------------------------------------------------------------------- Man found guilty of killing his mother now faces death penalty (The Associated Press says a jury in Portland, Oregon, convicted Harrison Lee Bletson of aggravated murder Thursday. Witnesses said Bletson went on a crack cocaine binge the day before his mother was killed, but the possibility that he was a sociopath before using crack isn't mentioned.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Man convicted of killing mother during crack binge Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 14:12:06 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Man found guilty of killing his mother now faces death penalty The Associated Press 12/12/98 3:39 AM Eastern PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A man faces a possible death sentence after he was convicted of stabbing his mother to death with a butcher knife during a crack cocaine binge. A jury on Thursday convicted Harrison Lee Bletson, 41, of aggravated murder for killing Dannella Bletson, 62, on April 14. Prosecutors called the conviction a day of reckoning for Bletson, who they say had abused the love of his family for years. "There comes a point when their love for him can't protect him, and Mr. Bletson has to pay consequences for his actions," Stacy Heyworth, a senior deputy district attorney, said during closing arguments. The jury reached its unanimous verdict after two days of deliberations. Two jurors cried after the verdict was read, and Bletson covered his mouth with his hand, bowed his head and closed his eyes. Prosecutors showed jurors more than 20 pieces of evidence during the seven-day trial, from a boot print on a shattered bedroom door to blood spatters on Bletson's pants that matched his mother's blood. Witnesses said Bletson went on a crack cocaine binge the day before his mother was killed. He ran out of belongings to trade for drugs after he used a cashmere coat his mother had given him as collateral for crack. When he tried to go home April 14, his mother had locked the deadbolt. So Bletson talked a telephone repairman into lending him a ladder to climb through his second-floor window, witnesses testified. Prosecutors theorized that Bletson demanded money from his mother and when she wouldn't give it to him, hit her on the head with a cast-iron skillet, shattering the skillet. He then stabbed her with a butcher knife 17 times, cutting himself on the hand. Prosecutors said Bletson went back to the house at least twice to steal his mother's bracelets and leather coat. "This has to make your stomach turn," Heyworth told jurors. "He walks right past his dead mother. How does he do that? How much does he love his mother?" The penalty phase will begin Monday and last about two days, said Multnomah County Circuit Judge Frank Bearden.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Jury convicts Portland man of felony murder at illegal club (The Oregonian says Edwin Lasaun Williams faces a minimum of 25 years in prison for a gunfight at an after-hours drinking and gambling club in Northeast Portland.) The Oregonian letters to editor: firstname.lastname@example.org 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Jury convicts Portland man of felony murder at illegal club * Edwin Lasaun Williams faces a minimum of 25 years in prison for a gunfight at an after-hours drinking and gambling club in Northeast Saturday, December 12 1998 By David R. Anderson of The Oregonian staff A jury convicted a Northeast Portland man Friday of felony murder for killing a man during a gunfight inside an illegal after-hours drinking and gambling club. However, the Multnomah County jury did not convict Edwin Lasaun Williams, 21, of the more serious charges of aggravated murder or murder, deciding that Williams did not intend to kill Stacy Sabb, 28. Instead, the jury decided that Williams caused the death of Sabb during a felony burglary. Williams cried and said, "Oh my God," repeatedly after Circuit Judge Robert Redding announced the jury's verdict. Williams also was convicted of three counts of first-degree burglary. The felony murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 11. Sabb, who ran the club in a house at 4048 N.E. Mallory Ave., died early Dec. 20, 1997, in a gunfight with Williams. Williams fired a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol five times at Sabb, prosecutors said. Sabb was hit twice -- in the thigh and the abdomen -- and died of internal bleeding. Sabb fired his gun three times, hitting Williams once in the abdomen. Prosecutors said Williams initially had gone into the club and used his gun to threaten a man who had fathered a child by his girlfriend. Sabb, who also was the club's bouncer, apparently tried to get Williams to leave, but Williams became angry that Sabb was allowed to have a gun in the club and he was not, prosecutors said. It was a case of a minor dispute that escalated out of control, they said. "He just kept digging himself deeper and deeper and deeper," Charles French, a Multnomah County deputy district attorney, told the jury. Williams was convicted of burglary for illegally trespassing in the house with the intention of using a deadly weapon. Williams' attorneys argued that he fired in self-defense and referred to the club as a "war zone." They portrayed Sabb as the aggressor, a three-time convicted felon who ran the club and felt he had been disrespected by Williams. But prosecutors disagreed. "We have laws here in Oregon," French told the jury. "This isn't war, it's our community." The two sides argued about the interpretation of bullet trajectories and shell casings at the scene. Prosecutors said they showed that Williams fired first, when he was in the living room, and continued as he walked toward the front door. However, the defense argued it was just as probable that Sabb fired first. Defense attorney Scott Asphaug also attacked the credibility of the state's witnesses, calling five of them liars. Williams gave police and hospital staff seven conflicting versions of what happened, his attorneys told the jury. At first, Williams denied he had fired any shots, but stepped between two armed men to break up a fight. He said a friend known to him as "Little Rat" had been cheated at dice and wanted revenge. Williams later said he covered his eyes and fired at Sabb in self defense and was shot in the back. But doctors said he was shot in the abdomen, with the bullet exiting his back. Asphaug said Williams was under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and, later, pain medications, which affected his ability to remember what had happened. "This man is not a saint," Asphaug told the jury. "However, this man is not a murderer."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Australian Study Finds Marijuana Not a Significant Driving Hazard - Evidence Contradicts Drug Czar McCaffrey, Impugns Rationale for Drug Testing (A press release from California NORML provides more details about "The Prevalence and Role of Alcohol, Cannabinoids, Benzodiazepines and Stimulants in Non-Fatal Crashes," a study published in May of this year by researchers at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology at the University of Adelaide, the largest and latest research to contradict claims by U.S. drug warriors, led by Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, that marijuana is a major road safety hazard.)Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 20:28:47 -0800 To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: Australian Study on Marijuana & Driving Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ -- Cal. NORML PRESS RELEASE: Dec. 12, 1998 -- Australian Study Finds Marijuana Not a Significant Driving Hazard Evidence Contradicts Drug Czar McCaffrey, Impugns Rationale for Drug Testing A South Australian study of 2,500 injured drivers has failed to find evidence that marijuana is a significant causal factor in traffic accidents. The study, published in May, 1998 by researchers at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology at the University of Adelaide, is the largest and latest in a series of studies contradicting claims by U.S. drug warriors, led by Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, that marijuana is a major road safety hazard. The researchers examined blood samples from drivers in non-fatal accidents for traces of alcohol, cannabinoids (marijuana), benzodiazepines (tranquilizers), and amphetamines. Overall, 12.4% of drivers tested positive for alcohol; 10.8% for marijuana; 2.6% for benzodiazepines, and 1.3% for amphetamines. Marijuana plus alcohol were found in 3.0% of the drivers, while other drug combinations were found in 1.3%; alcohol alone was present in 8.6%, and marijuana alone in 7.1%. The researchers then assessed the drivers' degree of culpability for the crashes. Overall, they found no increase in culpability for drivers showing cannabinoids alone compared to drug-free drivers. In contrast, there was a very strong relation between alcohol blood levels and accident culpability. The combination of marijuana with alcohol also showed strongly increased accident culpability. Benzodiazepines at typical therapeutic levels were found to significantly increase culpability, while amphetamines were not. The researchers found some suggestion that drivers with low levels of cannabinoids alone actually had reduced accident culpability, while drivers with higher levels had somewhat increased culpability, although there were insufficient data to confirm this. The authors noted that other driving studies have found that marijuana by itself may be associated with reduced accident risks, while the combination of alcohol and marijuana is clearly dangerous. In the largest U.S. study to date, a survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of 1,882 drivers killed in fatal accidents, researchers found that marijuana-only drivers were if anything less culpable for accidents than drug-free drivers, and that "there was no indication that marijuana by itself was a cause of fatal accidents." Such results refute claims by Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey that "marijuana is now the second-leading cause of car crashes among young people" (USA Today, Oct. 30, 1998). McCaffrey's office claims that the source of his information was NHTSA, but the agency's spokesmen say that their evidence shows only that marijuana is the second-most used drug on the road, not that it is a common cause of crashes. California NORML hailed the South Australian study as yet further evidence that random drug testing of transportation workers is unjustified. Under Department of Transportation guidelines, workers are disqualified for having trace amounts of marijuana, cocaine, opiates or amphetamines in their urine. Marijuana stays in urine for several days, significantly longer than in the bloodstream, where it is detectable for only 2-3 hours in occasional users or 24 hours in chronic users. Thus drug tests are highly over-sensitive to marijuana, which has never been proven to be a significant road safety hazard, but highly tolerant of legal drugs that are known to present greater safety risks, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines. The South Australian study is titled, "The Prevalence and Role of Alcohol, Cannabinoids, Benzodiazepines and Stimulants in Non-Fatal Crashes," by C.E. Hunter, R.J. Lokan, M.C. Longo, J.M White and M.A. White. It is available from: Forensic Science, Department for Administrative and Information Services, 21 Divett Place, Adelaide, South Australia 5000; phone 08-8226-7700; FAX 08:8226:7777; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. *** Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // email@example.com 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114
------------------------------------------------------------------- Governor Backs Medicinal Marijuana (According to an Associated Press article in The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano said Thursday night he would propose a bill when the Legislature convenes next month to make it legal for people to use marijuana if they have a legitimate medical reason to do so. Cayetano said the state needs to be a leader in the issue if it hopes to become a health and wellness center for the Pacific.) Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 18:35:22 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US HI: MMJ: Governor Backs Medicinal Marijuana Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Donald Topping (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI) Pubdate: 12 Dec 1998 Copyright: 1998 Honolulu Star-Bulletin Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.starbulletin.com/ Author: Associated Press GOVERNOR BACKS MEDICINAL MARIJUANA The governor will propose that state lawmakers approve the legislation at their next session Gov. Ben Cayetano will push for a law legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The governor said he would propose a bill when the Legislature convenes next month to make it legal for people to use marijuana if they have a legitimate medical reason to do so. A similar bill was introduced last legislative session, but it died. "I will introduce a bill at the state Legislature to look into if it is feasible for Hawaii," the governor said Thursday night. Voters in California, Arizona, Oregon and Washington have voted to allow seriously ill people, like those with cancer or AIDS, to be allowed to buy and use marijuana without fear of criminal prosecution. The state needs to be a leader in the issue if it hopes to become a health and wellness center for the Pacific, Cayetano said. "We need to be at the forefront of treatment," he said. Cayetano downplayed criticism that opposes legalizing use of the drug, saying it's being used throughout the world. Medical marijuana advocate Chuck Thomas spoke Thursday night to the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, saying there are no loopholes in legislation that approve medical use of marijuana. "No way it will protect anyone other than seriously ill patients," Thomas said. "The bill we designed is loophole-free." Glenn Robinette is glad the governor is getting involved in the issue. He has been ingesting marijuana for 10 years, since a car accident left him with a severe spinal cord injury. He said he always worries that one day he will be arrested for using the illegal weed. "You wonder when you are going to be arrested for this," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Crime Punishment Bill Filed (The Oklahoman says a Republican state representative, John Sullivan of Tulsa, has introduced a bill in the legislature that would give the death penalty to adults who sell "drugs" to minors.) Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 14:34:54 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OK: Drug Crime Punishment Bill Filed Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Michael Pearson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: Oklahoman, The (OK) Contact: http://www.oklahoman.com/?ed-writeus Website: http://www.oklahoman.com/ Forum: http://www.oklahoman.com/forums/ Copyright: 1998 The Oklahoma Publishing Co. Pubdate: 12 Dec 1998 DRUG CRIME PUNISHMENT BILL FILED A bill filed by a Tulsa legislator would make the death penalty a possibility for adults who sell drugs to minors. Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa, said his bill is designed to better protect children from drugs, child abuse and sex crimes. "Right now, it is profitable for drug dealers to involve kids," Sullivan said. "Children are potential buyers, and if caught selling drugs, they can avoid adult criminal punishment." The bill also would impose life in prison on those convicted of child abuse or neglect. It would increase punishment for those convicted of child pornography, or any form of sexual exploitation of children.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 2nd Officer Placed on Paid Leave in Shakedown Probe (The Dallas Morning News says another Dallas police officer, Quentis R. Roper, a former local football standout, is suspected of stealing thousands of dollars from drug dealers and undocumented Mexican immigrants and has been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of a criminal investigation. The investigation into the alleged shakedowns became public Sunday night when Officer Daniel E. Maples Jr. turned himself in because he feared drug dealers would hurt his loved ones.) Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 10:54:43 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US TX: 2nd Officer Placed on Paid Leave in Shakedown Probe Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 Source: Dallas Morning News (TX) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dallasnews.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Dallas Morning News Author: Jason Sickles / The Dallas Morning News 2ND OFFICER PLACED ON PAID LEAVE IN SHAKEDOWN PROBE Lawyer says drug dealers alleging money was taken aren't credible A second Dallas police officer suspected of stealing thousands of dollars from drug dealers and undocumented Mexican immigrants has been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of a criminal investigation, a Police Department source said Friday. Officer Quentis R. Roper, 32, a former local football standout, has not been arrested or charged with a crime. The source, who asked not to be identified, declined to say why Officer Roper is a suspect. Officer Roper, a seven-year veteran, could not be reached for comment. Bob Baskett, his attorney, said Officer Roper has done nothing wrong. "It is a drug dealer who claims he has taken some money," Mr. Baskett said. "He's not a credible witness. He's a drug dealer." A police investigation into the alleged thefts became public Sunday night when Officer Daniel E. Maples Jr., 26, surrendered at Grand Prairie police headquarters. Detective John Brimmer, a Grand Prairie police spokesman, said the officer said he was turning himself in because he feared drug dealers with whom he'd had contact in the past would hurt his loved ones. "The drug dealers had allegedly threatened him that if he didn't give back their money, they'd hurt his girlfriend and baby," Detective Brimmer said. It is unknown why Officer Maples, a Dallas officer since 1995, turned himself in to Grand Prairie police. That department has not been involved in the investigation. "He voluntarily stayed here until the [Dallas police] public integrity unit arrived," Detective Brimmer said. Dallas investigators did not arrest Officer Maples but did take away his badge and gun while in the Grand Prairie police station, he said. The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave, sources said. Officer Maples and his attorneys have declined to comment on the investigation. Police officials also continued to decline to discuss specifics of the case. "Any time information is developed or comes to the attention of the department in which it appears an employee is involved in criminal conduct, we owe it to every man and woman of the Dallas Police Department and the citizens of Dallas to fully and thoroughly investigate the allegations," Executive Assistant Chief Willard Rollins said. "We will not tolerate this type of behavior." The two officers are the only police employees believed to have been placed on leave because of the investigation. A source said it may take several more weeks before the inquiry ends. Police sources said detectives learned of the alleged theft about a year ago, when several of the victims complained that the officers had taken money from them. Sources have said the scheme targeted Mexican citizens who may have feared deportation if they reported the thefts. Others are believed to be drug dealers who said the officers would arrest them at apartments and motels, confiscate whatever money they had on hand and keep it. One source estimated the officers have taken in $10,000 to $12,000, but a second source said the amounts could be much higher. Officers Roper and Maples both work nights and patrol northeast Dallas. As many as 15 of their colleagues have been questioned in recent months by investigators, a source said. Department records show that neither officer has ever been disciplined for serious administrative violations. Officer Maples has received seven commendations, and Officer Roper has been given 48. Senior Cpl. Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association, said it is hard for him to believe that Officer Roper is guilty. "He is the epitome of a beat officer," Cpl. White said. "He takes an active role in the community on-duty and off-duty." Officer Roper was a star quarterback for Pinkston High School in West Dallas in the late '80s. He went on to play at Rice University and for the Dallas Texans arena football team. "He said to hell with an athletic career and decided to be a policeman," Cpl. White said. "He's the kind of guy you would let your sister date."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tobacco Case Lawyers Awarded Billions In Fees (The Associated Press version in the New Bedford, Massachusetts, Standard-Times) Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 14:07:57 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US TX: Tobacco Case Lawyers Awarded Billions In Fees Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Saturday, 12 December 1998 Source: Standard-Times (MA) Contact: YourView@S-T.com Website: http://www.s-t.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Standard-Times Author: Katie Fairbank, Associated Press writer TOBACCO CASE LAWYERS AWARDED BILLIONS IN FEES DALLAS -- Attorneys who helped Texas, Mississippi and Florida settle their lawsuits against the tobacco industry will receive almost $8.2 billion in fees, an amount believed to be the largest ever awarded in the United States. A divided three-member arbitration panel announced yesterday that five private attorneys in Texas will receive $3.3 billion. The 11-firm team that worked on the Florida case was awarded $3.43 billion, and the 13 Mississippi team was awarded $1.43 billion. The lawyers will receive the payments over at least 10 years, but perhaps as long as 25 years. The payments, decided by a national arbitration panel in Washington, are about 19 percent of the record $17.3 billion settlement in Texas, about 25 percent of the $13 billion settlement reached in Florida and about 35 percent of the $4 billion reached in Mississippi. The states had all reached settlements from their lawsuits against tobacco companies for health care costs for smokers. John Calhoun Wells, chairman of the arbitration panel, said the board recognized the awards are "very substantial." But Wells said that without the lawyers "there would be no multibillion dollar settlements for the states to reimburse tobacco-related health expenses and provide funds for educational efforts to reduce youth smoking." Charles B. Renfrew, the arbitrator appointed by the tobacco industry, dissented from the opinion. He called the awards "excessive and incomprehensible." "I am concerned that the sheer size of the fees awarded will raise questions as to the integrity of the proceedings here and undermine public confidence in the profession and in the legal system generally," he wrote. He said while the attorneys achieved "truly incredible" results for the states, "there are limits even in these cases as to the amount the attorneys should be paid." Lawyers who worked on the cases were pleased, but state officials and at least one tobacco company criticized the size of the award. "It sounds fair to me," said Pensacola, Fla., attorney Robert Kerrigan, who will get a 6 percent share of the Florida award, or more than $200 million. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. said the awards are "obscene." "When we reached a settlement with each of these three states, we agreed to pay 'reasonable compensation' to the lawyers representing the states. The award of $8.1 billion defies anyone's definition of 'reasonable,"' the company said. Texas Gov. George W. Bush also was unhappy. "I will never understand and never agree that five private law firms should collect more than $3.3 billion for working less than two years on a case that was settled before it went to trial," Bush said. "The fee seems totally out of proportion for the work performed." Seth Moskowitz, a spokesman for RRJ Nabisco, said his company wasn't commenting on the fee. The three states and Minnesota had all reached settlements with the tobacco companies prior to a national for $206 billion deal with the remaining 46 states.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Was Justice Denied On The Border? (The San Antonio Express-News says a senior FBI agent and a Texas Ranger who investigated the killing of an 18-year-old goatherder, Esequiel Hernandez Jr., by a camouflaged Marine leading an anti-drug patrol near Redford, Texas, contend the military obstructed an inquiry of the death. They want a grand jury to consider the matter for a third time.) Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 13:08:28 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US TX: Was Justice Denied On The Border? Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 Source: San Antonio Express-News (TX) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.expressnews.com/ Copyright: 1998 San Antonio Express-News Author: Dane Schiller Related: http://www.mapinc.org/DPFT/hernandez/hernandez_index.htm WAS JUSTICE DENIED ON THE BORDER? REDFORD -- A senior FBI agent and a Texas Ranger who investigated the killing of a youth by a Marine leading an anti-drug patrol here contend the military obstructed an inquiry of the death. They want a grand jury to consider the matter for a third time. The truth still isn't known about the shooting, Texas Rangers Sgt. David Duncan said. "The federal government came in and stifled the investigation," Duncan said. "It's really depressing. The system we hoped would work failed at the federal level." He referred to the death of 18-year-old Esequiel Hernandez Jr., killed May 20, 1997, as he herded his family's goats in this village of unpaved streets along the Rio Grande west of Big Bend National Park. Cpl. Clemente Banuelos shot Hernandez once in the chest with his M-16 after Hernandez fired twice through the brush and allegedly raised his .22-caliber rifle as if to fire a third time at Banuelos's heavily camouflaged four-man patrol. "The Marines perceived a target-practicing shot as a threat to their safety," said Terry Kincaid, a supervisory senior agent at the FBI's Midland office. He was referring to speculation that Hernandez was shooting at objects such as tin cans. "From that point, their training and instincts took over to neutralize a threat," Kincaid added. Two state grand juries didn't find sufficient evidence to return an indictment. And a separate federal grand jury also returned no indictments after considering whether Hernandez's civil rights were violated by the shooting. In August, the Navy Department, which oversees the Marine Corps, agreed without admitting wrongdoing to pay $1.9 million to the Hernandez family to settle a wrongful death claim against the government. Kincaid said the incident could have been avoided if Banuelos and his team had been better supervised and hadn't overreacted after believing they'd come under fire. The Texas Rangers became involved in the case because they traditionally investigate major crimes in rural counties. The FBI investigated because the military and Border Patrol were involved in the shooting. Marine Maj. Gen. John Admire said the Marines responded appropriately when they came under fire and that Hernandez's own actions led to his death. The stance by the Rangers and the FBI came as a dispute over the shooting was reignited by the partial release of a 13,000-page Marine Corps report that found fault with the Marines' behavior and training but concludes the shooting wasn't a crime. A separate, 12,000-page report by the Justice Department on Hernandez's death includes documents that show federal prosecutors also had questions about the Marines' version of the shooting. Thousands of pages of that report haven't been cleared for public release. The Justice Department report notes federal prosecutors once considered perjury charges against at least two of the Marines, alleging they lied to FBI agents, but they decided they lacked evidence to file charges. Since grand jury proceedings are secret, it's not known how much of the information gathered by the Justice Department and the military has been kept from state investigators, but Duncan said neither the military nor federal prosecutors have cooperated with his probe. Maj. Gen. John Coyne, who headed the Pentagon's investigation, said he had "lingering suspicions" about the shooting, but no evidence proved a crime was committed. Coyne disputed the notion of a military cover-up and said the Texas Rangers should do whatever their job requires. "The report was as thorough and exhaustive as I could have made it," said Coyne, who's retired and lives in Virginia. He attributed the shooting to inadequate training and failures in the chain of command. "Basic Marine Corps training instills an aggressive spirit while teaching combat skills," Coyne wrote in his report. "More is needed to place young fully armed Marines in a domestic environment and perform noncombat duties." Told about comments from Duncan and the FBI's Kincaid, Maj. Ken White, a spokesman for the Marine Corps, said the shooting has been reviewed thoroughly and that Coyne's report speaks for itself. "We stand by the evaluation and hard work that went into our investigation," White said from the Pentagon. Presidio County District Attorney Albert Valadez said he'd need new evidence to take the case to another state grand jury. "I sought two indictments for murder. That speaks for itself. (The Marines) pursued (Hernandez) and they killed him," Valadez said. "If Dave (Duncan) or any of the Rangers finds evidence that warrants another grand jury, we'll go round three." Banuelos, a San Francisco native who left the military with an honorable discharge, has said he shot Hernandez to prevent a member of the patrol from being killed. Jack Zimmermann, a Houston lawyer and former Marine colonel representing Banuelos, repeatedly has said that while the shooting was unfortunate, it wasn't a crime. "At some point we need to let Clemente Banuelos know what he did was what he was supposed to do and let it go," Zimmermann said earlier. "Cpl. Banuelos' actions were entirely justified under the law and consistent with what he was trained to do." Zimmermann said his client wouldn't comment on the case. Rangers Claim Obstruction Duncan argued that subpoenas were ignored, documents were hidden and Marines at times were kept from him and others. He said Banuelos and his team had ample time to rehearse their stories, and they retraced their steps before state investigators could question them the day of the shooting. "Law enforcement succeeds because people respect the system and fear the consequences of their actions. I almost feel like the Marines never had either one," Duncan said. At one point after the shooting, Banuelos sat in a sports utility vehicle and spoke to an unidentified military officer as state investigators waited outside in the rain to interview the corporal, according to Coyne's report. The Border Patrol, which had been overseeing the Marines as part of an effort to monitor smuggling, refused to let its agents testify before a state grand jury unless they got an advance copy of the summary of questions, according to a letter from an attorney for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the patrol's parent agency. A later memorandum noted the Justice Department and the district attorney, Valadez, had agreed that Border Patrol agents only would testify about observations at the scene of the shooting and what the Marines were wearing. The agents were further told the Justice Department had asked they be available for questioning by a defense attorney the morning of their grand jury testimony. Duncan was angered by the move and said he was told the Marines were not available to him when, in fact, they were meeting privately with Banuelos' attorney. The Marine report, prepared by Coyne and a staff of 22, provides the most comprehensive look yet at the shooting. Although summaries and some statements given to investigators were released to the public, the Pentagon repeatedly has declined to release the bulk of the document. Coyne's report says Banuelos and his team were inadequately trained, gave troubling answers to investigators and provided a dying Hernandez with "substandard first aid by any human standard." "No training prepared the Marines to recognize a humanitarian duty to render aid," Coyne wrote. "The potential for encountering civilian casualties in counter-drug operations should have been a recognized element for planning and training." The report concluded "an analysis of the results of the investigations fails to reveal any evidence -- as distinguished from lingering suspicions -- that Cpl. Banuelos acted for any reason other than protecting his team in a manner consistent with his Marine Corps training." Patrols Suspended Defense Secretary William Cohen suspended anti-drug patrols along the border soon after Hernandez was killed. Cohen's advisers warned him the public was angry about the shooting and the use of armed patrols on anti-drug missions along the border. Judith Miller, general counsel for the Defense Department, bluntly told Cohen that should another Redford-like incident occur, "we will not be able to protect those involved from possible criminal action from state officials." "While as a policy matter that risk may be acceptable, it is not a risk that I am comfortable with in light of the experience to date with the state of Texas," Miller wrote to Cohen in a July 23, 1997, letter that's part of Coyne's report. The shooting touched off a behind-the-scenes debate among Marine Corps officials, and between the Marines and the Justice Department. Barry Kowalski, a ranking official in the Justice Department's Office of Civil Rights, which reviewed the killing, said a reasonable law enforcement officer facing the same circumstances as (Banuelos) wouldn't have fired at Hernandez. Kowalski said the civil rights probe was launched, in part, because of concerns about why Hernandez was killed, but the Justice Department didn't seek an indictment in the case. The agency sent Presidio County officials boxes of documents from its grand jury probe and suggested a state grand jury take a second look at possible state charges against the Marines for reckless or negligent homicide. The Presidio County grand jury reviewed the documents and again refused to indict. Admire, then commander of the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where the Marines were based, disputed Coyne's report and Kowalski's comments and said the Marines acted appropriately. "The training proficiency of the Marines was demonstrated by their compliance with military regulations, civilian laws, and their restrained but protective actions during a dangerous situation," Admire said in an April 1998 letter to his superiors. He chastised Kowalski as "an arrogant at best and disingenuous at worst" federal prosecutor who used the bully pulpit to attack the Marines' integrity. "This offends the ideals of justice," Admire's letter said. "But those who it most offends are those who serve our nation at home and abroad." Diagram Of A Tragedy For three days in the brush, Banuelos led three men who'd never trained together before and weren't elite reconnaissance troops. A truck driver, forklift operator and a radioman, their mission was to spy on a nearby crossing point on the Rio Grande known as El Polvo, Spanish for dust. They approached Redford, a place their superiors told them was hostile and home to locals who worked with drug traffickers. Meanwhile, Hernandez arrived home on the school bus at about 4 p.m. After dinner, he studied for his driver's license exam, then grabbed the rifle that had been in his family for three generations and went to herd the goats. Hernandez, who considered joining the Marines and had a recruiting poster on his bedroom wall, often carried the rifle for target practice and to protect the goats from wild animals, his family said. As he walked with the goats, the team of Marines was about 200 yards away and making its way through the brush. Banuelos radioed he saw an armed man who appeared to be herding goats, according to transcripts of the transmissions. Suddenly, the Marines fell to the ground. "We're taking fire!" Banuelos yelled into the radio. The Marines later told investigators two shots whizzed by them. "As soon as he raises that rifle back down range, we're taking him," Banuelos said into his radio. "Roger . . . ahhh . . . fire back," responded a corporal at Border Patrol headquarters in Marfa. Eighteen minutes after Banuelos' first transmission, Hernandez lay dead, sprawled over an old well from an Army outpost used to guard against raids by Pancho Villa. A military pathologist later determined the injuries "were so severe that he would have died, even if he had been shot inside a hospital emergency room." U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, wrapped up his investigation of the shooting earlier this month by saying the Border Patrol was at fault for not supervising the Marines better and the Defense Department was at fault for not giving the Marines better training. "Both agencies made terrible mistakes that contributed to this tragedy," said Smith, chairman of the House subcommittee on immigration. Meanwhile, the Rangers won't drop the case until the death of Hernandez and the actions of the Marines are aired before a trial jury. "They thought they didn't have to answer to civilian law," Ranger Capt. Barry Caver said of the Marines and their leaders. "They didn't respect us or the system. No one is exempt from the law."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lawyers In Tobacco Case Will Receive $8.2 Billion (The New York Times says dozens of attorneys who represented the first three states to settle with the tobacco industry over alleged health care costs - Florida, Mississippi and Texas - were awarded $8.2 billion in fees Friday, the richest legal payday in the nation's history. The fees will be paid by cigarette smokers, who weren't represented in the legal wranglings.) Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 11:23:59 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NY: Lawyers In Tobacco Case Will Receive $8.2 Billion Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Galasyn Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Copyright: 1998 The New York Times Company Pubdate: Sun,Dec 12, 1998 Author: BARRY MEIER LAWYERS IN TOBACCO CASE WILL RECEIVE $8.2 BILLION The lawyers who represented the first states to settle with the tobacco industry over health care costs were awarded $8.2 billion in fees Friday, the richest legal payday in the nation's history. The money, which will be divided among dozens of lawyers who represented the states, Florida, Mississippi and Texas, is the first to result from a series of tobacco cases that culminated last month in a $206 billion settlement between tobacco companies and 46 states and five United States territories. That broader settlement, which did not include Florida, Mississippi and Texas, appears likely to produce billions more for plaintiffs' lawyers. The three states settled their suits for a total of $34.4 billion to be paid by cigarette makers over 25 years. The legal fees awarded Friday were determined by an arbitration panel set up under an agreement between tobacco producers and plaintiffs' lawyers that will also be used to award legal fees from the larger settlement last month. The fees will be paid by cigarette makers, and their payments, which are limited to $500 million annually, will run until all the lawyers' claims are settled. The payouts will not affect the amounts received by the states. Cigarette makers are likely to pass on the fees, like the rest of the recent $206 billion settlement, to smokers. In awarding $8.2 billion, the arbitration panel gave the lawyers credit for taking the risks of being first to test the legal strategy of suing the tobacco industry to recover Medicaid costs related to smoking. It awarded far less than some of the lawyers had claimed; five trial lawyers hired by Texas, for example, wanted $25 billion for negotiating that state's $17.3 billion settlement. But the size of the awards -- those five Texas lawyers will get $3.3 billion -- quickly provoked criticism from legal experts who said the huge recovery by the states did not justify traditional contingency-style rewards. "Twenty-five percent of $1 million is one thing," said Geoffrey Hazard, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania who earlier opposed payment of large fees to the Texas lawyers. "Twenty percent of $1 billion is another thing." In determining fees, the arbitrators started by awarding lawyers in the three states 10 percent of their state's settlement. Then the panel multiplied those figures 1.9 to 3.5 times depending on what it perceived to be the risks and work undertaken by the lawyers in each state. Under those formulas, lawyers hired by Florida received $3.4 billion for reaching a $13 billion settlement last year and lawyers for Mississippi got $1.4 billion for forging a $4.1 billion settlement last year. The Mississippi lawyers got the highest percentage award, 33 percent, after the panel determined that they had taken the greatest risk by representing the first state to sue the tobacco industry, in 1994. In the tobacco litigation, state attorneys general hired lawyers to pursue their claims against tobacco producers under contingency-style contracts that gave the lawyers 10 percent to 25 percent of a state's recovery. But in reaching the three state accords and the recent $206 billion settlement plan, the tobacco industry and plaintiffs' lawyers agreed to submit the lawyers' fee claims to arbitration for resolution. For each settlement, fees would be determined by a three-member panel, one member selected by the tobacco companies, one by the plaintiffs' lawyers and the third by common agreement. Cigarette makers had championed arbitration as an equitable way of resolving fees. But they quickly chafed last week when they reviewed fee requests from plaintiffs' lawyers, and yesterday the arbitrator they selected sharply dissented over the size of the awards. In a statement, that arbitrator, Charles Renfrew, a former United States District Court Judge, said that although he believed the results achieved by the lawyers were outstanding, the awards exceeded all reasonable limits and that some lawyers had not even keep time records. "Each of the three state awards rendered by the majority is clearly excessive and to me incomprehensible," Renfrew wrote. The neutral member, John Calhoun Wells, said in a telephone interview yesterday that the unhappiness of tobacco and plaintiffs' lawyers over the awards indicated that the arbitration process had worked. The situation of the three states was unique because tobacco producers had formally agreed not to argue against the lawyers. Industry lawyers said no such agreements exist with lawyers representing other states and Wells said that the bar would be far higher for the next lawyers seeking fees. "These three states were of a totally different cast," he said. "They were trailblazers." In Minnesota, where the state and a health insurer settled their cases this year for $6.5 billion, tobacco companies agreed to pay the plaintiffs' lawyers $427 million, or about 7.1 percent of the recovery. Those lawyers were highly regarded by many observers and the size of Minnesota's settlement increased the recoveries by Florida, Texas and Mississippi and, as a result, awards to those lawyers. The biggest winners in yesterday's awards and others to come soon from the arbitration panel are Dick Scruggs, a plaintiffs' lawyer from Pascagoula, Miss., and Ronald Motley and Joe Rice, who work in the same law firm in Charleston, S.C. Along with shares of the Texas, Florida and Mississippi cases, the men represented more than 30 other states in cases against the tobacco industry. Steven Yerrid, a plaintiffs' lawyer in Tampa, who had helped represent Florida in its case said that he believed that the $3.4 billion paid to him and his colleagues was justified. He said that the costs come from the industry, rather than the state, and added that he would have received nothing if the lawsuit had failed. "We just wanted everyone to live up to the bargain," Yerrid said. "Because if we would have lost under that bargain we won't have gotten a dime." The state lawsuits were based on novel legal theories that asserted that cigarette makers were responsible for the health care costs created by their products. To pursue the claims, some lawyers spent tens of millions of dollars and invested years investigating cigarette makers and producing thousands of previously secret documents. All the cases, however, were settled. John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University, said the agreement between industry and plaintiffs' lawyers to arbitrate fees privately was an effort to avoid potential political roadblocks. In the Congressional debate over a $516 billion Senate tobacco bill that failed earlier this year, several amendments were offered that would have sharply limited lawyers' fees. Coffee said that his concern was not so much with size of the fees but the fact that some state attorneys general had hired trial lawyers who had contributed to their campaigns. "I think we need plaintiffs' attorneys but we need the process in which they represent the public to be purged of political overtones," said Coffee. "This was probably the biggest pay-to-play issue of all time."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Forfeiture To Aid Narcotics Bureau (The Oklahoman says a judge in Grady County Thursday allowed the forfeiture of $122,210 in cash that will benefit the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.) Date: Sun, 20 Dec 1998 11:26:20 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OK: Forfeiture To Aid Narcotics Bureau Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Michael Pearson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: Oklahoman, The (OK) Contact: http://www.oklahoman.com/?ed-writeus Website: http://www.oklahoman.com/ Forum: http://www.oklahoman.com/forums/ Copyright: 1998 The Oklahoma Publishing Co. Pubdate: 12 Dec 1998 FORFEITURE TO AID NARCOTICS BUREAU The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics will reap the benefits of suspected drug proceeds. A Grady County district judge Thursday ordered the forfeiture of $122,210 seized in an August 1997 traffic stop. Agents of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration seized the money after they found it hidden in two vehicles on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike south of Newcastle. Agents stopped the cars after they learned about a shipment of money being transported to Mexico as payment for drugs already distributed in the Oklahoma City area. The driver of one of the cars never filed a claim to the $34,000 agents seized from his vehicle, so a court order awarded the money to the state. The second driver failed to appear at a jury trial Thursday for the remaining $88,210. Grady County District Judge Richard Van Dyke entered a default judgment against him and awarded the remaining money to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Failed Drug Policy (A letter to the editor of The Minneapolis Star-Tribune ridicules Linda Bayer, the hack from the White House drug czar's office who criticized syndicated columnist Molly Ivins' recent apostasy on the drug war.) Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 18:46:06 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MN: PUB LTE: Failed Drug Policy Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Paul_Bischke@datacard.com (Paul Bischke) Pubdate: 12 Dec 1998 Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN) Contact: http://www.startribune.com/stonline/html/userguide/letform.html Website: http://www.startribune.com/ Forum: http://talk.startribune.com/cgi-bin/WebX.cgi Copyright: 1998 Star Tribune Author: Fredric J. Anderson, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota Our Newshawk writes: "Here's an LTE printed last Saturday in response to Linda Bayer's damage-control commentary against Molly Ivins' recent article." FAILED DRUG POLICY I couldn't help but gasp at the unmitigated gall of Linda Bayer, "senior writer and psychologist at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy" who, some 17 years after the Reagan administration declared the "war on drugs," chastises those who point out its abysmal failure and declares that it is not really a war after all (Counterpoint, Dec. 5). I suggest an alternative to the "sound long-range plan" she insists the government has. It's called honesty. The questions that would have to be answered in an unbiased fashion would be: (1) Which drugs, legal or illegal, have what short- and long-term effects on which human organs and vital functions? (2) What percentage of users become physically or psychologically addicted to each drug? (3) Who is making money off of the sale and promotion of each drug and how much? (4) Which drugs result in the most human misery and why? (5) What are some alternatives to the use of substances to alter consciousness? Let's face it, Linda: You and your colleagues have failed. We need to try something else. Fredric J. Anderson, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
------------------------------------------------------------------- Groom who brought marijuana to court gets married - and sentenced (The Associated Press says a judge in Edwardsville, Illinois - where marijuana is not decriminalized - presided over the marriage of a man, then sentenced him minutes later for bringing marijuana into the courthouse. The groom, Ewel Simon Greene, had been arrested at the courthouse Friday when a deputy using a metal detector discovered a metal pipe in his pocket. Greene got one year's probation and a $100 fine on misdemeanor charges of marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Groom brought marijuana to court gets married & sentenced Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 14:16:54 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Groom who brought marijuana to court gets married _ and sentenced The Associated Press 12/12/98 11:38 AM Eastern EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- Judge Dan Stack runs a full-service courtroom. He presided over the marriage of a man -- and sentenced him minutes later for bringing marijuana into the courthouse. "I wanted to sentence him for criminal stupidity," said Stack, a Madison County judge. "But I felt sorry for them both." The groom, Ewel Simon Greene, was arrested at the courtroom door Friday afternoon after a deputy using a metal detector discovered a metal pipe in his pocket, which led to a search that turned up a bag containing less than 2.5 grams of marijuana. Greene, 25, had arrived at the courthouse with his fiancee and their infant son. Authorities were going to release Greene with a court-appearance notice, but Stack, after talking it over with Greene, offered to conduct the wedding ceremony and decide the criminal case back-to-back. Stack married the couple first, then sentenced Greene to one year's probation and a $100 fine on misdemeanor charges of marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Activist Denounces Prison System (The Cincinnati Enquirer says Angela Davis, best known for the trails she blazed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, spoke to a packed auditorium at Northern Kentucky University Friday night and criticized today's prison system.) Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 21:19:44 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OH: Activist Denounces Prison System Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Source: Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://enquirer.com/today/ Copyright: 1998 The Cincinnati Enquirer Pubdate: 12 Dec 1998 Author: SUSAN VELA ACTIVIST DENOUNCES PRISON SYSTEM. NKU Audience Hears Angela Davis HIGHLAND HEIGHTS - Angela Davis, best known for the trails she blazed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, criticized today's prison system Friday night before a packed auditorium at Northern Kentucky University. Businesses profit from more people going to prison and more prisons having to be built, Ms. Davis said. But prisons don't rehabilitate people, she added, saying there are better ways of holding people accountable for committing crimes. Most often, she said, blacks and Latinos, the illiterate, the homeless and the mentally deranged are filling the jail cells. Ms. Davis spoke passionately, letting her voice dip from high to low and using her hands to emphasize her long-standing support for political prisoners and this country's booming prison population. Ms. Davis pointed to two celebrated cases: Mumia Abu-Jamal, on death row in Pennsylvania for what some believe is a wrongful conviction for murdering a police officer in 1982. Leonard Peltier, an American Indian who is jailed for murdering two FBI agents in South Dakota more than 20 years ago. She urged the crowd to think, know their history and do something about the racial and social injustices inherent in today's the prison system. "I think we're on the verge of a new era of activism, I really do," she told the crowd. "People want to bring about a change. I ask all of you to think very deeply about ways you can get involved." Ms. Davis was in the national spotlight in 1969, when she was removed from her teaching job at UCLA's philosophy department for being a member of the Communist Party. She also became a voice for the Black Liberation Movement and, in 1970, her efforts to free prisoners the Soledad brothers sparked a heated trial and led to her own arrest and imprisonment. She was accused of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in a hostage situation at which she was not present. She was acquitted in 1972. A year later, she founded the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Oppression. Ms. Davis now is a tenured professor in the history of consciousness department at University of California-Santa Cruz. While speaking Friday, she noted that many people her age often introduce themselves to her by saying, "I'm from the '60s." She finds it odd that some people use the decade as they would the name of a hometown. She noted said that these people often romanticize the era and forget about the horrors that sparked many of its movements. She admitted her own naivete then in regards to the the nation's prisons. She never thought so many would be built to house so many prisoners. In the '60s, fewer less than 200,000 people were in prison. She remembers contending that some foreign nations were less populous. But, now, there are almost 2 million people behind bars. And between 1852 and 1965, 12 prisons were built. At least 20 have been constructed built since 1984, she said. "I think we should ask ourselves how this happened," she said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pfizer hires Dole to talk about health (The Associated Press says the pharmaceutical company has hired former senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole for a television advertising campaign to raise awareness about impotence, hoping to improve sales of Viagra.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Bob Dole to promo Viagra Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 14:23:05 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Pfizer hires Dole to talk about health By Associated Press, 12/12/98 NEW YORK - Hoping to improve sales of its Viagra drug, Pfizer Inc. has hired former senator Bob Dole for a television advertising campaign to raise awareness about impotence. The former Senate majority leader and presidential candidate will participate in a series of public service activities, including speaking engagements and educational advertising that will focus on impotence and men's health. Pfizer would not disclose how much it is paying Dole, who will not mention Viagra by name in the messages that will start early next year. The Dole ads mark Pfizer's first use of television advertising associated with Viagra. The company is weighing whether to use ads that directly mention the product. In May, Dole, 75, acknowledged that he participated in the trials for Viagra, which he has called ''a great drug.'' ''That's certainly got our attention,'' said Pfizer spokeswoman Marianne Caprino. ''I'm convinced this campaign can help men pay attention to health problems they might otherwise be afraid to discuss,'' Dole said in a statement. Viagra was the most successful introduction of a new prescription drug in history, but its sales have not kept up the early pace. The drug is expected to have sales of $800 million for the year, far below the $1 billion estimates analysts initially predicted.
------------------------------------------------------------------- In D.C., Marijuana Dispute Hits A Raw Nerve (The Philadelphia Inquirer suggests District of Columbia residents are less upset about the ramifications for medical-marijuana patients than they are about the lack of local control evidenced by Congress's quashing of Initiative 59, the medical-marijuana initiative that won handily, according to exit polls.) Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 10:24:38 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US DC: MMJ: In D.C. Marijuana Dispute Hits A Raw Nerve 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: Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) Contact: Inquirer.Opinion@phillynews.com Website: http://www.phillynews.com/ Copyright: 1998 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. Author: Chris Mondics, Inquirer Washington Bureau Pubdate: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 IN D.C., MARIJUANA DISPUTE HITS A RAW NERVE The Issue, Some Say, Is Not Whether Smoking Pot Helps The Sick But Home Rule For City Residents. WASHINGTON -- When Wayne Turner finally managed, after years of sidewalk activism, to gather enough signatures in August for a referendum here on the medical use of marijuana, he felt a sense of accomplishment. His domestic partner, Steve Michael, whose weight had dropped from 185 to 110 pounds as a result of AIDS, had started smoking marijuana in a last-ditch attempt to stimulate his appetite. Last May, just before he died, Michael asked Turner to keep up the fight. But Turner's joy in getting the issue on the November ballot soon turned to frustration. Three weeks before the election, after the ballots had been printed, Congress passed legislation barring district officials from carrying out the election. Sponsors of the bill said they feared that the referendum would legalize the recreational use of marijuana -- an outcome that Turner said was not his intent. The election went forward, and, according to one exit poll, the measure was approved. But city officials have declined to release the results, saying that to do so would violate the restrictions Congress passed. The controversy over whether the outcome should be made public has opened old wounds among Washington residents who have long chafed at Congress' power, established by the Constitution, to manage district government. Many say the matter has less to do with the medical use of marijuana than with the rights of district residents to govern themselves. 'Huge Resentment' "There is huge resentment over this," said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district's nonvoting member of Congress. "The taking away of [ a ] vote is one of those insults that is felt from the poorest communities to the richest. This was a gratuitous election-year stunt." In August, Norton pleaded with Rep. Bob Barr (R., Ga.), the sponsor of the bill in Congress, to drop the measure as he prepared to offer it as an amendment to the budget bill. She failed. The measure was soon approved by a voice vote. Barr, who said he had not been convinced that there were medical benefits to using marijuana, said district residents must accept such congressional oversight in exchange for the money the federal government spends on the city. "The majority of the taxpayers who provide these dollars are opposed to efforts to legalize mind-altering drugs," Barr said. "This is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to legalize a frequently abused [ drug ] ." City officials, saying Barr's law violates the First Amendment rights of district residents, have joined with the American Civil Liberties Union in a suit asking the federal District Court here to reverse Congress and let the vote count be made public. Proponents acknowledge that the Constitution probably does give Congress the right to overturn the election results, even if the court eventually rules that they should be made public and certified. But they say Congress does not have the authority to prevent an election that gives district residents a chance to be heard on the issue. Critics Want To See Limits The ballot question, called Initiative 59, would allow marijuana to be used, under a physician's direction, in the treatment of AIDS, glaucoma, muscle spasms, cancer, and "other serious illnesses." What troubles some critics is that it places no limits on how much a person may possess, simply saying patients are entitled to have "sufficient" amounts for the treatment of their illnesses. The medical community is divided over the benefits that smoking marijuana can provide to seriously ill patients. Turner, president of the local chapter of ACTUP, the gay activist organization, was supported in his campaign by the Whitman Walker clinic in Washington, which treats up to 5,000 AIDS patients a year. For a small number of patients, said clinic associate director Patricia Hawkins, marijuana helps stimulate the appetite and moderate the effects of chemotherapy. "We believe it is a decision that ought to be left up to the patient and the physician," she said. Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona passed initiatives in November legalizing the medical use of marijuana. Only the District of Columbia, with its unique relationship to the federal government, was stopped from having its votes counted. "You can't get a more glaring example of congressional interference," said Mark Plotkin, a Washington radio commentator. "This is just a punitive and embarrassing attempt to humiliate us." The battle is the latest in a long-standing conflict between district residents and the federal government over how the district should be governed. Some constitutional scholars say the conflict dates back to 1783, when a band of former Revolutionary War soldiers marched on Independence Hall in an attempt to force the Pennsylvania legislature to pay them back wages. Congress, which also was meeting in Philadelphia at the time, grew alarmed by the disturbance and blamed Pennsylvania authorities for failing to control the situation. When the Constitution was adopted several years later, the framers, some of them citing that incident, gave Congress authority over all matters in the national capital. Congress has not been shy in using that power. It wasn't until 1961 that the 23d Amendment to the Constitution was approved giving district residents the right to vote in presidential elections. A few years later, in 1974, Congress permitted district residents to elect their own mayor and council. But district residents have no voting representatives in the House or Senate. Moreover, Congress periodically steps in to veto laws that it deems objectionable. That was the case several years ago when Congress overturned legislation passed by the City Council establishing a needle-exchange program.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Free Speech Becomes Drug War Casualty (Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robyn Blumner says first the drug warriors took away the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches. Now Congress has decided that the right of citizens to be heard in an election is disposable - that is, if Congress doesn't like the election results. Our government's doomsday rhetoric about drugs is no longer being swallowed whole. Which makes the powers that be very nervous, and correspondingly makes this a dangerous time for free speech.) Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 19:32:59 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: OPED: MMJ: Free Speech Becomes Drug War Casualty Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Section: Commentary Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.suntimes.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Sun-Times Co. Author: Robyn Blumner FREE SPEECH BECOMES DRUG WAR CASUALTY Gutting The Fourth Amendment Didn't Work, So Warriors Now Have Other Freedoms In Their Sights First the drug warriors attached our right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. In the name of fighting the illicit drug trade, they told us they needed to be able to use drug-sniffing dogs on cars without a warrant, to search inside garbage cans and peer into backyards in helicopters without a court order, to seize cash, the family car and boats where trace amounts of drugs were found. And the courts let them. Congress has decided that the right of citizens to be heard in an election is disposable -- that is, if Congress doesn't like the election results. After citizens got a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in Washington D.C., U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) slipped an amendment into a massive federal appropriations bill to prohibit the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics from spending any money on it. Although exit polls show that 69 percent of voters approved the November initiative, we may never know the official results. John Ferren, the district's corporation counsel, estimates that it would cost only $1.64 for a clerk to press the computer button to make the results known. This kind of viewpoint-based restriction on voting rights violates the First Amendment. A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Area and joined by the district seeks to emancipate the election results and limit Congress' ability to use its power of the purse to stymie voters in the future. "Congress wants to prohibit any initiative that would reduce the penalties for marijuana, but allow any initiative that would increase those penalties," said ACLU legal director Arthur Spitzer. "That is like saying voters can vote for Republicans but not for Democrats. Restricting speech by doctors is another way our nation's drug warriors are trashing the First Amendment of further their cause. After initiatives passed in California and Arizona in 1996 to legalize marijuana for medical use, the Justice Department, drug czar Barry McCaffrey and Drug Enforcement Administration chief Thomas Constantine pledged to punish any doctor who recommended its use. Again, the ACLU sued, and a federal district judge in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order blocking the federal government from prosecuting doctors for recommending marijuana. Judge Fern Smith ruled that the government was trying to silence a medical viewpoint with which it disagreed. Another innovative approach was concocted by Rep. Gerald Solomon (R-N.Y.) who introduced unsuccessful legislation in the past to strip the tax exemption from any nonprofit group advocating the reform of drug laws. Rational, nuanced arguments persuaded voters in six states so far (and probably the District of Columbia) to legalize medical marijuana, and more will probably follow. Our government's doomsday rhetoric on drugs is no longer being swallowed whole. Which makes the powers that be very nervous, and correspondingly makes this a dangerous time for free speech.
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Gang Threatens To Kill Toronto Cops (The Toronto Sun says Toronto police have assigned heavily armed emergency task force officers to protect their drug squad colleagues after Rema Posse, a violent gang based in New York City and Jamaica, made threats to kill Toronto cops - including one phoned in to the newspaper. Toronto prohibition agents executed 75 warrants and filed more than 169 charges against gang members between May and September.) Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 14:08:00 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: US Gang Threatens To Kill Toronto Cops Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Saturday, 12 December 1998 Source: Toronto Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.canoe.ca/TorontoSun/ Copyright: 1998, Canoe Limited Partnership. U.S. GANG THREATENS TO KILL TORONTO COPS TORONTO -- A New York street gang has threatened to kill Toronto cops. The threats, including one phoned in to The Toronto Sun, came after the force's drug squad executed 75 warrants and filed more than 169 charges between May and September. Police said the threats came from the Rema Posse, a violent gang based in New York City and Jamaica. "We've put a dent in their act. That's what's motivated the threats," said Det. Sgt. Jim Ramer. Police have assigned heavily armed emergency task force officers to protect their drug squad colleagues. "They're a serious threat, a serious posse," said Det. Garry Deller of the Toronto police intelligence unit.
------------------------------------------------------------------- UVic poised to fire pot-growing prof (The Times Colonist, in Victoria, British Columbia, says the president of the University of Victoria is calling for the dismissal of a sociology professor found guilty of operating a marijuana grow operation. Under the Human Rights Code, it is discriminatory to fire someone for an offence unrelated to their employment.) Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 10:45:41 -0800 (PST) To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Eleanor and Alan Randell) Subject: UVic poised to fire pot-growing prof Newshawk: Alan Randell Pubdate: December 12, 1998 Source: Times Colonist (Victoria, B,C, Canada) Contact: email@example.com UVic poised to fire pot-growing prof By Susan Danard Times-Colonist Staff UVic's president is calling for the dismissal of a sociology professor found guilty of operating a marijuana grow operation. David Strong said Friday he is recommending the UVic board of governors dismiss sociology professor Jean Veevers She was suspended and relieved of her duties at the university effective Friday. "The action results from a review of evidence submitted to the B.C. Supreme Court, which demonstrates that Dr. Veevers offered to pay the tuition of a prospective UVic student as an inducement for that person to continue as a partner in the illegal activities which led to Dr. Veevers' conviction. "This constitutes grounds for dismissal," Strong said. Veevers was fined and given a conditional 12-month sentence - to be served in the community - after she was convicted of cultivating marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking. Veevers declined to comment on the university's call for her dismissal. But her lawyer, Mel Hunt, said, "she most certainly will be fighting it and will pursue all legal remedies in that regard." Hunt said Veevers offered to lend tuition money to a 32-year-old man who was a partner in the grow operation and interested in studying engineering. But the loan was not an inducement to continue the well-established partnership and the man never took her up on her offer. The move to fire her from UVic "will be fought on the grounds that this is totally unfair and that they do not have grounds for dismissal," Hunt said. "Her involvement in this gentleman and this illicit activity she engaged in had absolutely nothing to do with her role as a professor at the university of Victoria." Under the Human Rights Code, it is discriminatory to fire someone for an offence unrelated to their employment. Depending on whether Veevers goes to arbitration over Strong's recommendation to dismiss her, her case could go before the board of governors at a time between six weeks and several months. The university will not provide further comment until that process is completed, Strong said. RCMP officers raided Veevers' residence in April, 1997, seizing 122 marijuana plants and 8.6 kilograms of marijuana.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Yeoman Of The Weed (An account in The Economist, in Britain, about the marijuana growers on the Caribbean island-nation of St. Vincent who have organized against the United States' eradication efforts there, says the farmers' plea for regulation is not as reasonable as it sounds. Ignoring the example of Cayman Islands banks, the magazine says the United States would never agree to decriminalisation, and if it did, or itself legalised marijuana, the price of ganja would probably collapse.) Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 07:19:28 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Trinidad: Yeoman Of The Weed Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ -----Original Message----- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Sent: Thursday, December 17, 1998 11:03 PM To: email@example.com Newshawk: Alan Randell Source: Economist, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.economist.com/ Copyright: 1998. The Economist Newspaper Limited. Pubdate: Sat, December 12, 1998 YEOMAN OF THE WEED Trinidad American marines flew helicopters around the forested slopes of St Vincent's Soufrere volcano this week, ferrying Caribbean police and soldiers to hot spots where air photos show fields of marijuana. The island's ganja farmers, to use their word, had been tipped off. Some took an early harvest. More significantly, this time the farmers chose to do what most other businesses do all the time - they lobby. With the raids imminent, the Committee of Concerned Citizens and Ganja Farmers sat down on November 17th with the island's highly respectable Chamber Industry and Commerce. They wrote to non-inhaling Bill Clinton. They held meetings and demonstrations. And they asked, without success, to meet Sir James Mitchell, the prime minister, whose formal request for American help initiated the raids. Drug barons? Hardly. Most of the few hundred growers are models of hard work and enterprise, growing a crop that few West Indians see as criminal at all. Few dirty their hands with the island's cocaine trafficking. These are small businessmen, proud of their hard-earned houses and pick-up trucks. Their crop is consumed locally or exported to nearby islands. Who suffers? About all of St Vincent's economy can boast of is bananas, off-shore banking, tourism, and ganja farming. With its tourism no pile of gold, its small-scale banana growers now under pressure from competition and American trade bullies, it is crazy, say the ganja farmers, to crack down on them. Why not decriminalise their crop and let them get on with the job? That is not as reasonable as it sounds. The ganja trade, like that of cocaine, helps corrupt the entire Caribbean. The United States would never agree to decriminalisation. And if it did, or itself legalised marijuana, the price of ganja would probably collapse. What best suits the ganja farmers, though they are loath to admit it, is continued illegality - but enforced, at worst, only with plenty of warning.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medicopolitical digest - Lords criticise government's response to cannabis report (The British Medical Journal says the chairman of the House of Lords science and technology committee, which produced a report last month saying physicians should be allowed to prescribe herbal cannabis to patients, has called on the government to "give more mature consideration to our recommendations.")Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 17:22:06 -0800 (PST) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: hadorn@DNAI.COM (David Hadorn) Subject: BMJ: Lords criticise government's response to cannabis report Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com BMJ 1998;317:1663 (12 December) Medicopolitical digest Lords criticise government's response to cannabis report The chairman of the House of Lords science and technology committee, which produced a report on cannabis last month (14 November, p 1337), has called on the government to "give more mature consideration to our recommendations." Miss Claire Rayner, chairman of the Patients Association (PA), told the Central Consultants and Specialists Committee that she would like to set up a consensus conference on risk benefit of different conditions to help educate patients. She hoped that from now on doctors and patients could work together in a more consensual way, and said that the PA was encouraging the development of patient liaison groups. She criticised the fact that there was only one lay person on primary care groups and suggested that the PA and the BMA should protest jointly to the government about the lack of resources The committee recommended that cannabis should be reclassified as a schedule 2 drug, allowing research and prescription on a named patient basis. Lord Perry of Walton told the Lords that doctors and pharmacists would be able to prescribe and dispense the drug legally. The government rejected this and said that it would not allow prescription of any drug "which had not been tested for safety, efficacy and quality." Lord Winston, professor of fertility studies at the University of London, said that cannabis might have some rare dangers,"but those risks are clearly much less than with many other drugs." Many patients who have given evidence of potential benefit were often desperately ill or dying. Lord Winston said that, given proper controls, there was not the slightest evidence that implementation of the recommendations would increase recreational use. He criticised the government for ignoring a serious committee, which includes fellows of the Royal Society and a Nobel prize winner. A former head of a police drugs squad, Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate, sided with the government. He said that the United Nations had defined cannabis as a dangerous narcotic. "It should remain such here until we are properly satisfied by evidence to the contrary."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ecstasy Users Face Consequences Of Neurotoxicity (The Lancet, in Britain, says "experts" who met at the Novartis Foundation conference in London on Dec. 4 asserted that the drug methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, also known as ecstasy, is a human neurotoxin, and one dose could be enough to damage serotonergic neurons. The "experts" said the functional consequences of such lesions remain unknown, but could include mood disorders and memory difficulties. A decade of research has shown that MDMA causes a deficit of brain serotonin in every animal species tested, said George Ricaurte of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, though such lesions have persisted for no more than 7 years in any animal.)Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 16:17:34 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Ecstasy Users Face Consequences Of Neurotoxicity Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: Lancet, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.thelancet.com/ Copyright: The Lancet Ltd Volume 352, Number 9144 Pubdate: 12 Dec 1998 Author: Kelly Morris ECSTASY USERS FACE CONSEQUENCES OF NEUROTOXICITY The recreational drug methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; Ecstasy) is a human neurotoxin, and one dose may be enough to damage serotonergic neurons, scientists reported last week. The functional consequences of such lesions remain unknown, but may include mood disorders and memory difficulties, according to experts who met at the Novartis Foundation (London, UK) on Dec 4. A decade of research has shown that MDMA causes a deficit of brain serotonin in every animal species tested, said George Ricaurte of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Baltimore, MD, USA). Most experts now agree that such lesions, which have persisted for up to 7 years in some animals, represent selective destruction of serotonergic nerve endings, and several strands of evidence indicate that similar deficits occur in people (Lancet 1998; 352: 1433-37 ). Ricaurte is concerned that neurotoxicity occurs in non-human primates with doses of the drug that are in the range of human use--even one dose may be sufficient to damage neurons, he warned. But what are the functional consequences of such lesions? "There is a general consensus appearing that people taking a lot of Ecstasy are experiencing a range of problems", noted Andy Parrott (University of East London, London, UK). Fabrizio Schifano (Padova, Italy) added that individuals who had taken more than 50 MDMA pills had a strikingly increased risk of psychiatric disorders--particularly depression, psychoses, cognitive impairments, and eating disorders--compared with drug users who had taken fewer than 50 pills. But, "the human data are fraught with experimental difficulties", noted Parrott. Observed problems might represent premorbid factors that predispose individuals to take Ecstasy, for example. And Ecstasy users tend to take other drugs and have other factors that can confound observations. Longitudinal studies are badly needed to determine which conditions develop with MDMA use, and whether they are reversible. Una McCann (National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD, USA) speculated that the risk of neuropsychiatric problems will increase as MDMA users age. But Shane Collins, drugs spokesperson for the UK Green Party, warned that young people tend not to respond to scare messages, particularly when scientific uncertainties exist. Nevertheless, until key questions are resolved, science may be able to provide some practical advice for those who continue to use Ecstasy --keep cool and avoid alcohol. Ricaurte noted that, in animals, the degree of neurotoxicity is closely correlated to body temperature, and Schifano reported that the concomitant use of alcohol increased the likelihood of psychiatric symptoms. - Kelly Morris
------------------------------------------------------------------- More On Serotonin System (A related article in The Lancet notes there are actually at least 14 distinct types of serotonin receptors. This week, US scientists report that genetically engineered mice lacking the 5-HT1A inhibitory serotonin receptor are more anxious than their normal littermates and that they behave like mice that have been given antidepressants. "Our speculation," says senior author, Laurence Tecott, of the University of California at San Francisco, "is that both these abnormalities - anxiety and antidepressive responses - can be accounted for by disinhibition of serotonin system activity.") Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 16:17:36 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: More On Serotonin System Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: Lancet, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.thelancet.com/ Copyright: The Lancet Ltd Pubdate: 12 Dec 1998 Author: Jane Bradbury MORE ON SEROTONIN SYSTEM The serotonin system is thought to regulate most, if not all, complex behaviours, but it has been hard for researchers to get a handle on the system which involves at least 14 distinct types of serotonin receptors. This week, US scientists report that genetically engineered mice lacking the 5-HT1A inhibitory serotonin receptor are more anxious than their normal littermates and that they behave like mice that have been given antidepressants. "Our speculation", says senior author, Laurence Tecott (University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA) "is that both these abnormalities--anxiety and antidepressive responses--can be accounted for by disinhibition of serotonin system activity". The mutant mice "have potential as a model for investigating mechanisms through which serotonergic systems modulate affective state and mediate the actions of psychiatric drugs", conclude the authors (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1998; 95: 15049-54).
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Smugglers' European Union (The Guardian, in Britain, says the arrest of Gungor Tekin, a famous Turkish soccer player who started serving a 23-year sentence in a British jail this week after being convicted of heroin smuggling, has cast light on the new international links of the heroin trade. What has emerged from the case and other recent operations is that there is now a European criminal community that is cooperating far more successfully than their ministerial counterparts.) Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 14:48:55 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Drug Smugglers' European Union Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 Source: Guardian, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/ Copyright: Guardian Media Group 1998 Author: Duncan Campbell, Nikolai Chavdarov and Antoaneta Nesheva DRUG SMUGGLERS' EUROPEAN UNION Gungor Tekin was one of Turkey's most renowned international footballers, a hero to the fans of not one but two of the country's biggest clubs. This week he is starting a 23-year sentence in a British jail after being convicted of a heroin smuggling operation that has cast light on the new international links of the heroin trade. What has emerged from the case and other recent operations is that there is now a European criminal community that is cooperating far more successfully than their ministerial counterparts. While eastern European countries are still negotiating over entry into the EU, criminal gangs across Europe have joined forces to exploit what is still a growing market. The Turkish, Bulgarian and Kosovan Albanian mafias have linked with Czech couriers to supply British-based Turkish and English dealers with heroin. Customs officers are frustrated that the organisers are still sitting safely in Turkey. Gungor Tekin played his football with the Turkish clubs Galatasaray and Fenerbahce and later in Canada - but before the enormous explosion in wages and signing-on fees. On retirement he aspired to a lifestyle he could not afford. Initially he tried to set up a business exporting black London cabs to Turkey. He also dabbled unsuccessfully in the property market. Then contacts in the Turkish criminal underworld in north London suggested that heroin was a simple way to recoup his losses. Five years ago, he set up a base in a flat off the Edgware Road in central London. But his contacts soon brought him to the attention of Customs and Excise investigators who put him under surveillance. He had hired a young Turk, Mustafa Mus, as his driver and translator and linked up with a third man, Yucel Konakli, who lived in the Turkish heartlands in Haringey, north London. Tekin flew backwards and forwards to Turkey and Northern Cyprus where he dealt with one of the six main crime organisations running the heroin trade there. He set up a 70 kilogram smuggling operation which would have netted his team UKP6 million. For this he needed a driver to bring the heroin through Europe. Turks arriving with suspicious loads have recently fallen foul of Customs intelligence operations so a Czech, Jan Jisl, was hired. He was told to come with his wife and child to give the impression he was on a family shopping holiday. When he arrived at Ramsgate in a Czech-registered minibus, he was immediately under surveillance. He met his Turkish contacts in their car at the Travel Lodge on the M2, little knowing that they were being followed all the way. They were arrested in London when it was becoming obvious that they were being tailed. On Monday at Kingston crown court Tekin was jailed for 23 years, Konakli for 18, Jisl for 16 and Mus for 11. The case has provided a window into the new order of the heroin trade in Europe. Jisl came from Liberic, near Prague. Another driver from the same town was also arrested last year and jailed for 25 years. The town and that area of the Czech republic have become a centre for exiled Kosovan Albanians who provide the link in the heroin chain from Turkey. Chris Harrison, the senior investigating officer with Customs who led the operation, said yesterday: "The Turks are ingenious people. They will use any method open to them." Kosovan Albanians had now emerged as major players in the link between the Turks and the eastern European couriers. This has prompted claims, supported by some eastern European agencies, that the Kosovan resistance is now being financed by the heroin trade. Mr Harrison says that a percentage of the heroin profits may certainly go to the Kosovan resistance but he believes that Kosovan drug traffickers would be involved in the trade regardless of the conflict. Kosovan Albanians have rented houses in villages outside Prague where their deliveries from Turkey arrive via the Balkan route. Couriers then take it to Germany and onwards to Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands. While the Kosovan Albanians have emerged as the new major players, the Czech republic has established itself as the crossroads for east and west traffic. Earlier this year, Jiri Komorous, the Czech national drug squad chief, said that his country had now become "the centre of the heroin and cannabis trade in central Europe". In another international link-up, Turkish traffickers have used Bulgarian organised crime gangs to guard their shipments en route. One of the routes is now through Bulgaria and on to Macedonia, Albania and Italy. The other new development has been the growing use of containers to smuggle heroin following a significant number of seizures of lorries with Turkish origins. Bulgarian police sources indicate that another new route is via container from the port of Varna to ports in the UK and Spain. "There is no Mr Big, just a lot of people with good connections," said Mr Harrison. "And they never step outside an area they don't control."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Myths Stubbornly Resist Debunking - "Character weaknesses" demolished (A translation of an article from Tages Anzeiger, in Switzerland, presents a brief historical overview of current American drug policy, emphasizing its basis in myth, and the harm caused by myths that stubbornly endure. They lead to false generalisations, faulty assumptions, half-truths, cliches, and repression, yielding ground but slowly to rational argument and the sweet voice of reason.) Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 16:27:22 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com From: Pat Dolan (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Switzerland: OPED: Myths Stubbornly Resist Debunking Newshawk: Harald Lerch (HaL@main-rheiner.de) Source: Tages Anzeiger (Switzerland) Copyright: Tages Anzeiger 1998 Pubdate: Sat, 12 Dec 98 Website: http://www.tages-anzeiger.ch/ Translator: Pat Dolan MYTHS STUBBORNLY RESIST DEBUNKING "Character weaknesses" demolished (Translator's note: The article lays out a brief historical overview of current American drug policy. Writers of LTEs and others should find it valuable for its accuracy, clarity and simplicity. pd) History makes clear that the legal status and pharmacological properties of a substance tell us nothing about its harmfulness. In 1875, San Francisco was the first town in the western world to enact legislation against opium. It targeted the smoking of opium by Chinese immigrant laborers, who, now that work on the great transcontinental railway had been completed, were seen as a source of unwelcome competition in the labor market. In 1850, the situation was very different. The immigrants were seen as a source of cheap labor for the railroad and the gold rush. Knowing them to be extraordinarily efficient workers, employers offered them opium in addition to their wages as a recruitment incentive. Cannabis use was regarded a a Mexican affair. Imported Mexican agricultural laborers smoked marihuana to relax. During the economic crisis of 1929-1933, they were suddenly seen as unwelcome competition. They were now charged with responsibility for all kinds of petty crime and this, allegedly, was caused by their abuse of cannabis. In response to this growing pressure from areas where there was a large proportion of Spanish speaking immigrants, the government saw itself obliged, in 1937, to pass an anti-marihuana law. Cocaine policy, to conclude, was decided in a time of divisive race politics, and the opportunity was seized to make scapegoats of American negroes. Although there was ample evidence that cocaine use was by no means widespread amongst black people, and that the use of cocaine and heroin was considered chique in white bourgeoisie circles, blacks were charged with committing rape and other crimes whilst under the influence of cocaine. This demonisation of cannabis and the opiates led to discrimination against those troublesome minorities identified in the public mind with their use. Through the internationalisation of American drug policies, many of the associated myths were transferred to Switzerland and new ones created. Myths evoke emotional responses and inhibit the capacity for dealing in a rational manner with differences of opinion, and for making corrections once a path has been engaged. Myths stubbornly endure. They lead to false generalisations, faulty assumptions, half-truths, cliches, and repression, yielding ground but slowly to rational argument and the sweet voice of reason. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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