases. But those convicted still have criminal records. The study suggests the new penalty would essentially amount to a ticket, easing the burden on the justice system. However, when some Australian states moved to a similar system, more people than anticipated fought the ticket, contributing to court costs, notes the Health memo. ``This is an extremely complex issue with many dimensions and at present there are many information gaps, making the forecasting of outcomes difficult.'' Another note by a department analyst suggests more public education in advance of any changes. ``There is obviously a need for a `post-Rebagliati' injection of drug education before drug policy takes a snowboard downhill.'' *** CClist, the electronic news and information service of Cannabis Culture To unsubscribe, send a message to email@example.com containing the command "unsubscribe cclist". *** Subscribe to Cannabis Culture Magazine! Write to: Suite 504, 21 Water St., Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6B 1A1 Visit Cannabis Culture online at http://www.cannabisculture.com/
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mounties Didn't Have Government's OK For Covert Drug Sting ('The Ottawa Citizen' Says Secret Federal Documents Show The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Operated An Undercover Currency Exchange In Montreal For Five Months In 1990 Before Getting The Required Legal Approval From The Solicitor General Of Canada) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: Mounties didn't have government's OK for covert drug sting Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 07:35:48 -0700 Lines: 191 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Ottawa Citizen Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Sun 14 Jun 1998 Section: News A1 / Front Author: Andrew McIntosh Mounties didn't have government's OK for covert drug sting: RCMP laundered cash for five months before getting cabinet approval The RCMP operated an undercover currency exchange in Montreal for five months in 1990 before getting the required legal approvals from the Solicitor General of Canada, secret federal documents show. Even when the Solicitor General's approval was later obtained, it appears the RCMP never told the minister -- at the time, Conservative cabinet minister Pierre Cadieux -- about the full extent of its covert operation: that police officers were changing Canadian currency into U.S. funds for suspected drug traffickers, and that such transactions would facilitate imports of drugs. In an interview, Mr. Cadieux declined to comment on the series of events or discuss what he knew about the RCMP covert operation while he was Solicitor General of Canada from Feb. 23, 1990 to April 21, 1991. ``I can't recall,'' said Mr. Cadieux, who later became Minister of State for Fitness and Amateur Sport in the former Progressive Conservative government. Mr. Cadieux is now vice-chairman of the Quebec Rental Board in Montreal. Former RCMP commissioner Norman Inkster said he recalled the Montreal operation and that it had been approved by the Solicitor General, but he declined to comment on the timing or anything else about it. The federal Financial Administration Act requires that the RCMP obtain written approval from the Solicitor General before setting up a covert Crown corporation for investigative purposes. Such approval also exempts the covert company from having to prepare detailed financial reports about its activities, something all normal Crown corporations must produce annually and table in Parliament. The undercover RCMP company, called the Montreal International Currency Centre Inc., was located in downtown Montreal on de Maisonneuve Blvd. West. It was incorporated on Aug. 17, 1990 by a Montreal corporate lawyer working for the RCMP. Fictitious names were used on the incorporation papers. The company began exchanging money in September 1990. But Mr. Cadieux did not authorize the RCMP's covert company until Jan. 11, 1991, the secret federal documents show. By this time, the federal police force had already exchanged hundreds of thousands of dollars in suspected and known drug money, which had facilitated efforts by criminals to import cocaine into central Canada. By this time, the police force also had already signed a secret agreement with the National Bank of Canada on Aug. 28, 1990, under which the bank agreed to train undercover officers who were to staff the currency exchange. That secret agreement also stipulated that the RCMP would guarantee all losses the Montreal-based bank might incur as a result of the covert police company's activities. The RCMP was months away from getting the Solicitor General's approval when that deal was signed. When Mr. Cadieux approved the creation of the covert company, the agreement with the National Bank was never mentioned to him by then-RCMP commissioner Mr. Inkster. Documents obtained by the Citizen show that the RCMP knew just days after the currency exchange opened its doors in Montreal that officers had not received the proper written authorization from the Solicitor General. That message was delivered to Insp. Bruce Bowie, then the officer-in-charge of the Drug Enforcement Directorate at RCMP Headquarters in Ottawa, on Oct. 4, 1990, by Nancy Irving, a lawyer in the federal Justice department. Ms. Irving described the failure to get the Solicitor General approval as a serious problem, outlining possible repercussions in a five-page memorandum. She said the Financial Administration Act could allow the government to suspend the RCMP officers with or without pay for failing to get the Solicitor General's approval to incorporate the covert company. Ms. Irving then said that a ``far more serious'' concern was that the covert corporation might have to be dissolved because of the failure to get the proper ministerial authorization. ``The only real solution to the foregoing is for the Force to proceed without delay to attempt to obtain the Solicitor General's approval under paragraph 85 (2) a. It remains to be seen whether the Minister will authorize the company's incorporation ex post facto,'' she added. Despite her recommendation for the RCMP to ``proceed without delay'' and try to get the Solicitor General's approval, Mr. Inkster took two months to send a letter to Mr. Cadieux to advise him of the problem. Mr. Inkster's description of the situation was different than that of Ms. Irving's, and he didn't tell Mr. Cadieux of the issues outlined by Ms. Irving. His letter to Mr. Cadieux, dated Dec. 3, 1990 -- stamped ``SECRET'' --stated: ``As you are aware, the RCMP has a number of legally incorporated companies to enable us to effectively pursue covert investigations and surveillance. ``With the passage of Bill C-61 (the law to counter money laundering), we have taken the lead role in the enforcement initiative against money laundering. ``The RCMP Economic Crime Directorate has had an international money laundering initiative working with our American counterparts which necessitated the incorporation of companies for support cover and potential business transaction reasons,'' the letter stated. ``The RCMP Drug Enforcement Directorate is also carrying out enforcement initiatives versus money laundering and the proceeds of crime through the incorporation of a store front operation,'' he added. Mr. Inkster reported that a ``recent review'' discovered an ``unintentional oversight:'' that the RCMP failed to get proper written Ministerial approval to create eight separate covert Crown corporations for its investigations. One of them was the Montreal International Currency Centre Inc. A separate appendix was included for Mr. Cadieux to sign to retroactively approve the creation of the covert company in Montreal. Mr. Cadieux only signed that authorization on Jan. 11, 1991. Mr. Cadieux declined to say whether he was subsequently briefed on the full details of the Montreal covert operation, given that he had not been told about them in the letter from Mr. Inkster. The Montreal Mounties running the currency exchange were never told about RCMP headquarters' failure to get the Solicitor General's approval to create the covert company until three years later, internal RCMP documents show. On Dec. 7, 1993, RCMP Headquarters in Ottawa sent a confidential facsimile message to officers in Montreal in which they were told their operation had ministerial approval and that it was a Crown corporation. A handwritten note on the facsimile from RCMP Sgt. Yvon Gagnon, the officer overseeing the Montreal operation, stated: ``It seems that the Montreal International Currency Centre is a Crown corporation and has been since Dec. 3 1990. Headquarters forgot to inform us about it.'' The RCMP was criticized in the final report of the Macdonald Royal Commission into RCMP wrongdoing in the 1980s for not fully informing its political masters of its ongoing operational activities. This way, the commission found, the minister could deny knowing of potentially sensitive police operations should they be exposed and publicly criticized. A series of articles in the Citizen last week about the Montreal covert operation revealed that the cash-strapped, short-staffed undercover RCMP unit was overwhelmed by the drug world figures using the currency exchange. RCMP officers only had the manpower and financial and technical resources to investigate a fraction of the cocaine traffickers using their exchange. While the RCMP eventually arrested some criminals and recovered $16.5 million in laundered cash, $125 million in known and suspected drug money which was exchanged at the Montreal counter vanished, fuelling drug sales between Canada and Colombia which were worth about $2 billion on the street. The covert police operation was also hurt by leaks of sensitive information by corrupt fellow police officers, including one Mountie who remains on the force and who has yet to be identified following an internal security probe.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Government Attacked For Defying Court Order ('The Ottawa Citizen' Says Canada's Reform Party Alleged The Federal Government And Royal Canadian Mounted Police Must Be 'Hiding Something' In Their Refusal To Release Documents On Covert Drug Operations) Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 20:23:51 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Government Attacked For Defying Court Order Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Ottawa Citizen (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/ Pubdate: Sun 14 Jun 1998 Section: News A1 / Front Author: Andrew McIntosh GOVERNMENT ATTACKED FOR DEFYING COURT ORDER `THEY'RE HIDING SOMETHING,' opposition says of refusal to release documents on covert drug operations Opposition parties scolded the federal government yesterday for defying a court order and blocking the disclosure of legal opinions and other documents about controversial undercover RCMP currency exchange operations. And the opposition parties renewed calls for the federal government to hold an inquiry into the four-year covert RCMP operation in Montreal whose problems and failings were outlined in a series of articles last week in the Citizen. Reform party justice critic Jack Ramsay said the government and the RCMP are behaving improperly in refusing to disclose all relevant documents about the covert police operations. ``This is wrong,'' Mr. Ramsay said in an interview from his home in Camrose, Alta. ``We should know what is going on. If they're not prepared to release the documents, it means they're hiding something.'' The RCMP's 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 to be used to purchase more cocaine or other drugs. Quebec and British Columbia judges have been asked to rule on the legality of the undercover RCMP currency exchanges, known as ``reverse stings,'' after the undercover operations were carried out in Montreal and Vancouver. Quebec Court Justice Pierre Pinard in late 1995 ruled the RCMP's Montreal operation, which ran between 1990 and 1994, was legal. In January, Justice Mary Humphries of the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the RCMP's operation in Vancouver between 1993 and 1996 was illegal. .Officers in Vancouver handled dirty money and did not get suspects to fill out forms and report large cash transactions, Judge Humphries ruled. In the B.C. case, Deputy RCMP Commissioner Terry Ryan and Jocelyne Bourgon, Clerk of the Privy Council, filed sworn affidavits to block disclosure of documents about the police currency exchanges, saying they're confidential. And rather than disclose sensitive legal opinions about the legality of the police currency exchange operations -- Judge Humphries ordered them made public during her case -- Crown prosecutors urged her to stay charges against Frederick Creswell, an Abbotsford man accused of money laundering. The government's position to defy the court order drew harsh criticism from Bloc Quebecois justice critic Richard Marceau, a Quebec City MP. ``No government is above the law. None. This is totally unacceptable,'' he said. Mr. Ramsay said what Canadians now need to know is clear: did the RCMP go ahead with the undercover operations in Montreal and Vancouver against the advice outlined in the legal opinions from the federal Justice department? ``If they did, they're in serious trouble,'' he said. ``If the Justice department advised the RCMP it was OK to go ahead with it, then their judgment will be called into question,'' Mr. Ramsay added. The affidavit from 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 of the documents at issue are secret communications between the deputy justice minister and the RCMP commissioner in 1993 or 1994, a time when the Montreal and Vancouver operations were both underway. Another document is a legal opinion produced in the 1980s by a former associate deputy attorney general of Canada, Don Christie, about the legality of reverse sting operations such as the currency exchanges. The Mounties used this legal opinion from Mr. Christie to take the position that the Vancouver and Montreal storefront operations were legally permissible. The Citizen reported this week that the RCMP's Montreal currency exchange operation was so short-staffed and overwhelmed by the amount of business it received that officers had a hard time keeping track of all the drug money coming in the door and of all the cocaine dealers using their company. While the RCMP eventually arrested some criminals and recovered $16.5 million in cash in 1994, $125 million in known and suspected drug money exchanged at the Montreal counter simply vanished, expanding the illegal cocaine trade between Canada and Columbia.
------------------------------------------------------------------- PM Skirts RCMP Blunder ('The Calgary Sun' Says Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien Gave A Pep Talk Last Night In Montreal To Royal Canadian Mounted Police Brass As The Police Force Continued To Come Under Fire For An Undercover Operation That Ended Up Supporting The Cocaine Trade) Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 11:26:57 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: PM Skirts RCMP Blunder 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: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 Source: Calgary Sun (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.canoe.ca/CalgarySun/ Author: DAVID GAMBLE -- Ottawa Bureau PM SKIRTS RCMP BLUNDER MONTREAL -- Prime Minister Jean Chretien gave a pep talk last night to RCMP brass as the police force continued to come under fire for an undercover operation that ended up supporting the cocaine trade. Calling the RCMP a "symbol of pride and unity" for Canada, Chretien made no mention of the failed undercover operation blamed on a lack of adequate funding by the federal government. "The RCMP has become a front-line partner in the fight against organized crime, particularly in the war on drug trafficking and investigations into economic crime," Chretien told the 1,000 guests attending the RCMP regimental charity ball honoring the force's 125th anniversary. "As prime minister, I want to thank you for a job well done," Chretien said. The PM also unveiled a new stamp commemorating the anniversary saying the officers and staff have "every reason to be proud they are part of renowned police force with a rich tradition of excellence." On Friday, it was revealed Ottawa is defying a court order and blocking the disclosure of documents showing how the RCMP brass approved a failed Montreal money-laundering sting operation and a similar one in Vancouver.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Bolivian Lawmaker Blocks Efforts Against Cocaine ('The Orange County Register' Says Evo Morales, The Leader Of The Coca Leaf Farmers Union Featured In A 'New York Times' Article Yesterday, Faces Expulsion From Congress For Urging Armed Resistance To A Government Plan To End Bolivia's Cocaine Trafficking) Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 15:55:01 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Bolivian Lawmaker Blocks Efforts Against Cocaine Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 BOLIVIAN LAWMAKER BLOCKS EFFORTS AGAINST COCAINE Like legislators all over the world, Evo Morales hugs babies and makes fist-thumping speeches. But he also chews coca leaves in public. In fact, the Bolivian congressman was not at all embarrassed to be photographed caressing the coca bushes that grow on his property. Last year,he ran on the slogan "Vote for Coca!" The top leader of the coca leaf farmers union faces expulsion from Congress for urging armed resistance to a government plan to end Bolivia's cocaine trafficking, a congressional leader said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Church Discusses 'Harmless' Drug, But The Arrests Go On (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Says The Campaign To Decriminalise Cannabis Use Made An Unparalleled Series Of Advances This Week As Members Of The Church Of England, The House Of Lords, And Senior Members Of Britain's Medical Community All Considered The Issue In A More Dispassionate Atmosphere Than Before) Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998 01:39:36 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: Church Discusses 'Harmless' Drug, But The Arrests Go On Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 Source: Independent on Sunday, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ CHURCH DISCUSSES 'HARMLESS' DRUG, BUT THE ARRESTS GO ON THE CAMPAIGN to decriminalise cannabis use in Britain has made an unparalleled series of advances this week. Members of the Church of England, the House of Lords and senior members of Britain's medical community have all been considering the issue in a more dispassionate atmosphere than before. A paper released on Wednesday, and due to be debated by the General Synod of the Church of England at the beginning of next month, refers to this newspaper's campaign, as well as the fundamentally "harmless" nature of the drug and the strong case for allowing medical experimentation with the substance. The Misuse of Drugs report by the Board of Social Responsibility also includes a comment made by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham of Cornhill, last year that decriminalisation was "a subject that deserves, in my opinion, detached, objective, independent consideration". It goes on to call for the whole area of illegal drug use to be seen in the context of religious faith and, in some cases, of the search to renew the spiritual side of life. A background paper written for the synod by Rev Kenneth Leech quotes widely from the Independent on Sunday's campaign and underlines the current scientific opinion that cannabis use is of no long-term danger to health and is not in itself an encouragement to go on to take stronger illegal drugs. Writing since the IoS campaign was launched on 28 September last year, Rev Leech states: "The calls for decriminalisation of cannabis possession, which have been the subject of debate in the UK for over 30 years, are likely to become more frequent." His paper also quotes this newspaper's criticisms of the limitations of the Government's recent White Paper entitled Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain, published on 27 April this year. In support of the IoS stance, Rev Leech writes: "The most positive aspect of the [Government's] document is the recognition that treatment costs less, and works better, than prohibition. "However, the long-term policy implications of this recognition need to be taken more seriously than any government has so far done." On 4 July the General Synod will merely be asked to note and discuss the report and its accompanying background paper, but the ideas they both contain demonstrate the changing moral attitude to cannabis use within the Church of England. On Tuesday the House of Lords Science and Technology Subcommittee heard important evidence from the Multiple Sclerosis Society on the effectiveness of the drug in combating some of the painful symptoms of the degenerative illness. A second public hearing will hear further evidence on the drug's properties at 10.45am on Tuesday 16 June. (Call 0171-219 3107 for details.) Perhaps this week's most unlikely development, however, was the granting of a licence to Britain's first cannabis farm. The government-backed research station was given the go-ahead on Thursday and can now research and develop the drug's uses as a medicine. Prior to this, all scientific work on cannabis has exposed those conducting the experiments to the possibility of a criminal charge for possession. Dr Geoffrey Guy, a founder of GW Pharmaceuticals, is to grow the drug in a giant greenhouse at a secret site in south-east England and he expects to be able to market at least one new drug within five years. The research plan, reported in the national media this week, will follow in the footsteps of similar research work being pursued in the United States, where the government last year announced it is to spend $1m (UKP600,000) on investigating the uses of cannabis in the treatment of illness. In Britain, GW will work to isolate THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, and to test its suitability for therapeutic use. Dr Guy has already indicated the possibility that patients with multiple sclerosis, Aids, cancer and glaucoma may all stand to benefit from his work. He estimates that the research will cost about UKP10m over the next five years and he is looking for pharmaceutical companies to invest in the new venture. The first shipment of cannabis plants supplied by GW's Dutch partner HortaPharm will be planted in the next few weeks and the first harvest is expected in late autumn. In contrast to such positive news, this week police resources have once more been channelled into dealing with cannabis-related crime. A mother of two, who cares for her chronically arthritic 54-year-old husband, has been convicted for making a cannabis soup to ease his pain. Margaret Startin was fined after police raided her home in Cannock, Staffordshire, and found plants growing under special lights in the loft. Mrs Startin said: "We have tried normal medication but these were not working. I had to try something else. I was desperate." At Stafford Crown Court on Tuesday she admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply and was fined UKP500 and ordered to pay UKP1,123 costs. Her husband, William Widdowson, was fined UKP250 after he admitted growing the drug. (e-mail your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Chickens Stuffed With Drugs, Court Hears (Britain's 'Edgware And Mill Hill Times' Doesn't Explain What Led Customs Officials To Arrest Two Men In December And Confiscate Frozen Chickens Stuffed With £2.2 Million Of Cannabis Resin At A London Warehouse) Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 16:04:17 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: Chickens Stuffed With Drugs, Court Hears Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (CLCIA) Source : Edgware and Mill Hill Times, UK Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.times_series.co.uk/edgware/ Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 CHICKENS STUFFED WITH DRUGS, COURT HEARS Frozen chickens stuffed with cannabis resin were seized by customs officials at a London warehouse. Around UKP2.2 million of the drug were smuggled into the country from Holland on December 1 and then held overnight in cold storage inside the birds by an unsuspecting company in Essex. Chicken carcasses had been ripped open and left to rot on the floor by the time Donald Murray, 42, of Salcombe Gardens, Mill Hill, was arrested in the raid in Acton in December. He admits importing the resin and also possession of another 8 kg of herbal cannabis discovered in the raid. Another man arrested at the scene, Peter Kelly, 42, of Daffodil Street, Shepherds Bush, pleaded not guilty to the same offence at Southwark Crown Court on Monday. The trial continues.
------------------------------------------------------------------- New Treasure Along Ancient Silk Road ('The San Jose Mercury News' Notes Prohibition Has Boosted The Smuggling Of Opium And Heroin Through Kyrgyzstan To New Customers In Russia) Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 21:15:25 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Kyrgyzstan: New Treasure Along Ancient Silk Road Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Author: Inga Saffron, Mercury News Moscow Bureau NEW TREASURE ALONG ANCIENT SILK ROAD Smugglers take opium from Afghan mountains to European markets OSH, Kyrgyzstan--FIRST Ravshan became an opium addict; then he found a new career. His suppliers paid him in fat packets of white powder to shuttle their product from this remote corner of Central Asia to new customers in Russia. Ravshan is thousands of miles from New York, where a drug summit was held last week at the United Nations. But he is exactly the kind of person President Clinton and other world leaders will have to reach if they are to make a dent in the world's multibillion-dollar drug trade, as they have pledged. Ravshan once was a captain of a corps of drug addicts and unemployed women conscripted to work as smugglers. With wads of opium and heroin nestled at the bottom of cheap Chinese bags, Ravshan's team would fan out across the grassy Asian steppe. They traveled by train and bus, following the route of the ancient Silk Road, once traversed by camels laden with the luxuries of the East. These days, the old Silk Road has become a modern-day Heroin Trail, allowing opium harvested in Afghanistan to reach markets in Europe and China. In fact, experts say, more narcotics now pass through this region than through the so-called Southeast Asian ``Golden Triangle'' countries of Burma and Thailand. About 220 pounds of processed opium is smuggled across Central Asia each week, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in London. Just as the new Central Asian states are struggling to build stable democracies, the drug trade threatens to turn them into ``narcocracies,'' the Institute warned. Osh, a 3,000-year-old trading post at the base of the craggy Pamir Mountains, has become a major hub on the new drug route. Among its 500,000 residents -- many now unemployed -- are plenty of people willing to travel the Heroin Trail to earn $100. An estimated one out of 10 of these new smugglers are women, who make the best smugglers because police in this Muslim-dominated culture are reticent to search them. Known locally as khanka, opium has long been part of the culture of Central Asia. But with the breakup of the Soviet Union, the erosion of government authority and the ensuing economic collapse, khanka has become a driving force in the region, creating a booming new industry and thousands of new addicts like Ravshan. Until Ravshan, 35, checked himself into a drug clinic last month, his drug caravan was transporting as much as 11 pounds of narcotics on each trip to Russia's big cities. He began smuggling drugs after he lost his job in 1991 when his factory went bust. During his five years as a smuggler, he said, he never failed to make a delivery. ``I was highly motivated,'' he recalled with a bitter glance at the rivulets of veins running down his bony arms. Ravshan said he finally found his own ``interior power'' -- and the $154 fee -- to drag himself in for treatment. But there are still dozens of others just like him, all moving westward with their plastic-wrapped sacks of drugs. ``It used to be just a bad habit here, but now it's big business,'' said Kamil Abdurakhmanov, head of the Osh police department's anti-drug squad. The police here have been trying to contain the torrent of drug traffic with a staff of 19 and a single Russian-made car. ``There are 100 places in Osh where you can buy khanka,'' he said. Officials estimate there are as many as 200,000 addicts in Kyrgyzstan, once the farthest outpost of the Soviet empire, wedged between Uzbekistan and China. The number of addicts in Osh's treatment center -- a tiny fraction of the city's total -- has doubled in the last two years. According to Alexander Zelichenko, coordinator of the United Nations Anti-Drug Project in Osh, two important developments occurred simultaneously: A Russian market for drugs opened up, and Iran, once on the drug smuggling route, launched a strict anti-drug campaign, virtually sealing its border with Afghanistan. So, the drug traders headed north. ``Within six months, we here in Kyrgyzstan were already feeling the effect,'' Zelichenko said. Osh's strategic location in the lush Fergana Valley makes it a logical transfer point for Afghan opium. It is here that the first wave of smugglers arrive after taking the ``route beyond the clouds,'' a grueling trek to Kyrgyzstan across the Afghan border into Tajikistan and down the 12,000-foot-high passes of the Pamir Mountains -- a place known as the ``roof of the world.'' After hauling their loads of raw opium gum by foot, donkey and -- increasingly -- flashy, Japanese-made, four-wheel-drive vehicles, Osh looms like an oasis in the flatlands, the first big settlement in the desolate region. For many of the 4 million people in the leafy, slow-moving villages around Osh, where nearly all the factories are closed, the drug trade is the only viable business left. The criminal trade has rapidly permeated the tradition-bound societies of Central Asia. ``If a woman has 10 or 11 children, a husband who is an addict or has no job, what else can she do?'' Zelichenko asked. Like Ravshan, the smugglers who cross the Pamirs to deliver opium to Osh have been impoverished by the Soviet collapse. Most are Tajiks from the isolated and ungovernable region of Gorno-Badakhshan, where drug lords rule and no one pays much attention to officials in the capital, Dushanbe. A perpetual civil war has raged there since the Soviet government fell in 1991. These Tajik smugglers purchase raw opium -- the gum scraped from poppy flowers -- for a mere $50 a pound. If the sticky gum is refined in one of the new drug factories that have sprung up in Gorno-Badakhshan, it can be sold for $350 in Osh. If it's further distilled into heroin, the price shoots up to $5,000. By the time a pound of pure heroin reaches Moscow, dealers will pay $75,000. In the past year, the smugglers crossing into Kyrgyzstan have increasingly switched to heroin. At one-tenth the weight of opium, it's easier to carry and more profitable. It's also harder for the harried Kyrgyz border guards at the Archally post to detect in the trucks and cars heading north along the Silk Road. The switch from opium to processed heroin means that more local addicts will turn to heroin, which is harder to treat than opium. ``I never even treated a heroin addict until a few months ago,'' said Kantbek Kanzhebayev, Ravshan's doctor at the Osh clinic. There are just 20 beds for the region, which probably has 25,000 addicts. In the same room where Ravshan rested, three other addicts writhed on metal cots, undergoing a controlled form of withdrawal. Ravshan, at least, had already started to return to life. He stood up unsteadily from his cot and walked slowly into a small garden, where his wife, Adina, stood waiting. ``For five years I was daily drunk. I've had enough,'' Ravshan said quietly. ``There are lots of problems for me to fix. I just hope it's not too late.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Qat Dealer Killed By Own Hand Grenade (Cautionary Tale In 'The Orange County Register' Says A 'Drug Dealer' Accidentally Pulled The Pin While Giving Change Saturday In A Southern Yemen Marketplace) Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 20:20:59 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Yemen: Qat Dealer Killed By Own Hand Grenade Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: 14 Jun 1998 Comment: Headline by MAP editor QAT DEALER KILLED BY OWN HAND GRENADE A hand grenade exploded in a crowded market Saturday in southern Yemen after a drug dealer accidentally pulled the pin while giving change. Six people were killed. The grenade was on the belt of Hassan Azar, a dealer of the locally grown narcotic "qat," and he was among those killed. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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