------------------------------------------------------------------- Investigation finds liquor agency badly understaffed (According to The Associated Press, The Statesman-Journal newspaper in Salem says the Oregon Liquor Control Commission is crippled by inadequate staffing and soft penalties, and unable to monitor thousands of bars and restaurants. The agency is asking the legislature for $1.5 million to hire 14 new inspectors.) Associated Press found at: http://www.oregonlive.com/ feedback (letters to the editor): email@example.com Investigation finds liquor agency badly understaffed The Associated Press 12/7/98 5:21 AM SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, crippled by inadequate staffing and a soft penalties, is unable to monitor thousands of bars and restaurants. Even OLCC officials are frustrated by the lack of regulation of alcohol, the Statesman-Journal newspaper reported. When a man had 10 shots of gin at a bar, got into his car and killed Carl Davis' wife of 27 years, the bar was never punished. Chu's Eatery in Woodburn is still serving liquor after 44 warnings in two years about serving to intoxicated people. Agency chairman Philip D. Lang is so disillusioned he considered quitting. Commissioner Ray Baum said the agency needs a tougher position in its regulation of the 13,000 Oregon establishments that sell alcohol. But low staffing and insignificant penalties prevent it from being an effective watchdog. "We continue putting little fingers in the dikes," he said. Interviews with OLCC commissioners, staff and critics, and a review of OLCC records, revealed these agency shortcomings: -- Businesses that break alcohol laws are poorly monitored and are rarely shut down. -- The agency often gives warnings instead of issuing citations. -- When the OLCC punishes a business for improperly dispensing alcohol, the penalties are light. -- The agency rarely holds a business responsible for serving someone who later is arrested for drunken driving or causes a crash. -- The agency brings in huge revenues by selling the very product it is supposed to control. -- OLCC inspectors are overwhelmed. Each inspector is assigned an average of 508 businesses to oversee. In Washington state, the average is 140. -- OLCC inspectors spend most of their time combating sales of alcohol to minors. The number of liquor sellers across the state has increased by 25 percent since 1990, but staffing hasn't followed suit. The OLCC lost 26 positions in 1993. OLCC administrator Pamela S. Erickson said low staffing forces the 214-employee agency to focus on the biggest problems. "It's just a huge amount of work for a small number of people to do." The agency is asking the legislature for $1.5 million to hire 14 inspectors. While Gov. Kitzhaber's recommended budget for 1999-2001 proposes increasing the agency's budget by 13.5 percent, it only allows for four new positions. "As one of the largest revenue-generating agencies in the state, it's a shame the OLCC has to fight for every dollar it needs," said Commissioner Robert Puentes, a restaurant owner. The OLCC was formed in 1933, four days after the repeal of prohibition. On one hand, it's the state's only seller of hard liquor, netting a profit of $86 million last year. On the other, it enforces Oregon's alcohol laws. And some say the dueling responsibilities are inappropriate. "You've got the weasel guarding the henhouse," said Carl Davis, on the staff of the governor's Advisory Committee on Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. His wife, Charlotte, was killed by a drunken driver five years ago. The agency limits the number of liquor stores to 234. It supplies the alcohol and sets prices. Erickson says that by controlling the availability of hard alcohol and its price, the agency lowers the rate of consumption. "There's a very strong correlation." The OLCC pays agents who run the state's liquor stores 8.5 percent of their sales. Between January 1996 and July 1998, the OLCC canceled or refused to renew the liquor license of only 20 businesses. The staffing problems force the OLCC to rely more heavily on bartenders and owners to enforce liquor laws, said Sharon Daugherty, regional manager of the OLCC's Salem office. "That's the nature of the beast here." In 1997, the agency gave 17,000 verbal instructions. It issued only 1,268 criminal citations and "notice of violation" tickets in the same time span. The agency notifies bars when a customer leaves the business and is in a crash or is arrested for drunken driving. In the last two years, the OLCC learned of more than 2,500 of those cases from local police. Then it tells the bar where the drivers say they got their last drink. After the first two DUII reports of a blood-alcohol level of .15 or higher in a month, the OLCC sends the business a letter. A .15 level is nearly twice the legal limit. When there are five more, the OLCC sends a second letter. Erickson is frustrated because the same businesses continue to show up in the agency's records. Linda Johnson, the agency's regulatory program coordinator, could only remember one case in 12 years in which the agency successfully prosecuted a business for overserving a customer who later caused a traffic death. "We're often outclassed with attorney power," Erickson said. "That's pretty tough on us." Even strong cases don't always hold up. On Aug. 13, 1996, a man walked into a Salem restaurant and asked for a rum and Coke. Drunk, he fumbled with his money, and asked the bartender to take out the amount he owed, according to records. Later, reeling from a near-fatal .34 blood-alcohol level, he walked into traffic and was killed by a car. Though the OLCC cited the restaurant for serving a drunken man, the administrative law judge didn't find that he exhibited signs of intoxication. With limited resources, the OLCC is concentrating on putting a stop to underage drinking. It sends decoys to buy alcohol, and when a teen is successful, the agency issues a citation. Nearly 90 percent of the citations the agency issues are for sales to minors. One in four businesses will sell to minors, a decrease from about one in three when the agency first started the program. Since 1979, the agency has required all alcohol servers to take an education course. And the OLCC requires alcohol businesses maintain liability insurance of at least $300,000. Some other ideas being proposed to the legislature in 1999 by OLCC staff include: -- reducing the number of types of licenses the agency issues from 34 to less than a dozen to reduce paperwork. -- increasing fees for citations and licenses. Most fees haven't gone up since the 1950s. The license fee for package stores has been $50 since 1933. One of the OLCC's main hurdles facing the agency is getting backing from the Legislature. Even the decoy program has caught flak from legislators, who appointed an oversight committee. Lawmakers had received complaints that inspectors were targeting minority-owned and private businesses. Peter Glazer, chairman of the governor's Advisory Committee on DUII, sees that committee as another example of the Legislature failing to support the OLCC. "To have legislators saying the problem is the OLCC is being too aggressive just shows the legislature has it all wrong," Glazer said. (c)1998 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Trend To Be Discerned From The 1998 Elections (Orange County Register columnist Alan W. Bock says the mainstream media have missed most significant political trends until they have already become well-established. Bock suspects the media have also missed the most significant trend to be discerned from the 1998 elections - every single ballot measure that promised some kind of drug policy reform passed by a comfortable margin. He recommends two ballot measures for the next election - one mandating the introduction of federal legislation to reschedule marijuana, and another mandating a challenge to the constitutionality of federal drug laws.) Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 03:08:39 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: Trend To Be Discerned From The 1998 Elections Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: Mon, 7 1998 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Orange County Register Author: Alan W. Bock-Mr. Bock is the Register's senior editorial writer. Note: Mr. Bock is the Register's senior editorial writer Trend to be discerned from the 1998 elections Journalist and author Richard Reeves, when I talked to him in the early 1980s on a book-flogging tour, expressed fascination that the mainstream media - presumably the people closest to important events - during his lifetime had missed most of the significant political trends until they were already well-established - from the beginning of the civil rights movement to the rise of Goldwaterism to opposition to the Vietnam was to the late-1970s tax rebellion. I suspect they have also missed the most significant trend to be discerned from the 1998 elections. Amid fruitless speculation on whether the midterm elections were a referendum on Clinton, a slap to insufficiently conservative and hapless Republicans or a new life for a previously dispirited Democratic Party, the talking heads on election night usually found a stray second or two to note that medical marijuana initiatives had passed in several states. It was generally treated as a mildly amusing resurgence of aging hippiesm, chalked up as an inexplicable anomaly before the experts moved on to more comfortable material like the meager distinctions between the two major parties. Yet the results just might portend a seismic shift in the way American voters think about drug policy. On Election Day 1998 every single ballot measure that promised some kind of reform in our draconian and ineffective drug laws - from limited medical use of marijuana to decriminalization of personal, recreational marijuana use to an end to jail time for simple possession of even "hard" drugs - passed, and passed by comfortable margins. These results came in the face of vehement and scornful opposition from almost every establishment entity imaginable, form the official federal drug warriors (often using tax money to try to influence the elections) to an over-whelming majority of elected officials of both major parties to three former U.S. presidents. Nor was this s "stealth" campaign for a single initiative sneaked onto the ballot in a single state. Voters in places as diverse as Arizona, Oregon and the District of Columbia voted for whatever reform initiative was place before them. In Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, who had made a point of criticizing the ineffectiveness of the drug war without actually calling for legalization, won a stunning victory. In California, Dan Lungren, who had carefully positioned himself as the staunchest of drug warriors, was defeated soundly. None of the members of Congress who had voted against a House resolution (clearly designed to influence voting on medical marijuana initiatives) - declaring that medical marijuana was a dangerous figment of wishful thinking - paid for their audacity at the ballot box. Libertarian Republican Ron Paul of Texas, who has called for a complete end to the drug war, won by a comfortable 55 percent. This election showed that when it comes to the drug war, the American people no longer trust their government or the two major parties. It also displayed a commendable distrust of official "safety" agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (Arizona voters, traditionally among the most conservative in the country, rejected a legislative softening of an initiative they had passed two years before that would have postponed medicalization of marijuana until the FDA approved it). And on a separate initiative, Arizona voters affirmed that they don't want incarceration to be an option for first and second offenses for simple possession of any drug. To be sure, no initiative called for outright legalization off drugs. But the voters, in the face of the usual alarmist rhetoric about how any softening of the drug laws in the name of compassion would lead to chaos (and congressional refusal even to count the votes in Washington, D.C.), voted for every single reform measure. In short, the only clear message to emerge from the 1998 election was one of respect for freedom and personal dignity, of confidence in the judgment of individuals and their doctors over the mandates of the state. All the media missed it. The drug warriors may have gotten part of the message and responded with a stern admonition that the federal drug laws are still in place and the uppity people - states representing 20 percent of the population now have voted for some kind of medical-marijuana initiative - better not get too entranced by subversive ideas about states' rights or individual choice. Accordingly, I have a couple of suggestions for initiatives to be placed on the ballots in other states two years hence, as they certainly will be. Those initiatives should contain two additional provisions: One, the state's congressional delegation should be instructed - not just recommended or any such evasion - to introduce and support a law removing marijuana from Schedule I (reserved by law for drugs with unique dangers of abuse and no known medical value, which means keeping it there is already against federal law) at the federal level so it can be prescribed by doctors. Second, the attorney general of the state in question should be instructed - or commanded, or whatever legal language is most mandatory - to mount a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the federal drug laws. A constitutional amendment was required to prohibit beverage alcohol at the national level because everyone then understood that the national government under the U.S. Constitution didn't have the authority to do it. Why isn't an amendment required to give the national government the power to prohibit certain other drugs? Without such an amendment, where did the feds get the authority? That would certainly make things interesting if, by then, we have survived the Y2K crisis.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Teen Parties Today - "Cigarettes, Beer, Weed" (The San Francisco Examiner asks, what gives with Pleasanton teens and strippers? Are the adolescents all turning into drunken sailors, conventioneers and bachelor-party wannabes? And what goes on at a teen party these days anyway? Teenagers surveyed at Berkeley High and Stone Ridge Mall in Pleasanton said strippers are hardly the usual form of party entertainment. Teenage parties today seem to be just like they were when kids' parents were growing up. Loud music. Beer. Some hard liquor. Some sex. Cigarette smoking. And pot.) Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 20:50:55 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Teen Parties Today: "Cigarettes, Beer, Weed' Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Copyright: 1998 San Francisco Examiner Author: Marianne Costantinou OF THE EXAMINER STAFF Pubdate: 7 Dec 1998 TEEN PARTIES TODAY: "CIGARETTES, BEER, WEED' Teenagers can be a wild and woolly bunch. However, the recent news that a male stripper entertained a Halloween party of Pleasanton high school girls - perhaps at the behest of the 15-year-old host's mother - has created a worldwide media frenzy. As news spread of the stripper party and the less-than-demure behavior of the girls - the stripper is accused of fondling some and even liberating his G-string so that one could allegedly orally copulate him for $20 - word also reached grown-ups that there were at least three other stripper parties hosted by Pleasanton teens in the past year. So, what gives with Pleasanton teens and strippers? Are the adolescents all turning into drunken sailors, conventioneers and bachelor-party wannabes? And what goes on at a teen party these days anyway? Teenagers surveyed at Stone Ridge Mall in Pleasanton said strippers are hardly the usual form of party entertainment. And outside Berkeley High on Friday afternoon, just the mention of strippers provoked groans and eye-rolls. Strippers? How tacky. Whether in the seemingly sheltered suburb of Pleasanton or the hip town of Berkeley, teenage parties of today seem to be just like they were when kids' parents were growing up. Loud music. Beer. Some hard liquor. Some sex. Cigarette smoking. And pot. "Basically, there's cigarettes, beer, weed," said Stefanie Alias, 16, a junior at California High in San Ramon. And just as their parents probably did at their age, most teens almost never confess to their parents what occurs at parties. "Pleasanton parents have no idea what's going on," said an 18-year-old who would give his name only as Chuck. Hoping to avoid a hassle from their parents, most Pleasanton teenagers queried and about 50 percent of their Berkeley counterparts don't even tell their parents that they're going to a party. They lie. They say they're going to a movie. To a friend's house. Bowling. A sleep-over at a pal's. And when they do confess to attending the parties, the details are often far from the truth. They always tell their parents that the host's parents supervised the party - even when, more often than not, the host's parents weren't home. And they almost never 'fess up to anything that will alarm their parents, like drinking. Abercombie, 18, a high school graduate, tells his folks that "hot dogs and potato chips" were served at the party, repeating the menu of his parties of yesteryear, when he was a little kid. But some do tell their parents what's going on. Talk is especially big in Berkeley. Megan Gordon, 17, a Berkeley senior, long ago decided to be up-front with her parents. She said they know that drinking is an inescapable ingredient of parties. They've talked about it, and trust her not to go overboard. Beer is always around at parties, even with kids as young as 13 and 14. "It's not a party without beer," said Hank, 17, a student at Village High in Pleasanton. Beer is usually served in kegs in Pleasanton, in cans and bottles in Berkeley. Sometimes there is hard liquor at parties, too. Jock parties - especially crew parties - are notorious, said Megan. At liquor parties, it's BYOB. Vodka is the drink of choice. A lot of the kids smoke pot at parties, too. In Pleasanton, kids will pass around a bong. In Berkeley, kids smoke joints. Hard drugs are pretty rare at Pleasanton parties. One 18-year-old who went into drug recovery said he was a closet crack user because hard drugs were looked down on at Amador High. Also sure to bring some relief to parents: Although some of the wilder parties have kids disappearing into bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs, drunken sex is not as common as parents might think. Although parents are not usually home when their kid is throwing a party, parents who choose to stay home know enough to stay upstairs, out of sight. These parents are known as the "cool parents." They know what the kids are up to, but don't interfere. Besides, several kids added, even if the parents wanted to stop some activity, by the time they've noticed it, it's too widespread to halt - short of ending the party and humiliating their sons or daughters. Most house parties have 20, 30, 40 kids, even more. "There's not a lot they can do," said Beth Fingerman, 15, a Berkeley freshman. "There's too many kids to stop it." Besides, many parents know their kids are going to drink or smoke pot anyway. At least in a party in their own house, said Chris Splet, 17, a Berkeley senior, they know it won't get too out of hand.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Wiretap Operation Sheds Light On LAPD Tactics (According to The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles prohibition agents were convinced that John Lopez and his small storefront telephone company, Atel Cellular and Paging, were in cahoots with drug dealers, so they wiretapped the customers' and Atel's phones. Starting with just his business lines and a handful of customers, the operation spread like kudzu, eventually covering hundreds of phones and thousands of conversations, becoming the largest wiretap operation in the history of Los Angeles County. When the three-year probe ended in March, police had arrested dozens of Atel's customers, but not Lopez or any of his employees. The Atel taps are at the center of the nine-month controversy over whether prosecutors have been improperly concealing their wiretapping operations and the information derived from it. Also at issue are charges by defense lawyers that the allegations against Atel Cellular are a sham created to win court orders permitting an electronic fishing expedition against their clients.) Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 10:10:11 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Wiretap Operation Sheds Light On LAPD Tactics Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Copyright: 1998 Los Angeles Times. Fax: 213-237-4712 Pubdate: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 Author: STEVE BERRY, Times Staff Writer WIRETAP OPERATION SHEDS LIGHT ON LAPD TACTICS Drugs: Critics say police abused power by targeting phone firm, arresting dozens of clients but no employees. Los Angeles narcotics officers spent a lot of time spying on John Lopez and his small storefront telephone company--Atel Cellular and Paging. Convinced he was in cahoots with drug dealers by selling secure, cop-proof phone service--no questions asked--they staked out his Downey office, tailed his customers and finally wiretapped the customers' and Atel's phones. Starting with just his business lines and a handful of customers, the operation spread like kudzu, eventually covering hundreds of phones and thousands of conversations and becoming the largest wiretap operation in the history of Los Angeles County. When the three-year probe ended in March, police had arrested dozens of Atel's customers, but not Lopez or any of his employees. The Atel taps are at the center of the nine-month legal controversy over whether prosecutors have been improperly concealing their wiretapping operation and the information derived from it. Also at issue are charges by defense lawyers representing Atel customers that the allegations against Atel Cellular are a sham created to win court orders permitting an electronic fishing expedition against their clients. Manager Lopez and Atel's owner, Atil Nath, refused to comment. Their lawyers say the two men are not involved in drugs. "The whole concept [of the police wiretap operation] was preposterous," said Dale Hardeman, a Downey attorney. "How are we supposed to know if customers are involved in criminal activity?" Details of the probe--revealed through interviews, police affidavits, wire monitor logs and volumes of court records--provide a fascinating inside look at how detectives can mold the legal actions of a suspect into criminal scenarios and persuade judges to authorize snooping on people's private conversations. The probe also raises broader questions, such as whether many of the reasons given for tapping Atel could just as easily be applied to other phone companies, and whether wiretaps should be allowed to continue indefinitely, even when police work for months without finding enough evidence to arrest the target. The 4th Amendment protects phone privacy. Need for Probable Cause To tap a phone, prosecutors have to get a court order by showing they have sufficient reason, known as probable cause, to believe the phone subscriber is committing crimes. Even if a subscriber's actions are legal when considered individually, those actions can amount to probable cause when viewed as part of a larger picture. If a tap provides a lead or evidence, prosecutors must reveal the tap and give transcripts to the defendant before trial. Though the Atel investigation established strong suspicion among investigators that Lopez knew he was dealing with drug traffickers, it fell far short of proving it. But police were getting a steady supply of leads against his customers as well as new phone numbers of people they considered suspicious. So they kept going back to court for extensions and new taps. Police referred all questions about the case to prosecutors, who defend the wiretap practice, saying they had sufficient evidence to suspect Lopez of wrongdoing. Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti noted in a prepared statement that the operation had court approval. He said police targeted Atel because they believed most of its business was providing phones to drug dealers without requiring them to provide any personal information. Superior Court Judge John Ouderkirk, who approved most of the orders, said he could not discuss pending cases. Not much is known about Lopez and Nath. Nath lives in a two-story home in a neat, well-kept neighborhood in Downey. Lopez lives in Pico Rivera with his wife, Maria, and their children. Both have said in court papers that they have no criminal record. Their company is one of about three dozen small phone companies in Los Angeles County that resell or sublease service and equipment. Police say the closest they came to showing a direct connection between Lopez and drugs was during a stakeout at his home when they saw a man arrive in a pickup truck registered to a member of what they say is a drug gang. The investigation grew out of, and, in many ways, was modeled after a 1994 wiretap of Downey Communications, another small retailer of phone services. As in the Atel probe, police staked out the business and collected information for wiretap orders. During hours of surveillance, they watched customers arrive and leave. They noticed the types of vehicles they drove. They even took notes on their manner of dress, eventually deciding that silk floral shirts, pressed denim, hand-stitched leather belts and expensive cowboys boots were haute couture on the L.A. drug scene. Police claimed that Downey leased to drug dealers and was "heavily involved in the sale and transportation of narcotics." Officers would later use the same language in Atel affidavits. The Downey wiretaps lasted a year. They ended in drug and cash seizures and 12 indictments, including one against the brother of Downey's owner. But the owners and employees of Downey were not arrested. The owner said in court papers he was never interviewed by police, was not aware of the investigation and has never been charged with a crime. Police used the Downey Communications probe as a springboard to Atel. The connection was tenuous. Downey and Atel customers shared the same taste in cars and fashion. Downey employees were seen paying short visits to Delta Tri-Telesis, a now-defunct cellular phone business owned by Nath and operated by Lopez. So in September 1995, officers turned their binoculars on Atel, which had taken Delta's customers. They often saw customers in cars registered to targets of previous drug probes going to houses once used as drug "stash" sites and employing what police considered "counter-surveillance" driving. Reports on Surveillance Investigators say they saw Lopez use such techniques when they were tailing him in May 1996, shortly before they started tapping his business phones. They said they saw him on the freeway changing lanes erratically and driving "at a high rate of speed in excess of 70 miles per hour," later making a U-turn on Arrington Avenue and lingering too long--three minutes--at an intersection. Police also noted in affidavits that Lopez sold money counters and phone scramblers; that he apparently didn't care if customers gave him fictitious names; that he let customers change numbers quickly and easily. Drug suspects were frequently found with Atel phones. Police saw what they considered suspicious calling patterns--too many calls in a short period of time--among groups of Atel customers. Although such evidence was far from enough to file charges against Lopez and Nath, legal experts say it was sufficient as probable cause for a court order, which was granted in May 1996 for 30 days. After a month of wiretapping, Garcetti's prosecutors--armed with transcripts of tapped phone conversations--were back in court asking for the first extension of the court order and for permission to tap new telephone numbers. From then on, requests for extensions built on previous ones. Police eventually received 19 extensions. Although the taps provided a mother lode of leads against drug dealers, they seldom offered much evidence against Atel. There was one conversation that police described in an affidavit as particularly damning for Lopez. It was on June 25, 1996, from "Oscar," who had been under police surveillance. "Hey John, this number is no good," Oscar tells Lopez. Lopez: Not good? Oscar: They're on me again! Right behind. Lopez: OK, bring it in now! But most of Lopez's conversations in the affidavits simply confirmed what police already knew: that customers dealt directly with Lopez, that Lopez based billing records on phone numbers instead of names and that he handled billing arrangements by phone. In contrast, the conversations among customers were fruitful. Most were cryptic discussions about drug deals, pickup locations, delivery times, police said. According to investigators, they never mentioned drugs, using words such as "ladies," "stuff" or simply a number understood to be an amount of drugs. For example, in June 1996, police overheard this exchange: Receiver: How do they look? Caller: Real good. How many do you have? Receiver: 40 plus 5 out, plus some lying around. Caller: OK. I'll hold whatever else I have. Without interpretation by detectives, there is little indication that that conversation is about drugs. By the time the operation ended in March, police had tapped close to 400 Atel phones. The wiretap controversy erupted that month because San Diego attorney Philip DeMassa and two other lawyers discovered that the case against their clients sprang from information garnered from the Atel taps and handed off to other officers who were not told of the taps so they would not have to reveal them to defense lawyers. Later, Deputy Public Defender Kathy Quant went to court for indigent defendants. Garcetti acknowledged in June that he withheld tap information in 58 cases and he agreed to notify defendants about future taps. Although a judge upheld the wiretap handoff practice last month, with some qualifications, Quant is considering an appeal. Other defense lawyers are challenging whether Garcetti has revealed all tap cases. Whatever the outcome, the probe clearly helped police arrest some of Atel's customers. It netted large amounts of narcotics, about $8 million in drug proceeds and dozens of arrests. Lawyers base their doubts about the investigation of Nath and Lopez partially on the fact that it lasted three years and police never tried to interview them. In fact, DeMassa alleges in court papers that Lopez and Nath are actually police informants or are perhaps cooperating through a grant of immunity from prosecution, an assertion prosecutors call absurd. DeMassa is hoping to show that police misled the courts when they said they were investigating Lopez and Nath. If Nath and Lopez were such an integral part of a gigantic drug trafficking operation, the police should be trying to protect the public from them, he said. "Why isn't anything happening to these guys?" he said. Acts Were Not Illegal, Critics Say None of Atel's acts described in the affidavits was illegal, Quant and other critics say. Well-known phone companies engage in many of the same practices, Quant said. If police use the same standards elsewhere, any companies, especially small retailers, may be vulnerable to taps. Many of the actions cited in Atel affidavits are suspicious only in the eyes of police, Quant said. Money counters are legitimate, and other firms advertise "no eavesdropping" cell phones because legitimate businesses need secure communications, she said. There is nothing suspicious, for example, about high usage of cell phones, particularly among real estate agents, salespeople, even news reporters, Quant said. And other small retailers allow people to change numbers frequently. Regardless of Atel's guilt or innocence, what police did to Atel could be done to any legitimate businesses, she said. Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Schirn dismissed that notion. "That's quite a stretch," he said. "Atel was a facilitator and made it possible for drug dealers to break the law," he said. Yet Schirn acknowledged that he could not point to any conclusive evidence that Nath and Lopez knew that some of their customers were drug dealers. He said he didn't know if police tried to persuade defendants to testify against Nath or Lopez. Even if they did, prosecutors would need more evidence than the tainted testimony of accomplices to make an arrest, he said. As for Atel, Hardeman said his clients had no idea some of their customers were criminals. "This investigation has virtually destroyed them," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Belpre Community Upset By Fatal Raid (A United Press International article in The Columbus Dispatch says a controversy has erupted in southeast Ohio concerning a marijuana raid in which law enforcement officers shot a man eight times. Delbert Bonar's family contends the dead man was unarmed. Sheriff's deputies say the family is lying. They found a small amount of the illegal weed, enough for personal consumption.) Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 21:35:24 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OH: Belpre Community Upset By Fatal Raid Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Mon, 07 Dec 1998 Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dispatch.com/ Copyright: 1998, The Columbus Dispatch Author: UPI BELPRE COMMUNITY UPSET BY FATAL RAID BELPRE, Ohio, Dec. 7 (UPI) - A controversy has erupted in southeast Ohio concerning a marijuana drug raid in which law enforcement officers shot a man eight times. A public hearing was scheduled today in Belpre to allow citizens to question Washington County officials about the death of Delbert Bonar. The victim's family contends Bonar was unarmed when he was shot. Sheriff's deputies say the family is lying and the 57-year-old man had refused to put down an unloaded shotgun during the October incident. Bonar's daughter-in-law, Carolyn Bonar, told the Columbus Dispatch Delbert Bonar was putting down a water bottle and reaching for the telephone when he was shot. Sheriff Robert Schlicher told the newspaper Carolyn Bonar is lying. He said Bonar confronted Sgt. William Wilson and Capt. Chris Forshey and they protected themselves. ``This is something none of us feels good about but there isn't much more you can expect a law enforcement officer to do.'' The deputies had a search warrant when they raided the Bonar home at 9 p.m. Oct. 15. They suspected Bonar's son, Albert, was growing and selling marijuana. They found a small amount of the illegal weed, enough for personal consumption. Albert Bonar has not been charged with a crime.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 Detroit Police Officers Wounded In Ambush (The Chicago Tribune says three cops were wounded early Sunday, two of them critically, while the officers were investigating the kidnapping of a woman and her child, an abduction that appeared to be connected to "drugs.") Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 15:15:48 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MI: 3 Detroit Police Officers Wounded In Ambush Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: 7 Dec 1998 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Section: Sec. 1 Copyright: 1998 Chicago Tribune Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ 3 DETROIT POLICE OFFICERS WOUNDED IN AMBUSH DETROIT, MICHIGAN -- Two men surrendered Sunday for questioning about an ambush on police cars that wounded three officers, two of them critically. An uninjured officer said the gunfire was so heavy that the impact of bullets shook the car he was in. The attack began early Sunday while the officers were investigating the kidnapping of a woman and her child, an abduction that appeared to be connected to drugs, Police Chief Benny Napoleon said. No warrants had been issued for the two men who turned themselves in, and police wouldn't characterize the nature of the questioning. During a chase, two police vehicles were struck by shots fired through a van's rear window by what appeared to be a "high-power, assault-type weapon," Napoleon said. Officer Shawn Bandy, 23, was on life support and in very critical condition. Officer Lloyd Todd underwent surgery and also was in critical condition.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Teen Marijuana Use On Rise In DuPage (The Daily Herald, in Illinois, cites various drug-warrior myths about marijuana while publicizing a two-day anti-marijuana conference this week in DuPage County, sponsored by a Hazelden drug-treatment business that "serves" young adults.) Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 16:35:30 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US IL: Teen Marijuana Use On Rise In DuPage Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: 7 Dec. 1998 Source: Daily Herald (IL) Section: Sec. 1 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dailyherald.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Daily Herald Company Author: KAREN KUTZ TEEN MARIJUANA USE ON RISE IN DUPAGE Pot smoking is on the rise in DuPage County, especially among teenagers. "Marijuana is coming back and becoming more popular," said Terry Lemming, deputy director of DuMeg, the county agency that investigates drug crimes. "But it's much more dangerous because it's more potent." In fact, marijuana is 15 times stronger than the drug people used 30 years ago. And children are using it at younger ages. "From what I see, more kids in early high school and grade school are starting to use the drug," Lemming said. National statistics are so alarming that Hazelden Chicago, a drug treatment center in Lombard, will sponsor a two-day conference this week at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. "In the neighborhood of 17 to 20 percent of eighth-graders are using on a regular basis," said Peter Palanca, executive director of Hazelden. He said a 1997 study reported drug usage jumped to 35 percent for 10th-graders and 38 to 45 percent for 12th-graders. Children are starting drug use as early as age 10, he said. Hazelden Chicago, which serves young adults, is bringing in Susan Dalterio, a professor at the University of Texas, San Antonio, to talk about "Marijuana: The '60s and the '90s - What Every Family Should Know," at 7 p.m. Tuesday at COD's student resource center. About 200 professionals will hear the same talk Wednesday. "Clearly, there is a very strong interest in the topic," Palanca said, because addiction to the drug is surfacing more often in the suburbs. "It's manifesting itself in spades among children." Part of the problem, he said, is a lax attitude toward the drug. "Parents who were abusers of alcohol or used pot often times perceive it as a phase their son or daughter will grow out of," he said. "They are not going to grow out of it without some intervention." Since marijuana is so potent, it is more debilitating. Also, if it's taken with Ritalin, the effect is even more powerful, Palanca said. "Studies have proven it has a long-term effect on memory," said DuMeg's Lemming. The drug also can hinder normal development, he said. Recently, DuMeg has seen a resurgence of other drugs such as LSD and the appearance of GHB, the date rape drug, he said. DuMeg's crime lab analyzed 88,302 grams of cannabis last year, said Carina Campo, forensic chemist supervisor. About 1,110 grams of GHB have been analyzed in 1998. Only four grams of the substance were found last year. The weights show the drugs are "out there," and supplies may be up due to increased demand, she said. What's more alarming to Campo is the resurgence of "window pane" LSD, which now comes on plastic instead of paper squares. Palanca said parents and teachers need to take a firm "no use" stance with children when it comes to tobacco, marijuana and alcohol - "gateway" drugs to the harder controlled substances. Children most at risk of using drugs are those who have a parent with an addiction, he said. Other risk factors include social isolation, peer pressure, too much television, too much time home alone and stress.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Calculated Abuses - Win At All Costs series (The eighth 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. Federal prosecutors frequently rely on promises of leniency when they use criminals to snare other criminals, but the government's word isn't necessarily its bond. Deceived into thinking her brother was dying, Mary Ann Rounsavall testified against him, resulting in James Rounsavall being sentenced to life in prison. In return, Mary Ann Rounsavall had been promised about eight years. But the prosecutors in her case reneged on their pledge. They made no request that her sentence be reduced based on her cooperation, and the judge had no choice under federal mandatory sentencing guidelines but to give her a 20-year sentence based on her own confession.) Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 17:45:25 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Calculated Abuses - Win At All Costs series Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.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: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/ Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer Note: This is the eighth of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of five items (posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade, Toledo, OH email: firstname.lastname@example.org CALCULATED ABUSES With Their Backs Against The Wall, Prosecutors Bring Out Their Dirtiest Tricks Federal prosecutors frequently rely on promises of leniency when they use criminals to snare other criminals, but the government's word isn't necessarily its bond. In 1990, Mary Ann Rounsavall pleaded guilty to helping her brother deal drugs and was sentenced to five years in prison. Then in 1994, as she awaited her release from prison, prosecutors brought new charges against her in connection with the same drug ring that the government said her brother James was still operating. She and her brother were charged with bringing millions of dollars worth of drugs from Southern California to Nebraska and laundering the proceeds of the drug sales. She was even accused of selling drugs over the telephone while she was locked up. But the government's case was thin. A judge declared two mistrials based on prejudicial testimony by government witnesses. So prosecutors pressed Mary Ann Rounsavall to snitch on her brother in exchange for a lenient sentence for herself. She refused. Prosecutors told her they might go after other members of her family unless she testified. She still refused. Then they arranged for her to see her brother, who had been taken from the prison where they both were being held and placed in a hospital intensive care unit, suffering from viral pneumonia and a recurrence of his rheumatoid arthritis. They told her he did not have long to live, and his grave condition at the hospital gave credence to their claims. Mary Ann Rounsavall talked to her mother, Gladys Rounsavall. She told Mary Ann it would be best to testify against James. If he was dying, then Gladys would at least know her daughter wouldn't risk a long prison term. So Mary Ann Rounsavall testified. Her statements sent James Rounsavall to prison for life. In return, Mary Ann Rounsavall had been promised about eight years. But the prosecutors in her case reneged on their pledge. They made no request that her sentence be reduced based on her cooperation, and the judge had no choice under federal mandatory sentencing guidelines but to give her a 20-year sentence based on her own confession. U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf, a hard-liner in drug cases, denounced the prosecutor for failing to live up to his promise. He called the action "horribly wrong." Mary Ann Rounsavall also learned that her brother was healthy -- he isn't dying at all. She was tricked. Disregarding Ethics The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's two-year investigation found hundreds of cases in which federal agents and prosecutors violated rules and laws to make cases. Some incidents went beyond treading across the line of ethical or legal guidelines. These cases involved actions where the abuse of power was cynically calculated to inflict harm well beyond the limits of the law. Marvin Miller, ethics committee chairman for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, admits he is a harsh critic of federal prosecutors and their actions.He said there is no question prosecutors over the past decade have increasingly subscribed to an anything-goes mentality, often pushing the limits of the law to the point that their conduct becomes unethical. "These guys are unconcerned about misconduct," he said. Thomas Dillard, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida and currently a criminal defense lawyer in Knoxville, Tenn., said prosecutors have free rein in such matters because the power judges once wielded to mitigate their conduct has been taken away. "They don't have any authority in the charging, they have no authority in the sentencing," Dillard said. They have really no way of checks and balances like there used to be. "We've slowly conceded any oversight of federal prosecutions. There is nobody who is in charge that has any oversight. It's been slow in coming and gradual in its appearance, but by golly, it's here now." Arnold I. Burns, deputy attorney general under President Reagan, said the problem is not with the majority of federal prosecutors, but with an overzealous fringe element. "Every so often, 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, particularly with the sentencing guidelines," he said. "With them, the prosecutor has more and more power. In fact, he has all the power." Piling It On Another variation of sentencing misconduct is called sentencing entrapment - one of the most insidious forms of misconduct found in this investigation. Sentencing guidelines approved by Congress in 1987 require a specific penalty for every federal crime. Judges can't consider most extenuating circumstances -- a provision set up so defense attorneys can't shop for lenient judges. A person's sentence -- and prison time -- is determined by the charge brought by agents and prosecutors. They can easily manipulate those charges, especially in drug cases, where the amount of illegal substances sold is translated into the amount of prison time a convict faces. For example, in 1992, Lorenzo Naranjo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for buying 5 kilograms of cocaine from a government informant in the San Francisco Bay area. The informant had pressured Naranjo for months about a drug deal and was turned down. Naranjo finally agreed to buy some cocaine, but not nearly enough to suit DEA agents, who told their informant to badger Naranjo to buy more, according to an opinion rendered by the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals. The informant finally succeeded, effectively doubling Naranjo's prison sentence. Martin Parrilla of Butte, Mont., was also a small-time dealer who agreed to sell a government informant less than $200 worth of cocaine in 1996. Agents for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms told the informant to set up another deal and offer Parrilla a handgun in exchange for cocaine. That would also hook him on a federal firearms charge. Parrilla agreed to the deal, and was arrested on both federal drug and firearms charges. He agreed to plead guilty after federal agents dropped the firearms charge. But his pre-sentence report showed a gun was involved in the deal, even though Parrilla argued it was the result of entrapment. A judge said his hands were tied and doubled Parrilla's sentence, as required by federal guidelines. Both Naranjo and Parrilla were lucky. Appeals courts agreed they'd been entrapped, and cut their sentences. That doesn't always happen. In 1992, John Behler, a 49-year-old Vietnam veteran who lived in Dunbar, Neb., was sentenced to 19 years in federal prison for supervising a drug conspiracy in which he was the only person to go to prison. He'd never been charged with a crime before. According to the government, for three years Behler had traveled to Colorado, where he bought methamphetamine, which he then brought back to Nebraska and sold. Behler admitted frequently buying the drug in Colorado. But he said he used it himself. And 400 taped conversations made by federal agents on Behler's phone disclosed only one instance where he sold the drug, providing a small amount to a friend of his wife. When Behler was arrested, he was carrying less than one-half of a gram of methamphetamine. Based on that amount alone, Behler would have faced only minor drug charges. But federal prosecutors found two former girlfriends to testify against him. One had been arrested on drug charges herself, and received leniency for testifying against Behler, though she denied any such deal in court. Prosecutors are supposed to correct such lies, but did not in this case. The other girlfriend said she testified because he repeatedly threatened her. Both said he'd sold the drugs he'd bought in Colorado. Agents found no drugs in his house when he was arrested, only $200 in cash, and no other assets to suggest he was a drug kingpin. Yet the testimony of his two former girlfriends prevailed. But prosecutors had only gotten started. The government arbitrarily decided Behler had transported one ounce of methamphetamine on every trip he made to Colorado -- 14 ounces total. Under the sentencing enhancement provisions of mandatory federal sentencing guidelines, that ensured Behler a sentence of at least 10 years. Prosecutors then used the wrong guidelines to add four more years based on the drug's purity -- a mistake the judge in the case failed to catch. Behler didn't have a gun when he was arrested, but his former girlfriends testified that he used to carry one. So prosecutors added a weapons possession charge, which added another five years to his sentence. Then they added more time for intimidating a witness, even though the testimony of the witness who claimed intimidation had been impeached in court. Had Behler faced state charges, he might have gotten probation. Had he been sentenced for bringing in 14 ounces of methamphetamine, he would have gotten five years in prison. But because of the manipulation of mandatory sentencing guidelines by prosecutors, he ended up being sentenced to 19 years as a drug supervisor. An appeal he filed in prison had some success -- a judge agreed to cut 7 1/2 years from his sentence based on the government's arbitrary determination of the purity of the drugs he'd purchased. He has filed other appeals on what he considers other sentencing guideline errors, as well as discovery violations and perjury. Behler worked as a welder and a bouncer before he was arrested. He admitted he used lots of drugs. But by no stretch of the imagination could he have been considered the kingpin of a drug conspiracy. If there were a drug conspiracy, he said, "wouldn't it look good if you had two people in jail, instead of one guy getting 19 years?" Helping Him 'Jump' In the fifth part of this series, the Post-Gazette reported on a scam by prisoners called "jumping on the bus," in which inmates buy inside information about a crime they had no part in, often purchasing it from government informants. They memorize it and offer to testify against people charged with the crime. In return, prosecutors promise to cut their sentences. John Pree's ticket to freedom went beyond that. He said federal agents approached him and asked him to lie to help win indictments against more than a dozen reputed Detroit-area gangsters. The agents promised to provide the information he'd need. Federal agents had long sought to put Vito Giacalone, boss of the Detroit organized crime family, and several of his accomplices behind bars. Pree was a long-time criminal facing a life sentence after being arrested following his armed robbery of a home in 1992. Federal agents told him they could make that sentence disappear. In court filings, here's how Pree described the deal: Federal agents provided him information about a number of crimes, including the torture and murder of Detroit gangster Peter Cavataio. Pree would plead guilty to these crimes, testifying that he'd been acting on the orders of Giacalone and his associates, who would face life sentences. In exchange, the life sentence Pree was facing for the armed robbery and being a career offender would be dropped, he'd be sentenced to 20 years for the murder he didn't commit, then federal agents would quietly arrange for that 20-year sentence to be reduced to less than a decade behind bars. Pree said they also promised him a new identity and cash to begin his life anew. Pree said he agreed to the deal, even though he'd never met Giacalone. "[Federal agents] would bring me police reports to read, photographs, then their rendition of things that happened," he said in a recent telephone interview. Pree told the fabricated testimony of the Cavataio murder to a grand jury, and more. Yes, he'd burned down Giacalone's girlfriend's house in suburban Detroit so Giacalone could collect the insurance, he told the grand jurors. There were mob-ordered fire bombings, hidden business interests in brothels, intimidation of witnesses, political corruption and more, Pree testified. There were a few hitches. He testified that he'd murdered the gangster in 1986, when the killing actually occurred in 1985. And he failed when asked to pick his victim out of a photo lineup. "That's because I didn't know him," Pree said from prison. Pree said he repeatedly failed a polygraph test before testifying. Nonetheless, Pree's grand jury testimony in March 1997 helped indict 17 suspected mobsters in the federal government's largest crackdown of organized crime figures in Michigan. Agents placed Pree in the federal witness protection program and sent him to a prison in Minnesota to await his call to testify at the trials of Giacalone and others. Pree said he soon began to get nervous about the deal. There was no word on the promise to cut his prison time. Several of the men he'd testified against had agreed to plea bargains, so his testimony wouldn't be needed at trial. And if the federal prosecutors didn't fulfill their part of the deal, he feared he might be sentenced to life in prison for a murder he didn't commit. And aside from that, he had found some things in his armed robbery conviction that he believed might help him get the verdict reversed on appeal. His misgivings intensified after federal agents stopped responding to his calls and letters. So in 1997, he withdrew his guilty plea in the murder. He told the court he'd lied in linking crimes to Giacalone and underlings. He said his FBI contacts had cautioned him to keep that information to himself. Even though he still faced life in prison on the home invasion charge, Pree said in an interview that the charade had worn on him. "I'm not going to lie for these guys [federal agents] anymore." Without Pree's testimony, two suspects he'd implicated were acquitted, while others were convicted after prosecutors were able to convince another gangster to become a government witness. Giacalone, who was facing life in prison based on Pree's statements, agreed to a 6 1/2-year sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to one charge of conspiracy. As for Pree, he has appealed his conviction on the armed robbery charge. And after withdrawing his guilty plea in Cavataio's slaying, federal prosecutors quietly dropped murder charges against him. Keith Corbett, chief of the organized crime and racketeering section for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Michigan, characterized Pree as an admitted perjurer and said the government has contested each issue Pree has broached. As for his planned testimony, Corbett said, "We would not have attempted to use Mr. Pree as a witness unless we believed what he was telling us." Corbett said all of the matters regarding Pree are still under review. Pree has been removed from the witness program and is now imprisoned in Michigan. Jury Disregarded Sometimes prosecutors won't take no for an answer. Even when the no comes from a jury. Federal agents in South Florida said Sal Magluta was the largest cocaine supplier they'd ever caught when they heralded his arrest and that of his partner, Willy Falcon, in 1991. They were in prison for 52 months before their trial finally got under way. In February 1996, Magluta and Falcon were acquitted on all counts. Defense attorneys were able to show that virtually every witness called to testify against them was lying or had been given freedom in exchange for their testimony. Jurors said afterward the testimony was not believable. Prosecutors weren't ready to give up, though. Only a few days after his acquittal, they released information to the media showing Magluta and Falcon had attempted to negotiate a plea agreement in which they would plead guilty and turn over to the U.S. government vast quantities of cash, real property and cocaine in exchange for a lesser sentence. Such negotiations are supposed to be confidential. Then, only three weeks later, the government indicted Magluta with yet another crime -- perjury -- based on a statement he had made before he was indicted on the drug charges. Magluta's attorneys were outraged. Their client had been acquitted and now federal prosecutors were trying to find another way to put him in prison. "The best evidence of actual prosecutorial vindictiveness is the release of information about the negotiations for a plea agreement in direct contravention to (federal court rules and their) requirement of confidentiality," wrote attorney Roy Black. "The only purpose for disclosing this information was to prejudice Magluta in the eyes of the public. The disclosure would stand as justification for the government continuing to seek indictments against him." Among the points made in their appeal: The 52 months Magluta had been imprisoned awaiting his first trial would cover any penalty that might be imposed on the perjury charges, which stemmed from statements he'd supposedly made 6 1/2 years earlier. Magluta's attorneys also argued the government was simply trying to re-try a case it had lost. Magluta remains in prison, awaiting action from an appeals court. It has been almost seven years since his initial arrest. He has yet to be convicted of even one crime. Last summer, his problems got worse. The foreman of the jury that found Magluta not guilty was charged with accepting a $500,000 bribe to fix the case. That case is still pending. Bowing To Pressure Mary Ann Rounsavall has filed an appeal seeking a reduced sentence based on the government's promises to her. In addition to accusing the government of breaking its promise, the appeal also says some of the testimony she gave in her brother's case was provided by federal agents. During a telephone interview, she described how she finally relented to government pressure and agreed to testify against her brother. She remembers the fateful meeting with Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Gillen after weeks of negotiations about whether she would tell on her brother. Gillen didn't respond to a Post-Gazette request for comment. "I said, 'If I sign this plea agreement, how much time am I going to do?' Bruce Gillen told me seven to 10 years. At the time, I was so upset with everything that I just said yes," she said. At a hearing in October, the government argued she had not fully cooperated in return for leniency, an argument her sentencing judge had earlier rejected. During the course of her research into the appeal, Rounsavall said she found another case where the same U.S. Attorney's office did not fulfill promises it made on a deal. In that case, Roderick Pipes and LaSalle N. Waldrip, two Nebraska men caught in a cocaine case, had cooperated with the government. In September 1997, the 8th U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the sentences they received after the government refused to give them reduced prison time. In that case, Nebraska agents said the two men had been forthright in their assistance, while agents in Oklahoma said they had not. The re-sentencing of the two men has not been resolved. As for Rounsavall, on Friday a judge granted her motion to compel the government to abide by its agreement. She will be resentenced Jan. 6.
------------------------------------------------------------------- German Criminal Finds A Lucrative Life As Federal Informant (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continues its 10-part series about its two-year investigation showing that federal agents and prosecutors routinely break the law. When Helmut Groebe, a German citizen, offered his services as an informant to the US government in 1989, he was wanted in four countries for crimes ranging from fraud to drug smuggling to arranging a South American jail break. The DEA signed him up. Despite a criminal history that would bar his legal immigration, the DEA offered him permanent residency in the United States, turned him loose with little supervision, promised to pay him more than $600,000, then ensured that charges against the people he entrapped would stick by unlawfully withholding from defense attorneys information about Groebe's criminal background and government payoffs.) Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 18:14:30 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: German Criminal Finds A Lucrative Life As Federal Informant Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.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: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/ Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer Note: This is the eighth of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of five items (posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade, Toledo, OH email: firstname.lastname@example.org GERMAN CRIMINAL FINDS A LUCRATIVE LIFE AS FEDERAL INFORMANT Helmut Groebe's History Of Fraud Ignored As He Traps People For Cash Helmut Groebe destroyed the people he professed to love. He defrauded one young woman he took as his wife after a whirlwind romance. At least three other times he convinced women that his love was genuine before draining their bank accounts. He lured one of them into a money-laundering sting that sent her to prison for 38 months. The U.S. government paid him for that service. Groebe even set up his daughter and her husband in a new business, then arranged to steal their company's assets, leaving them at the mercy of creditors. When Groebe -- a German citizen -- offered his services to the U.S. government in 1989, he was wanted in four countries for crimes ranging from fraud to drug smuggling to arranging a South American jail break. It was apparent this good-looking former professional bicyclist could talk just about anyone into doing just about anything. Groebe told federal agents he'd been an undercover informant in Germany for years and could help the government catch major drug traffickers and money launderers. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration signed him up. But it soon became apparent Groebe didn't care if the people he went after were major criminals, or even criminals at all. The U.S. agents he worked for didn't seem to care, either. Abusing The System Federal agents must sometimes use criminals to help trap other criminals. But consider their offer to Groebe: Despite a criminal history that would bar his legal immigration, they offered him permanent residency in the United States, turned him loose with little supervision, promised to pay him more than $600,000, then ensured that charges against the people he entrapped would stick by unlawfully withholding from defense attorneys information about Groebe's criminal background and government payoffs. "Do you have to put yourself in league with the devil for some higher good?" asked Mike Levine, who served as an agent and supervisor with the DEA for 25 years and now lives in upstate New York. "I think the net balance is we lose." Levine knows the pain of drugs. His brother committed suicide after suffering from heroin addiction for 25 years. His son, a highly decorated New York City police officer, was killed by crack addicts during a holdup. But agents who come to believe the end justifies the means -- who believe they are entitled to do whatever it takes to remove criminals from the streets -- simply succeed in perverting the system they are sworn to uphold, he said. Gary McDaniel, a private investigator in West Palm Beach, Fla., knew he'd stumbled onto something terribly wrong when an imprisoned client asked him to see what he could find out about Groebe. Tracking down Groebe's tangled criminal past required four years and trips to several countries. McDaniel offered to share his findings with the government. He met once with a federal agent, then got no further response to several letters and sworn statements he provided. "That is the most frightening thing about all of this," McDaniel said. "Not only are (federal law enforcement officers) doing nothing with the offers I've made concerning this evidence, but they have yet to disclose specific information to the defendants" that Groebe helped snare and put in prison. A Veteran Criminal According to court records, Groebe's career as a criminal began in 1968, when as a 23-year-old he was implicated in his father's escape from a West German jail. Groebe, now 53, was already well known as a professional cyclist in his native country. Soon his name began turning up in police and court documents. His first fraud involved an advertising company he'd started that won a contract to print flyers for the German government. Rather than distribute them, he sold them for recycling and kept the money. After that, he talked a wealthy German widow to whom he'd proposed marriage, and a doctor he'd known for years, into investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in an athletic center that they later learned he didn't own. Some of his crimes resulted in brief prison stints. But he usually was released early because, according to court documents, he'd become a paid informant for the BKA, West Germany's equivalent of the FBI. Once, he even escaped from prison. In 1984, Groebe slipped out of West Germany to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, but he would fly between South America and Europe and occasionally the United States up to six times a year. It was in Brazil that he set up a scam on his 20-year-old daughter, whom he hadn't seen in 18 years. He invited her and her new husband to come to Brazil for their honeymoon. Groebe had learned his new son-in-law was an accountant with wealthy clients who had money to invest. Groebe suggested a business deal to the newlyweds. They would buy dental supplies from Germany, then export them to a Brazilian firm in which Groebe was a partner. They liked the idea, borrowed more than $100,000 from one of the son-in-law's clients and, in August 1988, had the products shipped to Brazil. Groebe claimed nothing ever arrived. His daughter eventually filed theft charges against him in Germany and learned that the investor who had loaned money for the venture had been contacted by Groebe, who offered to pay off the loan in illegal drugs. The investor refused. Groebe's daughter and son-in-law lost everything and soon were divorced. The criminal complaint and arrest warrant were allowed to lapse. Sign Him Up Despite the outstanding warrants against him, Groebe returned to Germany frequently in 1989 without ever being arrested. During that period, private investigator McDaniel learned later, Groebe went to work as an undercover operative for the U.S. government, first in Hawaii, then with the DEA in South America. Groebe and Lee Lucas, a then-23-year-old special agent with the DEA, traveled to Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Bolivia in their attempts to make cases against drug traffickers. This new association didn't deter Groebe's career in crime. In 1990, he was accused of swindling the wife of a bank robber. Hermann Sterr was a fellow German on the run in Brazil who faced charges back home of hiding more than $400,000 he'd stolen from banks in Germany and Austria. Groebe immediately contacted German undercover officers so he'd get credit for Sterr's arrest. Then he sold Sterr a false passport and helped him escape to Peru -- knowing he'd be captured at the border. That's exactly what happened. Groebe then told Sterr's wife that for $20,000, he could arrange for Sterr's escape from a Peruvian jail. She made the payment. Groebe then bribed a Peruvian police officer, who allowed Sterr to slip away in a waiting car. Last year, a woman who had also helped arrange Sterr's breakout reported to Peruvian officials that she was abducted, beaten and threatened with death if she did not keep quiet about the entire episode. Peruvian police eventually arrested three men outside her home, according to reports secured by McDaniel. The police reports said the men -- all equipped with high-powered weapons -- said they were working for Groebe. That case has yet to be resolved. After several months on the run, Sterr was finally nabbed by German officials. He blamed his capture on Groebe. Later in 1990, Groebe moved to South Florida, purchased a house, and soon opened a Bavarian-styled beer garden in Miami Beach, while continuing his undercover work for the DEA. To help, Groebe outfitted one table at the strip plaza restaurant with electronic surveillance equipment so that Groebe could record everything anyone said. Faustino Rico Toro Helmut Groebe provided information that led to the arrest and conviction of Bolivian official Faustino Rico Toro, above. He hired a private investigator to look into Groebe's background, a probe that revealed a long criminal history. The information helped Rico Toro win his freedom from prison. Groebe had promised federal agents early on that he could deliver Faustino Rico Toro, a Bolivian government official in charge of leading that country's anti-drug efforts. In 1991, it looked as though he'd succeeded. Rico Toro was leaving an afternoon mass at his church when Bolivian police arrested him on an extradition request from the United States. It accused him of being involved in a major cocaine trafficking ring. Rico Toro had long been a controversial figure in the Bolivian military, accused by opponents of everything from human rights violations to aiding drug smugglers. When he agreed in 1989 to lead his country's battle against drugs, he knew more accusations would fly and that he'd face pressure from the United States. The Bolivian government initially refused to extradite him, but seven months later, Rico Toro voluntarily agreed to travel to the United States to face charges that he was sure would be dropped when the facts became clear. At the Federal Detention Center in Miami, Rico Toro's attorneys told him that federal prosecutors had linked him to drug deals on more than 500 audio tapes and 14 videotapes. His chief accuser, Rico Toro learned, was a man he'd never met. His name was Groebe. In addition, federal prosecutors claimed four co-conspirators were prepared to testify about Rico Toro's role as a protector of drug kingpins. Rico Toro was baffled as to how he could be implicated on tapes for crimes he knew he did not commit. And he wondered where the government had come up with the witnesses. There was, in fact, no physical evidence of drugs. Rico Toro had never been caught with drugs, nor were any seized when Bolivian officials conducted raids on his home. They found no hidden assets that might point to profits he'd earned as a drug kingpin. The costs of fighting the case, in fact, would eventually leave him broke. Rico Toro demanded an investigation in his native Bolivia and wanted a quick trial in this country. But it would be several years before his trial was finally scheduled, and by then the case had grown more and more curious. Rico Toro had hired McDaniel, who learned Groebe had promised each of the four co-conspirators $20,000 if they would connect Rico Toro to drug couriers. During the discovery process, McDaniel examined the hundreds of tapes the government said would implicate Rico Toro and found Rico Toro was in none of them. Groebe would later say in statements to the DEA that he met with Rico Toro, but did not wear a recording device because he feared for his safety if he did. Then, as the trial drew near, the four co-conspirators signed sworn affidavits saying they refused to cave into pressure from American agents to implicate Rico Toro in drug trafficking. Through McDaniel, Rico Toro learned that Groebe had been paid a total of more than $400,000 by the U.S. government (that amount would eventually exceed $600,000, including expenses) to help it make cases. McDaniel also learned that the federal government had been contacted by one of Groebe's jilted lovers, who said Groebe had been committing crimes at the same time he was working for German and American law enforcement agencies. U.S. prosecutors never produced any of that information about its prized informer for defense lawyers, which is required under federal discovery laws. But when defense attorneys began revealing their knowledge of Groebe and his tactics, prosecutors began talking about a plea bargain. Although Rico Toro faced several life sentences on the charges the government had brought, prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to a minor drug charge and sentenced him to a few additional months of jail time. Rico Toro said he accepted the deal not because he was guilty, but because he did not want to risk fighting the charges in a system of justice he could not trust. Politicians in his own country, who had often chastised him in the past, had also cleared him of wrong-doing. A report by the Bolivian Commission for Constitution, Justice and Judicial Police in October 1991 found "there is no evidence for the guilt of Faustino Rico Toro." After nearly five years in prison, Rico Toro flew home on Nov. 26, 1996. Elena Abuawad Elena Abuawad, a pharmacist, lived in Brazil with Groebe in 1989 and was unaware her lover was an informant for the DEA. Abuawad was a widow who confessed to becoming infatuated with the tall, sweet-talking German. She loaned him more than $60,000 for what she thought were business deals. She became worried about her money when she learned Groebe was seeing another woman, but her concerns eased when Groebe proposed marriage. Abuawad had been trying to sell a condominium she owned in Rio and Groebe told her he'd found an Italian buyer. The commission he'd earn on the sale, he told her, would be enough to help him pay back the money he owed her. The deal would close in Miami, and prior to the sale, Groebe cautioned Abuawad to go along with the buyer's request that the deal be in cash and that the details of the transaction be kept secret. Groebe was an international businessman, so Abuawad was used to his occasional intrigues. She had suspected some of his deals involved drugs. But he had never put her at risk, and she said later she could not believe he ever would. There was no real buyer, however. The man she met was DEA Special Agent Lucas, working undercover. Other undercover agents were also present. Lucas mentioned the cash he was using came from illegal drug deals and asked Abuawad specific questions about laundering money. Her answers, she later said, came from the schooling she'd received from Groebe on the way to the closing. As they left the meeting with cash in hand, Abuawad complained to Groebe that he had never told her the buyer was a drug dealer. Moments later, she was arrested and charged with money laundering. Because she'd made up a story during the deal about how her son might be able to help her in the endeavor, DEA agents also threatened to indict him, Abuawad said, unless she pleaded guilty. So she got 38 months in prison. She never saw Groebe again. Abuawad had no criminal record. No drug smugglers or gangsters had tried to launder the money. The only participants in this sting were federal agents. And they were prodded into the deal by an informant who'd set up his fiance. In fact, by then he'd found a new lover. Wolfgang von Schlieffen Wolfgang von Schlieffen came to America in 1990 with money to invest. He did well. He leveraged his loan from a German bank into real estate, construction, property management and import/export businesses in the Miami area -- and enjoyed the fruits of his labor. He owned a yacht and several expensive cars, including a Rolls Royce. "Everything I touched turned to gold," he said during an interview at a federal prison in Seagoville, Texas, last January. "It was a challenge to me. I wanted to accomplish the American Dream. I was so close." Von Schlieffen, a divorced father of four, had never had been arrested. Then, on April 5, 1993, he met Groebe. They hit it off immediately -- both came from the same hometown in Germany. They knew some of the same people. They shared an interest in new enterprises. Soon, they were talking about condominiums and von Schlieffen's cars -- a couple of which he wanted to sell. A few days later, Groebe told von Schlieffen he knew someone who might be interested in buying both the cars and condominiums. They agreed to meet and show the cars to the prospective buyers. "He was absolutely convincing, everything he said was precise. He was definitely a professional liar," von Schlieffen said in a recent interview. "I totally trusted him." They set the meeting with the prospective buyers for April 8, 1993, in a room at a travel agency. Both the buyers were, in fact, federal undercover agents. One was Lucas, the DEA agent who'd been working with Groebe for several years. Von Schlieffen told them the cars were in mint condition and began explaining the improvements he'd made during the year he'd owned them, according to a transcript of the conversation, which federal agents taped. The buyers listened, but kept turning the conversation to drugs -- they were dealers, they said, and that was where the money was coming from. They even flashed a little package at von Schlieffen that contained what he believed to be cocaine. "I [thought], 'Why am I here, where did he bring me?' I figured I'm in a drug dealer nest," von Schlieffen said. The transcript of recordings made at the meeting shows he tried to steer the conversation away from drugs or drug money and to his investment opportunities and the cars. It also shows von Schlieffen struggling with his English, a language he had not yet mastered. "I told them I have no sources for this [cocaine], I can't get involved in this, but I have excellent business deals for you," he said. The transcript confirms his statements. But they also confirm he told the buyers that if the price were right, he didn't care where the money came from. The two buyers threw $10,000 on the table as a downpayment on the auto purchases. He picked it up and at their request counted it. Moments later, agents with guns rushed in and arrested him. He can be heard on the tape protesting that what they were doing was wrong -- this was a car deal. "I said it was all a misunderstanding," von Schlieffen recalled. But knowingly accepting money from drug dealers for the car resulted in money-laundering conspiracy charges against von Schlieffen. While von Schlieffen was out on bail, his attorneys asked federal prosecutors for all discovery materials -- any evidence that might show their client's innocence or discredit witnesses who testified against him. The government told defense attorneys Groebe had been convicted of fraud in Germany in 1977, and that they knew of no other crimes on his record -- the same thing they told defense attorneys in the cases of Abuawad, Rico Toro and several other individuals Groebe would implicate in crimes. They described Groebe as an efficient, high-level government informant. Groebe testified in the von Schlieffen case that he would be paid for his work, but he only listed specific payments that never surpassed $150,000. He didn't mention that the government had promised him more than $500,000 for his various entrapment efforts. Groebe was smooth on the stand. He placed von Schlieffen into a calculated conspiracy to engage in cocaine trafficking. Based mostly on his testimony, von Schlieffen was convicted in a four-day trial in February 1994 and sentenced to 8 years in prison. Gathering Evidence Rico Toro was the first to hire McDaniel to learn more about Groebe. Then von Schlieffen and Abuawad heard about his investigation of Groebe, although Abuawad had almost completed her prison time by the time McDaniel visited her. The information gathered by McDaniel, with the help of a London investigator named Jackie Williams, helped win Rico Toro his freedom and may soon free von Schlieffen. McDaniel amassed more than 3,000 pages of documents about Groebe, detailing his criminal past and government payoffs, facts that were hidden from defense attorneys. The judge who sentenced von Schlieffen reviewed the affidavits provided by McDaniel and reversed von Schlieffen's conviction, sending it back to the government to decide whether to schedule a new trial. Von Schlieffen waits in a Texas prison cell for an answer to his lawyer's latest petition requesting that he be released on bond. Abuawad was released from prison in 1996 and returned to South America. Before she left the United States, she gave McDaniel permission to release a tape recorded interview that followed her release. "I was in love," she said. "I wanted to get married, and I wanted to have a home again. If he asked me to do something, I was going to do it because I didn't want to lose him." After her first lawyer died of a drug overdose, she hired Julio Ferrer. After learning the truth about Groebe, he lashed out at the government in an appeal his client later withdrew when she ran out of money. "It is difficult to imagine misconduct more egregious, more immoral, more unfair or more improper than that of the government using and paying an informant to falsely profess his love to a woman with no prior criminal record, to violate her person by making love to her ... under the pretense that he has romantic feelings for her, all for the purpose of inducing her to become involved in a criminal offense by playing on and with her emotions and taking advantage of her psychological vulnerability." The government's response: Abuawad was guilty and all of her arguments were self-serving. The government would not comment about its relationship with Groebe. Last January, a Post Gazette reporter approached Groebe as he loaded restaurant supplies into his gold Mercedes 500 convertible on a Friday evening outside his restaurant in Miami Beach. Groebe said government officials knew about his past when they hired him as an informant. Asked about the complaints from people he'd set up, Groebe said their stories were filled with "lies and half-truths." Finally, he said he could discuss the issues in more detail later and gave the reporter a telephone number. He never returned calls. A month later, Groebe sold his restaurant and disappeared. The new owners have since sued him for $150,000 on various fraud claims. Last summer, Groebe was arrested in Austria on an outstanding German perjury warrant related to his escape from prison. He has posted bond and German legislators -- who've been made aware of his frauds by his victims -- are demanding a full accounting from the German government. His story played prominently in the German media. Groebe was the subject of a German documentary last year. Its title: "King Rat."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Under Consent Decree, FBI Still Violates Order - Win At All Costs series (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continues its 10-part series about its two-year investigation showing that federal agents and prosecutors routinely break the law. A group of Chicago residents who supported an organization called the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, which opposed US policy in that country, discovered that between 1983 and 1985 the FBI had spied on them and listed them as suspected terrorists because of their affiliation - even though a 1981 court decree had ordered the agency to stop.) Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 12:12:38 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: us: Under Consent Decree, FBI Still Violates Order - Win At All Costs Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Nora Callahan http://www.november.org/ Copyright: 1998 PG Publishing Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) Copyright: 1998 PG Publishing Pubdate: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/ Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer Note: This is the eighth of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of five items (posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade, Toledo, OH email: firstname.lastname@example.org UNDER CONSENT DECREE, FBI STILL VIOLATES ORDER For years, the FBI put the names of several Chicago residents on its list of suspected terrorists, long after a judge had ordered the agency to stop. These so-called terrorists supported a group called the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, which opposed U.S. policy in that country. Last year, after more than 15 years of litigation, the FBI finally admitted it had been in error when it continued to spy on members and supporters of this "subversive" group. Under a consent decree, the agency pledged to give FBI agents training on how to conduct investigations without violating the First Amendment rights of individuals. The case began when a group of Chicagoans discovered that between 1983 and 1985 the FBI had spied on them because of their affiliation -- even though a 1981 court decree had ordered the agency to stop. Lawsuits were filed in 1988 and in 1991, and U.S. District Judge Ann C. Williams ruled that members of the organization had been subjected to wide-ranging violations of the 1981 consent decree. As part of a systematic covert investigation into the lives and activities of the organization's supporters, agents had analyzed phone, utility and banking records, none of which produced any evidence of wrongdoing. Even so, the FBI had continued to list several of its targets on the federal registry of suspected terrorists. "It's a great day; after all this time, our names are finally going to be deleted from the FBI's terrorist files," said Phyllis Hasbrouck, a former Chicago leader of the group. "Americans ought to be able to criticize their government's policies without being branded terrorists."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Government Goes Back On A Deal - Win At All Costs series (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continues its 10-part series about its two-year investigation showing that federal agents and prosecutors routinely break the law. It took federal prosecutors more than seven years to live up to their promise to free Alberto San Pedro from prison after he went undercover and helped snag the mayor and a commissioner in Hialeah, Florida, who were involved in an influence-peddling scam.) Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 12:12:44 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Government Goes Back On A Deal - Win At All Costs series Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.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: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/ Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer Note: This is the eighth of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of five items (posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade, Toledo, OH email: firstname.lastname@example.org GOVERNMENT GOES BACK ON A DEAL In June 1989, Alberto San Pedro struck a deal with federal agents to avoid what would likely have been life in prison for smuggling cocaine. The deal was this: The government would release him from a state prison sentence he was about to complete, then he would go undercover to snag the mayor and a commissioner of Hialeah, Fla., who were involved in an influence-peddling scam. In return, he would be granted immunity from the new drug trafficking charges and any other crimes committed to date, and freed from prison. He was successful. The mayor was convicted in the scam, the commissioner pleaded guilty and San Pedro's cooperation was lauded by federal prosecutors as "substantial, truthful and invaluable." San Pedro went back to prison to await his imminent release. But by then, another set of federal agents and prosecutors from South Florida, working another case, had linked San Pedro to several drug-related crimes from years before, ranging from homicide to extortion. Since San Pedro had been guaranteed immunity for all of his crimes, it appeared the agents were out of luck. But not quite. Since immunity deals require a defendant's complete and truthful testimony, the agents scoured transcripts of San Pedro's grand jury testimony in the Hialeah cases. Based on minor discrepancies between grand jury testimony and his testimony in court, they charged him with seven counts of perjury, figuring that would also eventually allow them to charge him with the other crimes. In fact, within a month, San Pedro also found his name in a federal racketeering indictment, which court papers say was approved by then U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, who had been briefed on the entire chain of events. But in 1991, a judge dismissed four of the perjury counts and a jury acquitted him on the remaining three. Now the government was hamstrung: Despite its best efforts, San Pedro had upheld his end of the immunity agreement. Yet federal prosecutors continued to press racketeering charges against him and fight his release on bond, keeping him in prison for another five years. In 1996, more than seven years after the deal was struck, U.S. District Judge Jose Gonzalez Jr. finally ruled the government was bound by its initial agreement and dismissed all of the remaining charges against San Pedro, setting him free. "In a day when the confidence and trust of the American people in their government ebbs, it is critical that the United States government keep its word and live up to its obligations," Gonzalez wrote. "If doing so means that it must forego convicting one person of a crime, that is a small price to pay to preserve the integrity of our institutions."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Agents Dug Up More Problems For Archaeologist - Win At All Costs series (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette continues its 10-part series about its two-year investigation showing that federal agents and prosecutors routinely break the law. Peter Larson was sentenced to two years in prison based on charges that were filed in retaliation for Larsen's outspoken reaction to the federal government's tactics in a separate civil case.) Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 12:16:08 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Agents Dug Up More Problems For Archaeologist - Win At All Costs Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.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: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.post-gazette.com/ Author: Bill Moushey, Post-Gazette Staff Writer Note: This is the eighth of a 10 part series, "Win At All Costs" being published in the Post-Gazette. The part is composed of five items (posted separately). The series is also being printed in The Blade, Toledo, OH email: firstname.lastname@example.org AGENTS DUG UP MORE PROBLEMS FOR ARCHAEOLOGIST It all started with the fossilized skeleton of a tyrannosaurus rex that Peter Larson excavated in South Dakota in 1990. Larson had permission from the Indian rancher whose land he was searching to look for fossils. And he paid the rancher $5,000 for this find, before turning it over to the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, which Larson founded in 1974. That's where the government stepped in. The rancher had placed his land in trust to the government, federal officials said. So Larson had no right to anything found there and had to return the dinosaur bone. The rancher, in fact, claimed he didn't realize Larson's check was for the dinosaur fossil. Larson, of Hill City, S.D., appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which sided with the government. But that's not where the story ended. In fighting Larson's civil case, federal agents seized his records and the institute's records in 1992, scrutinized them for two years, then brought a 39-count indictment against him. He was convicted of two misdemeanors that are rarely enforced -- taking a fossil worth less than $100 from federal lands and possessing a fossil from federal lands. He also was convicted on two felony counts of possessing more than $10,000 in "monetary instruments," cash and traveler's checks without declaring it when leaving or entering the country. The charges were retaliation pure and simple for Larson's outspoken reaction to the federal government's tactics, Larson's defenders said. None of the charges he faced related to the trophy dinosaur fossil he'd found. The money he'd taken out of the country hadn't been for drugs or other criminal activity. But Larson lost his appeals and was sentenced to two years in prison. His lawyer, Patrick Duffy, offered this analysis to the media in South Dakota at the time: "The moral is, 'Don't [anger] the Department of Justice, because they'll crush you.'
------------------------------------------------------------------- Heroin Said To Be Making Inroads Among US Teens (Reuters says an analysis of more than 80 existing studies and other resources on substance abuse, published Monday in the December issue of "Pediatrics," the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, turned up one study which found that heroin use by high school seniors rose from .9 percent in 1990 to 1.8 percent in 1996 and 2.1 percent in 1997. Out of 80 studies, one other report found the drug being used at an earlier age.) Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 21:35:21 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Heroin Said To Be Making Inroads Among U.S. Teens Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Mon, 07 Dec 1998 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1998 Reuters Limited. HEROIN SAID TO BE MAKING INROADS AMONG U.S. TEENS CHICAGO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Heroin use among U.S. teenagers is growing, although the total number of those using the drug remains relatively small, according to a study published on Monday. "The problem is growing and adults and teens alike need to be more educated about the prevalence and dangers of heroin," said Richard Schwartz of Inova Hospital for Children in Falls Church, Virginia. His findings, published in this month's issue of "Pediatrics," the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, was based on an analysis of more than 80 existing studies and other resources on substance abuse. While the overall level of heroin use is still low, he said, one study found that its use by U.S. high school seniors doubled from 1990 to 1996, when 1.8 percent reported using the drug. In 1997 that figure rose again to 2.1 percent, he said. Schwartz said another study found the drug being used at an earlier age. "Heroin imported from Colombia and from Mexico is now cheaper and of high potency, permitting novices to start with nasal administration of the drug," he said. "Most (U.S.) adolescents now initiate heroin use by snorting it; however, frequent use of heroin by any route leads to tolerance and intense drug craving," he added. Young people who may be more likely to start using the drug are those whose school grades are falling and who also smoke cigarettes and commit antisocial acts for rebellion or amusement, he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Why it Takes a Village to Afford a Prescription (An op-ed in The San Jose Mercury News by a physician and former FDA official says prescription drugs now cost much more than they used to because of excessive government regulation. The example cited is the FDA's recent announcement that drug companies will be required to test in children the medicines they sell for adults, and to put the pediatric dosages on the label. That might sound benign, or even desirable, but these new requirements ignore the realities of drug testing. They may actually be detrimental to kids and could actually delay the availability of new drugs, if FDA withholds approval for adult uses while data from pediatric studies are being collected.) Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 11:50:57 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Why it Takes a Village to Afford a Prescription Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center Pubdate: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 Author: Henry I. Miller WHY IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO AFFORD A PRESCRIPTION IF YOU'VE filled a prescription recently, you may have had a nasty surprise. Antibiotics or a tube of steroid cream used to cost a few bucks, but now the prices are soaring. A few examples of the cost of a week's supply of drugs: the antibiotic clarithromycin, $75; Rocalcitrol, a vitamin D derivative, $55-$385 (depending on the dosage); and erythropoietin, for anemia, $324-$486. Why? In large part, it's your tax dollars at work. Government regulation imposes enormous ``taxes'' on drug development, which decrease the number of drugs that are developed and which are ultimately passed along to consumers in higher prices. The feds were at it again recently when the FDA announced that drug companies will be required to test in children the medicines they sell for adults, and to put the pediatric dosages on the label. That might sound benign, or even desirable, but these new requirements ignore the realities of drug testing. They may actually be detrimental to kids and could actually delay the availability of new drugs, if FDA withholds approval for adult uses while data from pediatric studies are being collected. Moreover, the regulation is a rigid, centralized governmental solution to a non-problem, according to many pediatricians. Even the FDA concedes that physicians commonly and safely prescribe pain relievers, asthma drugs, antihistamines, antibiotics and other therapeutics millions of times annually for children, despite the clinical trials of those products having been performed only in adults. ``Pediatricians routinely tailor dosages for children by adjusting the dosage according to the patient's weight,'' confirms Kaiser Permanente pediatric allergist Dr. Michael H. Mellon. Even if additional testing of drugs in children were needed, there are more imaginative and effective ways to accomplish it. For example, the FDA could simply require a prominent label or logo on drug preparations whose safety and efficacy have not yet been determined in children, or the agency could publish a list of such drugs annually. This would make parents and physicians aware that such information is not available, and they, in turn, could exert moral and economic pressure on drug companies to obtain it. (Consider, too, that it is in drug companies' own interest to expand the population that will purchase and benefit from their products, and to avoid harming patients.) The FDA seems unaware of the nuances of drug development. Creating a dosage form appropriate for children is often especially challenging, for a number of reasons. Can the active ingredient be incorporated in a chewable or syrup form? Will it have special storage requirements and adequate shelf-life? Does it taste good enough so that kids will actually take it? A pediatric form of Glaxo Wellcome's antibiotic, Ceftin, required more than double the cost and man-hours to develop than did its adult formulation. The same company also experienced serious problems in finding effective preservatives for its pediatric syrup form of Epivir, an AIDS drug, even after the adult formulation had been fully developed. Clinical trials are difficult to perform with children. For ethical reasons, testing is done in patients, not in healthy volunteers. Study participants may be scarce because a disease is rare in children, because the population is geographically diverse, or because parents are reluctant to enroll their sick children in an ``experiment.'' Finally, for the purposes of drug testing, ``children'' is by no means a homogenous category. The term implies several groups that are physiologically and metabolically distinct: newborns, infants, preschoolers, primary-schoolers and teens. Moreover, children may pass through two or more age groups during the course of a multi-year clinical study, confounding statistical analysis. As regulatory requirements are ratcheted ever upward, drugs are moving more sluggishly through the clinical testing pipeline. The total time required for drug development, from synthesis of the molecule to the patient's bedside, has almost doubled during the past three decades, from 8.1 to 15.2 years. And the United States's $500 million dollar tab for each drug approved is by far the most expensive in the world. Why does the FDA impose unnecessary regulations, which are expensive, rigid and inimical to free-market forces -- at a time of supposed ``reinventing government'' and regulatory reform? For one thing, it's in the self-interest of bureaucrats to seek greater mandates and, thereby, to amass larger empires and budgets. And it's in their nature -- as former FDA Commissioner Frank E. Young once quipped, ``Dogs bark, cows moo, and regulators regulate.'' When regulation is excessive, everyone is a loser -- except government regulators themselves. Money spent by the government, industry and consumers on FDA regulation is money not spent on something else, including the ability to protect public health in other ways -- for example, by increasing the rate of vaccination or performing diagnostic testing. Consider, for example, the potential benefits of spending the (conservatively) estimated $21 million annual cost of FDA's new regulation instead on cervical cancer screening -- according to public health statistics, it would save 14,700-31,500 years of life. The FDA's new regulation is the latest example of Big Brother deciding where private sector R&D resources are best spent. In the process, it increases costs to consumers and puts them at risk as the introduction of new drugs is delayed. This regulation, the first to appear under new FDA Commissioner Jane Henney, suggests that she will show a greater commitment to the rhetoric than to the reality of protecting the public health. Henry I. Miller, a physician, is a fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was an FDA official from 1979-1994. E-mail: email@example.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Lindesmith Center Web Site Additions (A news release from the New York drug-policy-reform group - part of the Drug Reform Coordination Network - publicizes lots of new and interesting research papers on a variety of issues.) Date: Mon, 07 Dec 1998 12:10:11 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Jeanette Irwin (email@example.com) Subject: TLC Web Site Additions, December 7, 1998 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org December 7, 1998 T H E L I N D E S M I T H C E N T E R ...on the Web http://www.lindesmith.org Instructions for un/subscribing to this list are at the end of this posting. *** CONTENTS: 1. New Feature: Safe Injection Rooms 2. Online Library Recent Additions 3. Other Features: Focal Point Series Bookstore *** 1. NEW FEATURE Focal Point: Safe Injection Rooms Safe injection rooms (SIRs) -- also referred to as drug consumption rooms, legal shooting galleries, and health rooms -- are legally sanctioned and supervised facilities designed to reduce the health and public order problems associated with illegal injection drug use. These facilities now operate in approximately a dozen European cities, and are expected to open elsewhere in coming years. In most sites, SIRs are classified as medical establishments to provide legal protection to staff and clients and allow more effective regulation of the programs. This Focal Point compiles the latest research on SIRs from Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. http://www.lindesmith.org/library/focal6.html o Some highlights from 'Focal Point: Safe Injection Rooms': *** "Safe Injection Rooms Research Summary" This summary of preliminary research prepared by TLC research associate Phillip O. Coffin examines results of SIRs in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. (13K) http://www.lindesmith.org/cites_sources/brief7.html *** "Final Report on Injecting Rooms in Switzerland" By Kate Dolan and Alex Wodak. Unpublished Manuscript, 26 July 1996. (23K) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/dolan.html *** "Safe Injection Facilities: Should Victoria Have a SIF Pilot-Trial?" Eddie Micallef, MLA. Member Victorian Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee. Feburary 1998. (34K) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/micallef.html *** "Echo's Van Een Mespuntje Fantasie: Een Model Voor Lokaal Drugbeleid Gericht Op Beheersbaarheid Van Ongewenste Neven-Effecten Van Druggebruik Onder Prohibitie" Peter Blanken & Nico Fp Adriaans, Instituut Voor Verslavingsonderzoek (IVO), Faculteit Der Geneeskunde En Gezondheidswetenschappen Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. Juni 1993. (In Dutch) (86K) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/blanken.html *** "Bibliography: Safe Injection Rooms" A compilation of English and other language documents (many of which are available on the Web.) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/safe_injection.html *** 2. ONLINE LIBRARY RECENT ADDITIONS New additions to TLC's Online Library are regularly recorded in our Recent Additions Web page: http://www.lindesmith.org/library/new.html *** "An Analysis of Marijuana Policy" Report by the Committee on Substance Abuse and Habitual Behavior, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, & National Research Council. Published by the National Academy Press, Washington D.C. (1982). (117K) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/national.html *** "The CPS Drug Use Dilemma: Balancing the Right of Children to Protection against the Right of Children to Their Parents" By John McCarthy, MD. Sacramento Medecine, November 1998:11-12. (15K) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/mccarthy.html *** "Not the Picture of Health: Women on Methadone" By Marsha Rosenbaum & Sheigla Murphy. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 19(2), Apr-Jun 1987: 217-226. (58K) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/notpic.html *** "Money for Methadone: Preliminary Findings from a Study of Alameda County's New Maintenance Policy" By Marsha Rosenbaum, Sheigla Murphy & Jerome Beck. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 19(1), Jan-Mar 1987:13- 18. (39K) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/money.html *** "The Curse of Coca: The move to use a new herbicide to eradicate the coca plant spells trouble for South America's rainforests" By Phillip O. Coffin. Down to Earth 7(5), 31 July 1998: 22-23. (13K) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/curse.html *** "Foreign Policy In Focus: Militarization of the U.S. Drug Control Program" By Peter Zirnite, edited by Tom Barry and Martha Honey. Foreign Policy In Focus 3(27), September 1998. (25K) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/zirnite.html *** "Foreign Policy In Focus: Drug Certification" By Bill Spencer, edited by Martha Honey, and Tom Barry. Foreign Policy In Focus 3(24), September 1998. (25K) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/spencer.html *** "The Dusting of America: The Image of Phencyclidine (PCP) in the Popular Media" By John P. Morgan, M.D. & Doreen Kagan, M.S. Journal of Psychedelic Drugs 12(3-4), Jul-Dec 1980: 195-204. (56K) http://www.lindesmith.org/library/dusting.html *** 4. OTHER FEATURES o Focal Point Series Our Focal Point series concentrates on timely topics, providing background essays and source materials. Past Focal Points have included: Drug Substitution and Maintenance Approaches http://www.lindesmith.org/library/focal1.html Medicinal Marijuana http://www.lindesmith.org/library/focal2.html Methadone Maintenance http://www.lindesmith.org/library/focal3.html Marijuana Regulation http://www.lindesmith.org/library/focal4.html o Bookstore What are the hot new titles in drug policy reform and harm reduction? Available here are jacket art, reviewer comments and links to Amazon.com for a selection of the latest titles for winter. http://www.lindesmith.org/cites_sources/books.html *** To be removed from this list please email mailto:Majordomo@soros.org and type "unsubscribe [listname]" in the body of the message, (no quotes and not in the subject line). If you are subscribed to more than one TLC list and wish to sign-off all of them, type "unsubscribe all lists" in the body of the message. Alternately, please contact Jeanette Irwin at mailto:email@example.com To re-subscribe email mailto:Majordomo@soros.org and type "subscribe [listname] in the body of the message. *** The Lindesmith Center A Project of the Open Society Institute 400 West 59th Street, New York, NY 10019 (212) 548-0695 ph, (212) 548-4670 fx http://www.lindesmith.org TLC - West 2233 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA 94123 (415) 921-4987 ph, (415) 921-1912 fx Office of Legal Affairs 1095 Market Street, Suite 503, San Francisco, CA 94103, (415) 554-1900 ph, (415) 554-1980 fx
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hemp BC Hearing at City Hall, December 8 (A news release from Cannabis Culture magazine asks supporters of the hemp store in Vancouver, British Columbia, to show support Tuesday at a city council hearing where police officers and city officials are expected to ask that Hemp BC not be granted a business license, and that it be forced to close permanently. Meanwhile, Hemp BC lawyers have appeared before a judge to testify that Vancouver Police Officer Mark Bragagnola possessed cannabis on April 30, 1998, contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. A similar statement was made against US Navy operative Stacy Sherman, who allegedly trafficked in cannabis on April 25, 1998. Both of these charges relate to the Vancouver Police and US Navy "joint investigation" of Hemp BC, when Vancouver Police and US Navy officers tried to buy pot at Hemp BC and failed. So instead they bought some pot on the street and smoked it in Hemp BC themselves.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Cannabis Culture) To: email@example.com Subject: CC: Hemp BC Hearing at City Hall, December 8 Date: Mon, 07 Dec 1998 07:39:57 -0800 Lines: 80 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Cannabis Culture (http://www.cannabisculture.com/) HEMP BC HEARING AT CITY HALL, DECEMBER 8 On Tuesday, December 8th, there will be hearing about Hemp BC at Vancouver City Hall. City Council will be hearing evidence from police officers and city officials that Hemp BC should not be granted a business license, and that instead Hemp BC should be forced to close permanently. This meeting is open to the public, and Sister Icee asks that anyone who doesn't want Hemp BC shut down should attend to show support. "All of their claims being made against me relate to things Marc Emery said or did when he was the owner," said Sister Icee, owner of Hemp BC and the Cannabis Cafe. "Since Marc sold me the businesses last March there have been no seed sales and no vapourizers in the Cafe. I haven't even encouraged anyone to come here and smoke pot. "There are hundreds of other businesses in Vancouver that carry the same kind of merchandise as Hemp BC. We are being targeted by City Hall because of our high-profile political activism, and nothing else." The next date after this hearing will be January 26, at which time Hemp BC will be able to present evidence supporting their right to a business license, including a petition with 15,000 signatures of people who think Hemp BC and Cannabis Cafe are assets to this community. At least fifteen local merchants have also agreed to speak on Hemp BC's behalf. In the mean time, the City has agreed to not pursue a court order to shut down Hemp BC pending the outcome of these hearings. They have also agreed not to make any criminal allegations with regards to the smoking accessories (paraphenalia) sold by Hemp BC. POLICE OFFICER AND US NAVY OPERATIVE UNLAWFULLY TRAFFICKED IN MARIJUANA Meanwhile, Hemp BC lawyers have appeared before a Justice of the peace, to swear an information that Vancouver Police Officer Mark Bragagnola possessed cannabis on April 30, 1998, contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. A similar Information has also been sworn against US Navy operative Stacy Sherman, who allegedly trafficked in cannabis on April 25, 1998. Both of these charges relate to the Vancouver Police and US Navy "joint investigation" of Hemp BC, dubbed "Operation Intruder". During this farcical investigation, Vancouver Police and US Navy officers tried to buy pot at Hemp BC and failed. So instead they bought some pot on the street and smoked it in Hemp BC themselves. However, neither the Vancouver Police nor the US Navy asked for or was granted the necessary certificates entitling them to buy marijuana and break the law in this manner. Without this legal permission, they are guilty of trafficking in marijuana. The Justice of the Peace will now seek the input of the Justice Department, and then decide if reasonable and probable grounds exist to support the charge as sworn. She will announce if charges are approved on December 15th, 1998. In an email to Sister Icee, US Navy spokesman Charles McWhorter denied any knowledge of Operation Intruder, and claimed that no Navy Officerd were authorized to purchase marijuana as part of any investigation of Hemp BC. CONTACTS * Sister Icee can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (604) 681-4620, and by fax at.(604) 681-4625. * Vancouver City Council and Mayor Philip Owen can be reached at: email@example.com tel: (604) 873-7621, fax: (604) 873-7685 * The Vancouver Police Department can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org tel: (604) 665-3081. * The US Navy can be reached by email at email@example.com, by phone at (310) 235-7481, and by fax at (310) 235-7856. Vancouver Sun: firstname.lastname@example.org Vancouver Province: email@example.com Vancouver Echo: firstname.lastname@example.org Vancouver Courier: email@example.com *** CClist, the electronic news and information service of Cannabis Culture To unsubscribe, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org containing the command "unsubscribe cclist". *** Subscribe to Cannabis Culture Magazine! Write to: 324 West Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, CANADA, V6B 1A1 Call us at: (604) 669-9069, or fax (604) 669-9038. Visit Cannabis Culture online at http://www.cannabisculture.com/
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medicinal marijuana club in Bradford, Ontario (A list subscriber forwards a coming-out announcement and URL for the Marsh Marijuana Club.) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: medicinal marijuana club in bradford ont (fwd) Date: Mon, 07 Dec 1998 10:14:19 -0800 Lines: 16 -------- Forwarded message -------- Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 10:55:53 -0500 From: "scratchy" (email@example.com) hello, we are a medicinal marijuana club in bradford ont.ca. we are 168 members across canada and since going public US membership is growing rapidly.if we can be of assistance let us know.Egon Dezelak,387 Agar Ave. Bradford ont,ca.,our web site is http://members.tripod.com/~TooManyHawks/marshmarijuana.html TMMC
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lords Back Cannabis For Pain Relief (Chemistry & Industry Magazine, in Britain, notes the recent report by the science and technology select committee of the House of Lords, calling for doctors to be legally allowed to prescribe marijuana for multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.) Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 10:20:45 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Lords Back Cannabis For Pain Relief Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Source: Chemistry & Industry Magazine (UK) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://ci.mond.org/current/home.html Copyright: 1998 Society of Chemical Industry Pubdate: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 LORDS BACK CANNABIS FOR PAIN RELIEF Medicinal use of cannabis has come a step closer in the UK. A report by the science and technology select committee of the House of Lords has called for doctors to be legally allowed to prescribe the drug for multiple sclerosis and chronic pain. Committee chairman Lord Perry of Walton said the Lords had made the decision 'primarily for compassionate reasons' despite accepting that there was a lack of rigorous scientific evidence that cannabis relieves pain. While hundreds of patients in the UK smoke cannabis illegally for its therapeutic benefits, clinical trials will not determine the efficacy of the drug for at least another five years, the 53-page report concluded. 'We consider it unjustifiable and inhumane to make them wait quite so long before they can get supplies legally,' said Perry, a former pharmacology professor. The committee said it had heard sufficient anecdotal evidence of the pain-relieving qualities of cannabis to warrant downgrading it from the list of schedule 1 drugs - which can only be used in medical research - to schedule 2, meaning it could be prescribed by doctors and pharmacists. Although the committee was not convinced about the drug's effect against glaucoma, asthma and epilepsy, doctors should still be free to prescribe it as they see fit, said Perry. The report will add to the pressure on the government to relax the blanket ban on cannabis introduced in 1973. But the findings have split the medical community. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which is about to begin clinical trials of the drug, supported the Lords' call for legal cannabis prescriptions but said the drug must be given in a standardised form. The British Medical Association said it was disappointed that the Lords had not made the distinction between cannabinoids, the active ingredient in cannabis, and the crude form of the drug which contains a number of toxins. Making the drug widely available could hamper research into its effectiveness by limiting the number of patients available for clinical trials, said William Asscher, chairman of the BMA's board of science and education. The association, however, said it was broadly sympathetic to the report. The Department of Health rejected the committee's proposals, saying it would not countenance the use of a drug that has not undergone clinical trials.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Iran No Longer A Drug-Problem Country (The San Jose Mercury News says President Clinton today removed Iran from the official list of drug problem countries, concluding the Islamic republic has carried out a successful program to eradicate opium poppies - and hanged hundreds of traffickers under a law that mandates the death penalty for anyone possessing more than a small quantity of narcotics. Clinton also deleted Malaysia from the list. The number of drug problem countries is now 28.) Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 17:10:41 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Wire: Iran No Longer A Drug-Problem Country Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: 7 Dec 1998 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center IRAN NO LONGER A DRUG-PROBLEM COUNTRY President Clinton today removed Iran from the official list of drug problem countries, concluding the Islamic republic has carried out a successful program to eradicate opium poppies. In a letter to members of Congress, Clinton said that while Iran continues to serve as a transit point for opiates heading for Europe, there is no evidence to suggest that significant quantities arrive in the United States. Clinton also deleted Malaysia from the list on grounds that country has not been used significantly as a transit point for U.S.-bound drugs. By deleting Iran and Malaysia, the list of drug problem countries was reduced to 28. Clinton's determination was disclosed in a letter to key members of the House and Senate international relations and Appropriations committees. Each year, the White House is required to report on countries that are either drug-source or drug-transit countries, or both. Those found to be not fully cooperating with U.S. counter-narcotics efforts can be subject to economic penalties. Iran has been on the U.S. list as a major drug producer since 1987. Clinton's letter said Iran over the past few years has ``reported success in eradicating illicit opium poppy cultivation.'' Opium poppy is the raw material from which heroin is derived. A U.S. government review of Iran's claims ``found no evidence of any significant poppy cultivation in the traditional growing areas,'' Clinton wrote. Clinton's finding comes at a time when the administration is reaching out to Iran, attempting to establish a political dialogue for the first time in almost two decades. But officials insisted that politics did not intervene in Clinton's decision. Large drug hauls are common in Iran, which lies on a route used by smugglers to get drugs from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Europe and the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Iran has been cracking down on drug smugglers since 1988. Hundreds of traffickers have been hanged under a law that mandates the death penalty for anyone caught with more than a small quantity of narcotics. Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency said Afghan drug traffickers were killed recently in clashes with police in the northeastern Khorasan province. In a March report, the State Department said Iran's drug interdiction programs are energetic, even if only partially successful at stemming the flow of illicit drugs. Grassley and Gilman said Iran is seizing less than 20 percent of the narcotics that cross its territory. Last week, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., expressed concern over news reports suggesting that Iran was about to be dropped from the list. Grassley and Gilman told Clinton in a letter that any effort to remove Iran from the list is not based on substantive grounds but on the ``speculative hope that such a unilateral gesture will win diplomatic points in Iran for some anticipated rapprochement.'' Grassley is chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control and Gilman is chairman of the House International Relations Committee. They outlined their position in a letter to Clinton dated Wednesday.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rise in Cigarette Smoking Doesn't Bother Burma Government (The International Herald-Tribune says free handouts and slick advertising tactics never before seen in Burma have enticed young people across the country to take up cigarettes. Smoking is also on the increase in other countries in Southeast Asia where cash-strapped goveraments have a financial stake in tobacco sales. The Burmese govemment likes dealing with multinational cigarette companies because it can more readily collect revenue from large factories or importers than it can from small-time producers of hand-rolled smokes. "The cinema is censored, and there are no nightclubs or live shows. Beyond smoking there is no entertainment," says one young man.) Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 11:42:48 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Rise in Cigarette Smoking Doesn't Bother Burma Government Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Peter Webster Source: International Herald-Tribune Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.iht.com/ Copyright: International Herald Tribune 1998 Pubdate: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 Author: Thomas Crampton, International Herald Tribune RISE IN CIGARETTE SMOKING DOESN'T BOTHER BURMA GOVERNMENT MANDALAY, Burma---When U Soe Thein Oo attended a concert a few months ago by Iron Cross, the most popular Burmese heavy metal band, he got more than just an earful of "Desert Moon," the band's hit love ballad. Along with all the other ticket holders he received free Golden Eagle cigarettes and a plastic lighter to ignite them. Like most people at the concert, he smoked through the pack. At U Hoke Ho's tea shop, in the town of Shipaw, farther north in Burma, a haze descends each time young women flock through handing out free Golden Eagle cigarettes and lighting them up for customers. "They don't give them to children, but even those who don't smoke try the cigarettes," the tea shop owner said. "People always like to get things for free." Across the country young people tell similar stories of how they were drawn to cigarettes by free handouts and slick advertising tactics never before seen in Burma as tobacco multinationals focus their powerful marketing machines on potential smokers. This has led to a rapid increase in smoking among young people in Burma ---and in other countries in Southeast Asia where cash-strapped goveraments have a financial stake in tobacco sales. Tobacco companies themselves also rely increasiagly on profits from the region's poorest countries. Rothmans Industries of Singapore whose London brand is the market leader in Burma, runs a factory ia a joint venture with a holding company owned by the country's ruling military. The three-year-old venture turaed a profit after just one year, company officials said, and there are already plans to expand production. Rapid sales growth ia Burma and Vietnam helped push up Rothmans' pretax profit by 15.4 percent in the first half of 1998, despite shrinking cigarette sales in Singapore, the company's only other market, according to a company announcement last month. The Burmese govemment likes dealing with multinational cigarette companies because it can more readily collect revenue from large factories or importers than it can from small-time producers of hand-rolled smokes like Burma's traditional cheroots, according to Brigadier General Maung Maung, head of the foreign investment commission. After Rothmans, Burma's second largest foreign investor in cigarettes is the Indonesiaa giant Sampoerna, followed by a small South Korean stake in Myanmar Glacier Tobacco. Imported cigarettes commonly available in Burma include brands produced by British American Tobacco---including 555, Benson & Hedges, Lucky Strike and Viceroy---along with Philip Morris's Marlboro and RJR Nabisco's Camel and Salem. Domestic production has increased to 4.4 billion cigarettes in the last fiscal year, fromless than 1 billioncigarettes in 1992, to according to government statistics. From zero a decade ago, tobacco imports to Burma rose to more tha4 1,700 metric tons in 1996. Tobacco imports in 1995 were worth $142 million and accounted for about 6 percent of the nation' s total merchandise imports, according to a study by the U.S. government. General Maung Maung said the Burmese goverament was very concerned about the increased number of young smokers and had already begun imposing controls, such as a recent ban against tobacco advertising on televislon. Marlboro cowboys recently stopped riding across viewers' screens, but other brands still broadcast ads regularly on television despite the ban, and few in Burma come in contact with cigarettepack health warnings. A pack of 20 cigarettes costs the equivalent of about one day's salary for manual laborers, so most smokers support their habit cigarette-by-cigarette instead of buying packs, many of which have the warnings written in English. The cigarette companies say their advertising is aimed at adults and is intended to maintain brand loyalty or to entice those who already smoke to change brands. But the young people of Burma have received a very different message. "My generation smokes, not my father's," said U Win Aung, a 26-year-old in the town of Maymyo who began smoking at age 17. "Cigarettes are modern and free-style. I am not so choosy about the brand so long as it has Virginia tobacco." U Win Aung said that even strong health warnings would not deter him from smoking now. He enjoys spending one evening each weekend drinking Mandalay rum and smoking with friends at Summer Feelings, a popular new bar along the dusty main street of Maymyo. "The cinema is censored, and there are no nightclubs or live shows," he said. "Beyond smoking there is no entertainment. " -------------------------------------------------------------------
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