Portland NORML News - Monday, December 21, 1998

Million Marijuana March (A list subscriber seeks volunteers
to help organize a rally in Los Angeles scheduled for May 1, 1999.)

Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 08:16:02 -0800
To: dpfca@drugsense.org
From: Jim Rosenfield (jnr@insightweb.com)
Subject: DPFCA: Million Marijuana March
Sender: owner-dpfca@drugsense.org
Reply-To: dpfca@drugsense.org
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/

Anyone in the L.A. Area interested in organizing the
Million Marijuana March for May 1, 1999, please contact me
to volunteer.

Jim Rosenfield
tel: 310-836-0926
fax: 310-836-0592
Visit http://www.insightweb.com

Lake Worth School Districts Turning To Drug Testing
(The Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the Lake Worth School District
in northwest Tarrant County this year joined the small but growing number
of school systems across the nation that are drug-testing students
who participate in extracurricular activities. School officials strongly believe
that the programs help, but finding statistics to confirm their beliefs
is problematic.)

Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 10:17:32 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US TX: Lake Worth School Districts Turning To Drug Testing
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Mon, 21 Dec 1998
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Copyright: 1998 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Contact: letters@star-telegram.com
Website: http://www.star-telegram.com/
Forum: http://www.star-telegram.com/comm/forums/
Author: Anita Baker, Star-Telegram Staff Writer


LAKE WORTH -- Lake Worth High School Principal Joel Lawson was worried
about drugs on campus long before a student entered his office in tears
last year.

"She had some dealings with drugs in school, and the person supplying her
with drugs no longer wanted her money, but sexual favors," Lawson said.

Her anguish only strengthened his belief that the northwest Tarrant County
district needed to take drastic measures to stop students' drug use.

He and school officials got an additional jolt last spring when a Texas A&M
University study determined that as many as 27.8 percent of 250 seventh-
and eighth-graders surveyed in the district had tried marijuana and that
4.2 percent had tried heroin.

This year, Lake Worth joined a small but growing number of school districts
across the nation that are adding student drug testing to their arsenal in
the battle against drugs.

Regionally, Azle and Cleburne schools set precedents in Texas more than two
years ago when they initiated mandatory drug testing for those in high
school extracurricular activities. Lake Worth is joining the Birdville,
Grand Prairie, and Glen Rose districts with voluntary drug testing programs
in middle and high schools.

School officials with drug-testing operations strongly believe that the
programs help, but finding statistics to confirm their beliefs is problematic.

In districts where drug exams are mandatory for students involved in
extracurricular activities, officials cite no drop in participation since
the tests began. And, officials add, few students randomly chosen for drug
exams have tested positive.

In Cleburne, about 60 percent of the 1,475 students in the high school
participate in extracurricular activities. Since the drug program began in
1996, fewer than 1 percent -- 0.25 -- of the students examined showed signs
of drug use. Only a handful of middle and high school students have tested
positive in Grand Prairie's voluntary program.

In Azle, about 62 percent of the district's 1,600 high school students and
about 50 percent of its 1,000 junior high students agreed to random drug
testing so they can participate in school activities. In 569 random tests
last school year, 11 students -- or fewer than 2 percent -- tested
positive, school officials said.

Students are ejected from activities only after failing a second drug test.
Retired Azle High Principal Rouel Rothenberger said the program can be
considered effective because the district has never expelled a high school
student from an extracurricular activity because of drug use.

"A couple of the kids quit [ extracurricular activities] voluntarily,"
Rothenberger said. "I guess they had a problem and did not want to take the
chance of getting caught."

Deborah Hinckley, a mother of six whose daughter participated in drug
testing last year in Azle, said the district has a right to make drug
testing a prerequisite for participation in activities.

"Just as there is a dress code at school and they don't have a right to
dress in whatever they choose or go to school naked, they don't have a
right to protest testing," Hinckley said.

Her daughter, Katie, now a Baylor University student, agreed: "I think it
should be mandatory. You have no business playing sports and participating
in things if you are messed up or doing something that is illegal."

Not everyone accepts that drug testing -- even in a voluntary program -- is

Lake Worth student Nickolas Peterson, 17, said he was tested for drugs when
he worked at a fast-food restaurant but will not participate in the school

"I think it is an invasion of a student's privacy," Peterson said. The
American Civil Liberties Union has also said most drug-testing programs are
an invasion of privacy. The ACLU has backed two lawsuits filed by Texas
students against districts because of their drug- testing programs.

ACLU Regional Director Diana Philip said voluntary programs reward students
for giving up their privacy, and mandatory programs punish them for not
doing so by excluding them from extracurricular activities.

In Lake Worth, like Glen Rose, students who pass drug tests get cards that
give them discounts at area stores. If they fail drug tests, only the
students and their parents are informed, and the families are offered

In Lake Worth, the Safe and Drug Free School and Community advisory
committee is overseeing formation of a comprehensive drug program that
includes education for students and teachers, use of a drug-sniffing dog at
the junior high and high schools and a full-time police officer for the

Larry Biggers, a parent and advisory board member, has urged Lake Worth
school officials to make drug testing mandatory. Senior Cathy Rodriguez,
17, who has a brother in eighth grade, agreed.

"I do not want to see my brother around drugs", Rodriguez said.

School officials said they are willing to look at a stronger program. But
"we would like to give the voluntary program an opportunity to work," said
Janice Cooper, Lake Worth's interim superintendent.

About 300 students, or 35 percent of those eligible for the program, have
signed up and been tested in Lake Worth, said Trey Lackey, coordinator of
intervention services at Lake Worth.

In Glen Rose, participation in the school district's voluntary program
increased from about 30 percent when it started in 1989 to more than 80
percent last year, school officials said.

Since Grand Prairie started its voluntary program in 1991, the number of
student participants has increased from about 500 to more than 3,000, said
police Sgt. Bill Erter, who oversees the program.

State officials say they believe that the number of schools with drug
testing programs is small. A recent survey indicated that 152 districts out
of 1,059 statewide had requested funding from the federal Safe and Drug
Free Schools program for testing. However, not all districts with
drug-testing programs seek federal money, Texas Education Agency officials

For larger school districts, drug testing is very expensive. Neither Dallas
nor Fort Worth schools have included testing in their drug-fighting programs.

Despite U.S. Supreme Court rulings in recent years upholding school
districts' right to test students for drugs, some have hesitated to get
involved because of the potential for a legal tangle.

Even with strong community backing last school year, the
Grapevine-Colleyville school district chose not to include drug testing in
a comprehensive drug prevention program because of concerns about potential

But Cooper of Lake Worth said: "Sometimes you have to be willing to stick
your neck out, willing to risk a lawsuit because you feel it is important
enough for children. It is not a cure-all. I don't want to drive students
away with this."

U.S. Prosecutors Say Bright Columbia Graduate Had Led Secret Life For Years
(With uncharacteristic irony, The New York Times says Zolton Williams
isn't likely to pay back his $60,000 in student loans for some time. He sits
in a Brooklyn jail awaiting a federal sentence of up to 12 years
for smuggling "tens of thousands" of dollars' worth of cocaine from Jamaica
to the United States while he was a student at one of the nation's leading
law schools.)

Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 21:31:59 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NY: U.S. Prosecutors Say Bright Columbia Graduate
Had Led Secret Life For Years
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jim Galasyn
Source: New York Times (NY)
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/
Copyright: 1998 The New York Times Company
Pubdate: Mon 21 Dec 1998


If Zolton Williams had been typical of last spring's graduates at Columbia
University Law School, he would now be applying for admission to the bar.
But Williams is not typical.

He is behind bars, his once promising legal career in ashes. He waits in a
Federal jail in Brooklyn to be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison for
smuggling tens of thousands of dollars' worth of cocaine from Jamaica to the
United States while he was a student at one of the nation's leading law

Federal prosecutors say that Williams, a 29-year-old Brooklyn man who
emigrated from Jamaica as a child, began contriving his smuggling schemes
almost as soon as he entered Columbia three years ago.

His arrest in July, two months after his graduation, and conviction two
weeks ago have dismayed and bewildered those who knew him at Columbia,
including classmates and professors who recalled him as a bright, energetic
and intellectually curious student who participated vigorously in class
discussions and did well with legal intricacies.

"People were shocked, stunned, distressed," said Prof. Richard Briffault,
who gave Williams an A-minus in a course on state and local government law.
"He asked good questions and wrote a very good final exam," Briffault
recalled recently. "It's a terrible thing, like hearing a relative died."

Debra Cohn, an adjunct member of the law faculty who gave Williams a B-plus
in her seminar on health-care fraud control, recalled that his forceful
participation and "sometimes strong opinions" made him a "valuable
contributor to class discussion."

Williams, who is to be sentenced Feb. 12 by Judge Raymond J. Dearie in
Federal District Court in Brooklyn, declined to be interviewed or to comment
about the case, said his wife, Kele Williams, who is a lawyer.

She, too, declined to talk about the case or about her husband, and there
was a similar refusal from Williams's mother, a housekeeper who lives in
Brooklyn and who also emigrated from Jamaica. Williams's father, a
firefighter, remained in Jamaica and lives in Kingston.

Williams's trial lawyer and several friends and classmates who were reached
would not talk about him, except for one friend and classmate who, speaking
on the condition of anonymity, said only: "I think he was a great student.
Obviously, I think most people were shocked by what occurred. You'll get
that general sentiment from anyone who knew him."

But the case has exposed the double life of the budding lawyer, a life that
court records indicate went beyond smuggling drugs.

An admitted confederate of Williams in the drug case has also told
investigators that he and Williams had engaged in credit card fraud during
Williams's law school years. And the authorities say that Williams, also
while in law school, filed false criminal charges that led to the arrest of
a man with whom he was involved in a dispute. No charges have been filed
against Williams regarding these accusations.

These followed earlier run-ins with the law, according to state and local
court records that cited a half-dozen arrests when Williams was a teen-ager
and in his early 20's. Most involved cases in which charges like possession
of stolen property or a weapon were dismissed or, in one instance, ended in
a conviction for a noncriminal violation. But in one case, in 1988, Williams
participated with a gun-wielding companion in a street robbery.

Williams, who at the time of the robbery was 18 and at the end of his
freshman year at Brooklyn College -- he graduated magna cum laude from the
State University at Stony Brook in 1994 -- was given five years' probation
and youthful offender status, a break that meant the records in the matter
were sealed, and he was officially deemed to have no criminal record as a
result of the case. The records of that case and those dismissed were
ordered unsealed after his arrest in the Federal drug case.

The law enforcement authorities say that in moonlighting as a cocaine
trafficker while in law school, Williams used his legal skills in an effort
to avoid detection, by showing another conspirator how to do research in a
computerized legal data base to determine the "profiles" customs agents use
to stop and search airline passengers suspected of carrying drugs. And
prosecutors also say he nearly succeeded in escaping conviction by inducing
a friend to commit perjury to provide him with an alibi.

The first of Williams's two trials in the drug case ended in October with a
hung jury; the panel deadlocked 11 to 1 for acquittal. But the alibi
testimony was exposed as a fabrication by one of the prosecutors in the
retrial, Andrew Weissmann, after which the second jury convicted Williams
after deliberating barely an hour.

Weissmann, who himself graduated from Columbia Law School in 1984, assessed
his fellow alumnus shortly after the retrial.

"He's smart, but he's a criminal," said Weissmann, deputy chief of the
criminal division in the United States Attorney's office in Brooklyn. "As a
lawyer and a graduate of the law school, I was offended. It was an improper
use of his education to commit crimes."

A similar assessment came from Federal Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak
during an early hearing in the case. "For somebody who is as obviously
intelligent and bright as you are, to get into Columbia Law School, your
past record is really abominable," she said.

The drug smuggling enterprise was exposed when Williams's associate in the
plot, who carried the two pounds of cocaine into the United States in 1997
in about 100 swallowed condoms, became ill after some of the cocaine leaked
into his stomach and the condoms had to be surgically removed at a hospital.

The associate, Anthony Fleurancois, pleaded guilty to drug charges in a deal
that involved cooperating with the prosecution, and he also told of other
unsuccessful attempts by him and Williams to smuggle cocaine from Jamaica
that began about two months after Williams started at Columbia Law in 1995.

Williams's trial lawyer, Martin Klotz, has asked Judge Dearie for permission
to leave the case because of the defense witness's perjured testimony.
Another prosecutor, Nikki Kowalski, told the judge, "We believe that Klotz
was unaware that the testimony was concocted by his client."

The silence of Williams and his relatives and friends leaves many questions
about his dual life unanswered. The court file only hints at possibilities.
A Federal agent quoted Fleurancois as saying that during their college
years, Williams "drove fancy cars, such as a Mercedes-Benz." But a defense
witness testified that Williams's life style did not seem extravagant.

Ms. Kowalski, in arguing to the jury for the prosecution, said it was not a
matter of extravagance, but rather that Williams had been "living a
comfortable middle-class life style" beyond the means of someone claiming to
have no more than a "a couple of thousand dollars" a year in income and no
savings or other assets. She suggested that Williams, who did not marry
until after his arrest in July, had sustained a middle-class existence
through drug dealing.

As an example, she said that in 1996 Williams paid $27,000, without
borrowing, to buy a cooperative apartment in Flatbush, Brooklyn. His mother
testified that she had provided most of the money from an insurance
settlement, but Ms. Kowalski said that no documents had been offered to
support that claim.

After graduating from James Madison High School in Brooklyn in 1987,
Williams attended three colleges over the next seven years, putting in his
last two years at the State University at Stony Brook, from which he
graduated in 1994. He was nominated for Phi Beta Kappa, but appears not to
have joined the honor society, said a school official who declined to be

Scholarship grants and loans financed most of Williams's law school
education, and he owes about $60,000 on those loans, the court file shows.

He is not likely to repay them soon.

His Bail Seized, Coke Defendant Is Still In Jail (The Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel says Gerardo Hernandez's friends and family scraped together
$100,000 to bail him out of the Milwaukee County Jail. But before the checks
could be credited to Hernandez's bail account, a Wisconsin prohibition agent
familiar with the case overheard the transaction as he passed by, intervened
and scooped up the checks under the theory that the money was derived from
drug dealing. Under current forfeiture laws, his theory counts for more than
factual statements from 25 people who put up the $100,000, and Hernandez
remains in jail.)

Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 20:25:58 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US WI: His Bail Seized, Coke Defendant Is Still In Jail
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Pubdate: December 21, 1998
Contact: jsedit@onwis.com
Fax: (414) 224-8280
Website: http://www.jsonline.com/
Copyright: 1998, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Author: David Doege and Gretchen Schuldt of the Journal Sentinel staff


11 Cashier's Checks Totaling $100,000 Taken Under Narcotics Claim

Gerardo Hernandez's friends and family can't understand what's wrong with
the $100,000 they say they scraped together to bail him out of the
Milwaukee County Jail.

More than a month has passed since a brother brought 11 cashier's checks
totaling $100,000 to the Sheriff's Department to pay for Hernandez's
release from the lockup, where he is being held on a cocaine trafficking

"That money came from the whole family," said his aunt, Irma Hernandez.
"There were about 25 people who put in money."

But before the checks could be credited to Hernandez's bail account, a
state narcotics agent familiar with the case overheard the transaction as
he passed by, intervened and scooped up the checks under the theory that
the money was derived from drug dealing, according to Circuit Court records.

Hernandez's family disputes the allegation and has since provided a list of
all the donors, complete with their addresses and places of employment.

The swift seizure and lack of explanation from authorities has puzzled
Hernandez's relatives, but there is nothing they can do about it -- for now.

And almost two more months might pass before Hernandez, his attorney and
his family can contest the seizure in a courtroom.

Under federal law -- and it is the federal government that now has custody
of the $100,000 -- up to 90 days can pass between such a seizure and when
authorities have to officially notify Hernandez that they have his money,
and tell him what he must do to get it back.

The case against Hernandez, 24, of Chicago, also involves another alleged
drug dealer, Ramon Bonilla of Milwaukee.

Criminal complaints against the two men, along with court records, give the
following account:

On Oct. 20, an undercover state narcotics investigator and an informant met
Bonilla, 23, at a west side filling station where they consummated a
$23,500 kilogram cocaine deal. When the deal was done, Bonilla was arrested.

He promptly cooperated with investigators and implicated Hernandez as his
supplier. State investigators drove Bonilla to Chicago, and he directed
them to a west side home, where they arrested Hernandez.

Bonilla was subsequently charged with delivery of cocaine, and Hernandez
was charged with conspiracy to deliver cocaine. On Nov. 14, Hernandez's
brother came to the Criminal Justice Facility with the 11 cashier's checks
from eight different Chicago-area banks. But before the money was posted as
bail, the lead investigator on Hernandez's case, in the building for a
court hearing, intervened and seized the checks.

"No receipt was given," Hernandez's latest attorney, Alan D. Eisenberg
complained. "There's been no accounting whatsoever."

Gary Streeter, legal technician for the Milwaukee office of the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration, explained that law enforcement officers can
seize money if there is probable cause that it was derived from drug dealing.

That initial probable cause finding can come after only a 20- to 40-minute
interview, he said, so the seizure of Hernandez's money could have been
done quickly. Law enforcement officials take into consideration such things
as the amount of money involved, the story behind it and the history of the
people involved.

If agents seize the money, Streeter said, "unlike criminal trials, the
money is considered guilty until proven innocent."

Top Milwaukee DEA agent Jack Riley concurred.

"The burden on a civil seizure is on the people," he said. "They're going
to have to prove to us the source of that money." If the seizure is done by
a local law enforcement agency, it has 30 days to send a "seizure packet"
-- generally reports regarding the events surrounding the seizure -- to DEA
for review, Streeter said. If DEA lawyers determine the seizure was "good,"
the agency has 60 days to begin notification of people who might have a
claim to some or all of it.

For example, in the Hernandez case, the agency likely would send letters to
the people who supposedly contributed to the bail fund notifying them of
the seizure and telling them how to file their claim.

The agency also publishes seizure notifications each Wednesday in USA
Today. Each seizure notice is published for three consecutive weeks.

If no claim is filed within 20 days of the first USA Today publication of
the seizure, the money is forfeited. If even a single claim is filed, the
issue is turned over to the U.S. attorney's office and can be pursued as a
civil lawsuit in federal court.

Once a claim is filed, Streeter said, the burden of proof shifts to the

The Milwaukee DEA office processes 700 to 800 forfeitures per year,
Streeter said. About 70% to 75% involve just $1,000 to $2,000.

However, "there's a lot of large ones, too," he said.

Local law enforcement agencies turn to the DEA to handle their seizures of
cash related to drug cases because they get 80% of the money back (the DEA
keeps 20%). If the local agencies do not go through a federal agency, all
of the money goes to a state tax relief fund, Streeter said. Streeter said
the agency is careful to caution local law enforcement to make "good
seizures" and not to abuse their seizure power.

Earlier this month, about 20 of Hernandez's relatives drove from Chicago to
Milwaukee hoping that the judge presiding over the cocaine case in Circuit
Court would consider Eisenberg's motion that Hernandez be released because
the $100,000 was posted. But a hearing was postponed until today.

In the meantime, Hernandez has remained in the County Jail as if no money
had been posted.

2 ex-officers convicted in drug case (The Associated Press
says a jury in Monroe, Louisiana, on Friday convicted Warren Jones
and Roderic Oliver, two former police officers in Tallulah, Louisiana,
of federal charges in connection with a conspiracy to sell protection
to illegal drug dealers.)

From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (when@olywa.net)
To: "_Drug Policy --" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: 2 ex-officers convicted in drug case
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 1998 20:39:05 -0800
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

2 ex-officers convicted in drug case

Associated Press

MONROE, La. - Two former Tallulah police officers have been convicted of
federal charges in connection with a conspiracy to sell protection to drug

Jurors returned guilty verdicts against former police Capt. Warren Jones and
Officer Roderic Oliver late Friday after getting the case earlier that

Neither Assistant U.S. Attorney Lidell Smith nor defense attorney James Ross
Jr., who represented Capt. Jones, was available for comment. Defense
attorney Paul Kidd Sr., who represented Officer Oliver, had no comment.

During the trial, which lasted a week, Mr. Ross argued that investigators
knew both defendants were innocent but decided to prosecute anyway. He said
there was no proof that his client ever received money from an undercover
officer as part of a scheme to protect drug dealers.

Mr. Kidd said it was unlikely his client was part of a conspiracy that
allegedly began in late 1995 because Officer Oliver didn't start working for
the Tallulah Police Department until June 1997.

Mr. Smith told jurors that audio and videotapes would leave no doubt the
police were selling protection for drug transactions.

Capt. Jones, arrested May 27, was convicted of nine drug charges including,
conspiracy to possess 50 grams or more of crack cocaine with the intent to
distribute, carrying a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime and
attempting to possess crack cocaine.

Officer Oliver, arrested June 29, was found guilty on four charges,
including conspiracy to possess crack cocaine with the intent to distribute,
attempting to possess crack cocaine and aiding and abetting the carrying of
a firearm during an illegal drug transaction.

U.S. District Judge Robbie James set sentencing for March 18.


When away, you can STOP and RESTART W.H.E.N.'s news clippings by sending an
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instead (No quotation marks.)

U.S. Aid Said Used In Air Raid On Colombia Village (According to Reuters,
Human Rights Watch, based in Washington, D.C., charged Monday
that Colombia's military used warplanes and rockets bought with U.S.
anti-drug aid during a recent raid on a village in rebel-held territory
that killed up to 27 civilians, including five children. Under guidelines
imposed by Congress, the United States is barred from providing
military aid to Colombia for use in counterinsurgency operations.)

Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 20:49:46 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Colombia: Wire: U.S. Aid Said Used In Air Raid On Colombia
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Mon, 21 Dec 1998
Source: Reuters
Copyright: 1998 Reuters Limited.


BOGOTA, Dec 21 (Reuters) - A leading human rights group charged on Monday
that Colombia's military used warplanes and rockets, bought with U.S.
anti-drug aid, during a recent raid on a village in rebel-held territory
that killed up to 27 civilians.

A spokesman for the Colombian Air Force denied it had used military
hardware in the action that had been donated by the United States strictly
for anti-drugs operations. He said the military would issue a fuller
statement later in the day.

The military has denied it "indiscriminately bombed" the village of Santo
Domingo on Dec. 13, but admitted firing off at least six rockets.

The action occurred during three days of fighting by the Colombian military
against Marxist rebels in the oil-rich northeast Arauca province.

Human Rights Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based, group, said on Monday that
OV- 10 Bronco fighter-bombers and a number of helicopters used by the
Colombian military, together with the ammunition, were part of a U.S. aid

Under congressional-imposed guidelines, the United States is barred from
providing military aid to Colombia for use in counterinsurgency operations.
But political analysts say the lines between counter-narcotics and
counter-insurgency have blurred.

Human Rights Watch said: "A unit of the Colombian military that receives
U.S. anti-narcotics aid has used this aid to commit a serious human rights

"The majority of the Bronco (fighter-bomber) fleet was provided by the
United States ... many of the helicopters used in counter-insurgency
operations were also supplied by the United States to combat drugs," the
group said. "In addition, these aircraft may have been fitted with rocket
launchers, munitions .. provided for the drug war by the United States."

Local authorities and independent regional human rights groups said at
least 27 civilians, including five children, died in Santo Domingo -- one
of the worst civilian casualty rates inflicted in the course of the
long-running civil conflict this year. The military said 14 were killed.

Colombian Armed Forces chiefs last week issued a report saying that
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas had used the
inhabitants as human shields and had set off dynamite in part of the
village to "simulate" an army air strike.

Members of a Colombian congressional committee investigating the incident
said they were not convinced by the army's explanation.

The use of U.S. anti-drug aid against Colombia's estimated 20,000 Marxist
rebels is a sore point with Washington and Bogota.

U.S. defence officials say the rebels have close ties to the drug trade and
pose a serious risk to regional stability yet publicly insist the United
States has no interest in getting bogged down in anti-guerrilla operations.

Florida-based political analyst Eduardo Gamarra says he believes Washington
is well aware it cannot separate the fight against drugs and rebels.

"The lines have been blurred. Publicly Washington will tell you there's a
clear cut distinction but they're not kidding anyone even themselves," he

Bolivia Eradicates Coca Leaf Fields (The Associated Press says the president
of Bolivia, Hugo Banzer, announced Monday that the country had eradicated
a record 28,660 acres of coca, or nearly a quarter of the crop.
The government had to kill only 13 farmers in the process.)

Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 20:49:46 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Bolivia: Wire: Bolivia Eradicates Coca Leaf Fields
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Mon, 21 Dec 1998
Source: Associated Press
Copyright: 1998 Associated Press.
Author: Peter McFarren, Associated Press Writer


LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) Bolivia eradicated a record 28,660 acres of coca
fields, or nearly a quarter of the crop fueling the country's cocaine
processing industry, the country's president said Monday.

President Hugo Banzer made the announcement in the Chapare, a lush tropical
region in the heart of the country where 80 percent of the country's coca
leaf is cultivated. Nearly all of it is processed into cocaine.

"This is an important step in taking Bolivia out of the cocaine trafficking
circle," said Banzer.

When he was sworn in August 1997, Banzer vowed Bolivia would no longer
produce cocaine when he left office in 2002.

The eradication was carried out with the support of police and army troops
over the opposition of coca leaf farmers. The government's initial goal,
part of an agreement with the U.S. government, was 18,530 acres.

Last year, the government eradicated 14,800 acres of coca.

In Washington, Bob Weiner, spokesman for Clinton's drug policy director
Gen. Barry McCaffrey, said the announcement by the Bolivian president
"shows that the Andean region is making substantial progress in reducing
drug production."

McCaffrey is pleased with the efforts in Bolivia as well as those made by
Peru over the past few years to curb cocaine production, Weiner said.

The intensified efforts by the Bolivian government and its forces to
destroy coca plants led to several confrontations and 13 deaths in the
Chapare, located 550 miles east of La Paz.

Human rights groups have also complained of abuses by anti-drug forces.

At least 200,000 Bolivians depend directly or indirectly on coca leaf
cultivation in this country of 8 million.

The Bolivian government paid farmers $2,500 per 2.5 acres of old coca
plants destroyed voluntarily. New coca fields were considered illegal, and
were destroyed without compensation and often with the use of force.

Most People Say No To Cannabis Law Change (The New Zealand Herald
says that, despite the recommendation of a Parliamentary select committee,
a New Zealand Herald-DigiPoll survey of 663 people showed 61.8 per cent
did not want people to be able to legally grow or buy the drug
for their own use. Chris Fowlie of the National Organisation for the Reform
of Marijuana Laws, noting the poll also asked about respondents' personal
use, said that might have affected the result. Other polls that had asked
whether the use of cannabis should be decriminalised showed clear support.
Interestingly, in terms of the "slippery slope" theory, only 3.3 per cent
said they had never used cannabis but would if it were legal.)

Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 20:49:50 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: New Zealand: Most People Say No To Cannabis Law Change
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Chris Fowlie
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Contact: editor@herald.co.nz
Website: http://www.herald.co.nz/nzherald/index.html
Copyright: New Zealand Herald
Pubdate: 21 Dec 1998
Section: Page A18
Author: Warren Gamble


Nearly two-thirds of people oppose legalising cannabis and a similar number
say they have never smoked the drug, a New Zealand Herald-DigiPoll survey

As politicians debate whether the legal status of cannabis should be
reviewed, the poll of 663 people showed 61.8 per cent did not want people
to be able to legally grow or buy the drug for their own use.

A total of 29.6 per cent supported the move, 8 per cent were not sure and
0.6 per cent refuse to answer the question.

Of those surveyed who identified their political leanings, the strongest
opposition in the poll came from National (70.5 per cent) and Act (63 per
cent) voters.

More men (36 per cent) than women (23.7 per cent) favoured legalisation;
and support was stronger in the 18-39 age group (35) than among those aged
40 and over (25.2).

Maori and Pacific Islanders, at 40 per cent and 38.9 per cent, recorded the
highest support for legalisation.

By household income, those most in favour were the top income earners (more
than $67,000) at 39.8 per cent, followed by the $19,000 to $28,000 bracket

Support for legalising cannabis was strongest among New Zealand First
voters, at 45 per cent, albeit from a smaller sample, followed by Alliance
voters (36.1), Act (33.3), Labour (32.8) and National (24.6).

On the cannabis use question, those polled were asked to put themselves
into five categories.

A total of 59.3 per cent said they had never used the drug and never would;
3.3 per cent said they had never used it but would try it if it were not
illegal; 23.8 per cent said they had used it occasionally (two to three
times); 8.7 per cent said they used it from time to time; and 2.7 per cent
used it regularly.

Among the regular users there were more Maori than European (7.7 per cent
compared to 2.2 per cent), more aged 18 to 39 than over 40 (4.6 to 1.1) and
more men (4.1) than women (1.5).

The margin of error was 3.8 per cent.

The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said the poll
results would be skewed by people not wanting to admit their use of an
illegal drug.

Spokesman Chris Fowlie said the question asked also might have affected the
result. Other polls that had asked whether the use of cannabis should be
decriminalised has shown clear support for the move.

The 30 per cent who favoured legalisation in the DigiPoll survey was still
a sizeable chunk of the population, and showed the issue should be
seriously debated in Parliament, said Mr Fowlie.

A select committee last week recommended that the Government should review
cannabis policy, after concluding that the effects of the drug on mental
health had been overstated and moderate use did not harm most people.



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