Portland NORML News - Sunday, December 6, 1998
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S.F. cops arrest 3 in drug inquiry (The San Francisco Examiner
says San Francisco undercover police officers slipped into a popular
South of Market night club, the Sound Factory at 525 Harrison St.,
and arrested three disc jockeys for allegedly selling the stimulant ecstasy,
part of a continuing probe of illegal drug sales in area dance venues.)

From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (when@olywa.net)
To: "_Drug Policy --" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: S.F. cops arrest 3 in drug inquiry
Date: Sun, 6 Dec 1998 18:58:59 -0800
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

S.F. cops arrest 3 in drug inquiry

San Francisco Examiner
By Seth Rosenfeld
OF THE EXAMINER STAFF
Sunday, December 6, 1998

DJs allegedly sold Ecstasy at a club

San Francisco undercover police officers slipped into a popular South of
Market night club and arrested three disc jockeys for allegedly selling the
stimulant Ecstasy, part of a continuing probe of illegal drug sales in area
dance venues.

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning at the Sound Factory at 525
Harrison St. after a two-month undercover investigation spurred by
neighbors' complaints of late-night revelry, said Lt. Kitt Crenshaw.

The bust was made by a handful of plainclothes cops in the Sky Lounge area
of the sprawling club near the foot of the Bay Bridge, as about 400 people
danced to loud music under pulsating lights. Four squad cars of uniformed
officers stood by, but the arrests were made without incident, Crenshaw
said.

Jeffrey Fetterman, 28, was charged with possession for sale of Ecstasy and
was held in county jail in lieu of $150,000 bail, police said.

Fetterman, a disc jockey, was found with a small plastic candy container
holding 38 capsules of the drug, which was selling for $30 each, Crenshaw
said.

After searching Fetterman's 1998 Range Rover, officers obtained a search
warrant for his San Mateo home, where they found more than an ounce of the
drug and about $10,000 in cash, Crenshaw added.

He declined to name the two other disc jockeys arrested.

Much of the alleged drug dealing occurred in a private room off the Sky
Lounge used by select clientele and targeted females, he said.

Undercover agents on several nights saw patrons signal their interest in
buying Ecstasy to the disc jockeys, he said, and at one point more than 10
people lined up.

The investigation began with complaints to the state Alcohol Beverage
Control Board, and covered at least four other South of Market dance bars,
Crenshaw said. Disc jockeys and doorkeepers appeared to be involved in the
drug sales, he said.

The ABC and San Francisco police will review the case for possible
revocation or suspension of the Sound Factory's liquor license, he added.

A single dose of Ecstasy, the street name for MDMA, lasts four to six hours
and can bring feelings of exhilaration and euphoria.

Some women have been sexually molested under its influence but have been
unable to recall details of the incidents, Crenshaw said.

A Sound Factory representative could not be reached for comment. The club
bills itself as "the Bay Area's premier night club for the 21 and over,"
offering "a breathtaking multilevel labyrinth" with "eight rooms of dancing,
drinking and lounging pleasure."

***

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Second Thoughts On 'Three Strikes' Law (The Orange County Register
says support is growing in California for a requirement that third-time
felons must commit a violent crime before a sentence of 25-years-to-life
can be handed down. Families to Amend California's Three Strikes, or FACTS,
is lobbying legislators to support a bill to study the successes and failures
of California's three-strikes law, believing that such a study
will illuminate the law's failures and injustices and bolster support
for reform. As of March 31, 4,076 felons had been sent to prison
under the law, mostly for nonviolent offenses, including 18.8 percent
for drug crimes.)
Link to earlier story
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 16:31:30 -0800 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: US CA: Second Thoughts On 'Three Strikes' Law Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: 12-06-98 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Section: Front Page, Above The Fold Copyright: 1998 The Orange County Register Contact: letters@link.freedom.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Author: Martin Wisckol SECOND THOUGHTS ON 'THREE STRIKES' LAW Crime: Support Is Growing For A Requirement That The Third Offense Be A Violent One. Sue Reams marched into the polls in November 1994 and, like millions of Californians, punched "yes" for Proposition 184, a state law calling for 25 years-to-life sentences for third-time felons. "I thought they meant murderers and rapists," said Reams, a 51-year-old insurance broker from Fountain Valley. Reams came to understand the law better after her only son, Shane, was arrested for being a lookout while a friend sold $20 of rock cocaine in 1996. Her son's conviction for that felony, coupled with two prior burglary convictions, sent him to Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga for 25 years to life. "I didn't fully understand (the law) until he was convicted," Reams said. "The lawyer said, 'They don't put people in prison for 25 to life for watching somebody sell drugs.' And I believed that. ... It's cruel and unjust. It's a political issue, totally misunderstood by the public." The law has been touted as key to the state's lowest crime rates in a generation. Even critics such as Sue Reams do not want it repealed altogether - rather,they want the law changed so that the third strike must be a violent felony. Reams and fellow activists are steadily building an audience for their cause, both statewide and in Orange County. While the county was one of the state's strongest supporters of the law's passage, there is growing sentiment among county lawmakers that "three strikes, you're out" needs refinement. In fact, the county has become a key player in the movement for change. "There are cases where these guys are not career criminals and just got caught up in something relatively minor," said Assemblyman Scott Baugh, R-Huntington Beach, who supported the law in 1994 but now wonders if amendments should be made. Two of Orange County's four incumbent Republican Assembly members - Baugh and Marilyn Brewer of Irvine - crossed party lines in September to support a bill to study the successes and failures of the law. That bill, which was vetoed by Gov. Pete Wilson, was launched with the help of Tim Carpenter, a Fullerton activist who works with Reams and other members of the county chapter of Families to Amend California's Three Strikes, or FACTS. "We have the toughest terrain in Orange County," said Carpenter. "If we are successful in moving (Orange County lawmakers), we can move the rest of the Legislature." A third county GOP incumbent, Villa Park Assemblyman Bill Campbell, opposed the study bill over a since-forgotten detail. But Campbell, said Wednesday that the third strike should be required to be a violent offense. That is the goal being pursued by Reams and Carpenter, who believe that a state study will highlight failures and injustices and bolster support for changes in the law. The two saw the November election as a boon to their effort. Democrats, who almost unanimously supported the study bill, broadened their advantage in the Assembly by five seats and in the Senate by two seats. Among the victors was Sen.-elect Joe Dunn of Santa Ana, who has attended FACTS gatherings and supports three-strikes changes. Perhaps more importantly, Democrat Gray Davis is replacing Wilson. "I'm pretty confident Davis would sign this," Carpenter said of the study bill. Davis spokesman Michael Bustamante said Davis had no position on the issue at this time. A LAW BORN OF VIOLENCE The three-strikes law was passed in 1994 after the highly publicized case of 12-year-old Polly Klass, who was kidnapped and murdered in Petaluma the previous year by a career criminal with two previous kidnapping convictions. "Polly Klaas was on everyone's lips," said Mike Reynolds, who spearheaded the initiative drive for the law. Reynolds' own daughter was killed in a botched purse snatching in 1993. Again, the killer was a career criminal. (Klass' father, Marc Klaas, opposed the ballot measure.) The law was co-sponsored by three Orange County legislators, including Sen. Rob Hurtt, R-Garden Grove, who was defeated by Dunn last month. It was passed by the state Legislature and approved in the polls by 72 percent of voters statewide and 80 percent in Orange County. "We had made a mistake somewhere along the road in letting criminals out of jail too easily," said Reynolds. "We're saying to criminals, 'if you've done two strikes, you've got to stop doing crime.' The people who don't like it are the criminals, their families and their attorneys." California was the second state to pass a three-strikes law, and about two dozen states have followed suit. But California's version remains the toughest - nowhere else can a nonviolent third strike send an criminal to prison for life. This means that shoplifting with a prior offense or drug possession can count as a third strike. "My daughter was killed by a purse snatcher," said Reynolds. "Is purse snatching a violent offense?" District attorneys have the choice of whether to seek a third-strike conviction, and judges can downgrade the sentences sought by prosecutors, a safety valve that Reynolds says protects those who don't deserve the third-strike sentence. A 1997 study by The Orange County Register found that county judges reduced sentencing in 71 percent of the 175 three-strikes cases they had considered. Just five of those reductions were for violent crimes. DIFFERENT SIDES, DIFFERENT STUDIES In Wilson's veto message for the three-strikes study bill, the governor quoted a Rand Corp. report projecting a 21 percent decrease in crime attributable to the law. Reynolds prefers a report not mentioned by Wilson, one issued by Attorney General Dan Lungren, a staunch advocate of the law. It attributed much of the state's 31 percent decline in crime from 1994 to 1997 to three strikes. Critics point out the decline in crime started before the law was enacted and say Lungren downplayed other factors, including demographics and the tailing off of the rock-cocaine trade. Assemblyman Dick Ackerman, R-Fullerton, says enough studies have been done and more time under the law is needed before a conclusive examination is possible. "It's a somewhat harsh law, but it's having its desired effect," Acherman said. "Every time you pass a law, it's not going to fit every case." Brewer and Baugh disagree with Ackerman that no further study is needed now. Brewer said she is particularly concerned about letters she's received from criminals whose first two strikes were 20 or 30 years ago and who are facing 25 years in prison because of a nonviolent third offense. "This study would be from a different source, and it may be more centrist (than Lungren's)," Brewer said. The study proposed this year would also have examined unanticipated state costs. While Lungren argued that the law actually saved the state money, the Rand study predicted that the increase in prison building and operations would cost the state $5.5 billion annually. Critics point to private studies that say drug rehabilitation and high school programs for at-risk teens are more cost-effective than the current three-strikes law, and say that's another reason for change. "We're bankrupting the state both morally and economically," Carpenter said. But while there is sufficient support in the Legislature for a study, actual changes will be tougher to achieve. Amending the law requires a two-thirds majority of the Legislature, but some activists believe that might be an easier route than an initiative asking voters to water down three strikes. FROM TOUGH LOVE TO HEARTBREAK When Shane Reams was 17, he robbed a neighbor's house. Four years later, he robbed two more neighbors' houses. His mother says she persuaded Shane to turn himself in. He spent 18 months in prison. "I was practicing tough love," Sue Reams said. "I thought he needed help and this would show him. But when he came out of prison, boy, he'd changed from being a young man to somebody who knew about prison life. He's learned more about drugs and crime in prison than he has out here." At 25, Shane Reams was convicted for being the middleman in a $20 sale of rock cocaine. At 28, he was convicted of his third strike for standing lookout while a friend sold two-tenths of a gram of rock cocaine to an undercover agent. There was no evidence linking him to other sales. His friend, who didn't face the three-strikes law, was released after two years. "It's heartbreaking," said Sue Reams. "And I feel a lot of guilt, because I was so rigid with him. He's not a mean, violent person. He's a gentle person. Somebody said we're angry at them, not because we're afraid of them. I don't think that's right. WHO'S STRIKING OUT? Under the state's 4-year-old three-strikes law, third-time felons can be locked up for 25 years to life. As of March 31, 4,076 felons had been sent to prison on the law's sentencing guidelines, mostly for nonviolent offenses. Here's a breakdown of the third-strike offenses for those sentenced under the law: Crimes against persons: 38% Property Crimes: 33.2% Drug Crimes: 18.8% Other Crimes: 8.7% Unknown: 1.2% THE 'THREE STRIKE'S' LAW The law passed by the state legislature and California voters in 1994 called for a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life for anyone with two "serious or violent" felony convictions who is convicted of a third felony. In 1996, the Supreme Court ruled that judges can ignore a defendant's prior convictions if they believe a sentence of 25 years to life would be too severe. Prosecutors also have discretion not to seek third-strike convictions. The first two "serious or violent" felonies range from residential burglary to murder. The third strike applies to all felonies, including possession of small quantities of illegal drugs, petty theft, receiving stolen property and forgery. The law also mandates a sentence double that otherwise required by law for anyone with a single "serious or violent" felony who is then convicted of a second felony. CASE EXAMPLES Some who seek to amend "three-strikes, you're out" use these four cases as examples of unjust administration of the law. Jerry DeWayne Williams, who had earlier served time for robbery and attempted robbery, initially was sentenced to 25 years to life for stealing a $2 slice of pizza in Redondo Beach. The sentence was reduced on appeal. Kevin T. Weber, who had two residential burglary convictions, broke into a Santa Ana restaurant and came away with four cookies and a sentence of 25 years to life. Russell Benson's first two strikes originated from a single knife attack, so when he stole a carton of cigarettes from Target, he got a 15-to-life sentence. Stephan Dewayne Edwards, who had two burglary convictions, was entenced to 15 years to life when he was caught in Santa Ana with one-third of a gram of rock cocaine, but his sentence was reduced on appeal.
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State Leads Nation In Housing Inmates At Out-Of-State Sites
(The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Wisconsin ranked third among states
a year ago when it came to shipping criminals to prisons beyond its borders.
But today, with nearly 2,600 convicts in exile, it has no rival for the
dubious title. James Austin of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency,
in Washington, DC, said that instead of saving money, states such as
Wisconsin spend more on transportation, monitoring and costly litigation
when something eventually goes wrong at a prison thousands of miles away.)

Date: Sun, 6 Dec 1998 06:33:14 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US WI: State Leads Nation In Housing Inmates At Out-Of-State
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Sun, Dec 6, 1998
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Contact: jsedit@onwis.com
Website: http://www.jsonline.com/
Copyright: 1998, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Author: Richard P. Jones of the Journal Sentinel staff

STATE LEADS NATION IN HOUSING INMATES AT OUT-OF-STATE SITES

Wisconsin Moves From Third To First Place After Tripling Prisoner
Relocations In 1998

Madison - Besides cranberries, cheese, motorcycles and winning football
teams, Wisconsin can lay claim to leading the nation in a new category:
exporting convicts.

Wisconsin ranked third among states a year ago when it came to shipping
criminals to prisons beyond its borders.

But today, with nearly 2,600 convicts in exile, it has no rival for the
dubious title.

"We don't envy them that," said Liz McDonough, spokeswoman for the Colorado
Department of Corrections, which led the nation last year. "It is your last
resort. It's not something you do unless you absolutely have to do it."

Wisconsin started busing convicts out of state two years ago as a stopgap
measure to deal with a perennial crisis: an inmate population soaring off
the chart and prisons so crowded that the safety of staff and inmates was
at risk.

Corrections Secretary Michael Sullivan now sees the quick fix as a
permanent solution to prison crowding, and critics say this policy borne of
a crisis ultimately may lead to a situation equally perilous.

"In general, it's a bad practice," said James Austin, vice president and
research director of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency in
Washington, D.C.

Instead of saving money by renting cells, states such as Wisconsin will
spend more on transportation, monitoring and costly litigation when
something eventually goes wrong at a prison thousands of miles away, he
warned.

Escapes, stabbings and other problems at a Corrections Corp. of America
prison in Ohio, for example, have led to multiple lawsuits. Austin said the
company has retained him as a consultant to help resolve problems at the
prison that held convicts from the District of Columbia.

Wisconsin has inmates in a CCA prison at Whiteville, Tenn., where a guard
was brutally assaulted last August. Inmates later claimed abuse by guards.
When Wisconsin officials found evidence to support those claims and
complained of a coverup, CCA fired eight people. While state and federal
authorities investigate, attorneys for the inmates are preparing to file suit.

"If it's a prison, it's going to have problems," Austin said. "Someone's
going to get hurt there eventually, someone will probably die there
eventually, and when that happens, that's when litigation's going to kick in."

Busing inmates across the border underscores one of the most troublesome
and politically dicey issues the governor and legislators face: How do they
keep streets and neighborhoods free of dangerous criminals without building
expensive prisons to house convicts?

Rather than parole more convicts, many states have eased prison crowding by
sending inmates elsewhere. According to a federal report, the top five
states last year were: Colorado, with 1,009 inmates out of state; Oklahoma,
941, Wisconsin, 819; Idaho, 608, and Hawaii, 600.

Since then, Wisconsin has more than tripled its inmate exports, while the
other states, with one exception, have reduced the number of convicts in
exile or returned all their inmates to prisons back home.

Early next year, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics is expected to issue
a new report on state prison populations, but it's unlikely that any state
will displace Wisconsin as the new leader in inmate exports.

Not when you consider the following:

The Department of Corrections already has authority to ship another 1,500
inmates out of state. That would meet the existing cap of 4,518 contract
beds and use up nearly all the $65 million available this year for those
beds, although a small portion of that money is for 586 bunks in jails and
other cells available in state.

In the 1999-2001 budget request Sullivan sent Gov. Tommy G. Thompson, the
corrections secretary asked for an additional 4,500 contract beds. Again,
roughly 4,000 would be out-of-state beds, or double the number now allowed.

The prison population now stands at a record 17,763. Growing by leaps and
bounds, it accelerated at a brisk pace earlier this year, due largely to a
substantial decrease in parole.

With fewer inmates getting out early on parole and more criminals going to
prison, the population has been increasing at a rate of 268 a month. And a
year from now, parole will end when the state's truth-in-sentencing law
takes effect.

With the Legislature's adoption of such anti-crime measures in recent years
and huge growth in inmate population, observers said Wisconsin
policy-makers should have realized the need for more space beyond two new
prisons now in the works.

"Somewhere in state government, someone is dropping the ball in terms of
planning adequately for the bed space that's needed," Austin said.

Both Austin and Marc Mauer, assistant director of the private, non-profit
Sentencing Project in Washington, expressed surprise that Wisconsin is
shipping so many inmates out of state.

"If you've got several thousand more inmates than you can handle, either
you should decide you're going to build prisons, raise the taxes and go to
the voters and tell them that's what you're going to do, or you should
reassess your sentencing policies and sentencing options, and look at those
alternatives for some of those offenders," Mauer said.

Mauer said elected officials were trying to avoid a difficult issue at
great expense, millions of tax dollars going to other states that could be
spent on prisons, community supervision or other programs in Wisconsin.

Beyond such costs are the consequences of severing family ties when inmates
are imprisoned so far from home, he said. He said research has shown that
convicts with family support are more likely to become law-abiding citizens
upon their release.

Many inmates sent to other states had been model prisoners, said Sharon
Schmeling of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, which had a task force
recently complete a study of corrections issues.

"These are prisoners who are playing by the rules, going through education
programs, through alcohol and drug-abuse rehabilitation," Schmeling said.
"And the reward is, 'We're going to send you away from your family.' This
sends a very dangerous message to prisoners that it is not in your best
interest to play by the rules. That's really an injustice."

Yet Schmeling said the state faced difficult choices. If all inmates
remained in state, the prison system would become dangerously overcrowded,
and sending convicts out of state on a temporary basis seemed better than
building more prisons, she said.

That Wisconsin leads the nation in exporting inmates came as no surprise to
Sullivan. He said the state must rely on prisons elsewhere until it can
better assess its own needs. That could occur as early as next year when a
state task force, studying the criminal code, makes its recommendations, he
said.

When the Legislature enacted truth in sentencing, it also called for a
review of the criminal code and recommendations on revising it to see that
punishment fit the crime.

"Redoing the criminal code will be the linchpin," Sullivan said. "You then
will be able, with a finer degree of accuracy, to project what are the
needs of the department.

"My belief is the commission will say there needs to be capacity added, not
only on the prison side, but on the community side, in order to deliver
public safety."
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Shipping Inmates No Solution (A staff editorial
in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the Wisconsin legislature
is responsible for prison overcrowding and making the housing of inmates
out of state a permanent feature of state corrections policy. Crime is not
rising. Lawmakers dramatically lengthened sentences without adequately
dealing with the predictable jump in prison population.)

Date: Sun, 6 Dec 1998 17:06:34 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US WI: Editorial: Shipping Inmates No Solution
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Copyright: 1998, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Contact: jsedit@onwis.com
Fax: (414) 224-8280
Website: http://www.jsonline.com/

SHIPPING INMATES NO SOLUTION

As Wisconsin prison chief Michael Sullivan admits, housing inmates out
of state, originally a stopgap measure, is now a permanent feature of
state corrections policy. That development bodes no good.

Sure, as a temporary solution for catching Wisconsin's prison
overflow, the use of out-of-state lockups makes sense. But over the
long haul, the practice hurts efforts to reduce crime and thus prison
congestion.

People who work with convicts say that visits from family members
helps rehabilitation, which in turn would mean less crime. But
relatives can rarely visit if the inmates sit hundreds of miles away.

A second reason to avoid out-of-state placements is that they're
harder to monitor -- which may have figured into the trouble involving
Wisconsin inmates last summer at the prison run by the private
Corrections Corporation of America in Whiteville, Tenn. The trouble
allegedly entailed the beating of a guard by inmates, the subsequent
abuse of inmates and then a coverup of the abuse.

The Wisconsin Legislature must keep in mind that the congestion
problem is almost entirely of its own making. A rising crime rate is
not driving the problem; in fact, crime is not rising. Rather, the
Legislature's penchant for passing tougher and tougher laws is
responsible.

Some toughening may have been in order. But, irresponsibly, lawmakers
dramatically lengthened sentences without adequately dealing with the
predictable jump in prison population.

In other words, lawmakers did the fun part -- stiffening the laws.
They skipped the hard part -- paying for the stiffened laws.

In passing truth-in-sentencing last session, lawmakers were true to
form. Truth-in-sentencing has its virtue in that it clears up public
confusion over how long a convict will spend in prison. But it will
likely lengthen actual sentences. As if to ensure that outcome,
legislators attached to the measure new, big increases in maximum
sentences for felonies.

Wisconsin must get a handle on the congestion problem -- by building
new prisons in state, drastically beefing up rehabilitation efforts,
making more use of alternatives to prisons, taking more steps to steer
troubled youngsters away from a life of crime and restoring sanity to
criminal legislation.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

'Gang loitering' law headed for Supreme Court (An Associated Press article
carried by Nando Media says Chicago's anti-loitering ordinance
designed to combat drug trafficking by street gangs, used to make 45,000
arrests to date, goes before the US Supreme Court this week for arguments
on whether it endangers individual rights.)

Date: Sun, 06 Dec 1998 22:10:20 -0500
From: Scott Dykstra (rumba2@earthlink.net)
Reply-To: rumba2@earthlink.net
To: Scott Dykstra (rumba2@earthlink.net)
Subject: CanPat - Just Another Reason To Pick You Up
From the Block. Drug War Excuse..
Sender: owner-cannabis-patriots-l@smtp.teleport.com

'Gang loitering' law headed for Supreme Court

Copyright (c) 1998 Nando Media
Copyright (c) 1998 The Associated Press

CHICAGO (December 6, 1998 2:39 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) --
Police grabbed Luis Gutierrez off the street on a chilly October night
and locked him up under a city anti-loitering law designed to combat
drug trafficking street gangs.

"I felt shocked and completely powerless," says the 25-year-old, who
works as a consultant for people working to get U.S. citizenship. And
he quietly maintains that he never belonged to a gang.

The anti-loitering ordinance, which has been used for 45,000 arrests,
goes before the U.S. Supreme Court this week for arguments on
whether it endangers individual rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Cook County public
defender's office challenged the 1992 ordinance, and the Illinois
Supreme Court last year held it unconstitutional, saying it is too
vague and "smacks of police-state tactics." The ACLU also says the
measure is "archaic" because a 1972 Supreme Court decision
prompted most cities to abandon loitering laws.

Police, however, say most critics haven't seen gangs in action and
don't appreciate how homeowners feel when they see tough gang
members selling narcotics on the sidewalk.

And the city's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court appeal has gotten
support from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of
Cities and other groups.

The anti-loitering law was designed to let police clear the streets of
dealers even if they can't catch gang members with drugs.

"It would make it a lot less intimidating for people who go down to
the store to buy a bottle of milk or go to the bus stop," says police
gang specialist Mike Cronin.

He estimates that about 15 gangs operate 40 to 50 open-air drug
marts, each staffed by six to eight people, in his West Side area. On
a tour of the area last week, drug dealers were plainly visible in the
streets and back alleys. Their gang membership is no secret.

In addition to drugs, gangs were blamed for 182 of Chicago's 759
homicides last year. Police estimate citywide gang membership at
more than 10,000.

The ordinance says officers may arrest two or more people standing
around "with no apparent purpose" if they refuse to move along and at
least one is believed to be a gang member.

But critics say law-abiding citizens have been swept up as well.

Gutierrez says he was arrested when he stopped to chat with two
friends while walking from his home in the heavily Latino Little
Village area to visit his parents.

Six weeks later, a judge dismissed the case.

"She just called my name out and said, 'You can go home, the law is
unconstitutional, have a nice day,"' Gutierrez recalls.

Homeowners are enthusiastic about the ordinance.

Magdalena Martinez, a school-community representative with the Board
of Education, says gangs have drug marts near her home northwest of
downtown.

"It's a scary business," she says. "Within three months, there were
three drive-by shootings on Hirsch Street, six blocks from here."

"The hands of the police are tied," says Jimmy Simmons, a
43-year-old contractor who lives in her neighborhood. "All they can do
is tell you to move on. When the police leave, the gangs come back. If
this ordinance is reinstated, the police can actually arrest them."

Critics, however, raise another issue, that the law has been more
often enforced against blacks and Latinos than against whites.

Leon McKenzie, 22, a sociology student at Harold Washington College,
says police arrested him on the street and questioned him in profane
language about gang membership.

McKenzie, who's black, says the white officers probably wouldn't have
questioned young white men standing in the same place. "Or the way
they would have spoken to them would have been different from the
way they spoke to us," he says.

A judge later dismissed the charges against him.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Teen Meth Use Outpaces Treatment (According to The Des Moines Register,
officials in Iowa say methamphetamine has replaced unspecified "other hard
drugs" as the preferred high among adolescents in Iowa. While fewer than 25
youths sought help for meth addiction five years ago, 113 did so during the
state's last fiscal year, said Dr. Ron Eckoff, the medical director for the
Substance Abuse and Health Promotion Division of the state Department of
Public Health. The article contradicts itself, saying marijuana and alcohol
remain the drugs abused most often by Iowa teens, which would seem to omit
tobacco, but in any case the comparative number of teens who sought help for
alcohol addiction is omitted.)

Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 00:54:12 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US IA: Teen Meth Use Outpaces Treatment
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Carl Olsen
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Dec 98
Source: Des Moines Register (IA)
Contact: roodl@news.dmreg.com
Website: http://www.dmregister.com/
Copyright: 1998, The Des Moines Register.
Author: Lee Rood, Register Staff Writer

TEEN METH USE OUTPACES TREATMENT

As Youths' Meth Use Rises, Treatment Lags

Methamphetamine - virtually unheard of among young drug users a few years
ago - has replaced other hard drugs as the preferred high among adolescents
in Iowa, officials say.

The surge comes as counselors and advocates for youth say funding for
ongoing treatment is in short supply and the cost of treatment for some of
the most vulnerable teen-agers has become prohibitive.

Schools in both rural and urban districts also have begun to request more
help from the state in dealing with meth-related problems, officials say.

"It's coming down now to where kids are being exposed to it at home, put in
danger by parents or older relatives, and use it on their own," said David
Wright, coordinator for a violence- and drug-prevention program for the
state Department of Education.

What will happen to legions of Iowa youths who are experimenting with the
drug - even if they manage to quit using it - is the "untold story of
methamphetamine," said George Belitsos, director of Youth & Shelter
Services in Ames.

"It's having a devastating impact," Belitsos said. "It's doing permanent
damage. Even for those who do recover . . . they are going to continue to
have trouble coping."

Many of those tending to the problem applaud efforts to step up law
enforcement and prison terms for meth dealers, but they question whether
those who need treatment - particularly adolescents - are getting lost in
the siege.

"The state is spending a lot of money on incarceration, which is great, but
the dollars for treatment and after-care services are very little," said
Janice Lane, director of Children and Families of Iowa's Cornerstone
Recovery Program in Ankeny.

While fewer than 25 youths sought help for meth addiction five years ago,
113 did so during the state's last fiscal year, said Dr. Ron Eckoff,
medical director of the Substance Abuse and Health Promotion Division of
the state Department of Public Health.

The number of meth-addicted adolescents in treatment, which spiked in 1997
to 139, is expected to jump again this year, Eckoff said.

While marijuana and alcohol remain the drugs abused most often by Iowa
teens, experts say, meth is of particular concern because of its highly
addictive nature and volatile effects on the body. Also called crank, the
drug can cause permanent brain damage and LSD-like flashbacks. Long-term
effects aren't clear, but researchers have said the drug is more damaging
to the brain than cocaine, marijuana or alcohol.

Adults who have worked with meth-addicted teen-agers say many go to great
lengths to feed their habit, including prostitution. Those who use needles
also put themselves at risk for serious disease.

"We've had some youth here who have been HIV-positive or gotten hepatitis
from swapping needles," said Mitchell Henry, case manager of Buchanan
Recovery Center, a Des Moines transitional home where youths often stay
after treatment.

Adults ages 21 to 34 remain the state's biggest meth users, but recent
trends suggest adolescent use continues to escalate.

* Two years ago, a state poll of 22,400 students in grades six, eight, 10
and 12 concluded that about 6 percent had tried meth. At alternative
schools, which serve about 6,600 students who do not perform well in
traditional settings, the percentage was 37 percent. State officials
anticipate the percentage will climb across the board when the survey is
taken next fall.

* Two of every three teens in treatment at Ames' Youth Recovery House, the
largest adolescent residential treatment center in the state, have used
methamphetamine.

* In Polk County, arrests of teens for meth-related crimes now make up
about one-tenth of all juvenile delinquency cases, said Ed Nahas, juvenile
court spokesman. Once on probation, 60 percent of juveniles test positive
for meth, he said.

Lane, of the Cornerstone Recovery Program in Ankeny, and others also say
they hear more reports of adults trying to lure adolescents into meth sales
and production.

The Department of Education's Wright said school districts across the state
call his office for assistance with meth-related problems. "It's as true in
little communities like Northwood-Kensett by the Minnesota border as it is
at the elementary school a couple blocks from where I work here in Des
Moines," he said.

Meth has gained in popularity among teens for many of the same reasons it
lures adults. Cheap and readily available, the high is long-lasting and
powerful. Teen-agers use it for recreation, to cram for tests, to work long
hours and to lose weight.

But the drug also can cause violent behavior and extreme paranoia. The drug
often is cited as a cause of teen-age crime, such as the rampage of Chris
Kauffman and Jamie McMahan, Oskaloosa youths who killed two women last year.

While authorities report sufficient outpatient drug treatment in Iowa,
those who counsel youths say funding for long-term care and follow-up
treatment is hard to get. Recovering teens are sometimes prematurely
shuffled into other programs because insurers and managed-care plans cap
residential stays.

"Our average stay has gone down from four to six months to 30 to 35 days -
that's all managed care will cover," Lane said. "Thirty days of primary
treatment is just scratching the surface."

However, one official said those best served in treatment may be poor
adolescents who are uninsured or underinsured.

Ben Kahn, head of the state's current managed-care substance-abuse plan,
said 98.8 percent of those patients who request treatment are covered "at
the level that's needed."

"We don't terminate very often," he said. "We do not kick kids out."

Even so, adolescent meth users, who can be more impulsive and
vulnerable than other drug users, are more inclined to drop out of
treatment, counselors say. And with inpatient care, relapse and runaway
rates are high.

Dr. Michael Abrams of Des Moines' Broadlawns Medical Center said the best
indicator of success with any form of treatment is the length of time that
someone adheres to the program. Those who stick with follow-up care for a
year or more have better chances of kicking the addiction, he said.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Snitches Come With A Price (The Times Union, in New York,
says that as the war on some drug users has escalated in recent years,
so has the use of informants. But this dependence is making
the criminal justice system vulnerable to challenge from defense attorneys.)

Date: Sun, 6 Dec 1998 17:07:04 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NY: Snitches Come With A Price
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Walter F. Wouk
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Dec 1998
Source: Times Union (NY)
Copyright: 1998, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Contact: tuletters@timesunion.com
Fax: 518-454-5628
Website: http://www.timesunion.com/
Author: Edward Fitzpatrick, Staff Writer

SNITCHES COME WITH A PRICE

Police Say They Can't Fight Drug War Without Them

Wearing a hooded jacket so his face was obscured, the 34-year-old man
slid into the back seat of the patrol car and laid down on the floor
so he couldn't be seen from the street.

Police Sgt. Michael Hamilton pulled away from the curb and drove
through darkened downtown streets as the man, still lying in the back
of the car, reeled off addresses of suspected drug houses. Hamilton
jotted down the information before stopping in front of the
informant's home to let him out.

"You need us,'' the man reminded the cop as he climbed out of the back
seat. "You need us, Michael.''

He's right.

In fact, prosecutors and police have become dependent -- addicted,
some critics say -- to confidential informants, those shadowy figures
who snitch on their criminal colleagues, mostly in return for cash or
leniency. As the war on drugs has escalated in recent years, so has
the use of confidential informants. In some cases, police are using
testimony from confidential informants as a shortcut to a conviction.
It's easier than the painstaking process of collecting other evidence.

But this dependence is making the criminal justice system vulnerable
to challenge from defense attorneys. A panel of federal judges ruled
recently that providing leniency for testimony amounted to bribery,
giving defense attorneys a potent weapon in challenging cases based on
confidential informants.

"Many (police) departments are getting more calls than they can deal
with,'' said E. Michael McCann, district attorney in Milwaukee County,
Wis., and former chairman of the American Bar Association's Criminal
Justice Section. "So you inevitably resort to as efficient a system as
possible.'' That means snitches.

The use of these confidential informants isn't new. What is new is the
frequency with which they are used. Credit the war on drugs and
stronger forfeiture laws -- which help pay snitches -- for the expansion.

In Albany City Court, for example, 93 percent of the search warrants
in drug cases this year are based on information from snitches. That
was up from 1988, when CIs provided information in 35 of 44 search
warrants for drug cases, or 80 percent.

Law enforcement agencies throughout the Capital Region will give these
shadowy figures at least $60,000 this year in return for information
about drug dealing and other crimes. Nationally, the payroll for
informants nearly quadrupled between 1985, when it stood at $25
million, and 1993, when it had reached $97 million, according to a
1995 National Law Journal series.

The Albany office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration paid
$12,530 to CIs for information and services in the year ending Sept.
30, 1992. That amount is more than double this year.

"Big money has prostituted the process,'' said Hugo A. Rodriguez, a
Miami-based federal public defender and former FBI agent. "The result
is we have a system where we've made everyone a Judas.''

Defense attorneys have long argued that many of these informants are
criminals who will say anything for cash or leniency, raising
questions about the credibility of their information. And to keep
confidential informants on the front lines police sometimes give their
favorite snitches a break when they get in trouble with the law.

"In many instances, you are dealing with a reptile in sheep's
clothing,'' said Terence L. Kindlon, an Albany defense attorney.

But lots of cops and prosecutors swear by confidential informants,
saying the war on drugs couldn't be waged without them. Dealers have
little problem identifying cops no matter how well disguised they are.
So police have no choice but to turn to unsavory characters in their
efforts to combat drugs.

"The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was a little too busy to come out and
make buys for us,'' Albany Detective Timothy J. Murphy deadpanned.

And, police and prosecutors insist, they are careful to verify the
information snitches give them. Any informer who they suspect is
continuing a life of crime, authorities say, is dropped.

Schenectady officials noted that in 1996 and 1997, working with the
DEA, they snared 150 defendants on drug and drug-related violence
charges. Confidential informants helped in about half of those cases.
In fact, the man lying on the back seat of Hamilton's car made
undercover buys and provided information leading to about 30 of those
arrests -- good information, police said, with 90 percent of the cases
so far resulting in guilty pleas.

But a recent federal court decision in Colorado is raising troubling
questions about how dependent prosecutors and cops had become on
informants. A three-judge panel ruled that offering leniency in
exchange for testimony amounts to bribery.

Albany Law School Professor Daniel G. Moriarty predicts the so-called
Singleton decision will be overturned. "It's unthinkable judges would,
out of the blue, turn the system on its ear,'' he said.

But, Moriarty said, "It does serve to focus society's consideration on
the problem of relying too heavily on untrustworthy witnesses.'' The
decision shook up the law enforcement community, he said, "because
everyone knows there's a glimmer of truth in what the judges are saying.''

Police and prosecutors say the system generally works because there
are checks and balances to prevent abuses. "We never take anything as
gospel,'' Murphy said.

Police say they cross-reference information and check details. And if
an informant is going to buy drugs on behalf of the cops, police
perform a strip-search before and after the transaction, keep the
informant under surveillance, and send the informant in wearing some
sort of hidden recording device so the deal is done on tape.

Prosecutors' cases are threatened, legal experts say, if they don't
ensure that their cases are backed up with more than testimony from a
snitch.

"If all you had was a snitch testifying, you'd never get any
convictions,'' said Thomas J. Neidl, a defense attorney who used to
prosecute drug cases for the Albany County District Attorney's office.
"They build the case around that, corroborate that. I've never used
just a snitch, even in the old days.''

But the incentive for the informant is to provide useful information,
sometimes so a criminal can save his or her hide. "Leniency -- that's
the coin of the realm when you are a criminal,'' said McCann, the
Wisconsin prosecutor.

Rodriguez said the federal government instituted "Draconian'' drug
laws in 1987 that provide harsh sentences with one escape hatch -- "to
be a rat for the government.''

Kindlon said, "If you are looking at, say, five years in prison and
not as an abstract proposition but as being there and being someone's
girlfriend, and a police officer says, 'I'm looking for information on
X, and if you help me out, I'll help you out.' Well, then miracles
begin to happen.''

One of Hamilton's informants apparently received at least some
benefit. A woman who served as an informant in the past said she would
provide valuable information if Hamilton would help her out on a
charge of driving with a suspended license.

"It paid off in a big way,'' Hamilton said. Using information from
this informant, police charged three people with dealing drugs and
seized 200 bags of heroin, along with two ounces of cocaine. "She has
given me some nice arrests,'' Hamilton said.

In exchange, Hamilton talked to the district attorney's office about
the information the woman had provided. Department of Motor Vehicle
records show the informant had been convicted of aggravated unlicensed
driving three times. The first time, she was sentenced to seven days
in jail, the second time she was fined $275, and the third time she
was fined $200, records show.

She was later charged with selling drugs, when another law enforcement
agency grew suspicious of her activities. Hamilton dropped her as an
informant. "If they are helping us arrest drug dealers and they're
doing the same thing, they're on their own,'' Hamilton said.

Officers don't have the power to guarantee charges will be dropped,
but they can put in a good word with prosecutors, who will often put a
case on hold to see if an informant comes through with valuable
information.

Rodriguez contended that some cops and prosecutors are getting lazy.
Police can use undercover officers from other jurisdictions, so crooks
won't recognize them, he said, but they turn to informants because
it's easier.

"Before, they did it the old-fashioned way,'' Rodriguez said. "They
just went out there and hit the streets. You meet people, talk to
people and put in an undercover agent when necessary. Just watch (the
movie) 'Donnie Brasco' to see how they did it.''

But that kind of leg work takes time and effort, and many police
departments are already struggling to keep up with the drug trade in
their borders.

One case locally that raised questions about the way confidential
informants are handled is career thief Gary Evans, who twice worked as
a police informant before admitting earlier this year that he had
killed five people, including two before he was first signed up to
work as an informant.

Evans, who admitted to chopping up one man's body with a chain saw,
was already one of the area's most notorious criminals before he made
a dramatic escape from a prison van, leaped from a Hudson River bridge
and plunged to his death Aug. 14.

Critics claimed cops coddled Evans and questioned whether he would
have been in prison, rather than free committing murder, if he hadn't
helped police.

"Gary Evans is the poster boy for what's wrong with confidential
informants,'' Kindlon said.

Police say they never suspected Evans was a murderer when they used
him as an informant, and once he became a murder suspect, they hunted
him down and got him to confess to homicides that otherwise would have
gone unsolved.

"Hindsight is great,'' State Police Capt. John A. Byrne said. "On Dec.
7, did they know the Japanese would bomb Pearl Harbor?''

Evans received money for the tips he provided cops, police say. He
first worked as an informant in May 1991 when he contacted State
Police Investigator James D. Horton, who had arrested Evans before and
was then working on a regional drug task force. "He approached me out
of the blue,'' Horton said. "He wanted to see if he could make some
money.''

As part of a sting operation, Evans arranged to sell $36,000 worth of
marijuana to a man who was suspected of being a Troy drug dealer. The
man was never charged with a crime, but police seized a paper bag
containing $36,000, and Evans received $2,700 for his work, Horton
said.

Evans helped police again in 1994 when he volunteered to enter jail to
gather information that ultimately helped convict Jeffrey D. Williams
for the abduction and murder of Karolyn Lonczak. "Evans again
approached me and offered the scenario of going to jail,'' Horton
said. "He was against violence against women.''

Evans did not receive anything in exchange for testifying against
Williams, Horton said. "That was a freebie,'' he said. "We made up
charges and put him in a cell next to Williams and he got
admissions.''

Kindlon, who represented Williams, claims Evans was lying when he
testified about a supposed jailhouse confession by Williams, and he
questioned whether Evans did, in fact, cooperate as a "freebie.''

"He never did nothing for nothing,'' he said.

"I'm not holding police officers responsible for the murders, but
Evans couldn't have done the murders if he was locked up, and he
should have been locked up more,'' Kindlon said. "He wasn't in jail
because he could play the system like a fiddle. He was like the
supreme weasel.''

Byrne said police arrested Evans numerous times and he served time for
the charges. "If he does his time and is released, we can't control
that,'' he said.

After getting information on Williams and leaving jail, Evans stole a
rare leather-bound book of John James Audubon lithographs. He was
eventually sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for charges
related to the Audubon book, but before being sentenced, Evans
testified against Williams in May 1995.

Horton said Evans' testimony was not critical to Williams' conviction. And
after finding out about the stolen lithographs, Horton said he told Evans:
"We're done. You broke the rules. While you are working with us, you can't
be involved in criminal activity.''

Three years later, Horton began to suspect Evans had murdered a
Saratoga Springs man, Timothy W. Rysedorph, who was last seen alive
with Evans.

"I had no idea, of course, he was involved in these murders,'' Horton
said. "I never would have used him if I had.''

It was those suspicions that prompted Horton and other police to track
down Evans and arrest him. His suicide leap came while he was in
custody after that arrest.

Police say informants are providing a service that most people
wouldn't want to have anything to do with. "Would you walk into a
hell-hole crack house to buy $25 worth of crack?'' Murphy asked.

"It's an unpalatable way of doing business,'' McCann acknowledged.
"People don't like to see guys get a break. But you make an assessment
that it's worth the trade-off to give a guy a break to get a higher-up
guy. Like any other judgment, there are going to be people who disagree.''
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Inside Information Was Grist For Warrants (The Times Union, in Albany,
New York, describes how informants sent a small-time seller of cocaine
and marijuana to prison for 11 to 22 years - without the informants
having to testify at trial.)

Date: Sun, 6 Dec 1998 14:03:12 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NY: Inside Information Was Grist For Warrants
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Walter F. Wouk
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Dec 1998
Source: Times Union (Albany, NY)
Contact: tuletters@timesunion.com
Website: http://www.timesunion.com/
Copyright: 1998 Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Author: Edward Fitzpatrick, Staff Writer

INSIDE INFORMATION WAS GRIST FOR WARRANTS

Albany-- Court Records Detail Key Role Informants Played Prior To Drug Search

If it weren't for confidential informants, police wouldn't have been able
to obtain search warrants that led to the conviction of Felicia Tarver.

Tarver, 44, formerly of First Street in Albany, is serving 11 to 22 years
in state prison, convicted on two felony counts of drug possession.
Assistant District Attorney Brian P. Farley said police found cocaine and
marijuana stashed beneath a trap door in the floor of Tarver's closet.

Though a pair of confidential informants used in the investigation never
testified at trial, there's little doubt they helped bring about Tarver's
arrest.

Court records show that on June 11, 1997, two FBI agents met with an
informant to set up a controlled purchase of crack cocaine from Tarver.
First, the agents searched the informant and the informant's vehicle,
making sure there were no drugs. The agents then gave the informant $300
and placed a recording device in the vehicle. They watched closely as the
informant drove to and entered Tarver's house.

Nine minutes later, according to case documents, the informant came out. In
a parking lot at the Corporate Woods complex, the informant turned over a
block of crack, told agents who else was in the house and how Tarver got
the crack from a back room.

On June 17, 1997, the same informant set up another drug buy with Tarver.
This time, Tarver delivered a $300 bag of crack to the informant's house.

On June 25, 1997, another informant arranged to buy $100 worth of crack
from Tarver. The informant was dropped off behind McGeary's Pub in Albany
and kept under surveillance on the way to Tarver's house. The informant
later turned over a bag of crack and told police that Tarver kept drugs in
her nightstand, in a bureau next to her bed and in a small gray-and-white
plastic purse attached to her key chain.

Based on the information, a judge issued asearch warrant. Inside Tarver's
house, police found 40 grams of cocaine and 156 grams of marijuana,
according to court records. Tarver was convicted on Feb. 4.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

As Setups Go, This Informant Knows His Role (The Times Union,
in New York, interviews an unnamed snitch who sets up the people
who sell him illegal drugs.)

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 10:37:23 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: As Setups Go, This Informant Knows His Role
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Walter F. Wouk
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Dec 1998
Source: Times Union (NY)
Contact: tuletters@timesunion.com
Fax: 518-454-5628
Website: http://www.timesunion.com/
Copyright: 1998, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Author: Edward Fitzpatrick, Staff Writer

AS SETUPS GO, THIS INFORMANT KNOWS HIS ROLE

Insider's work played major role in arrests of 150 drug suspects in big DEA
bust

The 34-year-old man beeped the dealer and arranged to meet at the Erie
Boulevard train station so he could buy cocaine for a Super Bowl party.
Dealer Dennis Ferguson and a partner showed up as scheduled.

"Let's go in the bathroom,'' Ferguson told the buyer.

When Ferguson and his partner yanked open the bathroom door, the dealers
came face to face with a Schenectady police officer. The buyer glared at
Ferguson: "What are you setting me up or something?''

"You're setting me up,'' Ferguson shot back.

Ferguson was right. He was set up by the buyer, a longtime confidential
informant with the Schenectady Police Department.

But the cop needed to act a little himself so as not to give away a
valuable snitch. "Shut up,'' the cop barked at the men as two other
officers and a plainclothes agent from the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration converged on the scene. "Put your arms on the wall.''

Police frisked the informant and the two dealers, finding $800 worth of
crack cocaine crammed in the pants of Ferguson's colleague, Malcolm Pope.

The cops continued the ruse by handcuffing their informant. But when he was
in a van away from the other sellers, the handcuffs were removed.

Later that night, Ferguson and Pope were booked, and eventually each ended
up receiving prison sentences of 3 to 6 years, convicted on felony charges
of drug possession. After giving a statement about his performance at the
train station, the informant headed out for a pitcher of beer at the Union
Inn.

In a recent interview, the man detailed that night at the train station,
and police corroborated his version of events. Speaking on condition of
anonymity, the man also provided a rare glimpse into the shadowy world of
the confidential informant.

Police say they use informants because dealers generally know the faces of
local police, and even if they don't they are rarely willing to sell to
someone they haven't seen before. Often, dealers will only sell drugs to
people they trust -- other criminals.

The 34-year-old man responsible for the train station bust was convicted of
unlawful distribution of cocaine in 1991. He was sentenced to three months
in prison, followed by three years on probation. But he violated probation
in 1994 and was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, according to
records from the federal Bureau of Prisons. He was released in March 1995.

When he was released from prison, the man became an informant for
Schenectady police. At first, he just provided information, but eventually
began making undercover drug buys for police.

An Albany native, he was known in Schenectady as a cocaine user, so dealers
did business with him. "They trusted me,'' he said. "They'd say, 'He's
cool.' ''

Why does he do it? For money. "It's always been work,'' he said, sitting on
the bed in his sparse room.

Schenectady police pay as little as $25 to make a buy, but the DEA brings
big money to bear, the man said, doing the money gesture of rubbing his
thumb and fingers together. "In one day,'' he said, "I made $500.''

In the past year and a half, he claims to have made between $7,000 and
$8,000 working as a confidential informant both in Schenectady and
elsewhere in the state. Police say he was a key informant in a 10-month
investigation involving Schenectady police and the DEA's Mobile Enforcement
Team. The probe led to the arrest of 150 defendants on drug charges and
related offenses, and 90 percent of those defendants have pleaded guilty,
police said.

Schenectady Police Sgt. Michael Hamilton said the informant made buys and
provided information leading to the arrest of about 35 of those defendants.

The informant said he has had a hand in the arrest of an additional 15
people and he has made 25 to 30 undercover drug buys.

He's good at it. Hamilton said the man has an excellent memory, allowing
him to rattle off names, addresses and license-plate numbers.

At times, it's a dangerous job. About a year and a half ago, a dealer began
patting him down, looking for a hidden wire, saying, "I been hearing bad
things about you, that you're working with 5-0,'' meaning police.

"What are you talking about?'' the man replied. "How many times have you
seen me?''

"You look like a cop,'' the dealer said.

"What's a cop look like?'' the informant replied. "Gimme my money back.
I'll take my business somewhere else.''

He didn't, and the dealer went to prison for six years on a federal drug
charge, police said.

But the job is getting tougher, in Schenectady at least.

When he's on the street, some people will say, "Here comes Hamilton's
boy.'' And sometimes, dealers will point a finger at him, as if a gun, and
bring their thumbs down like the hammer. The message is clear.

So now he works in other cities. The DEA puts him up in a motel for a night
or two, and he makes undercover buys. Sometimes, he'll work twice in a
week, but at other times, he'll go two or three weeks without working for
the police, he said.

He still feeds Hamilton information. But he doesn't get paid for that work.
He said he does it because he and the sergeant have established a rapport.

When the man was out of a job, Hamilton would lend him $15 or $20 when he
needed it. The man always paid it back, both he and the officer say. "Mike
is like a brother to me,'' the man said. "I could call him any time of of
night, and he'd be there. I could call him at 4 a.m.''

The man said he stopped using cocaine four years ago. He said Hamilton
wouldn't work with him if he did use drugs. "Mike doesn't (expletive)
around with drugs,'' he said.

As the conversation wore down, the man headed toward a pay phone. He had
seen a couple of suspicious houses earlier in the day, and he planned on
giving the addresses to Hamilton.

"You arrest five, and there's 10 more that come out on the street,'' the
man said.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

When Safeguards Fail - Win At All Costs series (The seventh 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. The American justice system has made it simple for federal
prosecutors to use a grand jury to win an indictment against almost anyone.
But it has made it nearly impossible to punish them when they abuse
that right.)

Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 12:54:20 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: When Safeguards Fail - 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: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Contact: letters@post-gazette.com
Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: This is the seventh 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 SAFEGUARDS FAIL

Grand Juries Make Questionable Calls When Prosecutors Hide The Evidence

The 54-page indictment against William B. Moore Jr. was the result of a
"paintstakingly thorough" 3 1/2-year investigation, federal prosecutors said.

The case was backed up by more than 50,000 pages of documents, and the
government called 84 witnesses during the six-week trial that started in
October 1989.

Moore, the millionaire chief executive officer of Recognition Equipment
Inc. of Dallas, was accused of participating in a scheme to bribe officials
of the U.S. Postal Service.

Repeatedly, though, U.S. District Judge George Revercomb of Washington,
D.C., asked Assistant U.S. Attorney James B. Valder when he would link
Moore to the crime.

Outside of a few inferences, Valder never did.

His case rested upon the premise that Moore and company Vice President
Robert Reedy cleverly insulated themselves from other perpetrators of a
contract procurement scam by maintaining "plausible deniability."

Defense attorneys had a different explanation. They said Valder had misled
and cajoled a grand jury by distorting facts, threatening witnesses and
withholding exculpatory information in order to force an indictment, even
though no evidence connecting Moore to the crime existed.

The judge never ruled on the defense attorneys' allegations of misconduct.
Instead, he dismissed, for lack of evidence, all charges against Moore, his
company and his associate -- before the defense even presented its case.

Moore had spent almost four years and $9 million defending himself. A
hostile takeover had destroyed his company. He'd suffered a heart attack.
And he was angry.

He wanted to sue the government for its obvious manipulation of a grand
jury to create a crime that wasn't there.

Attorneys warned him that it would probably be fruitless.

So far, they've been right.

As the Post-Gazette's two-year investigation found, the American justice
system has made it simple for federal prosecutors to use a grand jury to
win an indictment against almost anyone. But it has made it nearly
impossible to punish them when they abuse that right.

"[The federal grand jury] is no longer a protection of the person who is
suspected of crime, it is a vicious tool," said Arnold I. Burns, who was
deputy attorney general for President Reagan and is a member of an
attorneys' task force seeking changes in the grand jury system.

"The grand jury process today is as far afield from what it was intended to
be as it could possibly be."

Change In Role

The framers of the Constitution included grand juries as a safeguard --
providing that no person should stand trial for "a capital or otherwise
infamous crime" without grand jurors first determining that sufficient
evidence existed to press charges.

A federal grand jury usually has 23 members and a prosecutor needs the
approval of only a simple majority -- 12 votes -- to win an indictment
charging a crime.

Federal prosecutors have tremendous power when they convene a grand jury.
They decide whom to seek indictments against and what charge that suspect
should face. They also determine what evidence grand jurors see, what
witnesses they hear and whether to grant leniency to witnesses who might
testify against a defendant.

They can frame arguments that favor their version of events, emphasize the
testimony of one witness, and ignore the testimony of another.

Evidence presented before a grand jury may be so flimsy that it would not
be admissable at a trial. Grand jurors may hear rumors from witnesses or
even use their own knowlege of an alleged crime in determining whether to
indict. A defendant has no right to be present or even have an attorney
present to listen to the proceedings or rebut false accusations.

Defense attorneys complain that grand juries can easily be manipulated by
an unscrupulous prosecutor and that the problem has become worse because
there is little oversight of the proceedings by federal judges. In
addition, the Supreme Court has expanded grand jury powers.

For instance, Moore said Valder not only deceived the grand jury about the
facts of the case, but that he also possessed evidence that strongly
suggested Moore was innocent yet withheld it. Moore said Valder's actions
violated the Justice Department's rules requiring such disclosures.

But in 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that
prosecutors have no legal obligation to provide "substantial exculpatory
evidence" to a grand jury -- a standard requirement in a trial.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the case -- U.S. v. Williams -- that it is
"sufficient for the grand jury to hear only the prosecutor's side."

Justice John Paul Stevens issued a vitriolic dissent, saying the majority's
finding "is inconsistent with the administration of justice . . . and
should be redressed in appropriate cases by the dismissal of indictments
obtained by improper methods."

Burns agrees.

"Every so often," he said, "you wind up with (a federal prosecutor) who is
some sort of a crazy zealot, no background, no experience, no frame of
reference, uncontrolled, unfettered, very dangerous."

He said the grand jury process should be reformed so prosecutors have an
obligation to present exculpatory material. He also believes suspected
felons and their lawyers should have an opportunity to be heard, and that
judges should be more active in supervising grand jury proceedings.

"I have the greatest respect in the world for Justice Scalia," Burns said
in a recent interview. "I consider him a friend. But . . . he does not have
a full appreciation that if you are indicted, you are ruined, even if you
are acquitted."

Burns mentioned the case of former U.S. Department of Labor Secretary
Raymond Donovan, who served under Reagan and was indicted by a grand jury
on charges of public corruption. He was acquitted after a prolonged trial.

"Like Donovan said, 'I was acquitted, now how do I get my reputation back,'"
Burns said.

Enjoying Secrecy

Grand jury proceedings are held in secret, in theory to protect the
innocent from the unchallenged statements of witnesses.

That secrecy also helps conceal prosecutors' misconduct -- such as happened
in the case of Miami Police Officer Reinaldo Rodriguez.

Rodriguez can be accused of poor judgment -- he admitted visiting the home
of a known drug dealer.

But that lapse should not have resulted in a 27-year sentence on drug
charges -- especially when there is substantial evidence to show
prosecutors used a grand jury's secrecy to promote the perjury of a witness.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Lee Lucas told grand jurors he
saw Rodriguez drive Joseph "Junior" Ayala, one of South Florida's most
notorious drug suppliers, to the home of Miami drug dealer Francisco
Novaton on Nov. 23, 1993.

Rodriguez admitted he knew Novaton and had been to his house on a few
occasions.

He said he had visited Novaton's mother, who was a high priestess of a
Cuban-based voodoo-like religion called Santeria, which combines black
magic with Catholicism. Rodriguez practices the religion.

He denied ever accompanying a drug dealer to Novaton's home.

Lucas's testimony was persuasive. Under questioning by Rodriguez's attorney
at a pre-trial hearing, he repeated his grand jury story and said Rodriguez
and Ayala left the car with a black bag -- presumably filled with money.

Based largely on Lucas's testimony, a jury sentenced Rodriguez to 27 years
for providing protection to Novaton's drug enterprise.

Two years after his conviction, Rodriguez learned another DEA agent had
testified before the grand jury about that same November night. This
agent's testimony should have been turned over as part of the discovery
process, but prosecutors kept it under wraps.

DEA Agent Raymond Carvil said the person who arrived with Ayala that night
was a "white Latin female," and he made no mention of Rodriguez or a bag of
money.

Unlike Lucas, Carvil had a videotape of his surveillance to back up his
statements.

Since grand jury proceedings are secret, it's not clear how grand jurors
reconciled Lucas's version of events with that of Carvil's. Or if the
contradiction was even pointed out by prosecutors or noticed by grand jurors.

That's not unusual, the Post-Gazette investigation found. Grand jury
witnesses sometimes testify months apart, and prosecutors have no
obligation to point out discrepancies among witnesses or even bring up a
witness's testimony again. Witnesses with statements not to a prosecutor's
liking may be quickly dismissed. And prosecutors routinely emphasize or
ignore whatever they want in pressing for an indictment.

But because the grand jury system does not allow defendants to rebut false
testimony, Lucas's statement helped indict Rodriguez. Then prosecutors
compounded Lucas's inaccurate testimony by keeping Carvil's statement from
Rodriguez's attorneys.

In 1996, attorneys for Rodriguez asked for a new trial, based on the
prosecutor's misconduct -- noting that he'd made no effort to correct
Lucas's version of events.

A judge turned down the appeal, citing, incredibly, the very testimony of
Lucas that Carvil and his videotape discredited.

Rodriguez appealed again.

"This newly discovered evidence suggests assistant U.S. attorneys . . .
allowed and then knowingly exploited the perjured testimony of Agent Lucas
from the inception of the investigation repeatedly misrepresenting the
facts," stated Rodriguez's attorney, William Matthewman.

Matthewman has asked for a new trial or a dismissal of the case based on
the blatant misconduct.

"Surely, the criminal justice system cannot tolerate such a pervasive
pattern of deceit by a federal agent and prosecutor," he said.

Rodriguez remains in prison, awaiting the court's decision.

Perjury Unpunished

Witnesses who lie before grand juries on behalf of the government are
seldom punished.

Indeed, federal prosecutors often threaten grand jury witnesses whose
testimony doesn't conform with the government's version of events.

Thomas Sanders is a retired Air Force pilot who logged almost 1,000 hours
of combat flying during the Vietnam War. After he left the service, he
lived in a house owned by his brother.

The house burned in an accidental fire in July 1993.

In September 1994, Sanders' brother, Jim, was indicted for mail fraud. He
told prosecutors some of the records of his company had been destroyed in
the 1993 fire.

Prosecutors didn't believe him and had Thomas Sanders testify before a
grand jury.

Here are the key points of that testimony: There were records other than
his own in the house, but he wasn't sure if they were his brother's. Some
of the records were "not recognizable, burnt." And there might have been
more records in the attic, which he presumed would have been destroyed in
the fire.

A fire official testified that no records were destroyed.

Based on that contradiction, Thomas Sanders was charged with perjury.

In the trial's closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel S. Linhardt
of Sacramento, Calif., several times misstated Sanders' grand jury
testimony, insisting Sanders had said that "everything in the attic burned."

Despite the protests of his attorney over the misstatements, a jury found
Sanders guilty. During the sentencing hearing, Linhardt admitted he'd been
"mistaken" about what Sanders had said -- that Sanders never testified
before a grand jury about anything in the attic burning.

The prosecutor wasn't punished for his misstatement.

Sanders was sentenced to six to 24 months in prison.

His appeal has been denied and he is living and working in Houston, waiting
for an order to report to prison.

In a complaint to the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Professional
Responsibility, Sanders charged that Linhardt engaged in misconduct from
the moment he came out of the grand jury room.

"[Linhardt] stepped out into the hall and advised my attorney that he was
going to have me indicted if I didn't go back into the room and 'change my
story.' I didn't know enough about the situation to know what he wanted me
to say," he told the OPR.

He hasn't heard if his complaint is being investigated.

Making Deals

Perhaps the biggest tool federal prosecutors have to mold testimony is the
promise of leniency for a grand jury witness facing criminal charges.

Consider the case of William Moore, accused of trying to bribe U.S. Postal
Service officials in Dallas.

In the late 1980s, he'd been trying for months to get the U.S. Postal
Service to take a look at an optical scanning device his company developed
that could greatly speed up mail sorting. He'd had no success. People who'd
worked with the government said he should hire a lobbyist.

It turned out Valder was investigating the lobbyist Moore hired, John R.
Gnau Jr. of Michigan, for passing bribes to Peter E. Voss, a member of the
Postal Service's board of governors.

Another target of the investigation was Willam Spartin, an executive
recruiter who had joined in Gnau's bribery scheme.

Prosecutors promised Spartin that he would not be prosecuted if he provided
truthful testimony. He told federal prosecutors he didn't know if Moore had
been told about the bribes -- and a polygraph test showed he was telling
the truth.

After Valder heard of Spartin's statement about Moore, he confronted him in
an interview room and tore up the non-prosecution agreement the government
had promised. Valder would later say he was trying to get the witness's
"attention."

Spartin's lawyer asked Valder for a second chance, saying Spartin was
trying to be helpful. So Valder "refreshed" Spartin's memory by showing him
government summaries of grand jury statements made by co-defendants and
other witnesses -- summaries Moore's attorneys said prosecutors had slanted
against him, despite prosecutors' ethical obligation to make a balanced
presentation of the facts.

In an interview room, Valder then questioned him again about Moore. In 19
separate answers, Spartin said that he wanted to be helpful, but he had
nothing incriminating on Moore. "I'm not going to lie," he said.

Spartin said the summaries seemed to indicate there was enough evidence to
"hang" Moore's company and Moore himself.

Valder took Spartin into the grand jury room, then carefully crafted a
question that avoided asking what Spartin actually knew about Moore's
involvement.

"Do you recall that you told [postal inspectors] that, in your judgment,
Moore and Reedy did know that Voss was receiving money from Gnau relative
to the [procurement contract]?" Valder asked.

"That is my opinion, yes sir," Spartin replied.

Grand jurors never learned of Spartin's 19 earlier denials.

Moore's lawsuit argued that Valder used similar threats to slant the
testimony of a second witness.

Prosecutors asked Frank Bray, a mid-level employee of Moore's company, to
read and confirm as truthful a 22-page summary of his statements that
prosecutors had prepared.

When Bray and his lawyers realized the summary intimated that Bray knew
Moore had knowledge of the bribes, he refused to sign it. Valder threatened
Bray with perjury if he didn't sign. After a negotiating session that
lasted until 1 a.m., the two sides reached a compromise: Bray would sign
the statement as drafted if Valder would allow Bray to tell grand jurors he
didn't know if Moore was aware of the bribes.

Valder agreed. But then he never gave Bray the opportunity to make that
statement before the grand jury. All grand jurors knew of Bray's statements
to prosecutors was his summary, which he'd told prosecutors had been
wrongly slanted against Moore.

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility found
nothing wrong with such conduct. It exonerated Valder 19 months after Moore
filed his complaint.

One of Moore's criminal lawyers, Robert Bennett, another former U.S.
attorney who recently represented President Clinton in the Paula Jones and
Monica Lewinsky cases, called the case "an outrageous and shameful exercise
of prosecutorial power. The power was frighteningly abused."

Valder never returned phone calls seeking comment.

Paid For Mistakes

Moore figures he made two mistakes.

He had criticized the government loudly and publicly when the Postal
Service refused to look at his company's new scanning device.

Then he'd opened his books to investigators when they inquired about his
relationship with Gnau, because he knew he had nothing to hide.

He believes his criticism of the Postal Service prompted the government's
initial investigation, an accusation the government has denied. Then, after
he'd opened his books, he learned through third parties that Valder was
feeding the information to a federal grand jury, trying to connect it to
the bribery scandal.

"I did not believe this could happen to somebody like me in America," he
said. "I'm a patriot, businessman. ... I got to the pinnacle of my success,
and these guys use criminal statutes to bring me down when I hadn't done
anything."

Moore was elated to be exonerated, but his professional career was in
ruins. He'd been removed from his position as head of the company after his
indictment, and competitors initiated a hostile takeover. They bought the
company and its extensive research on equipment, then promptly merged with
existing operations, putting 3,000 employees out of work.

Moore rebounded by establishing a profitable consulting business, but he
still felt angry that he never got his day in court.

"It's one thing to wave your arms around and rail about this type of thing,
but I couldn't get the issue of accountability out of my mind," he said.
"These people aren't accountable. They get away with things like this and
claim this 'immunity.'

"They can literally lie, cheat and steal."

His decision to sue the government occurred by chance.

He met Paul "Mickey" Pohl, a top litigator in the Pittsburgh office of the
Cleveland firm of Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue -- the nation's
second-largest law firm -- while on vacation in Hawaii.

While his firm is not known for suing the government, Pohl was intrigued by
the case. He thought it might offer an opportunity to change the law
surrounding federal immunity.

Pohl took the case on contingency. Moore agreed to pay all his expenses.
The suit, filed in a Texas federal court, sought damages of $30 million.

Moore's civil suit accused Valder and some postal inspectors of prosecuting
him because he had criticized the way the government did business.

The suit also charged that:

Valder told several postal inspectors in the presence of a grand jury
witness that he did not care whether Moore was guilty -- he just wanted to
secure a "high-profile" indictment to further his career.

- Valder and postal inspectors intimidated and coerced witnesses into
changing their testimony to incriminate Moore.

- Valder concealed evidence of Moore's innocence.

- Valder manipulated witness testimony and presented to the grand jury
false, incomplete and misleading written witness statements.

- Prosecutors lost, destroyed or concealed from the grand jury exculpatory
information.

- Prosecutors disclosed grand jury testimony to third parties in violation
of grand jury secrecy rules.

- Prosecutors withheld exculpatory information from Moore after the grand
jury indicted him -- a violation of Moore's discovery rights.

In its responses, the government claimed absolute immunity, which is
designed to free the judicial process from the harassment and intimidation
associated with litigation.

Moore's lawsuit has been appealed to the Supreme Court, but the only part
that remains alive is a complaint about the action of postal inspectors,
although appeals are pending on court decisions that held that Valder's
grand jury conduct was immune from prosecution.

When Moore speaks of the outcome of his case against Valder and the postal
inspectors, he insists he will not stop until someone tells him he can't
push the matter further.

He finds it hard to accept that the government cares so little about abuses
like this, which do real harm to citizens.

"The fact of the matter is ... we've got judges' opinions time and time
again showing the government did this to these people and the government
says they did nothing wrong.

"I want to prove once again that if I want to complain about the government
of the United States, I can do it. And I want to show that you shouldn't
get punished for doing that."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Businessman Goes To Prison When Agent's False Testimony Isn't Corrected -
Win At All Costs series (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continues its 10-part
series showing that federal agents and prosecutors break the law routinely.
It wasn't until after he was incarcerated that Eugene Kent learned that a
grand jury had erred in bringing indictments against him. A federal agent had
testified falsely before the secret panel, but since defendants and their
lawyers aren't allowed to be present at grand jury sessions, the false
information was never corrected.)

Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 15:53:27 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Businessman Goes To Prison When Agent's False Testimony
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: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Contact: letters@post-gazette.com
Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: This is the seventh 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

BUSINESSMAN GOES TO PRISON WHEN AGENT'S FALSE TESTIMONY ISN'T CORRECTED

A grand jury indicted Eugene Kent on 60 counts of mail fraud in 1996 for
co-mingling funds in a self-insurance pool his insurance company had set up
for a string of South Dakota banks.

No money was lost or stolen. All claims were paid. Kent had violated
federal rules that say a reserve fund in such an insurance plan must be
kept separate from other accounts.

A jury thought most of the charges flimsy and acquitted him on 58 of the
counts. That didn't get him off the hook. The penalty on the two remaining
counts required a federal judge to sentence him to 27 months in prison.

It wasn't until after he was in prison that Kent learned that a grand jury
had erred in bringing the indictments against him in the first place. A
federal agent testified falsely before the secret panel that Kent had
mailed the checks when in fact, he hadn't.

And since defendants and their lawyers aren't allowed to be present at
grand jury sessions, the false information was never corrected and Kent
went to prison.

Here's what happened: The two fraud counts on which he was convicted were
based on the fact that he'd received two insurance premium payments through
the mail. During the grand jury investigation, FBI Agent Alan Peek had
testified he was "able to confirm" that both of the checks had been mailed.

But the payments actually had been shipped to him via Federal Express. And
prior to 1994, that wasn't considered mail for purposes of federal crime
laws. All of Kent's transactions had occurred prior to 1994.

Kent never raised the issue during trial because he didn't realize it was
an issue. At his trial, in fact, the federal prosecutor never directly
asked how the checks were sent.

After a year in prison, Kent filed a motion for a new trial based on this
newly discovered evidence and the fact that prosecutors and agents had
misled juries about it.

The government's response never addressed whether the checks were sent
through the mail. It simply argued that Kent's claims should have been made
during his trial.

His appeal is now before the 8th United States Court of Appeals and Kent is
hoping he can at least get a hearing on his argument.

In the meantime, he has been going to school in prison and working as a
clerk. He has an exemplary record. He also wonders how a man who never did
anything in his life but work hard, lost his business, went to prison and
was disgraced in his community because a federal law enforcement officer
let bad information go before a grand jury and never bothered to correct
it.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Promoter Says Attractive Property Made Him A Target - Win At All Costs series
(The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continues its 10-part series showing that
federal agents and prosecutors break the law routinely. Federal prosecutors
tried to forfeit a $7 million property owned by professional wrestler Vince
McMahon, and persuaded a federal grand jury to indict McMahon for buying
muscle-building steroids in 1989 that were not banned until 1991.)

Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 16:04:46 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Promoter Says Attractive Property Made Him A Target - Win At
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: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Contact: letters@post-gazette.com
Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/
Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Note: This is the seventh of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being
published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of three stories
(posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade,
Toledo, OH email: letters@theblade.com

PROMOTER SAYS ATTRACTIVE PROPERTY MADE HIM A TARGET

When federal officials asked professional wrestler Vince McMahon five years
ago if he'd bought steroids from a Harrisburg doctor in 1989, he not only
admitted it, he produced the canceled check for $530 to prove it.

McMahon knew that sales of the muscle-building steroids were banned by the
government in 1991, though they were perfectly legal in 1989. But with just
that small amount of evidence, federal prosecutors convinced a grand jury
in 1993 to indict McMahon, who might be best known for inciting riotous
behavior as ringleader and owner of the World Wrestling Federation.

The four-count indictment accused him of conspiring with Dr. George
Zahorian of Harrisburg to dispense steroids to wrestlers between 1985 and
1991. The doctor had been convicted of illegally distributing steroids in
June 1991 during a high-profile trial that identified numerous big-time
wrestlers, like Hulk Hogan, as steroid purchasers.

McMahon's attorney, Jerry S. McDevitt of the Pittsburgh firm Kirkpatrick
and Lockhart, knew some legal problems might be afoot before that.

A few months before the indictment, McDevitt got a call from a federal
investigator, who asked for a copy of the deed for the property of a
company McMahon owned in Stamford, Conn., called Titan Sports Inc. It was
worth more than $7 million.

McDevitt and McMahon figured, correctly, that the feds planned to pursue
the steroid case in the hopes they could link it to the Connecticut
property, and then grab it under federal laws that allow the forfeiture of
property linked to illegal drugs.

What riled McDevitt was that the government had issued a news release after
Zahorian's conviction stating unequivocally that possession of steroids
prior to 1991 was not illegal. McMahon had acknowledged his 1989 purchase
at that time.

McDevitt also knew the Connecticut property had been purchased after
McMahon's steroid purchase in 1989, so connecting it to a drug transaction
to attempt a forfeiture simply wasn't possible.

But federal prosecutors tried anyway. They even announced their intentions
to the national media on the courthouse steps in Stamford.

That nearly ruined McMahon financially. Banks and creditors became anxious
and considered pressing the wrestling magnate on money he owed.

"I had to go talk with them, to tell them these charges were nonsense,"
McDevitt said.

A few months later, without fanfare, the government dismissed all but one
of the charges against McMahon stemming from the indictment. The forfeiture
action was also quietly withdrawn.

The only count that went to trial accused McMahon's company of a conspiracy
to defraud the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, even though no one else
was named in the "conspiracy" which, under federal law, must involve at
least two other parties.

McDevitt tried to subpoena officials at the FDA, but the government
successfully moved to quash the subpoenas by arguing they were not
relevant, even though the agency was listed as the victim in the grand jury
indictment.

The government presented its case. McDevitt didn't bother.

"It was such a weak bunch of garbage we did not even bother to put on a
defense," McDevitt said.

In his closing arguments, McDevitt pointed out that the government failed
to demonstrate how the FDA was victimized in this supposed fraudulent scheme.

Then-Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean O'Shea told the jury that if McMahon had
wanted FDA officials to testify, he could have had them subpoenaed -- a
surprising position given O'Shea's effort to quash the subpoenas. McDevitt
called O'Shea's statement "grotesque prosecutorial misconduct."

McMahon and his company were acquitted. He went back to work orchestrating
high drama in the WWF rings all over America.

"In the end," McDevitt said, "the government spent a couple of million
bucks and two years of grand jury time on this witch hunt. Like all witch
hunts, the scary thing was the witch hunter."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Georgia's Other Nasty Congressman (Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Editorial Page Editor Cynthia Tucker says Newt Gingrich isn't the only
Georgia Republican with a persona guaranteed to chill voters, frighten
small children and upset family pets. There's also US Representative
Bob Barr, who attached an amendment to a District of Columbia
appropriations bill that prohibited the Board of Elections from spending
any money to count the votes on Initiative 59, the DC medical marijuana
initiative. Supporters of the referendum figure the cost would be about
$1.64.)

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 21:35:11 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US GA: Georgia's Other Nasty Congressman
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Dec 1998
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Contact: legis@ajc.com
Website: http://www.accessatlanta.com/news/
Copyright: 1998 Cox Interactive Media.
Author: Cynthia Tucker, editor of the Constitution's editorial page

GEORGIA'S OTHER NASTY CONGRESSMAN

When Newt Gingrich announced his resignation, he said he was leaving
so the Democrats would not be able to use him as the poster boy for
Republican excess. That reasoning suggested that Gingrich was the only
GOP figure with a persona guaranteed to chill voters, frighten small
children and upset family pets.

Gingrich was well-known for his oversize ego and strident
partisanship, traits given heightened scrutiny because of his post as
speaker of the House. But he was by no means the scariest Republican
in Congress. If Gingrich wanted to shed his party of a frightening
extremist (and there are several), he should have taken Georgia Rep.
Bob Barr with him.

At the moment, Barr is the Democrats' best ally. He is doing all he
can to ensure that the GOP never becomes the nation's majority party.
When he is not rabidly insisting on the impeachment of President
Clinton --- a position soundly rejected by a majority of Americans ---
he is insulting gays or members of ethnic minority groups.

Barr's latest caper is a twofer: He found the opportunity to insult
AIDS sufferers while also interfering with the voting rights of the
citizens of a municipality that happens to be predominately black:
Washington. It is just the sort of maneuver that Barr has made his
speciality: a stunt that accomplishes nothing except to alienate a
sizable portion of the electorate.

On Nov. 3, Washington residents joined voters in five states in voting
on referendums that would legalize the medical use of marijuana for
patients suffering from cancer, AIDS or glaucoma. The district's
ballot initiative resulted from a campaign by Wayne Turner and his
partner, Steve Michael, who died of AIDS in May.

But Turner and other Washington residents still do not know for sure
how the referendum fared (though exit polls suggest it passed
overwhelmingly). Back during the negotiations over the federal budget
in the fall, Barr had attached an amendment to a Washington
appropriations bill that barred its Board of Elections from spending
any money to count the votes from the referendum. (Supporters of the
referendum figure that cost at about $1.64).

Later, Barr mocked the district's voters: "Is there legitimate
speculation to think, given Marion Barry's history and the liberal
leanings of D.C. voters, that they've decided to fight drugs?"

Funny thing is, Barr did not make similar comments about the voters of
Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada and Washington state, who also
approved medical marijuana initiatives on Nov. 3. Is there legitimate
speculation to think, given Barr's history, that he would stifle the
democratic process only in a city that is largely black?

The American Civil Liberties Union has gone to court to force the
district to announce the results of the referendum, a lawsuit that has
also attracted the support of the Libertarian Party. That may be
enough to stop this small bit of Barr tyranny, but the nation must
depend on the voters of Georgia's 7th Congressional District to
ultimately rid the nation of this plague.

Fortunately, there are glimmers of hope there as well. Although the
7th District is an overwhelmingly conservative piece of real estate
stretching from Atlanta's western suburbs to the Alabama line, the
Nov. 3 election results show a constituency less than enamored of the
incumbent. Barr's Democratic opponent, Jim Williams, was a pleasant
but unimpressive candidate --- little-known and underfinanced ---
who listed the names of his pets in his campaign literature. He still
pulled in 45 percent of the vote.

That was a result that Barr could not conceal from more realistic
contenders who might be eyeing his seat.

Cynthia Tucker is editor of the Constitution's editorial page. Her
column appears Sundays and Wednesdays. E-mail: cynthia@ajc.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Unindicted Inmates Add To Crowding (The Ledger-Enquirer,
in Georgia, says more than 80 Muscogee County Jail inmates have been held
without indictment for more than three months, with some unindicted
more than nine months after being jailed.)

Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 10:20:50 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US GA: Unindicted Inmates Add To Crowding
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Source: Ledger-Enquirer (GA)
Contact: Letters@LedgerEnquirer.com
Website: http://www.l-e-o.com/
Copyright: 1998 Ledger-Enquirer
Author: Jim Houston, Staff Writer
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Dec 1998

UNINDICTED INMATES ADD TO CROWDING

More than 80 Muscogee County Jail inmates have been held without indictment
for more than three months, with some unindicted more than nine months after
being jailed.

"What if they picked you or me up tomorrow and took us down there and we
didn't do it?" asked Tillman Wells Sr., whose son was locked up nine months
ago today, but hasn't been indicted.

"If it was me, I'd be pitching a fit," said Wells.

Georgia law says a person who is jailed for more than 90 days without
indictment has a right to a reasonable bond.

Wells said he doesn't know whether his son did what he's charged with -- two
counts each of selling marijuana and cocaine, and charges of possessing
cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute. But he shouldn't have to
sit in jail indefinitely with no bond on the drug sale charges and without
seeing a lawyer or a judge, he said.

"There's been a tragedy imposed when a person spends nine months in jail
without an indictment," said Muscogee Superior Court Judge John Allen, to
whom Wells' case is assigned.

"There has obviously been a breakdown in the system," Allen said.

Moments after a reporter showed Allen a report indicating he had been
assigned cases of 24 jail inmates unindicted after 90 days -- including 14
held for more than 160 days -- Allen ordered his secretary to schedule a
12:15 p.m. Monday meeting with all prosecutors involved in those cases. He
said he will expect an explanation for the failure to indict each case.

A report is routinely forwarded each month to Chattahoochee Circuit Chief
Judge Kenneth Followill as a result of a Georgia Supreme Court rule change
in 1985. The change made judges, instead of the district attorney's office,
responsible for ensuring cases proceeded to indictment without unreasonable
delay.

A delay in indicting a case not only causes a person who is presumed to be
innocent to spend more time in jail, it adds to jail overcrowding by
delaying the transfer to state prisons of those eventually indicted,
convicted and sentenced to prison.

On Oct. 23, there were 927 inmates in the Muscogee County Jail, which was
built to accommodate 575.

Although it's the district attorney's responsibility to present criminal
cases to the grand jury for indictment, Allen said the judge is ultimately
responsible for moving cases assigned to him.

Muscogee County District Attorney Gray Conger said a combination of problems
have caused some cases to be delayed in reaching the grand jury.

"Every case should be indicted by the 90-day period," said Conger.
"Obviously, some are not.

"The biggest problem we've been having lately is that Georgia's crime
laboratory is somewhat overloaded," said Conger. "Sometimes it can take four
to five months to get a lab report.

"You don't want to indict somebody without a lab report. You don't want to
charge somebody with having drugs and then get a report saying they weren't
drugs."

Sometimes, a second analysis is required in a case, and if it requires a DNA
test, that science takes even longer, he said.

"We have always stressed getting cases to the grand jury quickly," said
Conger. "We're surely going to stress it even more. We're giving more
priority to jail cases than to non-jail cases."

The prosecutor also said inmates are occasionally held on state charges,
although the United States Attorney's office plans to indict them in federal
court.

A federal speedy trial provision requires a case to be tried within 120
days, but there is no such provision in Georgia law. If not indicted within
90 days, Georgia law says a person must be granted a reasonable bond. Only
after indictment can the accused file a demand for trial in state courts,
with a trial then required during that term or the following term of court.

Followill, who receives a monthly report of all jail cases that have gone
more than 90 days without indictment, said he has raised the issue of the
unindicted cases with prosecutors in his court.

"Some reasons have been satisfactory. Some have not," he said.

Superior Court Judge Bill Smith said he also gets a monthly report showing
the progress of cases assigned to his court.

"Any time they get over 90 days, my secretary calls the DA's office and
wants to know why it hasn't moved," he said. "We do a little more than just
monitoring."

Allen said he hasn't been getting such reports, but will in the future.

In many cases, such as Wells', a person who cannot make bond or afford an
attorney must rely on a court-appointed attorney. But that creates a
Catch-22 situation. After a preliminary hearing, an inmate is not likely to
see another attorney until after he is indicted -- and if he's not indicted
for months, he has no attorney to force the issue or request a bond
reduction.

Muscogee Public Defender Richard O. Smith said his lawyers are handling
250-300 cases each, when ideally they should have no more than 150 or so.
The result is they're not able to spend time reaching indigent inmates
charged and jailed but not yet indicted, he said.

"The problem is everyone has more cases than they can handle. Something can
get lost in the shuffle," said Smith.

Superior Court Judge Robert Johnston, who had 10 cases unindicted after more
than 90 days, said it's important for the district attorney and public
defender staffs to work together. It's the only way the system can work as
intended, he said.

Attorney Bill Wright, who is assigned many indigent defendants' cases in
Judge Smith's court, said there's little an attorney can do about the
unindicted case when there are so many demanding attention who have already
been through indictment.

"I know we have some who have been in jail so long, they're willing to plead
guilty just to get out," he said.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Drug War Does More Harm Than Good (A letter to the editor
of The Palm Beach Post applauds Molly Ivins' recent syndicated column
coming out against the drug war.)

Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 11:44:19 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US FL: PUB LTE: Drug War Does More Harm Than Good
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: DrugSense
Source: The Palm Beach Post (FL)
Copyright: 1998, The Palm Beach Post
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Contact: http://www.gopbi.com/partners/pbpost/mail.html
FAX: (561) 820-4728
Website: http://www.gopbi.com/
Forum: http://www.gopbi.com/community/forums/
Related: Molly Ivins' column, which appeared in many newspapers, is online
here:
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1059.a04.html

DRUG WAR DOES MORE HARM THAN GOOD

Regarding Molly Ivins' recent column "Time to sound retreat" (in the drug
war): As she stated, the world is gathering behind the simple proposition
that the global war on drugs is causing more harm than drug abuse itself.

Minnesota Gov.-elect Jesse Ventura said it well during his recent campaign:
"If you're going to fight the war on drugs, you have to fight it on the
demand side. I don't believe the government should be invading the privacy
of our homes, and I also believe that we shouldn't be legislating against
stupidity." After all the billions spent, lives ruined and the millions
jailed, we are still far from the goal of a "drug-free America." Let's stop
this war on American citizens and families by decriminalizing possession
and use of hallucinogenic drugs.

Albert R. Dilley
Palm Beach Gardens
-------------------------------------------------------------------

A Basic Disrespect for Democracy (An op-ed in The Washington Post
by a law professor and law student protests the amendment
added to the omnibus appropriations bill in October, introduced by
Representative Robert L. Barr Jr., which prohibited the District of Columbia
from spending any money to count the votes for Initiative 59,
the local medical marijuana measure.)

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 10:37:03 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US DC: OPED: MMJ: A Basic Disrespect for Democracy
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: emr@javanet.com (Dick Evans)
Pubdate: Dec. 6, 1998
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Page: C08
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Copyright: 1998 The Washington Post Company
Authors: Jamin B. Raskin and Jon Desenberg

A BASIC DISRESPECT FOR DEMOCRACY

Do U.S. Citizens Living In The District Have Any Political Rights?

Congress doesn't seem to think so. Consider its actions in the omnibus
appropriations bill in October: Congress passed an amendment, introduced by
Rep. Robert L. Barr Jr. (R-Ga.), forbidding the District to spend money on
Initiative 59, a local measure that would allow marijuana to be prescribed
for medical reasons.

The initiative, placed on the November ballot by thousands of signatures,
appears to have passed by a wide margin according to exit polls, but the
D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics cannot spend even $2 to determine the
results because of the Barr amendment.

Congress passed another appropriations rider, this one at the behest of
Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.), forbidding the D.C. Corporation Counsel or
any other D.C. officer to assist a "petition drive or civil action" to
vindicate the voting rights of D.C. residents in Congress. The measure
follows on the heels of D.C. Corporation Counsel John Ferren's delivery of
a petition for redress of grievances to Congress and his filing of a
lawsuit for restoration of the right of D.C. citizens to vote for senators
and a representative -- a right that was exercised for a decade but lost in
1800. By impounding ballot boxes and placing a gag order on Ferren,
Congress tramples basic First Amendment freedoms. "Above all else," the
Supreme Court has found, "the First Amendment means that government has no
power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject
matter or its content" (Chicago Police Department v. Mosley, 1972). Yet
these moves to squash democracy in the District are targeted directly at
political messages and ideas.

The Barr amendment wipes out initiatives that would legalize marijuana use
in certain circumstances but does not prevent initiatives that would
further criminalize marijuana use. The Taylor amendment stops Ferren from
assisting any effort or suit to "provide for voting representation in
Congress" but allows him to expend resources fighting voting representation
for the District.

Three years ago, the Supreme Court termed this kind of "viewpoint
discrimination" an "egregious" violation of the First Amendment. In
Rosenberger v. University of Virginia, the court struck down the University
of Virginia's policy of funding student publications with a secular
perspective but denying funding to publications with a religious
perspective. "The government must abstain from regulating speech when the
specific motivating ideology or the opinion or perspective of the speaker
is the rationale for the restriction," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.
Congress clearly is taking "aim at the suppression of dangerous ideas" --
medical marijuana and voting rights.

Its effort is not to make public policy, rational or otherwise, but to shut
people up. When Congress tried to order members of the D.C. Council how to
vote in 1989, then-Chairman Dave Clarke went to court and established that
the First Amendment applies in the District. The D.C. Circuit Court found,
"There can be no more definite expression of opinion than by voting on a
controversial public issue."

Ironically, Congress's assault on the District's effort to sue for proper
voting representation underscores the urgency of the Corporation Counsel's
voting-rights lawsuit.

Perhaps judges will see that the First Amendment is being mocked in the
District, but defensive court cases offer no long-term safety for democracy.

Ultimately, D.C. residents need -- and, under Equal Protection, have a
right to -- equal representation in Congress. If that comes to pass,
overseers from faraway precincts will no longer be free to abuse our basic
democratic rights in the shadow of the Capitol and the Supreme Court.

-- Jamin B. Raskin and Jon Desenberg are, respectively, a professor of
constitutional law and a law student at American University's Washington
College of Law.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Suing For Drugs (A staff editorial in The Washington Times
applauds the Clinton Administration for asking a federal judge
to dismiss a lawsuit which would force the District to reveal the vote count
on Initiative 59, the District of Columbia medical-marijuana initiative.)

Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 08:12:05 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US DC: Editorial: Suing For Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Media Awareness Project
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Contact: letter@twtmail.com
Website: http://www.washtimes.com/
Copyright: 1998 News World Communications, Inc.
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Dec 1998

SUING FOR DRUGS

The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit which
would force the District to reveal the vote count on the wrongheaded
marijuana initiative. Elections officials tabulated the figures along with
others from the Nov. 3 general election, but they cannot be released because
Congress has prohibited the city from spending any money on the initiative.
Elections officials are doing the right thing. To do otherwise would put
them on the wrong side of federal law. Similarly, U.S. District Judge
Richard Roberts would be wise to dismiss the suit.

Officially called the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment
Initiative of 1998, Initiative 59 would have allowed doctors who reasonably
believe pot to be of some benefit to prescribe marijuana for patients being
treated for HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, muscle spasms as well as other
illnesses. As it happens, the accompanying legislation also would allow your
average Joe to buy, sell and grow pot.

Congress, rightly, would have none of it. In October, as part of the 1999
D.C. budget bill, Congress passed legislation which says "none of the funds
contained in this act may be used to conduct any ballot initiative which
seeks to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with possession,
use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled
Substance Act or any tetrahydrocannabinols (thc) derivative." On Nov. 4, the
day after voters in the District and five states, including Alaska, Arizona
and Nevada, cast their ballots on initiatives to legalize pot, the American
Civil Liberties Union tried to force D.C. elections officials' hand with a
freedom of information request demanding the results. But the city couldn' t
budge, and now the ACLU, D.C. government, League of Women Voters and others
are siding with AIDS activists, claiming Congress is trampling on the first
amendment.

The Clinton administration opposes the legalization of marijuana and the
president signed the language on the D.C. initiative. That's why the Justice
Department has asked for the suit to be dismissed. While the ACLU wants
people to believe voters favored Initiative 59 overwhelmingly, the law is
the law, and it must not be taken lightly. Judge Roberts should dismiss the
suit before the city wastes any more time and energy.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Medical Officer Removed After Opposing Drug's Approval
(According to The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times said Sunday
that Dr. John L. Gueriguian, a veteran medical officer who opposed approval
of the popular diabetes drug, Rezulin, was removed as its chief reviewer
by the Food and Drug Administration. The drug, manufactured
by Warner-Lambert Co., has been linked to at least 26 deaths worldwide.)

Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 15:51:02 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Medical Officer Removed After Opposing Drug's
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Source: Associated Press
Copyright: 1998 Associated Press.

MEDICAL OFFICER REMOVED AFTER OPPOSING DRUG'S APPROVAL

LOS ANGELES -- A veteran medical officer who opposed approval of a
popular diabetes drug was removed as its chief reviewer by the Food
and Drug Administration, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Two other FDA officials who recommended approving the drug, Rezulin,
conceded the agency initially overlooked compelling evidence of its
danger to the liver, the newspaper said.

Rezulin is used to treat adult-onset diabetes and is used by more than
1 million people. The drug has been linked to at least 26 deaths worldwide.

The FDA approved Rezulin in December 1996 to become the most quickly
endorsed diabetes pill in the agency's 60-year history. Because
Rezulin was the first in a new class of diabetes drugs, the FDA gave
it a special ``fast-track'' review, taking six months to make the
decision -- less than half the normal approval time.

In October 1997, it issued the first warning about liver toxicity.

Britain withdrew the drug following the first reported deaths. The FDA
said Rezulin remains on the U.S. market because it is the only
diabetes drug that resensitizes the body to insulin -- a hormone that
converts blood sugar into energy. Rezulin helps lower blood sugar
enough that many patients report needing fewer daily injections of
insulin.

The FDA recommends that Rezulin patients have regular blood testing in
hopes of detecting early liver damage before it becomes
life-threatening.

``We have been evaluating this drug very carefully since we became
aware that liver disease was a significant problem,'' said Dr. James
M. Bilstad, the senior FDA official who gave final approval to
Rezulin. ``We have in the past and continue up to this time to
conclude that we still believe the benefits outweigh the risks.''

Dr. John L. Gueriguian, a veteran FDA medical officer assigned to
evaluate Rezulin, recommended rejecting the drug after documenting its
possible danger to the liver. Senior FDA officials removed him from
the review in the late fall of 1996, according to Gueriguian and an
agency memo.

Gueriguian, now a drug industry consultant, said he stands by his
review. ``If (Rezulin) hadn't have been approved, at least 21 people
would be alive now. In all probability, many more than that,'' he said.

Two other doctors, Robert I. Misbin and G. Alexander Fleming, warned
the FDA about possible serious side effects. Fleming said he
suggested restricting the recommended use of Rezulin but relented
following resistance from Warner-Lambert Co., the drug's
manufacturer.

``I said to myself, `At this very moment as I am writing this, there
are 2,000 patients that are going to die of this drug, unless we do
something,''' Misbin told the Times.

``We believe this drug brings a unique and significant benefit for
patients,'' said Dr. Randall W. Whitcomb, Warner Lambert's vice
president for diabetes research. ``And while it has a risk, (this) is
true of all medications.''

Gueriguian and the company said they had one meeting in which the
doctor voiced doubts about Rezulin in intemperate language. After the
company complained, the FDA removed Gueriguian from reviews of Rezulin
and any other Warner-Lambert drug, the Times said. Warner-Lambert said
it objected to Gueriguian's inappropriate comments, not his concerns
about Rezulin.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Drug Documentary Aired On CBS Said To Be Fake (The Washington Post
says an independent panel ruled Friday that "The Connection," a documentary
about Colombian drug-runners that was broadcast on "60 Minutes," was a fake.
Produced by Carlton Communications, a prominent British television and film
company, and sold to CBS in 1997, the production was broadcast around
the world and has won eight journalism awards, including three in the United
States.)
Television
Date: Sun, 6 Dec 1998 14:52:04 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US DC: Drug Documentary Aired On Cbs Said To Be Fake
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: emr@javanet.com (Dick Evans)
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Copyright: 1998 The Washington Post Company
Page A37
Author: T.R. Reid

DRUG DOCUMENTARY AIRED ON CBS SAID TO BE FAKE

A prize-winning documentary about Colombian drug-runners that was broadcast
on the CBS program "60 Minutes" was a fake, a commission has concluded,
with paid actors portrayed as drug dealers and the producer's hotel room
disguised as a drug kingpin's jungle hide-out. An independent panel of
lawyers and veteran producers said the news program "The Connection" was
essentially fiction. The film had dramatic footage of a drug "mule" said to
be carrying millions of dollars worth of heroin to London for Colombia's
Cali drug cartel. The panel concluded that there was no "mule" and no
heroin, and that the "important new smuggling route" the program purported
to expose does not exist.

The documentary was made by Carlton Communications, a prominent British
television and film production company, and was sold to CBS in 1997. It
features hidden cameras, disguised-voice interviews, secretive locations
and other tools of documentary filmmakers.

The flaws in the production were first revealed in May by London's Guardian
newspaper. The Guardian report prompted Carlton to set up the independent
panel, which issued its devastating report Friday.

CBS did not undertake its own study of the program, but said that the
results of the British probe will be reported on "60 Minutes." "The
Connection" has been broadcast around the world and has won eight
journalism awards, including three in the United States. Carlton said it
would return the awards and refund the fees it received from networks that
bought the program.

The expansion of cable and satellite television channels has created a
large new market for documentaries, particularly on subjects that can
appeal to a global audience. Producers say some filmmakers use paid actors
and other false techniques to spice up their offerings.

The study panel concluded that the flaws with "The Connection" went deeper,
however. It says that the basic conclusion of the program that Colombian
drug dealers have opened a new smuggling route to Europe through London's
Heathrow Airport is false.

In "The Connection," a person said to be a drug "mule" is shown swallowing
rubber balloons said to contain heroin. The smuggler is then filmed
arriving at Heathrow. On "60 Minutes," reporter Steve Kroft said that the
"mule" had "no problem" getting past British Customs and that "another
pound of heroin was on the British streets."

In fact, the panel said, the smuggler was a hired actor who swallowed sugar
or mints, not heroin. And when he arrived in London, Customs officials
immediately sent him back to Colombia because of passport problems. The
panel said it could not determine whether the film's producer, Marc de
Beaufort, knew about all the false elements of his documentary. De Beaufort
declined interviews but said in a videotaped statement that the suggestion
he had used paid actors was "untenable."

The documentary included a segment in which the producer had to travel
blindfolded for two days by car to reach a secret rendezvous with a drug
kingpin. In fact, the interview was held in de Beaufort's hotel room. "The
panel ... is troubled by de Beaufort's willingness to misrepresent what
actually happened," the report said.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

'Hypocrisy kills no-drug message' (The Launceston Examiner, in Australia,
interviews Westhury nursing sister Heather Donaldson, a mother of four
and author of a small book of aphorisms titled, "Drugs: High Hopes And Sudden
Silences." "Zero tolerance doesn't work because of the hypocrisy of parents
saying not to take drugs when coffee, alcohol, tobacco and chocolate
all contain drugs." When a message contains hypocrisy, youngsters
tend to dismiss the whole message. She said that concentration on hard drugs
defied the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse statistics, which showed that
97 per cent of the 25,500 drug deaths a year were due to alcohol and tobacco
and just 2 per cent to opiates and 1 per cent to other illicit drugs.)

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 07:33:41 +1030
From: Mark Eckermann (marke@newave.net.au)
Subject: 'Hypocrisy kills no-drug message'
To: pot-news (pot-news@va.com.au)
Reply-To: pot-news@va.com.au
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Source: The Launceston Examiner (Australia)
Page: 19

'Hypocrisy kills no-drug message'

WESTHURY nursing sister Heather Donaldson is a firm believer in a
harm-minimisation approach to drugs rather than the zero-tolerance
strategies favoured until now.

She said the zero-tolerance approach did not work because teenagers were
into risk-taking and were unlikely to resist doing some experimentation.

"It is part of growing up, and prohibition just does not work," she said.

"Zero tolerance doesn't work because of the hypocrisy of parents saying not
to take drugs when coffee, alcohol, tobacco and chocolate all contain drugs."

When a message contained some hypocrisy, youngsters tended to
dismiss the whole message.

Mrs Donaldson, a mother of four, has written a small book of
aphorisms entitled Drugs: High Hopes And Sudden Silences.

She says one of the main messages of the book is that kids
should be informed about drugs before they try them.

"A lot of kids try drugs without knowing anything about them and may only
find out about harmful side-effects when they take them," she said.

"If they know the harmful effects before they take them they can decide
whether it is worth the risk.

"If they go in with their eyes open they know what to look out for.

"An example is in the case of ecstasy, where it is important to keep up
the fluids."

She also emphasised how important it was for young people to
have good self-esteem.

"If a kid feels good about himself there is much less chance that he will be
pressured into taking drugs or doing something he doesn't want to do," she
said.

Mrs Donaldson said parents should be there to minimise harm if a drug
experience went wrong.

They should also keep the communication channels open.

She said that concentration on hard drugs defied the National Campaign
Against Drug Abuse statistics, which showed that 97 per cent of the 25,500
drug deaths a year were due to alcohol and tobacco and just 2 per cent to
opiates and 1 per cent to other illicit drugs.

***

HEMP SA Inc - Help End Marijuana Prohibition South Australia
PO Box 1019 Kent Town South Australia 5071
Email: hempSA@va.com.au
Website: http://www.hemp.on.net.au/>http://www.hemp.on.net.au
Check out our on-line news service - Pot News!
To subscribe or unsubscribe to Pot News send blank email to:
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-------------------------------------------------------------------

Heart Charity Invests In Tobacco Industry (The Independent on Sunday
says the British Heart Foundation, one of Britain's leading health charities
that researches links between smoking and heart attacks, has invested
6 million of its employees' pension contributions in a fund that buys
and sells shares in companies such as British American Tobacco,
Gallaher and Imperial Tobacco.)

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 10:10:21 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Heart Charity Invests In Tobacco Industry
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: Independent on Sunday (UK)
Contact: sundayletters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/sindy/sindy.html
Copyright: Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Author: Marie Woolf, Political Correspondent

HEART CHARITY INVESTS IN TOBACCO INDUSTRY

ONE of Britain's leading health charities, which has spent years campaigning
to help people give up smoking, is investing in tobacco shares.

The British Heart Foundation, which researches links between smoking and
heart attacks, has invested its employees' pension contributions in a fund
that makes money from tobacco stocks.

An investigation by The Independent on Sunday has found that the foundation
has placed over UKP6m of its pension assets in a fund that buys and sells
shares in companies such as British American Tobacco, Gallaher and Imperial
Tobacco.

BAT, one of the world's leading tobacco firms, makes Lucky Strike, while
Gallaher produces Silk Cut and Benson & Hedges.

When the chairman of the council of the BHF was told that his charity's
pension fund traded in tobacco shares he was shocked and pledged to launch
an immediate inquiry.

"I assumed that we steered clear of any direct investment in tobacco
shares," said Professor Sir Keith Peters, a Cambridge academic. "As a rule
the medical charities have tried to avoid any investment in the tobacco
industry. This is something that I will take up with the council on Monday
morning."

The news comes as the Government prepares this week to publish its
long-awaited White Paper on tobacco which will lead to new controls on
smoking.

The BHF has run education campaigns about the dangers of tobacco for years.
Until recently it funded awards for good anti-smoking practice in the
workplace, and it funds a quit smoking line which has received more than
12,000 calls.

The charity invests its UKP6,223,768 savings in a high-yielding pension fund
managed by Scottish Widows. Unlike ethical pension funds, which screen out
shares linked to cigarette production, the Scottish Widows Managed Fund
invests in tobacco firms quoted on the London Stock Exchange.

A spokesman for Scottish Widows said the fund used by the BHF "does have
tobacco stocks" and had "no ethical criteria". He said the aim of the fund's
managers was to gain the best profits they can for customers and to keep
investments safe.

The company refused to disclose the value of tobacco holdings but said they
fluctuated. "There are tobacco stocks in this fund. They will be featured in
this portfolio. They are quite highly traded stocks," said a spokesman.
"They [the pension fund managers] buy and trade them as they see fit. It is
an actively managed fund. The percentages vary from week to week."

The BHF does not invest its ordinary donation income, spent on campaigning
and research, in tobacco stocks. But it claimed it "was very difficult" for
a small pension fund to avoid tobacco.

"The pension fund is in the power of the trustees investing through the
Scottish Widows fund," said Michael Livingstone, finance director of the
BHF. "I would have thought it was very difficult for a trust to manage its
own investment policy and dictate where it invests."

But several other charities, including the Cancer Research Campaign, have
specifically asked their pension fund managers not to invest in tobacco. And
financial advisers say that, with the upsurge in ethical pension funds, it
is easy to avoid buying shares in tobacco or arms.

"Tobacco stocks are commonly used by pension funds. They historically make
profits. But they are possible to avoid if you want to," said Richard Hunter
of Holden Meehan. "There are lots of ethical funds that screen them out."

The BHF has campaigned for years to help people stop smoking and funds a
great deal of research into the effects of smoking on heart disease.

The British Medical Association said charities promoting health should as a
matter of principle avoid tobacco investments. "Charities campaigning
against tobacco should certainly not invest in tobacco stocks," said a
spokesman.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Ex-Mountie's low profile hid life on the run (The Toronto Star
says Jorge Leite moved to Calhandriz, Portugal, in 1991 after being corrupted
by the Cali cartel while a member of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police drug
squad in Montreal. Portugal refused to extradite him back to Canada,
since Leite has dual citizenship, but it is willing to jail him without bail
and put him on trial early next year with secret Canadian evidence
in a Portuguese court, where the burden of proof is on the accused.)

Date: Sun, 06 Dec 1998 14:01:15 -0500
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
Subject: TorStar: Ex-Mountie's low profile hid life on the run
Newshawk: Dave Haans
Source: The Toronto Star (Canada)
Pubdate: Sunday, December 6, 1998
Page: A9
Website: http://www.thestar.com
Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com
Author: Dale Brazao, Toronto Star Staff Reporter

Ex-Mountie's low profile hid life on the run
Villagers saw him as local boy who made good

CALHANDRIZ, Portugal - When Jorge Leite bought the luxury villa overlooking
this picturesque hillside village, neighbours figured he was just another
local boy coming home to savour the fruits of his labour overseas.

The new Toyota minivan and Volvo station wagon parked in the driveway
suggested that he'd made it big during his dozen years in Canada.

So did the fancy swimming pool built to cater to the Lisbon gentry.

And in the vineyard adjacent to his white stucco mansion, the former
Canadian Mountie began the tricky work of breeding snails for consumption.

What they couldn't know was that their new neighbour was living a secret
life on the run from Canadian police and Interpol.

The extravagant lifestyle, including the snail farm, was just a cover,
carefully crafted to hide the life he'd left behind, including allegations
that as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer he was on the take from
Colombian drug lords.

During his seven years in this secluded enclave of 200 people, Leite, 47,
kept a very low profile, rarely mingling with locals.

But Leite's carefully crafted cover was blown earlier this year when the
local media reported he was about to go on trial in Portugal for crimes he
allegedly committed while on the RCMP's drug squad in Montreal between 1987
and 1991.

Only then did locals learn that Leite had fled Canada in May, 1991, during
an RCMP investigation that would allege he'd been on the take, receiving
more than $500,000 in goods and benefits from the Cali Colombian drug cartel.

The villa here, a beach-view condo in the Algarve, several cars and a
bundle of cash were all the result of what Mounties say Leite received from
drug dealers in exchange for secret information on RCMP drug investigations.

After a two-year investigation, the Mounties charged Leite in 1993 with
corruption, fraud and breach of trust, and embarked on a long diplomatic
effort - ultimately fruitless - to bring him back to Canada for trial.

And while Portugal steadfastly refused to extradite him - Leite has dual
nationality and Portugal does not extradite its nationals - authorities
here did agree to put him on trial on the Canadian charges.

Last week, Portuguese police scooped him from a Lisbon suburb, where his
family had recently moved after selling their Calhandriz mansion for a
reported $400,000. He will be held without bail in a Lisbon jail, awaiting
a precedent-setting trial scheduled for early next year.

To assist Portuguese prosecutors, the RCMP have delivered a confidential
500-page dossier detailing the results of their two-year investigation.

``We are not out for vengeance,'' says Inspector Yves Roussel, who has
spent the past five years trying to get Leite into a courtroom. ``But we
would like to see justice done and close the file on Leite.''

The scandal severely tarnished Canada's national police force, shining a
spotlight on the activities of the entire RCMP drug squad in Montreal
during the early '90s.

Leite's then-boss, Inspector Claude Savoie, shot himself in 1992 while
investigators were waiting to grill him about his own mob ties.

The RCMP later said an investigation showed Savoie had been on the take
from Montreal's notorious West End Gang, receiving more than $200,000 to
protect their drug turf.

Leite has told Portuguese investigators that anything he did, he did on
orders from Savoie.

Recruited by the RCMP at age 37 because his ability to speak French,
Spanish, English and Portuguese, Leite made an ideal agent to penetrate the
murky world of international drug networks.

After attending police college in Regina in 1987, the former marine was
posted to Spain on a major international anti-drug operation, Roussel says.

What nobody counted on, Roussel says, was Leite switching sides, becoming a
mole for Colombian drug barons.

Documents filed with courts here and in Canada show just why the Mounties
are so determined to get Leite. Search warrants filed in Canada claim Leite
sold information on drug investigations to convicted drug queen Ines
Barbosa on at least 49 occasions.

His alleged role as a mole discovered, Leite vanished, police say. He then
faxed his resignation and asked for details on his pension benefits.

Leite eluded a police tail in Montreal, then made his way to Toronto, where
he airfreighted his new $31,000 Toyota minivan and bought tickets for
himself and his two children on the same KLM flight.

Leite's wife, a part-time nurse at Reddy Memorial Hospital, stayed behind
just long enough to pack up the contents of their three-bedroom apartment.
She joined the family in Portugal after arranging to have her Volvo follow
her.

The minivan, the RCMP say, was a gift from Barbosa, who police describe as
the ``godmother'' of the Cali cartel.

Convicted drug dealer Luis Lopes, Leite's best friend, later told police
that Leite had bugged him incessantly for an introduction to Barbosa.

Search warrants giving police access to Leite's bank accounts and income
tax returns, also revealed a substantial increase in income in 1990 and
1991. As well as buying the villa here ``with cold cash,'' the RCMP's
Roussel says, Leite was given a $120,000 condo in the Algarve resort of
Albufeira.

``This was an outright gift to Jorge Leite - no money changed hands,'' says
a police source who tracked the transaction and found the unit formerly
belonged to Montreal man with drug connections.

Detectives also discovered that his wife Maria travelled to Portugal with
more than $100,000 cash in a suitcase.

Sensing the end of his freedom, Leite contacted Montreal lawyer Kathlyn
Gauthier earlier this year to ask if she would negotiate his surrender and
his return to Canada.

But crown attorney Randall Richmond wanted no part of any deal.

``He wanted to negotiate his return,'' Richmond told The Star, saying Leite
was obviously concerned about his chances in a Portuguese court, where the
burden of proof is on the accused.

Still, Portuguese prosecutor Joao Parracho concedes, any penalty handed
Leite may not be severe.

``This happened in a foreign country,'' Parracho said. ``It was a long time
ago.''
-------------------------------------------------------------------

US Trains Colombian Military To Resist Rebels (A Cox syndicate article
in The Austin American-Statesman says that officially, Washington classifies
military instructor training missions in Colombia as counternarcotics aid,
but in practice, the Green Berets from the 7th Special Forces group
at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, are teaching skills the Colombian military
needs to fight its civil war.)

Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 15:43:22 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Colombia: US Trains Colombian Military To Resist Rebels
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Paul Lewin
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Source: Austin American-Statesman (TX)
Copyright: 1998 Cox Interactive Media, Inc.
Contact: letters@statesman.com
Website: http://www.Austin360.com/
Author: Frank Bajak

US TRAINS COLOMBIAN MILITARY TO RESIST REBELS

TUMACO, Colombia -- Chided by his Green Beret instructor, a Colombian
corporal returns to the firing range after putting a Band-Aid on a
thumb worn raw by clicking the safety of his M-16 rifle on and off.

"Are we OK ?" Staff Sgt. Juan Estay asks with mock concern.

Estay, a 34-year old from Miami, is one of eight U.S. Army Special
Forces soldiers running a six-week training course in this Pacific
jungle port. Such exercises are key instruments of U.S. policy to
bolster Colombia's armed forces in their uphill struggle against
highly effective, well-disciplined rebels.

The U.S. trainers are highly esteemed by their 30 Colombian pupils
- six marine officers and 24 senior enlisted marines. After a
run-and-shoot competition that culminates marksmanship practice, the
Colombian contingent's chief, Capt. Eduardo Chavez, shows his
appreciation by hugging Master Sgt. Mike Wood, 34, of St. Louis.

Such training is central to a gradually intensifying U.S. military
involvement in Colombia encouraged by the government of President
Andres Pastrana, who took office in August.

During a recent visit to Colombia, U.S. Defense Secretary William
Cohen signed an accord pledging to increase intelligence support and
provide more training.

Officially, Washington classifies the military instructor missions as
counternarcotics training, one ingredient in a decade-old U.S. effort
to combat drug trafficking in Colombia.

In practice, the Green Berets from the 7th Special Forces group at
Fort Bragg, N.C., are teaching skills the Colombian military needs to
fight its main foe: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The
rebel movement, the hemisphere's oldest and largest leftist
insurgency, has for the past three years been pummeling an army
composed largely of ill-prepared conscripts.

The six-week course in Tumaco focuses on basic light-infantry skills,
including helicopter-borne operations, riverine infiltration,
explosives use and ambush techniques. U.S. trainers provided 60,000
rounds of ammunition, three Zodiac inflatable boats and, for one week,
two Blackhawk helicopters.

"It's counterguerrilla training," said Col. Juan Diego Rendon, deputy
commander of the Colombian army's 12th Brigade, whose
counterinsurgency battalion now has 150 soldiers being trained by a
second team of Green Berets in the rebel-dominated southern state of
Caqueta.

Nowadays in Colombia, it's hard to fight narcotics without taking on
the rebels, who finance themselves largely by taxing the drug trade
and protecting cocaine laboratories and airstrips.

The Pentagon put on a dozen Special Forces training courses in
Colombia this year and officials say 14 are scheduled for 1999,
roughly half the overall U.S. "counterdrug" training missions in the
country.

Over the past two years, U.S. assistance to the Colombian military has
included hundreds of M-16 rifles and M-60 machine guns, flak jackets,
ammunition, night-vision goggles and trucks.

The United States is also working on establishing a high-tech joint
intelligence center in southern Colombia, where U.S. specialists would
provide the Colombian military almost immediately with information
from satellites and spy planes, officials say.

In addition, Washington has offered to help train and equip an
anti-narcotics battalion, expected to be formed by mid-1999 and
composed of 1,000 soldiers and police officers. Currently, no
Colombian military unit is devoted exclusively, or even primarily, to
drug enforcement.

"Our assistance is provided to combat narcotics production and
trafficking and may be used to counter all those who are actively
involved in the drug trade," State Department spokesman James Rubin
said Tuesday.

The American involvement remains a far cry from its
multibillion-dollar help for Central American nations fighting
insurgencies during the 1980s, and it operates within strict limits.

"We have neither the money nor the appetite to do any great ramp-up,"
said Brian Sheridan, a U.S. Defense Department official involved in
special operations and low-intensity conflict.

The number of American military personnel in Colombia never exceeds
200, U.S. officials say, and American soldiers are not permitted to
accompany Colombian troops into combat.

The Colombian government knows, to be successful in peace talks with
the rebels, that it needs a few battlefield victories. Increased U.S.
military aid could be a decisive factor.

"We are hoping for more help. We need it. Definitely, we do need it,"
Defense Minister Rodrigo Lloreda said in an interview.

A bigger U.S. role faces considerable obstacles, however.

Colombia's military has a poor human rights record, and two U.S. laws
sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and enacted since 1996 allow
U.S. military aid and training only for Colombian units whose human
rights records are clean. So far, only three units of the army, the
service most engaged in fighting rebels, have cleared the screening
process.

Senior army officers have been accused of promoting right-wing
paramilitary groups who kill civilians suspected of supporting the
guerrillas. The military's main intelligence brigade, dissolved in
May, was implicated in a series of death-squad killings, and its
former commander, now a fugitive, is wanted for allegedly organizing
the 1995 assassination of Colombia's main opposition leader.

Largely because of human rights concerns, Colombia's military annually
receives less than one-tenth of the more than $100 million in
anti-narcotics assistance provided by Washington. The bulk goes to
Colombia's police, which the U.S. Congress just voted to give an
additional $200 million over the next three years.

The constraints are not discouraging Marine Gen. Charles Wilhelm,
chief of the U.S. Southern Command responsible for Latin America, who
has visited what he calls the hemisphere's "most threatened country"
just about every other month this year.

"Frustration is not a course of action for the military," the veteran
of two Vietnam tours said of the restrictions in an interview, adding
that he believes the Colombian military deserves credit for making
"very significant strides on human rights."

At a U.S. congressional hearing last March, Wilhelm listed the
deficiencies of Colombia's military as primarily in "mobility, direct
attack capabilities, night operations, communications systems,
intelligence systems, the ability to operate in rivers and coastal
regions and the ability to sustain their forces once committed."

With the guerrillas exploiting those weaknesses in one devastating
attack after another, the temptations for U.S. personnel to get more
involved become harder to resist.

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

[End]

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