------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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]
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OR: PUB LTE: Prohibition Addicts Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Curt Wagoner (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: 27 September, 1998 Source: Bulletin, The (OR) Contact: email@example.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.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OR: PUB LTE: Legalize Drugs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Curt Wagoner (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: 27 September, 1998 Source: Bulletin, The (OR) Contact: email@example.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?
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Cannabinoid Analgesia Explained Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: Lancet, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com 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."
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: FBI Probes Death, Beatings Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com 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.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: NYT: Book Review: Moonlighting? Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Anne R. Kist Pubdate: Sept. 27, 1998 Source: New York Times ( NY) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MA: Councilor Expects Potshots For Stance Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Dick Evans) Pubdate: September 27, 1998 Source: Cape Cod Times (MA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NY: PUB LTE: Congress Shows Little Sense On Marijuana Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: anonymous Source: Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NY: PUB LTE: New York's Drug Sentencing Policies Are Too Severe Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 Source: Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY) Contact: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NY: Maybe: Second Thoughts On Cops In The Class Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: Kids on front line as addicts die like flies Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 09:54:40 -0700 Lines: 78 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Vancouver Province (Canada) Contact: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Vancouver Province (Canada) Contact: email@example.com 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" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: mattalk (email@example.com) This was edited by the paper and it doesn't make much sense (I don't think) without the other paragraghs - but .... Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Calgary Herald Pubdate: Sept 27, 1998 Contact:email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Dave Haans (email@example.com) 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com From: Dave Haans (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Mexico: Drug Trade Hurts N. Mexican Indians Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Mexico: Indians Said To Be Hurt By Expanding Drug Trade In Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.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" (email@example.com) To: "-News" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: CARTELS RAVAGE INDIAN VILLAGES Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 18:28:09 -0700 Sender: email@example.com Source: Chicago Tribune New York Times News Service Pubdate: Sunday, September 27, 1998 Online: http://chicagotribune.com Writer: No byline Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: The Drug Crisis Isn't Just In Mexico Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.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)Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 12:33:33 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Bolivia: Coca Is Among Drink's 'Real Thing' Ingredients Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Contact: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Bolivia: Products From Coca Leaf Are Tough Sell Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Contact: email@example.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" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org 9-27-98 Houston Chronicle http://www.chron.com email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Cannabis Campaign: A Year That Changed Minds Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 Source: Independent, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 (email@example.com) Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Police Corruption in UK 'at Third World Levels' Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Misty) and Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Source: Telegraph, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: The Shameful Truth About Police Corruption Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Misty) Source: Telegraph, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 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" (email@example.com) To: "-News" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: OPIUM CROP HURT BY IRAN TENSIONS, WEATHER Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 18:27:11 -0700 Sender: email@example.com Source: The Chicago Tribune Pubdate: Sunday, September 27, 1998 Online: http://chicagotribune.com Writer: Tribune News Services/ No byline Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Afghanistan: Opium Production Falls in Afghanistan Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.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." -------------------------------------------------------------------
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