Portland NORML News - Sunday, November 1, 1998

Public Nuisance Or Therapy? Cannabis Clubs (Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard
Medical School, writing in Playboy magazine, summarizes the brief history
of medical marijuana dispensaries in California. Two models exist for such
cannabis clubs - the pharmacy model, exemplified by the Oakland Cannabis
Buyers' Cooperative, and the support-group model, exemplified by the San
Francisco Cannabis Cultivators' Club. If there is even a kernel of truth to
the idea that talking about the stress, setbacks and triumphs in the battle
against an illness can help a patient cope and recover, it is clear that the
San Francisco model provides the best environment for the dispensing of
medicinal marijuana.)

Date: Wed, 7 Oct 1998 18:32:46 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Public Nuisance Or Therapy? Cannabis Clubs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense
Source: Playboy magazine
Section: The Playboy Forum
Pubdate: November, 1998
Contact: forum@playboy.com
FAX: (312) 951-2939
Mail: The Playboy Forum Reader Response, PLAYBOY, 680 North Shore Drive,
Chicago, IL 60611
Website: http://www.playboy.com/
Author: Dr. Lester Grinspoon
Note: Dr. Grinspoon is seeking contributors to a book in progress, The Uses
of Marijuana. Contact the author at www.marijuana-uses.com or by writing to
him at Harvard Medical School, 74 Fenwood Road, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.

Public Nuisance Or Therapy?


On one side stand the millions of Californians who voted in favor of
Proposition 215, the 1996 referendum that approved the possession and use
of marijuana for gravely ill patients.

The majority of citizens let their consciences speak. They realized the
benefits of medicinal marijuana. They had heard or knew from firsthand
experience that marijuana offers relief for arthritis pain, nausea, muscle
spasms and glaucoma. They saw appetites restored to AIDS and chemotherapy
patients who smoked joints or nibbled on marijuana brownies. Bodies gained
strength. Patients were better able to fight disease.

On the other side stand California's politically ambitious attorney
general, Dan Lungren, and his allies in Washington: Attorney General Janet
Reno, drug czar Barry McCaffrey and President Bill Clinton. Presumably,
these agents of the war on drugs have family members who feel no pain,
whose joints function effortlessly and whose appetites are never ravaged by
serious disease.

Fifty-six percent of California voters approved Proposition 215, but in San
Francisco the numbers reached 78 percent. Within weeks of the vote, more
than 30 cannabis clubs opened to help sick people in need of relief. One
club quickly grew to include 8,000 members.

Then the backlash began. Lungren convinced a state judge that cannabis
clubs were a public nuisance. The war-on-drugs crowd noted that marijuana
remained classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug, meaning
it could not be prescribed because it had no known medical uses. (Cocaine
and morphine are Schedule II drugs, and thus can be prescribed by a
doctor.) Lungren glowed when the courts ruled that, despite the referendum,
cannabis clubs violated state laws against the possession and sale of
cannabis. One judge interpreted Proposition 215 as allowing individuals to
grow marijuana only for personal medical use -- no clubs allowed.

California legislators implored Washington to recognize the voice of the
people. In a letter to Clinton, nearly two dozen lawmakers pleaded: "This
issue won't go away so long as human beings believe they have the right to
attend to their own illnesses, as their doctors recommend, rather than as
government dictates." Californians have rebuffed the feds before: When
evidence showed that intravenous-drug users were spreading HIV by sharing
needles, San Francisco was the first city to supply them with clean
syringes through an exchange program.

Californians invited lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to fly west and
formulate a safe and affordable system for the delivery of medicinal
marijuana, but the feds declined. As Lungren harassed and eventually closed
the most visible cannabis clubs, advocates spoke of reinventing them. They
thought Lungren was riled by the public nature of the clubs -- perhaps the
answer might lie in rerouting medicinal marijuana through the traditional
medical hierarchy. Maybe doctors in white coats would be more acceptable to
the feds than were proprietors in tie-dye and denim.

Disagreements within the medicinal marijuana movement on the value of the
clubs resulted in two distribution models after the passage of Proposition
215. One model is based on the conventional delivery system for medicine: A
patient visits a buyers' club (read: pharmacy), where he or she presents a
note from a physician, certifying that the patient has a condition for
which the physician recommends cannabis (read: prescription). The
proprietor of the club (read: pharmacist) fills the prescription and the
patient leaves to use the medicine, presumably at home.

This model preserves the medical profession's authority to decide who shall
use a medicine and for how long. The pharmacy provides a source - in this
case a nonprofit one - for the medicine. If the doctor and the pharmacist
behave ethically, only those who have a medical need for marijuana can
receive it. In turn, patients now have a reliable source for the drug,
relieving them of the stress of buying it on the street or secretly growing
their own.

The Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative is one of a number of clubs that
conform to this model. Patients enter the cooperative with documentation
from their physicians, purchase the marijuana and leave. The staid setup of
the club and the attitudes of the proprietors make it clear that the
patient is no more expected to use his medicine there than he would be at a
conventional pharmacy. Some clubs, such as the Los Angeles Cannabis
Resource Center in West Hollywood, have a policy of allowing emergency
medical smoking; this takes place in a smoking room, and the sharing of
joints is not allowed. The Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center,
which recently shut its doors under pressure from local authorities, did
not allow smoking anywhere on the premises, including in the parking lot;
if a patient violated this rule, his or her membership was revoked.

The second distribution model resembles a social club more than it does a
pharmacy. The dispensing area is plastered with menus offering types,
grades and prices. Large rooms are filled with brightly colored posters,
lounge chairs and sofas, tables, magazines and newspapers. While some
people remain only long enough to buy their medicine, most stay to smoke
and talk. There are animated conversations, laughter, music and the
pervasive, pungent odor of reefer.

The atmosphere is informal, welcoming and warm, providing support for
patients who may be socially isolated and have little opportunity to share
concerns and feelings about their illnesses. This type of club is a blend
of Amsterdam-style coffeehouse, American bar and support group. The model
was epitomized by the San Francisco Cannabis Cultivators' Club, which was
shut down by sheriff's deputies following local and federal court rulings.

Until some kind of legal accommodation makes it possible for patients to
receive marijuana without violating the law, buyers' clubs are the best
approach to the problem. Yet the government, including the White House, the
Drug Enforcement Administration and law enforcement at all levels, remains
opposed to the idea. While the feds are retreating somewhat from their
position that marijuana has no therapeutic value, they are still working
diligently to close cannabis clubs. Many if not most advocates who
recognize the importance of buyers' clubs believe that the model
exemplified by the Oakland, Santa Clara and Los Angeles clubs is preferable
to that represented in San Francisco. The former are more businesslike,
conform more closely with the pharmacy model and at least appear to be more
vigilant about checking the documentation of people who present themselves
as patients. The San Francisco club, largely because of the on-site
cannabis smoking and its relaxed atmosphere, appeared to be more casual in
its commitment to confirming medical need, which made even the supporters
of buyers' clubs a little nervous.

Yet the importance of the social aspect of buyers' clubs cannot be
underestimated. It is becoming increasingly clear that emotional support --
contacts with and help from friends, family, co-workers and others -- plays
a salutary role in battling many illnesses. This kind of support improves
the quality of life, and there is growing evidence that it may even prolong
life. In one study, socially isolated women were found to be five times
more likely to die from ovarian and related cancers than women with
networks of friends and families. In another study, women with breast
cancer were found to be 50 percent less likely to die in the first few
months after surgery if they had confidants. In a four-year study of 133
breast cancer patients, married women had a longer average survival time.

Researchers have consistently found that support groups are effective for
patients with a variety of cancers. Participants become less anxious and
depressed, make better use of their time and are more likely to return to
work than patients who are given only standard care, regardless of whether
they have serious psychiatric symptoms. There is evidence that even brief
supportive therapy can have benefits that last for months. Some researchers
have made the controversial claim that mere participation in support groups
can keep cancer patients alive.

The San Francisco buyers' club functioned very much as an informal support
group. It was not designed by psychiatrists and social scientists to
provide supportive group therapy, but there's reason to believe it did. One
of the properties of marijuana may have contributed to its effectiveness:
When people use cannabis, they tend to be more sociable and find it easier
to share difficult thoughts and feelings. If there is even a kernel of
truth to the idea that talking about the stress, setbacks and triumphs in
the battle against an illness can help a patient cope and recover, it is
clear that the San Francisco model provides the best environment for the
dispensing of medicinal marijuana.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that considers such a facility a public
nuisance and criminalizes a compassionate form of caring out of loyalty to
a symbolic war on drugs.

The contentious legal battle continues. This past summer Oakland designated
the employees of the local cannabis club as officers of the city. This
inspired political move uses a section of the Federal Controlled Substances
Act and grants buyers for the cannabis cooperative the same protection as
undercover narcs (who buy and sell drugs as part of investigations) have
from possible prosecution. The club remains open in defiance of a federal
judge's order to close.

Copyright (c)1998 Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

Pot Will Win, Poll Predicts (The Herald, in Everett, Washington,
says a new survey commissioned by The Arizona Republic shows Arizona voters,
by a thin margin, appear ready to give a second endorsement to the use
of marijuana and other illegal drugs for medical treatment.)

Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 18:34:40 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US AZ: Pot Will Win, Poll Predicts
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John Smith
Pubdate: Sunday, 01 November, 1998
Source: Herald, The (WA)
Contact: letters@heraldnet.com
Website: http://www.heraldnet.com/
Copyright: 1998 The Daily Herald Co.


Voters - by a razor-thin margin - appear ready to give a second endorsement
to the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs for medical treatment. A new
Arizona Republic survey shows 43 percent support reinstating Arizona's
marijuana-for-medicine law, first approved by voters 2-1 in 1996 but later
gutted by state lawmakers. The poll found 40 percent back legislative
efforts to block the law. Seventeen percent were undecided. The
marijuana-for-medicine question will appear on Tuesday's ballot as
Proposition 300.

Amending the Lynn Pierson Program (A list subscriber notes New Mexico
has a medical marijuana law that needs only a little bit of tweaking to make
it functional. He posts the text of an amendment that would make the law
viable, and says after the election he will be looking for a legislative

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 11:51:42 -0700 (MST)
From: bryan krumm (krummb@unm.edu)
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Subject: Amending the Lynn Pierson Program
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

New Mexico has a medical marijuana law already that only needs a little
tweaking to make it functional. After the elections I will be trying to
find a legislator to sponsor a bill in the upcoming session to amend the
Lynn Pierson Act. I have already spoken with some influencial politicians
who have given me "soft support" and have urged me to pursue this issue.
I'm not a lawyer so I was hoping to get some input from people on the list
about the wording. Also, can anyone tell me how to properly cite the
controlled substances act, public law titile 21, chapter 13, section 885,
subsection d?






AMENDMENT number 1

1. In section 26-2A-2, line 3, after glaucoma., insert the following:
Evidence has also shown that marijuana may be of therapeutic benefit in
the treatment of AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, asthma, and seizures.

AMENDMENT number 2

1. In section 26-2A-3, subsection A., strike "health and environment"
and replace with "The state department of health".

AMENDMENT number 3

1. In section 26-2A-3, strike subsection C.

2. In section 26-2A-3, insert the following new subsections:

C. "practitioner" means any medical practitioner licensed to
prescribe and administer drugs which are subject to the Controlled Substances

D. "designated caretaker" means the individual designated by the
person exempted under this act who has consistently assumed responsibility
for the housing, health, or safety of that person ; such as a parent,partner,
sibling, or other person in a relationship with that patient.

AMENDMENT number 4

1. In section 26-2A-4, subsection A., strike "health and environment"
and replace with "state department of health".

AMENDMENT number 5

1. In section 26-2A-4, strike subsection B.

2. In section 26-2A-4, insert the following new subsections:

"B. Except as provided in Subsection C. of Section 5 [26-2A-5C
NMSA 1978] of the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act, the
Lynn Pierson Therapeutic Research Program shall be limited to diseases
for which evidence has shown marijuana may be of therapeutic benefit.

AMENDMENT number 6

1. In section 26-2A-5, subsection B, strike "physician" and replace
with "practitioner".

AMENDMENT number 7

1. After section 26-2A-6,insert the following new sections:


A. Federal interference has prevented implementation of the
Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act and has created a class
of criminals out of the sick and suffering.

B. Patients are being denied their most fundamental rights of
life, liberty and happiness due to political policies which ignore
the scientific evidence that marijuana is safe and effective for use under
medical supervision.

C. Patients attempting to alleviate their suffering with this
safe and effective medication risk the loss of property, loss of children,
loss of employment and imprisonment.

D. Therefore, the legislature of the State of New Mexico hereby
removes any and all criminal and civil penalties related to the possession
and cultivation of marijuana for medical use by individuals with a
legitimate medical need.

E. Legitimate medical need shall be demonstrated when a
qualified practitioner refers a patient to the Lynn Pierson Therapeutic
Research Program.

F. Upon supplying evidence of legitimate medical need, patients
and designated caretakers shall not be subject to arrest, or seizure of
their medicine by any officer of the law."


Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no practitioner
in this state shall be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for
having recommended marijuana to a patient for medicinal purposes."

"Section 26-2A-9. PENALTIES.--

Except as authorized by law, any person who possesses, plants,
cultivates, harvests, dries, or processes marijuana, or any person who
causes the diversion of medicinal marijuana for unauthorized purposes,
shall be subject to punishment persuant to [30-31-1 to 30-31-41 NMSA

"Section 26-2A-10. LIMITATIONS--

A. Participation in the Lynn Pierson Therapeutic Research
Program shall be limited to citizens of the State of New Mexico.

B. Marijuana not acquired from a federal source may not be
taken outside the State of New Mexico."


A. Fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) is appropriated from the
general fund to the Lynn Pierson Therapeutic Research Program for the
following purposes:

(1) developing a system whereby patients with legitimate
medical need can have access to a supply of marijuana with consistent
standards of strength and purity by;

(a) applying to contract with the National
Institute on Drug Abuse for receipt of dose-quantified marijuana pursuant
to regulations promulgated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the
Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration;

(b) applying to the Drug Enforcement Administration
to register as a manufacturer, distributor, researcher, analytical lab and
impoter of marijuana [federal law code 21 CFR 1301] DEA form 225;

(c) conducting a feasibility study on methods by which
marijuana with consistent standards of strength and purity, can be cultivated
in New Mexico, pursuant to Public Law [title 21, chapter 13, section 885,
subsection d] for transfer to state operated licensed pharmacies while
minimizing the possibility of diversion for unauthorized use.

(2) development of N-of-1 studies to evaluate the safety and
efficacy of medicinal marijuana on a patient by patient basis.

B. Any unexpected or unencumbered balance remaining at the end
of fiscal year 1999 shall revert to the general fund."

2. Renumber the succeeding sections accordingly.

A Realistic Prescription To Mix Marijuana And Moderation (An op-ed
in The Boston Globe by Thomas W. Clark, a research associate at Health
and Addictions Research Inc., suggests teenagers may understand what the
National Institute on Drug Abuse has been at pains recently to deny - that
there are valid distinctions between soft and hard drugs, and that such
distinctions can inform one's choice of psychoactive substance. Teenagers,
in short, are not stupid, and though marijuana may not be risk-free, it
compares favorably to alcohol and tobacco with regard to health hazards
and potential for abuse. Consequently, the attempt to tar it with the same
brush as cocaine and heroin is backfiring, undercutting the credibility of
both NIDA and beleaguered parents who are asked to instill fear of the "evil
weed" into their increasingly skeptical children.)

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 15:38:23 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US MA: OPED: A Realistic Prescription To Mix Marijuana And
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: emr@javanet.com (Dick Evans)
Pubdate: Sun, 1 Nov 1998
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Contact: letters@globe.com
Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/
Copyright: 1998 Globe Newspaper Company.
Author: Thomas W. Clark


The number of teenagers who use marijuana has increased dramatically since
1992, state and national surveys show, and this increase is causing much
official consternation. After four years of relative silence on the issue,
the Clinton administration has mounted a widely heralded media campaign
against drugs - including marijuana use by adolescents.

But teenagers, it turns out, don't seem particularly worried about pot. The
rise in the number of young people who have tried marijuana over the last
six years, surveys show, has been accompanied by a decline in the risk they
perceive in smoking it occasionally. Meanwhile, the use of hard drugs such
as cocaine and heroin has stayed far below that of marijuana, and
adolescents perceive these substances as far more risky.

Perhaps teenagers recognize what the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or
NIDA, has been at pains recently to deny: that there are valid distinctions
between soft and hard drugs in addictiveness and potential for harm, and
that such distinctions can inform one's choice of psychoactive substance.

Teenagers, in short, are not stupid, and in this case their perceptions are
pretty much on the mark. Although certainly not risk-free, marijuana
compares favorably to alcohol and tobacco with regard to health hazards and
potential for abuse.

Consequently, the attempt to tar it with the same brush as cocaine and
heroin is backfiring, undercutting the credibility of both NIDA and
beleaguered parents, who are asked to instill fear of the ``evil
weed'' into their increasingly skeptical children.

Indeed, while marijuana should remain illegal for teenagers, there is
little reason to keep it illegal for adults.

Much is made of pot being a gateway drug that leads to further
experimentation and addiction, but, as even NIDA admits, most of those
who try marijuana don't progress to other drugs or become addicted.

Rather, it's a combination of risk factors - parents' and peers'
substance use, poor social adjustment, low expectations of
achievement, and idle after-school hours - that increases the
probability of abuse and dependence.

If marijuana is a gateway to hard drugs at all, it is most likely due to
its illicit and countercultural status: The purveyors of pot can put your
adolescent in touch with the local crack connection, while the glamour of
defying the ban on marijuana may transfer to using more dangerous substances.

Yet using marijuana has its risks, and its use by adolescents should
remain illegal and be strongly discouraged. Just as it is harmful to
smoke cigarettes, it is harmful to inhale the carcinogenic byproducts
of marijuana along with its psychoactive ingredient -
delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

While not nearly as devastating as chronic alcoholism, the regular and
prolonged use of THC may compromise short-term memory and, perhaps,
other cognitive functions. Even though non-smoked THC is approved for
medical purposes, and thus has been found safe and effective for some
applications, its recreational use should remain occasional, and restricted
to those over 21. Pregnant women should avoid it, and the penalties that now
apply to drunken driving should also apply to those who drive under the
influence of THC.

But despite its bad official press, THC actually ranks lowest in addictive
potential of all commonly used substances, even below caffeine, according
to two independent ratings by NIDA and the University of California. Lab
animals cannot be induced to consistently self-administer THC, as they can
with opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine.

Nevertheless, NIDA has made much of research - published last year in the
journal Science - showing that cannabis acts on the same reward mechanisms
in the brain as do other psychoactive substances. But this rather
unsurprising finding doesn't show THC to be especially problematic, just that
its heavy use may in some cases lead to habituation.

The fact remains that marijuana is simply not in the same class as heroin
and crack, drugs that act far more powerfully and specifically on those brain
sites implicated in dependence. This means that its increased availability
following decriminalization for adults would not result, as some fear,
in an epidemic of cannabis abuse.

The best argument, perhaps, for keeping marijuana illegal across the
board is that we simply don't need another widely available
intoxicating substance, however benign, that might deflect adolescents
from the necessary business of putting their lives together. But the
horse is already well clear of the barn. In recent surveys, many
teenagers say that it's as easy to get marijuana as alcohol and cigarettes.

Drug enforcement hard-liners will reply that this means stricter
sanctions are necessary, but how strict are we willing to get to
suppress a drug that, used in moderation and in a non-smoked form, is
no more risky (subtracting the risks of criminal prosecution) than
having an occasional glass of wine with dinner?

Some opponents of decriminalizing marijuana fear that it would set us
on a slippery slope toward accepting any and all drugs, but this fear
is irrational precisely because all drugs are not the same. We justly
balk at sanctioning the use of substances that are highly addictive
and harmful, as in the growing effort to curtail tobacco sales to

Other opponents, most of them hardly teetotalers, share the
conventional prejudice that getting high on pot is somehow morally
suspect. They suppose that some intoxicants (the currently legal ones,
it just so happens) are fine, while the rest are corrupting, and that
therefore we shouldn't expand our repertoire of even mildly altered

But if the effects of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine used in
moderation are perfectly acceptable, why not those of THC, used in

Some will object that moderation in the use of marijuana is exactly
what cannot be guaranteed; that decriminalizing pot for adults would
inevitably increase the number of users (some teenagers included) that
abuse the drug and fall prey to its possibly damaging long-term
effects. Granting this point, the issue then becomes whether the
social and personal benefits of lifting the ban on marijuana outweigh
the harms of a potential increase in abuse.

This is the same dilemma faced by those who wanted to end alcohol
prohibition: Since Prohibition helped to reduce alcohol-related addiction,
disease, and accidents, how could one responsibly advocate its repeal?

Nevertheless, Prohibition ended when it became clear that the personal
liberty to enjoy alcohol, restrained by reasonable public health and
law-enforcement safeguards, was deemed a greater good than heavyhanded
attempts to reduce alcohol-related harms.

Similarly, it is difficult to justify the staggering costs of the
marijuana ban - the person-hours of drug enforcement, the ultimately
futile attempts at crop eradication, the overloaded courts, and the
draconian jail sentences - when weighed against the small increase in
abuse that decriminalization for adults might entail.

If we want proportionality between the sanctions against a drug and its
potential for harm, then criminal penalties for personal marijuana use should
be abolished.

If we fail to reconsider our current policy, and continue
to exaggerate the evils of any and all cannabis use, teenagers will
judge adults hypocritical and continue to light up joints as they
chant, ``Just say no!''

By being straight with kids, and ourselves, about marijuana's active
ingredient, we'll gain credibility and strengthen the case against truly
dangerous and addictive drugs.
Respect our children's intelligence, and chances are they'll behave
more intelligently.

In our public health campaigns, we should strongly advise against
smoking marijuana, while exploring safer means of ingesting
recreational THC - in food or drink, perhaps - which standardize a
moderate dose and guarantee purity. As with alcohol and nicotine, we
should limit its availability to adolescents by establishing a minimum
age for possession, and enforce that law vigorously.

Legal use of marijuana by adults could be restricted to private,
personal consumption, with civil penalties - not jail sentences - for
sales or public use. Whatever course we adopt, there are clearly many
policy options short of commercial legalization that would improve
upon the absurdly punitive status quo. There would, of course, be many
devils in the details of regulating decriminalization, but none nearly
as onerous as our foolish obsession with attaining a cannabis-free

Even with the most enlightened policies, some cannabis use by
teenagers will inevitably continue, but we won't be denying them the
drug on the spurious basis that there is something especially bad
about THC. We'll be denying it for the same good reasons we deny them
nicotine, alcohol, and most other psychoactive substances: successful
physical and psychological maturation is jeopardized by adolescent
drug use, and at their age they've got more important things to do,
such as fashioning a life that doesn't revolve around looking cool or
getting high.

Thomas W. Clark is a research associate at Health and Addictions
Research Inc. of Boston, a nonprofit research and evaluation company
specializing in behavioral health and criminal justice. The views here
do not reflect policies endorsed by Health and Addictions Research

Iowa traffic stop leads to US Supreme Court case (The Associated Press
says a hearing Tuesday in Washington, DC will focus on whether
Patrick Knowles' Fourth Amendment rights were violated when police made
an unauthorized search of his car after he was cited for speeding. Marijuana
and a pipe were found under the front passenger seat.)

From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (when@olywa.net)
To: "_Drug Policy --" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: Iowa traffic stop leads to U.S. Supreme Court case
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 20:52:52 -0800
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

Iowa traffic stop leads to U.S. Supreme Court case
By Mary Neubauer, Associated Press, 11/01/98 12:30

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Patrick Knowles knew he was speeding that day. Just
off work and frustrated that his old car was sputtering, he had stomped on
the gas pedal to keep the engine from dying.

When a policeman drove by and quickly turned around, Knowles knew he likely
would be pulled over and given a speeding ticket.

He did not expect the officer to tell him he needed to search his car.

``I thought `Now wait a minute, I don't really like this idea,''' Knowles
said. ``I was just sitting there. I'd said `Yes, sir. No, sir,' and been

But Newton Officer Ronald Cook did search Knowles' car without his
permission on March 6, 1996 - legally under Iowa statutes- and found
marijuana and a pipe under the front passenger seat. Knowles said a friend
had left it there, but he was liable because it was in his car.

Knowles contacted Maria Ruhtenberg, a lawyer who'd represented him in some
previous misdemeanor cases. Ruhtenberg told him his rights might have been

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Knowles' argument that the
search violated the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment protection against
unreasonable searches and that the marijuana should not be used as evidence.

``We believe there is an overwhelming privacy issue involved, that such a
search is invasive, intrusive and, frankly, offensive,'' Ruhtenberg said.

Under Iowa law, police may choose either to make an arrest or issue a
citation for all crimes except forcible felonies.

Where it differs from laws in most states is in allowing officers in either
instance to conduct an ``otherwise lawful search.'' Most laws permit
searches only after an arrest or if the officer believes the person is
involved in something illegal.

Assistant Iowa Attorney General Bridget Chambers said the justifications for
a search with a citation are the same as those in an arrest: Protect the
officer's safety and stop evidence from being destroyed.

Chambers said traffic stops can be dangerous and officers should not have to
give up a tool that can protect them.

If officers could not conduct searches on the basis of citations, they could
simply choose to make more arrests, Chambers said.

``If they can arrest and search anyway, how does it protect a person's
privacy to require the arrest?'' she asked. ``We're just saying it's a
lesser intrusion, actually, than an arrest plus search.''

But Ruhtenberg argues that officers should have to have some suspicion of
illegal activity to justify a search with only a citation.

At Knowles' trial, Cook testified that he did not suspect Knowles of
criminal activity.

A state trial judge ruled against Knowles' argument that the marijuana
should not be used as evidence. Knowles was convicted of possession of
marijuana and keeping marijuana in his car and sentenced to 90 days in jail.
In October 1997, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld his conviction in a 5-4
decision, saying the search was justified under state law and allowed under
the Constitution.

The case has drawn widespread interest, with the American Civil Liberties
Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filing
arguments in support of Knowles' motion and the National Association of
Police Organizations supporting the state's argument.

Knowles, 37, now lives in Monroe and works at a plastics factory. He is
married and has two children. He admits he has not been perfect but is glad
to be involved in a case that he believes could protect others.

``I'm just a regular kind of guy,'' he said. ``I just want to get on with my
life, but I want to get this straightened out first.''

Statistics on pregnant women prosecuted for drug use (Some revealing
statistics from the November issue of Harper's Magazine begin by noting
an estimated 200 American women have been arrested for child abuse since 1977
after using alcohol or other drugs while pregnant.)

Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 00:15:49 -0500
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Steve Young (theyoungfamily@WORLDNET.ATT.NET)
Subject: Statistics on pregnant women prosecuted for drug use
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

These stats are from the November issue of Harper's Magazine.

Estimated number of American women arrested for child abuse since 1977
after using drugs or alcohol while pregnant: 200

Years in prinson to which a South Carolina woman was sentenced for this in
1992: 8

Years in prison to which New Jersey's Amy Grossberg was sentenced last July
for killing her newborn: 2.5

Study Shows Subsidized Housing, Not Treatment of Social Ills, Is Crucial
to Homeless (According to The New York Times, researchers at New York
University have published a report in Tuesday's issue of the American Journal
of Public Health challenging the widely held view that the most effective way
to end homelessness among families is by first resolving such problems as
mental illness and substance abuse. After following hundreds of homeless
families in New York City between 1988 and 1993, researchers concluded
the real problem is the city's scarcity of subsidized housing.)

From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (when@olywa.net)
To: "_Drug Policy --" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: A home more important than staying straight
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 20:40:56 -0800
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

November 1, 1998
New York Times

Study Shows Subsidized Housing, Not Treatment of Social Ills, Is Crucial to


After following hundreds of homeless families in New York City to determine
if social disorders prolonged their situation, a new study by New York
University suggests the real problem is the city's scarcity of subsidized

The study, to be released Tuesday in the American Journal of Public Health,
challenges a widely held view that the most effective way to end
homelessness among families is by first resolving such problems as mental
illness and substance abuse.

The study concluded that homeless families, when provided with subsidized
housing, can remain "stable" -- which the study defines as staying in the
same apartment for at least 12 months -- regardless of the problems they may
be battling. The research, done between 1988 and 1993, is considered the
first long-term look at how social disorders affect the families' ability to
find their way out of homelessness.

"The conventional wisdom is that homeless families need to become
rehabilitated before they can become housed," said Marybeth Shinn, a
professor of psychology at New York University and co-author of the study.
"Our findings show that if given the housing first, homeless families will
become stable and remain stable." The study did not look at single homeless
adults, where incidents of mental illness and substance abuse tend to be
more serious and widespread.

In reaching their conclusion, N.Y.U. researchers interviewed 564 families.
Half of them were homeless for the first time; the other half were randomly
drawn from the city's public assistance case load and had never been
homeless. Every family was interviewed twice, once in 1988 and again five
years later.

Researchers found that 80 percent of the homeless families who were given a
subsidized apartment were able to remain stable, despite their problems.
Their rate of success in remaining housed matched that of the families who
had never been homeless. One reason for the homeless families' success,
researchers concluded, was that their rent was paid directly to a landlord.

The study did not address what effect the acquisition of a stable apartment
had on helping the families resolve their personal problems.

"We're not saying that social services couldn't prove advantageous to these
families, or that substance abuse and mental illness don't take tolls on
families," said Beth C. Weitzman, an associate professor in N.Y.U.'s Robert
F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a co-author of the study.
"But those issues are all separate and distinct from homelessness. Just
because a family has problems doesn't mean they can't remain housed."

Of the homeless families who did not receive subsidized housing, only 18
percent found permanent housing, mostly by moving in with a relative or
friend, the study found. Researchers linked their low success rate in part
to the fact that some families left the shelter before they were deemed
eligible for housing. Those who left forfeited their spot on the waiting

During the time of the study, most families had to wait 6 to 18 months
before becoming eligible.

Some veteran researchers of homelessness hailed the N.Y.U. study for trying
to refocus one of the oldest debates surrounding homelessness.

"This study will inevitably be read by many people as dismissing the
importance of social services," said Jim Baumohl, an associate professor of
social welfare at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.

"But what it's really saying is that if the goal is still to reduce shelter
utilization, then we to ought to consider a strategy of rapid attachment to
housing, rather than assuming homeless families can't stay housed."

Susan Wiviott, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Homeless Services,
said she had not yet seen a copy of the study. But she said the city shares
the view that subsidized housing is an effective way of helping the 4,700
homeless families now living in the city's shelters.

Since the Giuliani administration took office, Ms. Wiviott said, 21,000
homeless families have moved out of shelters and into subsidized housing.
But she added that in the wake of the Federal Government's recent decision
to scale back national housing subsidies, New York was ill equipped to foot
the bill.

"Alone, we can't afford to house everybody who needs subsidized housing. Our
hope is that Washington recognizes the need to continue its contribution of
Section 8 and other Federal subsidies."

The N.Y.U. study was financed through a grant from the National Institute of
Mental Health.

Lack Of Needle-Exchange Plan Hurts Minorities (According to The Dallas
Morning News, former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders said Saturday at the
four-day United States Conference on AIDS in Dallas that the $156 million
AIDS package announced by President Clinton lacks a vital component -
a needle-exchange program.)

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 10:05:24 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US TX: Lack Of Needle-Exchange Plan Hurts Minorities
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Sun, 1 Nov 1998
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com/
Copyright: 1998 The Dallas Morning News
Author: Nita Thurman / The Dallas Morning News


Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders says the $156 million AIDS package
announced by President Clinton lacks a vital component for minorities: a
clean-needle exchange program.

More than 60 percent of AIDS cases among blacks and more than half of all
AIDS cases among Hispanics are related to injections by contaminated
needles, she said Saturday.

Dr. Elders spoke at a news conference held in conjunction with the four-day
1998 United States Conference on AIDS at the Adam's Mark Hotel in downtown

The conference is being attended by several hundred community workers,
doctors, people living with HIV and others working to stop the spread of

She quoted from a study, "Health Emergency 1999," on the spread of
drug-related AIDS among minorities and also cited other earlier public
health studies. The Health Emergency study was prepared by an independent
research organization in Princeton, N.J.

"We are trying to prevent HIV deaths," she said. "We are trying to provide
good public health. But we have ignored the hard science and let it become a
political football.

"It costs a lot less to provide clean needles and save lives than to treat
someone with AIDS."

Dr. Elders citied five-year costs of $4,000 to $12,000 for each HIV
infection that could have been prevented by a needle-exchange program.
Medicine for one person with AIDS over five years costs about $60,000, she

In the United States, federal funds cannot be used to finance programs to
distribute clean hypodermic needles. Opponents of such programs say
providing clean needles to drug users would condone or promote drug use.

The Clinton administration has declined to lift the ban, and House
Republicans early this year passed a bill trying to make the nine-year ban

Mr. Clinton announced a $156 million program Wednesday to help fund AIDS
programs for blacks and Hispanics at the community level. None of the funds
can be used for needle-exchange programs.

Public health experts, including Surgeon General David Satcher, have
denounced the ban, citing findings by government scientists certifying that
providing clean needles does not encourage drug abuse and can reduce the
spread of AIDS.

Minorities and the poor are the worst hit by the federal ban, Dr. Elders
said, because private health dollars do not trickle down to low-income

About 113 needle-exchange programs funded by private donors existed in 1997,
the study found, and most developed countries, including England,
Switzerland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, have clean-needle

Politicians who support the ban are reacting to conservative voters who want
the ban on moral grounds, Dr. Elders said.

"And they've silenced the rest of us," she said. "They seem to see these
deaths as casualties of war, just consequences of the war on drugs. But
these are American citizens that are dying when medical intervention could
save their lives."

Marijuana and Glaucoma (A sanctimonious editorial in The Archives
of Opthalmology, by Paul L. Kaufman, MD, previews the biased article
by Keith Green, a Medical College of Georgia professor of ophthalmology,
about the potential use of marijuana and cannabinoids in glaucoma therapy,
which will be widely publicized Nov. 13 and debunked by reformers
the same day through the next week.)

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 13:57:13 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Editorial: Marijuana and Glaucoma
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Source: Archives of Opthalmology
Copyright: 1998 American Medical Association
Pubdate: Nov 1998
Section: Editorial
Author: Paul L. Kaufman, MD Madison, Wis
Contact: ophthletters@ama-assn.org
See: http://www.ama-assn.org/public/journals/opht/letters.htm
Website: http://www.ama-assn.org/public/journals/opht/ophthome.htm


In this issue of the ARCHIVES, Green[1] elegantly reviews clinical issues
about the potential use of marijuana and cannabinoids in glaucoma therapy.
This editorial deals briefly with the scientific foundation underlying the
marijuana-glaucoma controversy, and like the review, concludes that data,
not demagoguery, should guide our path.

Glaucoma results in the degeneration of retinal ganglion cells and their
optic nerve axons that carry visual impulses from the eye to the brain.
Marijuana and cannabinoids affect the major risk factor for glaucoma,
elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP), which is regulated by the
hydrodynamic systems at the front of the eye.

The ciliary body secretes aqueous humor, which flows into the anterior
chamber, nourishes the lens and the cornea, and leaves the eye via 2
routes. One route is through the trabecular meshwork, a lattice of
connective tissue and endothelial cells embedded in a
glycosaminoglycan-like ground substance, then into the Schlemm canal and
the general venous circulation. A secondary drainage route is between the
bundles of the ciliary muscle. The ciliary muscle controls trabecular
meshwork drainage apparatus by tension on that structure. However, fluid
can also move through the connective tissue-filled spaces within the
ciliary muscle itself, and then through the sclera and out of the eye into
the orbit, a pathway called the uveoscleral outflow route.

The relationship between these various components of aqueous humor
hydrodynamics can be summarized by the Goldmann equation, as follows:


where Pe indicates episcleral venous pressure (the pressure against which
fluid leaving the anterior chamber via the trabecular-canalicular route
must drain); F, aqueous humor flow; U, uveoscleral outflow; and Ctrab,
facility of outflow from the anterior chamber via the trabecular meshwork
and Schlemm canal.

Since the goal in glaucoma therapy is to reduce the IOP, one can use the
equation to see what has to happen. One can either reduce the episcleral
venous pressure, reduce the rate at which fluid is formed by the ciliary
processes, increase fluid drainage via the posterior uveoscleral route, or
increase the hydraulic conductivity of the trabecular meshwork.
Antiglaucoma drugs are currently available for all but the first of these

There are currently 6 classes of drugs for the medical therapy of glaucoma.
Cholinergic agonists (eg, pilocarpine) contract the ciliary muscle to
deform the trabecular meshwork and make it easier for fluid to pass
through. The 2-adrenergic agonists, such as epinephrine bitartrate or its
prodrug dipivefrin hydrochloride, act directly on the endothelial cells of
the trabecular meshwork via a classical 2-adrenoceptor-mediated mechanism,
perhaps with an ultimate effect on the cytoskeleton that changes the shape
and adhesive properties of these cells and reduces resistance to fluid
flow. The -adrenergic antagonists, such as timolol, interfere with the
ability of the ciliary epithelium to make fluid. The 2-adrenergic agonists,
such as aproclonidine and brimonidine tartrate, and carbonic anhydrase
inhibitors, such as acetazolamide sodium and dorzolamide hydrochloride,
inhibit secretion. Prostaglandin F2 analogs cause the ciliary muscle to
up-regulate the production of matrix metalloproteinases and thereby remodel
the extracellular matrix between the bundles of the muscle, making it
easier for fluid to leave the eye via the uveoscleral route. Other agents
under study act via the cytoskeleton in the trabecular meshwork.

At the time of the initial interest in cannabinoids for IOP reduction, in
the early to mid-1970s, only cholinomimetics, epinephrine, and oral
carbonic anhydrase inhibitors were available; none of these are popular
today because of their side effects. They have been superseded by
-blockers, 2-adrenergic agonists, prostaglandin F analogs, and topical
carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. The surgical options of laser
trabeculoplasty, trabeculectomy, drainage devices, and cyclodestruction
have also progressed during this time. Thus, the playing field is very
different than it was 20 or 25 years ago.

Where do marijuana and the cannabinoids fit in? Since our present therapy
is directed only at lowering IOP, we must ask whether marijuana lowers the
IOP. The answer in humans is an unequivocal yes. Several good studies show
that smoking a marijuana cigarette reduces the IOP in normal subjects from
approximately 15 to 11 mm Hg, a 24% reduction. The Goldmann equation
indicates that the higher the IOP, the greater the IOP-lowering effect for
a given suppression of fluid formation or enhancement of fluid drainage. In
a group of patients with glaucoma and ocular hypertension, with starting
IOP of approximately 30 mm Hg, smoking a similar marijuana cigarette
decreased IOP to approximately 21 or 22 mm Hg, also a 20% to 25% reduction.
This result is comparable with that of other glaucoma medications,
including the recently approved ones.

However, the duration of action of smoked or ingested marijuana,
delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC), or other cannabinoids is
unacceptably short: about 3.0 to 3.5 hours. To treat glaucoma, IOP must be
controlled around the clock, and thus patient compliance becomes a serious
issue. For marijuana to be a viable therapy, it would have to be smoked
every 3 hours, and getting patients to put drops in their eyes even a few
times a day is very difficult. Instead, the ideal glaucoma drug would
require application at most twice (and preferably once) daily for
compliance purposes. Furthermore, there is the question of whether
cannabinoids can work topically. The supposedly active compound delta-9-THC
does not lower IOP when applied topically.

The mechanism(s) by which delta-9-THC or marijuana lowers IOP is not known.
Mechanistic studies, performed long ago, have not given the answer,
investigator claims to the contrary notwithstanding. We still do not know
whether the action is central or peripheral; whether it is on aqueous
formation or drainage; whether the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous
system is involved; or whether there is a vascular component.

Rabbit ciliary epithelium exhibits decreased short-circuit current and
secretion; increased hydraulic conductivity, suggesting varying effects on
aqueous production; and increased outflow facility, suggesting an effect on
the trabecular meshwork. No studies have been performed on the ciliary

However, there are substantial species differences in responses. For
instance, intravenous delta-9-THC decreases IOP in rabbits but not in
monkeys. The rabbit outflow apparatus anatomically and physiologically
functions quite differently from that of humans and is not an optimal
model. In some monkey species, delta-9-THC given orally decreases IOP, but,
as in humans, topical delta-9-THC has no effect.

Eliminating sympathetic innervation to the eye in rabbits with superior
cervical ganglionectomy or pharmacological ganglionic blockade eliminates
the effect of delta-9-THC, suggesting drug action through the sympathetic
and/or parasympathetic nervous systems. However, in cats neither superior
cervical nor ciliary ganglionectomy has any effect. In rabbits, delta-9-THC
increases outflow facility and decreases aqueous production; in cats,
facility is increased, but production is unchanged.

The story is confusing in part because the techniques used are 20 to 25
years old; the animal models are not necessarily comparable with the
primate; and the compounds are not as specific as those now available.
Measurement techniques have improved since then, and the invasive
techniques for animals are much less traumatic. There are several
noninvasive techniques applicable to animals and humans, and both are much
more precise as to tissue and mechanism affected.

Another problem not recognized as relevant to glaucoma 20 or 25 years ago
is marijuana's ability to reduce blood pressure. Depending on dosage,
frequency, and user experience, the reduction can be rather substantial.
Blood flow to the optic nerve may be important to the nerve's health,
especially in an adverse environment. In an eye with elevated IOP, or an
optic nerve that is not doing well and has unusual susceptibility to
changes in IOP, reduced blood flow may be a very important factor in the
progression of glaucoma.

In summary, decreased blood pressure, decreased optic nerve blood flow, and
short duration of the IOP-lowering effect are significant actual and
potential problems with marijuana, in addition to the psychotropic effects.
Also, because we do not know how the drug works, we do not know how it will
interact with other glaucoma drugs. If the mechanism involves a final
common pathway, cannabinoids may not be additive and might even interfere
with the other compounds. Conversely, some synthetic cannabinoids have
neuroprotective effects in vitro, and thus might possess antiglaucoma
potential independent of IOP.

To rationally determine marijuana's potential place in the antiglaucoma
armamentarium, we should study cannabinoids as we would any other
interesting class of compounds, rather than simply allowing or abandoning
their use at present. We know they lower the IOP substantially, but not
how. Even if unsuitable for therapeutic use themselves, they may provide
mechanistic insights to the development of other drugs. Issues of limited
ocular penetration (because of high lipid and poor water solubility) and
duration of action can be dealt with as with other drugs. We are much
better able to do these things now than when we first attempted it 20 or 25
years ago. In short, science rather than emotion should set the standard.

Paul L. Kaufman, MD Madison, Wis

Reprints: Paul L. Kaufman, MD, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual
Sciences, 600 Highland Ave, Room F4/328 CSC, Madison, WI 53792-3220.


1. Green K. Marijuana smoking vs cannabinoids for glaucoma therapy. Arch
Ophthalmol. 1998;116:1433-1437.

(Arch Ophthalmol. 1998;116:1512-1513)

Marijuana Smoking vs Cannabinoids For Glaucoma Therapy (The biased article
by Keith Green, a Medical College of Georgia professor of ophthalmology,
about the potential use of marijuana and cannabinoids in glaucoma therapy,
which will be widely publicized Nov. 13 and debunked by reformers
the same day through the next week.)

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 16:42:44 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Marijuana Smoking vs Cannabinoids For Glaucoma Therapy
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Source: Archives of Opthalmology
Copyright: 1998 American Medical Association
Pubdate: Nov 1998
Section: Clinical Sciences
Author: Keith Green, PhD, DSc (e-mail: kgreen@mail.mcg.edu)
Contact: ophthletters@ama-assn.org
See: http://www.ama-assn.org/public/journals/opht/letters.htm
Website: http://www.ama-assn.org/public/journals/opht/ophthome.htm
NOTE: This is the source article for an AP and CNN story which has caused
much discussion among some of our readers. The magazine also published an
editorial, posted separately at:
We are unsure of how widely the AP story was
published. Please send any articles related to this issue to
editor@mapinc.org Instructions for newshawking are at:
Some of the resulting articles are at:


Objective: To discuss the clinical effects, including toxicological data,
of marijuana and its many constituent compounds on the eye and the
remainder of the body. A perspective is given on the use of marijuana and
the cannabinoids in the treatment of glaucoma.

Results: Although it is undisputed that smoking of marijuana plant material
causes a fall in intraocular pressure (IOP) in 60% to 65% of users,
continued use at a rate needed to control glaucomatous IOP would lead to
substantial systemic toxic effects revealed as pathological changes.

Conclusions: Development of drugs based on the cannabinoid molecule or its
agonists for use as topical or oral antiglaucoma medications seems to be
worthy of further pursuit. Among the latter chemicals, some have no known
adverse psychoactive side effects. Smoking of marijuana plant material for
the reduction of elevated IOP in glaucoma is ill-advised, given its
toxicological profile.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1998;116:1433-1437

Previous reviews of the ocular and toxic effects of marijuana[1-6] have
provided considerable background on general human responses. Use of
marijuana for medicinal purposes decreased markedly in Western
civilizations during the 1930s and 1940s, due to the variable potency of
these herbal preparations and the parallel development of specific
medications that were more potent and targeted toward specific symptoms.
This philosophical alteration in medical therapy reflected changes that
occurred in all branches of medicine.[7] Only in the latter part of this
century has marijuana been used as a pleasure-inducing substance during
liberalization of ethics and social behavior in many cultures.[8-10] After
tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine, it is probably the most widely used drug in

More recently, legislation has been passed by certain states (with
subsequent revocation in 1 state) that has led to a resurgence of interest
in the evaluation of possible medical uses of marijuana. Extensive
evaluations have resulted in 1 report to the director of the National
Institutes of Health,[11] and will result in another from the Institute of
Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Furthermore, a meeting on
this topic held in March 1998 at New York University School of Medicine,
New York, will result in publication of a book in the spring of 1999.[12]
In many areas of interest, there is little but anecdotal material on which
to rely, but in the area of glaucoma, there exists a substantial literature.


A number of health hazards of marijuana have been identified, but some are
difficult to document completely.[9,10,13] Acute effects are increased
pulse rate, orthostatic hypotension, euphoria, and conjunctival
hyperemia.[14,15] Long-term clinical effects in humans include respiratory,
hormonal, and pulmonary toxic effects, although effects on many other organ
systems, including the brain, have been noted.[14,15,16-28] Marijuana
smoking leads to emphysemalike lung changes that are caused by the products
of marijuana burning (ie, cannabinoids) or through the release of tars,
carcinogens, and other volatile materials, as occurs with tobacco
smoke.[16,17] The latter products, however, occur in greater concentration
than in tobacco smoke.[19] The cognitive effects induced by marijuana are
of equal concern; these assume greater relevance with chronic, repetitive
exposure, especially in the age group in which glaucoma is most
prevalent.[18,20-28] These factors must be considered when potential
chronic use of cannabis is considered as a treatment. This is especially
true of glaucoma, where continuous use would be necessary to control this
24-hour-a-day disease, requiring as many as 2920 to 3650 marijuana
cigarettes per year.

The widespread effects of the cannabinoids and marijuana on many biological
systems have been attributed to direct effects on certain biochemical
processes, perturbations in cell membranes, or attachment to 1 of the 2
identified cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor is located
in the central nervous system, whereas CB2 receptors occur in immune system
tissues, such as spleen.[29-33] Through use of cannabinoid agonists such as
WIN5512-2 and methanandamide, identification of cannabinoid receptors, and
evaluation of their role in reflecting the biological activity of the
cannabinoids, a better and more complete picture has arisen of the effects
of these compounds.[29-33,34-38]


Inhalation of marijuana smoke or smoke of cigarettes laced with
delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC), intravenous injection of
cannabinoids, or ingestion of delta-9-THC or marijuana ("brownies") causes
conjunctival hyperemia and decreased lacrimation.[1-4,6,39-41] Ocular side
effects include diplopia, impairment of accommodation, photophobia,
nystagmus, and blepharospasm. The ocular effects of long-term marijuana
inhalation seem to be similar.[42,43] Pupillary effects appear to differ
depending somewhat on the circumstances of marijuana intake.[44,45]

Different cannabinoids reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in about 60% to
65% of humans, and marijuana and delta-9-THC (inhaled or taken orally) also
decrease IOP in the same percentage of nonglaucomatous
volunteers[4,39,41,42] and of volunteer patients with glaucoma.[4,41,46]
Orthostatic hypotension and 50% decreased lacrimation occur quickly after
inhalation of 2% 9-THC cigarettes,[41] as noted with a synthetic THC
homolog. An apparent dose-response relationship occurred between
cannabinoids or marijuana and IOP when groups were evaluated. Although the
peak fall in IOP was dose related, the time of maximal change was
unchanged. The IOP fell, on average, by about 25% (range, -45% to +5%)
after smoking 2% marijuana through a water-cooled pipe.[39] Duration of the
reduction of IOP is about 3 to 4 hours, by which time the IOP approaches
the presmoking level.[1-4,6,39,41] The major difficulty with marijuana
smoking was to separate the reduction in IOP and the euphoric effect. These
findings confirmed the physiological and pharmacological effects found in
experimental animals after intravenous drug administration.[47-50]

Studies in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) indicated a
reduction of IOP in 60% to 65% of the population after marijuana smoking or
delta-9-THC ingestion.[4,39,41,46] Seven of 11 patients in 1 study showed a
reduction in IOP of about 30% after smoking 2% marijuana cigarettes.[46]
More quantities of oral drug or marijuana were needed compared with inhaled
drug, presumably due to the poorer absorption by the former route.

About 300 volunteers (nonglaucomatous subjects or patients with POAG)
overall have participated in studies to examine the acute effects of
marijuana smoking or cannabinoid use (topical, oral, or intravenous). Since
the largest individual group was about 40 persons, this constitutes a large
number of groups and a range of conditions under which marijuana or 1 of
its constituents reduced IOP.

Topical delta-9-THC was examined in rabbits, dogs, and primates for
pharmacological activity[1-6,50,51-55] and toxic effects[56] before being
tested in humans.[57-60] The best vehicle identified for delivery of the
lipophilic agent in the early 1980s[55] has been superseded by vehicles
that permit internalization of lipid-soluble compounds into other materials
that are themselves water soluble. This provides an excellent delivery mode
of a lipophilic drug through the aqueous tear environment to the lipid
corneal epithelium. Other approaches have entailed water-soluble esters of
a maleate salt of a 9-THC-related compound.[5] This prodrug approach offers
a new modality for encouraging greater drug penetration to the site of
action. The development of nonpsychoactive, cannabinoid-related drugs also
has resulted in separation of IOP reduction from euphoric effects, at least
in experimental animal tests,[61] and holds promise for more future
developments. In humans, 9-THC drops were ineffective in reducing IOP in
single-or multiple-drop studies, due to the induction of ocular
irritation.[59,60] This effect was revealed only in humans.


Use of marijuana smoking as a treatment for glaucoma is not desirable for
several reasons. Although drug absorption is maximum with smoking, and the
user or patient can titrate the drug to a level of euphoria indicative of a
pharmacological response, this approach is poor. The pathological effects
on the lung already described, exposure to carcinogens, and the other
pulmonary and respiratory changes at the organ and cellular
levels[16,17,19] all make smoking a nonviable mechanism. The systemic toxic
effects that result in pathological changes alone seem sufficient to
discourage smoking marijuana.

Primary open-angle glaucoma is a 365-day-a-year disease, and since the
marijuana-induced fall in IOP lasts only 3 hours, the drug consumption
conceivably needed to reduce and keep IOP at a safe level would be very
high. The IOP is the only readily measurable parameter that one can use as
an index of POAG and is still the major indicator of what is essentially a
neuropathogenic disease.[62] No indication has been obtained or reported
that those highly limited number of persons who consume marijuana
cigarettes as a compassionate investigational new drug have shown any
maintenance of visual function or visual fields or stabilization of optic

Since marijuana reduces IOP for 3 to 4 hours, after which the IOP returns
to baseline, control of IOP at a significantly lowered value, including
maintenance of IOP at a 2-hour minimal low value, requires a marijuana
cigarette to be smoked 8 or l0 times a day (by those persons in whom IOP
actually decreases). This use corresponds to at least 2920 and as many as
3650 marijuana cigarettes consumed per year.[3,6] It is difficult to
imagine anyone consuming that much marijuana and being a productive
individual who is incorporated into society and perhaps operating machinery
or driving on the highways. Similarly, the systemic end-organ effects at
this level of consumption have the potential of being quite high. On the
other hand, the availability of once-or twice-a-day eye drops
(beta-blockers such as timolol maleate, or the prostaglandin agonist
latanoprost) makes IOP control a reality for many patients and provides
round-the-clock IOP reduction.[62]

Glaucoma treatment requires a round-the-clock reduction in IOP, and
treatments are evaluated as successful if this level of activity is
achieved without progression of visual field loss or optic disc changes.
There has been considerable press coverage of the use of marijuana as an
antiemetic[63-66] or as treatment for glaucoma. Dangers arise from 2
considerations of the latter. First, intermittent use would lead to a lack
of IOP reduction on a continued basis, thereby permitting visual function
loss to proceed. Second, full use of enough smoked marijuana leads to the
need, as described above, of an average of at least 3300 cigarettes per
year. Advocates of the latter approach often cite using marijuana for the
relief of symptoms, whereas POAG has no symptoms until too late, when
vision is irreversibly lost.

The advocates of marijuana smoking for glaucoma treatment also must contend
with the lack of standardization of the plant material. The 480 chemicals,
including 66 cannabinoids, in marijuana vary depending on the site and
circumstances of growth and certainly vary in content depending on which
plant part is smoked.[67-69] This variability goes counter to the
requirements of the Food and Drug Administration, Washington, DC,
concerning the chemical identity and performance characteristics of
specific drugs. Indeed, dronabinol (Marinol), an oral form of delta-9-THC,
is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of
chemotherapy-induced nausea and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome wasting
syndrome. Further, despite attempts by individual states to change their
laws, marijuana remains a schedule 1 controlled substance, and federal law

Lastly, there is an increasing movement at the federal and state levels to
confine tobacco smoking to highly restricted areas to reduce smoking and
the exposure of nonsmokers to second-hand smoke. In the face of this
societal change, it is difficult to advocate increased smoking,
particularly of marijuana, in settings where smoking is normally banned.


Oral or topical cannabinoids show promise for future use in glaucoma
treatment. Newer topical delivery technologies are available for these
lipophilic drugs, including the formation of microemulsions and use of
cyclodextrins to increase the solubility in aqueous-based solutions. This
is a marked improvement over the lipid-based vehicles that were the only
ones available during earlier basic and clinical studies of topical
cannabinoids.[51,56,59,60,70] The development of compounds related to
delta-9-THC, such as HU211 (dexanabinol), that show a complete absence of
euphoric effects while retaining IOP-reducing activity[61] is a major
advance. Increasing knowledge concerning the topical cannabinoid receptors
and ligands that reduce IOP in rabbit or monkey eyes will allow exploration
of different structural analogs that may identify compounds efficacious as
potential glaucoma medications.[70,71-78] Topical administration also has
the advantage of permitting the use of a low mass of drug per delivery
volume. Even at 5% concentration, a 30-uL drop would contain only 1.5 mg.

Oral administration of cannabinoids that lack psychoactive effects but will
reduce IOP could be a significant addition to the ophthalmic armamentarium
against glaucoma. The cannabinoids that exist in the plant material[67-69]
or as metabolites[79,80] do not appear to be viable candidates for oral use
because of the inability to separate their euphoric and IOP-reducing effects.

Because they are readily characterized from a chemical perspective, the
cannabinoids and related substances represent an area of focus for future
studies. Such attention would allow the development of appropriate vehicles
for these chemicals into the predominantly aqueous environment of the
tears. Compounds would be identified that have no euphoric effects or at
least a very high ratio of IOP reduction to euphoric effects. Such
chemicals would eliminate any potential abuse problems while providing
drugs that would reduce IOP by unique interaction with receptors or other
membrane components that could be additive to other currently available
glaucoma medications. In experiments where the action of cannabinoids in
causing an IOP reduction has been sought, evidence points to an influence
on increasing outflow of fluid from the eye as the major component. This is
true for delta-9-THC and HU211, although the binding of each of these
compounds to the cannabinoid receptor differs widely. The rapidity of onset
of the responses strongly suggests that an effect is occurring that can
undergo rapid adjustment rather than be related to slow alterations in
trabecular meshwork glycoproteins.[81]

The perspective presented herein differs in several ways from the
conclusions reached by the National Institutes of Health-assembled panel to
provide a written report on medicinal use of marijuana.[11] The primary
difference is the focus of research efforts, which the panel concluded
should have marijuana smoking as its delivery mode, whereas my review
recommends cannabinoids. The reasons for this divergence of opinion are
given and, I believe, are compelling for glaucoma studies to focus on
individual chemicals rather than a nonstandardized plant material.

The latter has no possibility, due to the inherent variability and the
plant versatility, of reaching the standards required by the Food and Drug
Administration in terms of chemical identity, purity, or characterization.
A contemporary review of medicinal applications that evaluated the effect
of delta-9-THC and marijuana on a broad spectrum of medical problems
indicated that THC may have a role in treating nausea associated with
cancer chemotherapy and in appetite stimulation. Other uses of either
material were not supported.[82]

From the Departments of Ophthalmology, and Physiology and Endocrinology,
Medical College of Georgia, Augusta. The author has no commercial or
proprietary interest in any drug or product mentioned in this article.

Accepted for publication July 21, 1998.

This study was supported in part by an unrestricted departmental award and
a Senior Scientific Investigator award from Research to Prevent Blindness
Inc, New York, NY.

I thank Brenda Sheppard for her valuable secretarial assistance.

Reprints: Keith Green, PhD, DSc, Department of Ophthalmology, Medical
College of Georgia, 112015th St, Augusta, GA 30912-3400 (e-mail:



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The War At Home (A lengthy article by Gore Vidal in Vanity Fair
analyzes the war against Constitutional liberties waged by American government
and media, particularly in the guise of the war on some drugs
and counter-terrorism.)

Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 20:28:46 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: The War At Home
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Patrick Henry (resist_tyranny@hotmail.com)
Pubdate: November 1998
Source: Vanity Fair
Page: 96
Copyright: 1998 The Conde Nast Publications Inc.
Contact: vfmail@vf.com
Website: http://www.vanityfair.com
Author: Gore Vidal


The U.S. Bill Of Rights Is Being Steadily Eroded, With Two Million
Telephone Calls Tapped, 30 Million Workers Under Electronic Surveillance,
And, Says The Author, Countless Americans Harassed By A Government That
Wages Spurious Wars Against Drugs And Terrorism.

Most Americans of a certain age can recall exactly where they were and
what they were doing on October 20, 1964, when word came that Herbert
Hoover was dead. The heart and mind of a nation stopped. But how many
recall when and how they first became aware that one or another of the Bill
of Rights had expired? For me, it was sometime in 1960 at a party in
Beverly Hills that I got the bad news from the constitutionally cheery
actor Cary Grant. He had just flown in from New York. He had, he said,
picked up his ticket at an airline counter in that magical old-world
airport, Idlewild, whose very name reflected our condition. "There were
these lovely girls behind the counter, and they were delighted to help me,
or so they said. I signed some autographs. Then I asked one of them for my
tickets. Suddenly she was very solemn. 'Do you have any identification?'
she asked." (Worldly friends tell me that the "premise" of this story is
now the basis of a series of TV commercials for Visa unseen by me.) I
would be exaggerating if I felt the chill in the air that long-ago Beverly
Hills evening. Actually, we simply laughed. But I did, for just an instant,
wonder if the future had tapped a dainty foot on our mass grave.

Curiously enough, it was Grant again who bore, as lightly as ever, the
news that privacy itself hangs by a gossamer thread. "A friend in London
rang me this morning," he said. This was June 4, 1963. "Usually we have
code names, but this time he forgot. So after he asked for me I said into
the receiver, 'All right. St. Louis, off the line. You, too, Milwaukee,'
and so on. The operators love listening in. Anyway, after we talked
business, he said, 'So what's the latest Hollywood gossip?' And I said,
'Well, Lana Turner is still having an affair with that black baseball
pitcher.' One of the operators on the line gave a terrible cry, 'Oh, no!"'

Innocent days. Today, as media and Congress thunder their anthem,
"Twinkle, twinkle, little Starr, how we wonder what you are," the current
president is assumed to have no right at all to privacy because, you see,
it's really about sex, not truth, a permanent nonstarter in political life.
Where Grant's name assured him an admiring audience of telephone operators,
the rest of us were usually ignored. That was then. Today, in the all-out,
never-to-be-won twin wars on Drugs and Terrorism, two million telephone
conversations a year are intercepted by law-enforcement officials. As for
that famous "workplace" to which so many Americans are assigned by
necessity, "the daily abuse of civil liberties ... is a national disgrace,"
according to the American Civil Liberties Union in a 1996 report.

Among the report's findings, between 1990 and 1996, the number of workers
under electronic surveillance increased from 8 million per year to more
than 30 million. Simultaneously, employers eavesdrop on an estimated 400
million telephone conversations a year--something like 750 a minute. In
1990, major companies subjected 38 percent of their employees to urine
tests for drugs. By 1996, more than 70 percent were thus interfered with.

Recourse to law has not been encouraging. In fact, the California Supreme
Court has upheld the right of public employers to drug-test not only those
employees who have been entrusted with flying jet aircraft or protecting
our borders from Panamanian imperialism but also those who simply mop the
floors. The court also ruled that governments can screen applicants for
drugs and alcohol. This was inspired by the actions of the city-state of
Glendale, California, which wanted to test all employees due for promotion.

Suit was brought against Glendale on the ground that it was violating the
Fourth Amendment's protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures."
Glendale's policy was upheld by the California Supreme Court, but Justice
Stanley Mosk wrote a dissent: "Drug testing represents a significant
additional invasion of those applicants' basic rights to privacy and
dignity ... and the city has not carried its considerable burden of showing
that such an invasion is justified in the case of all applicants offered

In the last year or so I have had two Cary Grant-like revelations,
considerably grimmer than what went on in the good old days of relative
freedom from the state. A well-known acting couple and their two small
children came to see me one summer. Photos were taken of their
four-year-old and six-year-old cavorting bare in the sea. When the couple
got home to Manhattan, the father dropped the negatives off at a drugstore
to be printed. Later, a frantic call from his fortunately friendly
druggist: "If I print these I've got to report you and you could get five
years in the slammer for kiddie porn." The war on kiddie porn is now
getting into high gear, though I was once assured by Wardell Pomeroy,
Allied Kinsey's colleague in sex research, that pedophilia was barely a
blip on the statistical screen, somewhere down there with farm lads and
their animal friends.

It has always been a mark of American freedom that unlike countries under
constant Napoleonic surveillance, we are not obliged to carry
identification to show to curious officials and pushy police. But now, due
to Terrorism, every one of us is stopped at airports and obliged to show an
ID which must include a mug shot (something, as Allah knows, no terrorist
would ever dare fake). In Chicago after an interview with Studs Terkel, I
complained that since I don't have a driver's license, I must carry a
passport in my own country as if I were a citizen of the old Soviet Union.

Terkel has had the same trouble. "I was asked for my ID--with photo--at
this southern airport, and I said I didn't have anything except the local
newspaper with a big picture of me on the front page, which I showed them,
but they said that that was not an ID. Finally, they got tired of me and
let me on the plane."

Lately, I have been going through statistics about terrorism (usually
direct responses to crimes our government has committed against
foreigners-although, recently, federal crimes against our own people are
increasing). Only twice in 12 years have American commercial planes been
destroyed in flight by terrorists; neither originated in the United States.

To prevent, however, a repetition of these two crimes, hundreds of millions
of travelers must now be subjected to searches, seizures, delays. The state
of the art of citizen-harassment is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, new
devices, at ever greater expense, are coming onto the market--and, soon, to
an airport near you--including the dream machine of every horny schoolboy.

The "Body Search" Contraband Detection System, created by American Science
and Engineering, can "X-ray" through clothing to reveal the naked body,
whose enlarged image can then be cast onto a screen for prurient analysis.
The proud manufacturer boasts that the picture is so clear that even
navels, unless packed with cocaine and taped over, can be seen winking at
the voyeurs. The system also has what is called, according to an A.C.L.U.
report, "a joystick-driven Zoom Option" that allows the operator to enlarge
interesting portions of the image. During all this, the victim remains,
as AS&E proudly notes, fully clothed. Orders for this machine should be
addressed to the Reverend Pat Robertson and will be filled on a first-come,
first-served basis, while the proud new owner of "Body Search" will be
automatically included in the F.B.I.'s database of Sexual Degenerates-Class
B. Meanwhile, in February 1997, the "Al" Gore Commission called for the
acquisition of 54 high-tech bomb-detection machines known as the CTX 5000,
a baggage scanner that is a bargain at a million dollars and will cost only
$100,000 a year to service. Unfortunately, the CTX 5000 scans baggage
at the rate of 250 per hour, which would mean perhaps a thousand are needed
to "protect" passengers at major airports from those two putative
terrorists who might--or might not--strike again in the next 12 years, as
they twice did in the last 12 years. Since the present scanning system
seems fairly effective, why subject passengers to hours of delay, not to
mention more than $54 million worth of equipment?

Presently, somewhat confused guidelines exist so that airline personnel
can recognize at a glance someone who fits the "profile" of a potential
terrorist. Obviously, anyone of mildly dusky hue who is wearing a fez gets
busted on the spot. For those terrorists who do not seem to fit the
"profile," relevant government agencies have come up with the following
behavioral tips that should quickly reveal the evildoer. A devious drug
smuggler is apt to be the very first person off the plane unless, of
course, he is truly devious and chooses to be the last one off. Debonair
master criminals often opt for a middle position. Single blonde young women
are often used, unwittingly, to carry bombs or drugs given them by Omar
Sharif look-alikes in sinister Casbahs. Upon arrival in freedom's land,
great drug-sniffing dogs will be turned loose on them; unfortunately, these
canine detectives often mistakenly target as drug carriers women that are
undergoing their menstrual period: the sort of icebreaker that often
leads to merry laughter all around the customs area. Apparently one
absolutely sure behavioral giveaway is undue nervousness on the part of a
passenger though, again, the master criminal will sometimes appear to be
too much at ease. In any case, whatever mad rule of thumb is applied, a
customs official has every right to treat anyone as a criminal on no
evidence at all; to seize and to search without, of course, due process of

Drugs. If they did not exist our governors would have invented them in
order to prohibit them and so make much of the population vulnerable to
arrest, imprisonment, seizure of property, and so on. In 1970, I wrote in
The New York Times, of all uncongenial places,

It is possible to stop most drug addiction in the United States within a
very short time. Simply make all drugs available and sell them at cost.
Label each drug with a precise description of what effect-good or bad--the
drug will have on the taker. This will require heroic honesty. Don't say
that marijuana is addictive or dangerous when it is neither, as millions
of people know--unlike "speed," which kills most unpleasantly, or heroin,
which can be addictive and difficult to kick. Along with exhortation and
warning, it might be good for our citizens to recall (or learn for the
first time) that the United States was the creation of men who believed
that each person has the right to do what he wants with his own life as
long as he does not interfere with his neighbors' pursuit of happiness
(that his neighbor's idea of happiness is persecuting others does confuse
matters a bit).

I suspect that what I wrote 28 years ago is every bit as unacceptable now
as it was then, with the added problem of irritable ladies who object to my
sexism in putting the case solely in masculine terms, as did the sexist

I also noted the failure of the prohibition of alcohol from 1919 to 1933.
And the crime wave that Prohibition set in motion so like the one today
since "both the Bureau of Narcotics and the Mafia want strong laws against
the sale and use of drugs because if drugs are sold at cost there would be
no money in them for anyone." Will anything sensible be done I wondered?

"The American people are as devoted to the idea of sin and its punishment
as they are to making money--and fighting drugs is nearly as big a business
as pushing them. Since the combination of sin and money is irresistible
(particularly to the professional politician), the situation will only grow
worse." I suppose, if nothing else, I was a pretty good prophet.

The media constantly deplore the drug culture and, variously, blame
foreign countries like Colombia for obeying that Iron law of supply and
demand to which we have, as a notion and as a nation, sworn eternal
allegiance. We also revel in military metaphors. Czars lead our armies into
wars against drug dealers and drug takers. So great is this permanent
emergency that we can no longer afford such frills as habeas corpus and due
process of law. In 1989 the former drug czar and TV talk-show fool, William
Bennett, suggested de jure as well as de facto abolition of habeas corpus
in "drug" cases as well as (I am not inventing this) public beheadings of
drug dealers. A year later, Ayatollah Bennett declared, "I find no merit in
the [drug] legalizers' case. The simple fact is that drug use is wrong. And
the moral argument, in the end, is the most compelling argument."

Of course, what this dangerous comedian thinks is moral James Madison and the
Virginia statesman and Rights-man George Mason would have thought dangerous
nonsense, particularly when his "morality" abolishes their gift to all of
us, the Bill of Rights. But Bennett is not alone in his madness. A special
assistant to the president on drug abuse declared, in 1984, "You cannot
let one drug come in and say, 'Well, this drug is all right.' We've drawn
the line. There's no such thing as a soft drug." There goes Tylenol-3,
containing codeine. Who would have thought that age-old palliatives could,
so easily, replace the only national religion that the United States has
ever truly had, anti-Communism?

On June 10, 1998, a few brave heretical voices were raised in The New York
Times, on an inner page. Under the heading BIG NAMES SIGN LETTER
CRITICIZING WAR ON DRUGS. A billionaire named "George Sores has amassed
signatures of hundreds of prominent people around the world on a letter
asserting that the global war on drugs is causing more harm than drug abuse
itself." Apparently, the Lindesmith Center in New York, funded by Sores,
had taken out an ad in the Times, thereby, expensively, catching an
editor's eye. The signatories included a former secretary of state and a
couple of ex-senators, but though the ad was intended to coincide with a
United Nations special session on Satanic Substances, it carried no weight
with one General Barry McCaffrey, President Clinton's war director, who
called the letter "a 1950s perception," whatever that may mean. After all,
drug use in the 50s was less than it is now after four decades of
relentless warfare. Curiously, the New York Times story made the
signatories seem to be few and eccentric while the Manchester Guardian in
England reported that among the "international signatories are the former
prime minister of the Netherlands... the former presidents of Bolivia and
Colombia... three [U.S.] federal judges... senior clerics, former drugs
squad officers... " But the Times always knows what's fit to print.

It is ironic - to use the limpest adjective - that a government as
spontaneously tyrannous and callous as ours should, over the years, have
come to care so much about our health as it endlessly tests and retests
commercial drugs available in other lands while arresting those who take
"hard" drugs on the parental ground that they are bad for the user's
health. One is touched by their concern - touched and dubious. After all,
these same compassionate guardians of our well-being have sternly, year in
and year out, refused to allow us to have what every other First World
country simply takes for granted, a national health service.

When Mr. and Mrs. Clinton came up to Washington, green as grass from the
Arkansas hills and all pink and aglow from swift-running whitewater creeks,
they tried to give the American people such a health system, a small token
in exchange for all that tax money which had gone for "defense" against an
enemy that had wickedly folded when our back was turned. At the first
suggestion that it was time for us to join the civilized world, there began
a vast conspiracy to stop any form of national health care. It was hardly
just the "right wing," as Mrs. Clinton suggested. Rather, the insurance and
pharmaceutical companies combined with elements of the American Medical
Association to destroy forever any notion that we be a country that
provides anything for its citizens in the way of health care.

One of the problems of a society as tightly controlled as ours is that we
get so little information about what those of our fellow citizens whom we
will never know or see are actually thinking and feeling. This seems a
paradox when most politics today involves minute-by-minute polltaking on
what looks to be every conceivable subject, but, as politicians and
pollsters know, it's how the question is asked that determines the
response. Also, there are vast areas, like rural America, that are an
unmapped ultima Thule to those who own the corporations that own the media
that spend billions of dollars to take polls in order to elect their
lawyers to high office. Ruby Ridge. Waco. Oklahoma City.

Three warning bells from a heartland that most of us who are urban
dwellers know little or nothing about. Cause of rural dwellers' rage?
In 1996 there were 1,471 mergers of American corporations in the interest
of "consolidation." This was the largest number of mergers in American
history, and the peak of a trend that had been growing in the world of
agriculture since the late 1970s. One thing shared by the victims at Ruby
Ridge and Waco, and Timothy McVeigh, who committed mass murder in their
name at Oklahoma City, was the conviction that the government of the United
States is their implacable enemy and that they can only save themselves by
hiding out in the wilderness, or by joining a commune centered on a
messianic figure, or, as revenge for the cold blooded federal murder of two
members of the Weaver family at Ruby Ridge, blow up the building that
contained the bureau responsible for the murders.

To give the media their due, they have been uncommonly generous with us on
the subject of the religious and political beliefs of rural dissidents.
There is a neo-Nazi "Aryan Nations." There are Christian fundamentalists
called "Christian Identity," also known as "British Israelism." All of this
biblically inspired nonsense has taken deepest root in those dispossessed
of their farmland in the last generation. Needless to say, Christian
demagogues fan the flames of race and sectarian hatred on television and,
illegally, pour church money into political campaigns.

Conspiracy theories now blossom in the wilderness like night-blooming
dementia praecox, and those in thrall to them are mocked invariably by the
... by the actual conspirators. Joel Dyer, in Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma
City Is Only the Beginning, has discovered some very real conspiracies out
there, but the conspirators are old hands at deflecting attention from
themselves. Into drugs? Well, didn't you know Queen Elizabeth II is overall
director of the world drug trade (if only poor Lillibet had had the
foresight in these republican times!). They tell us that the Trilateral
Commission is a world-Communist conspiracy headed by the Rockefellers.
Actually, the commission is excellent shorthand to show how the
Rockefellers draw together politicians and academics-on-the-make to serve
their business interests in government and out. Whoever it was who got
somebody like Lyndon LaRouche to say that this Rockefeller Cosa Nostra is
really a Communist front was truly inspired.

But Dyer has unearthed a genuine ongoing conspiracy that affects everyone
in the United States. Currently, a handful of agro-conglomerates are
working to drive America's remaining small farmers off their land by
systematically paying them less for their produce than it costs to grow,
thus forcing them to get loans from the conglomerates' banks, assume
mortgages, undergo foreclosures and the sale of land to
corporate-controlled agribusiness. But is this really a conspiracy or just
the Darwinian workings of an efficient marketplace? There is, for once, a
smoking gun in the form of a blueprint describing how best to rid the
nation of small farmers. Dyer writes: "In 1962, the Committee for Economic
Development comprised approximately seventy-five of the nation's most
powerful corporate executives. They represented not only the food industry
but also oil and gas, insurance, investment and retail industries. Almost
all groups that stood to gain from consolidation were represented on that
committee. Their report [An Adaptive Program for Agriculture] outlined a
plan to eliminate farmers and farms. It was detailed and well thought out."

Simultaneously, "as early as 1964, Congressmen were being told by industry
giants like Pillsbury, Swift, General Foods, and Campbell Soup that the
biggest problem in agriculture was too many farmers." Good psychologists,
the C.E.O.'s had noted that farm children, if sent to college, seldom
return to the family farm. Or as one famous economist said to a famous
senator who was complaining about jet lag on a night flight from New York
to London, "Well, it sure beats farming." The committee got the government
to send farm children to college. Predictably, most did not come back.
Government then offered to help farmers relocate in other lines of work,
allowing their land to be consolidated in ever vaster combines owned by
fewer and fewer corporations.

So a conspiracy had been set in motion to replace the Jeffersonian ideal
of a nation whose backbone was the independent farm family with a series
of agribusiness monopolies where, Dyer writes, "only five to eight
multinational companies have, for all intents and purposes, been the sole
purchasers and transporters not only of the American grain supply but that
of the entire world." By 1982 "these companies controlled 96% of US wheat
exports, 95% of US corn exports," and so on through the busy aisles of chic
Gristedes, homely Ralph's, sympathetic Piggly Wigglys.

Has consolidation been good for the customers? By and large, no.
Monopolies allow for no bargains, nor do they have to fuss too much about
quality because we have no alternative to what they offer. Needless to say,
they are hostile to labor unions and indifferent to working conditions for
the once independent farmers, now ill-paid employees. For those of us who
grew up in pre-war United States there was the genuine ham sandwich. Since
consolidation, ham has been so rubberized that it tastes of nothing at all
while its texture is like rosy plastic. Why? In the great hogariums a hog
remains in one place, on its feet, for life. Since it does not root about
or even move-it builds up no natural resistance to disease. This means a
great deal of drugs are pumped into the prisoner's body until its death and
transfiguration as inedible ham.

By and large, the Sherman anti-trust laws are long since gone. Today three
companies control 80 percent of the total beef-packing market. How does
this happen? Why do dispossessed farmers have no congressional
representatives to turn to? Why do consumers get stuck with mysterious
pricings of products that in themselves are inferior to those of an earlier
time? Dyer's answer is simple but compelling. Through their lobbyists, the
corporate executives who drew up the "adaptive program" for agriculture now
own or rent or simply intimidate Congresses and presidents while the courts
are presided over by their former lobbyists, an endless supply of
white-collar servants since two-thirds of all the lawyers on our small
planet are Americans. Finally, the people at large are not represented in
government while corporations are, lavishly.

What is to be done? Only one thing will work, in Dyer's view: electoral
finance reform. But those who benefit from the present system will never
legislate themselves out of power. So towns and villages continue to decay
between the Canadian and the Mexican borders, and the dispossessed rural
population despairs or rages. Hence, the apocalyptic tone of a number of
recent nonreligious works of journalism and analysis that currently record,
with fascinated horror, the alienation of group after group within the
United States.

Since the Encyclopedia Britannica is Britannica and not America, it is not
surprising that its entry for "Bill of Rights, United States" is a mere
column in length, the same as its neighbor on the page "Bill of Sale,"
obviously a more poignant document to the island compilers. Even so, they
do tell us that the roots of our Rights are in Magna Carta and that the
genesis of the Bill of Rights that was added as 10 amendments to our
Constitution in 1791 was largely the handiwork of James Madison, who, in
turn, echoed Virginia's 1776 Declaration of Rights. At first, these 10
amendments were applicable to American citizens only as citizens of the
entire United States and not as Virginians or as New Yorkers, where state
laws could take precedence according to "states' rights," as
acknowledged in the 10th and last of the original amendments. It was not
until 1868 that the 14th Amendment forbade the states to make laws counter
to the original bill. Thus every United States person, in his home state,
was guaranteed freedom of "speech and press, and the right to assembly and
to petition as well as freedom from a national religion." Apparently, it
was Charlton Heston who brought the Second Amendment, along with handguns
and child-friendly Uzis, down from Mount DeMille. Originally, the right
for citizen militias to bear arms was meant to discourage a standing
federal or state army and all the mischief that an armed state might cause
people who wanted to live not under the shadow of a gun but peaceably on
their own atop some sylvan Ruby Ridge.

Currently, the Fourth Amendment is in the process of disintegration, out
of "military necessity"- the constitutional language used by Lincoln to
wage civil war, suspend habeas corpus, shut down newspapers, and free
southern slaves. The Fourth Amendment guarantees "the right of the people
to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants
shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things
to be seized." The Fourth is the people's principal defense against
totalitarian government; it is a defense that is now daily breached both by
deed and law.

In James Bovard's 1994 book, Lost Rights, the author has assembled a great
deal of material on just what our law enforcers are up to in the
never-to-be-won wars against Drugs and Terrorism, as they do daily battle
with the American people in their homes and cars, on buses and planes,
indeed, wherever they can get at them, by hook or by crook or by sting.

Military necessity is a bit too highbrow a concept for today's federal and
local officials to justify their midnight smashing in of doors, usually
without warning or warrant, in order to terrorize the unlucky residents.

These unlawful attacks and seizures are often justified by the possible
existence of a flush toilet on the fingered premises. (If the warriors
against drugs don't take drug fiends absolutely by surprise, the fiends
will flush away the evidence.) This is intolerable for those eager to keep
us sin-free and obedient. So in the great sign of Sir Thomas Crapper's
homely invention, they suspend the Fourth, and conquer.

Nineteen ninety-two. Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Hartford Courant
reported that the local Tactical Narcotics Team routinely devastated homes
and businesses they "searched." Plainclothes policemen burst in on a
Jamaican grocer and restaurant owner with the cheery cry "Stick up,
niggers. Don't move." Shelves were swept clear. Merchandise ruined. "They
never identified themselves as police," the Conrant noted. Although they
found nothing but a registered gun, the owner was arrested and charged with
"interfering with an arrest" and so booked. A judge later dismissed the
case. Bovard reports, "In 1991, in Garland, Texas, police dressed in black
and wearing black ski-masks burst into a trailer, waved guns in the air and
kicked down the bedroom door where Kenneth Baulch had been sleeping next to
his seventeen-month-old son. A policeman claimed that Baulch posed a deadly
threat because he held an ashtray in his left hand, which explained why he
shot Baulch in the back and killed him. (A police internal investigation
found no wrongdoing by the officer.) In March 1992, a police SWAT team
killed Robin Pratt, an Everett, Washington, mother, in a no-knock raid
carrying out an arrest warrant for her husband. (Her husband was later
released after the allegations upon which the arrest warrant were based
turned out to be false.)" Incidentally, this K.G.B. tactic - hold someone
for a crime, but let him off if he then names someone else for a bigger
crime, also known as Starr justice - often leads to false, even random
allegations which ought not to be acted upon so murderously without a bit
of homework first. The Seattle Times describes Robin Pratt's last moments.

She was with her six-year-old daughter and five-year-old niece when the
police broke in. As the bravest storm trooper, named Aston, approached
her, gun drawn, the other police shouted, "'Get down,' and she started to
crouch onto her knees. She looked up at Aston and said, 'Please don't hurt
my children....' Aston had his gun pointed at her and fired, shooting her
in the neck. According to [the Pratt family attorney John] Muenster, she
was alive another one to two minutes but could not speak because her throat
had been destroyed by the bullet. She was handcuffed, lying face down."
Doubtless Aston was fearful of a divine resurrection; and vengeance. It is
no secret that American police rarely observe the laws of the land when out
wilding with each other, and as any candid criminal judge will tell you,
perjury is often their native tongue in court.

The I.R.S. has been under some scrutiny lately for violations not only of
the Fourth but of the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth requires a grand-jury
indictment in prosecutions for major crimes. It also provides that no
person shall be compelled to testify against himself, forbids the taking of
life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or the taking of
private property for public use without compensation.

Over the years, however, the ever secretive I.R.S. has been seizing
property right and left without so much as a postcard to the nearest grand
jury, while due process of law is not even a concept in their singleminded
pursuit of loot. Bovard notes:

Since 1980, the number of levies-I.R.S. seizures of bank accounts and pay
checks-has increased four-fold, reaching 3,253,000 in 1992. The General
Accounting Office (GAG)estimated in 1990 that the I.R.S. imposes over
50,000 incorrect or unjustified levies on citizens and businesses per
year. The GAO estimated that almost 6% of I.R.S. levies on business were
incorrect.... The I.R.S. also imposes almost one and a half million liens
each year, an increase of over 200% since 1980. Money magazine conducted a
survey in 1990 of 156 taxpayers who had I.R.S. liens imposed on their
property and found that 35% of the taxpayers had never received a
thirty-day warning notice from the I.R.S. of an intent to impose a lien
and that some first learned of the liens when the magazine contacted them.

The current Supreme Court has shown little interest in curbing so powerful
and clandestine a federal agency as it routinely disobeys the 4th, 5th, and
14th Amendments. Of course, this particular court is essentially
authoritarian and revels in the state's exercise of power while its
livelier members show great wit when it comes to consulting Ouija boards in
order to discern exactly what the founders originally had in mind, ignoring
just how clearly Mason, Madison, and company spelled out such absolutes as
you can't grab someone's property without first going to a grand jury and
finding him guilty of a crime as law requires. In these matters, sacred
original intent is so clear that the Court prefers to look elsewhere for
its amusement. Lonely voices in Congress are sometimes heard on the
subject. In 1993, Senator David Pryer thought it
would be nice if the I.R.S. were to notify credit agencies once proof was
established that the agency wrongfully attached a lien on a taxpayer's
property, destroying his future credit. The I.R.S. got whiny. Such an
onerous requirement would be too much work for its exhausted employees.

Since the U.S. statutes that deal with tax regulations comprise some 9,000
pages, even tax experts tend to foul up, and it is possible for any
Inspector Javert at the I.R.S. to find flawed just about any conclusion as
to what Family X owes. But, in the end, it is not so much a rogue bureau
that is at fault as it is the system of taxation as imposed by key members
of Congress in order to exempt their friends and financial donors from
taxation. Certainly, the I.R.S. itself has legitimate cause for complaint
against its nominal masters in Congress. The I.R.S.'s director of taxpayer
services, Robert LeBaube, spoke out in 1989: "Since 1976 there have been
138 public laws modifying the Internal Revenue Code; Since the Tax Reform
Act of 1986 there have been 13 public laws changing the code, and in 1988
alone there were seven public laws affecting the code." As Bovard notes but
does not explain, "Tax law is simply the latest creative interpretation by
government officials of the mire of tax legislation Congress has enacted.
I.R.S. officials can take five, seven, or more years to write the
regulations to implement a new tax law-yet Congress rontinely changes the
law before new regulations are promulgated. Almost all tax law is
provisional - either waiting to be revised according to the last tax bill
passed, or already proposed for change in the next tax bill."

What is this great busyness and confusion all about? Well, corporations
send their lawyers to Congress to make special laws that will exempt their
corporate profits from unseemly taxation: this is done by ever more
complex--even impenetrable-tax laws which must always be provisional as
there is always bound to be a new corporation requiring a special exemption
in the form of a private bill tacked on to the Arbor Day Tribute. Senators
who save corporations millions in tax money will not need to spend too much
time on the telephone begging for contributions when it is time for him-or,
yes, her-to run again. Unless-the impossible dream-the cost of elections is
reduced by 90 percent, with no election lasting longer than eight weeks.

Until national TV is provided free for national candidates and local TV for
local candidates (the way civilized countries do it), there will never be
tax reform. Meanwhile, the moles at the I.R.S., quite aware of the great
untouchable corruption of their congressional masters, pursue helpless
citizens and so demoralize the state.

It is nicely apt that the word "terrorist" (according to the O.E.D.)
should have been coined during the French Revolution to describe "an
adherent or supporter of the Jacobins, who advocated and practiced methods
of partisan repression and bloodshed in the propagation of the principles
of democracy and equality."

Although our rulers have revived the word to describe
violent enemies of the United States, most of today's actual terrorists can
be found within our own governments, federal, state, municipal. The Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (known as A.T.E), the Drug Enforcement
Agency, EB.L., I.R.S., etc., are so many Jacobins at war against the lives,
freedom, and property of our citizens. The F.B.I. slaughter of the
innocents at Waco was a model Jacobin enterprise. A mildly crazed religious
leader called David Koresh had started a commune with several hundred
followers--men, women, and children. Koresh preached world's end.
Variously, A.T.E and F.B.I. found him an ideal enemy to persecute. He was
accused of numerous unsubstantiated crimes, including this decade's
favorite, pedophilia, and was never given the benefit of due process to
determine his guilt or innocence. David Kopel and Paul H. Blackman have now
written the best and most detailed account of the American government's
current war on its unhappy citizenry in No More Wacos: What's Wrong with
Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It.

They describe, first, the harassment of Koresh and his religious group,
the Branch Davidians, minding the Lord's business in their commune; second,
the demonizing of him in the media; third, the February 28, 1993, attack on
the commune: 76 agents stormed the communal buildings that contained 127
men, women, and children. Four A.T.F. agents and six Branch Davidians died.
Koresh had been accused of possessing illegal firearms even though he had
previously invited law-enforcement agents into the commune to look at his
weapons and their registrations. Under the Freedom of Information Act,
Kopel and Blackman have now discovered that, from the beginning of what
would become a siege and then a "dynamic entry" (military parlance for
all-out firepower and slaughter), A.T.F. had gone secretly to the U.S. Army
for advanced training in terrorist attacks even though the Posse Comitatus
Law of 1878 forbids the use of federal troops for civilian law enforcement.

Like so many of our laws, in the interest of the war on Drugs, this law can
be suspended if the army is requested by the Drug Law Enforcement Agency to
fight sin. Koresh was secretly accused by A.T.F. of producing
methamphetamine that he was importing from nearby Mexico, 300 miles to the
south. Mayday! The army must help out. They did, though the charges against
drug-hating Koresh were untrue. The destruction of the Branch Davidians had
now ceased to be a civil affair where the Constitution supposedly rules.

Rather, it became a matter of grave military necessity: hence a CS-gas
attack (a gas which the U.S. had just signed a treaty swearing never to use
in war) 0n April 19, 1993, followed by tanks smashing holes in the
buildings where 27 children were at risk; and then a splendid fire that
destroyed the commune and, in the process, the as yet uncharged, untried
David Koresh. Attorney General Janet Reno took credit and "blame,''
comparing herself and the president to a pair of World War II generals who
could not exercise constant oversight ... the sort of statement World War
II veterans recognize as covering your ass.

Anyway, Ms. Reno presided over the largest massacre of Americans by
American Feds since 1890 and the fireworks at Wounded Knee. Eighty-two
Branch Davidians died at Waco, including 30 women and 25 children. Will our
Jacobins ever be defeated as the French ones were? Ah ... The deliberate
erasure of elements of the Bill of Rights (in law as opposed to in fact
when the police choose to go on the rampage, breaking laws and heads) can
be found in loony decisions by lower courts that the Supreme Court prefers
not to conform with the Bill of Rights. It is well known that the Drug
Enforcement Agency and the I.R.S. are inveterate thieves of private
property without due process of law or redress or reimbursement later for
the person who has been robbed by the state but committed no crime.

Currently, according to Kopel and Blackman, U.S. and some state laws go
like this: whenever a police officer is permitted, with or without judicial
approval, to investigate a potential crime, the officer may seize and keep
as much property associated with the alleged criminal as the police officer
considers appropriate. Although forfeiture is predicated on the property's
being used in a crime, there shall be no requirement that the owner be
convicted of a crime. It shall be irrelevant that the person was acquitted
of the crime on which the seizure was based, or was never charged with any
offense. Plainly, Judge Kafka was presiding in 1987 (United States v.
Sandini) when this deranged formula for theft by police was made law: "The
innocence of the owner is irrelevant," declared the court. "It is enough
that the property was involved in a violation to which forfeiture
attaches." Does this mean that someone who has committed no crime, but may
yet someday, will be unable to get his property back because U.S. v.
Sandini also states firmly, "The burden of proof rests on the party
alleging ownership"?

This sort of situation is particularly exciting for the woof-woof brigade
of police since, according to onetime attorney general Richard Thornburgh,
over 90 percent of all American paper currency contains drug residue; this
means that anyone carrying, let us say, a thousand dollars in cash will be
found with "drug money," which must be seized and taken away to be analyzed
and, somehow, never returned to its owner if the clever policeman knows his

All across the country high-school athletes are singled out for drug
testing while random searches are carried out in the classroom. On March 8,
1991, according to Bovard, at the Sandburg High School in Chicago, two
teachers (their gender is not given so mental pornographers can fill in
their own details) spotted a 16-year-old boy wearing sweatpants. Their four
eyes glitterinly alert, they cased his crotch, which they thought "appeared
to be 'too well endowed.'') He was taken to a locker room and stripped
bare. No drugs were found, only a nonstandard scrotal sac. He was let go as
there is as yet no law penalizing a teenager for being better hung than his
teachers. The lad and his family sued. The judge was unsympathetic. The
teachers, he ruled, "did all they could to ensure that the plaintiff's
privacy was not eroded." Judge Kafka never sleeps.

Although drugs are immoral and must be kept from the young, thousands of
schools pressure parents to give the drug Ritalin to any lively child who
may, sensibly, show signs of boredom in his classroom. Ritalin renders the
child docile if not comatose. Side effects? "Stunted growth, facial ties,
agitation and aggression, insomnia, appetite loss, headaches, stomach pains
and seizures." Marijuana would be far less harmful.

The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was
not unlike Pearl Harbor, a great shock to an entire nation and, one hopes,
a sort of wake-up call to the American people that all is not well with us.

As usual, the media responded in the only way they know how. Overnight, one
Timothy McVeigh became the personification of evil. Of motiveless malice.
There was the usual speculation about confederates. Grassy knollsters. But
only one other maniac was named, Terry Nichols; he was found guilty of
"conspiring" with McVeigh, but he was not in on the slaughter itself.

A journalist, Richard A. Serrano, has just published One of Ours: Timothy
McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing. Like everyone else, I fear, I was
sick of the subject. Nothing could justify the murder of those 168 men,
women, and children, none of whom had, as far as we know, anything at all
to do with the federal slaughter at Waco, the ostensible reason for
McVeigh's fury. So why write such a book? Serrano hardly finds McVeigh
sympathetic, but he does manage to make him credible in an ominously
fascinating book.

Born in 1968, McVeigh came from a rural family that had been, more or
less, dispossessed a generation earlier. Father Bill had been in the U.S.
Army. Mother worked. They lived in a western New York blue-collar town
called Pendleton. Bill grows vegetables; works at a local G.M. plant;
belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. Of the area, he says, "When I grew
up, it was all farms. When Tim grew up, it was half and half."

Tim turns out to be an uncommonly intelligent and curious boy. He does
well in high school. He is, as his defense attorney points out, "a
political animal." He reads history, the Constitution. He also has a
lifelong passion for guns: motivation for joining the army. In Bush's Gulf
War he was much decorated as an infantryman, a born soldier. But the war
itself was an eye-opener, as wars tend to be for those who must fight them.

Later, he wrote a journalist how "we were falsely hyped up." The ritual
media demonizing of Saddam, Arabs, Iraqis had been so exaggerated that when
McVeigh got to Iraq he was startled to "find out they are normal like me
and you. They hype you to take these people out. They told us we were to
defend Kuwait where the people had been raped and slaughtered. War woke me

As usual, there were stern laws against American troops fraternizing with
the enemy. McVeigh writes a friend, "We've got these starving kids and
sometimes adults coming up to us begging for food.... It's really 'trying'
emotionally. It's like the puppy dog at the table; but much worse. The
sooner we leave here the better. I can see how the guys in Vietnam were
getting killed by children." Serrano notes, "At the close of the war, a
very popular war, McVeigh had learned that he did not like the taste of
killing innocent people. He spat into the sand at the thought of being
forced to hurt others who did not hate him any more than he them."

The army and McVeigh parted once the war was done. He took odd jobs. He
got interested in the far right's paranoid theories and in what Joel Dyer
calls "The Religion of Conspiracy." An army buddy, Terry Nichols, acted as
his guide. Together they obtained a book called Privacy, on how to vanish
from the government's view, go underground, make weapons. Others had done
the same, including the Weaver family, who had moved to remote Ruby Ridge
in Idaho. Randy Weaver was a cranky white separatist with Christian
Identity beliefs. He wanted to live with his family apart from the rest of
America. This was a challenge to the F.B.I. When Weaver did not show up in
court to settle a minor firearms charge, they staked him out August 21,
1992. When the Weaver dog barked, they shot him; when the Weavers'
14-year-old son fired in their direction, they shot him in the back and
killed him. When Mrs. Weaver, holding a baby, came to the door, F.B.I.
sniper Lon Horiuchi shot her head off. The next year the Feds took out the
Branch Davidians.

For Timothy McVeigh, the A.T.F. became the symbol of oppression and
murder. Since he was now suffering from an exaggerated sense of justice,
not a common American trait, he went to war pretty much on his own and
ended up slaughtering more innocents than the Feds had at Waco. Did he know
what he was doing when he blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in
Oklahoma City because it contained the hated bureau? McVeigh remained
silent throughout his trial. Finally, as he was about to be sentenced, the
court asked him if he would like to speak. He did. He rose and said, "I
wish to use the words of Justice Brandeis dissenting in Olmstead to speak
for me. He wrote,'Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher.
For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example."' Then McVeigh
was sentenced to death by the government.

Those present were deeply confused by McVeigh's quotation. How could the
Devil quote so saintly a justice? I suspect that he did it in the same
spirit that Iago answered Othello when asked why he had done what he had
done: "Demand me nothing: what you know, you know: from this time forth I
never will speak word." Now we know, too; or as my grandfather used to say
back in Oklahoma, "Every pancake has two sides."

Drugs - Missing The Big Story (The Columbia Journalism Review
says that when it comes to press coverage of "the drug issue," the main
action is in Mexico. In the United States, the press has been neglecting
the battle at home. What's missing is any sustained coverage of the really
significant stories, for example, the effectiveness of treatment in reducing
addicts' dependence, and the difficulty they have in getting it.)

Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 19:31:10 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: OPED: Drugs: Missing The Big Story
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Steve Young
Pubdate: Nov./Dec. 1998
Source: Columbia Journalism Review
Contact: cjr@columbia.edu
Website: http://www.cjr.org
Author: Michael Massing


When it comes to press coverage of the drug issue, the main action is
in Mexico. American correspondents there pore over financial records,
examine court documents, and interview officials to chronicle the
pernicious effects drug trafficking has had on that country's
political system. Meticulously researched, lushly documented, and
numbingly detailed, these stories resemble the exposes of municipal
malfeasance that were popular during the heyday of investigative
journalism in the 1970s.

A typically knotty lead in The New York Times: "The longtime private
secretary to a patriarch of Mexico's governing party has told American
authorities about a series of dealings between narcotics traffickers and
high-ranking political leaders, including members of the family of former
President Carlos Salinas de Gortari." Last November, The Washington Post
ran a five-part, 17,000-word series on drug trafficking along the
U.S.-Mexico border and the violence and corruption it has spawned.

At a time when so many news organizations are cutting back foreign
coverage, such a commitment of resources seems admirable, and the
Times, for one, was rewarded this year with a Pulitzer Prize. Yet, in
the rush to recount events in Tijuana and Juarez, the press has been
neglecting another, more important front in the drug war -- the battle
at home.

In the U.S., the press favors two types of drug stories: teenage drug
use (teen drug crisis, headlined the New York Post, August 21, 1996)
and well-to-do junkies (heroin's hold on Hollywood, Entertainment
Weekly cover story, August 9, 1996). Or both (heroin alert: rockers,
models, and the new drug crisis: are teens at risk? Newsweek cover
story, August 26, 1996).

In reality, middle-class heroin addiction is neither new nor
particularly widespread. And the rise of teen drug use in recent years
is confined mostly to marijuana. National surveys affirm that
America's drug problem consists mainly of a hard core of users who are
disproportionately poor, unemployed, and black or Hispanic. There are
about 3.6 million hard-core users, according to the federal
government, and they consume an estimated 75 percent of the heroin and
cocaine used in the United States. They also account for most of the
crime, child abuse, overdose deaths, and other terrible consequences
of drug use.

To the extent that these users surface in the media, it is usually in
stories about street sweeps, prison overcrowding, or child welfare.
What's missing is any sustained coverage of the really significant
stories -- the effectiveness of treatment in reducing addicts'
dependence, and the difficulty they have in getting it.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy says that the U.S.
treatment system has enough capacity to help only half of those 3.6
million hard-core users. This is not by accident. For the last twenty
years, drug treatment has been systematically underfunded at all
levels of government. The result: long waiting lists for treatment in
cities around the country. In New York state alone, an estimated
100,000 people who want treatment are unable to get it in any given
year. Where are the news stories?

Part of the problem is the popular wisdom -- in newsrooms as in the
general public -- that treatment does not work. Everybody knows
someone who has done well in treatment, only to relapse soon after
leaving it. Feeding this skepticism are the disparaging remarks about
treatment made by politicians trying to look tough on drugs, such as
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who recently launched a stinging
attack on methadone.

The pols -- and the popular perceptions -- are wrong. Take the case of
a typical street junkie, an addict who's been injecting heroin or
smoking crack for years and supporting his habit by shoplifting,
robbing, or other hustles. While caught up in his drug-taking, such a
person will not generally give much thought to treatment. But for most
there comes a point when drug use begins to cause serious problems,
from physical ailments to family dysfunction to trouble with the law,
and when this happens many junkies become open to treatment.

They have several varieties to choose from. One is methadone. A
synthetic opiate that blocks the craving for heroin, methadone is
usually dispensed in clinics that require patients to come for a daily
dose plus some counseling. Methadone works solely on heroin users, and
most experts agree that to be fully effective it needs to be
accompanied by an array of services, including vocational assistance.
For addicts who use drugs other than heroin, or who use heroin but do
not want to take methadone (daily trips to a clinic are not always
possible), there are "drug-free" outpatient clinics, which offer
intensive counseling and other services but no pharmaceuticals.

Addicts who feel the need for a more radical change in their lives can
enroll in residential programs. Lasting anywhere from three months to
two years, such programs commonly offer counseling, educational
programs, and vocational training, all served up in a highly
structured environment in which everything from meal hours to leisure
time is strictly regulated.

A year in a residential program costs about $18,000. Methadone costs
$4,000 to $6,000 a year, and non-methadone outpatient programs even
less. (Most programs that treat indigent addicts get money from
Medicaid as well as direct grants from the federal or state
government.) By contrast, a year in prison costs between $25,000 and
$30,000, not including the sums spent on arrest and

It is the relative cheapness that makes treatment so cost-effective.
In a 1994 study, the RAND Corporation sought to compare the
effectiveness of treatment with that of three other types of
drug-control programs: local police action, border interdiction, and
drug-suppression programs abroad. How much, RAND asked, would it cost
to reduce cocaine use by 1 percent by relying on each of these four
approaches? Using sophisticated computer analysis, RAND found that,
relying solely on drug-fighting efforts abroad, the government would
have to spend $783 million more a year to reduce cocaine consumption
by 1 percent; relying on interdiction, it would have to spend $366
million more, and on domestic law enforcement, $246 million.

Relying solely on treatment, however, the government would have to
spend only $34 million more to achieve that 1 percent reduction. In
other words, treatment was seven times more cost-effective than local
law enforcement, ten times more effective than interdiction, and
twenty-three times more effective than attacking drugs at their source.

Many other studies show that treatment works. In 1996, for instance,
the U.S. government released a study of hard-core users in treatment.
The number using cocaine dropped from 39.5 percent before treatment to
17.8 percent a year later; for heroin, the number went from 23.6
percent to 12.6 percent. Overall, drug consumption decreased by
roughly 50 percent.

This is not to deny the reality of relapse. Most addicts require two,
three, or more exposures to treatment before the process takes hold.
Over time, though, treatment produces dramatic reductions in drug use
and related crime. In one analysis, California found that, for every
dollar invested in treatment, the state saved seven dollars, mostly
from reductions in crime and health-care costs.

Despite all this, about two-thirds of the federal drug budget goes for
law enforcement and interdiction, and only one-third for treatment and
prevention. Press coverage of the drug issue is even more imbalanced.
Newspapers and TV news programs rarely report on the mass of research
demonstrating the effectiveness of treatment. Nor do they describe
what happens to addicts who are turned away from treatment programs
for lack of space.

Most striking of all is the lack of stories about how hard it is to
gain entry to treatment. The drug treatment world is a balkanized and
fractious place. Each program serves different populations, features
different approaches, and has different admissions criteria. In most
cities there's no central entry point where addicts can apply for
help, no registry of which programs have openings. And, because
treatment centers are so competitive, they will rarely refer a drug
user to another program, even when they are full.

In some cases, there are even financial disincentives to helping
addicts. Most clinicians, for instance, agree that a patient
completing detox will relapse if he is not referred to a longer-term
program. But hospitals in New York state are reimbursed up to $1,000 a
day for each detox bed that is filled; if a patient relapses, his
eventual return for another round of detox is almost guaranteed. Thus
are hospitals rewarded for failure.

All in all, the nation's treatment system almost seems designed to
make sure addicts don't get help. By any journalistic standard, this
would seem a good story. Yet, in an extensive reading of newspaper
clips, I found just one in-depth account of the trouble addicts have
in getting into detox in New York City, the nation's drug capital. The
four-part series appeared six years ago, in the Los Angeles Times.

Articles detailing the gaps in the treatment world are equally rare.
In February 1997, Christopher Wren of The New York Times wrote about
the shocking scarcity of methadone capacity nationwide (ex-addicts
find methadone more elusive than heroin). With more than 800,000
heroin addicts in the U.S., he noted, the nation's methadone clinics
can accommodate only 115,000 of them. Eight states have no methadone
at all.

Last August, The Washington Post ran a biting expose of chaos and
disarray in the District of Columbia's drug treatment system (in d.c.,
many addicts and few services). Reporter Peter Slevin described how
many drug-using criminal offenders -- mandated by judges to treatment
-- had to wait as long as six months behind bars because no beds were
available. Slevin interviewed parole officers who were working the
phones on behalf of their clients, desperately seeking treatment for
them before they returned to a life of drugs and crime.

Journalists could tell similar stories in almost every large city. Few
do. In terms of drama, reporting on the lack of treatment slots or the
barriers to entering detox cannot compare with stalking drug lords in
Mexico or watching coca fields being sprayed in Colombia. But tales of
the treatment crisis may be more important stories.

By showing how poorly the treatment system is serving addicts, and yet
how much promise treatment holds, news organizations could help bring
about real reform. Doing so, though, would require sending reporters
not just south of the border but down the street.

Michael Massing, a contributing editor to CJR, is the author of The
Fix, a book about America's drug problem, published in October by
Simon & Schuster

CIA's Drug Confession (iF magazine, in Canada, says CIA Inspector General
Frederick Hitz confirmed long-standing allegations of cocaine trafficking
by Nicaraguan Contra forces in an historic document released Oct. 8 that was
nearly ignored by major news media.)

Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 19:31:10 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: CIA's Drug Confession
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Anne R. Kist
Pubdate: Nov./Dec. 1998
Source: iF Magazine
Section: Page 22
Contact: parry@ix.netcom.com
Website: http://www.consortiumnews.com/
Author: Robert Parry


Cocaine traffickers and money-launderers swarmed through the
Nicaraguan contra movement in the 1980s to a far greater extent than
was ever known, according to a report by the CIA's inspector general.

One contra trafficker claimed Ronald Reagan's National Security
Council cleared his work. The NSC's favorite covert airline also was
under suspicion for drug connections, the report stated.

In an historic document released on Oct. 8 -- and nearly ignored by
the major news media -- CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz confirmed
long-standing allegations of cocaine trafficking by contra forces.
Hitz identified more than 50 contras and contra-related entities
implicated in the drug trade.

Hitz detailed, too, how the Reagan administration protected these drug
operations and frustrated federal investigations which threatened to
expose these crimes in the mid-1980s.

In perhaps the most stunning disclosure, Hitz published evidence that
drug trafficking and money laundering tracked directly into Reagan's
National Security Council where Lt. Col. Oliver L. North oversaw
contra operations.

Hitz also revealed that the CIA placed an admitted drug money
launderer in charge of the Southern Front contras in Costa Rica. Hitz
disclosed, too, that the second-in-command of contra forces on the
Northern Front in Honduras had escaped from a Colombian prison where
he was serving time for a drug conviction.

In the lengthy report -- Volume Two of a two-volume set on contra drug
allegations -- Hitz continued to defend the CIA on one narrow point:
that the CIA did not conspire with the contras to raise money through
cocaine trafficking.

But Hitz made clear that the contra war took precedence over law
enforcement and that the CIA withheld evidence of contra crimes from
the Justice Department, the Congress and even the CIA's own analytical

Among Hitz's new disclosures:

The CIA knew the criminal nature of its contra clients from the start
of the war against Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government. The
earliest contra force, called ADREN or the 15th of September Legion,
had chosen "to stoop to criminal activities in order to feed and
clothe their cadre," according to a June 1981 draft CIA field report.

ADREN employed terrorist methods, including the bombing of Nicaraguan
civilian planes and hijackings, to disrupt the Sandinista government,
the CIA knew. [Graf 180]

Cocaine smuggling was also in the picture. According to a September
1981 cable to CIA headquarters, ADREN decided to use drug trafficking
as another financing mechanism. Two ADREN members made the first
delivery of drugs to Miami in July 1981, the CIA cable reported. [Graf

ADREN's leaders included Enrique Bermudez and other early contras who
would later direct the major contra army, the CIA-organized FDN.
Throughout the war, Bermudez remained the top contra military
commander. The CIA later corroborated the allegations about ADREN's
cocaine trafficking, but insisted that Bermudez had opposed the drug
shipments to the United States which went ahead nonetheless. [Graf

The truth about Bermudez's claimed opposition to drug trafficking,
however, is less clear. According to Volume One of Hitz's report,
Bermudez enlisted Norwin Meneses, a large-scale Nicaraguan cocaine
smuggler, to raise money and buy supplies for the contras.

The first volume quoted a Meneses associate, another Nicaraguan
trafficker named Danilo Blandon. In an interview with Hitz's
investigators, Blandon said he and Meneses flew to Honduras to meet
with Bermudez in 1982.

At the time, Meneses's criminal activities were well known in the
Nicaraguan exile community. But the FDN commander told the cocaine
smugglers that "the ends justify the means" in raising money for the

After the Bermudez meeting, contra soldiers helped Meneses and Blandon
get past Honduran police who briefly arrested them on drug-trafficking
suspicions. After their release, Blandon and Meneses traveled on to
Bolivia to complete a cocaine transaction. [For details, see iF
Magazine, Mar-Apr. 1998.]

There were other indications of Bermudez's drug-smuggling tolerance.
In February 1988, another Nicaraguan exile linked to the drug trade
accused Bermudez of narcotics trafficking, according to Hitz's report.
Continuing its long defense of Bermudez, however, the CIA dismissed
the source as "unstable." [Graf 545]

After the contra war ended, Bermudez returned to Managua, where he was
shot to death on Feb. 16, 1991. The murder has never been solved.

In the Southern Front, in Costa Rica, the drug evidence centered on
the forces of Eden Pastora, another leading contra commander. But Hitz
discovered that the U.S. government may have contributed to the problem.

Hitz revealed that the CIA put a now-admitted drug operative -- known
by his CIA pseudonym "Ivan Gomez" -- in a supervisory position over

Hitz reported that the CIA discovered Gomez's drug history in 1987
when Gomez failed a security review on drug-trafficking questions. The
CIA then hushed up the discovery.

In internal CIA interviews, Gomez admitted that in March or April
1982, he helped family members who were engaged in drug trafficking
and money laundering. In one case, Gomez said he assisted his brother
and brother-in-law in transporting cash from New York City to Miami.
He admitted that he "knew this act was illegal." [Grafs 672-73]

Later, Gomez expanded on his admission, describing how his family
members had slid $2 million into debt and had gone to Miami to run a
money-laundering center for drug traffickers. Gomez said "his brother
had many visitors whom [Gomez] assumed to be in the drug trafficking

Gomez's brother was arrested on drug charges in June 1982. Three
months later, in September 1982, Gomez started his CIA assignment in
Costa Rica.

Years later, convicted drug trafficker Carlos Cabezas charged that in
the early 1980s, Ivan Gomez was the CIA agent in Costa Rica who was
overseeing drug-money donations to the contras.

Gomez "was to make sure the money was given to the right people [the
contras] and nobody was taking ... profit they weren't supposed to,"
Cabezas declared publicly. [Graf 678]

But the CIA sought to discredit Cabezas. He did have trouble
identifying Gomez's picture and put Gomez at one meeting in early 1982
-- before Gomez started his CIA assignment.

Still, Hitz's report offers the first official evidence that Gomez did
have a direct role in drug-money laundering, as Cabezas alleged.

There also was more about Gomez. In November 1985, the FBI learned
from an informant that Gomez's two brothers had been large-scale
cocaine importers, with one brother arranging shipments from Bolivia's
infamous drug kingpin Roberto Suarez. [Graf 695]

Suarez already was known as a right-wing financier. In 1980, with
Argentine military support, Suarez bankrolled a coup in Bolivia that
ousted the elected government. The violent putsch became known as the
Cocaine Coup because it made Bolivia the region's first

Bolivia's protected cocaine shipments helped transform the Medellin
cartel into a corporate-style business for delivering cocaine to the
U.S. market. Some of those profits allegedly found their way into
contra coffers, partly through Suarez.

Flush with cash in the early 1980s, Suarez invested more than $30
million in various right-wing paramilitary operations, including the
contra forces in Central America, according to U.S. Senate testimony
by an Argentine intelligence officer, Leonardo Sanchez-Reisse.

In 1987, Sanchez-Reisse stated that the Suarez drug money was
laundered through front companies in Miami before going to Central
America. There, other Argentine intelligence officers -- veterans of
the Bolivian coup -- trained the contras. [For details, see "Nazi
Echo" in The Consortium On-line, Sept. 19, 1998.]

Hitz added another piece to this contra-Bolivian puzzle. One contra
fund-raiser, Jose Orlando Bolanos, boasted that the Argentine
government was supporting his anti-Sandinista activities, according to
a May 1982 cable to CIA headquarters.

Bolanos made the statement during a meeting with undercover DEA agents
in Florida. He offered to introduce them to his Bolivian cocaine
supplier. [Graf 465]

Despite all this suspicious drug activity around the contras, the CIA
insisted that it did not unmask Ivan Gomez until 1987, when he failed
a security check and confessed his role in his family's drug business.

The CIA official who interviewed Gomez concluded that "Gomez directly
participated in illegal drug transactions, concealed participation in
illegal drug transactions, and concealed information about involvement
in illegal drug activity," Hitz wrote. [Graf 674-75]

But senior CIA officials still chose to protect Ivan Gomez. They
rejected a proposal that the Gomez case be referred to the Justice
Department. Their rationale was a 1982 DOJ-CIA agreement that spared
the CIA from a legal obligation to report narcotics crimes by
non-employees. [Graf 714]

Instead, the CIA eased Gomez, an independent contractor, out of the
agency in February 1988, without alerting law enforcement or the
congressional oversight committees. [Graf 728]

When questioned about the case nearly a decade later, one senior CIA
official who had supported the gentle treatment of Gomez had second

"It is a striking commentary on me and everyone that this guy's
involvement in narcotics didn't weigh more heavily on me or the
system," the official acknowledged. [Graf 711]

As for the decision not to make a criminal referral, the official
added: "That view that Gomez is not technically an employee and
therefore reporting may not be required is slicing it pretty thin."
[Graf 713]

A Medellin drug connection arises in another section of Hitz's report,
where he revealed evidence suggesting that some contra trafficking may
have been sanctioned by Reagan's National Security Council.

The protagonist for this part of the contra-drug mystery is Moises
Nunez, a Cuban-American who worked for North's NSC operation and for
two drug-connected seafood importers, Ocean Hunter in Miami and
Frigorificos de Puntarenas in Costa Rica.

Frigorificos de Puntarenas was created in the early 1980s as a cover
for drug-money laundering, according to sworn testimony by two of the
firm's principals -- Carlos Soto and Medellin cartel accountant Ramon
Milian Rodriguez.

Drug allegations began swirling around Nunez in the mid-1980s.
Finally, on March 25, 1987, the CIA questioned Nunez about the
cocaine-trafficking suspicions. He responded by pointing the finger
toward his superiors at the NSC.

"Nunez revealed that since 1985, he had engaged in a clandestine
relationship with the National Security Council," Hitz reported.

"Nunez refused to elaborate on the nature of these actions, but
indicated it was difficult to answer questions relating to his
involvement in narcotics trafficking because of the specific tasks he
had performed at the direction of the NSC. Nunez refused to identify
the NSC officials with whom he had been involved." [Graf 490]

After this first round of questioning, CIA headquarters authorized an
additional session, but then senior CIA officials reversed the
decision. There would be no further efforts at "debriefing Nunez."

Hitz noted that "the cable [from headquarters] offered no explanation
for the decision" to stop the Nunez interrogation. [Graf 491]

When asked recently about that decision, former Central American Task
Force planning chief Louis Dupart said he did not recall the reason
for halting the Nunez debriefing.

But Dupart added, "the Agency position was not to get involved in this
matter, and to turn it over to others because 'it had nothing to do
with the Agency, but with the National Security Council. We ... told

Congress and [Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence] Walsh. That's
all we had to do. It was someone else's problem'." [Graf 492]

Dupart's boss, task force chief Alan Fiers, stated that the Nunez-NSC
drug lead was not pursued "because of the NSC connection and the
possibility that this could be somehow connected to the Private
Benefactor program [the contra money handled by North]. A decision was
made not to pursue this matter." [Graf 494]

According to CIA records, the CIA briefed Sens. Warren Rudman and
William Cohen, two Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee,
about the Nunez case. Dupart offered to arrange a committee interview
with Nunez but that apparently never happened. [Graf 493]

The CIA did interview Nunez again in September 1987 -- five months
after his admission and at the height of the Iran-contra scandal.
Nunez began insisting that he had no relationship with the NSC. [Graf

By then, however, Joseph Fernandez, former CIA station chief in Costa
Rica, had confirmed to congressional Iran-contra investigators that
Nunez "was involved in a very sensitive operation" for North's
"Enterprise." The exact nature of that NSC-authorized activity has
never been divulged.

The CIA gave Walsh the material about Nunez's claim of NSC
authorization, but not until February 1988 -- nearly a year after the
admission and then only as part of a large batch of documents
delivered at the end of Walsh's North investigation.

If supplied in a timelier fashion, the Nunez statement and the other
evidence of money laundering might have put into focus a part of the
North case that always remained fuzzy: his personal handling of dirty

According to little-noticed documents that emerged during the
Iran-contra scandal, North tapped into a money-laundering network that
pulled $2.7 million in untraceable cash off New York City streets.

The cash deliveries were arranged through a Republic National Bank
officer named Nan Morabia. She sent bags filled with cash to North's
operatives who took the money to Washington. [For details, see iF
Magazine, July-Aug. 1997]

Mysterious money was showing up elsewhere in the contra operation. A
total of $14 million materialized in 1985 to finance the so-called
Arms Supermarket which supplied weapons to the contras in Honduras.

North's handwritten notes from July 12, 1985, record a warning from a
CIA officer in the field that "$14M [million] to finance came from

The Arms Supermarket owner, Ronald Martin, denied the drug taint, but
acknowledged that the financing was handled by a Cuban-American banker
named John Molina, who moved money from wealthy individuals through
Panamanian banks.

In 1987, John Molina told his brother, Pablo, that he had worked for
the CIA from 1980 until April 1987 arranging letters of credit to
purchase arms for the contras and other U.S.-backed forces in Latin

As the money poured in, John Molina confided to his brother that he
suspected that some came from drug trafficking. In an interview with
me, Pablo Molina quoted John as saying, "There's too much money coming
in. ... You can't imagine how much money is involved."

A nervous John Molina tried to pull out of the operation in 1987. But
he received one last assignment: to close out some contra front
companies in Panama.

On Oct. 2, 1987, after completing that work, John Molina left the law
offices of Sucre y Sucre in Panama City. He walked to his car and climbed in.

A young man approached from the side and shot Molina in the head. The
assassin was later captured and claimed that he was dispatched by
Colombian kingpins to murder Molina. [For details, see iF Magazine,
July-Sept. 1997]

During the Iran-contra investigation, however, Walsh never zeroed in
on the money laundering or the drug trafficking. In March 1988, Walsh
indicted North for crimes related to false statements, document
destruction and other relatively minor offenses.

While Moises Nunez may have worked for the NSC, the CIA worked
directly with other drug-connected Cuban-Americans on the contra
project, Hitz found.

One of Nunez's Cuban-American associates, Felipe Vidal, had a criminal
record as a narcotics trafficker in the 1970s. But the CIA still hired
him to serve as a logistics coordinator for the contras, Hitz
reported. [Grafs 508-511]

The CIA soon learned that Vidal's drug connections were not only in
the past. A December 1984 cable to CIA headquarters revealed Vidal's
ties to Rene Corvo, another Cuban-American suspected of drug
trafficking. [Graf 512]

Corvo was working with anticommunist Cuban, Frank Castro, who was
viewed as a Medellin cartel representative within the contra movement.
[For details, see sidebar, "Contras' Narco-Terrorist."]

There were other narcotics problems with the CIA's Felipe Vidal. In
January 1986, the Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami seized 414
pounds of cocaine concealed in a shipment of yucca that was going from
a contra operative in Costa Rica to Ocean Hunter, where Vidal worked.
[Graf 526]

Despite the evidence, Vidal remained a CIA employee as he collaborated
with Frank Castro's assistant, Rene Corvo, in raising money for the
contras, according to a CIA memo in June 1986.

By fall 1986, Sen. John Kerry had heard enough rumors about Vidal to
demand information about him as part of a congressional inquiry into
contra drugs.

But the CIA withheld the derogatory information. On Oct. 15, 1986,
Kerry received a briefing from Alan Fiers who didn't mention Vidal's
drug arrests and conviction in the 1970s. [Graf 527]

Vidal was not yet in the clear, however. In 1987, the U.S. attorney in
Miami began investigating Vidal, Ocean Hunter and other
contra-connected entities.

This prosecutorial attention worried the CIA. The CIA's Latin American
division felt it was time for a security review of Vidal. But on Aug.
5, 1987, the CIA's security office blocked the review for fear that
the Vidal drug information "could be exposed during any future
litigation." [Grafs 520-22]

As expected, the U.S. Attorney did request documents about
"contra-related activities" by Vidal, Ocean Hunter and 16 other
entities. The CIA advised the prosecutor that "no information had been
found regarding Ocean Hunter," a statement that was clearly false.
[Graf 528]

The CIA continued Vidal's employment as an advisor to the contra
movement until 1990, virtually the end of the contra war. [Graf 510]

Hitz revealed that drugs also tainted the highest levels of the
Honduran-based FDN, the largest contra army.

Hitz found that Juan Rivas, a contra commander who rose to be chief of
staff, admitted that he had been a cocaine trafficker in Colombia
before the war. The CIA asked Rivas, known as El Quiche, about his
background after the DEA began suspecting that Rivas might be an
escaped convict from a Colombian prison. [Graf 562]

In interviews with CIA officers, Rivas acknowledged that he had been
arrested and convicted of packaging and transporting cocaine for the
drug trade in Barranquilla, Colombia. After several months in prison,
Rivas said, he escaped and moved to Central America where he joined
the contras. [Graf 563]

Defending Rivas, CIA officials insisted that there was no evidence
that Rivas engaged in trafficking while with the contras. But one CIA
cable noted that he lived an expensive lifestyle, even keeping a
$100,000 thoroughbred horse at the contra camp. [Graf 566]

Contra military commander Bermudez later attributed Rivas's wealth to
his ex-girlfriend's rich family. But a CIA cable in March 1989 added
that "some in the FDN may have suspected at the time that the
father-in-law was engaged in drug trafficking." [Graf 567]

Still, the CIA moved quickly to protect Rivas from exposure and
possible extradition to Colombia. In February 1989, CIA headquarters
asked that DEA take no action "in view of the serious political damage
to the U.S. Government that could occur should the information about
Rivas become public." [Graf 569]

In a Feb. 22, 1989, note, the CIA's director of operations, Richard

Stoltz, argued that "what we have here is a single, relatively petty
transgression in a foreign country that occurred a decade ago and that
is apparently of no current interest to DEA." [Graf 573]

Rivas was phased out of the contra leadership with an explanation of
poor health. With U.S. government help, he was allowed to resettle in
Miami. Colombia was not informed about his fugitive status. [Graf 581]

Another senior FDN official implicated in the drug trade was its chief
spokesman in Honduras, Arnoldo Jose "Frank" Arana.

The drug allegations against Arana dated back to 1983 when a federal
narcotics task force put him under criminal investigation because of
plans "to smuggle 100 kilograms of cocaine into the United States from
South America."

On Jan. 23, 1986, the FBI reported that Arana and his brothers were
involved in a drug-smuggling enterprise, although Arana was not charged.

Arana sought to clear up another set of drug suspicions in 1989 by
visiting the DEA in Honduras with a business associate, Jose Perez.
Arana's association with Perez, however, only raised new alarms.

If "Arana is mixed up with the Perez brothers, he is probably dirty,"
the DEA responded.

Through their ownership of an air services company called SETCO, the
Perez brothers were associated with Juan Matta Ballesteros, a major
cocaine kingpin connected to the murder of a DEA agent, according to
reports by the DEA and U.S. Customs.

Hitz reported that someone at the CIA scribbled a note on the DEA
cable about Arana stating: "Arnold Arana ... still active and working,
we [CIA] may have a problem." [Grafs 608-15]

Despite its drug ties to Matta Ballesteros, SETCO emerged as the
principal company for ferrying supplies to the contras in Honduras.

During congressional Iran-contra hearings, FDN political leader Adolfo
Calero testified that SETCO was paid from bank accounts controlled by
Oliver North. SETCO also received $185,924 from the State Department
for ferrying supplies to the contras in 1986.

Hitz found other air transport companies used by the contras
implicated in the cocaine trade. Even FDN leaders suspected that they
were shipping supplies to Central America aboard planes that might be
returning with drugs.

Mario Calero, Adolfo Calero's brother and the chief of contra
logistics, grew so uneasy about one air-freight company that he
notified U.S. law enforcement that the FDN only chartered the planes
for the flights south, not the return the flights north. [Graf 550]

Hitz found that some drug pilots simply rotated from one sector of the
contra operation to another. Donaldo Frixone, who had a drug record in
the Dominican Republic, was hired by the CIA to fly contra missions
from 1983-85.

Frixone then was implicated in September 1986 smuggling 19,000 pounds
of marijuana into the United States. In late 1986 or early 1987, he
went to work for Vortex, another U.S.-paid contra supply company
linked to the drug trade. [Grafs 996-1000]

One of Hitz's most dramatic findings was evidence implicating Southern
Air Transport, the principal airline of North's Iran-contra operations
and a former CIA-owned airline.

In the mid-1980s, Southern Air flew missiles to Iran as well as
supplies to the contras. SAT crewmen were involved in one flight that
was shot down over Nicaragua on Oct. 5, 1986, exposing part of North's
Iran-contra network.

After that event, Attorney General Edwin Meese III briefly blocked a
federal investigation into Southern Air on national security grounds.
But suspicions about SAT were just starting.

Wanda Palacio, who had ties to the Medellin cartel, told Senate
investigators that she witnessed Ochoa operatives loading cocaine
aboard SAT planes in both 1983 and 1985.

Still Life with Absinthe - The Tipple Of Choice For Fin-De-Siecle Decadents
Tempts A New Generation (The Utne Reader reprints an article from the winter
1997 issue of The Idler in which musician and writer John Moore describes
his flirtation with the Green Fairy. Absinthe is commonly believed to cause
hallucinations, convulsions, degenerate behavior, and even brain damage.
Modern research has shown that wormwood releases a chemical called thujone,
which has a molecular structure similar to that of marijuana's active
component. It isn't clear whether the thujone in absinthe is sufficient
to cause such severe effects, however. It is far more likely that alcohol
is the culprit. In 1905, when Swiss farmer Jean Lanfray shot his entire
family after a heavy day's drinking, the story made headlines all over
Europe, proclaiming him "un absinthiste." He had also consumed several
bottles of wine, brandy, and creme de menthe, but that was ignored.
The bans began.)

Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 12:53:50 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Still Life with Absinthe
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Luciano Colonna, Utah Harm Reduction Coalition
Source: Utne Reader
Copyright: 1998 Utne Reader
Contact: uncle@utne.com
Website: http://www.utne.com
Pubdate: Nov 1998
Author: John Moore

Still Life with Absinthe:
The Tipple Of Choice For fin-de-siecle Decadents Tempts A New Generation

Called the cocaine of the 19th century, absinthe was so central to that
era's artistic life that it appeared in the paintings of masters ranging
from Van Gogh to Picasso, and in the writings of such luminaries as Oscar
Wilde and Emile Zola. No wonder it piques the fantasies of today's
explorers, especially those who travel to Czechoslovakia, Spain, and other
parts of Europe where it can still be sampled. Be forewarned, however:
Despite its renewed celebrity status as Nine Inch Nails singer Trent
Reznor's "perfect drug," the stuff can be nasty, and its active ingredient,
wormwood, even nastier. (Last September, a leading U.S. medical journal
reported renal failure in a man who drank essential oil of wormwood.)

In this piece from The Idler (Winter, 1997), Black Box Recorder musician
and writer John Moore describes his flirtation with the Green Fairy.

One winter, studying the bottles in a Prague bar, I noticed a particularly
inviting one filled with emerald green liquid that looked like it could
inflict damage. It was absinthe. I knew a little about absinthe but, like
most people, I thought it had been banned and was gone forever. Before
taking a sip, I studied it. Its scent was pungent and alcoholic, its color
spectacular. It seemed to catch the light and looked quite unnatural. The
first mouthful exploded on my tongue and vaporized up through my nostrils.
I had to swallow it quickly. I could feel its intense heat running down my
throat, burning its way into my stomach. What little taste there was, was
dry and bitter, tinged with aniseed. It had a real afterburn. I felt like
it had been injected, not swallowed. There was no gradual seeping into the
bloodstream -- this was the bloodstream. Armed with a glass of water, I
finished it, then ordered another glass. A friendship had begun. I soon
learned how to drink absinthe properly. Of course, you can drink it neat
(preferable for the first glass, otherwise you miss out on the burn), but
the best way is to add sugar and dilute it with water. This gives drinking
absinthe a ritualistic feel, like using intravenous drugs. Both involve
spoons, fire, and patience: similar means to a not completely dissimilar end.

Pour the absinthe into a glass (narrow is best, because it reduces
evaporation). Fill the spoon with sugar, then dip it into the absinthe.
Once the sugar is soaked, light it and hold it over the glass until it
melts into the absinthe, which catches fire; this is when you add the
water. Sometimes it is difficult to put out the fire; you may have to blow
on it. Absinthe's effects are different from those of standard drinks. I am
not sure whether this is due to the ingredients or the fact that the
alcohol is twice the strength of most other spirits (70 percent by volume).
Drinking absinthe has a relaxing effect -- the first few glasses, at least.
It is very warming, perfect for a hip flask on a winter's day. As far as I
can remember, I have never had hallucinations while drinking it, but it
does produce vivid dreams, invariably surreal and obscene. The drink is
made by soaking dried wormwood (Artemisia absinthium, still found in health
food shops and used to kill intestinal parasites) in ethyl alcohol, along
with herbs to hide the bitter taste. Aniseed is the dominant flavor,
although fennel, hyssop, and lemon balm are also used. The Oxford English
Dictionary describes wormwood as "an emblem of what is bitter and grievous
to the soul"; in Russian, it is chernobyl. Found everywhere, it is native
to Asia and Europe, where it grows along what is said to be the path the
exiled serpent took from Eden.

Absinthe is commonly believed to cause hallucinations, convulsions,
degenerate behavior, and even brain damage. Modern research has shown that
wormwood releases a chemical called thujone, which has a molecular
structure similar to that of marijuana's active component. It isn't clear
whether the thujone in absinthe is sufficient to cause such severe effects,
however. It is far more likely that alcohol is the culprit.

Although it makes a brief appearance in Greek and Roman history, absinthe
didn't become popular until the end of the 18th century. It is said that a
French physician living in Switzerland, Pierre Ordinaire, invented it in
1792, but it's more likely that he was the first to market it. The drink
was popularized by another Frenchman, Henri-Louis Pernod, who built a small
distillery in Val de Travers, Switzerland, in 1805, then the Pernod Fils
factory at Pontarlier, France. The business grew steadily. In the war with
Algeria, absinthe was given as a malaria preventative to French troops, who
developed a taste for it that survived their return home. Successive
failures of the grape harvests in the late 1800s also fueled its
popularity: As wine prices went up, absinthe prices came down until they
were well within the reach of the hoi polloi. Millions of liters of la Fee
Verte (the Green Fairy), as it was affectionately called, were consumed
each year. Exported everywhere, it became the drink of choice for artists
and artisans alike. Eventually, the voices of dissent, especially those of
priests and vintners, made themselves heard. Temperance leagues formed, and
the press launched a moral crusade, reporting absinthe-related crimes and
creating conspiracy theories. Left-wingers said it robbed the working class
of dignity, while right-wingers denounced it because libertines drank it.
Some claimed it was a Jewish plot to destroy France; one distillery even
marketed a brand called "Anti-Jewish Absinthe."

By 1900, medical evidence was beginning to tip the scales. The imminence of
war led to a panic over poor health: The average Frenchman's chest was two
inches smaller than the average German's, and the asylums were full of
people whose mental conditions were attributed to absinthe. In 1905, when
Swiss farmer Jean Lanfray shot his entire family after a heavy day's
drinking, the story made headlines all over Europe, proclaiming him "un
absinthiste." (He had also consumed several bottles of wine, brandy, and
creme de menthe, but that was ignored.) That did it; the bans began.
Belgium was first, in 1905, then Switzerland in 1908, the United States in
1912, and, two weeks after the outbreak of war, France in 1914. In 1990,
Randomil Hill, a Czech distiller, began to produce absinthe legally again.
The drink is also available in Portugal and parts of Spain, and is gaining
an ever-widening following.

Along with the palette knife and pen, absinthe was essential to the
19th-century sensual explorer's toolkit. Whether it worked for or against
creativity is debatable, but one cannot deny that the legacy of work these
old soaks left behind is among the finest of all time. Like the Italian
Renaissance, the age of absinthe drew a map for the future. You may want to
check out some lively Net sites on the subject before imbibing, or, if
you've already done the dirty deed, you can participate in an online survey
conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, Drug Dependence
Research Center. As researchers Matthew Baggott and Dr. John Mendelson
point out, "Little is known about absinthe's effects in humans. Research
from the early part of the century is difficult to interpret, and no modern
research has been carried out."

At least not yet. Cheers.

Many Police Thought Dead In Colombia Attack (Reuters says as many as half
of the 120 "police" stationed at a "police base" in a remote jungle region
of eastern Colombia may have been killed Sunday during an attack by up to 600
guerillas with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.)

From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (when@olywa.net)
To: "_Drug Policy --" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: Many Police Thought Dead In Colombia Attack
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 17:46:53 -0800
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

Sunday, November 1, 1998
Many Police Thought Dead In Colombia Attack

BOGOTA--Marxist rebels rained home-made missiles on to a police base in a
remote jungle region of eastern Colombia Sunday and security sources said
they believed scores of policemen may have died.

The attack by up to 600 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
guerrillas began before dawn and "fierce" fighting raged on throughout the
afternoon, a police spokesman said.

At least 120 policemen were stationed at the base near the town of Mitu
in Vaupes province and preliminary official reports referred to two police
officers confirmed dead and five injured. One police source, however, said
some 60 officers may have been killed.

The raid came one week before security forces are due to pull out of a
huge swathe of southeast Colombia -- an area the size of Switzerland -- to
make way for the first peace talks in six years between the government and
FARC chieftains.

"Internally the police is talking about a figure of about 60 dead. It
could be more, it could be less," a police source, who requested anonymity,
told Reuters.

National Police deputy commander, Gen. Luis Ernesto Gilibert, said police
and army reinforcements were being flown to Mitu, adding that all radio and
phone links were cut after rebels blew up a communications antenna.

"We are worried about the fate of our men. The rest at this moment is
pure speculation," he said, declining further comment on the possible death

A police spokesman said the FARC used rudimentary missiles made of gas
cylinders packed with powerful explosives and capable of flying up to about
320 feet (100 meters).

The weapons were first used to devastating effect when the FARC overran a
police anti-drugs base in neighboring Guaviare province in August, killing
at least 30 security force members.

If the scale of Sunday's attack is confirmed it could put renewed
pressure on President Andres Pastrana to take a tougher stance against the

Pastrana took office nearly three months ago promising his top priority
would be to find a peaceful end to Colombia's long-running civil conflict,
in which at least 35,000 people have died in the last decade alone.

Both the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the oldest and
largest rebel groups in the hemisphere, have said they will join peace

But while Pastrana has granted them sweeping concessions, including the
demilitarization of a 15,000 square mile (40,000 sq km) corner of southeast
Colombia due to be complete by Saturday, the rebels have continued their
attacks across the country.

Two weeks ago, the Cuban-inspired ELN blew up the country's largest oil
pipeline in northwest Colombia and started a fireball of blazing crude oil
which engulfed an entire village, killing more than 70 people.

The FARC and the ELN, which rose up in arms in the mid-1960s in an
attempt to set up a socialist system, will negotiate separately with the
government on demands for agrarian reform, an end to unfettered free market
economic policies and greater wealth distribution.

Both groups -- aiming ultimately for a share in national power -- have
refused to lay down their weapons or demobilize before or after any eventual
peace deal and say talks must be conducted "in the middle of the war."

U.S. officials warned recently that Colombia's estimated 20,000 rebels
could take power by force within five years if peace talks collapse, and say
they pose a serious threat to regional stability.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All Rights Reserved


When away, you can STOP and RESTART W.H.E.N.'s news clippings by sending an
e-mail to majordomo@hemp.net. Ignore the Subject: line. In the body put
"unsubscribe when" to STOP. To RESTART, put "subscribe when" in the e-mail
instead (No quotation marks.)

Crime And Punishment (Resurgence Magazine, in Britain, features an essay
by Brendan O'Friel, the forrner chairman of the Prison Governors Association,
pondering what should be done about Britain's rapidly increasing prison
population. In the years between the two world wars, a period of high
unemployment, the prison population in England and Wales fluctuated between
10,000 and 13,000. The number of people locked up now has passed 65,000
and planners are having to contemplate forecast figures of over 80,000.)

Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 18:22:45 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Crime And Punishment
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Peter Webster
Pubdate: Nov / Dec 1998
Source: Resurgence Magazine, Devon, UK
Section: pp 20-21
Copyright: Resurgence Magazine 1998
Fax: (44) 1237 441203
Website: http://www.gn.apc.org/resurgence
Author: Brendan O'Friel


WHEN WE ATTENDED the Prison Governors Conference at Buxton this year,
my colleagues and I learned the disturbing but not unexpected news
that the total number of people locked up in British prisons had just
passed 65,000, yet another record. Even more troubling were the
gloomy--- but realistic---predictions that next year there would
probably be over 70,000 prisoners and that prison planners were having
to contemplate forecast figures of over 80,000.

In the years between the two world wars, the prison population in
England and Wales fluctuated between 10,000 and 13,000. This was a
period of high unemployment and much less prosperity than we enjoy
today. When I joined the prison service in 1963, we were responsible
for 28,000 prisoners. By the 1970s, there were 40,000 people in
prison. Prosperity and crime seem to be glowing, hand in hand.

The immediate cause of the present explosion of prison numbers was
the policies of the last Home Secretary, Michael Howard. His slogan
"Prison Works" has unleashed a tidal wave of prisoners propelled
through the judicial system into the prisons. Leaving aside issues
such as whether the prisons can cope and whether the country can
afford the substantial resources required to contain the ever-rising
prison numbers, the important question is whether this dramatic rise
in the use of imprisonment will benefit society and prevent future

The rise in imprisonment in the United Kingdom partially echoes the
quite extraordinary growth in imprisonment in the United States. In
less than twenty years the prison population in the USA has tripled,
and there are now approaching 2 million people behind bars. A
substantial new industry is developing to manage and profit from this
phenomenon. Private prisons are a major growth business. Thus a
powerful lobby is developing with a substantial vested interest in a
large and expanding prison population.

GOING BACK TO FIRST principles, we need to consider the purpose of
imprisonment and our attitude to offenders. The value of each human
being and the responsibility of individuals for their actions are both
important principles underlying our whole philosophy of criminal
justice. Of great importance too is the notion that few individuals
carry the sole responsibility for their actions: upbringing,
environment, the influence of others have all usually contributed in
one way or another to criminal behaviour. As for the purpose of
imprisonment, this has changed dramatically over the centuries as
punishments such as the death penalty, corporal punishment and
transportation to the colonies became unpopular, unacceptable or just

So prison is now the ultimate sanction of the courts in dealing with
offenders. But what is the nature of this punishment? Alexander
Paterson, the great English penal reformer, coined a most important
distinction. "Prisoners are sent to prison", he declared, "as a
punishment, not for punishment." In other words, it was not the job of
the prison service to inflict further punishment during a prison
sentence; the punishment was the loss of liberty itself for the period
imposed by the court.

Paterson laid down that the acid test of a prison administration was
the proportion of prisoners who, having served a first sentence of
imprisonment, return for a second term. Few returns were the sign of a
good prison administration. Our present-day prisons fail the Paterson
test. High proportions of those serving sentences return to prison.
This is especially true of young offenders where the return rate may
be over eighty per cent. The published figures are incomplete as they
only include those caught and convicted for further crime. Because
people have to be released from prison for some years before a
conclusion can be drawn, the statistics are always well out of date.

What then should we be doing about crime and offenders? Who are these
offenders? They are, by and large, people who have had few
opportunities and many handicaps. They often come from dysfunctional
or disadvantaged families; they frequently have missed out on
education and training opportunities. Even more worrying, they have
often suffered serious harm such as physical and sexual abuse in their
formative years. The poorer sections of society and ethnic minorities
are heavily over-represented. Few prisoners have employment records.

There are considerable dangers in incarcerating an ever-growing
number of people. Locking people up does not just take them out of
circulation. It may make them worse. As David Waddington, Home
Secretary in 1989-91, said, "Prison is an expensive way of making bad
people worse."

So what is to be done? First, make less use of imprisonment. We
should use alternative penalties. Fines, community service, probation,
attendance centres, electronic tagging are all available. But
community penalties need to be further strengthened, particularly by
giving the courts the powers to order attendance at training courses
which are designed to reduce offending behaviour. If people can find
meaningful and satisfying work, they are less likely to commit crime.
We must put more resources towards education and training. Prison must
be used only as a last resort, for dangerous and violent offenders
from whom the community requires protection. Prisons can then
concentrate on a much smaller group of offenders. The task for the
Prison Service, after ensuring safe custody, is to offer a challenging
and demanding programme of activities to reduce further offending on

BUT THE PROGRAMME outlined above only deals with a part of the
problem. There is much more to do. The underlying causes of crime need
to be identified and action taken, for example to reduce social
exclusion and long-term unemployment. But action to tackle the causes
of crime has to recognize another range of problems at a deeper level.
There is much to be questioned about our society's present priorities.
Radical change in society's attitudes may be needed if we wish to make
a substantial and lasting impact on the problem of crime. Take the
problem of alcohol and violence, for example. There is a great deal of
evidence of a close link between alcohol and violent crime. Yet
measures to reduce the dangers of excessive consumption of alcohol are
often opposed by a powerful lobby of all the vested interests in
alcohol manufacture and selling. What are our society's real
priorities---profits from the alcohol industry or less crime on our

There are even wider issues. Our whole consumer society vaunting
success in material terms through the advertising industry may be
placing far too much temptation before people who have no hope of
achieving material success. Consider too the impact of the vast growth
in material possessions upon these people. Car crime was not a problem
sixty years ago. Stand in any city centre on any working day and count
the value of the motor vehicles around you. The temptation to steal
cars has increased to a degree our ancestors could not have conceived.
Unless we are prepared to question our preoccupation with materialism
and consumerism we will not make much headway in reducing crime.

There is much we can do to reintroduce to the world the old virtues
of frugality, simplicity and moderation. The need is for us all to
reorder our priorities, to dethrone the false gods of material success
and the selfishness bound up in this creed. A change of this order is
required to give sensible policies for tackling crime and disorder
some chance of success. Can we rise to the challenge of making such
difficult changes within our society?

Brendan O'Friel is the forrner chairman of the Prison Governors



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