------------------------------------------------------------------- Dope With Dignity ('Willamette Week' Dismisses The Campaign For The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act With An Article That Purports To Focus On The Initiative's Chief Petitioner, Dr. Rick Bayer, But Gives More Space To Opponents, Fails To Interview Any Patients Who Would Benefit, And Contains So Much Editorializing and Bias And Makes So Many Factual Errors That It's More Useful In Illustrating How Badly Journalism Is Practiced In Oregon) Willamette Week: http://wweek.com/ 822 SW 10th Ave. Portland, OR 97205 Tel. (503) 243-2122 Fax (503) 243-1115 Letters to the Editor: Mark Zusman - firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.wweek.com/ Note: Willamette Week welcomes letters to the editor via mail, e-mail or fax. Letters must be signed by the author and include the author's street address and phone number for verification. Preference will be given to letters of 250 words or less. Dope with dignity A Portland internist is the unlikely leader of the effort to legalize medical marijuana in Oregon. Richard Bayer says the feds should keep their war on drugs out of the examining room. BY PATTY WENTZ email@example.com American scientific research into medical marijuana is thwarted by a lack of supply. The federal government controls the only legal source--at a farm in Mississippi. Last March the Oregon Medical Association took an official position on Measure 67 and after a heated debate voted to remain neutral. Supporters say smoking marijuana is better than ingesting it because it has an immediate effect and the dosage is more controllable. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychiatric Studies provides links to the most current research on medical marijuana. http://www.maps.org/ Since 1979, several pot reform initiatives have circulated before Oregon voters. Only one qualified. In 1986, voters overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would have legalized marijuana for anyone over 18. Measure 67 allows people under 18 to smoke medical marijuana with the permission of a parent or guardian. Seated at the conference table in his makeshift office on Northwest 23rd Avenue, Dr. Richard Bayer flips through the medical file that holds his notes. While doing so, he keeps his left leg elevated on a chair. He apologizes for the casual pose, explaining it's the only way to control the flow of blood through the damaged vein in his leg. Bayer, 43, stops at a marked-up piece from The New England Journal of Medicine. As he reads it, his voice tightens. It's an article about physicians of courage, physicians who will defend "the rights of those at death's door" over the "bureaucrats whose decisions are based more on reflexive ideology and political correctness." To Bayer, it's a mission statement. To Oregonians, it is partly the reason they are going to be asked to join California and legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Bayer is the chief petitioner for Ballot Measure 67, one of five similar measures in Western states that will be on ballots this November. As dedicated as Bayer is to making an illegal drug available to the sick, however, he is hardly your average hemp hustler. Bayer's crusade is markedly different. Oregon has never seen a cannabis activist like Bayer. For more than 20 years, people with different agendas have tried to decriminalize marijuana or make it legally available to the sick. Some are libertarians who argue that the government has no business regulating personal drug choices. Others emphasize economics and believe the war on drugs--particularly a drug as inoffensive as pot--is a waste of resources. Others, who in a different era would have been called hippies, see pot as a central part of their lifestyles and treat it with an almost religious reverence. One of the most tireless Oregonians active in legalization efforts is Portlander and sometimes state representative candidate Paul Stanford, who touts cannabis as a miracle crop that can be used for food, clothing, paper and medicine. Another activist is Phil Smith. For two years he operated a cannabis buyers club in Portland, providing some 300 medical customers with pot while the Multnomah County District Attorney looked the other way. His operation was shut down and Smith was arrested for possession when a patient turned him in to the police. Smith is currently reported to be under house arrest in San Francisco, where he can get a legal supply of marijuana to treat the symptoms of depression. Outside Oregon, perhaps the most outspoken activist in the country is Dennis Peron, of San Francisco, who was the chief petitioner on California's Proposition 215, which last year legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Peron, who has been dubbed the Peter Pan of Pot, has been openly defiant of drug laws and has been arrested 15 times for possession of marijuana. The differences between Bayer and these and other traditional pot activists are dramatic. Bayer doesn't smoke pot--his drug of choice is Mountain Dew. He knows little about the larger hemp culture he is now a part of, and he is against the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. What drives him to join the pot battle has little to do with marijuana. It has more to do with his sense of a doctor's responsibility to advocate for patients. "It's all about respecting patients and giving them autonomy over their bodies," he says. In 1996, he worked as the medical spokesman in the campaign to defeat Ballot Measure 51, which would have overturned the Death with Dignity Act. That same year, California passed Proposition 215, which decriminalizes possession and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes. Shortly thereafter, Clinton's drug czar Barry McCaffrey threatened to take away the licenses of California doctors who recommended marijuana to their patients. That threat incensed Bayer, who now wryly credits McCaffrey for recruiting him into working on the Oregon initiative. "The examination room is a sanctuary...the war on drugs does not belong there," he says. Until 1996, Bayer was an internist at a Lake Oswego clinic. His colleague there, Dr. Dan Bouma, says Bayer had an intimate connection with his patients. "He was the kind of doctor that patients love," Bauma says. He specialized in critical care, spending as much time at the hospital as in the clinic. Bayer also had a reputation for being both a strong advocate for patients--especially against insurance companies that would deny them treatment--and one of the more academic physicians on the staff, spending hours poring over the most recent medical research and studies. What little human rights work he had time for was limited to a membership in Physicians for Social Responsibility and giving occasional speeches on the dangers of nuclear weapons. But Bayer's professional and personal life changed suddenly in 1996, with the return of a childhood medical condition. When he was 16 years old, he developed a massive blood clot in his left leg, probably as a result of influenza. The clot was removed, and other than wearing a compression sock around his left ankle to help the blood flow back up to his heart, he experienced no problems for nearly 20 years. But over Memorial Day weekend two years ago, after being on call more than two days, Bayer says he felt a familiar and intense pain. He removed the compression sock and saw a pencil eraser-sized indentation below the bone on the inside of his left ankle: an ulcer resulting from oxygen depletion. The valves in the major vein in his leg had completely disintegrated, a condition called venous insufficiency. Without constant circulation, the skin would continue to ulcerate and die. Gravity is the enemy, so Bayer has to keep his leg elevated above the hip. He can stand only for a few moments without a compression sock--with it, maybe 10 to 20 minutes. As the blood gathers at the ankle, the pain is blinding. His ankle feels "like it's being filled with a giant bicycle pump," he says. Treatments for the condition are experimental and risky. The nature of Bayer's practice--spending hours on his feet at the hospital--forced him to make a decision. "It was either my leg or my practice," he says. By the end of summer that year, he had retired, turning his patients over to other physicians. He considered becoming a jazz musician, a childhood dream of his. He plays the trumpet and idolizes Miles Davis, whom he describes as someone who was "constantly exploring, changing and creating." Not having enough musical talent, however, Bayer started working with Physicians for Social Responsibility on a lead-screening program for low-income kids in north Portland. He now serves on the program's board of directors. In August of 1996, Bayer read a statement from the Oregon Medical Association in support of Measure 51, which would have repealed the physician-assisted suicide law. Bayer says the research he read counters the OMA's position; he found the majority of Oregon doctors support helping their terminally ill patients with assisted dying. He joined the campaign and became a voice for the medical community against the repeal, debating opponents throughout the Willamette Valley and doing interviews with local and national media. One morning during the campaign, he was listening to KBOO and heard Sandee Burbank, leader of Mothers Against Use and Abuse, talking about the effort to pass a medical marijuana law in Oregon. His pique with McCaffrey combined with his own experiences with chronically ill patients who had successfully used marijuana led him to dash off a check to support the effort. That winter, he attended a planning meeting for the marijuana initiative with the drafters of the bill, among them state Rep. George Eighmey, who that year had tried to get a similar bill through the Legislature. By that time, Bayer says, he'd done extensive research on the issue and had met with several patients who had used medical marijuana to treat a variety of conditions. "They needed a doctor who is not afraid of being politically active to tell the truth," he says. He agreed to sign on as chief petitioner--along with a multiple sclerosis patient, Stormy Ray--and as chief spokesman for the initiative. While Bayer may be the most public doctor supporting medical marijuana, the fact is that many doctors and nurses, especially those who work with AIDS and cancer patients, agree with him. Dr. Mary O'Hearn, an HIV specialist at OHSU, says marijuana usage is common among her most advanced patients because getting the munchies helps fight the wasting away associated with AIDS. While smoking marijuana is not good for the respiratory system, O'Hearn, 40, says she will vote for Measure 67 and believes that most of the doctors her age will, too. "I don't know any of my peers who wouldn't support this," she says. Jo Whitlow, an oncology nurse at Legacy Health Systems, says she has seen the value of marijuana in stemming the nausea that chemotherapy causes in her patients. She will vote for Measure 67 if she is convinced that there will be strict controls over supply. While she believes there are medications that work better than marijuana, there are some patients for whom it is the only solution. There are other doctors who agree that pot should be made available to patients but plan to vote against Measure 67. Dr. Charles Hoffman, a Baker City internist and past president of the Oregon Medical Association, thinks that patients should probably be given access to marijuana if they need it. But, he says, only after the Federal Drug Administration has approved it. Dr. Hoffman concedes that FDA approval for marijuana is far in the future, and as a doctor, he takes some responsibility for that. "It's political. People are afraid of the evil weed, reefer madness....Organized medicine has to take some of the blame. We should have been pressing [for scientific study] earlier." While the merits of medicinal marijuana have been recorded at least anecdotally for, some say, thousands of years, it was only last year that the American Medical Association came out with a statement urging government study of marijuana. Until the research is done, the AMA is against allowing patients to use marijuana. Bayer says, "The AMA has a position I scientifically and ethically disagree with." He is satisfied with the studies that have been done on marijuana and believes that, for patients, the benefits outweigh possible risks. His goal is for marijuana to be reclassified by the federal government so that physicians can prescribe it. "All I want," he says, "is for patients to have one more option." It isn't science or compassion that is keeping the medicine from patients, Bayer says. It's politics, fear, and ignorance. "Many people have been taught there is no difference between drug use and abuse. Doctors know better." By agreeing to be chief petitioner and spokesman of Oregon's initiative, Bayer has signed on to a national campaign. Americans for Medical Rights, based in Santa Monica, Calif., has funded signaturegathering drives in Oregon and four other states--Washington, Alaska, Colorado and Nevada. Dave Fratello, executive director of the group, which also coordinated Proposition 215, says the group's goal is to eventually persuade the FDA to reclassify the drug. At this point, AMR has pledged to spend $2 million on the five-state effort, but a spokeswoman says more money may be available if the states need it. AMR is largely funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros of New York, insurance mogul Peter Lewis of Cleveland and John Sperling, founder and president of the University of Phoenix. Locally, the campaign is being run by the Sugarman Group, which ran the Death with Dignity campaign in 1996. (The Sugarman Group is also heading the opposition to Measure 57, which, if passed, would recriminalize possession of less than one ounce of pot.) Geoff Sugerman says he expects the campaign to cost anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000. While it's still early in the campaign, the legislative committee of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, which represents more than 1,400 Oregon churches, has endorsed the initiative, as has the ACLU and the Coalition of Black Men. Bayer's role in the campaign has been central. He has debated the measure on talk radio, spent countless hours giving television and newspaper interviews and asked for support from a variety of special-interest groups. He plans to debate opponents of the measure this fall and says his experience in medical school--being forced to argue the risks and benefits of treatments--makes him particularly suited for that. So does his experience playing in a jazz band. Debates, he says, are all about improvisation. "You pull on your creativity in a debate," he says. "I never know what's going to happen." He can be certain of one thing: Law enforcement is going to line up against him. Opposition to Measure 67 is still forming. It is currently headed by Multnomah County Sheriff, Dan Noelle. Oregonians Against Dangerous Drugs has so far signed up the Oregon Association of Police Chiefs and some anti-drug activists. Noelle argues that it doesn't matter how tightly the initiative is written--it's still drug dealing. He is skeptical of the cover of respectability being draped over the bill. Noelle believes that the law is a way for drug reformers to manipulate the public's compassion. "This is just a way to get a foot in the door to make all drugs legal," he says. He says the belief that sick people are helped by marijuana is a self-delusion. "If I'm a cancer patient and I convinced myself a bourbon and a cigar made me feel better, it would." Dr. Cornelia Taylor, a Salem internist who in September will be starting as assistant vice president of medical affairs at Blue Cross/Blue Shield, opposes Measure 67 and will be working on the campaign. She maintains that there is no medical reason to use marijuana. She says THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, is available in the pharmaceutical form Marinol (though medical marijuana advocates say it is a poor substitute for the real thing). "I think medical technology and pharmacology has advanced enough that they can treat any of the conditions listed in this measure," Taylor says. "In my opinion, this is an attempt to legalize marijuana in the name of medicine and compassion, which is not truthful." Noelle says Bayer is more of a dope dupe than a Dr. Welby. He points out that no matter how deeply dedicated to helping patients Bayer may be, he's still acting as the front man for a well-organized drug lobby. "People like Dr. Bayer may be perfectly nice, but they are being used," he says. Bayer says he is nobody's poster doctor. "I'm not being used by George Soros any more than my patients use me to get better," he says. LEAD STORY SIDEBAR We Do Things Different Here Learning from the mistakes made with California's Prop. 215, Oregon's medical-marijuana supporters have toughened up the rules.In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, which decriminalized possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal medical use. The same year, Arizona passed a measure that would have allowed physicians to write prescriptions for all illegal drugs, from pot to heroin. In Arizona, the law is tied up in court. In California, chaos reigns. Proposition 215 gave no clear provisions on how the cultivation or distribution of medical marijuana would work. All the measure did was decriminalize marijuana for people who had verbal approval from their doctors. Demand for the marijuana was immediate. In California, there is an underground tradition of cannabis clubs for patients who use marijuana for medical purposes, and with the passage of 215, pot use and distribution flourished openly. But without guidelines and limits, the clubs ranged from being strictly clinical to resembling neighborhood party houses. The most well-known was the San Francisco Cannabis Healing Center, run by marijuana and gay-rights activist Dennis Peron. The club claimed more than 8,000 members, many of whom came to the downtown San Francisco club to openly smoke pot. While the City of San Francisco took a hands-off attitude toward the club, Republican State Attorney General Dan Lungren shut it down in March of 1997 after undercover agents were able to buy pot with forged doctor's notes. Several other clubs around the state were similarly raided. Some clubs are still operating. One of the most well-respected is the Oakland Cannabis Cooperative, which forbids smoking inside the building and requires written recommendations from licensed California physicians. The nonprofit club stores marijuana for its members, who come in to buy baggies of various brands of pot--from Bubbleberry to Hinukush--or snacks such as brownies or Rice Krispies treats that are made with marijuana. The club also provides starter plants and how-to classes for people who want to grow their own. Earlier this year, Lungren filed an injunction against the Oakland Cannabis Cooperative and five others for selling marijuana--still a federal crime. This week, a judge will decide whether or not to shut them down. Oregon's Measure 67 is a far more restrictive initiative than Proposition 215. It clearly states which conditions can be treated by pot: cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, severe pain and seizures, among others. With a doctor's permission, patients would register with the Oregon State Health Division. After registering, a patient would have the legal right to cultivate seven marijuana plants (three mature, four immature) and possess up to an ounce of marijuana per mature plant. Patients could also carry up to one ounce on their person and would not be detained by law enforcement if they had a medical marijuana card. If the patient is unable to cultivate his or her own supply, a "primary care giver," who must also be registered with the state, can grow the plants. The initiative upholds federal law by clearly stating that marijuana cannot be sold, even between patients. Public smoking of marijuana would also be prohibited. The proposed law does leave at least one important matter to be worked out: It's unclear how patients would get their initial supply. --PW *** [ed. note - Phil Smith denies ever running the cannabis buyers club mentioned in the preceding article. Nor was he informed on by a club client - Smith, as well as several other patients and growers, was informed on by the people who ran the club - after it closed and a new one opened that was run by other, more responsible people.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Women To Be Sent To Men's Prison In Pendleton (An 'Associated Press' Article About A Remote Prison In Eastern Oregon Notes The Department Of Corrections Has Rented Out-Of-State Beds For Women Inmates For Two Years, Where They Are Also Far Away From Families And Kids) Associated Press found at: http://www.oregonlive.com/ feedback (letters to the editor): firstname.lastname@example.org Women to be sent to men's prison in Pendleton 8/12/98 8:39 PM By CHARLES E. BEGGS Associated Press Writer SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Women and men inmates will be housed in the same medium-security Oregon prison for the first time this fall because of chronic crowding at the state women's prison, officials said Wednesday. The state Corrections Department plans to send about 160 women prisoners to the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton, said Brian Bemus, classification and transfer manager for the agency. "They'd like to see something happen by the end of the year," he said. Constructing a new women's prison is the department's top priority. But delays in settling on a Wilsonville site for a 1,300-bed prison and inmate center are prolonging problems with overcrowding at the Oregon Women's Correctional Institution in Salem. Bemus said the Pendleton institution was chosen for the women because it has a large living unit that's able to operate separately from the rest of the prison. It even has its own recreation yard. The prison is a remodeled state mental hospital that currently houses 1,600 male inmates. EOCI Superintendent Jean Hill said several female correctional officers are on the prison staff, and the intent is to make sure there is a woman officer available in the women's unit 24 hours a day. The current women's prison, adjacent to the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, is designed to hold sightly more than 100 inmates. Bemus said there were 180 in the prison Wednesday, after 39 women recently were sent to rental cell beds in New Mexico. The state has rented out-of-state beds for women inmates for two years. "Officials have been concerned with having them so far away from home, their families and kids," Bemus said. The coed living won't be the first for an Oregon prison, but the others are minimum security arrangements. There are 172 females at Columbia River Correctional Institution in Portland, basically a work release center, and 12 women at the short-term Shutter Creek boot camp facility at North Bend. Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber tried but failed to win enough support from the Republican-led Senate to call a special session this month to select the site of a new women's prison. In killing the session, Senate GOP leaders said they wanted more time to conduct hearings on alternate locations for the prison around the state before committing to one site. (c)1998 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- City Of Oakland Designates The Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative Agents Of The City (Text Of The Official Letter Signed By City Manager Robert C. Bobb, Made Official By The Signature Of Jeff Jones Of The Oakland CBC) From: "ralph sherrow" (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: 8-13-98 IT'S OFFICIAL, OAKLAND DOES IT AGAIN! Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 15:38:17 PDT CITY of OAKLAND CITY HALL . ONE CITY HALL PLAZA . OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA 94612 Office of City Manager (510) 238-3301 Robert C. Bobb Fax (510) 238-2223 City Manager TTY/TDD(510)238-3724 August 11, 1998 Mr. Jeff Jones Executive Director Oakland Cannabis Buyer's Cooperative 1755 Broadway, Suite 300 Oakland, Ca. 94612 Dear Mr. Jones: Pusuant to Chapter 8.42 of the Oakland Municipal Code, the City hereby designates the Oakland Cannabis Buyer's Club to administer the City's Medical Cannabis Distribution Program. The designation is subject to the cooperative's agreement to comply with the terms and conditions attached hereto as Exhibit A which hereby are incorporated by reference in this letter as if set forth in full herein. The designation shall be effective upon the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative's acceptance and agreement to the terms and conditions in Exhibit A. Please confirm the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative's agreement to comply with the terms and conditions in Exhibit A by signing below. Very truly yours, signed: Robert C. Bobb City Manager SO AGREED signed: Jeff Jones Date: 8/12/98 Executive Director Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Customs - Four Arrested While Unloading Marijuana At La Jolla ('The Sacramento Bee' Says The Mexican Nationals Caught Wednesday While Unloading 400 Pounds Of Marijuana From Two Boats At The Base Of The La Jolla Cliffs, Just North Of San Diego, Face Up To 20 Years Each In Prison) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: "MAPNews-posts (E-mail)" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: MN: US CA: Customs: Four Arrested While Unloading Marijuana At La Jolla Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 00:56:29 -0500 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) Source: Sacramento Bee (CA) Contact: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html; firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sacbee.com/ Pubdate: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 CUSTOMS: FOUR ARRESTED WHILE UNLOADING MARIJUANA AT LA JOLLA SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Four Mexican citizens were arrested Wednesday while unloading 400 pounds of marijuana from two boats at the base of the La Jolla cliffs, just north of San Diego, the U.S. Customs Service said. Four more suspects were at-large, U.S. Customs spokesman Vincent Bond said. Officials weren't sure if they escaped by land or water. The names of the people arrested were not released. They were expected to appear in federal court Thursday for arraignment on charges of smuggling, possession of narcotics and conspiracy. Each could face five to 20 years in prison if convicted. The suspects were arrested around 5 a.m. while unloading the marijuana -- worth an estimated $200,000 -- into an inflatable boat docked at the base of the cliffs. One of the suspects had attempted to swim away, but ran into trouble because the area is rocky, Bond said. The man was rescued by Coast Guard lifeguards, treated at a hospital for hypothermia and released to authorities. The bust followed two weeks of surveillance of the La Jolla and Bird Rock beaches by the San Diego Marine Task Force. A bale of marijuana weighing 30 pounds had been discovered along the rocky shoreline. The task force is made up of officers from Customs, the Border Patrol, the Coast Guard, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the San Diego County district attorney's office and the Chula Vista and Coronado police departments.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Incarceration Is Not Answer (A Letter To The Editor Of 'The Times Press Recorder' In Arroyo Grande, California, By A Prison Psychologist, Explains The Importance Of The Investigation Now Under Way In The State Legislature Regarding Brutality By Guards At Corcoran State Prison) Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 10:14:39 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: Incarceration is Not Answer Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Source: Times Press Recorder Contact: Letters to the Editor PO Box 460 Arroyo Grande, CA 93421 Pubdate: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 Section: opinion, page 6B INCARCERATION IS NOT ANSWER To the Editor: "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons," Fyodor Dostoevsky. As a prison psychologist, I cannot stress strongly enough how vital it is that the general public understand the implications of the investigation now under way in the state legislature regarding the Corcoran State Prison. Most people who have read the recent coverage will likely dismiss it from their thoughts very quickly, believing that it only involves the rights of a few criminals, hardly a priority for most of us. A few will even think the officers being investigated did a good thing by killing and abusing inmates, probably saved the taxpayers some money, and should be rewarded rather than punished. The truth, however, is that brutality, whether between inmates or between custody staff and inmates, is not limited to one or two correctional facilities; it occurs with regularity throughout system and it affects us in ways which we seldom consider. I am aware of a number of cases of individuals who were raped in prison, often at a young age, and subsequently committed rape-murders or other vicious sexual offenses. Unfortunately most of us have bought into the "lock 'em up and throw away the key" mentality without noticing that it not only doesn't work, it's costing us a fortune and creating large numbers of extremely dangerous individuals, most whom will eventually be released back into society, with no skills, no hope, nothing to lose, and a lot of pent up rage. These people (mostly men) are not some nebulous "Them." They're "Us," our husbands, brothers, uncles, sons and cousins, and in California, their numbers are increasing at an ominous rage. If we continue to let fear, ignorance and arrogance fuel our public policy; if we continue to single out certain groups and scapegoat them; if we continue to let our elected officials get away with offering us simple-minded solutions to complex problems because we're just too busy or too numb to think for ourselves, we may be quite literally signing our own death warrant. I sincerely hope that this investigation will extend far beyond the alleged events at Corcoran and that it will cause widespread re-evaluation of how the people of California are dealing with the problems of drugs and crime. Clearly incarceration alone is not the answer. Jay Adams, Ph.D. Paso Robles
------------------------------------------------------------------- Smoking Hot In Fullerton (A Letter To The Editor Of 'The Orange County Register' Protests The Fullerton, California, City Policy That Prohibits Employing Tobacco Consumers - Denying Jobs To Over 20 Percent Of The Eligible Work Force, City Officials Have Abused Their Positions By Promoting Their Personal Prejudices) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: "MN" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: MN: US: CA: Smoking Hot In Fullerton Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 17:09:19 -0500 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W.Black Pubdate: 8-12-98 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Author: Jim Foreman SMOKING HOT IN FULLERTON Like most of you, I am so busy with family and work that I just assume our city government is looking out for us-until they do something stupid. then I get angry! Until recently, I had no idea that the Fullerton City Council had found a way of denying jobs to over 20 percent of our eligible work force. Our city officials have abused their positions by promoting their personal prejudices. The City Council has approved the following requirements for some of the city's employees; You must certify that you have not used tobacco for at least one year or the city will not hire you. If you use tobacco of any kind on or off the job after being hired they can fire you. If I did not know better, I would think I was reading some archaic race laws that existed prior to the civil rights movement. Most of our forefathers came to America to be free from state-run persecution. They came from all over the world with a common hope that they would be treated equal and they would have the right to pursue happiness each in their own way. Protecting our rights should be the first thing the Fullerton City Council does. Instead, members are manipulating our tax money to reward those who share their personal prejudices. Jim Foreman-Fullerton
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Advocate Gets Jail Term ('The Arizona Republic' Says Peter Wilson, The Former Chairman Of AZ4NORML, The Arizona Chapter Of NORML, Was Sentenced To Four Months In Jail Instead Of The 30 Days Recommended By The Prosecutor - Plus Five Years' Probation)Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 15:11:13 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US AZ: Pot Advocate Gets Jail Term 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) Source: Arizona Republic (AZ) Contact: http://www.azcentral.com/opinions/letter.shtml Website: http://www.azcentral.com/news/ Pubdate: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 Author: Victoria Harker The Arizona Republic POT ADVOCATE GETS JAIL TERM Man cliams he did it for his kids A man who has fought for years to get marijuana legalized broke down and cried in court Tuesday before being sentenced to five years' probation for possessing and selling pot. "I did it for my kids, so they could grow up in a world without gangs and guns," a tearful Peter Wilson told Superior Court Judge Dave Cole. Wilson also said he needed to stay out of jail so he can support his two minor children and continue to make his house payments. The Sunnyslope man vowed to give up smoking pot and consuming "coffee and chocolate" on a daily basis if the judge showed mercy. Cole asked sternly if Wilson continued to smoke marijuana in violation of the conditions of his release while awaiting sentencing. "Yes," Wilson replied. That might be why Cole gave Wilson four months in jail instead of the 30 days recommended by Deputy County Attorney Teresa Sanders. But Wilson, former chairman of AZ4NORML, Arizonans for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, will be allowed to leave his jail cell to work, Cole ruled. If he violates the conditions of his probation and uses drugs, Cole said, he will have to serve an extra eight months in jail. Before being led from the courtroom in handcuffs, Wilson said his attorney will appeal the conviction. "I'm a little disappointed," he said of his sentence. "I felt my trial was completely unfair." Wilson, 40, was arrested in 1995, a day after The Arizona Republic published his letter to the editor in which he admitted to smoking marijuana almost daily for 25 years. The case sparked controversy because Wilson was licensed as a marijuana dealer under provisions of a 1983 state law, which was repealed in 1997. A justice of the peace dismissed charges against him based on the state licensing law. But a Superior Court judge overruled that ruling. Another judge, Superior Court Judge Alan Kamin, refused to let Wilson use the license as a defense in his trial, saying it was an issue of law, not fact. Kamin also threw out Wilson's arguments that he uses drugs for religious and medicinal purposes. During the trial, Wilson denied a charge that he used his son to sell the drugs, even though a magazine on cultivating cannabis was found in his son's bedroom. A jury found him guilty of nine counts including growing psychedelic mushrooms in his home. He was acquitted of the charge involving his son. During the hearing, prosecutor Sanders said she sympathized with Wilson's statements that he suffered a nervous breakdown after his arrest. But she admonished him for exposing his kids to his drug use. "It's really obvious that the defendant is really tormented," she said. "But he has put himself in this place. He has let his political quest ruin his life." Victoria Harker can be reached at 444-8058 or at email@example.com via e-mail.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Richard Bilby, Lauded As 'A Judge's Judge,' Dies At 67 (An Obituary In 'The Arizona Daily Star' Says The Federal Jurist Was A Republican, Yet He Suggested Lawmakers Legalize Marijuana On An Experimental Basis Because Of The Failed Federal Drug War) Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 12:28:39 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US AZ: Richard Bilby, Lauded As `A Judge'S Judge,' Dies At 67 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) Source: Arizona Daily Star Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/ Pubdate: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 Author: Rhonda Bodfield and Hipolito R. Corella RICHARD BILBY, LAUDED AS `A JUDGE'S JUDGE,' DIES AT 67 Judge Richard Mansfield Bilby came from a well-heeled and conservative pioneer Arizona family. But for more than two decades on the federal bench, his casual demeanor and free-flowing candor belied his pedigree. Bilby died yesterday of a heart attack after collapsing in a posh, gated Flagstaff community while walking his dog, Deana, a mutt. He was 67. ``He was a man who cared a great deal for justice, not as a system so much as a goal he thought could be attained,'' said Arizona Supreme Court Justice Stanley Feldman. ``Here was somebody who came from a wealthier, establishment upbringing and yet was always able to appreciate the problems of those who were poor and afflicted with problems.'' Bilby was a man of ironies. He was traditional. But he also was known for courtroom innovations, like taking jurors on field trips to key sites in a case. He was a Republican, yet he suggested lawmakers legalize marijuana on an experimental basis because of the failed federal drug war. He routinely ruled against conservative measures such as abortion restrictions. He handled controversial cases such as those of former savings and loan magnate Charles H Keating Jr. and former Border Patrol agent Michael Elmer, who was acquitted of killing an unarmed Mexican man. But despite the national prestige, Bilby shunned the trappings of the post, wearing street clothes instead of a robe. His death came suddenly. Friends and family members say he was thriving, healthy and happy after entering semiretirement two years ago and focusing largely on civil cases. Just last week, he kept a full schedule in court before going to his summer home in Flagstaff to spend five days with his wife and two young grandsons. The legal community mourned his loss. ``If there was such a thing as a judge's judge, it was Richard,'' said Presiding Superior Court Judge Michael Brown. Clague Van Slyke, a former partner of Bilby's, said the judge loved to tell the story of his father, Ralph W. Bilby, riding his horse from the Safford area to go to the University of Arizona School of Law. Ralph Bilby was one of the first four graduates of the law school and the first to pass the State Bar. The judge's mother, Marguerite Mansfield Bilby, was a teacher. Bilby, a native Tucsonan, graduated from Tucson High School and the UA. After a stint in the Army, he earned a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1959. The same year he joined his father's firm, later known as Bilby, Thompson, Shoenhair and Warnock. ``He came from a very bright family, with intellectually principled siblings and parents,'' said former U.S. Rep. Jim McNulty. ``A lot of people thought he would be as conservative as his father . . . but the thought that he was going to be an automatic conservative was quickly shattered after he was appointed to the bench. He showed total independence in his judicial considerations.'' Feldman said Bilby taught him to look beyond outward appearances. ``He was a person who had grown up in an era with a great deal of discrimination and at times outright bigotry, and grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. But he was one of the most unbiased people I've ever met, and he hated closed minds,'' Feldman said. Bilby backed up those principles in the late 1960s when he gave up his membership at a local country club that then refused to allow Jewish members. But Bilby felt the bite of more subtle discrimination once. A Democratic Senate in 1976 refused to appoint him to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because he served as chairman of the Pima County Republican party from 1972 to 1974. Nevertheless, three years later he was appointed to the U.S. District Court bench by President Jimmy Carter on the recommendation of Democratic Sen. Dennis DeConcini. Bilby was lauded for his fairness by both defense attorneys and prosecutors. ``He was compassionate when necessary and harsh when appropriate,'' said Michael Piccarreta, defense attorney for Elmer, the former Border Patrol agent. ``He was a good, decent, fair judge.'' Attorney Richard Grand said he crammed for the bar exam with Bilby for 16 hours a day for nearly eight weeks. Despite that, he never received any preferential treatment when he argued cases before Bilby, he said. ``Even though we were friends, he managed to rule against me 90 percent of the time,'' Grand said. In fact, he said, Bilby once chastised him for taking his coat off in the midst of a jury trial. ``He was very tradition-bound, and he ran his courtroom with an iron fist,'' Grand said. He didn't tolerate dawdling. Last year, he got his fill of unclear testimony during a trial on the state's ``partial-birth abortion'' ban, which he later declared unconstitutional. Fed up, he jumped down from the bench and told Assistant Attorney General Tom McGovern to ``wait a second'' in his questioning. Bilby took pen in hand, approached a large tablet and drew three birth canals, each with a fetus in a different position, then questioned the physician witness about the three pictures. His candor could sting, but humor tempered it, said McGovern, a Republican candidate for state attorney general. ``In that trial, he said my position reminded him of the arguments that were used to burn people at the stake centuries ago,'' he said. Another tribute to his sense of humor is hanging on a wall in his office lobby, framed. It's a letter he wrote to his court staff from Europe on toilet paper, saying it was like sandpaper. The letter went on to laud European beer. Attorneys said Bilby, an avid golfer, would pull fighting lawyers into his office and have them putt golf balls into a putting cup to relieve their tension. Or he would play calming music to them after particularly testy battles. Bilby is credited with revolutionizing the way juries are treated in the federal court system. Before anyone else was doing it, he let jurors ask questions, take notes and discuss the case with one another. He distributed note pages to jurors with witness pictures in the corners so they could remember who said what more clearly. ``Judge Bilby was innovative. He did not wear a robe because he wanted to seem more accessible to the jury,'' recalled Terry Chandler, assistant U.S. attorney for the Tucson office. Chandler said she used to tease Bilby by saying that when he interviewed potential jurors, he was more like a talk show host, descending from the bench with portable microphone in hand and quizzing jurors on their favorite legal television shows. ``Some feel it is their calling to give back to society, and maybe it was because he was born into a wealthier family that he felt that strong calling,'' said Darla Acker, Bilby's judicial assistant of 30 years. Acker said Bilby always talked to the janitors and reminded court security guards to stay on their diets. He remained in touch with his law clerks over the years, holding reunions to celebrate anniversaries. ``He was a take-charge kind of guy, very earthy, without pretense. He thought the position commanded enough respect so he didn't need all the trappings.'' Bilby took charge in his personal life too, organizing outings for his friends about once a year. Marvin Cohen, his former partner, remembers Bilby serving as trail boss on a five-day horseback ride into the Superstition Mountains. Clad in cowboy boots and Western wear, he even shot a rattlesnake in the path to protect his crew. ``He sort of epitomized all the wonderful old-fashioned great character traits we all hope America stands for,'' Cohen said. Elizabeth Bilby, his wife, said the judge had a strong guiding principle: ``He said being a judge was a job you take very seriously, but you never take yourself too seriously. ``I still can't believe he's gone. When I think of him, I think of patriotism, because he stood up for what he believed and he stood for upholding the Constitution.'' In addition to his wife, Bilby is survived by his two daughters, Claire Bilby of Long Beach, Calif., and Ellen Moore of Oak Park, Calif.; and two grandsons, Joseph Moore and Andrew Moore. The family suggests memorial donations to the Ralph W. Bilby endowed chair at the University of Arizona Law School or to a charity of one's choice. Arizona Daily Star reporter Tim Steller contributed to this story. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church, 4440 N. Campbell Ave. (at East River Road).
------------------------------------------------------------------- Court Ruling Forces Rethinking Of Testimony Deals ('The Associated Press' Discusses The Recent Ruling By A Three-Judge Panel From The Denver-Based 10th US Circuit Court Of Appeals That Prosecutors Dangling A 'Get Out Of Jail Early' Card Before Defendants In Order To Get Them To Testify Against Others Is The Equivalent Of Offering Someone Cold Cash - And A Federal Bribery Law Makes It A Crime For Anyone To Offer 'Anything Of Value' In Return For Testimony)Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 12:26:58 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Wire: Court Ruling Forces Rethinking of Testimony Deals Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) Source: Associated Press Pubdate: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 COURT RULING FORCES RETHINKING OF TESTIMONY DEALS WASHINGTON (AP) -- For years, federal prosecutors used a simple strategy to crack criminal rings: Find the guy who will talk, offer a deal and get him to testify against the others. But now the practice, which some defense lawyers equate with bribery, is in limbo while a federal court decides whether such deals will remain legal. ``When prosecutors dangle a 'Get Out of Jail Early' card, it is the equivalent of handing someone cold cash,'' said Debra Soltis, a Washington defense lawyer who represents accused drug dealers and the like in federal court. ``I think it's just using common sense to say that it's a bribe and that it is outrageous.'' The initial ruling, issued by a three-judge panel from the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ``was a bucket of ice water for prosecutors,'' said John Shepard Wiley Jr., a University of California, Los Angeles law professor who routinely fashioned such bargains as a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles. The decision was written by two Republican appointees -- U.S. District Judges Paul J. Kelly Jr., appointed by President Bush, and David M. Ebel, appointed by President Reagan, and the chief judge of the 10th Circuit, Stephanie Seymour, appointed by Democrat Jimmy Carter. But soon after it was issued, the full appeals court decided to review the decision sometime this fall, meaning the panel's ruling is not yet in force. The Justice Department is expected to appeal the ruling later this week. While many legal experts predict the panel's ruling will be reversed, the debate it provoked rages on. ``If it stands, and I can't believe that it will, the whole judicial system would come to a screeching halt,'' said one prosecutor who asked not to be identified. Prosecutors strike hundreds -- if not thousands -- of such deals every year. Typically, a bit player agrees to testify against his or her fellow criminals in return for lenient treatment in court. The three-judge panel's stern opinion took issue with both the moral and legal underpinning of plea deals, and essentially made criminals of the prosecutors who offer them. Broadly read, a federal bribery law makes it a crime for anyone to offer ``anything of value'' in return for testimony. Prosecutors say the law was not intended to cover them. The three judges cited the Bible and the Magna Carta to rebut prosecutors' arguments. ``One of the very oldest principles of our legal heritage is that the king is subject to the law,'' they wrote. The July 1 decision, if it had been allowed to take effect, would have been binding law in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. For now, prosecutors are going forward as if the ruling did not exist, but defense lawyers in several states have cited it to argue that their clients were fingered illegally. ``If it's a federal crime to offer something for testimony in Colorado, then it's going to be a federal crime in Maryland or Virginia or California,'' said Larry Pozner, president-elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The lawyer for Timothy McVeigh, convicted in the Oklahoma City bombing, argued that the ruling could help his client win a new trial, since a friend testified against McVeigh in return for leniency. He made the argument as he sought a delay in the appeal of McVeigh's conviction; that delay request was rejected. The appeals court's decision concerned a case involving a drug ring operating between Kansas and California. One member of the ring agreed to testify in return for the promise he would not be prosecuted for some crimes and the hope a judge would look kindly on his cooperation when sentencing him. The three-judge panel's rationale, if adopted nationwide, could affect any eventual prosecution in the Monica Lewinsky investigation. President Clinton or others could argue the former White House intern got an illegal quid pro quo, since Ms. Lewinsky won immunity from prosecution for herself and her mother before she agreed to go before a grand jury.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hemp Activist Appeals Charge Of Contempt While On A Jury ('The Washington Times' Describes Laura Kriho's Appearance Tuesday Before The Colorado Court Of Appeals) Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 15:21:00 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CO: Hemp Activist Appeals Charge Of Contempt While On A Jury Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Paul Wolf (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: Washington Times Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.washtimes.com/ Pubdate: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 Author: Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times HEMP ACTIVIST APPEALS CHARGE OF CONTEMPT WHILE ON A JURY DENVER -- The first juror convicted of contempt of court in over 300 years took her case to the Colorado Court of Appeals yesterday in a campaign to win legitimacy for the jury-nullification movement. The three-judge panel heard arguments in the case of Laura Kriho, the hemp activist who was found guilty of criminal contempt in February 1997 after a judge ruled that she deliberately misled the court to gain a slot on the jury. The court could take several months to rule on the case, which has become a rallying point for supporters of jury nullification. They argue that jurors should be permitted to weigh the legitimacy of the law before deciding the guilt or innocence of the accused. "Jurors cannot be told what they must do in the deliberative process," said Mrs. Kriho's attorney, Paul Grant. "You can't have trial by jury where you throw out jurors who are independent thinkers." Mr. Grant called her conviction a "frightening occurrence" that could leave jurors vulnerable to prosecution for acting on their beliefs. In Mrs. Kriho's case, she was summoned for jury duty in May 1996 in the trial of a 19-year-old accused of methamphetamine possession. Mrs. Kriho, 34, was among the last jurors questioned, and prosecutors asked whether there was any reason she would be unable to render an impartial verdict. She brought up a legal dispute with her contractor, but failed to mention her work for the legalization of industrial hemp and an LSD arrest 12 years earlier. During deliberations, she argued in favor of jury nullification, saying the drug laws were unjust. Another juror sent a note to the judge, who declared a mistrial. Two months later, Mrs. Kriho was charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and contempt. Assistant Attorney General Roger Billotte said Mrs. Kriho had obstructed justice by refusing to elaborate on her background as a hemp activist, hoping to win a slot on the jury to push her political agenda. "It's very clear that she's not revealing her opinions, her attitudes, her very strong feelings on jury nullification and drug laws," Mr. Billotte said. Mr. Grant said the court should have questioned Mrs. Kriho in greater detail about her background instead of relying on her to decide what aspects were relevant. "Mrs. Kriho forthrightly volunteered some information not required by the court, which was her most recent experience with the court. No one asked her anything else," said Mr. Grant. "If the court wanted more information, the court had to ask for it specifically. " He said upholding her conviction could undermine the legal process by encouraging prosecutors to pick "rubber-stamp" juries guaranteed of delivering convictions. "What I disagree with is that we are requiring [courts] to remove all jurors who are suspicious of government power," said Mr. Grant. Colorado Solicitor General Richard Westfall dismissed Mrs. Kriho's case as a "rare situation" that would have no effect on jury selection. "This has only come up once in a very long time," he said. A fair and impartial jury is the cornerstone of the judicial system, he said. "If you have strong biases going into this process, you are not going to be fair and impartial," he said. Mrs. Kriho was fined $1,200, which she has paid with donations from friends and supporters in the jury-nullification movement. Experts believe the last time jurors were charged with a crime for failing to issue a guilty verdict was in 1670, when a jury was imprisoned and fined for refusing to convict William Penn of unlawful preaching. Her case already has had an impact on Colorado courts, according to her attorney. "I know what's happening in Colorado today: Jurors are being asked, 'Have you heard of jury nullification? Do you believe in jury nullification?'" Mr. Grant said. "That is totally improper, and that is where this case goes," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Agrees To Pay Family In Teen's Border Killing ('The Dallas Morning News' Says The Federal Government Has Agreed To Pay More Than $1 Million To Settle The Claims Of The Redford, Texas, Family Of 18-Year-Old Esequiel Hernandez Jr., Who Was Killed Last Year By A Camouflaged US Marine Who Was On A Patrol Enforcing Civilian Prohibition Laws) Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 15:08:01 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: U.S. Agrees To Pay Family In Teen's Border Killing 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: 12 Aug 1998 Authors: David LaGesse and Nancy San Martin (DMN) U.S. AGREES TO PAY FAMILY IN TEEN'S BORDER KILLING SETTLEMENT TOPS $1 MILLION IN SHOOTING BY MARINE Federal officials agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle the claims of a Redford, Texas, family whose son was killed last year by a U.S. Marine on a counter-drug patrol, the family's attorney said Tuesday. A second state grand jury, meanwhile, finished deliberations this week without returning criminal indictments in the death, said Jack Zimmerman, an attorney for the Marine. It was the latest of several criminal inquiries that have resulted in no charges against the Marine. In the settlement announced Tuesday, the government admitted no wrongdoing in the May 1997 death of Esequiel Hernandez Jr., an 18-year-old high school student shot while he herded his family's goats near the Mexican border. "The government, like the family, was very interested in resolving this matter," said Bill Weinacht, a Pecos attorney who represented the family. Government officials settled the case under a law that allows the military to resolve a claim without admitting liability, said Justice Department spokeswoman Chris Watney. Pentagon officials declined to comment. The incident occurred as four Marines were on patrol near Redford last May at the request of the Border Patrol. Team leader Cpl. Clemente Banuelos shot Mr. Hernandez after the teen fired at the camouflaged soldiers and was preparing to shoot again, the Marines said. The shooting galvanized opposition to the use of troops along the border, and the Pentagon suspended its armed patrols. Several dozen soldiers at any one time were helping the Border Patrol with surveillance missions in remote areas. Top Clinton administration officials have said they oppose returning armed troops to the border. But the House has approved a measure that would allow the administration to post up to 10,000 troops in support of counter-drug efforts. Some residents said they hoped Mr. Hernandez's death would keep the military off nearby ranches. "Hopefully, very many people from very high places learned something from this," said Enrique Madrid, longtime resident and member of the Redford Citizens Committee for Justice. A state grand jury last year declined to bring charges against Cpl. Banuelos in the shooting, as did a federal civil rights inquiry. A recent report by the Marines faulted aspects of the mission but cleared the patrol members. A congressional panel headed by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, continues to investigate the shooting. Mr. Zimmerman, the attorney for Cpl. Banuelos, said the government's settlement did not amount to an admission of wrongdoing but was instead a "humanitarian" payment. In recent weeks, Presidio County prosecutors presented added evidence, obtained by federal investigators in the civil rights inquiry, to a second state grand jury, he said. "The grand jurors again found Cpl. Banuelos' actions were justified," he said. In settling the civil claim late last month, the government agreed to buy a $1 million annuity that will pay the family an undisclosed sum annually for at least 20 years, Mr. Weinacht said. The government also is making an undisclosed payment to the family upfront. He estimated the total payments, including those from the annuity over time, at $1.9 million to the Hernandezes. Mr. Weinacht said he wouldn't disclose further details, including the government-approved fees that he will receive. Federal law limits attorney fees to no more than 20 percent of a settlement, he said. The family's civil claim against the Marines faced an uncertain fate if it had gone to court, Mr. Weinacht said. Congress had crafted the law that allowed troops at the border to discourage such lawsuits. "There was no precedent for us to follow in this case," he said. Some government critics said they wanted the case to go to trial to force a public airing of the incident. The state grand jury heard testimony in secret, as did a federal grand jury in the civil rights case. "The family has gotten some money, but they haven't gotten justice in the killing of their son," said the Rev. Melvin LaFollette, a retired Episcopal priest who lives in Redford. In their civil complaint, the Hernandez family charged that the Marines did not act in self-defense as described by the four-man unit. Cpl. Banuelos was in charge of the Marine unit while it was on a covert mission to spot drug smugglers May 20. The Marines patrolled along the Rio Grande near Redford, which is about 180 miles southeast of El Paso. The family had said that Mr. Hernandez did not even know the Marines were present and that he was shooting at coyotes. Although the government refused to admit liability, some area residents said they viewed the settlement as an admission of wrongdoing. "The real feeling here was that they would be shrugged off . . . that nobody was going to do anything [about Mr. Hernandez's death]," said Ted Purcell, principal at Presidio High School, where Mr. Hernandez was a sophomore at the time of his death. "The settlement is an admission by the government that they made a mistake. Now, we'll be able to go on with our lives." While the settlement was not extraordinarily high for this kind of case, the government is indeed acknowledging its wrongdoing, said Mario J. Martinez, a longtime civil attorney in El Paso and former assistant U.S. attorney. "Attorneys know good and well that the government is accepting responsibility for the act of its soldier, even with a disclaimer in the paperwork," Mr. Martinez said. "They're saving face."
------------------------------------------------------------------- US To Pay $1.9 Million In Slaying At Border (The Scripps Howard News Service Version In 'The Orange County Register') Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: 12 Aug 1998 Author: Carla Bass-Scripps Howard News Service U.S. TO PAY $1.9 MILLION IN SLAYING AT BORDER Social Issues: The military admits no fault in the shooting of an American teen in Texas by a Marine last year. The U.S. government has agreed to pay $1.9 million to the family of an American teenager killed by a Marine along the Texas-Mexico border last year. Bill Weinecht, attorney for the family of 18 year-old Esequiel Hernandez Jr., announced the settlement with the Justice Department and the Navy on Tuesday. The settlement is in the form of a $1 million annuity that,when paid out over the course of several years, will total approximately $1.9 million, Weinacht said. Justice Department spokesman Chris Watney said the settlement did not indicate an admission of fault on the part of the military. Some community activists say otherwise. "it's a very large sum for a government to pay that has nothing to hide," said the Rev. Melvin LaFollette of the Redford Citizens Committee for Justice. "You settle out of court to prevent things from going to court and getting into the public domain." Also Tuesday, A Texas grand jury declined for a second time to indict the Marine who fired the fatal shot. Cpl. Clemente Banuelos was on a four man anti-drug patrol when he shot Hernandez as the teen was herding goats May 20, 1997, near Redford, Texas. Banuelos said he fired because Hernandez had shot twice with a rifle in the direction of the camouflaged patrol and appeared to be preparing to shoot again. Hernandez's family said the youth carried the rifle to protect the herd from coyotes and was probably unaware of the Marines' presence. Military patrols along the Rio Grande were suspended after the shooting. Presidio County District Attorney Albert Valadez, who also sought an indictment for murder from the state court last year, said he probably will not try again to get an indictment against Banuelos. "We have presented all the evidence we have at our disposal, "he said. "Unless new and significant evidence comes up, I doubt we'll be presenting it to another grand jury." The Justice Department announced in February that Banuelos would not face federal civil rights charges. "We send our heartfelt condolences to the Hernandez family, "Marine spokesman Lt. Col. Scott Cambell said. "This incident was investigated by four different agencies. Though this was an extremely tragic incident, their findings were that the shooting was not the result of a criminal act."
------------------------------------------------------------------- US To Pay $1.9 Million In Antidrug Patrol Shooting ('The Associated Press' Version In 'The Los Angeles Times') Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 15:42:08 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: U.S. to Pay $1.9 Million in Antidrug Patrol Shooting Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Galasyn Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Pubdate: 12 Aug 1998 Author: Associated Press U.S. TO PAY $1.9 MILLION IN ANTIDRUG PATROL SHOOTING Settlement: Deal ends suit over goatherd killed by Marine squad near the Mexican border. The government admits no wrongdoing. EL PASO--The government will pay $1.9 million to the family of a teenage goatherd who was killed by a Marine patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border for drug traffickers, a family lawyer said Tuesday. The government admitted no wrongdoing in the May 20, 1997, death of Esequiel Hernandez Jr., though the controversy led to the suspension of military patrols along the border. The family's attorney, Bill Weinacht, said the settlement signed by the Hernandezes on July 25 brings an end to all legal action by the family. The victim's brother, Margarito Hernandez, said the money doesn't ease the loss. "It's pretty hard. Nothing is going to bring him back. But at least it will help my parents. It will help them, financially, at least," he said. Hernandez, 18, was killed in Redford, 200 miles southeast of El Paso, after crossing paths with a four-man Marine patrol conducting antidrug surveillance on the Rio Grande at the request of the Border Patrol. Military officials said Hernandez, who was herding his goats, fired twice at the Marines with his .22-caliber rifle and had raised the gun a third time when the patrol leader shot him once with an M-16. Hernandez's family and civil rights activists have long disputed the military's account. Family members said the teen, who had no criminal history, would never knowingly have shot at anyone. They said he carried the rifle only to protect his livestock from wild dogs and occasionally to shoot targets. Investigators have consistently backed the military. Federal and state grand juries declined to indict any of the Marines. The Rev. Melvin LaFollette, a Redford activist, said the settlement is "one more piece of evidence that there was total wrongdoing in this case by various arms of the government." "Innocent parties don't pass out millions gratuitously." A Justice Department spokeswoman, Chris Watney, would not comment because of federal privacy law.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Springfield Needle Exchange Foes Move To Force November Referendum ('The Standard-Times' In New Bedford, Massachusetts, Says Opponents Of Springfield's Recently Approved Needle Exchange Program Have Submitted More Than 10,000 Signatures To Force A Vote On The Issue) Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 23:54:06 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US MA: Springfield Needle Exchange Foes Move To Force November Referendum Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Source: Standard-Times (MA) Contact: YourView@S-T.com Website: http://www.s-t.com/ Pubdate: Wednesday, 12 August, 1998 Author: Associated Press SPRINGFIELD NEEDLE EXCHANGE FOES MOVE TO FORCE NOVEMBER REFERENDUM SPRINGFIELD -- Opponents of the city's recently approved needle exchange program have submitted more than 10,000 signatures to force a November referendum on the issue. City councilors approved the program in a 5-4 vote last month after rejecting it for the past two years. City health officials said it could help prevent the spread of AIDS among drug addicts. City Election Commission Chairman James Sullivan said the group needed 9,300 signatures to get the question on the ballot, and it will take his workers most of the week to check the signatures. Robert Powell, a spokesman for the citizens group, said feelings were running so high that it had little difficulty collecting the signatures, even though it had only had 20 days to meet Monday's filing deadline. So far, programs to hand out clean syringes to drug users have been established in Boston, Cambridge, Northampton and Provincetown. The state provides about $200,000 for the programs.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Electric Kool-Aid Viagra ('New York Times' Columnist Frank Rich Says A Drug Culture Is A Drug Culture Is A Drug Culture, Whether The Illicitly Obtained Gateway High Of Choice Is Marijuana Or Any Legal, Heavily Promoted Medicine That's Perceived As Lifestyle Enhancing) Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 01:48:11 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US NYT: Column: Electric Kool-Aid Viagra Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: August 12, 1998 Author: Frank Rich ELECTRIC KOOL-AID VIAGRA In my 1960's youth, America couldn't stop talking about -- or taking -- a drug that promised sexual ecstasy and a sensory trip. If memory serves, it was called marijuana and, though widely available, was illegal. Three decades later, the new national drug of choice also promises sexual ecstasy and, as a potential side effect, what the Food and Drug Administration describes as mild temporary perceptual "changes in blue/ green colors." It is called Viagra, and not only is it a legal prescription medication, but anyone with a credit card can score some over the Internet without even seeing or speaking to a doctor. I know because I did. Viagra is the emblem of our fin-de-millennium drug culture. On the market only since April, it has spawned a cottage industry in humor, not unlike all the stoned comedy of the 60's, and is minting money for Pfizer, its manufacturer. Pfizer "has refined the art of publicizing a 'blockbuster drug' . . . not unlike the way Hollywood releases a summertime action flick," writes the journalist Greg Critser in his Salon magazine report on the sprawling Viagra industry. "It's kind of off the charts," said a Pfizer spokeswoman last week, sounding very Hollywood as she talked about Viagra's box-office. The same spokeswoman assured me that "we don't have a sense that there is any kind of widespread abuse of this product." She also said that "You can't go into a pharmacy and talk your way into a Viagra tablet without a prescription." Nonetheless, it's not hard to find anecdotal evidence that Viagra is being used, however improperly, as a recreational aphrodisiac by both men without erectile dysfunction and by women (for whose use it has not been cleared by the F.D.A.). An Internet site titled "How and Where to Obtain Viagra" advises, "If you can't get it from your doctor, try your local junior high school!! The girls in the junior high school near to where I live have it and are selling it to each other." If you go into the widely used Web search engine Infoseek -- in which Disney owns a big stake -- and merely type in the word "Viagra," an ad immediately starts flashing "Free Viagra" and leads to an on-line purveyor. At another site promoting the Viagra-hyping book "The Virility Solution" by Steven Lamm, an assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine, a link speeds you to a cyberstore called The Pill Box Pharmacy. There you click agreement to a waiver of liability, fill out a simple questionnaire any way you wish, pick your own dosage and -- party on! Though Pill Box wouldn't fill my order when I clicked "no" to erectile dysfunction, it did accept a deliberately vague boilerplate description of some "problem." The pills soon arrived by UPS from San Antonio, Tex. I was charged an additional $85 for a "consultation" with a doctor whose name I learned only from the pill bottle. He not only didn't talk to me, but he didn't consult with my primary-care physician to verify my purported medical history or see if I was telling the truth when I said I was not taking medications known to interact dangerously with Viagra. I asked Michael Risher, of the Lindesmith Center, the drug-policy research group, why our national drug warriors look the other way at such flagrant Viagra madness while railing against, say, the medical use of marijuana. He said that "perception" rules: Viagra, after all, has the fatherly imprimatur of the irreproachable Bob Dole. (We all know which national figure is the poster boy for marijuana.) Yet even as drug use among the young is being fought by a Clinton-and-Gingrich-endorsed ad blitz costing taxpayers nearly $1 billion, what kind of mixed messages are adults sending kids? The same ad industry that is making the anti-drug spots speaks out of the other side of its mouth by pushing grown-up-sanctioned drugs like alcohol and nicotine, not to mention an exponentially increasing number of prescription pharmaceuticals. A drug culture is a drug culture is a drug culture, whether the illicitly obtained gateway high of choice for a teen-ager is marijuana or any legal, heavily promoted medicine that's perceived as life style enhancing, no matter what its side effects or long-term consequences. Viagra brings benefits to many legitimate patients, not to mention stand-up comics, but who's the real butt of the jokes? Call it an acid flashback to the 60's, but I'm taking my phone off the hook to avoid all the friends coming after my stash.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Anti-Drug Campaign Does Not Address The Root Causes Of Teen-Age Abuse (An op-ed in 'The Orange County Register' from a college sophomore and former intern at the Cato Institute says the government's new $2 billion advertising campaign for the war on some drugs won't stop any significant number of children from using illegal drugs. The root of the problem is moral and spiritual.) Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 20:43:58 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Anti-Drug Campaign Does Not Address The Root Causes Of Teen-Age Abuse Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 17:12:33 -0700 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: 12 August 1998 Author: Ryan A.Sager (Mr Sager, a college sophomore, is a former intern at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.) ANTI-DRUG CAMPAIGN DOES NOT ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSES OF TEEN-AGE ABUSE On July 9, President Clinton launched the latest offensive in this country's War on Drugs. Presenting a bipartisan front, the president stood alongside Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich to unveil a new five-year, $2 billion anti-drug ad campaign. The campaign will focus primarily on television advertising; it's intended to educate children about the dangers of drugs and to discourage their use. However, as you watch this ad campaign - which is larger than the current ad campaigns for Sprint, American Express and Nike - you should ask yourself one vital question: Will these advertisements stop any significant number of children from using drugs? As a teen-ager and a sophomore in college, I can tell you that the answer to that question is a resounding no. The government has been trying to solve the drug problem for years abut has had little to show for its efforts. Even at the height of the War on Drugs in 1992, a full 22 percent of high school seniors reported having used marijuana; nearly 10 percent had used hallucinogens; and cocaine use (including "crack" cocaine) was in the double digits. Now politicians desperate to be seen as "doing something" about the drug problem have come up with the idea that if only we can saturate the airwaves with enough anti-drug propaganda, we will finally start to see teen drug use begin to fall. However, I can tell you first-hand that such drug "education" initiatives have become a joke among teen-agers. Everything from D.A.R.E. to drug education classes to anti-drug advertisements is a target of ridicule for youth who see those efforts as nothing more than heavy-handed admonitions from hypocritical baby boomers. Everyone I know has been through a drug education program of some sort and has seen anti-drug advertising, yet I do not know a single person who has stayed away from drugs because of those influences. So, why are those programs so utterly incapable of producing results? Because the cannot strike at the root of the problem, which is moral and spiritual. Some teens turn to drugs out of boredom, some out of insecurity - but most turn to drugs as an escape from lives that seem empty. As Patrick Fagan, senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation and a former family therapist and clinical psychologist, says, "Behind teen-age drug use is the unhappy, empty heart that quite a few of our young adolescents have. If they're not happy, and the empty heart needs filling, they turn to other things." Too often, those other things are drugs, since they give at least the feeling of security and happiness while blocking reality. Teen-agers turn to drugs because they have not been provided with the inner resources to face life with confidence and hope. They have not been given a strong moral or spiritual and afraid. I myself have watched a close friend with a fairly normal life go through a particularly hard semester in school and quickly turn to drugs after having been relatively happy and straight. On the other hand, I'd have plenty of excuses for turning to drugs, should I choose to make them. My parents are divorced, and my 10-year-old brother Zachary died when I was 14. Still, I have never found it necessary to use an illicit drug. The difference between us is that I was lucky enough to have received a strong spiritual upbringing from my mother. The knowledge that my life has meaning, regardless of how the world may look at any given moment, has given me the strength not to need drugs. Lack of such an understanding on my friend's part, I believe, allowed her to make a wrong turn. The problem of teen-age drug use in America is not a problem of education - teen-agers know the risks. No amount of advertising is likely to stop a young person inclined to do so from turning to drugs. The government has already proven itself unable to make a difference. What can make a difference is parenting. Says Fagan, "If parents have not taught their children how to find happiness ... then those children are at risk for mistaking pleasure and excitement as a route to happiness." Only if parents take the time to instill in their children moral values and spiritual teachings will they realize the power within themselves to meet all of life's challenges. I am glad my mother did that, instead of counting on the government to do her job.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Listening In ('The Village Voice' Describes ECHELON, The Wiretapping And Eavesdropping Technology Spawned By The National Security Agency, Or NSA, Also Used By The DEA And FBI For Surveillance Of Drug Dealers) Date: Sun, 16 Aug 1998 00:29:40 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Listening In Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Paul Wolf (email@example.com) Source: Village Voice (New York) Website: http://www.villagevoice.com/ Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: 12 Aug 1998 Author: Jason Vest [Our Newshawk notes: This is related to the war on drugs because echelon is the primary system used by the DEA & FBI for surveillance of drug dealers.] LISTENING IN The U.S.-led echelon spy network is eavesdropping on the whole world Talk back! email@example.com Suppose, this past weekend, you sent an e-mail to a friend overseas. There's a reasonable possibility your communication was intercepted by a global surveillance system--especially if you happened to discuss last week's bombings in East Africa. Or suppose you're stuck in traffic and in your road rage you whip out a cell phone and angrily call your congressman's office in Washington. There's a chance the government is listening in on that conversation, too (but only for the purposes of "training" new eavesdroppers). Or suppose you're on a foreign trip--vacation, business, relief work--and you send off a fax to some folks that Washington doesn't view too keenly. Your message could be taken down and analyzed by the very same system. That system is called ECHELON and it is controlled by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). In America, it is the Intelligence Network That Dare Not Be Acknowledged. Questions about it at Defense Department briefings are deftly deflected. Requests for information about it under the Freedom of Information Act linger in bureaucratic limbo. Researchers who mention possible uses of it in the presence of intelligence officials are castigated. Members of Congress--theoretically, the people's representatives who provide oversight of the intelligence community--betray no interest in helping anyone find out anything about it. Media outlets (save the award-winning but low-circulation Covert Action Quarterly) ignore it. In the official view of the U.S. Government, it doesn't exist. But according to current and former intelligence officials, espionage scholars, Australian and British investigative reporters, and a dogged New Zealand researcher, it is all too real. Indeed, a soon-to-be finalized European Parliament report on ECHELON has created quite a stir on the other side of the Atlantic. The report's revelations are so serious that it strongly recommends an intensive investigation of NSA operations. The facts drawn out by these sources reveal ECHELON as a powerful electronic net--a net that snags from the millions of phone, fax, and modem signals traversing the globe at any moment selected communications of interest to a five-nation intelligence alliance. Once intercepted (based on the use of key words in exchanges), those communiques are sent in real time to a central computer system run by the NSA; round-the-clock shifts of American, British, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand analysts pour over them in search of . . . what? Originally a Cold War tool aimed at the Soviets, ECHELON has been redirected at civilian targets worldwide. In fact, as the European Parliament report noted, political advocacy groups like Amnesty International and Greenpeace were amongst ECHELON's targets. The system's awesome potential (and potential for abuse) has spurred some traditional watchdogs to delve deep in search of its secrets, and even prompted some of its minders within the intelligence community to come forward. "In some ways," says Reg Whittaker, a professor and intelligence scholar at Canada's York University, "it's probably the most useful means of getting at the Cold War intelligence-sharing relationship that still continues." While the Central Intelligence Agency--responsible for covert operations and human-gathered intelligence, or HUMINT--is the spy agency most people think of, the NSA is, in many respects, the more powerful and important of the U.S. intelligence organizations. Though its most egregious excesses of 20 years ago are believed to have been curbed, in addition to monitoring all foreign communications, it still has the legal authority to intercept any communication that begins or ends in the U.S., as well as use American citizens' private communications as fodder for trainee spies. Charged with the gathering of signals intelligence, or SIGINT--which encompasses all electronic communications transmissions--the NSA is larger, better funded, and infinitely more secretive than the CIA. Indeed, the key document that articulates its international role has never seen the light of day. That document, known as the UKUSA Agreement, forged an alliance in 1948 among five countries--the U.S., Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand--to geographically divvy up SIGINT-gathering responsibilities, with the U.S. as director and main underwriter. Like the NSA--hardly known until the Pike and Church congressional investigations of the '70s--the other four countries' SIGINT agencies remain largely unknown and practically free of public oversight. While other member nations conduct their own operations, there has "never been any misunderstanding that we're NSA subsidiaries," according to Mike Frost, an ex-officer in Canada's SIGINT service, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE). Moreover, all the signatory countries have NSA listening posts within their borders that operate with little or no input from the local agency. Like nature, however, journalism abhors a vacuum, and the dearth of easily accessible data has inspired a cadre of researchers around the world to monitor the SIGINT community as zealously as possible. It is not, says David Banisar of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), an easy task. Getting raw data is difficult enough. Figuring out what it means even more so, he says, thanks in part to the otherwise conservative NSA's very liberal use of code names--many of which regularly change--for everything from devices to operations. One that appears to have remained constant, however, is ECHELON. In 1988, Margaret Newsham, a contract employee from Lockheed posted at Menwith Hill, the NSA's enormous listening post in Yorkshire, England, filed a whistleblower suit against Lockheed, charging the company with waste and mismanagement (the case is currently being appealed after an initial dismissal). At the same time, Newsham told Congressional investigators that she had knowledge of illegal eavesdropping on American citizens by NSA personnel. While a committee began investigating, it never released a report. Nonetheless, British investigative reporter Duncan Campbell managed to get hold of some of the committee's findings, including a slew of Menwith Hill operations. Among them was a project described as the latest installment of a system code named ECHELON that would enable the five SIGINT agencies "to monitor and analyze civilian communications into the 21st century." To SIGINT watchers, the concept wasn't unfamiliar. In the early '80s, while working on his celebrated study of the NSA, The Puzzle Palace, James Bamford discovered that the agency was developing a system called PLATFORM, which would integrate at least 52 separate SIGINT agency computer systems into one central network run out of Fort Meade, Maryland. Then in 1991, an anonymous British SIGINT officer told the TV media about an ongoing operation that intercepted civilian telexes and ran them through computers loaded with a program called "the Dictionary"--a description that jibed with both Bamford and Campbell's gleanings. In 1996, however, intelligence watchdogs and scholars got an avalanche of answers about ECHELON, upon the publication of Secret Power: New Zealand's Role in the International Spy Network,written by Nicky Hager. A New Zealand activist turned investigative author, Hager spent 12 years digging into the ties between his country's SIGINT agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), and the NSA. Utilizing leaked material and scores of interviews with GCSB officers, Hager not only presented a revealing look at the previously unknown machinations of the GCSB (even New Zealand's Prime Minister was kept in the dark about its full scope) but also produced a highly detailed description of ECHELON. According to Hager's information--which leading SIGINT scholar and National Security Archive analyst Jeffrey Richelson calls "excellent"--ECHELON functions as a real-time intercept and processing operation geared toward civilian communications. Its first component targets international phone company telecommunications satellites (or Intelsats) from a series of five ground intercept stations located at Yakima, Washington; Sugar Grove, West Virginia; Morwenstow in Cornwall, England; Waihopai, New Zealand; and Geraldton, Australia. The next component targets other civilian communications satellites, from a similar array of bases, while the final group of facilities intercept international communications as they're relayed from undersea cables to microwave transmitters. According to Hager's sources, each country devises categories of intercept interest. Then a list of key words or phrases (anything from personal, business, and organization names to e-mail addresses to phone and fax numbers) is devised for each category. The categories and keywords are entered by each country into its "Dictionary" computer, which, after recognizing keywords, intercepts full transmissions, and sends them to the terminals of analysts in each of the UKUSA countries. To the layperson, ECHELON may sound like something out of the X-Files. But the National Security Archives's Richelson and others maintain that not only is this not the stuff of science fiction, but is, in some respects, old hat. More than 20 years ago, then CIA director William Colby matter-of-factly told congressional investigators that the NSA monitored every overseas call made from the United States. Two years ago, British Telecom accidentally disclosed in a court case that it had provided the Menwith Hill station with equipment potentially allowing it access to hundreds of thousands of European calls a day. "Let me put it this way," says a former NSA officer. "Consider that anyone can type a keyword into a Net search engine and get back tens of thousands of hits in a few seconds." A pause. "Assume that people working on the outer edges have capabilities far in excess of what you do." Since earlier this year, ECHELON has caused something of a panic in Europe, following the disclosure of an official European Parliament report entitled "In Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control." While the report did draw needed attention to ECHELON, it--and subsequent European press coverage--says Richelson, "built ECHELON up into some super-elaborate system that can listen in on everyone at any time, which goes beyond what Nicky Hager wrote." Richelson, along with other SIGINT experts, emphasizes that, despite ECHELON's apparent considerable capabilities, it isn't omniscient. EPIC's David Banisar points out that despite the high volume of communications signals relayed by satellite and microwave, a great many fiber-optic communications--both local and domestic long distance--can't be intercepted without a direct wiretap. And, adds Canadian ex-spook Mike Frost, there's a real problem sorting and reading all the data; while ECHELON can potentially intercept millions of communications, there simply aren't enough analysts to sort through everything. "Personally, I'm not losing any sleep over this," says Richelson, "because most of the stuff probably sits stored and unused at [NSA headquarters in] Fort Meade." Richelson's position is echoed by some in the intelligence business ("Sure, there's potential for abuse," says one insider, "but who would you rather have this--us or Saddam Hussein?"). But others don't take such a benign view. "ECHELON has a huge potential for violating privacy and for abuses of democracy," says Hager. "Because it's so powerful and its operations are so secret that there are no real constraints on agencies using it against any target the government chooses. The excessive secrecy built up in the Cold War removes any threat of accountability." The only time the public gets anything resembling oversight, Hager contends, is when intelligence officials have a crisis of conscience, as several British spooks did in 1992. In a statement to the London Observer, the spies said they felt they could "no longer remain silent regarding that which we regard to be gross malpractice and negligence within the establishment we operate"--the establishment in question being the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain's version of the NSA. The operatives said that an intercept system based on keyword recognition (sound familiar?) was routinely targeting the communications of Amnesty International and Christian Aid. Adds Hager, "The use of intelligence services in these cases had nothing to do with national security, but everything to do with keeping tabs on critics. The British government frequently finds itself in political conflict with Amnesty over countries it is supplying arms to or governments with bad human rights records. ECHELON provides the government with a way to gain advantage over Amnesty by eavesdropping on their operations." Hager and others also argue that potential for abuse lies in the hierarchical and reciprocal nature of the UKUSA alliance. According to data gathered by congressional committees in the '70s, and accounts of former SIGINT officers like Frost, UKUSA partners have, from time to time, used each other to circumvent prohibitions on spying on their own citizens. Frost, for example, directed Canadian eavesdropping operations against both Americans and Britons--at the request of both countries' intelligence services, to whom the surveillance data was subsequently passed. And British Members of Parliament have raised concerns for years about the lack of oversight at the NSA's Menwith Hill facility--a base on British soil with access to British communications yet run by the NSA, which works closely with the GCHQ. "Given that both the U.S. and Britain turn their electronic spying systems against many other friendly and allied nations," says Hager, "the British would be naive not to assume it is happening to them." David Banisar, the electronic privacy advocate, says that apparently just asking about ECHELON, or mentioning anything like it, is considered unreasonable. Since earlier this year, Banisar has been trying to get information on ECHELON from the NSA under the Freedom of Information Act. "They're not exactly forthcoming," he says, explaining that he only recently got a response in which he was in effect told the European Parliament report "didn't provide enough information" for the NSA to locate the requested information. However, Wayne Madsen, co-author with Bamford of the most recent edition of The Puzzle Palace, was more directly discouraged from investigating ECHELON's possibly dubious applications, as the following story makes clear. On April 21, 1996, Chechnyen rebel leader Dzokhar Dudayev was killed when a Russian fighter fired two missiles into his headquarters. At the time of the attack, Dudayev had been talking on his cellular phone to Russian officials in Moscow about possible peace negotiations. According to electronics experts, getting a lock on Dudayev's cell phone signal would not have been difficult, but as Martin Streetly, editor of Jane's Radar and Electronic Warfare Systems, noted at the time, the Russian military was so under-equipped and poorly maintained, it was doubtful a radar intercept plane could have honed in on the signal without help. Speaking at a conference on Information Warfare a month later, Madsen, one of the world's leading SIGINT and computer security experts, explained that it was both politically and technically possible that the NSA helped the Russians kill Dudayev. Noting the West's interest in preserving the Yeltsin presidency and in ensuring the safety of an oil consortium's pipeline running through Chechnya, Madsen explained which NSA satellites could have been used to intercept Dudayev's call and directionally locate its signal. This wasn't exactly a stunning revelation: Not only had reports recently been released in Australia and Switzerland about police tracking suspects by their cell phone signatures, but Reuters and Agence France-Press had written about the Dudayev scenario as technically plausible. Still, after his talk, Madsen was approached by an Air Force officer assigned to the NSA, who tore into him. "Don't you realize that we have people on the ground over there?" Madsen recalled the officer seething. "You're talking about things that could put them in harm's way." Asks Madsen, "If this was how Dudayev died, do you think it's unreasonable the American people know about the technical aspects behind this kind of diplomacy?" Nicky Hager says that the New Zealand intelligence officers who talked to him did so out of a growing disillusionment with the importance to New Zealand of access to ECHELON information. In some cases, they said, they had been so busy listening in on targets of interest to other countries, they altogether missed opportunities to gather intelligence in New Zealand's national interest. Ross Coulthart, an investigative reporter with Australia's Nine Network, says intelligence sources of his have reported similar feelings. "In the UKUSA intelligence community, there appear, roughly, to be two camps: those who believe that it's best to fall in line behind the U.S., because the U.S. has acted as protector and funder and gives us resources and limited participation in a system we couldn't support ourselves, and those who think the whole thing is somewhat overrated and sometimes contrary to national interests." In 1995, for example, Australian intelligence officials leaked a story to the Australian Broadcasting Company that was, at first blush, damaging to themselves: Australian intelligence had bugged the Chinese Embassy in Canberra. However, the Australians had no access to the actual transmissions; they had merely planted the bugs at the behest of the NSA, which was getting the raw feed. "Given that both Australian and American companies were bidding for Chinese wheat contracts at the time," says Coulthart, "it didn't seem like Australia was getting anything out of this arrangement, so they put the story out there." Indeed, says York University's Whittaker, "there's a really important degree of [economic] tension that wasn't there during the Cold War. On the other hand, most of the threats perceived as common and borderless--terrorism, nuclear proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, and global crime--inspire more cooperation between the UKUSA partners." Hager thinks such cooperation is certainly merited, but what ECHELON to some extent reflects, he believes, is the continued erosion of civil liberties and the notion of sovereignty in the name of security. "Some people I interviewed told me repeatedly, 'It's a good thing for us to be part of this strong alliance,' " he says. "What it amounts to, in the end, is an argument for being a cog in a big intelligence machine."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Canada Considers Prescribing Heroin To Prevent Deaths (An 'Associated Press' Story In 'The San Francisco Chronicle' About Officials In Vancouver, British Columbia, Who Want To Institute A Heroin Maintenance Program After A 40 Percent Increase In Heroin-Related Deaths) Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 09:59:48 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada Considers Prescribing Heroin to Prevent Deaths Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom O'Connell) Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Pubdate: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 Author: David Crary - Associated Press CANADA CONSIDERS PRESCRIBING HEROIN TO PREVENT DEATHS Vancouver, British Columbia - Dismayed by a horrific death toll from drug overdoses, Vancouver authorities have begun a campaign to break a North American taboo against supplying heroin to addicts. So far this year, 224 people in British Columbia - mostly from Vancouver's skid row - have died of overdoses, up 40 percent from last year. The deaths, blamed on an influx of cheaper, more potent heroin, prompted provincial health officer John Millar to recommend that health workers provide heroin to certain addicts on a trial basis. The goal would be to reduce the risk of overdose and to free the addicts from scavenging for money to buy their next fix. Such programs have been tried on a limited basis in Western Europe, but never in North America. Experts believe heroin trials are unlikely to take place in the United States because of firm opposition among many lawmakers. Canadian politicians are considered more receptive. Vancouver's chief coroner has endorsed the plan. The city police chief has expressed cautious interest because of the prospects of reducing addiction-related crime. The federal health agency Health Canada, says it is willing to authorize clinical trials in which doctors would prescribe heroin to addicts. Yesterday, the lawmaker in Parliament who represents Vancouver's worst skid-row neighbor hood introduced a motion urging the federal government to begin such trials immediately. "People are dying in the streets because we have failed to act," said Libby Davies. Her district includes the Downtown Eastside, a pocket of rundown rooming houses, pawn shops and bars a few blocks from Vancouver's posh cruise-ship pier. Rampant intravenous drug use has saddled the neighborhood with one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the developed world. The most ambitious experiment with prescribed heroin has been in Switzerland, where 1,146 addicts received thrice-daily injections from 1994 to 1996. The program's researchers said crimes committed by those addicts dropped sharply, and many were able to find jobs and decent housing. But critics questioned the accuracy of the findings, while others say any plan condoning drug use sends a bad message to young people. Among Canadian law enforcement officials, there are sharp divisions over heroin prescription programs. "Would we then be suggesting for the cocaine addicts we should give them cocaine? For alcoholics, should we give them alcohol?" said Inspector Richard Barszczewski, a drug specialist with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
------------------------------------------------------------------- NDP MP Is Backing Free-Heroin Proposal ('The Province' In Vancouver, British Columbia, Says New Democratic Party Member Of Parliament Libby Davies, Sick Of Seeing Heroin Addicts Dying In The Streets Of Her Vancouver East Constituency, Has Launched A Political Initiative Calling For Free Heroin To Be Made Available To Addicts In Prescription Drug Trials) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: "MN"
Subject: MN: Canada: NDP MP Is Backing Free-Heroin Proposal Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 17:11:00 -0500 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Herb Pubdate: 12 Aug 1998 Source: The Province (Vancouver, B.C.) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.vancouverprovince.com/newsite/news-c.html Author: Beth Haysom - Staff Reporter NDP MP IS BACKING FREE-HEROIN PROPOSAL At the depths of his heroin addiction, Bud Osborn considered carrying a hammer to hit vulnerable people from behind for their money. "I was desperate and hopeless. If there had been free drugs available then I would not have had to steal and go shoplifting and it might not have taken 20 years to break free of heroin," he said. Yesterday the cleaned-up activist stood beside New Democratic Party MP Libby Davies as she jumped head-first into the controversy over providing free drugs to addicts. Davies, sick of seeing heroin addicts dying in the streets of her Vancouver East constituency, pulled no punches as she launched a political initiative calling for free heroin to be made available to addicts in prescription drug trials. She urges federal support of a program by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to set up the trials in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. "I know this is controversial but my constituents are dying and we have to do something. "Two hundred addicts have died already this year and many estimate that another two hundred will perish before the year is over. This is intolerable, we have to act now," said Davies. This is not about the open-ended legalization of drugs, she emphasized. This is a specific health intervention that can save lives; prevent the spread of human-immunodeficiency-virus infections and reduce crime in the community. She has been lobbying federal Health Minister Allan Rock and hopes that her private member's motion will get across-the-board support when Parliament resumes in the fall. "These deaths are preventable. It's the responsibility of all levels of government to deal with this crisis. We ignore it at our peril," said Davies. Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Shaun Peck welcomed the idea of heroin trials "on a carefully controlled and medically supervised basis." It was one of the recommendations called for by the provincial health office in its recent report on HIV, hepatitis and intravenous drug use, said Peck. But the idea hit a brick wall at the provincial health ministry, where spokesman Jeff Gaulin said that the ministry would not support free-heroin trials as there was no clear evidence they work. "We think the way to go is to pursue the methadone program, which is not yet at full capacity," Gaulin said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mobile Needle Exchange ('The Express' In Nelson, British Columbia, Publicizes The Launching Of A Mobile Service Throughout The West Kootenay-Boundary On August 17 By The ANKORS Needle Exchange Program) Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 02:02:32 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Mobile Needle Exchange Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Herb Source: Express (Nelson, B.C., Canada) Contact1: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact2: 554 Ward Street, Nelson, B.C., Canada V1L 1S9 Pubdate: 12 Aug 1998 Author: Murray Greig MOBILE NEEDLE EXCHANGE NELSON - The ANKORS needle exchange program will launch a mobile service throughout the West Kootenay-Boundary on Aug. 17. The program already has two fixed sites, at the Access Alcohol and Drug Service office in Nelson and Trail Community Counselling services. The mobile service will initially be provided through regular stops along three routes: 1) Balfour-Kaslo-Edgwood-Playmor; 2) Trail-Rossland-Rock Creek-Castlegar; and 3) Trail-Salmo-Ymir-Nelson-Slocan Park, with service to most of the smaller communities in between. "With this, the exchange program becomes part of a comprehensive approach to the prevention of HIV among people who inject drugs, and the community as a whole," said ANKORS needle exchange coordinator Alexander Lich. The new service emphasizes what Lich calls "harm reduction philosophy." "Harm reduction can be defined as a set of strategies and tactics that encourage people who inject drugs to reduce the harm done to themselves and their communities by their behavior," he said. "By providing users the means with which to become healthier, we recognize their desire to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities. By treating them with dignity and respect, we are also seeking to build the self-esteem that may enable them to eventually consider seeking recovery from their injection drug use." The ANKORS needle exchange program initially provides a kit to people making their first visit to an exchange site. The kit contains a small number of syringes, bleach, water, alcohol wipes, condoms and safe sex information. "One of the program goals is to collect as many used syringes as new ones goven out, so the program will not increase the total number of discarded syringes," said Lich. "Needle exhange programs save lives cost-effectively. While a new needle costs about ten cents, the lifetime cost of treating a person with AIDS starts at approximately $165,000." For more information about specific locations and times for the mobile service, call 505-5506. Out of town, call 1-800-421-2437.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mobile Needle Exchange Hits West Kootenay Highways ('The Nelson Daily News' Version) Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 15:57:43 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Mobile Needle Exchange Hits West Kootenay Highways Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Herb Source: Nelson Daily News (B.C.,Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sterlingnews.com/Nelson/nelson.html Pubdate: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 Author: Lara Schroeder - Daily News Staff MOBILE NEEDLE EXCHANGE HITS WEST KOOTENAY HIGHWAYS A mobile needle exchange program for injection drug users is set to begin operating in the West Kootenay on Monday. The program run by the West Kootenay-Boundary AIDS Network, Outreach and Support Society (ANKORS), will stop in small towns from Kaslo in the northeast to Rock Creek in the southwest, dispensing clean needles to people who inject illicit drugs. "There are people that use injection drugs all over the place. They're not only in Vancouver," said Alexander Lich, the co-ordinator of the program. There are already permanent needle exchange programs operating in Nelson and Trail, and ANKORS hopes to set up other permanent sites in Castlegar and Grand Forks. Meanwhile, the mobile exchange will serve drug users across the region in what is commonly referred to as a "harm reduction model" of injection drug use treatment. "I guess the philosophy that ANKORS has is that you don't judge people," said Lich. "We try to help them reduce the harm they're doing not only to themselves, but to the community at large." Harm reduction means lessening the health and social hazards associated with injection drug use, including crime and the spread of diseases such as hepatitis C and AIDS. Injection drug use has recently been identified as the primary means of transmission of AIDS, according to Lich. Users spread diseases by sharing dirty needles. In some European countries the concept of harm reduction includes prescribing drugs to addicts and monitoring their use so that dealers don't profit and users don't share needles and turn to crime to support their habits. In Canada the harm reduction model generally consists of educating users about the risks and providing clean syringes to them without fear of arrest by police for their habits. "Personally, I was against the harm reduction model when I first heard about it a couple of years ago," Lich admitted. However, once he got past his moral objection to drug use he changed his mind because he realized the harm reduction model keeps people alive and healthy enough to give them a chance to seek recovery from their addictions in the future. "You can't get people to stop using drugs if they're dead," Lich stated baldly. People who inject drugs can also pass diseases on to non-users through sex or by not disposing their dirty needles properly, Lich pointed out. Needle exchanges cut down on the number of dirty needles in a community by giving drug users a place to leave their used needles, he stated. "A used needle has value because you can bring it in and get a new one," he said. The Kamloops rural needle exchange program established two years ago, reported return rates of 110 to 115 percent in the first three months of operation according to Lich. As the West Kootenay program starts up an intial "needle exchange kit" will be handed out. The kit will contain clean needles, a small bottle of bleach for syringe disinfection, a small bottle of distilled water, alcohol wipes, condoms and a "safer health" pamphlet. Users will be able to exchange needles for clean ones during future visits, although no one will be denied clean needles because they don't have dirty ones to exchange, Lich said. "By saying, 'No you can't have a needle,' we're defeating our purpose aren't we?" he asked. Lich believes injection drug users will dispose of their needles properly if given the chance. "The people that use injection drugs don't want to be responsible for infecting somebody else, especially accidentally," he said. Many people who inject drugs aren't the stereotypical junkies in the alleys or "shooting galleries" of big cities, especially in rural areas where they're trying to keep their habits secret because of the stigma, according to Lich. "Some of the information I have about Nelson is a large percentage of the injection drug users are people that have jobs. Some are professionals," he said. "They seem like normal, everyday people, and of course they are normal everyday people. They just happen to use drugs." A "very very conservative" estimate puts the number of people who inject drugs in the Nelson area at 2,000, Lich stated. He knows that at least some of those people are infected with hepatitis C or AIDS. Some of the people at risk use steroids and may not consider the danger because they're injecting drugs in places like health centres in the company of fitness-conscious people. "Steroid users, they have to inject their drugs," Lich said. "They may have a false sense of security, but you can't tell if someone's infected or not until it's too late." The most recent studies from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse show that the availability of clean injection equipment slows the spread of AIDS and other diseases, according to Lich. "It's not an end all, cure all thing, it's just another tool that we have to prevent infection," he said about his job. "Any kind of step to try to curtail that spread of infection is a positive step."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Select Committee On Health (A New Zealand Correspondent Describes Today's Parliamentary Hearing On Cannabis And Mental Health, Featuring Representatives Of SF, The Schizophrenia Fellowship, A Support And Advocacy Group For People With Schizophrenia And Their Families, And The Senior Clinician For WADS, The Wellington Alcohol And Drug Service) Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 22:14:28 +1200 (NZST) To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) Subject: NZ: Select committee on health, 12 August 1998 Dear Colleagues, The NZ parliamentary health select committee held its third hearing on cannabis and mental health today. Testifying were representatives of the Schizophrenia Fellowship (SF), a support and advocacy group for people with schizophrenia and their families, and the senior clinician and youth counselor of the Wellington Alcohol and Drug Service (WADS). The basic messages of the SF were (1) that cannabis use aggravated schizophrenia and impeded recovery, often because people would stop taking their prescribed medications and use cannabis instead, and (2) inadequate attention and funding were directed toward people with dual diagnosis, i.e., psychiatric disorder (particular schizophrenia) and also suffering from harmful alcohol (usually) or other drug use. The WADS highlighted the increasing incidence of cannabis dependence among the people referred to them, this having increased over the past couple of years so as to constitute about 25 percent of total referrals. Figures provided showed 120 referrals out of 518 (23 percent) from 1 June 1996 to 30 April 1997 and 133 referrals out of 682 (20 percent) from1 May 1997 to 30 April 1998 were deemed to be "clients with cannabis as main drug of abuse". Senior clinician Geoffrey Robinson and youth counselot Shane Murdoch repeatedly said that ten percent of cannabis users meet criteria of dependence (although no evidence was presented to support this statistic), which they said was about the same as alcohol over a lifetime. Unfortunately, no reference was made to the differences in physiological and sociological harmfulness associated with these respective dependencies. Amazingly, committee members (MPs from all parties) were completely tuned in to the issues raised (and the problems with) this testimony, and often seemed to be educating the people giving testimony about the evidence. The first question asked of the SF people after they finished reading their testimony was from the chair (National party MP Brian Neeson, previously an avowed prohibitionist but now clearly seeing the light). Mr Neeson asked if the SF had done a review of the literature and if they were aware what the "scientific evidence" said about the situation! Questions of this kind were frequent and absolutely the rule: "couldn't cannabis use be an effect of the problem, rather than the cause?", "wouldn't alcohol use be just as bad or worse?", "doesn't prohibition make it more difficult for these people to get help?", etc. Mr Murdoch said two or three times that young people do not perceive cannabis is harming them and that they prefer it to alcohol because unlike alcohol cannabis does not cause people to vomit, pass out, get into fights, and generally get into trouble. Cannabis had a calming influence, which also accounted, the SF submission said, for why some people with schizophrenia find cannabis helpful, even if only for a short term. The theme of cannabis as having a calming, therapeutic, anti-violence effect was repeated several times by both committee members and witnesses during the proceedings, and now appears to be taken as an article of faith. Committee members continually raised the issue of the effect of prohibition on driving cannabis use underground, making it more difficult to have a rational discussion about cannabis use, impeding health and education efforts, etc. Those testifying largely agreed with these comments. Mr Murdoch said several times that kids find cannabis much more easy to obtain than alcohol, "because with cannabis you have open slather with no controls" whereas with alcohol "you have shopkeepers who are careful about who they sell to ". In response to a question about what policy would be best from a mental health standpoint, Mr Murdoch said he believed cannabis should be regulated like alcohol and the government should "tax the hell out of it". This reference to cannabis regulation/taxation was gratifying (as were the nods and 'mm-hms' of the committee members) because alcohol-style regulation was the policy recommended by the Drug Policy Forum Trust in its final report earlier this year. At one point in response to a question Dr Robinson referred to the ubiquity of cannabis use and said flatly "Prohibition has failed". Newly elected National MP Shane Ardern immediately echoed this statement: "Prohibition has failed", then for good measure added "Prohibition is a nonsense" (exact quote). To my knowledge this is Mr Ardern's first public statement regarding cannabis policy (he is a first time MP, narrowly elected in a recent by-election in Taranaki). Another committee member, ACT party MP Ken Shirley, is already on record as saying cannabis prohibition is a "nonsense", although Mr Shirley did not actively enter into the legal debate today. Another interesting moment occurred when Jill Pettis (Labour) asked the WADS contingent whether they agreed that the reason "there is still still so much misinformation about cannabis out there is that there are a number of people making a very good living by scaring people about cannabis and demonising it. I mean you have auditoriums filled with frightened parents and somebody up there talking about left brain and right brain and drawing circles on the whiteboard and the kids know it's not true because they puff a bit on Saturday night and they don't go psychotic. Don't you think they say these things because it's in their financial self-interest?" (This is from memory, but pretty close.) This was a clear reference to Trevor Grice of Life Education, whose school auditorium-based scaremongering of students and parents about the evils of cannabis is legendary--and whose book (with cartoonist Tom Scott) "The Great Brain Robbery" raised one-sided anti-cannabis propaganda to new (post 1930's) heights. Ms Pettis' surprisingly frank and pointed question brought a hearty laugh from the committee members and the public and press galleries, in part out of sympathy for Dr Robinson being put so firmly on the spot. He nicely dodged the question, however, saying only that it was important to tell the truth in drug education programmes, that we were now largely telling the truth about alcohol and tobacco, but telling the truth about cannabis had lagged far behind. One final example of what was an absolutely amazing session. At one point Dr Robinson spoke about the need for education on cannabis, which he said should be directed at young people. He added, in jest, "it probably wouldn't be much use for old people", at which point at least three committee members simultaneously said, laughing, "It might do them some good", "Could help their arthritis", and the like. This brought a good laugh from all assembled. To his immense credit, Chairman Neeson is allowing a wide-ranging discussion into the legal situation regarding cannabis. He certainly shows no signs of having been asked by senior National party officials to rein in his investigation, which at this point looks likely to produce a report much at odds with the prevailing government prohibitionist line. The committee will be in Dunedin next week, then back to Wellington, followed by trips to Auckland and Christchurch and then probably back to Wellington. They plan to conclude hearings next month, with a report likely to be tabled in Parliament late this year. The select committee members appear to have seen the light on cannabis and cannabis policy. These hearings continue to look like they could shape up to be an important event in the winding down of the international war on drugs. Stay tuned. David
------------------------------------------------------------------- Support Grows For 'Injecting Clinic' Plans ('The Canberra Times' Says A Proposal For Canberra To Become The First Place In Australia To Build Safe Injecting Clinics For Addicted Heroin Users Has The Support Of Federal Health Minister Michael Wooldridge And The Guarded Backing Of The Australian Capital Territory Labor Party) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: "MN" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: MN: Australia: Support Grows For 'Injecting Clinic' Plans Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 17:03:39 -0500 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ken Russell Pubdate: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 Source: Canberra Times (Australia) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/ Author: Peter Clack SUPPORT GROWS FOR 'INJECTING CLINIC' PLANS A proposal for Canberra to become the first place in Australia to build safe injecting clinics for addicted heroin users has the support of federal Health Minister Michael Wooldridge and the guarded backing of the ACT Labor Party. Late yesterday, Dr Wooldridge's office applauded the move as a credit to the ACT, and one that could be a vital test case for other jurisdictions where they were struggling with same high rates of drug overdoses and deaths. Independent ACT MLA Dave Rugendyke, a former police officer, gave his 'guarded' support 'because I can see that prohibition is not working. We have got to try new things.' Earlier, Opposition Leader John Stanhope said he believed that the prohibition approach to drugs had failed and that more needed to be done. Mr Stanhope said that he supported the proposal in principle and he expected the Labor Party to support it in the Legislative Assembly, provided it overcame legal and community hurdles. Although he was reluctant, past strategies had shown to be ineffective. He had concerns about public liability and the process of guaranteeing a safe injecting process. Among them was the question of how medical and government employees would treat someone with an illegal substance in their possession. 'The ACT Labor Party in the Assembly would not stand in the way of a legal injecting clinic if all concerns could be overcome and it had broad community support,' Mr Stanhope said. But he criticised six-week waiting times for methadone treatment and said it was unacceptable for drug users who sought help to be told to come back later. A spokesman for Dr Wooldridge, however, said the Federal Government encouraged new ways of treating health problems associated with drug-taking. 'We will watch with interest to see what lessons can be learned,' the spokesman said. 'I don't think we have a major concern about it. But we have a major problem in the community and should try a wide range of treatments.' He said Australia was a leader in innovative ways of tackling health issues, pointing to the national campaign over AIDS. The Australian Federal Police and ACT Ambulance Service have told of 42 drug overdoses in Canberra last month and 10 deaths in the previous 12 months.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Garden 'Weed' Not All It Seems ('The Evening News' In Norwich, England, Recounts The Horticultural Education Of A Buxton Woman Who Let A Foot-Tall Weed In Her Garden Grow Into A Seven-Foot Beauty Before Learning It Was Cannabis - When Approached, Police Advised Her Just To Throw It On The Compost Heap) Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 17:26:24 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Organization: BlueDot To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Garden 'Weed' Not All It Seems. Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (CLCIA) Source: Evening News (Norwich UK) Contact: EveningNewsLetters@ecn.co.uk Pubdate: 12 Aug 1998 Author: Andy Rivett-Carnac GARDEN 'WEED' NOT ALL IT SEEMS A Buxton woman today warned other gardeners to be on the look-out after she realised a seven-foot plant growing in her garden was cannabis. Mary Dring had no idea what the mystery weed was when she first spotted it a few months ago nestling in a flower bed in the back garden of her Church Close home. At the time it stood a paltry one foot tall but as summer bloomed her unlikely garden guest grew into a strapping seven-footer. Yet still she was none-the-wiser as to its true nature. "At first I thought it was a lupin because the leaves were narrow, like fingers, but as it grew I noticed the leaves were serrated," she said. Mrs. Dring invited her keen gardener neighbours over to inspect the mystery plant but no one could make a positive identification. "It has become quite a talking point between us and the neighbours. We suspected it could be a cannabis plant but weren't sure." The penny finally dropped one evening last week while Mrs. Dring sat watching a television programme which featured illegal crops of hemp. "That's when I knew for certain - it was exactly the same as the ones on the television. It's got little shoots coming out where the stems meet and everything." "If I've got one maybe other people have as well but, like me, they may not know what it is." Mrs. Dring approached the police about the plant and was advised to throw it on the compost heap. "I didn't want to be jumped on by the drug squad so I thought it best to approach them first!" "They didn't seem too concerned. They just told me to stick it on the compost. So that's what I intend to do." It remains a mystery as to how exactly the seven foot plant ended up in the Buxton garden. "There is also a cabbage growing nearby which we didn't plant. The only explanation we can think of is a bird must have dropped a seed," said Mrs. Dring. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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