Portland NORML News - Sunday, June 21, 1998

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: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: I-692
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

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: docbass@webtv.net (Daniel Berton)
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 11:22:50 -0700
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: Re: HT: I-692
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

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


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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US NV: Wire: Medical Marijuana Petition Nets More Signatures
Than Estimated
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com
Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jun 1998
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal
Contact: letters@lvrj.com
Fax: 702-383-4676
Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/
Author: Brendan Riley Associated Press


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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US NV: PUB LTE: Flimsy Falsehoods About Marijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jun 1998
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV)
Section: Opinion
Contact: letters@lvrj.com
Fax: 702-383-4676
Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/



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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US MD: Drug Users From Suburbs Buy In City
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Rob Ryan
Source: The Sun (Baltimore, MD)
Contact: letters@baltsun.com
Website: http://www.sunspot.net/
Pubdate: June 21 1998
Author: Peter Hermann


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

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

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

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

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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US MD: Column: Suburban Drug Users Play Role In City Crime
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Rob Ryan
Source: The Sun (Baltimore, MD)
Contact: letters@baltsun.com
Website: http://www.sunspot.net/
Pubdate: Sunday, 21 June 1998
Columnist: Gregory Kane


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

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

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 (mapnews@mapinc.org)
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US MA: OPED: The Case For Making Drugs Legal
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
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: letters@globe.com
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.


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

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

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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US MA GE: Column: Just Think About Drugs;
Then Say 'No' To US Policy
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
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: letters@globe.com
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


''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

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

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

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US GA: Book Review: Stone Crazy
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: gguardia@mindspring.com
Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jun 1998
Source: Savannah Morning News
Section: Top Stories - Accent:
Contact: mswendra@savannahnow.com
Website: http://www.savannahmorningnews.com/
Author: Doug Wyatt, Savannah Morning News


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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: "MN" (mapnews@mapinc.org)
Subject: MN: US: FL: Case Links Russian Sub, Colombia Drugs
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 22:42:12 -0500
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.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: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Author: Mark Fineman


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

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

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

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

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

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

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US/Mexico: The Sting Mexicans Can't Forgive
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project
Newshawk: Peter Webster
Pubdate: June 21 1998
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Section: Sunday Opinion
Contact: letters@latimes.com
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.


"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

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: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Women recruited by drug traffickers
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 15:08:22 -0700
Lines: 159
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Contact: letters@thecitizen.southam.ca
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

"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.

"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

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

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Cannabis Campaign - Legalise It, Say Townswomen
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke 
Source: Independent on Sunday
Contact: sundayletters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/
Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jun 1998


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

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 cannabis@independent.co.uk

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Sweden: Uncompromising Climate in Drug Debate
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Olafur Brentmar
Pubdate: Sun, 21, Jun 1998
Source: Aftonbladet
Contact: birgitta.edberg@aftonbladet.se
Website: http://www.aftonbladet.se
Author: Ingrid Dahlbäck/TT
Translation: Olafur Brentmar and John Yates


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

Amongst them were financier George Soros and the former Secretary General
of the UN, Péres de Cuéllar, along with many judges, attorneys and social

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

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

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: manager@drcnet.org
Reply-To: vignes@monaco.mc
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Peter Webster (vignes@monaco.mc)
To: Multiple recipients of list (drctalk@drcnet.org)
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.


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

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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