------------------------------------------------------------------- Heroin's Grasp On Portland ('The Oregonian' Portrays The Two Young Addicts Who Hung Themselves Recently From The Downtown Portland Steel Bridge, Providing The Usual Sensational Misinformation With The Help Of State Medical Examiner Larry Lewman, Who Said, 'Heroin Is The Fatal Drug Of Choice In Portland And Throughout Oregon - It Is Responsible For More Oregon Deaths Than Any Other Drug,' Without Noting That 100 Times As Many Oregonians Die From Tobacco Or Alcohol Drugs Of Choice, Or Prescription Drugs, While Nobody Dies From Heroin Overdoses In Clinical Maintenance Programs In Switzerland Or England) Heroin's grasp on Portland The Oregonian letters to editor: firstname.lastname@example.org 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Heroin's grasp on Portland * The double suicide of a couple who hanged themselves from the Steel Bridge is a glimpse of a dire problem Sunday, July 12 1998 By Michelle Roberts of The Oregonian staff Hanging themselves from Portland's Steel Bridge during rush-hour traffic was not the way Michael Douglas and Mora McGowan first thought they would end their heroin addictions. Shortly before the July 1 double suicide, McGowan, 25, tried to cut her wrists. And Douglas, her 29-year-old fiance, made plans to swap his last possession of any value -- a bicycle -- for enough heroin to overdose. (picture caption: Friends of the young couple who committed suicide nearly two weeks ago leave handwritten messages along the Steel Bridge railing as a memorial.) But when those plans failed, and the desperate couple hanged themselves from the Steel Bridge in full view of downtown commuters, the message to all of Portland was clear: Look at us. It appears that the double suicide wasn't so much to make a public spectacle as to force Portland to look at the rampant problem of heroin and its destructive influence. In a 13-page journal found on his body, Douglas described the couple's downward spiral since he and McGowan became addicted to heroin. The powerful pull of the drug was almost a demonic possession. The cravings for more were overwhelming; thoughts of rehabilitation and help were shoved aside. As much as the public suicide horrified people, it didn't surprise those who have used heroin or who havetried to help drag people from its grasp. "Because heroin is so expensive compared to other drugs, heroin addicts tend to use up everybody and everything in their lives very quickly -- money, jobs, family, friends, possessions, everything," said Donna Mulcare , a volunteer coordinator for the Oregon Partnership's drug hot line. Heroin is the fatal drug of choice in Portland and throughout Oregon. It is responsible for more Oregon deaths than any other drug, said Dr. Larry Lewman, state medical examiner. For the past six years, heroin deaths have been occurring at a record pace, pushing the state's overall drug-related deaths to new heights. In 1997, there were 221 drug-related deaths in Oregon. Of those, 161, or 73 percent, involved heroin. In Multnomah County last year, 97 of 121 drug-related deaths, or 80 percent, involved heroin. Drug-related suicides are included in those numbers. The medical examiner's office could rule the McGowan and Douglas suicides as heroin-related once toxicology results are completed. In the 1980s, after Mexican black-tar heroin was introduced to the Portland area, the drug claimed fewer than one victim a week. But in recent years, the toll has increased steadily; heroin deaths last year reached about three a week. So far this year, the phenomenon has leveled off with 59 deaths involving heroin. But authorities are quick to say that use of the drug, especially in Portland, isn't waning at all. In a recent study by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Oregon ranked behind only Manhattan with 39 percent of people arrested testing positive for heroin and related opiates. A Justice Department study released by the White House on Saturday showed 40 percent of people arrested testing positive for opiates, a particular problem among young women. Use of cocaine and methamphetamines also was up. None of that surprises Richard L. Harris, executive director of Central City Concern, which oversees the Hooper Center for Alcohol and Drug Intervention, the largest inpatient detoxification clinic in Portland. "I would be confident in saying Portland probably has the highest per-capita number of heroin addicts than any other major city," he said. "It's everywhere" On West Burnside Street between the bridge and the North Park Blocks, dealers dole out tar heroin to people who defy categories. They're all here. The derelicts. The leathered. The punked-out skateboarders. The pierced and tattooed crowd. High school preps. Graying hippies. Stressed-out college students and strung-out housewives. Corporate types who pull up in luxury sedans. Portland narcotics officers and health professionals see them all. When it comes to heroin, there is no one type of user. "Working class, middle class. Welders, truck drivers, musicians; unfortunately even a pilot," said Dr. Marshall Bedder, medical director of Advanced Pain Management Group, which conducts a six-hour detox program for heroin addicts. "CEOs, graduate students, wives of working people and kids who are supported by their parents. That's the bulk of what we're seeing." The range of users even surprises the addicts. "I've seen people I never would have dreamed would be down on Burnside," said a 22-year-old heroin addict who is going through detox at the Hooper Center, which allows interviews of patients on the condition their names are not used. "I've seen rich, upper-class kids dressed in GQ, copping a fix alongside the bums." Chasing shadows For police, trying to disrupt the supply of heroin in Portland is like chasing shadows. Whenever police target Burnside Street, heroin activity turns up elsewhere. "Burnside used to be thick with dealers," said Eric Schober, a narcotics officer. "Now we're seeing a rise in the Hawthorne District. "It's like pushing on a balloon. You push one end, and the air pops up at the other end." For those who can afford some anonymity, dealers pass out their pager numbers so addicts can reach them 24 hours a day. "It's not like it was in the 1970s, when Skidmore (Street) was the place to go buy heroin," Schober said. "Now it's everywhere." Addiction counselors fear more people are using heroin because the price has dropped, partly because so much is available and because dealers are pushing it so hard. Heroin dealers have even staked out detox centers to keep customers from going clean, police and counselors say. "Drug dealers will hang out outside of methadone clinics, approaching people when they get out of treatment," Schober said. At Hooper, on the southeast corner of Northeast Couch Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, a heroin dealer once got himself admitted to treatment so he could persuade a woman to leave the clinic and start using again. "It's crazy," said Mary Meyer, an admit clerk at Hooper. "We have to be so careful." Also, the growing popularity of snorting and smoking heroin, rather than shooting up, has lured younger users. In Portland, tar heroin sells for about $120 a gram, Schober said. Most addicts cannot afford the larger dose, so they buy a quarter of a gram for between $40 and $55. Suicide plan foiled It was to have been a private affair. But the original suicide plans of Mora Kathleen McGowan and Michael Shannon Douglas were foiled. McGowan cut her wrists, but her mother rushed her to a hospital. Douglas tried to come up with enough money for an overdose, but he couldn't. Earlier that week, they'd been asked to leave the McCormick Pier apartment of a friend. Facing homelessness and having exhausted their financial resources, their bodies and their will, the couple -- still craving heroin -- saw what they thought was their only solution. They saw the Steel Bridge -- and perhaps a chance to make a statement in a city known for its thriving heroin culture. Douglas recorded the last few weeks of the couple's lives in his journal, scrawled in an oversized artist sketchpad amid tattoo-style drawings. "He wrote about how the world was a terrible place and that he couldn't live in it unless he was high," said Sgt. Kent Perry, a Portland police dtective. "He was distraught about his addiction and didn't see any way out of it." The drug had become such an obsession that the couple pawned everything they owned of any value to feed their habit, Douglas wrote in his journal. Police found the journal in a book bag Douglas had slung across his chest when he jumped off the bridge. The couple, called soul mates by those who knew them, hanged themselves with separate nooses tied together. "I think I've decided on an old-fashioned public hanging. . . . Thirteen loops in a hangman's noose," Douglas wrote in his last journal entry. "The Steel Bridge shall be my gallows. . . . Mora and I go together on the Steel Bridge." A collector of vintage clothing, McGowan was the youngest in a family of three girls. Her friends and co-workers describe her as a friendly but shy beauty who carried herself like a model and experimented with her hair and makeup. Treatment failed Those who knew McGowan well said they became aware of her addiction last fall. By that time, they suspected the problem had ruled her life for some time. She tried treatment at least once but failed. Less than a year ago, McGowan was an assistant manager for a downtown salon and beauty supply store. She was never late in paying her $410 rent for a small studio in the Belmont Court Apartments. But in August, shortly before McGowan moved out, "we started having trouble getting the rent," said Lucy Johnson, the apartment manager. Ruby Patterson, McGowan's former manager at the salon, said: "I was so shocked to hear about Mora. She was a hard worker. She was fair and honest. She was genuine, and she was a good sales girl." Douglas, who moved in with McGowan after they met through friends, worked as a landscaper and tattoo artist. They became engaged 11/2 years ago. Douglas grew up an only child in Salem and was a regular at Zero Gravity, a skateboard shop, said Angela Thompson, who married Douglas secretly when they were teen-agers. The couple lived for three months with Thompson's parents until Douglas left, but they didn't divorce until 1993, when she tracked him down in Portland through a classified advertisement. "I feel so bad for his mom and dad," Thompson said. "They loved him so much and tried so hard. There was a good side to him, but drugs were always involved in his life." Both McGowan's and Douglas' parents declined to discuss their children's suicides. Separate memorial services have been held. In McGowan's obituary, her mother listed the cause of her death as "suicide due to heroin addiction." The first mention of suicide appeared in Douglas' journal in the last few days of June, police said. "He wrote that his last resource was a $160 mountain bike," said Detective Sgt. Derrick Anderson, who read the journal. "That was his last resource to exchange for enough drugs to go commit suicide on his own. But that didn't work out for some reason. "He wrote about being very tired. If you've got to come up with $200 every day, and you have nothing left, that's a lot of work. That's a treadmill." "People are in crisis" Mulcare talks to dozens of heroin addicts a week while answering the Oregon Partnership's hot line. "Without the drug, you're going to be in extreme physical and emotional pain," she said. "You can't walk. Your gut is cramping. And if you're like most young people, you have no resources, and you can't get publicly funded treatment any sooner than six to eight weeks." Ten of the 17 people admitted to the Hooper Center on a recent morning were addicted to heroin. For every one treatment slot in Portland, 10 heroin addicts are turned away, Harris said. It is a gut-wrenching experience for Hooper intake clerks, who want to help everyone who comes through the doors. On Thursday morning, three heroin addicts drove three hours from Seattle to get into the Hooper Center's program, which uses acupuncture to ease withdrawal symptoms. They were turned away, as was a young woman, black circles beneath her eyes. Tears rolled down her flushed cheeks as she stormed out of the center lobby. "People are in crisis," Harris said. "We know when we send them out of here ,we're sending them back out on the streets to use. But we only have so many openings." Sometimes addicts start lining up at 3 a.m. for a spot at the center, which opens at 7:30 a.m., admit clerk Meyer said. But Harris said decisions are based on physical need. Another Hooper admit clerk, Faye Moore, tossed and turned in her bed at home when she heard the news of McGowan's and Douglas' suicide. Earlier that morning, she had turned away a couple seeking treatment. "I felt sick to my stomach until I got into work and looked on the computer to see it wasn't them," she said. "Then I thought, 'Well, that other couple is still out there.' " Each year, Harris said,the Hooper Center treats 3,000 heroin addicts, and another 7,000 are enrolled in methadone and other detox programs in the state. Even the redemption of detox isn't enough to help some addicts. "You know that for two weeks you're going to be the sickest you've ever been in your life, and you're going to want to die," Mulcare said. "Some people wrongly think suicide is the answer." Thoughts of suicide familiar The 22-year-old addict said he checked himself into Hooper two days after he heard about the Steel Bridge suicide. It is his fifth time through the program. His parents still think he's clean from his fourth attempt at sobriety several months ago. "Every junkie I've known has thought about suicide," he said. "I just thought, another one taking the easy way out." The man said he moved to Portland a few years ago to make a clean start. But Portland "was more saturated with heroin than any other city I've lived in," he said. When he got off the bus at a downtown station, his demon was staring him straight in the face. "As soon as I hit Burnside, people were like, 'What do you need?' " he said. "I was in Portland five minutes before I used." When he's not in detox, the once-aspiring musician said, his entire life revolves around heroin, a morning-to-night chase for the drug. He often will choose buying drugs over renting a cheap hotel room. He steals candy bars to stave off hunger, or, he said, "I'll go through garbage cans." He doesn't know what the future holds. "I wish I could say this is the last time, but I don't know what is going to happen," he said. "I just keep asking myself, why did I do this to my life?" It's the same question people are asking about McGowan and Douglas. Friends and strangers have painted and scratched messages of compassion and confusion in the railing of the Steel Bridge where the couple jumped. One message, written in yellow nail polish, reads, "I love you both! "Why?"
------------------------------------------------------------------- Assisted-Suicide Law Faces New Challenges In Court, Congress ('The Oregonian' Says National Right To Life Lawyers On Monday Will Again Try To Persuade A Federal Judge In Eugene To Block Oregon's Unique Assisted-Suicide Law, And On Tuesday A Congressional Subcommittee Will Begin Hearings On A Bill That Would Nullify The Law By Threatening Doctors' Credentials) The Oregonian letters to editor: email@example.com 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Assisted-suicide law faces new challenges in court, Congress * Opponents again will try to persuade a judge and a subcommittee to block the Oregon statute Sunday, July 12 1998 By Erin Hoover Barnett and Ashbel S. Green of The Oregonian staff Opponents of physician-assisted suicide will take their case to court and to Congress this week. On Monday, National Right to Life lawyers will renew their efforts to persuade a federal judge in Eugene to block the Oregon law, which allows terminally ill adults to obtain lethal doses of pills. The following day, a congressional subcommittee will begin hearings on a bill that would hit the law from a different angle -- in effect, putting a doctor's livelihood at stake for assisting in a suicide. Neither the court nor Congress is expected to immediately alter the law's status. U.S. District Judge Michael R. Hogan is not expected to make a ruling Monday, and Tuesday's congressional hearing is just the first step in what probably will be a protracted debate. But opponents and supporters of assisted suicide will watch for clues about how strategies for stopping the Oregon law might fare. And the dual hearings will showcase ongoing efforts by opponents, primarily the National Right to Life, the U.S. Catholic Conference and a largely Republican group of lawmakers. "There is a series of legal strategies, and the opponents will continue to have something in their back pocket," said Valerie Vollmar, a professor at Willamette University College of Law. "At this point, they show no signs whatsoever of slowing down or stopping." Approved by voters in 1994 and reaffirmed in 1997, Oregon's Death With Dignity Act has been in effect for less than nine months because of court challenges. At least four terminally ill people have used it to end their lives since a court injunction against the law was lifted Oct. 27, 1997. Vollmar, who has tracked the assisted-suicide issue closely, says opponents have developed a pattern of rolling out new strategies to stop the bill each time a previous one failed. "You have to admire their organization and their bag of ideas they have waiting in the wings. They certainly are doing battle," said Vollmar, who said she supports Oregon's law but speaks on the topic as a neutral observer. Groundwork for the congressional battle against assisted suicide was laid in June 1997 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no constitutional right to assisted suicide and that the issue is up to each state to decide. Soon after the court's ruling, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops contacted Rep. Henry J. Hyde, R-Ill., to discuss whether assisted suicide might violate federal drug laws. Hyde and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, raised the issue with the Drug Enforcement Administration. In November, the day after Oregonians defeated an attempt to repeal the assisted-suicide law, DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine sent a letter to Hatch and Hyde. Constantine wrote that he thought Oregon's law violated federal drug laws and that his agency could yank doctors' federal drug-prescribing privileges for giving terminally ill patients drugs to assist in suicides. Last month, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno overruled Constantine, deciding the DEA lacks the authority to sanction doctors acting under Oregon's law. The day of Reno's announcement, Hyde, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced a bill that would amend federal drug laws to broaden the authority of the attorney general and hence the DEA. The Lethal Drug Abuse and Prevention Act of 1998 would set up a medical review board to deny, suspend or revoke a doctor's federal drug-prescribing privileges if the doctor prescribed or intended to prescribe drugs to assist in a suicide or euthanasia. The attorney general would name medical regulatory and pain relief experts to the board. Most physicians could not practice without their federal privileges, which enable them to prescribe powerful painkillers and sedatives used to treat everything from post-surgical pain to anxiety. Tuesday's first hearing on the bill will be before the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution. Although the bill seemed to have broad initial support, the American Medical Association and the National Hospice Organization since have come out against it. Both groups oppose assisted suicide, but they fear that Hyde's bill would discourage the aggressive use of drugs to control pain, anxiety and other symptoms suffered by dying patients. Assisted-suicide supporters welcome these powerful groups as rare allies. Eli Stutsman, attorney for Oregon Right to Die, said opposition to the bill from the AMA helps establish its poor design. He said the bill's supporters are attacking assisted suicide indirectly through federal drug laws to avoid being blatant about their true intentions. "It's a naked attempt to interfere with what one state has done after a very extended process of debate," Stutsman said. But Dr. Gregory Hamilton, who will testify before the subcommittee as president of an anti-assisted-suicide group, Physicians for Compassionate Care, said Congress will hear plenty of support for the bill. Assisted suicide "is not just a parochial issue for Oregon," he said. "It's a major way of viewing humanity that is inconsistent with the principles of our Constitution." Vollmar thinks the opposition from organized medicine, however, could doom the legislation. "If it was just Oregon people, maybe they would ignore us. But it's a lot harder to go against the AMA," she said. Meanwhile, assisted-suicide opponents will be in Eugene on Monday to ask Hogan to reinstate a lawsuit arguing that the Death With Dignity Act is unconstitutional. Hogan blocked the Oregon law after voters approved it in 1994. He later declared it unconstitutional on the grounds that it did not have adequate safeguards. But in 1997, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Hogan, saying the plaintiff did not have standing to sue because the law did not injure her. Janice Elsner, who has muscular dystrophy, had argued that she might use the law in a state of depression, even though she was morally opposed to assisted suicide. But the 9th Circuit said her argument was hypothetical. In order to have standing to sue in federal court, plaintiffs must prove that the laws they seek to overturn actually injure them. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal. In October, the 9th Circuit dismissed the suit, and the law was put into effect. Elsner's attorneys asked Hogan for another chance. They said that because the Death With Dignity Act allowed only the terminally ill to kill themselves, it stigmatized them as having lives less worth living than everyone else. Assisted-suicide supporters say that it's too late to raise a new argument for standing and that, in any case, the "stigmatic injury" argument does not overcome the 9th Circuit's objections to the suit. Because of a series of delays, Hogan has yet to decide whether he will allow Elsner's attorneys to reinstate the case. He's also considering motions to add a terminally ill plaintiff, Troy Thompson, who has Lou Gehrig's disease, to the suit and certify it as a class action. Although Hogan could issue another injunction, blocking the law, Monday's hearing is expected to consist only of oral arguments on the procedural motions before the court. None of the attorneys involved in the case expects Hogan to rule on those preliminary matters from the bench. "Most commonly, judges take things under advisement and then issue their opinion later," said Richard Coleson, one of Elsner's attorneys, who is affiliated with the National Right to Life Committee. But Thompson, who is immobilized by his disease and communicates using his eyes, and his wife, Marilyn Thompson, are hoping for the best. The couple sent an e-mail to friends and supporters asking them to pray for Hogan's wisdom and for the Thompson family. Marilyn Thompson said she expects perhaps a dozen supporters to come to the hearing in Hogan's court. "I hope he's got enough information that he can make a decision in our favor," Marilyn Thompson said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Oakland May Reconsider Medical Marijuana Resolution (A Bay Area Reformer Says Lame Duck Oakland Mayor Elihu Harria On July 21 Will Have The Oakland City Council Reconsider Its New Policy Permitting Medical Marijuana Patients To Possess Realistic Quantities Of Cannabis, Based On The Amounts Provided To Eight Patients By The US Government's Investigative New Drug Program) Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 21:25:17 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "ralph sherrow" (email@example.com) by way of firstname.lastname@example.org (Dale Gieringer)) Subject: DPFCA: Oakland May Reconsider Med MJ Resln Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Last Wed., Oakland Mayor Elihu Harria went on a big drug bust of 80 to 101 suspects that the police department had been making buys from. The mayor was asked by the press what he thought about the city council passing the 1 1/2 pound possession for MMJ patients. He was surprised to hear, from the press, that that was what he had signed. He just didn't know, so he got concerned & has asked the council to reconsider their ruling or vote. The hearing for this is set for July 21 1998, that's tuesday at 7pm in the council chambers on the third floor of the city hall. He may be talked into going along with the council before the hearing, but at this time it is on the calendar. As always we need as many supporters as possible. See you there. Ralph
------------------------------------------------------------------- Singleton Motions (An Op-Ed In 'The San Francisco Examiner' By Debra J. Saunders Takes Issue With The Recent Ruling By A US Court Of Appeals Panel In Denver That It Is Illegal For The Government To Promise Leniency To Witnesses In Exchange For Testimony)Date: Mon, 13 Jul 1998 01:55:14 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: OPED: Singleton Motions Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 Author: Debra J. Saunders SINGLETON MOTIONS WHENEVER a panel of judges cites the Magna Carta, it won't be long before you pinch yourself and ask who died and made these folks king. Witness the recent out-of-the-blue decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver. The judges decided that it is illegal for federal prosecutors to offer immunity in exchange for testimony; then likened their ruling to the lesson King John was taught at Runnymede in 1215. The court could stand a Runnymede. The ruling departs from earlier decisions, and outlaws a long-time practice essential to enabling small fish to finger insulated crime bosses. The decision is now law in New Mexico; Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Already the Rocky Mountain News has reported that federal prosecutors in Denver have moved to throw out criminal charges against three accused armed bank robbers because their case relied on two witnesses with leniency deals. The attorney who won the ruling believes it could help the appeals of convicted Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. The ruling also could chill all pending federal prosecutions and immunity deals - including a deal for Monica Lewinsky. If other courts adopt this stand, thugs will rejoice. Mass murderer Charlie Hanson was convicted after Linda Kasabian testified against him under grant of immunity. Wichita, attorney John Val Wachtel, who won the decision on behalf of client Sonya Singleton, expects lawyers across the country to start filing what are now called "Singleton motions." Singleton was 24, black and pregnant, when a jury convicted her on one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and seven courts of money laundering and sentenced her to 46 months behind bars. She had been living with drug dealer - who cut a deal with prosecutors and never served time. She was convicted - based on the testimony of another deal-cutter also higher in the drug chain, also freed from prosecution. She got a raw deal. "When the government wraps the American flag around a sinner newly come to Jesus, juries believe them, because that witness is cloaked with the power and majesty of the United States and my client, a poor little black girl, is nobody," Wachtel said. I empathize. But this ruling hits immunity abuses and forthright deals with the same club. The cure is worse than the disease. And the ruling was dishonest. As they argued that immunity was tantamount to bribery, the judges also claimed that their ruling will not outlaw all immunity deals. Jack King, spokesman for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, summed up: "Prosecutors can still try and flip witnesses, but they can't promise them anything." That's a joke. First, the decision steps on defendants' rights against self-incrimination, which may not please defense attorneys who try to help clients win immunity. Then later, the judges concocted a scenario under which immunity might be legal - which violates their own logic, that an immunity offer is inherently corrupting. Former federal prosecutor Victoria Toensing reacted to the ruling: "I probably couldn't have done any of my cases. Unless you have an undercover agent, you couldn't do any cases against higher ups. Bully for the court. It made it harder for the feds to prosecute small-time Singletons, and nearly impossible to go after sickos and crime bosses. All rise. You can read Debra J. Saunders online at sfgate.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Can Anybody Tell Us What Victory Means In This Longest War? ('Denver Post' Columnist Ed Quillen Insightfully Weighs The Government's 'New Propaganda Barrage' And Wonders What Would Have To Happen To End This War And Begin The Demobilization And Consequent Return To A Limited Civilian Government, Rather Than The Big And Intrusive Urine-Sampling One That Operates Now) Newshawk: Sledhead Source: Denver Post ( CO) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.denverpost.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 12 July 1998 Author: Ed Quillen CAN ANYBODY TELL US WHAT VICTORY MEANS IN THIS LONGEST WAR? July 12 - One should be suspicious, I suppose, whenever there is agreement between Newton Leroy Gingrich, Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, and William Jefferson Clinton, Democratic president of the United States of America. They joined for a trip to Atlanta last week to announce yet another phase of the War on Drugs, this time a propaganda campaign. Meanwhile, various military campaigns are in full operation, including chemical warfare - herbicide bombs for farms in South America - and more traditional means, such as the deployment of infantry along the southern border to kill sheep herders. The new propaganda barrage will involve hard-hitting paid advertisements, aimed at discouraging drug use among youth, and will cost millions, perhaps billions. Now I'm not going to be the one to question the efficacy of advertising, since I sell the stuff in one of my enterprises and certainly benefit from it in other pursuits. But when it comes to drug usage, advertising, along with the media in general, presents a mixed message. On one hand, teenagers and the rest of us see myriad messages telling us to take drugs to feel better: Tylenol for that headache, Advil for that sore back, Prozac for that frazzled feeling, Viagra for those male occasions when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. On the other, there will be the latest propaganda campaign from the Drug Czar, telling us that it's not right to take something to feel better. How to tell the proper from improper substances? Kids are supposed to trust the government to know the difference, I guess - and if they believe everything the government tells them, then our public schools are every bit as bad as the critics say. But for the sake of argument, let us suppose that this propaganda barrage succeeds and that we have a "Drug-Free America'' where cannabis, crank, coca compounds, poppy extracts and the like are totally unknown. What would happen then? Would all the government make-work programs be terminated? Would the snoops, spies and thugs have to find honest work? Would prisons close for lack of business? Would the Bill of Rights mean something again? Or would the warriors merely turn their attention to new substances, now socially acceptable, like caffeine and theobromine (a chemical found in chocolate that may be psychoactive)? If this sounds unlikely, consider that many currently controlled substances were once staples of legitimate commerce: The Founding Fathers grew hemp; heroin was developed and marketed by the same Bayer company that produced aspirin; cocaine was sold over the counter at dispensaries operated by mining companies in Colorado a century ago; amphetamines were dispensed by our own military to keep soldiers alert. We citizens who get requisitioned to support this War on Drugs ought to ask "What constitutes victory?'' before even more billions are spent. In other words, what would have to happen to end this war and begin the demobilization and consequent return to a limited civilian government, rather than the big and intrusive urine-sampling one that operates now? Or is the definition of "victory'' purposely so vague that the Drug Warriors, after defeating some substances, would be able to turn their guns toward others, thereby ensuring that they have a permanent slot at the public trough? For some reason, I feel confident that these questions will not be answered by the latest propaganda campaign. But our political process may be starting to address these and related issues. Jack Woehr of Golden, a correspondent who has expressed seditious sentiments much like mine, tried running for office two years ago and wrote that the state Democratic Party didn't want anything to do with him on account of his failure to express the politically correct enthusiasm for the War on Drugs. But this year, he reported, he easily gained the Democratic nomination for state Representative from District 62, which stretches from Golden west across the Great Divide. He suspects that the party leadership has concluded that it is difficult to support policies that lead to an 18 percent increase in prison spending and only 3 percent more for education, and so he was finally welcomed to the fold. Jack also mentioned that his campaign may be watched closely by every candidate in Colorado to see whether it's safe to quit lying to voters about the wonders of the War on Drugs. But truth in a campaign is a tough road, especially when master politicians like Clinton and Gingrich can tap the public treasury to promulgate more deception. Ed Quillen of Salida (email@example.com) is a former newspaper editor whose column appears Tuesdays and Sundays. His book, "Deep in the Heart of the Rockies,'' is a collection of past Post columns.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 13 Initiatives Aim For Arkansas Ballot, But Only Two Connect ('The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette' Notes A Marijuana Law Reform Initiative Campaign Failed To Gather Enough Signatures To Get On The November 1998 Ballot) Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 15:36:12 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US AR: 13 Initiatives Aim For Arkansas Ballot, But Only 2 Connect 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: Sunday, July 12, 1998 Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Contact: [Noted "Arkansas Residents Only"] http://www.ardemgaz.com/info/voices.html email: email@example.com Website: http://www.ardemgaz.com/ 13 INITIATIVES AIM FOR ARKANSAS BALLOT, BUT ONLY 2 CONNECT Groceries and used vehicles will continue to be subject to sales taxes, the prohibition against marijuana and hemp will stay in place, and the dogs and ponies still will be the only legal wagering in Arkansas. Those were among the situations in the state that some citizens wanted to reverse through the ballot initiative process. But they weren't able to raise enough signatures to be eligible for the November election. Failure of the proposal to remove state and local sales taxes on groceries means Arkansas taxpayers can expect an already-enacted $173 million income tax cut to take effect over the next two years. The attorney general's office had certified the ballot titles for 13 proposed constitutional amendments or initiated acts. Supporters then had to gather signatures of registered Arkansas voters: 71,955 for constitutional amendments, 57,564 for initiated acts. Only two of the 13 made the July 3 deadline. One is a proposed amendment to abolish ad valorem taxes on real and personal property and replace the lost revenue, estimated to be about $895 million, with a 1.375-cent addition to the state sales tax, which would raise about $600 million. Cities and counties would be allowed to raise their sales taxes by an extra one-half cent. Amendment proponents gathered more than 98,000 signatures. The secretary of state's office is checking the signatures to ensure they are valid. If there are not enough valid signatures, the sponsors get 30 days to collect more signatures. The other proposal that cleared the deadline was a proposed initiated act that would allow the state Public Service Commission to lower the rates long-distance telephone companies pay to local telephone companies for the use of the local networks. Those rates were frozen for three years under Act 77 of 1997. Bill Vickery, spokesman for a coalition led by AT&T, said his group gathered 61,745 signatures in about 30 days. The act's ballot title was certified May 29, and the signature drive began in early June. Probably the biggest surprise no-show to the secretary of state's office was the initiated act petition drive, sponsored by a group called the Arkansas Citizens' Alliance, to remove state and local sales taxes from grocery purchases. Polls in early 1997 showed that as many as 82 percent of Arkansans supported removing the sales tax on groceries. The Arkansas Citizens Alliance even got the endorsement and pledges of assistance from the American Association of Retired Persons in Arkansas. But alliance leader David Couch of Little Rock, a lawyer, said his group only collected between 30,000 and 35,000 signatures, far short of the total necessary to get the act on the ballot. "My guess is we were relying real heavily on the local AARP chapter," he said. "We didn't get the response we wanted from the AARP." The advocacy group for the elderly boasts of about 360,000 members in Arkansas. Chip Hillman, the AARP's state legislative committee chairman, said his group simply did what Couch asked it to do. "The last I heard," which Hillman said was in early June, "everything was going slow but moving." The alliance had begun their effort with a constitutional amendment, but later decided on an initiated act, partly because an act needed fewer signatures and partly because supporters believed that an initiated act would receive less scrutiny from the state Supreme Court than an amendment. Couch also blamed Arkansas Municipal League Director Don Zimmerman for his group's failure. "Don Zimmerman went to every city and told the old people that removing the sales tax on food would mean cities would close senior centers, close parks and that there would be less police," Couch said. "He scared them." Zimmerman said he didn't realize he was the cause for the alliance's failure to gather enough signatures, "but if I did, I'm proud of it." "I think that's giving me more credit than I deserve," he said. The Municipal League is opposed to removing the sales tax from groceries because this would deprive cities of a significant source of revenue. Zimmerman said he didn't organize meetings where he could campaign against the petition drive. "I went to wherever I was invited," he said. Couch and his group believe that it's immoral to tax people's bread and butter. Zimmerman said it's not immoral when one looks at how the money is spent to provide local government services, such as police and fire protection. Another part of his group's problem, Couch said, was that his group's effort was all volunteer, since the alliance had no money to pay canvassers. But sales-tax payers' loss will be income-tax payers' gain. The Legislature in 1997 enacted income tax cuts and other tax reductions expected to save taxpayers $90.6 million in 1999 and $83.1 million in 2000. The Legislature, fearing that voters could approve the alliance's initiative and thus set off a state revenue crisis, made their tax rollbacks contingent upon keeping the sales tax on groceries in place. Couch said Arkansans can expect to see his group's petitions back on the street in 2000 should the Legislature not repeal those sales taxes when it meets in 1999. "If the General Assembly doesn't do it this time, we'll do it again, and we'll be better organized and we won't have a 'poison pill' to worry about," he said. All three gubernatorial candidates favor steps to remove the sales tax from groceries, perhaps by phasing out the levy. Another petition that wasn't delivered to the state Capitol failed not because of lack of support, but because its backers hitched their horse to another wagon. Little Rock resident Nora Harris' group, Empower Arkansans, had a proposed amendment to abolish property taxes and replace the revenue with an additional 2.5 cents sales tax. But her group melded its efforts in May with those of Fort Smith lawyer Oscar Stilley, who was leading the aforementioned property tax measure. Stilley was behind nearly half of the 13 ballot initiatives certified by the attorney general's office. But he acknowledged that a lack of resources forced him to concentrate solely on the property tax amendment. Other amendments Stilley had certified were: An amendment to freeze county property tax appraisals at their 1993 level, unless otherwise changed by popular vote. It also would have required popular votes on any local tax increase. An amendment requiring voter approval of new taxes or tax increases. Stilley said that issue will become law if the voters approve his property tax amendment. An amendment allowing parents to choose what public schools their children attend and allowing state-financed vouchers to help parents pay for private or parochial schools. An amendment abolishing sales taxes on used goods and abolishing the income tax. An amendment prohibiting the judiciary from disqualifying citizen initiatives for any reason other than the failure to collect the required number of valid signatures. Stilley said that if the Supreme Court does with his property tax amendment what it has done with other proposed constitutional amendments in past elections, 2000 may be the year to get that proposal through. Stilley complained that the court, by its actions, has shown a hostility toward the citizen initiative process. "When you throw off nearly everything that was on the ballot, what do you call it?" he said, referring to 1994 when five of six proposed amendments were disqualified because of faulty ballot titles. "It is corrupt and wrong to throw these things off. They know they can't win in a fair fight." As for the future of his other proposals, Stilley said, "We'll just have to wait and see how the powers that be respond to our [property tax] initiative." Another proposal that may come back is the proposed amendment to allow for casinos, a lottery and charitable bingo in Arkansas. The Fix Arkansas Now committee tried but failed to gather enough signatures to put another gambling proposal before the voters. No one was available at the committee's offices in Little Rock to comment last week, but former Arkansas State Police Col. Tommy Goodwin, president of the Arkansas Casino Corp., told The Associated Press that his group's idea of establishing casinos owned by an Arkansas company and by Arkansas stockholders would be back. "I don't think we can blame anybody but ourselves for it," he said. "We just didn't get the signatures." While the casino proponents pledge another try, Bobby Gwatney of Conway said he didn't know if he would make another go at his proposal to remove the sales tax from the sale of used cars. Gwatney's no-budget effort only netted nearly 1,800 signatures. Another element that hampered his effort was the unusually hot weather this year, Gwatney said. "We didn't contemplate 90- and 100-degree temperatures in April and May," he said. "That was too hard on the old people [collecting signatures]." An amendment to end the state's prohibitions against marijuana and hemp also fell woefully short of the necessary signatures to get before the voters. Fayetteville lawyer Larry Froelich said that people were too afraid of being labeled a "druggie" or afraid of run-ins with police to publicly circulate the petitions. He said people weren't afraid to sign, though. Froelich said there are about 250,000 regular marijuana smokers in Arkansas, using the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's estimates. He said the purpose of his effort was to allow the state to regulate and tax the drug as alcohol is now. He said another damper to his effort, besides the lack of a budget, was people's inability to differentiate between marijuana and hemp, which does not contain the psychoactive chemical, Froelich said. He said hemp, because of its high-strength fibers, have a number of commercial uses, such as rope and fabric. "This isn't an ordinary kind of amendment," he said. "You make yourself a target." This article was published on Sunday, July 12, 1998
------------------------------------------------------------------- Penn State Students Riot, Battle Cops As Bars Close (Cable News Network Says About 1,500 Were Involved In The Disturbance - State College Police Chief Tom King Said, 'Without Alcohol, This Situation Would Never Have Occurred,' But Then, As Supreme Court Justice Brandeis Once Said, 'Crime Is Contagious . . . . If The Government Becomes A Lawbreaker, It Breeds Contempt For The Law') Date: Mon, 13 Jul 1998 09:30:13 EDT Errors-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Multiple recipients of list (email@example.com) Subject: Penn State students riot, battle cops as bars closeFrom CNN Online: http://cnn.com/US/9807/12/riots/ Penn State students riot, battle cops as bars close July 12, 1998 Web posted at: 9:31 p.m. EDT (0131 GMT) STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Rowdy crowds near Penn State University set fires, damaged street signs, vandalized cars and smashed three storefront windows in the early hours of Sunday. Fourteen police officers were injured in the 2 1/2 hour riot. Twenty people were arrested, and the damage was estimated at $50,000. Police say the unrest began early Sunday morning when large crowds gathered on the balconies of several apartment buildings and someone lobbed a garbage can onto the street below. About 1,500 people were involved. "This is another example of the problem associated with alcohol abuse," State College Police Chief Tom King said after order was restored. "Without alcohol, this situation would never have occurred.". Rioters finally dispersed about 4 a.m., after state police and several area police and fire companies joined local and university officers in crowd control efforts. The Associated Press contributed to this report. *** "That's alls I can stand, I can't stands no more!" - Popeye the Sailor Libertarian Party of New York NY Libertarians for a Drug War Ceasefire - NOW! http://welcome.to/freedom
------------------------------------------------------------------- More Than 1,000 People Riot At Penn State (The Knight Ridder Newspapers Version) Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 13:24:09 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US PA: WIRE: More Than 1,000 People Riot At Penn State 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: Knight Ridder Newspapers Pubdate: 12 Jul 1998 MORE THAN 1,000 PEOPLE RIOT AT PENN STATE STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- More than 1,000 young people lit fires, toppled street lights, wrecked motor vehicles and injured 16 police officers early Sunday morning in the worst rioting ever in the borough. At least 20 people were arrested in the Beaver Avenue riot, which police said was fueled by alcohol. Local police had to wait 2 1/2 hours for reinforcements from state police from other counties to arrive before they charged in riot gear to break up the melee. ``In my 15 years on the force, this was the scariest moment in my life,'' said State College Police Lt. Thomas Hart. The downtown rampage was far uglier than in previous episodes involving victory celebrations over Penn State football games, police said. They described it as the worst rioting ever in the borough's history, and said that they were pelted with rocks, bottles, bricks, light fixtures, lamp posts and tree limbs. At its height Sunday, an estimated 1,500 people -- possibly more -- were involved, with fires lit, 33 street lights torn down and street signs destroyed, three storefront windows smashed and motor vehicles damaged, all in the Beaver Avenue and Locust Lane area, according to State College police. The riot occurred as tens of thousands of people converged on State College this weekend for the 1998 Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Saturday is typically the busiest day for the five-day festival, which combines an art sidewalk sale with music and other performances. It typically attracts thousands of Penn State students and recent graduates for a summer reunion. Police and eyewitnesses offered differing accounts on what apparently started the riot about 1:30 a.m. -- when bars let out -- and what transpired during the next few hours. According to police, the riot began when they noticed a crowd of about 150 forming on the 300 block of East Beaver Avenue at Locust Lane, where there are high-rise apartments with balconies. Someone threw a trash can onto the street, and the crowd continued to grow and set fires and cause other damage, police said. Some eyewitnesses, however, said the problems began when police confiscated a small plastic ``party ball'' used to hold beer from two men who were kicking it around. The two men got the party ball back, which excited nearby revelers. The riot grew out of that incident as the crowds grew around the revelers. Eyewitnesses also reported seeing public nudity and urination during the incident. One eyewitness said one man in his 20s, with dark, slicked back hair and wearing a white tank top, urged people to participate, shouting ``People, join in! There are no repercussions!'' Eyewitnesses also said police initially were near the crowd of rowdies, then moved away, forming a line around the immediate area. About 4 a.m., police charged in, they said, firing tear gas, striking some of the crowd with their billy clubs and using pepper spray. Firefighters also used hoses to spray people on nearby balconies to get them inside, they said -- but police said firefighters targeted fires, not people. The crowd quickly dispersed after police moved in, they said. People smashed the storefront of Castle Software and Computer Systems and may have taken computer equipment. Police did not have any reports on what, if anything, was stolen. ``I left the store at about 3 a.m. because it looked like the police had everything under control,'' said Todd Taylor, technician at Castle Software. ``When I came back in the morning the door was mangled and the window was smashed.'' Preliminary damage estimate as of early Sunday was $50,000, police said. At least vehicles sustained about $5,000 damage each. ``This is another example of the problem associated with alcohol abuse,'' State College Police Chief Tom King said in a prepared statement. ``Without alcohol, this situation would never have occurred.'' As of Sunday, no alcohol-related charges were filed against any of the people arrested in the riot. Police said they did not give any blood alcohol tests. Streets re-opened as of 8 a.m., and the last day of the arts festival proceeded as planned. It did not appear that the rioting affected the sidewalk sale area of the arts festival. Of the 20 people arrested, 11 were Penn State students, State College police said. More arrests are expected. Penn State President Graham Spanier heard about the commotion as it was in progress. He went into the heart of the riots to observe the situation. ``I heard they were throwing things out of the windows and certain students were involved,'' Spanier said. ``I arrived at about 2:30 a.m. and thought perhaps I could be of some help. I tried to assist the borough and the police.'' Penn State police said they were holding more than 20 people in custody for processing around 6:30 a.m. They were brought to the police station in the Eisenhower Parking Deck and kept on a Centre Area Transportation Authority bus. Some had been in custody about three hours already. The rioting started along Beaver Avenue in an area nicknamed ``Beaver Canyon'' and ``Beaver Alley'' because of the high-rise apartments that rise on either side of the street, according to initial reports. Rioters tore down street lights and used the heavy metal poles to smash storefront windows and vehicle windshields. ``They were throwing kegs out of the windows,'' said Rebecca Seweryn, a Penn State senior. ``They were throwing furniture off of the balconies and into the fire.'' Tom Harmon, director of Penn State police services, said he did not know what the rioters might be charged with, but said that State College police were consulting with Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar. ``The crowd was predominately young adults, but there are so many visitors in town it's not accurate to say they were all (Penn State) students,'' Harmon said. ``This is probably the disorder with the most property damage of any incident I can remember in my 25 years at Penn State,'' Harmon said. ``It was very ugly in terms of the crowd's behavior toward police. The officers early on, when we were just lined up across the road and before we moved on the crowd, took a lot of flying objects.'' Of the police injuries, a state police lieutenant was seriously cut, and one Ferguson Township officer was hurt, Harmon said. One Penn State officer was getting his wrist X-rayed. ``I have not heard that any rioters were seriously injured,'' he said. Some of the rioters were sprayed with pepper spray, he said. About 120 local and state police in riot gear swarmed to the scene. State police from as far away as Bedford and Lewistown were called in. Besides State College and Penn State police departments, police came from Bellefonte, Ferguson Township, Patton Township and Spring Township police departments. Alpha Fire Company, Alpha Community Ambulance, Allegheny Power and Centre Area Transportation Authority also helped, State College police reported. Penn State police had 16 officers on the scene. They also covered State College police's routine calls during the riot. The scene quieted down after 5 a.m. By 6 a.m., the only cars on Beaver Avenue belonged to police. State police wearing helmets walked the streets. Cars and pedestrians were blocked off from the Beaver Canyon area. A few bystanders hovered on the corners beyond the barricades, but otherwise, the streets were empty. People in handcuffs were being led quietly onto a CATA bus from the Penn State police station in the Eisenhower Parking Deck. King said in a news conference he will ask Spanier to take academic action against Penn State students involved in the rioting. Spanier said while it is not routine to take such action against students for criminal activity outside of the academic arena, he is not ruling it out. ``Generally, criminal activities are handled separately from academic sanctions,'' said Spanier. ``We do not pose academic sanctions if the problem is not academically related, but we have a Judicial Affairs Office and they will review these cases.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Shop Owner Puts Drug Dealers On Hold ('The Roanoke Times' Doesn't Mention The Inconvenience To Everyone Else Now That Dipen Shah, The Owner Of Sparky's Food Store In Old Southwest Roanoke, Virginia, Has Agreed To Have Two Pay Phones Removed At The Request Of Police) Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 12:14:30 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US VA: Shop Owner Puts Drug Dealers On Hold Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Michael (Miguet@NOVEMBER.ORG) Source: Roanoke Times (VA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.roanoke.com/roatimes/index.html Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jul, 1998 Author: JOHN D. CRAMER SHOP OWNER PUTS DRUG DEALERS ON HOLD Pay phones removed at Old Southwest store Shop owner puts drug dealers on hold Dealers use the phones to take calls from customers and to call colleagues who deliver the crack cocaine for the buyers. Drug dealers and their customers were forced to take their curbside business elsewhere recently when an Old Southwest Roanoke store owner, neighbors, police and the phone company banded together to remove pay telephones from a busy intersection. Dipen Shah, 29, owner of Sparky's Food Store at Elm Avenue and Fifth Street, agreed to have the two pay phones removed last month at the request of police and some nearby residents, and Bell Atlantic agreed to charge Shah a lower-than-normal penalty for early withdrawal from a three-year contract to keep the phones in place. Shah, who also forfeits the $200 monthly income he received from the phones, said it was a smart long-term business decision. "If that's what the police and [nearby residents] wanted, then I want to be a good neighbor," he said. Drug dealers' use of pay phones is a nationwide problem in many urban and some suburban areas, Bell Atlantic spokesman Jim Smith said. Some crack cocaine dealers use the phones to take calls from customers and call colleagues who wait nearby to deliver a small amount of crack just before the customer drives up. That way, the dealers avoid being caught by police with a large amount of their product. If pay phones are blocked from receiving calls, the dealers still may use them for outgoing calls while receiving calls from their colleagues over cellular phones. The two pay phones were at Elm and Fifth for several years before Shah bought the convenience store in January 1997. Shah, who emigrated from India 10 years ago and now owns three Sparky's and leases two more in the Roanoke area, said the phones were profitable but a nuisance. Shady characters often used them and loitered around the store, which was bad for the family atmosphere he said he tries to foster. "When the phones were there, they had a reason to hang around," he said. "Now they don't. I told police if that would solve the problem, I'd do it." After several months of negotiations, Bell Atlantic lowered its penalty for letting him out of the contract from $1,000 to $200, Shah said. Although the phones could have been moved inside the store or placed just outside the front doors, Shah said he did not want to take the chance that his customers would be exposed to "loud arguments and cursing." "You know, the men curse at their girlfriends and argue with their friends on the phones," he said. Removing pay phones from public places requires a consideration of community needs, Smith said. While getting rid of the phones hurts drug dealers, it also may hurt nearby residents who cannot afford phones in their homes, he said. "We always sit down with police and civic leagues and examine how we can balance the interests of police and the community and the people who need to use phones for legitimate reasons," Smith said. Smith called Shah a "socially responsible" store owner for sacrificing profits to help his neighborhood. Some Old Southwest residents were pleased when the phones were removed. "The neighborhood is proud of him," said Joel Richert, a member of the Old Southwest Inc. civic league. "Even though it cuts his income, he's done the right thing." Other residents were displeased. "A lot of people around here don't have the money to have a phone in their house, so they used those phones every day," Peggy Duncan said. "Now they have to walk" a block in either direction to other pay phones along Fifth Street. "We need more phones, not less." Roanoke Police Sgt. Rick Arrington said the pay phones at Sparky's were a drug dealer's ideal "remote office": They were at a busy intersection with good lighting and a parking lot with easy access. Arrington said drug dealers' use of pay phones is not a widespread problem in Roanoke, but that there are a few trouble spots. Police increase patrols and undercover operations at those sites but cannot monitor them constantly, he said. Some store owners cooperate by removing the phones, but others do not because of the steady income the phones provide, he said. John D.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Millions More For Drug War ('The Sacramento Bee' Says President Clinton Announced $32 Million In Federal Grants Saturday To Expand Drug Courts From 270 To 400 And Curb Methamphetamine Use) Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 17:28:30 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Millions More For Drug War Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 Source: Sacramento Bee Contact: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html Website: http://www.sacbee.com/ Author: David Westphal and Michael Doyle Bee Washington Bureau MILLIONS MORE FOR DRUG WAR: Clinton Wants Expansion Of Special Court System WASHINGTON -- President Clinton, urging Americans not to become complacent over dramatic declines in drug use over the last decade, continued to build his anti-drug message Saturday, announcing $32 million in federal grants to expand drug courts and curb a disturbing uptick in methamphetamine use. Clinton cited new federal statistics showing that, while more than half of the people charged with crimes are found to have drugs in their system at the time of arrest, the trend continues to be downward, especially for crack cocaine. "Today there are 50 percent fewer Americans using drugs than just 15 years ago," Clinton said in his weekly radio address. But he added, "There is no greater threat to our families and communities than the abuse of illegal drugs." The new study by the Justice Department showed that, after two years of decline, methamphetamine is again showing up in greater numbers among those arrested in Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Ore., San Diego and San Jose. In San Diego, methamphetamine has become the dominant drug associated with the crime culture; about 40 percent of those arrested were found to have used methamphetamine, or crank. By comparison, in Washington, D.C., the rate was only 1 percent. In addition, there are indications that methamphetamine is moving into rural areas and eastward into such cities as St. Louis, Chicago and Atlanta. But so far, said Attorney General Janet Reno, "methamphetamine is not becoming the crack cocaine of the 1990s." Clinton offered $5 million in federal assistance to six cities with documented methamphetamine problems -- Minneapolis, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Little Rock. Further, he announced $27 million to expand the number of local drug courts around the country, from 270 to 400. The federal grants include several targeting the San Joaquin Valley, which law enforcement officials have long considered a stronghold of methamphetamine production. Kings County and Merced County will each receive about $30,000 to plan drug courts, while Tulare County will receive $327,000 to plan and implement a drug court. The California emphasis is no coincidence. The Valley's rural hideaways have become an increasingly popular location for a drug that is relatively cheap, powerfully addictive, and controlled in California by Mexican organized crime gangs. Sacramento County sheriff's deputies in 1995 arrested 1,117 people on methamphetamine-related charges, nearly three times as many as those arrested for cocaine, heroin and marijuana combined. And in the northern San Joaquin Valley, by one study's accounting, the number of meth-related hospital admissions rose 502 percent between 1984 and 1993. While still in their infancy in this country, drug courts are rapidly expanding, from just 12 in 1994 to a projected 1,000 by the turn of the century. In a drug court, addicts who plead guilty to non-violent crimes enter drug treatment and testing programs rather than prison. Early analysis suggests only 4 percent of those completing treatment have been arrested again -- a much lower rate than is common for ex-inmates. Jeremy Travis, director of the National Institute of Justice, called the drug courts "one of the very important, very significant, very effective innovations" that have come about since the early 1990s. Last year, Fresno County received a $335,000 federal grant to expand its existing drug court. Sacramento County, too, began a drug court with an 18-month federal grant provided several years ago. Once the initial federal grant ran out last year, however, the county had to scramble to find other funding. Clinton's new announcements completed a weeklong anti-drug blitz that included the unveiling of a $195 million media campaign designed to flood the airwaves with public-service warnings about drug use. Experts say the new marketing effort is needed because, while overall drug use is down 50 percent and more since the mid-1980s, it remains steady among the very young -- the next generation of drug users. "We find kids starting at 13 with a marijuana that's two to 20 times stronger than their parents used," says James Burke, chairman of Partnership for Drug Free America. "And we haven't reached those kids." The new report by the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program (ADAM) shows generally favorable trends on cocaine. "We're seeing younger people who are now coming of the age where they might engage in risky behaviors ... who are using at much lower rates than their slightly older brothers," said Travis. "The younger brother looks at what's happening to his older brother, who is now either in jail or a crackhead, ... and says, 'I don't want that to be me.' " At the same time, the 1997 study reports that heroin use has been increasing among young people arrested in New Orleans, Philadelphia and St. Louis. The study was based on drug and arrest records in 23 major U.S. cities. Twelve new cities are being added to the database this year, including Sacramento, Minneapolis, Anchorage and Seattle. Copyright 1998 The Sacramento Bee
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton Releases Grants For Local Drug Fighting ('The Associated Press' Version In The Massachusetts 'Standard-Times') Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 12:19:20 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Clinton Releases Grants For Local Drug Fighting Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 Source: Standard-Times (MA) Contact: YourView@S-T.com Website: http://www.s-t.com/ Author: Sandra Sobieraj, Associated Press Writer CLINTON RELEASES GRANTS FOR LOCAL DRUG FIGHTING WASHINGTON -- Tests of criminal defendants in 23 major cities showed yesterday the nation's drug problem is regional and generational, as the use of "speed" rebounds in the West and Southwest and cocaine loses its appeal among young troublemakers. In light of the findings, President Clinton released $32 million to help local officials tailor anti-drug strategies. The grants announced in Clinton's weekly radio address followed a nationwide $1 billion government anti-drug ad campaign launched Thursday. Clinton also pushed yesterday for Congress to provide an additional $85 million to expand mandatory drug testing and treatment programs for probationers, prisoners and parolees. Of the federal money released yesterday, $27 million will be used to create special drug courts in 150 jurisdictions. More than 270 drug courts already exist around the country, combining supervision with sanctions, testing and drug treatment to coerce nonviolent criminals to come clean. "To stop the revolving door of crime and narcotics, we must make offenders stop abusing drugs," Clinton said. He noted that in some cities, drug-court participants have recidivism -- or repeat offender -- rates as low as 4 percent. An additional $5 million in federal money was released to six cities with documented problems of methamphetamine abuse. Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Minneapolis and Little Rock, Ark., are getting grants to tailor enforcement and prevention efforts to the peculiarities of methamphetamine use. "There is no single national drug problem. We have lots of very different local drug problems," said Jeremy Travis, director of the National Institute of Justice, research arm of the Justice Department. The grants came as the institute's Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program, or ADAM, showed a rebound in methamphetamine -- or "speed" -- use in Western and Southwestern cities. Where use among arrested people fell in these cities between 1994 and 1996, 1997 testing for the aggression-inducing stimulant put its use back close to 40 percent of adults arrested in San Diego; 18 percent in San Jose, Calif.; 16 percent in Phoenix and Portland, Ore.; and 10 percent in Omaha, Neb. By contrast, crack cocaine use continued to wane in Manhattan, with 21 percent of arrestees testing positive last year compared to 77 percent in 1988. The ADAM survey also found cocaine is not as popular with young defendants as it used to be. In Detroit and Washington, just 5 percent of those aged 15-20 tested positive for cocaine use, compared with almost 50 percent of those 36 and over. In the late 1980s cocaine use among those arrested for crimes reached 80 percent and higher. "The younger brother looks at what's happening to his older brother, who is now either in jail or a crackhead ... and says, 'I don't want that to be me,"' Travis said. Marijuana use appeared to be leveling off among male criminals. Fifteen of the 23 survey sites reported drops in marijuana use by the younger group, including substantial drops of between 5 and 9 percentage points in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Omaha, Phoenix and Washington. Some cities reported slight increases in pot smoking by arrested women. Heroin is finding a younger client base in New Orleans, Philadelphia and St. Louis, the only three sites where heroin abuse was more likely among the 15-20 age group than the older one. "These findings reinforce the need to be able to monitor the drug use problems at the local level, to provide policy makers with specific guidance about how their programs and interventions are succeeding," said Dr. Jack Riley, the ADAM program's director. The program exists in 35 cities -- 23 that reported in 1997 and 12 new ones -- and is due to expand by 2000 to 75 or 80, including every U.S. city with populations greater than 200,000. In 1997, ADAM collected data, through drug tests and interviews, from almost 32,000 men and women booked on suspicion of crimes.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Meth Use On Rise In West As Cocaine Rates Fall ('The Los Angeles Times' Version) Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 12:19:20 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Meth Use on Rise in West as Cocaine Rates Fall Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 Source: Los Angeles Times Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Comment: by Edwin Chen, Times Staff Writer METH USE ON RISE IN WEST AS COCAINE RATES FALL Health: As President Clinton releases funds to fight war on drugs, Justice Department report concedes no single strategy can work. Problems vary greatly by region and age. WASHINGTON--The use of methamphetamines is rising dramatically in the Western United States, the Justice Department reported Saturday in an extensive new study that also shows America's crack cocaine epidemic appears to have peaked. In response to the report, President Clinton, in what amounts to a new phase in the ongoing war on drugs, released $32 million in federal grants Saturday to help local officials devise strategies tailored for their communities. "To stop the revolving door of crime and narcotics, we must make offenders stop abusing drugs," Clinton said in his weekly radio address from the Oval Office. The new funds address the drug report's most sobering conclusion: that no single national strategy will work because the drugs of choice vary tremendously by region and age--with older users preferring cocaine and younger ones favoring marijuana. "There is no single national drug problem," said Jeremy Travis, director of the National Institute of Justice, the Justice Department's research division. "We have lots of different local drug problems." In the West, and particularly in San Diego, the report found that the use of methamphetamines continues to retain "a very solid hold," with nearly 40% of adults arrested in California's second-largest city testing positive. Methamphetamine use soared in the early 1990s, with rates among adults who were arrested reaching as high as 44% in San Diego, 25% in Phoenix and 20% in San Jose, the study said. By the mid-1990s, however, methamphetamine use fell significantly, with San Diego's rate dropping to 30%, Phoenix to 12% and San Jose to 15%. Law enforcement officials attributed the drop to crackdowns that focused largely on supply rather than demand. But use of methamphetamines, which also go by the street names speed, crystal meth and ice, began climbing again, and the new study's urinalysis data indicated that such drug use "has returned close to" the record levels of the early 1990s. The first of a planned annual "Report on Adult and Juvenile Arrestees" was based on urinalysis testing and interviews of more than 30,000 men, women, boys and girls arrested last year in 23 metropolitan areas. The report comes at a time of increasing focus on the drug war as politicians jockey for partisan advantage before the November elections. On Thursday, House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) joined Clinton in Atlanta to announce an unprecedented $2-billion nationwide media campaign to discourage children from using drugs. The study reinforced the "strong nexus" between crime and drug use, with 50% to 75% of arrested people testing positive for drugs. The decline of cocaine use was especially striking because many cities in the Northeast and the West had reached epidemic levels in the late 1980s, with 80% or more of those arrested believed to have been users. But in Los Angeles, for example, 37% of men and 48% of women who were arrested last year tested positive for cocaine. The study further found that cocaine use nationally was "two to 10 times" more likely among males 36 or older than males ages 15 to 20, a trend that could bring lower crime rates because "older cocaine users are aging out or dying out . . . ," said Jack Riley, director of the institute's Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program. In Detroit and Washington, only 5% of the younger age group used cocaine, while nearly 50% of the older group tested positive. Researchers call this discrepancy "the big brother syndrome," in which younger children shun a drug after seeing its devastating effects on older users. A similar generational difference, although to a lesser degree, also was found for opiates, including heroin, with older suspects "several times more likely" than younger ones to test positive, the report said. But the reverse seems to apply to marijuana, which was disproportionately concentrated among youths, the study found. In Los Angeles, juveniles had a 9% higher marijuana use rate than older suspects; in San Diego it was 5%. Methamphetamine use prompted special concern among officials. Noting that San Diego has been "extraordinarily hard hit," Riley said at a White House briefing that methamphetamine now surpasses cocaine and marijuana use among people arrested in the border city. Other Western cities with high methamphetamine use among arrestees are San Jose (18%), Phoenix (16%) and Omaha (10%). By comparison, usage in Los Angeles was 8.9% for men and 4.7% for women. The study also found that methamphetamine use is spreading to rural communities. "It's easy to manufacture," Travis explained, adding that there is "good law enforcement evidence that much of the production of methamphetamine is connected to activities south of the border . . ." Three California cities were among the 23 metropolitan areas included in the study: Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose. The institute plans to add other cities, including Sacramento and Las Vegas, for future study. Of the new funding released by Clinton, $27 million will go to more than 150 jurisdictions, including Los Angeles and Orange counties, to create "drug courts," which combine supervision with drug treatment and monitoring as an alternative to incarceration. The president released an additional $5 million to six cities also hard hit by methamphetamine use: Dallas; Little Rock, Ark.; Minneapolis; Oklahoma City; Phoenix; and Salt Lake City. Clinton also made a special plea to the GOP-controlled Congress to fund his request for $85 million for various testing and treatment initiatives. On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) went on the attack against Clinton and congressional Democrats. With the GOP facing accusations of harboring a "do-little" agenda this year, Lott tried to turn the tables, accusing Clinton of being a "bystander" while chastising Democrats for "crying crocodile tears about a do-nothing Congress" when in fact, Lott said, they are obstructing progress on a range of issues. "If you keep a sharp eye on the legislative action--or inaction--behind the headlines, you'll be able to figure out who's trying to score one for the American people and who's just trying to run out the clock," Lott said in the weekly GOP response to Clinton's radio address.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug, Alcohol Abuse Cost US Billions (A Bloomberg News Service Article In The New Bedford, Massachusetts 'Standard-Times' Recycles A Two-Month Old Press Release From NIDA, The National Institute On Drug Abuse, But Omits The Interesting Facts And Actually Misrepresents Several Others, Including The Original Press Release's Assertion That Lost Productivity Accounted For Only 14.5 Percent Of The Estimated Cost Of 'Drugs') Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 14:31:09 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Drug, alcohol abuse cost U.S. billions Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Source: Standard-Times (MA) Contact: YourView@S-T.com Website: http://www.s-t.com/ Pubdate: Sunday, 12 July, 1998 Author: Kristin Jensen, Bloomberg News Service DRUG, ALCOHOL ABUSE COST U.S. BILLIONS WASHINGTON -- Drug and alcohol abuse cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars a year because of lost productivity, health care and other problems, according to a government study. The National Institutes of Health said the cost totaled $246 billion in 1992, the most recent year with enough data for a study, and its researchers projected the cost at $276 billion in 1995. The 1992 study took into account everything from lost productivity to drug-related crimes. Researchers found that the costs of alcohol and drug abuse problems averaged about $965 a year for each person in the U.S. "This study indicates that emergence of health problems from the cocaine and HIV epidemics during this period substantially increased drug-related costs to society," said Alan Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "The rising costs from these and other drug-related public health issues warrant a strong, consistent and continuous investment in research on prevention and treatment." Most of the costs -- about two-thirds -- were related to lost productivity, defined as illness or premature death. Another 13 percent of the total costs were related to health-care spending, 9 percent to property damage such as from car crashes and just under 9 percent to costs of substance abuse-related crimes, the NIH said. The researchers projected the 1995 losses of $276 billion based on inflation and other factors. To date, there are few available treatments for alcohol and drug abuse. A notable exception is Madison, New Jersey-based American Home Products Corp.'s Antabuse, which makes alcohol unpleasant to patients taking the drug. ImmuLogic, based in Waltham, is among the companies developing new treatments for drug abuse. In December, the company said it won approval to test its cocaine addiction treatment in humans.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Sidestepping Sanctions - US Military Trains Foreign Troops (A Lengthy Expose In 'The Washington Post' Shows How The US Military Has Been Circumventing Congressional Restrictions On Military Aid To Countries With Documented Human Rights Abuses By Training Special Forces And Counter-Narcotics Teams In Foreign Countries) Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 09:58:02 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Sidestepping Sanctions: U.S. Military Trains Foreign Troops Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Paul Lewin Source: Washington Post Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 Author: Dana Priest Note: This is the first of a three part series by the Washington Post explaining how the US military has been circumventing Congressional restrictions on military aid by training special forces teams in foreign countries. Part two of this series focuses on military aid to Latin America for counter-narcotics purposes, even when countries like Colombia are decertified and have documented human rights violations. SIDESTEPPING SANCTIONS, U.S. MILITARY TRAINS FOREIGN TROOPS 1991 Law Waives Many Restrictions On the day before Pakistan exploded five underground nuclear bombs in May, while President Clinton was urgently warning leaders in Islamabad that an atomic test would bring worldwide isolation, the U.S. military was quietly pursuing its own agenda just outside the Pakistani capital. At the Army general command at Rawalpindi, officers from both countries finished plans to bring together 60 American and 200 Pakistani special operations forces for small unit exercises outside Peshawar near Afghanistan and for scuba attacks on mock targets in Mangla Lake, on the edge of the contested mountain region of Kashmir. "Inspired Venture," as the exercise is called, is still scheduled for August, despite U.S. sanctions imposed in retaliation for the nuclear blasts. Since 1993, similar ventures between the U.S. and Pakistani militaries have also sidestepped earlier sanctions by Washington designed to punish the country for its nuclear program. The Pakistani case is not unique. Under a 1991 law exempting them from many congressional and White House restrictions, American special operations forces have established military ties in at least 110 countries, unencumbered by public debate, effective civilian oversight or the consistent involvement of the country's top foreign affairs officials. The law, Section 2011 of Title 10 of the U.S. code, allows the military to send special operations forces on overseas exercises on the condition that the primary purpose is to train U.S. soldiers. Some exercises comply unambiguously with the letter of the law. But a review of scores of missions found that many more have been used routinely for broader aims, including helping foreign armies fight drug traffickers, teaching counterinsurgency techniques in countries concerned about domestic stability and sharing U.S. military expertise in exchange for access to top foreign officials. As such missions have multiplied since the end of the Cold War, special operations forces, including Army Green Berets, Navy SEALS and Air Force special operations airmen, have become a leading force in exerting U.S. influence abroad. Without firing a shot in anger, they are revising the rules of U.S. engagement with scores of foreign countries. In the process, military officials questioned about the exercises said, they are becoming familiar with nations where they might one day return to evacuate U.S. citizens -- as they have done recently in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Albania -- deliver humanitarian supplies or fight a war. The officials said U.S. forces also pass on their values of respect for human rights, civilian leadership and the need for a nation's military to maintain a professional, apolitical role in society. Above all, the officials described the exercises, known as Joint Combined Exchange Training, or JCETs, as an indispensable part of the key post-Cold War mission of engaging militaries abroad. "I'd rather talk to people than hit them with sanctions. [Special operations forces] are the greatest asset we have. They are a force multiplier and a diplomacy multiplier," said H. Allen Holmes, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict. To determine the scope and content of the JCET missions worldwide, The Washington Post pieced together information based on interviews and reports from the Defense Department, the special operations staffs and units at the United States' five regional warfighting commands, as well as several of the Army and Navy units involved in creating the exercises and training foreign troops from Cambodia to Kazakhstan. Interviews with dozens of U.S. officers and troops around the world revealed widely inconsistent interpretations of the purpose and even the definition of JCETs. According to military officers involved in the program and Defense Department documents, effective civilian oversight and coordination with the State Department or National Security Council is minimal to nonexistent, a view disputed by Holmes. And, although U.S. ambassadors in countries where they take place are responsible for approving and supervising JCETs, officers and troops said that in many countries the U.S. military group at the embassy or the regional commander in chief, known as the CINC, dominate the process, deciding where to go and, more importantly, what kind of training to conduct. As a result, JCETs often appear to bring America's premier soldiers into conflict with aims of American diplomacy enunciated in Washington. For example: The Clinton administration has enforced a near-total ban on the supply and sale of U.S. military equipment and training for the Colombian military because of its deep involvement in drug-related corruption and its record of killing politicians, human rights activists and civilians living in areas controlled by guerrilla groups. The restrictions have permitted limited training in specific areas controlled by drug traffickers, but require that Colombian units first be evaluated for human rights performance before receiving U.S. assistance. However, U.S. special operations forces, unbeknownst to many in Congress who fought for the original restrictions, are legally free of these restraints and have trained hundreds of Colombian troops in "shoot and maneuver" techniques, counterterrorism and intelligence gathering. The special forces training proceeded even in 1996 and 1997, when Clinton "decertified" Colombia for military assistance because of its failure to cooperate with U.S. anti-narcotics policy. In on-the-record interviews, several officers with longtime experience in Colombia said the human rights records of the Colombian units trained by special forces in these exercises are not evaluated because it would interfere with the unit's ability to work together. Asked about the training, Defense officials initially said -- correctly -that they are not legally required to vet the units. In subsequent interviews, however, they said such vetting does take place. In Indonesia, special operations forces have conducted 41 training exercises since 1991, despite a congressional ban on training Indonesia's officers in the United States and a checkered human rights record. Most of the exercises involved Indonesia's elite Kopassus troops, whom U.S. officials have accused of involvement in kidnappings and torture of anti-government activists. U.S. officers involved in the training maintained in recent interviews that they were prohibited from teaching Indonesians lethal tactics. In fact, no such restrictions exist. According to interviews and documents, lethal tactics are a regular part of the exercises, which have included instruction in sniper techniques, close-quarters combat, demolition, mortar attacks and air and sea assaults. The State Department's annual human rights report this year said the military in Papua New Guinea had "committed extrajudicial killings, were responsible for disappearances, abused prisoners and detainees, and employed harsh enforcement measures again civilians," much of it related to suppression of a 10-year-old insurgency that has cost 20,000 lives. A separate State Department report to Congress said that to encourage reform of the country's armed forces, officers would receive U.S.-based training "with an emphasis on human rights, civilian control of the military, and military justice." The report did not mention that once or twice a year, in an exercise dubbed "Balance Passion," U.S. special operations forces provide instruction to local troops in demolition, patrolling and communications as well as in internal defense tactics and field medicine. In return, according to U.S. officials, American troops have learned about the country's culture and landscape and the tactics of the Papua New Guinea armed forces. In Turkey, repression against Kurdish villagers has raised opposition in Congress and the State Department to the sale of attack helicopters to the military. In 1996, the State Department documented the use of U.S.-supplied equipment to kill and force the evacuation of civilians in disputed areas of southeastern Turkey, where a conflict with Kurdish Workers Party guerrillas has claimed 22,000 lives. However, the U.S. European Command's special operations branch last year conducted its first training exercise with the Turkish Mountain Commandos, a unit whose chief function is to fight Kurdish guerrillas. The purpose of the exercises, according to a U.S. after-action report, was "to ascertain the future training needs of the Turks and to establish the groundwork" for future bilateral exercises with the unit. The document advised American participants in future such missions to "be prepared to get no [tactical] training value from the exercise." In 1993, the U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea was expelled after criticizing the government for human rights abuses. This spring, Amnesty International issued an urgent appeal against torture and illegal detentions of dozens of ethnic Bubi by the military forces. In April, Timothy F. Geithner, an assistant Treasury Department secretary, told Congress that the tiny African country was one of only five nations where Washington would oppose lending by the International Monetary Fund because of its gross human rights violations. But the 3rd Special Forces Group based at Fort Bragg, N.C., continues to train scores of local troops in Equatorial Guinea in light infantry skills, including operations planning, small unit tactics, land navigation, reconnaissance and medicine. Although such exercises are supposed to be coordinated through the U.S. Embassy, the embassy in Equatorial Guinea has been closed for budgetary reasons since 1995. In Suriname, king-making former military leader Desi Bouterse is wanted on an international warrant for drug trafficking and money laundering. The chief of military police, Col. Etienne Boerenveen, served five years in a Miami jail for drug running. In the words of Jack A. Blum, the former chief investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on narcotics, the South American country has become "a criminal enterprise." Nevertheless, a team from the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg has conducted light infantry training and noncommissioned officer leadership classes with dozens of members of Suriname's armed forces as recently as March. Army Special Forces troops first described the deployments as a one-time "security survey" for embassy personnel. In an interview, Holmes insisted that these missions, like all those authorized by Section 2011, were principally meant to train U.S. troops. Asked whether he believed all deployments fit the letter of the law, he said, "Absolutely, 100 percent. . . . Every single deployment is for the purpose, first and foremost . . . to train special operations forces." Despite its policy implications, the JCET program has drawn little discernible attention from senior foreign policy officials in Washington. White House national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, whose National Security Council coordinates diplomatic and military policy for the president, said in an interview that he was not familiar with the program's details and asked for time to study the question. Later, an aide said Berger would not answer questions about the program and referred inquiries to Defense Secretary William S. Cohen. Cohen, a former U.S. senator whose keen interest in special operations dates back two decades, signs deployment orders for most JCETs. However, he declined requests for an interview repeated over several weeks. Instead, he issued a one-paragraph statement through his staff. "JCETs are the backbone of training for Special Operations Forces, preparing them to operate throughout the world," Cohen's statement said. "In those areas where our forces conduct JCETs, they encourage democratic values and regional stability. In the future, we can expect our forces to confront threats posed by an increasingly diverse set of actors, placing a premium on the skills our forces developed in JCETs." Critics challenge whether the Pentagon is monitoring the program closely enough to reach that conclusion. "Due to feckless leadership in the civilian oversight office, we don't have a handle on how the CINCs spend that [JCET] money," said Timothy Connolly, a former special operations officer who was the principal deputy in the Pentagon office supervising special operations from 1993 to 1996, when he was fired after an unrelated policy dispute. "We have no idea what their objectives are, what the units involved are. . . . The definition of [the] training is extremely elastic depending upon the wishes of the decision-makers." Quiet Professionals The JCET program was born at the end of the Cold War, when the United States suddenly had the opportunity to open new military relationships with dozens of former Soviet-or non-aligned countries. At the same time, the central perceived military threat to U.S. security shifted away from a Soviet-U.S. confrontation to instability and regional ethnic and religious conflicts. For military leaders, special operations forces seemed ideal for these new missions. Heralded as "the point of the spear" in unconventional warfighting since World War II and throughout the Cold War, special operations forces, often in partnership with the CIA, had led covert operations against communist-backed insurgencies in Vietnam, Laos, Latin America and Africa. During the civil war in El Salvador, advisers from Army Special Forces played a key role in helping the government beat back a leftist guerrilla movement. Special operations forces are designed to operate in small groups for long periods behind enemy lines, or to live and work amid a foreign population -- as they are doing today in Bosnia. They pride themselves as "the quiet professionals." Rigorous training, proficiency in foreign languages and political acumen give them a self-sufficiency and versatility in countries where a larger U.S. presence might create controversy both locally and in the United States. In 1987, the military inaugurated an independent command to consolidate special operations forces -- Army Green Berets, Rangers and the covert Delta Force; Navy SEALS, Special Boat Units and the covert Team 6; and Air Force special operations and internal defense squadrons. The move was sponsored by then-senator Cohen (R-Maine) and his colleague on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), who felt these elite warriors had been neglected. Just as a civilian secretary is appointed to supervise the Army and the other service branches, the assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (SOLIC) is responsible for overseeing the Tampa-based U.S. Special Operations Command. Devising rules for the new command, Pentagon lawyers determined that "it was unclear" whether the command was authorized to spend money to send its troops on overseas training missions, as the individual regional commanders and the Army and Navy had done for years. Their solution was Section 2011, an amendment of Title 10 of the U.S. code, which lays out the guidelines for decision-making, money-spending and troop deployment for the military. The amendment gave commanders of special operations forces the authority to deploy and pay for training of U.S. and foreign troops if "the primary purpose of the training . . . shall be to train the special operations forces of the combatant command." The law also allows the commander to finance part of the foreign country's participation in the training by buying food, fuel and ammunition during the exercise. But the overall budget for JCETs remains minuscule by Pentagon standards -- $15.2 million for fiscal 1997 -- in part because it excludes transportation, usually the single largest expense. Section 2011 created a critical loophole. In most cases, the House and Senate foreign affairs committees preside over how the government spends money overseas, including foreign aid, arms sales, the deployment of "mobile training teams" and the training of foreign military officers in the United States. The committees, which monitor the overall conduct of U.S. foreign policy in addition to appropriating the money and authorizing its expenditure, are the sources of restrictions on U.S. aid to many countries -- restrictions that ban U.S. military cooperation or impose economic sanctions in response to human rights abuses, support for terrorism or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. However, to preserve the autonomy of special operations forces, Section 2011 comes under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate defense committees, where the same restrictions do not apply and expenditures are authorized through different channels, and where members are traditionally more sympathetic to Pentagon programs. As a result, regional military commanders and U.S. ambassadors enjoy wide independence in directing special forces training missions, including in countries otherwise subjected to restrictions. "It was groundbreaking," said James A. Locher III, who helped craft the legislation as a Senate staff member and later headed the SOLIC office in the Bush administration. "It has permitted us to go to a lot of different places, to improve our relationships with a lot of different countries. . . We had foreseen that special operations forces were going to become increasingly important because of their skills and the types of threats we would face, that they would be the forces of choice by the CINCs and ambassadors." The law has helped fuel a bonanza for special operations forces. Not only have they escaped the military downsizing of the 1990s, they now have a larger force -- 47,000 people -- than at any time in their history. Their diverse skills and flexibility have made them a model for other troops dispatched around the globe during a decade dominated by nontraditional missions involving peacekeeping, drug interdiction and humanitarian crises, from Bosnia to Haiti to Somalia. The increasing importance of special operations forces in the field has coincided with the decline in civilian foreign aid and U.S. diplomatic presence in some regions and the military's withdrawal from many permanent overseas bases. Increasingly, American soldiers have taken on jobs that once belonged almost exclusively to civilian diplomats, spreading U.S. influence, discreetly forging new alliances and cultivating contacts among foreign leaders. "Our CINCs are being told they have to shape the environment and we're well suited for that," said Brig. Gen. John Scales, until this summer deputy commander of the U.S. Army's Special Forces Command. JCETs still provide a way to train U.S. troops. For example, the 1st Special Forces Group based in Okinawa, Japan, accommodates Japanese political sensitivities by practicing parachuting in Thailand. Reluctance by U.S. cities to allow training in urban warfare tactics has led to JCETs in Singapore, Lithuania and India. Since the art of jungle tracking has been all but lost among U.S. forces, they now train in Malaysia or the upper jungles of Irian Jaya in Indonesia. When the Air Force's 352nd Special Operations Group, based in England, has needed to practice flying low and without lights at night, they have gone to mountainous Morocco. But most of the training exercises made possible by Section 2011 appear to have more ambitious goals, with implications across a broad range of U.S. foreign policy. In once communist or Soviet-aligned countries such as Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mongolia, Russia and Uzbekistan, JCETs have been used as ice-breaking "first dates" with former adversaries. Plans are in the works for the first such exercises involving U.S. and Chinese troops next year. In the Persian Gulf, when the Pentagon wanted to beef up ground troops without attracting attention during the confrontation with Iraq earlier this year, it nearly doubled the number of special operations forces participating in "Iris Gold," a nearly continuous JCET in Kuwait. The 234 U.S. troops then became part of the planned operation against Iraq. In Laos, Cambodia, Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Chad -- where the United States was perceived as either a hostile or aloof power during the Cold War -- special operations forces have given courses on the relatively neutral subject of removing land mines. Because the troops are forbidden by law from actually removing mines, they may be less helpful to the host countries than civilian technicians. But the exercises are valued as a foot in the door for more traditional military alliances with countries still skittish about U.S. ties, according to U.S. officials. "There is definitely a political card played with these JCETs," said Wayne A. Downing, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command from 1993 to 1996. "They are a direct instrument of U.S. foreign policy. They may be the most direct and most involved, tangible, physical part of U.S. foreign policy in certain countries." Staving Off Instability In October 1997, in a housing project under construction by the Lippo Group conglomerate about 18 miles outside Jakarta, 12 U.S. Army Special Forces troops diagramed a straightforward mission: Find the enemy somewhere in a warren of plywood rooms, blow a hole in the wall and kill or capture as many as possible while trying not to shoot each other. The participants in the staged drama were 60 troops from Indonesia's special forces unit, Kopassus, and the Jakarta area military command, Kodam Jaya. Using the U.S. Army's "laser tag" equipment and, for atmospherics, a couple of Puma and Super Puma helicopters, American commanders were teaching the Indonesians how to plan and conduct close-quarters combat and other of the finer points of urban warfare. "We just show them how we do it and they adopted what they want," said a U.S. defense analyst in Indonesia who has taken part in many bilateral exercises. The analyst, who was interviewed in the presence of the U.S. Embassy's public affairs officer but asked not to be named, said that only with some exercises could he make the case that training U.S. troops was the main goal. No type of JCET training is in greater demand around the world today than instruction in "foreign internal defense," a concept refined in successive battles against communism that has survived the end of the superpower struggle. It remains "our bread and butter," said Maj. Thaddeus McWhorter of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command. The internal defense training also illustrates perhaps more clearly than any other type how JCETs can be used in the service of other agendas, including domestic concerns in the countries where the training occurs. Instruction in "fid" has contributed to some of the most celebrated episodes in the history of the special forces, including a 1967 mission to Bolivia to train and equip a new Bolivian Ranger Battalion. Several days after that exercise ended, the Bolivian unit, with the help of the CIA, captured and executed the Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, "putting an end to the insurgency and completing a classic example of a foreign internal defense mission," according to a U.S. special operations publication. Today, in countries including Indonesia, Bangladesh, Fiji, Madagascar, Malaysia, Singapore, Honduras, Panama and Argentina, where armed domestic opposition is negligible or nonexistent, U.S. forces are teaching armies how to track down opponents, surprise them in helicopter attacks, kill them with more proficiency or, in some cases, how to lead house-to-house raids in "close quarters combat" designed for cities. Instead of communism, the enemy described in current exercises is often internal unrest that could threaten a government. "We are setting the conditions for stability by insuring security," said a high-ranking officer at the U.S. Pacific Command. "The threat of instability, that is the major threat." The purpose of exercises focusing on "fid" -- far from the training of U.S. troops mandated by Section 2011 -- is "to organize, train, advise, and assist" a foreign military so that it can "free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency," according to Field Manual 31-20, "Doctrine for Special Forces Operations," issued in April 1990 and still in use. Promoting stability has sometimes placed U.S. troops in the midst of internal disputes. In May 1997, the 3rd Special Forces Group was in Sierra Leone teaching light infantry skills to 300 troops of the president's honor and security guard when other officers carried out a coup. Members of the 3rd Group, who ended up helping evacuate U.S. Embassy workers, said recently that none of the soldiers they were training was involved in the coup. But Johnny Paul Koromah, the brother of the commander of the camp where they were staying, was its instigator and took power as a result. In Sri Lanka, U.S. military training is described in a fiscal 1999 report to Congress by the State Department as an effort to "train key military leaders in human rights principles and procedures." In fact, in "fid" exercises the Green Berets and SEALS have trained the Sri Lankan army in long-range patrolling, tactical reconnaissance, rapid reaction air and sea attacks and maritime operations that are aimed at depriving Tamil rebels of easy access to supply bases in Tamil Nadu across the Palk Strait in India, according to Defense documents and interviews. At least 500 Sri Lankan and 115 U.S. troops were involved in the 1996 and 1997 exercises. More have taken place this year. While traditionally "fid" training "implies an active insurgency," in the words of a senior Army Special Forces officer, this is not always the case on the ground. In September 1996, 106 U.S. troops went to Panama on a foreign internal defense exercise that included maritime operations, light infantry training and live fire exercises. Months before, 84 U.S. special operations forces trained 97 Ecuadorans in riverine operations, aerial supply, close air support and airborne operations described as a "FID" in defense documents. In the case of Indonesia, where, according to intelligence officials, no external military threat exists and where the internal insurgency amounts to several hundred poorly armed guerrillas, the Indonesian military viewed as "subversive" the many students, church people and political activists opposed to the 31-year military rule of President Suharto, who stepped down in May. U.S. military personnel in Indonesia insisted they do not teach Indonesians how to suppress domestic opponents. But the kind of training exercises they undertake focuses on mock internal enemies, and some Indonesian officers, asked about what they are learning from the Americans, hold this view. Five months after last year's urban warfare exercises near Jakarta, U.S. special operations forces went to Serang, on the northwest part of the island of Java, with another Kopassus unit, where they helped set off claymore mines and grenades and taught troops how to rappel from helicopters and conduct quick extractions. At Chamara, on the Javanese coast, they organized a mock sea-launched assault on a communications center. U.S. troops were instructed in tracking and countertracking tactics by Indonesians who specialize in jungle warfare. U.S. military officials said the exercises are an important part of an American effort to rebuild a strong regional presence diminished after the U.S. closed its bases in the Philippines in 1992. They also described them as a chance to plant U.S. military traditions in the most powerful institution in the world's fifth most populous country. The training "exposes Indonesian officers to the American system," said Salim Said, an Indonesian political scientist. "It wouldn't suddenly change this country, but it will help expose them to a democratic system. Democracy is a culture." In interviews, Indonesians emphasized the practical application and status connected to the exercises -- several officers with the closest American ties are at the top of the institution. "Our real opponent is the internal riot," said a three-star Indonesian general interviewed in Jakarta this spring as the student-led riots were in full bloom. The United States "teaches us how to stop civilian disturbances." Rights by Example When the Indonesian program came to light amid civil unrest that led to Suharto's downfall, members of Congress summoned administration officials for closed-door briefings to explain the origins and purpose of the training, and the reasons they had not been informed. Cohen postponed a planned Indonesian exercise but did not cancel the program. He pledged to improve reports to Congress about the missions and to have SOLIC approve all training on a quarterly basis. Holmes, who as the head of SOLIC has responsibility for all special operations missions, described the quarterly reviews, which have not yet begun, as "not an approval process," but "a final check." This is being done, he said, because "we're good listeners" and Congress has asked for increased oversight, not because he or the Defense Department believes there is a problem with the program. Holmes said he is satisfied that the U.S. ambassadors and the regional commanders in chief are properly coordinating the exercises with U.S. foreign policy goals in mind. Putting himself, the National Security Council or senior State Department officials into the mix "isn't necessary because we have confidence in the judgment and management of the program." But although responsibility for the program falls to the CINCs, they often do not even share a common definition of the term JCET, making accounting haphazard at best. In the case of Colombia, for example, the U.S. Southern Command responded to an initial Washington Post inquiry by saying there were no JCETs in the country last year. Later, the command said that 29 exercises involving 319 U.S. troops had actually taken place. Nevertheless, the Defense Department's official report to Congress for 1997 lists just three JCETs in Colombia involving 143 American troops. When pressed to justify deployments that appeared to hold little direct benefit for U.S. troops, officials advance a variety of explanations. In some cases they maintain that by training foreign troops, U.S. forces were learning how to train foreign troops, one of their main official missions. That explanation, they said, includes missions such as in El Salvador, where the 7th Special Forces Group provided near-continuous basic training to Salvadoran Army recruits in areas of the country previously in guerrilla hands. The training was scaled back recently after U.S. officials eventually concluded that it was too time-consuming and brought little benefit to U.S. troops. Officials point out that special operations forces also collect valuable information on everything from topography to the backgrounds of foreign leaders during exercises. They learn about a country's edible and poisonous plants, insects and animals, about water currents and prevailing winds, about what twigs in a forest crack under a human footfall. They improve their language skills and knowledge of foreign cultures, and can evaluate the readiness of foreign troops, special operations officials say. U.S. troops return from trips with "stacks of maps, stacks of photos," said one Pentagon official. Reports describe landing sites and other information that could be used in an evacuation of U.S. personnel or in humanitarian relief operations. However, clearly detailed accounts of the missions are not shared with Congress, the public or senior foreign policymakers. Although the Pentagon files annual reports to lawmakers about JCETs, Defense Department officials acknowledged that the reports, which were declassified for the first time this year, are vague and difficult to decipher. In March, before the Indonesia controversy, Pentagon officials requested that Congress repeal the reporting requirement, calling it "unduly burdensome." The resistance to greater oversight has extended to the handling of human rights issues. At the request of Congress and the civilian Pentagon leadership, many training exercises include some instruction on the treatment of prisoners of war and noncombatants and on U.S. and international standards of human rights. However, military officials argue that evaluating units for human rights violators -- as is required under other programs -- would be counterproductive, and perhaps endanger the missions. "Because we're dealing with [individual military] units and you can't tell the host nation who they can have in those units," said a senior SOLIC official who asked not to be named. In some countries, even mentioning human rights sometimes "puts the program at risk." In practical terms, said Brig. Gen. John Scales of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command, "You can't go in there and give them training on human rights; it's by your example" that they learn. For the past two months, Defense officials have insisted that JCETs will not be affected by restrictions imposed on all other defense programs by a new law, sponsored by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), prohibiting U.S. aid to any unit of a foreign security force that has been implicated in gross human rights violations. But that view may soon be changing. In response to questions raised by The Washington Post, State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin said Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright intends to require U.S. ambassadors to use their authority over the scheduling of U.S. military activities to ensure that foreign troops with whom the U.S. military plans to train are vetted for human rights abuses. "As a general rule," Rubin said in an interview yesterday, "we believe that programs in which American military forces engage with units of other military governments serve an important purpose" as part of U.S. engagement strategy around the world. "What we need to do is make sure . . . they are not assisting units that are gross violators of human rights," Rubin said. "Secretary Albright is determined to do all we can at the embassy level to make sure" that such assistance does not take place. It remains unclear how these efforts to increase civilian oversight would work or whether the Pentagon will accept them. But in response to initial proposals that Holmes, the Pentagon civilian who oversees special operations, have greater input into the process, former special operations commander Downing said they would hobble the program. "That really scares me," he said. "That means the bureaucrats will get back in and do their thing. The people who should have control are the people who actually do things." Researcher Robert Thomasson and The Washington Post's News Research Center staff contributed to this report. Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- New US Envoy To Mexico Says Drugs A Shared Problem ('Reuters' Notes Career Diplomat Jeffrey Davidow Told The English-Language 'Mexico City News' In An Interview Published Sunday That 'Both Countries Have Got To Assume Responsibility' For The War On Some United States Drug Users And 'Both Countries Have Got To Cooperate With Each Other And . . . Confront The Problem At All Levels')Date: Mon, 13 Jul 1998 01:46:44 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US/Mexico: WIRE: New U.S. envoy to Mexico says drugs a shared problem Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) Source: Reuters Pubdate: 12 Jul 1998 NEW U.S. ENVOY TO MEXICO SAYS DRUGS A SHARED PROBLEM MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -- Mexico and the United States must accept the billion-dollar flow of drugs across the border is a bilateral problem and cannot be blamed on just one country or another, the new U.S. ambassador to Mexico said. Career diplomat Jeffrey Davidow, whose appointment was approved in June, told the English-language Mexico City News in an interview published Sunday relations were ``multifaceted'' but that trade, immigration and drugs would top his agenda. ``I think Mexico is perceived as being extraordinarily important to the United States,'' said Davidow, who is expected to take up his job later this month after political squabbling in Washington had left the post vacant for a year. On drugs, Davidow said: ``What is important is that we see drugs as a shared problem. I think to a degree this is happening.'' ``Both countries have got to assume responsibility. Both countries have got to cooperate with each other and with other countries, and confront the problem at all levels.'' Davidow, a former ambassador to Venezuela who speaks Spanish fluently and is currently assistant secretary of state for Inter-American affairs, admitted U.S. officials made mistakes in a recent probe against money-laundering by Mexican banks. Operation Casablanca, a three-year sting that implicated officials at a dozen Mexican banks for laundering money for cocaine cartels, provoked fury among Mexican legislators and charges Washington had infringed Mexican sovereignty. ``We have said, and I've said personally, that I think Casablanca was useful in that it caught crooks,'' Davidow said. ''Yet, at the same time, I think mistakes were made. I believe there could have been better coordination between the government of the United States, the government of Mexico.'' The U.S. diplomat said another area to focus on was making the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ``work'' and that he would pay a lot of attention to Mexican concerns over immigration. He also stressed the importance of looking after American citizens and their problems in Mexico. Included in that were concerns about surging crime in Mexico, which Davidow described as a major problem. ``There are no easy answers, but it does seem to me that improving the efficiency of police forces, improving the efficiency of judicial systems so that when criminals are detained they are quickly judged, prosecuted and sentenced (would bring results),'' he said. On the issue of the 4-1/2 year conflict with Zapatista Indian rebels in the troubled state of Chiapas, the new U.S. envoy said Washington did not pressure Mexico. ``We believe that the problem in Chiapas is one that has to be resolved through peaceful means. We believe that the government of Mexico is making a serious effort to find a peaceful resolution,'' he said. As well as being the United States' second largest trading partner after Canada, Mexico is also considered a key diplomatic post because it is on the front lines of the U.S. fight against illegal drugs and immigration. Drug experts say around 70 percent of the cocaine sold in the United States passes through Mexico.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Campaign - Chemicals Help Brain Damage After A Stroke (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Continues Its Weekly Push For The Reform Of Marijuana Laws With A Recap Of Last Week's News About Researchers At The US National Institute For Mental Health Discovering Two Components In Marijuana They Think Could Be Used To Prevent Brain Damage After Strokes) Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 11:43:32 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Cannabis Campaign - Chemicals Help Brain Damage After A Stroke Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 Source: Independent on Sunday Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL England Editors note: The IoS Cannabis Campaign has web pages at http://www.independent.co.uk/sindypot/index.htm Author: Vanessa Thorpe CANNABIS CAMPAIGN - CHEMICALS HELP BRAIN DAMAGE AFTER A STROKE Scientists at the United States National Institute of Mental Health released research results last week which show that taking cannabis could protect the brain from the damage inflicted by a stroke. The chemicals examined, known as cannabinoids, are believed to work independently of the more widely advertised euphoric effects of the cannabis plant. After experimenting in the laboratory on the brains of foetal rats, Aiden Hampson and his colleagues at the Washington-based federal institute found that some of the cannabinoids acted as a useful block to other more dangerous chemicals in the brain. These toxic neurochemicals are the ones which systematically kill cells if the oxygen supply is cut off, as, for example, the result of a blood clot leading to a stroke. Brain cells which are starved of oxygen release large amounts of glutamate, a neurotransmitter or message-carrying chemical. This overstimulates nerve cells and quickly kills them. It has already been medically established for some time that other chemicals in the group known as antioxidants can also counter this damaging activity in the brain, but Hampson's team is now suspecting that cannabinoids might prove just as, or even more, effective. The two cannabinoids which were tested on the brains of rats were cannabidiol and THC, the active ingredient in the drug that causes its psychoactive effects. It was the former, cannabidiol, which gave the scientists most cause for hope. Unlike THC, it does not cause a "high" in the patient. "This is a better candidate," said Mr Hampson, who suggests that, in the test tube at least, the substance seemed to be both potent and protective. The federal scientists' research was published in Tuesday's edition of the journal Proceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences, and the article made it clear that it is still too early to tell to what extent cannabidiol will be able to help humans. The scientists involved were also unable to confirm the idea that simply taking the drug recreationally would afford some kind of protection against brain damage in the event of a stroke. Meanwhile, less authoritative research in the States is beginning to indicate that some of the properties of cannabis might be used to help people withdraw from addictions to cocaine and heroin. Veteran American pro-cannabis campaigner Dana Beal is calling for more research to clarify the positive uses of cannabis. "This is further proof that the government has been consistently wrong to connect cannabis use with those of harder drugs. Its effects are entirely different and it may actually be possible to use it as part of a recovery from addiction," he told the Independent on Sunday.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Straw's Children Make Him Desert Island Dope (Britain's 'Sunday Times' Says The 17-Year-Old Son Of British Home Secretary And Zealous Prohibitionist Jack Straw, Who Was Busted In December For Selling Cannabis, Picked The Song 'I've Got A Skinful Of Dope' For His Dad' s Appearance On The Radio Program 'Desert Island Discs')Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 14:38:38 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: Straw's Children Make Him Desert Island Dope Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Source: Sunday Times (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 Author: Nicholas Rufford, Home Affairs Editor STRAW'S CHILDREN MAKE HIM DESERT ISLAND DOPE NEVER trust your children's taste in music. Or so Jack Straw, the home secretary, has found to his cost. The choice by William and Charlotte, his two teenagers, of History by the Verve for his appearance on Desert Island Discs includes the chorus: "I've got a skinful of dope." The irony is unlikely to be lost on listeners to Radio 4: William, 17, was caught supplying cannabis in a south London pub before Christmas. The song is one of eight choices by Straw to accompany a stroll down memory lane, which includes a description of his childhood in a one-parent family on an Essex council estate and his divorce and loss of a child. Others songs include Get Off My Cloud by the Rolling Stones, Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and Handel's Messiah. Pressed about William's brush with the law by Sue Lawley, the Desert Island Discs presenter, Straw agreed that his son was "set up" but admitted: "That doesn't excuse what he did, which was both wrong and also foolish. "It was an awful thing to happen. He shouldn't have done it. It was wrong. I talked to him and said, 'Look William, there is only one thing to do in this situation. You and I have to go to the police station and you have got to say what happened and I'm sorry, old son, you've got to take it on the chin.' " An embarrassed Home Office spin doctor admitted yesterday that Straw had not grasped the meaning of the lyrics in the Verve's 1995 hit: "It was chosen for him. He did not vet every line." The words will come as no surprise to fans of the Verve. Narcotics are a consistent theme of the group's songs; one of their other big hits is The Drugs Don't Work. The issue of cannabis and Straw's family is a banana skin that keeps getting under his feet. Ed Straw, Jack's brother, has talked openly about his own "hippie" phase, when he enjoyed smoking - and inhaling - cannabis. Straw has had to state repeatedly that despite being a radical leftwinger at university and one-time president of the National Union of Students, he has never puffed a joint. In fact, Straw probably has little to worry about. Opinion polls showed his public approval rating went up after the publicity over his son. Most people thought a home secretary should be able to draw on first-hand experience when formulating policies on youth, justice and drugs. Straw has also equalled the reputation of his predecessor, Michael Howard, for being tough on crime. In the Radio 4 interview he reveals that he has made three citizens' arrests. "The first time it was a burglar in Blackburn and I heard him breaking out of the Nalgo club. I went out hoping he'd gone the other way, but in fact I collided with him. He tore off up the street and I tore off after him. Then he stopped in a street appropriately called Nab Lane, so I grabbed him." Straw blames his sometimes lacklustre Commons performance on a combination of tinnitus and deafness in one ear. Wags will point out that his condition may also explain why he is oblivious to song lyrics. Copyright 1998 Times Newspapers Ltd.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Why A Library Trip Can Really Alter The Mind ('Scotland On Sunday' Columnist Graham Ogilvy, Who Apparently Has Never Been Inside One Himself, Says Scientists Think Fungus Growing On Old Books Could Get You High, The Operative Word Being 'Could') Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 15:23:53 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: Column: Why A Library Trip Can Really Alter The Mind Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 Source: Scotland on Sunday Contact: Letters_sos@scotsman.com Column: Graham Ogilvy's Diary WHY A LIBRARY TRIP CAN REALLY ALTER THE MIND It brings a whole new meaning to a trip to the library. Scientists think fungus growing on old books could get you high. Experts on the various fungi which feed on the pages and covers of books are increasingly convinced that spending enough time around ancient tomes and decaying manuscripts in dank archives can cause hallucinations. Archivists and book conservators know the airborne spores of many moulds can trigger allergic reactions and respiratory problems, particularly among asthma sufferers. Other fungi produce mycotoxins, poisons which can severely damage the brain, bone marrow, liver and kidneys. But the possibility has now been raised that some classes of fungal spore contain other pharmacological properties such as the ability, in some cases, to cause hallucinations. Leading mycologist Professor Roger Hay has suggested that it is the fungi on books - not their contents - which have truly mind-altering qualities. "It is not inconceivable that intoxication might follow inhalation of spore from suitable mould fungi in libraries. The source of inspiration for many great literary figures may have been nothing more than a quick sniff of the bouquet of mouldy books," he said. While no scientific studies have been done to indicate how many spores someone would have to inhale to seriously affect their behaviour, US specialists have estimated that it would take a fairly concentrated exposure over a considerable period of time. Bob Child, head of conservation at the National Museum of Wales, said that while he had not heard of any cases of hallucinating readers, he welcomed the news. "This really introduces a completely new dimension to our conservation practice and it may even encourage more people to become paper conservators so that they can become whazzed." Child said the possibility of turning on, tuning in and dropping out at work is just the latest in a series of occupational hazards for librarians and museum staff. "Just recently, a number of museums closed down their herbaria [dried flower collections] because they found that the amount of mercury in them was astronomical. Up until 30 years ago it was common practice to spray the displays with mercury to protect them against mould. Similarly, stuffed animals were treated with arsenic, cyanide and DDT to safeguard them against insects and pests. Opinion is still divided on whether the promise of an expanded consciousness can lure teenagers back into public libraries. "I'm not sure whether this means that they'll be rushing to the rare books section but I'm all for it," laughs Child. "They could come for a vivid educational experience: read the words and see the lights." -------------------------------------------------------------------
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