------------------------------------------------------------------- Sanctioning Owen unethical (A letter to the editor of the Columbian, in Vancouver, Washington, by Sandra Bennett, the notorious Portland, Oregon, anti-pot zealot, says it's unethical for the state of Washington to punish Lt. Gov. Brad Owen for allocating state funds to oppose a drug-policy-reform ballot initiative. The ethics violations should have been levied against out-of-state entities for encroaching on Washington's political process.)Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 12:40:21 -0800 (PST) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Darral Good) To: email@example.com Subject: HT: Re:anti-MJ LTE OUR READERS' VIEWS of brad owen Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org The Columbian 701 W. Eighth St. Vancouver WA 98666 Tel. (360) 694-2312 Or (360) 699-6000, Ext. 1560, to leave a recorded opinion From Portland: (503) 224-0654 Fax: (360) 699-6033 E-mail: email@example.com Web site: http://www.columbian.com/ Forum: http://www.webforums.com/forums/trace/host/msa70.html Jan 11, 1999 Sanctioning Owen unethical If a group of Washington residents starts a petition to abolish mandatory vaccination programs because they believe the state has no right to insist that every child be vaccinated, it would be unethical for the director or other members of the state health department not to work diligently to inform the public and legislators of the reasons why this would be dangerous for citizens. It is the responsibility of those in that position to advise the public on health and safety issues. Likewise, rather than chastising Lt. Gov. Brad Owen for speaking out about why medicalization of marijuana, an illicit psychoactive and addictive drug, would be a dangerous move for the health and welfare of this state, the state should have congratulated him for personally taking on this task. Long before Owen was elected, he vigorously supported the anti-drug policy of the federal government. Since the state Council on Substance Abuse also supports a no-use message, and this was not a campaign that would directly benefit Owen, the action taken against him by the Executive Ethic Board seems extremely irrational and unfounded. To compound the travesty of the charges against Owen, the campaign to medicalize marijuana, though it used the state's initiative process, was funded and orchestrated primarily by out-of-state entities. This is where the ethics violations should have been levied. If state laws are not properly modified, we will find that initiatives, no matter how dangerous or deceptive, will go unchallenged even by agencies or individuals whom we have charged with representing or protecting us. The Executive Ethics Board has done Owen a grave injustice for doing nothing more than performing dutifully and diligently on behalf of the people of Washington. Sandra S. Bennett Portland
------------------------------------------------------------------- Re: "Snitch" on PBS Frontline Tuesday Night (Peter McWilliams, the best-selling author, AIDS and cancer patient and medical-marijuana defendant indicted by the federal government in California, says he will be watching the television documentary on federal informants with great interest Tuesday night, since his own indictment is based entirely on information and grand jury testimony provided by Scott Imler and two of his employees at the Los Angeles Cannabis Buyer's Club. McWilliams says Imler has been allowed to continue operating the club in return for his testimony against McWilliams, all the while manufacturing and selling more marijuana each year under federal protection than McWilliams and co-defendant Todd McCormick are accused of being involved with.) From: "McWilliams Main" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: DPFCA: RE: "SNITCH" on PBS Frontline Tuesday Night Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 16:37:56 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ RE: "SNITCH" on PBS Frontline Tuesday Night As my federal arrest for medical marijuana conspiracy charges -- and my subsequent current life-threatening situation (inability to keep down my nausea-producing anti-AIDS medications without medical marijuana) ---- is based entirely on information and Grand Jury testimony provided by "snitches" (primarily Scott Imler and two of his employees at the Los Angeles Cannabis Buyer's Club), I will be watching this program Tuesday night with great interest. Reverend Imler claims he HAD to snitch on me because the federal prosecutors offered him immunity. In fact, discovery documents show that Mr. Imler talked freely (very freely) about me ---- a patient-member of his club --- to DEA and federal prosecutors long before any immunity deal was reached. If you wonder why Rev. Imler is allowed to operate by far the largest Cannabis Club in the state of California --- completely untouched by either criminal or civil federal action --- it is solely because of his "cooperation" in getting me arrested, including his Grand Jury Testimony. The irony is that Rev. Imler now manufacturers and sells more marijuana each year under federal protection than the entire alleged "kingpin" enterprise of mine and my co-defendants (including Todd McCormick) are accused of in the federal indictment against us. Take care, Peter McWilliams *** >Source: Village Voice (NY) >Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org >Website: http://www.villagevoice.com/ >Copyright: 1999 VV Publishing Corporation >Author: Cynthia Cotts (email@example.com) > >NOTE: PBS "Frontline" will air "Snitch," the show reviewed below, on >Tues., January 12, 1999. > >'FRONTLINE' TO COVER 'SNITCHES' JAN 12 > >Rat Pack [snipped to avoid duplication. Follow the link. - ed.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drugs Smuggled Into Three Prisons With Alleged Help of Corrections Officers (The Associated Press rewrites a recent Scripps Howard News Service article about the recent arrests of several California prison guards and other correctional employees.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 19:52:34 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: WIRE: Drugs Smuggled Into Three Prisons With Alleged Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Patrick Henry (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: Pubdate:sAssociated Press. Source: AP DRUGS SMUGGLED INTO THREE PRISONS WITH ALLEGED HELP OF CORRECTIONS OFFICERS SACRAMENTO (AP) -- Marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin flowed steadily through three state prisons. And when investigators followed the trail to the drug kingpins, it led to three of the prison system's own officers. Ironwood State Prison officer Richard Melendez, 28, was arrested late last month after investigators swept through the Riverside County lockup searching for drugs. More arrests may follow, Department of Corrections officials say. While most drugs are traced to friends and relatives of inmates, the larger quantities are almost always smuggled in by prison employees -- including sworn officers, investigators said. Melendez's arrest followed those of prison officers suspected of smuggling drugs into California State Prison in Sacramento, known as New Folsom, and San Quentin. "We're trying to send a message," said Dave Mansfield, an agent with the Office of Internal Affairs, created last summer after accusations of officer abuse at Corcoran State Prison. "Somebody's going to get spanked behind this stuff." Investigators say prison employees usually have inmate contacts who run their own distribution networks inside. A gram of heroin can fetch $1,000 in prison, said parolee Robert Johnson, who said prison workers brought him drugs at least 18 times over his 18 years in the corrections system. "I used to walk through the institution with $1,000 in my pocket or in my mattress," he told the Sacramento Bee in an article published Saturday. "I would go to the visiting room and slip it out, or have a guard take it out. That was my job." At Ironwood, near Blythe, some 50 officers fanned out to search 130 cells for drugs, and came up with Melendez as a main source of contraband, officials said. He has not been charged. At New Folsom, veteran officer Michael Laurin, 54, was arrested in May after buying a pound of marijuana from inmates' relatives working undercover, authorities said. His trial is pending. And at San Quentin, officer April Reynolds was caught bringing heroin into the prison with intent to sell, authorities said. A parolee who was with her also was taken into custody. Along with a cook, Sherwood Coleman, accused of buying cocaine with the intention of selling it at the prison, they were indicted by a grand jury in Contra Costa County. Another cook, Daniel O'Callaghan, faces a preliminary hearing next week on charges that he smuggled methamphetamine into San Quentin after obtaining the drug from a parolee. "It looks at this point like we're going to be able to take care of a pretty good-sized cancer," said Corrections Director Cal Terhune. "We don't like to find it, but when we do, we want to root it out."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Blue Nitro Worries Poison Experts (The San Francisco Examiner tries to launch a nationwide drug menace over a legal "dietary supplement" and chemical analog to GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyrate - a colorless, odorless substance known as liquid ecstasy that allegedly became popular on the dance club scene and has been documented as one of several date-rape drugs.)Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 19:56:42 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Blue Nitro Worries Poison Experts 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) Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Examiner Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Forum: http://examiner.com/cgi-bin/WebX Author: Anastasia Hendrix BLUE NITRO WORRIES POISON EXPERTS Touted by its promoters as a euphoric elixir that can boost your mood, burn fat, rev up your sex life and even send you off into blissful slumber, a trendy new brew known as Blue Nitro has hit San Francisco. But even as phones at vitamin stores and sex shops ring with requests for the potion, police and medical professionals are warning that the chemical composition of the liquid creates more risks than benefits. After a few too many comatose patients started arriving at emergency rooms across The City, the police are going public with their concern. On Wednesday, officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration and the Poison Control Center plan an information session to describe the problems some people have experienced after ingesting the green, minty fluid being sold as Blue Nitro, or Vitality. Even though Blue Nitro is legal to sell, recent tests in the crime lab raised troubling questions about its safety, said Officer Sherman Ackerson of the San Francisco Police Department. "We found it has the same chemical composition as GHB, which is against the law currently," he said. GHB - or gamma-hydroxybutyrate - is a colorless, odorless substance known as liquid ecstasy that became popular on the dance club scene and has been documented as one of several date-rape drugs. "Blue Nitro is a chemical analog to GHB," explained Jo Ellen Dyer, a pharmacist with the San Francisco division of the California Poison Control System. Commonly put in beverages, GHB gives users a feeling of euphoria, but when combined with alcohol or in an overdose, it can result in coma and other serious respiratory problems. The same is true of Blue Nitro, Dyer said. "My concern is that I don't want someone walking around thinking this is the latest form of vitamin C that can cure the common cold," she said. "This is GHB, it can hurt people, and they shouldn't do it." Though exact statistics were unavailable, Dyer said there have been at least a half-dozen emergency room visits involving Blue Nitro throughout the state since December, shortly after samples were distributed legally to individuals and sex shops in The City by marketers. In one case, a 71-year-old man from Monterey said he mistakenly swigged a few sips from the bottle he left on his night stand, thinking it was water. He ended up in the hospital in serious condition, though he has since recovered. Several other cases - many involving patients who arrive comatose and in need of intensive care - have been recorded at San Francisco General Hospital, Dyer said. It is especially popular in gay circles because it heightens the sexual experience by making users "feel amorous, like you want to be touched and touch everybody," said Shawn O'Shea, the former editor of the gay newspaper San Francisco Spectrum. It's also much less expensive than ecstasy and other street drugs, often selling for around $10 a hit, approximately two soda bottle capfuls of liquid. Rick Alvarez is the exclusive distributor of Blue Nitro, which is manufactured by a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based company called Alpha Earth Inc. Alpha Earth is one of about 10 companies currently selling similar products. Alvarez defends the safety and legitimacy of his product - which was introduced just five months ago - and insists that Blue Nitro is not a drug, as many of its critics claim. It is a dietary supplement that must be used with great caution to achieve the benefits with no negative side effects, he said, explaining that that is why it is not to be sold to anyone under age 21. Here is the tricky part: While Blue Nitro does not contain GHB, it metabolizes into GHB inside the body, Alvarez said. In fact, the company Web site boasts that the positive effects of Blue Nitro "may be due to the relation to GHB." And it goes on to assert that the liquid is not toxic and "like GHB is 100% safe when taken as directed." It also includes a disclaimer - in capital letters and with exclamation points - that it should never be taken with alcohol or any drugs. "This product, when taken properly, does not have any negative side effects," Alvarez said from his home in Miami. "But if you abuse it, there is a dark side, no question about it, and we will never deny that. You're always going to find somebody who abuses it, just like you can walk into a liquor store and find someone who will abuse something there." It is the handful of cases where the product guidelines have not been followed that gain widespread attention from the press and law enforcement, he said. There are thousands of people, who - like himself and his wife - regularly use the drug and enjoy its benefits, said Alvarez. "We use it safely as recommended and have great benefits from losing weight to sleeping in the deepest stage of sleep so we have a lot of energy," he said, adding that it has also proved to be an incredible sexual enhancer. Alvarez also points out that FDA officials in Florida, Alabama and Georgia have purchased several bottles and sent inspectors down to the manufacturing plant since the product was first created in August and have yet to halt its production. Meanwhile, the popularity of Blue Nitro continues to soar, according to Alvarez, who heads a national network of 10 distributors. Last week, for example, he said, he sold nearly 5,000 bottles of Blue Nitro and the numbers keep climbing every week. Even shop owners who don't sell the product are growing aware of the demand for it. Andy Nevarez, who works at Great Earth Vitamins on Castro Street, said his store will not sell Blue Nitro but receives daily inquiries from those looking to buy a bottle for the suggested retail price of $64.95. "We get lots of requests for it, sometimes as many as three calls in a day," he said. "I have tried it myself and it is the nastiest thing in the world. I was sweating, cold, dizzy. It was terrible."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Execution Of Farris Would Be Big Mistake (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders urges Texans to ask Governor George W. Bush to stop the execution of Troy Dale Farris, convicted of the December 1983 slaying of a Tarrant County deputy sheriff. Because his case involved an obviously bungled investigation, destroyed and/or tampered evidence and, at the least, misstatements by a law enforcement official, Farris should be a free man today. One complication in the case involves marijuana discovered on the slain deputy.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 19:38:15 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US TX: Column: Execution Of Farris Would Be Big Mistake Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.star-telegram.com/ Forum: http://www.star-telegram.com/comm/forums/ Copyright: 1999 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas Author: Bob Ray Sanders EXECUTION OF FARRIS WOULD BE BIG MISTAKE The state of Texas, preparing for the Wednesday execution of Troy Dale Farris, is about to make an unforgivable mistake. All Texans should take note of this case, especially Gov. George W. Bush, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Legislature, and all those who view capital punishment as a God-given ritual to punish sinners, even if the wrong person is executed. Farris, found guilty of the December 1983 slaying of a Tarrant County deputy sheriff, should not be executed. Period. Frankly, I don't know if he is innocent or guilty of the crime. But I do know that no one -- absolutely `no one' -- should ever be found guilty of a crime based on the evidence (or lack thereof) presented in Farris' case, much less put to death. Because his case involved an obviously bungled investigation, destroyed and/or tampered evidence and, at the least, misstatements by a law enforcement official, Farris should be a free man today. Deputy Clark Rosenbalm Jr. was shot to death on an isolated road near Saginaw after, police said, he interrupted a drug transaction involving Farris, Vance Nation and Charles Lowder. Eleven months after the killing, someone told police that Nation had mentioned the shooting at a party. That led to the arrest of the three men, who were charged with capital murder. Nation would testify that he thought Farris had shot the deputy, and Farris' former brother-in-law, Jimmy Daniel, testified that Farris had confessed the killing to him, and said he had thrown the .357- caliber Magnum pistol into Marine Creek. Divers "trained in underwater investigation systematically searched" Marine Creek, but never found the gun. Daniel also took officers to an area where he said Farris had fired .357-caliber bullets into a tree trunk about a year earlier, but the .357 rifling marks on those slugs did not match the ones that were recovered from Rosenbalm's body. Farris, in an interview with `Star-Telegram reporter Jack Douglas Jr., said that, as he drove away from the scene, he saw Nation tackle the officer. And Lowder told Douglas that he believes the officer was killed by someone else after all three men had driven away. About a year after the trial, capital murder charges were dropped against Nation. He did, however, plead guilty to possession of marijuana and was given a seven-year probated sentence. Capital murder charges were also dropped against Lowder, who was granted immunity in the case. Complicating the case even more was the fact that marijuana was discovered on the slain deputy, and investigators had a long discussion at the homicide scene about what to do with it. Sheriff's Capt. Johnny Prince initially said he took the marijuana from Rosenbalm's coat pocket, but he would tell at least three different stories about what happened to it. Regardless, the evidence disappeared from the crime scene. Prince took the Fifth Amendment in Farris' trial. Subsequently, he was indicted on perjury charges, but a special prosecutor recommended that he not be tried because of lack of evidence. The prosecutor also recommended that Prince not be returned to the Sheriff's Department. Today, he is a captain in that department. Even the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, in an opinion that upheld Farris' conviction and sentencing, noted: "the circumstantial and forensic evidence offered at trial not only failed to connect [Farris] with the killing of Rosenbalm, but also failed in nearly all material respects to confirm the testimony" of Nation and Daniel. The opinion goes on to state, "We are not unmindful that Daniel's credibility was seriously undermined by the fact that he had previously testified under oath before the Grand Jury in a manner inconsistent with his trial testimony and, therefore, inconsistent with [Farris'] guilt." Despite that finding, the court said Farris' alleged confession to Daniel was enough to uphold his conviction. In 1994, Farris was just hours away from execution when he received a stay. But by the time the appeals court acknowledged in 1994 that it had made a mistake on at least one of the 12 points of Farris' appeal -- the trial court erred by disqualifying one juror -- Farris' case was already in the federal courts. Now, after 13 years on Death Row for a crime he says he did not commit (and which the state did not prove he committed), Farris is just days away from being put to death by lethal injection. There were too many errors made in this case, and too many questions still remain. Justice screams for this execution to be stopped. Bob Ray Sanders' column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. (817) 390-7775 Send your comments to email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Flip Side Of A Fair Trial (The second part of a five-part series on prosecutorial misconduct, in the Chicago Tribune, says a Tribune analysis of hundreds of all types of criminal cases since Dec. 31, 1977, found 326 state court convictions in Illinois - 207 of them in Cook County - have been reversed because of prosecutorial misconduct. Eight defendants in Cook County who had been sentenced to death won new sentencing hearings due to prosecutorial misbehavior, with only two resulting in reimposition of a death sentence. A Tribune study of homicide cases across the country also revealed 381 reversals since 1963 for two of the most serious types of misconduct - using false evidence or concealing evidence suggesting innocence.) Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 16:14:41 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US IL: The Flip Side Of A Fair Trial Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/ Copyright: 1998 Chicago Tribune Company Pubdate: 11 Jan. 1998 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Author: Maurice Possley and Ken Armstrong Note: This is the second part of a five-part series on prosecutorial misconduct. The first part did not make any specific references to drugs, so it was not posted. This article has some drug references. To see the first part, or other subsequent parts of the series go to http://chicagotribune.com/go/trial/ THE FLIP SIDE OF A FAIR TRIAL On his first day as a prosecutor assigned to a trial courtroom at the Criminal Courts Building, Michael Goggin slid into the chair next to the judge's chambers and his shoes struck a most unusual object--a bathroom scale. "What's this?" Goggin recalls asking another prosecutor. "That's for the Two-Ton Contest," came the response. "The Two-Ton Contest?" Goggin replied, quizzically. More than two decades later, as Goggin, now a defense lawyer, recalls the moment, his original amazement is still apparent. There was an ongoing competition among prosecutors to be the first to convict defendants whose weight totaled 4,000 pounds. Men and women, upon conviction, were marched into the room and weighed. Because most of the defendants were African-American, Goggin recalls now, with no small degree of discomfort, the competition was described in less sensitive terms behind closed doors--"Niggers by the Pound." Those were different days in the state's attorney's office at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building at 26th Street and California Avenue, when prosecutors were mostly white men who ate, slept and breathed their cases, working and partying side by side. "It was us against the worst of the worst," Goggin recalls. It was an era where being politically correct meant being a part of Mayor Richard J. Daley's Democratic machine. It was a time when the state's attorney's office kept a chart of wins and losses, each victory earning a prosecutor a green sticker next to his name, and each loss an embarrassing red one. It was a place where winning was so important and commonplace--Goggin's record in one courtroom was 58 wins, two losses and two hung juries--that the Two-Ton Contest evolved as another measure of success, with African-Americans as game tokens. And it was a time when some prosecutors hid evidence, overreached in courtroom argument, reneged on promises, sat idly by while their witnesses shaved the truth and, in some instances, were the unwitting pawns of unscrupulous law enforcement officers who concealed evidence or lied, according to a Tribune analysis of hundreds of cases. Goggin himself was involved in six reversals--four murder convictions set aside and two death sentences vacated--because of misconduct in the courtroom. No other prosecutor in Cook County has more reversals in the past 20 years, according to the Tribune study. Gregg Owen, Goggin's partner in four of the reversed cases and now a private defense lawyer in Schaumburg, says they did what other prosecutors did. And they earned plenty of green stickers for it. "Nobody told us to cheat. Nobody told us to do wrong," he says. "It was to be smart, be tenacious. We were told we were the best prosecutors in the office." "I didn't do anything wrong," Goggin adds. More than 16 years after Goggin left the ranks of prosecutors to go into private practice in west suburban Oak Park, the Two-Ton Contest is long gone. Prosecutors no longer openly refer to the suburban courthouses in Markham and Rolling Meadows as "Darkham" and "Rolling Ghettos." And the team of three dozen prosecutors at 26th Street has grown to more than 200, with their ranks now including many minorities and women. But cheating, misconduct, and in a more subtle form, the racism of the 1970s still persist. As a result, about once a month, on average, for the past two decades, a conviction has been set aside in Cook County because of a judicial finding of improper conduct by prosecutors. For the guilty, each new trial represents yet another opportunity to go free by convincing a judge or jury that the evidence is insufficient to convict. In addition, the reversals exact a toll on victims and their families who are forced to come back to court, reopening sometimes barely healed emotional wounds. There is a cost in time and effort for investigators, defense lawyers, judges and jurors in an already overburdened court system. A Tribune examination of all types of criminal cases since Dec. 31, 1977, found 326 state court convictions in Illinois--207 of them in Cook County--have been reversed because of prosecutor misconduct. Nearly half of the reversals in Cook County were for homicide convictions. In addition, eight defendants in Cook County were sentenced to death and won new sentencing hearings due to prosecutor misbehavior. When new hearings were held, only two resulted in reimposition of a death sentence. A Tribune study of homicide cases across the country revealed 381 reversals since 1963 for two of the most serious types of misconduct--using false evidence or concealing evidence suggesting innocence. The review of more than 5,000 Illinois and Cook County cases covers all types of crimes during the past two decades and focused on all forms of misconduct that result in a reversal. Most of the reversed convictions--93 percent--involved jury trials, which prosecutors tend to win. A Tribune examination of court records shows that in the 10-year period ending in 1995, Cook County prosecutors won about 82 percent of the murder cases tried before juries. And while the number of reversed cases is a small percentage of the tens of thousands of criminal charges that were filed during that period, an examination of thousands of pages of transcripts and evidence in the Cook County cases reveals trial after trial where prosecutors cheated, lied or spun out of control during arguments before a jury. Not a single prosecutor has been dismissed for misconduct since 1990, according to Cook County State's Atty. Richard Devine and his predecessor, Jack O'Malley. Mayor Richard Daley, who was state's attorney from 1980 to 1989, declined to comment, but top officials who worked for him also could not recall any firings. Michael Shabat, formerly first assistant for the late Cecil Partee, who served from 1989 to 1990, said he cannot recall dismissals. David Erickson, first assistant Cook County state's attorney, says that prosecutorial misconduct is rare, occurring over the past three years in only an infinitesimal fraction of criminal cases. "But even one case is too much," he adds. "As small as that is, it's too many." The line between misconduct and hard-nosed lawyering is thin and a matter of integrity and self-control. Misconduct ranges from an overexuberant argument to maliciously hiding evidence of a defendant's innocence. And it is frequently the subject of fierce debate in appellate courts, with prosecutors defending their actions while being condemned by defense lawyers. Goggin, who rose to become a supervisor in the state's attorney's office, portrays himself as a well-intentioned prosecutor who lost control in the heat of battle, driven to win by a complex blend of factors, including appeasing the family of a victim, earning accolades of fellow prosecutors and "getting the bad guy." Some misconduct, such as hiding evidence, is not easily discovered. And other kinds, such as improper argument and bullying tactics, happen in court, where judges have the power to declare a mistrial. Misconduct occurs in the courtrooms of permissive judges who favor the prosecution--possibly because of friendship or a get-tough attitude toward criminals. It occurs in the courtrooms of stricter judges who, reluctant to declare a mistrial and start the case all over again, attempt to correct the imbalance with a rebuke. "There are a lot of good prosecutors out there who want to win and can take a loss," says criminal defense attorney William Murphy, a veteran of 31 years in the Cook County courts. "And there are prosecutors who so don't want to lose they would rather win dirty." An examination of the cases shows that no charge was too serious and no case was too small--convictions have been voided for a wide variety of offenses, ranging from murder, sexual assault and armed robbery to resisting arrest, public indecency and even the sale of stolen pigs. - Prosecutors Chris Cronson and Daniel Franks rejected a 62-year-old African-American man as a juror in the murder trial of Peter Sims in 1984, saying that at his age, he should have a better job than a stock clerk at a shoe store. That explanation, the Illinois Appellate Court declared, was a sham to cover their improper attempt to reject him because of his race. The court labeled the excuse "ludicrous." Sims, who had been sentenced to 66 years in prison, was granted a new trial. He pleaded guilty and received a reduced sentence of 33 years. - Prosecutor Nick Ford told a jury that he would be fired if his witnesses lied--a blatant attempt to use the good name of his office to vouch for the witnesses. The act, combined with judicial errors, resulted in a reversal of the 1995 murder conviction of Christopher Henyerd, accused of the robbery and murder of West Side grocer Nick Martini. Two months after the reversal, Ford was named a Cook County judge. The retrial is pending. - Ralph Harbold, once a prominent chiropractor, is now awaiting his third trial on a charge of murdering a wealthy businessman in 1981. His first two trials were reversed--in 1984 and 1991--because prosecutors introduced prejudicial evidence and made improper closing arguments. A third trial is scheduled to begin later this year. The 326 reversed convictions uncovered by the Tribune represent only a part of the problem. Some cases are dismissed prior to trial for a variety of reasons, including misconduct in the grand jury. Reversals also occur in rulings by trial judges and in unpublished appellate court opinions, neither of which are recorded in official legal databases. In the past 13 months, there have been eight reversals in unpublished opinions in Cook County. Defense lawyers also say that when they raise a serious allegation of prosecutorial misconduct, the issue is frequently resolved without an official finding of wrongdoing or public exposure by cutting deals for reduced sentences or immediate release. Last year, a defense lawyer accused Cook County prosecutors Kent Sinson and Peter Goutos of hiding evidence that one of their witnesses had been promised a light sentence on a drug charge in return for his testimony against accused murderer Bernard Benjamin. The prosecutors stood silent when the witness denied in court that he'd been promised a deal, and Benjamin was convicted. When the defense later learned the witness received only probation, the prosecution agreed to a new trial, characterizing it as "newly discovered evidence." Some of the cases examined by the Tribune were never retried, but instead were plea bargained for reduced sentences because evidence had deteriorated or disappeared, memories had faded, and witnesses had died or moved away. In one case, a clerical error resulted in a murder case being dropped entirely. After the murder conviction of Henry Lee Thomas--accused of stabbing Dorothy Terrell to death and dumping her body in a forest preserve--was reversed because prosecutors improperly told jurors that he had flunked a lie detector test, it was sent back for a new trial. But due to an error in the Cook County clerk's office, prosecutors did not discover the reversal until it was too late to bring Thomas to trial within the time required by law. The delay forced them to dismiss the case. And in some instances, the appeals process took so long that defendants had already served their time and been released, rendering the reversal practically meaningless. Still other cases ended in acquittal. The gatekeepers While thousands of defendants pour through dozens of courtrooms across Cook County, which has one of the largest court systems in the nation, the hub remains the seven-story courthouse known as "26th and Cal." Here, justice often is imperfect. And frequently, the Tribune examination shows, it is unfair. Prosecutors and defense attorneys square off over charges of drug dealing and robbery, sexual assault and murder; to cajole and shout, to argue and debate, to wheel and deal, and, ultimately, to win. The journey of a criminal case from arrest to conviction travels an often lengthy and tortuous legal path. The reversals in Cook County show how misconduct can occur at virtually every step of the way. The key figure during the entire proceeding is the prosecutor, the ultimate gatekeeper of the state's evidence and witnesses. The prosecutors control the paperwork--the test reports of bullets, weapons, clothing, blood, hair; statements taken from defendants and witnesses; and police reports. They determine which of these items are turned over to defense lawyers, and when. How does improper prosecutorial behavior make a trial so fundamentally unfair that a conviction is set aside? The basic right to a fair trial, even for those accused of the most abhorrent crimes, was established in the U.S. Constitution with few specific rules beyond the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. Over the past two centuries, a vast array of rules of engagement have evolved through decisions, usually by the U.S. Supreme Court. These rulings control how juries are selected, what questions may be asked of a witness, what evidence may be presented and what lawyers can and cannot say during the arguments to the judge or jury. Misconduct can occur before a trial and even before charges are filed. In 1984, David Lee's rape conviction was thrown out because his confession came only after Assistant Cook County State's Atty. Mark Schroeder told Lee that his fingerprints had been found in the victim's apartment--even though none of his prints were there. Although police officers are allowed to mislead suspects during questioning, prosecutors, the court ruled, cannot. Once charges are brought, defense lawyers are entitled to receive before trial all information that could be viewed as favorable to a defendant, as well as names and addresses of prosecution witnesses and their written or recorded statements. Although it is a fundamental rule designed to prevent trial by ambush, 25 convictions have been reversed in Cook County in the past two decades because prosecutors failed to turn over such evidence. Prosecutors also are responsible at trial for the acts of police and other law enforcement officials who investigate crimes. That was the case in 1995 when defense lawyers for accused murderer Donald Kalwa discovered that for nearly two years, Chicago Police Detective Richard Schak knew that a fingerprint lifted from the car window of murder victim Rachel Rachlin--whose body was found in the trunk--did not match those of Kalwa, but he never told anyone about it. Defense lawyers said such a print could point to another suspect. The concealment of evidence that suggested someone other than Kalwa may have been the killer prompted Circuit Court Judge Fred Suria to set aside Kalwa's conviction and order a new trial. Prosecutors Robert Berlin and Richard Kayne said they were unaware of the evidence. Kalwa was retried and convicted. Some of the most insidious examples of misconduct in the Cook County courts have occurred at the outset of trials when prosecutors reject jurors because of their skin color. At least 22 different convictions have been vacated in the past 12 years because prosecutors allegedly discriminated against minorities in jury selection, according to the Tribune analysis. In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case entitled Batson v. Kentucky, provided a new test to determine whether prosecutors were keeping African-Americans off juries. Before the Batson ruling, when the threshold for proving discrimination was so high that prosecutors excused African-Americans without the least worry of being reversed, juries in Cook County frequently were all white. Some former prosecutors admit privately that African-Americans were routinely excused in the past because prosecutors believed that they were more likely to accept assertions that police mistreated a defendant during questioning. And some Cook County prosecutors still attempt to keep African-Americans from juries, in some instances with judicial help. In 1993, for example, the appellate court found that Cook County Circuit Judge Ronald Himel had "coached" prosecutors Georgia Buglass and Edward Schreiber as they scrambled to find race-neutral reasons for dismissing African-Americans from a jury. In reversing the armed robbery conviction of Robert Banks, the appeals court noted that Himel called the Batson decision "poorly written, poorly understandable . . . certainly wrong . . . ludicrous and ridiculous." As recently as September 1996, the appellate court ripped the Cook County state's attorney's office for perpetrating "the charade" that the jury selection process has become. "Surely, new prosecutors are given a manual," Justice Alan Greiman noted sarcastically, "probably entitled, `Handy Race-Neutral Explanations' or `20 Time-Tested Race-neutral Explanations.' " Such a book, he suggested, might include the following reasons, all of them gleaned from actual cases: too old, too young, divorced, unkempt hair, freelance writer, wrong religion, social worker, renter, lack of family contact, single, lack of maturity, improper demeanor, improper attire, lives alone, lives in apartment complex, misspelled place of employment, unemployed, employment as part-time barber, unemployed spouse, spouse employed as school teacher, failure to remove hat, living with girlfriend, deceased father. Crossing the line Most cases of misconduct occur during the trial, which begins with opening statements, moves into presentation of the prosecution and defense evidence and concludes with final arguments. It is in the heat of battle, during argument before a jury or cross-examination, that the trial misconduct frequently occurs and is either not corrected by the judge overseeing the trial or is so egregious that a judge's rebuke is later deemed inadequate to correct the prejudice to a defendant. "That adrenalin rush can push you over the line," says Michael Ficaro, a former supervisor in the state's attorney's office in the 1970s and now a lawyer in private practice. Ficaro prosecuted two of the reversed cases examined by the Tribune. It happens, according to Goggin, when "you see a defense attorney attempting to whittle away at your evidence. A fear starts to enter into a prosecutor's mind that you might lose this case. You try to remember what is allowable and what's not allowed. Sometimes the things you say were already ruled proper or harmless and they now, under certain circumstances, different judges, different fact settings, are held to be error and they reverse the case." Once again, the rules of engagement bend to the will and strategies of the lawyers and judges in the courtroom. A Tribune examination of the Cook County cases shows reversals occurring before more than 80 different judges, with most judges having only one or two such cases. However, two former judges--James Bailey (17 convictions reversed) and Thomas Maloney (10 convictions and two death sentences reversed)--stand out. Maloney, now serving a 15-year prison term for taking bribes to fix murder cases, was known as a hard-nosed jurist who was openly contemptuous of defense lawyers and imposed severe sentences on defendants. Bailey was considered a fair-minded judge, but also one whom prosecutors remember as allowing them wide latitude. "He would let us say just about anything we wanted to say," recalls one former prosecutor. Bailey acknowledged that many of the reversals were the result of improper argument, including two cases prosecuted by Owen and Goggin and another handled by Michael Ficaro. "They were very good, but overly aggressive, prosecutors, very flamboyant," Bailey said. "You can't do a damn thing about it unless the other side objects." Most of the reversals involved death penalty cases, he noted. "In those cases, people get inflamed. They're usually very brutal murders. And on death penalty cases, you had to have a perfect record or get reversed." Similarly, some prosecutors take advantage of lax or incompetent defense attorneys who fail to object when assistant state's attorneys step over the line. The Tribune examination of the 326 reversed convictions in Illinois shows that the assertion of prosecutorial misconduct was accompanied in dozens of cases with a claim of incompetence of defense counsel. Textbook example When professors and legal scholars attempt to illustrate how not to try a case, they often cite the murder trial of Mitchell Weinger. The Illinois Appellate Court overturned the conviction in 1981. The prosecutors involved: Goggin and Owen. "That's the one they use at the seminars," Owen says unabashedly. The opinion as first issued was a scathing indictment of Owen and Goggin, citing more than 50 instances of misconduct and mentioning both prosecutors by name--an unusual practice for an appeals court. Owen said that the original opinion was withdrawn shortly after it was issued and rewritten to lower the misconduct count to 35 and to remove their names. The trial's fatal flaws included the prosecution's opening statement, in which jurors were told that a witness would say the killer was wearing a turquoise necklace. The witness identified Weinger as the killer, but never said he was wearing such a necklace. The error was compounded when Goggin and Owen elicited testimony from a police officer that such a necklace had been found in Weinger's apartment, creating an impression that the witness' identification of Weinger had been corroborated by the police officer who found the necklace. In addition, the appeals court cited 20 instances where Goggin and Owen persisted in asking witnesses to answer questions, despite the repeated rulings by the trial judge, Frank Machala, that the questions were improper. The tactic of continuing to pose such questions was, the appeals court said, designed to force defense lawyers to repeatedly object in hopes that the jury would view them as obstructionists. After the conviction was reversed, Weinger pleaded guilty rather than go to trial again. He served less than seven years in prison. "Everything I did in Weinger had been upheld in the past in other cases," Owen says. "I tried 64 jury trials and I was 62 (wins) and 2 (losses). Goggin and I never lost together as a team; we won almost 40 cases in a row." Rampant emotion Sometimes overreaching by prosecutors can taint even the most straightforward cases. There was never any doubt that Richard Stack killed his wife and their 13-month-old son on a sunny Mother's Day afternoon in 1980, but because prosecutors mishandled the case, it continues to linger in the courts. And once again, Goggin was at its center. When police arrived at the Stack residence at 6400 S. Kildare Ave. on that May 11, Stack, shirtless and bloody, was leaning from a shattered 2nd-floor window, screaming, "God died for our sins!" and babbling about "devils and demons." Inside the modest home, Carol Ann Stack, 22, had been kicked repeatedly in the head and was stabbed and slashed more than 100 times. Shards of a shattered pool cue were embedded in her chest. The couple's 13-month-old son, Richard Jr., had been stabbed repeatedly and then hurled into a wall. Almost immediately, Stack confessed, telling police: "I just killed my wife and kid." Ultimately, the case boiled down to a legal struggle over whether Stack was sane enough to be convicted and sent to prison or whether he was so unbalanced as to be found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a mental institution, where he might one day be deemed mentally fit enough to be released. Twice the case went to trial and twice Stack was convicted. And both times the convictions were set aside because prosecutors broke the legal rules. In Stack's first trial, Goggin and co-prosecutor Ernie DiBenedetto fought vigorously for a guilty verdict that would send Stack to prison for life. By the time Goggin stood up to give his closing argument, the case already was critically damaged by legal miscues, including the presentation of testimony that Stack must have been sane because he invoked his right to remain silent. It is a violation of a defendant's rights to suggest a defendant's silence--a constitutional right--is evidence of guilt. But Goggin's final address to the jury was a study in rampant emotion and, the appeals court later said, a perilous misstatement of the law. Lacing his address with explosive words and phrases--"butcher," "stomped their heads," "cracked that baby's skull"--Goggin pointed to the bloody photographs of the victims. "This case is about Carol Ann Stack and Richie Stack Jr. being transformed from two living human beings into two mutilated carcasses. While such language indicated how passionately Goggin wanted a criminal conviction, none of it was outside the bounds of fairness. It was what he said next that crossed the line, the court said. "We all have responsibilities," Goggin declared. "And you will live with your decision today and so will the rest of us in our society. And so will the rest of the people from that neighborhood--if you let him escape responsibility for his crime." The jury heeded Goggin's words, convicting Stack of murder. But two years later, in 1984, an appeals court ordered a new trial, saying, in part, Goggin misstated the law by suggesting that a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity would set Stack free to return to the community. Stack was convicted for a second time in 1987. Once more, the conviction was set aside because DiBenedetto and his co-prosecutor, Richard Stock, repeated Goggin's mistake, telling jurors they had to convict Stack to avoid the possibility he would go free. In reversing the case for a second time, Appellate Court Justice Calvin Campbell noted, "It is regrettable that the victim's family will be forced to endure a third trial. The people of the state of Illinois, including the victim's family, are not well served by prosecutorial misconduct." When the third trial concluded in 1996, Stack was convicted again. The case is now on appeal and defense lawyers contend that prosecutors Charles Burns and John Murphy presented evidence of Stack's post-arrest silence before the jury--an error that contributed to the reversal of the first trial. The state denies any misconduct occurred. Burns is now a judge. Missteps in closing arguments have become the prosecutorial error cited most frequently--108 times out of 207 reversals--in Cook County cases in the past 20 years. The close of a trial is when the pressure reaches its zenith, when even the most experienced prosecutors--perhaps wearied by stress and fearful of an acquittal--are overcome by adrenalin, sarcasm and fear of losing. In the past 20 years, prosecutors have been criticized for referring to defense lawyers as "slicksters" and "hired guns" and for branding defendants as "scum" and a "lying, raping, attempt-murdering dog." In one case, a conviction was reversed because the prosecutor asked the jury to remember, as they deliberated, that if they acquitted the defendant, he was "just an `L' ride" from their front door. Erickson, who was an assistant Cook County state's attorney and then a judge before resigning to work for Devine, summed up how it happens. "You've tried a tremendous case. You've got a ton of evidence. You've got an eyewitness. You've got a fingerprint. You've got a confession," he said. "And then you get up in closing argument and you go nuts on the guy. You start saying things over and over that you don't have to say because you've proved it 12 times over. What you wind up with is an overkill process where your case is reversed and sent back." Owen pursued victories with an almost religious fervor that was born of a loss in his second jury trial. "It was an armed robbery and we lost," he recalls. "A year later, one of the defendants who had been acquitted in my case broke into a man's house and killed him. I felt responsible for the death of that man." Owen prayed before closing arguments. "I said, `Lord, if this guy didn't do it, don't give me the strength to do this.' I was like a crusader and the Lord was on my side. "All I cared about was making sure the defendant would not hit the street," he says. "There ain't no appeal if I lose." *** TRIAL & ERROR THE SERIES PART 1. TIPPING THE SCALES A Tribune investigation finds 381 people who had homicide verdicts overturned because of prosecutor misconduct since 1963. TODAY'S INSTALLMENT PART 2. WINNING AT ALL COSTS About once a month for the past 20 years, a Cook County conviction has been reversed because of prosecutor misconduct. PART 3. THE CRUZ CASE Prosecutions of Rolando Cruz now defendants in historic DuPage trial. PART 4. PROFILE OF A PROSECUTOR Ex-prosecutor Scott Arthur and the Ford Heights 4 case. PART 5. REWARDING MISCONDUCT The consequence of misconduct? A better job.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mainers likely to vote on medical use of marijuana (Without explaining how or why, Foster's Daily Democrat, in Dover, New Hampshire, says the proposal by Mainers for Medical Rights will first go before state lawmakers. If the Legislature does not approve the measure, it will be sent to a referendum in November because it is a citizen initiative. The latter part of the article includes a medical marijuana patient's persuasive testimony about the herb's effectiveness.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 13:33:07 -0600 From: "Frank S. World"
Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Rx Cannabis Now! http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/ To: DRCNet Medical Marijuana Forum (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: US NH: Mainers likely to vote on medical use of marijuana Sender: email@example.com Source: Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, NH) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.fosters.com/ Pubdate: 1/11/99 MAINERS LIKELY TO VOTE ON MEDICAL USE OF MARIJUANA By GORDON BONIN Maine Statehouse Writer AUGUSTA, Maine - Mainers will mostly likely vote next fall on a citizen initiative to make marijuana legal for people suffering from certain diseases. The proposal by Mainers for Medical Rights will first go before lawmakers. If the Legislature does not approve the measure, it will be sent to a referendum in November because it is a citizen initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to legalize the use of marijuana "to provide important therapeutic and palliative benefits to many patients who suffer from debilitating conditions resulting from certain diseases or treatment of these diseases." The diseases and side effects of treatment covered by the measure are persistent nausea, vomiting and weight loss caused by AIDS or radiation and chemotherapy; heightened intraocular pressure from glaucoma; chronic seizures such as those caused by epilepsy; and persistent, debilitating muscles spasms associated with diseases such as multiple sclerosis. People suffering from any of these would be allowed to grow "a small amount" of marijuana to meet their needs, under the counsel of a physician, without fear of criminal prosecution. Six states have already approved similar measures at referendum, most notably California. But even before the medical argument over marijuana can be joined in Maine, the battle is "very much a legal one," said Dr. Dora Ann Mills, director of the state Health Bureau. "No matter how you pass it," she said, "you put health care providers in violation of federal law." The federal government could prosecute physicians and patients or revoke the licenses physicians need to prescribe controlled drugs, she said. Another problem is that marijuana is not certified by the federal Food and Drug Administration, said Gordon Smith, executive director of the Maine Medical Association. "Doctors are used to dealing with drugs whose purity is certified by the FDA." The Maine Medical Association has opposed such measures in the past. The research on the benefits of marijuana is "very cloudy," Dr. Mills said. Some research suggests that marijuana - actually a chemical in it called THC - can help those with AIDS or suffering the side effects of radiation or chemotherapy for cancer. Michael Lindey, a 66-year-old retired veterinarian in Freeport, vouches for the relief it provides. For three months in 1995, he resorted to smoking marijuana to "allay the adverse effects" of chemotherapy for cancer. Though he is a cigarette smoker, prior to those three months he had never smoked marijuana, he said in a telephone interview with Foster's Daily Democrat. In January 1995, Lindey was diagnosed with a "first-class case of cancer," he said. He underwent the first of two chemotherapy cycles from February into April of that year. The treatment was "pretty rugged," he said. But "I was grateful they treated it aggressively." He also underwent four operations during the two years after his diagnosis to remove the cancer. After those operations he was given morphine to ease his pain. Lindey started the first chemotherapy cycle when weighed 185 pounds. By April, he weighed 40 pounds less. "That first cycle was a horror show," he said. "I had a lot of discomfort and malaise. I had a terrible depression." Though it is natural to be anxious and despondent right after a cancer diagnosis, the emotions are "not helpful," he said. "I was constantly nauseous," Lindey said. "I'd walk around the house with a bucket in my hand because the nausea was so pressing, so unrelenting." "I kept eating a lot of small meals all day, and then at night I'd lose it," he said. The weight loss made him weak and contributed to his depression. "Your clothes hang on you," he said. "Everything is down, down, down." During that session he said he tried Marinol tablets, a legal medication that contains the key chemical THC from marijuana. But the tablets "just didn't work," he said. Six months after the first chemotherapy cycle, he underwent a second. It was during this cycle that he smoked marijuana. The weight loss this time was slight, he said. "The marijuana alleviated the nausea, minimized it." And there was no depression, he said. "I had a will to live." "The marijuana gave me a sense of well being that was not justified," Lindey said. "But maybe that helped me." "The restless anxiety was gone," he said. "You don't sleep well while under this gun." In the second chemotherapy cycle, he would "sleep in perfect peace," sometimes for eight to ten hours. His "dosage" was just a few puffs each night, he said. "I never smoked a whole joint." Lindey dismissed the assertions that marijuana is a "gateway" for harder drugs. "Since concluding smoking, I haven't had a craving for it," he said. "Nor did I have a craving for morphine after the four operations." However, smoking marijuana without the guidance of a physician, Dr. Mills said, can put a person in "medical jeopardy." The marijuana could create adverse reactions in combination with other medication, she said. The Marinol that Lindey took is "grainy and shiny like a white milk dud," she said. "You chew on it like gum." The chemical THC is absorbed through the skin in the mouth, she said. However, some people think that this is less effective delivery than smoking. When it comes to glaucoma, Dr. Mills said, the research on how much marijuana helps is "very weak." "There is no medical efficacy in marijuana for treating glaucoma," Smith said. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has said that although it appears marijuana can provide possibly short-term relief of intraocular pressure from glaucoma, there are no long-term benefits, according to Smith. For those suffering from multiple sclerosis, Dr. John Morgan, a pharmacology professor at the City University of New York, testified in 1997 before Maine lawmakers that marijuana helps relieve convulsive muscle contractions. When a similar measure was before the Maine Legislature in 1997, the only formal opposition was a letter from Gov. Angus King's administration, signed by the Health Bureau director, public safety commissioner and substance abuse office director. The letter asked legislators to "defer state activity." Measures legalizing marijuana "would contravene current federal criminal law, creating serious uncertainty for the citizens of Maine and the law enforcement community,'' the administration's letter stated. Federal research on the medical efficacy of marijuana is under way. The pending citizen initiative would mark the fifth time medical marijuana bills have been before the Maine Legislature. The 1997 version was rejected by the Legislature. The one in 1992 was approved in both chambers but vetoed by then Gov. John McKernan. The bills of 1979 and 1983 both become law, but each were automatically rescinded, the first in 1981, the second in 1987. Smith said the federal government must clarify and settle its policy on such state laws. "The feds are kind of a moving target on this," Smith said. In California, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency took "an aggressive stance," threatening to take away physicians' licenses to prescribe prohibited drugs but then "backed off." This is an issue that "really needs to be dealt with at the federal level before states can clearly deal with it," Dr. Mills said. Christopher McLaughlin, a lawyer for Mainers for Medical Rights, said, "The hope is that a grassroots, state-led effort will convince the federal government that it is a ridiculous waste of time to prosecute drug laws against people who could benefit from them." When those in Congress are faced with the "dichotomy" of federal and state law, he added, "I assume they would begin to take notice." (c) 1999 Geo. J. Foster Co.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Federal Drug Fighters To Open Office In City (The Standard-Times, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, says the DEA hopes to open a permanent office in New Bedford within six months to combat what agents describe as a pipeline for heroin traffickers from Providence and New York. Nationally, drug agents are seizing heroin with a purity level of around 40 percent, but purity levels in Massachusetts and the rest of New England hover at 60 percent and higher. Heroin seized in Massachusetts has tested as high as 90 percent pure. And the street price has dropped from as much as $20 for a small, postage-stamp-size bag a decade ago to as low as $5.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 19:16:53 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MA: Federal Drug Fighters To Open Office In City Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Source: Standard-Times (MA) Contact: YourView@S-T.com Website: http://www.s-t.com/ Copyright: 1999 The Standard-Times Pubdate: 11 Jan 1999 Author: Polly Saltonstall, Standard-Times staff writer FEDERAL DRUG FIGHTERS TO OPEN OFFICE IN CITY NEW BEDFORD -- The federal Drug Enforcement Agency hopes to open a permanent office in the city within six months to combat what agents describe as a serious trafficking problem in the area. Special Agent Pamela Mersky said last week the agency is looking for office space in the city. The agency, which has been covering the New Bedford area from its Cape Cod office in Barnstable, plans to station two agents in the new office, she said. "It's a community we have paid attention to in the past several years," she said of New Bedford, "especially with the heroin problems and a pipeline going right through New Bedford from Providence and New York." She cited an influx of cheap, fairly pure heroin as the area's biggest problem. The most common form of transportation appears to be hidden compartments in cars, she added, not boats, as in years past. Nationally, drug agents are seizing heroin with a purity level of around 40 percent, but purity levels in Massachusetts and the rest of New England hover at 60 percent and higher, she said, noting that heroin seized in Massachusetts has tested as high as 90 percent pure. And the street price has dropped from as much as $20 for a small, postage-stamp-size bag a decade ago to as low as $5. "Because of the higher, purer levels, it's being administered in a number of different ways," she said. "More people are snorting it now and getting a good high. That makes it more socially acceptable. It's not like these users are your typical junkie with a needle." Local law enforcement authorities say the average age of heroin users has dropped. Many of the people arrested for dealing heroin in recent years are in their late teens and early 20s, said Bristol County District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr. The nature of the drug trade also has changed in recent years from big dealers controlling a large segment of the market to smaller independent operators who sell their product using cell phones and beepers, he said. The shift has meant dealers no longer operate from one apartment or house and are less visible on the streets, said New Bedford Police Lt. Melvin Wotton, who heads the city's narcotics squad. The lower visibility has resulted in safer streets, but has made it harder for police to nab dealers, he said. Out of 1,150 arrests last year in New Bedford, close to 95 percent were drug-related, Lt. Wotton said. Of those, more involved larger quantities of drugs than in the past, he noted. "We've seized more drugs than ever before last year," he said, adding that cocaine and marijuana also are a problem in the city. Still, noting that the city's crime rate has dropped, Lt. Wotton said he thinks the area's drug problem is not as bad as it once was. Federal agents shared an office with the state police in Mr. Walsh's office from 1996 until about a year ago, he said. Neither he nor state police Lt. Patrick Fitzgerald, supervisor of the state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, could explain why the agent moved out of the office. "We kept on getting an agent on temporary assignment, then next thing we knew he was gone," Mr. Walsh said. "We'd welcome their presence back again." But even though the federal agency moved its employee out of the local office, Lt. Fitzgerald said, the group still worked cases with the federal agency. "They have not been gone from the scene," he said. "They are just not physically here in this office." The federal agency also has offices in Boston, Lowell, Springfield, Worcester and at Logan Airport.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rep. Barr Admits to Criminal Adultery (According to best-selling author Peter McWilliams, Larry Flynt released convincing evidence tonight that Rep. Bob Barr had an adulterous affair with the woman who is now his wife while he was still married to his previous wife. Adultery is illegal in Georgia, Rep. Barr's home state. Barr is the House Republican and impeachment activist who sponsored an amendment to the District of Columbia budget bill prohibiting the district from conducting a vote on any issue that would have lessened penalties against marijuana, thereby quashing Initiative 59, the medical marijuana ballot measure.) From: "McWilliams Main" (email@example.com) To: "Peter McWilliams" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: DPFCA: Rep. Barr Admits to Criminal Adultery Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 23:25:48 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Raising the Barr Will This Medical Marijuana Opponent Go Up in Smoke? Tonight Larry Flynt released convincing evidence that Rep. Bob Barr had an adulterous affair with the woman who is now his wife while he was still married to his previous wife. These are more explosive charges than Clinton's affairs with either Monica Lewinski or Jennifer Flowers because adultery is illegal in Georgia, Rep. Barr's home state. Clinton's trysts took place in Arkansas and Washington D.C., where adultery is not illegal. Unlike Clinton, then, Barr stands accused of the CRIME of adultery. The documents presented were depositions taken in conjunction with the divorce proceedings between Rep. Barr and his previous wife, Gail. Under oath, both Rep. Barr and Gerry Dobbin (now Mrs. Barr) repeatedly invoked a Georgia statute similar to the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination when asked about the affair that helped break up the Barr marriage. The primary difference between the Fifth and the Georgia statute is that when taking the Fifth, innocence is still presumed. According to the Georgia statute, however, guilt is presumed. Those invoking the statute are essentially saying, "I did it, but I'm not going to talk about it." The Georgia statute, then, is closer to the "no content" plea, which everyone knows means, "I'm guilty, but I'll be damned if you're going to get me to say so." Barr thus avoided the perjury charges now facing Clinton, but admitted guilt to breaking Georgia's adultery law. In other words, Clinton did not commit criminal adultery but he lied about it under oath, while Barr did commit criminal adultery but did not lie about it under oath. Barr also stands accused (convicted, actually) of felony hypocrisy. He was rabid at the notion that Clinton had had an extramarital affair, and the affair itself was quite enough for Barr to demand Clinton's impeachment. Flynt further uncovered evidence that Barr, as the father, consented to an abortion. Rep. Barr, on the floor of the House, deemed such an act "murder." Barr, of course, is a longtime vocal opponent of medical marijuana. He added the last-minute federal budget amendment blocking the tabulation of votes in the November Washington D.C. medical marijuana referendum. Exit polls indicate the referendum passed by 69 percent of the vote, but the vote cannot be counted, at a cost estimated at $1.67, due to "the Barr Amendment." --Peter McWilliams
------------------------------------------------------------------- Snaring Criminals In The Web (The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, in Florida, describes the work of a member of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's gang unit, who trolls the Internet trying to monitor gang activity, and to turn that surveillance into drug arrests.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 20:28:41 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US FL: Snaring Criminals In The Web Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Source: Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel (FL) Copyright: 1999 Sun-Sentinel Company Contact: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/services/letters_editor.htm Website: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/ Forum: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/community/interact1.htm SNARING CRIMINALS IN THE WEB Detective Tracks Drug Trade With The Aid Of The Internet Detective Mike Bowman is used to masking himself as a teen to catch pedophiles trolling for little boys on the Internet. But pretending to be a graffiti-savvy punk hip in the ways of the teen drug world, was a new challenge. But there he was, a relatively new member of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's gang unit, surfing for the "411" on "gangsta" activity in the south end of the county. Before he knew it, a 16-year-old girl he began chatting up from Boca Raton was talking about "rolls," "marshmallows" and "beans." "I didn't know what she was talking about," Bowman said. It sounded like your garden-variety grocery list, but the detective soon learned that those were slang references to Ecstasy, the drug of choice among many wayward teens. Just days later, Bowman and fellow officers arrested the girl's 17-year-old friend, who showed up at a Winn-Dixie parking lot west of Boca Raton ready to sell a guy named "Mike" 10 "trips," or hits of acid. Officers found 37 more hits at the boy's Boca Raton house. "That's how easy it is to be Joe little 17-year-old and get dope," Bowman said. Bowman has been able to file two more drug cases since that July 3 arrest using the same tactics, though in those instances, the young men he met with tried to sell him counterfeit drugs. Still, he said, the point had been made: Drugs have joined the wares available on the Web. The cases show how cyber-sleuths are widening their net on the computer screen to catch more pedophiles, pornographers and con men. At least in South Florida, Bowman appears to be the first to use the Internet to try to monitor gang activity and to turn that surveillance into drug arrests. Officials at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Broward Sheriff's Office and the Metro-Dade Police Department say they have not yet used their computers in this way. But they all predict that it will catch on with other cyber- sleuths. "It's like anything else on the Internet -- we're finding something new every day," said Jim Leljedal, spokesman for the Broward Sheriff's Office. "I'm sure that if a detective in Palm Beach County is using the Internet to search for gang activity, we'll pick up on that as well." Bowman learned about online networking as a way to catch the bad guys when he worked in the Palm Beach County Sheriff's crimes against children unit. There he took a class on how to ferret out pedophiles and child pornography lovers. When he reached the gang unit more than a year ago, Bowman realized the same tactics can be used to detect gangs. He has so far been unable to turn his Internet surveillance into concrete leads on illegal drug activity. In the process, he has gotten an instant education on how accessible drugs seem to be to Palm Beach County teens. "there's mad s--- in boca!" one 15-year-old girl wrote to Bowman's teen-age alter ego on America Online, using the lowercase letters common to Internet conversations. "easy to get down ther?" Bowman wrote back. "i walk down the street 6 houses. n-e [any] thing i want," the girl responded. Nothing came of that July 5 conversation, but the next month, Bowman hooked up online with a girl named "Dawn," who eventually led him to Nicholas Schmidt, 20. Schmidt, of Delray Beach, and a 16-year-old girl were arrested on Aug. 14 when they pulled up to the Boynton Inlet prepared to sell Bowman five iron vitamin pills at $30 apiece, saying they were "emerald" Ecstasy pills. Both were charged with sale of a controlled substance in lieu thereof, a third-degree felony. In a police report, Schmidt said he didn't trust Bowman from the start, but he decided to try to sell him the fake drugs because he was in debt. He agreed to enter a pretrial intervention program to avoid prosecution and keep the conviction off his record. Even for the unsophisticated computer user, Bowman's technique is relatively simple. He opens up an account on American Online, and uses a screen name that makes him appear part of the crowd. He first began using "Tagit," a modification of the term, "tag," which many teens use to describe graffiti. Bowman makes up a profile, saying he likes to "roll" (take Ecstasy), "spray" (graffiti) and party. He then looks up the profiles of other AOL users and tries to start conversations with teens who either seem the type to be into gangs or drugs. "It's amazing how easy it is," he said. To those who think the tactics might border on entrapment, legal experts say entrapment would only be called into question if the officers made an effort to put the idea for a criminal undertaking in the mind of someone who would not otherwise be predisposed to crime. Defense attorney Richard Lubin, who lectures on entrapment, said, "If you are someone who is into the drug culture, and a law enforcement officer merely puts himself in the position of someone who is a buyer, that is not entrapment."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police, for Now, Hold the Power In the Liberty City Drug Wars (The Washington Post says more than 200 city, state and federal law enforcement officials have been a powerful presence in one of Miami's most chronically troubled neighborhoods in recent days, questioning young black men on street corners, nosing their cruisers through the trash-strewn streets, and watching the rhythms of life from unmarked cars. "Operation Draw the Line" is intended somehow to pacify Liberty City's war on some drug users, which has caused a dozen deaths in recent months, five in December alone. Most major American cities have their versions of Liberty City.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 18:54:21 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US FL: WP: Police, for Now, Hold the Power In the Liberty City Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: DrugSense Source: The Washington Post Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company Page A04 Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Author: Sue Anne Pressley, Washington Post Staff Writer POLICE, FOR NOW, HOLD THE POWER IN THE LIBERTY CITY DRUG WARS Miami Community Repeats a Pattern of Violence and Hope MIAMI-The bicycles flit by the window of the Rev. Richard Bennett's office in Liberty City, one of Miami's most chronically troubled and violent neighborhoods. They are not ridden by children, but by young men who seem too big, too bulky, for the small, low-slung seats. "If the police come to catch you on the corner loitering, as long as you're moving, well, you're not really loitering," explained Bennett, 42, executive director of the African American Council of Christian Clergy. "They're brilliant young men. They just need to get jobs." The police have been a powerful presence here in recent days, questioning the young men on street corners, nosing their cruisers through the trash-strewn streets, watching the rhythms of life from unmarked cars. More than 200 city, state and federal officers, overseen by Miami Police Chief William O'Brien, have taken part in "Operation Draw the Line" to curb a drug war in Liberty City that has claimed a dozen lives in recent months, five in December alone. "There are so many policemen around here, it's like the president is in town," Bennett said. Most major American cities have their versions of Liberty City, a poor, largely black community with high unemployment that seems to make the news mostly when there are riots or gang wars. Violence tends to erupt in waves in these neighborhoods, sending children indoors to play for fear of being caught in the gunfire and prompting shrieks of terror whenever a vehicle on the street backfires. Then a spate of arrests calms residents or the criminals slip underground again, until another siege begins. So it has been recently in Liberty City, where last week was a remarkably successful one for law enforcement. Early Tuesday, police arrested peacefully one of Miami's "Most Wanted" suspects, alleged drug kingpin Anthony "Little Bo" Fail, who was squirreled away in a West Palm Beach motel with a couple of friends. During one of Fail's most notorious exploits, in August, he was caught on videotape lunging over a Liberty City store counter in pursuit of a member of an enemy gang; the 8-year-old daughter of the store owner was wounded by a ricochet bullet. "He went meekly," said Miami Police Lt. Bill Schwartz. "He's cooperating and crying. There are other players, but he was a major one, and we are grateful he is out of the picture." Then on Thursday, U.S. Attorney Thomas Scott announced indictments against two rival drug gangs that had operated in Liberty City, the John Does and the Cloud Nines. The indictments, involving about 25 people, many of them already in custody, ranged from money-laundering and weapons charges to murder. "Some may ask, 'Won't another gang just step up and take the place of the John Does and Cloud Nines of the world?' " Scott said at a news conference. " . . . We're willing to take them on." The news brought more people out onto the streets of Liberty City Friday, and an atmosphere that seemed freer and less tense, but no one seemed particularly convinced that the community's troubles are over. They never have been before. "Those boys have no respect for anybody," said Larry Sims, a security guard, shaking his head. "I'm never really home and I don't really want to know what's going on. I just keep my head down," said Beverlyn Carr, 42, a cashier. "It's nothing new that's going on in Liberty City," said T. Willard Fair, executive director of the Miami-Dade chapter of the Urban League. "It's simply highlighted by the fact that several people were killed in a specific time, but it's not new behavior. You can tell it's not new because of the way we are reacting to it. We have developed a pattern: When somebody is killed, we come and place flowers on the spot or if it's a child, we place teddy bears, then we have a couple of days of discussion about what happened. Then most of the community goes back to business as usual." Originally, Liberty Square was the name given 50 years ago to a low-income housing development in northwest Miami near 62nd Street NW, which remains home to about 2,000 people, Fair said. But Liberty City, as police and residents view it today, is a much larger and more populated area, including nearly 100,000 people and stretching some nine square miles north of city center and west of Interstate 95. It is unquestionably Miami's largest African American community, with 70 percent of its households headed by women. As greater Miami developed, Fair said, Cuban immigrants tended to turn west, toward the Hialeah community; Haitians went east and northeast; and American blacks moved north. "It always has been a segregated community and it always will be," he said. Much of that has to do with the political and cultural nature of Miami. In some measure, the attention bestowed on arriving Cuban exiles in the 1960s distracted Miami from the civil rights and economic improvements that were getting underway then for blacks in many other U.S. cities. Arthur Teele Jr., the only African American on the Miami city commission, represents Liberty City. He says local government has followed an immigrant-driven "salad" philosophy, and that even today "lettuce remains lettuce and tomatoes remain tomatoes." Business owners in Little Havana or Little Haiti, for example, still do not dream of hiring Liberty City residents, he said. In addition, the African American community here, unlike its counterparts in Atlanta or Birmingham, has never developed its own banks or insurance agencies or other major businesses to provide jobs. Liberty City's dilemma is complicated further by its lack of a solid business corridor; public-housing projects line one of its main thoroughfares. "What you have in Liberty City is a once very stable neighborhood with a lot of homeowners and it still has one of the highest-voting precincts in the state," said Teele, who served as undersecretary of transportation in the Reagan administration. "But it has no industrial base, no job base. It's a very vicious cycle." The absence of tall buildings makes Liberty City look somewhat less urban and menacing. There are fewer palm trees and flowering bushes than elsewhere in Miami, but the pastel motif remains, with houses painted yellow, lavender, aqua and pink. Coin laundries seem to operate on every corner and small food stores dot the streets. But it is the churches that are most notable. Bennett says Liberty City is home to 319 churches, and 15th Avenue NW offers a large sampling of storefront houses of worship: the Church of the Old and New Testament, the Apostolic Revival Center, the Jesus is Alive Ministries Praise and Worship Center, the Nationwide Holiness Church of Brotherly Love. Vacant lots are still plentiful, remnants of the most recent riots here in January 1989, which began in the neighboring Overtown community and spilled over into Liberty City after a Hispanic police officer shot a black motorcyclist. Sniper fire and looting were widespread then, and police officers were pelted with bottles and rocks. In 1980, riots here left 18 persons dead and $100 million in fire-bombed buildings after an all-white jury acquitted four white former police officers in the beating death of a black Miami insurance salesman. Through the eyes of Bennett, who moved here at 10, graduated from school here, left as a grownup and then came back to work for community improvements, Liberty City still has an air of hope. Good families have lived here for generations, he said. Children flourish in the community's schools. The drug customers who flock here, he said, are not Liberty City residents for the most part, but people from elsewhere who use convenient Interstate 95 to zip into Liberty City, make their buys, then leave. Fair of the Urban League said his agency has devised a "comprehensive, holistic plan" that he will take to the mayor in a few weeks to address Liberty City's problems -- and, he said, hopefully, reduce the number of "Anthony Fails" the community produces. It asks the city to "fix Liberty City's infrastructure -- the roads, the housing, the job opportunities" -- and it asks the police department to keep efforts like "Operation Draw the Line" in place for the long haul, something Chief O'Brien has pledged to do.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear Abby: Ten Resolutions For Drug-Free Families (General Barry McCaffrey, the White House drug czar, writes a letter to the syndicated advice columnist suggesting how parents can supposedly discourage their kids from using alcohol and other drugs.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 19:37:57 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Dear Abby: Ten Resolutions For Drug-Free Families Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/ Copyright: 1998 Chicago Tribune Company Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1998 Author: Abigail Van Buren Section: Tempo TEN RESOLUTIONS FOR DRUG-FREE FAMILIES Dear Abby: I need your help -- and help from America's parents -- in talking with their children about the dangers of drug abuse. From car crashes to lack of productivity in school, to destroying friendships and families, children need to know what drugs REALLY mean. They are disastrous for everyone concerned. As this new year begins, I'd like parents to resolve to do 10 specific things to keep their families drug-free. I call these the 1999 New Year's Resolutions to Raise Drug-Free Kids. Barry R. McCaffrey, Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy Dear Barry: Your resolutions will help parents who are hesitant to discuss illegal drugs with their children. It's a vital dialogue to begin. A Newsweek survey of youth ages 11 to 17 found that parents (86 percent) and grandparents (56 percent) have the greatest influence on young people -- more than TV, movies and music (which scored only 22 percent). Read on: Resolutions For Raising Drug-Free Kids 1. START: It's never too early to discourage your children from trying drugs. Protect them by letting them know you care. Even with very young children, this plays an important role in protecting them from drugs. Resolve to start right now. 2. CONNECT: The new year is a time for new beginnings. Begin building lines of communication. Resolve to do things as a family. Spend time together, eat meals together and converse with your kids. Read together, play a game, attend services. Show your children that having fun doesn't require drugs. 3. LISTEN: Take a more active interest in your children's lives. Know what they're up to. Resolve to spend at least 30 minutes a week LISTENING to your kids' cares and concerns. 4. EDUCATE: Spend at least 30 minutes in the next 30 days explaining to your kids how drugs can hurt them and destroy their dreams. Then, reinforce that message all year! 5. CARE: Spend at least a few minutes each day telling and showing your children you care about them. Make sure they know how proud you are they are drug-free. Tell them you are always there for them -- no matter what happens. Make sure they know to come to you first for help or information. 6. LEARN: Children today are more sophisticated. In order to educate your children about the danger of drugs, you must first educate yourself. In many cases, you and your children can learn side-by-side. Sit down together in the coming months and learn about the risks drugs pose. 7. SET LIMITS: Show your children you care by declaring limits: THIS family doesn't do drugs. THIS family doesn't hang around with people who do. Enforce these limits. If you say "no drinking and driving," it applies to you, too. Be consistent. 8. GET INVOLVED: Ensure that your community's streets, playgrounds and schools are safe and drug-free. Become active in your PTA. Start or join a community watch group or anti-drug coalition. 9. LEAD: Set an example. Don't drive drugged or drunk; don't let your friends drive impaired. If you, yourself, have a substance abuse problem, use the support of your loved ones to get help. 10. BE AWARE: Look for the warning signs that your child may be developing a substance abuse problem, and seek help. READERS: Tomorrow I'll print the warning signs to look for.
------------------------------------------------------------------- DrugSense Focus Alert - Ann Landers (DrugSense asks you to take a few minutes to write a letter to the syndicated advice columnist, responding to her recent column saying "the laws regarding marijuana are too harsh. Those who keep pot for their own use should not be treated as criminals.") Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 12:10:21 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: DrugSense FOCUS Alert - Ann Landers PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, DONATE OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS PLEASE SEE THE INFORMATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS FOCUS ALERT *** DrugSense FOCUS Alert #93 1/11/99 ANN LANDERS SAYS "BE LENIENT ON RECREATIONAL POT USERS" NOTE: MAKE A COMMITTMENT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN 1999. A number of Media Awareness Project (MAP) letter writing activists are making New Years resolutions such as committing to writing at least one letter a week responding to articles selected from the DrugSense Weekly newsletter, FOCUS Alerts, or any of our other news services. If you are willing to make any commitment even a letter a month please send us a note to that effect at MGreer@mapinc.org or post it to MAPTalk if you are subscribed. If all of our letter writing volunteers wrote just one letter a month we would generate over 30,000 letters in 1999. Since about 10% get published (see the URLs below to improve your odds of getting published) that would be 3,000 published letters and likely have an advertising value over 3 MILLION DOLLARS!! You CAN make a BIG difference *** This week's assignment should you choose to accept it: Ann Landers is read by well over _1 MILLION PEOPLE_ every day. Below she has suggested a more sane policy on treatment of recreational marijuana users. Such a courageous and sensible statement deserves accolades and encouragement. Please write a letter responding to this important opinion and send it to as many of the contact newspapers provided below as possible. All these papers printed the Landers column below. HINT: For best results DO NOT BCC: send a separate email to each paper. Most papers will not print a letter that has been sent to them via BCC: Don't forget to include your name city and phone number (required for publication of your letter at nearly all newspapers) Thanks for your effort and support. WRITE A LETTER TODAY It's not what others do it's what YOU do *** PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID ( Letter, Phone, fax etc.) Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the MAPTalk list if you are subscribed, or by E-mailing a copy directly to MGreer@mapinc.org Your letter will then be forwarded to the list with so others can learn from your efforts and be motivated to follow suit This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our impact and effectiveness. *** CONTACT INFO Contact info to respond directly to Ann Landers: Mail: Ann Landers, P.O. Box 11562, Chicago, IL, 60611-0562 Website: http://www.creators.com/lifestyle/landers/writelan.asp Copyright: 1999 Creators Syndicate, Inc. EXTRA CREDIT - Send a copy of your letter to any or all of the papers below that printed the Ann Landers column. Thanks to Richard Lake for compiling this info and list NOTE: Different headlines for this column create very different impressions. The San Francisco Examiner headline was misleading, besides making little sense: "Marijuana arrest with intent to distribute hurts." The Santa Rosa Press Democrat headed it with "Laws regarding pot too harsh." Big difference. It has been reported by newshawks as printed in the following newspapers (shown with column title (when available), and contact for LTEs): Akron Beacon-Journal (OH), Punishment for having pot doesn't fit the crime, email@example.com Charlotte Observer (NC), 'Good kid' caught by harsh marijuana laws, firstname.lastname@example.org Dallas Morning News (TX), Mother says possession of marijuana doesn't deserve prison time, email@example.com Des Moines Register (IA), firstname.lastname@example.org Grand Rapids Press (MI), Drug Addicts Need Treatment Not Prison, email@example.com Houston Chronicle (TX), firstname.lastname@example.org Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN), Marijuana laws are too harsh, http://www.startribune.com/stonline/html/userguide/letform.html Newsday (NY), email@example.com San Jose Mercury News (CA), Be Lenient On Recreational Pot Users, firstname.lastname@example.org Spokesman Review (WA), Thirty years is too much time, email@example.com The Blade (Toledo, OH), Pot charge too harsh, distraught parent says, firstname.lastname@example.org The Fresno Bee (CA), email@example.com The Glenwood Post (CO), Marijuana laws too harsh, firstname.lastname@example.org The Lansing State Journal (MI), http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/letter.html The Oakland Tribune (CA), email@example.com The Paducah Sun (KY), firstname.lastname@example.org The Philadelphia Inquirer (PA), Marijuana laws paint the user in harsh tones, Inquirer.Opinion@phillynews.co The San Francisco Examiner (CA), Marijuana arrest with intent to distribute hurts, email@example.com The Santa Rosa Press Democrat (CA), Laws regarding pot too harsh, firstname.lastname@example.org The Tampa Tribune (FL), Mother thinks marijuana laws are too strict, email@example.com The Toronto Star (Canada), firstname.lastname@example.org The Washington Post (DC), http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm *** US: Ann Landers: Be Lenient On Recreational Pot Users Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 5 Jan 1999 Source: Ann Landers Contact: Mail: Ann Landers, P.O. Box 11562, Chicago, IL, 60611-0562 Website: http://www.creators.com/lifestyle/landers/writelan.asp Copyright: 1999 Creators Syndicate, Inc. Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Author: Ann Landers BE LENIENT ON RECREATIONAL POT USERS [Snipped to avoid duplication. Please follow the link. - ed.] *** ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing efforts 3 Tips for Letter Writers http://www.mapinc.org/3tips.htm Letter Writers Style Guide http://www.mapinc.org/style.htm *** SAMPLE LETTER by stuart kocher (stuart_k@HOTMAIL.COM) Dear Ann: After reading the letter from the mother in Va. whose son was arrested for marijuana, I just had to write you. America now has more people in it's prisons than any country in the world. The current figure of 1.7 million Americans behind bars has and will grow by leaps and bounds thanks to the drug laws in this country. I don't understand how this nations congressional leadership can justify this horrible waste of human life. 80 % of those behind bars are there for non-violent consensual drug crimes. Most of those are first time offenders with no real criminal records. As a Christian, I find it hard to justify the destruction of these peoples lives and the ruination of their families in the name of the war on drugs. I am also at odds with the official position of my church and have been chastised by many of our members for preaching tolerance of those who use drugs and compassion for those with addictions. I have heard many people say that this countries policies are morally right and justifiable and yet I cannot find a single biblical instance where Jesus would have treated the sick with as little compassion as we do those afflicted with the medical condition of addiction. The 'moral leadership' of this nation should be chastised for supporting this unholy war fraught with lies and deceit. Could you find someone who can explain to me the Christian ethic behind treating the afflicted with torture and imprisonment instead of compassion and tolerance? Sincerely, Sick of the hypocrisy. (CONTACT INFO) *** Just DO It! *** TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS: Please utilize the following URLs SUBSCRIBE/UPDATE http://www.drugsense.org/hurry.htm and UNSUBSCRIBE (or remove old address) http://www.drugsense.org/unsub.htm REMINDER: Please help us help reform. Send any news articles you find on any drug related issue to firstname.lastname@example.org *** NOW YOU CAN DONATE TO DRUGSENSE ONLINE AND IT'S TAX DEDUCTIBLE DrugSense provides many services to at no charge BUT THEY ARE NOT FREE TO PRODUCE. We incur many costs in creating our many and varied services. If you are able to help by contributing to the DrugSense effort visit our convenient donation web site at http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm -OR- Mail in your contribution. Make checks payable to MAP Inc. send your contribution to: The Media Awareness Project (MAP) Inc. d/b/a DrugSense PO Box 651 Porterville, CA 93258 (800) 266 5759 MGreer@mapinc.org http://www.mapinc.org/ http://www.drugsense.org/
------------------------------------------------------------------- Libertarians blast Congress for spending $23 million to develop anti-drug killer fungus (A press release from the Libertarian Party headquarters in Washington, D.C., says legislation passed by Congress late last year authorizing $23 million for research into genetically altering soil-borne fungi called "mycoherbicides," so they would attack and kill marijuana, poppies, and coca, is a dangerous plan that could cause an environmental catastrophe.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 13:33:00 EST Errors-To: email@example.com Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: Remembers@webtv.net (Genie Brittingham) To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Release: anti-drug fungus From: J Seed Date: Mon, Jan 11, 1999 Subject: Release: anti-drug fungus From: email@example.com (Libertarian Party announcements) NEWS FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100 Washington DC 20037 World Wide Web: http://www.lp.org/ For release: January 11, 1999 For additional information: George Getz, Press Secretary Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222 E-Mail: 76214.3676@Compuserve.com Libertarians blast Congress for spending $23 million to develop anti-drug killer fungus WASHINGTON, DC -- The United States government is spending $23 million to develop a killer fungus to wipe out marijuana plants -- a dangerous plan that could cause an environmental catastrophe, said the Libertarian Party today. "This project is the political equivalent of athlete's foot fungus: It's nasty, it's dangerous, and it needs to be stopped before it spreads," said LP National Director Steve Dasbach. "The last thing we need is a bio-engineered killer fungus turned loose on the world." Late last year, Congress passed legislation that authorized $23 million for research into soil-borne fungi called "mycoherbicides," which will attack and kill marijuana plants, poppy plants, and coca plants. When developed, the fungus could be released in such South American countries as Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, said U.S. officials. The legislation was guided through Congress by U.S. Representatives Bill McCollum (R-FL) and Mike DeWine (R-OH), who said the killer fungus was potentially a "silver bullet" in the War on Drugs. But Libertarians say the tax-subsidized fungus is a "biohazard" that could have a disastrous impact on the ecosystems of the target nations -- and, potentially, the whole world. "In the government's irresponsible search for a quick-fix in the War on Drugs, politicians could cause terrifying long-term ecological problems," warned Dasbach. According to scientists, the killer fungus could... * Attack other plants, wiping out valuable cash crops. "For example, a chemical alkaloid similar to the one that produces cocaine is present in many legal plants -- including tobacco and coffee beans," said Dasbach. "In an effort to wipe out drugs, this killer fungus could wipe out the livelihood of millions of farmers." * Cause many plants to develop stronger chemical defenses against the fungus, which could then mutate and spread to other, harmful plants. "According to scientists, mutated plants could pass on these resistant genes and create herbicide-resistant weeds, which could have a ruinous effect on farm yields," he said. "With world hunger already a problem, why risk making it worse?" * Wipe out industrial hemp plants, which are legal in every major industrialized country outside the United States. "No fungus is smart enough to tell the difference between legal hemp and illegal marijuana," noted Dasbach. "This fungus could be the biological warfare equivalent of carpet bombing -- killing whatever is in its path." What should Americans do about this dangerous program? Tell their Congressional representatives to apply a strong dose of political fungicide to "cure" it, said Dasbach. "This tax-funded fungus should be treated like any dangerous mold or mildew -- exposed to sunlight and wiped clean. Congress should just say no to biological warfare." Dasbach also said Libertarians have a better way to reduce the consumption of marijuana, with no environmental risks: Legalize it. In the Netherlands, he noted, where marijuana is decriminalized, drug use is half that of the United States. In fact, a new study revealed that while 32.9% of Americans have tried marijuana, only 15.6% of Dutch adults have done so. "Treating adults like adults - and letting them make decisions about how to live their lives -- seems to have a stronger anti-drug effect than any killer fungus," said Dasbach. "Wouldn't it be ironic if liberty was a more effective anti-drug program than deadly mycoherbicides?" The Libertarian Party http://www.lp.org/ 2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Suite 100 voice: 202-333-0008 Washington DC 20037 fax: 202-333-0072 For subscription changes, please mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" in the subject line -- or use the WWW form.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Use Down, Drug Deaths Up (UPI says an article in the January-February issue of the journal Public Health Reports by Dr. Ernest Drucker, a professor of epidemiology at the Montefiore Medical Center of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, shows the number of illegal-drug users in the United States has declined dramatically since 1979, but cocaine and heroin-related deaths and emergency room visits have climbed sharply in the same period. While rates of illicit drug use are similar among blacks, Hispanics and whites, blacks are 3.5 times as likely to die of drug-related overdoses as whites and have 7.5 times the rate of drug-related emergency room visits. These disparities, he told United Press International, are due to tighter enforcement for blacks. Drucker blames U.S. drug policy, and contends decriminalizing drug use could help.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 20:32:02 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Drug Use Down, Drug Deaths Up Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Source: United Press International Website: http://www.sciencenews.org/ Copyright: 1999 United Press International DRUG USE DOWN, DRUG DEATHS UP NEW YORK, Jan. 11 (UPI) - A new report shows the number of drug users in the United States has declined dramatically since 1979, but cocaine and heroin-related deaths and emergency room visits have climbed sharply in the same period. Drug deaths have hit black communities especially hard. Dr. Ernest Drucker, a professor of epidemiology at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, reports on the research in the January-February issue of the journal Public Health Reports. While rates of illicit drug use are similar among blacks, Hispanics and whites, blacks are 3.5 times as likely to die of drug-related overdoses as whites and have 7.5 times the rate of drug-related emergency room visits. These disparities, he told United Press International today, are due to tighter enforcement for blacks. For example, he said that even though drug rates are comparable among the three ethnic groups, blacks are almost four times as likely as whites to be arrested for drug offenses. ``Drugs can certainly cause harm, but our selective application of punitive drug prohibition laws is at least as dangerous,'' he said. He blames U.S. drug policy, and contends decriminalizing drug use could help. By criminalizing drugs, ``we force drug users into a life of crime, increase their risk of infectious diseases and other health threats and expose others around them to increasing levels of violence.'' massive, cruel imposition on millions of young men and women have destabilized America's poorest communities and endangered society as a whole,'' Drucker said. Another consequence is higher incidence of HIV infection and AIDS in the black community, he said. Last year, 400,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession, out of 1.5 million total arrests for buying, possessing or using all types of drugs. About 25 million people use marijuana, compared to less than 3 million for cocaine and heroin. ``But the drugs that kill through overdose or put them in the ERs are cocaine and heroin, mostly,'' he told UPI. More blacks get arrested because their neighborhoods are more closely monitored, and the sale of drugs has become a booming industry. ``The poor community is far more subject to police intervention than the middle class community,'' he said. ``The assumption that blacks use drugs more than whites is wrong. For heroin, arrests by percentage are a bit lower for blacks than whites, cocaine higher for blacks than whites, marijuana higher for blacks than whites.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. Drug Policy Failing, Report Says (The Reuters version) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 19:57:56 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: WIRE: US Drug Policy Failing, Report Says Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. U.S. DRUG POLICY FAILING, REPORT SAYS WASHINGTON, Jan 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. policy of outlawing recreational drugs and actively going after those who use them is failing to protect users, with deaths and illness due to overdoses increasing, a report published on Monday finds. Despite declines in drug use, visits to hospital emergency rooms related to cocaine and heroin use have increased sharply, Ernest Drucker of the Montefiore Medical Centre in New York said. "The cure has only worsened the disease," Drucker wrote in a report in the journal Public Health Reports. Drucker analysed 25 years worth of government studies and said the "war on drugs" was responsible for growing social ills that were once blamed on the drugs themselves. "Drugs can certainly cause harm, but our selective application of punitive drug prohibition laws is at least as dangerous," he said. Criminalizing drugs forced users to turn to crime, he said. Backs and other minorities were the biggest victims. He said while blacks and Hispanics are no more likely to use illegal drugs than whites are, blacks are 3.5 times as likely to die of drug-related overdoses as whites and visit the emergency room more than seven times as often. African-Americans were four times as likely as whites to be arrested for drug offences, he wrote, calling the unequal treatment destabilising and dangerous to society. A report issued earlier on Monday found that children of parents who abuse drugs and alcohol are not getting enough help from welfare services. The study by the Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found the number of abused or neglected children has more than doubled, from 1.4 million in 1986 to more than three million in 1997.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Study Links Drug Use To Child Abuse (According to the Associated Press, a report issued Monday by CASA, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse run by Joseph Califano at Columbia University, says parental abuse of alcohol and other drugs is largely responsible for a surge in child abuse and neglect. Providing treatment for addicted parents would reduce the supposed need to remove children from their families. The study notes that the number of child welfare cases has more than doubled over 10 years, from 1.4 million in 1986 to more than 3 million in 1997.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 20:06:10 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Study Links Drug Use To Child Abuse Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press. STUDY LINKS DRUG USE TO CHILD ABUSE WASHINGTON (AP) Parental drug and alcohol abuse is largely responsible for a surge in child abuse and neglect, according to a report that urges more government spending to treat addicted parents. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse said in its report Monday that providing treatment for addicted parents would reduce the need to remove children from their families. The study notes that the number of child welfare cases has more than doubled over 10 years, from 1.4 million in 1986 to more than 3 million in 1997. The problem costs society billions of dollars each year, the authors say. "Child abuse walks hand in hand with drug abuse and alcohol abuse," said Joseph Califano, the center's president and a former secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. "If we're serious about doing something about child abuse and neglect, we better get serious about alcohol (and drug) abuse." The report outlines the challenges of the child welfare system, particularly the large number of cases that workers and judges must handle and the lack of money available for drug and alcohol treatment. It includes results from a survey of 915 professionals who work in the child welfare system. The survey found that 71.6 percent cited substance abuse as one of the top three causes of the rise in reported cases of child abuse and neglect, followed by better reporting and poverty. At the same time, just 5.8 percent of respondents said there was no wait for parents who need inpatient treatment; only 26 percent said there is no wait for outpatient treatment. The Child Welfare League of America, which represents child welfare workers, agreed with the report's premise. Its research estimates that 40 percent to 80 percent of parents in the system have a drug or alcohol problem, depending on the community. "It's a really serious problem for us," said David Liederman, the group's executive director. "We need targeted money to child welfare for drug treatment."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drugs, Alcohol Fuel Child Abuse (The version from UPI, which does not consider alcohol to be a drug) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 04:06:33 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Wire: Drugs, Alcohol Fuel Child Abuse Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International DRUGS, ALCOHOL FUEL CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK, A study from Columbia University finds the number of abused and neglected children in the United States has doubled over the past ten years, fueled by drug and alcohol abuse. The report, released by former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph Califano, concludes parental drug and alcohol abuse and addiction has thrown the child welfare system into a state of ``chaos, collapse and calamity, leaving behind a wreckage of millions of children.'' The report finds the number of abused and neglected children has leaped from 1.4 million in 1986 to 3 million in 1997 - a rise more than eight times greater than the increase in children's population. A survey of 915 child welfare professionals from around the country finds 80 percent say substance abuse causes or fuels most cases of child maltreatment, and 40 percent say it is involved in more than 3 out of 4 cases. Seventy percent cite substance abuse as one of the three top reasons for the leap in child maltreatment cases, and 90 percent say alcohol alone or in combination with other drugs is the main substance of abuse. The report finds many children who survive abuse or neglect are angry, antisocial, physically aggressive and event violent. It concludes: ``There is no safe haven for these abused and neglected children of drug- and alcohol-abusing parents. They are the most vulnerable and endangered individuals in America.'' The report calls for more funding substance for abuse treatment and health care. State programs in New Jersey and Connecticut and reforms in family and parent drug courts in Reno, Nevada; Pensacola, Florida; and Suffolk County, New York are praised for their innovations in dealing with addiction and abuse. The 167-page study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University includes the survey, a review of 800 professional articles, books and reports, six case studies of innovations in the field and interviews with judges and child welfare workers.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Adult Abuses Hurt U.S. Child Welfare - Report (The Reuters version) Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 17:47:17 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Wire: Adult Abuses Hurt U.S. Child Welfare - Report Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 11 Jan 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. Author: Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent ADULT ABUSES HURT U.S. CHILD WELFARE - REPORT WASHINGTON, Jan 11 (Reuters) - The child welfare system is completely overwhelmed and unable to help children because their parents are not being treated for drug and alcohol problems, a report said on Monday. The number of abused or neglected children has more than doubled, from 1.4 million in 1986 to more than three million in 1997, according to the study, headed by Joseph Califano, a former secretary of Health, Education and Welfare who now heads the Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. "A devastating tornado of substance abuse and addiction is tearing through the nation's child welfare and family court systems, leaving in its path a wreckage of abused and neglected children, turning social welfare agencies and courts on their heads, and uprooting the traditional disposition to keep children with their natural parents," Califano wrote the report. "This report underscores the urgent need for substantial increases in funding for treatment and health care for substance-abusing parents and their children," he told a news conference. Most experts on drug and alcohol addiction agree it is a physical illness that must be treated medically, not a moral shortcoming or crime. Califano said substance abuse causes or worsens seven out of 10 cases of child abuse or neglect, and children whose parents misuse alcohol or drugs are three times more likely to be abused. But while welfare agencies have assigned more time to be spent investigating neglect and abuse, they were only able to investigate a third of all cases in 1997. And the number of families getting in-home services has dropped 58 percent, from 1.2 million in 1977 to 500,000 in 1994. Califano's team said substance abuse by parents cost the country $20 billion a year -- half in direct welfare costs and half in lost productivity, health care, court and social services costs. A survey of more than 900 child welfare professionals found that 80 percent say substance abuse worsens most cases of maltreatment of children and 90 percent say alcohol, alone or with drugs, is the main drug of abuse. Taking children away from their parents does not work, either, Califano said, because only one in four children available for adoption get adopted. Children of abusive parents often grow up to be alienated, aggressive and even violent -- costing society even more, Califano said. "The best hope of a safe haven for these children is to prevent alcohol and drug abuse by their parents," the report read. "We spend more on cosmetic surgery, hairpieces and make-up for men than we do on child-welfare services of substance- abusing parents. In this nation we take better care of condors than of children of substance abusing parents," it added.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Grand Forks mayor pitches pot plan (The Calgary Herald follows up on yesterday's article about Brian Taylor, the mayor of Grand Forks, British Columbia, who wants to make his town Canada's chief supplier of medical marijuana. Taylor now says he would like Calgary multiple sclerosis patient Grant Krieger to consider his little city as a source of supplies for the nationwide medical marijuana club Krieger is organizing. "Right on," said Krieger.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 21:24:18 -0700 Subject: Grand Forks mayor pitches pot plan From: "Debra Harper" (email@example.com) To: mattalk (firstname.lastname@example.org) Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Calgary Herald Pubdate:January 11, 1999 Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Brock Ketcham Grand Forks mayor pitches pot plan The mayor of Grand Forks says he would like Calgary pot crusader Grant Krieger to consider his little city in the B.C. interior as a source of supplies for a club Krieger is organizing. Brian Taylor said Grand Forks, nestled in the fertile Sunshine Valley between the Okanagan Valley and the Kootenays, has well over 100 residents - many of whom are from the 1960's hippie era - who grow high-quality marijuana. Last month, Krieger, 44 - who has multiple sclerosis and smokes the illegal drug to alleviate his symptoms - announced he was organizing a Compassion Club in Calgary to provide locally grown pot to people with serious illnesses. People are calling from as far away as Montreal for information on how to join the club to help cope with pain and other manifestations of chronic or terminal illnesses like cancer and epilepsy, he said. The pot-smoking Taylor, 52, who wants to turn the bucolic 4,100 resident Grand Forks into Canada's No. 1 producer of medical marijuana, is anxious to put Krieger in touch with the city's legion of backwoods growers. "I could connect him to growers that are growing organic material here'" Taylor said. "It would be high quality and reasonable priced." "Right on," said Krieger, who is faced with $2,000 in fines from two recent trafficking convictions. "That's a great offer. I've had some from that area. It's actually quite good pot." Krieger and Taylor claim pot is highly effective in alleviating medical distress. But the medical profession - including Calgary pain experts Bill Grisdale and Ted Braun - say this remains unproven. Taylor said that in Grand Forks - where pot is cultivated mostly in the nearby hills and mountains during summer and harvested in fall - growers have become highly proficient. And the quality and potency is at least as good as hydroponically grown pot, where growing conditions are controlled to achieve perfection. Krieger, who has announced he plans to establish a national supply system, said he will model his Compassion Club on a thriving 800-member organization in Vancouver. "I'm just getting a steering committee together," he said. Taylor said he and the Vancouver club's director, Hilary Black, are eager to give Krieger whatever help and support they can. "Grant needs to connect with the existing club in Vancouver," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Chasing Andy Sipowicz (An angry but well-written column in the Toronto Globe and Mail by Spider Robinson insightfully criticizes the mindset of prohibition agents in Abbotsford, British Columbia, who carried out a marijuana bust while a children's birthday party was going on - after first surveilling the residence for two hours. Andy Sipowicz on television's NYPD Blue has been perhaps the most eloquent exponent - at least since Clint Eastwood quit playing Dirty Harry - of the proposition that sometimes an officer just has to "tune up" a suspect - that is, beat a confession out of him, or kill him. Ah, "but only when you know you're right." That's who I want arbitrating the complex moral dichotomies of our time, someone sure to be infallible: an ill-educated overweight civil servant with a jaundiced world-view and a 9 millimetre.)Newshawk: Alan Randell Source: Globe and Mail (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.globeandmail.ca/ Forum: http://forums.theglobeandmail.com/ Copyright: 1999, The Globe and Mail Company Author: Spider Robinson Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 CHASING ANDY SIPOWICZ Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? In the vernacular it means, "Who will police the cops?" It has been a good question for a long time, as evidenced by the fact that it's proverbial in Latin. The Romans were probably paraphrasing earlier epigrams in Hyksos. There may even be an expression for it in Great Ape. Humans are inherently disorderly, yet crave order -- every blessed one of us wants to be the ONLY one allowed to break taboos. The only solution ever found is to separate out the biggest, meanest mothas, give them the best weapons and the exclusive right to commit deadly violence, and let them enforce whatever taboos the old men and women can dream up. What prevents them from running wild? Innate moral integrity. . . plus the fear that OTHER big men with weapons will come for them if they do. And they will, if the king has half a brain. Nothing -- nothing -- can more quickly or surely shatter a social contract than the general realization that the police have gone rogue. Any hope of a civilized society immediately becomes a doomed joke. So we have to have cop-cops. But, oddly, we don't want them to be too good at it. An entire generation of movies, TV shows and novels about cops, a relentless onslaught of propaganda, has persuaded us that the folks in Internal Affairs are the VILLAINS: the handicap the noble hero must bear in his struggle with Evil. Internal Affairs officers are always depicted as heartless swine who live to destroy a good cop's career, just because he committed some trivial technical mistake while Doin' What He Hadda Do. "The Rat Squad," they're generally called. Nothing could be lower than a cop who would look to hurt another cop (merely because he disgraces the badge), right? Ask any cop. Can there be any clearer proof that deep down, most cops think of themselves as at least potential criminals? Requiring cops to adhere to the laws they enforce hobbles them, we're told. After all, the other side gets to cheat. Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue has been perhaps the most eloquent exponent (at least since Clint Eastwood quit playing Dirty Harry) of the proposition that sometimes an officer just has to "tune up" a suspect -- that is, beat a confession out of him, or kill him. Ah, "but only when you know you're right." That's who I want arbitrating the complex moral dichotomies of our time, someone sure to be infallible: an ill-educated overweight civil servant with a jaundiced world-view and a 9 millimetre. In Abbotsford, B.C., a band of these secular popes recently surrounded a house where they had reason to believe marijuana existed. Naturally they were armed to the teeth and keyed up; everyone knows pot-sellers love a shootout with overwhelming forces. This house, which they had under surveillance for two hours, had a gigantic banner in the front window reading, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY," and was surrounded by children playing street hockey, who all cheered and went inside when a grownup yelled, "Cake and presents!" Imagine the astonishment of the officers when, kicking the door in and brandishing cocked firearms, they found a birthday in progress and the house full of children. It must have been during those two seconds it would have taken a reasonably considerate fool to safety and holster his weapon that they received their second stunning surprise: The dog they knew was there WAS THERE. The one they'd had to pepper-spray the last time they'd busted this suspect in this house, five weeks earlier. Who could have expected such a thing? Furthermore, the dog had apparently spent the time practising transcendental meditation, for he now evinced an ability to levitate and, it says here, "bit one of the officers on the upper arm." (He was also a disguise expert. Although the police swear he was a "pit bull," his photo looks nothing whatever like one -- even his owner was fooled.) But much had changed in those five weeks. Pepper spray was now out of the question, even for a dog, so the officer's partner did what his bosses maintain was the correct, reasonable thing: He blew the dog away. Say that again: A policeman popped two caps in a room full of children to save his partner from the bite of a flying dog, and his superiors have no problem with that. They refuse to say what kind of gun was used, so one must presume it was non-reg, a hand-cannon. Children as young as six months were spattered with blood. So were their parents. As I write this, the TV news just reported that the police response to their loud complaints has been to arrest one for assaulting an officer (if true, good man!) and criticize the rest for allowing their kids to attend a party at a "drug house." One sees the sad truth of this: They should indeed have known that smoking pot is an activity known to attract trigger-happy idiots. It was in this part of the world, only a few years ago, that a boy was shot dead for making the fatal mistake of having a TV remote in his hand when officers kicked HIS door in. They were looking for a pot- dealer who'd once lived in another part of the building. Nor has British Columbia a monopoly on this sort of thing. In Sunderland, Ont., a foolish young man utters a threat against a cop. A few weeks later, the officer and three other cops decide to discuss it with him at his home at 8 p.m. They end up gut-shooting his father and kid brother. One cop has a black eye, another "barely escaped death when a bullet passed centimetres from his nose," even though there is no indication any of the civilians had guns. The cops don't want to talk about it; there's a publication ban. The hell with Andy Sipowicz and Dirty Harry! I want MORE Internal- Affairs-type cops, with bigger budgets and broader powers. What a good policeman does is a holy chore, and the power he is given is sacred: He MUST be worthy of it. Otherwise good people start to fear the cops more than the crooks. . . and then the Crazy Years come.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Birthday party raid is the latest SWAT fiasco (Kenneth Whyte, editor-in-chief of the National Post, in Canada, pens a column about prohibition agents' ill-fated home invasion in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The frightening fact is that so-called SWAT teams mess up like this all the time.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 20:19:19 -0800 (PST) To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Eleanor and Alan Randell) Subject: Birthday party raid is the latest SWAT fiasco Newshawk: Alan Randell Source: National Post (Canada) Pubdate: January 11, 1999 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.nationalpost.com/commentary.asp?f=990111/2170893 Birthday party raid is the latest SWAT fiasco Kenneth Whyte An illustration of a SWAT officer popping out of a cake, holding and firing an automatic rifle at a party of children. A week ago Sunday, a seven-year-old Abbotsford boy had just blown out the candles on his birthday cake when a police tactical squad crashed his party and blew away his dog, Cona. The parents of 13 children who were in the home are furious at the violence of the raid and the danger it presented the guests. They have a point. Police may argue that Cona is the author of his own misfortune (he went out with a mouthful of cop). They may defend the objective of the raid: Marijuana, heroin, and magic mushrooms were found on the premises, and if the man of the house is convicted on all counts there'll be a few more candles on the cake next time he hosts his son's birthday. But storming a home full of children -- a home the "tactical" squad supposedly had under surveillance -- is indefensible. Caught up as we are in hysteria over personal security and crime rates, we seldom look at the consequences of our cries for aggressive policing. Yet the frightening fact is that so-called SWAT teams mess up like this all the time. A few years ago in Surrey, a 20-minute drive down the Fraser Valley from Abbotsford, a couple were asleep at home when special forces charged in looking for suspected drug dealers who'd moved out six months earlier. Not long before that, a Vancouver tactical squad was caught on videotape beating a blameless Chinese man they dragged out of an apartment house; they'd got the wrong address. Also in Vancouver, officers sent to evict supposedly dangerous squatters from abandoned buildings arrived, armed to the teeth, to find a ragged bunch of street people banging pots and pans. But the lower mainland's tactical squads are rather harmless compared to, say, their Ottawa counterparts. Two years ago Ottawa tactical officers fired a packet of lead pellets that finished off a suicidal man who'd refused to drop a knife he was using to castrate himself. Earlier, they fatally shot a drunken, mentally disturbed, marginally menacing man who wouldn't drop a gun he'd been alternately holding on his shoulder and pointing into his own mouth. Before that, in a drug raid, they plugged a man believed to be carrying a dangerous weapon; it turned out to be a guitar. Battling for the title of most dangerous tactical teams in Canada are Montreal and the Ontario Provincial Police. In 1995, a SWAT squad, forgoing warrants, launched a drug raid into a Montreal apartment to find only a frightened mother and child. In 1994 an elderly and mentally ill Montreal man armed with a cement pick died after being hit with a barrage of rubber bullets fired by a SWAT team. In 1991, a tactical squad used an assault rifle to kill a young black Montrealer they'd mistaken for a suspect in a murder attempt. Worse still, a Montreal SWAT team burst in on a young family in what a judge later called "an act of vengeance" for the husband's beating of an off-duty policeman days earlier. The man was shot to death. The Quebec Superior Court found that the tactical squad showed "supreme contempt for the privacy of the home, and in truth, for the . . . lives of the occupants." As for the OPP, one of its tactical officers was in 1997 found guilty of criminal negligence causing death in the shooting of Dudley George, an unarmed native involved in a protest at Ipperwash Provincial Park. In 1992, a 43-year-old Sarnia man and his wife were sitting in a car by the St. Clair River eating french fries when a SWAT team opened fire and shot him in the side. They mistook him for his son, an 18- year-old murder suspect. And then there is the famous 1988 rural Ontario case of autoworker Bernard Bastien, who like the birthday boy in Abbotsford watched as a tactical squad invaded his property and shot his dog, a beagle slow to warm to armed strangers. Bastien wasn't thrilled at the intrusion either and walked out of his house with a firearm; he was hit by 13 OPP bullets and killed. Officers soon determined they'd got the wrong address. They weren't after Bastien but his suicidal neighbour. They found him down the road and shot him twice. There are many more examples of SWAT overkill (I am indebted to reporter David Pugliese for most of the above). A sniper's near miss on a blameless target in Gustafsen Lake, B.C. Children at risk in another case of mistaken identity in Calgary. Members of a Quebec Provincial Police unit charged with torture, forcible confinement, and assault. It's perhaps no accident that SWAT units seem at war with the citizenry. These are paramilitary units, after all, trained in special weapons and tactics for the purpose of meeting serious violent threats such as terrorist attacks and hostage takings. They were first formed in Canada in the mid-1970s to secure the Montreal Olympics against the bloody terror that befell Munich in 1972. They have a mindset different from conventional police. As one expert says, they think "not about making an arrest but instead about crushing the opposition. They treat everything like a commando raid." SWAT teams, however, have now proliferated to the point where every backwater detachment has one, and they're using their submachine guns, night-vision goggles, and fast trigger-fingers not to battle Palestinian terrorists but for routine police work. In Edmonton tactical officers answer an average of 10 calls a week, a small majority of them involving high risk of violence. Additionally, they turn out in full costume to pull over drunk drivers and answer domestic disputes. Tactical squads have no business in day-to-day policing. They are by their nature provocative. They raise the temperature, up the ante, everywhere they go, and create all these mini-Wacos as a consequence. These aren't the '70s. The substantial threats for which SWAT teams were intended have subsided (if, in most jurisdictions, they ever existed). The majority of them should be disbanded. Those cities that have a legitimate call for tactical units need to train them more carefully and deploy them sparingly. (Toronto, interestingly, might be an example to the rest of the country. It's Canada's biggest, nastiest city but I see no instances of SWAT overkill there.) Meanwhile, Canadians, and especially their political leaders (and foremost among these the law-and-order lobbies) need to rethink their enthusiasm for aggressive policing. The same attitudes driving the boom in tactical work are driving the increases in armed officers on our streets, and our tendency to respond with "zero-tolerance" measures to all manner of public threats, perceived or real. We've convinced ourselves, and our police forces, that Canada is a far more menacing place than is really the case. Rates of violent crime have fallen substantially. Canadians are by and large a civil, law- abiding people. At the moment we're literally overwhelming the federal government with our readiness to comply with its absurdly stringent gun registration laws. We can't have it both ways. We can't, on the one hand, call for more aggressive policing, and, on the other hand, be outraged when Cona gets popped at a birthday party. Kenneth Whyte is Editor-in-Chief of the National Post.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Fighting Rising Drug Abuse Inside Mexico's Borders (The New York Times alleges an increase in drug abuse among Mexican youth, especially with regard to cocaine. A 1997 report by the Ministry of Health says that in the last six years cocaine use has quadrupled among Mexicans ages 12 to 19, although Mexico's drug problem remains small compared with that of the United States.) Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 14:44:43 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Mexico: WIRE: Fighting Rising Drug Abuse Inside Mexico's Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Galasyn (email@example.com) Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Source: N.Y. Times News Service Copyright: 1999 N.Y. Times News Service Author: Ginger Thompson FIGHTING RISING DRUG ABUSE INSIDE MEXICO'S BORDERS MEXICO CITY, Jan. 11, 1999 -- If he could take control of the millions of dollars Mexico spends each year to combat drug trafficking, Miguel Gonzalez Espinosa would spend a little less of it on high-tech, heavily armed operations at airports and along the border, aimed at stopping the flow of drugs from Colombia on their way to the United States. Gonzalez, who proudly calls himself a recovering alcoholic, directs a small drug rehabilitation center in the downtrodden neighborhood that surrounds the city's Basilica de Guadalupe. He sees firsthand the toll taken by a less-talked-about, but increasingly damaging problem: the rise in drug abuse - especially cocaine and crack - among Mexican youth. In just the last two months, his residential treatment center, which relies entirely on private donations, has taken in 12 new clients and is running above capacity, with 40 residents. One of them is Gloria Acevedo, 15, who had been living on the streets for two years, stealing and working as a prostitute to support her cocaine habit. Marco Antonio Salazar, 19, arrived stoned after he beat up his sister and was kicked out by his parents. And an addiction to crack led Isaac Perez, 22, to quit his job, sell all his belongings and steal cars. "We are in a drug crisis up to our necks,'' said Gonzalez, president of the Fundacion Dr. Sergio Berumen, the residential treatment program named for a philanthropist who gave seed money for the center. "When traffickers cannot get their drugs across the border, they sell it here.'' Mexico has been recognized for years as a major transit station for drugs. More than half of the cocaine smuggled into the United States passes through Mexico, as well as much of the heroin and marijuana. At a U.N. meeting about the drug trade last summer, President Ernesto Zedillo characterized his country's crisis as one that is generated by drug consumer nations, especially the United States. There are new signs, however, that the number of Mexican consumers is on the rise. A 1997 report by the Ministry of Health says that in the last six years cocaine use has quadrupled among Mexicans ages 12 to 19. Among patients at government-run treatment centers in Mexico City, whose numbers have increased from 4,500 to 13,500 in the last six years, marijuana remains the drug of choice for most adolescents, health officials report. But cocaine, particularly crack, ranked second - before cheaper choices like glue and paint thinner. The government has responded to the problem with increased funding to its own drug treatment centers. It has also created a public service campaign called "Live Without Drugs.'' The campaign includes radio and television announcements, educational programs in schools and a Web site that answers questions about drug abuse. In cities across the country, including Culiacan, Ciudad Victoria, San Luis Potosi and Hermosillo, the police have proposed a program known as Operation Backpack, which would allow them to search students for drugs and weapons, although some parents have expressed reservations. Parents have started community patrols around school playgrounds and parks. Compared with the voracious consumption of drugs in the United States, Mexico's drug problem remains small. But to Gonzalez even one drug-addicted child is too many. "Every day I see how drugs are destroying young people,'' Gonzalez said. As in the United States, drug abuse in Mexico is spreading fastest in poor communities where unemployment is high and education levels are low, Gonzalez said. Ms. Acevedo, a flirtatious girl who dyes her hair strawberry blond and wears sparkly pink lipstick, ran away from a shattered family. She said her mother, a waitress, and her father, a street vendor, began using drugs when she was just an infant. Both would stay away from home for days at a time, leaving her to beg for food from neighbors for herself and her three younger brothers. At 11, she said, she began stealing her parents' drugs and hiding in the cluster of fruit trees in her backyard to get high. "The first time I ever got high, I thought, this is what life is supposed to be,'' she said. "I had found something that would fill the emptiness.'' She ran away at 12 and lived in train stations or abandoned offices. Last October she nearly died from an overdose. "All I wanted was drugs,'' she recalled. "Suffering for me was when I didn't have anything to get to make me high.'' When it opened 10 years ago, the Fundacion Dr. Sergio Berumen primarily served alcoholic adults, who needed a place to dry out so they could go home to their families. Over the last five years, Gonzalez said, younger people started coming for help, and they were addicted to drugs, not alcohol. Today, Gonzalez said, more than 80 percent of the residents are drug addicts between 13 and 20. The white metal front door is almost always left open, Gonzalez said. Residents are free to leave anytime they please. Group meetings are held five times a day for the residents to talk with one another about their addictions and any other distress. At a recent meeting, the 19-year-old Salazar spoke from the podium for more than 15 minutes. This time of year is especially hard for him, he said, echoing the feelings of many in the room. It hurt, he said, that he could not celebrate the holidays with his 8-month-old son. "I want to be with my family,'' he said. "But I am afraid of what I would do if someone offered me drugs. "I wonder if I will ever feel ready to go home.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Experts Question Strength Of Colombian Rebel Group (The Dallas Morning News says there is a growing consensus that estimates of FARC's strength and links to drug trafficking are nowhere near what Colombian and U.S. officials are asserting. International human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have accused U.S. officials of exaggerating rebel links to drug traffickers in order to justify an expanded military involvement. U.S. officials say they do not accuse all or even most FARC members of involvement in the drug trade. Some government estimates suggest that only around 20 percent of FARC members provide protection for drug facilities and farmers.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 19:48:32 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Experts Question Strength Of Colombian Rebel Group 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, 11 Jan 1999 Source: Dallas Morning News (TX) Copyright: 1999 The Dallas Morning News Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.dallasnews.com/ Forum: http://forums.dallasnews.com:81/webx Author: Tod Robberson EXPERTS QUESTION STRENGTH OF COLOMBIAN REBEL GROUP But Drug Aid Makes Guerrillas A Threat, U.S. Says BOGOTA, Colombia - It is billed in Washington as one of the most well-trained and equipped guerrilla forces in the world, having used drug-trafficking profits to finance a series of devastating victories recently against the Colombian army. But according to specialists in guerrilla warfare here and in the United States, something doesn't quite add up about the military and financial might being attributed to the 15,000-member Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC. Although the military prowess of Latin America's largest and longest-surviving guerrilla group has been proved repeatedly in the last year, there is a growing consensus here that estimates of its strength and links to drug trafficking are nowhere near what Colombian and U.S. officials are asserting. "There are those in Washington who say the 'narcs' are FARCs and the FARCs are narcs. But the evidence suggests that's not the case," said Matthew Baker, chief analyst of the Austin-based risk-analysis firm Stratfor. "I've talked to members of the U.S. Special Forces who have been there, and they're just not seeing it in the field." International human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have accused U.S. officials of exaggerating rebel links to drug traffickers in order to justify an expanded military involvement. U.S. officials say they do not accuse all or even most FARC members of involvement in the drug trade. Some government estimates suggest that only around 20 percent of FARC members provide protection for drug facilities and farmers. In the name of fighting drug traffickers and their guerrilla-support network, however, the Clinton administration will earmark $289 million in military-related aid to Colombia this year, making it the third-largest recipient of U.S. direct foreign assistance in the world, behind Israel and Egypt. That figure is dwarfed, U.S. and Colombian officials say, by the largess being funneled to the FARC by international drug traffickers, who allegedly are paying high prices for rebel protection of their laboratories, clandestine airstrips and crop fields in southern Colombia. "There's been a great debate over narco-guerrillas and whatever," said White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey during a visit here last August. 'Heavily involved' "The facts of the matter are that the FARC is heavily involved in protecting, transporting and in some cases operating drug labs," he added. "It's given them such an enormous source of wealth that arguably their firepower, their pay scales, their intelligence services are more sophisticated than that of the forces that guard this democracy. And that's a problem." The FARC's military dominance of Colombia's countryside was underscored last week when President Andres Pastrana, joined by U.S. Ambassador Curtis Kamman and hundreds of other dignitaries, traveled to the guerrilla heartland to personally appeal for peace. Mr. Pastrana already has ceded to the rebels a chunk of Colombian territory more than twice the size of El Salvador. In another nod to the FARC, U.S. officials met with senior rebel leaders in Costa Rica last month to discuss the peace process, despite what Washington asserts is the FARC's role in international drug trafficking and terrorism. U.S. and Colombian government estimates of the amount of money being earned by the FARC from the drug trade have varied widely. Recent Colombian news media reports have mentioned figures as high as $1 billion a year. Late last month, the Washington Post, citing U.S. and Colombian intelligence sources, said the FARC was earning $500 million a year from Colombia's cocaine and heroin trade. "Those figures are not believable," said Colombian military analyst Rafael Nieto. "I have no doubt there are strong links between the FARC and drug traffickers. But I don't believe there is a 'Cartel of the FARC,' as some suggest." Little evidence Despite having scored various military victories in the last year, Mr. Baker said, there is little in terms of hard battlefield evidence to suggest that the FARC is reaping huge profits from the drug trade. Weapons that the army and national police have captured from the guerrillas indicate the FARC is relying heavily on improvised devices such as handmade rocket-propelled grenades or "poor-man's bombs" crafted from dynamite wrapped around natural gas cylinders. Although senior commanders were seen carrying modern automatic assault rifles during peace talks that convened last week in the rebel-held town of San Vicente del Caguan, the FARC rank-and-file more commonly uses Soviet-era AK-47s or even older carbines, some with wooden stocks. The combat boots worn by the rebels typically consist of knee-high rubber galoshes. And while senior Colombian military officers say the FARC pays its fighters around $300 a month, or $100 more than an army conscript receives, government intelligence indicates the FARC is relying increasingly on forced conscription. That would suggest, analysts say, that the rebels are not having success luring new recruits with the promise of higher pay from drug profits. "The fact that the rebels are using improvised weapons is extremely significant," said a Stratfor analysis published in November. "There is no good reason to use improvised weaponry unless there is nothing else available. Improvised weapons are often unreliable, dangerous to use, and less accurate when compared to standard military hardware." The FARC's heavy reliance on such weaponry, the report added, "could indicate that estimates of FARC income have been greatly exaggerated or have recently fallen off. In either case, this would suggest that the reported relationship between the FARC and narcotics traffickers may not be as strong as is suspected." Funds used elsewhere One of the most prominent proponents of the "narco-guerrilla" concept, former Colombian army commander Harold Bedoya, agreed that the FARC is not plowing its drug-related income into the purchase of more sophisticated weaponry for its fighters. "They don't need sophisticated arms. They're winning the war without them," he said. "They don't need to use their drug money to pay higher salaries, because they force any peasant boy over the age of 12 into service at the point of a gun. They take their drug money and invest it outside the country, where nobody can find it." Another analyst, Juan Manuel Charry, said a more plausible explanation for recent FARC battlefield victories is not drug money but rather the overall level of combat experience among the group's commanders and fighters. He noted that FARC commander Manuel Marulanda, 68, has been involved in guerrilla warfare for more than 40 years. Other top commanders have received extensive training in Russia and Cuba. In addition, Mr. Charry added, the FARC has selected remote jungle areas to launch its attacks, limiting the army's ability to respond quickly. FARC rank-and-file members, he said, tend to be recruited from the areas where they are fighting. They are better acquainted with the territory and have far more time to carry out jungle training than the average army conscript. "In my opinion, the guerrillas and the narcos are not one in the same. They coexist only," he said. "Yes, the guerrillas impose taxes on people involved in the drug trade, just like they impose taxes on anyone else under their control. But these are peasant farmers, who might make a few hundred dollars a year out of growing coca or opium. If you collect money from them, that doesn't necessarily make you rich, and it doesn't make the FARC an international drug mafia."
------------------------------------------------------------------- MPs Captured By The Pro-Cannabis Lobby (A staff editorial in the Evening Post, in New Zealand, rejects the recent call to reconsider marijuana prohibition in New Zealand made by the parliamentary select committee on health.)Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 16:08:07 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Editorial: MPs Captured By The Pro-Cannabis Lobby Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Hadorn) Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Source: Evening Post (New Zealand) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.evpost.co.nz/ Copyright: Wellington Newspapers (1999) Ltd. MPS CAPTURED BY THE PRO-CANNABIS LOBBY The pro-marijuana lobby notched up a significant victory before Christmas when the parliamentary select committee on health recommended that the Government reconsider the illegality of the drug. Though not required to consider the legal status of cannabis - the committee was supposed to concern itself with the mental health effects of the drug - the MPs said traditional crime control methods had not been successful in reducing the apparent number of cannabis users. The effectiveness of current policies on cannabis required examination, given the "high level of use" in New Zealand. Turning to the mental health issues, the committee concluded that the negative mental health effects of cannabis appeared to have been overstated. "Moderate use of the drug does not seem to harm the majority of people though we do not deny the serious impact cannabis may have on certain individuals, particularly those with schizophrenia or those with a vulnerability to psychotic illness." What the committee appears to be saying is that because the cannabis laws appear not to deter users of the drug, the Government should consider relaxing them. Decriminalisation of the drug is one obvious option. The committee appears to have also concluded that because most users are not adversely affected by cannabis, there's no harm in easing prohibitions against its use. But the committee's reasoning is flawed and sloppy. It is saying that because the laws are too hard to enforce, the police should give up - a view with which the police, regrettably, appear to concur. Taking that logic to extremes, it could be argued that rape and murder might as well be decriminalised too; after all, people continue to commit those crimes despite laws against them. And what about speed limits? Should they too he discarded because most people flout them? If the select committee's reasoning on cannabis is valid, why not? The reality, of course, is that laws exist for reasons other than simply to be enforced. A law, even when not rigidly policed, sets a community standard and transmits a message about what is and what isn't acceptable, according to the prevailing standards of society. The mere fact that a law is widely disregarded is not sufficient reason for it to be stricken from the statute books, no matter how much the cannabis-user lobby and its respectable-sounding proxies might argue for it. As for the health argument, it is lazy and complacent for the committee to argue that because the majority of cannabis users are moderate users of the drug and not deleteriously affected by it, the Government should review its legal status. There is overwhelming evidence that the potent cannabis in circulation today has a tragic and devastating effect on some vulnerable users, particularly - but by no means only - adolescents. Moreover many users are unable to restrict their consumption to moderate levels, with devastating consequences for their relationships and employment prospects. If the MPs on the select committee are not aware of these cannabis victims, they have not done their homework adequately. If they are aware of them and have chosen to ignore them, then they don't deserve to be in Parliament. We have said before that two damaging legal drugs - tobacco and alcohol - are quite enough already. New Zealand does not need a third. The select committee on health has done itself and the public a disservice by allowing itself to be captured by pro-cannabis rhetoric.
------------------------------------------------------------------- High Hopes As UK Tests Cannabis For Medical Use (According to Reuters, the governing body for British pharmacists announced on Monday that two clinical research doctors will volunteer to run the first government-sanctioned trials on the therapeutic value of cannabis. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain said two separate trials, examining the effects of both herbal cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids on spasms in multiple sclerosis patients and on post-operative pain sufferers, will follow new protocols to give the results scientific weight. British doctors were allowed to prescribe cannabis until 1973.) Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 15:40:03 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Wire: High Hopes As UK Tests Cannabis For Medical Use Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. Author: Daniel Simpson Note: $1=.6095 Pound HIGH HOPES AS UK TESTS CANNABIS FOR MEDICAL USE LONDON, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Two clinical research doctors are to volunteer to run the first government-sanctioned trials on the therapeutic value of cannabis, the governing body for British pharmacists announced on Monday. Two separate trials, examining the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids (its active ingredients) on spasms in multiple sclerosis patients and on post-operative pain sufferers, will follow new protocols to give the results scientific weight, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain said. "Although trials into the therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids have taken place in the past, they have never been accepted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as proof of therapeutic benefit," the society's chief scientist Tony Moffat said. "Nobody has yet conclusively proven there is anything in cannabis which will help alleviate suffering," he added. Previous tests have been hampered by the illegal status of cannabis, listed by the WHO and thus the British government as a schedule one drug of abuse, with no therapeutic value. If the trial results are conclusive, the WHO line will probably change, paving the way for Britain to reclassify cannabis for controlled medical use. The new clinical tests, each of which would cost around 500,000 pounds ($800,000) and involve around 300 volunteers, should present their findings within two years. Under the likely guidance of Dr John Zajicek, a placebo group of about 100 patients, mostly MS sufferers, would be given the normal treatment for controlling muscle spasms. A second group would be given a standardised preparation of cannabis with a high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), believed by scientists to be the principal active ingredient with pain-relieving properties. The third group would receive a dose of THC alone, so scientists could see if other cannabinoids were responsible for the benefits reported by many MS suffers using the drug. A spokesman for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, which has been involved in clarifying the protocols for clinical testing, said: "We are very pleased to have taken this significant step towards proper trials." "Cannabis is made up of lots of constituents, some of which are psychoactive and some which are toxins. We want to identify the bits which can be helpful and to demonstrate they're safe." The second series of trials, to be conducted by Dr Anita Holdcroft, would follow a similar pattern, using patients suffering from acute post-operative pain or from cancer. If cannabis is reclassified, THC could be prescribed by doctors, as in the US, to named patients in controlled capsule doses. Several pilot projects are also growing cannabis under government licence to explore ways to take the drug without smoking it. Geoffrey Guy, whose firm GW Pharmaceuticals harvested 5,000 potent cannabis sativa plants last Tuesday, hopes to develop plant extracts for inhalation. "We have moved further in the past year than I dared think," he said. GW now plans its own series of nationwide clinical trials on 2,000 MS sufferers. British doctors were allowed to prescribe cannabis until 1973, when it was removed from a list of prescription drugs that still includes heroin and morphine.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis can help relieve the symptoms of some illnesses (The BBC says new British guidelines for conducting trials into the medical use of cannabis are to be published Monday by the Medical Research Council and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. For some unexplained reason, however, the BBC says the results of the trials must be accepted by the World Health Organisation before the UK government can legalise cannabis for medical use.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 13:56:36 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Peter Webster (email@example.com) Subject: (Bbc News) Health Rules For Cannabis Trials Subject: [UKCIA] (BBC News) Health Rules for cannabis trials Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 09:34:01 +0000 (GMT) Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com from http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health/newsid_251000/251442.stm Cannabis can help relieve the symptoms of some illnesses New guidelines are to be announced on Monday for conducting trials into the medical use of cannabis. Clinicians are expected to be asked to volunteer to run the trials, which are likely to take two years. If the results are accepted by the World Health Organisation, they could lead to the UK government legalising cannabis for medical use. The guidelines, published by the Medical Research Council and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), are the result of a Working Party on the Therapeutic Use of Cannabinoids set up by the RPS in 1998. They relate specifically to cannabis use for people with multiple sclerosis and post-operative pain. It is thought that the trials will offer conclusive proof of whether a standardised preparation of cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol, an active ingredient of cannabis, can have a therapeutic benefit for some patients. Professor Tony Moffat, chief scientist at the RPS, said: "The new protocols will ensure that a large number of patients participate in the trial and that the trials are scientifically based to give sufficient proof of cannabinoid effectiveness. "No trial has ever been able to do this in the past and we very much hope clinicians present at the meeting will want to be a part of this unique opportunity to establish effectiveness." The Multiple Sclerosis Society, which was represented on the RPS working party, said the launch of the guidelines was a constructive step towards clinical trials, for which it has long been campaigning. A recent House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report backed the medicinal use of cannabis. Patients with certain illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis, say it relieves their symptoms. The Lords report said recreational use of cannabis should remain illegal, but proposed listing cannabis as a "schedule two" drug - downgrading it from its current prohibited "schedule one" status. The committee estimated that about 1% of MS patients already used cannabis for pain relief, effectively making themselves criminals. However, the government ruled out the committee's recommendation that cannabis be made available on prescription. It called for more clinical trials before a change in the drug laws could be considered. Smoking Doctors were also critical of the report, saying they backed the medicinal use of cannabinoids, part of the cannabis plant. They believe the plant itself causes harmful side-effects. The fact that smoking is currently the preferred way of taking it also increases health risks, they say. The drugs firm GW Pharmaceuticals is growing thousands of cannabis plants at a secret glasshouse facility in the south of England for medical research. It is the first to get special Home Office licences allowing it to grow and supply the drug for research purposes. An initial crop of 5,000 plants was sown in August at a secure glasshouse in the south of England. Eventually 20,000 plants will be grown there.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lord Who Blew UKP7M On Heroin Dies Aged 44 (The Guardian, in Britain, says Lord Bristol, twice jailed for possessing heroin, an addiction on which he admitted blowing UKP7 million, died in his sleep yesterday morning. His agent, Simon Pott, said he believed the 7th Marqess had had a flu-type bug. The Old Harrovian's adult life was spent unashamedly in the fast lane.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 21:35:43 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Lord Who Blew UKP7M On Heroin Dies Aged 44 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: Guardian, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/ Copyright: Guardian Media Group 1999 Pubdate: 11 Jan 1999 Author: Sarah Hall The Marquess of Bristol has died at the age of 44, it was announced yesterday. Lord Bristol, twice jailed for possessing heroin, an addiction on which he admitted blowing UKP7 million, died in his sleep and was found at his farmhouse, Little Horringer Hall, on the Ickworth estate in Suffolk yesterday morning. He had been ill for a short time but his death had come as 'a great shock', his agent, Simon Pott, said. Mr Pott believed the 7th Marqess had had a flu-type bug. 'He was perfectly well over Christmas and was discussing going to the Bahamas for a couple of weeks. He had been a little bit under the weather for the last week but there was nothing particularly untoward.' He said it was 'extremely unlikely' that the colourful lord had died of an overdose. 'Clearly this has been a problem for a considerable amount of time, but his death doesn't appear to have been drug-related. It seems to have been a perfectly straightforward, premature death.' He said he had no knowledge of the illness being HIV-related. In 1996, the Lord denied tabloid claims he was dying of Aids. The Old Harrovian's adult life was spent unashamedly in the fast lane and he spent a large proportion of his UKP30 million inheritance on his addiction. He was twice banned for drink-driving and served nine months in Jersey for smuggling UKP1,000 of cocaine in his helicopter. In 1993 he was sentenced to 10 months for heroin and cocaine possession. Police found more heroin in his chauffeur-driven Bentley two days after his release. The marquess, who was briefly married to Francesca Fisher, a teetotal vegetarian, relinquished Ickworth, his family's 4,000-acre estate, to the National Trust last year. His death comes less than a year after his half-brother, Lord Nicholas Hervey, hanged himself. A second half-brother, Lord Frederick Hervey, aged 19, will become the 8th Marquess.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Kenya Rivals Colombia In Drug Trafficking (All Africa News Agency says vast areas of Mount Kenya Forest and other parts of Kenya have been cleared and planted with bhang bushes. The plantations are protected by guards armed with bows and arrows while government officers are restricted from approaching. Where police are acquitted after shooting into a crowd of protesting students, "experts" say a complete generation has been destroyed by drugs and that traffickers have targeted schools where widespread bhang smoking is now a serious issue.) Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 09:20:23 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Kenya: Wire: Kenya Rivals Columbia (sic) In Drug Trafficking 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: All Africa News Agency Website: www.africanews.org Pubdate: 11 Jan 1999 Author: Barrack Otieno KENYA RIVALS COLUMBIA (sic) IN DRUG TRAFFICKING NAIROBI (AANA) January 11 - Kenya's drug problem has been compared to that of Columbia as large forest lands are cleared and planted with bhang (cannabis sativa) while the plantations are protected by guards armed with bows and arrows. Vast areas of Mount Kenya Forest and other parts of the country have been cleared and planted with bhang bushes while government officers are restricted from approaching the plantations, says Kenya's former vice president for a decade, Mwai Kibaki, who is now leader of official opposition leader in Parliament and heads the Democratic Party of Kenya. Kibaki's alarm bells were sounded soon after the head of the Anglican Church in Kenya, Dr. David Gitari, disclosed that the former Commissioner of Police, Shadrack Kiruki, a 'born-again' Christian, had been hounded out of office by drug barons because he had refused to play ball and was threatening to put them out of business. Kiruki had reportedly been relieved of his job late in 1996 for failure to control policemen who had at one time emptied their magazines into demonstrating Kenyatta University students, killing two instantly and injuring hundreds others. The students had been demonstrating against the killing of another student by police at the Egerton University campus in Njoro. The dozen policemen charged with the shooting of the students at Kenyatta University were later acquitted by the court. Experts say that a complete generation has been destroyed by drugs while traffickers have targeted schools where widespread bhang smoking is now a serious issue. Nevertheless following the protests by Gitari and Kibaki, police have embarked on some half-hearted efforts to combat the menace. Large bhang plantations across the country have been invaded, the plants uprooted and destroyed while the growers arrested and charged in court. Apart from being a major grower of bhang, Kenya has become a major staging point for traffickers while domestic consumption has escalated in recent times, according to an International Narcotics Control Strategy report. Between April and November 1998, eighty-seven acres of bhang were destroyed and another ten that had re-grown cleared. At the same time forest guards and police have been put on red alert while the Kenya Police High Command have conceded that maintaining surveillance on the vast mount Kenya forest is most difficult. The Central Provincial Police Officer, James Munyua, under whose jurisdiction Mount Kenya falls, conceded that there is widespread bhang cultivation in the area but arrested suspects have refused to talk. The cultivation is undertaken to meet both domestic and export demand. A large quantity of bhang with street value estimated at Sh. 600m. was intercepted at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport early last year while another haul with a street value of Sh. 100m. was intercepted at Lamu, in the Coast Province where in 1996 the largest haul so far, a 20 tonnes haul of hashish with street value of Sh. 2bn. was intercepted in Kwale. Other contraband has been seized in many parts of the country. The money to be made in drug trafficking is too alluring and worth taking the risk while the traffickers themselves too offer good money for the security officers to look the other side. On October 20, 1998, policemen from Ramisi Police Station at the Coast intercepted a vehicle transporting 160 cartons out of which only 20 contained Winston cigarettes. The rest was hashish. The contraband had been off-loaded by a freighter docked on the notorious Bodo creek, not a designated entry or customs point. The suspect was arrested and taken to the Mswambweni Police Station where he was made to record a statement and was later charged with drug trafficking and being in possession of uncustomed goods. Before he was produced in court he was released together with the vehicle and contraband and disappeared. The police later explained that the owners of the goods produced documents proving that they had paid customs duty on them. How customs duty could be paid on hashish has left most Kenyans flabbergasted. The truth is that the owner paid the police handsomely. The problem with Kenya and indeed Tanzania is that they are vulnerable to trafficking by their geographical positions which include long coastlines which are difficult to police, coupled by direct flights that make stopovers in the local airports. The US State Department has also expressed concern about the drugs menace in Kenya and attributed it to chronic corruption in the public sector which has been the biggest impediment in the fight against trafficking and indeed contributed to withdrawal of donor aid to Kenya. Kenya has, nonetheless, established a high powered inter-ministerial committee at the State Law Offices under the chairmanship of the Solicitor-General, Justice Aaron Ringera, to combat the menace. But despite tough measures, Kenya has been a major transit point for drug traffickers with some of the largest hauls intercepted in Europe having at one time or other passed through East Africa and Kenyan ports particularly. The drug menace is not confined to Kenya but is a problem for most of the continent. Seizures of cannabis resin at Rotterdam (10, 370 kgs) in April 1994 and Montreal (26,430 kgs and 4,127 kg in May and November 1994 respectively) had exited from Zambia, Mozambique and Uganda but originally came from Pakistan. This strongly suggested that traffickers were targeting eastern and southern Africa ports for cannabis resin originating from Pakistan and destined for North America and Europe. The largest seizures of 90.76 kg and 69.56 kg of cocaine had been made in Nigeria and South Africa respectively in 1994. While South Africa accounts for the bulk of seizures of cannabis sativa in Africa, Morocco recorded the largest seizures of 36 tonnes of cannabis resin seized in January 1996. In West Africa, trafficking in pemoline and ephedrine continues unabated. In recent years chlordiazepoxide, diaepan and phenobarbital have also appeared in the traffic to Africa notably in Kenya, Angola, Benin, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Recent discussions on drug control at sub-regional economic community meetings as well as Council of Ministers of the OAU have focused greater attention to drug control in Africa. The adoption at the 32nd ordinary session of the OAU Assembly of Heads of States and Government in July 1996 and the Declaration and Plan of Action on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Africa gave the impetus to the drug control activities in the continent and offered the greatest demonstration of the will of African countries to effectively control drug trafficking and abuse. Consequently in February last year the East African Criminal Investigation Department (CID) directors, Noah Arap Too (Kenya), Chris Bakiza (Uganda) and Rajab Adadi (Tanzania) held a two day meeting and resolved among other things to exchange information, intelligence and co-operate in circulating "wanted" arrests and repatriation of suspects. Their efforts will need much cooperation if they will succeed in ending this deadly menace. -------------------------------------------------------------------
The articles posted here are generally copyrighted by the source publications. They are reproduced here for educational purposes under the Fair Use Doctrine (17 U.S.C., section 107). NORML is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational organization. The views of the authors and/or source publications are not necessarily those of NORML. The articles and information included here are not for sale or resale.
Comments, questions and suggestions.Reporters and researchers are welcome at the world's largest online library of drug-policy information, sponsored by the Drug Reform Coordination Network at: http://www.druglibrary.org/
Next day's news
Previous day's news
to the 1999 Daily News index for Jan. 8-14
to the Portland NORML news archive directory
to the 1999 Daily News index (long)
This URL: http://www.pdxnorml.org/ii/990111.html