------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Weekly News (California Legislature To Debate Measure Providing Medical Marijuana Distribution By Local Communities; Judge Sets Bail At $10,000 For Retired Professor Who Smoked Marijuana; 29th Annual Rally, March, And Concert To End Hemp Prohibition Takes Place July 4 In Washington, DC) From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 19:16:04 EDT Subject: NORML Press Release 6/25/98 (II) The NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW Ste. 710 Washington, DC 20036 202-483-8751 (p) 202-483-0057 (f) www.norml.org email@example.com June 25, 1998 *** California Legislature To Debate Measure Providing Medical Marijuana Distribution By Local Communities June 25, 1998, Sacramento, CA: The California Assembly will debate legislation next week that authorizes local governments to establish medical marijuana distribution programs. Senate Bill 1887, recently amended by sponsor John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara), states that "a city ... or county may distribute marijuana to persons in medical need." The measure makes use of an untested provision in the federal Controlled Substances Act that immunizes local officials who comply with local drug laws from federal sanctions. Supporters of the legislation anticipate this provision to be tested in federal court. California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer praised the intent of S.B. 1887 and noted that it closely corresponds to the approach proposed by the organization in May. "Senator Vasconcellos is to be congratulated for offering a comprehensive, realistic solution to the short-term medical marijuana distribution problem," he said. The bill also argues for federal rescheduling of the drug. "There is widespread consensus among physicians, law enforcement, patients, providers and other stakeholders that the most effective solution [to the question of medical marijuana distribution] is for the federal government to reschedule marijuana so that it can be prescribed under the same strict protocols as morphine and cocaine," the bill reads. The Assembly Health Committee will hear S.B. 1887 on Tuesday. For more information, please contact either Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858 or R. Keith Stroup, Esq. of NORML @ (202) 483-5500. *** Judge Sets Bail At $10,000 For Retired Professor Who Smoked Marijuana June 25, 1998, State College, PA: Retired Penn State chemistry professor Julian Heicklen was arrested on Monday for smoking a marijuana cigarette as an act of civil disobedience to protest the state's criminal marijuana penalties. Bail was set at $10,000 and Heicklen presently sits in jail awaiting a July 1 hearing. Since the spring, Heicklen has organized weekly "Marijuana Smoke Outs" at Penn State University and in front of the Centre County Courthouse to challenge marijuana prohibition. He is planning a 30-hour demonstration beginning July 9 which will feature speakers Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation, Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School, Dr. John Morgan of City University of New York Medical School, and others. Heicklen said he never smoked marijuana before he started organizing the protests this spring. For more information, please contact either Tanya Kangas, Esq. of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or visit marijuananews.com. *** REMINDER: THE "29TH ANNUAL RALLY, MARCH, AND CONCERT TO END HEMP PROHIBITION" WILL TAKE PLACE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ON JULY 4. JOIN THOUSANDS OF ACTIVISTS AT THE NATION'S CAPITOL. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE FOURTH OF JULY HEMP COALITION @ (202) 887-5770. - END -
------------------------------------------------------------------- David Herrick's Sentencing Tomorrow (A Local Correspondent Gives An Update On The Case Of The Retired San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy, Convicted For His Activities On Behalf Of The Now-Defunct Orange County Cannabis Co-Op)Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 17:04:14 EDT Errors-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: Ellen Komp (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: Multiple recipients of list (email@example.com) Subject: HERRICK SENTENCING TOMORROW David Herrick's sentencing is set for tomorrow morning in Orange County. His PD, Sharon Petrosino, says she isn't certain they'll proceed, since he hasn't seen his probation officer, but they might. She has only received two letters on Dave's behalf, but said there can be brought to court tomorrow. They could probably also be faxed. Her phone is 714-834-2144. Ellen Komp 215 Reporter
------------------------------------------------------------------- If You Got 'Em, Smoke 'Em ('The Shredder' Column In California's 'NewTimes' Comments On The Bust Of Simi Valley Medical Marijuana Patient Dean Jones)Date: Sun, 28 Jun 1998 02:05:28 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: If You Got 'Em, Smoke 'Em Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 Source: NewTimes (CA) Section: The Shredder Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://newtimes-slo.com/shrdnow.html IF YOU GOT 'EM, SMOKE 'EM THE POT LEGALIZATION CROWD HASN'T had much to celebrate lately. Nobody in law enforcement seems to care much about Prop. 215, the medical marijuana initiative that y'all passed in 1996. Of course, no one's policing the police, so they can do whatever they want. Meanwhile, the golden savior of grass growers everywhere, Dennis Peron, got the 1.3 percent that any blithering fool deserves in the governor's race in June. And those votes probably came from the astute voters who thought he was Evita's husband. The vigilant red eye of the legalization movement finally glimpsed a glimmer of good news this week, though. Seems a judge in Simi Valley ordered the Simi Valley fuzz to return 13 marijuana plants they ripped from the back yard of Dean Jones, a diabetic who had a note from his doctor to smoke pot. Jones headed straight to the Simi Valley Police evidence room, where they handed him some brown paper bags. He said he only got 10 of his 13 plants back. We can only guess what may have happened to the other three. Lost in the shuffle, probably. The plants he did get back hadn't been dried properly. In fact, they hadn't been dried at all. The cops just ripped them out of the ground and stuffed them in bags, so they emerged as moldy balls of decaying muck. Jones is happy that he can go home and grow more pot without fear, but he's decided to seek revenge on the cops who killed his garden and stuffed him in the slam for 14 hours. He's suing them for $4,000 per plant. That may seem like a lot of money, but it happens to be the value placed on the plants by the cops themselves. The police have been attaching inflated values to confiscated marijuana for years. They use some absurd formula in which each sprout equals 2.5 pounds. That way they look good when sycophantic police reporters write about their big busts in the paper: "COPS SEIZE $250,000 IN POT!" a typical headline screams. It's only when you read the small print that you find out they snatched a baggie of stems and seeds from some high school kids. Maybe their outrageously inflated values will come back to bite them where it hurts. Of course, if they have to pay, it's really the rest of us who have to pay for this kind of tomfoolery. But, hey, it could set an interesting precedent. Either plaintiffs in these kinds of cases will win big bucks, or else headlines will start shouting, "COPS SEIZE DIDDLY SQUAT POT!" And I bet police departments that want to avoid lawsuits will have to take better care of the pot plants they confiscate. Tin foil will appear on the walls of police evidence rooms, with high-pressure lights dangling from the ceilings and buckets of water and fertilizer nearby. God knows they've already got the equipment.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Housing Authority Can't Evict Tenants For Outside Crimes ('The San Francisco Examiner' Version Of Yesterday's News That US District Judge Charles R. Breyer Has Banned The Oakland Housing Authority From Evicting Tenants For Illegal Drug Activity Happening Outside Their Homes, Ruling In Favor Of The First Challenge To The 'One Strike, You're Out' Policy Established By The Clinton Administration Two Years Ago) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: "MN"
Subject: MN: US: CA: Housing Authority Can't Evict Tenants For Outside Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 17:49:09 -0500 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: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Author: Emelyn Cruz Lat FOR NOW, JUDGE RULES HOUSING AUTHORITY CAN'T EVICT TENANTS FOR OUTSIDE CRIMES In a preliminary blow to the federal government's controversial "one-strike" eviction policy, a federal judge has temporarily stopped the Oakland Housing Authority from evicting tenants for outside crimes committed by household members. The federal policy, which began as a 1996 election-year pledge by President Clinton to crack down on those who "are destroying the lives of decent tenants," has been used to evict low-income residents based on the conduct of family or friends, in or outside federally funded housing. The ruling issued Friday by District Court Judge Charles Breyer is temporary and applies only to the Oakland Housing Authority. However, the preliminary injunction is significant because it may be the first time a federal judge has moved to block an eviction under "one strike." In his ruling, Breyer barred the Oakland Housing Authority from ousting tenants for outside drug activities of household members until a lawsuit filed by four elderly and disabled tenants against the agency is resolved. He indicated that in some cases enforcement of the law was unreasonable, perhaps unconstitutional. Evicting innocent tenants "will not reduce drug-related activity since the tenant has not engaged in such activity or knowingly allowed such activity to occur," he said. The judge said tenants evicted for the criminal activity of others outside their apartments or control appeared to be "punished merely for their association with the wrong-doer." Anne Omura, attorney for the elderly and disabled plaintiffs, hailed the ruling as a "significant victory." She said efforts would be made to extend the ruling to cover tenants who had no knowledge of criminal activity inside their apartments. The judge did not rule against those evictions, stating that those tenants had some control over activities in their household. Gary Lafayette, attorney for the Oakland Housing Authority, said the agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had not decided whether to appeal Breyer's ruling. "This is a first-blush ruling, based on what plaintiffs alleged vs. what the facts actually are," Lafayette said. "So those are issues we are going to explore both with agency and HUD. What the court did was keep the case in status quo position, until the issue is resolved." The plaintiffs: two grandmothers, 71 and 63, whose grandsons allegedly possessed marijuana in a parking lot; a 63-year-old woman whose mentally disabled daughter allegedly possessed cocaine three blocks from her home; and a 75-year-old partially paralyzed man whose caregiver and her friend were cited for possessing a crack pipe and cocaine in his apartment. 1998 San Francisco Examiner
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dark Defiance (A Lengthy Excerpt From Gary Webb's New Book, 'Dark Alliance,' In 'The Metro,' The Silicon Valley Weekly Newspaper, Recounting His Investigation Of The CIA-Cocaine-Contra Scandal First Uncovered For 'The 'The San Jose Mercury News') Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 15:16:48 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Dark Defiance Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: The Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper Contact: Letters@sjmetro.com Website: http://www.metroactive.com/metro/ Pubdate: 25 June - July 1, 1998 Author: Gary Webb Editor note: The article is reprinted from the book 'Dark Alliance' by permission of Gary Webb. DARK DEFIANCE: WHERE THERE'S SMOKE . . . In his just-released book, 'Dark Alliance,' deposed Mercury News reporter Gary Webb tells his side of the story behind the award-winning CIA-crack connection that tanked his career. IN DECEMBER I gathered up all my notes and files and wrote a four-page project memo for my editors, outlining the story as I saw it. I proposed to tell the tale of how the infant L.A. crack market had been fueled by tons of cocaine brought in by a Contra drug ring, which helped to spread a deadly new drug habit "through L.A. and from there to the hinterlands." "This series will show that the dumping of cocaine on L.A.'s street gangs was the back end of a covert effort to arm and equip the CIA's raging army of anti-Communist Contra guerrillas," I wrote. "While there has long been solid -- if largely ignored -- evidence of a CIA-Contra-cocaine connection, no one has ever asked the question: 'Where did all the cocaine go once it got here?' Now we know." I met with [my editor] Dawn [Garcia] and managing editor David Yarnold in San Jose, and we spent an hour discussing the progress of the investigation and the proposed series. Yarnold reread the project memo, shook his head and grinned. "This is one hell of a story," he said. "How soon do you think you can finish it?" I told him I needed to go to Miami and Nicaragua to do some interviews with [drug trafficker Norwin} Meneses, some former Contras and the Nicaraguan police. If that came off, we might be able to have the series ready by March 1996, in time for the [L.A. drug dealer Ricky] Ross trial, which would give it a hard news angle. But, I said, I wanted to get some assurances right up front from both of them. Because the story had what I called a "high unbelievability factor," I wanted to use the Mercury's Web site, Mercury Center, to help document the series. I wanted us to put our evidence up on the Internet so that readers could see our documents and reports, read the grand jury transcripts, listen to the undercover DEA tapes, check our sources and make up their own minds about the validity of the story. After seeing the government's reaction to the Contra-cocaine stories of the 1980's, I didn't want to be caught in the old officials-say-there's-no-evidence trap. The technology now exists for journalists to share our evidence with the world, I told them, and if there was ever a story that needed to be solidly backed up, it was this one. Not only would it help out the story, I wrote in my memo, it would hopefully raise the standards of investigative reporting by forcing the press to play show and tell, rather than hiding behind faceless sources and whisperings from "senior administration officials." The editors enthusiastically agreed. It would be a good way to showcase the Mercury's cutting-edge Web site, they said, and it was good timing -- management directives were coming out to incorporate the Web page into our print stories whenever possible. We were, after all, the newspaper of the Silicon Valley. This would be a chance to use the Internet in a way that had never been done before, they agreed. No problem. What else? The second point I made was something I was sure they were tired of hearing about. We're going to need space to tell this story, I told them, a lot more space than the paper usually devotes to its investigative projects. It was the one issue that drove me crazy about working for the Mercury News. After writing for the Plain Dealer for five years and having as much space as I wanted, I'd found the Mercury's mania for brevity almost unbearable. My forfeiture series, for example, had been held to two parts, and even those stories had been chopped up into bite-sized bits. I'd had other stories held for weeks and even months because I wouldn't give in to editor's demands to cut them in half. No one reads long stories, I was told. Our focus groups had shown that readers wanted our stories to be even shorter than they already were -- "tighter and brighter" was the answer to dwindling readership. Details were boring. Readers didn't like to having to turn pages to follow jumps. If you couldn't tell a daily story in 12 inches or less, then maybe it was too complicated to tell. For a time, we even had a rule: no stories could be longer than 48 inches. Period. And that was for Sundays. Daily stories had an absolute max of 36 inches. "We've got to lay out everything we know," I told Yarnold, "because people are going to come after us on this, and I don't ever want to be in a position where I have to say, 'Oh, yeah, we knew that, but we didn't have the space to put it in the paper.' And I don't think you want to be in position, either." You'll get as much space as you need, Yarnold assured me. Don't worry about it. Just go out and bring this thing home. IN MID-APRIL I finished the first drafts and sent them up to my editors, with no clue as to how they would be received. They were like nothing I had ever written before, and probably unlike anything my editors had ever grapppled with either: a tale spanning more than a decade, that attempted to show how two of the defining issues of the 1980s -- the Contra war and the crack explosion, seemingly unconnected social phenomena -- were actually intertwined, thanks largely to government meddling. The four-part series I turned in focused on the relationship between the Contras and the crack king. It mentioned the CIA's role in passing, noting that some of the money had gone to a CIA-run army and that there were federal law enforcement reports suggesting the CIA knew about it. I never believed, and never wrote, that there was a grand CIA conspiracy behind the crack plague. Indeed, the more I learned about the agency, the more certain of that I became. The CIA couldn't even mine a harbor without getting its trench coat stuck in its fly. That the Contras' cocaine ended up being turned into crack was a horrible accident of history, I believed, not someone's evil plan. The Contras just happened to pick the worst possible time ever to begin peddling cheap cocaine in black neighborhoods. That, I believed, was the real danger the CIA has always presented -- unbridled criminal stupidity, cloaked in a blanket of national security. "The fact that a government-connected drug ring was dumping tons of cocaine into the black neighborhoods in L.A. -- and to a lesser extent in San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Houston, Oklahoma City, Alabama and New Orleans -- goes a long way toward explaining why crack developed such deep roots in the black community," I wrote. "It's where the seed was planted." Looking back, I can barely believe I was permitted to write such a story, but that was the kind of newspaper the Mercury News was at the time. No topic was too taboo, or at least if there was one, I never discovered it. And I was always looking. The reason I'd left a much larger paper in Cleveland to work for the Mercury News was because the editors convinced me that they ran one of the few newspapers in the country with that kind of courage. There were no sacred cows, they pledged; and for nine years they had been true to their word. Not one of my stories was ever spiked of significantly watered down; nearly 300 of them had appeared on the Merc's front page, including many that wouldn't have stood a chance in hell of being printed in other mainstream newspapers. SO WHEN DAWN CALLED me with the official reaction to "Dark Alliance," I was gratified but not suprised. They loved it, she said happily. They couldn't wait to get it in the newspaper. They thought it was important, groundbreaking reporting. Congratulations. But there was one hitch. "They thought it was too long," she said. It needed to be cut. The four main stories ranged between 2,400 words and 3,200 words apiece, and for a major metropolitan daily, that's not a lot of space. For the Mercury, though, it was as if I'd asked for the moon, a raise, a shower in my office and an executive parking place all at the same time. "They're never going to go for four parts," Dawn warned. "Yarnold told me I could have as much space as I needed," I reminded her. "I can't do it in less than four parts. I've gotten this thing down as far as I can get it. You're going to start cutting into its spinal cord if you cut it any more." The problem was that the believability of the story hinged on the weight of the evidence. Every fact that was cut would make the story appear more speculative than it really was. For weeks we wrangled back and forth, and then I got the word. David Yarnold, the managing editor, had decreed that it was three parts or nothing. Fine, I said. I stitched the second and third parts together into one long part and resubmitted the series. "Gee," Dawn said. "This second part is kind of long. We need to cut it." This tug-of-war continued throughout the spring of 1996. She would cut the paragraphs out, I would put them back in. We tried creating sidebars -- small stories that ran alongside the main one -- so we could hit the "magic numbers," the maximum length the editors had set for stories. It was still too long. Finally I put my foot down. No more cuts. The editors relented. "Okay," Dawn said. "You've made your point. Let's try it again as a four-parter." I reassembled all the scattered bits and peices and resubmitted it. She read it, approved it and sent it up the editing chain. I got a call a few days later. "Well, they liked it, and Yarnold agreed four parts is fine. But they want the first part rewritten," she said. "They think it's too feature-y. It should have a harder edge on it, more news. We need to go through and pull out all of the information about the CIA and the Contras and put it in the first day." "The reason it's got a feature lead is because the series is a feature," I argued. "It's about the three men who started the L.A. crack market. That's the story I want to tell. If we turn this thing into a Contra cocaine story, everyone is going to say, 'Oh, that's old news.' We agreed on this already, remember?" "That's what they want," Dawn said. "I'm just telling you what they told me." "Well I'm not writing it that way. I'm tired of this nonsense." "Just try it, OK? Give it a quick write-through. And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, and we'll go back to the old way. But we've got to give it a try." I gritted my teeth. OK. If they wanted a hard edge on this thing, I'd give them one. I sat down at my computer, and in a few minutes I hammered out the paragraph that, with a few changes, would open the "Dark Alliance" series: "For the better part of a decade, a Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a Mercury News investigation has found. This drug network, federal records show, opened the first pipeline between Colombia's cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the crack capital of the world. The cocaine it brought into the United States fueled the crack explosion in urban America, and the simultaneous rise in power of the murderous gangs of black L.A." I hit the transmit button. Dawn called the next morning. "This is perfect," she said. "This is exactly what they wanted." The rest of the editing went fairly smoothly, and by July 26, 1996, the four-part series was done, edited, and ready to go in the paper, starting Aug. 18. Late one night, toward the end of July, the phone rang. "Well, I have some good news and some bad news," Dawn began. "The bad news is that David Yarnold is no longer the editor on this series. He took a new job with Knight-Ridder, and he's out of here. The good news is that Paul Van Slambrouck is the new editor, and I showed him the series today and he really likes it and thinks we've got a great story here." "We've got a brand-new editor on this?" I cried. "Now? And he just read it for the first time today? You're shitting me. So what does this mean?" "Well, unfortunately, it means it's not going to run on the 18th. He has some changes he wants to make to it." I sat up and started laughing. "Really? What kind of changes?" "He thinks it's too long. We need to make it three parts." I howled. "You can't be serious, Dawn. This is a joke, right?" "No, I'm sorry. Maybe you should talk to Paul." Van Slambrouck, the Mercury's national editor and a smart, thoughtful journalist, was apologetic. It wasn't the way he wanted to do things, either. But he thought the series was terrific, and he wanted very much to get it in the paper and hoped I still felt the same way. "Dawn said you wanted to make some changes." It needed to come down in length, he said, and we needed more CIA stuff in the first day. I was back to square one. I sat down and fired off an angry memo to Dawn. Van Slambrouck had asked me to cut 65 inches, I complained. He had suggested that I needed to go through the story myself and be "ruthless" and I'd be able to find 65 inches to cut, no problem. If there were 65 inches left of fat in these stories, I wrote to Dawn, "we both ought to resign because we obviously aren't doing our jobs right." An additional problem, I reminded Dawn, was that my family and I were in the midst of moving and were taking our vacation while the new house was being readied. During the next three weeks I rewrote the series on a laptop while on "vacation," first in a beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, then in a motel room in Washington, D.C. and finally in the basement of my in-laws' house in Indiana. It was horrible. I had no way of telling what was being cut back at the Mercury, what was being put back in or what was being rewritten. Five or six different versions were flying around. Don't these people know what they're dealing with here? I wondered. Don't they realize the import of what we're printing? I eventually realized that for the most part they did not, which may have been the reason the series got in the paper in the first place. It came in under the radar. Mercury News executive editor Jerry Ceppos would later tell Newsweek that "he read only part of the story" before it appeared in print, an amazing admission if true. Perhaps my editors thought I was exaggerating the story's significance, trying to gobble up more space than was really justified? It is a common sight in newsrooms to see reporters hype their stories. I knew reporters who worked their editors like PR agents, or lobbyists pimping a bill. But I had never worked that way. I figured my editors know how to read as well as anyone. My paycheck was the same every week, no matter which page they put my story on . . . I also know from my research what kind of backlash would result from a story that dirtied up the CIA, and stressed it repeatedly to my editors. New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh's 1974 expose of Operation Chaos, a massive illegal CIA domestic spying operation, had brought on attacks in the Washington Post (he had no "hard" proof) and Time ("There is a strong likelihood that Hersh's CIA story is considerably exaggerated"), among many others. AT 2 AM -- midnight in San Jose -- on Aug. 18 1996, I was at a party at my best friend's house in Indianapolis. I excused myself, went into a bedroom, plugged into my laptop, and dialed into the Mercury's Web site. A picture of a man smoking crack, superimposed upon the seal of the CIA, drew itself on the screen. After more than a year of work, "Dark Alliance" was finally out. I emailed [freelance journalist] Georg [Hodel] with the news, went back out to the party and got drunk. The next morning I flew back to Sacramento. Initially, the silence was deafening. Then we realized why. They had intentionally run the series the week between the Republican and Democratic national conventions. The national media and the nation's politicians were on vacation; nobody was paying much attention to anything, and particularly not a story in a regional Northern California newspaper. By Aug. 21, though, some radio stations began calling. What was this CIA story we've been hearing about on the Web? That combination -- talk radio and the Internet -- is what saved "Dark Alliance" from slipping silently below the surface and disappearing without a trace. The Internet wizards at Mercury Center -- Mark Hull, Donna Yanish and Albert Poon -- had done a brilliant, eye-popping job on the "Dark Alliance" Web page. It was something right out of the movies: full-color animanted maps, one click access to uncut source documents, unpublished photos, audio clips from undercover DEA tapes and [drug trafficker Danilo] Blandon's federal court testimony, a bibliography, a timeline -- all in far more depth and detail than we were able to get into the newspaper. AT THE END of that first week I returned to San Diego for Ricky Ross's sentencing. That was where I had my first inkling of the firestorm I'd touched off. Radio stations were blanketing the newspaper with interview requests. Before heading for the courthouse that morning, I'd done radio shows in Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas and Detroit. A haggard-looking L.J. O'Neale, the assistant U.S. attorney, spotted me in the hallway outside the courtroom. "Hey there," I said. "You see the story?" He scowled and pushed by without saying a word. He'd already fought his way through television camera crews outside the courthouse, and he clearly wasn't pleased with all the attention. Inside the courtroom, reporters jostled for seats. Fenster asked for a postponement of the sentencing, saying the series had raised significant questions about Blandon and his connections to the CIA. O'Neale protested angrily, accusing Ross of dreaming up the whole CIA plot and feeding it to gullible journalist who was spreading the ridiculous conspiracy theories. But Judge Huff looked troubled and told O'Neale she wanted some answers from the CIA before she passed sentencing on Ross and his codefendents. And she also wanted the Justice Department to begin deportation proceedings against Blandon immediately. The news made the wires, and the switchboard at the Mercury News lit up. "This place is going crazy!" Dawn reported. "The Web page had something like 500,000 hits on it today!" The Mercury News executive editor, Jerry Ceppos, called and congratulated me. The TV networks were calling the paper. We were getting phone calls from all over the world. "Let's stay on top of this," he said. "Anything you need, you let us know. We want to run with this thing." A few days later, I got a $500 bonus check in the mail and a note from Ceppos: "Remarkable series! Thanks for doing this for us." I was on National Public Radio the following Monday and, as always, gave out the Web site address so people could read the series and see our documents. We had 800,000 hits that day. The synergy was amazing. For the first time, people could hear about a story and on the radio -- even one that appeared several weeks earlier and thousands of miles away -- and immediately read it on their computer screens. Unlike all the previous stories about the Contras and cocaine, this one couldn't be killed off in the traditional manner, by Big Media ignoring it or relegating it to the news briefs. Millions of people were finding out about "Dark Alliance" anyway -- even though not a word had appeared in the so-called national press. That phenomenon was newsworthy of by itself. "The story had serious legs, moving rapidly through the African American community via email and file downloads, and then into living rooms, offices and churches, and onto streets and into more mainstream black papers and radio broadcasts," HotWired magazine wrote in October 1996. "For the first time, my grandmother asked me to go online and read something. I couldn't believe it. She wouldn't look at a computer before," one black government lawyer emailed the magazine. "This story is causing a sensation among blacks. It's all they're talking about. They are enraged about it, and they can't believe it isn't on every front page in America." IF THERE WAS ONE THING scarier to corporate journalism than the series itself, it was the image of a future where Big Media was unable to control the national agenda. Irrespective of what the series had said, "Dark Alliance" proved that the stranglehold a relative few East Coast editors and producers had on what became news could be broken. "This story suddenly raises suspicions that the Internet has changed the equation in support of democracy," author Daniel Brandt ruminated in October 1996 on an Internet e-zine. "Unless regional newspapers agree to mild-mannered, regional interest Web sites, all the resources that the elites have invested in monopolizing the Daily Spin could end up spinning down the drain." In this case the blend of the Internet and talk radio had made the tradional media irrelevant. The public was marching on without them, and the message got through clearly to California's top politicians. The L.A. City Council unanimously approved a resolution calling for a federal investigation. Both California senators and a half-dozen congressment wrote letters to CIA director John Deutch and Attorney General Janet Reno demanding an official inquiry. Deutch agreed to conduct one, which infuriated the right-wing Washington Times. Deutch was lambasted on the front page by unnamed critics for "his efforts to curry favor with liberal politicians." And on the editorial page, editor-at-large Arnaud de Borchgrave, a "journalist" with a long history of connections to the intelligence community and the Contras, fumed that "the same old pro-Marxist CIA bashers are at it again" and quoted unnamed former colleagues at "another paper" describing me as "an 'activist' journalist who would dearly love to see the CIA scuttle itself." In his column, de Borchgrave claimed Congress had given the Contras $100 million before the Boland Amendments went into effect, and chided me for being too young to remember that the CIA had no need for illicit Contra funds in those days. When I appeared on political talk-show host Chris Matthews' live show on CNBC that evening, Matthews eagerly sprung de Borchgrave's crazy timeline on me, demanding to know how I could have written what I did, given the fact that the Contras had plenty of money. After Jack White of Time and I pointed out that he had his "facts" backward, Matthews, during a commercial break, began bellowing at his production assistants, loudly accusing them of attempting to "sabotage" his show. Soon after Deutch ordered an internal investigation, Attorney General Janet Reno -- at the urging of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich -- followed suit. Finally, the national news media dipped a toe into the icy waters. Newsweek devoted an entire page to the story in late September, calling it "a powerful series" that had some black leaders "ready to carpet-bomb Langley." Time that month called it "the hottest topic in black America," and said the Web site "provides a plethora of court documents, recorded interviews and photographs. . . . This is the first time the Internet has electrified African Americans." Soon, 60 Minutes called. "Don't talk to anyone else," a producer told me. "We want this story to ourselves." I got an identical call from Dateline NBC. I told both of them I thought it was unethical for a reporter to refuse to talk to the press. The 60 Minutes producer said that was the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard. Dateline ended up doing the story. Over the next few weeks, we got interview requests from Jerry Springer, Geraldo Rivera, Tom Snyder, Jesse Jackson and Montel Williams. I was on CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, and CBS Morning News. The Mercury printed up 5,000 copies of the series, and they were gone in a matter of weeks. An employee from the marketing department was assigned full-time to handle press calls. Each evening she emailed a list of interview requests, and by early October the list was three pages long and growing. The London Times did a story. Le Monde in Paris wrote something. Newspapers in Germany, Belgium, Spain, Colombia and Nicaragua called for interviews. It's hard to imagine how many radio stations there are in the United States until they start calling. At home, my phone would begin ringing at 6 a.m. and not stop until 10 p.m. Talk radio was burning up the airwaves, spreading the story and the Web site address from coast to coast. One day, the hits on the Web page climbed over 1,000,000. People in Japan, Bosnia, Germany and Denmark sent me email. Meanwhile, we continued advancing the story. I teamed up with Pamela Kramer, the Mercury's reporter in Los Angeles, and we wrote several stories about the 1986 police raids on Danilo Blandon's house. We came up with the entire Gordon search warrant, which showed that the police had several informants telling them that drug money was going to the Contras. Our sources provided us with the case file number to the supposedly nonexistent investigatory file at the L.A. County Sheriff's Office, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters and her staff marched in and demanded to see it. "I told them that the only way they were going to get me out of their office was to give me the file or arrest me," she said. She got the file -- in it were the police reports about the search of [cocaine dealer] Ronald Lister's house, his claims of CIA involvement, and the inventory of strange items seized at his house. NBC News did a strong follow-up, finally exposing the drug-related entries in Oliver North's notebooks to a national TV audience, but it was the only network attempting to advance the story. The establishment papers -- the New York Times, Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times -- the same newspapers that had so confidently reported in the 1980s that there was no truth to these claims of Contra drug trafficking, remained largely silent. "Where is the rebuttal? Why hasn't the media rose in revolt against this story?" an exasperated Bernard Kalb, former spokesman for the Reagan State Department, demanded on CNN's Reliable Sources. "It isn't a story that simply got lost. It, in fact, has resonated and echoed, and the question is where is the media knocking it down, when that, too, is a journalistic responsibility?" Kalb's guest, former Reagan Justice Department spokesman Terry Eastland, clucked that he "would expect to see this kind of story in a magazine like In These Times, not in a mainstream newspaper such as the San Jose Mercury News." No one on Kalb's show bothered to mention that Eastland had a history of trying to cover up the Contra drug link. In May 1986, his office had planted a false story in the New York Times stating that the Justice Department had "cleared" the Contras of any involvement in gun running and drug smuggling, a statement the Justice Department was later forced to recant. One question I was frequently asked during radio appearances was whether I thought the national media reaction would be different if the series had appeared in the Washington Post or the New York Times. My stock answer was that it hadn't appeared in those newspapers because they'd decided in 1986 that there was no story here. My feeling was that those newspapers' very familiarity with the story made it more difficult for them to report it. How could they come back 10 years later and admit that the Contras had been selling cocaine to Americans, when they'd already assured us it wasn't happening? In early October, I was in New York City getting ready for an appearance on the Montel Williams Show, which was doing a two-day special on the "Dark Alliance" series. About 2 a.m. Jerry Ceppos called. The Washington Post had just moved a story on the wires. It would be in the morning edition, and it was highly critical of the series. He asked me to take a look at it and give him my reaction. "What did they say was wrong?" I asked. "They don't say any of the facts are wrong," Ceppos said. "They just don't agree with our conclusions." "And their evidence is what?" "A lot of unnamed sources, mainly. It's really a strange piece. I'll send you a fax of it, and we can talk in the morning." They story was headlined "The CIA and Crack: Evidence is Lacking of Alleged Plot." I laughed. What plot? The reporters, Walter Pincus and Roberto Suro, wrote that their investigation "does not support the conclusion that the CIA-backed Contras -- or Nicaraguans in general -- played a major role in the emergence of crack as a narcotic in widespread use across the United States. Instead, the available data from arrest records, hospitals, drug treatment centers and drug-user surveys point to a rise in crack as a broad-based phenomenon driven in numerous places by players of different nationalities, races and ethnic groups." Ah ha. The old tidal wave theory. Here it comes again. I wondered what "available data" Pincus and Suro had gathered from the 1982-83 era, the dawn of the L.A. crack market, since the DEA and NIDA had admitted a decade earlier that there was no such data. The story grudgingly and often back-handedly admitted that the basic facts presented in the series were correct, and it buried key admissions deep inside, such as the fact that "the CIA knew about some of these activities and did little or nothing to stop them." Toward the end Pincus and Suro confirmed that Norwin Meneses and Blandon had met with Enrique Bermudez in Honduras, but without disclosing Bermudez's relationship with the CIA. CIA agent Adolfo Calero, whom the Post euphemistically described as someone "who worked closely with the CIA," also admitted to the Post reporters that he had met with Meneses. Overall, it was a cleverly crafted piece of disinformation that would set the stage for the attacks to follow. It falsely claimed that the series made a "racially charged allegation that the 'CIA army' of Contras deliberately targeted the black community in an effort to expand the market for a cheap form of cocaine." And, despite Blandon's testimony that he sold 200 to 300 kilos of cocaine for Meneses in L.A. and that all the profits were sent to the Contras, the Post quoted unnamed "law enforcement officials" as saying "Blandon sold $30,000 to $60,000 worth of cocaine in two transactions." The story also dove right through the "window" that O'Neale had opened at the Ross trial. "If the whole of Blandon's testimony is to be believed," Pincus ad Suro wrote, '[then there is no connection] between the Contras and African American drug dealers because Blandon said he had stopped sending money to the Contras by the time he met Ross." No mention was made of the DEA reports and the sheriff's department affidavit that said Blandon was selling Contra cocaine through 1986, nor of the fact that Ross had been buying Blandon's cocaine long before he actually met him. "Moreover," the Post declared, "the mere idea that any one person could have played a decisive role in the nationwide crack epidemic is rejected out of hand by academic experts and law enforcement officials." But they identified neither the academic experts nor the law enforcement officials. I wrote Ceppos a memo pointing out the holes in the Post's story. "The Pincus piece," I wrote, "is just silly. It's the kind of story you'd expect from someone who spent three weeks working on a story, as opposed to 16 months." The fact that the Post's unnamed "experts" would reject a scenario "out of hand," I wrote, was the whole problem. "None of them -- whoever they are -- has ever studied this before." To his credit, Ceppos fired off a blistering letter to the Post, pointing out the factual errors in the piece and calling Pincus' claims of a "racially charged allegation" a "complete and total mischaracterization." "The most difficult issue is whether a casual reading of our series leads to the conclusion that the CIA is directly responsible for the outbreak of the crack epidemic in Los Angeles. While there is considerable circumstantial evidence of CIA involvement with the leaders of this drug ring, we never reached or reported any definitive conclusion on CIA involvement," Ceppos wrote. "We reported that men selling cocaine in Los Angeles met with people on the CIA payroll. We reported that they received fundraising orders from the people on the CIA payroll. We reported that the money raised was sent to a CIA-run operation. But we did not go further and took pains to say that clearly." Ceppos posted the letter on the staff bulletin board, along with a memo defending the series. "We strongly support the conclusions the series drew and will until someone proves them wrong. What is even more remarkable is that four experienced Post reporters, re-reporting our series, could not find a single factual error. The Post's conclusions are very different -- and I believe, flawed -- but the major facts aren't. I'm not sure how many of us could sustain such a microscopic examination of our work, and I believe Gary Webb deserves recognition for surviving unscathed." The Post held Ceppos' letter for weeks, ordered him to rewrite it, and then refused to print it. Shortly afterward I got an email message from a woman in Southern California. There was a story in the Mercury's archives that I needed to see, she wrote, and provided a date and a page number. I sent it to our library and got a photocopy of the story in the mail a day later. It had run on Feb. 18, 1967." "How I Traveled Abroad on CIA Subsidy" was the headline. The author was Walter Pincus of the Washington Post. After disclosures of CIA infiltration of American student associations had exploded that year, Pincus had written a long, smug confessional of how, posing as an American student representative, he'd traveled to several international youth conferences in the late 1950's and early 1960's, secretly gathering information for the CIA and smuggling in anti-Communist propoganda. A CIA recruiter had approached him, he wrote, and he'd agreed to spy not only on the student delegations from other countries but on his American colleagues as well. "I had been briefed in Washington on each of them," Pincus wrote. "None was remotely aware of CIA's interest." This just cannot be true, I thought. The Washington Post's veteran national security reporter -- a former CIA operative and propogandist? Unwilling to believe this piece of information until I dug it up for myself, I went to the state library and got out the microfilm. The story was there. This was the man who was questioning my ethics for giving [Ross's attorney] Alan Fenster questions to ask a government witness about the Contras and drugs? Jesus, I'd certainly never spied on American citizens. THE L.A. TIMES and New York Times struck next. On Oct. 20, 1996, both ran long stories attacking my reporting and the series. They took the same tack the Washington Post had several weeks earlier: admitting that the basic facts were true and then complaining that the facts didn't mean a thing. Relying again mostly on unnamed sources, these two newspapers of record claimed Blandon and Meneses hadn't had "official positions" with the Contras. Drug money had been sent, but not millions; it was only tens of thousands, according to unnamed sources. And experts scoffed at the notion that one drug ring could have supplied enough cocaine to feed the tidal wave of crack that engulfed American, a ridiculous claim I'd never made. The papers found no need to mention the mass of historical evidence that supported the series' findings. Without anything approaching documentation, the papers just flatly declared that I was wrong. "The crack epidemic in Los Angeles followed no blueprint or master plan. It was not orchestrated by the Contras or the CIA. No one trafficker, even kingpins who sold thousands of kilos and pocketed millions of dollars, ever came close to monopolizing the drug trade," the L.A. Times assured its readers in the lead paragraph of a three-day series. THE NEXT DAY, the L.A. Times absolved the CIA of any involvement with Blandon and Meneses. Its authoritative sources: former CIA director Robert Gates, former CIA official Vincent Cannistraro and current CIA director John Deutch. "Like good little boys and girls, the Times, the Washington Post et al., toddled off to the CIA and asked the agency if it had ever done such a thing. When the CIA said 'no' the papers solemnly printed it -- just as though the CIA hadn't previously denied any number of illegal operations in which it was later caugh red-handed," columnist Molly Ivins observed. Buried deep within the L.A. Times story were admissions by CIA officials that Contra supporters "were involved in drug running, but they bought villas and did not put it into the FDN." And the story conceded, "the allegation that some elements of the CIA-sponsored Contra army cooperated with drug traffickers has been well documented for years." But the story dismissed the idea that "millions" went to the Contras from the Nicaraguans' drug sales. Unnamed sources said it was around $50,000 or $60,000, which caused former Meneses distributor Rafael Cornejo some mirth. "Sixty thousand?" he scoffed. "You can raise that in an afternoon." According to another unnamed source the Times quoted, Blandon and Meneses were making only $15,000 a kilo in profits. Unmentioned was Blandon's testimony that he'd sold 200 to 300 kilos for Meneses during the time they were sending money to the Contras, and his admission that all of the profits were being sent to the rebels. Using the Times' own profit figures, that would mean between $3 million and $4.5 million went to the Contras just from Blandon's sales. And that didn't include the money Meneses' organization -- through Cabezas and Renato Pena in San Francisco -- was sending. Lost in the debate over whether it was millions or tens of thousands, was the inanity of the idea that a reasonably accurate number could ever be found in a business that deals in cash and eschews written records -- it is just as possible that the amounts could have been in the tens of millions. "No solid evidence has emerged that either Meneses or Blandon contributed any money to the rebels after 1984," the story declared, ignoring the 1986 sheriff's affidavit and the 1986 DEA reports. The story also quoted another unnamed associate who claimed, apparently with a straight face, that the profit margin in the cocaine business in 1982-84 -- when coke was selling for $60,000 a kilo -- were just too slim to allow million-dollar donations to the FDN. THE UNPRECENDENTED attacks by three major newspapers alarmed the Mercury's editors. I was called to a meeting with Ceppos and the other editors and told that I should quit trying to advance the story. We needed to start working on a written response to the other newspapers, he said. I vehemently disagreed. "The best way to shut them up is to put the rest of what we know in the paper and keep plowing ahead," I argued. "Let's run a story about Walter Pincus' CIA connections. Let's write about how the L.A. Times has been booting this story since 1987." I told them of my discovery that the L.A. Times Washington bureau had been sent a copy of the notes found in Ronald Lister's house in 1990 and had thrown them away. Ceppos disagreed. "I don't want to go to war with them," he said. Fortunately, both Dawn Garcia and Paul Van Slambrouck agreed that we should continue developing the story. "The best way to answer our critics," Van Slambrouck told Ceppos, "is to advance the story. Let's go out and get some more evidence of drug money being sent to the Contras. Let's get more evidence of this drug ring's dealings with the Contras." Ceppos relented, authorizing another reporting trip to Central America. He also assigned L.A. bureau reporter Pamela Kramer and Pete Carey, an investigative reporter, to gather information about the start of the L.A. crack market. He also made another decision: He was changing the logo that the series had used on the Internet and in the reprints. The CIA's seal was coming off. "What's the point of doing that?" I asked. "We documented that these traffickers were meeting with CIA agents. If you change the logo, the rest of the media is going to accuse us of backing away from the story." But Ceppos wouldn't budge. Thousands of reprints with the CIA-crack smoker logo were gathered up and burned, and a CD-ROM version of the series -- which had been pressed and ready for distribution -- was also destroyed. The Post and L.A. Times immediately crowed that the Mercury was retreating from the series. Georg and I flew to Costa Rica and began interviewing police officials, lawyers, prosecutors and ex-Contras about Meneses' activities there, fleshing out his role as a DEA informant and his drug operation's connections to Oliver North's re-supply network on the Southern Front. In Managua, we interviews police and Blandon's suspected money launderer, Orlando Murillo. I flew back and started writing the follow-up stories; Georg continued hunting for other members of the Meneses drug ring. He called me in December 1996, barely able to contain his excitement. He'd found Carlos Cabezas, who admitted that he had in fact delivered millions of dollars in drug money to the Contras. Cabezas had names, dates and amounts, Georg said, and pages from his drug ledgers. He'd identified a CIA agent, Ivan Gomez, as having had direct knowledge of it all. "We've got it," Georg cried. "Cabezas is willing to talk on the record." A week later Georg called me with more good news. Enrique Miranda, the former Meneses aide who'd escaped a year earlier, had been found in Miami and tossed on a plane to Nicaragua. Georg had visited him in prison, and Miranda started talking. Meneses' relationship with the CIA and the Contras was deeper than we'd ever realized, Georg said. "We didn't know how right we were," he laughed. "I can't wait to see what the Washington Post does with this." I could have kissed him. In January 1997, I sent first drafts of four follow-up stories to Dawn, written as a two-day series. The first part dealt with Meneses' DEA connections and his Costa Rican operation, along with the interviews Georg had done with Carlos Cabezas and Enrique Miranda. I wrote a sidebar about the drug-dealing Costa Rican shrimp company North and the Cuban CIA operatives were using to funnel aid to the Contras. The second part was a story about the parallel investigations of Contra drug-trafficking done in the summer of 1986 by DEA agent Celering Castillo at Ilopango and L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Gordon, drawing on recently declassified FBI and CIA records at the National Archives and 3.000 pages of once-secret documents about the Blandon raids that had just been released by the L.A. County Sheriff's Office. I also wrote a sidebar on Joe Kelso's attempts to investigate allegations of DEA drug trafficking in Costa Rica. Altogether the drafts ran 16,000 words. We'd done it. We had an eyewitness, on the record, who'd delivered the drug money. We had DEA records saying Blandon had sent money to the Contras far longer than we'd previously reported. We had a top CIA official admitting the agency had reports of drug trafficking at Ilopango. We had evidence Ronald Lister had been meeting with the CIA's former head of covert operations. I expected the editors to be beside themselves with joy. I heard absolutely nothing. Aside from Dawn, no one called to tell me they'd read the new stories. No one called with questions. No one even suggested that we begin editing them. They sat. EXECUTIVE EDITOR Jerry Ceppos called me at home on March 25, 1997, to inform me that he'd made "a very difficult decision." Mistakes had been made in the series, he said, and the newspaper was going to print a letter to its readers saying so. "Is this a fait accompli?" I asked. "Or do I get a chance to say something?" "The decision has been made," Ceppos said. "I'll fax you a draft of what we're considering." According to Ceppos' proposed column, we should have said that Blandon claimed he quit dealing with the Contras in 1983 -- something that the editors had cut to save space. We had "insufficient proof" to say millions went to the Contras; we should have said it was an estimate. We should have said that we didn't find proof of involvement of "CIA decision-makers," whatever that meant. We should have said Ricky Ross wasn't the only crack supplier in L.A. -- but we hadn't said that. And, finally, Ceppos wrote, the experts were unanimous in saying that the Contras had not played a major role in the crack trade and that the series had "oversimplified" how crack had become a problem. Strangley, Ceppos had borrowed his conclusions from Pete Carey's never-published crack story. I brought a written response to San Jose with me the next day when I met with Ceppos and the other editors in the ornate conference room near the editors' offices. "That 'experts' would disagree with the findings of original research is one of the perils of doing it, as any researcher can tell you," I wrote. "But just because they have a differing opinion -- and when you get down to it, that's all it is -- is a pretty shoddy reason to take a swan dive on a story . . . . How can we honestly say that we don't know millions went to the Contras, or that the CIA didn't know about this, when we've got an eyewitness telling us that he personally gave drug money to a CIA agent? What are we going to do about all that other inconvenient information in the follow-ups? We're going to look awful god-damned stupid running this apology and then printing stories that directly contradict it." The other editors looked at the table uncomfortably. "We are going to print those other stories, aren't we?" Ceppos shook his head slightly. "We're not" I asked incredulously. "Why not?" "They're a quarter-turn of the screw," he said. "We're not going to print anything else unless it's a major advance." I exploded. "You think the fact that the head of this Contra drug ring was working for the DEA is a quarter-turn of a screw?" I shouted. "You don't think the fact that the DEA helped an accused CIA drug trafficker escape criminal charges is a major advance? You've got to be kidding me. Are we even going to pursue this story any more?" "No," Ceppos said. "Let me get this straight," I said. "We're killing the other stories. We're not going to do any more investigation of this topic. And we're going to run this mealy-mouthed column that pretends we don't know anything else, tuck our tails between our legs and slink off into the sunset. That's what you've got in mind?" "You and I have very different views of this situation," he said quietly. "You got that right." The result of the stormy meeting was that Ceppos rewrote his column, removing the obvious factual errors but leaving the rest virtually unchanged. "No matter how many times the words and phrases are tweaked, the end result is still a sham," I responded in a memo. "You're sitting on information that supports what I wrote and pretending to be unaware of it." AT A FINAL MEETING before the column ran, I predicted that the mainstream press would read the column as a retraction, one that covered everything the series had revealed. "You run this, and all we'll hear is, 'The Mercury News has admitted it isn't true! The Contras weren't dealing cocaine! The CIA had nothing to do with it!" And you know as well as I do, that's not true." Ceppos' column ran on May 11, 1997, and if there was ever a chance to getting to the bottom of the CIA's involvement with drug traffickers, it died on that day. The New York Times, which hadn't found the original story newsworthy enough to mention, splashed Ceppos's apology on its front page. An editorial lauded Ceppos for his courage and declared that he'd set a brave new standard for dealing with "egregious errors." Howard Kurtz, the media critic for the Washington Post, called for a comment. "It's nauseating," I told him. I had never been more disgusted with my profession in my life. It wasn't because outrages were unknown in the newspaper business. They weren't. Shortly before I arrived at the Plain-Dealer, the paper printed a front-page retraction of a story that had appeared more than a year earlier, revealing that former Teamsters Union president Jackie Presser was an FBI informant. Presser was indeed an informant, as the FBI confirmed years later. But truth had taken a back seat to realpolitik. Court records later revealed that the paper had been pressured into retracting the story by New York mob boss Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno, who'd asked his attorney, Roy Cohn, to intercede with the Newhouse family, which owned the Plain Dealer. Whether similar pressures were applied to Ceppos from outside the newspaper is something I do not know, not do I particularly want to. I would prefer to believe the theory advanced by my editor, Dawn Garcia, who suggested that Ceppos's treatment for prostrate cancer in the winter of 1996-97 had been a factor. That extended illness, combined with pressure from other editors, had taken their toll, she believed. It's a plausible explanation, because there really were only two ways the newspaper could have gone with "Dark Alliance" at that point -- forward or backward. The series had created such a superheated controversy that it had become impossible to simply do nothing. Ceppos, who had stood by the story bravely at key moments, simply may not have had the endurance, at that period of his life, to ride the story out. If the Mercury continued pursuing the story and publishing follow-ups, editor Jon Krim worried in a memo, the editors needed to be ready "to deal with the firestorm of criticism that is sure to follow." The other way out was to back out: confess to some "shortcomings," take some quick lumps and move on, which is the course Ceppos chose. It was certainly the course of least resistance, as the happy reaction of the national media proved. THE CONTROVERSY raged for another month, and the issue gradually became what Ceppos reportedly had dreaded: he was being accused of suppressing information. He was convering things up. Talk radio had a field day. In Washington, DJ Joe Madison, who'd been making hay with the story for months, urged the listeners of his 50,000-watt station to call Ceppos and demand that he print the stories he was suppressing. Letters and email from outraged readers began pouring in. Ceppos, who'd not spoken to me since his column ran, called me at home in early June. He was killing the follow-ups, he shouted. I was off the story for good. He couldn't trust me anymore because I'd "aligned myself with one side of the issue." "Which side is that, Jerry? The side that wants the truth to come out?" He wasn't getting into a debate, he told me. I was to report to his office in two days "to discuss your future at the Mercury News." It was a very one-sided discussion. Reading from a prepared statement, Ceppos told me that my editors had lost faith in me. I needed closer supervision, which I couldn't get in Sacramento. I needed to regain their faith and thier trust, and the only way to do that was to accept a transfer to the main office in San Jose. If I refused, I would be transfered against my will to the West Bureau in Cupertino, the newspaper's version of Siberia -- a somnolent training ground for new reporters and a pasture for older ones who'd fallen from favor. It made little sense, because the reporters there had no direct supervision, either. Whichever I decided, I had to report in 30 days. And by the way, Ceppos said, Pete Carey was going to take over the Contra drug story, and I was to give him all the cooperation he requested. That night I sat down with my wife, Sue, and my children and gave them the news. In one month, I was going to have to start working in Cupertino, 150 miles away. I'd have to drive there on Mondays and come home on Fridays. In the meantime, I'd fight the transfer through the Newspaper Guild. My 6-year-old daughter looked at me strangely. "Are you still going to sleep here?" "No, I won't be able to," I told her. "I have to live in another place during the week. But I'll be home on the weekends." She got up, went into her room, and closed the door. RELUCTANTLY I WENT, spending July and part of August in the Cupertino bureau under protest. I was assigned such pressing matters as the death of a police horse, clothing collections for Polish flood victims and summer school computer classes. I went on a byline strike, refusing to put my name on any story written while I was working under protest. To the chagrin of my editors, who were under orders to keep me away from any decent assignments, I turned a press release rewrite about a San Jose landfill into a front-page story. It was the last piece I wrote for the Mercury -- a page-one story with no one's name on it, which reportedly infuriated Ceppos. Occasionally, Pete Carey would call with a question or two. He wasn't having much luck corroborating Carlos Cabezas' statements, he told me. He'd been trying to locate the Venezuelan CIA agent Cabezas said he worked with, Ivan Gomez, but couldn't. He'd tried directory assistance in Caracas and complained about how many Ivan Gomezes there were in the phone book. I felt saddened that my two-year investigation had come to this. I never heard another word from him about it, and none of the follow-up stories ever ran. On Nov. 19, 1997, the Mercury News agreed to settle my arbitration but, amusingly, required me to sign a confidentiality agreement swearing that I would never disclose its terms. Nineteen years after becoming a reporter, I quit the newspaper business. Bob Parry, the AP reporter who first broke the Contra drug story in 1985, sent me a note of condolence. "Like you, I grew up in this business thinking our job really was to tell the public the truth," he wrote. "Maybe that was the mission at one time. Maybe there was that Awakening in the 1970's with Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, the CIA scandals, etc. "But something very bad happened to the news media in the 1980's. Part of it was the 'public diplomacy' pressures from the outside. But part of it was the smug, snotty, sophmoric crowd that came to dominate the national media from the inside. These characters fell in love with their power to define reality, not their responsibility to uncover the facts. By the 1990's, the media had become the monster. "I wish it weren't so. All I ever wanted to do was report and write interesting stories -- while getting paid for it. But that really isn't possible anymore and there's no use crying over it. "Hang in there," he concluded. "You're not alone."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medtox Scientific Submits New Profiler-II Test To The FDA (A Company Press Release Posted To PRNewswire Says Medtox Diagnostics, Inc., A Subsidiary Of Medtox Scientific, Inc., Of St. Paul, Minnesota, Has Submitted Its New Illegal-Drug-Test Device To The Food And Drug Administration For Approval) Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 01:35:37 -0400 (EDT) From: theHEMPEROR@webtv.net (JR Irvin) To: NTList@fornits.com From: ntlist Subject: [ntlist] New drug test! Sender: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Nicholas Merrill) Date: Mon, Jun 29, 1998, 8:01pm Scientific Submits new "Profiler-II" sorry about the formatting problems :( US MN: Wire: Medtox Scientific Submits New Profiler-II Test to the FDA Newshawk: Patrick Henry Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 Source: PRNewswire MEDTOX SCIENTIFIC SUBMITS NEW PROFILER-II TEST TO THE FDA ST. PAUL, Minn.-- MEDTOX Scientific, Inc. (Amex: TOX) announced today that its subsidiary, MEDTOX Diagnostics, Inc., has submitted its newly developed PROFILE-II product to the United States Food and Drug Administration for 510( k) pre-market clearance. The PROFILE-II device is the first of a new generation of on-site test kits being developed by MEDTOX Diagnostics. It is intended for use in the detection of multiple drugs of abuse. PROFILE-II will allow the end user to perform an on-site screen for the presence of five of the most commonly abused drugs -- cocaine, amphetamines, cannabinoids (marijuana), opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP). The screen is a one-step process that produces results in five minutes. PROFILE-II will be sold as both a stand-alone product and more significantly as part of a comprehensive testing system utilizing the stringent standards followed by MEDTOX's federally certified drug testing laboratory. The comprehensive system for employment drug testing will utilize the PROFILE-II device, trained and certified collectors/testers, a chain of custody form for each donor, split specimen collections kits, automatic laboratory ( GC/MS) confirmation on non-negative on-site screening results, and centralized data management for clients' tests results. This system will provide clients with the most comprehensive, legally and forensically defensible on-site screening system available in the market place. Response from clients and focus groups bas been extremely positive. It is estimated that there are currently over 30 million laboratory employment drug tests performed annually in the United States. The Company concurs with other industry experts who believe that twenty to thirty percent of these tests could eventually be conducted on site within the next three years. The Company also believes that the ease and immediate turnaround time of on-site testing should expand the drug testing market. Additionally, a number of states have introduced regulations that provide for a discount in workers compensation premiums for employers that adopt drug testing programs. This will encourage many smaller employers who do not currently test to adopt programs. The quick turnaround time of a high quality comprehensive on-site system should appeal to this new segment of the drug testing market. Currently no other company can complement a federally certified laboratory and all of its resources with its own patented on-site device packaged in a high quality comprehensive system. PROFILE-II and its comprehensive system will provide added value to the market place for a price comparable to current laboratory testing. While pricing will be competitive for the customer the Company expects to achieve gross margins more in line with medical device manufacturers, as opposed to gross margins realized from laboratory services. The Company believes it can be a market leader in making the transition from laboratory employment drug testing to on-site screening for drugs of abuse. The PROFILE-II product is the twelfth product to be submitted by the Company to the United States Food and Drug Administration. The prior eleven product submissions received 510( k) pre-market clearance in an average time of 72 days, with a maximum of 141 days and a minimum of 20 days. Although no maximum statutory response time has been set for review of a 51O( k) submission, as a matter of policy the United States Food and Drug Administration attempts to complete review of 510( k) submissions within 90 days. MEDTOX Scientific, Inc. is headquartered in St. Paul, MN. Through its MEDTOX Laboratories subsidiary, it is a leader in providing esoteric toxicology services to hospitals and laboratories nationwide. The subsidiary also provides employment drug testing and occupational health testing, including biological monitoring for exposure to industrial chemicals, heavy metals and solvents. Its MEDTOX Diagnostics subsidiary develops and manufactures diagnostic devices for quick and economical on-site analysis for drugs of abuse, agricultural toxins, and antibiotic residues. Additionally, the diagnostics subsidiary provides contract manufacturing utilizing its patented technology and proprietary manufacturing processes. *** Nicholas Merrill New York City - Amsterdam Voice: 212-966-1900 President / CEO www.calyx.net - www.calyx.nl Pager: 917-381-0500 Calyx Internet Access 13-17 Laight St. NY, NY 10013 Email: email@example.com *** Non-Testers List (NTList) news list. A consumer guide to anti-drug testing companies. http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/6443/ntl.html To Join or Leave NTList send "join ntlist" or "leave ntlist" in the TEXT area to: firstname.lastname@example.org Don't forget "ntlist" in your command. For Help, just send "help". List owner: email@example.com (JR Irvin)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Announcement Of Class Action Lawsuit (Medical Marijuana Patients Are Asked To Join The Federal Lawsuit - Includes Contact Information For Potential Oregon Plaintiffs - Lawrence Elliott Hirsch, Chief Counsel Of Hirsch And Caplan Public Interest Law Firm, Will File The Case June 29 In Philadelphia) Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 02:13:12 -0700 From: Bob Kiselosky (firstname.lastname@example.org) Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Orion Graphics Subject: ANNOUNCEMENT OF CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT ANNOUNCING The Action Class for Freedom of Therapeutic Cannabis THE MISSION: - To institute The Action Class for Freedom of Therapeutic Cannabis. - To restore to and to reinvest in The People the fundamental, inalienable rights, freedoms, and liberties which have been unjustifiably and unconstitutionally prohibited, denied, and suppressed since 1937 by unjust statutes and policies of the government of the United States of America. - To redefine "marijuana" and to communicate the truth about this natural, non-toxic herb cannabis which has been used therapeutically for 5,000 years. Cannabis was freely and legally available in the United States for a wide range of medicinal uses until the federal politicians desecrated, demonized, defamed, prohibited, and criminalized what many cultures considered to be an invaluable natural resource. The government's arbitrary, hypocritical classification of cannabis as the most dangerous drug in America continues to be the law and policy of the United States of America, thus criminalizing the sick and powerless. - To inform and educate the public about the established benefits and proven virtues of cannabis as a therapeutic agent for each and every health condition for which cannabis is helpful. - To achieve Justice and Judgment declaring that therapeutic cannabis prohibition is unconstitutional and that The People are free to use it for their health without control or interference by the government of the United States of America. THE STRATEGY: - The Action Class for Freedom of Therapeutic Cannabis complaint will be filed in the United States District Court in Philadelphia on June 29, 1998. - Lawrence Elliott Hirsch, chief counsel of Hirsch & Caplan Public Interest Law Firm will represent the plaintiff class representatives from every state who have health conditions for which cannabis is therapeutic and improves or may improve or could improve the quality of their lives. - Each named plaintiff will represent the rights and interests of a class in their State, as well as 97 million Americans who could benefit from therapeutic cannabis, and other Americans who value their First Amendment right of privacy - the right to be let alone by the government - the right most valued by civilized society. - Each named plaintiff is a person of great moral courage. "Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is one, essential vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change." (Robert F. Kennedy, 1967) - Activate alliances and network with individuals, groups, and organizations to execute The Mission. In Oregon you may contact your representative plaintiff, Bob Kiselosky, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 541-547-3980, for additional information about this lawsuit, or to offer your comments and support of this historic challenge to the suppression of our Constitutional rights. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT to stop the unjust criminalization and jailing of our fellow citizens whose only crime is that they have health problems and seek to improve the quality of their lives by use of a natural, therapeutic herb.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mandatory Minimums For Whitewater Rafting (A List Subscriber Notes The 11 People Who Drowned While Rafting In Colorado In The Past Month Probably Outnumbered The People Who Died From Illegal Drugs, And Sarcastically Mimics The Knee-Jerk Response Of Prohibitionists) Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 10:03:35 EDT Errors-To: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: MM's for Whitewater Rafting I just heard on the Today Show that 11 people have lost their lives while whitewater rafting in Colorado this year. Considering that the rafting season is a little over a month old, I would have to guess that whitewater rafting has caused more deaths than all illicit drug overdoses in Colorado for the same period of time. With that in mind, I think those of you in Colorado should ask your legislators to outlaw whitewater rafting. Anyone attempting this endeavor should face a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years. The "dealers" (those who provide the guides and rafts) should face a life sentence. Newspapers and travel guides that promote these "dealers" should be labeled as co-conspiritors. Let the war against whitewater rafting begin. ;) Alan Bryan
------------------------------------------------------------------- Driver In Fatal Train-Truck Accident Tested Positive For Marijuana (Sensationally Biased Article In 'The New York Times' Omits The Actuarial Odds Of Such Drivers Testing Positive For Cannabis, And Fails To Say Whether The Driver In Portage, Indiana, Also Tested Positive For Other Drugs Such As Alcohol, But Notes The Driver's Equipment Didn't Meet Legal Standards Either)Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 20:17:19 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US IN: NYT: Driver in Fatal Train-Truck Accident Tested Positive for 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 Source: New York Times Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: 25 Jun 1998 DRIVER IN FATAL TRAIN-TRUCK ACCIDENT TESTED POSITIVE FOR MARIJUANA CHICAGO -- The driver of a truck involved in a fatal commuter train wreck last week has tested positive for marijuana, authorities say. Keith Lintz, 39, of Niles, Mich., was driving a double tractor-trailer into a steel mill in Portage, Ind., on June 18 when the truck, carrying three 40,000 pound steel coils, became trapped between two parallel train tracks. While Lintz was stopped for a freight train on one of the tracks, a Chicago-bound commuter train on the other tracks crashed into the rear trailer. The impact hurled one of the coils into the front car of the two-car train, killing three passengers and injuring six others. Chief David Reynolds of the Portage police said tests found marijuana in Lintz's urine. Blood tests were still pending. He could not say how much marijuana the tests found or that it contributed to the cause of the crash. "Unlike some other drugs, marijuana stays in your system for quite a while, so it may be a case where he took some marijuana several weeks ago and it's just still in his system," Reynolds said. Lintz, whose driving record shows he has received two warning letters from the Michigan secretary of state's office in the last five years for accumulating points on his license, was cited for four violations at the time of the crash. The most serious included a failure to properly secure the coils, and an overweight violation, which meant Lintz should not have been pulling the second trailer. Reynolds said evidence was being formally presented to prosecutors Wednesday, who would have the final decision on whether Lintz will face criminal charges. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board re-created the crash Saturday. Matthew Furman, a spokesman for the agency, said preliminary findings from the re-enactment show the train engineer saw the trailer only five to seven seconds before impact. After applying the emergency brake, the engineer was able to slow the train from 68 mph to 43 mph at the point of impact. Furman said the full investigation would take about year to complete. Lintz has told investigators the freight train on the parallel tracks in front of him and the crossing gates behind him boxed him in, preventing him from moving. The 90-mile-long South Shore line shuttles more than 12,000 passengers daily between South Bend, Ind., and Chicago. Portage, Ind., a town of about 30,000 is 30 miles southeast of Chicago. Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police Say Test Shows Drug Use By Trucker In Train Crash (According To 'The Chicago Tribune' Version, Northwestern University Professor Ian Savage, Who Specializes In Truck Safety Regulation, Said That Even If A Driver Is Determined To Have Marijuana In His System, The Finding 'May Be A Red Herring')From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: "MN" (email@example.com) Subject: MN: US: IL: Police Say Test Shows Drug Use By Trucker In Train Crash Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 17:50:45 -0500 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: 25 June 1998 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chicago.tribune.com/ Author: Jon Hilkevitch POLICE SAY TEST SHOWS DRUG USE BY TRUCKER IN TRAIN CRASH By Jon Hilkevitch, Tribune Transportation Writer. Tribune staff writer Steve Mills contributed to this report. June 25, 1998 Police said Wednesday that the trucker involved in last week's fatal crash of a Chicago-bound commuter train in Indiana has tested positive for marijuana, but it remained unclear when he may have used the drug or if it contributed to the accident. "The toxicology test we performed doesn't indicate when the marijuana was used or the quantity involved," said Officer Lisa Duncan, a spokeswoman for the Portage, Ind., Police Department. Portage police declined to disclose specific test result data-- for instance, whether the positive test results came from blood or urine samples--but said the driver, Keith J. Lintz, 39, of Niles, Mich., tested negative for alcohol. No criminal charges have been filed against Lintz in the accident that killed three people and injured six aboard the South Shore Railroad train at a crossing near the Midwest Steel Co. plant in Portage. The National Transportation Safety Board said that it has requested Lintz's blood and urine samples from Portage police in order to conduct more sophisticated testing but that the local authorities have not complied. Portage police would not comment about why the specimens, taken in the immediate aftermath of the crash, had not been forwarded to the NTSB. Tests performed by the NTSB can determine whether marijuana was used during the previous 12 hours and how much was ingested, federal officials said. Safety board investigators typically arrive at an accident site after police and rely on local authorities' cooperation and evidence-gathering techniques. They say they will remain stymied until they receive part of the samples taken from Lintz. "We don't have a sample yet from the police department, but we do have subpoena powers to get it," said Matt Furman, a NTSB spokesman in Washington. "It's important because our test would have been indicative of when and how much marijuana was used." A federal source in the Department of Transportation said "negotiations" were under way with the Portage Police Department to provide samples to the NTSB. The source said local police officials, the Indiana State Police and the Porter County prosecutor's office were concerned that the samples taken from Lintz were insufficient to conduct a series of tests and that enough of the collected blood and urine must be preserved for possible testing by experts working for the truck driver's defense. The accident occurred before dawn June 18 when the South Shore train plowed into the rear of Lintz's dual-trailer truck, which moments before impact was boxed in between the two sets of commuter tracks and a pair of parallel Conrail freight tracks. Upon impact, a 20-ton steel coil on the truck snapped from its rigging and smashed into the lead car of the two-car train where the victims were riding. Portage police were first to respond to the 4:30 a.m. accident and, as required under federal commercial carrier regulations, obtained blood and urine samples from Lintz. Portage Police Chief David Reynolds said Wednesday that toxicology tests indicated that Lintz "tested positive for marijuana and negative for alcohol." Medical literature states that the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can be detected in blood tests and in urinalysis for up to three weeks after use, but experts differ on the reliability of the tests. Lintz and his attorney were unavailable for comment Wednesday. Officials at Eastern Express Inc., of Griffith, Ind., whose name was listed on the door of Lintz's truck, did not return phone calls. Indiana State Police Cpl. Lennie Frye, who is assigned to a toll road unit, said a motorist can be charged with operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance if blood tests show that marijuana was in the system. "Until all the reports are completed by the various agencies and reviewed, we can't determine if there will be criminal charges against the driver," said Kathy Minick, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office. Edward Cone, a chemist at the National Institute of Drug Abuse, one of the National Institutes of Health, said it is hard to pinpoint through blood or urine testing when someone used marijuana or how much they used. "From a single specimen, you can't really tell how much drug has been ingested," said Cone. "If you're not sure when the person used the drug, then you can't say how much. You really need some definitive times to do that." Cone said that marijuana generally clears the bloodstream in 24 hours or less and the urine in one to five days--unless the person is a heavy user. Then, said Cone, it can linger for a few weeks. Much depends on an individual's metabolism. Still, it is extremely difficult to describe a person's usage with any certainty, he said. "If we found a certain amount of the drug during testing," Cone said, "we still might not be able to determine whether you smoked one joint or four joints." He said that a teaspoon or so of blood or urine is enough to conduct a test. In the late 1980s, the NTSB examined 182 accidents involving large trucks in which a total of 210 people had died. Of the truckers tested for drug use, 13 percent had used marijuana, 13 percent had consumed alcohol and 7 percent to 9 percent had used cocaine, stimulants and amphetamines. Lintz was ticketed June 18 for allegedly improperly securing the coils to his trailer, exceeding the allowable gross-weight load for the type of truck he was driving, being 28 days behind in his log book and having faulty brakes. In the last six years, he received four speeding tickets, according to the Michigan secretary of state's office. Investigators have yet to determine whether Lintz drove around a lowered crossing gate and pulled onto the tracks or if the gate-crossing system malfunctioned. Authorities said Lintz told them that he was stopped and waiting for the Conrail train to pass when he saw the South Shore track gates come down behind him. A spokesman for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, owners of the South Shore, said both sets of gates are supposed to lower simultaneously. Lintz's dual-trailer truck, which was 72 feet long, was several feet longer than the space between the parallel tracks. Northwestern University professor Ian Savage, who specializes in truck safety regulation, said that even if a driver is determined to have marijuana in his system, the finding "may be a red herring." "There are more important questions that can be explained by biorhythms," Savage said. "The Portage crash happened just before dawn, when the preponderance of truck accidents occur. "The fact is, the human body and motor skills are at their lowest point between 2 and 4 a.m. and marijuana usage has a minimal influence after a few hours."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Amish Drug Arrests Sadden Staid Culture ('The San Jose Mercury News' Runs A 'Los Angeles Times' Article About Last Week's Bust Of Two Amish Men For Selling Cocaine) Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 20:14:41 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US PA: Amish Drug Arrests Sadden Staid Culture Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 Author: Mark Fritz, Los Angeles Times AMISH DRUG ARRESTS SADDEN STAID CULTURE Two Men Indicted For Dealing At Hoedowns In Pennsylvania GAP, Pa. -- Some Amish drink their share of beer when they're young, a taste of temptation that is a rite of passage even in a place as mythically moral as Amish country. But selling cocaine? Mingling with a motorcycle gang called the Pagans? With bikers known as ``Twisted'' and ``Fathead''? Amish residents of this eastern Pennsylvania town picked up their newspapers Wednesday morning and read about two of their own: young Amish men from Gap with the most common last name in town, Stoltzfus. Young men reared in a strict but increasingly threatened culture in which people abstain from material pleasures and adhere to a spartan life of decency and faith. These two young men, however, were indicted in federal court in Philadelphia on Tuesday on charges that they bought cocaine and methamphetamine from members of another local subculture -- the Pagans -- and then sold the drugs to youths at Amish hoedowns in Gap and other Lancaster County communities. According to the indictment, they were cogs in a drug ring that united two seemingly incompatible cultures for five years. Abner Stoltzfus, 24, and Abner King Stoltzfus, 23 -- who are not related -- were at home with their families, declining to comment while awaiting arraignment next week on charges that could send them to prison for life. Eight Pagans were also indicted. ``I guess it goes to show you we're human beings, just like everyone else,'' observed Abram Stoltzfus -- no relation to the defendants -- as he stood on the stoop of his immaculate white farmhouse. ``These things are going to happen. It's sad.'' At the time of the alleged drug-dealing, both young men were in a period of their lives that the Amish call a ``timeout,'' when young men are encouraged to sow their wild oats before deciding whether to rejoin the faith for the rest of their lives. ``I'm not suggesting that the Amish hierarchy condones drug use or anything like that, but they're going through a period of time when they are allowed to be rebellious,'' said John Pyfer, the attorney for Abner Stoltzfus. Pyfer said his client would plead not guilty. The indictment of two Amish men on charges of pushing drugs on Amish kids is particularly jolting because many Americans consider the Amish something of a national treasure, a plain-living, hard-working and God-fearing people who eschew such luxuries as cars, electricity and colorful clothing in favor of family and faith. Yet people who study the Amish culture, and even the normally reticent Amish themselves, say it's getting harder for members of this Anabaptist religious sect to maintain their way of life, particularly in a place like Lancaster County, where suburban sprawl and outlet malls are leaving too little land for the Amish to farm and too little room on the road for their horse-drawn buggies. ``It's a big myth of Amish society being perfect, a bunch of puritans living an idyllic life out in the country,'' said Daniel Lee, a Penn State University professor who has researched the Amish. ``To put it plainly, they are very normal people.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Chopper With Two On Board Missing In Tennessee ('Reuters' Says The Army National Guard Helicopter Was Believed To Have Crashed After Flying Into Bad Weather Wednesday Evening To Search For Marijuana In Rugged Mountains) Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 20:28:41 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US TN: Wire: Chopper With 2 On Board Missing In Tenn. 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) Source: Reuters Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 CHOPPER WITH 2 ON BOARD MISSING IN TENN. An Army National Guard helicopter with two people on board was believed to have crashed after flying into bad weather during a search for marijuana plantings in the rugged east Tennessee mountains, officials said Thursday. The pilot reported deteriorating weather conditions just before contact with the OH-58 Kiowa was lost Wednesday evening, said Randy Harris of the Tennessee Army National Guard. He said search efforts for the craft were halted at dark and resumed Thursday, but were being hampered by fog. He said the craft carried a Guard pilot and a federal law enforcement official who was scouring the remote area for illegal marijuana fields. Search efforts were centered in Carter and Sullivan counties east of Johnson City near the North Carolina state line.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Doctor Enjoyed Respect Of Peers ('The Tallahassee Democrat' Says Dr. Brence Sell, A Local Anesthesiologist, Was Arrested Tuesday And Held Without Bail On Charges Of Growing Marijuana And Trying To Bribe The Detectives Who Busted Him - According To Police, He Begged Detectives To Kill Him And Said His Life Was Over) Date: Sun, 28 Jun 1998 01:47:59 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US FL: Doctor Enjoyed Respect Of Peers Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 Source: Tallahassee Democrat Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.tdo.com/index.htm Author: Noel Holton, Democrat Staff Writer DOCTOR ENJOYED RESPECT OF PEERS After Brence Sell was arrested on drug and bribery charges, he said his life was over and begged detectives to kill him. Local anesthesiologist Dr. Brence Sell, who was arrested Tuesday on charges of growing marijuana and trying to bribe detectives, was denied bail Wednesday. He has also been put on leave at Anesthesiology Associates, where he has worked for 10 years, pending the outcome of the criminal investigation. "We are very concerned regarding the allegations made against Dr. Sell," said Joseph Wilson, practice manager at Anesthesiology Associates. "While we feel it would be premature to make any further comment on the situation before all of the facts are established, we want to assure our surgery patients that their safety remains our primary mission." Anesthesiology Associates of Tallahassee, a professional group of 24 anesthesiologists, offers surgical services at all of the medical facilities in the area. Leon County sheriff's detectives said after Sell was arrested Tuesday afternoon he asked them to kill him because his life had just ended. The arresting deputy said Sell also asked if they would shoot him if he ran. Sell had no previous criminal record and enjoyed the esteem of his peers. "Sell has been a very good doctor and a well-respected member of the local medical community," said Mollie Hill, executive director of the Capital Medical Society. "We have seen no impact on his medical performance and he is such an exceptional doctor, I would not have hesitated to have him as my anesthesiologist. We will provide him with any support we can." Sheriff's detectives said they received a tip Friday that Sell was growing marijuana on the back porch of his apartment in the 1700 block of Hermitage Boulevard. They said they discovered 36 marijuana plants after Sell gave them permission to search. They said they also found more marijuana in his bedroom, along with pipes, rolling papers and other drug paraphernalia. Sell told detectives the plants did not belong to him but he had been caring for them for someone named Rob. He later admitted to planting some of the smaller plants, detectives said. Sheriff's spokesman David Gilmore said it appeared Sell was growing marijuana for his own use and not to sell. Detectives said Sell set up a meeting with two detectives on Monday and offered them $10,000 each to "lose the case." The detectives went along with Sell and agreed to another meeting. At 2 p.m. Tuesday, when Sell showed up at the parking lot of Beef O'Brady's restaurant with a plastic Barnes & Noble bag with two envelopes containing $10,000 each, detectives said he was arrested on charges of marijuana cultivation and bribery of a public official. Both charges are third-degree felonies, each carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A native of Albany, Ga., Sell graduated from the Emory University School of Medicine in 1981. He then completed a fellowship in neurosurgical anesthesia at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. He has been licensed to practice in Florida since 1988. Noel Holton covers health and business issues. She can be reached at 599-2172.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Gene Mutation Helps Some Resist Nicotine Addiction ('The San Jose Mercury News' Says Research At The University Of Toronto Reported In Today's Issue Of 'Nature' Suggests About One-Fifth Of The Non-Smoking Population Carries A Genetic Lucky Strike - A Mutation That Makes Them Feel Lousy When They Try Their First Cigarette, And Less Likely To Become Addicted To Nicotine) Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 21:59:17 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service (email@example.com) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Gene Mutation Helps Some Resist Nicotine Addiction Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family (email@example.com) Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 Author: Lisa M. Krieger, Mercury News Staff Writer Note: Our newshawk writes: "There's an important quote in this article: Dr. Alan I. Leshner, director of the federal National Institute of Drug Abuse, which funded the new study says, ``Addiction is a brain disease.'' Here is government funded SCIENCE that the government ignores as it continues to imprison those addicted to "illegal" drugs!" GENE MUTATION HELPS SOME RESIST NICOTINE ADDICTION Metabolism: Finding Could Help Smokers Quit; If Medicines Can Inhibit The Breakdown Of Nicotine, Perhaps They Can Treat The Addiction. Scientists have found that some people carry a genetic Lucky Strike: a mutation that makes them feel lousy when they try their first cigarette -- and less likely to become addicted to nicotine. The mutation, estimated to be carried by one-fifth of the non-smoking population, impairs the ability to metabolize nicotine, the active ingredient in tobacco products, said researcher Dr. Edward Sellers of the University of Toronto. New Target The study offers a new target for developing more effective medicines to help smokers quit. If medicines can inhibit the breakdown of nicotine, they could prevent or treat the addiction. ``This in an interesting and important finding,'' said Dr. Alan I. Leshner, director of the federal National Institute of Drug Abuse, which funded the new study. ``Addiction is a brain disease. This study shows not only that genetics are involved, but the mechanism through which genetics are acting.'' If people with the mutated gene persist in smoking, they need fewer cigarettes to get the same satisfaction from nicotine as people without the mutation, he said. ``They can become smokers, but they have to work really hard at it,'' said Sellers. The discovery, reported in today's issue of the journal Nature, helps explain why some people are never attracted to smoking -- or if they do smoke, why their addiction is mild and they can easily quit. Nicotine, a plant product, is broken down by an enzyme in the liver called CYP2A6. A defect in the gene that controls this enzyme interferes with the metabolism of nicotine. The enzyme is thought to have been important millions of years ago, when early mammals ate plants and needed help metabolizing them. The gene defect causes nicotine to be metabolized more slowly. For first-time smokers, it exaggerates normal feelings of dizziness and nausea, said Sellers. Because nicotine sticks around longer in these people, they do not smoke as much, or inhale as deeply, he said. The new study is part of the investigation into the genetics of smoking addiction, but is the first to identify an aversion to nicotine. Previous research found a genetic variation that is linked to smoking at a young age. That work by researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston found a gene that enhances the pleasurable feelings created by nicotine. In a separate finding, scientists at the University of California-San Francisco discovered that nicotine appears to stimulate brain cells in nearly the same way cocaine does. More Applications Genetics also may explain other factors connected to drug abuse in general, such as the origin of pleasure-seeking and stress-reducing behaviors. But the latest discovery is particularly significant to solving the puzzle of the biology of tobacco addiction. ``Individual people vary in their vulnerability to becoming addicted -- and there is a large genetic component to this vulnerability,'' Leshner said. ``This study identifies a gene involved in these individual differences.'' The Toronto researchers found that 20 percent of non-smokers carry the mutated version of the gene that regulates nicotine metabolism, compared with 10 percent of smokers. They also found that smokers with the defective gene smoked 20 percent fewer cigarettes a week. ``This gene is not complete protection. It's relative protection,'' said Sellers. The study also explains what some anti-smoking activists already have observed. ``We know that some people have a much easier time quitting than others,'' said Margo Leathers, executive director of the American Lung Association of Santa Clara County. ``Rarely, you hear of people who smoke only on weekends, or only after dinner. ``But this news won't change the people who start smoking -- kids -- because they never think they'll become addicted.'' Cigarette smoking is responsible for one in five deaths in the United States -- more than 400,000 deaths a year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It accounts for 87 percent of all American lung-cancer deaths. California's Low Rate In California, 18.7 percent of adults smoke, one of the lowest rates in the nation. Some medical experts worried that the news might take the pressure off the tobacco industry by blaming biology, not marketing, for the smoking epidemic. ``It is a little bit scary if we adopt the view that humans emerged out of the primordial slime with a smoking gene -- and 3 billion years later, Joe Camel and the Marlboro cowboy have nothing to do with it,'' said cardiologist Dr. Stan Glantz of UC-San Francisco. Said Dr. John Slade, a professor of medicine at the University of New Jersey School of Medicine: ``It could be something for tobacco companies to hide behind. Nicotine still causes nicotine addiction.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- DrugSense Focus Alert Number 70 - Nightline - Reform Goes Mainstream (DrugSense Asks You To Write A Quick Letter Thanking ABC For Supporting An Open And Honest Discussion Of Drug Policy) Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 11:18:44 -0700 To: email@example.com From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: Focus Alert No. 70 Nightline FOCUS Alert No. 70 Nightline. Reform goes mainstream Kevin Zeese, Mike Gray, and Ethan Nadelmann joined forces to put on a terrific show on Nightline last Monday night 6/22. This show was broadcast worldwide to millions of viewers. We believe that the media activism that many reform groups have engaged in over the last 2 years, combined with the impressive UNGASS efforts, NY Times ads, and CNN ads, etc. have all combined to light a fire under the media. All indications are that the mainstream media is beginning to swing our way. we should all give ourselves a group pat on the back. We need to encourage such important and unprecedented coverage. Please write a letter and thank ABC using the contact info below. WRITE A LETTER TODAY- LIVE IN A FREER WORLD TOMORROW Just DO it! *** PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID ( Letter, Phone, fax etc.) Please post your letters or report your action to the MAPTalk list if you are subscribed, or return a copy to this address by simply hitting REPLY to this FOCUS Alert or E-mailing to MGreer@mapinc.org *** CONTACT INFO Write Nightline at: firstname.lastname@example.org There is also a feedback form at: http://www.abcnews.com/onair/nightline/email.html Nightline Tom Bettag, Exec Producer ABC News 1717 DeSales Street NW Washington DC 20036-4407 202-222-7000 "EXTRA CREDIT" Call and leave a personal thank you for Tom Bettag Executive Producer of Nightline. It costs about 30 cents max. *** Nightline now Online For anyone who missed the Nightline show or wants to review it is now available online using RealVideo at: http://www.legalize-usa.org/video5.htm RealVideo can be downloaded for free at the same site or by going to http://www.real.com/ *** Sample Letter (SENT 6/25) Dear Nightline: Sincere thanks for an outstanding show with Forrest Sawyer on "The War on Drugs." It's about time for the mainstream media to catch on to the incredible negatives and destruction that has been caused by this expensive and ineffective "war on citizens." Please continue this type of coverage. In my view helping to end this charade is the single most patriotic thing you can do. For more info on the drug war please direct your researchers to: http://www.drugsense.org and http://www.mapinc.org for a searchable archive of over 10,000 news article on drug policy topics see: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/ Mark Greer Executive Director DrugSense *** Mark Greer Media Awareness Project (MAP) inc. d/b/a DrugSense MGreer@mapinc.org http://www.DrugSense.org/ http://www.mapinc.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexican Ex-Police Chief Admits Taking Drug Money ('Reuters' Says Adrian Carrera Fuentes, The Jailed Former Chief Of The Federal Judicial Police, Admitted Under Police 'Interrogation' To Taking Bribes From Illegal Drug Traffickers, According To Court Documents Published In Mexican Newspapers Thursday) Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 21:28:00 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service (email@example.com) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Mexico: Wire: Mexican Ex-Police Chief Admits Taking Drug Money 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) Source: Reuters Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 MEXICAN EX-POLICE CHIEF ADMITS TAKING DRUG MONEY MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The jailed former chief of Mexico's top police force admitted taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from drug traffickers in exchange for protection, according to court documents published in Mexican newspapers Thursday. Adrian Carrera Fuentes in the early 1990s ran the Federal Judicial Police, an investigative unit similar to the FBI in the United States but with special responsibility to combat the multi-billion dollar illegal drugs trade between Mexico and the United States. According to court documents published by Mexican newspapers, Carrera accepted a series of bribes of up to $300,000 each time or a new Cadillac from the late Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Carrera was arrested in March and held without bail, making him the second high-ranking official in a year who was accused of being on Carrillo Fuentes' payroll. Carrillo Fuentes died last year following plastic surgery and liposuction. In 1997, Mexico's top anti-drugs warrior, Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, was jailed and later convicted for having sold out to Carrillo Fuentes, also known as ``The Lord of the Skies'' for his ability to ship tons of cocaine in jumbo jets. Carrera, the former police chief, appeared in court Wednesday, caged but wearing civilian clothes. He refused to testify but results of previous police interrogations were made public at the hearing. ``In October 1993, he (Carrera) had an interview with Amado Carrillo Fuentes in which he (Carrillo) asked him if he was going to help by granting protection so that he could continue his drug trafficking activities, and he (Carrera) answered that he was going to commission judicial police to escort him, promising not to pursue him and to let him keep working,'' the court documents said, according to El Universal newspaper. In another meeting between the police chief and the drug lord, Carrillo allegedly barked out orders to an assistant that he buy the most luxurious model of Cadillac available for Carrera. ``Moreover, upon saying goodbye, (an assistant) handed over a suitcase in the house which he (Carrera) opened up and discovered it contained more than $300,000,'' the documents said. Other interrogations of the police chief revealed he allegedly held meetings with other drug traffickers during which cash payments of $200,000 or $100,000 changed hands. The money was invested in a chain of home furnishing stores that operated without paying taxes, El Universal said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cops Unearth Buried Pot Plantation ('The Edmonton Sun' Says The Royal Canadian Mounted Police 'Green Team' Made Its Biggest Bust Of The Year Yesterday, Finding 500 Plants Police Said Were Worth Up To $400,000, Hidden Underneath A Mobile Home Near Abee, Alberta) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Canada: Cops unearth buried pot plantation Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 09:08:24 -0700 Lines: 66 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Edmonton Sun Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: June 25, 1998 Author: By IAN MCDOUGALL -- Staff Writer COPS UNEARTH BURIED POT PLANTATION A million-dollar marijuana operation was shut down yesterday by members of the RCMP "Green Team'' squad in its biggest bust so far this year. Cops found nearly 500 plants growing underneath a mobile home on an acreage south of Abee, 105 km northeast of Edmonton, said Const. Dennis Hartl of the RCMP Edmonton Drug Section. Members of the RCMP Green Team - which targets hydroponic marijuana operations - and Redwater RCMP raided the secluded spot about 9:30 a.m. When police arrived they discovered a sophisticated underground dope operation capable of generating between $1 million and $2 million a year in profits, Hartl said, adding the farm had probably run for a couple of years. The plants seized yesterday could be worth up to $400,000, he added. Police brought along an electrician to help them dismantle the complex electrical wiring used in the operation, he said. The grower went to great lengths to keep the farm a secret, said RCMP Cpl. Bob Simmonds, adding drug farmers like out-of-the- way spots for their crops. "These are the types of locations that traditionally house larger operations,'' Simmonds said. A generator powering 10 1,000-watt light bulbs illuminating the plants was buried in a grove of trees so it couldn't be spotted on the ground or from the air, he said. The "greenhouse'' housing the plants and growing tables was hidden underneath the mobile home. A search revealed the door to the grow room was hidden in a shed attached to the home. "When you walked into the shed it just looked like a tool shed,'' Hartl said. "There was a false wall and a false door behind the wall.'' The plants were watered by a system of pipes fed by a well on the property. The grower probably had to tend to his crops once or twice a day to make sure they were getting adequate water, RCMP said. Police carted away about $15,000 worth of growing equipment after the bust. Plant samples will be sent to a lab in Burnaby, B.C., where they will be tested for THC levels - marijuana's active ingredient, Simmonds said. Rheal LaRouche, 47 has been charged with possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and production of a controlled substance.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Evidence Gone To Pot ('The Calgary Sun' Notes A Calgary Judge Has Ruled There Is No Evidence A Banff Resident Obstructed Police By Swallowing His Roach) Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 02:58:56 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Evidence Gone To Pot Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 Source: Calgary Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.canoe.ca/CalgarySun/ Author: Kevin Martin, Calgary Sun EVIDENCE GONE TO POT Maybe Banff resident Ryan McNeil simply had a case of the munchies. What McNeil didn't have was an intent to obstruct a police officer when he chowed down a suspected marijuana cigarette, a Calgary judge has ruled. Justice Peter McIntyre, in a written ruling obtained yesterday by the Sun, said McNeil wasn't guilty because not all the evidence was destroyed. "The police had the opportunity to prove the accused was in possession of a narcotic, but chose not to do so," he said, noting remnants of a leaf were not brought in for analysis. McIntyre agreed with a lower court decision acquitting McNeil. McNeil was charged last Aug. 9 after RCMP Cpl. W.F. Young spotted him and others males sharing a "small cigarette." When Young approached, McNeil extinguished the cigarette and put it in his mouth.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Designer Spins Hemp Into Grassroots Business (A Feature In 'The Toronto Star' On Hemp Clothes Designer Candice Levine, Who Views The Manufacture Of Hemp Clothing As A Way To Both Make A Modest Profit And Save The Planet) Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 02:49:44 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Designer Spins Hemp Into Grassroots Business Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Dave Haans Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 Source: Toronto Star (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.thestar.com/ Author: Gil Kezwer DESIGNER SPINS HEMP INTO GRASSROOTS BUSINESS Candice Levine wants the whole world to turn on to marijuana - not the kind you smoke but the kind you wear. While the buds of the cannabis sativa plant are well known for their illegal recreational use, the cloth woven from the stalk of the plant, hemp, is enjoying a renaissance after decades of prohibition. Levine, 26, president of her privately owned company, For World Spirit, views the manufacture of hemp clothing as a way to both make a modest profit and save the planet. She is hopeful the durability and comfort of her hemp creations, and a '90s consciousness about the environment, will help the textile enter the mainstream despite of its distant relationship with banned marijuana. Hemp fabric breathes like cotton but is 10 times stronger, she notes. It won't mildew - hence its traditional use for sails and rope - and is resistant to stains. Because the plant grows like a weed, it requires neither pesticides nor fertilizers. The fibres and seeds have a wide variety of other applications, she adds, and can be turned into paper, salad dressing, construction material and even beer. But don't bother smoking the stuff. Although hemp and marijuana are both from the cannabis family, one hemp plant produces only about 0.3 percent of mind-altering tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). A marijuana plant, by comparison, produces between 18 per cent to 48 per cent THC, she says. "If you smoke that hemp shirt, the only effect you'll get is ruining a perfectly good shirt." After studying fashion at the Par-sons School of Design in New York, Levine returned to her native Toronto in 1994 and landed a job with a Queen St. clothing manufacturer. She opened the For World Spirit store on Harbord St. last April to sell her designs made from hemp and micro-fibres like Lycra. Levine sold $60,000 worth of clothing in nine months, mostly loose fitting women's casual designs made from hemp. "In the end I became a retailer of other people's designs," she says, explaining her decision to close the store and concentrate on manufacturing. Her new premises on Walnut Ave. in the trendy King/Niagara district serve as her home, workshop, showroom and office. She's turning out a line of high-fashion clothing, including items of 100 per cent hemp and 60-40 hemp/silk that come with a linen-like finish. For World Spirit's wash-and-wear designs begin at $40 for a tank top and go to $180 for a full-length dress. Levine also makes shirts, draw-string pants, jackets and ties. "1 have a stigma about expensive clothing," Levine observes. "I'd rather have people love it and buy it. Popularizing hemp is the one tangible thing I can do something about. I'm changing people's attitudes." Notwithstanding her environmental consciousness, she uses synthetic as well as natural dyes. "Natural (dye) sounds better and the colours are beautiful. But they aren't really better for the environment, because of the nickel or tin fixatives they require," she says. Who are her customers? "Young people buy hempwear as a political and environmental statement," she says. "Older people don't care about the fabric. They just like the look and feel of my clothes." Levine buys her hemp bales from China, Romania and Hungary, but that could soon change. Health Canada regulations which took effect in March now pertmit commercial cultivation of hemp by licence holders. The first 1,200 hectares of Ontario farmland should be harvested this fall.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly Action Report On Drug Policies, Year 4, Number 17 (Summary Of International Drug Policy News, From CORA In Italy) Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 08:57:05 +0000 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com To: "CORAFax -EN-" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: CORAFax 17 (EN) ANTIPROHIBITIONIST OF THE ENTIRE WORLD .... Year 4 No. 17, June 25 1998 *** Weekly Action Report on Drug Policies Edited by the CORA - Radical Antiprohibitionist Coordination, federated to - TRP-Transnational Radical Party (NGO, consultive status, I) - The Global Coalition for Alternatives to the Drug War *** director: Vincenzo Donvito All rights reserved *** http://www.agora.stm.it/coranet mailto:email@example.com *** NEWS FROM THE CORA *** CORA / A NEW EXHORTATION FROM GERMANY TO USE COMMON SENSE Following the request of Mayors and local administrators who ask to introduce a controlled form of distribution of heroin, as already has been done in Switzerland. *** TRP / FRANCE / PRESENTATION OF THE ROQUES REPORT ON AN ALTERNATIVE WAY OF CLASSIFYING DRUGS In the opinion of the secretary of the Transnational Radical Party, Olivier Dupuis, this could be an effective step towards opening a real debate within the European Parliament. It could, on the other hand, just be another occasion that will end up being archived. *** CORA / EUROPEAN COUNCIL OF CARDIFF The CORA criticizes the decision of intensifying the war aginst drugs and of using it as a way to bring the people closer to the European Union. *** THE CORA CONGRESS / SPECIFIC MOTION ON THERAPEUTIC FREEDOM AND ON THE USE OF PSICHO-ACTIVE SUBSTANCES IN CURES This document, which bares the first signatures of Lucio Berte' and Giorgio Inzani, can be freely consulted at our editorial office. *** TRP / MOSCOW / REFERENDUM The majority is in favor of legalizing cannabis, against the persecution of drug consumers and for prescribing heroin under medical surveillance. The referendum has been organized by the Radical Party. *** NEWS FROM THE WORLD *** 000106 22/06/98 E.U. / GB HEALTH / CANNABIS LE FIGARO Gw Pharmaceuticals has been allowed to produce cannabis for therapeutic use. It will be produced secretly in the South of England. *** 000100 19/06/98 E.U. / FRANCE HEALTH / REPORT LE FIGARO / LE MONDE The Roques report on drugs is still causing debate within the government, which is contrary to depenalization, and great criticism on the part of the opposition. *** 000092 19/06/98 E.U. / FRANCE / PARIS INITIATIVE LE FIGARO / LIBERATION 800 supporters of the depenalization of cannabis, holding forth the Roques report which says cannabis is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, have had their annual meeting on the 18th of June (the so called 18th joint). The Police had vetoed the event. *** 000093 22/06/98 E.U. / GERMANY INITIATIVE / POLLS DER SPIEGEL A broad section of the political world agrees that a controlled distribution of heroin can fight the illegal and criminal drug market. 61% of the 1005 interviewed are favourable; 36% are against and 3% did not answer. *** 000105 24/06/98 E.U. INSTITUTIONS FINANCIAL TIMES The European Union is about to take measures towards cultivators of cannabis for textile use who are asking for subsidies. It is alleged that they could eventually produce Marijuana. *** 000104 23/06/98 ASIA / MALAYSIA JURISPRUDENCE FRANKFURTER A 28 year old Philippine citizen who was arrested in 1996 for possessing 811 grams of hashish has been condemned to death. The execution has been suspended, but the Government still follows a strict 'free from drugs within ten years' policy. *** 000094 18/06/98 E.U. / GB MARKET THE TIMES Sir George Martin, former producer of the Beatles, intends to create an 'Ethical Committee' whose task should be that of fighting pop music industry's encouragement of drug use. *** 000095 22/06/98 E.U. / GERMANY MARKET / ECSTASY SUEDDEUTSCHE Z. / LA REPUBBLICA 'Liquid Ecstasy' has arrived either from the USA or from Italy. The Government says that in the first five months of its diffusion deaths from drug use have been 635 against the 539 of the same period in 1997. It is an increment of +17,8%. *** 000096 24/06/98 E.U. / FRANCE MARKET / RHOYPNOL L'EXPRESS Roche, the pharmaceutical industry, has changed the colouring agent used in Rhoypnol, the sleeping drug. In this way the product cannot be used on someone without their knowing about it. *** 000097 13/06/98 E.U. / FRANCE ORGANIZATION LE MONDE Secretary of Health Mr. Kouchner says he still has many doubts regarding the hypothesis of reforming the law on cannabis. *** 000098 19/06/98 AFRICA / S.AFRICA ORGANIZATION HERALD TRIBUNE The Commission on Apartheid has discovered that in 1993 the Government dumped tons of various kinds of drugs in the ocean. The drugs were to be used to 'control' the black population. *** 000099 22/06/98 AMERICA / COLUMBIA ORGANIZATION / WAR ON DRUGS HERALD TRIBUNE On request of the USA, the Government agrees to experiment use of Tebutiurone, a weed killer, to destroy coca cultivations. It could, although, pollute underground water reservoires. *** 000101 19/06/98 AMERICA / USA WAR ON DRUGS HERALD TRIBUNE David Musto, who teaches history of medicine at Yale University, has criticized the American strategy for fighting drugs that has taken shape after the UN summit. *** 000102 22/06/98 AMERICA / MEXICO WAR ON DRUGS HERALD TRIBUNE After reciprocal criticism because of undue interference, Mexico and the USA have agreed to collaborate on investigations of banking accounts used in coverage of drug traffic. *** 000103 18/06/98 E.U. / FRANCE WAR ON DRUGS LIBERATION 18/06 / LE MONDE 20/06 After long indecision, the Cabinet has nominated the Magistrate Nicole Maestracci President of the MILDT (an interministerial commission for the war against drugs). *** CLIPPINGS *** GERMANY - Horst Kruse, head of Police in Bielefeld, says that "Present strategies against drugs have failed". Dierk H. Scnitzler, President of Police Forces in Bonn, says that "Through repression we will never win over the illegal drug market". For Manfred Rommel, former Mayor of Stuttgart, "Police persecution in antidrug strategies is useless". ITALY - The daily newspaper "L'Opinione" has published an article by Carmelo Palma, representative of the Cora, intitled "A Lesson from Germany". *** CORA -COORDINATION RADICALE ANTIPROHIBITIONNISTE -ANTIPROHIBITIONIST RADICAL COORDINATION -COORDINAMENTO RADICALE ANTIPROIBIZIONISTA Federated with the Transnational Radical Party NGO with category I consultative status at the UN Emailto:firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.agora.stm.it/coranet Emailto:email@example.com -------------------------------------------------------------------
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