------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com From: Jim Rosenfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: DPFCA: Million Marijuana March Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US TX: Lake Worth School Districts Turning To Drug Testing Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram Copyright: 1998 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.star-telegram.com/ Forum: http://www.star-telegram.com/comm/forums/ Author: Anita Baker, Star-Telegram Staff Writer LAKE WORTH SCHOOL DISTRICTS TURNING TO DRUG TESTING 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 needed. 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 program. "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 counseling. 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 schools. 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 said. 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 lawsuits. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NY: U.S. Prosecutors Say Bright Columbia Graduate Had Led Secret Life For Years Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Galasyn Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ Copyright: 1998 The New York Times Company Pubdate: Mon 21 Dec 1998 Author: JOSEPH P. FRIED U.S. PROSECUTORS SAY BRIGHT COLUMBIA GRADUATE HAD LED SECRET LIFE FOR YEARS 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 schools. 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 identified. 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WI: His Bail Seized, Coke Defendant Is Still In Jail Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) Pubdate: December 21, 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 HIS BAIL SEIZED, COKE DEFENDANT IS STILL IN JAIL 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 charge. "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 government. 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." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: 2 ex-officers convicted in drug case Date: Wed, 23 Dec 1998 20:39:05 -0800 Sender: email@example.com 2 ex-officers convicted in drug case 12/21/98 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 dealers. Jurors returned guilty verdicts against former police Capt. Warren Jones and Officer Roderic Oliver late Friday after getting the case earlier that evening. 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 e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ignore the Subject: line. In the body put "unsubscribe when" to STOP. To RESTART, put "subscribe when" in the e-mail 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Colombia: Wire: U.S. Aid Said Used In Air Raid On Colombia Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1998 Reuters Limited. U.S. AID SAID USED IN AIR RAID ON COLOMBIA VILLAGE 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 package. 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 violation." "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 said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Bolivia: Wire: Bolivia Eradicates Coca Leaf Fields Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.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 BOLIVIA ERADICATES COCA LEAF FIELDS 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: New Zealand: Most People Say No To Cannabis Law Change Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Chris Fowlie Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.herald.co.nz/nzherald/index.html Copyright: New Zealand Herald Pubdate: 21 Dec 1998 Section: Page A18 Author: Warren Gamble MOST PEOPLE SAY NO TO CANNABIS LAW CHANGE 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 shows. 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 (30.8). 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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