Portland NORML News - Sunday, September 27, 1998
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Marijuana Vote Brings Out Big Societal Issues (An 'Oregonian' Article
On Ballot Measure 67, The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act,
Briefly Recounts The History Of Medical Marijuana Reform Efforts
In The State)

The Oregonian
letters to editor:
letters@news.oregonian.com
1320 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/

Marijuana vote brings out big societal issues

* Oregonians will decide whether legalizing medical marijuana offers
compassion to the sick and dying or an open door to widespread drug use

Sunday, September 27 1998

By Patrick O'Neill
of the Oregonian staff

Kristin VanAnden, a free-lance writer and translator who lives in Northwest
Portland, got the bad news in late January. Breast cancer had moved into her
bones. She would have to undergo a series of chemotherapy sessions to kill
off the invading cancer cells.

In classic understatement, VanAnden, 58, said chemotherapy was not fun. For
the first few days, she said, she felt nauseated, and everything tasted like
cardboard.

She recalled hearing that marijuana could combat the nausea and improve her
appetite, so she decided to try it.

A couple of puffs produced a kind of a feeling in the stomach that it's
somehow settled, that it feels OK, she said. There's a deep relaxation response.

But getting marijuana is always difficult, she said. And there's always the
threat of arrest. "I'm frankly quite irritated," she said. "Marijuana is so
clearly beneficial as an anti-nausea medication."

Not everyone agrees. Opponents of medical marijuana use say that existing
anti-nausea medications work fine, that marijuana's benefits are
scientifically questionable and that legalizing medical use opens the door
to increased drug abuse. Oregon voters will soon have their say on the issue.

On Nov. 3, Oregonians will vote on Ballot Measure 67, deciding whether
marijuana is a breakthrough in compassion for the sick and dying or the
beginning of a slide down a slippery slope toward legalization of all drugs.

Early statewide polling points to widespread support for legalizing medical
marijuana, with strong backing across age, income, political and geographic
lines. Ironically, Oregonians also will vote in November on Ballot Measure
57, which would make possession of small amounts of marijuana a criminal
offense. Early polling shows more voters opposing than supporting that measure.

Rob Elkins, Molalla police chief and a director of Oregonians Against
Dangerous Drugs, views the medical marijuana measure as an open door for all
marijuana use.

"My beliefs come from long before I became a cop, he said. I have seven
brothers. I saw every one of them get arrested. Four of them served time in
penitentiaries. All were into drugs to a pretty high degree.

And they all started with marijuana, he said.

But Dr. Richard Bayer, a Portland internist and a chief petitioner for the
marijuana initiative, said the ultimate goal isn't legalization of all drugs
- just to make it possible for sick people to obtain marijuana at a
pharmacy, with a prescription.

In the eyes of the federal government, marijuana occupies the same
dangerous-drug status as heroin and LSD. All are considered to have no
medical value and thus can't be prescribed.

Bayer said the point of state campaigns is to force the federal government
to acknowledge the medical benefits of marijuana.

In November 1996, voters in Arizona and California approved ballot measures
sanctioning marijuana's use for medical purposes. Two months later, the White
House asked the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine to
conduct a $1 million study to find out what science knows and doesn't know
about the medicinal value of marijuana. The study has not been completed.

Oregon's campaign for legalization is heavily financed by three wealthy
out-of-state men: George Soros, a billionaire currency trader and
international financier; John Sperling, a Phoenix businessman, Reed College
graduate and founder of the University of Phoenix; and Peter Lewis of
Cleveland, the president, chairman and chief executive officer of
Progressive Corp., a large automobile insurance company.

Financing comes to Oregon through Americans for Medical Rights, a Los
Angeles-based organization run by the people who led the campaign that
legalized medical marijuana in California.

Dave Fratello, campaign coordinator for the organization, said Americans for
Medical Rights plans to spend about $2 million on campaigns in five states:
Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Alaska and Colorado. About $500,000, he said,
will go to Oregons campaign, with much of the money to be spent on
advertising in the three weeks before the election.

The principal opponent of Measure 67 is Oregonians Against Dangerous Drugs,
a thinly financed group composed mainly of law enforcement officers. Paul
Phillips, a campaign coordinator for Oregonians Against Dangerous Drugs,
said the organization has raised about $3,000.

"We are hopeful that once the business community understands that this
measure would totally wipe out drug-free workplaces, well see more
donations, Phillips said.

Here's how the law would work:

* The attending physician provides the Oregon Health Division with written
documentation that a patient has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical
condition - cancer, glaucoma, HIV infection -- or has cachexia (a general
physical wasting associated with chronic disease), severe pain or nausea,
seizures, persistent muscle spasms or any other ailment that might be added
to the list in the future. (The measure includes a petition process to
expand the list of covered medical conditions.)

* The Health Division issues registration cards to the patient and a
designated primary caregiver. The caregiver is someone besides a doctor who
helps the patient. The cards exempt patient and caregiver from most state
laws against possession and cultivation of marijuana.

* Police who seize marijuana plants from someone covered by the law must
make sure the plants arent harmed, neglected, injured or destroyed while
they are in the possession of any law enforcement agency.

* Patients are permitted to carry as much as 1 ounce of marijuana. The law
would permit the patient or caregiver possession of three mature plants,
four immature plants and 1 ounce of usable marijuana for each mature plant.

A number of firsts

Oregonians have a long history of accommodating marijuana.

In 1979, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill that required Oregon State
Police to provide confiscated marijuana to the state Health Division for use
by patients undergoing chemotherapy or suffering from glaucoma, an eye disease.

The law made Oregon the first state in the nation to have a state-run
program to distribute marijuana for medical purposes. Both the Oregon Senate
and House of Representatives passed the measure without dissent.

Then-Gov. Vic Atiyeh signed the measure into law, calling it a good example
of what can be done out of compassion for people.

The law eventually proved unworkable. It called for the Health Division to
certify the confiscated marijuana as free of contamination. But Kristine
Gebbie, Health Division administrator at the time, said no test was
available to guarantee the safety of the drug.

Efforts to obtain marijuana grown for the federal government under contract
with the University of Mississippi were unsuccessful, and the law was
repealed in 1987. In 1973, Oregon became the first state to remove criminal
penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

J. Pat Horton, a former Lane County district attorney, favored
decriminalization. He testified before Congress about what he considered the
successes of the new law -- unclogging the criminal courts and encouraging
police to pursue more serious criminals.

Horton, now in private practice, still thinks decriminalization was a good
idea and calls legalization of medical marijuana a "no-brainer."

"Doctors prescribe codeine and all these dangerous things for pain," he
said. "Why would anyone say there's something wrong with a doctor
prescribing something that's going to help eradicate pain or help a patient?"

But Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Noelle, a director of Oregonians Against
Dangerous Drugs, says the legal implications of the measure take it far
beyond the simple question of medical use.

"It really gets down to what's the message and what's the intent of this
bill," he said. "I firmly believe this bill is intended to be part of a
national campaign to legalize drugs , in this country . . . I think it's
about legalizing drugs under the disguise of appealing to people's
compassion. ate guilt."

Hidden in the proposal are law enforcement land mines, he said.

Noelle objects to what he sees as vague language defining who could get
medical marijuana. Anyone can complain of severe nausea, pain and lack of
appetite, he said. And as long as a doctor agrees, the patient gets a
registration card.

As for the requirement that law officers return seized marijuana plants in
their original condition -- that's impossible, he says.

Noelle sees the measure being backed by a daunting array of non-Oregonian
financial powerhouses pitted against a financially poor but dedicated
opposition. Oregonians Against Dangerous Drugs, he says, is basically a
grass-roots organization armed with law enforcement speakers who will make
the rounds of civic groups to bring a message of warning.

Doctors stay neutral

Oregon's medical community has contributed to an atmosphere of acceptance
for medicinal marijuana. 'In April, the Oregon Medical Association, which
represents 5,800 of the state's 8,300 physicians, handed proponents of
medical marijuana a victory, voting to remain neutral on the issue.

Bayer called the vote "a wise and compassionate decision."

In lengthy debate, members of the association's house of delegates split
generally into three camps: those who think marijuana can help their
patients and thus should be legal; those who think more study is needed to
assess side effects; and those who think that other anti-nausea drugs, such
as Marinol make smoking marijuana unnecessary.

The OMA's stand is at odds with the American Medical Association, which
recommends a ban on smoked marijuana until experiments prove its usefulness.

Although Bayer is a chief petitioner, Rep. George Eighmey, D-Portland, could
well be regarded as the father of the medical marijuana measure.

Eighmey said he became involved in the issue of medical marijuana several
years ago as chairman of the board of directors of Our House of Portland, a
center for people with AIDS. "We had many, many deaths during the time I was
on the board," he said. "Many of those people suffered agony in the last
days of their lives."

One hallmark of AIDS is wasting syndrome, in which patients undergo
dangerous weight loss. Eighmey said some of them seemed to benefit from
marijuana, which they smoked Illegally and which stimulated their appetites.

As an attorney, he said, "I could not condone illegal activity." So he
sponsored a bill in the 1997 Oregon Legislature to legalize marijuana for
medical purposes.

The measure died without a hearing but not without a certain amount of
national publicity. That brought Eighmey to the attention of Fratello and
Americans for Medical Rights.

Fratello's organization grew out of the successful campaigns to legalize
medical marijuana in California and Arizona. After those elections, Fratello
said, "we knew we had to keep fighting to find friends and advocates in
other states."

"(Eighmey's bill) was very interesting to us," Fratello said. "Here was a
bona fide piece of legislation, and people were supporting it. This idea of
involving the state in the program was attractive. In California, the state
was separate from the marijuana program."

California's medical marijuana law acts as a defense in court after an
arrest has been made. But Oregon's measure puts a state agency in the
position of certifying who is permitted to use marijuana, thus eliminating
the need for an arrest.

In Washington state, voters in November will decide on their own medical
marijuana measure. A big difference between the Oregon and Washington
measures is the involvement of a state agency. In Oregon, the Health
Division would issue cards to people covered by the act. But in Washington,
patients and their caregivers would be required to carry a signed statement
from the patient's physician.

Stormy Ray of Ontario, a chief petitioner for Oregon's medical marijuana
measure, suffers from multiple sclerosis. The 43-year-old computer artist
said marijuana was effective in fighting the pain of muscle spasms caused by
her disease.

"I don't think patients should have to be exposed to the underworld to get
their medicine," she said.

Patrick O'Neill of The Oregonian's Health/Medicine/Science Team can be
reached by phone at 503-221-8233, by fax at 503-294-4150, or by e-mail at
poneill@news.oregonian.com.

***

[ed. note - Two 1980 stories from 'The Oregon Journal' about Oregon's
federally approved medical marijuana program at that time are linked (in
chronological order) to Portland NORML's "History of Oregon Reform Efforts"
page at:

http://www.pdxnorml.org/history.html

Specifically:

1) Marijuana use by cancer patients OK'd, from 'The Oregon Journal'
of July 15, 1980.

and

2) For cancer patients - 4 Oregon Hospitals Get Marijuana,
from 'The Oregon Journal' of Dec. 12, 1980]
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Prohibition Addicts (A Letter To The Editor Of The Bend, Oregon, 'Bulletin'
Says The Unholy Trinity Of Police, Press And Politicians Are In Denial
Over Policies That Exacerbate The Original Problem)

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 19:34:06 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US OR: PUB LTE: Prohibition Addicts
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Curt Wagoner (cwagoner@bendnet.com)
Pubdate: 27 September, 1998
Source: Bulletin, The (OR)
Contact: bulletin@bendbulletin.com
Website: http://www.bendbulletin.com
Author: Pat Dolan

PROHIBITION ADDICTS

Thank you for publishing Catherine Mann's letter ("Legalize Drugs," Sept.
19). She rightly focused on Prohibition as the root cause of most of the
problems associated with illegal drugs. Prohibition has been the law of the
land for many decades. The object? Primarily to keep drugs out of the hands
of young people. The result? The "prohibited" substances are cheaper,
purer, and everywhere more readily available than ever.

When we find we cannot keep them out of our schools, nor even out of our
jails whose inmates are under 24 hour surveillance, common sense would
suggest that there must be a better way.

If a householder noted similar results after a visit from a local "War on
Bugs" company, (exacerbation of the original problem ) common sense would
tell him he had wasted his money and should try a new way, a new company.

Unfortunately, common sense does not play a key role when persons are in the
grip of an addiction.

I fear this is the only thing that can satisfactorily explain the absense of
reason from the direction and conduct of our national drugs policy. The
members of that unholy trinity, police, press and politicians, are equally
addicted to the heady power of Prohibition.
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Legalize Drugs (A Letter To The Editor Of 'The Bulletin'
In Bend, Oregon, Responds To The Newspaper's Staff Editorial
Opposing The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act)

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 19:34:26 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US OR: PUB LTE: Legalize Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Curt Wagoner (cwagoner@bendnet.com)
Pubdate: 27 September, 1998
Source: Bulletin, The (OR)
Contact: bulletin@bendbulletin.com
Website: http://www.bendbulletin.com
Author: Stephen Wellcome

LEGALIZE DRUGS

The writer of your editorial, No on Measure 67, apparently believes our
present drug laws actually keep people from using illeagal drugs. Surveys
regularly report that young people find marijuana easier to obtain than
alcohol, so the notion that drug prohibition actually prohibits anything is
dubious at best. When one further observes that the rate of teen marijuana
use in the Netherlands, where marijuana is readily available to adults, is
slightly lower than it is in the United States, one must severely question
the efficacy of drug prohibition.

The reason is not hard to find. Alcohol is sold by regulalted, licensed
dealers who generally respect laws against selling to minors. Drugs such as
marijuana are distributed by crime syndicates that will sell to anybody,
anywhere. The astronomical profits resulting from prohibition guarantee
there will always be an accomodating drug dealer within easy reach, with
plenty of eager replacements if any dealer happens to get arrested.

Given that background, it is clear that sick people who believe marijuana
helps them will continue to use it. If we do not provide them a legitimate
source of the drug, they will continue to do what they do now: obtain the
drug from criminal sources. Which alternative is better for the patients?
Which is a better message for our children: that sick people ought to be
arrested, persecuted, and put in jail?
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Cannabinoid Analgesia Explained (The Version In Britain's 'Lancet'
Of Wednesday's News About The Letter To 'Nature' From Ian Meng
And Researchers At The University Of California In San Francisco
Explaining How They Were Able To Demonstrate That Cannabinoids
Affect Brain Cells Which Control Pain)

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 10:32:21 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Cannabinoid Analgesia Explained
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Source: Lancet, The (UK)
Contact: lancet.editorial@elsevier.co.uk
Website: http://www.thelancet.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 26 Sep 1998
Author: Paul M Rowe

CANNABINOID ANALGESIA EXPLAINED

Marijuana, it is claimed, relieves pain, but how? In a new study, the
analgesic effect of cannabinoids has been found to work via a part of the
brain stem also used by opioids. But, marijuana's activity is
pharmacologically dissociable from that of opioids (Nature 1998; 395:
381-83)

Researchers in Howard Fields' laboratory at the University of California,
San Francisco (CA, USA) gave rats a cannabinoid and then tested their pain
threshold with the tail-flick test--ie, how fast the rats moved their tails
away from a heat lamp. Inactivation of the rostral ventromedial medulla
(RVM) by microinjection of muscimol, which mimics an inhibitory
neurotransmitter, prevented the analgesia caused by the cannabinoid.

The activities of single neurons in the RVM were correlated with the
changes in pain thresholds caused by intravenous administration of opioid
and cannabinoid agonists and antagonists. For example, the cannabinoid
antagonist SR141716A alone induced hyperalgesia, indicating that endogenous
cannabinoids modulate pain thresholds.

"The RVM projects directly to the spinal cord, and is the final common
pathway for a lot of pain-modulating brain regions that feed into it. When
you administer cannabinoids, and record from neurons in the RVM, you see a
difference in firing correlated with the longer latency in the tail-flick
test. Then, when we injected the morphine antagonist naloxone after the
cannabinoid, it did nothing further to the tail-flick test, and nothing
further to the firing of cells in the RVM", says first author Ian Meng.

It is unclear when and why the endogenous cannabinoid system is normally
activated, but cannabinoids alone are not effective for severe pain so they
are "not going to replace morphine", says Meng. However, he adds,
"cannabinoids increase appetite, and so may help alleviate the nausea
caused by opioids."
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FBI Probes Death, Beatings (An 'Associated Press' Article
In 'The Santa Barbara New-Press' Says Another Alleged Inmate Beating
Has Surfaced At Twin Towers In Los Angeles, This Time At The Hands
Of A 'Posse' Of Renegade Deputies)

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 17:40:18 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: FBI Probes Death, Beatings
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison
Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998
Source: Santa Barbara New-Press (CA)
Contact: SBNPEDIT@aol.com
Fax: 805.966.6258
Website: http://sbcoast.com
Author: Amanda Covarrubias, Associated Press
Section: State News

FBI PROBES DEATH, BEATINGS

LOS ANGELES - Nancy Canzoneri drove to the sleek, new jail on the edge
of downtown one Monday morning to visit her boyfriend, Danny Ray
Smith, a convicted drug addict who was awaiting a court hearing for
carrying a gun.

When Canzoneri approached the front desk at the imposing Twin Towers
Correctional Facility, she was told Smith had died in a brawl with
deputies two days earlier. Shocked by his death and angry they weren't
told about it, Canzoneri and the inmate's family hired a lawyer to get
some answers.

Since the Aug. 1 incident, another alleged inmate beating has surfaced
at Twin Towers - this time at the hands of a "posse" of renegade
deputies - prompting the FBI to investigate the jail.

And last year, the lockup was cited by the U.S. Department of Justice
for civil rights violations in its treatment of mentally ill inmates.

Twin Towers is one of the most advanced municipal jails in America.
Completed last year for $373 million, the high-rise, high-tech center
is spare, almost antiseptic inside. Unlike most jails, there is no
stench.

Its 4,500 male and female inmates reside in cells with windows - many
with city views. There are no bars; each cell has a metal door that
slides open and shut electronically. Each door has a Plexiglas window.

So what's the trouble with Twin Towers?

Critics claim the alleged beatings reflect a nonchalant attitude
toward inmates among the top brass of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's
Department, responsible for running the nation's largest municipal
jail system.

"Police think they have a license to brutalize in the name of law and
order," said James Lafferty, president of the local branch of the
National Lawyers Guild and frequent critic of the department. "But
innocent people are being hurt and killed and brutalized."

Lafferty and others insist such abuse by L.A. deputies is rampant -
and not just at Twin Towers. The only reason it is getting attention
now, they say, is because inmates who wit-nessed Smith's brawl
contacted a civil rights organization, which went public with the
allegations.

In 1997, the sheriff's department paid $5.5 million in settlements for
police misconduct, according to Merrick Bobb, who monitors the
department for the county Board of Supervisors. The four most
expensive settlements, costing a combined $2.1 million, involved
excessive force.

The fatal Smith brawl apparently began when the inmate, who is black,
protested that his cell mate was Hispanic and not black.

Officials said at first that Smith was not handcuffed during the
altercation. Later they changed their story and admitted Smith's hands
had been restrained.

The county coroner ruled his death a homicide because he was forced to
the ground and held in a position where he probably suffocated. He
also suffered brain swelling, wounds from a blunt object and a spinal
cord fracture. Although the coroner's office said Smith's existing
heart condition caused him to die, Terrell said the findings prove
deputies beat Smith to death.

"There is an attempt to cover up the case," said the lawyer, who has
filed a $65 million civil lawsuit against the depart- ment.

Three of the deputies involved have been reassigned to other jobs
during the investigation, Block said.

In the Twin Towers "posse" incident, which occurred Aug. 10, an inmate
in the mental ward was beaten so severely that flashlight marks and
boot prints were left on his body, fellow inmates said.

The perpetrators were a group of rogue deputies, Block
revealed.

Sheriff's officials have never revealed the inmate's identity.
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Moonlighting? Two Books Revisit Charges That The CIA Condoned The Sale
Of Crack (An Annoying Review In The Mendacious 'New York Times'
Of Gary Webb's New Book, 'Dark Alliance,' Expanding On His Series
For 'The San Jose Jose Mercury News,' And 'Whiteout,' By Alexander Cockburn
And Jeffrey St. Clair)

Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 17:21:31 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: NYT: Book Review: Moonlighting?
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Anne R. Kist
Pubdate: Sept. 27, 1998
Source: New York Times ( NY)
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Author: Julia Preston

BOOK REVIEW: MOONLIGHTING?

Two Books Revisit Charges That The C.I.A. Condoned The Sale Of Crack.

For Gary Webb, this should have been ''the Big One,'' the story that
leads to the Pulitzer, fame and glory. In August 1996 he wrote a
three-part series in The San Jose Mercury News, entitled ''Dark
Alliance,'' on the origins of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los
Angeles. The series implied that the Central Intelligence Agency
encouraged the drug trafficking and knew that some of the profits were
being funneled to the contra rebels in Nicaragua.

At first, the series -- on which Webb, a highly regarded investigative
reporter, had labored for months -- appeared to be getting exactly the
reception the Biggest Story You'd Ever Write deserved. Talk radio
exaggerated its central thesis of American intelligence run amok, and
African-American leaders called for an investigation into why the
Government had orchestrated such an attack on blacks and then covered
it up. The newspaper's Web site received over a million hits in a
single day. Webb's executive editor wrote him a memo praising his work
and gave him a $500 bonus.

Then it all began to go badly wrong. To hear Webb tell it, he became a
victim of his own cowardly editors and an establishment conspiracy led
by the mainstream press, who sided with the C.I.A. and ignored his
compelling findings. The end result was a long apology by The Mercury
News; the banishment of Webb to a minor bureau 150 miles from
headquarters, where he covered the death of a police horse; and his
eventual resignation from the newspaper. So much for the Big One.

Webb's book, ''Dark Alliance,'' is his effort to tell his side of the
story and set the record straight. The core of his argument is that
two Los Angeles drug dealers, both Nicaraguans and contra partisans,
began the crack cocaine epidemic that was eventually to engulf
America. Webb's key evidence for C.I.A. participation involves the two
men, Juan Norwin Meneses Canterero and Oscar Danilo Blandon. Webb
places considerable stock in their statements that they sent large
sums of money back to the contras and that the C.I.A. knew of their
drug-smuggling activities. But it is difficult to find a single source
inside any branch of American intelligence that can support the charge
of actual C.I.A. involvement in the smuggling.

On the contrary, much of the difficulty with this story is that all
the other investigations carried out by newspapers like The New York
Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times have, to varying
degrees, undermined the Webb thesis. For example, The Los Angeles
Times asserted that far from being big-time supporters of the contras,
Meneses and Blandon were such incompetent drug dealers that when the
rebels needed cash they had none to give them. At most, the Los
Angeles Times story said, the duo may have passed on around $50,000,
neither a significant sum nor evidence of a huge conspiracy.

In the end, Webb himself appears confused about just how far he is
prepared to push the C.I.A.'s involvement. ''I never believed, and
never wrote, that there was a grand C.I.A. conspiracy behind the crack
plague,'' he writes. ''Indeed, the more I learned about the agency,
the more certain of that I became. The C.I.A. couldn't even mine a
harbor without getting its trench coat stuck in its fly.'' Yet the
book has a foreword written by Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat
of California, one of the most vociferous of Webb's supporters: ''The
time I spent investigating the allegations of the Dark Alliance series
led me to the undeniable conclusion that the C.I.A., D.E.A., D.I.A.
and F.B.I. knew about drug trafficking in South Central Los Angeles.
They were either part of the trafficking or turned a blind eye to it,
in an effort to fund the contra war. . . . This book is the final
chapter on this sordid tale and brings to light one of the worst
official abuses in our nation's history.''

It is the Waters view that is going to become the accepted
conspiracist perception of the Webb affair. It matters little that the
C.I.A.'s own inspector general said he found no evidence to support
allegations of agency involvement in or knowledge of the drug
trafficking in the United States. It also matters little that
reporters who specialize in writing about the intelligence community
have found no clear evidence to support C.I.A. involvement.

Webb does receive considerable support from Alexander Cockburn and
Jeffrey St. Clair in ''Whiteout.'' Cockburn (the author of ''The
Golden Age Is in Us,'' among other books, and the co-editor of
Counterpunch, a newsletter) and St. Clair, a contributing editor to In
These Times, believe that the Dark Alliance series provided just the
latest illustration in a long list of C.I.A. involvement with drug
trafficking. Much old ground is walked through South Asia, Afghanistan
and Central America in an effort to prove a continuum. To those
familiar with the C.I.A. and its murkier past, there is nothing new
here and nothing about the Webb affair that isn't covered in better
detail by Webb himself.

What makes both of these books so unsatisfactory is their inability to
reach inside the intelligence community to cross-check sources and
allegations. It is not the covert warriors of yesteryear but the
lawyers who control the Central Intelligence Agency today, and it is
laughable to suggest that today's C.I.A. has the imagination or the
courage to manage a cover-up on the scale that these books suggest.
Neither gives us an explanation of how such a huge cover-up might have
worked, who the puppeteers are behind it and just why career civil
servants should risk jail over such an issue.

Webb has said that the C.I.A. didn't return his calls; Cockburn and
St. Clair give no indication in their book that they even tried such a
conventional approach. For investigative reporters determined to
uncover the truth, procedures like these are unacceptable. Neither the
editors of The San Jose Mercury News nor the publishers of these books
should have allowed their writers to take such relaxed approaches to a
serious subject.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Councilor Expects Potshots For Stance ('The Cape Cod Times' Publicizes
The Annual MassCann Rally On Boston Common Next Saturday
With A Feature Article About Richard Elrick, Scheduled To Speak At The Rally,
A Town Councilor In Barnstable, Massachusetts, As Well As Vice President
Of The Cape And Islands Democratic Council, Vice Chairman Of The Town
Democratic Committee, Ferry Boat Captain, Lawyer - And Also A Member
Of The Board Of Directors Of MASS CANN, The State Affiliate
Of The National Organization For The Reform Of Marijuana Laws)

Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 18:14:49 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US MA: Councilor Expects Potshots For Stance
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: emr@javanet.com (Dick Evans)
Pubdate: September 27, 1998
Source: Cape Cod Times (MA)
Contact: letters@capecodonline.com
Website: http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/

COUNCILOR EXPECTS POTSHOTS FOR STANCE

He describes himself as a child of the '60s, and he has inhaled. He
volunteers the information. He is Richard Elrick, Barnstable town councilor,
vice president of the Cape and Islands Democratic Council, vice chairman of
the town Democratic committee and a member of the state committee. He is a
ferry boat captain and a lawyer. His resume suggests someone making a name
for himself in party politics by taking a traditional route. But some of his
fellow councilors, he says, will be surprised to learn he is also on the
board of directors of MASS CANN, the state affiliate of the National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He will be one of five
speakers at a rally next Saturday on Boston Common demanding an end to the
war on that particular drug. It is a position that is perceived as
politically risky. At last year's Democratic issues convention in Salem,
Elrick was trying to drum up support for a medical marijuana plank in the
party platform and politicians were scurrying for cover. "One of the reasons
I'm exposing myself, so to speak, is because there has to be a discussion,"
says Elrick. "We spent $17 billion on the drug war last year. You need to
begin a discussion of whether it's time to move beyond this drug war that
has been an abysmal failure." Elrick argues that because of drug laws, the
United States has a larger percentage of its population behind bars than any
other country. Last year, he claims, 960,000 people were arrested for
marijuana offenses, and more than 80 percent of those arrests were for
possession.

ONE in six prisoners is in jail for violating marijuana laws, he says, and
since the early 1980s, some 4 million Americans have been arrested. Because
of mandatory minimum sentences, the average sentence for marijuana offenders
exceeds that of violent offenders. "We are incurring immense social costs by
a policy of locking up people for possession," Elrick says, and after 20
years and $150 billion, marijuana remains readily available and is more
potent. If drug policy were grounded on science and medicine, politicians
would recognize that marijuana is one of the least dangerous drugs, legal or
otherwise, says Elrick. The use and abuse of marijuana could be addressed as
the country now deals with tobacco and alcohol - through regulation,
taxation, education and treatment.

"The purpose of our drug policies shouldn't be to exacerbate the problem,"
he says.

ELRICK doesn't dwell on the ultimate success or failure of the MASS CANN
campaign. "In order to live a fulfilled life as a citizen, day to day you do
what is best," he says. "If you are committed to public service, sometimes
you have to take a position that is not expedient."

In an era of law-and-order rhetoric, increasing appropriations for the drug
war and calls for longer prison sentences, Elrick is bucking a tide.

"They may never listen to me," he says, "but at least they will hear a
discussion."

And could his advocacy of the decriminalization of marijuana be the
political kiss of death? "It may be," he says.

-- Mark Sullivan is the news columnist for the Cape Cod Times. His column
appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached at 862-1284 or by
e-mail: sullivan@capecodonline.com.

Copyright 1998 Cape Cod Times. All rights reserved.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Congress Shows Little Sense On Marijuana (A Letter To The Editor
Of 'The Daily Gazette' In Schenectady, New York, Says The US House
Of Representatives' Recent Approval Of House Joint Resolution 117,
Opposing Medical Marijuana, Is An Example Of Ignorance In Action)

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 19:23:36 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NY: PUB LTE: Congress Shows Little Sense On Marijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: anonymous
Source: Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY)
Contact: gazette@dailygazette.com
Website: http://www.dailygazette.com
Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998
Author: WALTER F. WOUK, Howes Cave

CONGRESS SHOWS LITTLE SENSE ON MARIJUANA

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the poet and philosopher, said, "There is
nothing more disgusting than ignorance in action." The recent vote in
favor of House Joint Resolution 117 is disgusting - and it is clearly
"ignorance in action."

Passed 310-93 on Sept. 16, with no public hearings, it is not a new
law. It's simply a "sense of the Congress" resolution to the effect
that Congress believes marijuana to be dangerous and addictive, and
that Congress is unequivocally opposed to the legalization of
marijuana for medical use.

There is no legitimate rationale for this resolution. It's a classic
case of "reefer madness." Rep. Bill McCollum, (R-Fla.) who sponsored
the resolution, cannot cite one credible scientific study that proves
marijuana is "dangerous and addictive." Neither can area congressmen
Sherwood Boehlert, Michael McNulty and Jerry Solomon, who voted in
favor of it.

The myth that marijuana is "dangerous and addictive" is used to
justify the legal persecution of individuals who use marijuana. It is
used to justify the seizure of people's homes, cars and other personal
property. It is used to deny sick people legal access to a drug that
has recognized medicinal value. And, of course, it is used to get
politicians elected.

WALTER F. WOUK, Howes Cave - The writer is the Schoharie chapter
president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana
Laws.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

New York's Drug Sentencing Policies Are Too Severe (Another Letter
To The Editor Of 'The Daily Gazette,' From The New York Green Party Nominee
For Lieutenant Governor, Expresses Deep Concern About The Lack Of Debate
Over The Future Of New York's Criminal Justice System, Noting Among Other
Criticisms That Nearly Half Of All Prisoners Have Been Sentenced
For Drug Offenses)

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 19:31:05 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NY: PUB LTE: New York's Drug
Sentencing Policies Are Too Severe
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998
Source: Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY)
Contact: gazette@dailygazette.com
Website: http://www.dailygazette.com

NEW YORK'S DRUG SENTENCING POLICIES ARE TOO SEVERE

I accepted the nomination of the Green Party for lieutenant governor because
I am deeply concerned about the lack of debate over the future of our
criminal justice system.

I have a doctorate in criminal justice and served as a deputy commissioner
of the state Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives during the
Cuomo administration. I ask that Mary Donohue, the former judge and district
attorney who is the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, join me
and the other candidates in a public discussion about our criminal justice
system, particularly our drug-sentencing laws.

This year the Legislature voted to deny the criminal justice system the
opportunity to decide that parole was an appropriate option for individuals
convicted of Class B felonies, but who had demonstrated that they had been
rehabilitated. Legislators respond to the problem of juvenile crime by
demanding longer and harsher sentences at ever younger ages, ignoring the
fact that most children are sent away for non-violent offenses. George
Pataki led the Legislature in re-enacting the death penalty, brushing aside
the overwhelming evidence of its racist and economic biases.

While virtually everyone agrees that the Rockefeller drug laws were a
mistake, somehow the Legislature and the governor cannot find the political
will to repeal them. As of Dec. 31, 1995, there were 8,586 drug offenders
locked up in state prisons under the Rockefeller drug laws, costing
taxpayers nearly $258 million per year. There were 5,834 people locked up in
state prisons for drug possession, as opposed to drug selling. Nearly half
of the annual commitments to New York state prisons are for drug offenses.

Recently, Ms. Donohue's daughter was issued an appearance ticket to answer
charges regarding illegal drug possession. The criminal justice system
treated her far more gently than many low-income, inner-city and minority
youths have been treated for similar offenses. African-Americans and Latinos
compose 94 percent of the drug offenders in the state prison system,
although a majority of people who sell and use drugs in New York are white.

As director of the Center for Law and Justice, I work with numerous families
touched by drug abuse, arrest and incarceration. They too suffer the pains
that come with these types of unfortunate experiences. As a matter of fact,
thousands of New York families are hard hit, suffering family disruption and
destruction caused by long prison sentences mandated under the Rockefeller
drug laws and second-felony-offender law.

As a mother, I am deeply concerned about the way New York handles our drug
problem. We needlessly incarcerate far too many citizens, including our
children, for low-level drug offenses. On the other hand, few resources are
put into drug treatment and crime prevention programs to solve the problem.

I would hope that her recent experience would make Ms. Donohue and her
running mate more understanding of human frailty and expand their capacity
for forgiveness. I believe that all New Yorkers would benefit if Ms. Donohue
agreed to join me in a serious public discourse on the state's
drug-sentencing policies.

ALICE P. GREEN Albany
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Just Say Maybe - Second Thoughts On Cops In The Class ('New York Times'
Columnist Dirk Johnson Says Drug Abuse Resistance Education, Or DARE,
Which Is Used In About 70 Percent Of The Nation's Public Schools, Is Only One
Of About 50 Antidrug And Safety Programs Taught In Public Schools -
And They Generally Don't Work)

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 06:53:58 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NY: Maybe: Second Thoughts On Cops In The Class
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998
Source: New York Times (NY)
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Author: Dirk Johnson

JUST SAY MAYBE: SECOND THOUGHTS ON COPS IN THE CLASS

Welcome back to school, children. Lesson No. 1: The world is a dangerous
place, filled with creeps, poisons and predators. Beware!

The American classroom today echoes with dire warnings about dangers and
evils that seemingly lurk everywhere, from marijuana peddlers to child
molesters.

The old notion of sticking to basic education, in the view of some safety
advocates, belongs in a dreamily outdated age of innocent, white
picket-fence childhoods. What good are the three R's, after all, to a child
trapped in the trunk of an abductor's car, a scenario actually discussed in
some child safety programs around the nation. (The recommended response:
Unhook the taillight wires to alert the police.)

Among the many worries of parents, illegal drugs rank near the top. In
declaring a virtual war on drug abuse, Americans have responded for more
than a decade with drug-education programs that cost hundreds of millions of
dollars and consume precious classroom time.

By far the biggest of these efforts, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or
DARE, is used in about 70 percent of the nation's public schools and has
generally won overwhelming approval from students, parents, teachers and the
police officers who conduct the classes. DARE, which relies on workbook
teaching and promotes kinship with the police, is one of about 50 antidrug
and safety campaigns in schools.

There's just one problem: these programs generally don't work.

Several studies have found that children who attend drug-education classes
are just as likely to use illegal drugs as students who do not participate.

Until now, officials of nonprofit drug prevention programs have dismissed
the studies with claims that the findings were colored by the political
agendas of academics and researchers. But the latest study, released early
this year, was conducted by Dennis Rosenbaum, a professor who had been a
DARE supporter, and was financed by the Illinois State Police, a champion of
the program.

Among other discouraging findings, this study found that DARE has even
unwittingly encouraged some young people to try drugs, especially students
in the suburbs, according to Rosenbaum, a criminal justice professor at the
University of Illinois in Chicago. DARE has defended its results and points
to endorsements from many school districts.

School-based anti-drug programs remain popular despite such findings, though
an increasing number of skeptical voices have been raised. A number of
cities have even quit DARE, including Oakland, Omaha, Spokane, Wash., and
Fayetteville, N.C.

Earl Wysong, an Indiana University professor at the Kokomo campus, whose
research has found DARE programs to be ineffective in curbing drug use, said
people were starting to become "a little less enthusiastic" about the
program.

Some critics of drug-education efforts say students learn quickly that they
are being given a message -- and that a message is different from education.
Moreover, if students come to see any part of an anti-drug campaign as
propaganda, they tend to distrust the entire message.

Despite these concerns, Wysong said, critics find it difficult to speak out.
"You leave yourself open to charges that you're not on the team in fighting
this plague," he said.

Anti-drug programs often go far beyond warnings about illegal drugs, alcohol
and cigarettes, teaching children to be wary of unfamiliar adults and giving
them specific game plans for escape.

During the weeks before Halloween, for example, many parents will be warned
about the risks of trick-or-treating, and virtually all of them will be told
not to let their children eat anything that isn't factory-wrapped. For many
parents, giving a shiny red apple to a child on Halloween nowadays is about
as thoughtless as offering a cigarette.

Some parents and child psychologists have raised concerns that children are
being scared needlessly, noting that kidnappers hiding in the bushes are
actually exceedingly rare. But such cases are the stuff of
made-for-television movies and lurid accounts on local newscasts. The fact
is that children are far more likely to be abused by a family member.

Drug-education programs have also raised some concerns among civil
libertarians, who feel uneasy about classrooms being turned over to
uniformed police officers. In the case of DARE, a question box sits in the
classroom during the program, so children can talk anonymously about
anything -- including the drug-taking habits of friends or family members.

The DARE officer will not listen to specific allegations, but instead
encourages the children to report such activity to a school official. And
when a child goes to a teacher or counselor with knowledge of such
drug-taking -- for example, a parent who smokes marijuana -- the school is
bound to go to the legal authorities.

Loren Siegel, director of public education for the American Civil Liberties
Union, said the organization had no official position on programs like DARE.

But, she added, "Anything that encourages surveillance -- reporting on your
family members or friends -- cannot be good for a democracy."

Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Kids On Front Line As Addicts Die Like Flies (A Sensational
'Vancouver Province' Article Says British Columbia's Chief Coroner,
Larry Campbell, Has Recorded 272 Deaths From Overdoses Of Heroin Or Cocaine
In The Province So Far This Year, A 30 Per Cent Increase, And Says Campbell
And Top Police Officers Fear That Suburban Kids Are Prime Targets
In The Deadly Drug Trade, Although The Newspaper Doesn't Cite
Even A Single Juvenile Death)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Kids on front line as addicts die like flies
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 09:54:40 -0700
Lines: 78
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Vancouver Province (Canada)
Contact: provedpg@pacpress.southam.ca
Pubdate: Sunday 27 September 1998
Author: Ann Rees, Staff Reporter The Province

Kids on front line as addicts die like flies

A shocking increase in drug deaths has B.C.'s chief coroner "scared to
death."

He and top police officers fear that suburban kids are prime targets in the
deadly drug trade.

The coroner has recorded 272 deaths from overdoses of heroin or cocaine in
B.C. this year to mid-September. That's a 30-per-cent increase over the
same period last year.

"At this rate, we'll see 400 dead by the end of this year," said chief
coroner Larry Campbell. "I don't know how to stop it."

This year's overdose death rate is almost certain to be a record, eclipsing
1993, when 357 people died.

Untold numbers of additional victims are not counted in the drug toll
because they die of complications from their addictions.

For instance, the death last month of 23-year-old Mandy Blakemore, of a
bacterial infection caused by intravenous drug use, is classified as a
death by natural causes.

One of the most disturbing trends is the increase in cocaine-related deaths.

"What we are seeing most is a switch from heroin to cocaine, to crack,"
said Campbell.

Price, availability and ease of use by smoking are part of the appeal of
crack. The rock-like chunks of crystallized cocaine sell for $10 a hit and
are as available as candy in the downtown east side.

Many of the new users are kids -- suburban teenagers looking for a cheap
thrill.

"This seems to be the crowd that is really getting into crack," said
Campbell. "It's so cheap, it's easy and there's no needles."

Staff-Sgt. Doug MacKay-Dunn of the Vancouver police watches kids arrive by
bus, looking for drugs.

"I see it all the time. I was downtown today and I saw three young people
get off the bus on Hastings," he said Friday.

"They were dressed in their sports garb. They were about 15 or 16 and
looked like kids you'd see in any mall."

They told the officer they were there to see "a friend."

"The only 'friend' they know down there is the dealer," said MacKay-Dunn.

Users are quickly addicted to crack.

"There is no such thing as a little bit of crack," said MacKay-Dunn, who
started his career as an undercover drug cop 27 years ago. "The problem
with crack cocaine, to use a medical term, is it's extremely rewarding."

Once addicted, the user will do almost anything to get the next hit.

"In experiments with addicted rats, the animals will take cocaine before they
take food and drink, even to the point of death."

MacKay-Dunn called the drug problem "a plague. It is infecting the downtown
east side and the greater community."

And no community is immune.

"I don't care where you come from -- Shaughnessy, the east side, White
Rock, West Vancouver -- it can happen to anybody."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Mandy's Story - From A Loving Home To Death On The Skids
(Another Sensational 'Vancouver Province' Article About The Death
Of A 23-Year-Old Vancouver Crack Addict Fails To Ask If The Young Woman -
And Society - Might Have Fared Better If She Had Been Obliged
To Obtain The Drug Through A Physician)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Mandy's story - From a loving home
to death on the skids
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 09:56:56 -0700
Lines: 319
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Vancouver Province (Canada)
Contact: provedpg@pacpress.southam.ca
Pubdate: Sunday 27 September 1998
Author: Ann Rees; Staff Reporter The Province

Mandy's story - From a loving home to death on the skids

She is listed as coroner's case 98-249-1257, a female Caucasian dead of
natural causes at age 23.

To her family, Mandy Elizabeth Blakemore was loved, loved them in return
and died a death that was anything but natural.

Mandy was a drug addict.

She was also the baby in a close and loving family, and a young mother
herself.

"Mandy was just like me," said her older sister Angel, 25.

"She had a good life. Mandy loved life. She didn't want to die."

Mandy's death, says Staff-Sgt. Doug MacKay-Dunn, a longtime Vancouver drug
cop, shows that anyone's child can get hooked on drugs.

"That could happen to any one of us," he said. "That could happen to any
family. There but for the grace of God . . ."

Mandy pleaded for death just hours before her wish came true on Aug. 26.

She begged police to let her die the morning a CBC-TV news crew found her
sitting on a doorstep behind a dumpster in a filthy downtown east-side
alley.

Emaciated and exhausted, with tears streaming down her face, she sat
holding her only possessions: A small plastic bag of rags and a crack pipe.

"Don't break it. Please, please don't break it," she begged the officer.

"I want to die right now, so I'm not really here."

Mandy died the next day.

The call her sister had feared for years came at three in the morning.

"When they phoned me, they said she was already brain-dead," Angel said.

She rushed to Mandy's bedside in Vancouver General Hospital. By the time
she arrived, Mandy was dead.

"She was all toe-tagged, body-bagged, ready to go," said Angel, choking on
her tears. "I had to see my sister in a body bag."

Angel wasn't even allowed to kiss her little sister goodbye.

"I couldn't touch her. She was highly infectious.

"She just looked awful."

Mandy died from an infection called bacterial endocarditis, a chronic
condition resulting from intravenous drug use. She died when a blood vessel
ruptured in her brain.

She was also HIV-positive and had hepatitis A, B and C.

Mandy had been addicted to heroin for 31/2 years and was a frequent crack
user.

"I had known for years this would kill her one way or the other," said
Angel. "It tore my life apart, and it killed her."

Angel is not certain exactly when the downward spiral began.

"Mandy was such a happy kid. She had this big smile. She had a good life.
She loved her family."

The Blakemores lived a normal life in a number of small towns, including
Zeballos. Art, her dad, worked in security for a mining company and Pat,
her mom, operated a take-out food business.

But at age 13 Mandy revealed a terrible secret: She told her

parents she had been sexually assaulted by a family acquaintance at age
five.

The family rallied behind her, supporting her when the man was arrested and
charged. But they didn't realize she needed professional counselling.

The case took several years to come to court and, when it finally did, the
man was acquitted.

"Mandy was about 17, and she finally gets her day in court and he was found
not guilty," said Angel. "That just devastated the whole family."

Mandy became pregnant shortly afterward.

She and her boyfriend were delighted and moved in together.

"They both welcomed the baby," said Angel.

"After Mandy got pregnant with the baby, [she and her mother] got really,
really close."

Her mom and dad were there when baby Mark was born. The family revelled in
the baby's first Christmas.

"Mandy was a good mom. Her son meant everything to her."

But there were some family squabbles. Mandy had an argument with her father
and they stopped talking.

And then, on a beautiful day in June five years ago, Mandy's world came
unglued.

"Mom and dad were killed by a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel,"
said Angel.

Mandy was devastated.

Not only did she miss her parents; she blamed herself for not making up
with her dad.

"She felt really guilty that she had not made up with him before he died,"
said Angel.

"She was only 18, and here she was, a young mother with a six-month-old
baby and all these feelings of guilt. And put that on top of losing her
parents."

Mandy increasingly turned to alcohol for solace. And then she began to
dabble in cocaine.

"She never did seek counselling," said Angel.

Mandy's relationship with her common-law husband began to deteriorate.

She went to Port McNeill to inquire about taking courses at the local
college. Instead, she became friendly with people seriously involved with
drugs.

"When her husband came to pick her up, she told him she wasn't going back
with him."

A short time later, Mandy and her son moved to Campbell River to live with
Angel and her new husband.

There were no drugs in the home, but Angel would often babysit so Mandy
could go out.

"Seeing who she was seeing and where she was going, there is no doubt she
was doing cocaine."

Mandy eventually moved into her own apartment with her son, and it was then
that drugs began to take over her life.

"She met friends who were the wrong people," said Angel. She visited a
couple of times and found Mandy holding drug parties while Mark was asleep
in the apartment.

"I told her this was a problem when she started getting into all these
drugs. I said, maybe you should slow down and think about giving Mark to me
and my husband for a little while."

But Mandy did not want to give up Mark -- or the drugs.

Concerned for her infant nephew's safety, Angel called the baby's paternal
grandmother.

"She ended up going and getting interim custody, and Mandy lost Mark," said
Angel.

That was the beginning of the end.

"At that point I believe Mandy started getting very seriously into drugs.
She was doing cocaine very often. She was drinking very often."

She started lap-dancing at a Campbell River bar. It was there she got
involved with a drug gang.

"I believe that is when she was introduced to her first needle. She started
injecting cocaine. Then I believe they introduced her to heroin. She was 20
years old."

The drugs were free until Mandy was hooked, a standard practice for drug
dealers.

"As soon as she was addicted, they said, 'OK, now you are mine and you have
to work for me.'

"She had to prostitute, she had to table-dance, she had to go and sell it
so she could keep up her habit."

Angel first realized her sister was addicted to heroin when she learned
that Mandy had been forced to move into the gang's house to work as a
prostitute.

"It was mandatory. They had a house where they sold their drugs and alcohol
and she was prostituting out of there. Their clients would come by, pick up
their drugs, pick whatever girl they wanted upstairs, do their thing, and
for each john she took there was a fix. It was horrible."

Mandy became a prisoner, denied contact with her sister or anyone else
outside of the house.

From there she was moved to another house -- full of addicts -- to sell
drugs.

Angel realized the full horror of her little sister's lifestyle when Mandy
begged her to come to the house.

"She said, 'Angel, I'm in trouble. I haven't eaten in four days, I don't
have any money and I'm sick.

'I need to get high and they won't give me anything and I don't have any
shoes.'"

Angel paused for a moment to compose herself.

"I had to go down there and bring some shoes. And there she is, barefoot in
the middle of winter and no shoes, no food. I gave her $50. I knew it was
going to go to drugs. But she was sick. She needed something. It was awful."

Angel's attempts to help Mandy get off drugs were rejected.

"I tried to help. I tried many times. I tried talking to her. I tried
disowning her. I tried absolutely everything, and nothing worked.

"It got to the point where every morning she had to do a hit so she
wouldn't be sick.

"You will wake up in the morning with stomach cramps, you won't be able to
eat. You'll have a headache, you'll be vomiting. You'll have diarrhea. You
won't be able to move. You will have body pains, you will be really, really
sick. And in order to get rid of that they need to do a fix."

Mandy drifted to Vancouver, to a hellish life as an addict and prostitute
in the downtown east side.

The sisters lost touch.

But about 18 months ago Mandy called and asked - for the first and only
time - for help in getting off drugs.

"She phoned me and said, 'I can't do this any more. I need help.' I said,
'That's all I need to know. Phone me back tonight. I'm going to phone
around. I am going to see what I can do about getting you into detox or
something.'"

Angel phoned the Campbell River hospital and every detox centre on the
island.

"With a drug addict, the day they decide they want help, you have to act
right away. The next day they might change their mind. I had to get her
into something that day if it was going to work."

There was nothing available.

As much as she loved her sister, Angel knew she couldn't handle a heroin
addict in withdrawal: "I couldn't have her at my home."

Mandy called back that night.

She said, "So, can I come down?"

"I said, 'Mandy, I don't have anywhere to put you. There is nowhere. I
tried.'

"She said, 'Forget it. Nobody wants to help me, then forget it.'"

In April 1997, Mandy visited Angel to collect a $19,000 settlement from
their parents' death.

The sisters went for lunch.

"She couldn't eat her lunch. She had cramps. She had to get high. And then
she was able to eat.

"She had to smoke or inject heroin to go to the bathroom so her bowels
would work. She had to free-base cocaine to go to sleep.

"It was awful having to watch somebody you love deteriorate."

Mandy, loaded with cash, was doing drugs every 20 minutes.

"The $19,000 was gone in two weeks. All on drugs. The only thing she had to
show for it was a pair of shoes."

During the visit, Angel learned her sister was HIV-positive and had
hepatitis B. Fearing that her own family could be infected, Angel told
Mandy she could no longer visit.

"I told her, 'I love you, but I am not going to put my family at risk.'"

That was the last time Angel saw her sister alive.

The last time they spoke was in July. Mandy was in hospital in Vancouver
with a weakened heart, caused by the bacterial infection that a month later
would lead to her death.

"She told me she loved me," said Angel. "I told her I loved her. She said,
'I am sorry for everything.'

"I said, 'Don't be sorry for me. Be sorry for yourself. It's you you're
hurting.'"

Less than a month later Mandy was dead.

"Not only was her life taken, but part of my life was taken," said Angel.

There is just one comfort.

"Mandy is home with me now," she says. "She's on the mantelpiece with mom
and dad."

She manages a smile.

"My husband thinks it's weird. But he's just going to have to get used to
it."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Protecting Children Is Above The Law (A Letter To The Editor
Of 'The Calgary Herald' Suggests That Providing Clean Needles
And 'Shooting Galleries' To Drug Addicts May Seem To Condone
Breaking The Law, But That Should Mean Little To Parents Of Addicts)

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 19:54:31 -0700
Subject: PUBLTE-Protecting children is above the law
From: "Debra Harper" (daystar@shaw.wave.ca)
To: mattalk (mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com)

This was edited by the paper and it doesn't make much sense (I don't think)
without the other paragraghs - but ....

Newshawk: daystar@shaw.wave.ca
Source: Calgary Herald
Pubdate: Sept 27, 1998
Contact:letters@theherald.southam.ca

Protecting children is above the law

Re: "Addict needle plan considered," Calgary Herald, Sept. 21. Mayor Al
Duerr hit the nail on the head when he states "It's a very complicated
issue, it involves the law - Criminal Code - and health care."

Dr. John Gill, chief of infectious diseases for the Calgary Regional Health
Authority says, "an initiative that offers promise in controlling an
epidemic shouldn't be discarded because it's a paradigm buster. The program
is clearly focused on trying to stop the transmittal of blood-borne
pathogens. It's novel, it's innovative and it's being developed in the
apparent failure of existing programs. One doesn't know if it will work, but
let's see. If they get going properly (Vancouver), then maybe we will need
it here."

Insp. Jim Hornby of the Calgary police states, "It's a Catch 22. It's like
setting up brothels for prostitution - we're condoning something that is
against the law. There may be health benefits (from the program), but
injecting heroin is against the law."

Against the law? We are supposed to just accept this law at face value? Dr.
Gill gives us an honest directive. What does Insp. Hornby gives us?

I am one parent who thanks Dr. Gill for his foresight on this issue. I try
to use foresight to raise my children. If my young daughter grows into a
troubled teen and prostitutes herself, maybe I would sleep a little better
knowing she was in a clean, safe environment and not, God forbid, shackled
away in some basement room under a pizza store.

D. L. Harper
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Wrong-Headed Laws Give Drug Lords Power (A Letter To The Editor
Of 'The Toronto Star' Says The Results Of Canada's Recent Prohibition
Of Khat Were Predictable)

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 12:03:24 -0400
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
Subject: PUB LtE: Wrong-headed laws give drug lords power
Newshawk: Dave Haans
Source: The Toronto Star (Canada)
Pubdate: Sunday, Speptember 27, 1998
Page: E5
Section: "Have Your Say"
Website: http://www.thestar.com
Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com

Wrong-headed laws give drug lords power

Re Feeble law hasn't stopped trade in khat (Sept 6).

Farah Jacma writes an interesting and perceptive letter, stating that "many
more (khat) shops are opening and business is flourishing," despite khat
being declared illegal under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

What is happening is something we have seen before in Canada. A relatively
harmless substance (khat is a mild stimulant, used socially in much the
same way as coffee), is prohibited, immediately creating a black market in
its trade. Rather than selling for $7, as Farah Jacma points out, its
price jumps to $70, creating massive profits for anyone, including Somali
warlords, who want to traffic in it.

One only wonders when (there is no if, unfortunately) khat's active
ingredient, cathinone, will be extracted from the khat leaf, smuggled into
Canada, and sold to anyone with a few bucks, children included.

Profits for drug and war lords will increase exponentially and more
insidious versions of the drug will be manufactured (witness crack cocaine).

The government, having completely abdicated its responsibility for the
control of the substance, will be left to pick up the pieces, just like
they now have to do with cocaine and heroin and the prohibition-related
problems revolving around those substances.

Farah Jacma suggests that more enforcement of the law might alleviate the
situation. However, it is clear that the law itself causes the problem in
the first place. Placing drugs in the control of the drug lords hasn't
worked, ever, in any society.

Jacma hits the nail on the head, though, when he suggests that khat might
be regulated and taxed.

This would place the substance once again in the control of the government,
which can do a much more responsible job of controlling it than drug lords.

Dave Haans
Toronto
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Khat Ban Racist, Ignorant (Another Letter To The Editor Of 'The Toronto Star'
Says The Khat Law Was Passed Specifically To Target Somalis And East Africans
In Canada For Criminal Punishment For Continuing A Harmless Cultural
Tradition, And Careful Analysis Of The World Health Organization Report,
'Chewing Khat,' Indicates That Khat Is Far Less Dangerous Than Coffee)

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 12:07:54 -0400
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
Subject: PUB LtE: Khat ban racist, ignorant
Newshawk: Dave Haans
Source: The Toronto Star (Canada)
Pubdate: Sunday, September 27, 1998
Page: E5
Section: "Have Your Say"
Website: http://www.thestar.com
Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com

Khat ban racist, ignorant

Feeble is only one description for the khat ban. How about racist? The khat
law was passed specifically to target Somalis and East Africans in Canada
for criminal punishment for continuing a harmless cultural tradition.

Ignorant is another world for Canadian khat policy, because the effects of
khat are not much different than the effects of the coffee beans to which
so many millions of Canadians are addicted.

Careful analysis of the World Health Organization report, "Chewing Khat,"
reveals that khat produces the same daily use patterns found in caffeine
users and an honest appraisal indicates that khat use is far less dangerous
than coffee.

WHO tries to depict khat use on a par with amphetamine addiction, but the
studies admit "medical problems (associated with khat) are infrequent."
Certainly less common than with coffee, which causes well over 20,000
deaths annually in the U.S. and Canada because of coffee-induced ulcers,
strokes and heart attacks. Coffee is also implicated in cancer and fetal
injury.

Most of the problems WHO blames on khat are far more a reflection of social
conditions in East Africa (i.e. millions starving in Sudan) than the
effects of any drug.

The khat ban is typical of lunatic drug prohibition policies that waste
billions in valuable resources trying to suppress substances that cause
less trouble than it takes to enforce the laws against them.

Robin Givens
Mill Valley, Calif.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Drug Trade Hurts Northern Mexican Indians (An 'Associated Press' Article
In 'The Los Angeles Times' Portrays The Recent Massacre Of 18 People
In Ensenada, Mexico, As Related To The Plight Of Impoverished Indians
In Northern Mexico, Who Are Increasingly Being Snared Into Drug Trafficking
And Falling Victim To Its Violence)

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 10:33:21 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Mexico: Drug Trade Hurts N. Mexican Indians
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998
Author: Adolfo Garza, Associated Press Writer

DRUG TRADE HURTS N. MEXICAN INDIANS

MEXICO CITY--The recent massacre of two families highlights the plight of
impoverished Indians in northern Mexico, who are increasingly being snared
into drug trafficking and falling victim to its violence. The Pacific port
of Ensenada, a popular resort area known for tourism and fishing in Baja
California state, turned abruptly violent on Sept. 17 when 18 people were
gunned down at a ranch. Authorities believe the apparent target of the
massacre was Fermin Castro, a Pai Pai Indian, who survived the attack but
remains in a coma. Castro is believed to head one of a growing number of
small drug-smuggling bands that have popped up in the region after the heat
was turned up on the Tijuana-based Arellano Felix gang and the Juarez
Cartel went into disarray after the death of its leader, Amado Carrillo
Fuentes. Now, much of the drug trade is being managed by smaller groups
operating secretly for the drug cartels.

Impoverished Indians from Baja California and Chihuahua states in northern
Mexico plant marijuana and similar crops and helping smuggle South American
cocaine in small amounts into the United States. Sometimes the Indians
refuse to cooperate, and they're killed or harassed by drug gangs and their
local police accomplices. On Saturday, The New York Times reported from the
Baja California state of Santa Catarina that drug dealers have been forcing
Indians to sell lands -or at least cooperate -in setting up clandestine
airports for drug trafficking. The Time said that the drug trafficking "has
resulted in a string of killings in the Indian communities," including the
town where Castro was gunned down. Local authorities say Ensenada, which
hugs the Pacific coast about 50 miles south of the U.S. border, is
well-suited for the drug trade. "Sometimes they come up through the (Gulf
of Mexico) and ship over dirt roads to the Pacific, or from the Pacific to
the Gulf. They land drugs in planes.

They stand offshore in ships and small boats bring the drugs into shore,"
Gen. Jose Luis Chavez said last week. The Mexico City daily, La Jornada,
reported Saturday that indigenous people of the Batopilas area in the
northern state of Chihuahua have been pushed into the drug trade. The daily
quoted a Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Francisco Chavez, the head of a
local human rights organization, as saying that local authorities have
profited from inducing the local Indians into growing drugs. Zeta, a
Tijuana magazine, reported this week that indigenous communities in Baja
California have asked Gov. Hector Teran to stop abuses by local police in
Maneadero, a coastal town just south of Ensenada.

Copyright 1998 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Indians Said To Be Hurt By Expanding Drug Trade In Northern Mexico
(A Different 'Associated Press' Version In 'The Santa Maria Times')

Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 12:33:44 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Mexico: Indians Said To Be Hurt
By Expanding Drug Trade In
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison
Source: Santa Maria Times (CA)
Page: A-8
Contact: FAX: 1-805-928-5657
Mail: Santa Maria Times, 3200 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93456-0400
Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998
Author: Adolfo Garza, Associated Press Writer

INDIANS SAID TO BE HURT BY EXPANDING DRUG TRADE IN NORTHERN MEXICO

MEXICO CITY - The plight of indigenous peoples in northern Mexico, where
authorities have been largely incapable of stemming the swelling drug
trade, became apparent after a recent massacre of two families near the
Pacific port of Ensenada.

Fermin Castro, a Pai Pai Indian, was the target of the Sept. 17 attack, in
which 18 men, women and children were gunned down at a ranch near Ensenada,
a popular resort city in Baja California state 50 miles south of the U.S.
Border.

Authorities believe Castro headed one of a growing number of small
independent smuggling bands that popped up in the long-sought organization
of the Arellano Felix brothers were forced to adopt a lower profile.

Members of the Pai Pai and other Indian groups are believed to have become
involved in the drug-trade due to lack of economic opportunity, local
residents say.

Local authorities say Ensenada's geography is well suited for drug-trafficking.

"This is an efficient corridor. Sometimes they come up through the Gulf and
ship over dirt roads to the Pacific, or from the Pacific to the Gulf. They
land drugs in planes. They stand offshore in ships and small boats bring
the drugs into shore," Gen. Jose Luis Chavez, the state representative of
the Attorney General's Office, said in an interview last week.

Castro, who was shot in the head and remains in a coma, was born in the Pai
Pai Indian community of Santa Catrina, in the Trinidad Valley southeast of
Ensenada, according to the respected Tijuana weekly newsmagazine Zeta.

In its this week's edition, Zeta reported other indigenous communities in
Baja California state are asking Gov. Hector Teran to stop abuses by local
police in Maneadero, a coastal town just south of Ensenada.

Bernardino Julian Santiago, the local representative of an indigenous
organization that represents migrants from the southern state of Oaxaca,
said some police officers are supplying clandestine drug houses, known as
"picaderos."

In a letter to Teran sent earlier this month, Julian said his people were
tired of reporting police abuses to the Attorney General's Office, and
would take justice onto their own hands if the governor did not intervene.

Teran was unavailable for comment Saturday.

In a Saturday article, the Mexico City daily La Jornada said the indigenous
people of the Batopilas area in the northern state of Chihuahua have been
pushed to become involved in the drug trade.

The daily quoted a Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Francisco Chavez, the
head of a local human rights organization, as saying that local authorities
have profited from inducing the local Indians into growing drugs.

Chihuahua's indigenous population, which includes Tarahumara, Tepehuanes
and Raramuri Indians, is estimated at around 60,000.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Drug Cartels Ravage Indian Villages ('The New York Times' Version
In 'The Chicago Tribune')

From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (when@olywa.net)
To: "-News" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: CARTELS RAVAGE INDIAN VILLAGES
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 18:28:09 -0700
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net
Source: Chicago Tribune
New York Times News Service
Pubdate: Sunday, September 27, 1998
Online: http://chicagotribune.com
Writer: No byline
Newshawk: ccross@november.org

DRUG CARTELS RAVAGE INDIAN VILLAGES

TRAFFICKERS TAKING LAND IN BAJA CALIFORNIA FOR CULTIVATING NARCOTICS

SANTA CATARINA, Mexico After five centuries of killing and pestilence
that began with the Spanish conquest, only a few hundred of Baja
California's indigenous people are left. Now, they are being hunted down
and killed by drug traffickers.

The violence began two years ago when the leader of an indigenous
village that resisted traffickers' efforts to take over communal lands
for drug cultivation was gunned down, along with another Indian, in an
ambush along a rural road.

While some have resisted, other Indians have been seduced by the quick
fortunes that can reward those who manage desert airstrips or offer
other services to the drug cartels. That has resulted in a string of
killings in the Indian communities that cling to the arid hills 60 miles
south of the California border.

The violence took on new dimensions recently when two entire families of
Indians from the Pai-Pai ethnic group, along with a household of
neighbors, were dragged from their homes and shot to death in a driveway
in Ensenada, a coastal city to which some Indians have migrated.

It was Mexico's worst incident of drug-related bloodshed in memory.

"We're not many Pai-Pai, and this has devastated our community," said
Armando Gonzalez, the commissioner of communal lands in Santa Catarina,
waving across the horizon of wooden huts and cactus that make up this
desert hamlet where seven of the massacre victims were buried Sept. 20.
"For us, there's never been anything so calamitous."

Few institutions or communities in Mexico are being spared the effects
of the multibillion-dollar drug industry, and even the most remote
indigenous communities are no exception.

"The traffickers are taking advantage of the traditional conflicts that
have plagued these communities, and that is undermining the fragile
sense of cohesion that exists," said Everardo Garduno Ruiz, a graduate
student at Arizona State University who wrote a book about Baja
California's indigenous communities.

The Jesuit missionaries who explored Baja California in the 16th Century
estimated the native population at 50,000.
The Catholic Church persecuted the Pai-Pai and speakers of four other
indigenous languages, labeling their traditional healers as pagans. The
Indians resisted all efforts to transform them into sedentary farmers
until the 1930s, when the government finally forced them onto communal
lands. Today, only about 1,000 Baja California natives are left, Garduno
said.

San Isidoro, a Pai-Pai village 30 miles southeast of Santa Catarina, has
nearly disappeared since 1987, when the government loosened restrictions
on the sale of communal properties and traffickers and their
representatives began to buy the Pai-Pai's lands. Many of San Isidoro's
Pai-Pai have moved into the nearby Valle de Trinidad.

Nonetheless, in 1996 San Isidoro still had Marcelino Murillo Alvarez, a
Pai speaker, as its community land commissioner. After the army found
marijuana plantations around the village that year, Murillo told the
authorities that he was willing to sign a document swearing that he and
other Pai-Pai were uninvolved in the drug cultivation, Murillo's brother
Federico said in an interview.

Weeks later, on May 29, 1996, gunmen blocked Marcelino's car and shot
him to death along with a passenger, Federico said.

On May 18 of this year, there was a killing near Valle de Trinidad.
Ramon Valenzuela, the president of the vigilance council of another,
smaller group of indigenous people known as the Kiliwa, was gunned down
along a farm road. A Valle de Trinidad police official, Roberto
Gonzalez, said none of the murders had been solved.

The killings of the Indians near Trinidad have attracted renewed
attention since the drug-related massacre of 18 men, women and children
on Sept. 17 near Ensenada. Police said after that crime that the target
had been Fermin Castro, 38, a Pai-Pai from Santa Catarina who was shot
during the attack and is in a coma. He grew wealthy in the last decade,
ostensibly as the owner of a rodeo production company. Police said
Castro had headed a small trafficking organization.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

The Drug Crisis Isn't Just In Mexico (An Op-Ed In 'The Los Angeles Times'
By Jesus Blancornelas, Editor Of The Weekly Mexican Newspaper, 'Zeta,'
Says Those Who Sell Illegal Drugs In Mexico Are Named And Covered
In The Mexican Mass Media, While The American Mass Media Lets Those
Who Sell Illegal Drugs In The United States Remain Anonymous)

Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 19:27:32 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: The Drug Crisis Isn't Just In Mexico
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John W. Black
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www. latimes. com/
Pubdate: 27 Sep 1998
Author:J. Jesus Blancornelas-J.
Note: Jesus Blancornelas is the editor of the weekly Zeta. Less than one
year ago, he suffered an attempt on his life that left his bodyguard dead
and Blancornelas with several bullet wounds.

THE DRUG CRISIS ISN'T JUST IN MEXICO

Baja's traffickers are well-known, but their peers in California are
invisible; why does the press ignore them?

From Crescent City to San Ysidro, Californians have had preferential
seating to watch the murder and drug trafficking thrillers being played out
in Tijuana and Ensenada. But what the people from California don't know,
and maybe cannot even imagine, is that seated next to them may be some of
the criminals whose job it is to come down to Baja California to execute
people.

A few days ago at a gathering with journalists in San Diego, I commented
that we all seem to know every single detail on the lives of Mexican drug
traffickers, yet no American or Mexican newspapers are publishing anything
about the American criminals who control drug trafficking in America. Not
even one name.

As far as I can tell, those who traffic in drugs in California are neither
angels nor ghosts. They are real people who distribute pot, cocaine,
heroin and crystal methamphetamines in California, somehow without being
bothered. They are achieving "the American dream" of success.

But they are poisoning youths and adults and, in many cases, driving them
to a premature deaths. They are making young people turn to a life of
vice, only to then be used to commit crimes and robberies. They are hurting
society. Yet the cops don't arrest them and the journalists don't report
about them with the same zeal with which they report on Mexican drug lords.

American journalists seem to know everything there is to know, and then
some, about south-of-the-border thugs like Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo,
Juan Garcia Abrego, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, Ernesto "Don Neto" Fonseca,
Jose Contreras Subias, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, Javier Munoz Talavera,
Hector "El Guero" Palma, Angel Esparragoza and the Arellano Felix brothers.
But I never see the names of American drug lords in any of their
newspapers. It would seem that by the time the vehicles loaded with drugs
cross the Mexican border into the United States, they become invisible,
thus untouchable. Not to mention what seems to be a pretty obvious
conclusion: As long as Americans demand drugs, there will be a supply from
Mexico. But that's not all.

Most Californians are not aware of the existence of an informal army of
American youngsters who cross the border at Tijuana or other parts of
Mexico on orders to kill. Sometimes they make their living.

I know this firsthand because one of them died last Thanksgiving trying to
kill me. Instead, he and his four companions, who were from San Diego,
ended up killing my bodyguard, Luis Valero Elizalde, with their machine
guns. While one died of a gunshot from his gang, the other four, who
escaped after the shooting, have been identified but not captured; they are
believed to be in the United States. They wanted to kill me to stop me
from writing about drug trafficking in my newspaper.

The border crossings of these hired guns is a good example of why what is
happening in Baja should not be only the concern of the people in Baja.
This is a binational army of killers working in both Mexico and America,
and it will take a binational effort to control it.

The Sept. 17 execution-style massacre in Ensenada of 18 people in what was
believed to be a drug-related incident is still fresh in the collective
memory of people in both Californias. This mass murder of two families,
including babies, goes beyond the norm even for the drug criminals. The
unwritten law that governs the behavior of the drug lords is to kill the
enemy, the person who is making one's life uncomfortable. So they usually
kill their enemies, not their enemies' families.

It can't be denied that some of the victims of the Ensenada massacre were
dealing drugs, but the way they were victimized is an extreme type of
revenge. If it was indeed drug-connected, both Mexicans and Americans
should be concerned because we would be witnessing a chilling escalation on
the business of drug-related executions.

During the recent long Labor Day weekend, thousands of Californians came
south and did not kill or attack anybody. They came to have fun and enjoy
a nice weekend with their families. That's the way it ought to be.

In Baja, we are not agonizing. We are going through a crisis we must
solve. But we should also remember that in this crisis the people from
California also play an important part.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Coca Is Among Drink's 'Real Thing' Ingredients ('The Houston Chronicle'
Notes The Coca-Cola Company Still Uses Coca Leaf Mulch To Flavor
The World's Number One Soft Drink, And Purchases About 200 Metric Tons
Of Coca Leaves Annually In Bolivia For Its Secret Formula)
Link to Coca-Cola
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 12:33:33 -0700 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: Bolivia: Coca Is Among Drink's 'Real Thing' Ingredients Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Contact: viewpoints@chron.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 COCA IS AMONG DRINK'S 'REAL THING' INGREDIENTS CHIPIRIRI, Bolivia -- As he sipped Coca-Cola from a plastic glass at the coca market in this jungle village, Marcelo Jancko proudly pointed out that he plays a small role in the making of the world's No. 1 soft drink. A coca farmer, Jancko sells some of his crop to an export company that ships the leaves to the United States. There, a pharmaceutical firm removes the cocaine alkaloid and sends the mulch to Coca-Cola as flavoring, a State Department official said. "Sometimes they buy everything in the market," Jancko said. In the nearby town of Sacaba, Bolivian Army Col. Gaston Orellana said that buyers for Coca-Cola had recently stopped by the local coca market. He pulled out a shipping document for 22,000 kilograms of coca leaves stamped with a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seal. Because coca is on the U.N. list of dangerous substances, it can only be exported in small quantities. "It's all very closely supervised," said Francisco Alvarez, head of the U.S. State Department's Narcotics Affairs Section in Bolivia. He estimated that Coca-Cola buys about 200 metric tons of coca leaves annually for its formula. A spokesman at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta declined to comment on the soft drink's secret formula. Today, many soft drinks are laced with caffeine. But a century ago, the promise of a lift from the small traces of cocaine found in coca-based beverages was their main appeal. Coca-Cola was invented in 1864. A turn-of-the-century ad boasted: "Tired? Then drink Coca-Cola. It relieves exhaustion." In 1914, cocaine alkaloid was removed from the coca leaves used in Coke's formula after a fierce campaign by Harvey Wiley, a Protestant minister, according to Jorge Hurtado, who runs the Coca Museum in La Paz. Wiley's drive led to the prohibition of cocaine in the United States. Although Bolivia produces far more coca than Coca-Cola requires, peasant farmers still find it a bit odd to see U.S.-funded eradication teams chopping down acres of coca. Coca-Cola "is a huge company that uses (coca), and now they are trying to wipe it out," said Maximo Olivera, a coca farmer in Chipiriri. -- JOHN OTIS
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Products From Coca Leaf Are Tough Sell ('The Houston Chronicle'
Says That At A Time When US-Backed Eradication Teams Are Bent On Wiping Out
Coca Crops In South America, A Handful Of Activists Is Trying To Promote
The Healthful Properties Of Coca And Convince The World That Coca
Is Not Cocaine)

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 20:28:39 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Bolivia: Products From Coca Leaf Are Tough Sell
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/
Author: John Otis

PRODUCTS FROM COCA LEAF ARE TOUGH SELL

Bolivians Push Healthful Use Of Blacklisted Plant

Special to the Chronicle COCHABAMBA, Bolivia -- Eguil
Paz, a devoted evangelical Protestant and a retired army officer,
hasn't sniffed cocaine in his strait-laced life.

Yet he is one of Bolivia's most ardent defenders of coca, the tropical
plant and source of one of the world's most destructive drugs. Paz is
the founder of Coincoca, a small factory run out of his daughter's
house that makes tea, holistic medicines, ointments and toothpaste out
of coca leaves.

At a time when U.S.-backed eradication teams are bent on wiping out
coca crops in South America, Paz is one of a handful of activists
trying to promote the healthful properties of coca and convince the
world that coca is not cocaine.

"If people would use coca as coca, it would be very beneficial," Paz
said in an interview at the Coincoca plant in the Bolivian city of
Cochabamba. Demonizing the leaf "is like condemning sugar cane because
it's used to make alcohol, or iron because it's turned into tanks and
weapons of war."

Cocaine, the narcotic alkaloid extracted from the coca leaf with the
help of several chemicals, was invented by Europeans in the late 1800s
and lauded by Sigmund Freud in his influential article "Uber Coca."

But domestication and use of the coca leaf in its natural state dates
back to about 2500 BC. It was one of the first cultivated crops in
South America and was viewed by Indians as a gift from the Sun God.

When chewed, the leaves act as a mild stimulant and ward off hunger
and thirst. Although they were first repulsed by the practice, Spanish
conquistadors in South America eventually endorsed coca because it
allowed Indian slaves to work longer hours in silver and gold mines.

"Forced labor in the mines was founded on the practice of chewing coca
leaves," said Jorge Hurtado, a psychologist who has opened a coca
museum in the Bolivian capital of La Paz, and has an Internet Web site
dedicated to the plant.

Coca leaves are high in calcium and vitamins and facilitate the
oxygenation of the blood, which is why coca tea can help offset
altitude sickness and is often served to tourists in the Bolivian highlands.

Hurtado is also experimenting with the leaves as a way to wean addicts
off cocaine, similar to the way methadone helps heroin addicts. In
neighboring Peru, the National Coca Enterprise, a state-run agency, is
investigating ways to sell legal coca products and has produced videos
and books aimed at changing public attitudes toward the plant.

Today, Indians, students, miners and truck drivers all chew coca.
Indians use the leaves in religious ceremonies. The Bolivian
government allows legal cultivation of about 30,000 acres of coca for
internal consumption, and large bags of the leaves are sold at
open-air markets.

Cuban President Fidel Castro, Queen Sofia of Spai and former Spanish
President Felipe Gonzalez chewed coca leaves during state visits to
Bolivia. Coca tea is served at embassies in La Paz and sold at airport
duty-free shops.

But efforts to promote coca leaf products -- which could provide an
alternative market for coca farmers who usually sell to drug dealers
-- have been waylaid by misconceptions and the U.S.-sponsored war on
drugs in South America.

In Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, U.S.-backed police and soldiers are
attempting to chop down or fumigate thousands of acres of coca. Yet
peasant farmers are sowing new fields just as fast.

This refusal to differentiate between the plant and the drug was
sanctioned by the United Nations.

Coca leaves contain just 0.5 percent of the alkaloid cocaine, and
there is no evidence that they are addictive. But after heavy U.S.
lobbying at the 1961 U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the
world body placed coca on its Schedule One, the list of the most
dangerous and restricted substances.

As an officially blacklisted plant, the leaves and natural coca-leaf
products cannot be exported, except for a small amount used in the
flavoring of Coca-Cola.

When former President Jaime Paz Zamora tried to bring coca leaves to
Seville, Spain, to promote coca products at Expo '92, the shipment was
impounded by customs agents.

Carlos Prado, an Indian healer in Cochabamba said restrictions are so
tight that he was unable to bring 20 coca leaves with him to a recent
conference of holistic doctors in Mexico.

Even coca tea has been controversial because it contains traces of
cocaine. During World Cup soccer qualifying matches in Bolivia in
1993, two players failed drug tests and were suspended until
investigators concluded that they had been sipping coca tea.

"There is a mix of mystery and prejudice that surrounds coca," said
Marcelo Ferofino, general manager of Hansa Ltd., a La Paz firm that
wants to export coca tea to Asia, Europe and the United States.

"Many people think that drinking a cup of coca tea will automatically
make you high," he said. "Some will try to put 10 tea bags in a cup,
but nothing will happen."

This lust for narcotic pleasure and the resulting demand for cocaine
and crack in the world's industrial democracies has tainted the image
of what should be a respected and valued plant, said Andrew Weil,
holistic physician and author.

"What is clear is that our civilization's failure to understand the
sacred leaf of South American Indians, how to respect it and use it
wisely, has cost us dearly," Weil wrote in a 1995 essay in The New
Yorker magazine.

As a result, the market for coca tea and coca-based ointments and
syrups -- which are sold as digestive aids, laxatives and as
treatments for rheumatism and hemorrhoids -- is limited. There is
little official support for the industry at home and exports are banned.

A U.S. lawyer, who travels frequently to Bolivia, said that if
alternative coca products caught on, farmers at the bottom rung of the
drug trade could earn just as much by selling their leaves to
legitimate buyers.

"If coca wasn't used in cocaine," she said, "it would be seen as a
completely acceptable herb that's probably better for the body than
coffee."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Attacking Roots Of Cocaine Yields A Bitter Bolivia ('The Houston Chronicle'
Says That Since The Bolivian Military Began A Program Of Forced Eradication
Of Coca In April, Such Scorched-Earth Tactics Have Provoked Violent Protests
In Normally Peaceful Bolivia, And More Than A Dozen People Have Been Killed
In Clashes With Police And Soldiers, According To Human Rights Groups)

From: adbryan@ONRAMP.NET
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 10:33:42 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: ART: Attacking roots of cocaine yields a bitter Bolivia
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

9-27-98
Houston Chronicle
http://www.chron.com
viewpoints@chron.com

***

Attacking roots of cocaine yields a bitter Bolivia

By JOHN OTIS
Copyright 1998 Special to the Chronicle

HAPARE JUNGLE, Bolivia -- When he was Bolivia's military dictator in the
1970s, Gen. Hugo Banzer relied on the army to keep tabs on political
enemies and to prop up his regime.

Today, as Bolivia's democratically elected president, Banzer has a new
mission for the army. He has ordered troops to keep tabs on coca farmers
and destroy every illegal coca plantation in the nation within five
years.

Roughly one-third of the world's cocaine is made from coca leaves grown
in the Chapare jungle in central Bolivia. Under pressure from Washington
to get tough on drugs, Banzer adopted a "no tolerance" policy and has
sent squads of machete-wielding soldiers into the jungle.

U.S. officials say that after a decade of failures and false starts,
Bolivia has at last joined the drug war in earnest.

"There's just an incredible amount of commitment by this government,"
said a State Department official. "They realize that being No. 2 in the
world in the production of cocaine is nothing to be proud of." Colombia
is No. 1.

But such scorched-earth tactics have provoked violent protests in
normally peaceful Bolivia. Since forced eradication began in April, more
than a dozen people have been killed in clashes with police and
soldiers, according to human rights groups.

"It's been proven time and time again that the militarization of such
areas is only going to lead to an increase in human rights abuses and
that the actual amount of land under coca cultivation is not going to
decrease," said Winifred Tate, a research associate at the Washington
Office on Latin America, a private organization that monitors human
rights and democratic change in the region.

Some of the resistance to forced eradication stems from coca's unique
place in Bolivian culture.

Quechua and Aymara Indians have chewed the leaves for centuries to
relieve hunger pangs. Coca tea is a popular drink and recommended as an
antidote for altitude sickness. About 30,000 acres of coca are legally
grown in the Yungas region of northern Bolivia to supply this local
demand.

But coca is also a matter of survival for thousands of impoverished
families. Landlocked Bolivia, which is three times the size of Montana,
is the poorest nation in South America. Annual per capita income in some
rural areas is less than $200, according to U.N. statistics.

Since the mid-1980s, when low prices led to a collapse of Bolivia's tin
production, thousands of out-of-work miners from the Andean highlands
migrated to the Chapare jungle to grow coca. U.S. officials claim that
nearly all of the Chapare coca is sold to traffickers, who export
cocaine to the United States and Europe.

Bolivia at first tried voluntary eradication programs that paid farmers
about $1,000 per acre to switch from coca to alternative crops. But
growers often pocketed the money and planted new coca fields.

"We tried for 10 years to convince the peasants, but you can't," said
Lt. Col. Teovaldo Cardozo, as he watched about 160 soldiers lay waste to
a coca plantation in the Chapare last week. "Voluntarily, the peasant
won't change his coca for anything."

Now many are being forced to give up their coca at gunpoint.

Banzer, who took office last year, unveiled what he called the "Dignity
Plan" to wipe out coca by the end of his term in 2002.

The program is backed by about $50 million in U.S. counter-narcotics aid
this year. U.S. involvement is so obvious that a Bolivian army officer
asked permission from a U.S. adviser before taking reporters along on a
helicopter tour of eradication sites.

Few analysts believe that Banzer's goals can be met. But given his
authoritarian past, they are not surprised by his approach. Banzer first
took power in a 1971 military coup. He ruled Bolivia for seven years
and, at one point, outlawed political parties and trade unions.

"It's the same method that was used during the general's dictatorship,"
said Alex Contreras, who covers the drug beat for Los Tiempos, a
newspaper in the central city of Cochabamba. "You use force to solve
your problems."

Others say the plan is directly related to U.S. pressure. Each year, the
State Department requires that Bolivia and other countries show progress
in the war on drugs in order to avert economic sanctions.

"The fundamental reason they want to get rid of the coca is because the
U.S. is leaning hard on them," said Jamie Fellner, a Bolivia expert at
Human Rights Watch in New York.

Today, about 1,800 soldiers plus 1,200 police officers have turned parts
of the Chapare jungle into a military zone. Since April, they have razed
17,000 acres of coca.

Bolivian politicians had long resisted the idea of army involvement in
the drug war, fearing that officers would be corrupted.

The most high-profile example was Gen. Luis Garcia Meza, who took power
in 1980 in what became known as the "cocaine coup" due to his ties to
narco-traffickers. Garcia Meza is now serving a 30-year sentence in a
Bolivian jail.

"In the early 1980s, the army had an active role (in the war on drugs)
and the corruption was just rampant," said one U.S. official. "Garcia
Meza did quite a bit to sell that image."

Until this year, eradication efforts were delegated to the police. But
Bolivian soldiers are better equipped and more intimidating. After
troops broke up roadblocks manned by coca growers in the Chapare in
April, they were ordered to begin eradication operations.

"The drug fight should not rely on just one sector. You need all of the
country's forces involved," said Gen. Walter Cespedes, commander of the
army's 7th Brigade, which is overseeing the effort.

Banzer's "Dignity Plan" includes carrots as well as sticks.

The government will relocate hundreds of families to farming areas
outside the Chapare and will target more money for crop substitution,
packing plants, roads and other infrastructure.

"Any family that really wants to support itself through alternative crop
production can do it in the Chapare," said an official with the U.S.
Agency for International Development in La Paz, the Bolivian capital.
"The farmers are now coming to us, pleading to get involved. We no
longer have to do any promoting."

Foreign and local companies have invested more than $19 million in the
Chapare this year alone. One investor is building a $5 million country
club with an 18-hole golf course.

Despite such progress, the Chapare's coca crop has remained steady for
the past six years at about 100,000 acres, according to U.S. estimates.

Part of the problem is that the soil in much of the Chapare is too thin
to grow anything else. Coca sprouts like weeds and can be harvested up
to three times a year. As the eradication brigades move forward, coca
farmers have pushed deeper into the jungle and have recently invaded
national parks.

"They don't see themselves as part of the narcotics business. They see
themselves as farming a valuable and useful product. They want to sell
it, and they think it's outrageous that it's being eradicated," Fellner
said.

Meanwhile, there has been a sharp increase in reports of human rights
abuses by Bolivian troops. Peasants have been tear-gassed and beaten by
soldiers. Several policemen and about a dozen peasants have been killed,
according to Lee Cridland, of the Andean Information Network, an
independent group that monitors U.S. policy toward Bolivia.

"For Bolivia, the violence this year has been incredible," Cridland
said.

In response, hundreds of coca growers marched 400 miles from the Chapare
to La Paz last month to demand a military withdrawal and the end of
forced eradication. But the government called it a "narco march" and
refused to meet with the protesters.

Saying that Bolivians are "not a violent people," the State Department
official played down the violence and said that many of the reported
deaths were "unconfirmed."

Another U.S. official claimed that most Bolivians no longer view the
coca growers as victims and that last month's march to La Paz was much
smaller than earlier protests.

"The current government is in a position where they can be a lot tougher
because they have public opinion on their side," he said.

John Otis is a free-lance journalist based in Bogota, Colombia.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Cannabis Campaign - A Year That Changed Minds (Britain's
'Independent On Sunday' Marks The First Anniversary Of Its Campaign
To Decriminalise Cannabis With An Update On Medical Cannabis Research
By The American Firm HortaPharm Carried Out For Britain's GW Pharmaceuticals,
Observing That It Is The Case For Legalising The Medical Use Of The Drug
Which Has Gained The Most Ground In The Past 12 Months)

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 19:51:37 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Cannabis Campaign: A Year That Changed Minds
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/
Author: Vanessa Thorpe

CANNABIS CAMPAIGN: A YEAR THAT CHANGED MINDS

The medical benefits of the drug are now widely accepted. Vanessa Thorpe
meets the research team developing a plant that could transform lives

NOT EVERY Dutch greenhouse the aeroplanes fly over on the descent to the
runway at Schipol airport is full of tulip bulbs. One cluster of glass
outhouses, in particular, contains a very different crop.

At a secret location between the airport and the city of Amsterdam a small
team of highly motivated scientists is working on the world's first patented
cannabis plant product. So far, their chief and only customer is a British
doctor.

Slide back the door to one of HortaPharm's large greenhouses and the smell
is overwhelming. Rows of cannabis plants of different types and sizes
stretch out into the middle distance. But, contrary to appearances, this
research farm is no paradise for the pleasure-seeking puffer.

"It looks like dope, but really it's hope," explains the proprietor,
American entrepreneur David Watson. What he means is that many of these
plants have been specifically bred not to produce an intoxicating resin or
hashish. Indeed, HortaPharm hopes to thwart the aims of the average
recreational user.

The team are already close to finding their own commercial Holy Grail -
seeds that will produce a one-off, female, seedless crop of plants with no
psychotropic effects (or THC highs, to the layman) for the consumer. Why,
you might ask, would they want to do that?

The answer is that Mr Watson and his Amsterdam-based scientists are working
to create a stable, plant-based medical product. They want to isolate the
beneficial effects of cannabis' various properties and then reproduce them,
ad infinitum, from specialised parent plants.

Mr Watson and his Dutch colleague, biochemist Etienne de Meijer, are
confident that by using their own exclusive cross-breeding methods, they can
develop healthy plants which will combine only the desired chemical make-up
of individual medicines.

There will be no generational deterioration and no genetic difference
between each plant because they will be bred from themselves: they will be
cloned. "You can clone a plant 10 times," explains Mr de Meijer, "and every
time it will be exactly the same."

Mr de Meijer has developed his own technique of "self-progeny" - or
"selfing" - where he turns half of one female plant temporarily into a male.
Fertilising a plant with itself in this way means the same genetic make-up
can be reproduced.

"I can make 20,000 clones with 'selfed' parents in two weeks," he says.
"Humans may degenerate from inbreeding, but these plants do not. I'm sure I
am the first person to apply this method of inbreeding to cannabis and I
found the selfing process was amazingly simple."

But the unique research has no market in Holland. "Because the sale of the
drug is tolerated in coffee shops, there is no interest - though people
don't really know what they are buying," says Mr Watson.

As a result, the seeds that HortaPharm is producing are passed straight on
to Britain to take their place in the soil at the ground-breaking facility
set up this summer by Dr Geoffrey Guy in south-east England. "We hooked up
with Dr Guy in January and right now all we are doing is providing the basic
building blocks for his work," says Mr Watson. "We were rather surprised
that it would happen in England first."

HortaPharm's sample plants are analysed in the laboratory with a gas
chromatographer and with each new batch the team homes in on the plant's
distinct chemical components or cannabinoids - THC, CBD, CBC, CBG and THCV.
When Dr Guy completes his medical research in Britain, HortaPharm will breed
plants to supply the right combination of active ingredients for his
treatments. "Once Dr Guy has worked out what he wants in chemical form, we
will find him the right physical characteristics, too, by combining
desirable features from plants found around the world - high-resin
production and resistance to disease," says Mr de Meijer.

HortaPharm is only interested in developing female plants that are sterile,
but this is not just to protect their genetic copyright. "If a plant is not
kept busy producing seeds, all its energy can go into resin production,"
says Mr de Miejer.

Sitting at his computer screen in Amsterdam, Mr Watson can keep an eye on
the perimeter fence at Dr Guy's British farm via the internet. "The security
he has there is amazing," says Mr Watson, who flew out to plant the first
seeds there two months ago.

In June, Dr Guy's company, G W Pharmaceuticals, secured the first British
licence to grow the plant for medical purposes. By arrangement with the Home
Office, the doctor can farm cannabis plants and investigate their properties
with a view to marketing a cheap herbal-based answer to the debilitating
symptoms of MS, Glaucoma, Parkinson's, cancer, asthma and AIDS.

A year ago today the Independent on Sunday launched its campaign to
decriminalise cannabis, attracting tremendous public attention. Five months
later, the IoS held a march, attended by more than 16,000 people, and
organised an influential Westminster Conference to look at drugs
legislation. Yesterday, hundreds of campaigners met again in Hyde Park to
demonstrate their continuing concerns.

But it is the case for legalising the medical use of the drug which has
gained most ground in the past 12 months. Key markers of this shift in
public perspective were the positive outcome of the British Medical
Association's report in November last year and the House of Lords' select
committee decision to investigate the question. The committee has yet to
publish its conclusions.

This week, even more powerful evidence of the useful properties of cannabis
was revealed in the work of the research team working under Dr Ian Meng at
the University of California. Researching on rats, Dr Meng has found the
brain stem circuit which is involved in the pain-suppressing activities of
morphine, but which is also activated by the consumption of cannabinoids.
"The medical arguments are really gaining ground," says Dr Meng. "There is
some proof now that the drug can help people."

Dr Guy also believes scientifically verifiable research is the only way
forward. Although he is looking at anecdotal patient evidence, he knows that
outside the laboratory it is impossible to establish exactly which
cannabinoids are effective.

Mr Watson of HortaPharm makes the same point: "Domestic users can make a
contribution, but they don't know the profile of the plant they are treating
themselves with. The average hashish in a coffee-shop product is 5 per cent
THC. We can already make it 30 per cent. So, what are they doing to it?" He
believes the bright future of the drug is contained in the greenhouses of
HortaPharm and GW Pharmaceuticals.

At his Amsterdam glasshouses, he nods conspiratorially at the
healthy-looking garden produce. "Don't say anything yet, but we are also
working on putting THC into tomatoes," he confides. Then he cackles
reassuringly: "Only kidding!"

e-mail your comments to cannabis@independent.co.uk
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Cannabis Campaign Goes Worldwide (A British List Subscriber
Says A Coalition Of Cannabis Campaigners Meeting In Brixton, London,
Has Picked Saturday May 1, 1999, As The Date For Next Spring's
Cannabis Campaign March In London)

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 23:02:51 -0400
From: ARON KAY (pieman@pieman.org)
Reply-To: pieman@pieman.org
Organization: WHAT A LONG STRANGE TRIP IT'S BEEN!
Newsgroups: alt.hemp,alt.drugs.pot,alt.politics.greens,rec.drugs.cannabis
Subject: Cannabis Campaign Goes Worldwide
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" 

May Day 1999
International Coalition to Legalise Cannabis

Cannabis Campaign goes Worldwide

A coalition of Cannabis campaigners meeting on the night of September 26,
in Brixton, London, has picked Saturday May 1st, 1999 as the date for next
spring's Cannabis Campaign march in London.

They plan a repeat of the highly successful 'Independent on Sunday' march
which occurred March 28, 1998. The big difference will be that it will not
be sponsored primarily by the 'Independent on Sunday', but by a broad
coalition of pro Cannabis forces.

May 1st was picked because it is a Saturday and because simultaneous
actions have already been confirmed in New York, Atlanta, Chicago and San
Francisco. Confirmation from campaigning organisations in Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa, and several European countries are expected soon.

The educational thrust of the next 7 months campaigning will be:

1. Dissemination of new findings about the anti-stroke effect of Cannabis
which show that it is not physically addictive and may in fact be anti
addictive if used in moderation.

2. The Human Rights issues involved in the imprisonment of people all
over the world for the possession of a herb, often for medical purposes.

3. The social, ecological, and political effects of the world wide
prohibition of Cannabis Hemp which denies the benefits of its valuable
medical and industrial uses to literally billions of people worldwide.

An international office has been established:

PO Box 2243, London, W1A 1YF, UK.
Voice: 0171 637 7467.
Mobile: 0956 385965.
E Mail: mayday @ schmoo.co.uk

***

ARON KAY......http://www.pieman.org
http://www.calyx.net/~pieman
http://yippie.freeservers.com
IGNORANCE IS THE OPIATE OF THE MASSES
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Police Corruption In UK 'At Third World Levels' (Britain's 'Telegraph'
Says It Has Obtained The Confidential Minutes Of A Meeting
Organised By The National Criminal Intelligence Service, Which Says
A Key Cause Of Rampant Police Corruption Is The Growth
Of The International Drugs Trade And The Massive Amounts Of Money
Available To Criminals To Offer As Bribes)

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 10:26:30 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Police Corruption in UK 'at Third World Levels'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: mistyron@bigfoot.com (Misty) and Martin Cooke
(mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Source: Telegraph, The (UK)
Contact: et.letters@telegraph.co.uk
Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998
Author: Geoffrey Seed and Alasdair Palmer

POLICE CORRUPTION IN UK 'AT THIRD WORLD LEVELS'

POLICE corruption in Britain is now so widespread it may have reached
levels which normally only occur in unstable Third World countries,
according to a confidential document obtained by The Telegraph.

The growth of the international drugs trade and the massive amounts of
money available to criminals to offer as bribes are identified as the key
cause.

The document, the minutes of a meeting organised by the National Criminal
Intelligence Service (NCIS), and attended by 10 of Britain's most senior
officers and policy makers, states that "corrupt officers exist throughout
the UK police service". NCIS's Director of Intelligence said that
corruption may have reached "level 2: the situation which occurs in some
Third World Countries".

Police are so concerned they say that drug testing and lie detector tests
for detectives should be considered as options in the fight against
corruption.

The document, the minutes of a meeting organised by the National Criminal
Intelligence Service (NCIS), and attended by 10 of Britain's most senior
officers and policy makers, states that "corrupt officers exist throughout
the UK police service".

NCIS's Director of Intelligence indicated that corruption had become
"pervasive" and may have reached "level 2: the situation which occurs in
some Third World countries".

But the facts about police corruption in Britain today are being
deliberately concealed from the public. The confidential document suggests
the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) formulates a strategy for
dealing with "adverse publicity". A month after the NCIS meeting, David
Blakey, the president of ACPO, formally stated that he and his collegues
believed "the true level of corruption in the modern police service is
extremely low".

The NCIS minutes state that "common activities" of corrupt officers include
theft of property and drugs during searches, planting of drugs or stolen
property on individuals, supplying details of operations to subjects,
providing tip-offs to criminal associates, and destroying evidence.

It adds that "in severe cases, this also includes the committing of serious
crimes including armed robbery and drug dealing, or the licensing and
organising of such crimes".

The meeting decided that police corruption was so serious that NCIS should
be given the role of co-ordinating intelligence on corrupt officers in
every force in the country. MI5 and ACPO had both agreed to that proposal.
Regional forces should follow the Metropolitan Police rules and establish
hot lines so that honest officers could inform on their corrupt colleagues
in confidence.

The informant/handler relationship is identified as one which is frequently
used by corrupt officers to disguise what is in reality a straightforwardly
criminal liaison. "Many criminals believe that by becoming informants they.
. . are given an opportunity to corrupt an officer."

It recommends that MI5-style security officers be appointed to oversee
handlers and informants.

Roger Gaspar, NCIS director of intelligence, suggested that internal police
investigation units were needed to mount covert operations against the
force's own officers. They should intercept communications, tap phones, and
use hidden microphones and cameras to gain evidence. At the same time they
should introduce rigorous new security techniques to ensure that they
themselves were not infiltrated by corrupt officers.

The task is made difficult because "some of the most overtly honest
officers have actually been extremely corrupt".

The meeting had no doubt about the cause of the corruption crisis: the
multi-million pound drug trade. "The enormous volume of money that is
available to criminals, especially to drug importers and dealers means that
very large sums can be offered to corrupt officers. Criminals are willing
to pay to ensure their ability to operate."

The meeting emphasised that combating corruption should include
investigating sources of leaks to the media. "Many officers do not regard
contact with the media. . . as corrupt."

The minutes also noted, without any apparent irony, that one of the
controls on corruption is "a vigorous, uncensored media"
-------------------------------------------------------------------

The Shameful Truth About Police Corruption (Britain's 'Telegraph'
Says That, Contrary To Police Claims That Corruption Is Minimal
Outside London, The Minutes Of A Highly Confidential Meeting Organised
By The National Criminal Intelligence Service On June 23 Indicate
The Most Senior Police Officers And Policy-Makers In The Country Agreed
That 'Corrupt Officers Existed Throughout The UK' And That Police Corruption
Had Become 'Pervasive')

Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 15:47:46 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: The Shameful Truth About Police Corruption
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: mistyron@bigfoot.com (Misty)
Source: Telegraph, The (UK)
Contact: et.letters@telegraph.co.uk
Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998
Author: Geoffrey Seed and Alasdair Palmer

THE SHAMEFUL TRUTH ABOUT POLICE CORRUPTION

Last week's jailing of a senior Merseyside officer demonstrated that not all
bent coppers work in London. In fact, according to confidential documents
seen by The Sunday Telegraph, they are everywhere - despite the police's
public denials. Geoffrey Seed and Alasdair Palmer report

'INFORMATION is money," Elmore Davies said. "And I am privy to a great deal
of information." As a detective chief inspector working on investigations
into drug dealing and smuggling, Davies undoubtedly had information that was
very valuable to criminals - and utterly devastating to his fellow
policemen. Davies was willing to sell whatever he knew. A promise of 10,000
from a drug baron, Curtis Warren, was enough to secure the knowledge that
there was an undercover agent spying on Warren in his Dutch prison. It also
bought information that would enable Warren's minions to intimidate a
policeman whose evidence would be crucial to a trial Warren wanted aborted.
It included details on how to get to the officer's children. How many more
policemen like Davies are there? The judge who sentenced him evidently
believes the answer is "very few". He said Davies's offences were
"completely out of the normal line of cases of perverting justice and
corruption". The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has publicly
asserted the same. David Blakey, ACPO's president and Chief Constable of
Mercia, stated recently that: "The true level of corruption in the modern
police service is extremely low."

Really? The Sunday Telegraph has obtained the minutes of a highly
confidential meeting organised by the National Criminal Intelligence Service
(NCIS). The topic of the meeting, held on June 23, one month before Blakey's
statement, was "Combatting Corruption in the Police Service". The 10
participants, all past or present members of ACPO, were among the most
senior chief police officers and policy-makers in the country. They included
the director general of NCIS, the deputy chief constables of Merseyside and
West Midlands police, the director general of the National Crime Squad and
two representatives from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

They all agreed that "corrupt officers existed throughout the UK" - not just
in the Met, nor even just in the major conurbations. Roger Gaspar, NCIS's
director of intelligence and probably best placed to know, indicated that
police corruption had become "pervasive" and may have reached "the situation
which occurs in some Third World countries".

The "common activities" of corrupt officers included theft of property and
drugs during searches; planting of drugs or stolen property on individuals;
supplying details of operations to criminals; and aborting investigations or
destroying evidence.

"In severe cases," NCIS's director of intelligence added, "this would
include the committing of serious crimes, including armed robbery and drug
dealing, or the licensing and organising of such crimes." The Met has the
reputation of being the only force where corruption is a serious problem
because of Sir Paul Condon's frank admission that he might have "250 corrupt
officers" working for him. If NCIS's director of intelligence is right,
chief constables of provincial forces have a problem of similar magnitude.
The only difference is that they have been far less open about it.

Consider Merseyside police force, where Detective Chief Inspector Elmore
Davies worked. In 1992, it became clear to Sir James Sharples, the Chief
Constable, that some of his officers were selling vital details of police
operations against drug dealers - details such as the identity of undercover
informers, the date and times of proposed arrests, and the location of
police observation posts.

A joint operation by Customs and the regional crime squad obtained the
itemised phone records of a number of notorious drug dealers. Those records
showed that the criminals were ringing numbers inside Merseyside police
drugs and fraud squads. So great was the fear that corrupt officers were
gleaning information about investigations into drug smugglers that one major
operation had to be moved outside the Merseyside police force area
altogether.

But it did not put an end to corruption. In 1995, Customs provided further
evidence that Merseyside officers were still selling drug barons information
that sabotaged operations. In what amounted to an astonishing admission of
the lack of trust he had in his own officers, Sir James secretly gave
permission to Customs officers to tap telephones, not just at the Admiral
Street police station in Toxteth, but also in his own HQ at Canning Place.
It was not just drugs squad personnel who were not informed of the Customs
investigation. Even Sir James's own senior staff were not told. No
operational orders were issued from his office. More than 30 Home
Office-approved telephone surveillance warrants were also issued - many of
them for police officers' domestic phones.

After the investigation was complete, Sir James quietly disbanded
Merseyside's drug squad, its fraud squad and its serious crime squad. An
unknown number of officers retired early on grounds of ill health, or were
moved to less sensitive positions. There was no public statement of any
kind. Indeed, this is the first time that this extensive corruption
investigation has been made public.

Sir James subsequently set up his own anti-corruption force, tactfully
called the "Professional Standards Unit". It was commended this month by the
Inspectorate as "a brave and far-sighted initiative" - as indeed it is. But
the events that led to its creation show how different the reality of
Merseyside's corruption problem is from the picture of "a few isolated
rotten apples" painted for the public.

Merseyside is by no means alone, or untypical of police forces across
England and Wales. There are at least 110 officers in seven different forces
who are either under investigation or facing charges. And that is just those
who have been stupid enough, or unlucky enough, to raise the suspicions of
their honest colleagues.

It is extremely rare for officers to be caught red-handed, and still rarer
for their corruption to be publicly acknowledged by their chief constables.
As the NCIS meeting noted: "Acts of corruption . . . are not normally seen
or recognised for what they are . . . Most corrupt officers are efficient
and effective investigators . . . Obtaining quality evidence is extremely
difficult."

Obtaining corrupt policemen does not, however, seem to be difficult for drug
dealers. "Finding a cop who'll help out is not a problem," said one drugs
smuggler who works outside London and who has spoken extensively to The
Sunday Telegraph. "Some policemen just want a share of the money you can
earn through drugs. They can collect more than their month's salary for a
few minutes work for one of us."

The criminal claimed to have policemen who would sabotage operations against
him and his friends for as little as 3,000 - "holiday money", as he calls
it. He also said that there was a contact in the Crown Prosecution Service
who had been used because he could ensure that vital pieces of evidence were
"lost". Curtis Warren is estimated to have amassed a fortune of nearly 50
million through drug smuggling. He would hardly have noticed the few
thousand pounds needed to corrupt DCI Davies. And though Warren is now
serving a 12-year sentence in Holland, little if any of his money or assets
have been tracked down. Tracing the money is one way of combatting
corruption. The director of intelligence for NCIS suggested others: for
example, greater use of "integrity testing", a procedure in which a corrupt
offer is made to an officer in order to test his reaction. If he takes the
bait, he could face dismissal or even prosecution.

The June NCIS meeting also "considered radical options", such random drug
testing and polygraph tests for officers. The director of intelligence also
suggested using techniques of "profiling" in order to identify corrupt
individuals - although one problem with profiling (which is normally used to
help identify serial killers) is that it may fail to pick out the worst
offenders, for the simple reason that "some of the most overtly honest
officers have actually been extremely corrupt".

The meeting also noted that one of the controls on corruption is "a
vigorous, uncensored media". Recognising the media's role, it decided that
"ACPO should develop a strategy to deal with the adverse publicity" that the
exposure of corruption always gives rise.

The result was the ACPO press release stating that "the true level of
corruption in the modern police service is extremely low". The "strategy"
seems to consist of denying that there is a serious problem with corruption
at all. In this connection, the participants at the NCIS meeting noted that
"the dismissal of officers for breaches of the code of conduct may prove a
more attractive option than their pursuit through the courts", even though,
as the minutes of the meeting dryly noted, "in a large number of cases we
are dealing with serious and organised crime".

It seems still to be true that of all of the police forces in the country,
only the Met is actually prepared to be open about the scale of corruption
and the measures being taken to combat it. A senior Merseyside police
officer told The Sunday Telegraph that he felt his force was in an
impossible position - "damned if we do, and damned if we don't". The more
the police arrested corrupt officers, the more the public would believe that
the whole service was corrupt.

He insists that Merseyside is in the process of changing its stance. "We are
going for a warts-and-all strategy. We accept that we will have a price to
pay. We just ask the public to have faith in us and trust us." But if there
has been a change of heart on Merseyside, it would seem to fly in the teeth
of ACPO's policy. That policy currently seems to consist of deliberately
deceiving the public about the true level of corruption within the British
police - and thereby ensuring that the Met has an unjustified reputation as
the only place in Britain where cops take bribes.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Opium Crop Hurt By Iran Tensions, Weather (According To 'The Chicago
Tribune,' Pino Arlacchi, Executive Director Of The United Nations Drug
Control Program, Says Heavy Rains, Hailstorms And Earthquakes This Year
Have Wiped Out One-Quarter Of The Expected Opium Crop In Afghanistan -
The UN Agency Estimated Last Year That Afghanistan Had Become The World's
Largest Producer Of Opium, Surpassing Myanmar)

From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (when@olywa.net)
To: "-News" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: OPIUM CROP HURT BY IRAN TENSIONS, WEATHER
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 18:27:11 -0700
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net
Source: The Chicago Tribune
Pubdate: Sunday, September 27, 1998
Online: http://chicagotribune.com
Writer: Tribune News Services/ No byline
Newshawk: ccross@november.org

OPIUM POPPY CROP SLASHED BY IRAN TENSIONS, WEATHER

AFGHANISTAN - Poor weather and tensions with neighboring Iran have
slashed the opium production of Afghanistan and hampered its opium
exports for European heroin markets, according to a new United Nations
survey

The UN Drug Control Program estimated last year that Afghanistan had
become the world's largest producer of opium, surpassing Myanmar
(formerly Burma). The opium is refined into heroin and morphine en route
to Europe and elsewhere

But heavy rains, hailstorms and earthquakes this year have wiped out
one-quarter of the expected opium crop in Afghanistan, said Pino
Arlacchi, the program's executive director

Arlacchi said in New York that the Afghan poppy harvest this year was
expected to produce 2,300 tons of raw opium, compared with 3,100 tons
last year

He said the crop failure in central and southern Afghanistan, including
the poppy-rich provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, had been reported by
Afghan surveyors for the UN program, who travel from village to village
to interview officials and poppy farmers

The rugged and remote terrain of Afghanistan helped opium flourish in
recent years.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Opium Production Falls In Afghanistan ('The New York Times' Version
In 'The Orange County Register')

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 19:23:37 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Afghanistan: Opium Production Falls in Afghanistan
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: 27 Sept. 1998
Author:Christopher S.Wren-The New York Times

OPIUM PRODUCTION FALLS IN AFGHANISTAN

Narcotics:Despite increased cultivation,storms and quakes have destroyed
much of the poppy crop.

Bad weather and tensions with neighboring Iran have slashed the opium
production of Afghanistan and hampered its opium exports for European
heroin markets,according to a new United Nations survey.

The U.N. Drug Control Program estimated last year that Afghanistan had
become the world's largest producer of opium, surpassing Myanmar.

But heavy rains, hailstorms and earthquakes this year have wiped out
one-fourth of the opium crop in Afghanistan, said Pino Arlacchi, the
program's executive director.

The rugged and remote terrain of Afghanistan, its history of
lawlessness and chaotic warfare, and the absence of a central
government helped opium flourish in recent years while the militant
Islamic Taliban movement seized most of the country.

When Arlacchi visited Afghanistan in November, Taliban leaders
promised to wipe out opium poppy production, even making a show of
burning two tons of opium in June. They also promised to eliminate new
planting in return for development aid from the United Nations, which
operates a $14 million-a-year drug-control program in
Afghanistan.

But the latest survey, Arlacchi said, showed that poppy cultivation
had increased more than 9 percent since last year and had spread to
two eastern provinces, Lowgar and Laghman, where it had not been
reported earlier.

"The religious leader of the Taliban would cooperate with us,"
Arlacchi said. "But the movement is too fragmented to act."

-------------------------------------------------------------------

[End]

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