------------------------------------------------------------------- Outpatient Commitment Bill (A list subscriber forwards an alert from Support Coalition Northwest, in Eugene, asking you to take action against a bill being drafted by Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers that would radically expand "involuntary outpatient commitment." Already allowed in 40 states, including Oregon, the Orwellian and Kafkaesque law currently requires psychiatric patients to take certain drugs in order to remain free - no matter how useless or toxic such drugs are to them. The Myers bill would reportedly allow any two Oregonians to begin the process of an "investigation and intervention" of any other Oregonian who was not yet commitable. After an "investigation," if the subject refused to appear before the judge, the subject could be arrested. The judge could then order the subject to follow a "treatment plan," including taking psychiatric drugs against his or her will.)From: "Wayne Haythorn" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "DPFOR" (email@example.com) Subject: DPFOR: Fw: outpatient commitment bill Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 14:32:13 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ -----Original Message----- From: Jim&Sue&Louis&Cara (quinkray@TELEPORT.COM) To: Multiple recipients of list PCFCPRTY (PCFCPRTY@MAIL.ORST.EDU) Date: Saturday, February 13, 1999 10:08 AM Subject: outpatient commitment bill Hi to all you "environmental nuts" and "wackos": Many people in our progressive community have struggled to cope with the stigma of psychiatric labeling and intervention. Some of us respond by taking prescription anti-depressants or other "meds" voluntarily and some believe that these drugs help them. But many others do not want to take these medicines, for very good reasons (some are outlined below). Should our government have the right to COMPEL people to take drugs against their will if they present no danger to the community? If you don't think so, read on, because that is just what Hardy Myers and Mark Gardner hope to accomplish with their latest assault on our privacy. Attorney General Considers Bill To Allow Forced Psychiatric Drugging of More People Living Out in the Community Support Coalition Northwest Calls for Survivors and Consumers to Unite in Opposition by David Oaks, director, Support Coalition Northwest You may know that today, some Oregonians living at home out in the community are court ordered to take prescribed psychiatric drugs against their will. You may even know that there is a push going on throughout the USA and Canada and UK to expand this heavy-handed approach. Nearly 40 states in the USA, including Oregon, allow such "involuntary outpatient commitment." But did you know the Oregon Attorney General is considering vastly expanding this "chemical crusade" and may propose one of the worst bills I've ever seen? I have a copy of the draft bill in front of me. This bill would allow any two Oregonians to begin the process of an "investigation and intervention" of any other Oregonian, who is NOT YET COMMITTABLE. After an "investigation," if the subject refuses to appear before the judge, they can be arrested and brought there. The judge may then order the subject to follow a "treatment plan," which could include taking psychiatric drugs against their will, even while living out in the community in their own home. In fact, the hearing can even be in that home. If the subject ignores the plan and a psychiatrist feels they are "deteriorating," they can be brought back in front of the judge to see if they meet commitment criteria. Let me emphasize this point: This bill is really NOT about people who meet the current criteria for commitment. This law would create a whole new category of hundreds or thousands of Oregonians, who psychiatrists predict might become committable. All current studies, however, show that psychiatrists have zero scientific ability to predict future dangerousness. The bill claims to help "establish access to treatment program and intervention," but in reality it would mean a lot more Oregonians could be frightened into taking their psychiatric drugs against their will in the sanctity of their own home. Who could be required to appear before a judge in such an "intervention"? The net this bill would create is so huge it could capture a logging truck. One draft of this bill is made up of 34 pages of bizarrely awkward language. So let me give one scenario, and see if it could fit you or someone you care about. You're a psychiatric survivor. Your family doctor prescribes a psychiatric drug. You decline his suggestion (so you're "not receiving...medical care."). The doctor feels your refusal is for "irrational" reasons (so you fall into the wrong half of an eight-step "capacity level" chart that looks vaguer than an astrology reading). If an "investigator" can apply the following loosy-goosy language to you, the judge could order you to take those drugs: You show "mental or physical deterioration" such that "to a reasonable medical probability" you will "in the foreseeable future" experience "substantial adverse consequences" to your "health or safety." Good God, in the eyes of many psychiatrists I know, that's everyone! The average psychiatrist could apply this test to President Clinton! (Maybe they should, but that's another story.) The Attorney General's name is Hardy Myers and we need to tell him how strongly Oregonians oppose this "medication militia model." The staff person in the Attorney General's office who is the cheerleader for this monstrosity is Mark Gardner. In a phone interview, Gardner told me his main experience was that, "I was once a Circuit Court judge. I committeed 500 to 1,000 cases." Gardner has not been on the other side of that gavel, though. Gardner admitted that neither he nor the committee he worked with did any in-depth investigation of the issues of forced psychiatric drugging, what long term use of these drugs can do to a person, or what possible alternatives to force might work. I talked to Gardner today, February 12th, about their latest draft. He disagreed with my interpretation, because in his view the judge's order to follow treatment in this "intervention" isn't really enforceable. So there you are, arrested and hauled before a judge (Gardner calls that a "discussion"). The judge orders you to follow your doctor's treatment plan, and bangs a gavel. Now how do you think the subject is going to feel? Scared out of their mind, that's what. But Gardner claims that -- if the person knows the ins and outs of his 34 page law -- they will understand they can technically ignore the treatment order as long as they don't actually become commitable. The judge's threat, even if technically an empty threat, is still a threat. This is "gavel therapy." I pointed out to Gardner that if someone commits robbery with an empty gun, it's still theft in the eyes of the law. Gardner's plan would still feel incredibly intimidating to any of us. Adding insult to injury, Gardner's law would throw us a crumb, claiming "mental health client" groups will be consulted. But we consumer and survivor advocates were not involved in the subcommittee that advised Gardner. They're universally opposed. Here in Eugene, we have seen the results of heavy-handed outpatient drugging being pressured on people. The family of Ricky Herron, a 35-year-old African American man who died in the psychiatric system, is suing Lane County Mental Health. Ricky died after being pressured to stay on Clozapine, on an outpatient basis in a half-way house, even though he was enduring horrible side effects. The family lost the first round, but appealed and has won a new trial in Federal Court. Some people choose to take the drugs commonly used in forced drugging, the "neuroleptics." But others have very rational reasons to refuse, though their doctors may disagree. The community and decision-makers should know that recent medical evidence is showing long term use of the neuroleptics can actually change the brain, and these changes are so big they are visible on CT and MRI scan. (See The Lancet, 9/5/98 and American Journal of Psychiatry 12/98.) This neuroleptic-induced brain change can making quitting really hard. That's because withdrawal unmasks the underlying drug-induced brain change. The brain has been fighting back against the drug -- when a person quits they can experience horrible mental and physical effects for months, which is then used to justify forcing them to go back on the drugs, for life. This is called a "rebound" or "discontinuation syndrome," and people have a right to know about it. To "intervene" to stop this bill, contact Attorney General Hardy Myers. Write: 1162 Court St. NE; Justice Building; Salem, OR 97310-0506. Phone: 1-503-378-4400. Fax: 1-503-378-4017. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org And for more information about fighting the rise of forced psychiatry, join Support Coalition. You can do this by asking for a sample copy of our newsjournal, Dendron. Write: PO Box 11284; Eugene, OR 97440-3484. Phone: (541) 345-9106. E-mail: email@example.com There are other "medication militia" plans waiting in the wings. Some people want to create a "Program of Assertive Community Treatment" (PACT) in Oregon. PACT in other states includes at-home psychiatric drug deliveries -- sometimes every day -- by "mental health system" workers to assure "medication compliance." There's more info about PACT on Support Coalition's web site: www.efn.org/~dendron Let's intervene before this "Cuckoo's Nest" flies over Oregon. *** [Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers' web page is at: http://www.doj.state.or.us/ E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org The Oregon Department of Justice mailing address is listed as: 1162 Court St NE Salem, OR 97310 The ODOJ fax number is listed as: (503) 378-4017 The ODOJ TTY number is listed as: (503) 378-5938 The ODOJ Information and Reception number is listed as: (503) 378-4400 Please be polite. - ed.] ***
------------------------------------------------------------------- Patients get wrong mixture in dialysis (The Oregonian says one Portland-area patient is in critical condition and 84 others had abnormally low levels of sodium bicarbonate in their blood after they received the wrong kind of chemical solution this week during their dialysis treatments by Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and Providence Newberg Hospital.) The Oregonian Contact: email@example.com 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Patients get wrong mixture in dialysis * The error at 2 hospitals causes sodium bicarbonate levels to be too low in the blood of 85 people, and one is in critical condition Saturday February 13, 1999 By Patrick O'Neill of The Oregonian staff For three days this week, 85 kidney patients received the wrong kind of chemical solution during their blood-cleansing treatments in dialysis programs operated by Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and Providence Newberg Hospital. Because of the error, all the patients had abnormally low levels of sodium bicarbonate in their blood -- a potentially deadly condition in people with heart problems. One patient, a woman, is in intensive care at St. Vincent in critical condition. Hospital officials won't identify her or discuss specifics of her illness. But they say the error may have contributed to her illness. Dr. Larry Elzinga, a nephrologist and medical director of the St. Vincent Kidney Dialysis Center, said the 85 patients, who received dialysis on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the hospital's outpatient and inpatient centers and at the Newberg hospital, all received the wrong concentration of sodium bicarbonate, a crucial ingredient in kidney dialysis solution. During kidney dialysis, patients whose kidneys have failed are connected to machines that clean impurities from their blood. The process requires that a carefully balanced solution of bicarbonate of soda be put into the bloodstream. The chemical helps neutralize acid wastes in the blood. Elzinga said it's not clear how the mistake happened. Dialysis solution is prepared by an experienced technician who follows a specific recipe, adding various elements, including concentrated bicarbonate of soda. Confusion over a new brand of concentrated bicarbonate apparently led to the error, he said. "We're still trying to determine exactly what the specific error was," he said. "It appears that the wrong concentrate was used." Early in January, St. Vincent, which oversees the dialysis center at Providence Newberg Hospital, entered into a management contract with Fresenius Medical Care North America, a German-based manufacturer of kidney dialysis equipment and supplies. Later this year, St. Vincent will use dialysis machines manufactured by Fresenius. Somehow, Elzinga said, the technician mistakenly mixed Fresenius-brand bicarbonate into the dialysis solution. The Fresenius bicarbonate is not compatible with the center's current machines, which are made by another manufacturer. Dialysis solution comes in 55-gallon barrels. The bicarbonate concentrate is packaged in a pint-sized plastic container. Both the barrels and the plastic containers are clearly marked, he said. The technician who mixed the ingredients is "highly qualified," he said. Elzinga said the hospital is investigating the error. He would not comment about what action, if any, might be taken against the technician. Dialysis center workers had their first hint of an error about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when a nurse who routinely monitors patients' lab results noticed that all the patients' bicarbonate levels were low. Elzinga was off on Wednesday. But the nurse telephoned him and told him that day about the lower-than-normal readings. "We immediately started to see if it was a lab error," he said. "It could have been problems in transporting the blood, but that did not seem to be the case. We started looking at the dialysis solution." The incident was "potentially very serious," he said. "Fortunately, we caught it early and reacted promptly." Doctors express concerns Nephrologists are deeply concerned about the problem. Dr. Donald W. Froom, a nephrologist who practices at St. Vincent, said as many as 35 of his patients who received dialysis had abnormally low bicarbonate levels. Froom said that while none of his patients suffered apparent injury, he sent three to the St. Vincent emergency room for observation because of the possibility of abnormal heart rhythms. Dr. Edward G. Kuehnel, a Portland nephrologist, called the incident "a very serious lapse." "If it went on undetected, it could have led to serious illness or potential fatalities," he said. Kuehnel said only one of his patients receives dialysis at the St. Vincent unit. "My patient has a very bad heart," he said. "But they (dialysis center officials) didn't notify me for 48 hours." Most of Froom's patients are elderly and have multiple ailments, he said. Many have cardiac disease. Earlier this week, Froom noticed the low levels of bicarbonate in his patients and increased dialysis time for them. But the levels of bicarbonate remained low. Arnold A. Winters, 70, a patient of Froom's, said he was so weak, he couldn't walk after he completed a dialysis session at the St. Vincent outpatient center Monday. His wife, Rhoda, had to wheel him out to the car in a wheelchair. "I've been doing this for two years and I've never felt that bad," he said. Winters said he also felt unusually weak after a dialysis session Wednesday. On Thursday evening, he got a call from Froom's office telling him to report to the St. Vincent emergency room for an immediate checkup. At the emergency room, he said, medical personnel connected him to a heart monitor, administered an electrocardiogram and took blood samples. He said he had to stay at the hospital for 11/2 hours until doctors ruled it safe for him to return home. Winters, a retired accountant living in Lake Oswego, suffers from kidney failure brought on by high blood pressure. He undergoes dialysis three times a week for about 41/2 hours. On Friday, he asked nurses at the dialysis center about the change in the bicarbonate concentrate. "They tried to tell me that they knew about it (the change in solution) before Dr. Froom did and that it was no big deal," he said. This week's error comes on top of a Feb. 5 court ruling that found St. Vincent negligent in causing brain damage to a Tigard woman, Denisa Christine Jennison. A jury awarded her $17.8 million in a case in which a surgical catheter pierced her heart, causing complications that brought on brain damage. That incident occurred in 1996. You can reach Patrick O'Neill at 503-221-8233 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rogue Of The Week (Willamette Week, in Portland, jumps on the bandwagon of Oregon media trying to whip up voters' emotions over Oregon's new medical marijuana law, faulting Mike Assenberg for not knowing his rights under the voter-approved initiative.) Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 15:05:02 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US OR: Rogue Of The Week Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (D. Paul Stanford) Pubdate: 13 Jan, 1999 Source: Willamette Week (OR) Website: http://www.wweek.com/ Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: John Schrag (email@example.com) ROGUE OF THE WEEK When we endorsed the medical-marijuana initiative last fall, we realized that some people would try to abuse the law. We had no idea they would go to the depths of this week's rogue, Mike Assenberg. Our complaint with Assenberg is softened somewhat by our belief that he acted out of ignorance, not malice. Nonetheless, his behavior is exactly what's not needed to build public support for the controversial new law. On New Year's Eve Assenberg sat in the smoking section of the Abby's Legendary Pizza in Newport for a specific reason. He says he wanted to enjoy his pie without pain. And in order to do that, Assenberg, who suffers from a 14-year-old injury, needed to smoke a joint. The manager at Abby's said no, and Assenberg claims this refusal is a violation of his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It would have been a good idea for Assenberg to have done more research before he started to make a federal case out of it. He admits that before he went into the restaurant he didn't know Oregon's law specifically prohibits smoking pot in public. Also, according to the ACLU, he has no case in federal court. Possession is still a federal crime, and the ADA does not allow for criminal activities. A cursory review of the situation would indicate that Assenberg easily qualifies for medicinal smoking--since his back was broken in 1985, he has suffered from excruciating pain every day. He doesn't like the side effects of morphine and codeine, so he's been using marijuana for three years. He hasn't talked to his doctor about it yet but has an appointment to do so later this month. Yet his actions on New Year's suggest he might be after more than pain relief. Convinced that the restaurant had violated his rights, Assenberg offered to keep the whole thing quiet if the chain coughed up enough money for him to buy a new computer. Now, he says, he's talking to attorneys about a lawsuit that could net him millions of dollars.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police Impound Store's Alleged Drug Paraphernalia (The Herald, in Everett, Washington, says local prohibition agents confiscated bongs, cigarette lighters, scales and other alleged drug paraphernalia from the Evergreen Smoke Shop Thursday afternoon.) Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 17:56:53 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US WA: Police Impound Store's Alleged Drug Paraphernalia Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 Source: Herald, The (Everett, WA) Copyright: 1999 The Daily Herald Co. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.heraldnet.com/ Bongs Get The Gong POLICE IMPOUND STORE'S ALLEGED DRUG PARAPHERNALIA EVERETT -- Police confiscated bongs, cigarette lighters, scales and other alleged drug paraphernalia from a smoke shop this week, leaving the owner fuming. On Thursday afternoon, police cleaned out part of the inventory at the Evergreen Smoke Shop in the 6300 block of Evergreen Way. The goods were in violation of a city ordinance outlawing drug paraphernalia, police spokesman Elliott Woodall said. Police began investigating the Everett store after receiving complaints about its products, Woodall said. Detectives went to the shop undercover and bought drug equipment such as bongs, bottles of pills used to increase the volume of cocaine, ingredients used to make methamphetamine, and many other items, he said. "The detectives went back with a search warrant and relieved them of that inventory," Woodall said. The seized paraphernalia will be used as evidence should the city decide to prosecute, Woodall said. Police estimated the goods to be worth about $50,000, but the shop's owner, Dennis So, says it's more like $5,000 to $7,000. "The thing that upsets us the most is the fact that if they would have told us it was a problem, we could have stopped selling them," said So, of Mill Creek. "But instead, they decided to rampage the store." He said the police came into the store, patted down the employees, looked through financial books and took merchandise. "We've been selling these products for three or four years," So said. "If they didn't want us to sell something, they just should have told us." Among the items taken were metal pipes sometimes called bongs and often used to smoke marijuana. So said the bulk of his business is in cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco, but because he runs a specialty shop, he sells specialty items that are sometimes requested by tobacco enthusiasts. "There's no intent for us to sell anything to drug enthusiasts," So said. Other confiscated goods included cigarette lighters and scales. "Some enthusiasts like to weigh their tobacco before rolling," So said. "They are the same scales sold at Costco or OfficeMax for measuring weight for postage." So, who started the business in the early '90s, said he plans to consult an attorney and decide whether to challenge the seizure. "I understand their concerns," he said, "but it's just the way they went about it."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Synthetic Marijuana Is Expensive (A letter to the editor of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin rebuts an earlier letter from a drug warrior opposing medical marijuana.) Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 19:16:28 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US HI: PUB LTE: MMJ: Medical Synthetic Marijuana Is Expensive Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: pacal (email@example.com) Pubdate: 13 Feb 1999 Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI) Copyright: 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.starbulletin.com/ Author: Kenji Klein MEDICAL SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA IS EXPENSIVE AND UNRELIABLE I applaud Sandra Lacar's (View Point, Jan. 30) desire to protect our youth from drugs. However, her opposition to medical marijuana is misguided. Allowing medical marijuana will not encourage teen drug use. Teen marijuana use actually dropped in California after passage of the medical marijuana bill. Perhaps the images of withered AIDS and cancer patients smoking pot helped undermine the cool rebel image that draws many teens to marijuana. Lacar also suggests that patients use only federally approved synthetic marijuana. Unfortunately, synthetic marijuana often does not work and is extremely expensive. Moreover, many patients report that it is far too intoxicating! Her concern that the American Medical Association does not endorse medical marijuana is understandable but misguided. Historically, the AMA has avoided politically charged issues. What is amazing, however, is the number of other reputable medical organizations that do support medical marijuana. These include prominent medical journals, public health organizations and several state associations of physicians, pharmacists and nurses. We can allow seriously ill patients access to necessary medicine without putting our youth at risk. I urge Lacar to reconsider her position. Kenji Klein (Via the Internet)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Book Can Help Explain Medicinal Marijuana (Another letter to the editor of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin rebuts untrue statements about marijuana by plugging "Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence," by Lynn Zimmer, Ph.D., and Dr. John P. Morgan.) Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 19:31:17 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US HI: PUB LTE: MMJ: Book Can Help Explain Medicinal Marijuana Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: pacal (email@example.com) Pubdate: 13 Feb 1999 Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI) Copyright: 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.starbulletin.com/ Author: Jeff Crawford BOOK CAN HELP EXPLAIN MEDICINAL MARIJUANA I must respectfully disagree with Sandra Lacar's Jan. 30 View Point about the medicinal use of marijuana. I have personally treated terminally ill patients who found smoking marijuana to be helpful in relieving their suffering while in various stages of diseases. It is difficult for me to understand how anyone would want to deny them that comfort. Furthermore, the sources Lacar cites to support her position are incomplete and misleading. Those who wish to know the whole truth about the safety and effectiveness of smoked marijuana can obtain "Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Summary of the Scientific Evidence" by Lynn Zimmer and John P. Morgan. It is available in every public library, courtesy of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii. Jeff Crawford Kailua (Via the Internet)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ventura Says He'll Sign Hemp Bill (According to UPI, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura told a radio talk-show Friday in the Twin Cities that he and state Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson both support an industrial hemp bill pending in the state senate.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:31:10 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MN: Wire: Ventura Says He'll Sign Hemp Bill Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 13 Feb 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International Note: Headline by MAP Newshawk VENTURA SAYS HE'LL SIGN HEMP BILL Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura says he supports a bill that would legalize the growing of industrial hemp in Minnesota. Ventura says he and Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson agree on it. He says industrial hemp is used for many things. He and Hugoson agree it would be a diversified product that farmers could use. He says if the bill gets to his desk he'll sign it. The bill is pending in the state senate. Supporters say hemp is a valuable crop for farmers who can't make ends meet with wheat and corn. Opponents fear hemp could serve as a cover for growing marijuana. Ventura was an outspoken supporter of hemp during the Governor's campaign. He made his latest comments yesterday (Friday) on a call-in talk show in the twin cities.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Asks Sheriff For Drug Case List (The Topeka Capital-Journal, in Kansas, says Shawnee County District Judge Eric Rosen on Friday ordered Sheriff Dave Meneley to hand over a list of cases investigated by five of his prohibition agents. Rosen also ordered the district attorney's office to hand over copies of recent memos between prosecutors and the sheriff's office in which District Attorney Joan Hamilton requested explanations from Meneley for the decreased weight of the marijuana seized in the arrest of Carlos Hernandez, who is seeking dismissal of two drug charges from 1995.)Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 12:11:52 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US KS: Judge Asks Sheriff For Drug Case List 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: February 13, 1999 Source: Topeka Capital-Journal (KS) Copyright: 1999 The Topeka Capital-Journal Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://cjonline.com/ Author: Steve Fry, The Capital-Journal JUDGE ASKS SHERIFF FOR DRUG CASE LIST A Shawnee County district judge Friday ordered Sheriff Dave Meneley to compile and hand over a list of drug cases investigated by five of his deputies assigned to narcotics work in a two-year time frame. The court order came as part of a challenge by Carlos Hernandez, who is seeking dismissal of two drug charges in a 1995 case. Hernandez is charged with felony failure to pay the Kansas drug tax and misdemeanor marijuana possession. Kris Savage, a public defender representing Hernandez, has cited alleged misconduct by sheriff's narcotics officers in 1995 and a break in the chain of custody of marijuana as reasons to dismiss the case. The Hernandez challenge surfaced after a district judge in December made public a Kansas Bureau of Investigation probe into the 1994 disappearance of about 0.75 ounce of cocaine from a sheriff's department evidence locker. At Shawnee County District Attorney Joan Hamilton's request, the Kansas attorney general's office ordered the KBI in 1996 to investigate reports of the missing cocaine. However, the attorney general's office concluded there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute anyone. In that report, the name of deputy Tim Oblander, a former narcotics officer, surfaced as a target of the investigation. Oblander has denied stealing cocaine from the evidence locker, using cocaine or telling Meneley he stole the cocaine or was a cocaine user. Savage on Friday was gathering records in preparation for a Thursday hearing to seek dismissal of Hernandez' case. Witnesses scheduled to be called during Thursday's hearing are Cpl. Tim Oblander, Sgt. Frank Good, Detective Scott Holladay, Deputy Phillip Blume and Detective Daniel Jaramillo, all deputies, and a chemist at the KBI. The chemist is to answer questions about the drop in weight of marijuana because of drying. Another possible witness at the daylong hearing will be Meneley. Shawnee County District Judge Eric Rosen on Friday ordered the sheriff to compile a computer list of all arrests in drug cases linked to Oblander, Good, Holladay, Blume and Jaramillo, officers who conducted drug investigations from 1994 to 1996. Rosen also ordered the district attorney's office to hand over copies of recent memos between prosecutors and the sheriff's office in which Hamilton has requested explanations from Meneley for the decreased weight of the marijuana seized during the Hernandez case. In a Jan. 28 letter to Meneley, Holladay and Oblander, Hamilton asked Meneley to give her a "reasonable and detailed explanation" why marijuana that weighed 4.3 ounces when it was seized in January 1995 weighed almost 0.5 ounce less during a Jan. 20 preliminary hearing. Hamilton said she was "extremely concerned" about the discrepancy in weight. Meneley, Oblander and Holladay answered the first set of questions. The drying of marijuana could account for the loss in drug weight, Meneley said in his first response to Hamilton. Holladay wrote in a Feb. 1 memo the marijuana could have shrunk because of the removal of three small samples of the drug for testing, the use of noncertified electronic scales to weigh the marijuana in court and the drying of the marijuana. Hamilton on Feb. 8 hand-delivered a letter to Meneley asking the average amount of marijuana used by the sheriff's department property room to test whether a substance was marijuana; the expected percentage of weight loss by marijuana due to drying; and whether the sheriff's department could weigh the marijuana in the Hernandez case on the certified scales used in 1995 and indicate the difference between the current weight and the 1995 weight. Hamilton was out of the office Friday and couldn't answer whether she had received responses to the second set of questions. Assistant District Attorney Tony Rues said he would comply with Rosen's order but added, "I don't know if there is anything else floating out there unbeknownst to us."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Texas Inmates Tell U.S. Judge Of Abuses (A New York Times article in the San Jose Mercury News says Texas prisoners and their lawyers have been arguing for three weeks that the federal court supervision to which the state's prison system has been at least partly subject since 1980 should continue. Much of the testimony from prisoners has been a grim litany of abuses and humiliations. One man described being locked in a cage for five days. Another suffered a stroke, but his guards, failing to recognize it, simply ridiculed his stumbling gait rather than immediately summoning medical help. Yet another, driven to despair by abuse, tried to kill himself by biting into his arm until he hit a vein. Prisoners told of being raped by other inmates, beaten by guards, and covered in pepper spray. With 73 prisons and more than 140,000 prisoners, Texas's correctional system is second in size only to California's.) Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 19:51:47 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US TX: Texas Inmates Tell US Judge Of Abuses Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (email@example.com) Pubdate: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Author: Rick Lyman, New York Times TEXAS INMATES TELL U.S. JUDGE OF ABUSES AUSTIN, Texas -- For three weeks, doctors, corrections officials and inmates have been describing to a federal judge the conditions in Texas' vast network of prisons, and much of the testimony from the prisoners has been a grim litany of abuses and humiliations. One man described being locked in a cage for five days. Another suffered a stroke, but his guards, failing to recognize it, simply ridiculed his stumbling gait rather than immediately summoning medical help. Yet another, driven to despair by abuse, tried to kill himself by biting into his arm until he hit a vein. Prisoners told of being raped by other inmates, beaten by guards, covered in pepper spray. On the strength of such accounts, backed by the testimony of medical and out-of-state corrections experts, lawyers for the prisoners of Texas have argued in the proceeding that the federal court supervision to which the state's prison system has been at least partly subject since 1980 should continue. The state, however, maintains that the experiences of abused inmates, though regrettable, are little more than anecdotes that do not provide a thorough picture of the prisons. ``It is time for our prison system to stand on its own two feet,'' Gregory Coleman, a lawyer for the state, said in closing arguments Friday. ``We have come a long ways, thanks in large part to the courts, but we believe we have now arrived. It is time for us to move into the future on our own.'' During the hearing, state prison administrators testified to the improvements made in the system in the last two decades, including better training for guards, a more stringent policy on their use of force and closer attention to prisoners' medical needs. Medical experts testifying for the state argued that the prisoners' lawyers had relied too heavily on the misfortunes of a handful of inmates instead of looking at the system as a whole, which, with 73 prisons and more than 140,000 prisoners, is second in size only to California's. The case has roots dating from 1979, when, after trial of a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of Texas prisoners, U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice ruled the prison system unconstitutional because of horrific overcrowding, by guards and poor medical care. The next year Justice demanded a raft of reforms and imposed day-to-day oversight of the system by the federal courts.
------------------------------------------------------------------- With Liberty For Some: 500 Years Of Imprisonment In America (The Economist, in Britain, reviews the new book by Scott Christianson, "A Land Of Bondage," which examines the origins of the United States' prison-industrial complex. After Russia, America has the highest rate of imprisonment in the world. One in every 163 Americans is in jail or prison, a rate six times the average in Europe. America's zeal for imprisonment is usually attributed to a recent shift towards harsh law-enforcement policies, especially against drug users. To some degree, this is true. The number of people locked up has tripled since 1980. But the recent surge is not an anomaly. Bondage of one sort or another has played a central role in American history from the beginning. Popular support for mass incarceration and ever longer prison sentences is not merely a by-product of the past two decades' war on crime, but a consistent and ugly side of American society which has remained unquestioned for far too long.) Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 14:26:52 +0000 To: email@example.com From: Peter Webster (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject:  With Liberty For Some: 500 Years Of Imprisonment In America. Pubdate: 13 Feb 1999 Source: Economist, The (UK) Copyright: 1999. The Economist Newspaper Limited. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.economist.com/ A Land Of Bondage WITH LIBERTY FOR SOME: 500 YEARS OF IMPRISONMENT IN AMERICA. By Scott Christianson. Northeastern University; 394 pages; $35. Distributed in Britain by Biblios and AUPG; UKP33 FOR the land of the free, the United States puts an extraordinary number of its citizens behind bars. After Russia, it has the second-highest rate of imprisonment in the world. One in every 163 Americans is in jail or prison, a rate six times the average in Europe. America's zeal for imprisonment is usually attributed to a recent shift towards harsh law-enforcement policies, especially against drug users. To some degree, this is true. The number of people locked up has tripled since 1980. But this recent surge is anything but an anomaly. Bondage of one sort or another has played a central role in American history from the beginning. It is no exaggeration to say that prisoners did as much as free men and women to establish the United States as a nation. Most Americans will scoff at this idea. Australia accepts its history as a prison colony. But Americans, with the notable exception of blacks, still cherish the idea of a country founded by hardy individualists, who spurned the oppressions of a rigid European order to build a better society in the wilderness of the New World. In fact, as detailed in Scott Christianson's fascinating new book, a large proportion of white immigrants to early America arrived in chains--as prisoners, indentured servants or bonded labourers. Their Atlantic crossing was almost as terrible as that of the black slaves being shipped at the same time from Africa. Between a third and a half of white immigrants died on some voyages. Once in America, their lot was often only marginally better than that of slaves. Their biggest advantage over slaves was that they could look forward to being free once their term of imprisonment or service was over. Many, of course, never lived to see that day. For any American brought up on the more benign view of American history taught in the nation's schools, Mr Christianson's work will be something of a shock. But the evidence he marshals is simply too massive to ignore. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Britain operated a system of severely punitive laws designed as much to provide cheap labour for its American colonies as to curb crime. In an age when there was no established police force, private agents called "spirits"--many of them criminals themselves--were paid to apprehend supposed lawbreakers. Large numbers of people--including hordes of poor or abandoned children--were simply kidnapped off the streets of London and other big cities, and then sold with the blessing of a magistrate as felons or bonded labourers to ship captains, who transported them to the American colonies where they were resold as labourers to the highest bidder. One purchaser of felons was George Washington. This practice continued right up to the American revolution, which caused a prison crisis in Britain when hostilities interrupted prisoner exports. Even those colonists who emigrated voluntarily exhibited a taste for imprisoning others. One of the first public buildings erected in Boston, in 1632 when the town consisted of only 40 dwellings, was a "house of correction". Over the next 250 years, as America was settled, jails and prisons were always among the first public facilities built. For people trying to make their way in a wild continent, this was strange. Prisons and jails are expensive. Other societies relied more on different, cheaper ways to maintain discipline. In fact, once jails were built, Americans spent little on prisoners. Life "inside" was usually horrific. Frequently prisoners were left in dark cells to starve or die in their own filth. When larger state prisons were built, reformers sought a more enlightened regime. Rehabilitation through penitence had a vogue--hence the term "penitentiary". But even the best of these places were grim, involving unbearably long stretches of solitary confinement. After visiting one such penitentiary, Charles Dickens, well acquainted with the unsavoury English prisons of the period, turned away appalled, denouncing extended solitary confinement as "cruel and wrong". Most other attempts at rehabilitation foundered on popular hostility or indifference, as they still do today. Whatever white Americans were suffering, it is a safe rule of thumb that black Americans suffered more. Mr Christianson's account of black slavery is revealing on two counts. Drawing on a crop of recent studies, he derides the curiously persistent belief that most black slaves in the South led lives of rural contentment, except for the occasional family break-up when someone was sold "downriver". Southern slavery was enforced with whips, chains, beatings, rape and legally sanctioned murder. Southern whites knew what they were doing, and reasonably lived in constant fear of a black uprising, which then prompted them to be even more brutal. Blacks were desperate to escape. Many took enormous risks to do so. Those caught often paid with their lives. Mr Christianson also makes clear why free blacks, throughout America's history, have supposedly committed a disproportionate number of crimes and suffered similarly disproportionate rates of imprisonment. It is not because they have been more disposed towards criminality but because, well into the 20th century, they were legally barred from doing almost anything to better themselves. In many states they were excluded from all but the most menial jobs. Until the Civil War, free blacks had almost no legal rights of any kind, even in the North. After the war, most were not much better off. Incredibly high rates of imprisonment continue to scar American blacks today. The incarceration rate for black men is eight times that for whites. Most inner-city black children grow up with a father, uncle or big brother in prison. The social costs of this are enormous. In his final chapter, Mr Christianson describes the burgeoning prison-industrial complex, based on prison labour, which has brought wealth to many smaller towns and cities where prisons are based. America seems to have come full circle - imprisonment is once again as much about profit as punishment. As this book makes clear, popular support for mass incarceration and ever longer prison sentences is not merely a by-product of the past two decades' war on crime, but a consistent and ugly side of American society which has remained unquestioned for far too long.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton To Go To Mexico Tomorrow (The Associated Press says Mexico's war against drug traffickers, highlighted by a new $400 million, land-sea-and-air battle plan, tops the agenda for a two-day meeting between U.S. President Clinton and Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo beginning Sunday on the Yucatan Peninsula.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:43:36 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US/Mexico: Wire: Clinton To Go To Mexico Tomorrow Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 13 Feb 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press Author: George Gedda Associated Press Writer CLINTON TO GO TO MEXICO TOMORROW WASHINGTON (AP) White House officials admit that Mexico still has a "tremendous problem" with drug trafficking but are praising its eradication efforts in advance of President Clinton's two-day trip there that begins Sunday. Mexico's war against drug traffickers, highlighted by a new $400 million, land-sea-and-air battle plan, tops the agenda for Clinton's meetings with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. The setting will be the Yucatan Peninsula, a tourist haven where the two presidents and their wives will have a Valentine's evening dinner before Clinton and Zedillo get down to business on Monday. They have met seven times previously. In addition to drugs, their agenda includes trade, migration and the environment. Their meetings will take place against a background of a congressionally mandated review of Mexico's cooperation with U.S. counternarcotics efforts in the past year. Mexico could face stiff economic sanctions if it receives a failing grade, but all signs point to a U.S. decision to "certify" Mexico as fully cooperative as it has been all 12 years the process has been in effect. Taking nothing for granted about Clinton's decision, however, Mexico declared "total war" against the drug chieftains Feb. 4 through a program that specifies early detection of drug flights and sea shipments and a stepped-up counternarcotics role for the Mexican army. The three-year plan contemplates purchases of aircraft, ships, radar, X-ray equipment and other items. Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, said Friday that drug control is an important part of the U.S. agenda. In the two years since Clinton and Zedillo established a set of common objectives, he said, "We have seen Mexico extradite fugitives, eradicate thousands of acres of opium, criminalize money-laundering and institute a new screening process for law-enforcement officials." "Still, obviously this is a tremendous problem for Mexico, but one that they are tackling," he said. Last year, with the certification decision just weeks away, the two countries announced a plan outlining joint projects against drug consumption, money laundering, gunrunning and narcotics smuggling. The review process targets about 30 countries deemed to be sources for drugs or through which drugs transit. Only a handful were decertified a year ago. While seemingly assured a clean bill of health from Clinton, there were no such assurances that Mexico's expected certification won't be overturned by Congress, where skepticism runs deep about the Zedillo government's performance. Quoting from an internal White House memo, The Washington Post reported last week that congressional opponents of certification want more than good-faith efforts "They want results, including extraditions of Mexican nationals, more prosecutions of corrupt officials and more than paper agreements about cooperative law-enforcement arrangements." With a two-thirds vote, the Congress could overturn a Clinton certification, which officials fear could trigger a nationalist backlash in Mexico. The certification process is widely disliked in Mexico. "It does more harm than good," says Rafael Fernandez de Castro, a Mexican academic on leave this year at the Brookings Institution. He said the process fuels nationalistic feelings that impair cross border relations. Robert Leiken, an expert on Mexico at Brookings, says Mexicans are baffled by the process because they believe the drug problem exists only because of the demand for narcotics in the United States. Leiken questions whether it is realistic to assume that Mexico will be able to deal with narcotics traffickers, given its inability to cope with a steadily worsening problem of street crime. State Department spokesman James P. Rubin acknowledged this past week that the drug problem may be more than Mexico can handle because of the vast resources of the drug runners. But he noted the certification process does not take into account results. "There is a difference between cooperation and success," he said. Clinton's trip to Mexico and other Central American countries, originally scheduled for last week, was postponed after the Senate set a goal of finishing the president's impeachment trial by Friday, when he still would have been out of the country. The Senate acquitted Clinton on Friday. The Mexico leg was rescheduled for Sunday and Monday. He will visit Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala in March. Mexico is a major transit point for U.S.-bound cocaine shipments from South America. It is also a major producer of marijuana and a significant producer of heroin. A delegation of Mexican officials visiting Washington admitted Wednesday that seizures of illicit narcotics have been down over the past year. They raised the possibility that Colombian narcotraffickers may be relying more on routes other than Mexico for their drug shipments because of increased law enforcement in Mexico.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico Anti-Drug Cooperation Key To Clinton Trip (The Reuters version) Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 09:21:53 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: WIRE: Mexico Anti-Drug Cooperation Key To Clinton Trip Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. Author: Randall Mikkelsen MEXICO ANTI-DRUG COOPERATION KEY TO CLINTON TRIP WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - President Bill Clinton is set to take his first post-impeachment trial trip on Sunday, travelling to Mexico to meet President Ernesto Zedillo amid signs Clinton will renew certification of Mexico as a U.S. drug-fighting ally. The meetings scheduled for Sunday and Monday in the Yucatan city of Merida are expected to produce agreements in a number of areas, including new steps to fight drug smuggling and measures to limit violence and pollution along the 2,000-mile (3,000 km) U.S.-Mexican border, U.S. officials said. The two leaders also are expected to hail benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) five years after United States, Canada and Mexico entered into the pact, and discuss Mexico's recovery from a financial crisis three years ago and its progress toward greater democracy. The summit takes place amid increasing pressure from Congress and other sources for the United States to crack down on Mexican drug smuggling and its associated government corruption by having Clinton "decertify," or blacklist, Mexico as a drug-fighting ally. Decertification would cut off U.S. economic and trade benefits. "Right now, certification is casting a long shadow on the bilateral relationship. Everything is being viewed through the lens of certification," said Delal Baer, a Mexico expert with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. The visit is Clinton's first trip since the Senate acquitted him in his impeachment trial on Friday. Clinton is expected to face at least some questions from reporters on the issue during a photo opportunity with Zedillo on Monday. The administration's decision on certification is due March 1. U.S. officials say no recommendation has been made by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. But officials have also stressed they believe Zedillo has made a bit effort to fight drug smuggling, and made some progress. "I think everyone thinks it's in the best interests of the United States to continue to cooperate with Mexico," said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "(Anti-drug) cooperation with Mexico is very strong at every level. President Zedillo has made this a top priority. ... I don't think anyone can question his courageous leadership in tackling what is an enormous problem," the official said. U.S. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger on Friday told reporters, "It's important to remember what the purpose of certification is and what it is not. It is not to measure the extent of Mexico's problems. It is intended to assess the extent of its cooperation with us in overcoming them." "President Zedillo is clearly trying to establish a clean government and respect for the rule of law," Berger said. But members of Congress have turned up the pressure on Mexico, citing continued government corruption and setbacks in seizing drugs, and raised the prospect of overturning any recertification decision by Clinton. Asked whether Clinton might be planning to brace Zedillo for a possible decertification, James Dobbins, senior director of Inter-American affairs for the National Security Council, said, "Insofar as I'm aware, there's no intention to discuss the matter in those terms." But Dobbins said members of Congress would accompany Clinton on the trip and would be free to express their own views on the issue. Berger said new agreements between Mexico and the United States would improve procedures for cross-border undercover operations and strengthen a new police force established to protect borders, airports and seaports. On border issues, Dobbins said the countries hoped to make progress in three-way talks that also include Canada aimed at allowing each country to have input on environmental assessments made in connection with projects in border areas. In addition, Dobbins said, the two countries are expected to reach agreements on reducing violence and improving safety in border areas. Clinton is set to meet Zedillo for a private dinner on Sunday evening. On Monday, in addition to meetings between Zedillo and Clinton and a larger session with Cabinet members from both governments, Clinton is scheduled to address business leaders in Merida.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton's Visit To Mexico Shadowed By Paradoxes (A different Associated Press article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer tries to explain the Mexican perspective on relations with the United States, and the role of the drug war in that relationship. While U.S. drug war hawks criticize Mexico for refusing to extradite its citizens to face American charges, Mexican officials have been trying for three years to convince a U.S. court to return former Deputy Attorney General Mario Ruiz Massieu to face charges of corruption and obstruction of justice. U.S. courts have said they lack evidence.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:31:10 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Mexico: Clinton's Visit To Mexico Shadowed By Paradoxes Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) Copyright: 1999 Seattle Post-Intelligencer Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.seattle-pi.com/ Author: John Rice, The Associated Press CLINTON'S VISIT TO MEXICO SHADOWED BY PARADOXES MEXICO CITY -- From this side of the long border, the United States is a land of promise and menace, the solution to some problems and the cause of others. As with most other U.S.-Mexico relations, that paradox will serve as a backdrop when President Clinton travels to Mexico to meet with President Ernesto Zedillo. The two leaders are expected to discuss the drug trade and immigration during talks tomorrow and Monday. Meanwhile, many Mexicans expressed relief that the trip won't be overshadowed by the impeachment process, which has baffled many in a country where presidential indiscretions are rarely, if ever, mentioned. "How great that this silliness is over with," said Heriberto Miramontes, a 43-year-old accountant waiting in line for a U.S. visa. "There are more important things than the personal life of a president." Mexico is a country that fiercely insists on its independence from the United States but depends on its northern neighbor for much of its economy. It also has seen millions of Mexicans head north to escape poverty. The weight of American power and confusion over what to do about it runs deep in Mexican history. The Yucatan state capital of Merida, where the summit will be held, is an example. Not long after American troops captured Mexico City in 1847 -- a moment still bitter in Mexican memory -- Yucatan leaders offered their state to the United States in return for help in quelling an Indian war. The United States declined. At a Mexico City museum dedicated to U.S. invasions, children are greeted by a quote from Jose Manuel Zozaya, Mexico's first envoy to the United States in 1822: "The arrogance of these republicans does not allow them to see us as equals but as inferiors. With time, they must be our sworn enemies." A few blocks away, children of the same age frolic in the playground of a neighborhood McDonald's that distributes toys depicting Walt Disney characters with Happy Meals. American cultural and economic influences extend throughout Mexico. Two-way trade with the United States last year reached $200 billion, up from $80 billion in 1994. Fidel Castro recently caused a rare crisis in Mexican-Cuban relations when he suggested that Mexican children knew more about Mickey Mouse than their national heroes. The statements outraged Mexican diplomats, but some newspaper columnists agreed Castro was right. These days, Mexican nationalists are denouncing a government proposal to let foreigners buy part of Mexico's electricity system. At the same time, Mexico's top business organization is urging adoption of the U.S. dollar as the country's currency. But Mexicans also are often frustrated by what they see as U.S. disdain for their sovereignty and laws. Officials here have been trying for three years to convince a U.S. court to return former Deputy Attorney General Mario Ruiz Massieu to face charges of corruption and obstruction of justice. U.S. courts have said they lack evidence. Mexico's own usual refusal to extradite its citizens has led U.S. congressmen to push for financial reprisals under U.S. laws requiring the president to "certify" whether foreign nations are helping fight drug traffic. Mexican officials have denounced certification as an insult to their good will and sovereignty. They often point out that their struggle against drugs and related corruption is created by a vast U.S. demand for drugs. Perceived U.S. slights are echoed in ways both big and small. Mexico was the only Latin American nation that always snubbed U.S. pressure to break ties with communist Cuba and it remains Cuba's closest friend in the Americas. And in a Mexican variant of Monopoly, known as "World Tourist," the cheapest space on the board is the United States.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico slams U.S. Drugs Certification Policy (According to Reuters, Mexican Interior Minister Francisco Labastida criticised the United States on Friday ahead of a visit by President Clinton, saying Washington's practice of certifying allies in the war on drugs was unfair and inhibited cooperation. Diplomats from both countries said the certification issue was not a topic scheduled for discussion by Clinton and Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. But the two will dedicate a big part of their meeting to drawing up new accords linked to the "Binational Alliance against Drugs," created in May 1997 during Clinton's first visit to Mexico.) Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 11:07:09 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Mexico: Wire: Mexico slams U.S. Drugs Certification Policy Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. Author: Rene Villegas Mexico slams U.S. drugs certification policy MEXICO CITY, Feb 12 (Reuters) - A top Mexican official criticised the United States on Friday ahead of a visit by President Bill Clinton, saying Washington's practice of certifying allies in the war on drugs was unfair and inhibited cooperation. Mexican Interior Minister Francisco Labastida said his country would never accept the annual U.S. practice of deciding whether to certify that Mexico is doing its part in the war on drugs. U.S. certification is required for Mexico to be eligible to receive aid in battling drug trafficking. Clinton has granted Mexico certification in the face of strong opposition from some members of Congress every year since taking office in 1993. "It does not appear fair to us that one country can set about certifying others," Labastida said in an interview with Mexico's Radio Red just two days before Clinton's second official visit to Mexico. "Mexico's position has not changed: Mexico does not accept certification," he added. "(Certification) does not help cooperation in the anti-drug fight." Clinton and his wife, Hillary, arrive in the southern Mexican state of Yucatan for a brief working visit on Sunday. Diplomats from both countries said the certification issue was not a topic scheduled for discussion by Clinton and Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. But the two will dedicate a big part of their meeting to drawing up new accords linked to the "Binational Alliance against Drugs," created in May 1997 during Clinton's first visit to Mexico. Other themes include the migration of Mexican workers to the United States, and economic and trade relations. The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Jeffrey Davidow, said this week that certification was not a subject for international negotiation. But anti-drug collaboration would be discussed by the two leaders in Merida, capital of Yucatan state, he said. Labastida returned from Washington on Thursday after the first visit by a Mexican interior minister to the United States. He discussed a new $2.5 billion anti-crime programme recently announced by Zedillo, adding this involved buying state-of-the-art equipment from nations including the United States. Sunday's trip will be Clinton's first since he was acquitted by the Senate on Friday on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice arising from his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico Freed Drug Suspect, Official Says Release Ordered Despite Warrant (The Washington Post says the Mexican attorney general's Organized Crime Unit recently captured Humberto Garcia Abrego, the man believed to be the country's most notorious drug money launderer, detained and interrogated him for three weeks, and then set him free despite a federal warrant for his arrest.) Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 06:09:37 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Mexico: WP: Mexico Freed Drug Suspect, Official Says Release Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Source: The Washington Post Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company Page: A21 Pubdate: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Mail: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071 Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Author: John Ward Anderson and Molly Moore, Washington Post Foreign Service MEXICO FREED DRUG SUSPECT, OFFICIAL SAYS RELEASE ORDERED DESPITE WARRANT MEXICO CITY - Mexican police recently captured the man believed to be the country's most notorious drug money launderer, detained and interrogated him for three weeks, then set him free despite a federal warrant for his arrest, according to Mexican sources. The alleged money launderer, Humberto Garcia Abrego, brother of jailed Gulf cartel kingpin Juan Garcia Abrego, had been the subject of an intense manhunt since February 1997, when he allegedly paid three federal judges almost $1 million in bribes to be freed from prison. He was never questioned about the alleged payoffs during his recent incarceration, according to an official familiar with his interrogation. Samuel Gonzalez Ruiz, chief of the Mexican attorney general's Organized Crime Unit at the time of the incident, denied in an interview that Humberto Garcia Abrego was detained and released: "It's absolutely false, it never took place." But the other Mexican official backed up his account with a copy of a document from the Organized Crime Unit written over Gonzalez's name ordering Garcia Abrego's "immediate and absolute freedom." Gonzalez, who denied writing the order, resigned Jan. 1 as head of the unit, reportedly under the pressure of superiors' dissatisfaction with his handling of several major cases. The Mexican source said Garcia Abrego was arrested Oct. 18 in the quaint colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, about three hours north of Mexico City, while police were trailing other drug suspects. He was questioned under extraordinary secrecy at a safe house in the city of Queretaro near San Miguel de Allende and released on Nov. 9 after giving investigators detailed information about money laundering in the resort town of Cancun, the source said. The disclosure of Garcia Abrego's detention and release comes when Mexico's attempts to crack down on drug trafficking and corruption within its police and legal systems are under close national and international scrutiny. President Clinton arrives in Mexico Sunday for a 24-hour visit just a week before he is required under U.S. law to determine whether Mexico should be certified as an ally in combating drug trafficking. Numerous reforms designed to strengthen the rule of law have been enacted during President Ernesto Zedillo's administration. But Garcia Abrego's release despite the pending arrest warrant for drug money laundering, the alleged failure to question him about the circumstances of his previous incarceration and the secrecy surrounding the incident underscores the challenge Mexico faces in abolishing entrenched practices that permit drug kingpins to operate with impunity. As it happens, Garcia Abrego's lengthy confinement without being charged also violated a law prohibiting the jailing of suspects without charges for more than 72 hours. "He was held illegally," said the Mexican official. "As soon as 72 hours expired, we committed a crime called kidnapping." The document relating to Garcia Abrego's release and obtained by The Washington Post is a copy of the unsigned and undated duplicate of the original order, according to the Mexican official. Although one of the most frequently cited criminal justice reforms in recent years was the enactment of a law allowing Mexican prosecutors to engage in plea bargaining with suspects who cooperate in criminal investigations, it is unclear why that new authority was not used in the case of Garcia Abrego, who was simply freed from custody after turning over valuable information. The Mexican official said Garcia Abrego's capture occurred last Oct. 18 when federal police officers who were following two drug dealers in a car in Queretaro lost the subjects, and a short time later began following an identical car. When that car arrived in San Miguel de Allende, superiors radioed an order to the officers to arrest the occupants and bring them to police headquarters in Queretaro, about an hour away. After the officers returned, the officer in charge was stunned to see that instead of the two drug dealers, his men had Humberto Garcia Abrego in tow, the source said. Garcia Abrego is best known as the brother of Juan Garcia Abrego, the head of the Gulf cartel, who was considered Mexico's most powerful drug kingpin in the early 1990s. Juan Garcia Abrego, who had a $20 billion a year business shipping about a third of all the cocaine consumed in the United States, was tried and convicted in Houston in 1996 and sentenced to 11 life terms in prison. Humberto Garcia Abrego also is renowned for the murky circumstances surrounding his release from prison in late February 1997. In that case, the Mexican government withheld news of his freedom until after Clinton approved the annual certification of Mexico, even though the order for Garcia Abrego's release had been granted days earlier. Washington protested the incident for what "appeared to be unusual circumstances related to corruption," a U.S. official said. The Mexican government never provided "a satisfactory answer" for what happened, he said. Later that year, The Washington Post reported that Mexican law enforcement authorities had obtained information that Garcia Abrego, who had served just 17 months of a five-year sentence for money laundering, allegedly had paid $1 million to three federal magistrates and a lawyer to have the conviction annulled. In an interview, one of the magistrates denied being bribed and said that prosecutors had botched the case. After his release, Mexican officials issued a warrant for his arrest on new money laundering charges. A senior official in the Mexican attorney general's office said Mexican authorities never pursued the investigation of the alleged payoffs, and the source familiar with Garcia Abrego's interrogation said he was never questioned about the alleged bribes when he was picked up four months ago. Mario Melgar Adalid, chairman of the disciplinary committee of the Federal Judiciary Council -- a relatively new panel set up to investigate allegations of judicial corruption -- said his committee was aware of the bribery allegations in connection with Garcia Abrego's release, but never investigated them. Allegations of judicial corruption are widespread in Mexico. There are numerous cases in which Mexican and U.S. police say judges accepted bribes to drop charges or release drug traffickers, but few judges have ever been prosecuted or disciplined. Judges frequently argue that Mexican prosecutors present sloppy cases with insufficient evidence. The official familiar with Garcia Abrego's recent detention said that he was interrogated for about three weeks and provided important information about money laundering in Cancun by the Juarez cartel, which is now one of Mexico's top drug mafias. Partly as a result of the information he gave, according to the official familiar with the investigation, Mexican police launched an operation in Cancun, the country's most profitable tourist resort, last November and December and seized four hotels, two restaurants, nine offices, a warehouse and four yachts, in addition to numerous other properties in Mexico City and the northern state of Tamaulipas. The seized property was valued at about $200 million, according to the attorney general's office. The source said Garcia Abrego also gave investigators information about alleged drug money laundering by Raul Salinas de Gortari, the older brother of former president Carlos Salinas. Raul Salinas was recently found guilty of murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison in connection with the 1994 death of a top politician. There have been numerous unsubstantiated reports of meetings between Raul Salinas and Juan Garcia Abrego during the 1988-94 Salinas administration. Last year, Swiss authorities seized more than $100 million in bank accounts traced to Raul Salinas, saying it was drug proceeds he had collected for acting as the chief protector of drug traffickers during his brother's presidency. Salinas has said the money was obtained from legitimate business deals.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Jail Breeds Gang 'Virus' Say Analysts (The Edmonton Sun, in Alberta, says a program to be broadcast tonight on CBC's "Rough Cuts," produced by Katerina Cizek, a filmmaker who documented Winnipeg's street gang problem, shows that a divide and conquer anti-gang policy in Manitoba prisons has sent the once local problem countrywide.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: Jail Breeds Gang 'Virus' Say Analysts Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 10:14:20 -0800 Lines: 57 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Edmonton Sun (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Saturday, February 13, 1999 Author: Ian McDougall Jail breeds gang 'virus' say analysts Cons sent cross-country A divide and conquer anti-gang policy in Manitoba prisons has sent the once local problem countrywide, says a filmmaker who documented Winnipeg's street gang problem. About two years ago, Manitoba justice officials decided to fix the gang problem in jails by splitting members up and shipping them to other institutions across the country, said Katerina Cizek, who made Indian Posse Life in Aboriginal Gang Territory with partner Catherine Bainbridge. "It's spread the gang problem to other prisons,'' said Cizek, whose film airs tonight on CBC's Rough Cuts. Two notorious Manitoba gangs, the Manitoba Warriors and the Indian Posse, have members incarcerated in the Edmonton Institution, also known as the Max, said Troy Rupert, founder of the anti-gang Winnipeg Native Alliance. "It's like a virus and it's spreading,'' he said. Prisons like the Max - along with shopping malls - are the primary recruitment grounds for the gangs, said Mel Buffalo, president of the Indian Association of Alberta. "People just seem to be numb with disbelief this is happening,'' he said. Buffalo hasn't heard of gang recruitment spreading to Alberta reserves. But if Edmonton follows Manitoba's example it will happen, Rupert warned. "It spreads to people susceptible to it,'' Rupert said. "Where there's poverty, socio-economic problems, the gangs are successful.'' Edmonton could also see a criminal alliance between the Manitoba-style gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs such as the Hells Angels. Winnipeg has already seen a partnership between the bike gang Los Brovos and the Manitoba Warriors, said Edmonton Det. Ron Robertson. The new gang arrivals in Edmonton haven't had time to establish the same ties seen in Manitoba, but given time they will, he suggested. "You're pretty much guaranteed you're going to see links between the groups,'' Robertson said, pointing to Ventura, California, where large bike gangs have routinely recruited new members from smaller street gangs. Four men picked up in Edmonton Wednesday on weapons charges were identified by city police as members of a Manitoba street gang trying to set up in Edmonton. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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