Portland NORML News - Monday, June 15, 1998
-------------------------------------------------------------------

No Pot Citations ('The Sacramento Bee' Notes A Sacramento County Ordinance
Recriminalizing Marijuana For Medical Marijuana Patients
Hasn't Been Invoked Against Anyone Yet)

Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 11:26:57 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: No Pot Citations
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Jun 1998
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Contact: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html
Website: http://www.sacbee.com/

NO POT CITATIONS

Then: Fearing that residents with a doctor's permission to smoke marijuana
would do so in public areas, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
passed an ordinance in March that would fine legal smokers of pot up to
$1,000 for lighting up in public.

District Attorney Jan Scully said the ordinance was necessary to clear up
ambiguities in Proposition 215, a 1996 voter-approved initiative that
legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Scully argued that medical
users of pot should not smoke in public areas, because doing so would send
a confusing message to youths and expose others to pot smoke.

The ordinance passed on a split vote, with Supervisors Illa Collin and
Roger Dickinson opposing, saying the ordinance's fines were too steep and
the local law could lead to harassment of medicinal pot users.

Now: Sheriff's deputies have issued no citations or warnings under the new
ordinance, which was officially logged on local books two months ago,
sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jim Cooper said.

"Most (medicinal pot smokers) use a good deal of discretion," said Cooper.
"We haven't had any problems with it."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Medical Marijuana Stalemate A Disgrace (Staff Editorial
In 'The San Mateo County Times' Laments That Sick Californians
Who Can Be Helped By Cannabis Can't Obtain It Legally,
And Says 'We've Got To Change That, And Change It Soon,'
Suggesting Maybe Another Statewide Initiative Is In Order)

Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998 12:14:49 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: Medical Marijuana Stalemate a Disgrace
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: tjeffoc@sirius.com (Tom O'Connell)
Source: San Mateo County Times (CA)
Contact: feedback@smctimes.com
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Jun 1998

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STALEMATE A DISGRACE

WHEN the voters of California approved an initiative to OK the use of
marijuana for medicinal purposes, that is precisely what they had in mind.

They were not giving the go-ahead to recreational use of the weed. They
were not supporting the tired antics of arrogant, confirmed potheads who
make a mockery of the very people the measure was intended for.

Dennis Peron, one of the guiding lights behind Proposition 215, has done
more to hurt his own cause than perhaps anyone else in the state. Peron and
others involved with his no-holds-barred cannabis club of San Francisco
have succeeded in severely damaging the credibility of the movement to
legalize the use of marijuana for the desperately ill.

It has gotten to the point now where government authorities have almost no
choice but to shut down such organizations because of their behavior.

That is extremely unfortunate. There is increasing evidence that marijuana
does indeed alleviate many of the worst symptoms of certain forms of
multiple sclerosis, cancer, AIDS and certain other debilitating diseases.

Amazingly, though, there is not one completed scientific study on the
medicinal values of marijuana. Last year, the state Legislature approved $1
million to fund a UC Berkeley study on the medicinal effects of marijuana,
but results are many months, perhaps years, away.

San Mateo County, for one, is in the process of preparing a proposal for
the federal government to learn, once and for all, what the medically
beneficial effects of pot actually are.

In a way, in fact, the situation is scandalous. Literally millions of
Americans could receive some relief of nagging symptoms and side-effects if
marijuana were made available to them.

To us, the hypocritical handling of the marijuana issue in Washington,
D.C., has done far more harm than good. The irrational cloud hanging over
the drug makes no sense.

Why should marijuana be treated differently than, say, heroin when that
controlled substance is used as morphine to reduce severe pain? It's a
simple matter of pharmacological efficacy.

Yes, go ahead and require a prescription for marijuana. That's only right
and proper. We do not advocate the indiscriminate use of the drug. Not at
all.

Perhaps we need to head back to the ballot box. Maybe what's needed is
another initiative, clearly worded and tightly constructed, to close any
loopholes in Proposition 215.

GOP gubernatorial hopeful and Attorney General Dan Lungren contends the
issue of distribution is not addressed in the ballot measure, saying the
way cannabis clubs obtained marijuana was illegal.

But we think even a future ballot measure on this has a great risk of
failing. The images of Peron's cannabis club members smoking away as if the
Grateful Dead were performing may taint this issue down the road.

The current cannabis stalemate in California is harmful. Sick people who
can be helped by the drug can't obtain it legally. We've got to change
that, and change it soon.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Rainbow Gathering (A List Subscriber Posts Information
About This Year's Hemp-Friendly Festival, To Be Held At Canero Lake
In The Apache National Forest In East Central Arizona -
Internet Addresses Included For More Details)

Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 15:01:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: Randy Chase 
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: Rainbow gathering
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Directions to 1998 Rainbow gathering follows:

The Rainbow Family of Living Light, on the land at Spring Council, has
reached consensus, and we will be having The 1998 Annual Rainbow
Gathering at Canero Lake, in the Apache National forest, in east central
Arizona.

The directions to Canero Lake are as follows:

The turn off is about midway between Springerville and Show Low, off
hwy. 60. Go to mile marker 372, (give or take a tad bit).

The dirt road to the south is fs rd 117, but shown on the road as
Greens Peak Rd, (3123).

Go about 5 1/2 miles to the intersection with fs rd 118.
Turn left at 118.

After 3 1/2 miles on 118, there is a right turn on to 117A.
Turn right and stay to your left up the hill, for about 3 more miles.

WELCOME HOME!

Expect to deal with lows temps of around 30 degrees and highs in the 80s.
For more information, tune into the Rainbow News Group at
alt.gathering.rainbow
news:alt.gathering.rainbow
or go to the electronically tuned in unofficial RFOLL home page at
http://www.welcomehome.com
or your favorite/reliable rainbow link.

WE LOVE YOU!
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Plan To Put US Troops On Border Draws Fire ('The Orange County Register'
Says Arizona Governor Jane Hull And Other Officials Along Both Sides
Of The US-Mexico Border Are Opposing A Bill Approved
By The US House Of Representatives Last Month)

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 07:43:37 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: Plan To Put U.S. Troops On Border Draws Fire
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Monday, 15 June 1998

PLAN TO PUT U.S. TROOPS ON BORDER DRAWS FIRE

A congressional plan to put U.S. troops on the Southwest border to battle
drugs and illegal immigrants is drawing fire from Arizona Gov. Jane Hull
and other officials along both sides of the border.

The U.S. House plan would authorize the military to join with civilian law
enforcement agencies to prevent the entry of "terrorists, drug traffickers
and illegal aliens" into the United States.

The plan was attached by an Ohio congressman to a $270 billion defense
budget bill approved by the House last month.

In a recent letter to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Hull wrote that the
prospect of armed, uniformed soldiers patrolling the streets of border
towns "creates a terrifying image that threatens our very nature as a
peaceful nation."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

View Drug Dealing As Work, Study Says ('The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel'
Describes A New Report, 'The Business Of Drug Dealing In Milwaukee,'
By John Hagedorn, A Longtime Researcher Into Milwaukee's Gang Culture
And Assistant Professor Of Criminal Science At The University Of Illinois
At Chicago, Who Says Selling Illegal Drugs Is 'An Innovative, Entrepreneurial,
Small Business Venture' That Employs More Than 10 Percent Of The Young Men
In Many Central City Neighborhoods - 'Most Drug Entrepreneurs
Are Hard Working, But Not Super-Rich,' Wrote Hagedorn In His Report,
Prepared For The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute And Released Today -
'Most Drug Entrepreneurs Aren't Particularly Violent' - URL Included)

Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 16:01:28 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US WI: View Drug Dealing as Work, Study Says
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Contact: jsedit@onwis.com
Fax: (414) 224-8280
Website: http://www.jsonline.com/
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Jun 1998
Author: Jack Norman of the Journal Sentinel staff
Newshawk Note: "The Business of Drug Dealing in Milwaukee" The report is in
Adobe Acrobat PDF format, and can be downloaded at
http://www.jsonline.com/forums/drug/0615drug.stm

VIEW DRUG DEALING AS WORK, STUDY SAYS

Milwaukee findings of thriving informal economy meant to prod policy talks

Are drug dealers violent criminals who poison neighborhoods? Or misguided
business people seeking jobs and income in a changing economy?

Drug dealing is often "an innovative, entrepreneurial, small business
venture" that employs more than 10% of the young men in many central city
neighborhoods, according to a new study of "The Business of Drug Dealing in
Milwaukee."

"Much of what we call 'crime' is actually work," writes John Hagedorn, a
longtime researcher into Milwaukee's gang culture who is assistant
professor of criminal science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"Most drug entrepreneurs are hard working, but not super-rich," wrote
Hagedorn in his report, prepared for the Wisconsin Policy Research
Institute and released today. "Most drug entrepreneurs aren't particularly
violent.

"Drug sales in poor neighborhoods are part of a growing informal economy
which has expanded and innovatively organized in response to the loss of
good jobs.

"The extent and centrality of drugs to the informal economy -- a major way
poor people are trying to survive -- indicates we should reconsider our
current drug policy," he wrote.

His 30-page report is the result of an unlikely marriage between Hagedorn
and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.

Hagedorn is a self-described "longtime left-wing activist" whose scholarly
book on Milwaukee's gang culture, "People and Folks," is now in its second
edition. The institute is well-known as a conservative group, funded by
right-leaning foundations and businesses.

But the alliance was intended by both partners to spark a fresh approach to
the drug issue. Institute President James Miller had no qualms about
Hagedorn's politics when he asked him to publish a study of drug dealing in
Milwaukee.

"It's an important topic and John does unique research," he said. "He's got
information nobody else has that should be looked at. There are few issues
with less information and research than the drug economy."

The institute "may differ with some of the author's recommendations,"
Miller wrote in his introduction. "But there is little question that this
study should stir the public policy debate."

Indeed, initial reaction to Hagedorn's analysis ranged from laudatory to
damning.

His conclusions "appear to me to be very accurate," said Gary Graika,
director of the Social Development Commission's Youth Diversion Program, a
leading anti-gang effort.

"One of the reasons kids join gangs is to make money through drug sales,"
Graika said. "There are a lot of young adults who have a very keen business
sense, and if given the opportunity to utilize these skills in the legal
economy, they'd do quite well for themselves."

But Hagedorn was strongly criticized by Rodney Cubbie, a private attorney
who led drug investigations and prosecutions for the Milwaukee district
attorney and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, where
he headed the organized-crime drug unit.

"I don't understand this attempt to minimize what is a crime by suggesting
it's something different," said Cubbie. "I think it's almost insulting to
the working people living in neighborhoods" where drugs abound.

"Drug dealing destroys the neighborhood, and violence becomes an
ever-present possibility," he said.

ReDonna Rodgers, who runs a non-profit organization teaching business
skills to central city youths, said drug dealers see it "as the easiest way
to participate in the economy, provide for your family, get out of a
difficult time and have power and control."

"Businesses are apprehensive about locating in poor communities, which
would provide people a chance to earn an honest living," said Rodgers,
executive director of the Center for Teaching Entrepreneurship. "The power
brokers of these companies should not be as critical toward drug users or
drug dealers.

"Sometimes, they are no more harmful than a lot of the so-called legal
policy making that occurs across this country," she said.

Hagedorn's work was based on surveys and interviews with drug dealers in
two Milwaukee neighborhoods: one 16-square-block, largely Latino area; and
one 37-square-block, mostly African-American area. The neighborhoods, which
he wouldn't identify, are not among the most drug-or gang-dominated in the
city, he said.

In the two neighborhoods, Hagedorn turned up 28 distinct drug "firms"
employing 191 people. At least 10% of the Latino or African-American men
ages 18 to 29 in the neighborhoods were employed at least part time in the
drug business, he reported.

One-third of the businesses had gross monthly revenues of less than $1,000,
and only four of the 28 exceeded $5,000 monthly, he said.

Hagedorn said he wasn't looking to legitimize drug dealing so much as to
examine its economic function as a source of employment and income, to help
provoke dialogue about reforming national drug policies.

He opposes legalization of drugs such as cocaine and supports "continuing
strong social disapproval for drug use."

But he champions alternatives to incarceration for "non-violent drug dealing."

Hagedorn placed the drug business in the long tradition of the underground
economy, including many legal off-the-books businesses and many illegal
ones.

"Thousands of poor people across Milwaukee are forming their own businesses
and through diligence and hard work have been creatively struggling to
'make it,' " he wrote.

While many of these new businesses are legal and official, "most businesses
being started today in poor neighborhoods are off-the-books."

Such businesses include street-side car repair, hair cutting, child care,
house painting -- and drug dealing, the largest off-the-books business of
all.

Hagedorn looked at distribution techniques of central city and suburban
drug dealers, finding them radically different.

In the central city, drug dealers have moved away from the "corner sales"
and drug houses of the 1980s and early 1990s, choosing to "run their retail
business 'on the fly,' " using a beeper while waiting at a bar or house and
using "salesmen" to meet with customers.

These "new management techniques," as he calls them, have reduced the risk
of arrest and violence.

In the suburbs, drug sales are still "word-of-mouth" connections, mostly at
workplaces, bars and taverns, nightclubs and parties for high school
students.

"Drug dealing by whites in the suburbs and youth culture," he wrote, "is
more about partying than economics."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Shalala Doesn't Want To Be The US 'Nanny' ('The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel'
Gives A Fawning, One-Sided, Pro-Government Interview With US Secretary
Of Health And Human Services Donna Shalala, Whose Credentials As An Upholder
Of 'The Nanny State' Were Established Long Ago When She Said It Was 'Wrong'
For Grown Americans To Smoke Cannabis)

From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: "MN" 
Subject: MN: US: WI: Shalala Doesn't Want To Be The U.S. 'Nanny'
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 07:05:41 -0500
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Jun 1998
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Contact: jsedit@onwis.com
Website: http://www.jsonline.com/
Author: Marilynn Marchione

SHALALA DOESN'T WANT TO BE THE U.S. 'NANNY'

When it comes to health, the public looks to the federal government in many
of the same ways as children do to parents.

They think parents should pay for everything they want. They expect parents
to keep them safe. But they don't want to be forced to do something, even if
it's good for them.

A recent visit by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala
illustrated the widely different approaches that federal officials take when
it comes to playing parent and wielding authority over public health. She
discussed:

Her refusal to allow federal money to be used for needle exchange programs
to help prevent AIDS.

Her recent order that the organ transplant system be overhauled.

Her view of how the federal government should respond to the nation's
worsening obesity epidemic.

And she warned: "We have to be pretty careful about being the country's
nanny. We're not the country's nanny."

Shalala is no C. Everett Koop or David Satcher. The differences are not just
in style, but also in the substance of their jobs.

Koop perfected the art of using the surgeon general's office as a bully
pulpit for championing public health, to such a degree that he has continued
to have wide influence and credibility as a health spokesman, years after
leaving the job.

Satcher, who became surgeon general in February, seems to be of similar ilk.
He expressed disappointment with Shalala's stance on needle exchange and has
pledged to use his position to get Americans to be more active, to eat
better and to have healthier behaviors.

But surgeons general can do little more than give lip service to health
issues. Shalala's job -- a cabinet position -- lets her put money and
authority where her mouth is.

In an interview at the Journal Sentinel, Shalala acknowledged that there are
no guidelines for deciding which health initiatives to back and which ones
to deny. The examples she discussed illustrate the diversity of her policies
on health issues.

On transplants, she used the government's rule-making power to its fullest
capabilities when she ordered transplant officials to devise a new system
for allocating organs so that the sickest patients will get priority
regardless of where they live. She said she acted because of gross
unfairness in the current system.

On needle exchange, advocates tried to win over Shalala and President
Clinton with studies showing that such programs cut HIV transmission and
don't encourage drug abuse. Shalala first attacked the research, saying it
was based on good programs that include drug abuse counseling, but that
"there's a lot of lousy needle exchange out there. People are just passing
out needles."

Next, she suggested that the research was irrelevant, because the government
doesn't pay for everything that's good for health.

"The federal government doesn't always fund every life-saving science" or
treatment, she said, giving the example of Medicare not covering
prescription drugs even though doing so clearly would benefit health.

On obesity, Shalala noted that under new federal guidelines, 55% of
Americans will be classified as overweight. People can choose what to eat or
whether to exercise, and it's not an appropriate area for government
regulation, she said.

But there is a critical need to help the public make informed choices on
diet and exercise. A key strategy has been "finding private-sector partners
to take responsibility" for the health messages they send, Shalala said. She
recently worked with popular TV offerings such as "ER", MTV and even soap
operas on portraying health issues and is working with Avon on a program
aimed at healthy behaviors in 9-to-14-year-old girls.

But there's one policy we won't see her propose: a "sin tax" on junk food.

"Not with this president," Shalala said flatly. "You're talking about a junk
food tax with Bill Clinton? Not a chance. You can quote me, with a big smile
on my face."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ACLU Complaints More Than Just Splitting Hairs ('The Chicago Tribune'
Notes The American Civil Liberties Union Of Illinois Is Trying To Get
Rank-And-File Chicago Police Officers To Fight A Plan To Implement
Random Drug Testing Involving Hair Clipping Analysis Because, According To
The National Institute On Drug Abuse, 'The Consensus Of Scientific Opinion
Is That There Are Still Too Many Unanswered Questions For Hair Analysis
To Be Used In Employment-Testing Situations' While The US Food And Drug
Administration Says It Stands By A 1990 Policy Statement
Calling Hair Analysis An 'Unproven . . . Unreliable' Procedure)

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 20:34:59 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US IL: Aclu Complaints More Than Just Splitting Hairs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Steve Young
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Contact: tribletter@aol.com
Website: http://www.chicago.tribune.com/
Pubdate: 15 June 1998
Author: Eric Zorn
Section: Sec. 2, page 1

ACLU COMPLAINTS MORE THAN JUST SPLITTING HAIRS

For the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois to be working on behalf
of Chicago police officers is not unusual.

Over the years the ACLU has represented an extremely broad range of clients
with civil-rights claims, so it should not surprise Mayor Richard Daley,
Chicago aldermen and city police officials to find on their desks Monday a
two-page broadside mailed Friday by the organization supporting
rank-and-file officers and attacking a controversial random drug-testing
procedure that the department plans to begin using on them.

The procedure--an analysis of hair clippings--can detect illegal drug use
from about 7 to about 90 days prior to the taking of the test. Hair
analysis, pioneered in the late 1970s, has almost no overlap with
urinalysis, now used on all officers, which detects only recent drug
ingestion. And it has already resulted in a threefold increase in the
number of drug-related dismissals of police recruits, upon whom it has been
performed since last fall.

What is unusual is that the ACLU is agitating unilaterally, having not
received any requests for help from officers. Indeed, the leadership of the
Fraternal Order of Police has already OKd the city's idea to make all
officers subject to hair testing under the terms of next year's new union
contract.

But both national and local ACLU leaders say the FOP should reconsider,
that the police union and the city are putting too much faith in technology
that the ACLU charges is unregulated and prone to giving false positive
results and results that discriminate against minorities.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of the National Institutes of
Health, shares some of these doubts. NIDA's leading researcher on hair
analysis, chemist Edward Cone, said Friday "the consensus of scientific
opinion is that there are still too many unanswered questions for (hair
analysis) to be used in employment-testing situations."

A Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman said the agency stands by a 1990
policy statement calling hair analysis an "unproven . . . unreliable"
procedure. A 1992 consensus opinion of the Arizona-based Society of
Forensic Toxicologists concludes that "results of hair analysis alone do
not constitute sufficient evidence of drug use for application in the
workplace," and the hair analysis expert at the U.S. naval labs reiterated
Friday he has "significant worries" about the process.

Yet at the same time, a leading analytical chemist at the National
Institute of Standards and Technology, also a government agency, said hair
analysis labs "did a very good, very consistent job" detecting drugs in
recent blind checks when they were sent identical sets of contaminated and
uncontaminated samples.

One concern of skeptics is that drug residue in the air or on certain
surfaces may misleadingly show up in a non-user's hair sample. Another is
that, per the naval lab research, darker, coarser hair is more susceptible
to yielding both actual and false positive results than light, fine or
bleached hair.

And since ethnic and racial minorities in the U.S. tend to have dark hair,
the argument goes, the test will yield discriminatory results.

But another widely published expert on hair testing, criminologist Tom
Mieczkowski of the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg, said such
concerns are wildly exaggerated. Mieczkowski said current research shows
that the hair preparation and analysis techniques now used by the most
experienced labs--including industry leader Psychmedics Corp. of Cambridge,
Mass., the lab Chicago uses--have nullified concerns about environmental
contaminants and pigment bias, and have demonstrated hair analysis is even
more reliable than urinalysis.

Psychmedics vice president Bill Thistle added that the 1990 FDA statement
does not apply to contemporary methods and that courts now routinely accept
hair analysis into evidence. He charged that naysayers and contrarians are
motivated by a dislike of workplace drug testing.

In the case of the ACLU, Thistle is not off the mark.

The organization's volunteer lobbying on behalf of Chicago cops is rooted
in its position that to perform random drug tests on employees who have
shown no signs of using drugs is an invasion of privacy. The ACLU prefers
specialized skill-performance testing when there is evidence of on-the-job
impairment.

But even ostensibly neutral, apolitical scientists seem to have sincere
disagreements about hair analysis. This, too, is not unusual, particularly
in an emerging technical field. These disagreements deserve a full hearing
before the city decides to make locks the key to the future of our police
officers.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Chicago Cops Face Inaccurate, Discriminatory Drug Test
(The ACLU News Release Version Says Psychemedics,
The Company That Makes The Test, Refuses To Divulge Failure Rates
And The Technology Is Considered So Unproven That No Objective Study
Has Ever Determined How Well It Actually Works)

Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998 09:21:32 EDT
Errors-To: manager@drcnet.org
Reply-To: james968@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: James Hammett (james968@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu)
To: Multiple recipients of list (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Subject: ACLU News 06-16-98: Drug Tests

I've deleted the unrelated articles:

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 22:20:55 -0400 (EDT)
To: news@aclu.org
Subject: ACLU News 06-16-98: Disabled Prisoners, Drug Tests, More!
Sender: owner-news@aclu.org

06-16-98
ACLU Newsfeed -- ACLU News Direct to YOU!

IN THE ACLU NEWSROOM

The Latest News Can Always Be Found At:
http://www.aclu.org/news/pressind.html

* Trial Set for Constitutional Challenge
To Pittsburgh-Area Public Housing Security Gate

* ACLU Applauds Supreme Court Ruling
Protecting Disabled Prisoners

* Chicago Cops Face Inaccurate,
Discriminatory Drug Test

* Washington Supreme Court Overturns Campaign Ad Law

* Japanese Latin Americans Win
Bittersweet Victory from Justice Department

* New Jersey Court Says Towns
Cannot Close Parks to Nonresidents

***

[Deleted stuff]


Chicago Cops Face Inaccurate,
Discriminatory Drug Test

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 15, 1998

CHICAGO -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois today told the
Chicago Police Department, police unions, the City Council and the media
that a new drug-test being used by the Chicago Police Department has
been deemed unreliable by the Food & Drug Administration and two other
national scientific organizations.

The test is being touted as more accurate, easier to use and able to
detect drug use in the past three-to-five months -- rather than the few
days or weeks that a urine test can. However, the company that makes it
refuses to divulge failure rates and the technology is considered so
unproven that no objective study has ever determined how well it
actually works.

Manufactured by Psychemedics Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., it uses hair
instead of urine to determine whether or not an individual used illegal
drugs and it has been labeled unreliable by the National Institute on
Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT) and the
FDA. All three have stated that the test should not used as a basis for
employment decisions and the FDA has even gone so far as to suggest that
marketing the test may be illegal.

The test may also yield racially-biased results. A study by the National
Institute of Justice found that hair-testing raises questions of
external contamination -- i.e. environmental residues that can cling to
or penetrate human hair.

A U.S. Navy study reported that the dark, coarse hair common among
African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans is far more likely to
retain that contamination, therefore the use of this test will have an
even greater chance of error with those groups. Further, the fact that
police routinely encounter drugs and drug residues in the line of duty
make this an even less appropriate test to use on line officers.

The city is currently using the test to screen out applicants and new
recruits who may have long dreamed and now have worked hard for the
chance to become a police officer are rejected or terminated solely on
the basis of this unreliable test. Of course, this group has little
recourse.

The police department reportedly intends to try and expand the use of
hair-testing to the entire police force as part of the next collective
bargaining agreement. While the number of applicants who have already
been disqualified or new recruits dismissed as a result of false
positives or other inaccuracies is not known, it is clear that if the
entire force is subjected to this highly inaccurate technology, innocent
cops could lose their jobs regardless of how long, how well or how
courageously they have served and protected the people of Chicago.

The Psychemedics Corporation has sold several police departments and
businesses on this test. Unfortunately, since it is completely
unregulated, it is free to claim a high rate of reliability and to
ignore evidence of inaccuracies.

Recently, one local television station ran a five-minute "Special
Segment" describing the test as "super accurate" -- even though they had
been given the information from NIDA, SOFT and the FDA weeks in advance.
It was not even mentioned.

The station also touted the same company's home hair-testing kit,
marketed to parents concerned about their children's possible drug use,
which may be even more inaccurate than the one used by the police
department. It informed viewers where it could be purchased and even
gave out the manufacturer's toll-free number.

It is bad enough to subject public servants to drug-testing without
cause but to employ an inaccurate and racially discriminatory system
will hurt innocent police candidates and officers while doing little to
advance the cause of public safety.

The Psychemedics Corp. hair-test for drugs is ...

Unreliable: The Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT), The National
Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Food & Drug Administration have
all stated publicly that hair-testing is unreliable. SOFT has concluded
that the results of hair analysis alone do not constitute sufficient
evidence of drug use for employment decisions. NIDA has criticized
hair-testing as unreliable and stated that it should not be the basis
for employment decisions. The FDA has gone so far as to suggest that
marketing the product may even be illegal under the Food and Drug Act.

Inaccurate: While Psychemedics boasts that their test can identify 5
times to 10 times as many drug-users as urinalysis because it covers a
longer time period (3 to 5 months as opposed to a few days or weeks),
they do not mention a higher rate of false positives due only to
external contamination and the company has refused to divulge the
product's overall failure rate.

Discriminatory: External contamination, i.e. environmental residues that
cling to or even penetrate human hair have been found to be a major
problem with this test by the National Institute of Justice. A U.S. Navy
study reports that coarse, dark hair (such as that of African-Americans
and some other racial minorities) is far more likely to retain this
contamination. The inevitable failures of this test is will have a
disproportionate impact on those groups.

Unfair: Taking into account both the potential for racially-biased
results and the fact that police officers routinely come into contact
with drugs and drug residues in the line of duty, this test is even more
unsuitable for application to law enforcement officers.

Unregulated: Although the federal government maintains a voluntary
system of certification for drug-testing laboratories, Psychemedics is
not certified. In fact, because their technology is considered so
unreliable by government scientists, the company cannot even apply for
certification. As a result, the company is free to make exaggerated
claims for their products and ignore contradictory evidence without fear
of regulatory sanctions.

[Deleted stuff]

ONLINE RESOURCES FROM THE ACLU NATIONAL OFFICE

ACLU Freedom Network Web Page: http://www.aclu.org.
America Online users should check out our live chats, auditorium events,
*very* active message boards, and complete news on civil liberties, at
keyword ACLU.

***

ACLU Newsfeed
American Civil Liberties Union National Office
125 Broad Street
New York, New York 10004
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Heroin Maintenance - A Solution For Drugs Or Surrender To Them?
(Two Letters To The Editor Of The Baltimore 'Sun' Comment On
The Recent Proposal That John Hopkins University Conduct
A Small Experimental Program)

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 23:00:28 -0500
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US MD: PUB LTE's: Heroin Maintenance:
A Solution For Drugs Or Surrender To Them?
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Rob Ryan
Source: Sun, The ( MD)
Pubdate: 15 Jun 1998
Contact: letters@baltsun.com
Website: http://www.baltimoresun.com
Author: Phillip Paul Weiner, C. D. Wilmer

HEROIN MAINTENANCE: A SOLUTION FOR DRUGS OR SURRENDER TO THEM?

LETTER No. 1:

Bravo to Dr. Peter Beilenson, the John Hopkins University and George
Soros. I have advocated this approach for 20 years ("Test of heroin
maintenance' may be launched in Baltimore," June 10). I believe it
will cause a statistically significant decrease in crime.

There is a segment of the heroin population whose only goal is the
next "fix." And to achieve that end, nothing is sacred. from begging
to petty theft to murder, there is nothing these addicts will not do
to satisfy their uncontrollable need.

Dr. Beilenson is correct when he states "it will be politically
difficult." If this program is not allowed to be tested, it will be
the politicians who scuttle it.

The medical community should embrace the program if research protocols
are established.

Reaction from the clergy should be positive because the masses will be
spared the evil of crime and the pain, and torment of the addicts will
be relieved.

Action must be swift to rally those in power to give this a
try.

Phillip Paul Weiner Pikesville

***

LETTER No. 2:

What an outrage! If thieves and prostitutes are entitled to free
drugs, the rest of us law-abiding citizens should be allowed to buy
our alcohol and tobacco tax free.

C. D. Wilmer Baltimore
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Re - 500 Drug Geniuses (The Online Version Of 'The Wall Street Journal'
Prints 13 Letters To The Editor, All But One Opposing Its Childishly Petulant
Diatribe Against The More Than 500 World Leaders Who Signed An Open Letter
To The Secretary-General Opposing The United Nations' Plans To Expand
The Global War On Some Drug Users)

Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 22:20:45 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: WSJ (Online edition): PUB LTEs Re: 500 Drug Genuises
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Mark Greer 
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Jun 1998
Source: Wall Street Journal
Contact: editors@interactive.wsj.com
Website: http://www.wsj.com/
Note: The following LTEs were printed in the Wall Street Journal "Voices"
Section of the online edition. We are still researching the print edition
to see what did or will make the print edition.

Re: 500 DRUG GENIUSES

Your recommendations on what to do about the drug war on your editorial
("500 Drug Geniuses") are about as idiotic and pointless as putting on
suntan lotion in hell. The "war on drugs" is ripping the fabric of morality
in this country apart by criminalizing a health problem. I count myself as
one of the growing rank of ordinary people who consider the "war on drugs"
to be immoral and obscene. We've given it a chance, at tremendous human and
monetary cost -- it hasn't worked, and it won't! And there are 500
respected and admired world leaders that will back me up on that one.

Ghamal de la Guardia Atlanta

***

In your editorial I was shocked to see the following statement.

"an international group of eminences urged the world to cede victory to the
drugs' allure and concentrate its money and attention on making the addicts
more comfortable."

What ever led the staff of The Wall Street Journal to descend into such
childish petulance is beyond me.

The list of world leaders you choose to denigrate has first-hand experience
in trying to fit the square peg of prohibition into the round hole of drug
control; an impossible task. They have already learned what still eludes
the your editorial staff. Prohibition is an abdication of responsibility,
if government cares about protecting its citizens. Drug use and abuse can
never be eliminated, no matter how repressive the law. The only sensible
course, if you give a damn about the welfare of those who depend on
government for responsible adult leadership, is to minimize the harm done
to society by the small percentage of drug users who cause crime and abuse
problems.

Harm reduction has nothing to do with making addicts comfortable. Harm
reduction is already our national policy for controlling the really
dangerous drugs of nicotine and alcohol. It is a better solution than
self-righteous, morality-based posturing, and forcing children to deal with
the 24-hour-a-day black market in drugs that feeds off prohibition.

Harm reduction is the reality-based drug policy choice of a free society
that cares about all its citizens; especially the children.

Arthur Sobey Norfolk, Nev.

***

Received on June 12, 1998

I find this issue simple, perhaps so much so that this article's author
overlooks it.

People get emotional over this issue, and it clouds their judgment. It
seems painfully obvious, for example, that doctors should be able to
prescribe to their patients any drug they think will do the best job for a
given problem. What other reason than misplaced emotion can there be to
prohibit doctors from prescribing marijuana, given its proven medicinal
applicability?

Please understand I've personal experience with a loved one being hooked on
drugs, and it angers me to no end. Nonetheless I'm glad this does not cloud
my judgment.

Jim Walsh jim.walsh@worldnet.att.net

***

While I agree with your argument that legalizing drugs condemns some,
perhaps many, people to death I would ask two questions your editorial did
not address. First, would more or less people be harmed (not just addicted,
mind you) if drugs were legal than are now under our prohibition? Second,
if we are going to fight a "war on drugs," are we really willing to make it
a war -- send military troops after high-level drug dealers a la Gen.
Noriega, shoot down civilian planes that refuse to land when ordered, and
(here's the kicker) prosecute drug users as well as pushers?

You say: "If the war on drugs isn't working, the answer is not to abandon
the fight." Very well. But it is clear the current strategy is failing. If
the answer is not triage, are we as a society willing to take the next
step? You discuss "... families who've bankrupted themselves trying to
bring a son or daughter out of heroin hell." Are we willing to lock up that
son or daughter to prevent him or her from introducing a friend or sibling
to that particular devil? Or even after he or she has already done so?

As you no doubt can tell I lean towards legalization, although I recognize
that it contains more than a little of that most vicious of philosophies,
Social Darwinism. But I also recognize that society is not yet willing to
go that route, the path of the defeated. The only other course with any
hope of success, I suspect, is to start treating the war on drugs like a
real war.

Leo Jakobson Leoanton@earthlink.net

***

If you change the phrase "War on Drugs" to "War on Poverty", you're left
with the same arguments supporting a failed status quo that you rail
against the other four days of the week. Asking the left to set aside their
ideology in the face of years worth of demonstrably unsuccessful policy,
when you are unwilling to do the same, is the definition of hypocrisy.

Steven Haskett Austin, Texas

***

Your editorial makes me wonder when drug prohibitionists will ever come to
understand the phrase 'consenting adults.'

In a free society, the state leaves consenting adults to do as they please,
as long as they don't harm anyone else. Therefore, charging that legalizing
'pedophilia and child pornography' somehow parallels drug legalization only
muddies the issue, since both of those cases involve at least one person
who isn't a consenting adult.

I confess to doubting the potential profit of publicly stating any
recreational drug habits, since that information would have no effect on
the validity of any arguments. But I'll oblige The Wall Street Journal's
editors, and mention that I've never used any recreational drug, other than
a glass of champagne at Christmas. That's not illegal yet, is it?
Furthermore, Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, both prohibitionists, have
said they used marijuana. While that may undercut the argument that drug
use automatically ruins lives, I don't see any other way that admission
relates to a sound drug policy.

Ananda Gupta Bethesda, Md.

***

Received on June 11, 1998

In ("500 Drug Geniuses") you write, "The notion that drug use is both a
human right and an unstoppable urge is at root an immoral one, with its
suggestion that some human lives are not worth saving from the scourge of
addiction." The sentiment expressed is commendable, but is the Federal
Government the appropriate agency to foster this moral argument and save
lives from addiction?

Legalization, taxation, and regulation are appropriate government
responses, not criminalization and war.

As with abortion, tobacco, alcohol, homosexuality and other lifestyle
issues regarding choice and conscience, the civil society provides ample
area for debate and discussion. And it is in the civil society that such
issues should be resolved, not under the heel of the police power of
government.

David W. Holmes Fairfax, Va.

***

Yes, by all means, let's keep up the war on drugs. It's gratifying to see
all those druggies locked up in jail, giving the U.S. the highest per
capita prison population in the world. And it's been a positive effort
making otherwise productive people who might smoke a joint or two now and
again or who do a line of cocaine at a party instead of getting blasted on
tequila into felons. That certainly will teach them. It's been such fun
watching the Fourth Amendment gutted.

Don't forget that if we end the "war on drugs", a huge agency called the
DEA won't have anything to do. Those are good people and we certainly don't
want them out of jobs, breaking into houses and such. And they set such a
good example for other agencies, like the FBI, BATF, FDA, and a whole
alphabet of other suddenly heavily armed agencies, out to protect Americans
by breaking down their doors.

Rick Berger rickb@colossus.net

***

It should come as no surprise to you, if you pay attention as much as you
claim to, that many of those signatories to the letter advocating a
different approach were actually there. George Shultz made it known more
than 10 years ago that he believed we were fighting the wrong battle.
However, I'm sure your cynicism doesn't allow you to acknowledge that. If
you are ever able to remove your cynicism from the debate, maybe you will
realize they are not advocating a general retreat, but rather a serious
review and the rather unpopular notion that maybe we could control it
better if it was legally controlled as other drugs in this society are,
namely, nicotine, alcohol, antidepressants and pharmaceutical cocaine, just
to name a few.

Eric Howard ehoward@airmail.net

***

I agree with the 500 geniuses. Drug use has risen, not fallen, during the
terrorist war on drugs. The war on drugs makes drug selling highly
profitable -- to the point where dealers employ all available force to
protect their territories. It also escalates the cost of drugs, and theft
of goods from otherwise uninvolved parties is the result. The war on drugs
does not really hurt either drug dealers or drug users, but it does make a
battlefield out of our neighborhoods. Our problem is not that we have not
adequately escalated the war; our problem is that it's a failed strategy. A
peaceful strategy of containment would cause much less harm. Yes, drugs are
harmful. But let's reduce the harm that they now bring to non-users.

W. David Mills wdmills@papyrus-inc.com

***

Immoral. Quite a word. Have you heard of prohibition? That didn't work
either and it got people thinking. And are you luminaries from The Wall
Street Journal editorial staff going to save the poor downtrodden from the
scourge of addiction, instead of saving the rest of us from your moralizing
and suggestions? Perhaps we should also save everybody from the vagaries of
capitalist economics, because if the hoi polloi can't rationally choose how
to conduct their lives then how are they going to distinguish between bars
of soap?

Michael Madrid Michael.Madrid@daiwausa.com

***

Received on June 10, 1998

While I agree that the views of the Group of 500 ("500 Drug Geniuses") are
disconnected from reality, Mr. Chirac's statement is just as removed from
reality. It is no better than a banal platitude uttered by a hack
politician trying to sound profound without saying anything concrete. As
the editorial correctly states, the war on drugs cannot be fought locally.
It must be a concerted, world-wide effort. Laws that are already on the
books must be enforced unequivocally with no legal shenanigans.

All drug dealers should be put to death immediately upon discovery. In
addition to sending a very strong message, this will also have the effect
of saving time and money, and unclogging court calendars. Yes, it would be
draconian, but effective. Rehabilitation should be reserved for the
addicts. Detoxify them once, twice; subsequently put them in prison as
recidivists.

Chris Malek csm2@exchange.co.westchester.ny.us

***

Sorry dear editorial writer, I agree with the "geniuses". And that many of
us, The Wall Street Journal readers, agree should be even more scary to the
whole anti-drug establishment and its hundreds of thousands of employees
and multi-millions of dollars of government money. (not to mention the
for-profit prison industry.)

What the anti-drug establishment has been doing doesn't work. Let's try
something different. We could begin with a discussion or a ballot.
California had their vote and the status quo lost. Arizona had their vote
and the government decided that the citizens really didn't mean what the
ballot box said.

Not everyone who opposes your reaction is evil or stupid. Maybe we just
don't believe the editorials anymore. Try more facts and less fear. After
several decades your case is getting weaker.

Peter Liefer peterl@primeview.com

***

Copyright 1998 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

UN Drug Conference - Riding A Dead Horse (Former DEA Agent Michael Levine
Writes To 'The Expert Witness' Radio Show In New York To Explain
What The Recent United Nations Special Session On Drugs Was All About)

Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 01:49:43 EDT
Errors-To: manager@drcnet.org
Reply-To: Phillizy@aol.com
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Riding A Dead Horse

THE EXPERT WITNESS Radio Show
WBAI, New York City, 99.5 FM
(Tuesdays 7-8pm)

Host: Michael Levine, 25 year veteran federal narcotic agent
and the author of NY Times Best seller DEEP COVER, THE BIG
WHITE LIE and (currently in paperback) TRIANGLE OF DEATH,
ISBN No. 0 440 22367-9

The following is an opinion piece and/or Letter to the Editor:

UN. DRUG CONFERENCE-RIDING A DEAD HORSE
By Michael Levine

Last week I was invited to speak before a United Nations
group, The International Human Rights Association of American
Minorities, about the effect of drug trafficking on minority communities.

I was invited because I not only have 30 years experience
as a court qualified expert in drug trafficking, but I am also the brother
of a 19 year heroin addict who committed suicide, the father of a police
officer who was killed by crack addicts, was successful in helping my
daughter fight addiction and my formative years were spent growing
up on the streets of the South Bronx, where the scourge of drugs
first impacted in this country.

For the past couple of years I have begun turning down
requests to be on panels to discuss drug issues because I found
myself with people who had very little real-life experience in these
matters. Most of their expertise came from books, articles and
funded studies. Unfortunately, the hard reality of the street is
quite different than theoretical reality. These forums would
inevitably turn out to be cheer leading sessions, featuring the
same proclamations repeated in thousands of such sessions over
the past three decades.

But this group, headed by U.N. Representative
Onaj Mu'id, was exceptional. What they wanted to know was,
after forty years of war on drugs, what answers could parents
whose children were growing up in a bullet riddled ghetto
expect, right now, from yet another expensive U.N. conference
that they were paying for?

Since they were the only forum in the entire conference
asking the right question, I felt it my duty to participate. However
the answer to their question was not one they wanted to hear.

I told them I didn't believe that any real change would
be coming out of this conference. That, this latest U.N. cheer
leading session was yet another example of experts "revo-looting"
at meetings, in return for which they received expense paid trips
to New York plus honorariums. Some would receive funding from
rich American benefactors to continue their endless droning.
Some would receive media attention and votes. Some countries
would attend and sing for their dinners in order to receive
additional U.S. funding to make their lives better, while the
desperate parents of American children got nothing but
the tab.

In essence I told them that it was not necessary to
be a court qualified expert witness to know that the drug war was
a "dead horse" and that the U.N. was once again trying to flog it
back to life for its own selfish reason: U.S.taxpayer dollars.

It is not that I believe that the drug problem cannot be
solved. It is simply not in the best interests of professional "experts"
to do so. If an effective program to reduce drug demand right
here in the United States were adopted-and their are such
programs, including my own "Fight Back" community plan- most
of these "experts" might have to find another way to get their
bureaucracies funded, their names in newspapers and a real job.

I pointed out that if you listen to most of the U.N.
speakers you will hear the same things they have been saying
for decades: First, they tell us that the answer to America's drug
problem is to spend more American taxpayer dollars to improve
the lives of Third World farmers so that they would seek other
means of earning an income. After four decades of this talk,
and untold billions spent on this flawed logic, drugs are more
available now than ever before. Is it not finally apparent that this
logic goes totally contrary to what we know of human nature? For
instance, in one highly publicized case, I arrested a Wall Street
Broker for cocaine trafficking whose legitimate salary was $1
million a year. How would the U.N. convince him to find another
way of making money?

In fact-as some of my law enforcement colleagues
on the inside, who would never say this in public tell me-the
current enourmous supplies of drugs on US streets combined
with the improved organizational structure of the drug
business from top to bottom, has actually led to a major drop
in crime across the board.

I'll bet you never heard a U.N. "expert" tell you that before.
Second, another group of experts, continues to bleat
that we should increase the funding of law enforcement. More
money for everything from border controls and military operations
to massive money laundering sting operations. These experts
manage to ignore the fact that, since President Nixon declared
war on drugs in 1971, we have spent almost $1 trillion dollars
on these efforts, for absolutely nothing but a devastated
Constitution, yet they still get invited on all expense paid trips
to "dead horse flogging" conferences around the world, to
parrot the same theme.

Is it any wonder that recent polls indicate that 66
percent of Americans, desperate to solve the problem, want us
to spend even more money on the war on drugs?

And, finally, there is the "legalize-all-drugs" group, who,
if they stopped to think for one moment, would realize that they
are promoting the complete destruction of minority communities.
For instance, if drugs were legal when I was a kid growing up in
the Bronx, I guarantee you, I would not have survived.

The sum total of all of this-if you are parents with
children growing up in drug war zones that rival Beirut, Lebanon,
and are expecting some help to come out of yet another hugely
expensive "dead horse" flogging rally at the U.N.-is Zero.

Juan Ortiz, a Colombian born Taxi driver, picked me up
at U.N. Plaza, right after the conference. He was incensed at the
expense and the traffic jams. "You know it cost New York City $3
million for Clinton to come here and make a speech. Why didn't
he just televise it?"

When I pointed out that the President was also
attending a political fund-raiser here on the same night, Mr. Ortiz
understood immediately. This U.N. conference was less about
solving the drug problem than it was about the redistribution of
American votes and taxpayer dollars. And none of it is going to
the people who need it most.

Dokota tribal wisdom dictates that when you discover
that you are riding a dead horse the best strategy is to dismount
and find another horse. Only in the drug war "business" do we keep
trying other strategies, such as appointing a committee to study the
dead horse; staging mass international conferences on how to ride
the dead horse; or funding studies to see how we can increase the
performance of a dead horse.

Unfortunately for those really suffering this drug problem,
no one showed up at the U.N. with a live horse to ride.

Michael Levine
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Riding A Dead Horse (Someone Re-Posts A Satirical List Of Ways
It's Like Prohibition)

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 20:24:38 EDT
Errors-To: manager@drcnet.org
Reply-To: rgivens@sirius.com
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: R Givens 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Re: Riding A Dead Horse

>Dakota tribal wisdom dictates that when you discover
>that you are riding a dead horse the best strategy is to dismount
>and find another horse. Only in the drug war "business" do we keep
>trying other strategies, such as appointing a committee to study the
>dead horse; staging mass international conferences on how to ride
>the dead horse; or funding studies to see how we can increase the
>performance of a dead horse.
>
>Unfortunately for those really suffering this drug problem,
>no one showed up at the U.N. with a live horse to ride.
>
>Michael Levine

DEAD HORSES

Tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the
best strategy is to dismount and find another horse. However, in the drug
prohibition business we often try other strategies with dead horses,
including the following:

1. Buying a bigger whip.
2. Changing riders.
3. Saying things like "This is the way we always have ridden this horse."
4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
5. Hire a consultant to study the horse.
6. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
7. Increasing the standards to ride dead horses.
8. Appointing a tiger team to revive the dead horse.
9. Creating a training session to increase our riding ability.
10. Comparing the state of dead horses in today's environment.
11. Change the requirements declaring that "This horse is not dead."
12. Hire contractors to ride the dead horse.
13. Harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed.
14. Declaring that "No horse is too dead to beat."
15. Providing additional funding to increase the horse's performance.
16. Do a CA Study to see if contractors can ride it cheaper.
17. Purchase a product to make dead horses run faster.
18. Declare the horse is "better, faster and cheaper" dead.
19. Form a quality circle to find uses for dead horses.
20. Revisit the performance requirements for horses.
21. Say this horse was procured with cost as an independent variable.
22. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.
23. Claim that "The other guys' horse is deader than ours."
24. Criticize the press for "pandering to the lowest common denominator"
by persistently reporting that the horse is dead.
25. Complain that opponents never mention the good points of dead horses.
26. Explain that, because the horse died during the previous
administration, it is unfair to blame the present administration.
27. Complain that schools do not devote enough time to teaching pupils
about horse deadness.
28. Complain that, if we didn't have (choose one: so much affirmative
action, so many immigrants, so many irresponsible politicians, so many
lawyers, such a small budget for this department) we wouldn't have so many
dead horses.
29. Explain the paradox that dead horses are indispensable to successful
functioning of the program.
30. Brag that the agency's dead horse is natural, organic, and
biodegradable.
31. Tell reporters that the dead horse is an aberration.
32. Complain that foreign horses cost less and live longer but that
obsolete national security regulations prevent purchase and importation of
foreign horses.
33. Explain that the horse died because we didn't have a Dalmation running
with it to protect it, and that this problem is going to happen over and
over until we are willing to buy enough Dalmations to protect our horses.
34. Remind people that riding horses is Biblical, that the family that
rides together stays together, that many traditional American family farms
have a horse, that horses are an indispensable part of the American way of
life, and that many voters like horses.
35. Making death illegal.
36. Making dead horses illegal.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

The Master Hypocrite Speaks (Letter Sent To The Editor
Of 'The New York Times' Responds To AM Rosenthal's Pro-Drug-War Editorial,
Noting Rosenthal Is Calling For The Continued Prohibition Of Those Drugs
He Thinks His Family And Friends Do Not Use, And The Continued Approval
Of Those Equally Dangerous Drugs They Do)

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 06:37:37 -0700 (PDT)
To: letters@nytimes.com
From: arandell@islandnet.com (Alan Randell)
Subject: The master hypocrite speaks

Editor
New York Times

letters@nytimes.com

June 15, 1998

Dear Editor:

One should have thought that the brutal lessons of alcohol
prohibition have persuaded most reasonably intelligent observers of
the total futility of that policy, but we reckon without the enduring
capacity of human beings to indulge in self-deception fueled by
intolerance, in a word - hypocrisy.

So, to its everlasting shame, the New York Times trots out the master
hypocrite himself, A. R. Rosenthal (Pointing the finger, June 12), to
call for the continued prohibition of those drugs his family and
friends do not use, and the continued approval of those equally
dangerous drugs they do.

Let's deal with reality here. There is no more reason to persecute
drug users today than there was in the past to burn witches, lynch
blacks or gas Jews.

How utterly sad it is for the whole world that the nation of Thomas
Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin has come to this sorry state, in a
word - fascism.

Alan Randell
-------------------------------------------------------------------

RCMP Sting Broke US Laws - Mounties Changed US Criminals' Cash For Months
Without US Authorization ('The Ottawa Citizen' Says Royal Canadian
Mounted Police Came 'Precariously Close' To Being Prosecuted
For Money Laundering By US Authorities In The Course Of Facilitating Deals
And Laundering Money On US Soil For 16 Months
Without The Americans' Knowledge And Consent)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: RCMP sting broke U.S. laws
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 07:38:10 -0700
Lines: 280
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Contact: letters@thecitizen.southam.ca
Pubdate: Mon 15 Jun 1998
Section: News A1 / Front
Author: Andrew McIntosh

RCMP sting broke U.S. laws: Mounties changed U.S. criminals' cash for months
without U.S. authorization

Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers operating a covert currency
exchange in Montreal came ``precariously close'' to being prosecuted
for money laundering by U.S. authorities, a confidential internal RCMP
memo states.

Officers operating the currency exchange in Montreal facilitated
efforts by known and suspected criminals to complete drug deals and
launder money on U.S. soil for 16 months without the knowledge and
consent of U.S. authorities.

The RCMP didn't formally tell U.S. drug enforcement authorities about
its covert operation in Montreal -- and that it was using a
U.S.-dollars account at a Canadian bank branch in New York City --
until February 1992, even though they began the operation in September
1990, according to confidential internal memorandums obtained by the
Citizen.

The troubles encountered by the Montreal RCMP officers were outlined
in a March 31, 1992 memorandum by Insp. J.A. Hislop, officer in charge
of drug intelligence and field operations in the RCMP ``E'' Division
in Vancouver.

Insp. Hislop made the remarks about Montreal's ``Operation Contract''
as he was drafting a proposal for his own covert currency exchange
project in Vancouver, after discussions with RCMP officers at Ottawa
headquarters.

Insp. Hislop started by saying: ``There are innumerable potential
problems in the conduct of a storefront operation and this fact has
been proven during the conduct of an operation in `C' Division (RCMP
in Quebec).''

``The conduct of our operation must always be such that we do not
commit offences in any other country, specifically, the U.S.A.,'' he
wrote.

``The operation in eastern Canada has had that very experience, where
they came precariously close to being prosecuted by a U.S. Attorney's
office for money laundering,'' he wrote.

The RCMP finally disclosed its covert operation to the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration and U.S. District Attorney in New York
during a meeting on U.S. soil in early February 1992, internal RCMP
documents show.

U.S. Special Agent Benny Mangor, who is the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration's attache in Ottawa, was unable to comment on when the
DEA was told of the covert Montreal operation and what it did
afterwards.

Agent Mangor also declined to comment on the memo by RCMP Insp. Hislop
and said he was unaware that RCMP officers came close to being
prosecuted.

The RCMP's decision to keep the DEA in the dark about the covert
currency exchange in Montreal for 16 months is very surprising.

Documents show that it was the DEA that had told the RCMP in 1988 that
its agents had ``documented direct links between Montrealers and
principals of the Medellin and Cali cocaine cartels,'' according to
internal RCMP documents.

It was this information, together with tips that Montreal currency
exchanges were being used to launder money for the Columbian
traffickers, that prompted the RCMP to set up its own undercover
currency exchange.

The RCMP officers running the Montreal operation started expressing
concerns about keeping the Americans in the dark nine months after
their Montreal International Monetary Centre Inc. operation opened in
September, 1990.

By May 1991, undercover officers were transferring large sums of drug
money to bank accounts in Boston on behalf of a criminal suspect,
documents show.

The Mounties became alarmed about the legal repercussions because they
realized they were breaking the law in the United States by moving
money over the border without reporting it, internal RCMP documents
show.

In a weekly investigation report covering the period of May 4 to May
11, 1991 and written by RCMP Cpl. Pierre Bolduc and Sgt. Yvon Gagnon,
the officers said they felt they had reached a point where they ought
to advise the U.S. DEA of the covert operation in Montreal.

``We must realize as of right now that we are dealing with a rather
unusual situation,'' the officers wrote.

They explained that they knew that one of their suspects ``was and is
involved in drug trafficking'' and was transferring large sums of
money to the U.S.A.

What follows is the remaining text of their report on the issue:

``The question now is do we advise the American authorities of events
which took place with our consent and under our control.

``We believe that it would be rather embarrassing for the RCMP to be
questioned by our American confreres to determine if we know about the
existence of a business which facilitated the transfer of funds.

``We are of the opinion that with the services offered by our
business, it is but a question of time before the DEA or another law
enforcement agency asks us questions which we will be very embarrassed
to answer.

``Without advising the DEA of all the details in relation to our
business, we believe it is preferable to advise them about the type of
operation we are presently conducting and the American subjects
targeted by this operation for the following reasons.

``i) we are aware of activities of certain people who are transferring
funds to the U.S.A.

``ii) these money transfers, if not declared, constitute an infraction
under the Currency and Monetary Instrument Reporting Law ( of the
United States).

``iii) in the more or less near future, we will need the assistance of
the DEA to complete certain investigations.

``iv) to avoid having our American confreres blames us for hiding
certain facts which represent offences in the USA.

``v) to preserve the good relations which exists between the D.E.A and
our organization.

``We hope the above facts will assist you in the decision you will
have to make to determine if yes or no the DEA must be :

``a) advised of our activities.

``b) who within the DEA should be advised.

``c) how much they should be told,'' the two officers concluded.

On May 23, 1991 RCMP Inspector Michel Cuerrier wrote a memo attached
to the officers' report which stated: ``As discussed, the Montreal
office of the DEA will be advised of the existence of Operation
Contract.''

``It is our duty to advise them of these suspicious transactions,'' he
added.

Another attached memo, dated May 24, 1991 and written by Supt. Jean
Bernard, indicated that the senior Quebec Mountie agreed with the
advice.

``Obviously, it is now time to sensitize our confreres at the DEA who
are now in a position to help the investigation and possibly make it
progress,'' he wrote.

He mentions the RCMP should brief both the resident DEA agent in
Montreal at the time, Paul Moloney, and the justice attache at the
U.S. consulate.

That same month, RCMP officers from Operation Contract in Montreal
visited another RCMP covert operation in Windsor, Ontario.

The Windsor operation was an undercover investment firm project
operating with the knowledge and co-operation of U.S. authorities.

But for reasons not apparent in any of the documents, the Americans
were never officially told about the RCMP's Major Operation 90-26C in
Montreal until February 1992.

Sgt. Gagnon said the resident DEA agent in Montreal, Mr. Moloney, was
informed of the covert operation ``unofficially'' by senior RCMP
brass.

He added that the DEA was never officially notified until early 1992
because officers had a ``misunderstanding'' among themselves about who
would do it.

Mr. Moloney retired from the DEA in 1995 and left Montreal to return
to the U.S.

Agent Mangor refused to allow the Citizen to interview him about the
events involving the covert RCMP operation in Montreal, saying he was
not authorized to speak with the news media about operations.

On Feb. 6, 1992 RCMP Sgt. Gagnon met with the U.S. authorities ``to
lay out our operation for them and check possible avenues for using
American banks,'' Cpl. Marc Lavoie wrote in one internal report.

Another memorandum from Sgt. Gagnon, dated Feb. 20, 1992, reported
that the operation was now run with the co-operation of the U.S.
authorities.

``Our meeting with the management of the DEA and American Customs in
New York allowed them to understand the goal of our operation and our
working methods,'' Sgt. Gagnon wrote.

The Mounties by this time were using an account of the National Bank
of Canada's New York City branch, and this was a source of anger among
the U.S. officials because they hadn't been told about it, Sgt. Gagnon
said.

``It was determined that our account at the National Bank in New York
was legal and could be used,'' Sgt. Gagnon noted.

``We nonetheless agreed to transmit them the names of persons and the
places where the cheques are cashed,'' he added.

``We are waiting for written confirmation from the DEA and a letter
attesting to the fact that the operation of our account in New York is
legal and authorized by the American authorities,'' he wrote.

On March 2, another memo written by Sgt. Gagnon states the RCMP is
still waiting for ``the letter of co-operation from the DEA.''

In a report for the week of March 9 to March 13, 1992 officers
reported that ``another meeting'' was held with the DEA's
representative in Montreal, Mr. Moloney, concerning the financial
transactions in the United States.

``Each transaction in the States will be photocopied and will be left
to the attention of Moloney at our offices where he will take
possession of it personally,'' the officers noted. ``This way, the DEA
will be informed on a daily basis using this method of
communication.''

The DEA also even began to receive copies of the RCMP's own internal
weekly investigation reports about the covert operation in Montreal,
documents show.

That courtesy began with the RCMP investigation report for the week of
Feb. 3 -7, 1992, a report which was dated Feb. 12, 1992, RCMP
documents show.

Knowledge of the troubles in Montreal filtered up through the ranks.

Internal RCMP documents show that an Assistant RCMP Commissioner
sought a legal opinion at around this time from a senior lawyer in
Justice Canada.

The assistant commissioner wanted to know whether RCMP officers who
had transferred or who caused to be transferred ``dirty'' money to the
U. S. from Canada were guilty of committing an offence on U.S. soil.

He received a reply back on July 23, 1992, from federal Justice
department lawyer Theresa Brucker, who was working on a program
developing a national strategy for drug prosecutions.

Ms. Brucker's subsequent legal report mentions a discussion with Harry
Harbin of the Asset Forfeiture Office of the American Department of
Justice.

``Mr. Harbin was of the opinion that although the undercover officer
may technically be guilty of an offence, it is unlikely that he or she
would ever be charged,'' Ms. Brucker wrote.

``Further Mr. Harbin advised that based on the American cases, the
officer in these scenarios does not have the requisite mens rea
(criminal intent),'' she wrote. ``He or she is not transferring money
for the intention of promoting an illegal activity.''

``Based on this information, and the interpretation of the federal law
as provided by Mr. Harbin, it is doubtful whether a Canadian police
officer, acting in his or her official capacity, could or would be
charged with a federal U.S. money laundering offence,'' she concluded.

The Mounties, though, weren't taking any more chances.

When the RCMP launched another undercover currency exchange operation,
in Vancouver in 1993 called the Pacific Rim International Currency
Exchange, RCMP investigators there told the DEA and the U.S. Customs
Service in Washington State about their covert operation from the
start.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

BC Investigator Leaves Twisted Trail (The Toronto 'Globe And Mail'
Digs Up What It Can On The Case Of Philip Tsang, The Cop
Charged With Corruption Who Was A Member Of Vancouver, British Columbia's
Elite Coordinated Law Enforcement Unit, Or CLEU, Whose Mission
Is To Fight Organized Criminal Groups)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: B.C. investigator leaves twisted trail
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 09:16:07 -0700
Lines: 199

Source: Globe and Mail
Contact: letters@globeandmail.ca

B.C. investigator leaves twisted trail

Mystery man of Asian-crime task force went
from Hong Kong police to Vancouver suburban life

Monday, June 15, 1998
By John Saunders

VANCOUVER -- Ramrod-straight, compactly built and carefully dressed,
Philip Tsang, 41, looks the very model of a mid-level police officer,
the calling for which he seemed destined 16 years ago on the other
side of the planet.

In his mid-20s he was already a sergeant in the Royal Hong Kong
Police, an impressive rank for one so young. In 1982, he left that
career to seek a new life in Canada.

He did not resume police work until 1993, and then in a thankless,
risky, dead-end job as a provincial special constable assigned to get
close to the Vancouver area's Asian gangsters.

He is now accused of getting too close, of leaking "confidential
police information and tactics" to the other side. He faces criminal
charges worth up to 29 years in jail, and utter disgrace.

Amid official silence about just what information he is thought to
have passed to whom, a cloud hangs over efforts to fight Asian
organized crime on the West Coast. Justly or not, the effect is felt
across the country by other ex-Hong Kong officers, already sensitive
about the former British colony's reputation for police corruption.

"It tarnishes our name, that's for sure," said Tony Lee, a retired
Hong Kong police superintendent working for the Toronto Police as a
criminal-intelligence analyst.

As in the mole hunts that sometimes paralyzed Western spy services in
the Cold War, people wonder what operations have been compromised,
whom they can trust and whether their sources will dry up for fear of
betrayal.

"It's the worst thing that can happen in an organized-crime unit,"
said Jim Fisher, a Chinese-speaking Vancouver police sergeant lent to
Ottawa to co-ordinate national efforts against Asian organized crime.

Now free on bail, Mr. Tsang remains in many respects a mystery, a
situation his superiors show no eagerness to change.
Tsang Chiu Ping, whose English name is Philip, was born in 1956 and
joined the Hong Kong police around 1974, assuming he did so at the
normal age of 18. The required education: Grade 8.

He was joining a force in transition from all-pervasive corruption to
merely quite a lot of corruption. The agency that brought about the
change, Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption, was set
up in 1974.

Not long before that, life on the force had been dominated by a group
of station sergeants known as the Five Dragons, whose wealth was
reputed to run to hundreds of millions of dollars. All five got out
ahead of the ICAC drive and moved at least temporarily to Canada, but
many of their colleagues were not as astute.

At the height of the cleanup, "they were arresting whole police
stations full of policemen, hundreds of policemen," said Sandy
Boucher, a former Hong Kong chief inspector now living in Toronto.

By the early 1980s, the force was considered comparatively honest,
although it still underwent periodic purges, notably one aimed at
officers suspected of connections to Chinese criminal organizations
called triads. The big surge in voluntary departures -- triggered by
the 1985 agreement that handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 -- was
still years away.

When news of his arrest broke June 2, it was at first widely assumed
that Mr. Tsang had been recruited straight from Hong Kong in 1993. In
fact, he had been in the Vancouver area for a decade.

He told colleagues he had worked most of that time for a courier
company, first as a driver, then as a dispatcher. When he bought his
house in 1990, he gave his occupation as dispatcher and that of his
wife, Teriene, as clerk.

Despite the unassuming titles, the Tsangs built what appears to be a
comfortable suburban life. The house is a white frame structure with a
two-car garage, a hot tub on the deck and a swing set in the yard for
their two girls.

It perches at the end of a mountainside cul-de-sac in Coquitlam, about
40 minutes from downtown Vancouver, with views across the Fraser
Valley to snow-capped Mount Baker. The garage shelters his-and-her
Hondas: a 1995 Odyssey minivan on which Mr. Tsang still owes money,
and a leased 1997 Accord driven by his wife.

They paid $275,000 in 1990 for the house (now assessed at $331,000),
borrowing $129,000 on a $1,300-a-month mortgage. In the fall of 1996,
they remortgaged it to obtain a $150,000 line of credit for unstated
purposes. Perhaps prudently, Mr. Tsang, by then a gang investigator,
continued to list his occupation as dispatcher.
The agency he joined five years ago is British Columbia's thin line
against organized crime, the Co-ordinated Law Enforcement Unit, a
joint effort of federal, provincial and municipal agencies since 1974.

CLEU's investigators come primarily from the Vancouver police and the
RCMP, but a few, such as Mr. Tsang, are on the payroll of the B.C.
attorney-general, provincial special constables in a province without
a provincial police force.

Mr. Tsang's job is to gather intelligence on ethnic Chinese criminals,
people who are not likely to appreciate being spied upon. Until his
arrest, he was entitled to carry the same 9mm semi-automatic pistol
worn by his colleagues, although not necessarily to collect the same
pay.

The salary range for special constables is $36,500 to $55,000 a year,
not as much as Vancouver pays its constables ($41,500 to $58,000), let
alone its sergeants ($69,500).

It is also less than Mr. Tsang would be making now in Hong Kong if he
had never won another promotion. Sergeants there earn the equivalent
of $48,000 to $58,000 a year and pay income tax at a fraction of
Canadian rates. They are entitled to staff apartments at bargain rents
of 5 to 7.5 per cent of salary.

Mr. Lee, the former Hong Kong officer working in Toronto, said money
is an obvious temptation for ethnic investigators in a new land.

"They're working, not as undercover, but they are tasked to mingle
with the population. They have to be sort of with the criminals, day
in and day out; otherwise they wouldn't be doing their job." This puts
them alongside people with spending habits far beyond a junior police
officer's budget, he said.

"There's also pressure -- the peer pressure, the social pressure -- on
the guy to try to get more money, try to get a better way of life."

Even so, Mr. Tsang is not charged with taking bribes. In a brief
telephone interview, his lawyer, Ravi Hira, declined to discuss
details of the case but made a point of saying that "there does not
appear to be an allegation of corruption." He would not elaborate.

Joseph Chu, a Taiwan-born beat constable in Vancouver's Chinatown,
speculated that if an investigator gave information to a target, money
may not necessarily be the motive. It could be just "somebody calling
in a favour from years ago; you don't know." Whatever the motive, a
leak to criminals in a major investigation could easily get an
undercover officer killed, he said.

Police privately rank Vancouver as the leading port of entry on the
west coast of the continent for heroin, most of it bound for the
United States.

Tourists view the action each day from the city's harbourside pubs,
although it is anyone's guess which of the hundreds of big metal
shipping containers moving across the docks contain drugs.

An important force in this trade is the Dai Huen Jai, or Big Circle
Boys, a loose-knit criminal movement that emerged from southern China
via Hong Kong after the chaos of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution.
In Canada, it has eclipsed the old-line triads as the top Asian
criminal enterprise.

These days, the boys are diversified criminal businessmen, but the
name is not as whimsical as it sounds. It implies a boast of
ultrahardness, the implacable will of a prison-camp survivor.

One Big Circle gangster said in a television interview last fall that
he killed his boss's five-month-old son -- the baby was strangled with
a necktie and hit by a car -- because he believed his boss was setting
him up for a drug bust or murder or both.

In fighting the drug trade, police have found victories scarce in
recent years, partly because it takes time and nerve to penetrate big
operations, as opposed to rounding up street-level dealers.

B.C. Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh seemed to run out of patience last
week. Declaring that "whatever we're doing hasn't worked," he
announced a three-month outside review of all efforts to combat
organized crime in the province.

The charges against Mr. Tsang flow from a nine-month investigation,
including wiretap surveillance, by an RCMP team working separately
from his colleagues in CLEU.

The day after his arrest, a provincial bail supervisor, 34-year-old
Michael Yau, was hit with the same charges.

For a start, the two men are accused of counselling an alleged thug
named Jack Ng (who is charged with plotting a home-invasion robbery)
to commit perjury, although Mr. Ng apparently did not follow the
advice.

The big shock, however, is in the other charges: attempted obstruction
of justice and breach of trust in official duties, both relating to
the alleged disclosure of confidential information to a person under
investigation, who has not been identified.

Copyright (c) 1998, The Globe and Mail Company
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Cuban Officials - Openness May Increase Drug Traffic
('The Dallas Morning News' Notes Communist Dictator Fidel Castro's Regime
Is Seriously Worried Increasing Tourism Will Spread The Scourge Of 'Drugs')

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 20:22:23 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Cuba: Cuban officials: Openness may increase drug traffic
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Jun 1998
Author: Tracey Eaton / The Dallas Morning News

CUBAN OFFICIALS: OPENNESS MAY INCREASE DRUG TRAFFIC

HAVANA - The tightly wrapped packages drift ashore without warning.
Regalos, Cuban police call them. Gifts.

And more and more of these drug-laden gifts are turning up lately, a sign
that the Caribbean is again awash in cocaine.

Cuban officials are worried, especially now that the country has opened its
doors to tourists and foreign investors.

"Tourism brings drugs," said Fernando de Cossio, a senior official at the
Cuban Foreign Relations Ministry. "Greater contact with the outside world
brings drugs. More airlines traveling to Cuba brings drugs."

The Cubans have cause for concern, drug-trade experts say. At just 90 miles
from U.S. shores, the island would make an ideal transit spot for Colombian
cocaine and heroin. Its air and sea defenses are limited. It has an
extensive black market, which could be the beginnings of a smuggling
infrastructure. And its people are hungry for dollars.

"I would expect that in the future it would be a logical place for drug
criminals to go," said retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, head of the White
House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Already, Cuban authorities have detected increased numbers of smugglers
slipping through their country's waters. But they say they can't always
keep up with traffickers' powerful, low-slung boats.

"We have very old vessels, some dating practically to World War II. Because
of that, we can't always catch the traffickers" said Jose Luis Galvan, a
drug-trade specialist at the Ministry of Justice in Havana.

It's not that Cuban authorities take smuggling lightly. Nonbelievers need
only recall the case of Arnaldo Ochoa, a division general and hero of the
Cuban revolution. He and three other military officials were executed after
being found guilty of trafficking in 1989.

Prosecutors said that even if Gen. Ochoa had pumped his "blood-stained"
drug money into Cuba's military and the fledgling tourist industry, it was
"a disgrace."

And Cuban President Fidel Castro declared: "No revolution is viable if it
has to depend on drug trafficking."

Problems in region

Since the episode, there have been no serious signs of drug corruption in
Cuba, American agents say. Other Caribbean nations, such as the Dominican
Republic and Haiti, haven't been so fortunate.

"The Caribbean is becoming a major problem for trafficking," said Felix
Jimenez, a senior Drug Enforcement Administration official who headed the
agency's Puerto Rico office. "Seizures and the number of trafficking
organizations have increased dramatically."

Traffickers are believed to smuggle more than 100 tons of cocaine through
the Caribbean and into Florida, Texas and other states every year.

As some would say, it's deja vu all over again.

The last big surge in the Caribbean came in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
American drug agents and others cracked down, arresting hundreds of people
and seizing thousands of tons of cocaine and marijuana.

Much of the flow then shifted to the west. And by the early '90s, as much
as 70 percent of the U.S.-bound cocaine was passing through Mexico. Now
that number is as low as 53 percent and dropping, DEA agents estimate.

Anti-drug efforts along the U.S.-Mexico border explain part of the shift
back to the Caribbean. But many Colombian traffickers are returning simply
because it's cheaper, DEA agents say.

"The Colombians were getting fed up with the Mexicans," said William
Mitchell, special agent in charge of the DEA's Miami office. "The Mexicans
were charging them a kilo of merchandise for every kilo moved. So if the
Colombians were moving a ton of cocaine through Mexico, they had to pay the
Mexicans 500 kilos of cocaine. That's a very dear price to pay when you can
move it through the Caribbean for one-fifth the cost."

It's not just the money. By paying the Mexicans in drugs and not cash, the
Colombians "created their own competitor," Mr. Mitchell said. "They don't
want to do that again."

The return to the Caribbean caught a lot of people off guard. And some of
the smaller, weaker countries, such as St. Vincent, Antigua and Anguillas,
are in danger of becoming "narco-nations," some law enforcement officials say.

The Colombians don't mind. They just want to take care of business,
American agents say. And the Dominicans, in particular, have turned out to
be loyal partners.

"The Dominicans are very hungry for power and money," Mr. Jimenez said.
"They don't mess around. The cocaine shipments that pass through their
hands are sold, converted into cash and money is delivered back to the
Colombians. There are no rip-offs."

Marino Vinicio Castillo, head of the Dominican Republic's anti-drug
program, blames geography.

"Look at a map," he said. "As a transit point between Colombia and the
U.S., we're like some big aircraft carrier out there in the Caribbean."

Cuban involvement

Things aren't so dire in Cuba, said a spokesman for the United Nations
International Drug Control Program in Barbados. "Trafficking is not that
much of a threat. Yet."

Small-time dealing has risen, Cuban officials concede. People have
discovered they can earn precious hard currency selling drugs, so not all
the drug packages that float ashore are turned in to authorities.

"More people than before are keeping the drugs they find. Or they'll turn
in part of what they find and sell the rest to foreigners," Mr. Galvan
said. "Suppose someone sells $30 worth of drugs. That's a fortune for a
Cuban."

Many Cubans make just $25 or $30 a month. The country has been going
through desperate economic times since the breakup of the former Soviet Union.

Despite the hardship, violent crime is rare and many tourists say they feel
safer in Havana than in most American cities. Cuban officials add that drug
use is practically nonexistent, and the country's only two
drug-rehabilitation centers cater to foreigners.

Even so, Cuban officials say they want to learn all they can about the drug
phenomenon, even if it's from the United States, their old Cold War enemy.
After all, Mr. Galvan said, the best way to combat international drug
syndicates is to join forces.

"You can't just erase Cuba from the map," he said.

As a sign of their goodwill, the Cubans say they turned over to the United
States 6.6 tons of cocaine found hidden aboard a 219-foot freighter called
the Limerick in October 1996. The U.S. Coast Guard had boarded the ship in
international waters after it began to sink, but it drifted into Cuban
territory.

Two Colombians were arrested. A Cuban intelligence officer and three border
guards later testified against them in Miami, and the suspects were each
slapped with more than 50 years' jail time.

Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, author of the book Drugs and Security in the
Caribbean - Sovereignty Under Siege, said Americans and Cubans actually
cooperate more often than people think. But given the long-standing U.S.
opposition to the Castro regime, it's a forbidden subject, he said.

"People don't want to shout about it from the rooftops," he said.
"Officially, the attitude is that we don't deal with the Cuban government."

A State Department report from March contends Cuba didn't interdict any
sea-going narcotics shipments in 1997. The 5.7 tons of marijuana and other
drugs seized were picked up at sea or along the shore after traffickers
missed their mark, the report said.

Cuban officials criticize the Americans for judging other countries rather
than cutting back the U.S. demand for drugs. They add that they would
welcome greater cooperation with American authorities.

"But there's no willingness by the U.S. to have a comprehensive cooperative
agreement," Mr. Cossio said.

Asked if the United States ought to do more, retired Gen. McCaffrey said,
"It's a question I rush to avoid."

Pausing a moment, he added, "Cuba is eager to cooperate on drugs. We need
to think about what we need to do in the future."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Addicts' Crime Rate Falls In UK Heroin Trial ('The Sydney Morning Herald'
Notes A New Study Published In Today's Issue Of 'The Medical Journal
Of Australia' Provides Further Evidence That Treating Addicts
With Injectable Heroin Is Safe And Effective)

Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 21:17:50 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: UK: Addicts' Crime Rate Falls In Uk Heroin Trial
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Ken Russell
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Contact: letters@smh.com.au
Website: http://www.smh.com.au/
Pubdate: Monday, 15 June 1998
Author: Marion Downey, Health Writer

ADDICTS' CRIME RATE FALLS IN UK HEROIN TRIAL

Further evidence that treating addicts with injectable heroin is safe and
effective is provided by a new British study, says a leading Australian
drug and alcohol expert.

The study, published in today's issue of the Medical Journal of Australia,
offered injectable heroin to 58 long-term users who had failed with other
treatments. It found considerable reductions in crime and addicts still in
treatment after three months reduced their use of illicit drugs. Their
health and social behaviour also improved, say the study's authors, from
the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour at the Imperial
College School of Medicine in London. They observed the addicts over 15
months.

A third of the patients who were offered heroin for treatment chose
methadone instead, challenging one of the main fears of people opposed to
heroin trials - that heroin would prove irresistibly attractive to users.

After three months, 86 per cent of the patients were still in treatment.
After 12 months, 57 per cent were still being treated. Health and social
gains in the first three months were generally sustained.

Between three and six months, illicit drug injecting increased, but it was
still less than when the study started. Drug-injecting and sexual behaviour
presenting a HIV risk fell between six and 12 months.

In an accompanying editorial, the director of the Drug and Alcohol Service
at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital, Dr Alex Wodak, writes that the study
provides further support for the feasibility of prescribing heroin.

The editorial welcomes the trials of heroin substitutes currently underway
in Australia, but says: "There is no current evidence that these agents are
more attractive or effective than methadone. By contrast, some trials have
found that treatment retention, which often correlates well with other
outcomes, was better for prescribed heroin than for methadone."

Prescribing injectable heroin does not eliminate illicit drug use and
crime, say the authors of the British study, although the incidence of both
"declined significantly".

Dr Wodak said the pressure for a trial in Australia would increase again as
other trials took place around the world.

A major trial will start in the Netherlands in July and a Spanish trial is
expected to start in Spain in September. Trials are also being considered
in Britain, Germany, Austria and Canada.

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