------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Weekly News (Body's Natural Pain Controlling Agents Mimic Marijuana, 'Nature' Magazine Reports; Oakland City Council Moves To Support Local Medical Marijuana Dispensary; California Senator Attacks Advertising By 'Head Shops' On The Net; Medical Marijuana Petitioners Confident Recount Will Place Initiative On Nevada Ballot; Best Selling Author Indicted On Marijuana Conspiracy Charge) From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 19:36:26 EDT Subject: NORML WPR 7/24/98 (II) The NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW Ste. 710 Washington, DC 20036 202-483-8751 (p) 202-483-0057 (f) www.norml.org firstname.lastname@example.org July 24, 1998 *** Body's Natural Pain Controlling Agents Mimic Marijuana, Nature Magazine Reports July 24, 1998, Naples, Italy: Marijuana like compounds produced naturally by the body appear to help humans control pain, new research published in the July 16 issue of Nature Magazine suggests. NORML board member Dr. John Morgan of the City University of New York called the study "dramatic," and said that the research held significant implications for the use of marijuana as a medicine. "This research nails down the fact that marijuana is an analgesic." We now know that the human system reduces pain through the same chemical mechanism that is used by compounds found in the plant, he said. Researchers at the University of Naples in Italy demonstrated that anandamide, an endogenous marijuana like chemical, is released by the body when cells are damaged. The chemical produces effects in the pain-processing areas of the brain and spinal cord that appear to ease the sensation of pain. Researchers found that rats treated with a synthetic agent that blocked the action of anandamide demonstrated a longer and greater reaction to pain. Scientists also determined that the release of anandamide in conjunction with the endogenous compound PEA reduces pain 100-fold. Morgan suggested that this research could be readily replicated in human trials by administering similar blocking agents. Presently, a French pharmaceutical company is awaiting approval to conduct such research, he said. Earlier research on anandamide, which was first identified in 1992, indicated that the chemical appeared to inhibit inflammation and extreme sensitivity to pain without carrying the risks associated with the use of opiates, such as addiction and tolerance. "These findings indicate that the administration of marijuana compounds and endogenous marijuana like agents to the site of injury may greatly reduce pain without incurring side effects," said Paul Armentano, Director of Publications for The NORML Foundation. NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. said that this new research directly challenges the government's position that marijuana is without medical value. "To continue to deny medical marijuana to seriously ill patients in light of this growing body of medical evidence supporting the plant's therapeutic value is unjustified and inhumane," he said. For more information, please contact either Dr. John Morgan @ (212) 650-8255 or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** Oakland City Council Moves To Support Local Medical Marijuana Dispensary July 24, 1998, Oakland, CA: The Oakland City Council approved the first reading of a medical marijuana ordinance designed to protect the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative from federal prosecution. The ordinance would allow the city to officially designate the Oakland club to enforce the state's medical marijuana law, California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer said. Supporters argue that the ordinance will protect the club from an injunction aimed at closing the dispensary because federal law immunizes local officials who comply with local drug laws from federal sanctions. The proposal models itself after a statewide measure introduced by Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara) that sought to authorize local governments to establish medical marijuana distribution programs. That measure fell two votes shy of passage in the Assembly Health Committee earlier this month. Ordinance sponsor, attorney Robert Raich, applauded the council's action. "This proves again that good medical cannabis policy is good public policy," he said. "The council has acted to protect patients as well as the public health and safety of all Oaklanders." For more information, please contact either Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858 or attorney Robert Raich @ (510) 338-0700. *** California Senator Attacks Advertising By "Head Shops" On The Net July 24, 1998, Washington, D.C.: California Senator Diane Feinstein (D) recently asked the Justice Department to take action against so-called "head shops" who advertise smoking accessories on the web. NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. criticized Feinstein's efforts. "One would hope that Senator Feinstein has something better to do with her time than this," he said. Speaking recently before Congress, Feinstein said: "A search of the web reveals 15 websites which sell drug paraphernalia over the Internet." She later asked Attorney General Janet Reno if her office was "aware of this practice, and has the Justice Department initiated any prosecutions?" Reno responded that her office would investigate the matter. Federal law forbids the selling of marijuana smoking accessories such as water pipes. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Constitutionality of the ban in a 1994 decision. For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** Medical Marijuana Petitioners Confident Recount Will Place Initiative On Nevada Ballot July 24, 1998, Carson City, NV: Petitioners pushing to change Nevada's state constitution to allow patients to use marijuana legally are confident that a review by the state elections committee will validate enough signatures to place the measure on this fall's ballot. Representatives of Progressive Campaigns Inc., which gathered the signatures, said that many of the disqualified signatures should be counted. In addition, they said that the county clerk miscounted the number of valid signatures in one county. Nevadans for Medical Rights, who are sponsoring the measure, were initially informed that their effort fell short by a total of 43 signatures in two counties. Petitioners turned in more than a total of 74,000 signatures. Petitioners can appeal to the courts if the elections committee fails to validate the necessary number of signatures. State initiative guidelines require the proposal to win voter approval this November and again in November 2000 before it can become law. For more information, please contact either R. Keith Stroup of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights @ (310) 394-2952. *** Best Selling Author Indicted On Marijuana Conspiracy Charge July 24, 1998, Los Angeles, CA: A federal grand jury charged author Peter McWilliams and eight others yesterday with conspiracy to cultivate marijuana for commercial sale. McWilliams, who uses marijuana medicinally to alleviate the side effects of the AIDS wasting syndrome and cancer, rented housing to activist Todd McCormick. Federal law enforcement agents arrested McCormick in 1997 after finding thousands of marijuana plants growing on the premises. The new indictment alleges McWilliams played a role in the grow operation. The Los Angeles Times reported that McCormick and others intended to distribute the marijuana to California Buyers' Clubs for medical purposes. McWilliams, who is the best selling author of numerous books including "How to Survive the Loss of a Love" and "How to Heal Depression," has been an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana reform in recent years. He also maintains a website online at: marijuanamagazine.com. For more information, please contact Peter McWilliams at: email@example.com. - END -
------------------------------------------------------------------- Industrial Hemp, Pot's Straight Cousin, Creeps Into Mainstream (An 'Associated Press' Account Of The Struggle In The United States To Re-Introduce Industrial Hemp Opens With An Interview With Wolf Creek, Oregon, Hemp-Fabric Artisan Kevyn Woven) Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 11:35:41 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US OR: Wire: Industrial Hemp, Pot's Straight Cousin, Creeps Into Mainstream Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Patrick Henry (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: Associated Press Author: Jeff Barnard INDUSTRIAL HEMP, POT'S STRAIGHT COUSIN, CREEPS INTO MAINSTREAM WOLF CREEK, Ore. (AP) - In the Oregon woods, where camouflaged deputies beat the brush each fall for hidden marijuana farms, Kevyn Woven strings his loom with the straight cousin of the pot plant: industrial hemp. Using hemp fiber and yarn imported from Poland, Romania, and China, where the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp is legal, Woven creates rich, nubby fabrics that wind up as chic boutique clothing and upholstery on custom-made furniture. "It is my passion,'' Woven says. Once sold primarily at hippie fairs and through ads in magazines with an environmental bent, goods made from industrial hemp are moving into the mainstream. Adidas used it in a shoe, the Body Shop features a line of hemp products and European car makers use it in interiors. There's even a beer made with it. "I feel the industrial hemp crop could very easily be the soybean crop of the new millennium,'' said Jeffrey Gain, a former farm lobbyist who now is chairman of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Alternative Agricultural Research and Commercialization Corp. Like soybeans, hemp produces an oil from its seeds that can be turned into cooking oil, cosmetics and plastics. Hemp fiber can be used to make paper, cloth and even structural panels stronger than plywood. The seed can be ground for flour and livestock feed. Industrial hemp is the same species as marijuana, but it is a different variety which only contains a very small amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the stuff that makes pot smokers high. Even that small amount, less than 1 percent, is enough to make it an outlaw in the eyes of Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the U.S. drug czar who heads the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. "A serious law enforcement concern is that a potential byproduct of legalizing hemp production would be de facto legalization of marijuana cultivation,'' McCaffrey's office said in a statement. "The seedlings are the same and in many instances the mature plants look the same.'' Hogwash, say hemp advocates, pointing to the 29 countries that allow farmers to grow hemp, including Canada, France, Germany and England. Indeed, hemp was significant part of American agriculture until a few decades ago. "Old Ironsides,'' the USS Constitution, went into battle with sails, rigging and caulking made from it. Founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew it. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on paper made from it. Farmers could pay their taxes with it. But cotton soon emerged as the world's dominant fiber. Hemp suffered another setback with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which prevented farmers from shipping hemp to processing plants because a few leaves that might contain THC were left on the stalks, said John Roulac, author of Hemp Horizons and founder of HEMPTECH, a hemp information network. By the end of 1938, every hemp factory in the Midwest was shut down, except one with a contract to supply rope to the Navy. While the Drug Enforcement Agency argues that hemp is much more expensive than other fibers, hemp advocates point out that difference would drop immediately if hemp didn't have to be imported. Canada decided to let farmers begin planting 5,000 acres this year. "As long as McCaffrey is there it's probably not going to happen,'' in the United States, said Gain, who is also on the board of the North American Industrial Hemp Association. The Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative, the Hemp Company of America and six would-be hemp farmers sued the DEA and the Justice Department last May. They contend Congress never intended to make industrial hemp illegal when it outlawed marijuana. Faced with growing uncertainty for the future of tobacco farmers because of federal efforts to wipe out smoking, the University of Kentucky's Center for Business and Economic Research looked into the prospects of growing hemp, once one of the state's biggest crops. The study found that hemp could earn farmers between $220 and $600 an acre. That would make it the second most profitable cash crop in the state after tobacco, which brings in $1,000 to $1,500 per acre. Med Byrd, director of applied research at North Carolina State University, thinks hemp could shed its reputation as a "boutique'' product. "If enough fringe people buy those products, and enough people work on processes to get the price down and enough farmers are allowed to grow it, all that can change,'' she said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Advocate, Author, Others Indicted (The United Press International Version Of Yesterday's News About The Federal Indictment And Re-Arrests Of California Medical Marijuana Patient/Activists Todd McCormick, Peter McWilliams And Nine Others On Cultivation, Conspiracy And Trafficking Charges) From: "Todd McCormick" (email@example.com) Subject: Pot advocate, author, others indicted Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 13:43:08 -0700 Yahoo! News Human Interest Headlines Friday July 24 1:48 PM EDT Pot advocate, author, others indicted LOS ANGELES, July 24 (UPI) - A federal indictment unsealed in Los Angeles accuses a leading medical marijuana advocate and several associates of conspiring to cultivate large amounts of marijuana for commercial sale. Todd McCormick had earlier claimed that he was growing pot at a rented Bel-Air mansion to help relieve chronic cancer pain. The nine-count indictment unsealed Thursday names McCormick and eight others. Several defendants, including McCormick, had been previously indicted. The indictment says best-selling self-help author Peter McWilliams was at the center of the scheme. The owner of West Hollywood-based Prelude Press allegedly provided more than $100,000 to rent the properties and buy equipment used in raising the plants. McWillams, author of ``Life 101'' and ``Nobody's Business if you Do,'' was arrested Thursday and held on $250,000 bail. His lawyer, Harland Braun, claims the indictment is part of a government effort to discredit advocates of medical marijuana. The alleged conspirators are accused of trying to sell some marijuana to a group which distributes pot to people who suffer from AIDS or other serious diseases. Such groups are legal under a measure approved by California voters in 1996. A spokesman for the Los Angeles Cannabis Buyer's Club said his group has never purchaced marijuana from outside sources. In addition to McWilliams and McCormick, those named in the superseding indictment include David Williams of Lancaster, Kirill Dyjine of Hollywood, Andrew Scott Hass of Malibu, Christopher Carrington of Manhattan Beach, Greg Collier of Van Nuys and Aleksandra Evanguelidi and Renee Boje of Los Angeles. Copyright 1998 by United Press International. All rights reserved.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Activist, Others Indicted (An 'Associated Press' Version In 'The Contra Costa Times') Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 11:12:00 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Medical Marijuana Activist, Others Indicted Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Colo. Hemp Init. Project) Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: Contra Costa Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Author: Associated Press MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACTIVIST, OTHERS INDICTED LOS ANGELES -- A self-help publisher who wanted to become the "Bill Gates of medical marijuana" allegedly financed an operation that grew more than 6,000 of the illegal plants, according to a federal indictment. Peter McWilliams, 48, of Los Angeles paid for his marijuana operation with funds from his publishing company, Prelude Press, federal prosecutors said. Also named in the indictment was Todd McCormick, the 27-year-old who was arrested last year after authorities found more than 4,000 marijuana plants growing in his rented Bel-Air mansion. The latest indictment supersedes the previous charge of conspiracy to manufacturer marijuana. McCormick remains free on bail. McWilliams was arrested Thursday along with another man. Five defendants, including McCormick, were arrested previously, and two others remain at large, authorities said. All are charged with conspiracy to grow marijuana, possessing the drug with the intent to distribute, and distributing it. McWilliams was being held on $250,000 bail after his arrest Thursday. His attorney, Harland Braun, said the government issued the indictment as part of a campaign to discredit medical marijuana advocates. The group allegedly grew marijuana at four leased locations in Los Angeles County, distributed it and tried to sell to the Los Angeles Cannibis Buyer's Club, which has dispensed the drug since Californians voted in 1996 to legalize it for medical use. The indictment said McWilliams provided McCormick and others with more than $100,000 last year. McCormick used a Prelude Press credit card to buy growing materials, and McWilliams said he wanted to become the "Bill Gates of medical marijuana," according to the indictment. McCormick has maintained he has done nothing illegal under Proposition 215, which legalized the cultivation, use and possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes on a doctor's recommendation. Federal courts have not recognized the state law. Messages left at McCormick's home Thursday night were not returned. McWilliams also is to stand trial for allegedly possessing drugs in Detroit, where a judge has ruled that he can claim that marijuana helps keep him alive. McWilliams was arrested in December 1996 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport as he was about to fly home to Los Angeles. He said marijuana eases his nausea during chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins' lymphoma and helps him tolerate AIDS drugs. Michigan does not have a law permitting medicinal marijuana use. The other people named in the indictment who were previously arrested, in addition to McCormick: Kirill Dyjine, also known as Hermes Zygott, 33, of Hollywood; Andrew Scott Hass, 34, of Malibu and Bellingham, Wash.; Christopher Carrington, 32, of Manhattan Beach; and Gregg Collier, 25, of Van Nuys and Bellingham, Wash. Arrested with McWilliams on Thursday was David Richards, 25, of Lancaster. Authorities said Aleksandra Evanguelidi, 24, and Renee Boje, 28, both of Los Angeles, remained fugitives, authorities said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Advocates Accused Of Cultivation For Sale ('The Los Angeles Times' Version, Updated Somewhat From Yesterday) Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 11:03:35 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Medical Marijuana Advocates Accused Of Cultivation For Sale Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Patrick Henry (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Author: David Rosenzweig MEDICAL MARIJUANA ADVOCATES ACCUSED OF CULTIVATION FOR SALE Todd McCormick, the medical marijuana advocate who says he was growing pot at a Bel-Air mansion to help relieve chronic cancer pain, was actually part of a conspiracy to cultivate large amounts of marijuana for commercial sale, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday. The nine-count indictment charges McCormick and eight others with conspiracy and possession of marijuana for sale. Several defendants, including McCormick, had been previously indicted. At the center of the scheme, according to the new indictment, was Peter McWilliams, 48, owner of Prelude Press, a West Hollywood publishing house, who allegedly advanced more than $100,000 to rent the properties and purchase equipment to grow the plants. McWilliams was arrested Thursday and held on $250,000 bail. His lawyer, Harland Braun, said the indictment was part of a government campaign to discredit medical marijuana advocates. They allegedly tried to sell some pot to the Los Angeles Cannabis Buyer's Club, which has been dispensing marijuana since Californians voted to legalize the drug for medical usage in 1996. Scott Imler, executive director of the Buyer's Club, said Thursday that his organization has never purchased marijuana from outside sources. "We grow everything here," he added. In addition to McWilliams and McCormick, 27, those named in Thursday's superseding indictment included David Williams, 25, of Lancaster; Kirill Dyjine, 33, of Hollywood; Andrew Scott Hass, 34, of Malibu and Bellingham, Wash.; Christopher Carrington, 22, of Manhattan Beach; Greg Collier, 25, of Van Nuys and Bellingham, Wash., and Aleksandra Evanguelidi, 24, and Renee Boje, 28, both of Los Angeles.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Action Alert - Peter McWilliams/Todd McCormick (A Bulletin From The Colorado Hemp Initiative Project Asks You To Take A Few Minutes And Write A Letter To California Media About The Federal Prosecution Of The Two Medical Marijuana Defendants) Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 14:56:36 -0600 (MDT) From: ammo (ammo@LEVELLERS.ORG) To: "DRCTalk Reformer's Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Action Alert: Peter McWilliams/Todd McCormick (7/24/98) Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Please re-distribute this announcement. ACTION ALERT: July 24, 1998 From the Colorado Hemp Initiative Project (email@example.com) Peter McWilliams Arrested and Charged with Conspiracy Todd McCormick Charged With Distribution Feds Escalate War against Medical Marijuana Patients As you may remember, Peter McWilliams' house was raided on December 17, 1997 by federal agents. The DEA seized his computer and an entire book-in-progress about medical marijuana, "A Question of Compassion - An AIDS Cancer Patient Explores Medical Marijuana." (See: "The DEA Wishes Me a Nice Day" http://www.marijuanamagazine.com/toc/052298-7.htm) This was shortly after McWilliams took out a two-full-page ad in Variety Magazine directed at the entertainment industry that was very critical of the DEA's war on medical marijuana patients. (See "Would You fight A Hollywood Blacklist If There Were One Today?" http://www.marijuanamagazine.com/toc/openlet.htm) McWilliams was never charged with any crime following the December raid, until the indictments described below were issued yesterday. Todd McCormick was previously indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of manufacturing (cultivating) marijuana. That previous grand jury found no evidence that Todd had been cultivating marijuana for distribution. But if at first the feds don't get the indictment they want, they can try, try again. This escalation of the federal goverment's war against patients must be countered by strong public protest. Your letters of outrage can be sent to the California media, using the list below to cut and paste into the Blind Carbon Copy (Bcc:) field of your email program. More targets for your outrage can be found at: http://www.levellers.org/toddact.htm For background on the trials of Peter McWilliams and Todd McCormick, see: http://www.marijuanamagazine.com/toc/toc.htm http://www.freecannabis.org http://www.levellers.org/toddtoc.htm Send copies of your letters to: Peter McWilliams (firstname.lastname@example.org) Todd McCormick (email@example.com) COHIP (firstname.lastname@example.org) *** Write LETTERS TO THE EDITOR of these California newspapers. Express outrage at the persecution patients in California. Tell them to STOP THE WAR ON SICK PEOPLE!! For help on letter-writing, see the Media Awareness Project at http://www.mapinc.org. California Newspapers (compiled by Jim Rosenfield: email@example.com) firstname.lastname@example.org(Contra Costa County Times Calif.) email@example.com(San Francisco Chronicle) firstname.lastname@example.org(San Mateo Times) email@example.com(BLK, LTE's) firstname.lastname@example.org(San Francisco Examiner) email@example.com(Los Angeles Times) firstname.lastname@example.org(The Orange County Register) email@example.com(Modesto Bee) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com(San Francisco Bay Guardian) firstname.lastname@example.org(San Jose Mercury News) letters@TheReporter.com(Vacaville Reporter) email@example.com(San Diego Union Tribune) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com(Santa Rosa Press Democrat) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org(Daily Bruin UCLA Viewpoint) email@example.com ------------------------------------------------------------------ TWO ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED POT POWERHOUSE MSNBC http://www.msnbc.com/local/KNBC/117050.asp *** Distributed as a public service by the: Colorado Hemp Initiative Project P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466 Vmail: (303) 448-5640 Email: (firstname.lastname@example.org) Web: http://www.welcomehome.org/cohip.html http://www.levellers.org/cannabis.html "Fighting over 60 years of lies and dis-information with 10,000 years of history and fact." ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE??? *** To be added to or removed from our mailing list, send email with the word SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE in the title.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Save Peter McWilliams (A Message Forwarded From Los Angeles Area Attorney James Silva Has More Details About The Medical Marijuana Defendant's Conditions Of Bail) From: "ralph sherrow" (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Fwd: Save Peter McWilliams Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 15:21:07 PDT >From: "JAMES SILVA" (email@example.com) >To: firstname.lastname@example.org >Subject: Save Peter McWilliams >Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 00:13:31 PDT > >Dear Ralph, > >I am informed by an unconfirmed source that Peter McWilliams has been >arrested and is being held on a $250,000 bond. Please post this >message in an effort to help Peter. > >ACME Bail Bonds, through their relationship with my law offices has >expressed their interest in supporting the patients and activists that >continue to be subjected to prosecution dispite the passage of >Proposition 215. To that end, ACME has agreed to write bonds at a >reduced premium under certain circumstances. > >At my request, ACME has already provided a $35,000 without a premium >bond for Steve McWilliams from the San Diego Cannabis Buyer's >Co-operative. ACME has also provided a bond for Marvin Chavez from the >Orange County Medical Cannabis Co-operative at a reduced premium. > >Please inform the community that I would be willing to enlist the >resources of ACME Bail Bonds once again for the purposes of assisting >Peter McWilliams. I can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com, by >telephone at (310) 450-2690 or by mail at: > >The Law Offices of James M. Silva >33 Clubhouse Avenue, No. 14 >Venice, California 90291 > >Regards, > >James
------------------------------------------------------------------- Reaction Mixed To Yamaguchi Quitting ('The San Francisco Examiner' Notes The Resignation Of Northern California Federal Prosecutor Michael Yamaguchi, The US Government's Point Man In Its War Against California Medical Marijuana Patients) Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 11:09:46 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Reaction Mixed To Yamaguchi Quitting 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: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Author: Tyche Hendricks Of The Examiner Staff REACTION MIXED TO YAMAGUCHI QUITTING News that coastal Northern California's top federal prosecutor is stepping down was greeted with mixed emotions in The City's legal circles. U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi announced Thursday that he was resigning, effective Aug. 24. The news elicited regret from some San Francisco attorneys and relief from others. His five-year tenure as U.S. attorney for the northern district of California has been troubled by complaints over his laid-back style of management and questions of misconduct by the office and its clients, which include customs and drug enforcement agents. Last year he withdrew his name from consideration for a federal judgeship, after comments he made to the press led to a mistrial in a major cocaine conspiracy case. But Yamaguchi, 48, said Thursday he is proud of his accomplishments and unperturbed by the criticism he has endured. "This is a very demanding, consuming job and it takes a toll, but it's a rewarding job," he said. "I feel I've achieved everything I wanted to, and it's time now to move on." He declined to elaborate on the reasons for his departure. Attorney General Janet Reno has appointed Robert Mueller interim U.S. attorney in Yamaguchi's place. Among his proudest achievements, Yamaguchi listed his office's involvement with the Unabomber investigation and the successful prosecutions of Chinese alien smugglers and several high-tech computer chip robbers. He also cited his close relationship with state and local law enforcement and an increase in women and minorities on the office's legal staff. Yamaguchi joined the federal prosecutor's office in 1980 and was named U.S. attorney by President Clinton in 1993, becoming the first Asian American U.S. attorney in the continental United States. Defense attorney John Runfola, who estimated half his cases are federal, said he was shocked to learn Yamaguchi was leaving the job, but wished him well. "Michael has tremendous personal integrity," he said. "He stood by his ideals. When you see that in this business, it really stands out." He said criticism of Yamaguchi, particularly in legal affairs newspapers, was unjustified. "In the past couple years he took some shots in the press," he said. "Because he's not a self-promoter, I don't think he really responded to them, and that has led to some unfair criticism." Patrick Hallinan, another defense attorney, said he was sorry to see Yamaguchi go, but suggested he wasn't tough enough for the job. "It's a damn shame," he said. "He's a wonderfully sweet, decent guy who probably should have never been a U.S. attorney. He wasn't mean enough." But attorney Maureen Kallins said Yamaguchi's lack of leadership led to serious problems in the federal prosecutor's office. "He wasn't at the helm," she said. "Someone in that position needs to be really forthright and forceful or sinister forces can take over." The office, she said, ended up being run by federal customs and drug enforcement agents represented by the U.S. attorney. "Those are not the people we want wielding the power," Kallins said. She noted several cases in which prosecutors overlooked misconduct by some of those agents. In one case against a former member of Thailand's parliament accused of running a marijuana smuggling ring, a federal judge criticized Yamaguchi's office for sitting on information that a customs agent took kickbacks from a paid government informant. "How could someone run an office and allow that to happen?" Kallins asked. Last year, after the first phase of a trial of an alleged crack ring in Oakland, Yamaguchi commented to a reporter that the convictions had reduced violent crime there. Reasoning that the jury in the trial had been tainted by the published remark, the judge dismissed the more serious charges which hadn't yet been heard. Yamaguchi's remarks ultimately led to the earlier convictions being thrown out, after it was learned that the jurors had been discussing news reports of the case. The controversy was the primary factor in Yamaguchi's decision to withdraw his name last year from consideration for the federal bench, despite a recommendation from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Yamaguchi said Thursday he had been loath to undergo a potentially grueling confirmation process as a Clinton nominee facing a Republican Senate. Defense attorney Hallinan said he was sorry Yamaguchi didn't make it onto the bench. "He would have made a terrific judge. He would have listened to everybody," Hallinan said. "What went wrong is, he was dog paddling in a sea of sharks." In spite of his critics, Yamaguchi stood by his record and his staff. "When you take this type of job, you have to deal with both the positive and the negative," he said. "It's foolish to think any government office is going to escape criticism." About the future, he said only that he had some other opportunities and wanted to take time off to consider them. Mueller, Yamaguchi's interim replacement, currently heads the homicide division of the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia and previously served as assistant attorney general in the criminal division. San Francisco attorney John Keker, who declined to comment on Yamaguchi's tenure, said he thought highly of Mueller, who was a fellow student at Princeton University. "He has a long and distinguished career as a prosecutor," Keker said. "He's a well-respected, first-class guy. The U.S. attorney's office here is lucky to get him." 1998 San Francisco Examiner
------------------------------------------------------------------- Yamaguchi Quitting As US Attorney August 24 ('The Associated Press' Version) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen - Olympia" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "-Hemp Talk" (email@example.com) Subject: HT: Top western Fed prosecutor quitting Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 06:42:40 -0700 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Yamaguchi quitting as U.S. attorney Aug. 24 The Associated Press 07/24/98 6:01 AM Eastern SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The top federal prosecutor for coastal Northern California is stepping down after five years on the job. U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi announced his resignation Thursday, saying he was considering several future opportunities. Yamaguchi, whose departure takes effect Aug. 24, did not disclose his plans. He called his time in office "rewarding and productive." After 13 years in the federal prosecutor's office, Yamaguchi was named U.S. attorney by President Clinton in 1993. He was the first Asian-American U.S. attorney in the continental United States. His office has suffered from a turnover of prosecutors and a steady decline in charges filed, which Yamaguchi has attributed to a staff shortage. Yamaguchi was recommended to Clinton for the federal bench in San Jose in December 1996 by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-San Francisco. But Yamaguchi withdrew his name five months later after being rebuked by a federal judge in a major drug case. The judge declared a mistrial on charges against a reputed gang leader because jurors had learned of comments that Yamaguchi made to a newspaper reporter, linking a drop in Oakland crimes to the arrests of the defendant and his associates. Some other prominent prosecutions have also encountered problems, including a pending case against a former member of Thailand's parliament, accused of running a marijuana smuggling ring. A federal judge has criticized Yamaguchi's office for sitting on information that a Customs agent in the case took kickbacks from an informant, and has raised the possibility that the charges will be dismissed. In his resignation announcement, Yamaguchi noted the successful prosecutions of Chinese alien smugglers, an offshore sports gambling ring, loan fraud cases and the recent securities fraud case of Cal Micro Corp. executives. His office also took part in the prosecution of Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski He said he had increased representation of women, to 37 percent, and minorities, to 16 percent, among the office's professional staff. Yamaguchi graduated from UCLA in 1972 and worked for three years as an accountant before attending the University of San Francisco law school, where he graduated in 1978. He obtained a master of law degree from New York University in 1979 and joined the U.S. attorney's office in 1980.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Clockwork Orange - Gone To Pot ('OC Weekly' Notes The Four-Year Prison Sentence Bestowed Last Week On David Lee Herrick, The Former San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Convicted In May Of Selling Weed Through The Orange County Cannabis Co-Op) Date: Wed, 05 Aug 1998 02:22:42 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Column: Gone To Pot Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: FilmMakerZ@aol.com Pubdate: Fri, 24 July 1998 Source: OC Weekly (CA) Section: A Clockwork Orange Contact: email@example.com. Website: http://www.ocweekly.com/ Author: Matt Coker A CLOCKWORK ORANGE: GONE TO POT David Lee Herrick, who tried unsuccessfully to become the first in Orange County to base a defense against drug charges on California's medical-marijuana initiative, was sentenced on July 17 to four years in state prison. The 48-year-old former San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy was convicted in May of selling weed through the Orange County Cannabis Co-op to people who had obtained doctors' permission to smoke dope under Proposition 215. But the judge refused to let the jury consider the new law, ruling that it only allows for marijuana's use, not its sale. Co-op founder Marvin Chavez, who's facing his own pot-sales charges, called the sentence "wrong," noting his nonprofit operation simply gets grass to sick people because government agencies have failed to do so. But Deputy District Attorney Carl Armbrust compared Herrick to "a street dealer," and Judge William R. Froeberg called him "nothing more than a marijuana salesman." It will be interesting to see if Herrick, who began toking to deal with a back injury he suffered in the line of duty, will fight to get his pot prescription filled behind bars.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medicinal Marijuana User Faces Drug Charges ('The Press-Telegram' Previews Today's Court Appearance By Orange County Cannabis Co-Op Founder Marvin Chavez, Noting Prosecutors Want To Prevent Him From Invoking Proposition 215, Even Though He Was Arrested In April By An Undercover Officer Posing As A Caregiver For A Terminally Ill Uncle) Date: Fri, 31 Jul 1998 03:10:47 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Medicinal Marijuana User Faces Drug Charges Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: FilmMakerZ@aol.com Pubdate: Fri, 24 July 1998 Source: Press-Telegram (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.ptconnect.com/ Author: Joe Segura, Staff Writer MEDICINAL MARIJUANA USER FACES DRUG CHARGES Controversy: Can Prop. 215 serve as defense for sales? GARDEN GROVE - Marvin Chavez inhales deeply on a freshly rolled joint and follows that with a few small puffs. The 43-year-old Garden Grove man, who suffers from a genetic spinal condition, says the marijuana brings relief that modern medicine fails to provide. It halts the nausea created by pharmaceuticals he takes. It's a drug his doctor has recommended. It's also a drug that California voters approved for medicinal purposes under the provisions of Prop. 215, known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Chavez - an avid advocate of medicinal marijuana -- is facing eight felony counts of marijuana sales and conspiracy to sell because prosecutors say he has no legal standing under Prop. 215 to provide the drugs to others. His trial begins Aug. 3, but his attorneys will be in court today fighting an effort by the Orange County District Attorney's office to ban any reference to Prop. 215 as a part of his defense. His lawyers also will be opposing the prosecutor's effort to open up the medical records of the 200 members of the cannabis club. Chavez's legal headache stems, in part, from the impasse between the Clinton Administration and state lawmakers over the use of medicinal marijuana. The Clinton Administration has firmly opposed its use for the seriously ill -- those with cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, chronic pain and migraines. Those differences between federal and state laws have created a void in any kind of cannabis delivery system, administration critics contend. Public health officials in Los Angeles and Orange counties said they're not budging on setting up a medicinal marijuana distribution system until the impasse is resolved. "We will be extremely cautious in taking any step," said Ron LaPorte, Orange County's deputy director of public health. Added Dr. Donald Thomas, Los Angeles County director of clinical and medical affairs: "The county is not going to get in the middle of that argument. We get a lot of federal and state funds." Chavez worked for the passage of Prop. 215 in Orange County. After its passage, he co-founded the Orange County Patient-Doctor-Nurse Support Group, designed to be a clearing house for the seriously ill. The organization has about 200 members -- people who have presented a doctor's recommendation for marijuana use, he says. Chavez was arrested in April after allegedly selling marijuana to an undercover officer posing as a care-giver for a terminally ill uncle. Prosecutors - as they did successfully in a prior case -- are pushing to ban any reference to Prop. 215 as a defense. In that case, the trial of cannabis club volunteer David Herrick, jurors were kept in the dark about his medical condition. The judge ruled that Prop. 215 didn't apply to sales of cannabis and that a cannabis club cannot take on the care-giver status, which allows a person to obtain the marijuana for sick patients. Herrick was convicted on two of four counts of sale charges. And he was sentenced last week to four years in prison, but Orange County Deputy Public Defender Sharon Petrosino said she plans to file an appeal. Attorneys Robert Kennedy of Long Beach and Jon Alexander of Orange County, who are representing Chavez on a pro bono basis, emphasized that Prop. 215 is the central issue of the case. They said a ban on Prop. 215 will deny Chavez his due process right to a fair trial -- cutting off, among other things, his ability to assert a defense of entrapment. Kennedy said the undercover officers showed Chavez a doctor's recommendation before Chavez provided them with the medicinal marijuana. That action, he added, should make Prop. 215 key to the defense. "Why did they need a prescription if (Prop. 215) is irrelevant?" he states in a motion opposing the district attorney's effort to ban Prop. 215 from the case. Deputy District Attorney Carl Armburst, head of the Narcotics Enforcement Team, said he also is seeking to open the medical records to the cannabis club because he has serious doubts that a physician is involved in the organization's operations. Armburst said that the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 allows patients and care-givers to grow their own marijuana plants, adding he's never prosecuted a case against anyone for growing their own medicinal plants. But Chavez and his attorneys note that many members of the Patient-Doctor- Nurse Support Group are unable to grow their own -- adding that the system can be somewhat complicated, if not impossible, for the neophyte. Armburst doesn't buy that and he dismisses Chavez as a "street peddler."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Update - Marvin Chavez (A Local Correspondent Says The Former Director Of The Defunct Orange County Cannabis Co-Op Was In Court Again Today, Enduring Abuse And Improper Conduct From Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald And District Attorney Carl Armbrust - Please Show Up To Protest In Front Of The Courthouse Before The August 3 Hearing) From: FilmMakerZ@aol.com Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 21:52:59 EDT Subject: Update: Marvin Chavez Marvin Chavez, Director of the Orange County Cannabis Co-op, was in court Friday, July 24, for his last preliminary hearing before his trial begins for giving away medicinal marijuana to patients. Chavez is a medical marijuana patient who suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of degenerative spinal arthritis. Chavez was recently released on bail after fundraising efforts by Co-op members. Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald had two-thirds of the courtroom seats sealed off, leaving only about 15 seats open for supporters and people involved with the 26 other cases he was hearing that day. Another row of seats was opened after people jammed the aisle and doorway trying to get in. After reducing the crime of a man who dragged another man on the hood of his car until he fell off at a freeway onramp with broken bones and a cracked head to a misdemeanor, and giving him just sixty days in jail and three years probation, he heard Marvin Chavez's case. Chavez is facing twelve years in jail. Fitzgerald made a barrage of insulting comments aimed at Chavez and disabled supporters observing the case throughout the morning. Looking at the observers, he stated, "I got some Thai sticks in the back if anybody wants them." After no one responded, he said, "No one has a sense of humor in here." When he called up Chavez's case, Fitzgerald said, "OK. Let's bring up the dope case." A few minutes later, he stated, "I have some green leafy material." When inquiring as to which defendant named Chavez this case was for, he snidely remarked, "I almost sent you to prison for life, Mr. Chavez." DA Carl Armbrust argued against allowing a Proposition 215 defense, saying that because members made donations to the Co-op, the marijuana that Chavez gave away was "sales." Fitzgerald granted Armbrust's motion, blatantly ignoring that Judge Bryer in People v. Peron in San Francisco said, "Although the sale and distribution of marijuana remain as criminal offenses under section 11360, bona fide primary caregivers for section 11362.5 patients should not be precluded from receiving bona fide reimbursement for their actual expenses ..." Armbrust made the outrageously inflated assertion that the struggling Co-op was taking in $2,000 -- $10,000 a week. Fitzgerald, in another assault on suffering patients, said, "It looks like we're in the wrong business, Mr. Armbrust ... The only thing that keeps me from thinking that is people like you and me." Armbrust also argued to allow the patients' medical records, which are currently sealed in the custody of the court, to be used as evidence. Fitzgerald gave Chavez's attorneys, Robert Kennedy and Jon Alexander, 72 hours to present papers opposing this before he makes his final decision on releasing the records. Fitzgerald voiced his bias against medical marijuana and Marvin Chavez throughout the hearing. After Fitzgerald ruled in favor of Armbrust's requests, he said, "Do we want to talk settlement or do we want to send Mr. Chavez off to prison?" Attorneys Kennedy and Alexander plan to file an appeal with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals next week. Chavez's trial and jury selection are set to begin on August 3 at the Orange County Central Courthouse, 700 Civic Center Drive West, Division 39, 10th floor, 8:30 am, in Santa Ana. Please show up to protest in front of the courthouse before the August 3 hearing.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ex-Pleasanton Cop Sues City, Police To Get Job Back ('The San Francisco Chronicle' Says Jeffery Anadon, A Longtime Police Officer In Pleasanton, California, Has Filed Suit Against The City And Its Police Department To Reverse His Demotion From Lieutenant To Patrol Officer Because He Twice Had Affairs With A Former Drug Snitch Against His Chief's Emphatic Orders) Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 23:53:50 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Ex-Pleasanton Cop Sues City, Police To Get Job Back Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Author: Patricia Jacobus, Chronicle Staff Writer EX-PLEASANTON COP SUES CITY, POLICE TO GET JOB BACK He had affairs with police informant Jeffery Anadon, a longtime Pleasanton police officer and decorated Vietnam veteran, admits he twice had affairs with a former drug snitch against the chief's emphatic orders. But he does not believe he should have been demoted from lieutenant to patrol officer for his actions. ``He's an outstanding officer who has had a really hard time,'' his attorney, Carlos Alcala, said yesterday on the first day of Anadon's civil trial against Pleasanton and its police department. Anadon, 49, of Lathrop, is seeking reinstatement and an undisclosed amount of money for emotional suffering he says he endured after the demotion. He also claims he was discriminated against and subjected to racial slurs while working at the Pleasanton Police Department. Anadon is Mexican and Filipino. ``He wants justice,'' Alcala said of his client, who in the mid-1980s was also accused of molesting the informant's daughter but later acquitted. During opening statements yesterday in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward, the city's attorney, Paul Coble, told the jury Anadon was the ``master of his own fate.'' ``He used profoundly poor judgment,'' Coble said. He said Anadon was passed over for promotions not because of his race, but because he is not a good role model for other officers. ``He's not someone they should pattern themselves after.'' Anadon served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War as a Green Beret and earned three Bronze Star medals. He joined the Pleasanton Police Department in 1971 and was promoted to sergeant seven years later. In 1989, he was a lieutenant, supervising narcotics and vice detectives. His job evaluations reflected the work of a dedicated officer. But things turned sour for him shortly after his last promotion. Anadon, who is married, had a six-month affair with a woman he once arrested for possessing drugs. The woman became a snitch for the department and earned $1,500 for two months of work, court records show. Chief Bill Eastman learned of the affair through an anonymous caller. Eastman confronted Anadon, who promised to cut ties with the woman. As punishment, he relinquished one week of vacation but was not demoted. Then, in 1990, the pair again started a relationship lasting for two years, Anadon testified yesterday. In 1994, Eastman learned of the affair when Anadon told him the former snitch accused him of child molestation. A jury acquitted Anadon in 1995, but by then he had been demoted to officer. His salary dropped from $6,000 a month to $4,700. ``He was not demoted because he had an extramarital affair,'' Coble said outside the courtroom. ``He was demoted because he disobeyed the chief's orders. His conduct was unbecoming.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Charges Dropped Against Alleged Meth Makers ('The San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune' Says Charges Have Been Dismissed Against Howard Leasure Of San Luis Obispo, California, Because The 10 Pounds Of Methamphetamine Police Discovered In A Raid On His Property Turned Out To Be Caustic Soda - Leasure Believes The Raid Was A 'Small Town Politics' Ploy Designed To Enhance The Political Career Of Police Chief Jim Gardiner) Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 00:51:34 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Charges Dropped Against Alleged Meth Makers Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune (CA) Contact: email@example.com Section: front page Website: http://sanluisobispo.com/ Author: Danna Dykstra Telegram-Tribune CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST ALLEGED METH MAKERS SAN LUIS OBISPO -- The District Attorney's Office has dropped all charges against two men connected to a well-publicized case initially said to involve a major methamphetamine-making operation. The dismissal this week comes four months after authorities learned the 10 pounds of powder they seized from a rural San Luis Obispo property wasn't meth at all but caustic soda. After making that discovery in March, the District Attorney's Office dismissed charges that would have added prison time for convictions of drug manufacturing against Howard Leasure, 42, and Nickolaus Kopp, 62. On Monday Deputy District Attorney Ron Abrams asked to have the remaining drug charges dropped after a judge refused to grant him a continuance. Abrams had asked for more time on behalf of the county Narcotics Task Force, which is reportedly pursuing a broader investigation. "NTF informed me they cannot go forward with this case, because to do so would jeopardize a continuing investigation that involves several jurisdictions," Abrams said. "We have the right to refile the charges." San Luis Obispo Police Sgt. Jim English, an NTF spokesman, declined to comment on Abrams' statements. English said he anticipates charges against both Kopp and Leasure will be refiled. Leasure said this week he's no drug dealer and thought NTF agents would eventually come to realize that and leave him alone. "They kept calling me 'The King of Denial,' " Leasure said. "I wasn't denying anything. I didn't know anything." For months NTF agents secretly watched the O'Connor Way property where Leasure and his wife lived in a rented mobile home. The agents made their move in mid-March. A press conference was called the next day to announce the arrests of both Leasure and Kopp and the seizure of what appeared to be 10 pounds of meth. The story led the evening news. Kopp posted $40,000 bail within days of his arrest. Leasure spent 16 days behind bars. All the while, he said he wondered when drug agents would come to their senses. "When they raided the property and tried to say I made 50 pounds and $200,000 a week for a year, I told them: 'I wish,' " said Leasure. "If I was doing that, I probably wouldn't have been there when they came to raid -- I'd probably have been in Tahiti." The attorney representing Leasure's co-defendant said "clearly a mistake was made." "Sometimes the excitement of the moment can overtake the objectivity; sometimes emotions and pride overtake a detached investigation," said Ilan Funke-Bilu. "It's too bad they didn't think of continuing this broadened investigation prior to arresting my client. It's too bad he had to be arrested, had to hire an attorney, had to go through court, only to find out his case was dismissed for a broader investigation." Funke-Bilu said he doesn't believe the case was filed in bad faith. "It's just unfortunate my client had to go through emotional and financial trauma while the government decides to proceed with this quote 'broadened' unquote investigation. It doesn't smell right." Task Force agents initially reported seizing a significant amount of meth at 1020 O'Connor Way, along with chemicals used to make the drug and waste materials indicating that up to 150 pounds of meth had allegedly been manufactured on the property. Search warrants were served at both the O'Connor Way site and Kopp's Main Street property in Cambria. During the search on O'Connor Way, agents said they seized equipment and chemicals used to make meth. The haul included more than 70 freon cans, a gas cylinder, red phosphorous, a hydraulic meth press, filters with residue consistent with the manufacturing of meth and 300 pounds of sodium hydroxide. Sodium hydroxide is found in many drain cleaners and is also known as caustic soda or lye. The 10 pounds of suspected meth was later determined to also be sodium hydroxide. Leasure said he and his wife Sally had rented the mobile home on the O'Connor Way property about 11 months prior to the March 19 raid. He said he knew all along he was under surveillance for suspected drug manufacturing. He said a friend who knew about the investigation told him. Leasure said he once confronted two agents he spotted watching him from the hills above his mobile home. "I snuck up on them one night and asked them if they were having fun watching me. I scared the pants off them." Leasure said he wasn't manufacturing meth. He said the chemical containers weren't his, but the 10 pounds of sodium hydroxide was. "I got it from a lab to use to separate any bad stuff from the drinking water, because I thought the water from the storage tank might be contaminated," Leasure said. "You should have seen those guys running around when they found that salt. Their adrenalin was flowing, and I just sat there calm as can be thinking: 'Boy, are you guys a bunch of buffoons. Just wait until you find out it's not what you think it is.' " Leasure also said he rarely saw Kopp, a sculptor from Cambria. According to the property owner, Kopp and Leasure co-leased a shop just up the hill from Leasure's mobile home. Property owner Alex Ramey said he suspects meth was made on the property at some point. Ramey recently filed a complaint with the Sheriff's Office, alleging Leasure owes him back rent and ran up credit cards and utility bills that were taken out in Ramey's name. Leasure declined to say where he lives because of his legal troubles with his ex-landlord, although he denies he stole from him. He also said he's against drug use and wouldn't manufacture a toxic product that damages the environment. According to court records, neither Kopp nor Leasure have previous drug histories in San Luis Obispo County. "I'm a Native American -- we do not destroy our earth," said Leasure. "I'm a priest. I built a sweat lodge on the property where we held religious ceremonies, and NTF destroyed it. They desecrated a church -- and for what?" Leasure said he believes this was a case of "small town politics" designed to enhance the political career of San Luis Obispo Police Chief Jim Gardiner, something Sgt. English vehemently denied. "They did the raid right after the police chief announced he was running for sheriff, and he's the one who's at this big press conference," said Leasure. "All the TV stations kept showing this footage and blasted our names out there. It looked good for NTF, that's how they get their money. Only problem: None of it was true." Even landlord Ramey is upset with the police. Ramey said he was told about the investigation six months before the arrest and was told to steer clear of his tenants. After months passed without word from drug agents he had talked to, Ramey figured the investigation was over. Ramey said he was out of town when the raid went down, and no one from any of the participating agencies called him. When the raid hit the news and Ramey learned the media had been invited out to his property -- along with a man delivering pizzas to agents -- he wasn't thrilled. "I called (an NTF agent) and said: 'You told me you wouldn't let the place get trashed.' And he told me I had a big cleanup to do." Ramey said he spent weeks worrying whether he'd be billed for the hefty cost to clean up any environmental contaminants in the wake of the suspected drug manufacturing. He said he was later told tests were inconclusive, meaning not enough of the chemicals were found to deem the property unsafe. "Here I cooperated with them; I lost a lot of sleep thinking I'd get stuck with a $100,000 cleanup bill. I lost back rent, and here they'd turned this thing into a dog-and-pony show to make somebody look good," said Ramey. "You ever felt so disgusted and defenseless about something that's so out of your control you don't know what to do? That's how it's been for me."
------------------------------------------------------------------- LULAC's Leader Asks Feds To Probe Shooting ('The Houston Chronicle' Says Rick Dovalina, National President Of The League Of United Latin American Citizens, Met On Wednesday With The Acting US Assistant Attorney General In Charge Of Civil Rights And Was Assured The FBI Would Investigate The Death Of Pedro Oregon Navarro, An Innocent Young Man Shot In The Back Nine Times After An Illegal Entry By Houston Prohibition Agents) Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 06:39:20 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Maptalk-Digest) To: email@example.com Subject: Maptalk-Digest V98 No. 294 Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/ Subj: ART: LULAC's leader asks feds to probe shooting From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 08:38:52 -0500 (CDT) 7-24-98 Houston Chronicle http://www.chron.com email@example.com LULAC's leader asks feds to probe shooting Justice Department monitoring police case By STEFANIE ASIN Copyright 1998 Houston Chronicle The national president of LULAC has urged Justice Department officials to investigate the fatal shooting of a young Hispanic man by Houston police officers. Though the Justice Department is not investigating the shooting of Pedro Oregon Navarro, 22, it is monitoring the case while local authorities gather evidence, said department spokeswoman Karen Guerriero. She said the department will communicate with Houston police as the case progresses. On Wednesday, Rick Dovalina, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, met with the acting assistant attorney general in charge of civil rights. He said he was assured the FBI would investigate. "I didn't want this to fall through the cracks," said Dovalina, who lives in Houston. "The bottom line is they shot an innocent young man in the back after an illegal entry." On July 12, officers raided Oregon's apartment in the 6700 block of Atwell after an informant told them drugs were being sold there. They had no search warrant. Once inside the apartment, the police kicked down his bedroom door and gunfire began. Oregon was shot 12 times, nine times in the back. Sources have told the Chronicle that the gunfire began when an officer shouted that Oregon had a gun. One officer was shot by another officer. Tests showed that Oregon's gun was never fired. Dovalina told reporters Thursday that the case is of national significance to Hispanics. "It's a Hispanic in a poor neighborhood so there's an assumption drugs are involved. These assumptions concern us," Dovalina said. "Would this have happened in Tanglewood? I doubt it." Tanglewood is a predominantly white upper-middle-class neighborhood. Dovalina said that when he met with Justice officials in Washington, D.C., he gave them a copy of the autopsy report and newspaper clippings. The local office of LULAC also plans to put pressure on local and national investigators. LULAC wants them to know that someone is watching. "There were Hispanics before who were who were afraid of police. This won't help matters," said Johnny Mata, president of the local LULAC organization. HPD spokesman Robert Hurst said: "The Houston Police Department is continuing its investigation into the Oregon case in cooperation with the Harris County District Attorney's Office. We welcome the FBI's monitoring of the investigation and we will be responsive to any requests which the bureau may have."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dallas Lawyer Found Guilty Of Tampering In Irvin Trial ('The Dallas Morning News' A Dallas County Jury Found Thomas B. Arnold Guilty Thursday Of Coercing Amber Gatcomb, 23, To Evade A State Subpoena In The 1996 Cocaine Possession Trial Of Dallas Cowboys Star Michael Irvin) Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 09:59:53 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US TX: Dallas Lawyer Found Guilty of Tampering in Irvin Trial Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Author: Michael Saul / The Dallas Morning News DALLAS LAWYER FOUND GUILTY OF TAMPERING IN IRVIN TRIAL Attorneys plan to appeal verdict he coerced witness A Dallas lawyer charged with coercing a former topless dancer to avoid testifying in Dallas Cowboys star Michael Irvin's 1996 drug trial was convicted Thursday of felony witness tampering. A Dallas County jury found Thomas B. Arnold, 48, guilty of coercing Amber Gatcomb, 23, to evade a state subpoena in the player's cocaine possession trial. A punishment hearing is scheduled before state District Judge Gerry Meier on Aug. 4. Mr. Arnold declined to comment as he left the courtroom, but his attorneys said they were shocked by the jurors' decision. He plans to appeal the verdict, his attorneys said. "The evidence is insufficient. There was no proof that a crime was committed. There is no evidence that he aided her to elude a legal process," said Lawrence B. Mitchell, one of Mr. Arnold's attorneys. Assistant District Attorney Clark Birdsall, the lead prosecutor, said he believes the jury reached the right decision. He declined to comment further. Based on the law at the time that the offense was committed, Mr. Arnold will automatically receive probation, the attorneys said. Judge Meier, however, can send him to jail for up to 180 days as a condition of the probation and fine him up to $10,000, Mr. Birdsall said. Richard J. Corbitt, Mr. Arnold's other attorney, said he is hopeful that Judge Meier will not incarcerate his client as part of the probation terms. It would be unjust to send Mr. Arnold to jail, Mr. Corbitt said, because the primary players in the Irvin drug case each received probation. "The real players in this entire scenario, none of them, none of them, I repeat, got any jail time," Mr. Corbitt said. In July 1996, Mr. Irvin pleaded no contest to felony cocaine possession in exchange for four years' probation. The jurors in Mr. Arnold's case deliberated about 7 1/2 hours over two days before reaching their verdict. Judge Meier, who left for vacation before the jurors finished deliberating, sequestered the panel at a hotel Wednesday night. "We reached it [the verdict] after a lot of deliberation. It was very difficult, and we think it was the right decision," said Malley Gaulding, the presiding juror. Ms. Gaulding declined to elaborate on what the jurors discussed. She also would not say whether she believed Mr. Arnold deserved to be punished with a jail sentence. Mr. Arnold has no prior felony convictions. However, next week, a Dallas County grand jury is scheduled to consider whether to indict him on a charge of misappropriating funds. The third-degree felony, formally titled misapplication of fiduciary property, carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a $10,000 fine. According to court records, in July 1995, Mr. Arnold settled a case on behalf of a client in the amount of $250,000. Mr. Arnold refused to pay the client about $90,000, the records show. Mr. Corbitt said Thursday that his client also denies any wrongdoing in that matter. During his trial this week, prosecutors portrayed Mr. Arnold as a hot-shot, rich attorney who likes to surround himself with high-profile people. The state's key witness, Ms. Gatcomb, said Mr. Arnold spent considerable time at topless clubs and had a serious cocaine problem during the period she knew him. Ms. Gatcomb testified that Mr. Arnold persuaded her to flee the Dallas area when it became apparent that Dallas County prosecutors were interested in her testimony in the Irvin trial. Ms. Gatcomb, who began working for Mr. Arnold's law firm in May 1996, testified that Mr. Irvin introduced her to cocaine and financed her addiction. She said Mr. Arnold told her that she had to leave Dallas because her testimony would expose their relationship, hurt his law firm and potentially jeopardize his marriage. Ms. Gatcomb told the jury that she and Mr. Arnold did not have a sexual relationship but that he wanted one. Mr. Arnold also told Ms. Gatcomb that Mr. Irvin might try to kill her and make it seem like a crazed Cowboys fan committed the crime, she testified. He also threatened to discontinue financial support if she didn't flee, she said. Mr. Arnold gave Ms. Gatcomb four blank checks, she said, for her to use on her trip. Mr. Corbitt said that's untrue. "Who in the world would believe that the checks were actually given to her if they were not made out to her and if she didn't have any of her handwriting on them," Mr. Corbitt said Thursday. Ms. Gatcomb testified that Mr. Arnold personally handed her the checks and that a friend of hers filled them out to shield her name from the paper trail. Mr. Corbitt said his client probably will lose his law license as a result of the conviction. "The ramifications of all this is just really, really, really bad," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Little-Used Law Invoked In Plano Heroin Deaths - If Convicted, 29 Could Receive Life Sentences ('The Dallas Morning News' Says Federal Cops Believe They Can Connect The Deliveries Of The Drug To Specific Heroin-Related Deaths In Plano, Texas) From: adbryan@ONRAMP.NET Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 08:39:07 -0500 (CDT) Subject: ART: Little-used law invoked in Plano heroin deaths To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org I wonder if Soros would be interested in designating the DFW area as a high-intensity drug propoganda area? Even one of the proponents in this story says this type of prosecution won't slow down heroin. *** 7-24-98 Dallas Morning News http://www.dallasnews.com email@example.com Little-used law invoked in Plano heroin deaths If convicted, 29 could receive life sentences 07/24/98 By Jayne Noble Suhler and Linda Stewart Ball / The Dallas Morning News When more than two dozen suspected drug dealers were indicted in connection with heroin-related deaths in the Plano area, federal officials invoked a rarely used but powerful federal law that allows them to seek tougher sentencing. They did so through a carefully constructed web that included a tight network of informants, a lot of legwork and cooperation from the community. "We could connect the deliveries of the drug to the deaths, and also we believe we can establish and show that the sellers had knowledge that the drugs they were selling were killing people," said U.S. Attorney Mike Bradford. "It's unusual to have this large number of deaths and overdoses attributed to one organization in a community. That's what made us think of looking at this statute and pursuing it this way." A federal grand jury in Sherman issued a 36-count indictment that alleges that 29 suspected drug traffickers targeted Plano as a new market for heroin. The indictment, announced Wednesday, charges that the 29 intentionally sold four teenagers the drug that led to their deaths. The four teens, who had lived in Plano or attended Plano schools, were Erin Baker, 16; Wesley Scott, 19; Rob Hill; 18, and Milan Molina, 20. The federal statute allows authorities to seek stiffer penalties than state statutes allow. The 29 were charged under a federal conspiracy law that allows a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. Twenty-five of the 29 defendants were arraigned Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Faulkner in Sherman. The remaining four are scheduled for Monday. A Sept. 21 trial has been set in U.S. District Judge Paul Brown's court. Law enforcement officials and legal experts say the law is rarely used because successful prosecution is so difficult. "We've never utilized that charge here," said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. "These are upper-echelon drug dealers, and to link them up with a particular user down the road, I'm sure you can imagine, is pretty difficult." Still, federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Texas, which includes Plano, say they're confident that they have the facts to back up their case. In Washington, White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey said he had not closely followed the Plano drug case. "But as a general statement, I'm proud of what they've done," he said. "That community said, 'We will view as part of an organized crime attempt - which involves killing our children - the process of selling drugs.' " Linda Eads, a Southern Methodist University law professor who lives in Plano, said she'd like to see the federal provision used in other communities where drugs are pervasive. Plano, she said, has been very vocal and persistent in its effort to wipe out heroin. "There was such an outpouring of disgust that they wanted to do something dramatic," she said. The law was used last fall in Virginia when federal indictments were returned against 14 people in connection with three heroin overdoses in the Roanoke area. Some have pleaded guilty. The Roanoke area "is relatively small, and the heroin community is very tight," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Wolthuis, who is prosecuting the cases. There have been more than drug-related 20 deaths in the area in the last several years, and "we were lucky to be able to trace three of them back to a conspiracy," Mr. Wolthuis said. Similar cases have been tried in Florida, California and elsewhere, but there is little case law, law enforcement officials said. Part of the trouble is finding a direct link from selling drugs to the resulting deaths. Prosecutors may be able to make a case that the heroin being sold is so pure that any seller would know that it was lethal. Community support is crucial any time officials try to bring down a ring of criminals, said Paul Villaescusa, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Dallas. "Law enforcement can only do so much in combating this problem," he said. "The true solution lies in an entire community coming together . . . schools, clergy, the business community, families." Mr. Villaescusa said that though Plano "has taken a black eye" from the media over its heroin deaths, thousands have attended anti-drug rallies. Ms. Eads said mass arrests won't prevent kids from using heroin. "The sad thing to me ... is it's not going to solve the problem." Staff writer David LaGesse in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Charges - Indictments Deliver Hardball Warning (A Staff Editorial In 'The Dallas Morning News' Makes It Clear The Newspaper Is Opposed To Heroin, But Fails To Address The Question Of How Many Drug Offenders The Newspaper Thinks Should Be Locked Up In Order To Take Care Of The Problem) From: adbryan@ONRAMP.NET Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 08:39:02 -0500 (CDT) Subject: EDITORIAL: Indictments deliver hardball warning To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org The only thing I will agree with the DMN on is that the kids did know what they were doing. They were selling heroin to support their habits. *** 7-24-98 Dallas Morning News http://www.dallasnews.com email@example.com Drug charges Indictments deliver hardball warning 07/24/98 Drug dealing in North Texas just moved to the next rung on the criminal ladder. Those who sell heroin and other deadly drugs, fully knowing what they can do to people who use them, are going to face tougher consequences. That is the warning pushers have been given by the latest indictments in the continuing probe of heroin-related deaths in the Plano area. The 29 people indicted Wednesday are accused of participating in a "calculated and coldblooded" conspiracy that led to the deaths of four Plano area young people who overdosed on heroin. Federal prosecutors maintain the dealers must share in the responsibility for the teenagers' deaths because they continued to sell drugs after a number of young people using heroin had died. The criminal accusations name drug trafficking for what it is: Drug dealers are death merchants. And in the case of the heroin-related deaths in Plano, simple charges of dealing drugs would not have addressed the whole, tragic story. Plano has been ravaged by a group of drug traffickers who federal authorities say targeted the affluent community as a prospective heroin market. At least 18 young people with Plano ties have died in the last three years from heroin overdoses. Prosecutors may have made their task of getting convictions more difficult by applying the federal conspiracy law to these drug cases. But their decision is clearly in line with what the public and law officers want in this war on drugs. The suspected dealers can be tried together and can face maximum penalties of life in prison if they are convicted. That should help send a signal that North Texas won't allow this area to become an easy market for drug traffickers. The Plano community has come together since the first shocking reports of teenagers dying from drug overdoses. Residents have packed meeting halls, wanting to find out what they can do to keep sons, daughters and friends off drugs. Plano has paid a terrible price for not fully comprehending the destructive force of drugs. Now it is time for the suppliers to pay a price for the damage they have coldbloodedly wreaked on this community.
------------------------------------------------------------------- School Drug Tests Possible In Dallas (According To 'The Dallas Morning News,' A Dallas School Official Said Thursday That Dallas Schools Would Institute A Drug Testing Program As Early As Next Year - The Program Is 'Voluntary' In That Students' Parents' Would Volunteer Them For The Program) Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 11:42:00 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Maptalk-Digest) To: email@example.com Subject: Maptalk-Digest V98 No. 295 Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/ Subj: ART: School drug tests possible in Dallas From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 08:39:13 -0500 (CDT) Should I buy stock in drug testing companies or those companies that sell products designed to beat drug tests? Since they will be using hair samples in Allen, does that mean we'll have a bunch of bald-headed kids in school next session? *** 7-24-98 Dallas Morning News http://www.dallasnews.com email@example.com School drug tests possible in Dallas Plan differs from Allen in sharing results from voluntary screenings 07/24/98 By Rick Klein / The Dallas Morning News Dallas schools may have a voluntary drug-testing program similar to the one announced for the Allen schools in place as early as next year, a Dallas school official said Thursday. But the Dallas program may differ from Allen's program in one crucial detail: The school, not just the parents, would have access to test results, said Rosemarie Allen, Dallas schools associate superintendent for student services. "Ethically, you've got to make sure you do something with the information," Dr. Allen said, adding that drug-test results would be used to refer parents of drug-using students to treatment centers. Dallas school officials have been considering a drug-testing program for the last several months, Dr. Allen said. She said she hopes to go to the Dallas school board with a proposal by the beginning of the spring semester. If approved, the program could be implemented in the 1999-2000 school year, she said. Starting this year, Allen schools will randomly test students whose parents request it. It's the first district in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in which only the parents will receive the results of the tests. Representatives for the Plano, Richardson and Arlington school districts said they are not planning to institute drug-testing programs but will watch Allen's program closely. "We will be keeping a close eye to see how it works," said Nancy Long, communications director for Plano schools. The city has been the focus of nationwide media attention because it has had 18 heroin-related deaths since September 1994. Critics cite privacy concerns in their opposition to drug testing. Diana Philip, regional director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said she saw no problem with the Allen district's plan but said that giving districts access to test results crosses the line of acceptability. "It's perfectly fine for the schools to be a conduit for referrals to treatment centers," Ms. Philip said, "but the school has no right to interfere in something like this. They don't need to know what the results of a test are. "In the Allen policy, the parents still have the right to parent their child." White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey in Washington said officials and parents should approach drug-testing programs with caution, but his concerns were more geared toward effectiveness than privacy issues. "The primary element of drug prevention among young people is a consistent no-use policy by the family, the school and the church - and then active engagement with youth," he said. The Allen district, under a policy approved by the school board this week, will test only those middle- and high-school students whose parents request it. Those students will have hair samples taken by the school nurse at a cost to parents of $45 per test, which will be administered once a semester. Allen officials say the tests will give students an excuse to avoid peer-pressured drug use and give parents a chance to seek help for their children before tragedy strikes. But Allen's policy, unlike the Dallas proposal and most of the approximately 40 school districts nationwide that already have drug-testing programs, will not give the school district access to test results. Dr. Allen said Dallas also would test only children whose parents request it. She said the district is seeking corporate and foundation sponsorships to make testing available to all families, including those who can't afford it. "Our families can't all pay for it," Dr. Allen said. "Parents want to know [if their kids are using drugs], and in many cases parents need to know." Two Dallas trustees contacted Thursday said they would support the Dallas district staff's proposal, but they had some reservations about the district's access to test results. "As a parent, I would sign the [consent] form," said trustee Roxan Staff. But "getting information to parents should be the first goal. I think it would be much more difficult to get parents to cooperate if they know the school's getting the information." Trustee Ron Price said it is important for school officials to have access to the information. But such information must be available only to a select few people, such as principals and counselors. "If you mail results to parents, they may never get to the parents' hands," Mr. Price said. "If the school district has the information, they can assist the parents in helping the child." Dr. Allen said drug-test results will not be used to discipline students and would help school officials make sure youths with drug problems get the help they need. Mr. McCaffrey said the most successful drug-test efforts are those initiated by the participants themselves, such as a football team that decides to subject itself to scrutiny. They also can be helpful in monitoring a repeat drug abuser as part of a recovery program, he said. But it's less useful to spring a drug test on a student who, for example, comes under suspicion for a change in conduct. "If you think that's a tool for his problem, you've missed the point," Mr. McCaffrey said. Staff writer David LaGesse in Washington contributed to this report.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Anti-Drug Programs Must Be Effective (Another Staff Editorial In 'The Dallas Morning News' Notes The US Education Department's Recent Announcement That It Won't Fund School Programs That Aren't Effective In Reducing Drug Use, Including DARE) Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 06:39:20 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Maptalk-Digest) To: email@example.com Subject: Maptalk-Digest V98 No. 294 Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/ Subj: EDITORIAL: Programs [anti-drug] must be effective From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 08:38:57 -0500 (CDT) 7-24-98 Dallas Morning News http://www.dallasnews.com email@example.com Programs must be effective Federal officials have fired their second salvo in the battle to convince young people to stay away from drugs. Earlier this month, President Clinton unveiled a $2 billion program that will deliver tough anti-drug messages in ads on prime time television, radio and in the newspapers. The U.S. Education Department followed up this week with an announcement it won't fund school programs that aren't effective in reducing drug use among students. The decision has shaken up a number of veteran drug-fighting efforts, including Drug Abuse Resistance Education, a program widely used in Texas. But there is no reason for the federal government to keep pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into projects without clear evidence they are making a difference in the drug war. The Dallas school district, which also receives federal support for its programs, continues to seek more effective ways to deliver its anti-drug message to students. The Law Enforcement Teaching Students program tracks the D.A.R.E. strategy of using police as instructors. But it incorporates skills training with the more traditional information about the dangers of drugs. The public schools in Dallas also focus on self-esteem programs for young people and Drug-Free Youth in Texas, a project that lets students help each other stay away from drug usage. If all else fails, the Dallas school district started a teaching program specifically for teenagers who have had problems with drugs so they won't drop out. The Dallas schools' anti-drug effort is not being held up as a model for other school systems. But it points out the complexities involved in delivering the right drug message to young people today. With the rash of teen heroin overdoses in Plano during the past couple of years, the days of simply being able to "just say no" to drugs are long gone. The public should be encouraged by the announcement from the Education Department. Those programs capable of rising to this latest challenge will survive. Those that cannot won't stay around. That is as it should be in a battle where saving young people's lives is the only important measure.
------------------------------------------------------------------- High Court Rules Nighttime Drug Search Broke Law ('The Associated Press' Says The Nebraska Supreme Court On Friday Overturned The Conviction Of A Blair Man, Patrick Fitch, Sentenced To Two And A Half To Five Years In Prison For Possession Of Marijuana With Intent To Deliver, Because Police Searched His Garbage At Night And Later Served A Search Warrant At His House At Night) Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 11:33:55 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US NE: Wire: High Court Rules Nighttime Drug Search Broke Law 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: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: Associated Press Author: Kevin O'Hanlon Associated Press Writer HIGH COURT RULES NIGHTTIME DRUG SEARCH BROKE LAW LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday overturned the drug conviction of a Blair man who said police broke the law by searching his garbage and later serving a search warrant at his house at night. Patrick Fitch, 32, was sentenced to two and one-half to five years in prison for possession of drugs with the intent to deliver after Blair police raided his home the night of April 19, 1996. In an unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court agreed with Fitch that police should have served the search warrant during the day unless officers showed some compelling reason why a nighttime search was necessary. ``The privacy of citizens in their homes, secure from unreasonable nighttime intrusions is a right of vast importance,'' Judge John Gerrard wrote. ``The affidavit contained no facts that would support an inference that contraband was being disposed of or hidden in such a manner that nighttime service was required.'' In the affidavit requesting the search warrant, investigator Darwin Shaw said he searched the garbage outside of Fitch's home four times between March 21 and April 4, 1996. Shaw said he found marijuana seeds and stems, plastic bags like those used to package drugs and a list of names and dollar amounts. He also said he often saw people who had been arrested on drug charges visiting Fitch's house. The search turned up marijuana, cash, a scale and other items. During questioning at the police station, Fitch told officers, ``Well, it looks like you got me good'' and gave an incriminating written statement. In his appeal, Fitch also argued that violated his right of privacy by searching his garbage. The Supreme Court declined to address that issue because the illegal nighttime search was reason enough to overturn the conviction. The court also said that Fitch's statement to police was ``the fruit of the poisonous tree'' and should not have been used at his trial. Mark Raffety, the assistant attorney general who handled the case for the state, did not return a call seeking comment. Fitch's lawyer, Adam Sipple of Omaha, praised the decision. ``It's critical that those given the power to enforce the law are required to act within its limitations,'' he said. ``We are fortunate to have a Supreme Court that recognizes their duty to enforce the constitution and thereby protect all citizens from this type of police intrusion.'' Sipple said he felt just as strongly about the search of Fitch's garbage, even though it was not addressed in the opinion. ``If I walked out and saw a police officer going through my garbage, I'd be pretty upset,'' he said. ``Some courts have held that that is an invasion of privacy because of the personal nature of things that we dispose of in our garbage -- mail, correspondence, items of personal hygiene -- that tell about what we do in our homes.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Asks Hemp Suit Be Dismissed ('The Lexington Herald-Leader' Suggests The US Department Of Justice Has Done As Expected In Asking A US District Court Judge In Ashland, Kentucky, To Throw Out A Lawsuit Filed By The 100-Member Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association And Other Plaintiffs Who Want To Grow Industrial Hemp - No Timetable Has Been Set For A Ruling)Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 11:06:26 -0500 From: davewest (email@example.com) Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org To: mattalk (email@example.com) Subject: U.S. asks hemp suit be dismissed THE LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER Lexington, Kentucky July 24, 1998 U.S. asks hemp suit be dismissed By Louise Taylor Business Writer The U.S. Department of Justice is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by several Kentucky farmers who want to legally grow industrial hemp. In a filing received by the farmers' alliance yesterday, the government says the case should be dismissed. Two of the Attorney General's arguments: * The would-be growers cannot claim to have suffered because they never have been allowed to grow hemp and have not had to change the way they do business because of the crop's outlaw status. * Even if federal law allowed hemp cultivation, Kentucky law prohibits it, so a federal ruling on the matter wouldn't help the farmers. The 100-member Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association and other plaintiffs expected such a response from the government, said their lawyer, Burl McCoy of Lexington. The lack of surprise, however, didn't make a bitter pill sweeter for Andy Graves, the president of the hemp association who currently farms 1,500 acres of tobacco, corn and other crops in Fayette and nearby counties. "The truth is, this is their way of avoiding the issues," Graves said. "These guys don't want to know the truth and for them to make an argument that hemp is bad, hemp is wrong, and hemp is marijuana would be to admit that 27 other countries we recognize are wrong to allow it. "They don't want to argue the case because there is no rational argument to put up. "I don't like it. It offends me that my own government is acting like this." The lawsuit, filed in May, was designed to force the government's hand and make it acknowledge the botanical difference between fibrous hemp and marijuana. The plants are different varieties of cannabis, but marijuana has a far higher concentration of the hallucinogen tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Many farmers in the United States are pushing to legalize hemp, which elsewhere has become a profitable crop that is versatile enough to use for everything from cattle feed to trendy designer clothing. No timetable has been set for a ruling on the government's request to throw out the farmers' suit, which is filed in U.S. District Court in Ashland. McCoy said that the farmers are caught in a Catch-22 because the feds won't budge on legalizing hemp. "If we get a good ruling from the federal government, we have a real shot at making it legal in Kentucky, where the legislature says, 'We can't act because it is illegal under federal law.'" McCoy said that the government's stubbornness simply reflects its profound "lack of understanding about the plight of farmers in this country and the need to keep small farms alive." "If you lose that, you've lost a lot," McCoy said, "This whole country was created by people who were involved in agriculture -- and grew hemp." All Contents (c) Copyright 1998 Lexington Herald-Leader. All Rights Reserved
------------------------------------------------------------------- Bush - Deny Drug Users Scholarships ('The Miami Herald' Notes Republican Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Jeb Bush, Who Admits Smoking Marijuana When He Was 17, Is Appealing To Drug-War Hawks In His Campaign Against Lieutenant Governor Buddy MacKay, The Democratic Candidate Who Has Never Used An Illegal Drug) Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 11:06:19 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US FL: Bush: Deny Drug Users Scholarships Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ginger Warbis (WebMistress@Fornits.com) Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: Miami Herald (FL) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.herald.com/ Author: Mark Silva Capital Bureau Chief BUSH: DENY DRUG USERS SCHOLARSHIPS MacKay campaign calls that `very harsh treatment' TALLAHASSEE -- Promising an assault on illegal drugs, Republican Jeb Bush proposes tougher policing and prosecution, better detection and treatment of drug abuse and denial of scholarships for teenagers who use drugs. ``We're not going to reinvent the wheel, but we're going to do something revolutionary,'' Bush pledged Thursday, unveiling a wide-ranging, 19-page plan in his campaign for governor to wage a war on drugs -- and win it. ``We're going to stop at nothing less than total victory.'' Bush's game plan, with an estimated cost of nearly $40 million its fourth year, comes at a time when overall crime is in decline, but concern about teenage crime and drugs -- especially highly addictive substances, such as heroin -- is growing. It also poses new points of contention for Bush and Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay, the Democratic candidate for governor, criticizing such tactics as assignment of a state drug czar and denial of scholarships. ``This is a problem of such importance that it is going to be on the governor's and lieutenant governor's desks. . . . That is where it stops,'' Robin Rorapaugh, MacKay's campaign manager, said Thursday. ``The drug problem of Florida is not one that Buddy wants to pitch to someone else.'' MacKay applauds much of what Bush proposes, Rorapaugh says, because much of it -- from drug interdiction at Florida's ports to drug treatment in prisons -- already is under way. The problem, she says, is that a Republican-run Legislature has inadequately funded program after program. However, in the state budget that Gov. Lawton Chiles and MacKay proposed to lawmakers this year, the problem of illegal drugs was virtually unmentioned. The administration did seek more money for juvenile justice, and a massive campaign against underage smoking -- which Bush supports and says he wants to improve -- but made no concerted pitch against illicit drug abuse. Acute shortages of cash hamper some of the state's drug-fighting efforts. Florida's prisons say 22.6 percent of the convicts who entered last year came with drug-related convictions -- 13.3 percent for sale, purchase or manufacture, 6 percent for possession, 3.3 percent for trafficking. But there is room for only about 3,000 inmates a year in the most effective, six-month-long drug treatment programs. Bush proposes adding 1,250 inmates a year, at a cost of $2 million a year, until the full need is met. All told, Bush says, it will cost $11.6 million next year to cover what he wants, and $37.5 million by the 2002-03 budget year. For high schoolers and college students convicted of drug offenses, Bush proposes cutting off financial aid -- suspending or revoking the ``Bright Future'' scholarships Florida offers high-scoring students. ``There has to be a recognition that being a good citizen means remaining drug free,'' said Bush, 45, who acknowledges trying marijuana when he was 17. ``It was a stupid thing to do, and it was wrong.'' MacKay views withholding of scholarships as ``very harsh treatment,'' Rorapaugh said. ``Drug use, for children, is a problem, but taking away their tools for education and becoming better citizens does not solve it.'' She said MacKay, 65, ``has never experimented with illegal drugs, never.'' Copyright 1998 The Miami Herald
------------------------------------------------------------------- Teen Smokes Sting Shames Congress ('The Toronto Star' Says The American Lung Associated Sent Two 15-Year-Olds To Buy Cigarettes At Nine Food Stores In Washington, DC, Successfully At Five - No Word On Why Nobody Has Busted The Little Lawbreakers Or The Adults Who Contributed To Their Delinquency) Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 08:00:02 -0400 To: email@example.com From: Dave Haans (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: TorStar: Teen smokes sting shames Congress Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: The Toronto Star Pubdate: Friday, July 24, 1998 Website: http://www.thestar.ca Contact: LetterToEd@thestar.ca Teen smokes sting shames Congress WASHINGTON (AP) - After months of federal efforts to curb teen smoking, lawmakers found themselves red-faced yesterday over a report about a pair of 15-year-olds who easily purchased cigarettes at snack bars throughout the U.S. Capitol building. In an undercover operation conducted by the American Lung Association, the two teens attempted to buy cigarettes at nine food stores in the Capitol. Clerks at five of the shops made no effort to stop them, according to a report released by the group. "Congress doesn't need to look beyond its own backyard to see the extent of the teen smoking problem," said John Garrison, the lung association's managing director. "If these laws are being ignored in Congress, is it any wonder that youth smoking is on the rise throughout the United States?" The chairman of the House of Representatives oversighit committee, which oversees administrative matters, said he has ordered an investigation into the report. But Representative Bill Thomas, a California Republican, also expressed concern he wasn't able to get a copy of the report until after its results were published yesterday in the congressional newspaper. The cigarettes should never have been sold to the teens, said Thomas' spokesperson Jason Poblete. "It's illegal, first and foremost. It was wrong and it should not have happened. But the fact this information was being withheld from us shows they are just playing politics." Paul Billings, a lung association spokesperson, said the organization released a draft of the report because of its deadlines. A formal report was given to lawmakers as socn as it was available a day later.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Fighting Drugs (Gingrich And Clinton Throw Money At The Problem In A Syndicated Cartoon By Danziger Of The Los Angeles Times Syndicate)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Shades Of 'Reefer Madness' (An Op-Ed In 'The Christian Science Monitor' By A Washington State Drug-Prevention Speaker Suggests The US Government's New $2 Billion Advertising Campaign For The War On Some Drug Users Is Demeaning To The Intelligence Of Teens, Who Want Information On Which To Base Decisions, Not For The Decisions To Be Made For Them) Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 19:07:39 +1200 (NZST) To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) Subject: MN: US: OPED: Shades of Reefer Madness I thought this was worth cross-posting from Mapnews to show that even "drug-free"-style prohibitionists recognize that the PDFA-style media blitz is ridiculous and doomed to fail. Maybe this augurs well for a one-year rather than five-year campaign. With luck, maybe some accountability pigeons will even come home to roost for those who wasted U.S. taxpayers in such an idiotic (and Quixotic) misadventure. Newshawk: isenberd@DynCorp.com (Isenberg, David) Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: Christian Science Monitor Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.csmonitor.com/ Author: Jill L. Ferguson SHADES OF REEFER MADNESS Recently President Clinton announced the earmarking of millions of dollars for a drug prevention advertising blitz. The first television spot by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America featured a young woman smashing an egg with a frying pan and then beating the kitchen to smithereens, all the while stating that heroin affects your body the same way. I shook my head in dismay trying to decide how reasonably intelligent adults could have made an ad so ridiculous and demeaning to our teens', or for that matter anyone's, intelligence. But it was the adolescent audience that was the target of those ads. The No. 1 rule in advertising is to get people's attention, but what ever happened to giving viewers useful, factual information, instead of just hype? Teens around the Seattle area who were shown the ad responded with an "Oh, no, not the egg again." And rolled their eyes, remembering the old ad campaign "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs" featuring a fried egg. My feelings exactly. Have we taken steps forward in drug education only to be dragged back a decade to the era of Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign? Antidrug advertising or telling people to say "no" will not keep children of any age or adults from doing drugs. What we need is to treat people with dignity and respect, allowing them to use their God-given intelligence to make decisions on their own. Even if we disagree with the decisions they make. For the last few years I have been involved in drug prevention work. I have traveled the State of Washington and surrounding areas and spent time with thousands of students, talking with them, playing games, and just basically hanging out. I have learned that teens, like adults, respond best when presented with the facts. Teenagers can smell a lie - or scare tactics - from at least three miles away. But they do have questions about drugs and life and need honest answers. My teaching partner from the Drug Enforcement Administration and I unabashedly provide those answers. We let people know that one can die from first-time heroin, crack, or cocaine use, but first time marijuana use will not kill a person in and of itself, unless he walks into traffic under its influence and gets run over by a semi truck or falls off the roof of a building. We discuss the long- and short-term effects of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco and show real-life pictures of friends who have destroyed their lives or served jail time for drug-trafficking. We also teach teens what they would lose for the rest of their lives if they are convicted of felony drug possession. In many states they would never be permitted to vote, hold a public office or government position, or start a career in which a state license is required, as in such professions as law, medicine, teaching, hairdressing, or dentistry. We have found that scare tactics do not work in promoting any message. Antidrug advertisers should know by now that simulating a car crash or an overdose, or showing a person destroying things on television have little long-term effect on people's decisions. In fact, most of the comments from teens to these tactics are "Oh, cool" or "Gross!" And then life goes on as before. Except with a few more novelty T-shirts being sold. (Remember the one that said "This is your brain, this is your brain on drugs, this is your brain with bacon, eggs, and toast"?) To keep teens from doing and becoming addicted to drugs, parents and other role models first of all need to be drug-free themselves. I know saying this sounds inane, but I have met plenty of kids who say their parents use. And being in the the grip of a drug addiction themselves, those parents all agree that they want something better for their children. They want them to remain drug-free. Positive adult role models need to be involved in the adolescents' lives. The adults need to be living proof that one can be cool and not do drugs, nor get drunk. The role models also need to be able to provide answers to somewhat difficult questions, or at least to know where to look for the answers about drugs. As a society we are not going to raise generations of drug-free kids by telling them what to say and what to do. And even though we would hope one day to be a part of a drug-abuse-free and crime-free society, those goals remain distant ideals. We, as adults, need to be the educators and the support for our teens. And we need to be realistic: All the dollars in the federal budget, hordes of anti-drug advertising, and smashing skillets will not change people's lives or views. Jill L. Ferguson is a drug-prevention/motivational speaker based in Seattle.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Mercury News' Series Is Hit Again ('The San Francisco Chronicle,' Which Wouldn't Have The Guts Or Brains To Print A Series Like 'Dark Alliance' In A Million Years, Taunts Its San Jose Competition In Noting Yesterday's News That US Attorney General Reno Has Released The Justice Department Report Exonerating Itself And The CIA In The Selling Cocaine In California To Raise Funds For Contras In Nicaragua) Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 23:52:09 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Mercury News Series Is Hit Again Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Fri 24 July, 1998 Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Section: Page A2 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Author: Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau MERCURY NEWS SERIES IS HIT AGAIN Justice Dept. dismisses CIA tie to crack cocaine A long-delayed Justice Department report released yesterday found no substantiation for a newspaper's allegations that the CIA protected Nicaraguan rebels who brought crack cocaine into South Central Los Angeles in the early 1980s. The sensational charges, made in an August 1996 San Jose Mercury News series called ``Dark Alliance,'' were later retracted by the newspaper. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich, whose office acts as a watchdog over the department's internal operations, said investigators reviewed more than 40,000 pages of documents and interviewed 200 people over 15 months. ``In short, our review did not substantiate the main allegations stated and implied in the Mercury News articles,'' Bromwich wrote. A San Jose Mercury News spokeswoman said that Executive Editor Jerry Ceppos ``would prefer to report the news instead of being part of it, and so he declines comment.'' REPORTER RESIGNED The author of the series, reporter Gary Webb, resigned from the Mercury News in December. The series alleged that two Nicaraguans with ties to the Contras, a rebel group that was trying to overthrow Nicaragua's leftist regime, sold cocaine in South Central Los Angeles in the early 1980s. Profits from these sales were funnelled back to the Contras, according to the report, which strongly implied that CIA officials knew of the operation. The series provoked a national uproar and gave rise to fears among African Americans that elements of the government were deliberately sabotaging their communities by creating a crack epidemic. Bromwich said that while ``some drug traffickers supplying cocaine to Los Angeles drug dealers were Contra supporters, they were investigated and pursued by the Department of Justice.'' These investigations ``were not always successful,'' Bromwich found, but they were not obstructed because of any connections to the Contras or the CIA. Nor did the report conclude that the drug dealing in question ``was the cause of the crack explosion in Los Angeles or across the United States, as the articles implied.'' The inspector general's report follows several previous investigations by government agencies and Congress as well as major news organizations, none of which could confirm the main substance of the Mercury News' allegations. Representative Maxine Waters, whose district includes South Central Los Angeles, said she will continue her effort to get the CIA to declassify its own inspector general's report on the allegations. SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH ``It doesn't end,'' said Waters, noting that the Justice Department report acknowledges there were connections between the Contras and drug traffickers. ``We will continue to try and get to the truth.'' Bromwich said the investigation did uncover several ``problems and ambiguities.'' One of these involved Julio Zavala, a Nicaraguan drug trafficker allegedly tied to the Contras. Zavala was arrested in a case involving drug smuggling from a Colombian vessel in San Francisco Bay. About $36,000 was seized from Zavala's residence but was later returned to him. The Justice Department report found that a memo from a CIA attorney suggested that depositions involved in the Zavala case ``could cause damage to the CIA's image and program in Central America.'' The report found that the CIA ``did in fact intervene in the Zavala case and may have played a role in having a sum of money returned to him.'' But while such findings ``are troubling,'' Bromwich said, ``they are a far cry from the type of broad manipulation and corruption of the federal criminal justice system suggested by the original allegations'' in the Mercury News. 1998 San Francisco Chronicle
------------------------------------------------------------------- No Evidence US Protected Cocaine Dealers ('The San Jose Mercury News' Version) Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 01:31:35 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Report: No Evidence U.S. Protected Cocaine Dealers Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family
Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Author: Mercury News Staff and Wire Reports REPORT: NO EVIDENCE U.S. PROTECTED COCAINE DEALERS WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department's internal watchdog said Thursday that he found no evidence that U.S. government officials protected a California drug-trafficking ring whose members contributed money to the Nicaraguan rebels known as Contras during the 1980s. Inspector General Michael R. Bromwich, reporting on a 15-month investigation, said he concluded that the drug dealers had contributed money to the rebels, but the amounts were ``relatively insignificant,'' and there was no evidence that Contra leaders or the CIA knew about them. Bromwich's investigation, and its 407-page report, were produced in response to charges made by the Mercury News in 1996. The newspaper claimed that a San Francisco-based drug-trafficking ring introduced crack cocaine to Los Angeles, sent millions of dollars to the CIA-backed Contras, helped spark a crack epidemic in American inner cities and operated under the protection of U.S. government officials. ``After interviewing more than 200 people and reviewing more than 40,000 pages of documents, we did not substantiate the main allegations suggested by the San Jose Mercury News articles,'' Bromwich said. The report concluded that the explosion in crack cocaine in Los Angeles and across the United States ``was not the result of any single source or seller.'' It said much of the apparent evidence in the San Jose Mercury News articles appeared to have been distorted or exaggerated. ``Nobody can say who started'' the crack epidemic, Bromwich told the Mercury News on Thursday. Regarding allegations of CIA links to the drug ring's key leaders, Oscar Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses, or others in their organization, the investigation found no evidence Blandon had any CIA links, said Bromwich. Although a member of his organization bragged at various times about having CIA links, there was no evidence he actually had any agency connections. He ultimately admitted that, Bromwich said. As to allegations of improper influence by the CIA or others in the prosecution of Blandon, Meneses or Ricky Ross, a Los Angeles crack dealer, ``we found we could understand why cases succeeded or failed by looking at the internal investigations, and prosecutions'' Bromwich said. ``We found nothing untoward or sinister about the way the investigations or the prosecutions were handled. They struck us as being handled in professional way.'' Blandon and Meneses avoided prosecution partly because of a breakdown in communication and coordination between the FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency, Bromwich said. The report quoted one of the drug dealers as estimating their total contributions to the Contras at about $49,000, and several of the dealers' associates provided even smaller estimates. ``Contra leaders have denied -- and there is no evidence to contradict the denials -- that they solicited drug funds or knew that drug money was coming into the Contra movement,'' the report said. ``The implication that the drug trafficking . . . was connected to the CIA was also not supported by the facts,'' it said. Mercury News Staff Writer Pete Carey contributed to this report.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Justice Rebuts CIA-Crack Articles ('The Washington Post' Version In 'The Seattle Times') Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 22:58:40 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Justice Rebuts CIA-Crack Articles Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Friday, 24 July, 1998 Source: Seattle-Times (WA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://seattletimes.com/ Author: Michael Grunwald, The Washington Post JUSTICE REBUTS CIA-CRACK ARTICLES WASHINGTON - The Justice Department's internal watchdog yesterday offered another major rebuttal to a newspaper's allegations of Central Intelligence Agency complicity in the crack-cocaine epidemic, releasing a long-delayed report rejecting the most serious allegations of government misconduct. In August 1996, the San Jose Mercury News reported that the CIA and federal law-enforcement officials had protected major Bay Area drug traffickers with ties to Nicaraguan contras. After a 15-month investigation that interviewed 200 witnesses and reviewed 40,000 pages of documents, Inspector General Michael Bromwich concluded that the Justice Department made a legitimate effort to investigate and prosecute the traffickers. "These investigations were not always successful, but we did not find that they were obstructed because of claims that these individuals were connected to contras or the CIA," he said. The original allegations sparked outrage in many inner-city neighborhoods, but subsequent investigations by The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times were unable to substantiate them, and San Jose Mercury News editors later said the articles were not up to their usual standards. The author of the series, Gary Webb, is no longer at the paper, but recently published a book restating his allegations: "Dark Alliance: The CIA, The Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion." The Justice report disagreed with Webb's implication that Los Angeles-based drug dealer Ricky Ross and his Nicaraguan suppliers, Oscar Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses, were the cause of the crack-cocaine explosion in south-central Los Angeles. He concluded that although Blandon was a major supplier and Ross a major distributor, the crack epidemic was not the result of any single source. He also found no evidence that any of those suspects was connected to the CIA. However, Bromwich did find a few faults with the Justice Department's investigations. For example, the report concluded that Blandon was improperly granted permanent resident status so he could work undercover for the Drug Enforcement Administration after his release from prison in 1994. As a convicted felon, Blandon should have been deemed ineligible for a green card. Bromwich concluded that this rule-bending had nothing to do with any connection to the CIA. The report also found that the CIA interceded in a separate matter involving the seizure of $36,000 in drug proceeds from Nicaraguan trafficker Julio Zavala in San Francisco during the early 1980s. In that case, the report says, the CIA urged federal prosecutors not to take the depositions of two contra officials because it feared that allegations of ties between drug money and the contras would compromise CIA activities in Nicaragua. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who wrote an introduction to Webb's new book, criticized the report as farfetched yesterday. She noted that at one point, the FBI had a warrant out for the arrest of Meneses while the DEA was trying to use him as an informant, yet the report ascribed the problem to poor communication. Waters called that hard to believe. An earlier internal investigation by the CIA, which was not publicly released, also concluded that there was no evidence of links between the agency and drug dealers named in the newspaper series.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Justice Finds No CIA Link To Nicaraguan Cocaine Trade ('The Miami Herald' Version) Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 10:44:49 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Justice Finds No CIA Link to Nicaraguan Cocaine Trade Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ginger Warbis (WebMistress@Fornits.com) Source: Miami Herald (FL) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.herald.com/ Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 JUSTICE FINDS NO CIA LINK TO NICARAGUAN COCAINE TRADE WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department's internal watchdog said Thursday that he found no evidence that U.S. government officials protected a California drug-trafficking ring whose members contributed money to Nicaragua's contra rebels during the 1980s. The report found no evidence to support allegations that CIA employees or agents colluded with contra allies to finance their guerrilla operations by bringing crack cocaine into the United States. A 1996 series of articles in the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, had claimed a California drug ring funneled profits to the contras for most of a decade. The series traced the drugs to traffickers who were also leaders of a CIA-run guerrilla army in Nicaragua during the 1980s. ``After interviewing more than 200 people and reviewing more than 40,000 pages of documents, we did not substantiate the main allegations suggested by the San Jose Mercury News articles,'' Michael Bromwich, the Justice Department inspector general, said in a statement. A CIA inspector general report reached the same conclusion in January. ``While some drug traffickers supplying cocaine to Los Angeles drug dealers were contra supporters, they were investigated and pursued by the Department of Justice,'' Bromwich said. ``These investigations were not always successful, but we did not find that they were obstructed because of claims that these individuals were connected to contras or the CIA.'' The newspaper series generated widespread anger toward the CIA among black Americans, as well as federal investigations into whether the CIA took part in or countenanced the selling of crack to raise money for the Contras. The newspaper reported that two Nicaraguan cocaine traffickers, Oscar Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses, were civilian leaders of an anti-Communist commando group formed and run by the CIA during the 1980s. The articles traced the explosion of crack cocaine abuse in the United States to a dealer named Ricky Donnell Ross and said he was supplied through Blandon and Meneses. The series also questioned the treatment of the three men by the FBI and by federal drug, immigration and prosecutors' offices that are all part of the Justice Department. Bromwich's 15-month investigation turned up no evidence that the three men got special treatment because of their alleged associations with the CIA or the contras, nor that any Justice Department investigations were hampered or waved off. The newspaper's executive editor, Jerry Ceppos, acknowledged in a letter to readers last year that the series had shortcomings. The Bromwich report was ready in December, but Attorney General Janet Reno ordered it held back, citing ``law enforcement concerns.'' Bromwich explained Thursday that Blandon, a one-time informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration, renewed his cooperation with the agency last September. The DEA and federal prosecutors in Washington and California objected to releasing the report while Blandon remained an active informant, and Reno agreed, Bromwich said. ``By delaying the report's release, federal law enforcement officials were able to protect the integrity of a very important, though unrelated, investigation,'' Reno said in a statement accompanying the report. But Bromwich criticized how the matter was handled, saying the delay gave rise to unnecessary speculation that the Justice Department was hiding something. Both Bromwich and Reno said the Thursday's report is unchanged from its original version.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Intellectual Capital' Debate (A List Subscriber Says Eric Voth, Charles Blanchard And Other Prohibitionists From The White House Office Of National Drug Control Policy And Elsewhere Have Turned Up At An Ongoing Online Debate At The Magazine's Web Site) Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 17:52:57 -0400 To: "DRCTalk Reformer's Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: David Borden (email@example.com) Subject: Intellectual Capital debate Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Just in case any of you haven't heard, I thought I'd let you know that the debate at http://www.intellectualcapital.com is pretty good. There are people from ONDCP itself, as well as Eric Voth and others who have not identified themselves. Our side is winning, as usual. There are written statements from Charles Blanchard, ONDCP, and Nadine Strossen, president of the ACLU, with debate pages at the end of each of the two articles. There's also a poll. - Dave
------------------------------------------------------------------- McCaffrey's Retraction, Part Two (A List Subscriber Follows Up On His Post Yesterday With More Details From The Dutch Newspaper, 'De Volkskrant,' Which Wrote That The Dutch Secretary Of State Threatened July 14 To Refuse Admittance To The US Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey) From: GDaurer@aol.com Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 09:56:25 EDT To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: McC's Retraction Part 2 Sender: email@example.com My friend provided further translation of the Dutch newspaper article I mentioned in my last post. *** On Tuesday [the 14th of July] after talks with Van Mierlo about the drugs quarrel, the American ambassador Dornbush had just left the ministry of foreign affairs, when word was received that McCaffrey had intensified his attack on Dutch policy. Van Mierlo called Dornbush immediatly. McCaffrey had, according to Van Mierlo, crossed a limit with his reproach that "The Hague [the seat of Dutch government] violated the sovereignty of the US by supporting Americans pleading for the legalization of drugs." Dornbush, for whom this affair was already a big weight on his shoulders, was being told by Van Mierlo that the statement by McCaffrey had to be retracted [in Dutch we say 'to be wiped off the table']. If this didn't happen, the drugs expert would not be welcome in The Netherlands. The ambassador transmitted the Dutch demand to the State Department. There the conclusion was drawn immediately that the quarrel was not worth putting the relations between The Netherlands and the US in danger. Here upon the spokesperson for McCaffrey was told to inform the international press agencies that the statement by McCaffrey had been retracted. The drugs expert himself had to tone down and show respect for the Dutch 'friends' - which he did. The spokesman for the State Department, James Rubin, then said in his daily press conference that the US gives a lot of value to the cooperation with the Netherlands in the struggle against drugs in Europe, the Caribean area and Latin America. Rubin admitted that the two countries have a differance of opinion on their mutual drugs policies, but"'we don't want to create the impression that we meddle in the internal politics of The Netherlands." With this the diplomatic quarrel was laid to rest.
------------------------------------------------------------------- America's Drug Warrior (The US Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey, Lies His Way Through Europe, Embarrassing Himself And The United States, And A Staff Editorial In 'The San Diego Union Tribune' Praises Him For It And Dishes Out More Misinformation) Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 16:49:43 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: America's Drug Warrior Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk:John Harper Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/ MCCAFFREY COMMITS TRUTH DURING EUROPEAN TOUR Barry McCaffrey is a stand-up guy. If there were any doubts that the Clinton administration's drug czar was anything but, he dispelled them during his recent eight-day visit to Europe. The highlight of McCaffrey's trip was a stop in the Netherlands, where the retired army general got to judge for himself the merits of that nation's liberal drug policies. McCaffrey was unimpressed. He pronounced the Dutch government's heroin distribution program an "unmitigated disaster," not the least, he added, because the program consigns "part of the population to suffering endlessly from heroin." The drug czar also made known his dim view of Dutch coffeehouses, which sell marijuana and hashish to anyone over 18, even though they technically are not allowed to do so under Dutch law. "It is a legal hypocrisy that bothers many," McCaffrey understated. The Dutch government took umbrage with McCaffrey's frank criticisms. The Dutch Foreign Ministry called in the U.S. ambassador in protest. And the Dutch Ministry of Health questioned why McCaffrey had set foot on Dutch soil in the first place. But McCaffrey was guilty only of committing truth. The Dutch government's laissez-faire drug policies are, indeed, a disaster. This is borne out by the across-the-board increases in crime and drug-related deaths in the Netherlands since 1978. The frightening thing of it is that, in recent years, a startling number of prominent Americans -- from former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders to U.S. Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner to billionaire George Soros -- have publicly expressed the view that the United States should emulate the Netherlands by legalizing drug use. This kind of thinking -- whatever the motivation -- may have contributed to the rise in drug use in this country, particularly among younger Americans. Indeed, marijuana use among teen-agers has increased more than 100 percent. Teen-age use of cocaine, heroin and LSD is up 150 percent. Liberalizing America's drug policies, a la the Netherlands, would only make these disquieting statistics worse. And it is hard to see how having more junkies in this country amounts to good public policy, no matter what Elders, Posner, Soros and other advocates of drug legalization suggest. The best approach, the approach that happens to be favored by Gen. McCaffrey, is three-pronged: Maintain law enforcement's zero tolerance of illegal drug use, not the least to deter casual use. Coordinate with foreign governments to fight drug trafficking. Expand prevention programs to discourage nonusers from becoming users and expand drug treatment programs to help addicts beat their deadly habit. Ultimately, victory or defeat in the war on drugs will depend in part on leadership at the top. And, unfortunately, leadership has been sorely lacking in most of the men who have occupied the position of drug czar. But Gen. McCaffrey is different. He has proven his willingness to speak the truth, no matter the political fall-out. That's the mark of a real leader.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Led To Market Showdown ('The Ottawa Sun' Says It Has Learned The Shooting Of Two People In The Byward Market Last April Was A Violent Powerplay To Corner Lowertown's Lucrative Crack Trade - But Neglects To Mention That Therefore The Shooting Was Attributable To Prohibition) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Drug Led To Market Showdown Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 11:03:47 -0700 Lines: 55 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Ottawa Sun Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: July 24, 1998 DRUGS LED TO MARKET SHOWDOWN CRACK CASH DREW SHOOTER CREDIT: By BRAD HUNTER -- Ottawa Sun The shooting of two people in the Byward Market last April was a violent powerplay to corner Lowertown's lucrative crack trade, the Sun has learned. The female victim took a bullet in the chest while the male was shot in the arm. Neither wound was life-threatening. Wayne "Half Pint" Reynolds, 26, was charged with two counts of attempted murder after police made a dramatic early morning arrest in Hull Wednesday. Reynolds had been sought by police since a shooting on Clarence St. April 8 when a 22-year-old woman and her male companion, 20, were cut down by what investigators believe was a handgun. The Sun source revealed the shooting, which was considered drug related almost from the beginning, involved the local crack cocaine business. Hull police and the RCMP Tactical Unit helped regional police take down the 5-foot-5, 150 lb. Reynolds, who surrendered without incident at his girlfriend's home. Reynolds had also been wanted on an Immigration warrant. He had been deported to his native Jamaica in 1994 and again in 1996, but after each expulsion he managed to sneak back into the country. The suspect's 26-year-old girlfriend was also arrested and charged with obstructing police and being an accessory after the fact by aiding and abetting Reynolds avoid arrest. A police source said Tammy-Lynn Branker is a well-known Market prostitute. Brothers Michael and Patrick Christie, are also wanted for questioning. Michael, 37, and Patrick, 29, have been ordered deported to their native Jamaica and are wanted on Immigration warrants. Regional police Det. Dale Hayes said RCMP did an "awesome job" in executing the Canada-wide warrant. Reynolds and Branker have been remanded in custody and will appear for a bail hearing this morning. His child, who was at the house during the raid, is staying with relatives.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Crackhead Killed My Son - Dad ('The Toronto Sun' Says The Father Of A Teen Stabbed To Death On A Deserted Toronto Street Says His Son Was Ordered Executed By Crack Cocaine Pals Who Feared He Would Snitch On Them To Police) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Crackhead killed my son: Dad Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 11:32:20 -0700 Lines: 57 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Toronto Sun Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Friday, July 24, 1998 Crackhead killed my son: Dad By IAN ROBERTSON, TORONTO SUN A teen stabbed to death on a deserted Toronto street was ordered executed by crack cocaine pals who feared he would snitch on them to police, his father told The Toronto Sun yesterday. Shaun Kadir Jameel Baksh told his street crowd he was going to college and turn his life around, "and they are the ones who are responsible for his death," Kadir Baksh said. "The killer is a crackhead who may have been given just a joint to ... kill my son," said Baksh, a CHIN radio commentator and criminal lawyer, whose clients included Adrian Kinkead, convicted in 1997 of a TTC ticket seller's murder. Toronto Police said the victim had a criminal record and hung around with a rough crowd, but details were not revealed. Baksh's eldest son "was not a hard-core criminal," police said. "His problem was being with the wrong type of people and that led him to lose his perspective. He followed friends who had a different agenda," including crack cocaine. "All that he got, he shared," his dad said. But Shaun "was making plans for a new life," hoping for a technical career after going to Centennial College. The teen, who street people said they knew as Chris, "was going away and knew too much," his father said. "There are people in the Crescent Town area who know who the killer was, but they won't tell the police. They are talking of looking after it themselves ... street justice." Baksh also believes "the killers were at the wake" at his estranged wife Olive's home, where their son Shaun, his girlfriend Janet Singh, 21, and their daughter, Aneesa, 21/2, lived. Homicide Det. Gary Giroux said posters are being circulated in the Main St.-Danforth Ave. area "where the killer lives." Baksh's funeral is set for 9:45 a.m. today at the McDougall and Brown Funeral Home, 2900 Kingston Rd., east of St. Clair Ave.E. Police said Baksh's killer may be named Mark or Jay, is white, bow-legged, 28 to 31 years old, 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, with short brown hair and possibly a thin moustache. Anyone with information can call homicide at 808-7400 or Crime Stoppers at 222-TIPS.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mr Coca Takes On US In Drugs War (Britain's 'Independent' Portrays Evo Morales, Leader Of Peru's Main Coca Growers' Unions And A Member Of Parliament)Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 17:29:55 -0500 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Bolivia: Mr Coca Takes On US In Drugs War 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: Independent, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Author: Phil Davison in La Paz MR COCA TAKES ON US IN DRUGS WAR They call him Mr Coca in Bolivia, and they're not talking about soft drinks. He wears blue jeans and sandals, trained as a baker, blows a trumpet in a native Indian band, chews coca leaf to relax and plays amateur football in a number 10 shirt because he admires a certain Maradona from neighbouring Argentina.Evo Morales, 38, also grows coca leaf, the basis for cocaine, on his farm. Like most Bolivian cocaleros, he insists it is strictly for domestic use - chewing or brewing as medicinal tea. It helps that he is a member of Bolivia's parliament, with the accompanying immunity from prosecution that brings, but Mr Morales had been growing coca for years before he was swept into Congress by coca-growing supporters last year behind the campaign slogan: "Viva Coca!" American diplomats, who still have a tendency to act as though they run this - and other - Latin American countries, privately call Mr Morales an outlaw, even "the Devil Himself," accusing him of defending drug-traffickers. Cocaine is ruining American youth, goes their argument. Cocaine comes from coca leaf. A quarter of the world's coca leaf is grown by Bolivian farmers. Mr Morales is their leader. So Mr Morales is an evil man. "Al contrario," Mr. Morales responded last week. "It's US-inspired neo-liberal economic policies - putting farmers out of work - that make the traditional production of coca leaf vital to their survival. They have no choice." Because of this tradition, coca fields in parts of Colombia, notably the Yunkas area east of La Paz, are legal, theoretically for domestic consumption to chew or brew. The bigger fields in the Chapare region, around the city of Cochabamba, where Mr Morales was elected, have been declared illegal and are earmarked for eradication. "Banzer (the former dictator Hugo Banzer elected president last year) has pledged to eradicate illegal coca growing by the year 2002. If he does so, he wins. If the cocaleros are still growing their crop, I'll have been proven right." The chances are he will be. Under Mr Banzer's "Dignity Plan" to eradicate illegal coca leaf and halt the growing processing of refined cocaine in Bolivia, more than 4,000 hectares of coca leaf fields have been burnt down or chemically-destroyed so far this year. But experts say farmers have been using the $2,500 per hectare they receive from the government to invest in new, secret fields elsewhere, instead of planting substitute crops, such as bananas or pineapples. The US blames Mr Morales, as leader of the main coca growers' unions, for a series of clashes in the Chapare region earlier this year in which a dozen people, including farmers and policemen, were killed. They cite the Congressman's well-known slogan: "Long live Coca, death to the gringos" as a provocation, urging people to attack Bolivia's anti-narcotics police and US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents. As a result of the clashes, and the cocaleros' power, Bolivian policemen increasingly refuse to serve in the Chapare, known as "la zona roja" (the red zone, not necessarily for its politics but for its violence). "Banzer is using the Chapare to distract attention from the country's real problems, like poverty, hunger, lack of jobs or education," Mr Morales said. Like many Bolivians, Mr Morales, who is an Aymara Indian, points out that Aymara and other Indians, including the Incas, have been growing coca leaf in the foothills of the Andes for thousands of years. They use it for medicinal purposes, notably to cope with altitude, and see it also as a key part of their culture. Backing Mr Morales' stance, a Dutch human rights group has nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. The big problem with Mr Morales's argument is that the issue is no longer one simply of the cultivation of coca leaf. During the cocaine boom of the Eighties, Bolivia was essentially a coca leaf grower. The leaf was shipped north to be converted to paste, and then into cocaine, at laboratories run by the Medellin or Cali cartels in Colombia. Now, moving into the gap created by the decline of the Colombian cartels, Bolivians themselves are turning the leaf into cocaine in makeshift laboratories. As a result, cocaine is not only readily available, but dirt cheap and extremely pure in the capital, La Paz, and in other Bolivian cities. Bolivian parents are worried. Many young people smoke cigarettes laced with coca paste. "Man, the coke here is so pure, pure crystals," Carlos M, a 21-year-old native of Cochabamba, told me in Mongos' Rock Bottom Cafe in the capital. "It's like, at least 90 per cent pure, man, and it's cheaper than beer, you know?" He said he could get a gramme for four dollars (about £2.50).
------------------------------------------------------------------- 200 'Corrupt' Police Face Charges (Britain's 'Independent' Says A 180-Member Investigation Team Constituting The Biggest Corruption Inquiry In British Policing For A Quarter Of A Century, Set Up By Sir Paul Condon, London's Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Has Uncovered 'Criminality Of The Highest Level' By Up To 200 Officers) Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 22:58:40 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: 200 'Corrupt' Police Face Charges Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke
Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: Independent, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Mail: 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, England Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Author: Ian Burrell, Home Affairs Correspondent 200 'CORRUPT' POLICE FACE CHARGES Up to 200 Metropolitan police officers could be implicated in the biggest corruption inquiry in British policing for a quarter of a century. A 180-strong investigation team set up by Sir Paul Condon, the Metropolitan police Commissioner, has uncovered "criminality of the highest level" by some of Scotland Yard's most prized detectives. Senior Metropolitan police sources said that serving detective chief inspectors and retired superintendents would be among those charged with offences carrying sentences of up to 15 years. Corrupt officers have made hundreds of thousands of pounds from organising major drug deals and armed robberies. They are also implicated in contract killings. Already 34 officers have been suspended, and large numbers of arrests are expected later this summer. The corrupt officers are believed to have been responsible for dozens of wrongful convictions, and the investigation team and government lawyers are trawling through their career histories looking for miscarriages of justice. The investigation, which is growing by the day, is the biggest corruption inquiry in British policing history. A senior Scotland Yard source said: "We have been shocked by the level and seriousness of the criminality and by the arrogance of the officers who thought they could get away with it." Of those officers confronted with allegations of corruption, three in ten have so far agreed to co-operate with the inquiry and amnesties are being offered to some of the minor offenders who agree to give evidence against other officers. Several of those giving evidence have had to be moved to safe houses and one investigating officer has been taken off the inquiry after intimidation. The corrupt officers have also gone to great lengths to cover their tracks by living in modest homes and investing their illegal earnings in offshore accounts. The detectives worked in some of the most elite units in the police service, including the Flying Squad, the South-East Regional Crime Squad, and the new National Crime Squad. A Yard source said: "For 95 per cent of their time they were some of our best detectives but in the other 5 per cent they became organised criminals." Networks of serving and retired police officers and villains have been uncovered. On Wednesday, as part of the corruption inquiry, a detective from the National Crime Squad was arrested and charged with stealing cash from a London police station, together with a detective sergeant from the Flying Squad unit at Rigg Approach, north-east London. Hebecame the 15th serving or former member of the Rigg Approach unit to be suspended as part of the investigation. In January, raids were carried out on the homes of 19 members of the unit. Last week a 41-year-old detective constable, formerly with the South-East Regional Crime Squad which targets major drug dealers, was charged with plotting to supply cannabis and stealing £800 in public funds. Scotland Yard chiefs have been so horrified by their findings that they have been liaising with forces in other metropolitan areas where it is believed similar levels of corruption may exist. South Yorkshire police has suspended 11 officers and two members of its civilian staff in an investigation into allegations of irregularities in the administration of the Firearms Surrender and Compensation Scheme. Details of the corruption scandal come as the force is bracing itself for the findings of the public inquiry into the death of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Soldiers Jailed Over Drugs Plot (Britain's Independent' Says Five Former Members Of The 39th Regiment Of The Royal Artillery Were Given Sentences Of Up To 17 Years Yesterday In Liverpool For Plotting To Smuggle Drugs Worth Millions Of Pounds Into Britain From The Continent)Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 22:58:40 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: Soldiers Jailed Over Drugs Plot Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 Source: Independent, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Mail: 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL England Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ SOLDIERS JAILED OVER DRUGS PLOT MEMBERS OF a gang, including five serving soldiers, which plotted to smuggle drugs worth millions of pounds into Britain from the Continent, were jailed for a total of 120 years yesterday. Liverpool Crown Court heard that the case was the first to reach the courts where members of the armed services had been involved in the organised importation of drugs. David Turner QC for the prosecution, said: "For a number of years soldiers of a distinguished regiment, the 39th Regiment of the Royal Artillery, abused their position as British servicemen and brought dishonour on their regiment." Gunners Paul Bromiley, 30, of Preston, and Peter Jackson, 29, of Manchester, were each jailed for 17 years as was former Merchant Navy cook Peter O'Toole, 26, of Liverpool. Gunner Dale Mills, 26, of Northampton, received 16 years, as did bombardier Kevin Jones, 31, of Hazelrigg, near Newcastle. Former gunner James Bull, 29, of Inskip, Lancashire, was given 13 years; former bombardier Paul Wright, 29, of Liverpool, 10 years; gunner Billy Stott, 20, from Oldham, nine years and Darren Williams, 27, a civilian, from Ellesmere Port, Wirral, five years.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Week Online With DRCNet, Issue Number 51 (The Drug Reform Coordination Network's Original News Summary For Activists, Including - Marijuana Reform Party Organizes In New York State; Strip Searches At O'Hare Get US Senator's Attention; An Interview With Dr. Robert Newman On Methadone Maintenance, And The Self-Inflicted Wounds Of The Methadone Establishment; And An Editorial By Adam J. Smith, 'Prohibition, Punishment And Plano, Texas') Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 11:14:42 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: DRCNet (email@example.com) Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 51 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org THE WEEK ONLINE WITH DRCNet, ISSUE No. 51 -- JULY 24, 1998 -------- PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE -------- (To sign off this list, mailto: email@example.com with the line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. To subscribe to this list, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.) (This issue can be also be read on our web site at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html.) NEWSFLASH: Drug Czar McCaffrey on Diane Rehm Show (NPR) Friday, 11:00am-12:00noon, second half of show for calls -- (800) 433-8850 -- use our report on McCaffrey's trip to Europe -- http://www.drcnet.org/wol/050.html#footinmouth -- to prep * * * Online legalization debate at http://www.intellectualcapital.com -- ONDCP reps and other noted drug warriors in attendance! * * * Recent alert posted at http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/7-23.html -- respond if you haven't already, and please send copies to email@example.com. MAJOR REDESIGN OF DRCNET WEB SITE: More compact, user- friendly, up-to-date design -- and it looks pretty good too -- by webmaster Karynn Fish, with help from Kris Lotlikar and Nissim Chudnoff. Check it out at http://www.drcnet.org and send any suggestions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. And stay tuned for even more coming out soon! DRCNet needs your support! Join the more than a thousand dues-paying members and cast your vote for reform today! Use our secure form at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html to make a pledge or a credit card donation. You can also help us through the eyegive online fundraising program -- visit http://www.eyegive.com/html/ssi.cfm?CID=1060 to automatically select DRCNet as your recipient non-profit, or check out the eyegive home page for more information. BUMPER STICKERS ARE SENT TO ALL NEW MEMBERS! Check it out at http://www.drcnet.org/bumpersticker.gif. Help us by recruiting more e-mail subscribers too -- over 6,000 now, help us reach 7,000! (But please get their permission first, before signing them up.) Please note that donations to DRCNet are not tax-deductible. TABLE OF CONTENTS: 1. New York Mayor Giuliani Threatens to End Methadone Maintenance http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#giuliani 2. Marijuana Reform Party Organizes in New York State http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#mrp 3. Orange County Medical Marijuana Distributor Sentenced to Four Years in Prison http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#herrick 4. Oakland City Council Votes Again To Support Medical Cannabis http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#oakland 5. Oppose Harsh New Mandatory Minimums -- Urge Congress to Vote Against H.R. 3898 -- an action alert from the Drug Policy Foundation http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#dpfalert 6. Strip Searches at O'Hare Get U.S. Senator's Attention http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#ohare 7. Quote of the Week: Milton Friedman on Drugs http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#friedman 8. Drug War Briefs http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#briefs 9. An Interview with Dr. Robert Newman -- On methadone maintenance, and the self-inflicted wounds of the methadone establishment http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#newman 10. Editorial: Prohibition, Punishment and Plano, Texas http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#editorial *** 1. New York Mayor Giuliani Threatens to End Methadone Maintenance In a surprise addition to a speech on welfare this week (7/20) New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced a plan to "phase out and do away with methadone maintenance programs in the City of New York" over the next 2-4 years. There are currently around 35,000 people in New York City who are on methadone maintenance. "Methadone is a terrible, terrible perversion of drug treatment because it leaves a person dependent," said Giuliani. But many others, including medical professionals, and even the Office of National Drug Control Policy, strongly disagree. Joycelyn Woods, president of the National Association of Methadone Advocates, told The Week Online "Studies show that people who are administratively discharged from methadone programs (forced off due to pre- determined time limits) have a relapse rate of almost 90%. It is not like the people in these programs haven't tried other forms of treatment. Methadone is usually the last resort after numerous attempts. These people have years of failed treatment behind them. For them, methadone is the only thing that works." Woods continued, "Of all of the issues involved in addiction and drug policy, methadone is one of the few with broad consensus. Even the Drug Czar's office is actively calling for increased access. By making methadone unavailable in New York, you're essentially telling tens of thousands of people that we would rather spend our time and money chasing you down and putting you in jail than allow you this medicine which is helping you to stabilize your life. You have to be an idiot to say what the Mayor said yesterday. He obviously has no idea what he's talking about." And Woods was not alone in her criticism. "He said what?" said Dr. Don Des Jarlais, director of research for the Chemical Dependency Institute of Beth Israel Medical Center when questioned about Giuliani's statements by The New York Times. "From a public health standpoint, that has to be one of the more ridiculous things for any public official to have said over the past 30 years." On Tuesday, Dr. Des Jarlais told The Week Online, "If these programs were cut off, you are probably looking at an 80% rate of relapse into heroin addiction. Of the population in methadone treatment, it's likely that 40% are HIV positive and at least 90% are positive for Hepatitis C. So sending them back out on the street would be a public health nightmare. The good news is that there is strong support for methadone maintenance, even among Republicans. And earlier this year, a National Institutes of Health consensus conference strongly recommended methadone, even high-dose methadone as a treatment for heroin addiction. When the science is that definitive, it is difficult for politics to overrule." Des Jarlais noted that the Mayor of New York lacked the legal authority to shut down most of the programs, which are financed primarily with state and federal dollars. "It's clear that the mayor spoke mainly out of ignorance. When all of this gets hashed out, and the facts and the science are publicly discussed, I think that his error will become clear. Even to him." (See our interview with Dr. Robert Newman, one of the leading authorities on methadone maintenance, item 9, below. Dr. Newman offers a contrasting analysis of the Mayor's comments and the overall situation regarding methadone maintenance.) *** 2. Marijuana Reform Party Organizes in New York State A coalition of activists from across New York State is moving to form a "Marijuana Reform Party" in this fall's elections. They are supporting a slate of five candidates for statewide office in order to achieve official ballot- line status in the state, taking their inspiration from the Grassroots Party of Minnesota, which made a similar effort in 1994. "We are confident that we can get the 50,000 votes we need to get the ballot line, that's only 1% of the total vote," Thomas Leighton, the MRP candidate for Governor told The Week Online. Our biggest challenge is gathering the 15,000 signatures we need to get on the ballot to begin with. We only have a few more weeks, and need everyone who can in New York who supports this issue to join our petitioning drive." New York state has a long history of smaller independent political parties playing important roles in "fusion" election campaigns. Organizers believe that with a ballot line of its own, the MRP will be able to gets its agenda into the political discourse, influence close elections, have more of a voice in the state legislature, and bring the marijuana issue further into the mainstream. "Leighton for Governor" Campaign Manager Aaron Wilson told the Week Online, "There are all sorts of opportunities this approach could create. For example, there are many elected judgeships in the state that go uncontested each election. We could run candidates for local D.A. and Sheriff's offices, just to force a debate on the prohibition issue. The coin of the realm in New York is votes, and with even a small number of votes we will be able to get heard and effect changes in the laws." The MRP campaign is being supported by a range of drug reformers in all parts of New York, including members of ReconsiDer, New York CAN (Rob Robinson, one of NY-CAN's activists is a candidate), college marijuana activists out of school for the summer, and the Rochester Cannabis Coalition. For more information or to contact the MRP, you can visit their web site at www.MarijuanaReform.org. Candidates and parties in other parts of the country are taking on the drug issue as well. In Orlando, Florida, Democratic Congressional candidate Al Krulick (http://www.vote-al.org) is challenging incumbent Bill McCollum, the sponsor of H.R. 372, the "sense of the house" resolution against medical marijuana; Krulick's key campaign plank is ending the war on drugs. Nationally, the Libertarian Party (http://www.lp.org) is fielding many candidates who are actively opposed to drug prohibition. *** 3. Orange County Medical Marijuana Distributor Sentenced to Four Years in Prison David Lee Herrick, a former sheriff's deputy in San Bernardino County, California, and co-director of the Orange County Cannabis Co-op, was sentenced last week (7/17) to four years in prison for distributing medical marijuana. Herrick, 48, began using marijuana for a back injury that he suffered on-duty as a deputy sheriff. He was convicted in May for distribution. At the trial, jurors were not allowed to consider Proposition 215, as Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg ruled that the medical marijuana law does not apply to cannabis clubs. *** 4. Oakland City Council Votes Again To Support Medical Cannabis (Reprinted with permission, from California NORML) OAKLAND, CA July 21, 1998. The Oakland City Council approved the first reading of a medical marijuana ordinance designed to protect the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative from federal prosecution, and reaffirmed its support for the city's policy guidelines allowing patients to grow up to 6 pounds per year of marijuana. The Oakland ordinance, proposed by Oakland CBC attorney Robert Raich, would allow the city to officially designate the Oakland club to enforce the state's medical marijuana law. Supporters argue that the ordinance will protect the club from a federal injunction aimed at closing the club, on the grounds that the federal controlled substances act exempts duly designated city officers. In other action, the city council voted to re-approve the city's recently adopted medical marijuana policy guidelines allowing certified patients to possess up to one and a half pounds or grow up to six pounds of medical marijuana per year. Mayor Elihu Harris and councilman Ignacio de la Fuente had moved to reconsider the policy, arguing that the proposed limits were too high and would invite abuse. Medical marijuana patient George McMahon, one of seven patients who legally receive marijuana through a special FDA program, testified that the Oakland guidelines were consistent with the federal government's own approved dosage guidelines, displaying a one-half pound tin of government-supplied marijuana, which he said contained his own supply for one month. (Mayor Harris made it clear that he saw advantages in legalization, but expressed concern that the proposed guidelines were appropriate only for the most seriously ill patients, recalling a bill he had once sponsored in the legislature to decriminalize cultivation of three marijuana plants.) Councilmembers Nate Miley and John Russo defended the guidelines as a reasonable attempt to protect the most seriously ill medical marijuana patients from unwarranted police harassment, saying it would not interfere with legitimate marijuana enforcement activities. Medical marijuana advocates applauded the council's action. "This proves again that good medical cannabis policy is good public policy," said Robert Raich. "The city council has acted to protect patients as well as the public health and safety of all Oaklanders." (To reach California NORML, contact Dale Gieringer at (415) 563-5858, email@example.com, http://www.norml.org/canorml.) *** 5. Action Alert from the Drug Policy Foundation: Oppose Harsh New Mandatory Minimums -- Urge Congress to Vote Against H.R. 3898, the "Speed Trafficking Life in Prison Act of 1998" The House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 3898, the "Speed Trafficking Life in Prison Act of 1998," on July 21 by a vote of 21-6. The vote was largely along party lines, with Republicans arguing for stiffer penalties and Democrats warning that the bill would "result in clogged courts and more prison overcrowding for relatively minor offenses," according to Congressional Quarterly. In a press release following the vote, DPF's Public Policy Director, H. Alexander Robinson, objected to the "race-based rationale" for the bill, as evidenced by a June 9 memorandum distributed by Rep. Bill McCollum (R- FL). The memo states, in part, "Over the last eight years, Mexican drug organizations have replaced motorcycle gangs as the major methamphetamine producers ... and have saturated the western U.S. markets." Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) was concerned by this reasoning, saying: "I do not want to be part of a bill that specifically targets a minority group." H.R. 3898 would cut in half the amount of methamphetamine required to receive a five- or 10-year mandatory minimum, making federal sentences for crack cocaine and methamphetamine equivalent. The bill would institute the following new sentences: * a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for possessing or trafficking in 50 grams of methamphetamine (formerly 100 grams); and * a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for possessing or trafficking five grams of methamphetamine (formerly 10 grams). Thanks to an amendment by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the bill would also require the U.S. Sentencing Commission to analyze the impact of the increased penalties and present the results to Congress within one year. WHAT YOU CAN DO Call or Write Your Representative -- The Drug Policy Foundation urges you to contact your representative and ask him/her to vote NO on H.R. 3898, the "Speed Trafficking Life in Prison Act of 1998." Feel free to use the following in your correspondence: "As your constituent I urge you to oppose H.R. 3898, the 'Speed Trafficking Life in Prison Act of 1998.' This legislation promises to be costly to taxpayers, removes necessary discretion from federal judges, and will result in more low-level offenders clogging the courts and unnecessarily filling our prisons. This bill promotes the failed policy of mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses, which is not cost- effective according to the Rand Corporation. Its study, Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences: Throwing Away the Key or the Taxpayers Money, concluded: 'in all cases, conventional enforcement is more cost-effective than mandatory minimums, and treatment is more than twice as cost-effective as mandatory minimums.' (p. xxii) "Also, Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL) is scapegoating Mexicans in his promotional material for the bill, and I am concerned passage of this bill will have a disproportionate effect on Mexican-American communities. "Please support the wise use of taxpayers money and justice for all Americans by voting against H.R. 3898. I look forward to receiving your response on this most important legislation." HOW TO Call Your Representative -- Calling your representative is the most effective way to make your views known to them. You should: * Find out who your representative is by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121. Have your zip code ready to give the operator. * Speak with the legislative assistant who is working on drug policy or criminal justice issues. * Keep the message simple. Urge your representative to oppose H.R. 3898 for the reasons outlined above. Ask for a return letter explaining your representative's position on the legislation and mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses. Fax, Write a Letter, or E-mail Your Representative -- Call the Capitol Switchboard then call your representative s office to get the fax number. You can also go to the ACLU's web site, http://www.aclu.org/action/concong.html for all contact information. Letters can be sent to: The Honorable (name of your representative), U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515. Finally, please don't use email unless you have already called or faxed. (You can find the Drug Policy Foundation and subscribe to their alerts via the web at http://www.dpf.org.) *** 6. Strip Searches at O'Hare Get U.S. Senators' Attention - Kris Lotlikar U.S Senators Dick Durbin and Carol Moseley-Braun are calling for the General Accounting Office to broaden its investigation of drug search procedures at the nation's busiest airport. The two Senators released figures stating that of the 104 strip searches conducted in 1997 at O'Hare international airport, 77 of those involved female suspects. "Our country should be conducting a war on drugs, not a war on women," Senator Moseley-Braun told Reuters. Senator Durbin also commented, "These searches are far more successful at stripping women of their dignity than stripping our nation of its drug supply." The Treasury Department, which has oversight authority over the Customs Service, is conducting its own internal investigation and stated that they would also support the GAO investigation. The figures released also suggested a trend of racial discrimination in the strip searches. The data shows that almost twice as many black women were searched as white women. O'Hare airport officials deny the claims, stating they do not "target" a certain group of people. "It's never based solely on race, ethnic origin or gender," stated Cherise Miles, spokeswoman for Customs in Chicago to the Illinois Daily Herald. "It could be nervous behavior, it could be the way a person is dressed. It could be where they're coming from." Ed Fox, a Chicago attorney, has filed a lawsuit representing 18 black women subjected to searches in which illegal substances were not found. "I'm pretty confident many more black women were strip searched than what they're admitting to," he stated to the Herald. "They are clearly targeting black women for strip searches without reasonable suspicion. It's purely for harassment." Effectiveness of the searches is also being questioned. Only 27 of the 104 strip searches turned up drugs. Drugs were found on 25% of the white women searched and only on 17% of the black women. Senator Dick Durbin commented, "It's very difficult to justify what they are doing based on their results." William Spain, spokesperson for the ACLU of Illinois, sees hope in the Senators' concern. He told The Week Online, "For far too long most of our lawmakers have only aided and abetted the worst excesses of America's unwinnable War on Drugs. It is encouraging that a few of them of finally waking up to the fact that so many innocent citizens are routinely stripped of their liberty and dignity as a result of destructive drug policies." *** 7. Drug War in Brief - In Bogota, Columbia a U.S. helicopter crashed, killing seven police officers. This was the third fatal crash involving U.S owned helicopters in less than a month. The UH-1H helicopter was part of a sortie of "Hueys" donated by the U.S, to aid the war on drugs in South America. Wreckage was found on Sunday in Urada province, a banana growing region which has long been a battleground for leftist rebels and the state. - 12 officers in Mazomanie, Wisconsin spent Sunday destroying wild growing hemp from all over Dane County. The task force, which was made up of members of the Dane County Narcotics and Gang Task Force, worked most of the day collecting, cutting and burning the crop. "Most of the marijuana is left over from hemp farming during the two World Wars," Sheriff Sgt. Mark Twombly told an AP reporter. Industrial hemp contains THC in amounts far too small to produce intoxication. - In England this week, a night watchman discovered two thousands grams of marijuana on a Royal Navy destroyer. Ironically the HMS Newcastle was returning from a six- month tour of duty combating drug-running in the West Indies. After the whole crew was fingerprinted, two men were caught and found guilty of conspiracy to import drugs. Six other men have also plead guilty for their role in the smuggling ring. *** 8. Quote of the Week In a letter to the Wall Street Journal (6/24), Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, an octogenarian responding to the Journal's anti- legalization editorial suggesting that he and other "libertarian economists" divulge whether or not they had ever used drugs: "I have not done so during the past 85-plus years. But I make no guarantees for the future." *** 9. Interview with Dr. Robert Newman Dr. Robert Newman, President of Continuum Health Partners, a healthcare system that includes Beth Israel Medical Center, where methadone maintenance began over 30 years ago and which still operates the largest program in the world, had a slightly different take on the mayor's statements than that provided in our lead article above. Dr. Newman spoke with The Week Online: WOL: Dr. Newman, you've obviously heard Mayor Giuliani's statements regarding methadone maintenance, and his desire to see these programs eliminated. What are your thoughts? Dr. Newman: Let me first say that my anger over this issue is not directed in the least at Mayor Giuliani, but rather at the methadone establishment. And when I say establishment, I don't mean the experts like Dr. Des Jarlais here at Beth Israel, or patients' advocates like Jocelyn Woods at NAMA. I mean the majority of providers, who have a total monopoly over distribution and whose desires to maintain that monopoly drive their actions. Nor do I include all providers in my criticism. My own hospital, after all, Beth Israel Medical Center, is the single-largest provider of methadone in New York, and perhaps in the country, with over 8,000 patients. The attitude of the majority of those who represent the establishment as it relates to methadone treatment is my way or the highway. They have fought tooth and nail to encourage and maintain every government regulation that is now in place that constrains the distribution of methadone. Their way has given us the current situation in which seven out of eight heroin addicts have absolutely no access to this treatment, and under which only government-approved "comprehensive programs" can exist. Why are they upset by Giuliani's statements? It is not unreasonable and doesn't take too much cynicism to believe that at least part of the answer relates to the desire to protect their turf. They have been so thoroughly invested in maintaining control over the treatment of the 15% of heroin addicts who have access to their programs that they have been willing to write off the other 85%. Since they never looked for or even permitted serious discussion of ways to try to reach the 85% that can't be accommodated in their programs, I think they have little credibility when they profess such concern over the 15% that have been lucky enough to get admitted. Now why is it that of all medical treatments, of all long-term drug regimens, methadone is the only one that is totally under the control of government-approved and largely publicly funded, bureaucratically-managed programs? Why on earth can't someone who has been on the program for years, who is gainfully employed and raising a family, who is otherwise drug-free, get methadone from his or her doctor? Why do such people - - and there are many, many people who are living normal, productive lives with the help of methadone -- why must they be required to show up at a clinic daily, or at least several times a week? Why are they required to continue with often-unnecessary counseling in order to stay in the program? For that matter, why can't any patient receive methadone from the physician of his or her choice? There has been a concerted effort to keep community- based practitioners out of the prescribing of the medication. It's also true that providers' budgets depend upon the comprehensiveness of all these services, and the requirements that these services be provided to and accepted by every single patient. It has nothing to do with the needs or wishes of the patient, and these requirements have become the primary obstacle for people who would otherwise, by all measures and appearances, be living very ordinary, very healthy lives. I know some lip service has been given to "pilot studies" to allow a tiny handful of patients, always under the watchful eye and the control of the programs, to get methadone from generalist physicians. But the numbers that could be accommodated are meaningless! WOL: So, when Mayor Giuliani says, for instance, that there is no reason why people in these programs shouldn't be required to work, just like other welfare recipients, you would agree with that? Dr. Newman: Absolutely. Without getting into any sort of discussion of welfare policy itself, which is an issue in which I am certainly not holding myself out as an authority, I believe that people in methadone treatment should be treated the same way as everyone else. Besides, it is a little-known fact that fully half of the people who are on methadone maintenance are employed, and thus never even enter the welfare debate at all! As I alluded to, a big part of what makes it difficult for methadone patients to work is the absurd requirements, the hoops they are made to jump through. In a lot of places in the country, where there are clinics at all, they are spread so far and wide that people end up spending half a day, every day, just traveling back and forth. Now, this speaks, I would argue, to the remarkable level of commitment that these people have to avoiding relapse, to insuring that they are not going to feel compelled to go to the street for relief. So we end up with many, many people, traveling great distances to clinics which often are open for only a short time every day, just so someone can hand them a cup of medicine. We need to open up the system so that people can live more normal lives, much as they would if they were on any other long-term medication regimen. WOL: So there's nothing inherent in methadone treatment which would compromise someone's ability to lead a normal life? Dr. Newman: Absolutely not! There are patients who are earning six-figure salaries, people who have been on methadone for years and who function normally and productively in every way. The question is, do they need to be required to undergo continuous counseling? Do they need to be watched by a paid counselor to ensure that they are taking their medication? Of course not. What they need is freedom from absurd restrictions put into place by one bureaucracy, government, at the behest of another bureaucracy, the methadone establishment. But the methadone bureaucracy, in that wonderful self-serving tradition of all bureaucracies, considers these people too sick to function without the constant help of the people whose livelihoods depend upon the system. Is that to say that many people who are in methadone treatment don't benefit from counseling? Of course not. But these determinations are not being made based upon patients' individual needs. Again, only a monopoly could sustain a system like this. In addition, and I think this is the problem rather than the views attributed to the Mayor, we have a situation where many of the providers themselves behave as if they don't believe in or understand the treatment. Three-quarters of the programs in existence knowingly keep patients on sub-optimal dosages of methadone. Now, if I, as a doctor, were to systematically prescribe a sub-optimal dosage of any other medication, I'd lose my business and probably my license to practice. But in the monopoly that controls methadone distribution, no one is at risk of losing their business, at least until a politician focuses on the expenditure and questions its justification. Further, more than half of the clinics in operation push patients toward total detox, many after only six months. And if you ask them is there any evidence, is there a single scientific study, which shows that pushing people off of this medication will be successful? Do we have any indication that the majority will not relapse into heroin? That they will not go to the street and buy whatever they can get their hands on to relieve their suffering? That they will not be right back where they started, along with the increased risk of AIDS and other diseases? And they'll say, no. But we simply don't believe in allowing people to stay in for more than six months. And they can do this, they can randomly endanger and destroy people, because they have absolute power. They're the only game in town, and they know it. WOL: But if the providers are dependent upon their patients, why would they be so eager to push people out of the programs? Dr. Newman: Oh, the slots don't go empty. Each clinic is allowed to treat only a specified number of patients, and there are so few slots for so many addicts that there's always a waiting list. There's no necessity to do it right, to operate in the best interest of the patients, to care what patients think. There's zero "power" for consumers in this field of medicine, because the demand is so much greater than the availability. Again, I stress that this orientation is not universal, and I pride myself on the compassion, common sense and caring that is reflected in the staff of Beth Israel. So here comes Mayor Giuliani, or some other politician, and sees methadone not as just another medication like, say, insulin, but as a very big line-item in a budget that goes to a big bureaucracy, and he questions it. There's nothing whatsoever surprising or inappropriate about that! And he looks at the people who have been in these programs for years and what he sees is a group of people who are still required by regulations and by the views of the clinicians to receive intensive counseling, who are still required to be urine-tested (in many programs, under direct supervision of the staff -- they are not even trusted to pee into a bottle without someone "monitoring" them!). There can be only one conclusion: our government regulators and -- most significantly -- the treatment providers believe they are no better off, no more trustworthy, no less "junkies" than when they started the program. Seeing that, why shouldn't the mayor conclude that there is no progress being made? Why should we expect the mayor to challenge the medical judgment of the experts, the folks who provide methadone treatment? I sure haven't heard many of my colleagues say, "Let's demand the government stop requiring us to impose counseling on patients who no longer need or want it; let's demand an end to this wasteful and demeaning requirement that patients pee in a bottle so they can prove to us that they are not using drugs." WOL: But the mayor has couched this in terms of a moral rather than a budget issue. In fact, as you know, the vast majority of funding for methadone in New York City comes from the state and federal governments. Dr. Newman: But the city is spending at least some of the money here, and so it does come up as a budget item. In addition, given the strong negativism towards methadone even (perhaps especially!) among those who prescribe it, it's no surprise that public sentiment also is against it -- so criticizing this treatment is politically attractive. The point is that if there were no programs, if methadone was treated more like other medications that doctors can prescribe to people who will benefit, the politicians wouldn't even waste time on it. As radical as it sounds to the methadone establishment, I strongly maintain that doctors are quite capable of responsibly treating patients -- even those with the disease of addiction. Certainly, this has been the experience overseas, where many countries have thousands of former heroin addicts receiving methadone from general practitioners. WOL: Barry McCaffrey, the U.S. Drug Czar, recently came back from visiting with his counterparts in Europe and said unequivocally that we need to expand methadone maintenance in this country, but he added the caveat that it should be tightly controlled. His concern, and it's one that is shared by a great many people apparently, is that methadone not be diverted to the black market. Aren't you concerned that easing restrictions on methadone would lead to an increase in street sales? Dr. Newman: Actually, the logic there is completely backwards. A long time ago in this country we had a huge and deadly black market in penicillin. There was an enormous illicit demand from people who couldn't get it through legitimate channels because of inadequate supply. The street market for methadone is an exact analogy, and reflects the fact that people who need it can't get it legitimately. Heroin is vastly easier and more convenient to get! Why are people buying black market methadone? Because they're trying not to do heroin. If anyone who needed it were able to get it from a licensed physician, and not just those who were lucky enough to have their name come up on the waiting list, we'd most likely see an end to the street trafficking, just as penicillin's black market came to a total halt as soon as supplies were sufficient to meet the clinical demand. Imagine the black market in Viagra if it were accessible only to 15% of those who might want and need it -- and those 15% had to jump through hoops to get it from "comprehensive impotence programs"? And talk about NIMBY, and the fears that the "Viagrans" would mug us and rape our mothers and grandmothers! Wow! WOL: The mayor, in his comments as well as in the days immediately after, made a point of mentioning a couple of abstinence-based drug treatment programs by name, programs like Phoenix House and Day-top Village, saying that abstinence-based treatment is inherently superior to methadone, and that this is what we should be aiming at. Being that these programs don't offer methadone, is it possible that there is another economic dynamic at work here? Dr. Newman: (Laughs.) Well, certainly that's possible. And if methadone were to be eliminated as a treatment option it would very likely mean more patients, and more income for those programs. But I'm not going to speculate as to their influence on the mayor, or their motivation. And for sure I would never denigrate any other treatment approach that offers help and hope to those in need, especially in as notoriously difficult and deadly a problem as addiction. The fact is, however, that methadone maintenance has been found throughout the world to be the single most effective treatment for heroin addiction known to science. And that's not just me talking. It has broad backing in the medical community. Furthermore, even if one believed a different treatment approach is "better" -- whatever that means -- there is no way whatsoever that the tens of thousands of methadone patients in New York City could be accommodated in any alternative treatment setting; they'd all go back to shooting dope, stealing, killing themselves, getting and spreading AIDS, etc. That's not speculation or bragging or anything else but simple reality. I certainly value a substance-free recovery, but I see that as no better and no worse than recovery accomplished with the assistance of a dose of medication each day. If it were your son, would you care in the least? Boy, I sure wouldn't! My only prayer would be that he survive, and get out from the clutches of heroin dependence and all the horrors that that entails, including the ever-present threat of death. Heroin is tough to kick under any conditions. With methadone, people are able to resume their normal lives, outside of the restrictions placed on them which I've mentioned, and be productive and healthy. If that doesn't constitute success in medical as well as social terms for the individual and the community, than I don't know what does. If you are a diabetic, you are pretty much destined to need insulin for the rest of your life. If you go off of it, you're going to have problems, plain and simple. And yet, insulin is rightly understood to be a very successful treatment. The same is true of the wonderful support that AA offers to alcoholics, support that ideally (according to AA advocates) continues life-long. WOL: But can you truly equate heroin addiction with diabetes? People only become heroin addicts after first making a choice to try heroin. Dr. Newman: Granted, in most cases there is a behavioral aspect to becoming a heroin addict, but at the same time there is growing evidence that some people have a genetic predisposition to such addictions, so there's also an uncontrollable risk factor that is at play. And regardless, there are innumerable diseases and conditions that have behavioral components. Do we in the medical community turn away heart attack victims who are obese through overeating? Or cancer victims who smoked? We can certainly disapprove of those behaviors, but we don't punish people in an advanced society by withholding effective treatment for illnesses they brought on themselves. WOL: Is that, to some degree what the methadone establishment is doing? Dr. Newman: To the extent that providers treat their patients in ways that would be unacceptable in dealing with other types of patients, yes. But again we are back to the problems inherent in a monopoly over a life-and-death medication. In New York City, it's estimated that there are over a quarter of a million people who are addicted to heroin. But there are only about 35,000 methadone slots. Now, because the establishment has fought tooth and nail to make sure that doctors cannot prescribe this medication, to make damn sure that they were the only providers -- and the government is certainly not going to increase funding for drug addicts by a factor of seven or eight -- over 85% of the addicted are shut out and will be shut out to their dying day! It amounts to saying, "We are not going to allow you to get methadone except through us -- and if you die, you die!" I respect pride in one's own therapeutic efforts, but this kind of attitude is arrogant. I'ts immoral. It's sick. WOL: That's a pretty stinging indictment, especially coming from a major provider. Dr. Newman: You're not the first one to tell me that. And I'd like to make clear yet again, because it bears repeating and emphasizing, that not every provider is high-handed and self-serving. I know the staff of Beth Israel best, of course, but the same is true of lots of other programs, I'm sure, and that is the commitment to do as good a job as possible, given the restrictions. And I'm not saying that some programs, for some patients, are not superior to the prospect of having a doctor prescribe methadone. Certainly there is an element of control that would be given up. But I also oversee one of the finest centers for the treatment of breast cancer in the world, and yet I would never say you have to come to Beth Israel or one of its partner institutions, and if you can't you should go untreated rather than be allowed to get care in a less "comprehensive" center of excellence. That would make the best the enemy of the good. That's what we're doing by insisting on exclusive reliance on programs to prescribe methadone. It's arrogant. It's costing lives. And it results in politicians looking at the treatment as it's been mandated and questioning whether it's justified and should be continued. (See our methadone topics section at http://www.drcnet.org/methadone/ for more commentary by Dr. Newman. Also, visit the National Alliance of Methadone Advocates at http://www.methadone.org.) *** 10. Editorial: Prohibition, Punishment and Plano, Texas This week in Plano, Texas, 29 indictments were handed down in connection with a heroin distribution "ring" said to be responsible for the deaths of at least seventeen mostly young, mostly affluent members of the community over the past four years. Among those indicted were at least fourteen Plano residents, all under 23 years old, who were themselves users and part of the extended circle of acquaintances of those who died. If convicted, each of these young people faces at least twenty years behind bars. Reaction in the community, at least as reported in the media, is mixed. Many people have taken the hard-line attitude that such punishment will "send a message" to Plano's young people that the community disapproves of such behavior, even if their only connection to drug dealing involved "scoring" a hit or two for a friend and fellow-user, or, just as likely, scoring regularly for fellow-users as a way to finance their own habits. Others seem shocked that these kids face life- destroying sentences as punishment for, essentially, their own addictions. On ABC TV's 'Nightline,' the question was asked, almost incredulously, whether incarceration was a sensible solution for kids who, but for the grace of God, could just as easily have wound up as one of the seventeen dead "victims." Busting addicts who re-sell small amounts of their drug of choice to pay for their own addictions, and thus staving off painful withdrawal, is nothing new. What is unusual here is that the young people involved are not underprivileged and black but well-to-do and white. The drug war, it seems, besides disproportionately impacting minority communities, also serves to highlight the racism pervasive in our society. An eighteen year-old African American who is addicted and sells drugs is a criminal, a pariah and a menace. But when that 18 year-old is white and middle-class, he is a kid with a problem. And suddenly, the thought of making him pay for his addiction by putting him in a cage until he is a hardened and embittered middle-aged man does not seem to make much sense. But regardless of the ethnicity of those involved, the Drug War, working as designed, punishes even those who most of all simply need help. There is very little in the way of filtering mechanisms built into mandatory minimum sentences that would separate out the big-time criminal from the desperate addict. And while it is argued that weight requirements, the parts of the law which say that you will get x-number of years for possessing or selling x-number of grams, are meant to serve this purpose, that is really not the case. Because over the past few years of drug war hysteria, the reach of conspiracy laws have expanded to the point that now, almost anyone who is even tangentially involved in anything that looks like a "system" of distribution can and will be held responsible for enormous amounts of drugs, real or imagined, no matter what their actual role in the crime. Even if, as appears to be the case with some of the defendants in Texas, they were simply scoring for friends in an effort to finance their own pathetic addictions. In response to DRCNet's media alert about this story this week, I received a call from a British activist, a woman who has spent the past eleven years advocating for the rights and the health of people living with AIDS and people living with heroin addiction in England. She wanted an answer to the following question: "Why is it," she asked, "that people in the States are so irrational, to the point of insanity it seems, when it comes to drug addicts? I've been told that it springs from some religious fundamentalism peculiar to America, but as a religious person myself, I rather doubt that Jesus would've sought to punish the most vulnerable among us. What would ever make people think that locking people up for their whole lives to punish them for their addiction is either moral or pragmatic?" She had me. And although I have never believed as some do that fundamentalism is at the root of our punitive drug war, it is clear that the United States treats its addicts with a harshness and a self-righteousness unequaled in other Western democracies. It is also true that there is an element of religious fundamentalism in the U.S. which is largely absent in those nations. In considering these facts, and in looking for the connection between them, it occurs to me that while fundamentalism is not the cause of our national obsession with punishing drug users, and in fact such treatment seems quite irreligious, it is likely that to some extent at least, the two spring from the same place. That is, some people flock to religion, just as others become willing to abusively punish, in response to a world which seems to be spinning out of control. It is a reaching for certainty... for moral authority. And it is borne of frustration and a seeming inability to make sense out of chaos. But while religion, and the fervor that it can incite, has been used by some over the course of history as a weapon against the non-believing, religion is, in its essence, a beautiful and empowering institution. The drug war, on the other hand, and the senseless rush to destroy those who are in reality the weakest among us, operates in a blind-spot. It is a dragon chasing its own tail inasmuch as it expends most of its energies attempting to stamp out that which it has itself created. In Plano, seventeen kids are dead primarily because they had no idea of the purity level of any particular batch of heroin. They did not, could not under a system in which labels and information are an impossibility, have any idea of the dosage they were using, or whether this bag was more or less pure than the bag they bought the last time. It is also very likely that few of the kids who were taking heroin in Plano had any idea what to do for a friend in case of an accidental overdose, and it is a near-certainty that they had never heard of and had no access to Narcan, a drug which arrests overdose nearly instantly. And, judging by the response of law enforcement this week, it is easy to imagine that at least some of the seventeen might have been saved if their compatriots were not afraid to go to authorities for help the moment they realized that something was terribly, terribly wrong. The fact that they were addicted would have been bad enough, and the profit margins insured by prohibition undoubtedly led to the "marketing" of the drug on the streets and in the schools of their community. But there was absolutely no reason for seventeen kids to die. So while it is perhaps debatable as to whether, or to what degree the Drug War encouraged their addiction, there can be no doubt that our drug policy has insured that they did not live long enough to recover from it. So now, in the prosperous town of Plano, Texas, seventeen kids are dead of overdose in four years, and fourteen more are facing the destruction of their futures by incarceration. And listening in the media to the police and the DEA and even to many of the residents of that town, they would've gladly indicted a hundred more if they could've made cases against them. This is our response. It is a response borne of fear and of anger and of a sense that the world is somehow spinning out of control. But it lacks insight, and compassion, and reason. And it hasn't worked in a thousand other towns. And it won't work once again. Before hanging up, the activist who called from London had this plea for me, and for the organization for which I work: "Help the addicts themselves to organize and to be heard. They understand, and they can make others understand, that they are not monsters but are vulnerable people, many of whom have known nothing but pain for the entirety of their lives. Help them to convince people that with a little help, addicted persons are capable of helping themselves. I think that their vulnerability can be very powerful in helping them to communicate this. And I think that this will change people's attitudes and reduce their level of fear and hatred. Because, even after all that I've seen, I truly believe that people, at their core, are primarily good." And I hung up. But I doubted, somehow, that this hopeful philosophy was anywhere to be found in the message that the Drug War sent to the surviving kids of Plano, Texas. Adam J. Smith Associate Director *** DRCNet needs your support! Donations can be sent to 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036, or made by credit card at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html on the web. 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