------------------------------------------------------------------- Initiative 692 (A Washington State List Subscriber Urges Other Activists In The State Not To Let Up In Collecting Signatures For The Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure - The Deadline, At The End Of June, Is Fast Approaching) From: MJDOCDLE@aol.com Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 13:52:38 EDT To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: HT: I-692 Sender: email@example.com Just a friendly reminder to not let up on the signature gathering activity as we enter the home stretch. The deadline is fast approaching (end of June) and we can't let up now that we are this close to the wire. I urge everyone to keep right on gathering sigs.up to the last moment to be sure that our margin of error is reduced to a minimum. Everyone can do their bit by circulating petitions voluntarily or for pay by getting hold of petitions. In Seattle call (206) 781-7716 or 633-2161. In Olympia it's 121 N. Columbia, Phone (360) 754-4569. Let's all get out there and put this thing on the ballot! *** From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Daniel Berton) Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 11:22:50 -0700 To: email@example.com Subject: Re: HT: I-692 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Does anyone have current numbers on where we stand? Made a graphic It has helped getting signers. Not professional but it works. Can be found at http://www.angelfire.com/185files/i692.html email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Petition Nets More Signatures Than Estimated ('The Las Vegas Review-Journal' Says Nevadans For Medical Rights Seem To Have Gathered Enough Signatures To Get Their Initiative Petition On This November's Ballot) Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 00:46:29 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US NV: Wire: Medical Marijuana Petition Nets More Signatures Than Estimated Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal Contact: email@example.com Fax: 702-383-4676 Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/ Author: Brendan Riley Associated Press MEDICAL MARIJUANA PETITION NETS MORE SIGNATURES THAN ESTIMATED CARSON CITY -- Initial counting by county clerks around Nevada shows advocates of a plan to authorize marijuana for medical treatment turned in a few thousand more signatures than they thought. The secretary of state's office said Friday reports from 11 of the 13 counties that got medical marijuana petitions showed a raw count of 73,756 signatures. The petitioners had estimated the total from all 13 counties at 70,155. Most of the change occurred in Clark County, up from 43,694 to 45,955; and Washoe County, up from 16,111 to 17,201. The raw count won't go up a lot higher: the remaining counties that must report are Esmeralda and White Pine, and between them the petitioners only had 525 names. Additional verification steps must be taken before the Nevadans for Medical Rights proposal can qualify for a spot on the November ballot. That will include sampling to ensure signatures are valid. Nevada law requires a minimum 46,764 petitioners, representing 10 percent of the voters in at least 13 of the state's 17 counties before a petition can be placed on the ballot. While the raw count is far higher, in some counties the petitioners can't afford to lose many names in the verification process. The loss of one county would stop the proposal cold since petitions were filed in the minimum 13 counties. In Esmeralda County, for example, the petitioners said they turned in 78 signatures. But the minimum count needed there is 55, so the loss of only a couple dozen names in that county would keep the plan off the state ballot. The proposal would have to win voter approval in November and again in November 2000 before it could take effect. The Nevadans for Medical Rights is part of the group that launched a successful 1996 medical marijuana petition in California. Under the plan, marijuana could be used by anyone suffering from cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, or from severe nausea caused by other "chronic or debilitating medical conditions." A person who wants to use marijuana would have to get a go-ahead from a doctor, and any use of the drug by a minor would have to be approved in writing both by a doctor and the minor's parents. A registry of patients authorized to use marijuana for medical purposes would be available to police if they needed to verify a claim that it's being legally used by someone. A final section says an insurer wouldn't have to reimburse a health care policyholder for costs of buying marijuana, and an employer wouldn't have to make accommodations for pot-smoking by sick employees. Despite the careful wording, the Nevada Medical Association and some law enforcement groups have said they won't back the initiative petition. The 1,100-member Nevada Medical Association says it doesn't believe there have been enough scientific studies to show marijuana is a valuable tool in helping people with diseases such as cancer.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Flimsy Falsehoods About Marijuana (Letter To The Editor Of 'The Las Vegas Review-Journal' Rebuts The Lies About Medical Marijuana Put Forth By A Nevada Narcotics Officer) Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 02:10:07 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US NV: PUB LTE: Flimsy Falsehoods About Marijuana Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV) Section: Opinion Contact: email@example.com Fax: 702-383-4676 Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/ REEFER MADNESS FLIMSY FALSEHOODS ABOUT MARIJUANA To the editor: When Metro'sSteve Gammell, of the Nevada Narcotics Officers Association, vehemently opposes medicalization of pot ("Medical Marijuana," June 14), he hopes no one in earshot is aware of the 1989 Cannabis Therapeutic Research Program Report, prepared by the California Research Advisory Panel, which proved medical utility for smoked marijuana for nausea suppression and glaucoma treatment. When Mr. Gammell claims that telling the truth about medical marijuana "would communicate a malignant message to young people who have been taught that illegal drugs are evil and dangerous," he hopes no one in the room knows about the absurd "Reefer Madness" propaganda Harry Anslinger used to get the marijuana laws passed in the first place. Mr. Gammell hopes that no one realizes that the drug warriors have nothing better than Harry Anslinger's flimsy falsehoods to justify marijuana prohibition down to this very day. Prohibitionists hope that no one questions the lies they use to justify denying effective medical treatment to the sick and dying. The drug warriors hope you won't question the dishonesty they use to jail people for "marijuana crimes." Prohibitionists hope you won't object to the waste of billions of dollars used to support marijuana prohibition. And most of all, the reefer maniacs hope you won't mind dying because of their lies about pot, if you should ever need it as a medicine. ROBIN GIVENS Mill Valley, Calif.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Users From Suburbs Buy In City ('The Sun' In Baltimore, Maryland, Chronicles The Local Break-Down Of The War On Some Drug Users - 'There Are 55,000 Addicts In Baltimore,' Says Administrative Judge Joseph HH Kaplan, 'That's 8 Percent Of The Population - You Can't Arrest 8 Percent Of The Population - I Don't Know Why We Haven't Figured This Out') Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 12:25:03 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US MD: Drug Users From Suburbs Buy In City Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Rob Ryan Source: The Sun (Baltimore, MD) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sunspot.net/ Pubdate: June 21 1998 Author: Peter Hermann DRUG USERS FROM SUBURBS BUY IN CITY Baltimore Police Charge Traffic From Counties Helps Foster Crime Corrie Simpson wakes up every morning in a stone rancher outside Westminster and heads to Shipley Street and Fairmount Avenue, a drab pocket of sagging brick rowhouses and concrete front yards in Southwest Baltimore. There, her boyfriend, Patrick Cook, 35, leans out of the 1984 Chevrolet and shouts to a stocky man wearing a red bandanna. "Any Ready?" he asks, using street-corner slang for crack cocaine. The seller nods. "Give me six." The drugs are for Simpson, a 19-year-old former Glenelg High School student from western Howard County. "For what I do, you have to go to Baltimore to get it," the teen with shoulder-length, dark-blond hair said. The drug scourge that has helped wreck city neighborhoods is fueled, police say, by people who live in the comfort of suburbia, immune from the daily violence that consumes inner-city streets and has claimed a generation of young men. Now, police say, even with an estimated 55,000 addicts in Baltimore, the supply of heroin and cocaine far exceeds the demand. Business at some of the city's drug corners wouldn't be as brisk without middle-class buyers from places such as Glen Burnie, Dundalk and Sykesville. "If you are on a corner and selling drugs, it means you shot someone for the right to stand there," said Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier. "If you live in the suburbs and come into the city to buy drugs, you have blood on your hands." But police seem to be the only people doing something about it. The Sun accompanied officers on numerous stings over the past three months in which they posed as drug dealers and arrested nearly 100 people from Dundalk to Frederick and beyond. A review of court files suggests, however, that few, if any, will go to prison. They are charged with trying to buy drugs, a rarely used misdemeanor offense that makes the act of asking for an illegal substance a crime. City prosecutors -- who require a minimum seizure of 30 vials of crack to bring a felony drug charge -- often do not pursue the seemingly trivial charge. In December, an entire group of defendants arrested at an East Baltimore corner was sent home from court, their charges dismissed en masse without explanation. Even the administrative judge of the Circuit Court, Joseph H. H. Kaplan, said he doesn't believe that police "are accomplishing anything" by arresting addicts. Yet officers continue their initiatives, delighting residents who live on streets overwhelmed by vacant and boarded houses, who helplessly watch more prosperous outsiders visit their Baltimore neighborhoods to feed their hunger for cocaine and heroin. "These are viable taxpaying homeowners who have lived in their homes for years, and they are watching their neighborhood crash around them," said Maj. John L. Bergbower, commander of the Southwestern District. "They don't know what to do and they want us to do something about it." `Come Here To Buy Drugs' The back doors of a police van swing open, and suburbanites -- shackled with plastic handcuffs -- are paraded to the van past some of the neatly kept rowhouses of North Denison Street near Edmondson Avenue. Deborah Randall, a quarter-century resident of the once-thriving middle-class African-American neighborhood, offered a bemused smile as the stream of white faces marched past. She had just returned from a bridal shower in a predominantly white area of North Baltimore, where, she said, "people watched every move we made. We were not wanted in that neighborhood, but they come down here to buy their drugs." The blight from Edmondson Avenue -- drunks, addicts, dealers -- has spread to Denison Street, where vacant shells of houses are sandwiched between homes where children play, fathers mow small plots of grass and families hold cookouts. In five sweeps by police this year in predominantly black neighborhoods of Southwest Baltimore, police arrested 110 people, 68 of them white. Of those from outside the city, 25 lived in Baltimore County; 23 in Anne Arundel; 15 in Howard; three in Carroll; two each in Prince George's and Montgomery; one from Frederick; and five from out of state. Bergbower wants a billboard on Washington Boulevard: "Welcome to Baltimore. If you are coming here to buy drugs, you might be buying from a police officer." Some suburbanites say they come because the drugs are better in the city. Others say they're cheaper. Sonya Price, a 27-year-old recovering heroin addict who lives in Southwest Baltimore's Shipley Hill, offers a simpler explanation. "They come to where the drugs are." "It's the same way we know where to get the best steak or find the best bottle of wine," said Officer Kenneth Parks. "The addicts know where to get the best heroin or the best cocaine." Dangerous Trek That often means a dangerous trek into unfamiliar neighborhoods. Three Carroll County residents were killed last year in botched drug deals on city streets. There are 41 identified open-air drug markets within the Southwestern Police District. In Shipley Hill, there have been five homicides from January to May, most of them drug-related. Suburban residents "know that the distribution of drugs is a dangerous business," Bergbower said. "Yet they are willing to come here, get out of their cars and walk to a vacant rowhouse in the middle of the block in the inner city. "It astounds me. The average citizen thinks this is an inner-city problem. It's not," the major said. "My drug dealers are making a living off middle-class citizens who come here to buy drugs and then retreat to their homes in relative safety." Even with heroin use becoming a frightening reality on suburban cul-de-sacs, inner-city corners remain the supermarkets of the drug culture, drawing in thousands from outside the city limits attracted by cut-rate deals and a better high. "It's usually thick with dealers," said Randall, watching the arrests. "I can take my children out to play, at least for today." Charges Often Dropped Arresting people doesn't translate into prison. The only jail most suburbanites who are arrested ever see is a temporary holding cell at the downtown Central Booking and Intake Center, where they are held for a bail hearing. Punishment comes in other ways. Prisoners are often held more than 20 hours before they get bail. If they drove into city, their car will be waiting at the impound lot on Pulaski Highway and can be retrieved for $120. Add a lawyer and court fees, and the price tag on a single arrest jumps to nearly $1,000. Out-of-pocket expenses, missed work and embarrassment are often the severest punishments. Police are hoping that publicity will deter customers such as John Kaiser of Dundalk, one of 56 people caught in a sting in East Baltimore last year. Kaiser, 45, who said he has been addicted to heroin for eight years, admits he was buying drugs on North Bradford Street that day in October. But he doesn't think the police had probable cause to arrest him. "I pulled up and was asked by the undercover officer, `What's up,' " Kaiser said. "I said, `I'm here to get one.' " He was arrested at gunpoint when he turned up an alley to meet a supposed seller. "I was up there doing no good, but even the bail commissioner said she didn't think they had probable cause to arrest me," Kaiser said. In a courtroom two months later, the judge had everyone charged with attempted possession stand up. "She said, `Your cases are [dropped] and you are free to go.' " Prosecutors say they don't routinely drop cases. "We will prosecute all crimes," said Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. "We review every one of these cases on an individual basis." Kaplan said police should spend their time on other crimes, as they do in Boston. Officers there "spend their time arresting violent offenders," the judge said. "Police cars drive past two addicts shooting up." Relief For Residents Three years ago, the city's police commissioner said he wanted his officers to concentrate on violent dealers and ignore addicts, arguing that grabbing users did nothing more than pad arrest statistics. But police say that these stings target suburban residents to scare them off and to give temporary relief to neighborhoods. "When we lock them up, it's almost like a joke," said Officer Parks. "But [judges] will have to answer when we have elections." Kaplan said the problem can only be solved through treatment. "There are 55,000 addicts in Baltimore," he said. "That's 8 percent of the population. You can't arrest 8 percent of the population. I don't know why we haven't figured this out." Mary Ellen T. Rinehardt, the administrative judge of the Baltimore District Court, agreed that arresting people like Kaiser "probably doesn't work." "But I just feel so sorry for people who own houses in these neighborhoods," she said. "They feel they are hostages in their homes." To help neighborhoods, police turn the tables on the drug trade by running dealers out and taking their places. On June 5, North Shipley Street and West Fairmount Avenue belonged to the Baltimore Police Department. Three officers displaying the cool swagger of drug dealers and wearing baggy pants, oversize T-shirts and flashy sneakers leaned against a Formstone wall and waited. Within three hours, 28 people -- more than half from the suburbs -- tried to buy drugs from them. Corrie Simpson came clutching six $10 bills, along with a small vial of crack, a spoon, a syringe and a container of marijuana. Angry at being arrested, she unleashed a string of profanities. Parks said Simpson exhibited what he called the typical "cocky white attitude: `Why are you locking me up for this?' " Later, after having spent 20 hours in custody awaiting a bail hearing, Simpson had a different attitude. "It really opened my eyes," she said. "I've been doing this for too long. A jail cell isn't where I need to be." Know Street Slang Those arrested in similar stings throughout the city this year have included parole officers, city school teachers -- three in one afternoon at the same west-side corner -- waiters, machinists, nurses, counselors and department store clerks. One man took the Light Rail from Severn and then changed buses three times to get to a vacant house in Southwest Baltimore. They arrive knowing the street slang. "Give me some raw" for heroin, or, "Give me a dime of Ready," for crack cocaine. Sitting on an old blue couch in the un-air-conditioned corner house in the 500 block of N. Denison Street, one of the arrestees shouted to an officer who complained of the stifling 100-degree heat. "Why do you do this?" "Because the people in this neighborhood have got to live here," Sgt. Tim Devine shot back. "Nobody really cares too much about your personal comfort." It was the third time in a month Devine and his officers had used the house to stage their arrests. There was no shortage of suspects. Even publicity on television didn't stop people from coming. William Nowak, 58, a construction worker from Catonsville, said he saw someone get arrested at the house on the news a week earlier and thought it would be a good place. Scott Jones, 19, also from Catonsville, said, "I just thought I'd try this." Charges against both men are pending. White suburban drug users once stuck to the city's perimeter, afraid to venture too far into the inner city. Now, Randall said, North Denison Street is often lined with pricey cars from the suburbs, full of neatly dressed people holding out folded 10- and 20-dollar bills, waiting to be served drugs as if the vacant house next door to hers were a restaurant's drive-up window. "This is a new thing, them coming this far into the inner city," said Devine. "Three or four years ago, you might get one or two white guys up here. Now, they're the majority. It's the depth of their addiction, I guess." Even suburbanites arrested say they can't understand why Baltimore remains a drug center. "I really think they could clean it up," Simpson said a week after her arrest while charges were still pending. "They have to go after the dealers who are bringing it in. It's greed; that's why it never changes. "They lock us up and make everyone think they are doing something about it," she said. "People in the city are the problem. If they got rid of all the dealers, then we wouldn't have any place left to buy. They aren't doing anything by arresting the addicts." Contributes To Addiction Kaiser's mother, Ruth Cook, 68, accompanied her son to Bradford Street twice to see where he went. "I will not do that anymore," she said. "It was like a jungle. There were cops and people standing on corners selling drugs and all kinds of dope." Cook said it's the city that contributes to her son's addiction. "From what I saw, there were very few innocent people. It's like all of them were doing the drug thing. It's not all the users' fault." Her son, a jobless Vietnam veteran, said he has bought drugs in East Baltimore for eight years, paying for it by driving others to city corners and keeping a cut of what they buy. "Baltimore has a big problem," he said. "I definitely think I'm part of the problem. If it wasn't for people like me, the dealers wouldn't be in business." He recalled news stories about one family who reportedly helped police arrest some local dealers -- part of the same sweep in which he was arrested -- whose house was shot up the next day. "That's a shame," Kaiser said. "Here they are trying to do something to help their neighbors, and they paid the consequences. The drugs are everywhere out there. It's amazing that the police haven't found a way to shut it down." Kaiser said he lives in a quiet Dundalk community. "I wouldn't want someone coming into my neighborhood to buy drugs," he said. Asked how many times he's driven to Bradford Street since he was arrested there eight months ago, he paused, then quietly whispered: "More than I can count."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Suburban Drug Users Play Role In City Crime (Baltimore 'Sun' Columnist Gregory Kane Notes That, With Police Refusing To Bust White Suburban Purchasers Of Illegal 'Drugs,' And Prosecutors Tossing Out Such Cases By The Hundreds Just To Lighten Their Caseloads, It's Black Inner-City Residents Who Suffer From Selective Enforcement, Because They Still Get Prosecuted For Selling Such 'Drugs') Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 12:34:39 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US MD: Column: Suburban Drug Users Play Role In City Crime Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Rob Ryan Source: The Sun (Baltimore, MD) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sunspot.net/ Pubdate: Sunday, 21 June 1998 Columnist: Gregory Kane SUBURBAN DRUG USERS PLAY ROLE IN CITY CRIME MR. Hard-working White American, please read Peter Hermann's story in today's Sun. Mr. Hard-working White American wrote me in response to my column on the rash of school shootings in various parts of the country, in which I noted that the perpetrators -- except for the most recent one in Richmond, Va., in which no one was killed -- were white. "You take these incidents that were perpetrated by sick and twisted very young men and try to use this distinct handful of incidents to debate rational discrimination? These young boys chose their victims and had very directed anger. If I were running a mostly white rural high school or the parent of an attending student, yes my world would be rocked and I would be practicing rational discrimination against any young male exhibiting any of those characteristics of dangerous, out-of-control anger that could escalate to events like those. "Rational discrimination is mostly spontaneous fear. If I see one or more black people (men or head-bobbing sisters) approaching me with an attitude, a cocky gait and in the current costume of the day (for the latest batch of black, white or yellow criminals), then you're damn right I'll be alert and scared, because if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it's probably a duck. The same description above applies to white trash and the same reaction will result. The problem is that in most cities these days, where we all have to or want to visit or work in, the ducksare mostly black and mostly bad. "This is proven on a daily basis on the pages of your very own paper. Oh yes, there's some white crime but it pales in volume next to black crime, again, read your own paper. Look at today's issue -- the black event `Night Out,' there's a great example and maybe a larger version of what goes on at Howard Street and surrounding area on a routine basis." OK, Mr. Hard-working White American, take your own advice: Read my own paper. Read Hermann's article about how affluent, white suburbanites who sit on their duffs and figure they contribute nothing to America's social ills routinely ride into neighborhoods like mine to cop their latest hit of cocaine or heroin fix. Read how our own city Police Department says these suburbanites contribute to that black crime you seem to feel defines nearly every black person in Baltimore. (Those are your words: "The ducks are mostly black and mostly bad.") Well, Mr. Hard-working White American, what about the white ducks who contribute to the drug traffic, which, according to many a white judge who works just as hard as you do, is what fuels over 80 percent of all crime? Should we apply "rational discrimination" to them and assume that because some white suburbanites use drugs that "most of these white ducks" probably do? Wanna talk crime stats, Mr. Hard-working White American? What would the crime stats look like if those white suburbanites were actually prosecuted for drug possession? As Hermann's article points out, most cases are simply thrown out of court. It's true that blacks lead in arrests for homicide and robbery. But again, note that judges say most of the crime is linked to drugs. Thus, these white suburbanites contribute, even if only indirectly, to any crime that is drug-related. The color of America's drug problem isn't black or white. The color of America's drug problem is American. Since drugs and crime are linked, crime isn't a black problem, but an American one. You missed the point, by several light-years, Mr. Hard-working White American, of my column on those boys who gunned down their classmates and teachers. The point was that white Americans cannot afford to smugly assume that they do not contribute to the social ills of this country. The problem of violence is a male, not a black, phenomenon. The other point was to show you what it feels like to be lumped together with a few bad apples from your racial group. Doesn't feel too good, does it, Mr. Hard-working White American? I trust reading Hermann's article was eye-opening for you, Mr. Hard-working White American. Before I leave you to contemplate it, a correction is in order. Subsequent investigation into that black event, Night Out, revealed nothing close to a disturbance took place at the Brokerage. It seems some folks just panicked at a large number of black folks in one place at one time. But I assume that's OK with you. You're already on record as saying that a large number of black folks in one place is by definition a cause for alarm.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Case For Making Drugs Legal (An Op-Ed In 'The Boston Globe' By Jeff Miron, A Professor Of Economics At Boston University, Summarizes The Basics Well) Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 11:39:51 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US MA: OPED: The Case For Making Drugs Legal Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Dick Evans and John Dvorak Source: Boston Globe (MA) Section: The front page (E01) of the Sunday opinion section Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/ Pubdate: Sunday, June 21, 1998 Author: Jeffrey A. Miron Note: Our Newshawk Dick Evans writes: "Jeff Miron is a Professor of Economics at Boston University." See also the related column: "Just Think About Drugs Then Say 'NO' To US Policy" posted separately. THE CASE FOR MAKING DRUGS LEGAL This is not to say legalization would eliminate all drug-related problems. No policy is capable of doing that. But legalization would have clear and substantial benefits, with little increase in the problems related to drug use itself. Without endorsing full legalization, about 500 distinguished signers affirmed in an open letter to the United Nations this month that the international drug war now causes more harm than drug abuse does. The foundation of the case for legalization is the indisputable yet oft-ignored fact that drug prohibition does not eliminate drug markets or drug use. Instead, it simply moves them underground. Drug prohibition does raise some costs of doing business for suppliers, and it probably reduces demand by some consumers. But substantial drug consumption persists even in the countries that work hardest at prohibition, and this fact means prohibition has enormous adverse consequences for society. Perhaps the most important negative consequence is increased crime. While it is incontrovertible that many criminals consume drugs, this fact in no way demonstrates that drug use causes crime. Instead, the available evidence suggests that drug prohibition causes most drug-related crime, via several mechanisms. Prohibition prevents buyers and sellers of drugs from using the criminal justice system to resolve disputes, so these persons use violence instead. Prohibition also diverts criminal justice resources from the deterrence of nondrug crime, as when nondrug offenders are released early to ease drug-war-induced prison overcrowding. And prohibition facilitates the corruption of police, judges, and politicians, partly because huge profits are at stake, partly because the legal channels of influence are not available to black market suppliers. The increase of crime through prohibition implies another unwanted side effect, an increased demand for guns. Not only do black market suppliers tend to arm themselves heavily, since, unlike suppliers of legal commodities, they cannot resolve commercial disputes by using lawyers, but the increased violence amid prohibition implies a greater demand for guns from the rest of society, as law-abiding citizens purchase arms for self-defense. The increased violence also brutalizes society. Prohibition also means diminished health for drug users and even some nonusers. In a black market, drug users face heightened uncertainty about the quality and purity of the drugs they purchase, plus an incentive to consume drugs using techniques, such as injection, that are unhealthy but give the biggest bang for the buck. These characteristics of illegal markets lead to accidental poisonings and overdoses, plus the sharing of contaminated needles and increased transmission of AIDS. In a legal drug market, inadvertent overdoses and accidental poisonings would be rare. Moreover, aided by lower drug prices and the legal sale of syringes, more users would practice safer means of taking drugs, obviating the question of whether governments should fund programs such as needle exchange. A still further harm of prohibition is heightened racial tension. In any society, the underground sector attracts especially those persons who believe that their chances for advancement in the legal sector are limited by racism, poor schooling, and the like. In the United States, this means that blacks and some immigrant groups have participated disproportionately in the drug trade, not because they are more likely to use drugs nor because they are inherently less law-abiding, but because it has been rational for them to do so. But this over-representation of blacks and immigrants in the drug trade tends to validate negative stereotypes, and it means that police, even if nonracist, enforce prohibition especially against these groups. This fuels perceptions of selective enforcement and exacerbates racial animosity. Another intangible but critical consequence of drug prohibition is diminished respect for the law. Under prohibition, millions of citizens sell and use drugs with relative impunity, while the rest of society bears witness. Everyone, therefore, learns that laws are for suckers: Those who evade usually get what they want. People are thus encouraged to violate other laws or social norms, whenever it is convenient to do so. This ''disrespect for the law'' can destroy a free society, since governments cannot maintain order and civility without widespread, voluntary compliance with the law. On top of all these deleterious effects, using prohibition to deter drug consumption means society cannot levy sin taxes on sales of drugs or collect income taxes from those working in the trade. This means drug suppliers and drug users - persons deliberately breaking society's rules - gain at the expense of taxpayers generally, rather than contributing their fair share. Of course, sin taxes on drugs would have to be moderate, or they would themselves generate a black market and all the attendant undesirable consequences. But widespread experience with alcohol and cigarettes suggests substantial taxes can be imposed without generating significant evasion. Substitution of a moderate sin tax for prohibition thus turns drug profits into tax revenues while simultaneously reaping diverse additional benefits for society. And the costs of enforcing a moderate sin tax would likely be small in comparison with the costs of enforcing prohibition; most of the necessary apparatus already exists for the collection of alcohol and cigarette taxes, and voluntary compliance with a sin tax is far less costly to drug users than the abstinence required under prohibition. The beneficial tax and expenditure effects of outright legalization help explain why this policy is preferable to decriminalization - under which small-scale possession and purchase are permitted but production and sale are still outlawed - since decriminalization by itself does little to convert the untaxed, black market for drugs into a legal, taxable one. Of course, the problems of prohibition might be tolerable if it were highly effective in reducing the harms caused directly by drug consumption, or in deterring drug use by minors. But prohibition appears to reduce drug use mainly among casual users, whose consumption imposes little cost on society, while failing to deter drug use by more determined users, whose consumption accounts for the lion's share and is more likely to harm users and others. The forbidden-fruit allure that prohibition creates might well encourage initial experimentation with drugs by teenagers, who are particularly vulnerable to drugs' negative consequences. Even when prohibition does deter harmful drug use or keeps teenagers away from drugs, this often results in greater alcohol consumption (rather than a diminished ''gateway'' effect), with similar or more deleterious consequences. The critical question therefore asks the extent to which prohibition reduces abusive kinds of drug consumption or prevents adolescent drug use. The answer, according to abundant evidence, is not much. The case for legalization of drugs is overwhelming. This conclusion does not presume that legalization will be accompanied by increased government funding for drug treatment, or even that existing funding must continue; the desirability of subsidized drug treatment is a logically separate issue, which requires its own analysis. Nor do the preceding arguments imply that full legalization is the only policy change that would be beneficial; certain partial steps toward legalization - imposing fewer restrictions on the medical provision of drugs, or legalizing marijuana only, for example - would shrink the black market and thus produce substantial gains. But dispassionate analysis of the evidence leaves little doubt regarding the folly of current policy, and it suggests just as clearly the appropriate direction for change. (c) Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Just Think About Drugs; Then Say 'No' To US Policy ('Boston Globe' Columnist David Nyhan Comments Favorably On The Open Letter In 'The New York Times' From An Array Of Prominent And Accomplished World Citizens Opposing The United Nations' Plans To Expand The Global Drug War) Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 11:59:18 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US MA GE: Column: Just Think About Drugs; Then Say 'No' To US Policy Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Dvorak Source: Boston Globe (MA) Section: Page E04 of the Sunday opinion section Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/ Pubdate: Sunday, June 21, 1998 Columnist: David Nyhan is a Globe columnist. Note: See also the related OPED: "The Case For Making Drugs Legal" posted separately. JUST THINK ABOUT DRUGS; THEN SAY 'NO' TO US POLICY ''We believe the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself.'' Under that banner headline in a double-truck ad of the June 8 New York Times, an astounding array of prominent and accomplished world citizens appealed to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for a major shift in drug-fighting worldwide. Fully one-twelfth of all international trade involves traffic in illegal narcotics, it is claimed. And while no one can be sure of the scope of the drug economy, the number could be right on the button. And it is also inescapable that governments worldwide routinely fail to contain the worsening social deterioration that accelerates despite ever-harsher methods. The criminalization of drug use imprisons many hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of sniffers, snorters, swallowers, injectors. As an inevitable byproduct of the into-your-bloodstream-with-a-rush economy, the drug trade also corrupts law enforcement, governments, and the judiciary. Meanwhile, drug suppliers grow fabulously wealthy, and insulate their criminal conspiracies from punishment. The United Nations estimates that more than $1 billion a day goes for illegal drugs worldwide, and the $400 billion-per-year estimate seems low to some. ''Every day politicians endorse harsher new drug war strategies,'' said the letter, coordinated by the Lindesmith Center of New York. But those who call for alternatives to the current consensus of failed policies ''are accused of `surrendering,''' and the wasteful spending on searches and suppression increases as drug use spreads. The signers of this public petition include some impressive achievers: Walter Cronkite is nobody's fool. There are ''formers'' such as ex-senators Claiborne Pell and Alan Cranston, ex-presidential adviser Lloyd Cutler. ex-US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, and ex-Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach. There are influential big-city mayors such as Willie Brown of San Francisco and Kurt Schmoke of Baltimore and San Jose's Susan Hammer. There are prominent professors from across the continent, an array of academics such as Harvey Cox, Cornel West, Andrew Weil, Herbert Gans, James Vorenberg, Mathew Meselson, and Stephen Jay Gould. There are some big-time Georges, such as philanthropist George Soros and former US Secretary of State George Shultz, and big-time preachers such as the Revs. Leon Sullivan, Floyd Flake, and Calvin Butts 3d. There's Lani Guinier and Lester Grinspoon, the American Civil Liberties Union's Ira Glasser and the venerable and very conservative economist Milton Friedman, cheek-by-jowl alongside various CEOs and federal judges (Denver's John Kane, New York's Robert Sweet and John Curtin,), and Irish cops such as Patrick Murphy, once police commissioner of New York, and Joseph McNamara, once top cop in Kansas City. These serious and accomplished individuals have dared put their names on a petition for which, if they were running for office in the vast majority of US jurisdictions, they'd be pilloried. Because in the current political climate of mindless mimicry of the failed policy of interdiction, of search- and-destroy, of lock-up-the-little-guy-while-the-kingpins-live-high-on-the- hog, it can be hazardous to a politician's health to point out how badly the drug war is lost. ''We are all deeply concerned,'' says the letter, ''about the threat drugs pose to our children, our fellow citizens and our societies.'' And the signers from other countries are more impressive in their scope than the US signatories. People who ran governments in the Netherlands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, writers such as Germany's Gunter Grass and Ivan Illich, Italy's Nobelist Dario Fo, Canada's Jane Jacobs, signed the petition. There's a plethora of Nobel laureates, top cops from Jamaica and Scotland Yard, the lord mayor of Melbourne, the former UN chief, Peru's Javier Perez de Cuellar, parliamentarians and professors galore, from New Zealand to the Arctic Circle, and some civil rights campaigners who made the long march in other causes, such as South Africa's Helen Suzman. The criminals coining wealth on the backs of drug users get away with more than murder. The letter points out the obvious: They ''corrupted governments at all levels, eroded internal security, stimulated violence, and distorted both economic markets and moral values.'' But there's an additional point: ''These are the consequences not of drug use per se, but of decades of failed and futile drug war policies. In many countries, drug war politics impede public health efforts to stem the spread of AIDS, hepatitis and other infectious diseases. Human rights are violated, environmental assaults perpetrated and prisons inundated with hundreds of thousands of drug law violators.'' The letter does not point out that in the United States, there are 1.6 million Americans behind bars, many of them for drug-and-alcohol related crimes. ''Scarce resources better expended on health, education and economic development are squandered on ever-more-expensive interdiction efforts. Realistic proposals to reduce drug-related crime, disease and death are abandoned in favor of rhetorical proposals to create drug-free societies.'' Now comes the crusher, endorsed by all these accomplished and intelligent individuals from across the planet: ''Persisting in our current policies will only result in more drug abuse, more empowerment of drug markets and criminals, and more disease and suffering. Too often, those who call for open debate, rigorous analysis of current policies, and serious consideration of alternatives are accused of `surrendering.' But the true surrender is when fear and inertia combine to shut off debate, suppress critical analysis, and dismiss all alternatives to current policies.'' Sadly, most of the official titles born by the distinguished signatories are prefaced by the bland ''former.'' Many of them could not have voiced such sentiments while they held power, because of the pressure of public opinion, which militates against experimentation, innovation and change. Can you imagine how swiftly CBS would have dumped Uncle Walter if the beloved anchorman had opened a broadcast with these views? Kofi Annan, the world's top bureaucrat, is just a mail drop for this cause. The effective decriminalization of illegal drugs would take much of the corrupt money out of the system, and rationalize the treatment of the addicted, who are among the most forlorn of humans. Real improvement requires real, and risky, change. Most American politicians cannot summon the intestinal fortitude to do anything but mouth meaningless platitudes about ''cracking down'' on what is at bottom a chemical dependency masquerading as a weakness in human nature. The smugglers, the middlemen, the mules, the vein-poppers, the snorters, will always stay one step ahead of the law. We even have out-of-control drug problems in some of our major prisons. If you cannot interdict narcotics in a maximum security federal prison, what chance have you on the streets of America? The war is lost. Demand creates supply. So the demand must be channeled, treated, controlled; it cannot be simply eradicated by fiat. Until we make this momentous shift in global public policy, society will continue to rot from the pernicious, ineradicable spread of illegal drugs. (c) Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Stone Crazy (A Book Review In Georgia's 'Savannah Morning News' Of 'Drug Crazy,' Mike Gray's Important New History Of The War On Some Drug Users) Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 02:03:26 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US GA: Book Review: Stone Crazy Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 Source: Savannah Morning News Section: Top Stories - Accent: Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.savannahmorningnews.com/ Author: Doug Wyatt, Savannah Morning News STONE CRAZY The war against drugs, says a new book, is a colossal failure. Drug Crazy. How We Got Into This Mess and How We Can Get Out. By Mike Gray. Random House. $23.95. If World War II had been as successful as America's "war on drugs," we'd all be chowing down on bratwurst and naming our newborns after Adolf and Eva. The main trouble with the country's strategy, says Mike Gray in "Drug Crazy," has been prohibition. Outlawing drugs -- as we should have learned in the 1920s, when illegal booze fueled the growth of organized crime -- succeeds, he says, mostly in making the drugs fantastically profitable for illicit traffickers. Gray favors underbidding the thugs by putting drugs back into the hands of doctors and pharmacists -- where they were before the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act in 1914. Gray's stance is hardly new; various observers across the political spectrum -- from William F. Buckley and Milton Friedman on the right to Jocelyn Elders and the ACLU on the left -- have called for legalization. Al Capone's murderous descendants, they argue, have too long savored the fruits of our public morality. Would such a radical step work? Gray details how regulated narcotics sales to serious addicts in Switzerland and England -- contrary to scare stories perpetuated by American officials -- actually led to a diminished street trade and lower crime rate. When 12 states in the United States reduced pot possession to a misdemeanor between 1973 and 1978, the predicted upsurge in cannabis use failed to materialize. Whatever one's feelings about legalization, no one can argue that America's traditional approach to drugs has been anything but a grotesque failure. The report Gray brings back from the front, after all, is almost unrelievedly grim. The drug fight has cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. It has eroded civil rights. Cops have been corrupted; jail cells have been filled with petty drug offenders. Efforts to eradicate crops in the source countries have failed miserably. The drug war has also widened the nation's racial divide. Though the National Institute on Drug Abuse says the vast majority of people who have used crack are white, 96 percent of the crack defendants in federal court are black or Hispanic. Gray also cites statistics showing that, though most drug users in all categories are white, blacks run a 500 percent greater risk of being arrested for a drug offense. Why has America's ruinously expensive, ineffective drug strategy been pursued so long? Politics, mostly. Eighty years ago, when the strategy was born, there was a widespread notion -- thanks to the assiduous efforts of several quacks -- that a cheap, easy cure for addiction existed. Drug addicts, previously viewed as citizens with a medical problem, were thus stigmatized as "drug fiends," evil creatures simply unwilling to get off the junk. Since then, Gray remarks, "whenever senators or congressmen found themselves outflanked on the right, they could come down on addicts like avenging angels to prove how tough they were on crime." The fire and brimstone raining down from America's drug fighters, Gray shows, has been accompanied by gross misinformation. Anybody with a lick of experience in the real world, for instance, knows, whatever the official hysteria, that marijuana use doesn't automatically lead to hard drug use. "Over seventy million Americans," Gray writes, "have taken at least a few drags, and while some of them may not have inhaled, most of them did. When they failed to experience the instant insanity that the authorities had promised, it was for many an epiphany more powerful than the drug itself -- the realization that the government makes things up." Governments also, of course, seldom admit wrongdoing; any efforts to steer the country's drug strategy in a new, more workable direction face immense barriers of habit, hypocrisy and high moral dudgeon. In "Drug Crazy," though, reformers are handed some powerful ammunition. By forcefully detailing the drug war's fiscal costs and erosions of civil liberties, its futilities and hypocrisies and corruptions, Gray has made a strong case for a radical re-evaluation of our laws.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Case Links Russian Sub, Colombia Drugs (According To 'The Los Angeles Times,' Documents Recently Filed In Federal Court In Miami Allege Colombian Drug Lords Almost Bought A $35 Million Soviet Navy Submarine From Russian Organized Criminals In 1995 In A Deal Brokered In Miami By Ludwig Fainberg, A Russian Immigrant From Israel Who Had Already Helped Supply The Colombians With Half A Dozen Soviet MI-8 Military Helicopters - Fainberg's Trial Begins In September) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: "MN" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: MN: US: FL: Case Links Russian Sub, Colombia Drugs Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 22:42:12 -0500 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: isenberd@DynCorp.com (Isenberg, David) Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Author: Mark Fineman CASE LINKS RUSSIAN SUB, COLOMBIA DRUGS MIAMI--It was a typical night at Porky's, a strip joint known for its Russian dancers in the seedy Miami suburb of Hialeah. The girls were grinding on the dance floor while, inside the club's inner office, cut off from the driving rhythms, owner Ludwig Fainberg was talking business. Big business, federal prosecutors now say: drug business, Russian mafia business and how the two were coming together in a single deal. And the U.S. government was listening. According to documents recently filed in federal court here, on that night in April 1995 Fainberg explained to an undercover U.S. drug enforcement agent a deal he was brokering between Russian organized crime and Colombian drug lords to provide a $35-million Soviet navy submarine to the biggest cocaine cartel in South America. Fainberg, a Russian immigrant from Israel better known as Tarzan, had been boasting about the submarine deal for weeks, according to FBI affidavits made public earlier this year in Ft. Lauderdale federal court. Just three weeks before, at a nearby restaurant, Fainberg had introduced the undercover agent to Juan Almeida, a Cuban-born broker of "exotic" automobiles, aircraft and vessels, who prosecutors allege had contacts in Colombia's drug underworld. Together, Fainberg and Almeida had already supplied the Colombians with half a dozen Soviet MI-8 military helicopters that the two men had obtained through military contacts in Russia for $1 million each, according to court records in the case, which is scheduled to go to trial in Florida in September. But that night at Porky's, Fainberg pulled out a map of the western United States and told the agent how the Russian submarine, capable of carrying 40 tons of cocaine per trip, would bring a new global nexus between the Russians and Colombians to the very heart of Southern California. In his sworn affidavit, FBI agent Anthony Cuomo said Fainberg explained "how the submarine was going to transport cocaine from Mexico, passing by the U.S. naval station in San Diego . . . and unloading the cocaine off the coast of Santa Barbara." The conversation was one of 11,000 in several languages recorded through wiretaps and hidden microphones at Porky's and elsewhere in 1995. Fainberg and Almeida were indicted on federal racketeering charges in January 1997. It was unclear from court records--and prosecutors refused to comment on--why charges were not filed until 1997 and why the submarine deal was never completed. Fainberg and Almeida have denied through their attorneys that they committed any crimes. And U.S. authorities have been careful not to cast Fainberg as a member of a Russian crime syndicate: They describe him as an "associate" of Russian mob bosses here and overseas. Extending the Reach of the Narcotics Trade But U.S. authorities say the case illustrates how Russian organized crime and its associates linked up with Colombia's top drug barons in a partnership to extend the reach and firepower of the international narcotics trade. The new ties potentially could combine millions of dollars in annual cocaine and heroin proceeds from the United States and Europe with the awesome Cold War military assets of the former Soviet Union. In interviews, U.S. authorities say the partnership is driven by prolonged economic crisis, official corruption and lax military controls in Russia and other former Soviet Bloc states and the increasing sophistication and technological demands of drug traffickers in the Americas. One affidavit unsealed in Fainberg's case stated that already in 1995 the Drug Enforcement Administration's "intelligence has identified 47 Eastern Bloc aircraft, helicopter and fixed-wing, . . . in Colombia, South America, which are being utilized for the transport of narcotics and of chemicals for the processing of narcotics." While there is no hard evidence in court records showing how those Soviet aircraft reached the Colombian drug cartels, a Times investigation published in 1996 revealed that as many as 20 Soviet-designed military cargo planes from Ukraine were sold to drug traffickers. U.S. law-enforcement officials say several investigations are underway here and abroad targeting Russian crime bosses and Colombian drug lords--and their impact on the U.S. drug trade and organized crime. Documents on file in the Fainberg case provide a detailed look at how U.S. prosecutors and law enforcement agents say that partnership was forged here in the early and mid-1990s. Attorneys for Fainberg and Almeida deny that their clients were part of any such nexus. Last year, as Fainberg appeared at his bail hearing in a courtroom packed with his relatives and friends from the Israeli kibbutz where he lived after fleeing anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union in the early 1970s, his lawyer called the submarine deal "just a pipe dream." And during Almeida's detention hearing after his 1997 arrest, defense attorney Steven Chaykin described his client as "a trader." "He's an entrepreneur in the classic sense of the word. He puts buyers together with sellers, but there's nothing wrong with that," Chaykin told the judge. "It's legal. It's lots of what made this country strong: People that are marketeers like him." But Chaykin conceded in court that day that his client did broker deals between Russians and Colombians that took advantage of what he called "a gold rush when the Communist government fell" in Russia. Suddenly, he said, Russia had cheap products, including military hardware, for sale and an ample supply of buyers in South America. Chaykin insisted, though, that Almeida's deals were between legitimate buyers and sellers. After hearing both sides last year, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow released Almeida on bond but ordered Fainberg held without bail, calling the evidence against him "substantial." "The defendant personally engaged in foreign travel for the purchase of helicopters, airplanes and submarines to be used by the Colombian cocaine suppliers," Snow concluded in ordering Fainberg confined to prison until trial. Arrangements Caught on Wiretaps According to the federal case against the 40-year-old strip-club owner, Fainberg had transformed Porky's and a Russian restaurant in Miami called Babushka's into a South Florida headquarters for drug running, prostitution, money laundering and other criminal activity--as well as a meeting place for Russian organized crime and drug traffickers. Quoting from wiretaps and recorded meetings, the court documents in the case allege that the club owner used his office in 1994 and 1995 to arrange large shipments of cocaine hidden among shrimp from Ecuador to the United States and Russia; to transport stolen cigarettes from the states of New York and Georgia; to organize travel for Russian women to work as prostitutes in Miami; and to order weapons and armored cars for Russian crime groups in the United States and abroad. In court documents, chief federal prosecutor Diana Fernandez and the FBI agent who coordinated the investigation list more than a dozen meetings and conversations that Fainberg held with high-ranking Russian crime figures in Miami and St. Petersburg, Russia, at the time he allegedly was brokering the submarine sale to the Colombians and other deals in 1995. The affidavits assert that, just six days after Fainberg showed the undercover agent the map of the submarine's future drug route to Santa Barbara, he met in Miami with the leader of Moscow's Luberetsy organized crime group and agreed to "organize a meeting of all the major Russian organized crime groups for August 1995 in Miami." "This meeting would be for the purpose of dividing up the United States into territories for criminal activities," according to one of the affidavits, which were used to justify the court-approved wiretaps in 1995 at Porky's and Babushka's and on Fainberg's cellular phones. Meeting With Retired Admiral The court documents in the case, which fill a shelf at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., do not indicate whether the Russian crime summit ever took place here. But wiretap logs, hotel records and other documents show that Fainberg did travel to Russia in early 1995 with Almeida and an alleged drug trafficker who also was indicted in the case. During that trip, the group allegedly used Fainberg's organized crime contacts to arrange a meeting with a retired Russian vice admiral who had commanded a submarine force in the Soviet Northern Fleet, according to the affidavits. The retired Soviet officer arranged for the group to tour a secret Russian submarine base in Kronstadt, where they decided on a Tango class model after viewing a variety of used Soviet submarines that the documents show ranged in price from $20 million to $75 million. The Tango class sub is a Cold War-era craft, built to patrol shallow waters, with an underwater cruising speed of 16 knots. Although the submarine sale never took place, the affidavits state that, three years before, Fainberg and Almeida successfully brokered the sale of the MI-8 helicopters to the Colombians. That sale was made without the direct involvement of several powerful Russian organized crime groups, the affidavits state. But it ultimately led to Fainberg's association with Russian crime bosses, federal agents stated. "The Russian mob wanted to kill Fainberg for his unauthorized activities," the FBI affidavit stated. Then, it added, Fainberg turned to Anzor Kikalischvili, a businessman whom it described as "one of the most powerful Russian organized crime figures operating in the United States." The affidavits stated that Kikalischvili interceded on Fainberg's behalf with Russian crime bosses. And ever since, the affidavit concluded, Fainberg has owed favors to him. Kikalischvili, who was named frequently in the affidavits but not in the indictment, appeared among the original targets of the federal investigation, which spanned more than a year and included half a dozen undercover federal agents and 10 confidential informants. The court records do not indicate--nor would U.S. prosecutors comment on--why Kikalischvili was not indicted. The affidavits quoted from a recorded conversation with one of those informants, in which "Kikalischvili explained that his organization is setting up operations in south Florida with him as the top man in charge of all criminal operations." "Kikalischvili told [the informant] that he already has over 60 people under his control in this area," the affidavits said. And Kikalischvili "also explained that it was important to have someone like himself in control who could make sure that law enforcement was not alerted to their activities."
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Sting Mexicans Can't Forgive (An Op-Ed In 'The Los Angeles Times' By M. Delul Baer Of The Center For Strategic And International Studies Says 'Operation Casablanca' Has Created The Most Serious Crisis In US-Mexican Relations Since The Drug Enforcement Administration Kidnapped Humberto A1varez Machain, A Mexican Implicated In The 1985 Murder Of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena - 'Both Mexico And The United States Are Reaching The Limits Of Their Ability To Absorb The Political Costs Of Sustaining Bilateral Antinarcotics Cooperation') Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 00:05:52 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US/Mexico: The Sting Mexicans Can't Forgive Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Peter Webster Pubdate: June 21 1998 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Section: Sunday Opinion Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Author: M. Delal Baer Note: M. Delul Baer is a director of and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Mexico project. THE STING MEXICANS CAN'T FORGIVE "More than one person has his nose out of joint about this," says one drug official of Casablanca, the undercover operation mounted on Mexico soil by U.S. Customs and the Department of Justice without the authorization of the Mexican government. The sting netted 167 people, including 26 Mexican bankers, on charges of money laundering. Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the czar of the U.S. Anti narcotics effort, found out about the operation on television. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright was kept out of the loop and complained bitterly to Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, who himself is said to have been informed about the operation only a few months ago, even though the investigation was initiated three years ago by the L.A. branch of Customs, It seems that even the Casa Blanca (White House) was in the dark about the details. The result is the most serious crisis in U.S.-Mexican relations since the Drug Enforcement Administration kidnapped Humberto A1varez Machain, a Mexican implicated in the 1985 murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena. The Casablanca incident occurs at a time when constructive voices are increasingly drowned out by a neo-populist coalition hurling rocks south of the border all year round; by a relentless torrent of harsh U.S. press coverage of Mexico, and by an ever more: vitriolic certification process in the U.S. Congress. For the average Mexican, the collective harangue of Sens. Dianne Feinstein. (D-Calif.), Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.), consumer advocate Ralph Nader, Patrick J. Buchanan, Ross Perot and Rep, Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), has fused into one hostile and threatening picture of the United States. Casablanca is the straw that breaks the camel's back. Although President Bill Clinton and his Cabinet rushed to make apologies to their Mexican counterparts, "I'm sorry" was not enough for Mexico's foreign-relations minister, Rosario Green, whose reputation as an old-style Mexican nationalist is coming to the fore. Green brushed off U.S. Apologies for what she knows was an unintentional blunder and, instead, escalated the conflict. She threatened to indict the U.S. Customs officers who conducted undercover operations on Mexican soil without permission and to begin extradition proceedings. Under Mexican law, a sting is considered illegal entrapment. Her stance has inflamed a Washington community that wishes Mexico would show half as much passion for extraditing drug traffickers. Mexico's escalation of the conflict left senior White House officials stunned and wondering whether or not the Mexicans know who their friends are in Washington. Clinton has many flaws, but if there is one area in which he has behaved as a statesman, it has been in U.S.-Mexico relations. He has taken it on the chin for the North American Free Trade Agreement, the peso crisis and has defended bilateral antidrug efforts. But it may be especially difficult for Clinton to go to the mat to defend bilateral relations against critics in Congress, particularly Republican critics in an election season, if the Mexicans are sticking it in the U.S. eye. The Kabuki dance of injured pride and face-saving seemed to end at the U.N. summit on drugs. After delivering a blistering speech criticizing U.S. unilateralism and proposing a U.N.-led, global certification process, President Ernesto Zedillo met privately with Clinton to alleviate frictions. The annual Binational Commission reunion of the two countries' Cabinets, which met a week later in Washington, also stressed the positive. But lingering tensions surfaced in A1bright's closing press briefing, at which she warned Mexico against pursuing the extradition of U.S. agents. Thus, a seemingly happy ending to the Casablanca affair may not be Act IV, but intermission. Meanwhile, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) introduced a resolution urging Clinton to defend U.S. Customs agents against any extradition effort, and some congressional staffers say it will pass if it reaches the floor. This is an ominous prospect given that wavering senators who will have to vote on the matter of certification in nine months, may wonder how they can support certification when the Mexicans seem determined to make themselves obnoxious. Mexican calculations go beyond Casablanca to include the possibility that certification next year may not be winnable or winnable at an unacceptably high price. The prospect that Congress may overturn a presidential recommendation to certify Mexico is looming. Even if a presidential veto were exercised and sustained, such a victory would be Phyrric. "We have to inoculate ourselves," explains one Mexican foreign ministry official, who acknowledges that the government is considering a variety of contingencies. The threat to investigate U.S. agents is just one sign that the Mexican government is contemplating new options in anticipation of U.S. hostility. Mexico is approaching a turning point where the political cost of subjecting itself to U.S. imprecations in the name of cooperation may be higher than the cost of alienating the United States. Mexico's presidential candidate selection season will begin early in 1999, and continued confrontation feeds a nationalist backlash that aides candidacies hostile to the U.S. Ironically, confrontation is looming at a time when there are signs of progress in the drug war. The leaders of a major Mexican methamphetamine cartel, the four Amezcua brothers, recently were captured. Significantly, the Mexican police team that made the arrests is one of the new, vetted antinarcotics groups jointly trained by Mexico and the United States. The fruits of building new Mexican law-enforcement institutions take years to mature, but the Amezcua arrest suggests that patience is warranted by a U.S. Congress searching for results. Mexico needs to come to grips with the reality of the global drug trade. It speaks often and eloquently about the need to acknowledge the global nature of drugrelated crime, but its behavior is not consistent with its analysis. It makes no sense to turn law enforcement issues such as the extradition of vicious criminals into points of national pride. Undercover U.S. Customs agents are not the moral equivalent of drug traffickers, nor should they be treated as egregious law breakers by the Mexican government. By failing to modernize its notion of national sovereignty, Mexico has been unable to come to grips with the realities of binational law the Mexican government. By failing to modernize its notion of national sovereignty, Mexico has been unable to come to grips with the realities of binational law enforcement and leaves itself open to charges of a lack of will. Why must pint operational capabilities in law enforcement, which is what is really needed to be effective against transnational criminals, founder on the rock of outdated notions of sovereignty? In the aftermath of Casablanca, The United States must reassess the lack of coordination in the bilateral relationship. "Nobody is in charge of the U.S. government," one U.S. Cabinet officer says, referring to interagency snarls inside the Beltway and to the abduction of policy toward Mexico by semi-autonomous law enforcement agencies such as U.S. Customs and the DEA. An accident-prone U.S. policy toward Mexico will have a high cost as the potential for a nationalist backlash grows south of the border. Similarly, a reassessment of US. law enforcement is in order. Undisciplined unilateralism and bilateral cooperation are incompatible. The U.S. would not accept unilateral foreign operations in its territory. Why should we expect the Mexicans to behave differently? That Mexicans worry about our blithe disregard for the rules of the game says nothing about their commitment to combating drug trafficking and everything about their need for assurances that we will not abuse our superior power. Both Mexico and the United States are reaching the limits of their ability to absorb the political costs of sustaining bilateral antinarcotics cooperation. The United States brought the relationship close to the brink with a unilateral police action, and now the Mexicans are taking it to the edge with unilateral diplomatic outrage. It is time for all sides to step back from the brink, for congressmen and diplomats alike to stop playing politics with bilateral relations and to start examining their conscience.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Women Recruited By Drug Traffickers ('The Ottawa Citizen' Notes Four Ontario Women Since March Who Had Been Vacationing In Jamaica Have Pleaded Guilty In Miami For Conspiring To Import Cocaine After Being Recruited As Couriers By Colombians, Who Counted On The Canadians' 'Innocent' Reputation With Border Guards) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Canada: Women recruited by drug traffickers Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 15:08:22 -0700 Lines: 159 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Ottawa Citizen Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sunday 21 June 1998 Author: Susan McClelland, The Ottawa Citizen Women recruited by drug traffickers MIAMI -- Canadian women are increasingly being recruited by drug traffickers who use their "innocent" reputation with border guards to smuggle drugs, U.S. federal officials say. Following vacations to Jamaica, four Ontario women since March have pleaded guilty in Miami for conspiring to import cocaine by swallowing the substance wrapped in condoms. "Most view Canadians as innocent," said Varouj Pogharian, RCMP liaison in Miami. "They can pass easily through the borders -- more so than a Colombian. Customs officers say Canadians don't smuggle drugs. We are looked upon as good citizens." This month, in a Miami federal courthouse, St. Catharines, Ont., resident Julie Marie Hill pleaded guilty to charges of importing .702 kilograms of cocaine. Ms. Hill said a Toronto-based drug trafficker known only as 'D' solicited her help after she expressed to him her financial worries. Ms. Hill has been dependent on family benefits since the birth of her three-year-old daughter, Regine. The cocaine, worth about $30,000, was intended for distribution in Toronto. Ms. Hill said she expected to receive payment of $3,000 upon delivery. "I wanted a future for my family," said Ms. Hill, 21, from the Miami federal detention centre, where she will stay until her sentencing hearing later this summer. "I wanted to study and be a lawyer, but the bills kept piling up. I couldn't get ahead. I didn't think of the consequences. Now my life is destroyed. I don't even know what to say to my daughter." Bruce Bagley, former director of the North-South Center for Drug Trafficking, says he can understand why traffickers are targeting Canadian women. Canadians regularly take winter vacations to the Caribbean Islands, where a large portion of the cocaine is now stockpiled. Caucasian, middle-class women, especially those who travel with children, are not considered drug smugglers, said Mr. Bagley. "Drug traffickers will use anyone they can get their hands on," said Mr. Bagley. "They target a population and when the trend is discovered, they move on. It used to be Colombian peasants. There was a time when it was pregnant women. I've even heard of seniors and children being used." Drug enforcement officers were aware of the use of drug carriers as early as 1976 when a U.S. grand jury convened hearings to look into the Colombian-based Medellin cartel, said Mr. Bagley. Yet, during most of the 1980s, drug carriers were less frequently used as the Colombian cartels undertook large-scale smuggling operations using privately owned ships and airplanes. The decimation of the Cali and Medellin cartels in the latter 1980s and early 1990s spawned the emergence of smaller drug trafficking organizations, primarily located in Colombian towns and intermediate cities, prompting a resurgence in the use of drug carriers as a source of transportation, said Mr. Bagley. "These 'cartelitos' or boutique cartels lack the infrastructure and capital to undertake large smuggling operations," said Mr. Bagley. "They must rely on mules, often coercively or through the lure of rich rewards, to import the goods." Between 200 and 350 drug seizures from carriers were made last year at Pearson International Airport, said Len Lanza, an RCMP operations sergeant. Despite high-tech equipment, such as X-ray machines, the RCMP estimates that they are catching only one per cent of actual carriers coming through the airport. Redistribution of RCMP finances is preventing officers from spending the four or five days needed to sit with the carriers at local hospitals, where they must wait for the drugs to be passed, said Mr. Lanza. "There is a ton of drugs coming through the airport in people's guts," said Mr. Lanza. "But it is not cost-effective for us to wait and collect the evidence." Last year in Miami, about 10 Canadian women were treated for drug swallowing by doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital, said Dr. Richard Weisman, director of the Florida Poison Information Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Many of them were not aware of the health risks. A woman of average height and weight can ingest as many as 150 pellets, each containing about 10 grams of cocaine, said Dr. Weisman. If just one of these pellets bursts, there is a 90-per-cent chance of a lethal drug dose being released into the body's system. This was the case last Oct. 13, when a 20-year-old Toronto woman died while in RCMP custody at Pearson International Airport. During her trip home from Jamaica, the finger-tips of a latex glove she had swallowed leaked cocaine into her stomach, said Duncan Smith, spokesman for Canada Customs at Pearson. "The risk is dependent on how the packaging is done," said Dr. Weisman. "People use anything -- including balloons, latex and even glass containers." Many here say the greatest risk to mules is in the drug delivery itself. There have been several cases in South Florida where a carrier, failing to deliver all or part of the drugs, was killed by traffickers who will not hesitate to slice open the victim's stomach to retrieve their products, said Dr. Weisman. "Carriers are expendable," said Mr. Bagley, who also advises the U.S. State Department on drug trafficking. "Compared to the cartels that could smuggle into a country as much as two tonnes at a time, the cartelitos don't care if they lose a few mules, who carry such small amounts." Mr. Bagley has testified at four trials in the United States that drug carriers are the victims in the trafficking hierarchy. It is not only rich rewards that lead people like Ms. Hill to smuggle drugs, but coercion and threats of violence against friends and family are tactics traffickers use against carriers, said Mr. Bagley. In 1996, a U.S. federal court in Miami recognized that a female Colombian carrier was under duress when she attempted to smuggle about one kilogram of cocaine into the United States. "It starts in Colombia; possibly Peru -- the cartelitos fly or ship the drugs to a Caribbean island, where subcontractors are hired to carry out the trafficking to Canada and the United States," said Mr. Bagley. "There are lots of people in the chain. The mule is at the bottom." This may have been the case with Ms. Hill, whose relatives say she was under duress this winter when she committed herself to smuggle cocaine into Canada via Miami. When Ms. Hill did not return, her apartment was broken into and Miami police suspected that her baby, Regine, was missing, said Kim Minor, Ms. Hill's cousin. "They said there was a ransom out on the baby, and wanted to know where she was," said Ms. Minor. "I know Julie would not have done this if the child had not been threatened." Regine is now living with her grandmother in Port Colborne, Ont. At the time of her arrest, Ms. Hill gave arresting officers the names and descriptions of 'D' and the Montego Bay subcontractor, who supplied her the drugs. At the time of Ms. Hill's plea bargain, both 'D' and the subcontractor were thought to still be at large. "These people use women who don't really think about what the outcome would be," said Betty Upfold, Ms. Hill's mother. "They never told her what it would be like if she got caught. Only the positive things, the assurances of more money. What keeps going through my mind is that if you don't think it will happen to you, it might."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Campaign - Legalise It, Say Townswomen (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Continues Its Weekly Push For The Reform Of Marijuana Laws By Interviewing The New Chairwoman Of The Townswomen's Guild, Who Has A Mandate To Manoeuvre Her 80,000 Troops Behind The Campaign To Legalise The Medical Use Of Cannabis) Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 10:12:41 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Cannabis Campaign - Legalise It, Say Townswomen Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke
Source: Independent on Sunday Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 CANNABIS CAMPAIGN - LEGALISE IT, SAY TOWNSWOMEN AT THE age of 70, and newly appointed the head of an organisation that itself is approaching 70, Marjory Hall is an unlikely radical. Yet, as chairwoman of the Townswomen's Guild since Thursday, Mrs Hall is now manoeuvring her 80,000 troops behind the campaign to legalise the medical use of cannabis. It is a prospect she relishes. "I have a very clear mandate to go forward on this issue," she told the Independent on Sunday this weekend as she took in the outcome of the Guild's historic decision. Delegates who attended the annual meeting in Birmingham voted overwhelmingly to back a proposal that the use of the drug should be legalised for the alleviation of pain. The vote was 1,153 for the decriminalisation of cannabis and 407 against. "I was surprised when it became clear that there were such strongly supportive views from the floor," said Mrs Hall. "It soon became clear that they were not going to be in favour of smoking it for pleasure, but they were very supportive of the medical case." Mrs Hall concedes that the average age of the Guild's membership is probably 60, but she says age is a question of mindset and the organisation is recruiting hard among the younger generation. She points out, too, that the organisation has radical roots. Founded in 1865 from the women's suffrage movement, the Guild's slogan was then, and is now, "Leading women forward". The Guild's stance on the cannabis issue will now be militant, Mrs Hall is determined. Members attending the debate found the personal testimony of Clare Hodges, a 38-year-old mother, MS sufferer and director of the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics, particularly convincing, she said. "Listening to that mother, I thought, 'How can I deny her something that will relieve the pain?' "After all, we have never heard of any deaths from cannabis. It is about fighting for the right to care for these people." *** email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Uncompromising Climate In Drug Debate (Translation Of An Article From 'Aftonbladet' In Sweden - Where An Open Discussion Of Drug Policy Has Long Been Stifled - About The 12 Prominent Swedes Who Joined More Than 500 Other World Leaders In Signing An Open Letter To The UN Secretary-General Opposing The Global War On Some Drug Users) Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 12:29:11 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Sweden: Uncompromising Climate in Drug Debate Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Olafur Brentmar Pubdate: Sun, 21, Jun 1998 Source: Aftonbladet Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.aftonbladet.se Author: Ingrid Dahlbäck/TT Translation: Olafur Brentmar and John Yates UNCOMPROMISING CLIMATE IN DRUGS DEBATE Stockholm -TT- Anyone who criticizes today's heavy handed narcotics policy is immediately branded as a drug liberal. But there is a difference between advocating a milder narcotics policy and saying it is OK to sell cocaine in supermarkets contends one of the Swedes who recently signed a call for a new narcotics policy. "Margot Wallstrom [director of the Swedish Social Department] must explain what she means by a 'liberal attitude to drugs' if I am to say whether or not it is applicable in my case." So says Henrik Tham, Professor of Criminology at Stockholm University, in answer to the Social Ministers demand in a debate article in Sunday's Dagens Nyheter for the Swedes who backed the call for a new drug policy to step forward and explain themselves. Henrik Tham is one of the twelve Swedes who, in connection with the UN summit on drugs at the beginning of June, signed a call for a new and milder drugs policy. The call was published in a full page advertisement in the New York Times. A total of 650 influential persons signed the petition for a new drugs policy. Amongst them were financier George Soros and the former Secretary General of the UN, Péres de Cuéllar, along with many judges, attorneys and social scientists. Immediately Branded In her debate article, Social Minister Margot Wallstrom asked if those who espouse a more liberal drug policy consider that there are less problems in countries which have a more leniant attitude. Henrik Tham answers by referring to the doubling of murder and manslaughter rates among young people in the USA during the 1980's and asserts that it would be more to the point to discuss if this is a result of drugs or of wars over drug markets. Henrik Tham contends that in the debate climate in Sweden today, anyone who even suggests there should be a less hardline approach is immediately branded as a drug liberal. "There is a scale that goes from wanting to decriminalise drug use to allowing supermarkets to sell cocaine. These are two very different issues." Corruption and the Abuse of Power Personally Henrik Tham refers to the milder drug policy of the 1970's when he explains why he signed the proclamation. "The policy we had then was quite adequate for holding back abuse. Although the total number of abusers increased, this was because those who started in the big drug epidemic of the 1960's were still around." "On the other hand it is indisputable that the number of new drug addicts decreased during the 70's, in contrast to today when the laws are much harder." Henrik Tham also contends that a tough drug policy spawns corruption and the abuse of power in developing countries, while at the same time it can legitimise dubious policies in the industrialized countries. "The most obvious example is the US raid on Panama and the kidnapping of General Noriega. He was certainly a bandit - but the US handling of the affair was also dubious from a legal point of view." That is why, according to Henrik Tham, it is not a coincidence that the Peruvian Péres de Cuéllar and three South American presidents were among those who signed the proclamation. The zero tolerance drug policy in the US has caused the price of drugs to escalate, and as a result made exports extremely profitable for the developing countries - which in turn increases the risks for corrupt government institutions.
------------------------------------------------------------------- South Africa's Dirty Secrets Have Echoes ('Los Angeles Times' Columnist Alexander Cockburn Outlines The Use Of Drugs As A Racial And Political Weapon Under Apartheid In South Africa, Notes The United States' CIA Pioneered Many Of The Tactics, And Wonders If South Africa Had Help From The CIA In Carrying Out Such Efforts) Date: Sun, 5 Jul 1998 07:28:21 EDT Errors-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: Peter Webster (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: Multiple recipients of list (email@example.com) Subject: LAT Sunday: South Africa's Dirty Secrets Have Echoes Newshawk: Peter Webster Source: Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion Section Pubdate: June 21 1998 Author: Alexander Cockburn Alexander Cockburn is coauthor, with Jeffrey St. Clair, of "Whiteout: the CIA, Drugs, and the Press," to be published next month by Verso. COLUMN LEFT South Africa's Dirty Secrets Have Echoes Tales of biological warfare against its blacks, are appalling, but the U.S. record isn't clean. The dirtiest secrets of South Africa's apartheid regime are now spilling out in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in Cape Town. It's a pity that the chilling stories haven't made much of a commotion in the United States, whose own intelligence agencies have traveled along the same path. In 1997, press reports detailed a South African agent's description of drug smuggling to raise money for terrorist schemes, including chemical experimentation on blacks. He said he had done this on behalf of the Directorate of Covert Collections, a super-secret unit within South Africa's military intelligence apparatus. The drugs---ecstasy and mandrax---were manufactured in labs run by Wouter Basson, one of the chieftains of South Africa's chemical and biological weapons program. Basson was arrested in 1997. Hearings this month at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission offered vivid insights of what went on at Roodeplaat Research Laboratories; a military installation where Basson oversaw production of infamous materials. Dr. Schalk van Rensburg testified that "the most frequent instruction" from Basson was for development of a compound that would kill but make the cause of death seemingly natural. "That was the chief aim of the Roodeplaat Research Laboratory." The laboratory manufactured cholera organisms, anthrax to be deposited on the gummed flaps of envelopes and in cigarettes and chocolate, walking sticks firing fatal darts that would feel like bee stings. Van Rensburg took his riveted audience painstakingly through what he called "the murder lists" of toxins and delivery systems. These included 32 bottles of cholera that, one of the lab's technicians testified, would be most effectively used in the water supply. There were plans to slip the still imprisoned Nelson Mandela covert doses of the heavy metal poison, thallium, designed to make his brain function become "impaired, progressively," as Van Rensburg put it. In one case, lethal toxins went from Roodeplaat to a death squad detailed by the apartheid regime te, kill one of its epponents, the Rev. Frank Chikane. The killers planted lethal che nieak in his clothing, expecting him to travel to Namibia, where they reckoned there would be "very little forensic capability." Instead, Chikane went to the U.S., where doctors identified the toxins and saved his life. The big dream at Roodeplaat was to develop race-specific biochemical weapons, targeting blacks. Van Rensburg was ordered by Basson to develop a vaccine to make blacks infertile. Van Rensburg told theftruth commission that was his major project. There also were plans to distribute infected T-shirts in the black townships to spread disease and infertility. Americans need not entertain feelings of moral superiority. In 1960, in one of the CIA's frequent attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, the agency planned to put thallium salts in Castro's shoes before he addressed the United Nations. Years later the Nicaraguan government reported that a CIA-supplied team tried to assassinate its foreign minister by giving him a bottle of Benedictine laced with thallium U.S. military researchers of biochemical warfare in the 1950s conducted racespecific experimentation. In 1980, the U S Army admitted that Norfolk Naval Supply Center was contaminated with infectious bacteria in 1951 to test the Navy's vulnerability to biological warfare attack. The Army disclosed that one of the bacteria types was chosen because blacks were known to be more susceptible to it than whites. One of the investigators for the truth commission, Zhensile Kholsan has been reported as saying that there is a strong suggestion that "drugs were fed into communities that were political centers, to cause socioeconomic chaos." Black communities in the U.S. have expressed similar suspicions, particularly about the arrival of crack cocaine in South-Central Los Angeles }n the early 1980s, allegedly imported by CIA-sponsored Nicaraguans raising money for arms. In March, CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz finally conceded to a U.S. congressional committee that the agency had worked with drug traffickers and had obtained a waiver from the Justice Department in 1982 (the beginning of the Contra funding crisis) allowing it not to report drug trafficking by agency contractors. Was the lethal arsenal deployed at Roodeplaat assembled with advice from the CIA and other U.S. agencies? There were certainly close contacts over the years. It was a CIA tip that led the South African secret police to arrest Nelson Mandela. A truth commission here wouldn't do any harm. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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