Portland NORML News - Tuesday, December 1, 1998

The NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release (Premiere British Medical Journal
Pronounces Marijuana Safer Than Alcohol, Tobacco; Louisiana Drug Testing
Statute Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules; Body Shop Hemp Product Line
Continues To Meet Opposition Abroad; DEA To Rule Shortly On Reclassifying
Synthetic THC)

From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 18:28:57 EST
Subject: NORML WPR 12/1/98 (II)

The NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release

1001 Connecticut Ave., NW
Ste. 710
Washington, DC 20036
202-483-8751 (p)
202-483-0057 (f)

December 1, 1998


Premiere British Medical Journal Pronounces Marijuana Safer Than Alcohol,
Link to Lancet articles
December 1, 1998, London, England: Moderate use of marijuana poses less of a risk to health than alcohol or tobacco, according to editors of the influential medical journal, The Lancet. Available medical evidence demonstrates that "moderate indulgence in cannabis has little ill-effect on health, and that decisions to ban or legalise [sic] cannabis should be based on other considerations," editors opined in the November 14 issue. They added, "It would be reasonable to judge cannabis less of a threat to health than alcohol or tobacco." Three years ago, the journal argued that "the smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health." The Lancet's latest statements came only days after a House of Lord's committee recommended amending federal law to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana as a medicine. NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. praised The Lancet for conducting an apolitical assessment of marijuana's effects on health. "The Lancet's conclusions are reasonable based on the available scientific and medical literature," he said. "It is clear that marijuana prohibition causes far more harm to the user and society than the responsible use of marijuana itself." An accompanying article by Australian professors Wayne Hall and Nadia Solowij in the same issue concluded the "most undesirable" effects of marijuana are: bronchial irritation, the risk of accidents while intoxicated, and possible "subtle" cognitive impairment and/or dependence with heavy, long term use. However, the researchers added that most marijuana smokers do not become regular users, and cease smoking the drug altogether by their mid to late twenties. Although The Lancet's position received mainstream coverage internationally, no U.S. wire services have yet to report on the journal's findings. For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** Louisiana Drug Testing Statute Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules
Link to Associated Press story
December 1, 1998, Baton Rouge, LA: A state law requiring random drug testing for all elected officials is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled late last month. NORML Legal Committee member William Rittenberg, who filed suit on behalf of state Rep. Arthur Morrell (D-Orleans Parish) praised the decision. "The act of urination is considered the most private of bodily functions and all agree it is protected by privacy rights," he said. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon said the drug testing proposal violates the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizures. Judge Fallon relied heavily on a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found drug testing political candidates without individualized suspicion and absent "special needs" was unconstitutional. "There is no history of drug use among elected officials," Fallon said. "There is established law that a drug test is a search ... [and] warrantless searches must depend on reasonableness." NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. hailed the judge's decision. "The Court recognized that the desire to set a good example is insufficient to justify an exemption to the Fourth Amendment," he said. Governor Mike Foster, who personally argued before the court in favor of the drug testing provision, said that attorneys for the state will likely appeal the ruling. Foster has historically supported programs mandating urine tests for any individual receiving state funds. Rittenberg said that separate state statutes requiring drug tests for welfare recipients, students on state scholarship, state employees, and others are also vulnerable to a constitutional challenge. For more information please contact either attorney William Rittenberg @ (504) 524-5555 or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. The NORML Legal Committee is looking for plaintiffs to challenge additional aspects of Louisiana's drug testing law. Interested parties should contact The NORML Foundation for more information. *** Body Shop Hemp Product Line Continues To Meet Opposition Abroad December 1, London, England: Law enforcement officials worldwide are stepping up the heat against a line of hemp-based skin-care products from Body Shop International. Recent wire stories report that the company withdrew its hemp line from Greece and Hong Kong after authorities alleged that the products -- which include lip conditioner, hand oil, soap and body lotion -- promote the use of illegal drugs. Now, officials in South Australia are threatening to seize the soon-to-be-released hemp line because of allegations the products violate anti-marijuana laws. In September, French officials made similar claims after seizing products from stores in the Aix-en-Province. Canadian authorities also threatened to seize the Body Shop's products, but later recanted their position. Hemp store owner and NORML board member Don Wirtshafter strongly criticized placing any restrictions on the Body Shop's hemp goods. "These products are legal in every country based on the definition of marijuana in the Single Convention treaty of 1961," he said. "Nobody has ever figured out how to use a legitimate hemp product as a drug; so why are bureaucrats and law enforcement giving the industry problems?" The recent crackdown comes at a time when beauty products containing hemp seed oil are gaining popularity among consumers. In Britain, the Body Shop's hemp accessories accounted for five percent of the company's total sales one month after they introduced the series. Displays for the Body Shop's hemp line include a picture of the hemp leaf and provide facts on the uses for industrial hemp. Mari Kane, publisher of the hemp industries trade magazine HempWorld, speculated that it is the Body Shop's hemp education campaign that is raising the ire of law enforcement, not necessarily the products. "The goal [of the campaign] is to create a stir," and teach people about the differences between hemp and marijuana, she said. For more information, please contact either Don Wirtshafter of The Ohio Hempery @ (740) 662-4367 or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** DEA To Rule Shortly On Reclassifying Synthetic THC
Link to earlier story
December 1, 1997, Washington, DC: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials will decide shortly whether to reclassify synthetic THC, marketed as the drug Marinol, as a Schedule III drug. The public has until December 7, 1998, to file comments, objections, and requests for a hearing on the proposed reclassification. Federal officials announced their intent shortly after voters this fall approved the use of marijuana as a medicine in five states. Marinol is an oral medication approved as an anti-nauseant for patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy, and as an appetite stimulant for patients suffering from HIV or AIDS. It is presently classified as a Schedule II drug, the most restrictive category a legal drug can be placed in. "Marinol is a legal alternative to marijuana that has demonstrated varied effectiveness among patient populations," NORML Foundation Publications Director Paul Armentano said. "Marinol often provides only limited relief to a select group of patients, particularly when compared to whole smoked marijuana therapy. Marinol should remain an option to patients, but its availability should not preclude amending federal law to allow those patients unresponsive to synthetic THC the opportunity to use inhaled marijuana as a legal medical therapy." For more information, please contact Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. Copies of the NORML report: The Need for Medical Marijuana Despite the Availability of Synthetic THC are available upon request. - END -

Governor's budget highlights crime, schools (The Associated Press
omits the cost of corrections, and the percentage increase, in a story
about Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's biennial budget proposal.)

Associated Press
found at:
feedback (letters to the editor):

Governor's budget highlights crime, schools

The Associated Press
12/01/98 8:25 PM Eastern

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Gov. John Kitzhaber on Tuesday proposed a $10.7 billion
state budget he said would target new spending toward education, juvenile
crime and Oregon's livability.

The governor said his recommended two-year budget doesn't advocate tax
increases but would finance his programs by shifting money within the budget.

Kitzhaber's proposed general fund-lottery budget for 1999-2001 is up by 14
percent from the current budget of about $9.4 billion.

Most of the difference of $1.3 billion will come from increased tax revenue
generated by growth.

He said the budget makes major advances in public school funding, "breathes
new life into our efforts to prevent juvenile crime" and manages growth
through investment in housing, transportation and land use.

The document's fate will rest with the 1999 Legislature, which begins Jan. 11.

Senate President Brady Adams, R-Grants Pass, said the majority Republicans
who have issued their own budget outline aren't at great odds with the
Democratic governor's plan.

"There are a lot of areas where we have agreement," Adams said.

He said the biggest disparity is that Kitzhaber is not calling for the tax
cuts that the Senate leaders favor.

House Speaker-elect Lynn Snodgrass, R-Boring, said she likely would favor
Adams' proposal to reduce taxes on the working poor.

"I think it's a great idea," she said.

Kitzhaber aired much of his budget outline during his re-election campaign.

He's recommending $100 million in grants to local schools for programs to
improve student performance.

The governor said the money could be used for such efforts as reducing class
sizes for teachers and teachers' continuing education programs.

Kitzhaber also included $20 million to freeze tuition charges at state
universities and to recruit exceptional faculty and $44 million for general
improvements to the state university system.

All told, Kitzhaber said he added $170 million to the $4.4 billion budget
for state school support.

He offers a $30 million juvenile crime program, a topic that took on more
prominence following shootings last spring at a Springfield high school.

"Taxpayers are investing hundreds of millions in new jails and prisons. But
punishing crime is not enough," Kitzhaber said in his budget message.

He said society needs to find youths at risk and "help them turn their lives

The governor's plan includes $19 million in grants to counties for juvenile
crime prevention plans plus $10 million for juvenile detention, youth
shelters, supervision and aftercare.

Administration would use up $1 million.

The governor is proposing adding just 25 state police troopers, saying his
plan to augment the force by 100 officers had to be cut because of a $100
million drop in the revenue forecast estimate that was disclosed Tuesday.

Kitzhaber said his proposal is inadequate and he, along with Adams, hoped
money would be found for more troopers.

"I believe we can do a little bit better than the governor," Adams said.

Kitzhaber said he would support sending a ballot measure to the voters that
would allow funding of state police from the gas tax, instead of the general

Voters barred using highway funds for police in 1980 and later rejected a
ballot measure to repeal that policy.

Kitzhaber also said he would again support a gas tax increase for roads, a
proposal he advanced but that died in the 1997 Legislature.

The governor's "livability initiative" package includes $40 million in
lottery revenue for local public works projects, $25 million to rebuild
urban centers and $24 million for high-speed rail, buses and special
transportation programs.

"The local development system is starting to fray at the edges," he said.

"The challenge we face here is a very serious one. The state is being
overrun by our success."

One controversial item might be scaling back Oregon health plan services.

The budget would pare some hospital cost reimbursements and disqualify some
people from eligibility.

The plan's "current rate of increase is not sustainable," said Kitzhaber,
who was the author of the health plan as a state senator.

The plan extended Medicaid coverage to more low-income people by limiting
the services for which the plan will pay.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? We welcome your feedback.

(c)1998 Oregon Live LLC

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not
be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

DARE Losing Out In Metro Area (The Rocky Mountain News, in Denver,
says at least four metropolitan-area police departments are dropping
their Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, although it is still expanding
statewide. The Boulder County sheriff's office, Boulder police
and Wheat Ridge police are replacing DARE with homespun courses that allow
more flexibility. Louisville police scrapped DARE two years ago. Russ Ahrens,
executive director of the statewide DARE program, said 88 police departments
in Colorado used DARE in 1996. That figure is now 102.)

Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 14:04:35 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CO: DARE Losing Out In Metro Area
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: cohip@levellers.org (Colo. Hemp Init. Project)
Pubdate: Tue, 1 Dec 1998
Source: Rocky Mountain News (CO)
Contact: letters@denver-rmn.com
Website: http://www.denver-rmn.com/
Copyright: {1998} Denver Publishing Co.
Author: Ann Carnahan News Staff Writer
400 W. Colfax Denver, CO 80204
Phone: (303) 892-5000
Fax: (303) 892-5499

Rocky Mountain News
December 1, 1998

Police Cite Rigidity Of National Program As Reason For Using Their Own

At least four metro-area police departments are dropping their DARE
drug-prevention program, but the program is still growing statewide.

The Boulder County sheriff's office, Boulder police and Wheat Ridge police
are replacing DARE with homespun courses that allow more flexibility.
Louisville police scrapped DARE two years ago.

DARE critics have said the program does little to keep children off drugs
in their formative years. DARE directors dispute that.

Wheat Ridge dropped the 16-week DARE program in June, said police spokesman
Dan Griffin, and replaced it this school year with "Smart Kids, Smart

"DARE didn't allow us the flexibility to do what we needed," Griffin said.
"Hypothetically, if one of the kids in a class committed suicide, DARE
didn't allow us to teach on suicides. The system has no flexibility."

Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner agreed.

"We wanted to focus on some other things that maybe we couldn't under the
DARE program," Beckner said. "By spending less time with a particular
program, we can do more programs" and reach more children.

Boulder is adding a "No Bullying" course, Beckner said, "where they teach
kids how to resolve disputes and negotiate, not bully each other."

Police in Wheat Ridge and Boulder said they aren't cutting back on their
commitment to fighting drugs in the schools, just shifting resources.

DARE sends police into fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms to teach students
how to resist drugs. Many have expanded it into the middle schools and high

Russ Ahrens, executive director of the statewide DARE program, said that
only a handful of departments have dropped the program in the last few
years. At the same time, many more are signing on.

In 1996, Ahrens said, 88 police departments in Colorado used DARE. That
figure is now 102.

He defended the program's rigidity.

"It's got to remain consistent for its credibility, integrity and proven
results," Ahrens said.

"If you have a kid in Michigan and they transfer to a school in Wheat
Ridge, they'll be in the exact same spot they were in when they left
Michigan," Griffin said. "It's not a bad thought."

Ahrens said some police departments drop the program to save money, but
they blame the program's rigidity instead.

"If they're interested and have a passion about the drug-related issue in
our society, then they will be interested in what we have to say," Ahrens
said. "Some work within their budgets and strategic planning to make it all
work. Those are the people we want. Not the ones on the fence."

Study Contrasts NY Prison, Education Priorities (The Washington Post
says research conducted by the Justice Policy Institute and the Correctional
Association of New York and released today showed that New York state
has increased spending on prisons in the last decade nearly as much as it has
decreased spending on higher education. Spending for city and state
universities has fallen since 1988 by $615 million, to $1.48 billion, while
funding for the Department of Correctional Services has risen
by $761 million, to $1.76 billion. New York's spending pattern reflected
a national trend of prison expansion. States spent 30 percent more on prison
budgets and 18 percent less on higher education in 1995 than they did
in 1987.)

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 16:43:21 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NY: Study Contrasts NY Prison, Education Priorities
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Pubdate: Tuesday, 1 December 1998
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Section: Page A07
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Copyright: 1998 The Washington Post Company
Author: Liz Leyden


An analysis of New York state budgets released today showed the state
has increased spending on prisons in the last decade by nearly as much
as it has decreased spending on higher education.

Spending for city and state universities has fallen since 1988 by $615
million, to $1.48 billion, while funding for the Department of
Correctional Services has risen by $761 million, to $1.76 billion,
said the study conducted by the Justice Policy Institute and the
Correctional Association of New York. Vincent Schiraldi, the study's
co-author and director of the institute, a Washington-based research
and advocacy group, described New York's budget changes as "almost a
dollar-for-dollar trade-off."

New York's spending pattern reflected a national trend of prison
expansion. States spent 30 percent more on prison budgets and 18
percent less on higher education in 1995 than they did in 1987.

"I think it can be said that when the states decided to prioritize
prisons, they deprioritized education," Schiraldi said. "When kids are
paying increased tuition, they're paying for prison operation costs,
for maintenance. They're paying for better prisons, because they're
not getting a better education."

During budget negotiations in April, New York Gov. George E. Pataki
(R) vetoed $500 million worth of public school construction and $100
million in other education initiatives. The study pointed to some of
the rejected measures -- including $7.5 million for new faculty
members at the City University of New York (CUNY), $8.8 million for
new faculty at the State University of New York (SUNY) and a $13
million increase in base aid for SUNY's community colleges -- as proof
of the "troubling shift in government priorities taking place in New

In 1995, the first year New York spent more money on prisons than
universities, tuition at both SUNY and CUNY increased by 30 percent to
make up for lost funds.

The study blamed the Rockefeller drug laws, which require long prison
terms for sale or possession of small amounts of drugs, for rising
prison costs. In 1997, 62 percent of New York's incoming inmates were
nonviolent offenders. The study recommended overturning the sentencing
laws to free millions of dollars for higher education.

But Jim Flateau, a spokesman for New York State Department of
Correctional Services, said the high costs also are a result of
programs offered to inmates. "Unlike many other states, New York has a
high commitment to inmate programming," he said. "They are in school,
they are in vocational programs, they are doing work assignments. Our
cost per inmate is a lot higher than other states because of our high

Flateau rejected the theory that dropping prison sentences for
nonviolent offenders would free large amounts of public funds.

"One of the governor's major tenets is that cells are too expensive
and scarce to be utilized by nonviolent offenders," Flateau said. "And
he's instituted appropriate alternative punishments: work-release
programs, on-site drug treatment programs. The problem is people don't
qualify their terms: Is an inmate nonviolent if this particular
offense was but he has a prior for rape?"

Switching Sides - Win At All Costs series (The sixth part
of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's 10-part series about its two-year
investigation showing that federal agents and prosecutors break the law
routinely. Agents sometimes must make deals with the devil - criminal
informants - to fight crime. The temptations to become partners with these
criminals can be great. And the safeguards to prevent their defections are
few. Abuses are common. For example, more than a dozen New York mobsters
have been acquitted after juries learned the FBI conspired with criminals
to commit crimes.)

Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 13:27:40 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Switching Sides - Win At All Costs series
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Nora Callahan http://www.november.org/
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 1998 PG Publishing
Pubdate: Tues, 01 Dec 1998
Contact: letters@post-gazette.com
Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: This is the sixth of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being
published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of several stories
(being posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade,
Toledo, OH email: letters@theblade.com


Federal Agents Sometimes Fall Prey To The Lurid Lifestyles Of Their Informants

It was May 22, 1992. FBI agent Christopher Favo was briefing his boss,
Special Agent R. Lindley DeVecchio, who headed the task force trying to end
Brooklyn's Colombo crime family war.

Two men loyal to the Colombo faction led by Victor J. Orena had been gunned
down on a Brooklyn Street the night before, Favo announced.

DeVecchio's reaction was not what Favo expected. The man charged with
stopping the violence cheered for the shootings.

"He slapped his hand on the desk and he said, `We're going to win this
thing,' " Favo would recall two years later. "And he seemed excited about it.

"He seemed like he didn't know we were the FBI. It was like a line had been
blurred . . . over who we were and what this was. . . . He was compromised.
He had lost track of who he was."

The Post-Gazette's two-year investigation found that federal agents are
often placed in positions where they can lose track and end up compromised.

Agents sometimes must make deals with the devil -- criminal informants --
to fight crime. The temptations to become partners with these criminals can
be great. And the safeguards to prevent their defections are few.

Questionable Ally

No one mentioned Gregory Scarpa Sr. by name when Favo and DeVecchio talked
that morning.

Scarpa, a gangster who's lust for murder earned him the nickname "Killing
Machine" in New York's tabloids, had sided with the Carmine Persico faction
against Orena in the bloody Colombo crime family fight.

But Scarpa was also a government informant -- common in federal law
enforcement. Agents use them to get inside information about criminal
conduct. Sometimes these informants are paid money. Sometimes their reward
is leniency if they happen to be facing a prison term.

For three decades, Scarpa had been an informant for the FBI. His
relationship with DeVecchio, which lasted at least a decade, went beyond
any accepted FBI practice, fellow agents have testified.

DeVecchio not only ignored Scarpa's day-to-day criminal activities, he was
accused of assisting in the Mafia killer's success.

Accusations against DeVecchio, made in sworn statements by other FBI
agents, cooperating FBI witnesses, government documents and court
testimony, include:

Giving Scarpa the names of other FBI snitches, so Scarpa could put them in
harm's way while shielding his own illegal operations.

Telling Scarpa where the FBI was placing wiretaps so he could avoid them.

Informing Scarpa of pending indictments against his associates -- in one
instance, allowing Scarpa to help his son disappear before the younger
Scarpa could be arrested.

Handing over the addresses of Scarpa's enemies in the Colombo crime family
war so that he could track them down and kill them.

Fabricating evidence against Orena and other Scarpa adversaries so they
would be sent to prison.

DeVecchio has admitted accepting gifts from Scarpa. But he steadfastly has
denied any other wrongdoing. In several recent court cases, he took the
Fifth Amendment rather than discuss his relationship with Scarpa.

Yet the files and first-hand reports of other agents detailing his actions
have resulted in more than a dozen New York mobsters being acquitted after
juries learned the FBI had conspired with criminals to commit crimes.

Orena wasn't so lucky. He was sentenced to life in prison before the
Scarpa-DeVecchio relationship was uncovered. His attorneys' efforts in
getting him a new trial have so far failed.

And what of the Justice Department's probe into the actions of its rogue
agent? The agency's investigation exonerated DeVecchio.

The Post-Gazette's two-year investigation into misconduct by federal law
enforcement officials found the kid glove treatment of DeVecchio is not

The Justice Department did not respond to questions the newspaper posed
about concerns raised in this story.

Making Converts

Informants are supposed to help federal agents arrest criminals. But too
often, these informants create new criminals out of those very agents.

Former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Celerino Castillo III says he
knows why. The government has come to rely on informants to make cases more
and more often, he said. And these informants have power and material
possessions and money -- temptations they gladly use in their efforts to
compromise an agent.

The safeguards that are supposed to help prevent it often are ignored.

"You know, there's an old saying: `Tell me who you hang out with, and I'll
tell you who you are,'" said Castillo, of McAllen, Texas, who worked mostly
undercover for the DEA for 12 years.

Mike Levine agrees. The upstate New York man spent 25 years as a DEA agent,
the final 10 as a supervisor.

"As a street agent and as a supervisor, one of the biggest problems was
agents falling in love with informants," he said. "They literally become
part of the crime. It's just a flat out conspiracy.

"[Agents] tell informants, if you come in with a good case, you get away
with murder ... literally. And [informants] know what's going on. They know
if they dangle a good case in front of a gullible agent or an agent whose
morality is not such that it gets in the way of his ambition, that agent
starts to overlook what the informant does."

Compounding the problem, Castillo said, is a mentality within federal law
enforcement that will forgive almost any conduct as long as agents produce.

Undercover agents especially are often left to their own devices by
supervisors -- "suits," Castillo and Levine call them -- who have little
experience but a driving interest in moving up the career ladder "by not
making waves," Castillo said.

"There's a great disrespect and fear of management at DEA," Levine said.
"Most management don't really know anything about drug cases. They are
bureaucrats with no real-world experience."

Levine said DEA operations manuals order supervisors to review undercover
investigations with agents at least once a month. Other federal agencies
have similar requirements.

That doesn't happen often, especially in deep undercover operations, he said.

"Unrestricted secrecy is unlimited corruption," he said.

Ego also drives misconduct, Levine said.

"The individual agent who gets himself in league with the bad guys, like
DeVecchio, listens to this guy tell him, `I'm going to make you famous.
You're going to have a book deal, a movie deal.' "

It reaches the point that even a murder can be overlooked, Levine said,
since it's rationalized as one bad guy killing another.

The media's fascination with big crimes feeds the process, he said.

"Prosecutors have careers made by media," Levine said. "Early on in the War
on Drugs . . . that manifested itself when literally every Spanish-speaking
person you busted would eventually have a link to the Medellin cartel.
Agents would see . . . the hype, media would gobble it up. Before you knew
it, [agents] started lying or hyping their own cases. What quickly happened
was that if you made a top media case, or made the big guys look good, you
got rewards yourself."

And then there's money.

Castillo fought in Vietnam and began his career in law enforcement as a
Texas cop. In 1980, he joined the DEA and worked in New York, Peru and
Guatemala, where he was in charge of anti-drug operations centered in El
Salvador from 1985 to 1990.

As part of his job, Castillo said, he sometimes handed checks to snitches
for more than $100,000, even as he earned less than $40,000 a year.

Agents often work long hours at low pay in dangerous surroundings for
little appreciation and can rationalize that accepting a gift or a loan
=66rom an informant is OK.

"Before you know it, he is compromised," Castillo said.

Castillo said he finally quit his DEA job in disgust in 1992. He now writes
and teaches law enforcement classes to high schoolers.

He believes agents simply become expendable. He's seen case after case
where agents who may have worked for years undercover get little help
readjusting to the real world when they're reassigned.

"Basically, I realized they could care less about me."

Levine said a solution to the problem of keeping agents on the right side
of the law would be for the Justice Department to come down hard on those
caught in an illegal activity.

It won't happen, he said, for one simple reason: "They'd have to go after
themselves. People are going to ask them `How did that happen? How did you
let that happen? You're the supervisor.' "

Unwanted Information

Geovanni Casallas has seen that government reluctance up close.

He is serving 24 years at the Federal Correctional Institution at Bradford,
Pa., and, like most convicted drug smugglers, got the chance to cut his
sentence by snitching on others in the drug trade.

Casallas had good information. When he was arrested in 1991, he was working
for two men on the southern U.S. border whose crimes included arranging for
the theft of an airplane to smuggle drugs; overseeing the transport of
hundreds of pounds of illegal drugs into the United States; and splitting
both drugs and money from those shipments among themselves and others.

The government turned down his information. Not only that, prosecutors
warned his lawyer that if Casallas pursued the charges, they might be
inclined to indict his wife, who was with him when he was arrested, and
eliminate any reduction in sentence that Casallas might otherwise be promised.

For in this case, one of the men Casallas fingered was a government
informant who had lured Casallas into the drug deal. The other was an agent
for the DEA, who also was based in Texas.

Investigating its own in this case would do more than harm the informer and
the agent, the Post-Gazette found. If they were found guilty of the charges
made by Casallas, dozens of cases in which they participated or testified
might face reversals in court.

Casallas finally agreed not to press his charges against the informant and
agent, to spare his wife from indictment. Casallas pleaded guilty and
accepted a federally mandated 24-year prison term.

But once in prison, he found he couldn't -- in good conscience -- allow
what he considers a travesty of justice. He sent a sworn affidavit
detailing what he knew to U.S. Attorney Gaynelle Griffin Jones of Houston
in February 1995.

He got no satisfaction.

Finally, after five years in prison, he asked a federal judge for a writ of
mandamas, which asked that an investigation be undertaken into his

The judge granted his request and ordered federal prosecutors to conduct a
grand jury investigation.

They did. But they never called Casallas -- the person who was an
eyewitness to the misconduct -- to testify. The investigation was concluded
in a few months and no action was taken.

Agent Ignored

Such inaction is just as common for those who spot misconduct from the inside.

FBI Special Agent Jerome R. Sullivan pleaded guilty last year to being a
spy for associates of New York's Gambino crime family. Sullivan had been
party to some spectacular successes for the FBI. He said he was driven to
criminal actions by stress, alcohol and gambling addictions caused by
almost 20 years of undercover work.

How Sullivan's actions could have escaped the notice of supervisors and
colleagues for so long has never been made clear.

Sullivan skimmed almost $200,000 that was supposed to fund an undercover
money-laundering investigation directed at members of Colombia's Cali
cartel. He wrote bogus memoranda and fake expense reports to cover the
criminal activity; kept $100,000 from another money-laundering scheme;
stole $100,000 from a raid at a check-cashing business; and pocketed money
=66rom the sale of un-stamped cigarettes he seized from a member of
organized crime.

He said he even scammed a judge to win the release from prison of organized
crime figure Daniel "Fat Danny" Laratro. Sullivan told the judge Laratro
had provided "substantial assistance" to the government in cases against
several key figures in New York's Lucchese crime family, which was trying
to gain access to the garbage business in Florida.

U.S. District Judge Stanley Marcus reduced Laratro's five-year sentence to
three years -- time he'd already served.

Of course, Laratro had given the government no help. But he helped Sullivan
in a big way -- arranging for his $100,000 gambling debt with
Lucchese-connected bookmakers to be forgiven. Laratro also promised to
provide Sullivan with more than $200,000 to start up a business after he
retired from his government job.

Sullivan pleaded guilty to a 10-count indictment and will soon be
sentenced. His lawyers have argued that because of job-related stress and
full cooperation, he deserves no more than a few years in prison.

Well-Placed Friends

It's not always just a rogue agent who trades sides.

Several agents in Boston's FBI office seemed beholden to lifelong gangster
James "Whitey" Bulger.

Bulger was known as an untouchable in Massachusetts -- the crime boss who
always managed to avoid federal wiretaps, warrants and racketeering charges
that landed many of his associates in prison.

Massachusetts residents figured Bulger's brother, William, former president
of the Massachusetts Senate and current president of the University of
Massachusetts, was privy to inside information that helped safeguard his

But it was Whitey Bulger's work as an FBI informant between 1971 and 1990
that helped keep him out of prison.

Unbeknownst to his criminal colleagues, Bulger provided critical
information to FBI agents that led to the indictments of many leading
members of La Cosa Nostra in Boston.

In return, the FBI protected Bulger from arrest while he operated his
illegal loan-sharking and drug distribution businesses in South Boston,
where he protected his enterprise through brutal assaults and murders.

Someone finally pierced Bulger's immunity. In January 1995, Bulger and five
others were indicted on racketeering charges by a federal grand jury. The
indictment suggested Bulger was responsible for the deaths of at least four
people, dating to the 1960s.

Curiously, five days before Bulger's indictment, he disappeared. FBI agents
have denied any connection, but lawyers and judges have publicly questioned
the strange circumstances surrounding the Bulger investigation and his
timely disappearance. Bulger has never been found.

FBI Agent John Morris, who headed the FBI's organized crime unit in the
city, admitted he allowed Bulger and his associate, Stephen Flemmi, to
commit crimes over a period of 20 years. In exchange, they provided the
agency with information that helped set up the arrests of several gangsters.

Morris also admitted on the witness stand that he had accepted gifts =66rom
Bulger and Flemmi, including French wine and almost $6,000, including
$1,000 he used to take his girlfriend with him to a 1992 Drug Enforcement
Administration convention in Georgia.

In return, Morris said, he shielded Bulger and Flemmi from prosecution
because they were his most important secret informers -- he characterized
them as the most prized informants in New England history.

It was part of an FBI policy in Boston -- albeit an unwritten one -- that
protected such high-ranking gangsters in exchange for the information they
could provide on lesser known thugs that agents could then arrest.

Morris denies he tolerated murders by Bulger.

Yet he admitted he and other agents did little when an informant told them
Flemmi and Bulger had offered him money to murder an Oklahoma businessman
who had crossed the pair in a South Florida Jai Alai venture. The
businessman was later murdered. The case has never been solved.

The biggest fallout in the Bulger case may be yet to come.

The FBI kept secret the fact Bulger was the source of information agents
used to get wiretaps from federal judges for the telephones of dozens of
gangsters -- many of whom were then convicted of crimes based on that

In one instance, the FBI learned through Bulger that a mafia swearing-in
ceremony was being held outside of Boston, so secret cameras were installed
to record it. Those tapes caused a sensation across the country.

Since federal judges weren't told Bulger was the source of information for
many of the wiretap requests, the evidence obtained from those taps could
be thrown out through appeals.

And since federal agents did not disclose their close relationship with
Bulger when they testified in these trials, that also could be the basis of
successful appeals.

Last summer, the FBI announced a $250,000 reward for Bulger's arrest.

Court records show that at about the same time agents had spotted Bulger's
car in a suburb of New York City. Bulger never returned to the car.

Choosing Sides

It was the first week of December 1991, and Vinnie Fusaro was stringing
Christmas lights outside his home in Brooklyn. Gregory Scarpa Sr. was one
of several passengers in a car that drove slowly by.

In a sworn statement given two years later to the FBI -- when Scarpa was
already in prison and near death -- a government informant named Larry
Mazza gave this account of what happened next:

Scarpa had his window open and his rifle ready as the car approached
Fusaro's Brooklyn home. Scarpa fired three shots, killing Fusaro. A month
later, he gunned down Nicholas Grancio.

Both Fusaro and Grancio were middle-aged, small-time hoodlums whom Scarpa
believed were Orena loyalists in the battle for control of the Colombo
crime family.

During this time -- and throughout the Colombo crime family war --
DeVecchio would call or meet with Scarpa almost every day during the
Colombo crime family war, agents and the documents said.

Based on that, Orena's attorneys believe DeVecchio was aware that Scarpa
committed the murders.

"Despite the knowledge that Greg Scarpa killed Grancio, and was believed to
be actively prosecuting the war, the FBI did nothing to monitor or curtail
Scarpa's irrepressible violence, or otherwise reign him in," Orena's
attorneys would write later. "He was not arrested, or interrogated, for
this crime. At no time did the FBI seek a search warrant for Scarpa's home
to determine if Scarpa possessed the gun that killed Grancio. ... After
Grancio was killed, Scarpa remained utterly free and unfettered to kill
again -- and so he did."

DeVecchio has denied having any knowledge at the time of Scarpa's role in
these murders, but there was no doubt DeVecchio and Scarpa were close. They
even had a code. When DeVecchio had to call Scarpa, he would sometimes
refer to himself as "Mr. Dello" or "Mr. Della." In turn, Scarpa would call
himself "34" and refer to his FBI contact as the "girlfriend."

No one outside the FBI knew about this cozy relationship, though a lot of
people had their suspicions. Attorneys for Victor Orena were certainly

Orena faced a nine-count racketeering indictment in late 1991, charging him
with murder, murder conspiracy, firearms possession, extortion and loan
sharking -- all stemming from his fight with the Colombo family faction
that included Gregory Scarpa Sr.

Orena's attorneys believed most of the evidence had been fabricated by
Scarpa, with the aid of DeVecchio. Before Orena's trial, they asked the FBI
to turn over everything they had about Scarpa, since it was their belief he
had started the internecine war and caused most of the bloodshed.

Federal prosecutors eventually turned over only 77 pages of documents about
Scarpa's work with DeVecchio, although in subsequent cases, thousands more
would be released. There wasn't a single word about the gunmen who had
tried but failed to kill Scarpa in 1991, precipitating the mob war that

Orena's attorneys believe they know why. Their theory is the attack was
staged, and Scarpa then used it as an excuse to declare war on Orena and
his loyalists.

When the lawyers tried to find the forensic evidence that should have been
gathered at the scene, they found the shell casings were missing; the
photographs were missing; and there was no report filed on interviews with

As aspects of the relationship became known, DeVecchio admitted to his
superiors that Scarpa would bring him gifts. When Cabbage Patch Dolls were
popular but scarce, Scarpa gave a few to DeVecchio for his children. He
gave him fine wine, pasta and other homemade Italian dishes during the

Orena's attorneys were unable to make their case without the thousands of
pages of information about Scarpa and DeVecchio they suspected were in FBI
files but were unable to obtain. Orena was convicted on the charges in
1992. The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals turned down his appeal based on
prosecutorial misconduct and other issues -- as has the U.S. Supreme Court.

He still hopes he can persuade a judge through a writ of habeas corpus
petition that the actions of the government have sent him to prison illegally.

While Orena remains in prison, more than a dozen other men involved in the
Colombo crime family war have either been acquitted or had their cases
dismissed because of the Scarpa-DeVecchio connection.

DeVecchio has retired from the FBI. Scarpa died in 1994 of AIDS transmitted
by a blood transfusion during stomach surgery in 1986. He was 65.

The FBI had known for years he was in poor health. Yet no federal official
ever questioned him about the issues raised by his relationship with the
FBI during the Colombo Family crime war.

Last month, his son, Gregory Scarpa Jr., testified in New York during his
own racketeering case that DeVecchio had given his father "carte blanche"
to commit crimes, including five murders, so long as he kept working as a
government informant.

Scarpa Jr., 47, is arguing that he received that same protection from the

DeVecchio, who was granted immunity in the case in exchange for testimony,
disputed that. Scarpa Jr., already doing a 25-year sentence for drug
smuggling, was convicted in October on conspiracy charges. He has not yet
been sentenced.

A Troubling Pioneer - Win At All Costs series (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
continues its 10-part series about its investigation showing that federal
agents and prosecutors break the law routinely. Daniel Mitrione, an FBI agent
in the bureau's South Florida offices from the mid-1970s to early 1985,
was the first FBI agent ever charged with joining a Colombian drug-smuggling
ring - a ring he was duty bound to try to shut down. But because
of prosecutorial misconduct, another man went to prison for a bomb
he allegedly planted under a car.)

Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 14:04:12 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: A Troubling Pioneer - Win At All Costs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Nora Callahan http://www.november.org/
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 1998 PG Publishing
Pubdate: Tues, 01 Dec 1998
Contact: letters@post-gazette.com
Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: This is the sixth of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being
published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of several stories
(being posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade,
Toledo, OH email: letters@theblade.com


It's not the kind of "first" that would be fondly remembered.

Daniel Mitrione, an FBI agent in the bureau's South Florida offices from
the mid-1970s to early 1985, was the first FBI agent ever charged with
joining a Colombia-to-U.S. drug-smuggling ring -- a ring he was duty bound
to try to shut down.

His penalty was mild.

He agreed to testify against other smugglers. In return, he served three
years in a monastery for wayward priests -- federal authorities knew his
life would be worthless in prison.

He also turned over almost $1 million in illegally gained assets, a modest
amount compared to the amount of drugs brought in by dealers that included
a number of men from the Pittsburgh area.

Indicted in the same drug conspiracy were the ring's Florida leader, Hilmer
Sandini, several South American drug smugglers, and some of the largest
drug dealers Western Pennsylvania has ever known, including Eugene Gesuale.

Vincent Ciraollo of Deerfield Beach, Fla., was a minor target by
comparison. He served six years on drug charges stemming from the
conspiracy indictments and insists he was innocent of the crime. One of the
government's key contentions at Ciraollo's trial was that he'd planted a
bomb under Sandini's car to keep him from testifying.

Ciraollo insisted he not only hadn't planted the bomb on the car, but he'd
actually disarmed it after noticing wires dangling from the car -- saving
Sandini's life.

Further, during pre-trial motions when Mitrione was exposed as an
undercover agent, Ciraollo heard that Mitrione had planted the bomb. He had
good reason: Sandini would be the key witness detailing Mitrione's betrayal
of the FBI.

But no mention of that fact was allowed at Ciraollo's trial. Prosecutors
argued the allegation was nothing more than a rumor.

After his conviction, Ciraollo requested files on the FBI's investigation
through a Freedom of Information Act request. It was more than five years
before he got an answer, well after he'd been released from prison.

Included was an FBI Criminal Investigative Division Informative Note
written two days before Ciraollo and the others were indicted.

It stated the FBI in South Florida had extensive information indicating
Mitrione had placed the bomb on Sandini's car and characterized his actions
as an attempted homicide.

No one turned that letter over to Ciraollo's defense lawyers, as court
rules require. Instead, prosecutors tried to pin the bombing on Ciraollo.

The reason the information wasn't given to Ciraollo, said Leon Rodriguez,
an assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, was
that the memo about the letter was never sent to the Pittsburgh office. He
said it was cabled from Miami to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., and
was never made available to prosecutors in Pittsburgh.

Mitrione was never charged in the attempted homicide.

Unique Way Of Solving Mystery - Win At All Costs series (The Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette continues its 10-part series about its investigation showing
that federal agents and prosecutors break the law routinely. When three civil
rights activists were reported missing and probably murdered near
Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1964, the FBI's traditional investigative
techniques failed to discover where the bodies were buried. So the FBI hired
Gregory Scarpa, a New York mobster, who tortured the truth out of an alleged
Ku Klux Klan member.)

Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 14:07:02 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Unique Way Of Solving Mystery - Win At All Costs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Nora Callahan http://www.november.org/
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 1998 PG Publishing
Pubdate: Tues, 01 Dec 1998
Contact: letters@post-gazette.com
Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: This is the sixth of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being
published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of several stories
(being posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade,
Toledo, OH email: letters@theblade.com


When three civil rights workers were reported missing and probably murdered
near Philadelphia, Miss., in 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sought out
an unusual person for help.

Gregory Scarpa Sr. was an up-and-coming New York City mobster whose
reputation as a ruthless hitman would eventually earn him the nickname The
Killing Machine.

Scarpa agreed to travel secretly to Mississippi after FBI agents had spent
several fruitless months searching for the bodies of the three young men,
and their killers.

When he arrived, FBI agents told him that an appliance store owner in
Philadelphia, Miss., reportedly a member of the Ku Klux Klan, had
information on where the three civil rights workers were buried, but he
refused to talk.

Conventional interview techniques had failed. So Scarpa decided to buy a TV.

When he stopped by the appliance store at closing time to pick it up, he
threw the store's owner into the trunk of his car. He then took him to a
shack and alternately beat him and threatened him for three days. Finally,
Scarpa placed a revolver in the man's mouth, and assured him that he'd blow
his head off if he didn't disclose where the bodies were buried.

The man talked.

A team of FBI agents using bulldozers dug up the decomposing bodies beneath
17 feet of red Mississippi clay in an earthen dam.

Seven men were eventually charged with federal civil rights violations
related to the murder.

This bizarre chapter in American crime-fighting didn't end with the
arrests. Scarpa returned to his life of crime in New York City and
eventually initiated a killing spree in a fight for control of the infamous
Colombo crime family in 1992.

Court papers related to that war show that, from the time he left
Mississippi, Scarpa maintained his close ties with the FBI.

Surprise Response To Newspaper Ad - Win At All Costs series
(The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continues its 10-part series about its
investigation showing that federal agents and prosecutors break the law
routinely. Kenneth R. Withers, 33, a seven-year veteran of the FBI who was
charged in June 1994 with trying to sell 100 pounds of heroin he'd stolen
from the bureau's evidence room, is still awaiting trial.)

Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 14:10:02 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Surprise Response To Newspaper Ad - Win At All Costs series
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Nora Callahan http://www.november.org/
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 1998 PG Publishing
Pubdate: Tues, 01 Dec 1998
Contact: letters@post-gazette.com
Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: This is the sixth of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being
published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of several stories
(being posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade,
Toledo, OH email: letters@theblade.com


This was no average street dealer. The Philadelphia drug dealer took his
cue from mail order catalogs.

He mailed letters to known drug suppliers in the Philadelphia area,
identifying himself only as "Salvatore."

The letters quoted his price -- $75,000 per kilogram of heroin.

When FBI agents in Philadelphia heard about the mysterious mail-order drug
dealer, they jumped, figuring that if they tracked him down, he could lead
them to a major heroin trafficker.

After a two-month investigation in 1994, agents learned that "Salvatore"
was actually one of their own, an FBI special agent who stole about 100
pounds of heroin from his bureau's evidence room.

Kenneth R. Withers, 33, a seven-year veteran, was charged in June 1994 with
theft and trafficking violations.

He is still awaiting trial.

Giving In To The Temptation - Win At All Costs series (The Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette continues its 10-part series about its investigation showing
that federal agents and prosecutors break the law routinely. Rene De La Cova,
the DEA agent who had served an arrest warrant on Manuel Noriega
after the US invaded Panama, was sentenced to only three years in prison
for laundering money. Ordinary people would have received 20.)

Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 14:13:22 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Giving In To The Temptation - Win At All Costs series
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Nora Callahan http://www.november.org/
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 1998 PG Publishing
Pubdate: Tues, 01 Dec 1998
Contact: letters@post-gazette.com
Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: This is the sixth of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being
published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of several stories
(being posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade,
Toledo, OH email: letters@theblade.com


Rene De La Cova was a highly respected supervisor with the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration in 1994, working undercover in Fort Lauderdale,
Fla. Five years earlier, it was De La Cova who had been selected to serve
an arrest warrant on Manuel Noriega after American forces invaded Panama.

De La Cova and his partners routinely investigated and arrested people who
might bring in more money in a month or a week, or a day than the agents
earned in year. Or five years.

In a 1994 operation, De La Cova and his partners were working under cover
and had agreed to launder $3 million for a Houston drug operation.

Once they got the money, they began arranging for the drug dealer's arrest.

Then De La Cova got a late-night call. There was another $700,000 to
launder, a drug dealer told him.

Could he do it?

De La Cova should have obtained authorization to continue the
investigation. Instead, he flew to Houston without telling anyone.

He stuffed the money into his luggage, flew back to Miami, and stashed some
of the cash in safety deposit boxes. The rest went into stock brokerage
houses and banks across the country.

De La Cova got caught. Just how isn't clear -- a judge sealed his case file
shortly after he pleaded guilty in 1995. He was sentenced to three years in

Under federal sentencing guidelines, someone convicted of engaging in a
drug-or money-laundering conspiracy involving that much money would
normally face more than 20 years in prison.

Still, De La Cova's arrest ruined not only his career, but his wife's.

Theresa De La Cova, a nine-year DEA investigator, resigned after her
husband's arrest.

Agents Can't Keep Hands Off Drug Evidence - Win At All Costs series
(The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continues its 10-part series about its
investigation showing that federal agents and prosecutors break the law
routinely. When federal agents broke up the "Blue Thunder" heroin ring
in New York City in 1991, the biggest crooks included at least two agents
of the US Drug Enforcement Administration who were involved in the arrests.
The agents, through illegal arrests and seizures, destroyed the lives
of innocent people.)

Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 14:18:23 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Agents Can't Keep Hands Off Drug Evidence -
Win At All Costs series
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Nora Callahan http://www.november.org/
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 1998 PG Publishing
Pubdate: Tues, 01 Dec 1998
Contact: letters@post-gazette.com
Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: This is the sixth of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being
published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of several stories
(being posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade,
Toledo, OH email: letters@theblade.com
Also note: The seventh part of this series is scheduled to be printed on
Sunday, 6 Dec 98. The parts have normally been online at the newspaper
website the following day.


When federal agents broke the "Blue Thunder" heroin ring in New York City,
they snared 34 men suspected of reaping millions in drug profits between

Yet it turns out the biggest crooks included at least two agents of the
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration who were involved in the arrests.

As members of a multi-agency task force, the agents, through illegal
arrests and seizures, succeeded in enriching their own lives while
destroying the lives of innocent people.

And prosecutors withheld information on the investigation of the agents
during the trials of several targets of the Blue Thunder probe -- violating
the defendants' rights to information for their defense.

For example, Alfred Bottone was charged with being one of the leaders of
the heroin conspiracy, but he never learned during his trial that the very
officers who investigated him were being investigated themselves.

In fact, one of the agents would eventually end up in the same prison as
Bottone, who is serving a life sentence.

Sammy Shalikar and his brother-in-law also were nailed by the Blue Thunder
task force. They'd both fled Iran in 1979 and founded Gallery 2000, a
successful jewelry store in the Bronx.

On June 22, 1992, drug task force officers used false evidence to obtain a
search warrant for Shalikar's Great Neck, Long Island, home and his jewelry
store, where several bags of jewelry and cash were seized.

The task force officers found no drugs.

Shalikar and his brother-in-law were charged with conspiracy to distribute
cocaine based on the testimony of a government informant who later would be
proven a liar. Shalikar spent six months in jail on Rikers Island as the
case wound its way through the federal court system in Manhattan.

Finally, U.S. District Court Judge Pierre Leval dismissed all charges
against Shalikar and his brother-in-law.

"It was a scandalous and terrible event when misconduct by law enforcement
officers results in the filing of false charges," Leval wrote in 1993.

But that wasn't the worst of it.

Shalikar eventually learned that the task force officers who arrested him
had themselves been under investigation for theft. One of the task force
members, Robert Robles, admitted that he and his partner, Joseph Termani,
sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry that was seized from
Gallery 2000 during the raid.

Shalikar and his brother-in-law lost their store to bankruptcy.

Termani confessed to the thefts after he was confronted by Robles and
others involved in the sale of heroin they stole and sold in another case
-- this one related to Bottone.

Five years after being sentenced, Bottone says the same misconduct that led
to Shalikar's arrest was also present in his Blue Thunder trial, yet he
says no one wants to listen because he has a criminal record.

Bottone figures if his appeal is ever heard, the evidence will show that
all three agents who caused his imprisonment were corrupted long before his
case began. And that prosecutors never gave him the opportunity to use that
information to raise questions about their credibility on the witness stand.

Medical research showing cannabis' neuroprotective effects (A list subscriber
cites a July 1998 National Academy of Sciences report.)

Date: Tue, 01 Dec 1998 00:20:49 -0500
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Jon Gettman (Gettman_J@mediasoft.net)
Subject: Nueroprotective Effects Citation
Cc: "SUEVOS" (suevos@catskill.net)
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

SUEVOS asked for a citation on:
"medical research ... showing cannabis' NEUROPROTECTIVE effects"

Hampson, A.J., Grimaldi, M. et al "Cannabidiol and (-) [Delta
9]-Tetrahydrocannabinol Are Neuroprotective Antioxidants." Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences USA, 95:8268-8273. July, 1998.

Jon Gettman


Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 18:02:03 -0700 (MST)
From: bryan krumm (krummb@unm.edu)
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Subject: Re: DRCTALK digest 375
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

SUEVOS, here are a few references on cannabinoid-mediated neuroprotection.

Shen and Thayer, Mol. Pharmacol. 1998;54:459-462 "Cannabinoid receptor
agonists protect cultured rat hippocampal neurons from excitotoxicity"

Shen et al. J Neurosci. 1996;16:4322-4334 "cannabinoid receptor agonists
inhibit glutamatergic synaptic transmission in rat hippocampal cultures"

Hampson et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 1998;95:8268-8273 "cannabidiol and THC
are neuroprotective antioxidants"

Skaper et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 1996;93:3984-3989 "the ALIAmide
palmitoyethanolamide and cannabinoids but not anadamide, are protective in
a delayed postglutamate paradigm of exicitotoxic death in cerrebellar
granule neurons"


Today's Congressional testimony by Dershowitz on police perjury (A list
subscriber says Harvard law professor Allen Dershowitz ripped police perjury
and the drug war in testimony before the House Judicial Committee's
impeachment hearings, which were supposed to emphasize the seriousness
of lying on the witness stand. Dershowitz noted it was absurd to be concerned
with the President lying about a sexual affair when hundreds of thousands
of cops commit outright perjury in drug cases, and such perjury is allowed
by prosecutors and judges who know the cops are lying but ignore it.)

Date: Tue, 01 Dec 1998 15:06:40 -0800
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: "Charles P. Conrad" (cpconrad@twow.com)
Subject: Dershowitz on police perjury
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

[forwarded from Art Sobey on drctalk]

For those who missed it, Allen Dershowitz ripped police perjury and the
drug war in testimony today before the House Judicial Committee's
impeachment hearings. The topic was perjury and how bad a thing it is.
Dershowitz pointed out it was absurd to be concerned with the President
lying about a sexual affair when hundreds of thousands of cops commit
outright perjury in drug cases, and this perjury is allowed by
prosecutors and judges who know the cops are lying but ignore it.

His testimony was direct and to the point. The first time he began
talking about police perjury, several members, including Chair Henry
Hyde, left the room to avoid hearing the testimony. When they returned,
Dershowitz returned to the topic of police perjury. Hyde ignored the
testimony, and other no other committee members asked Dershowitz to
further explain himself. Their silence showed the cowardice and
hypocrisy of those who claim to uphold the law by breaking it.

Dershowitz's testimony occurred after the lunch break, and will be
rebroadcast on C_Span later tonight for those who want to see it.

It's about time that testimony like this was made a part of the official
Congressional record.


Date: Tue, 01 Dec 1998 15:33:47 -0800
To: cowan@marijuananews.com
From: Pat Dolan (pdolan@intergate.bc.ca)
Subject: Dershowitz Testimony

Am listening to Prof Alan Dershowitz giving testimony before the Judicial
Committee. It is brilliant and absolutely damning with reference to police
perjury in drug cases. Get this! It's an absolute must.



From: LawBerger@aol.com
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 03:13:10 EST
To: ocdla-list@pond.net, dpfor@drugsense.org, nlc@norml.org
Subject: DPFOR: Dershowitz' testimony before Judiciary Comm
Sender: owner-dpfor@drugsense.org
Reply-To: dpfor@drugsense.org
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/

is here:

C-SPAN: Investigation of the President


Lee Berger

Testimony of Alan M. Dershowitz before the House of Representatives
Judiciary Committee (A transcript of the Harvard law professor's comments
details numerous cases of law enforcement officials who were caught lying
but never prosecuted for perjury. "I believe that no felony is committed more
frequently in this country than the genre of perjury and false statements."
Cases often are decided "according to the preponderance of perjury.")

Date: Wed, 02 Dec 1998 23:02:51 -0500
From: Scott Dykstra (rumba2@earthlink.net)
Reply-To: rumba2@earthlink.net
To: ralph sherrow (ralphkat@hotmail.com)
Subject: Dershowitz Testimony

Testimony of Alan M. Dershowitz

House of Representatives Judiciary Committee

December 1, 1998

My name is Alan M. Dershowitz and I have been teaching criminal law at
Harvard Law School for 35 years. I have also participated in the
litigation--especially at the appellate level--of hundreds of federal
and state cases, many of them involving perjury and the making of
false statements. I have edited a casebook on criminal law and have
written 10 books and hundreds of articles dealing with subjects relating
to the issues before this committee. It is an honor to have been asked
to share my experience and expertise with you all here today.

For nearly a quarter century, I have been teaching, lecturing and
writing about the corrosive influences of perjury in our legal system,
especially when committed by those whose job it is to enforce the law,
and ignored--or even legitimized--by those whose responsibilities it is
to check those who enforce the law.

On the basis of my academic and professional experience, I believe that
no felony is committed more frequently in this country than the genre of
perjury and false statements. Perjury during civil depositions and
trials is so endemic that a respected appellate judge once observed that
"experienced lawyers say that, in large cities, scarcely a trial occurs
in which some witness does not lie." He quoted a wag to the effect that
cases often are decided "according to the preponderance of perjury."

(1) Filing false tax returns and other documents under pains and
penalties of perjury is so rampant that everyone acknowledges that
only a tiny fraction of offenders can be prosecuted. Making false
statements to a law enforcement official is so commonplace that the
Justice Department guidelines provide for prosecution of only some
categories of this daily crime. Perjury at criminal trials is so
common that whenever a defendant testifies and is found guilty, he has
presumptively committed perjury.

(2) Police perjury in criminal cases - particularly in the context of
searches and other exclusionary rule issues - is so pervasive that the
former police chief of San Jose and Kansas City has estimated that
"hundreds of thousands of law-enforcement officers commit felony perjury
every year testifying about drug arrests" alone.

(3) In comparison with their frequency, it is likely that false
statement crimes are among the most under-prosecuted in this country.
Though state and federal statutes carry stringent penalties for perjury,
few perjurers ever actually are subjected to those penalties. As
prosecutor E. Michael McCann has concluded, "Outside of income tax
evasion, perjury is probably the most underprosecuted crime in America."

(4) Moreover, there is evidence that false statements are among the most
selectively prosecuted of all crimes, and that the criteria for
selectivity bears little relationship to the willfulness or frequency of
the lies, the certainty of the evidence or any other neutral criteria
relating to the elements of perjury or other false statement
crimes. Professor Richard H. Underwood, the Spears-Gilbert Professor of
Law at the University of Kentucky's law school, writes that: more often,
the [perjury] law has been invoked for revenge, or for the purpose of
realizing some political end (the very base reason that lies are
sometimes told!), or for the purpose of nabbing a criminal who might
otherwise be difficult to nab, or, dare I say it, for the
purpose of gaining some tactical advantage. Proving that perjury was
committed, or that a "false statement" or a "false claim" was made, may
be an easier, or a more palatable, brief for the prosecution.

(5) Historically, false statements generally have admitted of
considerable variations in degree.

(6) The core concept of perjury was that of "bearing false witness," a
biblical term that consisted in accusing another of crime.

(7) Clearly, the most heinous brand of lying is the giving of false
testimony that results in the imprisonment or even execution of an
innocent person. Less egregious, but still quite serious, is false
testimony that results in the conviction of a person who committed the
criminal conduct, but whose rights were violated in a manner that
would preclude conviction if the police were to testify truthfully.

There are many other points on this continuum, ranging from making false
statements about income or expenses to testifying falsely in civil
trials. The least culpable genre of false statements are those that deny
embarrassing personal conduct of marginal relevance to the matter at
issue in the legal proceeding.

Much of the public debate about President Clinton and possible perjury
appears to ignore the following important lessons of history:

1. that the overwhelming majority of individuals who make false
statements under oath are not prosecuted;

2. that those who are prosecuted generally fall into some special
category of culpability or are victims of selective prosecution; and,

3. that the false statements of which President Clinton is accused fall
at the most marginal end of the least culpable genre of this continuum
of offenses and would never even be considered for prosecution in the
routine case involving an ordinary defendant.


My interest in the corrosive effects of perjury began in the early 1970s
when I represented - on a pro bono basis - a young man who was both a
member of and a government informer against the Jewish Defense League.
He was accused of making a bomb that caused the death of a
woman, but he swore that a particular policeman, who had been assigned
to be his handler, had made him certain promises in exchange for his
information. The policeman categorically denied making any promises, but
my client had - unbeknownst to the policeman - surreptitiously
taped many of his conversations with the policeman. The tapes proved
beyond any doubt that the policeman had committed repeated perjury, and
all charges were dropped against my client. But the policeman was
never charged with perjury. Instead he was promoted.

(8) The following year, I represented, on appeal, a lawyer accused of
corruption. The major witness against him was a policeman who
acknowledged at trial that he himself had committed three crimes while
serving as a police officer. He denied that he had committed more than
these three crimes. It was subsequently learned that he had, in fact,
committed hundreds of additional crimes, including some he specifically
denied under oath. He too was never prosecuted for perjury, because a
young Assistant U.S. Attorney named Rudolph Giuliani, led a campaign
against prosecuting this admitted perjurer. Shortly afterward, the
policeman explained:

Cops are almost taught how to commit perjury when they are in the Police
Academy. Perjury to a policeman - and to a lawyer, by the way - is not a
big deal. Whether they are giving out speeding tickets or parking
tickets, they're almost always lying. But very few cops lie about the
actual facts of a case. They may stretch an incident or
whatever to fit it into the framework of the law based on what they
consider a silly law of the Supreme Court.

(9) Nor is the evidence of police perjury merely anecdotal. Numerous
commission reports have found rampant abuses in police departments
throughout the country. All objective reports point to a pervasive
problem of police lying, and tolerance of the lying by prosecutors
and judges, all in the name of convicting the factually guilty whose
rights may have been violated and whose convictions might be
endangered by the exclusionary rule.

As the Mollen Commission reported:

The practice of police falsification in connection with such arrests is
so common in certain precincts that it has spawned its own word:
"testilying." . . . Officers also commit falsification to serve what
they perceive to be "legitimate" law enforcement ends - and for ends
that many honest and corrupt officers alike stubbornly defend as
correct. In their view, regardless of the legality of the arrest, the
defendant is in fact guilty and ought to be arrested.

(10) Even more troubling, in the Mollen Commission's view, "the evidence
suggests that the . . . commanding officer not only tolerated, but
encouraged, this unlawful practice." The commission provided several
examples of perjured cover stories that had been suggested to a young
officer by his supervisor: Scenarios were, were you going to say

(a) that you observed what appeared to be a drug transaction;

(b) you observed a bulge in the defendant's waistband; or

(c) you were informed by a male black, unidentified at this time,
that at the location there were drug sales.

QUESTION: So, in other words, what the lieutenant was telling you is
"Here's your choice of false predicates for the arrest."

OFFICER: That's correct. Pick which one you're going to use.

(11) Nor was this practice limited to police supervisors. As the
Mollen Commission reported:

Several former and current prosecutors acknowledged-"off the record" -
that perjury and falsification are serious problems in law enforcement
that, though not condoned, are ignored. The form this tolerance takes,
however, is subtle, which makes accountability in this area especially

(12) The epidemic is conceded even among the highest ranks of law
enforcement. For example, William F. Bratton, who has headed the police
departments of New York City and Boston, has confirmed that "testilying"
is a "real problem that needs to be addressed." He also placed some of
the responsibility squarely at the feet of prosecutors:

When a prosecutor is really determined to win, the trial prep procedure
may skirt along the edge of coercing or leading the police witness. In
this way, some impressionable young cops learn to tailor their testimony
to the requirements of the law.

(13) Many judges who listen to or review police testimony on a
regular basis privately agree with Judge Alex Kozinski of the United
States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, who publicly stated: "It
is an open secret long shared by prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges
that perjury is widespread among law enforcement officers," and
that the reason for it is that "the exclusionary rule . . . sets up a
great incentive for . . . police to lie to avoid letting someone they
think is guilty, or they know is guilty, go free."

(14) Or, as Judge Irving Younger explained, "Every lawyer who
practices in the criminal courts knows that police perjury is

(15) As these judges attest, this could not happen without active
complicity of many prosecutors and judges. Yet there is little apparent
concern to remedy that serious abuse of the oath to tell the truth--even
among those who now claim to be so concerned with the corrosive
influences of perjury on our legal system. The sad reality
appears to be that most people care about perjury only when they
disapprove of the substance of the lie or of the person who is lying.

A perfect example of selective morality regarding perjury occurred when
President George Bush pardoned former Secretary of Defense Caspar
Weinberger in 1992, even though physical records proved that Weinberger
had lied in connection with his testimony regarding
knowledge of Iran arms sales. Not only was there no great outcry
against pardoning an indicted perjurer, some of the same people who
insist that President Clinton not be allowed to "get away" with lying
were perfectly prepared to see Weinberger "get away" with perjury.
Senator Bob Dole of Kansas spoke for many when he called the pardon a
"Christmas Eve act of courage and compassion."

(16) The real issue is not the handful of convicted perjurers
appearing before this committee, but the hundreds of thousands of
perjurers who are never prosecuted, many for extremely serious and
calculated acts of perjury designed to undercut constitutional rights of
unpopular defendants.

If we really want to reduce the corrosive effects of perjury on our
legal system, the place to begin is at or near the top of the perjury
hierarchy. If instead we continue deliberately to blind ourselves to
pervasive police perjury and other equally dangerous forms of lying
under oath and focus on a politically charged tangential lie in the
lowest category of possible perjury (hiding embarrassing facts only
marginally relevant to a dismissed civil case), we would be
reaffirming the dangerous message that perjury will continue to be a
selectively prosecuted crime reserved for political or other
agenda-driven purposes.

A Republican aide to this committee was quoted by The New York Times as

"In the hearing, we'll be looking at perjury and its consequences, and
whether it is tenable for a nation to have two different standards for
lying under oath; one for the President and one for everyone else."
(17) On the basis of my research and experiences, I am convinced that if
President Clinton were an ordinary citizen, he would not be prosecuted
for his allegedly false statements, which were made in a civil
deposition about a collateral sexual matter later found inadmissible in
a case eventually dismissed and then settled. If President Clinton were
ever to be prosecuted or impeached for perjury
on the basis of the currently available evidence, it would indeed
represent an improper double standard: a selectively harsher one for the
president (and perhaps a handful of other victims of selective
prosecution) and the usual laxer one for everyone else.


Jerome Frank, Courts On Trial 85 (1949).


Many such defendants now have years added on to their sentences under
the federal guidelines, which add points for perjury at trial.


Joseph D. McNamara, Has the Drug War Created an Officer Liars' Club? Los
Angeles Times, Feb. 11, 1996, at M1.


From Mark Curriden, The Lies Have It, A.B.A. J., May 1995, at 71, quoted
in Lisa C. Harris, Perjury Defeats Justice, 42 Wayne L. Rev. 1755,
1768-69 (1996) (footnote omitted). See also Hon. Sonia Sotomayor &
Nicole A. Gordon, Returning Majesty to the Law and Politics: A
Modern Approach, 30 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 35, 51 n.52 (1996) ("Perjury
cases are not often pursued, and perhaps should be given greater
consideration by prosecuting attorneys as a means of enhancing the
credibility of the trial system generally."); Fred Cohen, Police
Perjury: An Interview With Martin Garbus, 8 Crim. L. Bull. 363, 367
(1972), quoted in Christopher Slobogin, Testilying: Police Perjury and
What to Do About It, 67 U. Colo. L. Rev. 1037, 1060 n.13 (1996) ("no
trial lawyer that I know will argue that police perjury is nonexistent
or sporadic.")


0 Richard H. Underwood, Perjury: An Anthology, 13 Ariz. J. Int'l & Comp.
L. 307, 379 (1996).


See, e.g., Richard H. Underwood, False Witness: A Lawyer's History of
the Law of Perjury, 10 Ariz. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 215, 252 n.157 (1993).


See, e.g., Underwood, id. at 223 and accompanying note 37.


See Dershowitz, The Best Defense 67 (1982). The chief of detectives of
New York wrote a book about this case in which he confirmed these facts.
See Albert Seedman, Chief! (1974).


See Dershowitz, The Best Defense, supra note 8, at 377. This was
confirmed in a book entitled Prince of the City (and a motion picture of
the same name), whose contents were approved by the policeman. See
Robert Daley, Prince of the City (1978).


Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the
Anti-Corruption Practices of the Police Department, Milton Mollen,
Chair; July 7, 1994, at 36 [hereinafter Mollen Report]. The report then
went on to describe how officers reported a litany of manufactured
tales. For example, when officers unlawfully stop and search a vehicle
because they believe it contains drugs or guns,
officers will falsely claim in police reports and under oath that the
car ran a red light (or committed some other traffic violation) and that
they subsequently saw contraband in the car in plain view. To conceal an
unlawful search of an individual who officers believe is carrying drugs
or a gun, they will falsely assert that they saw a bulge in the person's
pocket or saw drugs and money changing hands. To
justify unlawfully entering an apartment where officers believe
narcotics or cash can be found, they pretend to have information from an
unidentified civilian informant.


Lobby against suspicionless drug testing in the workplace.
Protect your 4th and 5th Amendment.
Just Say No to Random Drug Testing.
Just Say No to Searches.

Written with protections granted by the First Amendment!

Court - Short-Term Guests Not Protected From Unreasonable Police Searches
(An Associated Press article in The Saint Paul Pioneer Press says the US
Supreme Court reinstated two Minnesota men's cocaine convictions today,
ruling that short-term guests at someone's home generally are not
constitutionally protected against unreasonable police searches. Chief
Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court that "An overnight guest
in a home may claim the protection of the Fourth Amendment, but one who is
merely present with the consent of the householder may not.")
Link to earlier story
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 16:12:59 -0800 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: US DC: Court: Short-Term Guests Not Protected From Unreasonable Police Searches Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Paul_Bischke@datacard.com (Paul Bischke) Pubdate: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 Source: Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN) Contact: letters@pioneerpress.com Website: http://www.pioneerplanet.com/ Copyright: 1998 PioneerPlanet / St. Paul (Minnesota) Pioneer Press - All Author: Richard Carelli, Associated Press Writer COURT: SHORT-TERM GUESTS NOT PROTECTED FROM UNREASONABLE POLICE SEARCHES WASHINGTON (AP) -- Short-term guests at someone's home generally are not constitutionally protected against unreasonable police searches, the Supreme Court ruled today as it reinstated two Minnesota men's cocaine convictions. ``An overnight guest in a home may claim the protection of the Fourth Amendment, but one who is merely present with the consent of the householder may not,'' Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court. Writing for herself and two other dissenters, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the decision ``undermines not only the security of short-term guests but also the security of the home resident herself.'' The vote to reverse a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling was 6-3 but the justices split 5-4 in deciding the scope of guests' privacy rights. The court in 1990 ruled that overnight guests enjoy an ``expectation of privacy'' that protect them against unreasonable searches and arrests by police who do not have court warrants. But today's decision drew a distinction between overnight guests and those who stay but a few hours. Rehnquist also relied on the fact that Wayne Thomas Carter and Melvin Johns were arrested in an Eagan, Minn., home they had visited ``for a business transaction.'' ``There is no suggestion that they had a previous relationship with (the apartment renter) or that there was any other purpose to their visit,'' he said. ``Nor was there anything similar to the overnight guest relationship ... to suggest a degree of acceptance into the household.'' The ruling seemed to leave unresolved the rights of some temporary guests -- longtime poker buddies. It also appeared to discount the privacy rights of the Avon lady and the pizza man, two examples of short-term visitors offered by the justices when the case was argued in October. Rehnquist's opinion was joined by Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Justice Stephen G. Breyer voted to overturn the Minnesota court's ruling but in a concurring opinion said he agreed with the dissenters that the two accused drug traffickers could claim some protection under the Fourth Amendment, which guards against unreasonable police searches and seizures. Justices John Paul Stevens and David H. Souter joined Ginsburg's dissenting opinion. Carter and Johns were arrested in 1994 after a policeman acting on a tip looked in an apartment window and saw the two and another person putting white powder into plastic bags. To see inside, the officer walked behind some bushes and looked through gaps in the closed window blinds. The men were arrested when they left the apartment and tried to drive away. A pouch containing cocaine was found in the car. The case is Carter vs. Minnesota, 97-1147.

Court Rules Guests Lack Privacy Rights (The Reuters version)

Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 16:12:59 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US DC: WIRE: Court Rules Guests Lack Privacy Rights
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: hadorn@dnai.com (David Hadorn)
Pubdate: Tue, 1 Dec 1998
Source: Reuters
Copyright: 1998 Reuters Limited.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A divided Supreme Court narrowed the protection
against unreasonable police searches Tuesday by ruling that ``short-term''
guests do not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in someone else's

The high court, by a 6-3 vote, overturned a ruling that threw out evidence
against two drug suspects because a policeman watched them through a window
as they apparently packaged narcotics during an apartment visit.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote for the majority that the officer's
observation did not violate the suspects' rights protecting against
unreasonable searches because they were only ''short-term visitors.''

Rehnquist noted that overnight guests have long been able to claim
protection under the Fourth Amendment. But he said such protection should
not be extended to those who visit only briefly. He did not specifically
define ``short-term.''

The case involved a police officer in Eagan, Minnesota, who was approached
in 1994 by an unidentified person who said people were inside an apartment
``bagging'' a white powder.

The officer went to the apartment and looked through gaps in closed blinds
covering a window. He saw Wayne Carter, Melvin Johns and Kimberly Thompson
involved in what appeared to be a drug-packaging operation.

Carter and Johns were later arrested after they were seen putting items in a
car outside the apartment. Police found a gun and a black zippered pouch in
the car that contained cocaine. A search of Carter's duffel bag also showed
traces of cocaine.

Carter and Johns were charged with drug offenses. In return for the use of
Thompson's apartment, they had given her a small amount of cocaine, the
police later learned.

Carter and Johns sought to suppress all evidence obtained from the apartment
on the grounds that the officer's initial observation constituted an
unreasonable search.

Rehnquist, in the court's ruling Tuesday, said that while the apartment was
Thompson's dwelling, it was simply a place for Carter and Johns to do

``Property used for commercial purposes is treated differently (under the
Fourth Amendment) than residential property,'' the chief justice said.

Rehnquist also cited the relatively short amount of time Carter and Johns
were in the apartment and their lack of any previous connection with
Thompson in ruling that their rights had not been violated.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens and David Souter dissented.

Ginsburg said the court's decision ``undermines not only the security of
short-term guests, but also the security of the home resident.''

``When a homeowner or lessor personally invites a guest into her home to
share in a common endeavor, whether it be for conversation, to engage in
leisure activities or for business purposes licit or illicit, that guest
should share his host's shelter against unreasonable searches and
seizures,'' she said.

The ruling largely followed the position recommended by the U.S. Justice
Department in supporting the state of Minnesota.

The Prison-Industrial Complex (An article in the December issue
of The Atlantic Monthly, by Eric Schlosser, notes real crime in the United
States is falling while the correctional population continues to swell
with nonviolent drug offenders. Lots of people are making a living -
or a killing - on the phenomenon.)

Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 19:51:04 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: The Prison-Industrial Complex
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Kathy Galbraith
Source: The Atlantic Monthly
Copyright: 1998 by The Atlantic Monthly Company
Pubdate: Dec 1998
Volume: 282, No. 6; pages 51 - 77
Contact: letters@theatlantic.com
Webform: http://www.theatlantic.com/letters/edlet.phtml
Website: http://www.theatlantic.com/
Author: Eric Schlosser


Correctional Officials See Danger In Prison Overcrowding. Others See
Opportunity. The Nearly Two Million Americans Behind Bars -- The Majority
Of Them Nonviolent Offenders -- Mean Jobs For Depressed Regions And
Windfalls For Profiteers

IN the hills east of Sacramento, California, Folsom State Prison stands
beside a man-made lake, surrounded by granite walls built by inmate
laborers. The gun towers have peaked roofs and Gothic stonework that give
the prison the appearance of a medieval fortress, ominous and forbidding.
For more than a century Folsom and San Quentin were the end of the line in
California's penal system; they were the state's only maximum-security
penitentiaries. During the early 1980s, as California's inmate population
began to climb, Folsom became dangerously overcrowded. Fights between
inmates ended in stabbings six or seven times a week. The poor sight lines
within the old cellblocks put correctional officers at enormous risk. From
1984 to 1994 California built eight new maximum-security (Level 4)
facilities. The bullet holes in the ceilings of Folsom's cellblocks, left
by warning shots, are the last traces of the prison's violent years. Today
Folsom is a medium-security (Level 2) facility, filled with the kind of
inmates that correctional officers consider "soft." No one has been stabbed
to death at Folsom in almost four years. Among its roughly 3,800 inmates
are some 500 murderers, 250 child molesters, and an assortment of rapists,
armed robbers, drug dealers, burglars, and petty thieves. The cells in
Housing Unit 1 are stacked five stories high, like boxes in a vast
warehouse; glimpses of hands and arms and faces, of flickering TV screens,
are visible between the steel bars. Folsom now houses almost twice as many
inmates as it was designed to hold. The machine shop at the prison, run by
inmates, manufactures steel frames for double bunks -- and triple bunks --
in addition to license plates.

Less than a quarter mile from the old prison is the California State Prison
at Sacramento, known as "New Folsom," which houses about 3,000 Level 4
inmates. They are the real hard cases: violent predators, gang members,
prisoners unable to "program" well at other facilities, unable to obey the
rules. New Folsom does not have granite walls. It has a "death-wire
electrified fence," set between two ordinary chain-link fences, that
administers a lethal dose of 5,100 volts at the slightest touch. The
architecture of New Folsom is stark and futuristic. The buildings have
smooth gray concrete facades, unadorned except for narrow slits for cell
windows. Approximately a third of the inmates are serving life sentences;
more than a thousand have committed at least one murder, nearly 500 have
committed armed robbery, and nearly 200 have committed assault with a
deadly weapon.

Inmates were placed in New Folsom while it was still under construction.
The prison was badly overcrowded even before it was finished, in 1987. It
has at times housed more than 300 inmates in its gymnasiums. New Folsom --
like old Folsom, and like the rest of the California prison system -- now
operates at roughly double its intended capacity. Over the past twenty
years the State of California has built twenty-one new prisons, added
thousands of cells to existing facilities, and increased its inmate
population eightfold. Nonviolent offenders have been responsible for most
of that increase. The number of drug offenders imprisoned in the state
today is more than twice the number of inmates who were imprisoned for all
crimes in 1978. California now has the biggest prison system in the Western
industrialized world, a system 40 percent bigger than the Federal Bureau of
Prisons. The state holds more inmates in its jails and prisons than do
France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the Netherlands
combined. The California Department of Corrections predicts that at the
current rate of expansion, barring a court order that forces a release of
prisoners, it will run out of room eighteen months from now. Simply to
remain at double capacity the state will need to open at least one new
prison a year, every year, for the foreseeable future.

Today the United States has approximately 1.8 million people behind bars:
about 100,000 in federal custody, 1.1 million in state custody, and 600,000
in local jails. Prisons hold inmates convicted of federal or state crimes;
jails hold people awaiting trial or serving short sentences. The United
States now imprisons more people than any other country in the world --
perhaps half a million more than Communist China. The American inmate
population has grown so large that it is difficult to comprehend: imagine
the combined populations of Atlanta, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Des Moines, and
Miami behind bars. "We have embarked on a great social experiment," says
Marc Mauer, the author of the upcoming book The Race to Incarcerate. "No
other society in human history has ever imprisoned so many of its own
citizens for the purpose of crime control." The prison boom in the United
States is a recent phenomenon. Throughout the first three quarters of this
century the nation's incarceration rate remained relatively stable, at
about 110 prison inmates for every 100,000 people. In the mid-1970s the
rate began to climb, doubling in the 1980s and then again in the 1990s. The
rate is now 445 per 100,000; among adult men it is about 1,100 per 100,000.
During the past two decades roughly a thousand new prisons and jails have
been built in the United States. Nevertheless, America's prisons are more
overcrowded now than when the building spree began, and the inmate
population continues to increase by 50,000 to 80,000 people a year.

The economist and legal scholar Michael K. Block, who believes that
American sentencing policies are still not harsh enough, offers a
straightforward explanation for why the United States has lately
incarcerated so many people: "There are too many prisoners because there
are too many criminals committing too many crimes." Indeed, the nation's
prisons now hold about 150,000 armed robbers, 125,000 murderers, and
100,000 sex offenders -- enough violent criminals to populate a
medium-sized city such as Cincinnati. Few would dispute the need to remove
these people from society. The level of violent crime in the United States,
despite recent declines, still dwarfs that in Western Europe. But the
proportion of offenders being sent to prison each year for violent crimes
has actually fallen during the prison boom. In 1980 about half the people
entering state prison were violent offenders; in 1995 less than a third had
been convicted of a violent crime. The enormous increase in America's
inmate population can be explained in large part by the sentences given to
people who have committed nonviolent offenses. Crimes that in other
countries would usually lead to community service, fines, or drug treatment
-- or would not be considered crimes at all -- in the United States now
lead to a prison term, by far the most expensive form of punishment. "No
matter what the question has been in American criminal justice over the
last generation," says Franklin E. Zimring, the director of the Earl Warren
Legal Institute, "prison has been the answer."

ON January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower used his farewell
address to issue a warning, as the United States continued its cold war
with the Soviet Union. "In the councils of government," Eisenhower said,
"we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether
sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." Eisenhower had
grown concerned about this new threat to democracy during the 1960
campaign, when fears of a "missile gap" with the Soviet Union were whipped
up by politicians, the press, and defense contractors hoping for increased
military spending. Eisenhower knew that no missile gap existed and that
fear of one might lead to a costly, unnecessary response. "The potential
for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist,"
Eisenhower warned. "We should take nothing for granted."

Three decades after the war on crime began, the United States has developed
a prison-industrial complex -- a set of bureaucratic, political, and
economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment,
regardless of the actual need. The prison-industrial complex is not a
conspiracy, guiding the nation's criminal-justice policy behind closed
doors. It is a confluence of special interests that has given prison
construction in the United States a seemingly unstoppable momentum. It is
composed of politicians, both liberal and conservative, who have used the
fear of crime to gain votes; impoverished rural areas where prisons have
become a cornerstone of economic development; private companies that regard
the roughly $35 billion spent each year on corrections not as a burden on
American taxpayers but as a lucrative market; and government officials
whose fiefdoms have expanded along with the inmate population. Since 1991
the rate of violent crime in the United States has fallen by about 20
percent, while the number of people in prison or jail has risen by 50
percent. The prison boom has its own inexorable logic. Steven R. Donziger,
a young attorney who headed the National Criminal Justice Commission in
1996, explains the thinking: "If crime is going up, then we need to build
more prisons; and if crime is going down, it's because we built more
prisons -- and building even more prisons will therefore drive crime down
even lower."

The raw material of the prison-industrial complex is its inmates: the poor,
the homeless, and the mentally ill; drug dealers, drug addicts, alcoholics,
and a wide assortment of violent sociopaths. About 70 percent of the prison
inmates in the United States are illiterate. Perhaps 200,000 of the
country's inmates suffer from a serious mental illness. A generation ago
such people were handled primarily by the mental-health, not the
criminal-justice, system. Sixty to 80 percent of the American inmate
population has a history of substance abuse. Meanwhile, the number of
drug-treatment slots in American prisons has declined by more than half
since 1993. Drug treatment is now available to just one in ten of the
inmates who need it. Among those arrested for violent crimes, the
proportion who are African-American men has changed little over the past
twenty years. Among those arrested for drug crimes, the proportion who are
African-American men has tripled. Although the prevalence of illegal drug
use among white men is approximately the same as that among black men,
black men are five times as likely to be arrested for a drug offense. As a
result, about half the inmates in the United States are African-American.
One out of every fourteen black men is now in prison or jail. One out of
every four black men is likely to be imprisoned at some point during his
lifetime. The number of women sentenced to a year or more of prison has
grown twelvefold since 1970. Of the 80,000 women now imprisoned, about 70
percent are nonviolent offenders. About 75 percent have children.

The prison-industrial complex is not only a set of interest groups and
institutions. It is also a state of mind. The lure of big money is
corrupting the nation's criminal-justice system, replacing notions of
public service with a drive for higher profits. The eagerness of elected
officials to pass "tough-on-crime" legislation -- combined with their
unwillingness to disclose the true costs of these laws -- has encouraged
all sorts of financial improprieties. The inner workings of the
prison-industrial complex can be observed in the state of New York, where
the prison boom started, transforming the economy of an entire region; in
Texas and Tennessee, where private prison companies have thrived; and in
California, where the correctional trends of the past two decades have
converged and reached extremes. In the realm of psychology a complex is an
overreaction to some perceived threat. Eisenhower no doubt had that meaning
in mind when, during his farewell address, he urged the nation to resist "a
recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could
become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties."


THE origins of the prison-industrial complex can be dated to January of
1973. Senator Barry Goldwater had used the fear of crime to attract white
middle-class voters a decade earlier, and Richard Nixon had revived the
theme during the 1968 presidential campaign, but little that was concrete
emerged from their demands for law and order. On the contrary, Congress
voted decisively in 1970 to eliminate almost all federal mandatory-minimum
sentences for drug offenders. Leading members of both political parties
applauded the move. Mainstream opinion considered drug addiction to be
largely a public-health problem, not an issue for the criminal courts. The
Federal Bureau of Prisons was preparing to close large penitentiaries in
Georgia, Kansas, and Washington. From 1963 to 1972 the number of inmates in
California had declined by more than a fourth, despite the state's growing
population. The number of inmates in New York had fallen to its lowest
level since at least 1950. Prisons were widely viewed as a barbaric and
ineffective means of controlling deviant behavior. Then, on January 3,
1973, Nelson Rockefeller, the governor of New York, gave a State of the
State address demanding that every illegal-drug dealer be punished with a
mandatory prison sentence of life without parole.

Rockefeller was a liberal Republican who for a dozen years had governed New
York with policies more closely resembling those of Franklin Delano
Roosevelt than those of Ronald Reagan. He had been booed at the 1964
Republican Convention by conservative delegates; he still harbored grand
political ambitions; and President Nixon would be ineligible for a third
term in 1976. Rockefeller demonstrated his newfound commitment to law and
order in 1971, when he crushed the Attica prison uprising. By proposing the
harshest drug laws in the United States, he took the lead on an issue that
would soon dominate the nation's political agenda. In his State of the
State address Rockefeller argued not only that all drug dealers should be
imprisoned for life but also that plea-bargaining should be forbidden in
such cases and that even juvenile offenders should receive life sentences.

The Rockefeller drug laws, enacted a few months later by the state
legislature, were somewhat less draconian: the penalty for possessing four
ounces of an illegal drug, or for selling two ounces, was a mandatory
prison term of fifteen years to life. The legislation also included a
provision that established a mandatory prison sentence for many second
felony convictions, regardless of the crime or its circumstances.
Rockefeller proudly declared that his state had enacted "the toughest
anti-drug program in the country." Other states eventually followed New
York's example, enacting strict mandatory-minimum sentences for drug
offenses. A liberal Democrat, Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, led the
campaign to revive federal mandatory minimums, which were incorporated in
the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act. Nelson Rockefeller had set in motion a
profound shift in American sentencing policy, but he never had to deal with
the consequences. Nineteen months after the passage of his drug laws
Rockefeller became Vice President of the United States.

When Mario Cuomo was first elected governor of New York, in 1982, he
confronted some difficult choices. The state government was in a precarious
fiscal condition, the inmate population had more than doubled since the
passage of the Rockefeller drug laws, and the prison system had grown
dangerously overcrowded. A week after Cuomo took office, inmates rioted at
Sing Sing, an aging prison in Ossining. Cuomo was an old-fashioned liberal
who opposed mandatory-minimum drug sentences. But the national mood seemed
to be calling for harsher drug laws, not sympathy for drug addicts.
President Reagan had just launched the War on Drugs; it was an inauspicious
moment to buck the tide.

Unable to repeal the Rockefeller drug laws, Cuomo decided to build more
prisons. The rhetoric of the drug war, however, was proving more popular
than the financial reality. In 1981 New York's voters had defeated a $500
million bond issue for new prison construction. Cuomo searched for an
alternate source of financing, and decided to use the state's Urban
Development Corporation to build prisons. The corporation was a public
agency that had been created in 1968 to build housing for the poor. Despite
strong opposition from upstate Republicans, among others, it had been
legislated into existence on the day of Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral,
to honor his legacy. The corporation was an attractive means of financing
prison construction for one simple reason: it had the authority to issue
state bonds without gaining approval from the voters.

Over the next twelve years Mario Cuomo added more prison beds in New York
than all the previous governors in the state's history combined. Their
total cost, including interest, would eventually reach about $7 billion.
Cuomo's use of the Urban Development Corporation drew criticism from both
liberals and conservatives. Robert Gangi, the head of the Correctional
Association of New York, argued that Cuomo was building altogether the
wrong sort of housing for the poor. The state comptroller, Edward V. Regan,
a Republican, said that Cuomo was defying the wishes of the electorate,
which had voted not to spend money on prisons, and that his financing
scheme was costly and improper. Bonds issued by the Urban Development
Corporation carried a higher rate of interest than the state's
general-issue bonds.

Legally the state's new prisons were owned by the Urban Development
Corporation and leased to the Department of Corrections. In 1991, as New
York struggled to emerge from a recession, Governor Cuomo "sold" Attica
prison to the corporation for $200 million and used the money to fill gaps
in the state budget. In order to buy the prison, the corporation had to
issue more bonds. The entire transaction could eventually cost New York
State about $700 million.

The New York prison boom was a source of embarrassment for Mario Cuomo. At
times he publicly called it "stupid," an immoral waste of scarce state
monies, an obligation forced on him by the dictates of the law. But it was
also a source of political capital. Cuomo strongly opposed the death
penalty, and building new prisons shielded him from Republican charges of
being soft on crime. In his 1987 State of the State address, having just
been re-elected by a landslide, Cuomo boasted of having put nearly 10,000
"dangerous felons" behind bars. The inmate population of New York's prisons
had indeed grown by roughly that number during his first term in office.
But the proportion of offenders being incarcerated for violent crimes had
fallen from 63 percent to 52 percent during those four years. In 1987 New
York State sent almost a thousand fewer violent offenders to prison than it
had in 1983. Despite having the "toughest anti-drug program" and one of the
fastest-growing inmate populations in the nation, New York was hit hard by
the crack epidemic of the 1980s and the violent crime that accompanied it.
>From 1983 to 1990 the state's inmate population almost doubled -- and yet
during that same period the violent-crime rate rose 24 percent. Between the
passage of the Rockefeller drug laws and the time Cuomo left office, in
January of 1995, New York's inmate population increased almost fivefold.
And the state's prison system was more overcrowded than it had been when
the prison boom began.

BY using an unorthodox means of financing prison construction, Mario Cuomo
turned the Urban Development Corporation into a rural development
corporation that invested billions of dollars in upstate New York. Although
roughly 80 percent of the state's inmates came from New York City and its
suburbs, high real-estate prices and opposition from community groups made
it difficult to build correctional facilities there. Cuomo needed somewhere
to put his new prisons; he formed a close working relationship with the
state senator Ronald B. Stafford, a conservative Republican whose rural,
Adirondack district included six counties extending from Lake George to the
Canadian border. "Any time there's an extra prison," a Cuomo appointee told
Newsdayin 1990, "Ron Stafford will take it."

Stafford had represented this district, known as the North Country, for
more than two decades. Orphaned as a child, he had been adopted by a family
in the upstate town of Dannemora. The main street of the town was dominated
by the massive stone wall around Clinton, a notorious maximum-security
prison. His adoptive father was a correctional officer at Clinton, and
Stafford spent much of his childhood within the prison's walls. He
developed great respect for correctional officers, and viewed their
profession as an honorable one; he believed that prisons could give his
district a real economic boost. Towns in the North Country soon competed
with one another to attract new prisons. The Republican Party controlled
the state senate, and prison construction became part of the political give
and take with the Cuomo administration. Of the twenty-nine correctional
facilities authorized during the Cuomo years, twenty-eight were built in
upstate districts represented by Republican senators.

When most people think of New York, they picture Manhattan. In fact, two
thirds of the state's counties are classified as rural. Perhaps no other
region in the United States has so wide a gulf between its urban and rural
populations. People in the North Country -- which includes the Adirondack
State Park, one of the nation's largest wilderness areas -- tend to be
politically conservative, taciturn, fond of the outdoors, and white. New
York City and the North Country have very little in common. One thing they
do share, however, is a high rate of poverty.

Twenty-five years ago the North Country had two prisons; now it has
eighteen correctional facilities, and a nineteenth is under construction.
They run the gamut from maximum-security prisons to drug-treatment centers
and boot camps. One of the first new facilities to open was Ray Brook, a
federal prison that occupies the former Olympic Village at Lake Placid.
Other prisons have opened in abandoned factories and sanatoriums. For the
most part North Country prisons are tucked away, hidden by trees, nearly
invisible amid the vastness and beauty of the Adirondacks. But they have
brought profound change. Roughly one out of every twenty people in the
North Country is a prisoner. The town of Dannemora now has more inmates
than inhabitants.

The traditional anchors of the North Country economy -- mining, logging,
dairy farms, and manufacturing -- have been in decline for years. Tourism
flourishes in most towns during the summer months. According to Ram Chugh,
the director of the Rural Services Institute at the State University of New
York at Potsdam, the North Country's per capita income has long been about
40 percent lower than the state's average per capita income. The prison
boom has provided a huge infusion of state money to an economically
depressed region -- one of the largest direct investments the state has
ever made there. In addition to the more than $1.5 billion spent to build
correctional facilities, the prisons now bring the North Country about $425
million in annual payroll and operating expenditures. That represents an
annual subsidy to the region of more than $1,000 per person. The economic
impact of the prisons extends beyond the wages they pay and the local
services they buy. Prisons are labor-intensive institutions, offering
year-round employment. They are recession-proof, usually expanding in size
during hard times. And they are nonpolluting -- an important consideration
in rural areas where other forms of development are often blocked by
environmentalists. Prisons have brought a stable, steady income to a region
long accustomed to a highly seasonal, uncertain economy.

Anne Mackinnon, who grew up in the North Country and wrote about its recent
emergence as New York's "Siberia" for Adirondack Life magazine, says the
prison boom has had an enormous effect on the local culture. Just about
everyone now seems to have at least one relative who works in corrections.
Prison jobs have slowed the exodus from small towns, by allowing young
people to remain in the area. The average salary of a correctional officer
in New York State is about $36,000 -- more than 50 percent higher than the
typical salary in the North Country. The job brings health benefits and a
pension. Working as a correctional officer is one of the few ways that men
and women without college degrees can enjoy a solid middle-class life
there. Although prison jobs are stressful and dangerous, they are viewed as
a means of preserving local communities. So many North Country residents
have become correctional officers over the past decade that those just
starting out must work for years in prisons downstate, patiently waiting
for a job opening at one of the facilities in the Adirondacks.

WHILE many families in the north await the return of sons and daughters
slowly earning seniority downstate, families in New York City must endure
the absence of loved ones who seem to have been not just imprisoned for
their crimes but exiled as well. Every Friday night about 800 people,
mostly women and children, almost all of them African-American or Latino,
gather at Columbus Circle, in Manhattan, and board buses for the north. The
buses leave through the night and arrive in time for visiting hours on
Saturday. Operation Prison Gap, which runs the service, was founded by an
ex-convict named Ray Simmons who had been imprisoned upstate and knew how
hard it was for the families of inmates to arrange visits. When the company
started, in 1973, it carried passengers in a single van. Now it charters
thirty-five buses and vans on a typical weekend and a larger number on
special occasions, such as Father's Day and Thanksgiving. Ray Simmons's
brother Tyrone, who heads the company, says that despite the rising inmate
population, ridership has fallen a bit over the past few years. The
inconvenience and expense of the long bus trips take their toll. One
customer, however, has for fifteen years faithfully visited her son in
Comstock every weekend. In 1996 she stopped appearing at Columbus Circle;
her son had been released. Six months later he was convicted of another
violent crime and sent back to the same prison. The woman, now in her
seventies, still boards the 2:00 A.M. bus for Comstock every weekend.
Simmons gives her a discount, charging her $15 -- the same price she paid
on her first trip, in 1983.

The Bare Hill Correctional Facility sits near the town of Malone, fifteen
miles south of the Canadian border. The Franklin Correctional Facility is a
quarter of a mile down the road, and the future site of a new
maximum-security prison is next door. Bare Hill is one of the "cookie
cutter" medium-security prisons that were built during the Cuomo
administration. The state has built fourteen other prisons exactly like it
-- a form of penal mass production that saves a good deal of money. Most of
the inmates at Bare Hill are housed in dormitories, not cells. The
dormitories were designed to hold about fifty inmates, each with his own
small cubicle and bunk. In 1990, two years after the prison opened,
double-bunking was introduced as a "temporary" measure to ease the
overcrowding in county jails, which were holding an overflow of state
inmates. Eight years later every dormitory at Bare Hill houses sixty
inmates, a third of them double-bunked. About 90 percent of the inmates
come from New York City or one of its suburbs, eight hours away; about 80
percent are African-American or Latino. The low walls of the cubicles,
which allow little privacy, are covered with family photographs, pinups,
religious postcards. Twenty-four hours a day a correctional officer sits
alone at a desk on a platform that overlooks the dorm.

The superintendent of Bare Hill, Peter J. Lacy, is genial and gray-haired,
tall and dignified in his striped tie, flannels, and blue blazer. His
office feels light and cheery. Lacy began his career, in 1955, as a
correctional officer at Dannemora; he wore a uniform for twenty-five years,
and in the 1980s headed a special unit that handled prison emergencies and
riots. He later served as an assistant commissioner of the New York
Department of Corrections. One of his sons is now a lieutenant at a
downstate prison. As Superintendent Lacy walks through the prison grounds,
he seems like a captain surveying his ship, rightly proud of its upkeep,
familiar with every detail. The lawns are neatly trimmed, the buildings are
well maintained, and the red-brick dorms would not seem out of place on a
college campus, except for the bars in the windows. There is nothing
oppressive about the physical appearance of Bare Hill, about the ball
fields with pine trees in the background, about the brightly colored murals
and rustic stencils on the walls, about the classrooms where instructors
teach inmates how to read, how to write, how to draw a blueprint, how to
lay bricks, how to obtain a Social Security card, how to deal with their
anger. For many inmates Bare Hill is the neatest, cleanest, most
well-ordered place they will ever live. As Lacy passes a group of inmates
leaving their dorms for class, the inmates nod their heads in
acknowledgment, and a few of them say, "Hello, sir." And every so often a
young inmate gives Lacy a look filled with a hatred so pure and so palpable
that it would burn Bare Hill to the ground, if only it could.


THE black-and-white photograph shows an inmate leaning out of a prison
cell, scowling at the camera, his face partially hidden in the shadows.

OURS." The photo is on the cover of a glossy brochure promoting AT&T's
prison telephone service, which is called The Authority. BellSouth has a
similar service, called MAX, advertised with a photo of a heavy steel chain
dangling from a telephone receiver in place of a cord. The ad promises
"long distance service that lets inmates go only so far." Although the
phone companies rely on clever copy in their ads, providing telephone
service to prisons and jails has become a serious, highly profitable
business. The nearly two million inmates in the United States are ideal
customers: phone calls are one of their few links to the outside world;
most of their calls must be made collect; and they are in no position to
switch long-distance carriers. A pay phone at a prison can generate as much
as $15,000 a year -- about five times the revenue of a typical pay phone on
the street. It is estimated that inmate calls generate a billion dollars or
more in revenues each year. The business has become so lucrative that MCI
installed its inmate phone service, Maximum Security, throughout the
California prison system at no charge. As part of the deal it also offered
the California Department of Corrections a 32 percent share of all the
revenues from inmates' phone calls. MCI Maximum Security adds a $3.00
surcharge to every call. When free enterprise intersects with a captive
market, abuses are bound to occur. MCI Maximum Security and North American
Intelecom have both been caught overcharging for calls made by inmates; in
one state MCI was adding an additional minute to every call.

Since 1980 spending on corrections at the local, state, and federal levels
has increased about fivefold. What was once a niche business for a handful
of companies has become a multibillion-dollar industry with its own trade
shows and conventions, its own Web sites, mail-order catalogues, and
direct-marketing campaigns. The prison-industrial complex now includes some
of the nation's largest architecture and construction firms, Wall Street
investment banks that handle prison bond issues and invest in private
prisons, plumbing-supply companies, food-service companies, health-care
companies, companies that sell everything from bullet-resistant security
cameras to padded cells available in a "vast color selection." A directory
called the Corrections Yellow Pages lists more than a thousand vendors.
Among the items now being advertised for sale: a "violent prisoner chair,"
a sadomasochist's fantasy of belts and shackles attached to a metal frame,
with special accessories for juveniles; B.O.S.S., a "body-orifice security
scanner," essentially a metal detector that an inmate must sit on; and a
diverse line of razor wire, with trade names such as Maze, Supermaze,
Detainer Hook Barb, and Silent Swordsman Barbed Tape.

As the prison industry has grown, it has assumed many of the attributes
long associated with the defense industry. The line between the public
interest and private interests has blurred. In much the same way that
retired admirals and generals have long found employment with defense
contractors, correctional officials are now leaving the public sector for
jobs with firms that supply the prison industry. These career opportunities
did not exist a generation ago. Fundamental choices about public safety,
employee training, and the denial of personal freedoms are increasingly
being made with an eye to the bottom line.

One clear sign that corrections has become a big business as well as a form
of government service is the emergence of a trade newspaper devoted to the
latest trends in the prison and jail marketplace. Correctional Building
News has become the Variety of the prison world, widely read by
correctional officials, investors, and companies with something to sell.
Eli Gage, its publisher, founded the paper in 1994, after searching for a
high-growth industry not yet served by its own trade journal. Gage is
neither a cheerleader for the industry nor an outspoken critic. He believes
that despite recent declines in violent crime, national spending on
corrections will continue to grow at an annual rate of five to 10 percent.
The number of young people in the prime demographic for committing crimes,
ages fifteen to twenty-four, is about to increase; and the demand for new
juvenile-detention centers is already rising. Correctional Building News
runs ads by the leading companies that build prisons (Turner Construction,
CRSS, Brown & Root) and the leading firms that design them (DMJM, the DLR
Group, and KMD Architects). It features a product of the month, a facility
of the month, and a section titled "People in the News." An advertisement
in a recent issue promoted electrified fences with the line "Don't Touch!"

PRIVATE-prison companies are the most obvious, the most controversial, and
the fastest-growing segment of the prison-industrial complex. The idea of
private prisons was greeted with enthusiasm during the Reagan and Bush
Administrations; it fit perfectly with a belief in small government and the
privatization of public services. The Clinton Administration, however, has
done far more than its Republican predecessors to legitimize private
prisons. It has encouraged the Justice Department to place illegal aliens
and minimum-security inmates in private correctional facilities, as part of
a drive to reduce the federal work force. The rationale for private prisons
is that government monopolies such as old-fashioned departments of
corrections are inherently wasteful and inefficient, and the private
sector, through competition for contracts, can provide much better service
at a much lower cost. The privatization of prisons is often described as a
"win-win" outcome. A private-prison company generally operates a facility
for a government agency, or builds and operates its own facility. The
nation's private prisons accepted their first inmates in the mid-1980s.
Today at least twenty-seven states make use of private prisons, and
approximately 90,000 inmates are being held in prisons run for profit.

The living conditions in many of the nation's private prisons are
unquestionably superior to conditions in many state-run facilities. At
least forty-five state prison systems are now operating at or above their
intended capacity. In twenty-two states prisons are operating under
court-ordered population caps. In fifteen states prison conditions are
being monitored by the courts. Life in the aging, overcrowded prisons
operated by many state agencies is dangerous and degrading. Most of the
34,000 state inmates currently being held in the nation's jails for lack of
available prison cells live in conditions that are even worse. Private
prisons tend to be brand-new, rarely overcrowded, and less likely to house
violent offenders. Moreover, some private prisons offer programs, such as
drug treatment and vocational training, that a number of state systems have
cut back. And yet something inherent in the idea of private prisons seems
to invite abuse.

The economics of the private-prison industry are in many respects similar
to those of the lodging industry. An inmate at a private prison is like a
guest at a hotel -- a guest whose bill is being paid and whose check-out
date is set by someone else. A hotel has a strong economic incentive to
book every available room and encourage every guest to stay as long as
possible. A private prison has exactly the same incentive. The labor costs
constitute the bulk of operating costs for both kinds of accommodation. The
higher the occupancy rate, the higher the profit margin. Although it might
seem unlikely that a private prison would ever try to keep an inmate longer
than was necessary for justice to be served, New York State's experience
with the "fee system" during the nineteenth century suggests that the
temptation to do so is hard to resist. Under the fee system local sheriffs
charged inmates for their stay in jail. A 1902 report by the Correctional
Association of New York harshly criticized this system, warning that judges
might be inclined to "sentence a man to jail where he may be a source of
revenue to a friendly sheriff." Whenever the fee system was abolished in a
New York county, the inmate population dropped -- by as much as half. Last
year a Prudential Securities report on private prisons described some of
the potential risks for the industry: a falling crime rate, shorter prison
sentences, a move toward alternative sentences, and changes in the nation's
drug laws. Nonetheless, the report concluded that "the industry appears to
have excellent prospects."

Private-prison companies can often build prisons faster and at lower cost
than state agencies, owing to fewer bureaucratic delays and less red tape.
And new prisons tend to be much less expensive to operate than the old
prisons still used in many states. But most of the savings that
private-prison companies offer are derived from the use of nonunion
workers. Labor represents 60 to 80 percent of the operating costs at a
prison. Although private-prison companies are now moving into northern
states and even signing agreements with some labor unions, the overwhelming
majority of private-prison cells are in southern and southwestern states
hostile to unions. Correctional officers in these private prisons usually
earn lower wages than officers employed by state governments, while
receiving fewer benefits and no pension. Some private-prison companies
offer their uniformed staff stock options as a retirement plan; the
long-term value of the stock is uncertain. The sort of cost-cutting imposed
on correctional officers does not extend to managers and administrators.
They usually earn much more than their counterparts in the public sector --
a fact that greatly increases the potential for conflicts of interest and
official corruption.


LAST year a videotape of beatings at a private correctional facility in
Texas provoked a great deal of controversy. The tape showed correctional
officers at the Brazoria County Detention Center kicking inmates who were
lying on the floor, shooting inmates with a stun gun, and ordering a police
dog to attack them. The inmates had been convicted of crimes in Missouri,
but were occupying rented cells in rural Texas. One of the correctional
officers in the video had previously lost his job at a Texas state prison
and served time on federal charges for beating an inmate. The Brazoria
County videotape received nationwide publicity and prompted Missouri to
cancel its contract with Capital Correctional Resources, the private
company operating the facility. But the beatings were unusual only because
they were captured on tape. Incidents far more violent and surreal have
become almost commonplace in the private prisons of Texas.

The private-prison system in Texas arose in response to the violence and
disarray of the state system. In 1980 conditions in Texas state prisons
were so bad that the federal judge William Wayne Justice ruled that they
amounted to "cruel and unusual punishment." He appointed a special overseer
for the prison system and ordered the state to provide at least forty
square feet of living space for each inmate. By the mid-1980s, however,
conditions had grown even worse: Texas prisons were more overcrowded; gang
wars between inmates resulted in dozens of murders; and local jails were so
crammed with the overflow of state inmates that a number of counties later
sued the state for relief. In 1986 Judge Justice threatened the state with
a fine of $800,000 a day unless it came up with a plan to ease the
overcrowding in its prisons. While the Texas legislature scrambled to add
new prison beds to the system, entrepreneurs sensed that profits could be
made from housing state inmates in private facilities. Developers cut deals
with sheriffs in impoverished rural counties, providing the capital to
build brand-new jails, offering to run them, and promising to share the
profits. Privately run correctional facilities sprang up throughout rural
Texas, much the way oil rigs were once raised by wildcatters. The founders
of one large private-prison developer, N-Group Securities, had previously
sold condominiums and run a Houston disco. One critic quoted by the Houston
Chronicle called the speculative new enterprises "Joe's Bar and Grill and

The private-prison building spree in Texas -- backed by investors such as
Allstate, Merrill Lynch, Shearson Lehman, and American Express -- soon
faced an unanticipated problem. The State of Texas, under the auspices of a
liberal Democratic governor, Ann Richards, began to carry out an ambitious
prison-construction plan of its own in 1991, employing inmate labor and
adding almost 100,000 new beds in just a few years. In effect the state
flooded the market. Private firms turned to "bed brokers" for help, hoping
to recruit prisoners from out of state. By the mid-1990s thousands of
inmates from across the United States were being transported from
overcrowded prison systems to "rent-a-cell" facilities in small Texas
towns. The distances involved in this huge migration at times made it
reminiscent of the eighteenth-century transport schemes that shipped
British convicts and debtors to Australia. In 1996 the Newton County
Correctional Center, in Newton, Texas, operated by a company called the
Bobby Ross Group, became the State of Hawaii's third largest prison.

The private-prison industry usually charges its customers a daily rate for
each inmate; the success or failure of a private prison is determined by
the number of "man-days" it can generate. In a typical rent-a-cell
arrangement a state with a surplus of inmates will contact a
well-established bed broker, such as Dominion Management, of Edmond,
Oklahoma. The broker will search for a facility with empty beds at the
right price. The cost per man-day can range from $25 to $60, depending on
the kind of facility and its level of occupancy. The more crowded a private
prison becomes, the less it charges for each additional inmate. Facilities
with individual cells are more expensive than those with dormitories. Bed
brokers earn a commission of $2.50 to $5.50 per man-day, depending on how
tight the market for prison cells is at the time. The county -- which does
not operate the prison but simply gives it legal status -- sometimes gets a
fee of as much as $1.50 a night for each prisoner. When every bed is
filled, the private-prison company, the bed broker, and the county can do
quite well.

The interstate commerce in prisoners, like many new industries, developed
without much government regulation. In 1996 the State of Texas encountered
a number of unexpected legal problems. Its private prisons were housing
roughly 5,000 inmates from fourteen states. In August of that year two
Oregon sex offenders escaped from a Houston facility operated by the
Corrections Corporation of America. The facility normally held illegal
aliens, under contract to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Faced
with empty beds, CCA had imported 240 sex offenders from Oregon. Texas
officials had no idea that violent offenders from another state were being
housed in this minimum-security facility. The escaped prisoners were
eventually recaptured -- but they could not be prosecuted for escaping,
because running away from a private prison was not a violation of any Texas
state law. The following month a riot erupted at the Frio Detention Center,
a private facility operated by the Dove Development Corporation, which
housed about 300 inmates from Utah and Missouri. The Texas Department of
Criminal Justice had to send thirty of its officers in riot gear to regain
control of the prison. A month later two Utah prisoners, one of them a
convicted murderer, escaped from the same facility. A manhunt by state
authorities failed to recapture them. Six other Utah inmates had previously
escaped from facilities run by Dove Development; three were murderers. Last
year the Texas legislature passed a bill that made it illegal for an
offender from any state to escape from a private prison and that held the
owners of such facilities responsible for any public expense stemming from
riots or escapes. Few other states have even attempted to pass legislation
dealing with these issues.

The private companies that now transport thousands of inmates across the
United States every day face even less government oversight than
private-prison companies. Indeed, federal regulations concerning the
interstate shipment of cattle are much stricter than those concerning the
interstate shipment of prisoners. Sheriff's deputies and U.S. marshals have
traditionally been used to pick up inmates in one state and deliver them to
another. During the late 1980s private companies began to offer the same
service for about half the cost. The firms saved money by employing
nonunion guards and making multiple pickups and deliveries on each trip.
Prisoners today may spend as long as a month on the road, visiting dozens
of states, sitting for days in the backs of old station wagons and vans,
locked up alongside defendants awaiting trial and offenders on their way to
prison. Driving one of these transport vehicles is a dangerous job, one
that combines the stresses encountered by correctional officers with those
of long-distance truckers. Moreover, prisoners tend to view their days in
transit as an excellent time to attempt an escape. The turnover rate among
the transport guards and drivers is high; the pay is relatively low; and
training for the job rarely lasts more than a week. As a result, violent
criminals are frequently shipped from state to state in the custody of
people who are ill equipped to deal with them. Local authorities often
don't learn that inmates are passing through their towns until something
goes wrong.

In August of 1996 Rick Carter and Sue Smith, the husband-and-wife operators
of R and S Prisoner Transport, were taking five murderers and a rapist from
Iowa to New Mexico. At a public rest stop in the Texas Panhandle one of the
convicts assaulted Carter on the way to the men's room. The others
overpowered his wife and seized the van. Carter and Smith, who had set off
unarmed, were taken hostage. A passing motorist dialed 911, and the six
inmates were recaptured by Texas police officers after a chase. On July 30
of last year Dennis Patrick Glick -- a convicted rapist, sentenced to two
life terms, who was being transported from Utah to Arkansas -- commandeered
a van owned by the Federal Extradition Agency, a private company. One of
the guards had fallen asleep, and Glick borrowed his gun. Glick took the
guard and seven other inmates hostage in Ordway, Colorado; abandoned the
van; took a local rancher hostage; stole two more vehicles and a horse;
eluded sixty law-enforcement officers through the night; and was captured
the next morning on horseback. In December of last year Homer D. Land, a
prisoner being transported from Kansas to Florida, escaped from a van
operated by TransCor America. The van had stopped at a Burger King in
Owatonna, Minnesota. While one guard went inside and bought eleven
hamburgers, the other guard (who had been a TransCor America employee for
less than a month) opened the van's back doors for ventilation, enabling
Land and two other inmates to get away. Land took a married couple hostage
and spent the night at their house in Owatonna before being recaptured in
Chicago. The same TransCor America van had been commandeered four days
earlier by Whatley Roylene, a prisoner traveling from New Mexico to
Massachusetts and facing charges of murder and armed robbery. At a gas
station in Sterling, Colorado, Roylene grabbed a shotgun from a sleeping
guard. Officers from the Colorado state police and the local sheriff's
department surrounded the van; the standoff ended, according to a local
official, when other prisoners persuaded Roylene to hand over the gun.

THE Bobby Ross Group, based in Austin, Texas, has proved to be one of the
more troubled private-prison companies. The company's founder, Bobby Ross,
was a sheriff in Texas and a successful bed broker before starting his own
business, in 1993. He eventually set up operations at seven Texas
facilities and one Georgia facility, signing contracts to accept inmates
from states including Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and
Virginia. It did not take long for problems to begin. In January of 1996
nearly 500 Colorado inmates, many of them sex offenders, were transferred
to a Bobby Ross facility in Karnes County, Texas; two later escaped, and a
full day passed before state authorities were notified. At the Bobby Ross
prison in Dickens County, Texas, fights broke out between inmates from
Montana and Hawaii that spring. A few months later a protest about the poor
quality of food and medical care turned into a riot, and the warden ordered
guards to shoot live rounds. The warden was replaced.

Montana canceled its contract with the Bobby Ross Group in September of
last year. Three Montana inmates had escaped, and one had been killed by an
inmate from Hawaii. Montana investigators found that many of the inmates at
the Dickens County prison were going hungry and waiting days to see a
doctor. "We really dislike losing a customer," an attorney representing
Bobby Ross said to a reporter. In October an inspector for the Texas
Commission on Jail Standards gave the Dickens County prison the highest
possible ratings. A month later the same inspector acknowledged that in
addition to his official duties he worked as a "consultant" for the Bobby
Ross Group, which paid him $42,000 a year. In December eleven inmates from
Hawaii escaped from their dormitory at the Newton County facility operated
by Bobby Ross, released nearly 300 other inmates, and set fire to one of
the buildings. In February of this year inmates rioted again at Newton and
set fire to the prison commissary. In brighter days, before the riots and
fires, Bobby Ross had explained the usefulness of employing William
Sessions, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as a
"special adviser" to the company. "He goes with us on sales calls to
potential clients," Ross told a reporter for the Colorado paper Westword.
"That kind of thing."

The U.S. Corrections Corporation, for years the nation's third largest
private-prison company, has encountered legal difficulties even more
serious than those of the Bobby Ross Group. In 1993 an investigation by the
Louisville Courier-Journal discovered that the company was using unpaid
prison labor in Kentucky. Inmates were being forced to perform a variety of
jobs, including construction work on nine small buildings at the Lee County
prison; construction work on one church and renovation work on three others
attended by company employees; renovation work on a company employee's
game-room business; painting and maintenance at a country club; and
painting at a private school attended by a prison warden's daughter. The
Courier-Journal concluded that "U.S. Corrections has repeatedly profited
financially from its misuse of inmate labor." Although the state Department
of Corrections confirmed these findings, it took no action against the
company. A year later J. Clifford Todd, the chairman of U.S. Corrections,
pleaded guilty to a federal charge of mail fraud, admitting that he had
paid a total of roughly $200,000 to a county correctional official in
Kentucky. In return for monthly payments, which for four years were
laundered through a California company, the official sent inmates to U.S.
Corrections. Todd cooperated fully with an FBI investigation, but later
became embittered when a federal judge denied his request for a term of
house arrest. The head of the nation's third largest private-prison company
was sentenced to fifteen months in a federal prison.

The nation's second largest private-prison company, Wackenhut Corrections,
has operated with a far greater degree of professionalism and discretion.
Its parent company, the Wackenhut Corporation, has for many years worked
closely with the federal government, performing various sensitive tasks
such as guarding nuclear-weapons facilities and overseas embassies. Indeed,
the company has long been accused of operating as a front for the Central
Intelligence Agency -- an accusation that its founder, George Wackenhut,
has vehemently denied. In the early 1950s Wackenhut quit the FBI, at the
age of thirty-four, and formed a private-security company with three other
former FBI agents. He went on to assemble the nation's largest private
collection of files on alleged "subversives," with dossiers on at least
three million Americans. During the 1970s the Wackenhut Corporation
diversified into strike-breaking and anti-terrorism. The company,
headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, has branch offices in
forty-two states and in more than fifty foreign countries. Its annual
revenues exceed $1 billion. George Wackenhut remains the chairman of the
company, but the day-to-day operations are handled by his son, Richard.
Over the years Wackenhut's board of directors has read like a Who's Who of
national security, including a former head of the FBI, a former head of the
Defense Intelligence Agency, a former CIA director, a former CIA deputy
director, a former head of the Secret Service, a former head of the Marine
Corps, and a former Attorney General. After the company decided to enter
the private-prison industry, it hired Norman Carlson, who had headed the
Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Last year Wackenhut Corrections became the first private company ever hired
by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to manage a large facility. The federal
government's long-standing relationship with Wackenhut has developed an odd
equilibrium: one wields the power while the other reaps the financial
rewards. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, the current director of the Federal Bureau
of Prisons, is responsible for the supervision of about 115,000 inmates,
including drug lords, international terrorists, and organized-crime
leaders. Her salary last year was $125,900. George C. Zoley, the chief
executive officer of Wackenhut Corrections, is responsible for the
supervision of about 25,000 state and federal inmates, mostly illegal
aliens, low-level drug offenders, petty thieves, and parole violators. His
salary last year was $366,000 -- plus a bonus of $122,500, plus a
stock-option grant of 20,000 shares. At least half a dozen other executives
at Wackenhut Corrections were paid more last year than the head of the
Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The Corrections Corporation of America is the nation's largest
private-prison company; it recently participated in a buyout of the U.S.
Corrections Corporation, thereby obtaining several thousand additional
inmates. CCA was founded in 1983 by Thomas W. Beasley and Doctor R. Crants,
Nashville businessmen with little previous experience in corrections.
Beasley, a former chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, later told
Inc. magazine his strategy for promoting the concept of private prisons:
"You just sell it like you were selling cars, or real estate, or
hamburgers." Beasley and Crants recruited a former director of the Virginia
Department of Corrections to help run the company. In 1984 CCA accepted its
first Texas inmates, before it had a completed facility in that state. The
inmates were housed in rented motel rooms; a number of them pushed the
air-conditioning units out of the wall and escaped. A year later Beasley
approached his good friend Lamar Alexander, the governor of Tennessee, with
an extraordinary proposal: CCA would buy the state's entire prison system
for $250 million. Alexander supported the idea, saying, "We don't need to
be afraid in America of people who want to make a profit." His wife, Honey,
and the speaker of the Tennessee House, Ned McWherter, were among CCA's
early investors; between them the two had owned 1.5 percent of CCA's stock;
they sold their shares to avoid any perceived conflict of interest.
Nevertheless, the CCA plan was blocked by the Democratic majority in the

CCA expanded nationwide over the next decade, winning contracts to house
more than 40,000 inmates and assembling the sixth largest prison system in
the United States; but it never lost the desire to take over all the
prisons in Tennessee. In order to achieve that goal, CCA executives
established personal and financial links with figures in both political
parties. During the spring of last year CCA's allies in the Tennessee
legislature began once again to push for privatization. Crants said that
letting CCA run the prisons would save the state up to $100 million a year;
he did not specify how these dramatic savings would be achieved. George
Zoley, the head of Wackenhut Corrections, argued that handing over the
Tennessee prison system to a single company would simply turn a state
monopoly into a private one. Wackenhut employed the law firm of the former
U.S. senator Howard Baker to lobby on its behalf, seeking a piece of the

By February of this year a compromise of sorts had emerged in Tennessee.
New legislation proposed shifting as much as 70 percent of the state's
inmate population to the private sector; CCA and Wackenhut would both get a
chance to bid for prison contracts. The new privatization bill seemed a
sure thing. It was never put before the legislature for a vote, however. On
April 20 CCA announced plans for a corporate restructuring so complex in
its details that many Wall Street analysts began to wonder about the
company's financial health. The price of CCA stock -- which in recent years
had been one of the nation's top performers -- began to plummet, declining
in value by 25 percent over the next several days. At the annual CCA
shareholders meeting, last May, Crants compared Wall Street investors to
"wildebeests" stampeding out of fear, and blamed the stock's plunge on a
single broker who had sold 640,000 shares.

Crants neglected to tell CCA shareholders a crucial bit of information: he
himself had sold 200,000 shares of CCA stock just weeks before the
announcement that sent its value tumbling. By selling his stock on March 2,
Crants had avoided a loss of more than $2.5 million. When asked recently to
explain his CCA financial dealings, Crants declined to comment. The timing
and the size of that stock transaction are likely to be of interest to the
attorneys who have filed more than half a dozen lawsuits on behalf of CCA

Although conservatives have long worried about the loss of American
sovereignty to international agencies such as the United Nations and the
World Bank, the globalization of private-prison companies has thus far
eluded criticism. A British private-prison company, Securicor, operates two
facilities in Florida. Wackenhut Corrections is now under contract to
operate Doncaster prison, in England; three prisons in Australia; and a
prison in Scotland. It is actively seeking prison contracts in South
Africa. CCA has received a good deal of publicity lately, but few of the
articles about it have mentioned that the largest shareholder of America's
largest private-prison company is Sodexho Alliance -- a food-service
conglomerate whose corporate headquarters are in Paris.


ABOUT 200 inmates were in the A yard at New Folsom when I visited not long
ago. They were playing soft-ball and handball, sitting on rocks, standing
in small groups, smoking, laughing, jogging around the perimeter. Three
unarmed correctional officers casually kept an eye on things, like
elementary school teachers during recess. The yard was about 300 feet long
and 250 feet wide, with more dirt than grass, and it was hot, baking hot.
The heat of the sun bounced off the gray concrete walls enclosing the yard.
"These are the sensitive guys," a correctional officer told me, describing
the men in Facility A. Most of them had killed, raped, committed armed
robberies, or misbehaved at other prisons, but now they were trying to stay
out of trouble. Some were former gang members; some were lifers because of
a third strike; some were getting too old for prison violence; some were in
protective custody because of their celebrity, their snitching, or their
previous occupation. A few of the inmates on the yard were former police
officers. As word spread that I was a journalist, groups of inmates
followed me and politely approached, eager to talk. Lieutenant Billy
Mayfield, New Folsom's press officer, graciously kept his distance,
allowing the prisoners to speak freely.

"I shouldn't be here" was a phrase I heard often, followed by an
impassioned story about the unfairness of the system. I asked each inmate
how many of the other men in the yard deserved to be locked up in this
prison, and the usual response was "These guys? Man, you wouldn't believe
some of these guys; at least two thirds of them should be here." Behind the
need to blame others for their predicament and the refusal to accept
responsibility, behind all the denial, lay an enormous anger, one that
seemed far more intense than the typical inmate complaints about the food
or the behavior of certain officers. Shirtless, sweating, unshaven, covered
in tattoos, one inmate after another described the rage that was growing
inside New Folsom. The weights had been taken away; no more conjugal visits
for inmates who lacked a parole date; not enough help for the inmates who
were crazy, really crazy; not enough drug treatment, when the place was
full of junkies; not enough to do -- a list of grievances magnified by the
overcrowding into something that felt volatile, ready to go off with the
slightest spark. As I stood in the yard hearing the anger of the sensitive
guys, the inmates in Facility C were locked in their cells, because of a
gang-related stabbing the previous week, and the inmates in Facility B were
being shot with pepper spray to break up a fight.

The acting warden at New Folsom when I visited, a woman named Suzan
Hubbard, began her career as a correctional officer at San Quentin nineteen
years ago. Although she has a degree in social work from the University of
California at Berkeley, Hubbard says that her real education took place at
the "college of San Quentin." She spent a decade at the prison during one
of its most violent and turbulent periods. In her years on the job two
fellow staff members were murdered. Hubbard learned how to develop a firm
but fair relationship with inmates, some of whom were on death row. She
found that contrary to some expectations, women were well suited for work
in a maximum-security prison. Communication skills were extremely important
in such a charged environment; inmates often felt less threatened by women,
less likely to engage in a clash of egos. Hubbard was the deputy warden at
New Folsom on September 27, 1996, when fights broke out in the B yard. At
nine o'clock in the morning she was standing beside her car in the prison
parking lot, and she heard three shots being fired somewhere inside New
Folsom. Everyone in the parking lot froze, waiting for the sound of more
gunfire. After more shots were fired, Hubbard hurried into the prison, made
her way to the B yard, and found it in chaos.

A group of Latino gang members had launched an attack on a group of
African-American gang members, catching them by surprise and stabbing them
with homemade weapons. The fighting soon spread to the other inmates in the
exercise yard, who divided along racial lines. As many as 200 inmates were
involved in the riot. Correctional officers instructed everyone in the yard
to get down; they fired warning shots, rubber bullets, and then live
rounds. When Hubbard arrived at the yard, about a hundred inmates had
dropped to the ground and another hundred were still fighting. The captain
in charge of the unit stood among a group of inmates, telling them, "Sit
down, get down, we'll take care of this." Hubbard and the other officers
circulated in the yard, calling prisoners by name, telling them to get
down. It took thirty minutes to quell the riot. Twelve correctional
officers were injured while trying to separate combatants. Six inmates were
stabbed, and five were shot. Victor Hugo Flores, an inmate serving an
eighteen-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter and attempted murder, was
killed by gunfire.

Hubbard finds working in the California penal system to be stressful but
highly rewarding. She tries to defuse tensions by talking and listening to
the inmates on the yards. She and her officers routinely place themselves
at great risk. Last year 2,583 staff members were assaulted by inmates in
California. Thousands of the inmates are HIV-positive; thousands more carry
hepatitis C. Officers have lately become the target of a new form of
assault by inmates, known as gassing. Being "gassed" means being struck by
a cup or bag containing feces and urine. The California prison system,
especially its Level 4 facilities, is full of warring gangs -- members of
the Crips, the Bloods, the Fresno Bulldogs, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Nazi
Lowriders, the Mexican Mafia, and the Black Guerrilla Family, to name a
few. In addition to the organized violence, there are random acts of
violence. On June 15 of last year a correctional officer was attacked by an
inmate in the infirmary at New Folsom. The officer, Linda Lowery, was
savagely beaten and kicked, receiving severe head wounds. Her attacker was
serving a four-year sentence for assaulting an officer.

California's correctional officers are not always the victims when violence
occurs behind bars; in recent months they have been linked to several
widely publicized acts of brutality. At Pelican Bay State Prison at least
one officer conspired with inmates to arrange assaults on convicted child
molesters. At Corcoran State Prison officers allegedly staged "gladiator
days," in which rival gang members were encouraged to fight, staff members
placed bets on the outcome, and matches often ended with inmates being
shot. As the FBI investigates alleged abuses at Corcoran and allegations of
an official cover-up, correctional officers are feeling misrepresented and
unfairly maligned by the media -- only adding to the tension in
California's prisons.

The level of violence in the California penal system is actually lower
today than it was a decade ago. But the rate of assaults among inmates has
gradually climbed since its low point, in 1991. Studies have linked
double-bunking and prison overcrowding with higher rates of stress-induced
mental disorders, higher rates of aggression, and higher rates of violence.
In the state's Level 4 prisons almost every cell is now double-bunked. The
fact that more bloodshed has not occurred is a testament to the high-tech
design of the new prisons and the skills of their officers. Nevertheless,
Cal Terhune, the director of the California Department of Corrections,
worries about how much more stress the system can bear, and about how long
it can go without another riot. "We're sitting on a very volatile
situation," Terhune says. "Every time the phone rings here, I wonder ..."

THIRTY years ago California was renowned for the liberalism of its
criminal-justice system. In 1968 an inmate bill of rights was signed into
law by Ronald Reagan, then the governor of California. More than any other
state, California was dedicated to the rehabilitative ideal, to the belief
that a prison could take a criminal and "cure" him, set him on the right
path. California's prisons were notable for their many educational and
vocational programs and their group-therapy sessions. In those days every
state in the country had a system of indeterminate prison sentences. The
legislature set the maximum sentence for a crime, and judges and parole
boards tried to make the punishment fit the individual. California's system
was the most indeterminate: the sentence for a given offense might be
anything from probation to life. The broad range of potential sentences
gave enormous power to the parole board, known as the Adult Authority; a
prisoner's release depended on its evaluation of how well his "treatment"
was proceeding. One person might serve ten months and another person ten
years for the same crime.

Although indeterminate sentencing had many flaws, one of its virtues was
that it gave the state a means of controlling the size of the prison
population. If prisons grew too full, the parole board could release
inmates who no longer seemed to pose a threat to public safety. Governor
Reagan used the Adult Authority to reduce the size of California's inmate
population, giving thousands of prisoners an early release and closing one
of the state's prisons. By the mid-1970s, however, the Adult Authority had
come under attack from an unusual coalition of liberals, prisoners, and
conservative advocates of law and order. Liberals thought that the Adult
Authority discriminated against minorities, making them serve longer
sentences. Prisoners thought that it was unfair; after all, they were still
in prison. Conservatives thought that it was too soft, allowing too many
criminals back on the street too soon. And no one put much faith in the
rehabilitative effects of prison. In 1971 seventeen inmates and seven staff
members were killed in California prisons. The following year thirty-five
inmates and one staff member were killed.

California was one of the first states in the nation to get rid of
indeterminate sentencing. The state's new law required inmates to serve the
sentence handed down by the judge, with an allowance for "good time," which
might reduce a prison term by half. The law also amended the section of the
state's penal code that declared the ultimate goals of imprisonment: the
word "rehabilitation" was replaced by the word "punishment." In 1976 the
bill was endorsed and signed into law by a liberal Democrat, Governor Jerry

As liberalism gave way to demands for law and order, California judges
began to send a larger proportion of convicted felons to prison and to give
longer sentences. The inmate population started to grow. Sentencing
decisions made at the county level, by local prosecutors and judges, soon
had a major impact on the state budget, which covered the costs of
incarceration. Tax cuts mandated by Proposition 13 meant that county
governments were strapped for funds and could not maintain local jails
properly or pay for community-based programs that administered alternative
sentences. Offenders who might once have been sent to a local jail or a
halfway house were now sent to a state prison. California's
criminal-justice system slowly but surely spun out of control. The state
legislature passed hundreds of bills that required tough new sentences, but
did not adequately provide for their funding. Judges sent people to prison
without giving any thought to where the state would house them. And the
Department of Corrections was left to handle the flood of new inmates,
unable to choose how many it would accept or how many it would let go.

In 1977 the inmate population of California was 19,600. Today it is
159,000. After spending $5.2 billion on prison construction over the past
fifteen years, California now has not only the largest but also the most
overcrowded prison system in the United States. The state Department of
Corrections estimates that it will need to spend an additional $6.1 billion
on prisons over the next decade just to maintain the current level of
overcrowding. And the state's jails are even more overcrowded than its
prisons. In 1996 more than 325,000 inmates were released early from
California jails in order to make room for offenders arrested for
more-serious crimes. According to a report this year by the state's Little
Hoover Commission, in many counties offenders who are convicted of a crime
and given sentences of less than ninety days will not even be sent to jail.
The state's backlog of arrest warrants now stands at about 2.6 million --
the number of arrests that have not been made, the report says, largely
because there's no room in the jails. According to one official estimate,
counties will need to spend $2.4 billion over the next ten years to build
more jails -- again, simply to maintain the current level of overcrowding.

The extraordinary demand for new prison and jail cells in California has
diverted funds from other segments of the criminal-justice system, creating
a vicious circle. The failure to spend enough on relatively inexpensive
sanctions, such as drug treatment and probation, has forced the state to
increase spending on prisons. Only a fifth of the felony convictions in
California now lead to a prison sentence. The remaining four fifths are
usually punished with a jail sentence, a term of probation, or both. But
the jails have no room, and the huge caseloads maintained by most probation
officers often render probation meaningless. An ideal caseload is about
twenty-five to fifty offenders; some probation officers in California today
have a caseload of 3,000 offenders. More than half the state's offenders on
probation will most likely serve their entire term without ever meeting or
even speaking with a probation officer. Indeed, the only obligation many
offenders on probation must now fulfill is mailing a postcard that gives
their home address.

California parole officers, too, are overwhelmed by their caseloads. The
state's inmate population is not only enormous but constantly changing.
Last year California sent about 140,000 people to prison -- and released
about 132,000. On average, inmates spend two and a half years behind bars,
and then serve a term of one to three years on parole. During the 1970s
each parole agent handled about forty-five parolees; today each agent
handles about twice that number. The money that the state has saved by not
hiring enough new parole agents is insignificant compared with the expense
of sending parole violators back to prison.

About half the California prisoners released on parole are illiterate.
About 85 percent are substance abusers. Under the terms of their parole,
they are subjected to periodic drug tests. But they are rarely offered any
opportunity to get drug treatment. Of the approximately 130,000 substance
abusers in California's prisons, only 3,000 are receiving treatment behind
bars. Only 8,000 are enrolled in any kind of pre-release program to help
them cope with life on the outside. Violent offenders, who need such
programs most of all, are usually ineligible for them. Roughly 124,000
inmates are simply released from prison each year in California, given
nothing more than $200 and a bus ticket back to the county where they were
convicted. At least 1,200 inmates every year go from a secure housing unit
at a Level 4 prison -- an isolation unit, designed to hold the most violent
and dangerous inmates in the system -- right onto the street. One day these
predatory inmates are locked in their cells for twenty-three hours at a
time and fed all their meals through a slot in the door, and the next day
they're out of prison, riding a bus home.

Almost two thirds of the people sent to prison in California last year were
parole violators. Of the roughly 80,000 parole violators returned to
prison, about 60,000 had committed a technical violation, such as failing a
drug test; about 15,000 had committed a property or a drug crime; and about
3,000 had committed a violent crime, frequently a robbery to buy drugs. The
gigantic prison system that California has built at such great expense has
essentially become a revolving door for poor, highly dysfunctional, and
often illiterate drug abusers. They go in, they get out, they get sent
back, and every year there are more. The typical offender being sent to
prison in California today has five prior felony convictions.

THE California legislature has not authorized a new bond issue for prison
construction since 1992, deadlocked over the cost. Meanwhile, the state's
"Three Strikes, You're Out" law has been steadily filling prison cells with
long-term inmates. Don Novey, the head of the California Correctional Peace
Officers Association (CCPOA), helped to gain passage of the law. He now
worries that if California's prison system becomes much more overcrowded, a
federal judge may order a large-scale release of inmates. Novey has
proposed keeping some nonviolent offenders out of prison, allowing judges
to give them suspended sentences and a term of probation instead. He has
also advocated a way to save money while expanding the penal system:build
"mega-prisons." California already builds and operates the biggest prisons
in the United States. A number of California prisons now hold more than
6,000 inmates -- about sixtimes the nationwide average. The mega-prisons
proposed by the CCPOA would house up to 20,000 inmates. A few new
mega-prisons, Novey says, could satisfy California's demand for new cells
into the next century.

Correctional officials see prison overcrowding as grounds for worry about
potential riots, bloodshed, and court orders; others see opportunity. "It
has become clear over the past several months," Doctor R. Crants said
earlier this year, "that California is one of the most promising markets
CCA has, with a burgeoning need for secure, cost-effective prison beds at
all levels of government." In order to get a foothold in that market, CCA
announced it would build three prisons in California entirely on spec --
that is, without any contract to fill them. "If you build it in the right
place," a CCA executive told The Wall Street Journal, "the prisoners will
come." Crants boasted to the Tennessean that California's private-prison
industry will be dominated by "CCA alone." Executives at Wackenhut
Corrections think otherwise. Wackenhut already houses almost 2,000 of
California's minimum-security inmates at facilities in the state. The
legislature has recently adopted plans to house an additional 2,000
minimum-security inmates in private prisons. Wackenhut and CCA have opened
offices in Sacramento and hired expensive lobbyists. The CCPOA vows to
fight hard against the private-prison companies and their anti-union
tactics. "They can build whatever prisons they want," Don Novey says. "But
the hell if they're going to run them." One of the new CCA prisons is
rising in the Mojave Desert outside California City, at a cost of about
$100 million. The company is gambling that cheap, empty prison beds will
prove irresistible to California lawmakers. The new CCA facility promises
to be a boon to California City once the inmates start arriving. The town
has been hit hard by layoffs at Edwards Air Force Base, which is nearby.
Mayor Larry Adams, asked why he wanted a prison, said, "We're a desperate


ALEXIS de Tocqueville's Democracy in America is one of the most famous
books ever written about the politics and culture of the United States. The
original purpose of Tocqueville's 1831 journey to this country is less well
known. He came to tour its prisons on behalf of the French government. The
United States at the time was renowned in Europe for having created a whole
new social institution: the penitentiary. In New York and Pennsylvania
prisons were being designed not to punish inmates but to reform them.
Solitary confinement, silence, and hard work were imposed in order to
encourage spiritual and moral change. At some penitentiaries officials
placed hoods over the heads of newcomers to isolate them from other
inmates. After visiting American prisons Tocqueville and his traveling
companion, Gustave de Beaumont, wrote that social reformers in the United
States had been swept up in "the monomania of the penitentiary system,"
convinced that prisons were "a remedy for all the evils of society."

The historian David J. Rothman, author of The Discovery of the Asylum
(1971), has noted one of the ironies of America's early-nineteenth-century
fondness for prisons. The idea of the penitentiary took hold at the height
of Jacksonian democracy, when freedom and the spirit of the common man were
being widely celebrated. "At the very moment that Americans began to pride
themselves on the openness of their society, when the boundless frontier
became the symbol of opportunity and equality," Rothman observes, "notions
of total isolation, unquestioned obedience, and severe discipline became
the hallmarks of the captive society." More than a century and a half later
political rhetoric about small government and the virtues of the free
market is being accompanied by an eagerness to deny others their freedom.
The hoods now placed on inmates in the isolation units at maximum-security
prisons are not intended to rehabilitate. They are designed to protect
correctional officers from being bitten or spat upon.

The standard justification for today's prisons is that they prevent crime.
The rate of violent crime in the United States has indeed been declining
since 1991. The political scientist James Q. Wilson, among many others,
believes that the recent rise in the nation's incarceration rate has been
directly responsible for the decrease in violent crime. Although the
validity of the theory seems obvious (murderers and rapists who are behind
bars can no longer kill and rape ordinary citizens), it is difficult to
prove. Michael Tonry, a professor of law and public policy at the
University of Minnesota, is an expert on international sentencing policies
and an advocate of alternative punishments for nonviolent offenders. He
acknowledges that the imprisonment of almost two million Americans has
prevented some crimes from being committed. "You could choose another two
million Americans at random and lock them up," Tonry says, "and that would
reduce the number of crimes too." But demographics and larger cultural
trends may be responsible for most of the decline in violent crime. Over
the past decade Canada's incarceration rate has risen only slightly.
Nevertheless, the rate of violent crime in Canada has been falling since
1991. Last year the homicide rate fell by nine percent. The Canadian murder
rate has now reached its lowest level since 1969.

Christopher Stone, the head of New York's Vera Institute of Justice,
believes that prisons can be "factories for crime." The average inmate in
the United States spends only two years in prison. What happens during that
time behind bars may affect how he or she will behave upon release. The
lesson being taught in most American prisons -- where violence, extortion,
and rape have long been routine -- is that the strong will always rule the
weak. Inmates who display the slightest hint of vulnerability quickly
become prey. During the 1950s and 1960s prison gangs were formed in
California and Illinois as a means of self-protection. Those gangs have now
spread nationwide. The Mexican Mafia and the Aryan Brotherhood have gained
power in Texas prisons. The Gangsta Killer Bloods and the Sex Money Murder
Bloods have emerged in New York prisons. America's prisons now serve as
networking and recruiting centers for gang members. The differences between
street gangs and prison gangs have become less distinct. The leaders of
prison gangs increasingly direct illegal activity both inside and outside.
A 1996 investigation by the Chicago Tribune found that gangs had gained
extraordinary control over the state prisons in Illinois: formal classes at
the Stateville prison law library had taught the history and rules of the
Maniac Latin Disciples; a leader of the Gangster Disciples had at various
times kept cellular phones, a color television, a stereo, a Nintendo Game
Boy, a portable washing machine, and up to a hundred pounds of marijuana in
his cell. Many of the customs, slang, and tattoos long associated with
prison gangs have become fashionable among young people. In cities
throughout America, the culture of the prisons is rapidly becoming the
culture of the streets.

The spirit of every age is manifest in its public works, in the great
construction projects that leave an enduring mark on the landscape. During
the early years of this century the Panama Canal became President Theodore
Roosevelt's legacy, a physical expression of his imperial yearnings. The
New Deal faith in government activism left behind huge dams and bridges,
post offices decorated with murals, power lines that finally brought
electricity to rural America. The interstate highway system fulfilled
dreams of the Eisenhower era, spreading suburbia far and wide; urban
housing projects for the poor were later built in the hopes of creating a
Great Society.

"The era of big government is over," President Bill Clinton declared in
1996 -- an assertion that has proved false in at least one respect. A
recent issue of "Construction Report," a monthly newsletter published by
Correctional Building News, provides details of the nation's latest public
works: a 3,100-bed jail in Harris County, Texas; a 500-bed medium-security
prison in Redgranite, Wisconsin; a 130-bed minimum-security facility in
Oakland County, Michigan; two 200-bed housing pods at the Fort Dodge
Correctional Facility, in Iowa; a 350-bed juvenile correctional facility in
Pendleton, Indiana; and dozens more. The newsletter includes the telephone
numbers of project managers, so that prison-supply companies can call and
make bids. All across the country new cellblocks rise. And every one of
them, every brand-new prison, becomes another lasting monument, concrete
and ringed with deadly razor wire, to the fear and greed and political
cowardice that now pervade American society.

The Swiss Fix (A letter to the editor of The Washington Monthly
responds to the October issue's article about Joseph Califano and CASA,
pointing out that the crime and violence Califano attributes to drug abuse
is really caused by prohibition, as the experience of Switzerland's
heroin-maintenance experiment shows.)

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 16:37:15 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: PUB LTE: The Swiss Fix
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff
Pubdate: December, 1998 Volume 30 Issue 12
Source: The Washington Monthly (DC)
Section: Letters to the Editor - Page 2
Copyright: 1998 by The Washington Monthly
Contact: editors@washingtonmonthly.com
Mail: 1611 Conneticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 2009
Website: http://washingtonmonthly.com/
Forum: http://washingtonmonthly.com/forum/index.html
Author: Redford Givens


Joseph A. Califano, Jr.'s explanation of the cause of "drug crime" neglects
the historic fact that addicts were not robbing, whoring, and murdering
over drugs when they could buy all the heroin, cocaine, morphine, opium,
and any other drug they wanted cheaply and legally at the corner drug
store. The criminal activity Califano blames on drug abuse didn't begin
until a after the drug law went on the books.

The reason addicts steal to buy drugs is because prohibitionists like
Califano have sustained and promoted a criminal black market that increases
drug prices 20 fold over their free market prices.

That drug prohibition is the direct source of "drug crimes' is demonstrated
by the Swiss Heroin Maintenance Program, where addicts were supplied with
cheap pure heroin. Within six months, participation in criminal activity
among the patient group dropped over 60 percent and eventually declined
more than 90 per-cent. Being able to get cheap or free heroin eliminated
the need to steal and to obtain drugs, and permanent employment more than

When the Swiss added up the costs, they were pleased to find that the
heroin maintenance program saved them over $70 (U.S.) per patient in
reduced police, prison, and health costs. The Swiss are so pleased with the
reductions in property crime and money savings that they made heroin
distribution a national policy.

Alcohol is the only drug known to cause violence and crime as a direct
result of its effects. Indeed, alcohol abuse is responsible for a hundred
times more crime and violence than the rest of intoxicating drugs put

Strangely Califano never suggests prohibiting alcohol, which is far more
dangerous than drugs. Could it be because "Smoking Joe" knows about the
disaster the alcohol ban brought? If prohibition didn't work for alcohol,
what makes Califano think drug prohibition can ever work?

Redford Givens

Congress Steps Up Aid for Colombians to Combat Drugs (The New York Times
inadvertently notes that while the nation is lulled to sleep by zippergate,
the stories that should be covered are being widely ignored. A recent
congressional initiative to increase aid to Colombia, spurred by direct
appeals to conservative Republicans from the Colombian national police,
has more than doubled drug-fighting money to Colombia and made the country
a top recipient of US foreign aid. Critics fear that the huge jump in aid
and the heightened US interest in attacking the drug trade at its source
will lure Washington into intervening in the civil war between Colombia's
armed forces and the nationalist guerrillas that The New York Times
calls "leftist.")

Date: Tue, 01 Dec 1998 19:01:12 -0500
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Paul Wolf (paulwolf@icdc.com)
Subject: NYT: Congress Steps Up Aid for Colombians to Combat Drugs
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

[lift-out quote:]

In the appeal for aid by the Colombian
police, and in the congressional
response, the distinction between drug
traffickers and guerrillas usually
insisted on by officials of the State
Department and other American agencies
has become blurred.

Tuesday, 1 December 1998

Congress Steps Up Aid for Colombians to Combat Drugs

By Diana Jean Schemo

The Clinton administration initially opposed it, and the Colombian
government was taken by surprise. But a recent congressional initiative,
spurred by direct appeals to conservative Republicans by the Colombian
national police, has more than doubled drug-fighting money to Colombia and
made the country a top recipient of U.S. foreign aid.

Along with an administration-sponsored increase, the congressional infusion
brings the assistance to $289 million for 1999, compared with $80 million
in 1997 and $88.6 million this year. It is mostly in the form of weapons,
helicopters and surveillance planes and will sharply increase the
American-supplied firepower to the Colombian police.

Congressional Republicans are calling it the first installment of a
three-year campaign to reduce substantially the flow of illicit drugs into
the United States.

But critics fear that the huge jump in aid and the heightened U.S. interest
in attacking the drug trade at its source will lure Washington into
supporting the seemingly endless war by Colombia's armed forces with
leftist guerrillas, which has slowly bled Colombia of tens of thousands of
lives and untold resources for more than 30 years.

While the money has been designated for use against drug crop growers and
drug traffickers, much of the equipment could easily be used against the
guerrillas. The equipment will require substantial American training of
pilots, maintenance workers and support staff.

In the appeal for aid by the Colombian police, and in the congressional
response, the distinction between drug traffickers and guerrillas usually
insisted on by officials of the State Department and other American
agencies has become blurred.

Some guerrilla groups are involved in protecting coca crops and landing
strips in southern Colombia and skim a commission from the drug trade. A
report last year by the Colombian drug police estimated that 3,155 of the
country's 15,000 guerrillas were active in the drug trade.

Some lawmakers like Rep. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., have adopted the label
applied to the rebels by the Colombian police and military
--narcoterrorists-- lumping the insurgency and drug traffickers into a
single threat to United States interests.

The Colombian drug police have at times dropped the distinction altogether.
For instance, they recently highlighted an army defeat at the hands of
rebels to press the case for acquiring American-made Blackhawk helicopters,
even though the combat had nothing to do with drugs.

"It's another step in the wrong direction," said Adam Isaacson, an
associate at the Center for International Policy, a Washington-based
research institute. He said the increased American commitment could bring
closer the prospect of American involvement in Colombia's war with the
rebels. "I would call it a danger," he said. "There is all that overlap to
worry about."

He said he was more concerned, however, with growing cooperation with the
Colombian military, which Washington has kept at something of a distance in
the past because of human rights concerns.

Most of the increase in aid will come as part of a $690 million package of
supplemental appropriations for drug interdiction throughout the hemisphere.

The congressional aid for the national police includes the following:

* $96 million for six Blackhawk helicopters.

* $40 million for upgrading and arming 34 Huey helicopter gunships, which
can fire high-powered machine guns over long distances.

* $6 million for beefing up a crop fumigation air wing, in part with
machine guns.

Administration-sponsored aid for Colombia also approved by Congress
includes the following:

* $70 million for aerial fumigation of drug crops.

* $20 million in helicopters, transport and surveillance planes, weapons
and other equipment for the Colombian National Police.

* $20 million in patrol boats, weapons, ammunition and other supplies for
the Colombian military.

A Tenfold Increase in Anti-Drug Aid

The $165 million in supplemental aid from Congress is in addition to $124
million already appropriated for Colombia, and represents a tenfold
increase in counter-narcotics funding over five year period. Roughly 80
percent of the cocaine in the United States originates in Colombia.

"It was a decision that surprised everybody," Colombia's defense minister,
Rodrigo Lloreda, said in an interview. He added that the Clinton
administration had previously supported drug-fighting efforts in Colombia,
"but they kept a certain balance between Colombia, Peru and other countries."

Both administration and congressional officials described the appropriation
as a kind of "wish list," that they were surprised to see pass virtually in
its entirety. Administration officials like Barry McCaffrey, the retired
general who is in charge of anti-drug efforts, initially complained that
the congressional authorization -- which at first specified that $1.2
million should go for concertina wire around a Bogota prison --
"micromanaged" drug policy.

Other administration officials said the initial spending plan overextended
the American commitment to Colombia, and was too costly. But in the end,
the plan won White House backing because it was more attuned to overall
strategy, and won their support.

Though Congress took the lead, the increased spending matches a growing
closeness between Washington and Bogota since Andres Pasrtrana was elected
president last summer. Pastrana, who has visited Washington three times in
the last four months.

The momentum for the increase came from a group of conservative Republicans
who have embraced the Colombian national police and who are determined to
increase anti-drug efforts and lend a show of force as Pastrana sets the
stage for peace talks with leftist rebels.

With government forces having temporarily evacuated an area of Colombia as
big as Switzerland, congressional Republicans describe the infusion as a
signal of American interest in the outcome of peace talks. It will also
shore up Colombian security forces, which have been humiliated by the
rebels in a series of clashes over the last two years, they say. Until now,
a de facto division of labor has had the Colombian military leading the
fight against rebels, while the police tackled drug trafficking.

Aim Is Eradication and Interception

"I look at this as giving Colombia the support it needs to do what it wants
to do," Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, said. "It will put the government in a
better bargaining position."

The major share of Washington's anti-drug aid is trained on stepping up
aerial eradication in zones under rebel control and intercepting boats and
planes transporting drugs. Officials say the Blackhawk and upgraded Huey
helicopters are better for reaching high altitudes, where opium poppies are
grown. The Blackhawks, armored and able to transport up to 15 troops, would
also represent greater firepower and maneuverability in Colombia's
continuing war against leftist rebels.

In a bid to perhaps appease Washington and the Colombian government, the
rebels have said they would eliminate the drug trade in areas they control
as part of an eventual peace agreement. Respected political analysts in
Colombia, including Alejandro Reyes, a professor at the National University
in Bogota, contend that the guerrillas are the only authority with enough
credibility among peasants to eliminate the trade.

In recent years the insurgents' fighting strategy has grown from
hit-and-run ambushes of soldiers to more conventional assaults on military
and police bases, in which the rebels have repeatedly outnumbered and
overrun government security forces.

The most recent of these occurred last month in an attack against the
police base at Mitu, where Lloreda said 45 policemen and civilians were
known to have been killed and 48 people were abducted. He said 82 others
had disappeared.

While the Mitu attack bolstered Colombia's case for the Blackhawks, the
police had earlier cited military defeats -- unconnected to the drug trade
-- in appealing for the more sophisticated helicopters.

In a letter last March to Rep. Dan Burton, R.-Ind., Col. Jose Leonardo
Gallego reiterated an appeal for Blackhawk helicopters he made in testimony
before Congress only a month earlier. In requesting the helicopters for
drug-fighting missions he cited the deaths of hundreds of government troops
in rebel attacks.

Most of those deaths, however, occurred early this year after rebels
ambushed the Colombian army's third brigade at a canyon in El Billar. The
operation was unrelated to any fumigation or anti-drug operation.

Though the State Department had initially opposed sending Blackhawks to
Colombia, largely because of the higher expense and maintenance costs
involved, Colombia's national police chief, Gen. Rosso Jose Serrano, has
set up direct lines of contact with the congressional committees
controlling the pursestrings. He has acted as host to most of the key
figures in the congressional debate on their visits to Colombia, making his
case for increased firepower.

Serrano has also been adopted by conservative policy advocates influential
with congressional Republicans. One of these is F. Andy Messing Jr.,
executive director of the National Defense Council Foundation, a
conservative think tank whose chairman is congressman Burton.

New Broom in Bogota a Gain for U.S. Ties

Messing, a retired Special Forces major, has been a frequent visitor to
Colombia and was honored with an anti-narcotics award from the Colombian
police last year. He predicts that as the situation stands now, the rebels
will take control of the Bogota government in one year, regardless of the
outcome of peace talks.

During the years of alienation between Washington and Colombia during the
presidency of Ernesto Samper, who was accused of accepting $6 million from
drug traffickers, Serrano became the face of the Colombian government on
Capitol Hill, as relations between the United States and Colombia narrowed
down to the drug issue. In congressional hearings, Serrano has been hailed
as "a cop's cop."

"He was someone during that administration who Congress felt comfortable
with," said Senator DeWine.

In the atmosphere of violence that dominates Colombia, the rebels and the
government forces have continued to wage war while talking peace. "You
can't negotiate unless you have strength," LLoreda, the defense minister,
said. "We would all like peace to come spontaneously out of good will, but
it doesn't always work that way."

Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company


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US Pledges Military Cooperation to Colombia (The New York Times
says US Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Colombia's new president,
Andres Pastrana, announced Monday that the two countries would increase
military cooperation in the war on some drugs, including a pledge to increase
Pentagon training of Colombia's armed forces and to share more aerial
and satellite intelligence data. The increasing aid and cooperation
has blurred the line between the two wars Colombia is fighting,
raising concerns among some human rights advocates that the United States
is involving itself in Colombia's civil war.)

Date: Sun, 6 Dec 1998 17:27:25 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Colombia: NYT: U.S. Pledges Military Cooperation to Colombia
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Dick Evans and Paul Wolf
Source: New York Times (NY)
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Copyright: 1998 The New York Times Company
Author: Steven Lee Myers
Pubdate: Tues, 1 Dec 1998


CARTAGENA, Colombia -- Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Colombia's
new president, Andres Pastrana, announced steps Monday to intensify
military cooperation in the war on drug trafficking, including a pledge to
increase Pentagon training of Colombia's armed forces and to share more
aerial and satellite intelligence data.

The United States and Colombia have worked closely together to stanch the
flow of drugs for decades, but the new steps underscored the deepening of
American diplomatic and military engagement after the election of Pastrana,
a reformist who replaced Ernesto Samper.

On Tuesday, Cohen and Colombia's defense minister, Rodrigo Lloreda, are
scheduled to sign an agreement setting up a formal working group that will
bring officials from both countries together for regular consultations. The
United States has similar relationships with Argentina, Chile and Mexico.

The agreements come on the heels of a sharp increase in aid and equipment,
including six Black Hawk helicopters that Congress approved for Colombia's
fight against narcotics as part of last month's increase in spending on
defense and intelligence. The aid will total $289 million, nearly triple
the recent annual American contributions to Colombia's anti-drug efforts.

Much of the discussion during Cohen's meetings with Pastrana and other
Colombian leaders here focused on how the United States can help Colombia's
police and military to make the best use of the unexpected windfall, which
was driven by Republicans in Congress.

"Clearly we are being treated completely differently than was the case
during the previous four years," Pastrana said Monday, referring to the
Clinton administration's isolation of his predecessor, Samper, because of
evidence indicating he accepted campaign funds from drug traffickers.

Appearing with Pastrana after a breakfast meeting at the president's guest
house along the bay near this Caribbean port, Cohen praised the new
Colombian government and said the American military was prepared to help
restructure Colombia's armed forces into a modern professional force. "Our
military background and expertise could be shared with the Colombian forces
to deal with this particular and very serious problem," Cohen said. Cohen
is in Cartagena to attend a three-day conference of defense ministers from
all countries in the Western Hemisphere except Cuba. The conference, the
third since 1995, is meant to increase cooperation in the fight against
drugs and terrorism and to cement the transition many Latin American
countries have begun in establishing civilian control over their
militaries. That the conference even took place here in Colombia has been
seen as an improvement in Colombia's international standing; last year's
conference, also planned for Cartagena, was canceled because of tensions
over Samper. Since he was elected four months ago, Pastrana has, by
contrast, gone to Washington twice for meetings with President Clinton.

Cohen's current visit is the highest-level visit to Colombia by a U.S.
official during Clinton's tenure. Cohen's aides emphasized that any new
help to Colombia's police and military would only involve the fight against
drug traffickers and not against the leftist insurgents who have battled
the central government here for years. But the increasing aid and
cooperation has blurred the line between the two wars Colombia is fighting,
raising concerns among some human rights advocates that the United States
is involving itself in Colombia's civil war. The Americans agreed, for
example, to provide additional aerial and satellite photographs of a large
swath of rebel territory that Pastrana's government unilaterally evacuated
on Nov. 7 as a way to spur peace talks with the rebels.

A senior American official said Monday that the Colombians wanted the added
intelligence to make sure drug traffickers did not use the withdrawal to
expand operations in the area, but the information could be used to observe
rebel movements as well.

Lloreda, Colombia's defense minister, who expressed pessimism that his
president's gesture would produce a peace accord, said in an interview that
Colombia needed to strengthen the military to defeat the rebels and that
American aid, even if ostensibly devoted to narcotics, helped that effort.
"The counternarcotics aid will help liberate troops," he said, "so they can
fill other roles."

Veterans Of The CIA's Drug Wars (The December issue of High Times
says despite last spring's orgy of coordinated condemnation of Gary Webb's
"Dark Alliance" series in the San Jose Mercury News about the
CIA-Contra-cocaine scandal in the 1980s, media prostitutes at the Washington
Post, New York Times, and Face The Press were reduced to purveying the truth
after the CIA made its belated admission last November that Webb
was essentially correct.)

Date: Sun, 3 Jan 1999 06:15:11 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Veterans Of The Cia's Drug Wars
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: anonymous
Source: High Times (US)
Pubdate: Dec 1998
Contact: hteditor@hightimes.com
Website: http://www.hightimes.com/
Copyright: 1999 by Trans-High Corporation.
Author: Jorge Mas Canosa


The CIA's Dope-Smuggling 'Freedom Fighters':

Profile: Luis Posada Carriles

The belated admission last November by the CIA's Inspector General that in
fact the Agency has always worked hand-in-glove with international
narcotics kingpins caught the mainstream media with their pants down and
butts up in the air. Despite last spring's orgy of coordinated condemnation
of Gary Webb's Dark Alliance series on CIA-connected drugrunning contras in
the 1980s, media prostitutes from the Washington Post to the New York Times
to Face The Press were reduced to purveying the truth for once, after the
CIA copped to it at last. But of course they didn't tell all the truth, not
out loud. A typical NY Times `expose' of one of the Agency's most hallowed
Cuban `freedom fighters,' for example, somehow omitted to mention all the
dope-running he's been involved with over the generations. HIGH TIMES'
faithful chronicler of the CIA's drug wars, JERRY MELDON, fills in the
blanks the Times found unfit for print: First Of An Occasional Series.

After 37 years of disappearing like the Cheshire Cat, and consuming most of
his nine lives, notorious anti-Castro bomber Luis Posada Carriles
reappeared "somewhere in the Caribbean" for a New York Times interview last
summer. The resulting two-part series, published July 14-15, adds
interesting details to Posada's bloodstained bio - notably his patronage by
Jorge Mas Canosa, the late head of the Cuban-American National Foundation,
and a frequent White House guest.

But as is the newspaper of record's wont in covering "intelligence"
matters, narcotics went unreported. Readers unaware of the drug-related
charges that have long adhered to Posada Carriles remain in the dark.

In fact, declassified government files cited by Gary Webb in his Dark
Alliance series reveal that in January of 1974, the CIA turned down a
Posada request to provide one of his associates with a Venezuelan passport,
because the Agency "cannot permit controlled agents to become directly
involved with drug trafficking," they said with a straight face. That same
year, the DEA was told that Posada had been trading weapons for cocaine
with a person "involved with political assassinations." Despite those and
earlier reports, Posada would remain on the CIA payroll until February of

The CIA's Nursery of Narco-Terrorists

The CIA's nexus with Cuban exiles and narcotics originated, of course, with
the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion attempt on the Cuban mainland, for which the
CIA trained a thousand Cuban exiles, and was assisted by Florida gangsters
eager to retrieve the halcyon days when Havana was an open city under
dictator Fulgencio Batista.

A top-secret element of the invasion plan was "Operation 40," whose
personnel included Posada Carriles, future Watergate burglar Felipe de
Diego, and sundry Mafia hitmen. Its objective was to secure the island by
eliminating both local politicians and members of the invasion force deemed
insufficiently in favor of bringing back Batista as dictator.

Operation 40 remained intact following the Bay of Pigs fiasco, in which 114
brigadistas died, and was deployed later on in sporadic raids on Cuba. An
Operation 40 task force led in 1967 by Carriles' CIA classmate Felix
Rodriguez (later to find immortality as "Max Gomez," running guns to the
dope-trading Contras in Nicaragua and then testifying about it in 1987
before the Senate Iran-Contra investigators) supervised Bolivian police in
the capture and murder of Che Guevara.

Operation 40 had to be officially disbanded in 1970 after one of their
planes crashed in southern California with kilos of heroin and cocaine
aboard. But this did not interfere with business, even though later the
same year, federal narcs busted 150 suspects in "the largest roundup of
major drug traffickers in the history of federal law enforcement."

President Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell, celebrated the
destruction of "a nationwide ring of wholesalers handling about 30 percent
of all heroin sales and 70 to 80 percent of all cocaine sales in the United
States." Mitchell did not mention all the Operation 70 heroes who had been
netted in this grand operation.

Prominent among these defendants was Juan Restoy, an Operation 40 alum who
had served as a Cuban congressman under Batista's regime. Restoy's dope
network had grown out of the organized-crime empire of Florida godfather
Santo Trafficante, whose gambling and black-market empire had flourished in
Havana before Castro's takeover ruined it. (Trafficante, needless to say,
patriotically assisted the CIA in numerous attempts to assassinate Castro
over the years.) Although Juan Restoy ultimately broke out of jail and was
slain in a shootout with federal agents, his narcotics network would remain
true to the anti-Castro cause.

Two of Restoy's drugrunners in particular, Ignacio and Guillermo Novo,
belonged to the Cuban Nationalist Movement, a far-Right outfit with cells
in Miami and Union City, NJ. It was Guillermo who fired a bazooka across
the East River at the United Nations building while Che Guevara was
addressing the General Assembly in '64. Then Ignacio did the same thing at
the Cuba pavilion at the Montreal World's Fair in '67.

Lighting Up The Skies

The anti-Castro hard core met in June 1976 in the Dominican Republic and
combined forces to become the Commando of United Revolutionary
Organizations, known by its Spanish acronym as CORU. Numerous dope-linked
terrorists were in attendance--Luis Posada Carriles, Guillermo Novo, and so
on--who would later assist the Reagan White House in running its contra
re-supply operations in Central America. There was also Frank Castro, the
Bay of Pigs vet running the militant Cuban National Liberation Front.
Castro would be indicted in 1983 for smuggling over 500 tons of marijuana,
and then have the charges magically dropped after setting up a contra
training camp in the Florida Everglades.

At this June 1976 convention in Santo Domingo, the CORU mob laid out a plan
for major bloodshed, and that fall its myrmidons carried out two of the
most sensational terrorist acts ever witnessed in the Western hemisphere.

On September 21, 1976, a car-bomb exploded in broad daylight in Washington,
DC, killing Orlando Letelier--formerly foreign minister of Chile, before
the CIA helped Gen. Augosto Pinochet topple the government there and
initiate a generation of mass murder and torture. Pinochet's secret police
paid CORU thugs to plant the car-bomb and detonate it in Washington, where
it also killed human-rights pioneer Ronnie Moffett.

Two of the CORU thugs on Pinochet's terror budget turned out to be the Novo
brothers. Though then-CIA director George Bush stonewalled the
investigation to the best of his patriotic ability, Guillermo was
eventually busted in Miami with a pound of coke; he was ultimately found
guilty of the Letelier-Moffitt terror homicides, but the conviction was
overturned on appeal when his confession was thrown out. Ignacio's
conviction for perjury in the same case was likewise voided on appeal.

Then on October 6, 1976, barely a fortnight after the Washington, DC
car-blast, a Cubana Airlines flight out of Miami blew up in the sky over
Barbados, killing all 73 on board. The authors of the bombing were busted
in Venezuela: former pediatrician Orlando "Dr. Death" Bosch and Luis Posada

Posada had nominally remained a CIA agent only from 1965 to '67, at which
point he became the assistant director of DISP, the CIA's sister spook-shop
in Venezuela, and later on became director. After a 1974 run-in with the
President there, though, Posada was canned and replaced with a CIA
classmate, Cuban exile Ricardo Morales--who claimed to have been an FBI
informant when he attended that June '96 CORU session in Santo Domingo.

Salvation In El Salvador

Upon leaving the DISP, Posada opened a private-detective agency in Caracas.
But then after two of his associates were nabbed for planting the bomb on
that Air Cubana flight in October '76, Posada also wound up in jail there.
He stayed in jail there, despite Cuban extradition requests, until bribing
his way out in 1985. The CIA's contra-resupply operation was in full swing
then, and Posada promptly found employment at the notorious Salvadoran
air-force base at Ilopango--where DEA agent Celerino Castillo painstakingly
traced contra shipments of cocaine out to the States, and watched his
reports being suppressed by his political masters in Washington.

It was Posada Carriles who managed those contra-resupply flights under the
direction of his old comrade-in-arms Felix "Max Gomez" Rodriguez, until
October 1986, when an old dope plane from the fleet of CIA freedom-fighter
Barry Seal was blown out the sky over Nicaragua, exposing the Reagan White
House and its whole Iran-Contra operation.

Not coincidentally, the $26,000 with which Posada had bribed himself out of
that Venezuelan prison had arrived courtesy of the Cuban-American National
Foundation. It was not until his Times interview last July that Posada
acknowledged his gratitude to CANF founder Jorge Mas Canosa for this bribe

Mas Canosa, Posada's lifelong CIA compatriot, was a remarkably successful
entrepreneur who built a $100 million empire somehow. But his hiring
policies at CANF, which had been set up in 1981 by the Reagan
administration to channel support for its Central-American policies, left
something to be desired. After helping defray the Novo brothers' legal fees
in the matter of the Letelier murders, Mas Canosa hired them as CANF
public-relations flacks.

Mas Canosa similarly underwrote the defense costs of Jose Dionisio Suarez,
a codefendant with the Novo bazooka brothers. Suarez pled guilty to killing
Letelier, but jumped bail and continued with what he knew best, blowing up
a TWA airliner and firebombing Moscow's UN mission, before becoming the
contras' instructor in sabotage and demolition techniques. At last report,
Suarez was a hit man for Colombian dope cartels.

Last fall, as Mas Canosa lay on his deathbed from cancer at 58 (still
successfully lobbying for the Helms-Burton bill that intensified the US
trade embargo on Cuba), his longtime beneficiary Luis Posada Carriles was
still going strong after three and a half decades in the shadows. A
Salvadoran arrested in Havana for a string of 1997 Havana hotel bombings
designed to stifle Cuba's tourist trade told authorities there that Posada
Carriles had been his benefactor.

Pretty impressive loyalty for someone who, according to a CIA report, was
investigated by them in 1967 for supplying explosives, silencers and
grenades to Santo Trafficante's organized-crime hoods. And not bad
considering that the Agency six years later supposedly warned that "Posada
may be involved in smuggling cocaine from Colombia through Venezuela to

But that's one of the advantages of having an employer like the CIA, always
ready to overlook such indiscretions--and of talking to a newspaper of
record like the New York Times.

Hitman's Victim Had Links To Drug Gang (According to The Times, in London,
police said yesterday that Solly Nahome, a Hatton Gardens diamond dealer
and financial adviser to one of London's most powerful underworld gangs,
was shot dead on his doorstep.)

Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 06:41:13 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Hitman's Victim Had Links To Drug Gang
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Source: The Times (UK)
Contact: letters@the-times.co.uk
Website: http://www.the-times.co.uk/
Copyright: 1998 Times Newspapers Ltd
Pubdate: Tue, 1 Dec 1998
Author: Stewart Tendler, Crime Correspondent


A FINANCIAL adviser to one of London's most powerful underworld gangs has
been shot dead on his doorstep by a hitman, police said yesterday.

Scotland Yard detectives are investigating links between the death of Solly
Nahome, a Hatton Gardens diamond dealer, and the Adams family. The clan is
credited with extensive interests, including drug trafficking, across North

Mr Nahome, 48, was killed as he returned to his family home in Finchley,
northwest London. A black gunman shot him several times before fleeing on a
Honda motorcycle. Police said the victim, who had a criminal record, was the
"right-hand man" and close friend to a senior member of the family.

Earlier this year Tommy Adams, regarded as the second most senior member of
the group, was jailed for seven and a half years for smuggling UKP2 million
of cannabis into Britain. The gang, which was originally based in Islington,
is suspected by police of running protection rackets and drug dealing. It is
believed to own several nightclubs.



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