The Drug fLaws: Murder
DRUG WAR CLOCK: 05:42:24pm
"[A]cross the country, too many innocent civilians have been killed, injured or traumitized. Police officers also have lost their lives in accidental shootings by fellow officers during these adrenaline-fueled
November 3, 2004
Money Spent on the War On Drugs this Year
People Arrested for Drug Law Offenses this Year
"We have guided missiles and misguided men."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Herbert and Evelyn Giglotto were asleep in their home when the front door blew open. They watched in terror, clutching each other, as five longhaired men with guns rushed into their bedroom. "My God we're dead," thought Giglotto.
The men grabbed Giglotto, threw him to the floor, and pressed a gun to his head, while one of them screamed. Where's it at? Where's it at?" When Giglotto tried to answer, the one holding the pistol on him growled, "You son of a bitch, you move and you're dead."
Then the men started smashing furniture, pulling pictures off the wall, dumping drawers. "Where's it at?" they yelled. Slowly Giglotto began to understand that these "hippies" were actually - police! He had no idea what they were looking for and after an hour of finding nothing they began to leave.
"That's it?" Giglotto asked them. "You just kicked in my door, threatened my life, called my wife a whore and a bitch. Can you explain to me why you did this?"
The leader spun on his heel and knocked Giglotto to the floor. "Shut up your mouth, boy." he said, and they disappeared into the night.
From the Giglotto's house, these same men drove across town and kicked in the door of Donald Askew, who along with his wife, Virginia, and their sixteen-year old son, Michael, were terrorized. Ransacking the house for about an hour, they left as abruptly as they did the Giglotto's home.
The men were agents of the Office of Drug Abuse and Law Enforcement (ODALE). They had the wrong house - twice! ODALE director Myles Ambrose was hardly apologetic: "Drug people are the very vermin of humanity. Occasionally we must adopt their dress and tactics."
[Newsweek, May 14, 1973.
Adopted from Smoke and Mirrors
by Dan Baum; 1996; p. 83]
2. In the summer of 1998, the Houston police, acting on a tip that Pedro Oregon was dealing drugs, rushed into his apartment, shooting him twelve times. (9 times in th e back) The apartment and the dead suspect were clean. The informant had lied. Oregon, 22, had nothing whatsoever to do with dealing drugs.
[San Francisco Journal, December 2, 1998;
Source: Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed...;
Judge James P. Gray; 2001;
3. On March 26, 1987, the Jeffersontown, Kentucky, police raided the home of 24 year-.old Jeffery Miles on an anonymous tip that Miles was a drug dealer. Miles, who had no criminal record, was killed in the raid. No drugs were found.
4. In 1988, the San Diego police acting on an anonymous tip broke into the home of 56 year-old Tommy Dubose. Dubose was shot dead by the police as he sat in his livingroom. No drugs were found in his home.
[Smoke and Mirrors by Dan Baum;
Little, Brown; 1996; p. 248-49]
5. Donald Scott, a half-blind 61 year-old, was shot dead as the Los Angeles sheriffs raided his home in Ventura County, California, on October 2, 1992. They were looking for marijuana plants. None were found.
6. April 17, 1995: In Beaver Dam, WI, Sheriff's deputies raid the trailer home of 29 year-old Scott W. Bryant as part of a search warrant to look for drugs; shoot and kill Bryant in front of his 7 year-old son. Three grams of marijuana found.
[National Review, June 12, 1995, p. 4]
7. "In August 1999, armed men shot their way into a El Monte, California, home, set off a "flash-bang grenade, then ran into a bedroom where Mario Paz, a 64-year-old grandfather, and his wife had been sleeping. One of the gunmen shot Paz in the back twice, killing him." The invaders were cops, looking for evidence of drug dealing. No evidence was found.
[New York Times, August 28, 1999;
After Prohibition; The Drug War and the Constitution by Steven Duke; Cato Institute; 2000; p. 41]
8. October 4, 2000, 61 year old John Adams of Lebanon, Tennessee, was gunned down by police raiding the wrong house looking for drugs. He was watching tv when armed men burst through the door. His wife Loraine Adams, who said that the armed invaders did not identify themselves as police until after the shooting, was handcuffed and thrown onto her knees in a different room while her husband bled to death.
9. On a tip that George Timothy Williams was a major marijuana dealer, Eden, Idaho, sheriffs raided his home on January 3, 2001, in which Williams and two sheriffs wound up dead after a brief shoot-out. Four grams were found in the house. The "tip" had come from a girl who had been hounded and threatened by the sheriffs to give up a name, any name, as she had had a run-in with them due to her own drug habit. She had already lost two of her children to the state, and now the sheriffs were threatening to take the third. "Tim" as Williams was known to his friends, came to her mind. They had smoked pot together before. It is not certain why the raid erupted in gun fire, except that a friend of Tim's said he did own a gun and he was hard of hearing, perhaps the explosive sound of the door breaking in from the violent raid scared him to respond or it was simply self-defense.
10. MODESTO, Calif., September 13, 2000: The SWAT officer stood over Alberto Sepulveda, aiming his shotgun at him. The military-soldier-police-officer was screaming for the 11 year-old to lie down on the floor with his arms stretched out. Alberto did as he was told. Other soldier-police-officers were running throughout the rest of the house. They were looking for drugs. 30 seconds later, the shotgun went off, hitting young Alberto in the back killing him instantly. A huge, bloody hole that went straight through the floor. An "unintentional discharge." (Oops!) No drugs were found.
[Source: Militarizing the American Criminal Just ice System: The Changing Roles of The Armed Forces and the Police
by Peter Kraska]
The City of Modesto paid $450,000 to family.
11. Esequeil ("Zeke") Hernandez lived on a small Texas farm along the Rio Grande outside of Redford, population 100. A sophomore in high school, Zeke was out tending the family goats on May 20, 1997, when U.S. Marines, assigned to enforce drug trafficking along the border, were out on patrol. Once the Marines spotted him, they fired, without warning, killing young Zeke, under authority of drug enforcement.
12. In another Texas town, the police broke into Annie Rae Dixon's home on the basis of an informant that she was selling drugs. The police shot and killed Ms. Dixon in the raid. Ms. Dixon, 84 years-old, was bedridden. No drugs were found.
13. Ismael Mena, father of nine, worked the night-shift at the Coca-Cola bottling plant. One day while he was asleep in his bed the Denver SWAT team burst into his home awakening him. Nervously, Mr. Mena grabbed his .22 pistol. When the police rushed into his bedroom they yelled at him to drop the gun. Mr. Mena got off one word, "Policia?" He was instantly shot in the head and chest, then shot six more times. No drugs were found in his home. The police had the wrong house. Denver mayor Wellington Webb offered this statement to explain the horrible incident: "Mr. Mena would be still alive today if he just didn't have a gun."
14. BETHLEHEM, PENN. 1997: 22 year-old man shot to death during drug raid. His home also destroyed by fire ignited by flash grenade. City pays $8 million to family and landlord.
[USA Today; April 26, 2004; p. 17A]
15. NEW YORK CITY. MARCH 2004: "New York police burst into a Brooklyn apartment hoping to nab a drug dealer. Instead, they terrified a law-abiding couple in their 80's. Turns out, the cops raided the wrong building."
[USA Today; April 26, 2004; p. 17A]
16. NEW YORK. 2003: "Alberta Spruill, 57, suffered a fatal heart attack after police stormed her Harlem apartment and detonated a stun grenade while searching for a suspect who didn't live there and was already in custody." The police were acting on an informant's tip.
[USA Today; April 26, 2004; p. 17A]
raids gone bad."
"[A]cross the country, too many innocent civilians have been killed, injured or traumitized. Police officers also have lost their lives in accidental shootings by fellow officers during these adrenaline-fueled
The editorial goes on to say, "some risk is always involved trying to catch drug dealers." (id.) But adds, "No apology or financial award can adequately compensate a family that loses a loved one because the wrong address was on the search warrant." (id.) The article is tough on the issue, but it fails to ask the question: "Is the risk worth catching a drug dealer?" Some cities have decided that trying to catch suspects in high-speed chases are "not worth the risk" and therefore the policy is to let the suspect get away. Too often, innocent people had been hurt and killed, not to mention the damage from the inevitable crash.
Must the police crash through a house, toss grenades while armed, ready to fire off a round from their guns, to catch drug dealers?
In EVERY drug dealer case, the "dealer" has already been seen dealing drugs by the officer, or there is a witness to the drug deal, usually the buyer. When the police raid a house 'to catch" a drug dealer, they are only trying to arrest him or her. And seize any evidence available. The reason, there is a search warrant, is that the "sale" has already been made sometime earlier, days and weeks and even months ago! In most drug raids, the situation is that an informant has told the police that a person is dealing drugs and may also assist the officers in what they call a "controlled buy." The "confidential reliable informant" (It is lawfully required that the informant has proven to be reliable.) is given money and sent to the dealer. When the informant comes back to the police with drugs, the conclusion is that there is a person selling drugs. Next, a search warrant will be obtained to raid the premises. It may take a few days to a month to get the warrant and organize the officers for the raid. The occupancy of the premises will invariably have changed. So when the police kick in the door, the dealer may not even be there, or there may be others that have nothing to do with the prior deal. There is so much that can go wrong. And remember, these police will have their weapons ready to SHOOT! They bring with them a battering ram to bust the door(s) down. They are lawfully required to knock and announce themselves and wait at least 20 seconds before they force their way in, but in the few raids I have seen, they just burst in. And it sounds like a bomb went off. If your door has a window on it, the sound of breaking glass and wood is that much more frightening.
THERE IS NOTHING SO SERIOUS ABOUT A PAST DRUG DEAL that it takes such
intense, immediate action like an armed raid. And to figure that a grenade needs to be tossed in the house is ludicrous!
CHILDREN MIGHT BE THERE OFFICER!!!
THE HOUSE COULD CATCH ON FIRE!!!
Good God, people, what are our police doing?
These are not 'enemy combatants" that have been shooting at the police or others, most drug users are pacifists.
Keep this in mind whenever you hear the police had a search warrant. These officers presumably did. Why? How did they get a judge to issue it? They had the slightest of proof to present to a judge, yet, they were given the authorization to arm themselves and raid these homes with all the danger that that act brings with it. It is
clear that the police never had any proof that these people were dealing, so perhaps the police wanted to arrest them for possession. And that makes the situation that more absurd.
Whatever drug evidence may be in the house, it is not volatile, ready to explode like a bomb. There is no reason to react in such an emergency to get into that house. The police will say they need the advantage of surprise because the drugs could be flushed down the toilet. Dear reader, if a toilet can flush drugs away, there really wasn't that much to find anyway. Not enough to risk taking someone's life for - or even burning down the house!
[In my case, I had just gotten out of prison from a prior drug conviction, I was
on parole, and the police encounter was going very bad for them - I had no
drugs. Claiming they made a drug bust explained the harassment they had caused
that day. –dm]
"The list of drug war victims goes on and on. I am talking about kids, old ladies, completely innocent people, shot and killed not by gangs, not by robbers or drug dealers, not by schoolyard shooters or kids playing with guns, but by those sworn to protect our lives."
Notes From the Front Lines
Of America's #1 Policy Disaster;
by Sheriff Bill Masters;
Accurate Press; 2001; p. 9]
"Only in a police state is the job
of a policeman easy."
Michael Levine had more than 20 years as a federal narcotics agent with more than 3,000 arrests and the seizure of several tons of illegal drugs. Levine's brother David, a heroin addict had committed suicide and his 15-year-old daughter was addicted to cocaine. Terrified that he might lose his daughter the same way, Levine began to ponder a solution for it all. Had all his law enforcement efforts “been for nothing”? - thought Levine.
Levine drove a black Mercedes sedan that had been seized from a drug dealer. (See ASSET FORFEITURES, below) While sitting in his (legally) stolen car one day, Levine came up with the idea (The Fight Back Program) that if drug buyers knew that he was a cop, they would not come near him. Even better, they might leave the whole area, as the presence of the police alone could deter buying and selling drugs. And it worked! [After Prohibition; Fight Back; Michael Levine; Cato Institute; 2001; pp. 91-117]
And it is a system that will work whenever a city can hire 100,000 officers and keep them posted on the streets - day and night. (24/7) (But then a "ride into the country" will become a common pastime for Americans - sort of how "Sunday drives" used to be, with a bit of a different reason of course.)
Sadly, Officer Levine also lost his son Richard who also was a police officer. Richard had been shot by a robber. Police presence will deter robbers too. Has anybody thought of assigning police to every street all hours of each day? Oh yeah, Levine did, but that was to ward off drug trafficking.
2. From California to New York, police officers often reward informants who help them to arrest drug dealers with drugs they obtain from the arrests or prior encounters. In Los Angeles, LAPD police officer Rafael Perez admitted that he manipulated a homeless woman with crack cocaine for her assistance in gathering information from a list he had of suspected drug dealers; in Schenectady, New York, police officers have been giving crack cocaine to addicts to set up other addicts for the past 8 years, according to an FBI investigation.
In San Antonio, Texas, ten cops were busted for protecting cocaine shipments, dealing drugs, and stealing public money; in Gary, Indiana, a cop was indicted in connection with a pair of drug-related killings and another for money laundering and selling cocaine and heroin; more than a dozen convictions in Jacksonville, Florida, may be set aside due to slayings and drug trafficking by the police there.
[The Razor Wire; Vol. 5, No. 5; 2001; p. 15]
3. In 1992, Helen Anthony was a 59 year-old grandmother who lived in North Philadelphia. Returning home from her job as a housekeeper, Mrs. Anthony was confronted by the local police who would not allow her to go into her home. They were there to enforce the destruction of her home of twenty-three years.
As part of a city program against drug dealing, certain homes were targeted to be torn down. "My house ain't no drug den!" Mrs. Anthony pleaded. The cops refused to listen. Two hours later the home was reduced to a pile of bricks and red dust.
When reporters inquired about the incident, the police referred to the age-old clause: "eminent domain." When the city was informed they had the wrong house, they offered to reimburse Mrs. Anthony. "The way the city treated her," opined her daughter Geraldine Johnson, "she does not want to live in Philadelphia."
[Source: Live from DeathRow;
1996; p. 139-141]
4. In the State of Washington, the North Central Washington Task Force enlisted the help of an HIV positive prostitute as an informant who traded sex for drugs. John Shearer was one of at least 11 men charged with drug offenses as a result of this informant. Shearer successfully sued the State for using an infectious prostitute as bait and settled for $37,000 in January 18, 2002.
[Prison Legal News; Dec. 2002; p. 32]
5. CALIFORNIA: On Nov. 17, 2002, the Redwood City police handcuffed Ricardo Escobedo and subdued him with leg restraints after a he had threatened a neighbor. Escobedo was described with "incredible strength" as it took 8 officers to get him into a police car to drive him out of the apartment complex. The police were transporting him to nearby firefighters who were prepared to wash the pepper-spray that they had doused his eyes with. In the minute it took them to get to the firefighters, Escobedo was dead. “The county coroner found the cause of death to be cardipulmonary arrest caused by excited delirium. Methamphetamine found in Escobedo's system, along with an enlarged heart, also contributed to his death, the coroner said." Escobedo was a father of two children.
[San Francisco Chronicle; March 1, 2003; p. A23]
6. CINCINNATI: Nathaniel Jones, died from a violent struggle he had with the police on December 3, 2003. A video camera inside the police car recorded most of the event and showed the officers repeatedly hitting and jabbing the victim with their clubs. The coroner said the beatings with the night sticks left bruises on his lower body, but did not damage his internal organs. But the viewer can SEE the officers hitting Jones in the UPPER body and jabbing him as well. Even one jab from those night sticks will damage a person's internal organ.
The police claim Jones was resisting arrest that the officers had not acted improperly. The coroner claimed that Jones suffered from heart disease and drugs and his weight were major contributing factors. But, "absent the struggle," Jones would not have died, said the coroner.
At 350 pounds, the 41 year-old man was quite an opponent as it can be seen him lunging at the officers. But there was a 97 second gap in the video that Jones’s family suggests could have explained why Jones fought with the police in the first place. The coroner report accused Jones of being under the influence of PCP, and suggested that this drug would cause a person to have enormous strength and explain why Jones fought with the police. His aunt described him as a "friendly; jolly, happy-go-lucky" father of two who was never violent or mean. "He was the sweetest man you ever seen," said his aunt Diane Payton.
[New York Times; Dec. 4, 2003; p. A16]
7. ALEXANDRIA, LOUSIANA: A police officer shot a suspected shoplifter as she drove away with her sister and child. Officer Vennie Powell, 30, fired nine shots at the car hitting Sherry Pennington in the lower back and arm. The officer was fired.
[USA Today; April 11, 2003; p. 13A]
8. THE RODNEY KING BEATING is probably the most widely known incident in recent times involving police brutality.
In 1991, several Los Angeles police chased Rodney King, stopped him, pulled him from the car and began to beat him savagely. An onlooker, George Holliday, videotaped the scene as officers Laurence Powell, and Timothy Wind struck King over 50 times with their batons with Powell on one side and Wind on the other. They took turns wielding the batons as one would a baseball bat. They kicked and stomped him with Officer Theodore Briseno joining in.
"I haven't beaten anyone this bad in a long time."
Police Transmissions; 1:13am
“Officer Powell came up to the right of him and in a matter of seconds, he took out his baton, he had it in a power swing, and he struck [King] across the top of his cheekbone, splitting the face from the top of his ear to his chin. “
-Officer Melanie Singer;
“I was scared that this guy was under PCP.”
-Officer Laurence Powell;
It was a brutal sight seen around the world as the report gathered interest.
“What do we, ladies and gentlemen, as members of the community, expect from our
police? What is it that we want them to do? These officers, these defendants do
not get paid to lose street fights. They don’t get paid to roll around in the
dirt with the likes of Rodney Glen King. These are not Robo cops, ladies and
gentlemen, they hurt, they feel pain, they bleed and they die just like everyone
else. And we leave it to them to take care of the mean streets. So that we can
safely enjoy our lives”
-Defense Attorney Michael Stone;
The video was undisputed truth that the police in the US can be as brutal as blamed of other countries.
King was later released from jail with out charges
The officers’ defense? They thought he was on PCP and if he was, they thought he would be dangerous.
Public sentiment was that the police had gone too far. 92% of Los Angeles residents who saw the videotape believed that the police used excessive force in arresting King. Despite the videotape, a jury in Simi Valley concluded a year later that the evidence was not sufficient to convict the officers.
“People, I just want to say, can’t we all just get along? Can we stop making it horrible? We're all stuck here for a while. Let's try to work it out."
"Six Officers Fired for Botched Drug Raid Shootings."
[Associated Press, November 3, 1998]
"A Father Is fatally Shot by the Police in His Home, and His Family Is Asking Why."
[New York Times, August 28, 1999]
“Shooting Raises Scrutiny of Police Antidrug Effort.'
[New York Times, March 25, 2000]
1. The State vs. The People; The Rise of the American Police State; by Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zeiman answers the question, "Is America becoming a police state?"
"A police state is brutal, yes. But it is also persuasive, its premises seem reasonable, its actions necessary for the good of all. That is precisely why it is a danger to us.***[T]he United States is fulfilling the police state model, all in the name of social betterment or security. It’s not a pleasant picture."
2. Dirty Tricks Cops Use (And Why They Use Them);
by Bart Rommel.
A cop plants drugs on a private plane, then seizes the plane for police department use;
Police leave blank tape at the beginning of an illegal interrogation, then go back and record themselves reading the suspect his rights;
How vigilante cops conduct an "execution";
and much more.
Sgt. Patricia Pultz and deputies Lawrence Koscianski and William Spatz of the Cook County, Illinois, sheriff's department were acquitted on March 12, 2002, for the murder of Louis Schmude on May 7, 2000.
On May 5, 2000, Schmude had been beaten by the guards in a holding cell at the Bridgeway courthouse. Defense lawyers for the guards claimed Schmude died from a fall he suffered in the jail infirmary, where he was transferred after the May 5th beating.
Deputy medical examiner Mitra Kalelkar, who supervised the autopsy, testified that Schmude's death was a direct result of the beating he received May 5th. Judge Ronald Himel disregarded Kalelkar's testimony and took only four minutes to acquit the guards.
[Prison Legal News; November 2003; p.12]
2. On April 11, 2002, El Dorado County Jail guard Charles David Copeland was acquitted in the beating of prisoner Eric Quinn Beeghley, 44. Illinois authorities claimed Copeland punched and kicked Beegley numerous times. [Prison Legal News; Nov. 2002] Guard Gayla Wilbur testified that she saw Copeland slam Beeghley against a cell wall, bounce him off a bunk bed ladder and punch him "two or three times," and kick him "five or six times" even though he wasn't resisting.
[Prison Legal News; November 2003; p. 12]
3. Jo Ann Johnson, a diabetic, arrested in April 4, 1999, on drug charges, was refused permission to take with her to jail her insulin. The jail failed to administer her insulin a few days later and she contracted a diabetic attack and died.
[Orleans Parish Prison, Louisiana]
4. A 47 year-old man died from a fatal injury he received while in the custody of the Novato, California, police.
Cary James Grime had been arrested on suspicion of public intoxification. Grime was hospitalized after developing "breathing problems" at the jail. He had no indications of serious health problems when he was arrested. Family members said Cary never regained consciousness and showed signs of a severe beating - including a broken nose, organ damage and severe genital bruising. His brother Luther said, "There was no pulse," when Cary was taken to the hospital. The hospital refused to comment.
The police claimed that Cary had been drinking excessively that night and was put into a "safety cell" for a cooling down period. They say at that point Grimes developed breathing problems and fell unconscious. Grimes's family claimed the victim had no adult history of respiratory problems and Luther said the hospital told him that Cary's blood-alcohol level was .03 percent, well under the legal driving limit in California.
Back in 1997, another man had died while in Novatopolice custody after being subdued with pepper spray.
[Marin Independent Journal; August 20, 2003; p. A1; A9]
5. Five Sioux City, Iowa, guards from the Woodward County Jail were fired after surveillance video of the jail showed them kicking, punching, and slamming prisoner Benjamin Freenor's head into a counter while booking him.
[Prison Legal News; March 2003; p. 71
6. Lonzo McShan, 25, a guard at the Walls State Prison in Huntsville, Texas, was arrested in August 2002 for forcing male prisoners to perform oral sex on him.
[Prison Legal News; March 2003; p. 10]
7. Michael Chaney, a guard at the O.L. Luther State Prison in the southern Texas town of Navaspta, was arrested in May 2002 and charged with forcing male prisoners to perform oral sex.
[Prison Legal News; March 2003; p. 101
8. Orange County sheriff's deputy Jerome Preston, 47, pepper sprayed 35 jail prisoners on March 5, 2003, after they refused to disclose who had spat on his driver's seat. Preston was charged with a misdemeanor.
[Prison Legal News; July 2003; p. 34]
9. May 9, 2003, San Mateo county judge Jonathan Karesh dismissed a jury verdict finding San Francisco county jail deputy Richard Segovia, 31, guilty of misdemeanorassault for attacking prisoner George Varela with abroomstick. The judge was a former county prosecutor.
[Prison Legal News; July 2003; p. 34]
10. Two New York City police officers were convicted of assault and torture for shoving a police baton up the ass of a Haitian immigrant detainee at the police station in 1997. Officer Justin Volpe pled guilty to 6 federal charges. Officer Charles Schwarz was found guilty of one charge. 3 other officers were acquitted.
11. Amadou Diallo, 22, an unarmed African immigrant, was shot 19 times from a total of 41 shots fired at him by 4 New York City police officers on February 4, 1999. The officers said they thought he was reaching for a gun. The officers were charged with second-degree murder.
12. CYA or "juvenile hall" was another infamous site of police brutality on January 20, 2004. A surveillance camera recorded several "counselors" as they beat two inmates (wards) savagely. Six employees of the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Facility in Stockton were suspended pending an investigation. "One counselor is shown kicking a handcuffed ward in the head, while another punches a ward in the face more than 20 times after the ward was shot three times with pepper spray..."
[San Francisco Chronicle; March 18, 2004; B3]
The video hurts to watch. One adult is seen straddling one young man as he lay face down, and recoiling his fist far back to get the most impact. This, he does 28 times, connecting with the victim's head and face area. It is a wonder the young man did not die. Nowhere in the video are the two victims seen striking back or even resisting.
Despite the undisputed violations of assault, the district attorney said he would not prosecute. "We're not filing anything," said DA Jim Willett. (id.) Although the video does not show it, Youth Authority Director Walter Allen said the wards "had assaulted the employees." (id.) The beating was described as an "altercation" and a "mutual fight." (id.)
"[W]e don't believe there was a reasonable likelihood that anyone would convict (the employees)."
With the advent of the drug laws and the expansion of law enforcement authority to investigate those suspected of drug activity, the police became excessive in their methods. And remember, these are people that are armed. Too often, we have witnessed either personally or by video, police gang-banging a lone suspect. Too often, a suspect is beaten or shot.
On February 17, 2004, five drug agents in San Jose, California, were staking out a house waiting for a parole violator who was previously convicted of a drug offense. When a van drove up and then sped away, the agents took chase thinking the driver was their suspect. The fleeing man, Rodolfo "Rudy" Cardenas, 43, finally exited the van and ran when he was shot in the back by Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement agent Mike Walker. Walker told investigators he thought Cardenas was pulling a weapon. He wasn't.
[San Francisco Chronicle; July 21, 2004; p. B4]
The added atrocity of this incident was that the police claimed they had "shot the wrong man." Rudy was not the parole violator they were looking for. But this incident describes the police mentality and the public's conception of drug offenders. If the incident can be expressed as "the wrong man got shot," rather than "a man was murdered by the police," it is due to the reason that IF the man was the drug suspect, he would have been the RIGHT man? NO! Do not accept this reasoning. In fact, this particular article on the incident was more interested in the issue of the chase rather than the shooting. The article, entitled: "Police say agents' parole chase was against city policy," discussed the propriety of whether it was right for the agents to chase Rudy as it is the policy of San Jose to only conduct high-speed chases to capture dangerous criminals.
Are drug users and past drug users so dispensable to this country that a newspaper could publish a report with the purported assumption that its readership would be interested that the wrong man was shot? This paper is widely circulated and it could be assumed they know their readers. Add to that the response from the police, that they shot the wrong man, and one gets a certain idea of the sentiment of the people. I do not subscribe to this type of police state.
On July 22, 2004, drug agent Mike Walker told a grand jury that Rudy had turned around and pointed a gun at him. [San Francisco Chronicle; July 23, 2004; p. B4] That is how easy the police feel they can lie. No weapon was found, so how could the G-thug see a gun? Walker's supervisor, Steven Davies, reported that Walker had told him that Rudy had NOT pointed a gun at him and that he (Walker) had shot Rudy in the back as he was running away. (id.)
"[R]udy actually had his back toward Mike when he discharged the rounds."
This is what Walker had told Davies right after the incident. But when he went on the stand he said: "I know what I saw. The man pointed a weapon at me and I shot him." The news article says that Walker "repeatedly contradicted himself during three hours of testimony." (id.) "At one point, Walker said Cardenas never raised and pointed the gun, then insisted he had." (id.)
Three witnesses testified that they did not see anything in Rudy's hands. Dorothy Duckett, a 79 year-old local resident, said she heard shots and looked out her window and heard Rudy say: "Don't shoot me. You already shot me," as he raised his empty hands in the air in a sign of surrender. [San Francisco Chronicle; July 27, 2004; p. B4] Monica Zerman, an employee at a nearby law firm said she never saw anything in Rudy's hands either. (id.) And Francis Kolbo, a retiree living near the scene, said she saw Cardenas clearly, his hands were open and empty. (id.)
David Gonzalez, the right man they were looking for, was described by his parole agent as "just felony stupid" for chronically failing to check in with him as required and a non-threatening person. (id.) But to the police, Gonzalez was "presumed armed and dangerous." (id.) The police were on the hunt and as they chased Rudy in reckless abandon in a wild chase through downtown San Jose, their adrenalin, no doubt, kicked in.
[What might have happened was, the police thought they were chasing a felon who had violated parole. A felon who they knew was a drug offender. As the suspect was running, the police surmised he was involved with drugs again.
After Rudy stopped the van he jumped out and began to ran. Walker, right behind him was unable to catch Rudy. And when Rudy jumped a 6-foot chain-link fence, Walker knew he was going to lose him, so he fired his weapon in an attempt to stop him.
During the chase, Walker may have built up a personal and additional anger towards Rudy as he witnessed the reckless manner he was trying to get away. And when the moment came that it looked like Rudy would get away, Walker made a snap judgment - he shot - five times through the fence. Although many people would probably have felt the same anger as Walker, the incident must be put into perspective.
The man Walker was chasing was not guilty of anything except running. And if he had turned out to be Gonzalez, well, Gonzalez was not guilty of any crime either; he had just failed to report to his parole agent.
Although Walker did not say this, he probably thought Rudy possessed drugs and that, along with his failure to stop, infuriated Walker. Additionally, the suspect the police was looking for, and thought they were chasing, was on parole and that makes him an automatic enemy of the police.
Now, even though I spent over ten years of my life in prison and have been on parole, I do want the police to pay special attention to parolees as many guys I have met in prison never did change - they were mean when I met them IN prison. But this just tells us that classifying a drug offender as a Felon puts this group in with a much wilder class.
And that, dear reader, is the problem. Drug users are not "Felons," they should not be so considered. To shoot someone in the back because at one time they used drugs is as wrong as can be. And people have to recognize this or drug users will continue to be treated as dangerous felons. –dm]
"The wicked man does deceptive work."
A senior police officer for the city of Oakland, CA., Clarence Mabanag, and fellow officers Jude Siapno and Matthew Horning were charged with "filing false police reports and conspiring to hide misdeeds, including beatings, and the planting of evidence" resulting from testimony of a another officer Keith Batt. Mabanag tried to refute Batt's accusations by calling him a "cocky know-it-all," a "coward," and described Batt as "a little bitch." Mabanag conceded that his methods violated department policy, but said that was the way that he had been broken in. Mabanag had been the senior officer with the responsibility of training Batt as a rookie on the streets. Batt quit after two weeks of becoming a police officer for the city of Pleasanton.
In his 11 years on the force, Mabanag said that he had shot four suspects - killing one - and six dogs. Mabanag also said he had racked up 22 internal affairs complaints but none were sustained.
[San Francisco Chronicle; April 16, 2003; p. A18]
A fourth officer, allegedly the ringleader, Frank Vasquez, is a fugitive believed to have fled the country.
[San Francisco Chronicle; May 2, 2003; p. A23; 24]
In February 2003, the City of Oakland settled 119 lawsuits for $10.5 million and in 2002, prosecutors dismissed about 90 cases, mostly drug-related, with connections to these officers.
Mabanag's attorney maintained that the officers were pressured into aggressive action by the Chief of Police's drug enforcement campaign entitled: SANE. (Strategic Application
of Narcotic Enforcement). Promoting the campaign, Police Chief Richard Word said in a newsletter, "We must work to create an environment in Oakland that is hostile to criminals." Word explained that he encouraged officers "to go after the root cause of crime in the city, drug abuse, drug use, and drug sales." (id.)
The trial of the four Oakland police officers who called themselves "The Riders" ended in acquittal for three of them. The fourth, and alleged ringleader, Officer Frank Vazquez, had fled to Mexico to escape prosecution. The year-long trial resulted in the state's longest jury deliberations with the judge ordering the jury to return again and again to continue when they announced they had deadlocked.
The officers worked the nightshift in one of Oakland's roughest neighborhoods. Over the years, Oakland had been plagued with high rates of homicide, many unsolved and few arrests. In fact the defense lawyers had argued "their clients were under immense pressure to reduce crime and were simply doing the bidding of a new regime that demanded they wrestle the city streets back from criminals," said the news article. [San Francisco Chronicle; Oct. 1, 2003; p. C4]
The jurors refused to respond to questions as they left the court, but the next day six of them (three women and three men) announced they wanted the officers retried, with three of the six apologizing for not convicting them.
[San Francisco Chronicle; Oct. 2, 2003; p. A1]
"It's a strong case," said one of the jurors. “We would have come back with convictions if we didn't have such a bad dynamic in our jury." (id.)
The six blamed the jury foreman ("the bad dynamic") and two others for nullifying the case. "They really messed things up. We never really got on track," said one juror. (id.) They said the foreman, a law student, "polarized jurors on the first day of deliberations." (id.)
"He (the foreman) said there was enough reasonable doubt... and nothing was going to change his mind. That was the first 15 minutes. It was pretty much downhill from there."
(woman juror) (id.)
"He said we would never get the votes for conviction, so our options were acquittal or mistrial. Most of us wanted to go through evidence objectively but he had to put his spin on everything" and "ridiculed everyone who disagreed with him."
(woman juror) (id.)
The six jurors accused the jury foreman of being "disruptive throughout the deliberations and spent months pressuring the others to acquit the officers." (id.) The jury had deliberated for 55 days.
"We were really upset, and we couldn't do nothing. We told the judge and he said he didn't want to know what was going on in the jury room."
Oct. 2, 2003; NEWS 7]
"Law precluded [Judge Leo] Dorado from tampering with jury deliberations." (id.)
"I feel I need to apologize to the community," said one woman juror. Those defendants were guilty but we failed to convict them."
[San Francisco Chronicle; Oct. 1, 2003; p. C4]
[The San Francisco district attorney refiled the case on the officers. Case pending as of this writing.]
2. A Texas judge agreed with the request of the prosecution that 38 drug convictions in Tulia, Texas, be overturned as they conceded that their evidence relied on the testimony of undercover officer Thomas Coleman after Coleman and other witnesses testified, describing "his troubled career, unorthodox methods, pervasive errors, combustible temperament and apparent racism." (Most of the defendants were black.) The judge stated, "Coleman is simply not a credible witness under oath." The judge said he would recommend that a higher court overturn the conviction of everyone convicted in the sting. In the meantime, the 16 people still in prison will remain there.
[Marin Independent Journal; April 2, 2003; p. A31 [NOTE: The 16 have since been released.]
3. Joseph D. McNamara was a New York policeman in the late 1950's. He wrote that he "watched in frustration" as heroin epidemic swept "whole families and neighborhoods"
McNamara calls himself and other police officers "drug warriors." He asserts that "Drug arrests statistics serve the same purpose enemy body counts served during the Vietnam War." As a policeman of 35 years, McNamara feels that "jailing people because they put chemicals into their bloodstream is a gross misuse of the police power and criminal law. Jailing drug users does not lessen drug use."
[After Prohibition; The War the
Police Didn't Declare and Can't Win;
Joseph D. McNamara; Cato Institute; 2001; pp. 119-126]
McNamara is working on a new book tentatively entitled: "Gangster Cops: The Hidden Cost of America's War on Drugs." As the title suggests, it is about "bad boys" - cops, that is. McNamara plans to report on police officers that use the drug laws to commit their own crimes, and how the police use society's antagonism against drugs to falsify reports, arrests, and account for their own misdeeds; officers who deal drugs and steal them, from drug dealers OR their own police stations!
McNamara notes there are over 600,000 police officers and almost everyone of them adhere to a "Code of Silence." Joseph D. McNamara is also formerly the police chief of San Jose, California.
4. MIAMI. 2003: "Four Miami police officers were given federal prison sentences ranging from about a year to three years for planting guns after questionable police shootings or lying to cover them up."
[San Francisco Chronicle; Oct. 30, 2003; p. A3]
"Three others were acquitted and four face retrials after jury deadlocks." (id.)
OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT
1. On average, half of all police officers convicted as a result of FBI-led corruption cases between 1993 and 1997 were convicted for drug-related offenses.
(Source: General Accounting Office; 1998)
2. "Since 1995, 10 police officers from Philadelphia's 39th District have been charged with planting drugs on suspects, shaking down dealers for hundreds of thousands of dollars and breaking into homes to steal drugs and cash."
(Source: General Accounting Office; 1998)
3. In New Orleans, 11 police officers were convicted of accepting nearly $100,000 from undercover agents to protect a cocaine supply warehouse containing 286 pounds of cocaine. The undercover portion of the investigation was terminated when a witness was killed under orders from a New Orleans police officer.
(Source: General Accounting Office; 1998)
4. 1998 report: Police officers engaged in stealing money and/or drugs from drug dealers, selling stolen drugs, and protecting drug operations in the following cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Savannah, and Washington D.C.
(Source: General Accounting Office; 1998)
5. In April 2000, former Dallas police officers Quentis Roper and Daniel Maples were convicted of extorting more than $125,000 from drug dealers and illegal immigrants and falsifying evidence against those who refused to pay.
[Prison Legal News; July 2003; p. 5]
6. "Law enforcement in many jurisdictions has recruited juveniles to act as confidential informants in adult drug transactions. Tragically, some of these recruited juveniles have been killed by drug traffickers when their work for the police was discovered."
[Source: Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed...;
Judge James P. Gray; 2001; p. 53;
Citing: "Slain Teen Informant's Family Sues Brea Police," Orange County Register, August 15, 1998, by Stuart Pfeifer, and; "Snitch Jr.," California Lawyer, April 2000, p. 44]
7. "In May of 2001, the Charlotte Observer reported that Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents in the San Juan Office were instructed to file false reports in order to obtain more funding from the DEA."
[Drug War Addiction;
by Sheriff Bill Masters;
Accurate Press; 2001; p. 53]
8. On March 6, 2003, the Houston Police Department announced that the department's DNA crime lab had been shut down due to possible criminal and other misconduct. A December 2002 report found that the lab technicians were inadequately trained and that they routinely misinterpreted data and kept records in disarray. All of the lab's errors had been pro-prosecution, never favor of the defense. Other crime labs around the nation, including those in Oklahoma City, Montana, and Washington State have also been accused of performing slipshod work and providing false or misleading testimony. In 1997, 13 lab technicians in the FBI crime lab were accused of making scientific errors and aiding prosecutors with biased testimony. None of the technicians were fired or prosecuted. The Justice Department has identified about 3,000 criminal cases that may have been adversely affected.
[Prison Legal News;
by Michael Rigby; July 2003; p. 26]
"After being a drug warrior for many years - and being good at it - after receiving the DEA's award for outstanding achievements in the field of drug law enforcement, I realized I had failed my community by not carefully analyzing the problem. I had become part of the drug hysteria."
-Sheriff Bill Masters
2001; p. 18]
Where does this hostile lack of human rights come from? Civil law enforcement is specially trained to cope with the society they police. There are extreme efforts to teach licensed security to enforce laws in a civil manner. Sure, there is the "human element" and then there is the probability of mistakes, but there is another element involved here. It is the impression by civil leaders much the same as a child learns from grownups.
The military has an enormous influence on civil police officers. In fact, in many instances, the military trains police forces. Many police officers and jail/prison guards are former military soldiers. But most of all, local police are influenced by the tactics used by federal agencies.
1. Investigating abuses by federal prison guards in New York against illegal immigrants after the Sept. 11 attacks, Inspector General Glenn Fine reported that "guards slammed inmates against the walls, dragged them by their arms, stepped on the chains between their ankle cuffs, and made slurs and threats such as, 'you will feel pain’ and 'you're going to die here,'" Fine told a Senate Judiciary Committee.
[Marin Independent Journal; June 26, 2003; p. A3]
2. Dr. Humberto Alvarez-Machain, a gynecologist in Mexico, was wanted by the DEA. When they could not get. the Mexican government to hand him over, they simply kidnapped him and had him stand trial in Texas. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing for the majority, found that the kidnapping violated no express treaty and ordered him held. Dr. Alvarez-Machain was acquitted at trial.
[Source: Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed...;
Judge James P. Gray; 2001; pp. 100-101]
In 1990, the doctor was kidnapped by Mexicans who were paid $60,000 by US officers. He was held for 22 years before being acquitted. Alvarez sued for damages and won $25,000 against one Mexican officer and won the right to sue the US government, but the US Supreme Court overruled both decisions by the Ninth Circuit Court stating Alvarez had no basis for a lawsuit as his situation was not the kind of severe abuse that violated universally held international standards.
[San Francisco Chronicle; June 30, 2004; p. A13]
[The highest court in the US is saying kidnapping is not "severe abuse" as long as our government does it. -dm]
3. "In 1994, Juan Matta-Ballesteros was forcibly abducted from his home in Honduras by Honduran special troops and four U.S. marshals and brought to this country for trial. But first, he said, he was hooded, beaten, burned, and tortured with a stun gun that was applied to various parts of this body, including his feet and genitals."
[Source: Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed...;
Judge James P. Gray; 2001; pp. p. 101]
4. In 1997, the National Guard had more counter-narcotics officers than the DEA and conducted 1300 daily counter-drug operations with 4,000 troops.
[And this is what made the National Guard attractive for the last ten years or more. Lots of action and few if any casualties as most drug users never resist arrest or search. I've never ever heard of a National Guard killed or even wounded by drug users. But they wanted action and now they're getting a lethal dose of it. Not by going after unarmed drug users, but resistance fighters in Iraq. Now that they are being shot at and are dying, guard enlistment is down. -dm]
“There is a nationwide epidemic of police brutality in the United States. People are shot and killed with little or no provocation. They die from choke holds, hog tying, pepper-spray, beatings and high speed car chases. They die on the streets, in their own homes, on the border, in jails and prisons. The officers involved are almost never indicted, prosecuted, or punished in any way. Police generally say they had "no choice but to shoot."
Stolen Lives: Killed by Law Enforcement (Second Edition) documents over 2,000 cases.
And where do federal law enforcement learn their procedures? From the intelligence agencies.
1953, IRAN: The CIA overthrows democratically elected Mohammed Mossadeq in a military coup and replaces him with a dictator, the Shah;
1954, GUATEMALA: The CIA overthrows democratically elected Jacob Arbenz in a coup; a series of dictators follow;
1954-1958, VIETNAM: CIA officer Edward Lansdale
attempts subversion tactics to overthrow the government:
1957-1973: LAOS: The CIA carries out approximatelyone coup per year to nullify the country's elections;
1959, HAITI: The US military helps "Papa Doc" Duvalier become dictator;
1961, CUBA: CIA sends 1500 Cuban exiles to invadeCuba to overthrow Fidel Castro - fails;
1961, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: The CIA assassinatesGeneral Rafael Trujillo;
1961, ECUADOR: CIA-backed military forces the elected president to resign;
1961, CONGO (Zaire): CIA assassinates democraticallyelected Patrice Lumumba;
1963, DOMICAN REPUBLIC: CIA overthrows democratically elected Juan Bosch and installs repressive junta;
1963, ECUADOR: CIA-backed military coup overthrowsPresident Carlos Julio Arosemana;
1964, BRAZIL: CIA-backed coup overthrows the electedgovernment;
1965, INDONESIA: CIA overthrows democratically elected Sukarno;
1965, GREECE: With CIA backing, the king removedGeorge Papandreou as prime minister;
1965, ZAIRE: CIA-backed coup installs Mobutu SeseSeko as dictator;
1967, GREECE: CIA-backed coup overthrows the government two days before elections. (The favorite to win was former prime minister George Papandreou);
1968, UNITED STATES: CIA agents go undercover as "student radicals" to spy on and disrupt campus organizations protesting the Vietnam War (Operation Chaos);
1970, URUGUAY: CIA convinces right-wing forces touse torture as routine practice;
1970, CAMBODIA: CIA overthrows Prince Sihanouk; replaced by CIA puppet Lon Nol. Nol immediately sends troops against Vietnamese;
1971, UNITED STATES: Congressional report that CIA helped South Vietnamese agents murder "Viet Cong Leaders" operating in South Vietnam villages (Operation Phoenix);
1971, BOLIVIA: CIA-backed military coup overthrows and murders President Jose Juan Torres; Dictator-General Hugo Banzer comes to power;
1972, UNITED STATES: Watergate break-in team consists of CIA agents, James McCord, E. Howard Hunt and five Cubans with extensive CIA histories. The group belonged to the Committee to Re-elect the President (Nixon), funded and organized by CIA front, the Mullen Company;
1973, CHILE: CIA overthrows and assassinates democratically elected Salvador Allende and replaces him with Dictator-General Augusto Pinochet;
1974, UNITED STATES: Congressional hearings on CIA chief of counter-intelligence James Jesus Agleton for illegal domestic spying on Vietnam War protesters;
1975, AUSTRALIA: CIA helped topple the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Edward Whitlam;
1975, ANGOLA: CIA backs civil war; 300,000 Angolanskilled;
1979, AFGANISTAN: CIA supplies arms to any faction willing to fight the Soviets. One group leader was Sheik Abdel Rahman who later is involved with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Another was Osama bin Laden;
1979: NICARAGUA: CIA trains and arms terrorist group the Contras against the government;
1980, EL SALVADOR: CIA and US military arm terrorist death-squads; e.g. El Mazote (1982), 700-1000 men, women, and children massacred;
1981, IRAN: CIA begins to sell them weapons; profitsgo to arm Contras;
1983, HONDURAS: CIA trains Honduran military (Battalion 316) in torture tactics on thousands of dissidents; at least 184 murdered;
1984-1985, NICARAGUA: Lt. Col. Oliver North takes over Contra arms supplies;
1986, UNITED STATES: Iran/Contra arms scandal isexposed;
1986, HAITI: "Baby Doc" Duvalier, son of "Papa Doc," then president, is saved by US and flown to France after popular revolt; CIA rigs elections in favor of another "strongman."
1989, PANAMA: US invades and abducts General Manuel Noriega; Noriega on CIA payroll since 1966.
[Source: “Unmasking the CIA";
American Free Press
May 10, 2004; pp. 12-13]
Finally, one man spoke out:
"When I joined the CIA I believed in the need for its existence. After twelve years with the agency I finally understood how much suffering it was causing, that millions of people all over the world had been killed or had had their lives destroyed by the CIA and the institutions it supports. I couldn't sit by and do nothing and so began work on this book."
- Phillip Agee
[Inside the Company; CIA Diary;
1975; p. viii]
Disgusted with the tormenting and death the CIA inflicted on impoverished countries and their poor, Agee clandestinely wrote his book in Paris fearing the CIA would imprison him if he ever came back to the US.
"Our government's support for corruption and injustice in Latin America flows directly from the determination of the rich and powerful in the US, the capitalists, to retain and expand these riches and power."
Most of his assignments were in Mexico, Central and South America. But he traveled the world as well. Although Agee quit the Company in 1969, he left this warning:
"[Keep] in mind that the kinds of operations I describe, which occurred for the most part in Latin America, were typical of those undertaken in countries of the Far East, Near East, and Africa. I would also suggest that they are continuing today."
"It is estimated the CIA has committed over 100,000 serious crimes worldwide in its history so far. To finance its activities, it frequently engages in gun-running and drug smuggling - including large-scale importation of heroin and cocaine into the United States."
["Unmasking the CIA";
American Free Press;
May 10, 2004; pp. 12-13]
The CIA first became involved with heroin smuggling when the US penetrated into Asia, especially Vietnam. The French had long been conducting secret drug deals to finance their military operations, the US learned from them and continued the networks once the French pulled out in 1954.
Author Alfred McCoy extensively chronicles the events as it happened, in his book: The Politics of Heroin; CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (1972). McCoy explains very clearly how and why the CIA became complicit. The trade is so entrenched in that part of the world, as it has for the past 300 years when it was introduced to China by the British government, that in order for the CIA to establish strongholds in the area they formed alliances with heroin traders. Or so they would probably explain if they ever had to.
McCoy references many such agreements between Hmong leaders and the CIA. They help us - we help them. And the money was good too! If Congress wouldn't appropriate funds for certain "missions," the CIA would raise their own money.
Perhaps the same agreements could be made in South America? There were more marijuana smokers and cocaine users!
For the past 50 years, there have been many drug smuggling reports involving the CIA, yet, our government has yet to prosecute any CIA agent or even admit that it happens. But to show how intolerant the US is about illicit drug trafficking, on December 20, 1989, the US invaded Panama to arrest General Manuel Noriega on drug charges. He surrendered January 30, 1990, and was sent to the US for trial; found guilty and remains in a US prison to this day.
There are allegations that the CIA has supplied drug dealers in the United States. If these accusations are ever to be found fully credible, it would conclude that our own government is the largest organized dealers in illegal drugs in the United States.
Commenting on the arms sent to Afganistan in 1979 by President Billy Carter in response to the Soviet invasion, presidential adviser Dr. David Musto warned the White House Strategy Council on Drug Abuse:
"I told the council that we were going into Afganistan to support the opium growers in their rebellion against the Soviets."
[The Politics of Heroin; p. 436]
Musto had suspected that the CIA was complicit in the drug trade in Columbia and equated the two.
Wherever the CIA has been deployed in countries that produce illicit drugs, the production has increased. Afganistan almost eradicated opium after the country was taken over by the fanatical Taliban once the Soviets were driven out. In 2001, after the US ran the Taliban out, opium was once again a thriving crop. By 2003, it was the world leader in opium harvests and heroin production.
"Robert C. Bonner, the head of the DEA under President George Bush, Sr., acknowledged that there was 'at least some participation in approving or condoning' drug smuggling by the CIA."
[Source: Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed...;
Judge James P. Gray; 2001; p. 140]
(See also, "U.S. Probes Narcotics Unit Funded by CIA," by Michael Isikoff, Washington Post, Nov. 20, 1993, p. A1; "The Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic," by Michael Levine, drug suspects investigated by DEA protected by the CIA; "Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras, and the Drug War," by Celerino Castillo, where Castillo, a supervisory agent for the DEA in El Salvador, tells how he notified U.S. government officials that large shipments of cocaine were being smuggled into the U.S. by mercenary pilots he himself had hired to assist the Contras in Nicaragua; "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion," by Gary Webb, U.S. government agents and drug smuggling; "Cocaine Politics, Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America," by Peter Scott and Jonathan Marshall; “Ex-Agent North Knew of Drug Flights," Orange County Register, June 17, 1994, and; "CIA Probed in Alleged Arms Shipments," by Susan Schmidt, Washington Post, August 7, 1996, p. A6, allegations that the CIA used an isolated airstrip in Mena, Arizona, during the 1980s for drug and gun smuggling.
* Since 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency has secretly worked to subvert foreign powers and overthrow enemy governments to further US influence abroad. The CIA's Black Ops; Covert Action, Foreign Policy, and Democracy by John Nutter describes the various covert operations including domestic and foreign narcotic conspiracies.
If you might think that these acts by the CIA are on the outlines of the US, you may want to hear about the drug business life of Ricky (“Freeway Rick) Ross of Los Angeles, his suppliers, Danillo Blandon and Norwin Meneses and their CIA protections, or you could hear from Celerino Castillo, a DEA agent who witnessed CIA drug dealing from El Salvador in 1986; Ralph McGehee, a former CIA analyst who documented hundreds of references to cocaine in Colonel Oliver North's diaries; Dave Sabow, M.D. whose brother, a Marine Colonel, was murdered after discovering CIA smuggling drugs onto military bases in 1990 (three years after the Contra war ended); and Mike Ruppert, a former Los Angeles narcotics officer who came from a CIA family and who caught CIA dealing heroin and cocaine in 1976-77 (before the Contra war started!).
What the stories from these people will tell you is that the CIA, therefore, the US government, is complicit in the drug trade that links to the cities and towns of America, as well as the rest of the world. Not that the CIA is actually dealing drugs in the streets, but as Gary Webb, author of Dark Alliance explained, “[I]t's not so much a conspiracy as a chain reaction.” Well, Alfred McCoy, (The Politics of Heroin; CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (1972)) made that point already.
Intelligence agencies learn from the military (or is it the other way around?).
From surveys and calculations, military historians were able to conclude that for every 100 soldiers, 20% refused to fire their weapons in past wars, that they just could not kill. Training for Vietnam changed that. The emphasis would be on desensitizing the soldier. Instead of target practice at "bullseyes" the men would be shooting at more lifelike targets with a lot of blood-looking results.
The mind had to be CONDITIONED - to kill!
The result was a 90-95% determined killing machine.
"Conditioning," "desensitizing," this is necessary for effective results to compel the soldier to carry out his mission - to kill. ("We would run physical training in the morning and every time your left foot hit the deck you'd have to chant, "kill, kill, kill, kill," USMC sergeant; 1982)
"Desensitization was necessary as a training technique for the obvious reason, to turn the human being with feelings and beliefs against killing into a non-feeling machine that followed orders."
[UNTOLD STORIES VIETNAM magazine;
#6; p. 25]
It is only one step down to training civil authorities in the same way for the same purpose - to fight the enemy! And then it is only one step down from there - to condition the minds of the public. And why should we presume our government would attempt to condition and desensitize its citizens? Because it was during the Vietnam War that President Nixon declared the drug issue - a War!
"Basically, the Vietnam soldier rehearsed the process so many times that when he did kill in combat he was able to deny to himself that he had really killed another human being."
[UNTOLD STORIES VIETNAM magazine;
#6; p. 27]
"Denial and defense mechanisms are unconscious methods for dealing with traumatic experiences." (id.)
Declaring the drug issue a war was the first process in conditioning and desensitizing our citizens so as to support military police tactics against their family and neighbors, and eventually, themselves (in many cases.).
2. "Now I'm concerned that people we're training may be involved in some of the terrorism. We've gone from corruption to terrorism, and this concerns me."
-Congressman John Mica
(Commenting on U.S. involvement in Mexico's drug trade.)
[Source: Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed...;
Judge James P. Gray; 2001;
It has become a daily exercise for military and civilian law enforcement to use participants (or suspected participants) of drug use as "training." Boats, planes, cars, trucks, and people as they run, are all open-hunt game. Tracking, surveillance, profiling, detecting, searching, detaining, questioning, ruse, artifices, ploys, decoys, eavesdropping, and a lot of coercion.
The Posse Comitatus Act (1878) made it illegal for the military to act as police on U.S. territory or waters. "Posse comitatus” refers to the sheriff's authority to call all able-bodied citizens to his aid.
As one court put it:
"The use of military forces to seize civilians can expose civilian government to the threat of military rule and the suspension of constitutional liberties."
(Bissonette v. Haig
(8th Cir. 1985)
776 F. 2d 1384, 1387)
In 1981, the Act was amended to allow limited military policing and in 1991 it was further amended to allow counter-drug training of civilian police by the military. If the purpose is drug enforcement, then the equipment and training are free; if not, the civilian agency must reimburse the military.
When NORAD, The North American Aerospace Defense Command, admitted it could not protect America against incoming missiles it was reassigned to track planes and ships that might carry drugs. The first and only time that NORAD was expected to deploy intercept jets was on September 11, 2001, in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennslyvania. It failed. The first set of planes that were sent to meet the hijacked commercial airliners, were unarmed. They had to return to base.
Military training has a basic tenet: "Search and destroy." Civil police are expected to: "detain and arrest."
Task Forces, primarily conceived to group well-trained men for military campaigns (The Green Berets, Navy Seals, etc.), began to group for civil law enforcement. Most notable are the SWAT team. (Special Weapons and Tactics.) Well, some suspects are dangerous, but SWAT began to be used for ordinary drug raids.
89% of police departments now have paramilitary units. 20% of these type of military police forces patrol American cities.
Military actions are now part of common residential home searches. In Pinellas County, Florida, the police used flash-bang grenades to disorient the occupants of a home they suspected were selling marijuana. A fire broke out from the bright flash of the grenades, quickly burning the place to the ground. Owner Maria Mayor, who lived in Michigan at the time, found herself a victim of the military-police efforts to find drugs and was left with the struggle to get the city to compensate her. [Tampa Tribune] Police spokesman Rick Stelles defended the use of the grenade:
"We didn't go out there with the intention of setting
the house on fire."
1. In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a SWAT team conducted a large-scale raid (Operation Redi-Rock) on an entire residential block looking for drugs. No one was ever prosecuted.
2. Reverend Accelyne Williams of Boston was a drug counselor. Acting on a tip from an informant who made a deal to get out of some other trouble with the law, a SWAT team was called (for some reason) to make the search. Armed and aggressive, the "team" broke through Rev. Williams' door, chased him into his bedroom, shoving him to the floor, handcuffing him, with guns to his head, completely shocking the 70 year-old retired Methodist minister causing a heart attack which promptly killed him. There were no signs of drug activity in his apartment.
New York Times; March 28, 1994]
3. Another "paramilitary" civil law enforcement agency entitled: CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting). Created in 1983 for California, CAMP is the largest law enforcement task force in the United States and is used primarily in Humboldt and Mendocino counties in northern California. Along with this military group is the California National Guard in eradicating marijuana crops. With the aid of helicopters, these commandos patrol the skies of these counties looking for signs of marijuana growth - or, if none are found, they use their military machines to "view" the inside of homes where marijuana might be hidden from plain view. A warm fire will alert these trained men, mistakenly, that marijuana is possibly being grown inside a building. And the only way for commandos to determine the truth is to converge on the sight and "neutralize" the scene. Many times there are "mistakes" or "accidents."
A CAMP helicopter chased a nine-year-old girl down a dirt road and pointed their guns at her; flying low, wind-power from the chopper blade would break the windows of homes; kick up dust so thick it would drive cars off the road, other times the copters would spook horses and just about everyone living thereabouts. Upon landing or with their ground teams, CAMP invaders kicked in doors, broke windows and shot dogs. Vietnam had arrived in America.
[Smoke and Mirrors by Dan Baum; 1996; p. 174-76]
CAMP is affectionately called "summer camp" by its members as it has all the fun of a real war, without risk of real casualties. No one is shooting back.
There were large marijiuana “farms” and CAMP was effective, but they were too effective; after invading the harvest season, large farms were few to be found. As zealots, the police would not slow down, they began to harass whole neighborhoods. On April 2, 1985, a federal judge ordered CAMP helicopters to remain 500 feet away from homes, vehicles, and people. (NORML v. Mullen) CAMP ignored the order.
The state attorney general proudly posted:
The 2003 CAMP accomplishments include:
New record with the seizure of 466,054 plants – 100,000 more than year earlier;
New CAMP record by eradicating 70,000 plants from a single garden;
Conducted 182 raids in 32 counties;
Arrested 35 individuals;
Seized 50 weapons; and
Conducted raids of 12 marijuana gardens containing more than 10,000 plants each.
How is CAMP breaking new records after 20 years of battle? The attorney general called 2003 his “most successful season.”
"It's obvious that a 20-year effort to eradicate marijuana, which has cost millions of dollars, has been nothing but a publicity stunt."
-Supervisor John Pinches; Mendocino County
"My personal opinion of (CAMP) is it's a failure."
-Supervisor Roger Rodoni, Humboldt County
[UPDATE: On July 16, 2004, Commander Val Jimenez of CAMP said on KMUD radio that “marijuana growing was violent business because four suspects were killed last year in CAMP raids and that the program would begin two weeks earlier than before.]
[President Bush commented that a good feature of the US fighting in Iraq is that it was better than fighting "the enemy" here: "We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afganistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities." (Bush addressing the nation) [Marin Independent Journal; Sept. 8, 2003; p. Al; A7)
I expect the citizens of Humboldt and Mendocino are relieved that the battleground for paramilitary forces like CAMP is now overseas. It's not "summer camp" any more! -dm]
4. In Middlesex, Virginia, a similar military drug task force invaded the property of Glen Coberly while a helicopter circled above. After forcing Coberly to the ground and handcuffing him while the other authorized thugs secured the area, the certified government terrorists discovered the plants were tomatoes - not marijuana. Sorry. "We're just trying to do our best to protect our citizens," said sheriff Guy Abbott.
5. Another type of "Task Force" put out by the military is called the "Joint Task Forces." These are numbered 1-6. These six "Forces" are stationed in separate parts of the United States. The Joint Task Forces provide federal, state, and local law enforcement with extensive training. Among the subjects taught are patrolling, helicopter attacks, sniping, intelligence, and combat techniques also known as "advanced military operations on urbanized terrain." (AMOUT). Yes, that is "house-to‑house" warfare. Much of the military training is provided by Army Rangers and Navy SEALS.
6. The most infamous call to one of these Task Forces was by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) to assist them in Waco, Texas, against the Branch Davidians. The BATF claimed that the Waco case was a drug investigation, that the leader, David Koresh was running a methamphetamine laboratory. The BATF also asked for assistance from the Texas National Guard to help serve a federal search warrant on the Davidians, claiming they were a "dangerous organization believed to be producing methamphetamine."
After the Waco raid, Texas Governor Ann Richards blasted the BATF for having lied to obtain the military helicopters used. BATF then claimed that a British surveillance plane had found evidence of the methamphetamine lab just to avoid any further criticism from the Governor.
[Reported in After Prohibition; Militarized Law Enforcement;
David B. Kopel; Cato Institute; 2000; p. 69-72]
No evidence of a drug lab was found.
7. Similarly, the U.S. Marshals Service claimed a possible drug problem involved with the Randy Weaver family at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in order to get military reconnaissance flights over their cabin. Four hundred armed federal agents conducted a siege of the Weavers' mountain home, first killing Randy Weaver's dog, then shot his son in the back, then his wife as she stood in the doorway holding their baby. No drugs were found.
8. In another "military campaign," marines were conducting surveillance near Redford, Texas, when they spotted 18-year-old goat-herder Esequiel Hernandez. Although the purpose of the marines was to detect drug activity, they opened fire on Hernandez killing him instantly without ever talking to him or confirming that he had any drugs. He didn't. Hernandez had been shot by a marine corporal with an M-16 machine gun.
[Washington Post, June 22, 1997]
9. The drug war has put the Coast Guard far from America's coast: in Ecuador, Guatemala, and even on the rivers of landlocked Bolivia. The United States Border Patrol was also sent to Bolivia in South America!
[This is extremely stretching the security forces of the homeland. -dm]
The Navy participates in drug war enforcement, but when it goes into drug war combat (e.g., firing artillery at a ship suspected to be carrying drugs), the navy runs up a Coast Guard flag.
[Reported in After Prohibition;
Militarized Law Enforcement;
David B. Kopel; Cato Institute; 2000; p. 65]
"Pentagon Halts Drug Patrols after Border Killing."
[New York Times, July 31, 1997]
"Small Farm Town's SWAT Team Leaves a Costly Legacy."
[Los Angeles Times, April 5, 1999] *
"Coast Guard Using Sharpshooters to Stop Boats."
[New York Times, September, 14, 1999]
Soldiers are trained to attack rapidly and ruthlessly destroy the enemy. The objective is to kill people. Civil law enforcement is the opposite, its objective is to capture suspected criminals, not kill them. Soldiers are not peace officers. Calling this a "War" has distorted and poisoned our law enforcement officials and other members to a fatal degree.
"School of the Americas" is a U.S. military training camp that specializes in terrorist tactics. It has been training special forces of Americans and foreign mercenaries for years. For example, the brutal CIA-supervised Honduran death-squads of South America. "The people of Latin America call it the School of the Assassins," said Delores Perez Priem, co-founder of the watch-group School of the America's Watch (SOA Watch), which has been trying to shut the terrorist training facility down since 1990.
[San Francisco Chronicle; April 28, 2003; p. B3]
Located in the state of Georgia at Fort Benning, it is now known as the "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation."
"Publicity about atrocities committed by military officers and others trained at the school have prompted Congress to revamp and rename the school." (id.)
In 1996 the Pentagon was forced to release training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. The "Interrogation" manual taught military officers to gag, bind and blindfold suspects, while the "Terrorism and Urban Guerilla" guide explains how to build mail bombs. Among the SOA's nearly 60,000 graduates was the notorious dictator Manuel Noriega. SOA graduates have participated in human rights abuses that include the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the El Mozote Massacre of 900 civilians.
"’It is important to note that many terrorists are very well trained in subversion of the democratic process and use the system to advance their causes,’ one manual states. ‘This manipulation ends with the destruction of the democratic system. Discontent that can become political violence can have as its cause political, social, and economic activities of terrorists operating within the democratic system.’ Another manual warns that rebels are active in political organizations, legislative initiatives and political education, and that they can ‘resort to subverting the government by electoral means.’ This sort of analysis encourages military officers to perceive democratic challenges to a government as threatening and worthy of a military response.”
[Quoting: School of Americas Watch]
Author Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger is amilitary thriller in which the United States government covertly fields combat troops in South America to target drug lords and shoot down their airplanes as they smuggle drugs into the U.S. It is not entirely fiction.
In 2000, the Congress approved $1.3 BILLION in military aid, 60 combat helicopters, and 500 U.S. military personnel to Colombia to fight drug traffickers. (These funds and aid would be shared with Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.)
1. "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on a one-day visit to Colombia, said the United States would support Colombia in resuming a policy that allows Colombian fighter pilots to force or shoot down planes suspected of ferrying drugs."
[Marin Independent Journal; August 14, 2003; p. A3]
Such a policy was suspended in 2001 after a fighter jet shot at a passenger plane carrying American missionaries in which a mother and child were shot dead. The pilot also shot, was able to crash-land the plane.
A White House statement said that President Bush had determined that Colombia had since “put in place ‘appropriate procedures' to protect against loss of innocent life." (id.) The White House said those "appropriate procedures" would include radio and visual contact and a warning shot. (id.) Actually, it was Secretary of State Colin Powell that put the procedures in place as he was in Columbia engaged in planning the mission against drug smuggling when the terrorists attacked New York and Washington.
2. Gary Webb of the San Jose Mecury News reported that a Colombia-to-San Francisco Bay Area drug pipeline had helped finance the CIA backed Contras in their fight against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.
[Source: Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed...;
Judge James P. Gray; 2001; p. 139]
"For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a Mercury News investigation has found."
[San Jose Mercury News, August 18, 1996, p. 1]
[For the full story read: Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, by Gary Webb;U.S. government agents and drug smuggling]
See also, "U.S. Colonel to Plead Guilty in Columbia Drug Probe."
[Washington Post, April 4, 2000]
Enough was enough and so Colombia's civil leaders called for a change of strategy:
In August 2000, senators in the Colombian Congress introduced bills calling for the legalization of drug use and the drug trade. On August 23rd, the 31st General Assembly of Governors in Colombia passed a resolution calling on the Colombian government to lead an international debate on legalizing drugs.
"We cannot... continue with the same strategies of 30 years ago."
(Guillermo Gavira, Governor of Antioquia)
"Colombia must lead the discussion of the issue on the international stage to commit all countries of the world without hypocrisy or double standards."
(El Espectador newspaper (Bogota))
"[T]he best way to end this problem and end the war it has brought us is to legalize drugs."
(Colombian presidential candidate, Eduardo Garzon)
"If consuming nations do nothing to curb demand.., then in a few short years the world is going to see legalization as the answer."
(Former Colombian President Ernesto Samper)
[Source: The Razor Wire; Vol. 5, No. 5; 2001; p. 6]
"Plan Colombia" is a joint effort to wipe out cocaine production in Colombia. Although Vice-president Francisco Calderon claims that Plan Colombia is working, the General Accounting Office reported that "after three years of Plan Colombia, the State and Defense Departments 'have still not developed estimates of future program costs, defined their future roles in Colombia, identified a proposed end or determined how they plan to achieve it.”
[San Francisco Chronicle; June 4, 2003; p. A10]
Aerial spraying costs the US $86.3 million per year. 72 helicopters cost the US $640 million and yet the Colombians do not have enough pilots nor mechanics to operate and maintain them. Continued US assistance has been estimated between $100 and $150 million each year. Colombia is the third largest recipient of US military aid. (id.)
Despite this enormous investment, drug smuggling has hardly been affected. In comparison, Afganistan once was the leading exporter for heroin and it had a good share of opium fields - our government sent them only $43 million (to the Taliban government, at that time!), and they almost eliminated the poppy there! In fact, the only reason farmers and locals went back to the "bulb" was because $43 million was hardly enough to offset the financial requirements of feeding themselves, and much of that country's land cannot handle a more demanding plant. (Opium can grow under the worst of conditions, such as Afganistan has.) Once the US ran the Taliban out, Afganistan became the leading producer of opium and heroin.
"Afganistan was responsible for three-quarters of the world's illegal opium supply... between 2002 and 2003."
[Marin Independent Journal;
June 26, 2004; p. A11]
What happened from 2002 to 2003? The Afgan farmers went back to cultivating the poppy as the Taliban were no longer in power. Wherever the US military presence is, drug trafficking flourishes.
"Opium poppy cultivation declined in two major producing countries, Myanmar and Loas, the 2004 World Drug report said."
[Marin Independent Journal; June 26, 2004; p. All]
Some might credit the decline partly to the fact that the US is no longer in that area since pulling out of Vietnam.
The CIA did put an effort into the heroin trade from the beginning, but that effort was to promote the trade of illicit drugs. With the CIA airplane company, Air America, and scissors to get through American red tape from customs inspections and everyday rules, the CIA insured up to half of all illicit drugs trans-shipping in the world.
So what was and is the importance of military action in Colombia?
Oil was discovered in Colombia in 1983. Quickly, Occidental Petroleum made plans to build a 400 mile pipeline leading to the Caribbean Sea, with most of the oil destined for the United States. The major purpose of our military build-up in that country is to protect this pipeline.
There are anti-government forces that feel the Colombian government has sold out the country's oil resources and these groups (the Revolutionary Armed Forces (aka FARC) and the National Libertarian Army) have battled the government regularly sabotaging the pipeline. The reason these groups have become a military force rather than a civilian opposition is due to the United States military forces that have training camps to train the Colombian troops in terrorist warfare. (Tit-for-tat)
"The FARC professes to be opposed in principle to the narcotics trade."
(Colombian Labyrinth by Rabasa and Chalk; 2001) [DrugWarFacts.org]
Not able to differentiate between guerrillas, drug smugglers, and simple local citizens, anyone in the vicinity of the pipeline has been attacked by the military. 400 miles covers a large area of the country, so that a large amount of people are affected by the sensitive-quick-triggered soldiers. The outcome of the military build-up is that the soldiers, with enough fighting power, began to take on the drug operators. Soon, the rebels found themselves not only against the pipeline, but against the military killing their families and fellow citizens as the military rarely distinguished the two. The result has been that rebel forces are now an armed defense for prominent drug operators. This has allowed our government to claim that the military funding and assistance is due to eradicating the drug cartels. But as one woman named Teresa, a single mother, noted, "All the violence started when they discovered oil." [San Francisco Chronicle; Feb. 12, 2003; p. A14]
Colombia is currently the 10th largest supplier of crude oil to the United States. It became a vital source after the Persian Gulf War of 1991 and even more with the second invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In January 2003, a British reporter and a Los Angeles Times photographer was kidnapped by the National Liberation Army with the intention of explaining their cause to the world. The two were freed 11 days later unharmed, but their report was confiscated by U.S. intelligence.
Few reports have made it to the United States of civilian casualties. One was the Cessna float plane with a missionary couple, their two kids, and the pilot who were shot down on April 20, 2001. The woman, Veronica Bowers, 35, from Michigan, and her 7-month-old daughter, Charity, died from gunshot wounds fired from a Peruvian Air Force warplane mistaking the Cessna for drug smuggling. Her husband, Jim Bower and their 6 year-old son Cory were unhurt. The pilot of the Cessna, Kevin Donaldson, was able to crash-land the plane into the Amazon River. The surveillance was part of the US supervised and enforced program of drug interdiction. (Mentioned earlier.) (Criminal charges against the two Peruvian airpilots were dismissed on April 21, 2004, in Lima, Peru for "lack of evidence.") [San Francisco Chronicle; April 22, 2004; A2]
"We've had 31 planes shot down, this is the first time any of them was innocent," said a U.S. official shortly after the incident. Of course, all the other occupants of the other 30 planes shot down died so no one really knows who they were. The Christian missionary man, and the pilot both lived to tell their story. How many women and children were in those other 30 aircraft?
On December 13, 1998. in the oil-rich Araucan Province of Santo Domingo, three U.S. civilian airmen marked targets as Colombian military pilots searching for rebels, dropped U.S. made cluster bombs on a civilian village killing 18 residents in one of the worst incidents of 'collateral damage' inflicted on civilians.
"U.S. civilian airmen" are mercenaries (terrorists), military soldiers that are in so sensitive a position that our government will not classify them due to human atrocities inflicted by their actions. This designation provides them with immunity from our criminal laws and military justice. In Iraq (2003) they would also be called: "contractors," which has a sort of ironic evil sense about it when one envisions them. "The Contractor": Can you see Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role?
How do we know that this military aggression is not intended to eliminate the drug trade? Peru and Brazil border Colombia and have 10 times the amount of cocaine production, yet, there are few U.S. forces there. And by the end of 2001 the U.S. military had taken over Afganistan yet opium production was reborn after the Taliban government was replaced. So once more, our government's oppressive actions, while putting forth the reason of wiping out the drug trade, has an alternative reason, one that supports international bankers and industrialists.
We send American-made chemicals, so toxic that they cannot be sold in the United States, to Latin-American countries and South East Asian countries to use on crops that US health officials have determined to be dangerous to our own citizens. As a result, over 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning are reported annually.
Glyphosate is a herbicide that is sprayed by airplane in Columbia. People living in the area have reported loss of hair and severe diarrhea. In one village south of the border 300 people were reported sick from aerial spraying and may have been the cause of death of a two year-old girl.
"The United States persuaded Colombia to develop a powerful fungus known as Fusarium oxysporum" to kill poppy and coca plants.
[Source: Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed...;
Judge James P. Gray; 2001; p. 161]
Its effects on humans are unknown.
Fumigation is chemical warfare when it is used on people. Agent Orange was a defoliant used in Vietnam with the absurd task of trying to clear the jungle of the plants that hid so much from the air. (So the U.S. Airforce could see their targets.) But when it fell on people it had a devastating affect. And, as this is the same military that "practiced" in 'Nam, it can be accepted that the tactics and chemical weapons are the same. Todate, 11,000 people have died in Colombia from chemical weapons that our government has supplied. To give the reader a better idea of how dangerous and reckless spraying glyphosate and fusarium oxysporum is, the California attorney general has determined that he will not use these poisons on California lands. And his reasoning isn’t for the safety of the twig burner, it’s because, like in the Colombia plan, spraying kills EVERYTHING! California was following the lead of David Struhs, the head of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection who successfully stopped the spraying of fusarium oxysporum, citing that it was “difficult, if not impossible, to control.”
Between 1975 and 1978, the DEA sprayed opium crops in Mexico with 2-4-D; a toxin-based defoliant similar to Agent Orange with U.S. supplied helicopters. Better known as Paraquat, samples were taken that tested to be 44,000 times the maximum safe level. Of course, that may be enough to scare any user, the problem was, few users knew of it. Any person suffering from the toxins would hardly know that the cause had come from their stash, as the poison would take several months (and a lot of use) to affect the lungs.
[They poisoned the drugs? The US sent its military into Iraq because Saddam Hussein supposedly poisoned his own people. Weren’t our drug enforcement agency actions just as insane? –dm]
While J. Edgar Hoover was still head of the FBI, he would not allow his men to get too involved in narcotic investigations as he felt that narcotic enforcement would likely corrupt the organization. Until 1969, the Justice Department played no role in drug enforcement. Drug policy was determined by the Health, Education and Welfare Department. President Richard Nixon changed that.
As long as our courts of justice have a compelling interest to get convictions from drug cases, whatever "drug problem" that exists in this country will never be remedied. It has no chance. Prosecutors and the police unite with judges to form a triad against the "offender." While this may be reasonable for all other "criminals," the Justice Department and law enforcement exploits the drug issue for federal funding and property forfeitures. This, in turn, sways a court or more specifically, the Court House/Building. You will never find a courthouse that has as much as a microwave oven courtesy of a burglar or thief, but it is common to see district attorneys driving cars taken from drug users.
James M. Catterson, the New York Suffolk County district attorney drives a BMW obtained by forfeiture, which he improved with a new strip from forfeiture funds.
[New York Times, October 2, 1992]
And in their offices, as well as a judge's chamber, you can find items taken from a drug bust. (Clocks, ornaments, VHS players, CD/cassette players, etc.)
1. 9 New Orleans officers indicted on drug charges.
[Los Angeles Times, September 29, 1993, p. Al2]
2. U.S. charges 12 D.C. officers with a drug protection racket.
[Los Angeles Times, December 8, 1994, p. A4]
3. Twenty officers from Brooklyn's Seventy-fifth Precinct implicated in drug dealing.
[New York Times, December 16, 1993, p. A18]
4. Brownsville, New York, officers from the Seventy-third tagged with running their own drug ring.
[Los Angeles Times, March 15, 1990, p. Al]
5. Harlem: Two dozen officers charged with shaking down drug dealers and selling the drug themselves.
[New York Times, April 16, 1994, p. Al;
May 5, 1994, p. B8]
6. Los Angeles: A sheriff's narcotic squad is videotaped stealing drug money from a motel room.
[Los Angeles Times, April 26, 1990, p. Al]
7. Los Angeles: Three deputies from a narcotic squad caught with over one million dollars they had shook out of drug dealers and money launderers.
[Los Angeles Times, October 18, 1990, p. B1]
8. In 1998, Los Angeles police officer Rafael Perez was caught stealing eight pounds of cocaine from the evidence room of the police station. In 1999, as part of a plea-bargain, Perez told about other illegal activities involving other officers and that he and his partner had murdered a drug dealer by shooting him in the head for simply leaning into their undercover police car. Perez then testified that the victim had tried to kill them. Perez also confessed that he and his partner had shot another person named Javier Ovando while he was handcuffed and then planted a sawed-offed shotgun on him and testified falsely that the 18 year-old had shot at them! Ovando was convicted of attempted murder on the officers and sentenced to 23 years. He was released upon this new confession but he is paralyzed from being shot in the back and bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Perez reported that most of his crimes were against drug sellers so to rob them of their money, drugs or both. They would then use prostitutes to re-sell the drugs.
The report became known as the, "Rampart Scandal," as that was the department in Los Angeles these officers were from. "In all, about 70 police officers were under investigation for possible wrongdoing in connection with the unfolding corruption scandal... more than 100 convictions had been overturned."
[The World Almanac and Book of Facts; 2002; p. 37]
Of the seventy officers, three were convicted, aside from Perez, but those were later overturned. (id.)
"The us-against-them ethos of the overzealous cop began to consume me. And the ends justified the means.” ***"We vaguely sensed we were doing the wrong things for the right reasons. Time and again, I stepped over that line. Once crossed, I hurdled over it again and again, landing with both feet sometimes on innocent persons. My job became an intoxicant that I lusted after."
-Raphael Perez at his sentencing in February, 2000.
[UPDATE: Perez was released in July 24, 2001]
9. Senator Henry Jackson's Permanent Subcommittee in Investigations hired an investigator named Phillip Manuel, who reported that the DEA was inflating its statistics with small quantity busts, falsifying records, and failing to police itself against corruption.
[Smoke and Mirrors by Dan Baum; 1996; p. 88]
10. In 1989, the Arizona police imported 9 tons of marijuana TO SELL! so that they could arrest the buyers!! In the course of the operation, 7 tons of it disappeared into the streets.
11. Retired Detroit police officer Daniel J. Solano announced that:
"The war on drugs has created and facilitates this new breed of corrupt cops who are wearing the badge to commit murder, steal, and terrorize those they swore to protect." ***Drug prohibition has made police corruption unavoidable and creates inherent incentives for police corruption."
[The Razor Wire; Vol. 7, No. 1; 2003]
National Security Action Memorandum No. 263, written by McGeorge Bundy, stated that "At a meeting on October 5, 1963, the President... approved the... plans to withdraw 1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963." The plan was "an initial step in the long term program to replace U.S. personnel with trained Vietnamese... ".
[Supplemental memo, Section 1B (1-3)]
The president was John F. Kennedy. The memo infers that Kennedy decided to end the war within months. He was killed a month later.
We were led to believe that Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, using a cheap mail-order rifle; that Oswald was a Soviet sympathizer, agent, spy, or anarchist; and that Jack Ruby killed Oswald to avenge the President; that Ruby died in prison of natural complications. And we accepted that! Even those who felt there was more accepted that. Case closed.
Were we deceived? Was there a conspiracy? Are there powers other than our government that control this country and perhaps the rest of the world? And if so, what is their purpose? Why is war so important to these "unseen" powers?
To theorize would only make matters just as complicated. It is enough to point out that national and world affairs may not be what we believe them to be; therefore, a free society must insist on a limited government. Otherwise, we will all be victims of whatever the overall "plan" might be. DO NOT believe that YOU matter enough to these "powers" to not be sacrificed if you get in their way as Kennedy did, as other government leaders have.
Coverups are inevitably connected to some conspiracy. And conspiracy theories abound. Although there are good reasons to believe such theories, there are further theories of conspiracies to commit false conspiracy theories! All of sudden one is so dizzy one gets exhausted picking through all the "evidence" and so frustrated you finally say:
There are so many sinister going-ons one may ponder,
"Does it matter?"
It takes a lot of effort to maintain a free country. There are many power-seekers that would prefer to harness the masses. Manipulating the populace is an old art. What's new, is the effort of the populace to resist this manipulation. But the effort has been going on for a long time also. Whenever peace is established, the people become complacent and soon someone somewhere takes this opportunity to come into power.
1. MEXICO CITY: "At least 360 snipers under government command fired into a crowd of protesters, touching off a massacre 35 years ago that scarred a generation of Mexicans, according to once-secret government files obtained by the Associated Press.
Government officials at the time said armed dissidents provoked the deadly confrontation on Oct. 2, 1968... by firing on police... ."
[Marin Independent Journal; Oct. 2, 2003; p. A4]
2. EL PORVENIR PRISON, HONDURAS: "After the shooting and screaming and the smoke faded away," prison officials wrote a report of how 68 people were killed inside the prison on April 5, 2003. "They said 59 of the dead were vicious gang members who shot other prisoners, then barricaded themselves inside two cell blocks and set a suicidal fire, killing innocent victims in the process, as the police arrived to restore order."
[Marin Independent Journal; May 20, 2003; p. A3]
But according to an independent study of the incident commissioned by the president of Honduras, "51 of the dead were executed - shot, stabbed, beaten or burned to death by a force of state police officers, soldiers, prison guards and prisoners working with prison guards." (id.) "It is not true that the police opened fire to break up a chaotic fight, as some have attempted to establish," the report says. "They fired on a defined group within the prison population." (id.)
[It is easy to accept that foreign governments coverup their corruption and atrocities. Indeed, our government propagates the thought. But whenever our government is accused, it is difficult to believe. -dm]
3. Ohio Representative Jim Traficant (D) addressing the House of Representatives on the subject of coverups by the FBI:
"What is the big surprise, Mr. Speaker? The FBI has been hiding evidence for years. Think about it. If you really believe that two Libyan mules blew up Pan Am 103, you are on Prozac. If you really believe that the best FBI sharpshooter just happened to accidentally shoot Mrs. Weaver right between the eyes, you still believe in Mother Goose. Congress, if you believe the Waco jury heard the whole truth from the FBI, you still believe in the Tooth Fairy. And, Congress, if you still believe the propaganda about the assassination of JFK, by God, you still believe Mae West is still a virgin."
[May 15, 2001]
4. In 1971, the Pentagon Papers, as a newspaper story became known, reported that the Department of Defense had been lying to the nation that America was winning the war and other facts about our involvement in Vietnam.
Originally entitled: “Vietnam Archive: Pentagon Study Traces 3 Decades of Growing U.S. Involvement” by Neil Sheehan, the “papers” were actually a study commissioned by Robert S. McNamara, then Secretary of Defense. The study found that the U.S. government had continually resisted making public the increase of US military involvement in Southeast Asia—air strikes over Laos, raids along the coast of North Vietnam, and offensive actions by U.S. marines had taken place long before the American public was informed; that the U.S. had eventually supported about 80 percent of the cost of the failed French war against Vietnam; that the U.S. had engaged in covert action against North Vietnam as early as 1954; that the U.S. had undermined the 1954 Geneva Accords by hand-picking and supporting an unpopular South Vietnamese leader who ensured that no post-Geneva elections were held to unify Vietnam; and that the U.S. significantly increased its covert actions against North Vietnam in 1964 before overstating to Congress and the public what happened at the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964.
The American people had been lied to by the President and the Government. In trying to cover up the report, the Government immediately filed an injunction to have the New York Times stop running the story. But other papers picked it up and then it was too late.
5. On June 17, 1972, the Watergate Hotel burglary of the national democratic headquarters resulted in President Richard Nixon resigning, the US Attorney General John Mitchell resigning, and a number of White House aides incarcerated. This was such a well-publicized cover-up that the suffix: "gate" would later be attached to any similar-type incident.
George McGovern was the democratic candidate. The Committee to Re-Elect the President (Nixon) decided it needed information on the democratic candidate. So it sent in the "plumbers," as the burglars were called: E. Howard Hunt, James McCord, and three Cuban exiles. 5 burglars in business suits. A night-watchman noticed the doorlock had been taped and caught the men. All five agreed to plead guilty and keep quiet about the others involved provided they received plenty of money. They were each given $75,000 then another $50,000, but Hunt wanted more. Nixon offered to give $1 million.
"Nixon and his associates managed to cover up involvement in the break-in and won re-election in November 1972. ¶To give the impression of cleaning house, Nixon dismissed his chief aides, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman; his counsel, John Dean; and John Mitchell's' replacement as attorney general, Richard Kleindienst."
[Storm Center by David O'Brien; 1986; p. 267]
At sentencing, Judge John Sirica announced he would not have any leniency on the defendants. James McCord then finked on John Dean who in-turn finked on Nixon.
Jeb Magruder said (30 years later) that on March 30, 1972, he was near Attorney General John Mitchell when Mitchell talked on the phone with President Richard Nixon and heard Nixon tell Mitchell: "We want Liddy to break into the Watergate." [NOTE: G. Gordon Liddy was Nixon’s dirty tricks master who put the plumbers together.]
[Plus 30: Shadow of History;
Documentary,PBS; Oct. 16, 2003]
Alexander Butterfield had broke the secret that the White House recorded their phone calls and still had the tapes. There were 64 in all with one having an 18½ minute gap that had been erased.
"There was a cover-up. Let's face it."
(Nixon, White House tape)
Nixon resigned his presidency on August 9, 1974. James McCord was sentenced to 19 months in prison; H.R. (Bob) Haldeman, 18 months; John Ehrlichman, 18 months, James Dean, 4 months/5 days; Jeb Magruder, 7 months/8 days/11 hours; Bud Krogh, 4 months 17 days.
6. President George Bush cites the discovery of two mobile trailers in Iraq as laboratories to make weapons of mass destruction therefore, establishing proof that his decision to invade Iraq in 2003, was the right decision.
"The discovery of such arms, officials said, would vindicate the administration's decision to go to war to disarm Iraq. Conversely, failure to find them would leave the administration vulnerable to charges that it started a war needlessly."
[San Jose Mercury News;
March 19, 2003; p. 6A]
But the trailers were not capable of producing biological nor chemical weapons and were in such disrepair, they couldn't produce anything. In reality, they were designed to produce gas for weather balloons.
Secretary of State Colin Powell had told the UN Security Council that Iraq had at least 18 mobile bioweapons labs.
On May 6, 2003, one mobile lab was reported found. It turned out to be an old wrecked truck that was not even operable.
On May 21, 2003, another two mobile labs were found. The Bush administration declared these labs to be the “strongest evidence yet." [Marin Independent Journal; May 28, 2003; A3] The CIA posted the labs on their website claiming each lab could "brew" 1 to 2 kilograms of germs each month. (id.)
On May 30, 2003, Bush told a Polish news reporter that the weapons had been found.
On June 2, 2003, the State Department's intelligence bureau sent Colin Powell a memo expressing doubt about the trailers' germ capability.
Nevertheless, on June 5, 2003, President Bush told a group of US soldiers in Qatar that, "We recently found two mobile biological weapons facilities."
[San Francisco Chronicle; June 6, 2003; p. All]
On June 7, 2003, US and British experts disputed Bush's conclusion stating that the "mobile units were more likely for other purposes."
On June 16, 2003, the BBC reported the trailers were designed to fill hydrogen balloons and could not have produced any germ weapons.
7. "My contemporaries, our feelings and sensitivities were forged on the battlefields of Vietnam, where we heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice. I ask you, is it happening again?"
-Retired General Anthony Zinni
[San Francisco Chronicle; Sept. 5, 2003; p. Al2]
(Referring to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. From an impassioned speech to several hundred Marine and Navy officers and others on Sept. 4, 2003. Zinni had been severely wounded when he was in Vietnam.)
GOVERNMENT CREEP, What the Government Is Doing That You Don't Know About by Philip Harvey; 2003; http://www.loompanics.com/.
AMERICA'S SECRET ESTABLISHMENT, An Introduction to the Order of the Skull & Bones by Antony Sutton; 2002; http://www.loompanics.com/.
"For over 170 years they have met in secret. From out of their initiates come presidents, senators, judges, cabinet secretaries - and plenty of spooks." George Bush Jr.'s secret name is "Temporary," Bush Sr.'s name is "Magog," and his father, Prescott Sheldon Bush, was also a member (who happened to steal for The Order one of their prized possessions, Geronimo's Skull!) Their 146-year-old private clubhouse is called: "The Tomb." Lots of mysterious stuff. [NOTE: Democrat presidential-nominee, Senator John Kerry is also a member. dm]
THE BEST DEMOCRACY MONEY CAN BUY; An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth About Globalization, Corporate Cons, and High Finance Fraudsters by Greg Palast; 2002; 223 pp; http://www.loompanics.com/.
"Thousands of cases of prosecutor misconduct found in national study," said the headline on Thursday, June 26, 2003, in the Marin Independent Journal from the Associated Press. (p. A6) A study, entitled, "Harmful Error," by The Center for Public Integrity, a private ethics watchdog group, found state and local prosecutors stretched, bent or broke rules so badly in more than 2,000 cases since 1970 that the criminal charges were dismissed, reversed, or sentences reduced for prosecutorial misconduct.
233 prosecutors had been cited for two or more cases of unfair conduct; two had been disbarred. There are about 30,000 local prosecutors. The study excluded federal prosecutors. Some of the defendants had been convicted of murder, rape or kidnapping.
The California Legislature passed a law in 1997 that allows for police officers to search any parolee they see, for any reason they want. (Penal Code 3096) Armed with another "tool," police have began to stop everyone they see on their whim, curiosity, or caprice. The Penal Code does not say: "STOP," it says: "SEARCH." But police have reasoned, "How do you search someone unless you stop them?" The premise of the law, when it was submitted, was that WHEN the police had LAWFULLY stopped a parolee, they should be able to search him/her without any need for further authorization, as it would be most efficient and because parolees are by definition, on restricted freedom, they have been notified that they have a less expectation of privacy. The SEARCH was intended to provide a deterrent purpose, therefore adding to the interest of society that the parolee would be living by the "straight and narrow."
1. A federal court upheld a strip search of a male student because his crotch, a teacher thought, was "too well- endowed."
(Cornfield v Consolidated High School
(1992) U.S. Dist LEXIS 2913)
2. Upholding the warrantless search of a defendant's home in Mexico by American DEA agents, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist declared that nonresident aliens are not "people" (protected by the Constitution).
(United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez
(1990) 494 US 259)
3. "Our police can do anything anywhere abroad to anyone. The [u]nalienable rights the Declaration of Independence proclaimed do not apply to foreigners."
[After Prohibition; The Drug war and the Constitution
by Steven Duke; Cato Institute; 2001; p. 46]
"Family Says Police Raided Wrong Home."
[New York Times, May 8, 1998]
"Again, Police in Search of Drugs Raid the Wrong Home."
[New York Times, March 21, 1998]
In his book: Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do, by Peter McWilliams, McWilliams asks the question, "What are custom officials trained to find?"
The answer: "Drugs, of course."
"Do you think one in a thousand custom agents knows what the components of a nuclear bomb looks like? But how many know what cocaine looks like or marijuana smells? And then there are all those drug-sniffing dogs. How about a few plutonium-sniffing dogs? Some 9,600 pounds of plutonium and highly enriched uranium are missing from U.S. inventories. It takes only 15 pounds of plutonium to make an atomic bomb."
The Drug Enforcement Agency compiled a "profile" list for catching drug users and traffickers:
Round trip ticket, one-way ticket;
Walking slowly, walking quickly, being very tense, calm, appearing "cool";
Carrying no luggage, carrying medium-size bag, carrying heavy suitcases, carrying American Tourister luggage, carrying leather briefcase;
Black male, black female, Hispanic, youth, sloppily dressed, casual dress, smartly dressed;
First to deplane, last to deplane, deplaning from the middle;
Placing long distance call immediately after deplaning, placing local call after deplaning;
Attempting to leave the airport by taxi, attempting to leave by public transportation, using limousine to leave, using hotel courtesy van, or leaving by private vehicle;
Traveling alone, or two or more people traveling together.
[Source: North Carolina Law Review; 1987]
Other "drug profiles" include a person 1) walking by him/herself, 2) walking with another, 3) looking around, 4) NOT looking around, 5) looking suspicious, and 6) looking normal.
Hall of Fame baseball player Joe Morgan was thrown to the floor, handcuffed, and arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport because he fit the profile of a drug user.
[Los Angeles Daily Journal; Sept. 16, 1992; P. 4]
Federal Circuit Judge Warren Ferguson observed that the DEA's profiles have a "chameleon-like way of adapting to any particular set of observations."
(United States v. Sokolow
(9th Cir. 1987) 831 F. 2d 1413, 1418)
With the advent of the War on Terrorism, new profiles were submitted. On May 26, 2004, US Attorney General John Ashcroft added Europeans and North and South Asians and older people or those in their late 20s or early 30s. He also cautioned to look for families traveling together and to be on the lookout for pregnant women.
The FBI Intelligence Bulletin warned of people who have almanacs. The "bulletin urged police to watch for suspects carrying almanacs, especially if the books include suspicious notations... ."
[San Francisco Chronicle; December 30, 2003; p. Al2]
In Mapp v. Ohio (1961), the US Supreme Court ruledthat illegally obtained evidence by police must be excluded at criminal trials. This became known as the "exclusionary rule." The purpose was not to aid the criminal, it was to keep honest the police officer. The problem, they had long seen, was that too many cases involved the police committing several felonies to catch one. The police had to be - policed.
In fact, our whole constitution can be seen as the same; restrictions on police/government power, not to enable the common perpetrator, but to protect us all from government intrusions, excesses, simple wrongs, and injustice. (The "exclusionary rule" was later curtailed by an exception referred to as "reasonable good-faith" by a law enforcement officer. That is, if the officer thought he had the authority to search, any item found inadvertently was admissible in trial. This clause increased false police reports. The officer only has to say he thought the bag belonged to the defendant or that the he thought the defendant lived in that house, in order for the search of those areas to be accepted, as the officer “acted within reason.”)
"One Strike and You're Out"
Dep't of Housing. & Urban Dev.;
Policy in Public Housing (1996);
The Declaration of Independence tells us that 'governments are instituted among men" in order "to secure" "certain unalienable rights," and that "whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it."
"Draconian laws" are severe, cruel laws named after an Athenian legislature (Draco) who implemented such laws to protect wealth and property. Whether for taking a piece of fruit or for murder, the penalty was the same: death.
Opium was outlawed to save white women from being sex slaves of "devious Chinese" den operators, cocaine had to be outlawed to save white women from being raped by the "wild Negro," and to save white women from crazed Mexicans, marijuana had to be outlawed.
[The American Disease, David Musto; p. 65;
quoted in Drug
by Mike Gary;
2000; p. 218]
As white women would not stop using drugs, today, "moralists" feel we can still "save the children."
1. If it can be proven that a pregnant woman has used drugs while pregnant, she will be arrested for endangering a child. (Unborn.) If she gives birth to a living child who is diagnosed as being born "addicted," the woman will be charged with supplying a minor with illegal drugs. If the child is born dead, the woman will be charged with murder.
Pregnant women have been arrested and convicted for "dispensing" drugs to the fetus by way of the umbilical cord.
2. Some women have been denied the services of Planned Parenthood, and therefore prenatal care, because they were charged with a drug offense while being pregnant.
3. For certain drug offenses, a person can be fined up to $10,000.00, imposed at the discretion of the attorney general (which means if the defendant does not take "the deal" and insists on trial), and reviewable by a judge only at the defendant's expense.
4. The government can throw drug offenders and their families out of public housing, take away all of a drug offender's federal benefits, contracts, grants, student loans, mortgages, and licenses, even if the charge was only first-offense possession.
5. Public Housing Authorities (PHA) in the US operate under a "One Strike" policy regarding drugs that can cause an eviction based on drug use by a guest of a person's home.
“any member of the tenant's household, or a guest or other person under the tenant's control shall not engage in criminal activity, including drug-related criminal activity, on or near public housing premises, while the tenant is a tenant in public housing, and such criminal activity shall be cause for termination of tenancy.”
42 U.S.C. 1437d(l)(5) (1989)
In 1996, Congress replaced the phrase "on or near such premises"with "on or off such premises.”
In formulating these regulations, HUD considered comment by legal aid and by tenant organizations that tenants should not be required to `assure' the non-criminal conduct of household members, or should have only a limited responsibility to prevent criminal behavior by members of the household" and "that the tenant should not be responsible if the criminal activity is beyond the tenant's control, if the tenant did not know or have reason to foresee the criminal conduct, if the tenant did not participate, give consent or approve the criminal activity, or if the tenant did everything `reasonable' to control the criminal activity." 56 Fed. Reg. 51560, 51566 (Oct. 11, 1991). Ultimately, however, HUD decided not to accept these suggestions.
That is, zero-tolerance.
"The tenant should not be excused from contractual responsibility by arguing that tenant did not know, could not foresee, or could not control behavior by other occupants of the unit." (id. at 51567)
In an Opinion by a reviewing 9th Circuit Court (Rucker v.Davis (2000) CV-9816322), they said that HUD feared that allowing a tenant to escape eviction by claiming a lack of knowledge "would allow a variety of excuses for a tenant's failure to prevent criminal activity by household members" and "would thereby undercut the tenant's motivation to prevent criminal activity by household members." (id.)
The Opinion also stated HUD presumed that PHAs may often have difficulty proving in court that the leaseholder had knowledge or control over the offending person, thus making it time-consuming, costly, and therefore difficult to evict households.
Taking it further, the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) in California added in their lease agreement that if any family member or guest of a family member illegally uses, sells, or distributes any illegal drug in or near the tenant's apartment, all the tenants can be evicted – “regardless of whether the tenant knew or reasonably should have known of such activity”! (Opn.)
Oakland filed evictions against Pearlie Rucker, Willie Lee, Barbara Hill, and Herman Walker. Rucker's daughter was found in possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia three blocks from Rucker's apartment. Lee's grandson was caught using marijuana in the housing development's parking lot, as was Hill's grandson. All three Tenants claimed to have been unaware of their household member's drug-related criminal activity.
The fourth Tenant, Walker, was partially paralyzed and incapable of living independently. OHA served him with a notice of termination of tenancy after the third instance in which drugs or drug paraphernalia were found in his apartment which was determined to belong to his care-giver.
The Court was simplistic: “the plain statutory language authorizes the termination of Tenants' tenancy.” (Opn.) And so that there was no further confusion, added,
“Thus, the statute makes clear that even purportedly ’innocent tenants’ may be evicted.” (Opn.)
The Court then went on to mock the people:
“What Tenants either fail to recognize -- or attempt to obscure -- is that the question of whether there is cause to evict is wholly separate from whether the PHA will actually evict. Section 1437d(l)(5) merely requires that local PHAs make drug-related criminal activity "cause for termination of tenancy." (Opn.)
[They actually did evict 75 year-old Herman Walker, and they allowed the others to remain.]
Under the "Nuisance Eviction Ordinance," Oakland became the first city in Northern California to be granted "the power to force private landlords to evict tenants arrested for drugs, weapons, or other crimes." [San Francisco Chronicle; March 18, 2004; p. B5] (Los Angeles and Buena Park have similar ordinances.) In 2002, Los Angeles ordered 190 evictions.
6. As of 2003, a total of 86,898 students had been denied federal aid due to the 1998 Higher Education Act drug provision that denies federal loans to drug-convicted persons. (30,000 cases during 2002-2003) Tens of thousands more have likely not bothered to even apply.
7. As of July 1, 1997, those convicted of a drug offense are ineligible for either foodstamps or general assistance (21 USC §862a). The only other offenders that will not receive these benefits are "fleeing felons" and "parole violators."
8. After finishing their sentence in prison, convicted drug offenders have to register with the police for 5 years! The only other "criminals" that must do this are Child Molesters and Arsonists.
9. Any parent arrested for drugs can now lose their children to the state.
10. With the OMNIBUS CRIME BILL of 1984, federal law allowed property to be confiscated and forfeited if the person had simply been arrested for drugs. No conviction required. ("Prove you paid for it - with lawful money.")
11. The "Drug Free Schools and Communities Act" [20 USC 7116] prohibits the use of federal funds for programs that do not provide a clean and consistent message that the illegal use of alcohol and other drugs is wrong and 1armful.
[Source: Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed...;
Judge James P. Gray; 2001; p. 167]
12. H.R. 1042: "The Drug Dealer Liability Act of 2000," allows for anyone who is harmed, directly or indirectly, by the use of an illicit substance, to bring a civil action against the drug dealer.
13. Public Law 101-516 requires the revocation or suspension of driver's license for a conviction of any drug offense. (Signed by Pres. Bush Sr. Nov. 5, 1990); California repealed its provision for the law [Vehicle Code 13202.3(f)] claiming states rights on June 30, 1999.)
[Some of these laws may have been amended or repealed. The law changes quite quickly like that. But it is enough to know that the law has been so extreme as listed above. -dm]
UNJUST LAWS THAT WERE REPEALED
A slave is property. 21:20-21
Whoever worships another god must be put to death. 22:20
"Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. 31:15
(See for example, Numbers: 15:32-36)
(The Sabbath is Friday for Muslims, Saturday for Jews, and Sunday for Christians.)
If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. 20:9
If a man commits adultery with another man's wife with the wife of his neighbor - both the adulterer and the adultress must be put to death." 20:10
"A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death." 20:27
A man was put to death for using God's name in vain.
("Whoever curses the Lord's name must die.")
If your very own brother, son or daughter, wife or friend - entices you to worship another god, that person must be put to death. 13:6, 8-10
Do not eat rotten meat, but you can give it or sell it to any "alien" or "foreigner" so that they may eat it. 14:2
Put to death anyone who shows contempt for priests or judges. 17:12
"If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by the his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity." 25:11-12
Our Government is divided up into three branches, the executive (White House), judicial (Justice Department), and legislative (Congress).
In 1996, a bit of legislation called the Anti-Terrorism and Death Penalty Act was passed, which included among other particulars, that defendants had only one year to file a federal habeas corpus. The reasoning was that too many petitions were being filed at late dates and this was clogging the system. But why such a title? Because a lot of legislators that vote for or against, do not read what they are voting for and this title almost insists that any "reasonable" person could not be against such a "necessary" bill. But this provision does not fight terrorism at all. It affects the common defendant, that is, the American citizen who has been unfairly convicted of a crime.
This legislation was in response to the tragedies in Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center. There are parts of the bill that does mention terrorism, but all of Title 1 is simply an erosion of judicial rights for the common citizen. How does limiting a defendant in his course for an appellate review of his conviction fight terrorism? It doesn’t.
THE PATRIOT ACT
A new law entitled: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” but better known as: "The Patriot Act" increases the ability of the police to search property and conduct surveillance, and allows illegal immigrants to be held for up to a week without charging them. Federal agents can now break into your home or business, search and seize items while no one is there. They do have to let you know later, though.
The Patriot Act was signed into law by President Bush Jr. after Sept. 11, 2001. The Act was opposed by over 100 cities across America, with opposition also coming from the Police Chiefs Association, whose president, Chief Bob McDonell, wrote a letter of objection on April 10, 2002, to Attorney General John Ashcroft.
The Patriot Act is 342 pages long and makes changes to 15 different statutes, yet it was passed by Congress and signed by the President in only four days, which makes it doubtful they even read it.
Marin County (California) supervisors passed a resolution criticizing the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act charging that the two acts "comprise an assault upon the constitutional rights of the residents of Marin County and its work force." [Marin Independent Journal; May 7, 2003; p. A1] The Sausalito City Council (Calif.) adopted a resolution opposing the Patriot Act On May 6, 2003. In Arcata, California, the City Council criminalized the Patriot Act making it a crime punishable by a fine of $57.00 "for a city department to voluntarily cooperate with unconstitutional investigations or arrests under the aegis of the USA Patriot Act." [Marin Independent Journal; May 18, 2003; p. C12]
[It is incredible that a city government could or WOULD! outlaw a law. -dm]
On January 23, 2004, US District Judge Audrey Collins ruled that a portion of the Act that refers to "expert advice or assistance" was impermissibly vague, therefor unconstitutional, and that the government may not enforce it. "The judge's ruling said the law, as written down, does not differentiate between impermissible advice on violence and encouraging the use of peaceful, nonviolent means to achieve goals." [Marin Independent Journal; January 27, 2004; p. C5]
"The USA Patriot Act places no limitation on the type of expert advice and assistance which is prohibited and instead bans the provision of all expert advice and assistance regardless of its nature."
-Judge Audrey Collins
Lawyers for US Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft opposed the lawsuit on the grounds that there was not "a genuine threat of imminent prosecution." (id.)
[Isn’t this disclaimer a bit like when the 9th Circuit used the word: “merely” to re-assure the poor that they need not worry that they would be evicted by the Public Housing Authority, and then they were? [See page 91]
Only 40 years ago in Gideon v. Wainwright (March 18, 1963) did the Court rule that all criminal defendants were entitled to effective assistance of counsel, even if it was at state or federal expense. This provision provided the system with some check and balance. But the noble legislation was picked at by the drug laws until most defense lawyers, who were paid by the government (public defenders), offered the simple legal assistance of advising the clients to "take the deal." Many do not go to trial.
The Public Defender's office is swamped. There are not enough defense lawyers or even enough courts to conduct trials for everyone. Lawyers working for the public are ill-financed such as in the State of Georgia, where in 1990, police and prosecutors received $18 million to specifically catch and convict drug offenders; the state public defenders received nothing extra to meet the client increase, so deals are made.
"The Justice Department is not a domestic agency, it is the internal arm of the national defense." So said, U.S. Attorney General William French Smith. And there it is. Coupled with administering our courts of law, the Justice Department also oversees law enforcement. Our courts are not totally impartial. When a defendant goes to trial, s/he is up against the police, the prosecutor, and the judge. If there is a witness, add them. And in most cases, you can include the defense lawyer too. So it is quite an obstacle to win defense cases. The drug laws provided the Justice Department with an immense incentive to favor the prosecution. Funding. The military receives the largest share of funding because defense is fundamental and no cost is too high. Acting on that reasoning, the Justice Department now, as attorney general Smith points out, is about defense too! To assert its defense posture, the Judicial Branch created or took control of defense-type services, such as: the FBI, DEA, 5 spy divisions, immigration, prisons, marshals, and a politically suspicious group called “Violence Against Women.” Not to be outdone, the Executive Branch claimed as its own, Homeland Security.
Cut out of that new federal agency, the Judicial Branch began to focus on external defense.
"An August 2002 memo by the Justice Department that concluded interrogators could use extreme techniques on detainees in the campaign against terror helped provide an after-the-fact legal basis for harsh procedures used by the CIA on high-level leaders of al-Qaeda, according to current and former government officials."
[Marin Independent Journal; June 27, 2004; p. A5]
So much for justice.
These "detainees" have been found guilty without any legal process and yet the Justice Department is willing to provide legal justification for them to be - can I say - tortured?
Just what are "extreme techniques”?
Our Department of Justice has become a military tribunal. This began with the Justice Department's warrior mentality to social problems such as drug use.
We profess to the world that our country is a republic based upon the rule of the land, and we boast of the fairest legal system, as well. But we are not absolute.
Our legal system is far from being a "justice" system, although many describe it as such. (For example, our courts are called "Halls of Justice," the officials are referred to as "Justices," in fact the whole department is entitled "The Justice Department"!) We also have the most laws on the books, and the most people imprisoned!
A new HOMELAND SECURITY agency has been added to law enforcement to keep U.S. citizens more secure. In order to account for its existence, Home Security will identify, classify, then target more and more "subversives" who will actually be nothing more than U.S. citizens or foreign tourists, and more likely, for people of color than the average "white" person.
While the reader might consider it prudent to keep a check on "illegal immigrants" - "illegal immigrants" are not turban wearing militant Muslims as the reader might envision (as portrayed by television). "Illegal immigrants" are Mexicans and South Americans who are encouraged to come to the United States by U.S. corporations to exploit for a labor force.
CHATTANOOGA, TN: A greed-driven nationwide conspiracy helped Tyson Foods and some of its top executives keep poultry plants running by putting illegal workers on production lines, a federal prosecutor said yesterday at the opening of the company's immigrant smuggling trial. [Emphasis added]
[Marin Independent Journal; Feb. 6, 2003; p. C7]
Now, you might still consider it prudent to keep a check on these immigrants as well, but it is a sorry country we have become to feel these people are now to be feared.
As of this writing, the most Homeland Security has done for the US is to frighten us with what seemed quarterly terrorist scare threats.
Director Tom Ridge has been the bell-ringer who implemented a color-code threat assessment which he periodically would raise and lower. Sometimes he would just issue a warning without ordering the US to a higher alert status. For example, on July 8, 2004, Ridge announced he had information that al-Qaeda planned to attack the US during the 2004 elections.
"We know the threat is real. We just don't know where, when and how."
"The government is not raising its color-coded alert status, however," said Ridge.
[Marin Independent Journal; July 9, 2004; p. A4]
Deforest Soaries, chairman of the federal Election Assistance Commission, said Ridge refused to meet with him to discuss security issues.
"What Ridge basically said is: 'I don't have time to meet with you.'"
-Deforest Soaries; (id.)
The law today allows for seized items to be sold to finance anti-drug enforcement programs. And the way to seize worthwhile items is to focus on items that can be sold readily with big returns. The most common item that fits such a description are vehicles and boats. A police officer can see an expensive vehicle or boat, know that the owner has a history of drug use, stop them, plant drugs, make the false arrest - and the vehicle or boat is seized and sold.
“It's a strange twist of justice in the land of freedom. A law designed to give cops the right to confiscate and keep the luxurious possessions of major drug dealers mostly ensnares the modest homes, cars and cash of ordinary, law-abiding people. They step off a plane or answer their front door and suddenly lose everything they've worked for. They are not arrested or tried for any crime. But there is punishment, and it's severe. “
[Presumed Guilty: The Law's Victims In The War On Drugs; by Andrew Schneider and Mary Pat Flaherty ;The Pittsburgh Press 1991]
“Ten months of research across the country reveals that seizure and forfeiture, the legal weapons meant to eradicate the enemy, have done enormous collateral damage to the innocent. The reporters reviewed 25,000 seizures made by the Drug Enforcement Administration. They interviewed 1,600 prosecutors, defense lawyers, cops, federal agents and victims. They examined court documents from 510 cases. What they found defines a new standard of justice in America: You are presumed guilty.”
1. In Anderson County, South Carolina, the sheriff advertised for informants to earn 25% of the assets seized from any drug dealer they helped arrest.
[New York Times, April 1, 1990]
Some informants have made up to $1,000,00.00. The informants in the Manuel Noreiga case were paid almost $4 million. Altogether, federal and state agencies pay informants over $100 million every year.
2. Airport employees can expect to receive up to 10% of any assets that are seized as a result of drug offenders they help authorities apprehend.
3. In California, the police are allowed to receive 65% of the assets with the rest going to district attorneys and informants.
4. The Supreme Court in 1989 added that federal authorities could freeze and later obtain the forfeiture of the assets of a person accused of a drug crime, so that he would have no money with which to pay a lawyer.
[Chartered v. United States (1989) S. Ct. 2646]
5. No legal proceedings are required before personalproperty may be seized.
6. A court recently held that a home was forfeitable because the owner, when he applied for a home equity loan, "intended" to use the proceeds to buy drugs.
[United States v. RD1 et. al.
(3rd Cir. 1991) 952 F. 2d 53]
7. Any activities within a home that relate to drugs are sufficient for forfeiture of the home including a phone call to or from a source or the possession of drug paraphernalia.
"In Hamden, Conn., Paul and Ruth Derbacher lost their home to the government because their grandson, whom they had raised from the age of ten, was found to have some marijuana and cocaine in his room. A state judge told the Derbachers, who were by then living in an apartment, "You are probably only guilty of being too tolerant of a criminal grandson."
[Source: Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed...;
Judge James P. Gray; 2001; p. 120]
8. Entire hotels have been forfeited because one or more rooms of the hotel had been used by guests for drug transactions. Entire apartment buildings have been lost because drug activities occurred in some apartments.
(United States v. 141st Street Corporation)
9. In a Milwaukee case, the owner of a 36-unit apartment building plagued by drug dealing, evicted 10 tenants suspected of drug use, gave a master key to the police, forwarded tips to the police, and even hired two security firms. The city seized the building anyway.
[Presumed Guilty; Schneider and Flaherty; 1991]
10. What about innocent owners whose property is used illegally? In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court said the "innocence" of an owner is irrelevant.
(Calero-Toledo v. Pearson Yacht Leasing Co.)
(1974) 416 US 663
The Coast Guard went berserk.
Yachts and fishing vessels worth millions were seized, merely because a crew member may have possessed a small amount of marijuana.
Because some of these vessels belonged to influential businessmen, local politicians made a case against the forfeiture practice and in 1988, the result was the "innocent owner" defense. (But see H&S 11470 et al, p. 123-24)
This defense had mixed results as, for example, not everyone could prove that old car or boat they bought years ago was paid from the salary of their old job. On April 25, 2000, President Clinton signed Public Law 106-185 placing the burden of proof on the Government. This made an incredible difference: Federal forfeitures in 1994 = $730 million; 2002 = $400 million.
13. Under the "asset forfeiture laws," North Carolina required assets confiscated from drug cases to be sold and all proceeds deposited in the state school fund. If the case was federal, the North Carolina police would get a cut of the profits. This "profit sharing" arrangement, by sending the case to the federal court rather than the state court, also benefited state police in other states such as Montana, Indiana, and Missouri. So when one hears that a person was convicted by a federal court rather than a state court, it is possible it was not due to the crime being more heinous, but rather it was in the financial interests of the local police to send the federal agency the case.
14. Donald Scott, a half-blind, 61 year-old, was shot dead as the Los Angeles sheriffs raided his home in Ventura County, California, on October 2, 1992. They were looking for marijuana plants. None were found.
The Ventura County district attorney issued a report that claimed the L.A. County Sheriff's Department "was motivated in part, at least in part, by a desire to seize and forfeit the [$5 million] ranch for the government." (Trail's End Ranch)
15. "It is estimated that about 80 percent of the people whose property is taken are not even charged with a criminal offense."
[Source: Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed...;
Judge James P. Gray; 2001; p. 118]
The district attorney is allowed to keep 13.5 cents of every dollar forfeited. (p. 121) Between 1986 and 1993, law enforcement agencies in California received $590 million in forfeited assets. (id.)
"Former San Diego Sheriff John F. Duffy put morethan $300,000 into a secret bank account and saidthat he would spend the money any way he saw fit." (id.)
16. DynCorp employs "asset forfeiture experts" who work at 385 Justice Department offices in the United States. "This private company has been involved in more than 60,000 asset seizures in the United States."
[Drug War Addiction
by Sheriff Bill Masters; 2001; p. 52]
DynCorp is also the private-owned company that the U.S. contracts for mercenary-type services in Colombia.
(See also, www.drugwarfacts.org)
1. Prisoners sentenced for drug offenses constitute the largest group of federal inmates (57%).
2. Drug law violators number 251,000 out of 1,206,400 State inmates.
3. In 1990, the average sentence at federal district courts for first-degree murder was 12.8 years; for "other drug related statutes," the average was 20.4 years.
4. In 2004, 1 in every 32 adults in the U.S. was incarcerated, on probation or parole.
5. Parole violators returned to prison in 2000: 203,000. A 652 percent increase from 1980.
6. All major Western European nations’ incarceration rates are about or below 100 per 100,000. In the United States, in 2001, the incarceration rate for African-American women was 199 per 100,000, and for African‑American men, 3,535 per 100,000. Hispanic men: 1,177 per 100,000; white women: 36; white men: 462.
7. At yearend 2001, there were 2,100,146 persons incarcerated in the United States. 686 inmates per 100,000.
LAW LAW LAW-LAW-LAW-LAW-LAW LALALALALA-LAW!
THE POLICE STATE
"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression, for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
Who is it that convinced us to arrest our own citizens for the practice of digesting certain substances? Who was it that convinced us that it is a crime - a felony - to ingest a consumable product? Even poison is not a felony to possess. And I have never read or heard about a person that was sent to prison for taking poison - themselves!
How did our country, proud as we claim, to be free, to be "one nation under God," as we allege, agree to give up our unalienable rights that were "evident" and replace them with a police state? How is it that we saw so clearly the tyranny and government-controlled nations of other peoples yet we cannot see the same in our country? (In 1991, the United Nations ranked the United States as tied for 10th with Australia on the Human Freedom Index. They have since stopped compiling a list.)
Who was it that brought about a Facist form of government to our country? How did our fellow citizens become so HATEFUL that they allowed the oppression, arrest and imprisonment of their neighbors such as the German people allowed the Nazis?
"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
-Bishop Martin Niemoeller
In a totalitarian state, a committee or ruling body decides what's best for everybody, there is no one to blame, everything is done "by committee." Totalitarianism soon becomes becomes an oligarchy - governed by the few; an elite. Elite groups are very demanding of the lower classes. Laws are enacted to better society and social programs are labeled as waste. And no one wants to be the pariah of their community. So blame is pointed and new laws are legislated. With more laws come tougher sentences. Jails and prisons are filled and those imprisoned attain deep resentment.
"The last place I would ever want to go is to prison."
-Martha Stewart; 2003
California's prison system is better known as the Department of Corrections (CDC). The CDC operates the prisons and supervises parolees. It would be more accurate to rename it the Department of Punishment. This is clear by the language of the law which says offenders that are convicted "shall be punished."
Since ancient times, the fundamental tenet of law was, "Let the penalty fit the crime." That maxim pretty much guided sentencing until the 8th Amendment was enacted to prevent "cruel and unusual punishment." Now if you took someone's eye, you would not lose yours. That was the good news, the bad news was, there was a lot more that was determined to be "crime." The penalties that were adopted were not necessarily cruel nor unusual. You could still receive death for committing the death of a person, but other sentences were limited to either fine or imprisonment. That wasn't cruel and certainly not unusual. That began to change with the drug laws. Now, one could receive death for trafficking in drugs which is unusual as there is no particular corpus delicti (dead body) and imprisonment was lengthened to "Life," which made the sentence cruel.
Our laws are categorized as "Codes" ("Code of Law"). Drug issues are in the Health and Safety Code, but some others are found throughout the other categories, for example, Business and Professions Code §4022: dangerous drug defined; and Vehicle Code §13202: suspension of driver's license due to drug conviction.
Each state has somewhere between 30,000 to 40,000 laws to control human conduct. There are about 600 traffic laws alone.
CALIFORNIA HEALTH & SAFETY CODE (2001)
Known as the Uniform Controlled Substance Act of 1972, this portion of California's laws cover consumable substances legal and illegal and the chemicals and precursors to make them.
DRUGS: Substances other than food intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man.
A "controlled substance" is any substance that is listed in this chapter under Schedules I, II, III, IV and V.
Possessing, consuming, selling, possessing with the intent to sell, manufacturing, or conspiring to distribute any of the listed substances are illegal. Items associated with the use of these substances in any way are semi-illegal, that is, you can make them or buy them but any police officer can take them from you.
Below are partial lists as the lists are long and I have never heard of most of them and I doubt you have either.
A "narcotic drug" is of vegetable origin or synthesized from vegetable and mostly found in Schedules I and II. Schedule III and IV are considered "restricted dangerous drugs." Some categories in the Schedules are: Opiates (o), Hallucinogenic (h), Depressants (d), and Stimulants (s).
SCHEDULE I:  (99 listed substances)
COCAINE BASE (s)
SCHEDULE II:  (63 listed substances)
RAW OPIUM (o)
ECSTACY (MDMA) (s)
SCHEDULE III:  (53 listed substances)
SCHEDULE IV:  (34 listed substances)
SCHEDULE V:  (8 listed substances)
This list concerns "non-narcotic active medicinal ingredients" in limited amounts.
The next section lists 34 different chemicals and substances we are not supposed to have. If any of these are sent to anyone, the sender must submit a report to the Department of Justice. 
This is some of the stuff that is used to make meth-type drugs.
Anyone who fails to submit a report or files a false report of a transaction of the above will receive 6 months in county jail and/or $5000. [11100(f)(1)] Second offense: one year county jail or prison and/or $100,000. [11100(f)(2)]
You can be charged $10,000 to $100,000 for the police to "clean up" these chemicals or substances. [11100.05] It is a misdemeanor to furnish these chemicals or substances and glassware [11107.1] to anyone that will use them to unlawfully make drugs.  And if you possess such glassware over the value of $100 it is a misdemeanor. [11104.5]
Controlled substances "shall only be issued for a legitimate medical purpose" "providing the user [with a sufficient amount] to keep him or her comfortable by maintaining customary use."  Any wholesaler or manufacturer that provides these substances for other than legitimate medical purposes can be sentenced to one year in prison or county jail and/or $20,000. [11153.5]
The sentence for POSSESSION of mecloqualone or methaqualone (both depressants) (Schedule I) is one year in prison or county jail and $70 fine. If the judge does not want to incarcerate the offender, a fine of $1000 or community service will be levied. Second offense is $2000.  POSSESSION FOR SALE*  increases the sentence to 2, 3, or 4 years and includes opium, mescaline, peyote, THC, cocaine, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and methadone. (*This is also known as "intent to sell.") Possession of COCAINE BASE for sale will get you 3, 4, or 5 years. 
TRANSPORTING any of the substances in the above paragraph is 3, 4, or 5 years. [11352(a)] This applies even if you only OFFER to transport it! or give it away! If you transport it two counties away "for sale," it increases 3, 6, and 9 years. [11352(b)]
For those cases that don't quite fit in any category, the law threatens one year in prison or county jail or $5000 or both for any person who knowingly sells "a dangerous drug or dangerous device." [11352.1] (As defined in Business and Professions Code §4022) (Second offense = one year/$10,000.)
If the violation of 11351 or 11352 involves PCP and exceeds $500,000, add one year. [11356.5(a)(1)] Add 2 years if the transaction exceeds $2,000,000 [11356.5(a)(2)]; 3 years, if the transaction exceeds $5,000,000. [11356.5(a)(3)] These figures are to be based upon the retail price. [11356.5(b)]
A conviction of selling or intending to sell 14.25 grams or more of heroin will get you a $50,000 fine. [11352.5]
If you get a child 17 years or under to possess or sell illegal drugs, you face 3, 6, or 9 years.  If the act with the minor involves heroin, cocaine or cocaine base in or on a public center/facility when children are present, one year will be added. [11353.1(1)] If the area is a school or even near the school within 1000 feet, while children are present, and the substance is cocaine base, add 2 years. [11353.1(2)] If the minor involved is at least 4 years younger than you, expect 1, 2, or 3 additional years. [11353.1(3)] For a second violation add another 1, 2, or 3 years. [11353.4(a)] If the minor is 14 years-old or younger, add another 1, 2, or 3 years. [11353.4(b)] If you sell drugs to a minor in any of these areas, you are looking at an additional 5, 6, or 7 years if the minor is 5 years younger than you. [11353.5] The Juvenile Drug Trafficking and Schoolyard Act of 1988 added the drug dimethoxyamphetamine (DMA) to the list under the same conditions described in this paragraph with a sentence of 3, 4, or 5 years [11353.6(b)] If the minor involved is at least 4 years younger, add another 3, 4, or 5 years. [11353.6(c)] (But what the hell is di-meth-oxy--------?)
If you knew the minor was 14 years or younger, the sentence is 3, 6, or 9 years. [11353.7] If the transaction is between minors, the offender "shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison."  (That usually means no more than one year and a day.) This statute includes a bunch of other drugs.
If you agree to sell or even agree to transport certain drugs and what you knowingly furnished was NOT that drug, you could receive one year in prison or county jail.  (This isn't because the Government cares whether drug users get burnt, this is to punish those that burn police stings.)
Possession of "any concentrated cannibis" (whatever-that-is) is one year in county jail and/or $500 - or "shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison." [11357(a)] (There is no limit to the amount one can have to qualify here.) If you have 28.5 grams (1 ounce) or less, of marijuana, on-the-other-hand, you are guilty of a misdemeanor with a fine of $100. If this happens three or more times within 2 years, you are going to rehab - "without a court hearing"! Unless - no program will have you. If that happens, you have to pay the fine. If you are caught with more than an ounce of marijuana, that's 6 months in county jail and/or $500. [11357(c)] If you are on school grounds while it is open, with marijuana, that is a 500 fine and/or 10 days in county jail. [11357(d)] If YOU are under the age of 18, at school with marijuana, it's $250 for the first offense [11357(e)(1)], $500 and/or juvey or bootcamp for 10 days for a second offense. [11357(e)(2)]
Transporting marijuana for sell is 2, 3, or 4 years. [11360(a)] If you transport 1 ounce or less to give it away, it's just a $100 fine. [11360(b)]
In these marijuana cases, after you present satisfactory identification to the arresting officer, s/he must release you when you sign to agree to show up in court. That means, you DO NOT have to go to jail and/or be booked! [11357(b); 11360(b)] (Now why can't this be the way they treat all drugs?)
One more thing. If you hire a minor 13 or under or give them marijuana, you can expect 3, 5, or 7 years. [11361(a)] If the minor is 14 to 17 years-old, the punishment is 3, 4, or 5 years. [11361(b)]
The COMPASSIONATE USE ACT of 1996 "ensures that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes" [11362.5(b)(1)(A)] and "are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction." [11362.5(b)(1)(B)] "No physician in this state shall be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having recommended marijuana." [11362.5(b)(2)(c)] [NOTE: As of this writing, the feds can still arrest you. -dm]
Growing peyote (genus Lophophora) will get you one year in the state prison. 
It is unlawful to possess an opium pipe or device to inject or smoke illegal drugs.  But it doesn't describe what the punishment is.
If you sell drug paraphernalia you must store it and/or display it in a separate room away from minors 17 and under. [11364.5] If you furnish drug paraphernalia knowing the receiver will use it for illegal drugs, that is a misdemeanor. [11364.7(a)] If you manufacture a device knowing it will be used for illegal drugs, that will get you one year in prison or county jail. [11364.7(b)] If you know that the device will be used by a minor, that is one year, county or prison, and/or $1000. [11364.7(c)] All drug paraphernalia may be seized by a police officer. [11364.7(e)]
It is unlawful to visit or to be in any room or place when illegal drugs are being used. [11365(a)] But they have to prove you had something to do with them using those drugs at the time, such as providing the drugs or the devices. [11365(b)] (See People v. Cressey (1970) 2 Cal. 3rd 836.) If you "maintain" a place for selling or using illegal drugs expect one year in county jail or prison.  (A lot of drug users caught at home get this charge but that is not really what the Legislature intended and usually if it was your home, they will drop this charge as they have you on possession or sales.)
If you rent to someone knowing they will make, store, or sell illegal drugs, that is one year in county or prison. [11366.5(a)] If you allow someone to fortify the place against a police raid, because they are selling illegal drugs, AND you charged them extra for the place ("excessive"), that's punished by 2, 3, or 4 years. [11366.5(b)] Those that used the fortified place will get 3, 4, or 5 years. [11366.6]
If you sell "any chemical drug" or "any laboratory device" knowing it will be used to make illegal drugs, that will get you one year in county jail or prison and/or $25,000 fine. [11366.7(b)]
If you have a false compartment that you use to transport illegal drugs, they will hit you with one year in prison. [11366.8(a)] If you were the one that made the false compartment, that is 16 months, 2, or 3 years. [11366.8(b)] "False compartment" means anything "within or attached to a vehicle." [11366.8(d)] In the case that the police rip the car apart, they are immune from prosecution, so says 11367.
A forged prescription is 6 months county or one year prison. 
Conviction of a drug charge denies the offender of probation. 
Possession of street drugs "while armed with a loaded, operable firearm gets 2, 3, or 4 years. [11370.1(a)] (And "armed" doesn't necessarily mean you had the gun on your person.)
If you have been convicted of a drug charge and you get another drug conviction, they can add 3 years to the new charge. [11370.2(a); (b), and; (c)]
If the amount of street drugs is excessive they will add years to the original charge. From 3 years for one kilogram (2.2 pounds) to 25 years for 80 kilograms.
Possession of over $100,000 from street drug sales is 2, 3, or 4 years. [11370.6(a)] This statute includes a threat to defense lawyers who handle such money. [11370.6(b)] 11370.9 reduces the amount possessed to $25,001.
In addition to any sentence, a fine up to $20,000 can be added to certain drug convictions. [11372(a)] If the conviction included more than one kilogram, the fine maximum is $1 million [(b)]; more than 4 kilograms ups it to $4 million [(c)]; and if it was over 10 kilograms, a whopping $8 million! [(d)]
11372.5 charges $50.00 for every laboratory test. If you are sent to a drug treatment program the fee is $150. [11372.7(a)] But if you don't have the money, the court won't charge you. [(b)]
Disposing of waste from making drugs is punishable by 2, 3, or 4 years. [11374.5(a)] (It is not clear how much of this "hazardous substance" they mean, so expect this to be thrown onto every manufacturing charge.) And they will charge you with the cost to clean it up. [11374.5(b)] (And whenever they clean it up, they send a whole science-fiction group of characters, so expect a big bill.)
They have a law against possessing for sale 18 strange substances (that I never heard of) that might be used to make or "cut" street drugs. The punishment is one year county jail or prison. [11375 et. al.] Now, one year might not sound so bad, compared to these other punishments, but, these substances aren't common street drugs and I doubt many of you have ever heard of them or seen them. They could be stuff you find in over-the-counter drugs, but whatever they are, going to prison for something that isn't even a "drug" is as extreme as it gets. "Might be used" just doesn't seem like a crime to me.
11378 is a common-type statute charged to drug offenders. It is the one that accuses the defendant of possessing the drug with the INTENTION of selling it. ("Possession for sale") In most "possession" cases, the police or district attorney will charge this and force the defendant to PROVE s/he did not intend to sell it. Most defendants will not testify, so as to not incriminate themselves, so here they are in a quandry. For those defendant's that do testify that it was for "personal use," that is usually countered by the prosecution with the arresting officer's "opinion" that the drug(s) were intended to be sold. And juries frequently accept this "expert opinion," as it is called. Any amount of drugs that can be used for personal use, can also be intended to be sold. The harm of this law is the stigmatism that a charge that includes the word "sale" infers, which is drug seller, the act most people are apt to be critical of. It also provides prosecutors with the statistics that they are eradicating drug dealers. The truth is, these are possession cases exaggerated. The punishment is prison. It doesn't say how much, but experience reminds me it is either 16 months, 2, or 3 years.
The same as above applies to the drug PCP ("possession for sale") with the sentence of 3, 4, 5 years.
TRANSPORTING is 2, 3, or 4 years. [11379(a)] If you transport the drug two or more counties away, the sentence is 3, 6, or 9 years. [11379(b)] (Sell or buy your stuff local.)
Possession for sale OR sale of Ketamine ("Special K") is one year in prison. [11379.2]
TRANSPORTING PCP is 3, 4, or 5 years. [11379.5]
MANUFACTURING street drugs is 3, 5, or 7 years. [11379.6(a)] If you only OFFER to manufacture it, the sentence is 3, 4, or 5 years. [11379.6(b)] If you manufacture street drugs in any "structure" where any child 15 and under is present, there is an additional term of 2 years added. [11379.7(a)] If the act causes "great bodily injury" to the child, add 5 years. [11379.7(b)] "Structure" means any place, house, APARTMENT BUILDING, any building, any boat or vessel, RV, camper, floating home, even a MINE!(?) [11379.7(c)] (Just make sure there are no kids around.)
If the violation of 11379.5 or .6 involves PCP and exceeds $500,000, add one year. [11356.5(a)(1)] Add 2 years if the transaction exceeds $2,000,000 [11356.5(a)(2)]; 3 years, if the transaction exceeds $5,000,000. [11356.5(a)(3)] These figures are to be based upon the retail price. [11356.5(b)]
Getting a minor to sell drugs or giving the minor drugs is 3, 6, or 9 years. [11380(a)] If the act involves PCP or LSD and occurred in a public place in use, add one year. [11380.1(a)(1)] If the act is within 1000 feet of a school while classes are open, add 2 years. [11380.1(a)(2)] If the minor is at least 4 years younger than you, add another 1, 2, or 3 years. [11380.1(3)] Add meth and cocaine, subtract LSD; if you are in a park or at the beach possessing for sale or selling these drugs, add a year. [11380.5 et. al] Caveat: The city must first declare the areas as "drug-free zones" and be posted as such. [11380.5(e), (e)(1), and (e)(2)]
Selling fake drugs is punishable by one year in county jail or prison.  You're not supposed to even give it away. (id.)
"PRECUSORS OF METHAMPHETAMINE AND PCP" means the stuff to make them with. This is 2, 3, or 4 years. [11383(a)] 11383(c)(1)(A) thru (D) includes ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. That is the stuff in antihistamines like Sudafed. Possessing hydriotic acid is 2, 4, or 6 years. [11383(c)(2)] This section adds that if you have-the-chemicals-to-make-the-chemicals listed here that will be considered the same as having the forbidden chemicals. [11383(f)] (Is that clear?) The caveat is that if you have any of this, the focus is on whether you INTENDED to use them to manufacture meth or PCP.
Cultivating mushrooms that get you high is one year in prison or county jail.  Transporting them is one year also. 
Some "street chemists" have been able to construct drugs that are similar to common street varieties but are not specifically listed herein. The Legislature has determined (without even knowing which ones they are referring to, as this is a hypothetical) that these "analogs," as they are referred to as, "present GRAVE DANGERS to the health and safety of the people..." therefore, they consider them identical, for purposes of issuing the same penalties and punishments. 
"Law enforcement is the principal objective of forfeiture." [11469(a)] "Seizing agencies shall not put any seized or forfeited property into service." [11469(g)] (Well, we know they do.) Although they claim forfeiture is "intended to be remedial by removing the tools and profits from those engaged in the illicit drug trade" [11469(j)], the result is that the police and courts are simply robbing people.
What is subject to forfeiture? All the drugs [11470(a)], anything used to make, store, or use drugs [(b)], all property, like cars and boats, but not land or homes [(c)], and your computer, audio and video tapes, books, and other data utilities. [(d)] If the vehicle does not belong to the defendant, the registered owner can still lose it if the drugs are heroin or cocaine base and the amount is 14.25 grams (half ounce) or more, or 28.5 grams of marijuana, peyote, or psilocybin (or 10 pounds dry weight), or 28.5 grams (1 ounce) of meth or powder cocaine, or 57 grams if the substance contains cocaine. [11470(e)] (What is that, cocaine cookies?)
All money is subject [11470(f)], but you knew that. Remember (c) above said not land (real property), well they lied, that is going too. [11470(g)] Unless it is your home or there are two owners of the land and at least one of them didn't know about the drug activity. (id.) But as long as the defendant has some interest in the property, the Government will take his/her share. [(h)]
If the item seized is not used within 15 days as evidence of a crime and the Tax Franchise Board has not made a claim, the property must be returned. [11488.2] [If you have been arrested and they took your stuff, you are likely going to lose it unless you have someone to go get it. The police will not make it easy to get it back. You might not even know all that they took if they don't list it as evidence. dm]
Dividing the money: After they deduct whatever it cost to store, repair, transport the item, and the expenses to make the sale to obtain the proceeds to divide up [11489(b)(1)], the distribution is as follows: 65% to the police and other agencies that participated in the seizure proportionate to the involvement of each agency [11489(b)(2(A)], 15% of which will go to a special fund of the city or county that seized the property [(2)(A)(i)]; 10% to the prosecutor's office [(b)(2)(B)], and; 24% to "the General Fund." [(b)(2)(C)] 1% goes to "a private nonprofit organization composed of local prosecutors" for "education and training" about forfeiture. [(b)(2)(D)] (No money is allocated to the public defender's office.)
LOITERING FOR DRUG ACTIVITIES
"Loiter, for the purposes of this section means "to delay or linger without a lawful purpose... for the purpose of committing a crime... ." [11530(a)]
Certain mannerisms or circumstances are unlawful when "loitering" if the intent is to commit a crime [11532(a)], such as:
To "act as a lookout"; [11532(b)(1)]
Exchange small objects for money (Make a drug
Try to hide yourself or your drugs; [11532(b)(3)]
Waving someone over or waving them away;
Talking to people (Trying to make a sale?);
Receiving money or drugs; [11532(b)(6)]
Under the influence of drugs or possessing drug
A prior conviction of a__ drug charge within the past 5 years.* [11532(b)(8)]
*This last clause is the most absurd. It allows anyone who has been convicted within the past 5 years of a drug charge to be arrested. FOR WHAT?!! Nothing. Simply being out in public is now an offense. This clause was to deter ex-convicts from high-crime areas, of hanging around the wrong places, but the law is so wide it results in the police arresting ex-cons just because they can. This law should be challenged on constitutional grounds. But it's not and I doubt it will for some time, as the arrestee is generally released right-away. When they say a high percentage of parolees or ex-convicts return to prison, (recidivism), this clause is the main reason.
In case your actions do not fall under any of the above, they have a general clause if you are found in an area they determine is "known for unlawful drug use and trafficking" ("high-crime") or in the premises (crack house?) suspected of drug activity [11532(c)], and if you still don't fit in here and they want to arrest you, they only have to assume you had the "requisite intent" to commit a crime. (id.) (Stay home.)
The good news is that any of these petty charges are only a misdemeanor.  (That usually means an arrest and a couple of days in city jail or county and/or a small fine. The bad news is the way the police abuse this power.) [A lot of people get picked up for nothing (round-ups) in certain neighborhoods or areas of town. If this doesn't bother you, you very well could live within a police state and like it. -dm]
UNDER THE INFLUENCE of drugs is a misdemeanor, the sentence being 90 days minimum, one year maximum, in county jail and probation up to 5 years. [11550(a)] Two or more offenses and the time doubles to 180 days if you refuse rehab. [11550(b)] You might be able to get out of doing any time if you get into a rehab. [11550(c)] (Although, that is "doing time" also.) There is also a $70 fine. [11550(d) You will have to take urine tests. [11551 et. al]
If you are on probation or parole and they have reason to believe you do drugs, you will be required to take urine tests. *
If you are simply arrested and they want you to take a urine test, you do not have to. * (But if you refuse, the DMV can revoke your license. [Vehicle Code §13353.1 et. al.] *11551 and 11552 does not apply to marijuana. 
If you are on parole, they can revoke it or place you in a substance abuse center for 90 days if they suspect you are doing drugs. You do not have to go into treatment if you do not want to. [11561, men] [11563, women] (If you refuse, you go back to prison.)
NUISANCE. No one has to put up with a nuisance.  If you harbor a nuisance, you could be ordered to remove him or her after a 15 day notice. [11571.1(a)(1)] Permanently. [11571.1(b)] [Related sections: PUBLIC NUISANCE - Civil Code 3490 et seq. and Penal Code 371, 372, 373]
Convicted drug offenders must register with the police of the city or county they live in. [11590 et. al] (The only others that must register are arsonists and child molesters.)
DRUG DEALER LIABILITY ACT
"The purpose of this division is to provide a civil remedy for damages to persons in a community injured as a result of the use of an illegal controlled substance."  Persons who could be injured include parents, employers, and insurance companies because these people may have to pay the cost for treatment. (id.) Another injured person could be a "drug baby." (id.)
This law provides a chance for these "persons" to recover expenses. A further purpose is "to establish an incentive for users of illegal controlled substances to identify and seek payment for their own treatment from those dealers who have sold illegal controlled substances to the user in the past." (id.)
If the police sell to you during a sting operation, they are not liable. [11704(b)]
If a person is injured by a drug user, they may seek damages from the seller. [11705(a)(5)] Meaning, your connection.
Economic damages include: "loss of economic or educational potential"; "loss of productivity", and; "absenteeism." [11705(d)(1)] Non-economic damages include: "pain and suffering"; "medical anguish"; "loss of enjoyment," and; "loss of companionship."* [11705(d)(2)] [*What's an "ex" worth?]
The criteria for bringing such civil action by a drug user themselves is, the user:
1. Must tell the police everything! [11706(a)(1)]
2. Has not used within 30 days themselves.
3. Must stay clean during the civil action. [11706(a)(3)]
4. Actually used the drugs from that seller.
No third party may pay the damages for the seller or "provide a defense or money for a defense" for the seller. This includes insurance companies. [11707(a)]
Any party that possesses the drug(s) for sale or offers to transport it are as liable as the seller. [11705(c)] Each person's participation is measured for the amount they are liable for the costs.
(a) For a Level 1 offense, 25% of the damages;
(b) For a Level 2 offense, 50% of the damages;
(c) For a Level 3 offense, 75% of the damages;
(d) For a Level 4 offense, 100% of the damages.
These "Levels" are predicated on how much you had and whether you just had it ("possessed for sale") or actually sold it. [11703(c)-(f)] There is no minimum but the more you had (or sold) the higher the Level.
"Comparative responsibility (using the drug(s))… diminishes the award of compensatory damages... [11710(a)] The defendant (seller) has the burden of establishing the users fault by "clear and convincing evidence." [11710(b)] No blame can be placed on the person who gave the user the money to buy the drugs unless that person gave the money knowing it would be used to buy the actual drug(s) that are the cause of the action. [11710(c)]
A drug seller who has become a defendant in a civil action is entitled to sue another for their contribution to the drug transaction.  For example, his or her connection. [They’re just trying to get everyone to tell on others. –dm]
The STANDARD OF PROOF for the plaintiff in a drug liability action is by "clear and convincing evidence." [11712(a) ]
The STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS to bring a civil action by the plaintiff is one year after the furnishing of the drug(s).
CALIFORNIA IMITATION CONTROLLED ACT
"Imitation" means "a product specifically designed or manufactured to resemble the physical appearance of a controlled substance."  (Understand that this is an imitation only. In other words, drugs that LOOK LIKE street drugs, but are not and that means they will not have that affect on you. "Sugar pills" actually!)
Knowingly distributing imitation drugs is a misdemeanor subject to 6 months in county jail and/or $1000.  Selling these to minors is one year in county jail and/or $2000. Second conviction is one year and/or $6000. 
DRUG WAR CLOCK: 12:00:01pm
November 13, 2004
Money Spent on the War On Drugs this Year
People Arrested for Drug Law Offenses this Year
Federal drug law sentences are longer. And there is no parole. Other State drug laws vary. Some are more lenient, others, more harsh. In Oklahoma, you can receive a life sentence for a first-time marijuana sale. In California, you can receive 25 years to life for a simple possession charge if you have two or more prior violent felonies.
Under California's Proposition 36 of 2000, first-and second-time drug offenders are redirected to "treatment" centers, rather than jail or prison. In some states, drug offenders are being released early due to state budget problems.
Drug laws affect drug users, of course, but also their families. These laws also affect the rest of society as well. The attitude of punishment creeps into the mind surreptitiously. One only need be in such an atmosphere. This compulsion to punish has filtered down to the point of absurdity.
A highschool girl was banned from the prom for smoking cigarettes - off campus! Another student was expelled for allowing his girlfriend to use his asthma inhaler; .one student was expelled for bringing aspirin to school. Even forming your hand in the fashion of a gun and pointing it at another student has caused alarm at schools. A 7 year-old child at Ernest Gallet Elementary School in Youngsville, La., was disciplined by the school for using the word "gay" to describe his mother(s) - and instructed never to use the word again. "The boy, Marcus McLaurin, was referred to the school's behavior clinic, where he was ordered to write the sentence, "I will never say the word "gay" in school again." [New York Times; Dec. 3, 2003; p. A201
Brandon Kivi, 15, was suspended from Caney High School in Crone, Texas, for lending his asthma inhaler to a female classmate after she had lost hers.
[Funny Times; 2003, p. 15]
In October 2001, Lee Coggin was ticketed by a Lockhart, Texas, police officer for displaying his middle finger to another motorist: "disorderly conduct -- gesture."
Free speech? Several students in the US have been arrested for stories, poetry or art that depicts violence or expresses it following the Columbine High School shootings in 1999.
A 15 year-old student at Prosser High in Washington was visited by the Secret Service after his art teacher found his drawings of President Bush which depicted the President's head on a stick and portrayed him as the devil. The caption of the drawing called for an end to the conflict in Iraq.
"From what I saw, (school officials) were right to be concerned."
-Prosser Police Chief Win Taylor [Marin Independent Journal; April 28, 2004; p. A8]
Another 15 year-old, George Julius T., was actually arrested for his poetry about taking guns to school and showing it around. "A Juvenile Court judge determined the poetry was a threat, and George served 90 days in juvenile detention." [Contra Costa Times; May 28, 2004; p. A7] (George's conviction of making criminal threats was overturned by the California Supreme Court on July 22, 2004) Although the Court was concerned about recent school shootings, it admonished the prosecution to compose itself and reminded them of the standards of criminal threat law. "That means, prosecutors would need to prove that the poet intended to threaten serious harm, that the threat was clear and immediate, and that the intended target reasonably feared for his or her safety." [San Francisco Chronicle; July 23, 2004; p. B1, B7]
[Hmmm. Isn't this the same guideline that the world explained to President Bush Jr. about the invasion of Iraq? How about this added comment from the same Court:
"Even if a trial judge has made those findings, a higher court must take an independent look when free speech is at stake." (id.)
Just replace "free speech" with "lives" and send this ruling to the White House.
But to bring the example closer to the theme of this book, I paraphrase, that no drug user intends to harm another by their personal use, that the personal use of a drug is not a clear and immediate threat to another, and no reasonable person can honestly claim they fear for their safety when another uses drugs.
"But drug users can and do get out of hand, and become a danger," you may say. And so could that kid. And so could I, and so could YOU! We All could be a danger to someone. I have met many at San Quentin that were. But again, it is as the Court explained: The law has a standard, and that must be met. Unless perhaps, if the issue is drug use. And that, dear reader, is why I was sent to prison and George is was not. -dm]
THEN THERE WAS: 16 year-old Ryan Richter of Labelle High School in Florida who was suspended for 45 days for drawing a stick figure shooting another stick figure. (Nov. 2003) And another student who was charged with a deadly weapon for throwing an egg.
"14 year-old Esua (Hamadanyan) was suspended and taken to the police station in handcuffs Wednesday morning after school officials learned he had posted an animated cartoon with a reference to killing a teacher on the internet."
[Contra Costa Times; May 27, 2004; p. A3]
The eighth-grader said the cartoon was part of a series spoofing teachers and was not intended to be taken seriously. (id.)
The arrest of Elian GonzalezWould you believe a 10 year-old was arrested for taking lollipops? In Texas, a 13 year-old was charged with a misdemeanor for giving a girl a hickey.
It is illegal to babysit a child more than once a week in Pinellas County in the State of Florida without a license. In March 2004, humanitarians in Tampa, Florida, were arrested for feeding the homeless. On December 12, 2003 a father was charged with "assault with a deadly weapon" for using a strap on his son for bad grades in school.
PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: Parents can be arrested if their child is arrested for curfew.
Have you heard about the "Distracted Driver's" bill? If passed, it would make it an offense in California to be distracted while driving a vehicle. Eating, punching radio buttons and turning dials, combing hair, make-up, cellphones - I suppose kissing, possibly holding hands, and certainly changing clothes - just drive! First offense = $35.00, second = $150.00.
Can it get worse?
"SUBWAY RIDER EATS CANDY, GOES TO JAIL." Headline from the San Francisco Chronicle. Stephanie Willett, 45, was arrested for eating a candy bar at a Washington D.C. subway station where "eating is prohibited."
"Washington has been under heightened security because of the continuing threat of terrorism."
[San Francisco Chronicle; July 30, 2004; p. A2]
"In 2001, a police officer handcuffed a 12 year-old girl for eating a french fry on a subway platform." (id.)
It has become hysterical.
In Brisbane, Texas, Joanne Webb, 43, was arrested for selling a sexual vibrator to two undercover officers "posing as a dysfunctional married couple."
[San Francisco Chronicle; July 30, 2004]
But not all police are overzealous. In New York, police officer Eduardo Delacruz, 39, decided it wasn't worth the trouble to arrest a homeless man he caught napping in a parking garage in November 2002. The Police Department did not see it that way. THEY FILED CHARGES AGAINST DELACRUZ! He was suspended for a month without pay and if an administrative judge finds him guilty of failing to obey a lawful order, he could be kicked off the force.
[San Francisco Chronicle; July 29, 2004;]
What can one man do?
If society accepts draconian laws, more will follow.
In April 2004, the Los Angeles police chief proposed legislation that would allow the forfeiture of vehicles from those arrested for drunk driving - even if they were not convicted! Does that sound extreme to you? Well, that is only similar to what the law provides for those arrested for other drugs now. (See FORFEITURES, H&S 11470(b) p. 123 above.)
In an orderly society, things are not perfect. China tried this, as have other nations. It was a noble cause that failed miserably. Too often, the concern for the people is really the desire of the elite.
Do you want laws preventing people from bad habits? Drug use is generally not good for anyone, but it is only a personal activity that is not directed at any other. And as I showed in Drug fLaws Volume 1, US presidential studies, other prestigious committees, and many credible persons have concluded that the real harm to society comes not from drug use, but from the drug laws and all that results from outlawing a product and a social activity.
"Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed."
President Jimmy Carter; August 2, 1977 (Statement delivered to Congress)
1972: CONSUMERS UNION; CONSUMERS REPORTS.
"This nation's drug laws and policies have not been working well; on that simple statement almost all Americans seem agreed... They are the result of mistaken laws and policies, of mistaken attitudes towards drugs, and of futile, however well-intentioned, efforts to 'stamp out the drug menace.'"
1. Stop emphasizing measures designed to keep drugs away from people.
Prohibition does not work.*** What prohibition does accomplish is to raise prices and thus to attract more entrepreneurs to the black market. If the drug is addicting and the price escalation is carried to outrageous extremes (as in the case of heroin), addicts resort to crime to finance their purchases–– at a tragic cost, not only in dollars but in community disruption.*** Worst of all, excessive reliance on prohibition, on laws and law enforcement, lulls the country decade after decade into a false confidence that nothing more need be done–– except to pass yet another law, or to hire a few hundred more narcotics agents, or to license the agents to break down doors without knocking first, and so on.
2. Stop publicizing the horrors of the "drug menace."
As shown throughout this Report, sensationalist publicity is not only ineffective but counterproductive. Both the peril and the warning function as lures. At the same time, the antidrug campaigns have inflamed the hostile emotions of many non-drug users, making it harder to win support for calm, rational, nonpunitive, effective drug policies.
3. Stop increasing the damage done by drugs.
Current drug laws and policies make drugs more rather than less damaging in many ways.*** A substantial part of that damage stems not from the chemistry of the drugs but from the ignorant and imprudent ways in which they are used, the settings in which they are used, the laws punishing their use, society's attitudes toward users, and so on.
4. Stop misclassifying drugs.
Most official and unofficial classifications of drugs are illogical and capricious; they, therefore, make a mockery of drug law enforcement and bring drug education into disrepute.***A sound classification program should concern itself with modes of drug use as well as drugs themselves; it should recognize, for example, the vast difference between sniffing, smoking, or swallowing a drug and mainlining it.*** Once a reasonable approach is adopted to the classification of drugs and modes of drug use, educators can begin to plan a believable program of drug education, based on truth–– on what is known and not known. Such a program will be confirmed by what young people see around them, and by what they experience if and when they try drugs themselves.
5. Stop viewing the drug problem as primarily a national problem, to be solved on a national scale.
In fact, as workers in the drug scene confirm, the "drug problem" is a collection of local problems.
6. Stop pursuing the goal of stamping out illicit drug use.
Attempts to stamp out illicit drug use tend to increase both drug use and drug damage.*** Finally, as we have shown, efforts to stamp out one drug shift users to another–– from marijuana to LSD and heroin, from heroin to alcohol.
"These, then, are the major mistakes in drug policy as we see them. This Consumers Union Report contains no panaceas for resolving them. But getting to work at correcting these six errors, promptly and ungrudgingly, would surely be a major step in the right direction."
[The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs
by Edward M. Brecher and the Editors of
Consumer Reports Magazine, 1972]
Do not buy a cellular phone, washing machine, car or carpet without consulting Consumer Reports. Check with CR for cosmetics, diets and exercise - just to be sure - if you are not. The exhaustive research done by Consumers Report for the Consumers Union in all matters they decide upon is a blessing for a country where misinformation is a business. Consumers Reports' sole exception to other similar organizations is their integrity - they are unbiased and have no particular agenda other than to report fundamental facts. Their special interest is to extol safety precautions and detail dangers whenever found. Here they warn current drug laws and policies make drugs MORE damaging - in many ways. Do not dismiss this report so easily, it says a lot.
I have spent 10 years of my life in jail and prison for drug offenses. My last term was 6½ years. I was released in August 2004. I am now 51 years old.
I HATE prison. It really fucked my mind up. I am so bitter and suspicious of everything this Government says and does. I feel tortured and de-humanized from the life I had to live under guard, even though many of them were good to me. Imprisonment is like death. You are "still" and the world is going on without you. In my mind the date is 1993. I was able to acclimate to that environment so well that I was nervous to leave. What would I do? I felt so old and without skills to plan anything of much significance; my only hope was to be of some use to my family and to revisit dear old friends. But most of this seems pitiful. I would have hoped my life would have had more purpose.
Why did I have to use drugs? I didn't, but alcohol had a bad affect on me. It took little to get me drunk and I could not handle myself well. I stumbled a lot, slurred my speech, argued, and I would vomit. I did not like the person I was when drunk. I do not like the taste of alcohol. Alcohol made me smoke tobacco more to cover the awful liquor taste I had to put up with and if all that wasn't enough, the next morning, I would have this terrible headache which would linger for 2-3 days.
If I was at home, the house was a mess from the events of the previous night. If I was out, the car was usually parked half out on the street. In either case, I could never remember the last four hours. The last time I got drunk, I got beat up. Two black eyes. All I remember is the waitress was angry with the bouncer. I could sense that there had been a fight. But who? That's pretty drunk. I haven't been drunk since and that's because I switched drugs. (I consider alcohol a drug.) That was 25 years ago.
In that time, I have been imprisoned four times for drug use. I have not "learned my lesson." People do not learn to accept injustice. They might, as I have, learn to live with it. But my resolve has not changed; I still do not want to drink liquor, so if I ever care to get high again it will be drugs once more. After 10 years of incarceration I have only learned that it is was not fair to punish me for choosing drugs over liquor. And although I have been drug-free for over six years now, I am eager to use them again.
Prison reviews each inmate for mental problems when they first enter. They have the standard series of questions, including the one about what problems the inmate may have. I told them my problem was I HATE prison. That prison made me very nervous and it was scary. I described how uncomfortable prison made me feel and then I said, “Then why do I do drugs if using drugs brings me back here?” I explained that I was reasonably educated and of some intelligence. I asked if they could explain to me why someone who is afraid of prison and of sane mind could not learn to stop using drugs. They told me it was because I was an addict.
I am not an addict. I do not HAVE TO use drugs, I LIKE TO use drugs. If I can afford it, I buy them. If someone gives me some, I take it. I DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE THEM!
To label every person that uses drugs confuses the issue. Some people are truly addicted, but most drug users simply like to use!
The only drug that I had a strong urge for was tobacco, and that was the only drug that I bought “on the line.” I never once used other drugs while in prison or county jail even though it was offered. Not even the pruno they made. And in over 6 years, I had less than 5 cups of coffee. I did not want to drink much because I did not want to get hooked on it as I do not like the way I get the shakes from it. Now, that sounds sensible, doesn’t it? Then why would I use drugs when I was released?
In the book, Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise by Ronald K. Siegel, Ph.D., Doctor Siegel explains that the desire for intoxication is actually a FOURTH DRIVE!, as unstoppable as hunger, thirst and sex.
Could this be the reason for my insistence on using drugs? Could the reason be so simple? Dr. Siegel cautions that we cannot begin to solve the drug problem until we understand it. The psychs at the prison did not understand, and though I did not either, Dr. Siegel’s explanation sounds exactly as I feel. A fourth drive, ummm…
DRUG USERS ARE NOT FELONS
There is a very awkward misunderstanding in the world and especially in our society about drug users and drug sellers. The prevailing opinion is that they are all 1) evil, 2) sinners, 3) criminals, and 4) felons. This is wrong.
Drug users are simply fellow citizens who happen to choose a substance that the majority does not know about or approve of.
To hear some talk against drug use, one would hear that society does not want their neighbors to use substances that are harmful, disturbing to others, and may inspire the user to commit crime. One would hear how society is "concerned" about the availability of such harmful substances are to children. Or to a more extreme, they point to unborn children and the harmful results that drug use brings these misfortunate ones. In all, you get the impression that this "concern" is an emotional appeal for the common good of everyone.
Who could argue with that?
The problem is, the hypocrisy of their points of argument. To begin with, does anyone agree that a substance should be outlawed because it smells foul, is addictive, can cause birth defects, and is known for making millions suffer and die a horrible death? Do you think people who use such a harmful substance should be arrested and sent to prison? Do you think they are committing a FELONY? Do you think people who SELL such a harmful and dangerous substance should be arrested and sent to prison?
Then why are people allowed to smoke tobacco, drink liquor, and sell it?
The question is though,
HOW is any substance use a CRIME?
In our legal system, there are three categories of public offenses. 1) an INFRACTION, for which the only sentence authorized is a fine; 2) a MISDEMEANOR, which is a lower offense than a felony, and; 3) a FELONY, which is described as "a crime of a graver or more serious nature than those designated as misdemeanors." [Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998] The use or sale of alcohol or tobacco does not fall into any of the above categories. On the other hand, drug use qualifies as a FELONY.
LAW is a series of directions that a civilized society uses to conform its citizens to the rules that bind the people to live harmoniously to the extent the law is followed.
To insure the integrity of this law, a system is imposed to allow the people an understanding of what is expected of all and what the consequences, if any, may be meted out to those who do not follow this law. This is known as a LEGAL SYSTEM.
In our Nation, formed as a republic, with the claim of freedom and equality, there is the added verb, JUSTICE. Which simply means that our laws will be fair and just. Therefore, we not only have a legal system, we have a legal justice system. Indeed, our courts are entitled "courts of justice" and the administrators - Justices. Many societies have and had legal systems, yet they were and are far from being "just" systems.
As a Nation, we declare that each person is allowed their LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. Is an adult free to choose his "pursuit"? How does one guide others in this individual freedom? Although the answer may cause disagreement, it is only that opinion and fashion of the day could and will alter one's definition. But throughout the ages, in all parts of the world, in all forms of society, the guidelines have long ago been established. Simply put, one's pursuit of happiness and liberty is restricted to the touching of others and their property. In other words, do not hit or steal. These two restrictions can be interpreted to include, do not rob, murder, malign, or defraud.
How does that square with drug use or possession? To amend the "hit or steal" criteria to include other elements, one must always consider how necessary that extension of definition is. This is where a legal system is tested as to whether it is a JUSTICE SYSTEM.
A FELONY is a crime that directly involves a VICTIM. Therefore, it is considered more SERIOUS. Webster's Dictionary describes a FELON as one who is a villain, cruel, evil, and wild. This is due to the crimes that are in the FELONY category, such as robbery, burglary, kidnap, rape, and murder. It is the act of knowing that you are victimizing someone in the action you are conducting yourself in. Only drug use differs. There is no "direct" victim. You may say that society itself is the victim. But that is a stretch that cannot be justified, for LITTERING can victimize a society, as can loud music or even outrageous clothing. VAGRANCY, LOITERING, PANHANDLING, and other similar acts of a person can be said to victimize society as well, yet none of these are FELONIES because there is no direct victim and the perpetrator is not trying to personally attack someone or their property.
Consider a PUBLIC NUISANCE. Although by description, one would assume that would be a crime, the law is very tolerant with them. There is no requirement that they be arrested. [Penal Code 370, 371, 372, 373a] A drug user does not have any intention of trying to hurt anyone. It is rare that they will try to hurt themselves. It is usually that they feel discomfort themselves, that they are simply seeking a cure, a sensation - relief, if it is possible. And many drug users really believe drug use can satisfy them. And who can say for certain that drug use will not be of help to them? That drug use may be harmful to some, does not mean it cannot satisfy the needs of another. Some people can drink socially, others cannot hold their liquor. Some go out drinking and have a good time, others simply pass out or make a fool of themselves.
"LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT of HAPPINESS." [Declaration of Independence]
This is a powerful claim; it was a radical statement when it was drafted in 1787. This statement came from people venturing to establish a free society. A NEW society. A new NATION.
LIBERTY: "The freedom from restraint, under conditions essential to the same equal enjoyment of this same right as others."
[Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998]
Does a drug user "enjoy" the "same right as others"? NO. He is restrained. Therefore he is without his right to LIBERTY. Whenever a fellow citizen has been deprived of their liberty, there should be a total outcry from all those who feel liberty is a sacred right. LIBERTY is a class-action right. There is no truth to liberty when it is particular. Considered an "UNALIENABLE RIGHT" (see below), liberty is a necessity of freedom. In some countries only the Government and military have such rights. It is one of those rights that a Government will not offer it's people or give back without an uprising. Many people gave their lives for this right, and for our Government to chip away this blood-victory is unconscionable.
LIFE: "Protected by the Federal Constitution, includes all personal rights and their enjoyment of the faculties, acquiring useful knowledge, the right to marry, establish a home, and bring up children, freedom of worship, conscience, contract, occupation, speech, assembly, and press."
[Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998]
Apart from right to LIVE, "enjoyment of the faculties" means we are all free of our own mind. Whatever we feel is right for ourselves. You want to learn, play, or work, it is up to you. You want to be in the game or watch it. It's up to you.
IT'S YOUR LIFE!!
It would be great if all kids were Honor Students, Prom Queens, star sports players, and well, great kids. But they aren't. And adults aren't so great either. LIFE isn't all that grand for all of us. Therefore, many of us find some days quite uncomfortable. Is it so hard to understand that some people would seek a relief or sensation to alter their gloom or enhance their feelings? When was the last time you felt EXHILARATED? Remember how GREAT that felt? Imagine if you could feel that RIGHT NOW!! Would you want to?
One of LIFE's personal rights includes our CONSCIENCE, as defined by Black's law dictionary. RIGHT and WRONG is what our conscience rests upon. These are the factors of WANT and DO. If our rights of LIFE include our conscience, then we are free to WANT and DO whatever we wish as long as it is measured by RIGHT and WRONG. Just because one WANTS it, should one have it or DO it? It is their choice. If it is wrong, that would be subject to debate and surely the person exercising his right must be equally heard. Is it WRONG to use drugs - NO! Morally, using drugs is not an offense to anybody else. A drug user's conscience is clear.
Another "freedom" defined is SPEECH. We all are familiar with the right to say or express ourselves. But why are we limited to what comes out of our mouths? What goes INTO our mouths is much more personal and surely not directed at anyone. This is no play on words. Speech, conscience, religious worship, the right to marry, these are all personal whims of an individual that are included in the definition of LIFE as "rights." Drug use fully conforms to the definition of the freedom of life.
PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS: "This right includes personal freedom, exemption from oppression or individual discrimination, right to follow one's individual preference in the choice of an occupation and the application of his energies, liberty of conscience, and the right to enjoy the domestic relations and privileges of the family and the home. The right to follow or pursue any occupation or profession without restriction and without having any burden imposed upon one that is not imposed on others in a similar situation. While included as one of the inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence, such right is not included in the U.S. Constitution." [Emphasis added.]
[Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998]
It is not difficult to accept that the "situation" is similar for the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs, and that the law imposes a burden on drug users that is not imposed on others.
The law dictionary reminds us that the right of the "Pursuit of Happiness," while in the Declaration of Independence, it is not included in the Constitution. For what purpose is this disclaimer? Remember, this is our legal system talking. Here, they are trying to tell us what not to expect. If the dictionary is correct, are we being fooled?
I submit our Constitution fully encompasses our right to our individual quest for the pursuit of happiness. Besides, if we cannot accept the demands put forth in our declaration for freedom as a binding contract among us as citizens, then our declaration is faulty and must be corrected. Would YOU want the phrase, "pursuit of happiness" deleted?
The United States is the only country in the world that ensures "the pursuit of happiness." Even that august international organization, the United Nations, omitted the phrase in its Constitution. (The UN offers “security of person.” Not bad.) How gracious of the people that gained power in the late 1700s that they considered the creation of new government that would secure the people's safety and happiness.
But is it acceptable that we would present to each other, our children, and the rest of the world, a claim that we hold dearly, the individual freedom to each's pursuit of happiness, only to show in truth, legally, that we not do NOT hold evident this right to be true? Perhaps the US does not ensure it at all. Perhaps the phrase is simply literary dressing – it sounds nice.
This disclaimer itself should be a warning signal that our Government is cleverly compromising everything we have been so proud of as a Nation. That is, that we embrace dearly these fundamental rights of all our own people.
The definition of "PURSUIT..." claims this is a "right." And it is. If our Justice Department will not recognize this as a LEGAL right, will they deny it is a SOCIAL right - a right for free people to pursue satisfaction? It is immoral for a Government to indulge some while imprisoning others when the situation is similar.
Most of us know no legal manuscript in the world that so strongly proclaims a message of freedom, yet here, the dictionary of law reminds us that our protection for the right of happiness is not covered. Does this confuse you or make you angry? I hope so. These rights are never to be taken lightly. Maybe you may feel you have not been affected whether the Constitution protects this right or not. But this was the design of the Framers of the Constitution, that we should NEVER have to fully realize how important these rights are. That is, to not have them and thus want them and to have to fight to acquire these rights. WHY? Because people have ALREADY had to fight. And MANY of them DIED!! War is violent and brutal. It is enough to fight for food, space, and to protect one another, but to fight for an UNALIENABLE RIGHT!, that is the most abominable. When these rights are taken or restricted, FREEDOM is compromised. And freedom, more than anything, is what we so proudly protect.
We have been slowly losing these freedoms without realizing it. In the copy of the National Archives Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776, it is clearly written that these rights are "UNalienable." In later transcriptions, the word has been changed to "INalienable." Although your dictionary will say this difference is of no matter, it is significant. In Government 101 (Publius Press), author Ralph Epperson explains that:
"UN is an English prefix meaning NOT and is never qualified. The prefix IN is Latin and also means NOT but it is almost always qualified", such as "Not at this time," or "Under these circumstances." (p. 9)
A RIGHT is a freedom to act morally without asking permission;
A PRIVILEGE is a freedom to act morally but only after permission has been granted... .
Government 101; p. 13
[NOTE: The U. N. spells theirs with: “IN.”]
What is to be made of this? The American people have been slowly conditioned to believe and accept that their inherited rights: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, are privileges. And arguably they are - IF, one considers that the society they live in is only partially free. I, for one and Mr. Epperson, I am sure for two, are both UNwilling to submit this country to partial freedom. Mr. Epperson gives as an example of privilege, Germany under Adolph Hitler, where the German people lived "by permission of that government." (p. 13) It was a very sorry situation. Myself, I have lived in prison where dependence on privilege is the norm. It is a humbling experience. To feel indebted to the littlest of gratitude grinds on one's emotions. It is must be what slaves felt towards their keepers.
An incredible part of our history is that the Framers of the Constitution transcribed these rights and claimed them to be endowed to us by the fortune of birth and nothing more. I was born equal in these rights to the King's son, to the President's son, and to the wealthy's children. To assure these rights and enforce them the Framers inserted, "That to secure these Rights..." our government will see to it. And if it does NOT, "it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government... to effect their Safety and Happiness." [Preamble]
Nothing can be more plainer –
AS LONG AS OUR GOVERNMENT IS SECURE,
THESE RIGHTS ARE SECURE!
ALL of them!!
There can be no denying that the theme of these three conceptions includes the right of CONSUMPTION:
In January 1997, a group of doctors and patients filed a statewide class action suit, saying the federal government was violating their free SPEECH rights by preventing them from administering and smoking marijuana. On September 7, 2000, U.S. District Judge William Alsup of San Francisco ruled that federal authorities cannot strip doctors of their license to prescribe medicine if the physicians advise their patients to use marijuana. [Emphasis added.]
[San Francisco Chronicle; Sept. 8, 2000]
The above news article concerns adult citizens selling and using drugs. The proponents of this act present as their "right" to do so, their freedom of SPEECH. Just because our Constitution does not explicitly SAY we can consume drugs, it does not mean we do not have that right. Under a doctor's prescription all drug use is considered legal.
Drug users are simply people taking drugs without prescription. There is no nation-wide health plan; all people do not have access to a doctor's care. No drug user has been offered the option of getting a doctor's prescription or going to jail. The Justice Department allows the medical profession to provide methadone to heroin users, but few other drug users are even aware that their drug of choice could also be prescribed.
In many societies, the majority will designate what is best for all. Sometimes this is wrong, for it leads to discrimination, which lends itself to prejudice and allows persecution by popular opinion. There is no regulation in a legal system that allows the majority to speak for all. In some instances, a majority vote may make all the sense in the world. But in a LEGAL SYSTEM, justice is only guaranteed when the system is fair. And that may not be what the majority seeks. Most Americans believe ours is a democracy. Although we have democratic traditions, we are a Republic. That is, we follow the "rule of law." Therefore, in this Nation, a minority is protected as is the majority. The law is equal. One man may be more right than a hundred others. The opinion of the majority that is wrong should not overrule that which is right. This insures that one man of color or belief may live or work unmolested among many others of different color or different beliefs. That is the freedom that this Nation must support if we are to proclaim we are a Nation that pledges to each their life, liberty, and pursuit of satisfaction, that is, their unalienable rights.
And this reasoning result is not diminished by the fact that it takes a majority vote to get to a rule of law. Every US Supreme Court case is an enormous undertaking. The path to the High Court is exhaustive. Before these 9 Justices decide a case, extensive argument is presented. The US Supreme Court only reviews about 100 of the 8,000 cases submitted each year. And of these 100 cases, each undergoes continual argument and immense research. The skill each Justice brings to the Court is supplemented with a team of legal assistants. To further form a conclusion each case will reflect on past cases of similar context and content. And in the event of a conclusion (called an Opinion), there is inevitably a dissent or two or more, which may have some persuasive influence on a future case of similar content.
Given all this effort, the majority Court has still failed in the past on the issue of discrimination. Already declared 3/5ths human by Congress, in Dred Scott v. Sanford (March 6, 1857), the Court ruled that slaves were not citizens; that they were as much property as they were people. If one escaped servitude the slave-owner had the legal right to have his "property" returned. (On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed "all slaves in areas still in rebellion.") Our highest court again failed on human rights in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) by approving racial segregation. The case concerned the railroad that provided separated facilities for black and whites. The Court reasoned that as long as the facilities were "equal," it was fair. Slavery was abolished nationwide in December 6, 1865, [18th Amendment] correcting Dred Scott (and reinforcing Lincoln's edict) and in 1954, the Supreme Court reversed itself in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka finding that "separate was not equal." Now the rule of the land was that each person was valued. And America would tell this to the rest of the world, over and over, even though it still took the Civil Rights Movement and the Equal Rights Movement to secure that value. It's true, that in these cases the Court had been influenced by the emotion of a majority of people, but not totally. Majority opinion of the people is certainly a factor, but sincerity and diligence towards what is fair are the elements that brought about the change. "Wrong" simply could not continue to prevail.
If only this Court would consider the issue of drug use. The closes it came was in 1962 in Robinson v. California which invalidated a law making it crime to be a drug addict.
* * *
A DRUG USER IS NOT COMMITTING A CRIME
BY USING DRUGS
"A crime may be defined to be any act done in violation of those duties which an individual owes to the community..."
[Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998]
No one has a DUTY not to use drugs. And if an individual does not have a duty to not use drugs, then he certainly cannot be in "violation of those duties." An INDIVIDUAL does not OWE his COMMUNITY that he will only drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. If an individual has reasons for choosing different substances, shouldn't his reasons be considered?
We have liquor legal for sale and consumption. Undeniably, liquor is widely sold and consumed. For ages this has been so. Societies throughout the world agree, an adult should be free to drink as he pleases. But liquor is not for everyone. There are many people who desire alternative substances that can provide alternative effects or simply have alternative tastes.
So, society is NOT saying we cannot get HIGH (alter our senses), society wants to control the choice of substances that produce that HIGH. That is not fair. The justification behind the majority's opinion is not reasonable. The foundation of this majority opinion is due simply to fashion and age. A free society cannot allow the fashion of age to mold its laws when it is not reasonable to force an individual to conform to "transient causes."
"The only purpose for which power can be rightly exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.
His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.
He cannot rightly be compelled to do or forbear because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right.
These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he does otherwise."
- John Stuart Mill[Adopted from Government 101by Ralph Epperson; 2001; p. 50]
Epperson goes on to add that "government does not exist to protect man from himself" nor "does [it] exist to grant privileges to one individual or to one group over another." (id.)
Simply put, the majority is saying, put some guy in prison today, so that children will not do drugs tomorrow. They are not particular about who is put into prison and they do not indicate which child may do the drug tomorrow. It is so general, that tens of thousands are sent to prison for the sake of no certain person. If it could be more specific, we would see results that would certainly make a difference since the law was established 80 years ago.
BUT IT IS NOT WORKING!!
If putting one person into prison could stop people wanting to use drugs, then MAYBE we could, in all good conscience, sacrifice that person for the sake of all humankind. But who would that be? Hundreds of thousands of drug dealers have passed through the courts and sat in cells only to have the users seek out new dealers. When Al Capone was sent to prison illegal alcohol still flourished - so even if the Big Man is put away, the craving that drives a person to use continues.
* * *
THE DRUG LAWS ARE UNJUST
Throughout history we learn that there have been unjust laws. We can say that at their inception they were bad laws. And the only reason they became law was by tyranny or majority of hate. Unjust laws of the past cannot be justified by the times of then. People were enslaved and executed - burned! Property was taken -even children and wives. These unjust laws were atrocities that ended for the common good. Even religious laws have been repealed.
For the most part, people of those times were convinced that the laws were reasonable. Once the authority implemented the law, the people accepted, to a degree, the soundness of the law. The history of the indigenous people and the imported African records that the first Americans supported injustice and the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Rights Amendment are proof that injustice continued through the years.
If anyone has ever thought about how unfair and wrong some laws were from the past; how they would have voiced their concern to stop such bad laws; how they might think they would have been one of those who stood against those bad laws, then that person can test his or her courage and STAND UP NOW!
If you have read and learned that civilized man once was very unreasonable or very unfair then you may remember how people once treated others because of strength, numbers, colors, wealth, religion, and even languages. If you have ever learned that there have been unjust laws that persecuted many people and you are satisfied that the laws were changed; that you not only agree to that change, but you feel you would have stood against such an unjust law; then show yourself now what you will do for the unjust laws of your own time, HERE AND NOW!
Breaking a law that is UNJUST is not a crime. It may be against the law, but if the law is wrong, it is the DUTY of the people to not recognize it.
In 2004, several cities began to issue marriage licenses to same-sex partners. Although their State laws specifically prohibited this, they claimed that the law against same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Thousands were married. Worried this act of civil disobedience would spread further than the local cities, that the States might repeal the laws, as some courts had ruled the law unconstitutional, President Bush Jr. proposed an Amendment to the Constitution that no independent state or local government could make legal that which he and others felt was morally wrong. The point is, many law-abiding citizens felt the law was wrong and resisted following it, They broke the law and encouraged others to do so also.
In another example of civil disobedience, ironically, were senior citizens buying illegal drugs and civil leaders encouraging them to do so, even lending advice or assistance. Prescription drugs outside of the U.S. are up to 60% less expensive. Cost is a great incentive for breaking the law. Buying prescription drugs from Canada or Mexico became endemic. Due to bureaucratic and capitalistic reasons, the same drugs prescribed here are exorbitantly priced. But because the FDA had stated that they cannot be assured of the purity of foreign drugs, they were dangerous. As such, they were illegal. Anyone buying them was committing - what? A felony? Thousands were buying them. The U.S. Post Office intercepted packages of them daily. Not one person was arrested and charged with a felony. The stuff was simply confiscated; law enforcement treating it as a social issue and not as a crime.
People who use drugs, use drugs simply for the sake of relief or satisfaction. I use drugs to enhance my energy. There are some who use drugs due to peer pressure and/or curiosity. The number is few, if any, that use drugs because using drugs constitutes committing a crime. And even if anyone did use drugs simply because it's a crime, what crime are they committing?
CRIME: "A crime is a positive or negative act in violation of the penal code [and/or Health and Safety Code]; an offense against the State or United States.
[Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998]
There are lots of different types of crime. There is CAPITAL CRIME, which means the punishment is death; CRIME AGAINST NATURE, which involves deviant sex, bestiality; CRIME OF PASSION; CRIME OF VIOLENCE or SERIOUS CRIME, which lists all the mean crimes; ORGANIZED CRIME, and; WHITE-COLLAR CRIME. And there are others. All crimes are classified for various purposes. The main two are felony and misdemeanor.
AN INFRACTION IS NOT A CRIME. This is because an infraction is the type of case where the only authorized sentence is a fine. MISDEMEANOR could also be simply a fine or it could send one to jail - or both!
"CRIME" and "MISDEMEANOR," properly speaking, are synonymous terms; though in common usage, "crime" is made to denote such offenses as of a more serious nature."
[Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998]
Basically, if one discusses the criminal history of a misdemeanant, one is talking about a "petty criminal." Usually, that is insignificant to most people; the same as a nuisance. A Felon is considered much more serious. Even the medieval Latin root word: fello, meant "evil-doer." As it is, the felony classification lists all the mean crimes and many others. It also includes drug offenses. To be labeled a "Felon" is quite degrading in our society. Felons cannot own weapons, they cannot vote, they cannot hold public office, job applications want to know if a person has ever been convicted of a felony, it gets very personal. Some felons have to register with the local police. The connotation is enormous to live with. A felony witness is automatically impeached at trials. But who would pity a murderer or robber having to live with such a label? In some crowds you can yell" Fuck," "Fire" or "Felon" and get the same nervous reaction.
A FELONY is "a crime of a graver or more serious nature than those designated as misdemeanors."
[Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998]
(See definition of "CRIME" above.)
For example, you can assault someone and still it could be classified as only a MISDEMEANOR. That is a type of an assault that is determined to be of slight significance regardless if you meant to touch someone with the intent to hurt them. This is better known as SIMPLE ASSAULT and it is a misdemeanor.
"A jujitsu master accused of attacking a San Francisco parking control officer had felony assault charges reduced to misdemeanors yesterday by the the district attorney's office because the victim's injuries were not as serious as first reported.
"Parking control officer Mohammad Latif testified that Grace walked up to him and punched and elbowed him at least twice, bloodying Latif's face and causing him to lose consciousness for a few seconds."
[San Francisco Chronicle; Sept. 8, 2000]
For an assault to become a FELONY, there has to be aggravating circumstances such as maybe a broken bone or deep cut or maybe a weapon used in the attack. (But does a jujitsu master need a weapon?)
In September 2000, a man in charge of a home detention program was charged with letting females out of their electronic shackles in exchange for sex. Solano County Superior Court Judge Eric Uldall, decided to convict Scott Dolan for a MISDEMEANOR and sentenced him to six months in county jail.
The point here is, how much less is a drug user committing a misdemeanor if he is alone in his own home and no one is even aware of his using until the door has been kicked open by some eager person looking to expose the user in action? And if a drug user is committing less than "simple assault," or "sexual assault," then he is certainly not committing any degree of CRIME comparable to that of FELONY!
THEN WHY ARE DRUG OFFENSES FELONIES?
Because "Felony" does not list the crime by degree of seriousness, it classifies the crime as ANY OFFENSE punishable by imprisonment for a term EXCEEDING ONE YEAR in prison or penitentiary.
(For a comparison of the Swedish drug laws below.)
The using of substances is not of itself - "CRIMINAL." It is not a crime to be a drug user or even an addict. (Robinson v. California (1962)) Drug use becomes a crime when one is "under the influence," but that is generally a factor that depends on the circumstances, such as "in public," or while driving a vehicle.
Some consider that drug users are criminal due to the reason that they are using a substance that is dangerous to themselves or others; that drug users, by the fact of using illegal drugs, are inconsiderate, anti-social, anti-establishment - an assortment of deliberate social ills.
The term in legalese is: turpitude.
TURPITUDE: "Everything done contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals. An action showing gross depravity."
[Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998]
The seldom heard word TURPITUDE, is a factor in describing the character of some crimes, especially felonies. A companion term is MORAL TURPITUDE which adds:
"The private and social duties which a man owes to his fellow man or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man.
[Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998]
"Turpitude" describes an act or principle as "vile" or "depraved." When one speaks of "morals" in the context of a crime, this is what they mean. In the commission of some crimes, a person is guilty, to some degree, of moral turpitude. The exception is the "unintentional wrong, or an act done without unlawful or improper intent." (id.)
The reason this designation does not fit a person who uses drugs is because the act of using drugs is not necessarily vile nor depraved, and because it is not the users INTENT to commit a wrong even though it is listed as unlawful. The use of a substance is not contrary to the "rule of right and duty between man and man." There is no absolute "right" substance, and as Americans, we have the duty to disregard all wrongs, and that includes unjust laws. And lastly, I do not owe anyone! not to use a substance that I have determined is an acceptable risk, and that which I desire.
One of the most common instances of moral turpitude was the sin: GAMBLING.
Depicted in Westerns as a questionable pastime, held mostly in saloons, trouble always seemed to accompany each game. In the early tv series, Maverick, the program hero had more than one close call in losing his life by gambling. People have long been recognized to have gambling addictions. William Bennett, President Reagan's Director of drug abuse was one. In ten years he lost $8 million and still somehow kept his addiction and loss a secret from his wife!
Gambling has always been associated with crime. Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the US, was built and made famous with crime syndicate money and personnel.
In California and other states, gambling was defined as "chance" and not skill. Therefore, games such as poker was allowed but "Blackjack," "7 card no-peek" and slot machines were not. The machines were given the nickname: "One-armed bandits."
Still, gambling became acceptable. Las Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City - States began having lotteries and "card clubs" extended more games to be played. Indian tribes opened casinos with slot machines. In July 2004, Pennsylvania began to allow slot machines. Gambling became a way for states and cities to raise money. The problems with gambling remained but were ignored. Even Bennett's gambling problem was rationalized with the attitude that they could afford it, said he and his wife.
Gambling was a crime. It's STILL A CRIME! In California it is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100-$1000 or 6 months in county jail or both for those who conduct gambling events or plays. [Penal Code 330] Gambling is allowed in places so licensed and only for adults.
Somehow people were convinced that this society-ill could be tolerated. Even religions that declared it a sin held gambling events to raise funds. Our own government encourages us to gamble now. They only ask: "Play responsibly.”
Substance use does not violate a moral sentiment or standard of the community. If it did, liquor and tobacco would be outlawed and so would all gambling. All that really remains in the category of "vice" is prostitution. But prostitution is legal in Las Vegas and every large city has its nude bars and strip joints.
[Why can't I pay an adult woman to have sex with me? To insist that I figure out a way to convince a beautiful girl to lay naked with me and let me touch her without paying her deprives me of simple negotiation. Some women can be encouraged with good looks, the impression of power or influence, the right words, liquor or drugs. Money seems so much more honest. -dm]
With this said, I proclaim that drug users are not guilty of MORAL TURPITUDE.
On the local level, municipalities allow the sale of intoxicating substances to adults and do not limit that amount. They issue out licenses for service of substances with entertainment so the buyer does not have to even consume the substance in private. And the municipalities allow incentive buying programs that encourages buyers to purchase more than a single serving, so although there is a chance of abuse, the responsibility lies with the purchaser and the municipality does not concern itself without direct complaint. 99.99% of all US cities have an ORDINANCE that allows, what we may call, entertainment substances to be sold and consumed. (Alcohol and tobacco) Licensed sellers may flavor and decorate the substances, attach devises to them to be fun to consume, and give away gifts for just buying them.
"In general, violation of an ordinance is not a crime."
[CRIME: [Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998]
But certainly the drug user is committing some offense, you might argue. I submit, that the drug user, at his or her WORST, is no more committing an offense than any sort of obnoxious person that you will find in all families. And although that person may be difficult, s/he is part of the human selection of types born into this world and therefore, an act of nature that should not be fought, but tolerated and endured. As all types of unfavorable acts of nature, the worst subsides and life goes on. Many families have a misfit, outcast, drunk, or crazy. Uncomfortable as they are, in most instances, the person is just "different." Without more, this family member does not deserve imprisonment.
The hysteria about street drug use is discrimination in a new form.
DISCRIMINATION: A failure to treat all persons equally where no reasonable distinction can be found between those favored and those not favored.
[Black’s Law Dictionary; 1998]
Certainly no one can deny that drug users are the ones "not favored" as to those who drink liquor or smoke tobacco. Yet, there is "no reasonable distinction" between the two.
We are all familiar with discrimination because of color, gender, and religion, but that is not exclusive of what can be considered discrimination. For the same reasons that discrimination has been curtailed and in some instances, abolished, it should apply to drug users. Most white people saw no discrimination in their treatment of other colors; most men saw no discrimination against women and no religion has ever felt they were discriminating against another religion, yet, no one today could argue that there was indeed discrimination in all three categories. Most people do not realize when they discriminate. Many will claim they are not racists nor prejudice. It is something that becomes clear with education. It is not easy to convince people that they are discriminating. People will not easily accept their opinion is wrong. History proves people discriminate a lot. The Old Testament recorded how the Hebrews wiped out the Caananites and others. Genocide has been practiced for centuries. The Greeks did it, the Romans, Arabs, Chinese, British, the Dutch, the Spanish, Americans, Australians, Germans, Japanese, it happened in Serbia and Mexico recently, it’s happening today in Africa and it seems that the Israelis have entombed the Palestinians. In India they have a caste system with the lowest class referred to as the "Untouchables." And they are treated as such.
In the June 2003 issue of National Geographic, the magazine published a list entitled:
A Short History of Regret
2002: Saddam Hussein apologizes for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
2000: Pope John Paul II asks for forgiveness for the church's sins against various groups including Jews, women, and the poor.
1990: East Germany says it's sorry for the Holocaust.
1997: President Bill Clinton apologizes for a U.S. Government study that began in the 1930s and exposed 399 African-American men to syphilis without providing treatment.
1995: The Queen of England apologizes to New Zealand's native Maoris for a "wrongful and unjust" land grab in the 1860s.
1995: The prime minister of Japan shares his "deep remorse" and a "heartfelt apology" to all victims of World War II.
This list was to submit examples of people and countries that came to face their wrongs and were willing to admit it. Indeed, many proclaim a wrong is never fully righted until the wrong is admitted. Our own courts and parole boards subscribe to this rite.
Thankfully, enough people have a deep urge to be better persons, and with diligence, patience and education, an issue of discrimination is recognized.
Two recent examples on point: 14 years ago, the issue of the disabled being discriminated came before Congress. Handicap people had been considered the results of God, Nature, Chance, and/or Luck. Their fate was as it was. No one felt compelled to do anything exceptional for them (excepting their loved ones and the rare pious person.). To charge someone for discriminating against a handicap person was absurd. Can you hire them? Should you accommodate them? Must you rearrange the world for them? Ridiculous!?
On July 26, 1990, the American's With Disabilities Act was passed. Individual states installed similar legislation for specific needs.
CALIFORNIA FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING ACT requires employers to reasonably accommodate disabled employees or job applicants in order to enable them to perform the essential functions of a job.
The law today is clear, discrimination against the disabled is illegal. Who would have thought? Today, fountains, phones, restrooms, restaurants, theme parks, hotels, sidewalks, public transportation, private transportation, and on and on, are all redesigned or will soon be. Can you say you have always felt obliged to accommodate the handicap? What accommodations had you made? These areas mentioned above had to be altered for the new law. Few were always accommodating. (Is your home accommodating?) For example:
A written policy by American Muti-Cinema Inc., which has 3500 screens worldwide, informed disabled patrons and their companions that they run the risk of not being able to sit together at sold-out shows like everyone else. On April 14, 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that theaters must provide adjacent seating for the companions even if it means forcing other customers to move. [San Francisco Chronicle; April 15, 2004; p. B3] "The three-judge panel found that AMC's policy illegally discriminated against disabled people." (id.)
Second is the issue of gay marriage. Although the majority of Americans may be against marriage between same-sexes, a great many of those against it submit that they are willing to accept "civil unions." Which is marriage without the title. That is quite a concession from what, not too long ago, many would have considered was a non-debatable issue. Today it is not only debatable, it is tolerated and the matter is heading towards complete acceptance. For this to come around, society had to first recognize that "gay bashing" was a hate crime, and perpetrators had to be dealt with seriously. Gays were people, the heteros had to acknowledge. And treating them as separate was not right. This was the same argument that came out of the 1954 US Supreme Court case of Brown v. the Board of Education, where it was ruled that "separate was not equal." Although the issue in Brown was racial segregation in public schools, the rational was as compelling for gay rights.
I submit that differentiating between which substances a person uses is as much a case of discrimination as any we have accepted todate. It is clear the government is discriminating against its citizens and the country seems oblivious.
Just because our laws do not NOW recognize substance use-discrimination does not mean it is not a social issue that 1) exists, and; 2) needs to be federally regulated, as other discrimination issues are.
The FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING ACT provides protection from harassment or discrimination in employment because of:
Age (40 and over)
Denial of Family and Medical Care Leave
Disability (mental and physical) including HIV and AIDS
Medical Condition (cancer and genetic characteristics)
What about crimes that drug users commit?
The answer is that, people who commit crimes happen to use drugs. Then of course, they also use alcohol and some don't use either. The truth of the matter is that drug use does not lead people to commit acts of aggression or theft in the majority of cases. Most people use drugs and commit no act of theft or attack. There is a lot of crime associated with substances but few because of them. Certainly, a smoker does not get the urge to steal once he lights up a cigarette.
Tobacco is rapidly becoming a concern in theft, robberies and burglaries. As the price of tobacco goes up, more crimes are reported of tobacco products taken by force. It is not uncommon today for a store to be robbed, not of money, but of cigarettes. People have been robbed for a cigarette.
[I was taken to the courthouse from the police station to be arraigned. As I sat among the others in the holding cell, I asked one next to me for a match. He said he would get me one. Seconds later I looked up from where I sat and saw 9 guys standing in front of me. "You got a cigarette?" - asked one. Puzzled by the attendance and question, I did not reply. Whereupon, I was attacked and the cigarette torn from my shirt. They split the cigarette in two and all walked away. I was later informed that tobacco was not allowed in jails and so a single cigarette was priceless. If you are wondering, they lit the cigarette from the light fixture above. -dm]
In the jails and prisons I have been, where tobacco is forbidden, it is the drug of choice being smuggled into them. It is the most highly sought drug and can cost as much as $10.00 per factory-rolled cigarette.
Do drug users commit crimes?
There is an ongoing argument that a drug user will commit a crime. For instance, a drug user, with a weapon, robs someone. That indeed is a crime. That is a crime of ROBBERY. It makes no difference what the suspect consumed before the robbery. But, the argument is, to arrest the drug user BEFORE he commits the robbery. That would be ideal of course, yet, there is nothing to presume that the drug user WILL rob anybody. To stretch the use of drugs to an actual crime is jumping further than common reason allows.
This kind of police action, arresting people for what may happen, isn't "fighting crime" or preventing crime. This is simply arresting people. That is not a Justice System, that's martial law. Unreasonable police action. The message the police get is, shoot first, then ask questions. And news reports are showing this is exactly what the police are doing. This mind-set has been shown to be a problem with other discriminated groups, especially people of color. Today we have the police stopping people in such common instances that it has an official name-tag: "DRIVING WHILE BLACK (DWB). Prejudice can misplace justice and common decency. Left unchecked, this attitude would allow the police to arrest the poor because they might want money or property. A hungry person could be arrested because he might steal someone's food. It gets absurd, and when it doesn't pass the "absurd test" there is a fault in the law.
Our legal system deals with subjective and objective factors on all issues.
SUBJECTIVE means a person's state of mind. What one THINKS. It can be an OPINION, WHIM, or CURIOSITY.
OBJECTIVE is something tangible. You can TOUCH IT, FEEL IT, SEE IT, SMELL IT, HEAR IT.
Presuming a drug user did a crime ("How else could he afford to use drugs?") or might commit a crime ("to buy drugs.") is SUBJECTIVE. You do not know this for a fact, it is presumed and assumed. The error ratio is too great to be reasonable in a free society. DIRECT or CIRCUMSTANTIAL evidence is required for an OBJECTIVE basis of a crime. That is, a witness to the crime, caught with evidence, benefited from the crime, etc.
Police have shown themselves to abuse authority whenever they had the "subjective power" to do so. "Reasonable suspicion" and "suspicionless" authority has resulted in countless harassment incidents by random traffic stops, search and seizures, and lengthy detentions, even though the police are vigorously trained and educated of the personal rights of a suspect.
But are the police to be blamed? After all, they are human beings like the rest of us, who usually want to do their job well. And because they are human, they are impressionable and they have their own opinions and suspicions about preventing crime. And so we have rogue cops in the act of various forms of misconduct behind the shield of authority.
How did they get this way? A WAR was declared. And in WAR, the ends justify the means. This was a promotion of HATE. Everyone will always HATE the enemy. And when WAR was declared, drug users were intimated to be that enemy. Since then, there are countless examples of this Government circumventing established individual rights to further the means of winning this WAR. And never has police corruption been so prevalent in our society. False charges, false arrests, planting of evidence, even the police STEALING the evidence! WAR is hell.
How could our own government declare WAR on it's own citizens!? The War on Poverty was never a war against the poor. World War I was called, "The war to end all wars." But it didn't. About 20 years later, World War II began and that was followed by what they called: The Cold War. That lasted until 1989 when the Berlin Wall symbolically came down. Between that time, the US fought in Korea, Vietnam, Central America and South America. There was also limited military involvement in Grenada, Panama, Somalia, and Kosovo.
Some wars are of necessity, that is, to defend oneself, but most are for corporate greed, power or both. Kings and governments have regularly fabricated the reason for war. The purpose of the Crusades (there were 8, 10, or 12, depending on whose history you are reading.), as told to the common people, was the need to rescue the Holy Land. But it was mostly a land grab which benefited mostly the elite and hardly the common person.
Aside from reasons other countries went to war, the US invented its own reasons for most of its wars or allowed itself to be provoked. We are told that the King of England was so bad he forced his troops into our ancestors homes, searched them regularly and seized items without compensation; that the King implemented high taxes and that the people were not fully represented. All these reasons could very well be (and are!) argued today. So we have to ask ourselves:
ARE WE BETTER OFF TODAY THAN WE WERE
228 YEARS AGO?
It should be suspicious to a reader of history that all the early wellknown American revolutionaries were wealthy. Did the average common man really want war with England? The Revolutionary War (1775-1783) 4,435 dead, 6,188 wounded.
The Mexican War (1846-1848) was nothing more than a flagrant land grab, i.e., Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Originally, there was very little interest, support and willing soldiers to fight the Mexicans, but after President Polk sent General Zachary Taylor to the border and successfully provoked the Mexicans, Polk decried that Mexico had drawn American blood upon American soil. They hadn't, but the press nevertheless, instantly followed with news that Mexico was killing Americans. This alarmed US citizens and aroused the patriotic senses. 13,000+ dead, 4,000+ wounded.
The incident that was presented to the people of the US to support the invasion of Cuba was the sinking of the US battleship Maine. (Feb. 15, 1898) The Spanish were blamed, and thus began the Spanish-American War. We won, the Spanish fled, and we've been there ever since. (After the Cuban Revolution (1959), Cuba was nationalized (1961) and the US has never forgiven them.) Also in 1898, the US imperialized the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Haiti was annexed in 1915, the Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands in 1916.
[NOTE: In 1976, Admiral Hyman Rickover of the United States Navy published an investigation that concluded that the tragedy was self-inflicted, probably the result of a coal bunker fire. Some historians have disputed these findings, maintaining that failure to detect spontaneous combustion in the coal bunker was highly unlikely. Other people maintain that Maine was the victim of sabotage or sacrificed to rally public opinion against Spain.]
2400+ dead, 1600+ wounded.
The first step that brought the average American to support US involvement in World War I (1917-1918) in Europe was the sinking of the transliner, the Lusitania, by a German submarine. Although a passenger ship, the Lusitania was loaded with six million rounds of ammunition to be sold to England and France to help them in their war against Germany. [The Unseen Hand by A. Ralph Epperson; 1985; pp. 257-258] The German government took out ads in New York newspapers warning wouldbe passengers they might sink the liner, but the US government took no heed and gave no such equal warning. (id.) 1201 people lost their lives when it sunk, 128 of them American. 117,000+ dead, 204,000+ wounded.
The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941), a US Naval base ("The nerve center of US Pacific Command.") in the Hawaiian Islands, was the cause diabolique for the US declaration of World War II. While Germany was causing great concern and damage in Europe, the US had become a nuisance, if not more, for the Japanese in their quest for oil from China and lands thereabouts.
"After being economically strangled by US efforts to stop oil and other war materials from being shipped to Japan, the Japanese government decided on war."
[Encyclopaedia Britannica; 1976; p. 8721
"There might develop from the embargoing of oil to Japan such a situation as would make it not only possible but easy to get into this war in an effective way. And if we should thus indirectly be brought in, we would avoid the criticism that we had gone in as an ally of communistic Russia."
[Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes;
memo to FDR; Jun. 23, 1941]
Indeed, Japan did choose to attack the US. In order to do so, it would have to venture approximately 4,000 miles across the flat, open ocean without benefit of any islands for cover or feint. If they had been spotted at any moment of their journey the safest conclusion would have been that the armada was intending to attack - someone! Now, one might submit that this large assembly of Japanese warships was never spotted, or that the US Navy was not scanning the ocean; that the Pentagon had contingency plans for only the Atlantic, but Japan had been under close supervision for at least ten years, and that is the how and why of the US interference. Some would later say that the Pentagon and President Franklin Roosevelt knew the Japanese were coming and did nothing.
On November 26, 1941, a Japanese fleet including six aircraft carriers left Hitokappu Bay, an island in northern Japan, and headed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and attacked on December 7, 1941.
To understand that the Japanese had been under observation, yet the armada left unnoticed is difficult to accept. To be sure, radar at that time was new and crude. The readings gave notice, but could the information be understood? Were those blips, ships?
The first shots fired and the first casualties in the attack on Pearl Harbor actually occurred when the destroyer USS Ward attacked and sank one of the Japanese midget submarines off the entrance to Pearl Harbor a few hours before the Japanese made their attack. The report of the incident was dismissed. That encounter should have prompted suspicion that the Japanese were in the area, if they didn’t know already. In THE SECRET WAR AGAINST HITLER, (1994) author Fabian Von Schlabrendorgg states that C.I.A. Director William Casey, who was in the OSS in 1941, wrote "The British had sent word that a Japanese fleet was steaming east toward Hawaii." (p.7)
100 US vessels were hit including 8 battleships, but the entire aircraft fleet was at sea and was spared. The US declared war on Japan Dec. 8, 1941, Germany and Italy Dec. 11th. 400,000+ dead, 672,000 wounded.
Does anyone know what the Korean War was about? Or why we still have troops there now? Whatever the real reason it should be noted that the same year that war began, 1950, is the same year the US sent men to Vietnam. (35 "military advisors.") The official reason would be to "fight Communism." Korea was split in two after WWII. Russia banked the North and the US financed the South. Enter the interests of Taiwan and mainland China, and it was on. This was the first war the US could not claim victory. 37,000+ dead, 103,000 wounded.
The Vietnam War (1964-1973). Although the US had men in South Vietnam since 1950, and began formal military training in 1955, the build-up started with sending military planes to Loas in 1964.
The North was blamed for attacking 2 US destroyers in the Gulf on August 4, 1964. Shortly after, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (Aug. 7th) which officially put the US at war with North Vietnam.
Critics of the established view claim that the Johnson administration sensationalised or outright fabricated the incident, to craft a pretext for publicly increasing its already active covert involvement in Vietnam. Information obtained well after the fact indicates that there was actually no North Vietnamese attack that night. (http://www.wikipedia,com/)
"[I] had the best seat in the house to watch that event, and our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets -- there were no PT boats there.... There was nothing there but black water and American fire power."
[Squadron commander James Stockdale; 1990;
one of the U.S. pilots flying overhead August 4th]
58,000+ dead, 153,000+ wounded.
On March 20, 2003, the US invaded Iraq. President George Bush Jr. warned that he had information that Iraq had chemical, biological and nuclear weapons ("weapons of mass destruction") and that the president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was crazy enough to use them against the US and countries in the Middle East. (British Prime Minister Tony Blair told his people Saddam might use the weapons against England.)
Concurrently, Bush submitted Saddam Hussein was a bad man who was brutal to his people, and that the World would be safer if he was removed from power. Bush also explained this is what the people of Iraq wanted. Vice-President Dick Cheney told the American people the US would be greeted as liberators. In short, the Iraq war was fashioned doubly as a security issue and as a humane act.
No weapons were found and in July 2004, a Senate investigation found the information the president relied on was false. Additionally, the people of Iraq became to view the US presence more as an occupation and complained that they were worse off than when Saddam was in power. The issue of the 2004 presidential election was, did the President lie to the American people for the reason to go to war?
Would a king or president mislead their people to make a case for war?
On September 11, 2001, four commercial passenger airliners were hijacked. Two crashed into the World Trade Center buildings, one crashed into the Pentagon and the fourth crashed to the ground in Pennsylvania.
Of the 19 hijackers involved, 15 came from Saudi Arabia. The remaining four came from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon, none were Afganistan nor Iraqi. The group was supposedly part of a military group known as al-Qaeda ("The Base" or "The Foundation") who had been training in the land of Afganistan. This military faction grew out of the US supported rebellion of the Soviet invasion of Afganistan in 1979, which, by the way, was instigated by the US supplying the locals with weapons. Though, during the 1980s, the US had supplied this group and trained them in military tactics, which greatly helped them in beating back the Russians, relations had faltered beginning with the US intervention of the Iraq-Kuwaiti War (1990) (The Persian Gulf War of 1991) and the deployment of troops in Saudi Arabia.
"[F]or more than seven years the US has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian peninsular, plundering its riches [Oil], dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the peninsular into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim people."
-Osama bin Laden Feb. 23, 1998
(Manifesto issued by al-Qaeda:"The InternationalIslamic Front for jihad against Jews and Crusaders.")
Richard Clarke was a CIA operative during the 1980s and 90s. He later became Director for Counter-Terrorism. On September 11, 2001, he was the man-in-charge at the White House War-Room as President Bush was sent to a military base and Vice-President Dick Cheney had been whisked away to a safe bunker. Asked why al-Qaeda might have been trying to kill him in 1999, Clarke, who had "coordinated US efforts to hunt and kill al-Qaeda's senior leaders before September 11, simply said: 'We were killing them. Fair enough.'"
[San Francisco Chronicle; April 7, 2003; p. A29]
Indeed, al-Qaeda or bin Laden had been blamed for an assortment of attacks on US embassies, military posts, and the USS Cole between 1998 and 2000 and other incidents as far back as 1992 and President Bill Clinton had given a directive for bin Laden and al-Qaeda to be eliminated.
Whatever the "message" was supposed to be from the 9/11 attack, following this event was the claim that we were at war. The first country were we at war with was Afganistan, as it was said the hijackers trained in that land and the operating government at the time, the Taliban, required the US prove to them Osama bin Laden and others in their country were involved or responsible for the September 11th attack, otherwise, they would not turn them over. The US disregarded the request and chose to attack. Although the US invasion was decisive and the ruling government (the Taliban) routed, the leaders of al-Qaeda, specifically, Osama bin Laden, were not captured.
[NOTE: The Taliban or the people of Afganistan, were never accused of complicity in the 9/11 attack, the country was targeted for allowing al-Qaeda to train there. Although there was military training in Afganistan, the hijackers actually trained to fly the airliners in the United States at flight schools in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. It has been alleged that Taliban representatives were in Texas the week before September 11th and turned down a request for the US to run an oil pipeline through their country. -dm]
American emotions ran high and the people were eager to retaliate. Scenes from Afganistan showed missiles hitting mountain sides, turning rubble into gravel. No significant captures or killings of those responsible came forth. Consequently, the anger for reprisal from the 9/11 attack carried over to the land and people of Iraq.
By innuendo, props, and clever phrasing, the American people were led to believe that there was a connection between Iraq and 9/11. A noontime rally at ground zero in New York sent the message that the invasion of Iraq was tied to the events of 9/11. [USA Today; April 11, 2003; p. 4A] "The war started right here on Sept. 11, 2001," said Gov. George Pataki. (id.) President Bush, on-the-other-hand, set out both reasons:
"I will not leave the American people at the mercy of the Iraqi dictator and his weapons."
[Marin Independent Journal; March 7, 2003; p. A1]
"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001, and still goes on.***With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States and war is what they got."
[San Francisco Chronicle; May 2, 2003; p. A1, A20]
While the president sold the idea to the world that it was his intention to "disarm" Iraq and the American people were left to decide for themselves the Iraq/al-Qaeda connection, the military worked on the minds of the soldiers imprinting on them this was a just cause in response for a horrible crime.
The battleship "USS Iwo Jima sailed on to the Persian Gulf with a banner of the twin towers." (id.) 26-year old Pfc. Shon Emmert explained that, "Regardless of what the media says, our command lets us know we're still fighting terrorism here. They keep our minds and eyes focused."
[Marin Independent Journal; March 7, 2003; p. A3]
In order to make the connection of Sept. 11 and Iraq, the logo of the operation name for the war against al-Qaeda [Operation Enduring Freedom] was emblazoned on armored vehicles, makeshift offices, tents, "wherever troops are found." (id.) The Navy Seabees called their tent "Camp 93" in memory of the passengers lost on United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11
"The reason I'm here is Sept. 11," said Ensign Robin Barnett aboard the USS Kittyhawk. (id.) "The commander, who did not want his name published, prepares his troops with a briefing that features slides of the once-majestic twin towers." (id.)
[Country singer Darrell Whorley said on talkradio (April 15, 2003) his new song entitled: "Have you forgotten..." (about the Sept. 11th attack) which he rhymes with "Bin Laden," that the song, originally intended to commemorate the victims, was used by the Pentagon as a "motivational film" and shown to the soldiers before they went to Iraq.]
Like other wars, the US press failed to ask the tough questions or were threatened not to and so the dissension was never fully reported. The corporate media fully endorsed the war. NBC fired journalist Peter Arnett on April 1, 2003, for giving an interview to Iraqi TV, and the San Francisco Chronicle fired reporter Henry Nohr for attending an anti-war rally. The company's regulations stated: "No employee may engage in antiwar rallies." (April 24, 2003)
More than a year later, in July 2004, the reporting on the attack, concluded that Iraq was not involved. A conclusion that the President had earlier conceded.
"No, we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with Sept. 11th."
-President Bush (Sept. 17, 2003)
But in March 2003, national sentiment was that to prevent being hit first - again - the US had to conduct a "pre-emptive strike," that is, strike first.
That satisfied enough of the US to support an invasion of Iraq.
[Before the Persian Gulf War (Desert Storm, 1991), when the US went to defend Kuwait against Iraq, Lauri Fitz-Pegado, vice-president of the public relation firm of Hill and Knowlton, also worked for "Citizens For A Free Kuwait." The Kuwaiti government had paid the citizen's group $10 million to push the US to go to war for them. Fitz-Pegado presented a young, 15 year-old girl, Nayirah, the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US, to tell Congress of a story of horror she saw while volunteering at a hospital, of Iraqi soldiers who took newborn babies from incubators and threw them. Sobbing, she described what she had seen with her own eyes in a hospital in Kuwait City.
"I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital. While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die."
The story was intended to imprint an image of Iraqi soldiers that would disgust the American people. President Bush Sr. repeated the story in denouncing the people of Iraq.
"Of all the accusations made against the dictator, none had more impact on American public opinion than the one about Iraqi soldiers removing 312 babies from their incubators and leaving them to die on the cold hospital floors of Kuwait City."
[John MacArthur, author of The Second Front ]
It worked; the US sent troops and most all Americans were in support. [Excerpted from Toxic Sludge Is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton; 1995]
In 2003, a large portion of the American people had already manifested a HATE for Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people. But any region of the Middle East would have been acceptable, as Arab and Muslim people were intimated to be militants who threatened America, it's citizens, it's interests, it's allies, democracy, and freedom the world over.
Opponents of the invasion of Iraq claimed Iraq was not a threat to the US and disputed whether Iraq had any ties to al-Qaeda. The opponents suggested the control of Iraq's oil and/or imperialism of the region was the better explanation for the Bush administration's desire to invade Iraq. An added purpose was to satisfy Israeli interests. (Gen. Tommy Franks expressed his concern (August 10, 2004) that Iraq would have fired missiles at Israel if the US had not invaded.) Another reason was the age-old Christian desire to eliminate the Islamic faith. Certainly there were several agendas working together.
US companies did wind up with Iraq's oil, and; Christians were firmly in the middle of all Islam.
An extensive search of Iraq established that Iraq had no major threatening weapons or ongoing programs to produce them; all that remained was that Saddam Hussein was a bad man to his people, and a danger to the region, and that the world was better with him out of power, thus, justifying the invasion. That was the administration's spin.
It must be noted that, none of Iraq's neighboring countries, including Israel, felt threatened enough by Iraq to join the US invasion. None sent in troops. Turkey, which borders Iraq to the north, would not even accept a $30 BILLION bribe to allow the US to infiltrate Iraq through its territory. The only bordering country that would allow access to Iraq was Kuwait, who had been attacked by Iraq and was saved by the US in 1991. It could be surmised, that if these neighboring people refused to participate or did little in dethroning the government of Iraq, perhaps they were not totally convinced that Iraq was an imminent threat to them. We can also extend this note to comment that the people of Iraq put up a hellish battle against the occupation with support from neighboring peoples. Clearly out-manned and out-armed, they fought endlessly. And for WHAT? The US and others were there TO HELP THEM - TO LIBERATE THEM - from a brutal president, Saddam Hussein, who was being held to face trial for crimes against these same people! That these people would be so intent and fearless to face Abram tanks and 2 thousand-pound bombs from warplanes with hardly more than mortar shells and grenades to respond says quite a bit about a people - people that could have dealt with Saddam themselves if they were so united that he was as bad a person that the US reported him to be. A minor cleric (Muqtada al-Sadr) battled US forces for weeks and months holding a war-ravaged, holy city, because the US administrator Paul Bremer shut his newspaper down! That's nothing compared to what horrors we were told Saddam did to the people.
In 2003, the four invading countries of Iraq was the US with 220,000 troops, the British with 22,000, Australia sent 2,000, and Poland sent 200. Neither country was ever able to prove that Iraq was an imminent threat to their country. No major weapons were ever found and Iraq's army, airforce and navy were non-existent. The US did end up with control of Iraq's oil deposits and began to run production. So, was it for oil or was it for revenge on Muslim people for the 9/11 attack?
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz "cited bureaucratic reasons for focusing on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction rather than other concerns."
[San Francisco Chronicle; May 31, 2003; p. A1; A141
"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason,"
[Wolfowitz in an interview with Vanity Fair. (id.)]
Asked why Iraq and not North Korea, Wolfowitz replied: "We had economically no choice because the country [Iraq] is swimming on a sea of oil." [San Francisco Chronicle; May 31, 2003; p. A1; A14] (Wolfowitz had also said that the purpose of invading Iraq was to get a foothold there so as "to take [our military] out of Saudi Arabia" and place them in Iraq.)
The Daily Express of London ran a report citing the above statements from Wolfowitz with the headline: "JUST COMPLETE AND UTTER LIES." [San Francisco Chronicle; May 31, 2003; p. A1; A14] The Financial Times ran an editorial that said, "WE HAVE BEEN DECEIVED." (id.) Germany's newspapers joined in with, "THE CHARGE OF DECEPTION IS INESCAPABLE." (id.)
I must add: At least 20,000 Iraqis were killed and thrice that wounded from the US led invasion; Saddam Hussein's two sons were also killed, his government leaders arrested, as was he. Iraq burst into a terrorist haven with car bombings several times each week. Was Iraq better off? Was the world safer? Many thought not. As of November 2004, over 1200 US had died, countless more from other coalition forces. The number of wounded was vague, but it was reported that over 21,000 troops had been evacuated for emergency purposes.
As for the reason that Saddam was a "bad man," well, there were a few bad governments at this time, most notably in Liberia and Sudan where collectively tens of thousands were being killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced. The US reluctantly sent 15 soldiers to Liberia and none to Sudan. In Haiti, the country was being invaded by terrorists and rather than assist the democratic government, US marines coerced the democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide to resign and then whisked him out of the country. (Feb. 29, 2004) Aristide complained that the US had kidnapped him. Representative Maxine Waters flew to Central Africa, where he was being held, rescued him and took him to safety. Haiti fell into the control of the terrorists. The people of Haiti are calling for the return of their president.
Few Americans called for the US to help the people of Africa and Haiti. Rep. Waters said she could not get enough interest from Congress to return Aristide to Haiti.
On June 16, 2004, at the 9/11 Commission hearings, when asked why did the hijackers "do it" it was suggested that some were drug users. But, they said, they really did not know. With 3 years of questioning prisoners and offering millions of dollars in rewards, the US has never gotten a clear answer - or they do not want to say.
Given that the primary reasons for the Iraq invasion were later disproved, the US government began to revision the need for the invasion. It went something like this:
"If left alone, Saddam would have gotten ahold of such weapons and may have used them on the US or others."
Ominous sounding, I agree. But, I challenge anyone to try this reasoning. Go ahead and kill someone and submit to the jury that that person was mad, that you were afraid of him or her, that that person MIGHT HAVE obtained a weapon and hurt you or another. I dare anyone to try THAT DEFENSE! No jury would buy it. There are several hundred in San Quentin Prison condemned to death that tried this excuse.
As that reasoning was easily questioned, the administration offered this:
"We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afganistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities."
-President Bush(Bush addressing the nation)[Marin Independent Journal;Sept. 8, 2003; p. A1; A7]
"Iraq is the central front" on the war on terrorism
[San Francisco Chronicle; Sept. 8, 2003; p. A1; A4]
"The surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans." (p. A4)
"We have carried the threat to the enemy." (id.)
(In his speech Bush referred to Sept. 11th three times.)
"If we fight terrorism in Iraq, we won't have tomeet them in Detroit, Chicago, Des Moines or Seattle."
-Paul Bremer(US Civil Administrator to Iraq)[The News Hour, Sept. 24, 2003]
In a poll shortly after the President's speech only two out of 7 were behind the President and felt he answered the situation in Iraq and Afganistan well. The other 5 were unanimous in that Bush was misleading the American people. "Convincing? Not!" [San Francisco Chronicle; TWO CENTS: On President Bush' speech by Elisabeth Eliassen; Sept. 8, 2003; p. A4]
Nevertheless, by a majority of over 59 million voters, Bush was re-elected in 2004.
The New Pearl Harbor by David Ray Griffin; 2004. Disturbing questions about the Bush administration and 9/11.
Weapons of Mass Deception by Sheldon Rampton; 2004. The deceptive public relations campaign used to sell the American public on war with Iraq.
A Pretext for War by James Bamford; 2004. The Bush administration's immediate response to 9/11 was to call for an attack on Iraq.
Readers of history have accepted the analysis of foreign wars, conclusions proffered, that suggested false pretenses by world leaders that led to war. But would Americans accept the same conclusions of its own leaders? There are several American wars to choose from that evidence such a thought, but only one is needed to base an example for the concept I submit here now. That is, you - America - have been had!
"The broad mass of a nation will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one."
To again, bring this topic back to the central point, the drug laws and hysteria about drug use and even drug sales, has been hyped with the intent of generating support from people that needed to be persuaded that war was necessary, that an enemy existed, and that the country, and therefore the people, would be safer if the government took it upon themselves to engage in warfare towards this "enemy." Despite that more US soldiers died after President Bush declared major combat operations over ("Mission Accomplished"; May 1, 2003) and that Iraq increasingly became harder to maintain, Bush repeated over and over that America was now "safer." Few Americans could accept that. The question goes out to you: "Do YOU believe that America is safer after 80 years of imprisoning people for drugs?"
There are about 40,000 different laws with more coming each year. Drug arrests are constant at about 1½ million every year. In 2004, there are more than 7 MILLION people in the criminal system! That includes all local and county jails, state and federal prisons, those on probation and on parole. There are 38 states, and Washington, D.C., that has fewer citizens. The only city in the United States that has more than 7 million people is New York. The US has the highest prison population rate in the world followed by Russia. The State of California alone has more imprisoned than the countries of England, Ireland, Germany, Italy and France combined.
That might make you feel safe until you realize that thousands are released each day! from jail, prison, probation and/or parole. I got out of prison in 2004 and will be fuming all the while I am on parole for the next several years. I do not forgive the police who set me up for a false charge, the district attorney who deliberately misled the jury, the judge who deprived me of a fair trial, the investigators who took the money and failed to obtain the needed evidence, the appellate lawyer who refused to submit the best issues to the Court of Appeal, and the attorney advice and actions that resulted in a late filing of my habeas corpus petition, thereby preventing review for a new trial. And I do not forgive those that support the drug laws. (I wonder how the others feel.)
The only way to get a people to accept a war of choice is to establish an identifiable enemy. A prerequisite of war is to HATE this enemy. It is universally accepted that one has the right and duty to defend themselves. In Asia, the United States was fighting Communism. In Latin America it was Marxism. In the Middle East it was Terrorism.
Drug users were described as villainess and depraved. Civil leaders wished and urged the worst upon them. Their remarks were hysterical and extreme.
"We're in a war. People who blast some pot on a casual basis are guilty of treason."
-Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates;
"Casual drug users should be taken out and shot.”
Beheading drug dealers is morally plausible.”
William Bennett, Drug Czar
"Drug people are the very vermin of humanity."
-Director Myles Ambrose
(Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement; 1973)
"[Drug trafficking] is as serious as the crime of felony murder."
-Supreme Court opinion(Harmelin v. Michigan (1991)111 S. Ct. 2680, at 2706.)
[Petitioner Harmelin was convicted under Michigan law of possessing more than 650 grams of cocaine and sentenced to a mandatory term of life in prison without possibility of parole.]
Drugs are "the biggest threat that we have ever had to our national security."
-Congressman Clay Shaw (Florida; 1986)
"For the sake of our children, I implore each of you to be unyielding and inflexible in your opposition to drugs."
-President Ronald Reagan
and Nancy Reagan
(Televised address; September 14, 1986)
"If it's a dope case, I won't even read the petition. I ain't giving no break to no drug dealer."
-Thurgood Marshall U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1987)
Like the pretense for war with Iraq (to liberate them), the rational to wage war on drug users was to protect them. Treatment of drug users was harsh and sometimes cruel. Laws were passed with severe penalties and punishment, yet, many people considered them acceptable.
Most Americans saw no risk to themselves of the depreciated civil liberties that came from law enforcement requests to apprehend offenders with the new and ever-increasing laws. The rationale was to untie the hands of the police and let them get the job done!
Dear reader, WE ARE NOT THE ENEMY! For whatever noble purpose one may propose, it is too drastic an action to arrest people and imprison them for drug use. If you consider it harmful to use drugs, consider also the harm of imprisonment. It is too extreme to send an armed gang busting into people's homes in the hope of catching them with drugs. People have been hurt and others have been killed.
In war, bad things happen. Once a people have been designated an enemy in war, there is very little mercy given, even from our self-proclaimed "compassionate" country.
"Because we acted [attacked Iraq], torture rooms are closed, rape rooms no longer exist. Because we acted, there won't be any more mass graves."
-President Bush; May 4, 2004
But there was.
It was dug at the soccer field. As it was too dangerous to take the dead to the cemetery, Iraqis began to bury their vanquished in one mass grave. And in November 2004, after the US stormed Fallujah, CBS showed them digging more mass graves.
In April 2004, it became public that the US troops had been abusing, humiliating, torturing, and killing prisoners arrested from Afganistan, Iraq, and other parts of the world. Imprisoned for the sake of what was touted as "The War on Terrorism," President Bush had declared them "enemy combatants."
Although Amnesty International and the Red Cross said they made various complaints to US officials about the abuse and US Major General Antonio Taguba began an investigation in 2003, and submitted it in February 2004, the report did not become public until investigative journalist Seymour Hersh obtained a copy and issued a report for the May 2004 issue of the New Yorker magazine. Simultaneously, photos surfaced of US soldiers forcing prisoners to commit obscene acts, of dogs attacking them, prisoners bleeding, electrical wires attached, some actually dead, it was said there were thousands of such photos. There was also video. On video, prisoners were seen forced to do sexual acts and it was even said that children were video-taped being raped. Not all the photos and video were made public. On April 28, CBS reported on 60 Minutes II about the abuse and broadcast some of the photos.
"One photo shows a naked Iraqi man kneeling in front of another naked Iraqi man, who is standing over him with a bag over his head. Another shows a female US soldier pointing as an Iraqi man with a bag over his head is masturbating. Another photo shows a US soldier sitting on top of a naked Iraqi man, who is straining to look up, and still more photos show naked Iraqi men in a human pyramid."
[San Francisco Chronicle; May 3, 2004; p Al, All]
The photos had circulated among the service men until one sergeant, disgusted with what he saw, made them public.
The Taguba report stated that "'between October and December, 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility, numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees.'" (id.)
The irony of the situation was that the photos of the abuse was taken at the same prison that Saddam Hussein was accused of committing torture, which was one of the original reasons Bush insisted on military action against him. Now, the US was being accused of torture themselves.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told reporters that the "abuse" (He would not call it "torture.") of the Iraqi people was "un-American." But is it?
History of war reports torture and deliberate civilian murder happened regularly. The photos that were made public, one might have supposed upon viewing them, were moments when the soldiers were in a "festive" mood, that is, the guards were kidding around, as a few of the soldiers themselves posed with the victims, and the soldiers are shown smiling for the camera. (The soldiers claimed they were ordered to "soften" the prisoners up for interrogation.) And, the fact they took the photos at all, presumes the soldiers took them with the intention of laughs. BUT, if the guards felt obliged to force the victims to pose in such degrading positions when they were "festive," one can only imagine what they did to the prisoners when they tried to get the information Bush wanted from them or information the soldiers thought may save the lives of fellow soldiers. (Bush wanted information on where the weapons of mass destruction were and what ties Iraq had with al-Qaeda.) But many other photos and videotape were much more disgusting, clearly torture.
Although many Americans were verbally upset, many discounted the degrading acts as "common" in war or "probably politically exaggerated" and others disputed the allegation that these POWs were actually "tortured," comparing torture stories from Saddam and even the Viet Cong. Talk-radio hosts (e.g. Limbaugh, Drudge, Hannity, Beck, Sussman, Simpson, Inghram, O'Reilly, Savage.) disputed whether the victims were actually tortured or simply humiliated; laughing it off with the response, "You call that torture?" And many Americans who called in agreed. Radio host Joe Crummy dismissed rape as torture reasoning if it took rape to get information from a prisoner, it would be acceptable. (May 5, 2004)
Nov. 26, 2003: QAIM, IRAQ. Maj. Gen. Abed Named Mowhoush loses consciousness and dies during interrogation.
[Marin Independent Journal; May 9, 2004; p. A4]
Nov. 2003: ABU GHRAIB PRISON. Prisoner's death determined to be a homicide. Possible CIA involved.
Case pending. (id.)
June 21, 2003: KUNAR PROVINCE, AFGANISTAN. An Afgan prisoner dies while in custody. Investigation pending. (id.)
June 2003: CAMP WHITEHORSE. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Christian Hernandez, a reservist, grabs detainee Nagem Sadoon Hatah, a 52 year-old, by the neck snapping a bone and killing him. "Hernandez was trying to move Hatab. Investigators believed the death was accidental. Hatab was left lying naked, covered in his own feces for hours when he was found dead." (id.) Although Hernandez and his superior were charged with "negligent homicide," the charges were dismissed. (id.) Sgt. Gary Pittman was accused of karate kicking Hatab in the chest. (id.)
Dec. 10, 2002: BAGRAM AIRBASE. Dilawar, age 22,dies from "blunt force injuries."
Case pending. (id.)
Dec. 3, 2002: BAGRAM AIR BASE. Mullah Habibullah, 30, dies of "blunt force injuries."
Case pending. (id.)
In charge of Abu Ghraib Prison, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski said "she was first presented with the photographs of the abuse in January." [New York Times; May 2, 2004; p. Al, A14] "I put my head down because I really thought I was going to throw up," she said. (id.) "I can speak some Arabic." "When I went to any of my prison facilities, I would make it a point to try to talk to the detainees." (id.) But she said she did not visit Cell Block 1A, where the abuses took place. (id.) Karpinski said military intelligence officers did not want her to visit the cell block because they were "worried that unnecessary visits might interfere with their interrogations of Iraqis." (id.) She called the soldiers that committed the abuse: "sick bastards." (id.) (The US Army reported May 4, 2004, that there were 25 POW deaths with 2 confirmed as homicides.)
In the aftermath of the Iraqi prisoner torture scandal, a Justice Department memo was made public. The memo begins with the Justice Department expressing concern for the care and well-being of prisoners, but quickly advises that torture "must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious injury, such as organ failure, impaired bodily function or even death." The memo unabashedly supports torture if it will help the war effort.
A Department of Defense memo expressed that the president could nullify federal war-crime statutes and described how to evade federal court jurisdiction over the prisoner camp at Cuba and even offered ways for government employees to avoid being charged with torture.
San Francisco's KGO (810 AM) radio host(ess?) Karel gave the most compelling argument of the torture or abuse. She said "What did we expect? War is not nice, people do bad things," and words to that matter. She asked, what is the difference in raping someone and sodomizing them and blowing them up with a bomb? If you are not offended by one, why the other? She is correct. People become savagely conditioned in wars. ("Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill... .") Human rights are hardly a thought to those in war. Liberators have often become oppressors.
The concentration camps of Germany during World War I are among the most recent reviled reports of human atrocities. Millions suffered and died miserably. Then too, events of torture and brutality by the Japanese are well documented, such as the Bataan Death March. The US has had its own concentration camps and death marches, for example, the internment of the Japanese during WWII, Indian Reservations, and the infamous Trail of Tears in which an estimated 4000 Cherokee died. (1838) The American white man almost exterminated the native Indian race.
US forces deliberately "massacred" hundreds of civilians (504), including babies, in 1968 at a village called My Lai in Vietnam. Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now, with Amy Goodman ran a report by Michael Sala (Oct. 29, 2003) that in May 1967, another unit in Vietnam called "Tiger Force" went out of control killing women and children by throwing grenades into their shelters.
"If I went into a village and everyone wasn't prostate
on the ground, I would shoot anyone standing up."
- Sergeant William Doyle
"They would shoot rice farmers if they raised their heads and looked at the sides," said a soldier. Sergeant Gerald Bruner said he had pulled his weapon on his fellow soldiers to stop them from killing the people. ABC News with Peter Jennings broadcast a segment (Nov. 12, 2003) with Tiger Force Sergeant William Doyle who said, "murder was not uncommon, it was more the rule of the day." Doyle said he shot his own translator in the back. The Toledo Blade quoted Doyle: "My favorite way to shoot people - sneak up on them." Doyle predicted he would never be persecuted for murder, which he agreed it was, because he was "temporarily insane," as the war made him.
"Ex-Senator Bob Kerry (D, NE) disclosed that at least 13 civilians were killed by members of his US Navy unit in a Vietnamese village in 1969."
[World Almanac and Book of Facts;
2002; p. 481
"In 1969, Lt. Kerry was in command of a 6-man SEAL unit seeking a Viet Cong Leader in the village of Thanh Phong. Thinking they were being fired upon, Kerry said he ordered his men to fire on the village huts. But in the huts, the Americans subsequently found only the unarmed bodies of old men, women, and children. In the TIMES Sunday Magazine article, published April 29, 2001, Gerhard Klann, a member of Kerry's ,unit, claimed that the villagers had been rounded up and that Kerry had ordered them shot so that they would not summon Viet Cong soldiers." (id.) "Kerry received the bronze star for the Thanh Phong raid." (id.)
South Korea accused US soldiers of killing or wounding 400 civilians from the village of No Gun Ri in July 1950, during the Korean War. The US Army finally admitted on January 11, 2001, that US had shot and killed South Korean civilians but disputed the tally. [In case the reader is unaware, the US was on the side of South Korea in that war. -dm]
Other US soldiers would recount similar atrocities.
In all matters of human nature, in war, the ends always justify the means, and that is the way the two sides have always played the vicious game. It is a mentality that cannot be restricted for any person committed to winning a war. Once commenced, the means is the only option. Bush felt, as did most of the US, that he had to strike at Iraq before they could get a weapon to strike at us. He was not chancing them arming themselves first. He called it "proactive" rather than "reactive." Strike first. He said he was not waiting for a "mushroom cloud." Most of America cheered him on: "He might have a gun!" Iraq did not have "a gun."
In war, bad things happen and people do bad things. Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massie, a Marine for 12 years, told how he and others would "light the cars up" in Iraq as people were "trying to flee Baghdad." He said they were shooting at vehicles, killing people he later discovered were "innocent." Massie said that his platoon must have killed 30+ civilians. Sometimes they would check the bodies for cash and valuables then toss the bodies in a ditch. He had one child die in his arms of a concussion from a bomb. Massie said he remembered the look of hatred in the father's face. Sergeant Massie was sent back to the US for making the claim that they were committing "genocide" in Iraq. The US tried to charge him for being a "conscientious objector." Sergeant Massie said he did believe in some wars, but could not continue to kill innocent civilians. [Democracy Now, Pacifica Radio; May 24, 2004]
In war, innocence is difficult to always determine in time. The enemy will always be HATED and mercy will be minimized. Do not send soldiers to win a war unless you are willing to accept the horror it takes to get that win. Vietnam was a "limited war." That, many reason, is why we actually lost the war. If the cause is not worth the human tragedy, the cause is flawed. Train an animal to kill and that it will. It is no longer a "pet."
You want our police to fight crime? Beware of what you determine is a crime. Understand that this is what has happened to our civil police and courts AND the people themselves. People in a war or defending a war can and will rationalize human atrocities.
Some police, prison guards and youth authority counselors are brutal because they believe they are fighting wars.
"Responding to criticisms of a videotaped beating in which a car thief was hit repeatedly with a heavy flashlight, [Los Angeles] Police Chief William Bratton said that officers would soon begin carrying smaller, rubberized flashlights
[The Sacramento Bee; August 4, 2004; p. A4]
"The idea is to mitigate the injury it would cause if it were to be used as a weapon."
-Police Chief William Bratton
Wars on Drugs, Wars on Crime... wars, people determine, MUST be won! Consider this when you allow your government to declare war. Atrocities will be the norm, as Karel pointed out. And realize this, Iraq NEVER was "at war" with the United States, the US sent the military to remove the Iraqi government, a certain body of people. The US was supposedly not at war with the Iraqi people. Yet, tens of thousands of them were shot and blown up. Innocent people became "collateral damage" and the troops began to see all Iraqis as essentially "the enemy."
"[Iraqi prisoners] are like dogs and if you allow them to believe at any point they are more than a dog, then you've lost control of them."
-Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller
(In charge of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and later at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq during the torture/abuse scandal.)
This attitude was not limited to Miller. Perhaps he did propagate it, but it was his boss, the president of the United States, who made the first call. Bush designated Iraq as a threat (dog?) and ordered it bombed. And it was Congress who gave Bush the freewill to do as he pleased with the military. And it was the majority of the American people who supported the war. (In reply to his re-election, Bush claimed the people had given him a “mandate.”) No doubt, Miller and his men felt they were doing their part to assist the war effort. They were tasked with getting information.
And that, I submit, is what has happened with the drug laws.
"The rhetoric of the 'drug war' was invoked precisely to create the type of wartime hysteria among the populace that leads people to patriotically follow their leaders into battle, and to make deep personal sacrifices for the sake of war."
-Sheriff Bill Masters [Drug War Addiction;
Accurate Press; 2001; p. 5]
Iraq reminded us of a lesson of war. No matter how powerful the authority is, it cannot force a wrong to be right. We won every battle and still lost the fight.
Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1968, reconsidered the purpose, the meaning of that war, and his and others' support for it. In his book, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam (1995) he belatedly confessed,
"We were wrong, terribly wrong."
"[W]hen Robert McNamara, one of the master architects of the Vietnam War, acknowledged that not only did he believe the war wrong, terribly wrong, but that he thought so at the very time he was helping to wage it. That's a mistake we must not make in this tenth year of America's all-out war on drugs."
[Walter Cronkite (news anchorman):
The Cronkite Report-
The Drug Dilemma: War or Peace?;
Discovery Channel; June 1985]
The declaration of war on drugs and drug users was not a war of necessity, but of choice. Drug users are not at war with the rest of society. The "war plan" is flawed!
The War on Terrorism, as it is called, profiled ANYONE as the "enemy." "Profiles" were stretched to include everyone at the airports. Now shoes had to be removed, recent photos on IDs were insisted upon (shaved, unshaved, wig, hair color change?), a traveler might have to prove his home address, job and any family relations and their addresses and phone numbers. "No-Fly" lists were distributed for suspects based on lifestyles, criminal history, and common names. (Common Arab names, to be exact.) But a woman named Alexandra Hay, a college student majoring in English and French, said she was stopped and told she was on the list. She was delayed but later allowed to board. The airport security would not tell her why she was on the list. [See, "ACLU sues US over no-fly list," by Sara Goo; San Francisco Chronicle; April 7, 2004; p. A3]
For the sake of national security, civil liberties were encroached upon. Thousands of wiretaps were conducted and secret searches by secret police became common.
But what innocent person would deprive law enforcement from catching bad people? Surely we all would allow them to search any property of ours, if it leads them to a "bad" person.
Civil liberties, though, are not intended to assist bad people doing bad things, but to restrict a government from doing bad things. The 5th Amendment protects us from "unreasonable seizures and searches," not so that we can hide ill gotten goods, but to prevent the police from arbitrarily harassing the common citizen. This was number five on the minds of the Framers of the Constitution! 228 years later and the concern for privacy is still a factor in determining a "free state."
Deprivation of civil rights is the beginning of a police state. For some, that is not such a bad deal, as a police state does provide security. If you have possessions, certainly a police state will protect those possessions, as it will your own personal safety. All one need do is to place themselves in the right direction and a police state will never be uncomfortable. [I might be wrong about that. -dm] And many Americans contend they can do this. Most Americans contend they are simply going to go to a legitimate job each day, do a fairly good day's work, return home and tend to their family. In social instances, the average American believes they can fully enjoy all that is legitimate and acceptable to the community they live in, thereby, never having to cross the line of criminal intent. For example, if they are old enough to drive and they have been issued a license, they will drive wherever they wish (that is allowed.); they will drive at the speed that is posted (hmmm), and; they will drive in the manner that is described. Many people have no problem with dress codes, and vagrancy laws, loitering, public nuisance laws, a variety of rules.
"You wish to stop me officer? And search me?
You want to look into my home or car to see if I am not hiding something I should not have?
Go ahead? I have nothing to hide."
What's the problem with that? Why not help the police police your town?
In Compton, California, 1992, a police officer was sent to investigate a complaint of a domestic quarrel. Two men, brother-in-laws, were arguing in front of the home of one of them. The wife watched as the officer arrived and pulled out his gun and ordered the two to turn around and kneel, whereupon, the officer shot them both in the back several times, even reloading his weapon and refiring. The woman said she was horrified. Certainly that is an odd case, but when the mindset of the police is that they are in a war-zone, it might be a bit more delicate calling upon them. The fear is that they might over-react.
On November 5, 2003, a dozen police converged on Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina, on information that drugs would be found. The police reacted in military-style, with guns drawn by isolating a certain area of the school, forcing students to the ground, suspending all movement. "It was really scary," said 11th grader De'Nea Dykes. No drugs were found, and I doubt the police will ever be called there again without sound reason.
In war, everyone without a similar military uniform is the enemy. On our public streets everyone without a police uniform is suspect.
Police encounters can be social and non-intrusive, they can even be reassuring, knowing they are "on the job." But police encounters can also be very intrusive', abusive, outright harmful, and result in death. I heard a black woman tell of how well she raised her children, that she regularly reminded them whenever they encountered the police to cooperate, keep their hands visible and make no sudden moves!
Americans have always been alarmed to witness police scrutiny of other countries, warmed by the assurance that that type of intrusion was foreign. "We" were FREE people. Moving about unmolested was one of America's selling points.
Today, we have police patrolling public areas and business districts to ward off the threat of terrorism. They are clothed in black military garb looking very intense and unapproachable. They are ready. They wear helmets, flack jackets, boots, and carry automatic rifles. Most Americans may say these military police are welcome, as indeed, they do not wish make the officer's job difficult, and seem unappreciated, but this presence is new. The officers are little more than reassurance for a nervous society right now. If they stay, the general public will see and feel the discomfort that drug users have seen and felt for years. YOU saw a "peace officer" in a nice blue uniform. WE saw a thug, a bully, who got excited whenever they stopped us. Now, we will ALL be stopped and searched.
With the exception of World War II, and some would not even make that exception, American wars have been more for corporate/industrial reasons rather than defense of the country. And the World is recognizing this. Only the American people seem to be fooled. US troops are based in 120 countries around the world. With one of the largest armies (about 1½ million) the US could barely find enough to station in Iraq (approx. 130,000).
Why are we so war-eager?
"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
(at the Nuremberg trials in answering how Hitler was able to gain the support of the German people.)
"I only use drugs, I don't sell them."
For all intents and purposes of this book there is no difference between the neighborhood drug seller and "just a user." The user wants to use. Without the seller, the user cannot use. And a user is NOT a user unless he uses. Any true user will tell you, finding a GOOD seller is not easy. Once a "good" seller is found, that user will continue to buy from him or her. There develops an appreciation, a loyalty, a devotion, to that seller. To find a "good" seller means that the product will be of good quality, weight and price. It can also mean that the product will simply be available to be got. This is of major importance to a user because s/he wants to use - something!.
A social environment develops. Users meet sellers and other users and other sellers. Many relationships begin, many friendships start. In many cases, a person may not have close family ties and therefor his social life may only consist of others involved with drugs. (Birds of a feather.) This should not be disturbing. It is a common preference of people to selectively associate. Consider bars, dance clubs, smoke and coffee breaks, for a few examples.
A drug culture has developed. And for the most part, it can be the only place a drug user can be and not feel he is the evil that society contends. In certain circumstances, a drug user may purchase as much as he can to minimize trips to the drug seller. This happens quite often. Subsequently, the user now has more than he can use in one setting. If he is caught with this amount, he will be charged with "possession for sale." If he is caught driving home with it, he will be charged with "transporting." If he can make it home and he shares with his spouse, mate, or friend, he could be charged with "sales." The alternative, to risk going into the drug scene for individual servings, is rarely an option. (The user would have to load up the car with his mate and/or friend(s), who will also use the drug, to avoid being the "seller." In this way, each would be an individual "buyer.") In some cases, it just might be the distance is too great to be reasonable to venture back and forth. Another reason to buy a large quantity is because the price is cheaper.
Drug USERS are expected to only 1) be intoxicated or 2) have only enough for one use. (Imagine every time you wanted a drink or smoke you had to leave the house. No more six-packs, fifths or flasks, no more packs or cartons). This is not realistic. People buy in quantities: A dozen eggs, half gallon of milk, loaf of bread, we buy for the day, week and month.
Because drugs are illegal, risks must be taken. That boldness may have a crude side-effect. It could be mean, violent, or just plain scary. It is not like tobacco and liquor where the user can simply walk into a store and purchase and then leave. No, the transaction can be much more complicated. Unfortunately, there are many never-do-wells in that culture of people. And then there are some very brutal persons. A drug user may have to socialize with certain people that he does not approve of.
The police, and people generally, are of the opinion that when a drug dealer is arrested, it was good for the neighborhood by putting this person away. In truth, if the dealer was of any significance, it is more probable that removing that person was a mistake. A neighborhood dealer usually is an honorable business person, as it is in all relative examples as they know the people and live there. That dealer's absence can be devastating to local users and the replacement dealer can be quite uneasy to do business with. New rules, new prices, new quality...
"[M]ost drug entrepreneurs are hard working, but not super rich.***[M]ost drug entrepreneurs aren't particularly violent."
-Wisconsin Policy Institute
["The Business of Drug Dealing in Milwaukee" by John Hagedorn; 1998; Adopted from DrugWarFacts.org]
For any or all of these reasons, a drug user might buy large amounts and stash it. If friends learn this, the "sensible buyer" invariably succumbs to distributing it. Hence, seller. The truth is, most drug "SELLERS" arrested today were simple users caught with too much. How much is too much? The prosecution submits the opinion of the police ("expert opinion") to determine this. Any usable amount, they say, could have been for sale. So, instead of "possession for personal use" the defendant is convicted for "intent to sell." But in California, the issue is really of no concern. The law really doesn't care whether you possessed it, intended to sell it, or actually sold it, the sentence is the same, unless there are great amounts involved. Melinda George, 27, (opposite page) is serving 99 years in Texas for the sale of a miniscule tenth-of-a-gram. (About the size of a match.)
Any USER that has ever shared his or her personal amount with another is guilty of "sales," as far as the law is written. And there is every reason to suspect that this is the case in most instances. Of course, what everyone MEANS when they say SELLER is the REAL sellers. But who is that? A real seller could be one that sells everyday, that buys sufficiently to have enough to sell. In that case, yes, he is a seller. For such a person to do so, he will most likely buy a good quality and sell at a good price. He may be more reliable and trustworthy than the person who tries to sell once in a while or have better quality than a friend who shared with you their stash. This becomes a case where the seller is honored for his diligence and consistency. When one is spending big money on buying drugs, this is an important factor. As a user, give me a REAL seller rather than a "one-shot" seller ANY DAY. And I challenge any USER to claim differently.
Because of the drug laws, many people wind up in places they would NEVER have gone. Just imagine your daughter or son in a most dangerous, scary spot, trying to locate drugs. They may never make it home. Are these brave people exploring the adventure of the unknown? Are these people some type of Thrill-Seekers? NO. Many are introverted, shy, and easily intimidated. They "shop" in fear. And then there is the additional fear of getting BUSTED. If you could only see how it is for some people to buy drugs, you would see that there needs to be some sort of legitimate drug-zone that people can go to instead of those dark corners where no one can hear you scream.
[This was always my experiences. Because I always had a legitimate job and because I look so conservative, venturing into areas that have street sellers was hardly an option. "Who are those people?" "Will they think I am a cop?" "How honest are they?"
“Will I get burnt?" "Are they cops?" "Will I get arrested?"
So many questions and risks. I preferred to meet one person, one that was "recommended," one that was comfortable to deal with.
Drugs are expensive. A small amount, say a daily amount, can be at least $20-$25. A weeks worth? $100-$150; a months' supply - 300? 1000? It is not safe nor sensible to be walking the street advertising you have that much money to spend. For this reason, rich kids buy their stuff from other rich kids. -dm]
If there is any compassion for a drug USER then there must be tolerance for the SELLER. How else is the user to get the drug? It would be incredible to expect all users to grow or mix their own drug. There is no reason for law enforcement to confuse organized crime with the neighborhood drug dealer and there is no reason that the courts must hang a drug dealer as they wish to do with a more heinous criminal. Selling consumables without a permit is already a law. Confiscation and fine is more than enough punishment for the neighborhood drug seller. And the overall costs to everyone will be much less. Given that there is always someone ready (the same day!) to replace an arrested drug dealer, the expense of money and time for the police and courts to do more with the offender is a waste.
The purpose of jailing a criminal is to relieve the public of the terror the criminal conducted. Whether it was theft or assault, the criminal will be "put away" for a time and that is the least the public requests. For many, now they can rest. But when a drug user is sent to jail, who was in terror? Nothing was being taken or destroyed nor was anyone being attacked. No victim can come forth and say they are relieved, that they feel better now that that person has been put away. How could they? In most cases, no one is aware of the drug user. (This is not to be confused with a drug user causing a raucous or as a public nuisance. [NOTE: In most cases, public nuisances are not arrested. They are ordered to move from the area and desist in the nuisance.]) Not every drug user is open about their use. Most are very private. The only way you might find out a person near you uses drugs is because you witness the police arresting him or her or you are told about it. How many people knew Rush Limbaugh was a heroin addict?
Drug use in public, like drunkenness, should be prevented. That is simply disrespecting others in a common area. But even the drunk is never considered a FELON. And for the most part, people have learned for the majority of offenders, having a drunk sleep it off or assisting them along their way is a better solution than having the intoxicated offender placed in with FELONS or other more serious type criminals. They are put into what is known as the "drunk tank" and released when they sober up. This type of tolerance is needed for the drug user.
In Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Luxemburg, the law does not consider possession for personal consumption as a criminal offense. Belgium is about to follow this ideal. In Spain and Italy, possession is an offense, but it is handled "administratively." For Spain, this becomes a fine. In Luxemburg, criminal prosecutions are applied only in specific situations, such as involving minors, at school, or at the workplace. Portugal substituted prison with social programs. Marijuana-type drugs are not legal in the Netherlands, but use is tolerated by the authorities.
On November 29, 2000, Portugal went even further. They de-criminalized the possession and use of ALL drugs. Now, if is a person is caught in possession of a small amount of drugs (below ten daily doses), and the police have no further suspicions or evidence that a more serious offense, such as sales, are involved, the drug will be seized and the case is then sent for evaluation for the purpose of treatment or fine.
In Sweden, drug use is penalized with a maximum of six months in prison! The government of Switzerland provides needle-exchanges, injection rooms, housing and employment programs to registered drug users in order to improve the health and lifestyle of the user and to prevent the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases.
[The significance of a six month maximum is that here, in the US, a felony is based upon the length of punishment applicable. Any crime punishable by over a year and a day qualifies for prison. Most drug offenses are in this category, thus, drug users here become Felons. -dm]
The Canadian Senate voted in 2002 to legalize marijuana based on medical and economic findings that traffic accidents can actually be expected to decrease since it is expected that many alcoholics will switch to marijuana which tends to make drivers more cautious.
"Cannibis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving. Cannibis leads to a more cautious style of driving."
-Senate Committee report
The United Kingdom and Germany also deserve honorable mention for their relaxed punishments for drug use.
Why do those people mean more to their countries than we do to ours?
“The main engine of the "war on drugs" is the U.S., which managed to enshrine its prohibitionist views in international law… by a series of treaties that make it impossible for national legislatures to legalize the commonly used recreational drugs. All that other countries can do without Washington's agreement is to "decriminalize" the possession and use of at least some of the banned drugs.”
[Gwynne Dyer; Toronto Star; July 19, 2002]
How much longer should this failed "noble experiment" continue? If you would like the drug laws repealed or relaxed you HAVE TO get involved. Just voicing your opposition is a help. Voting is another process.
In past instances when our society recognized an unjust law, they made it known by refusing to convict.
JURY NULLIFICATION is when a juror refuses to cast a guilty vote based not on the guilt of the offense, but on the type of offense. That was the case in witch hunts and those that fled slavery. Jurors voted their conscience. Yes, the defendants may have been guilty of the act, but the unlawfulness of the act was the concern of the juror(s). As of this writing, it is still a crime for people of the same sex to be married or to marry them (except in the state of Massachusetts.), even to issue them marriage licenses to get married. But they are not being prosecuted because of jury nullification.
Was the act justified? Did the defendant have the right to commit the act? Does the penalty fit the crime?
"[T]he Prohibition era provided the most intense example of jury revolt in recent history." [The American Jury by Kalven and Zeisel ; adopted from Jury Nullification by Clay Conrad; 1998; p. 1091
"In some areas of the country, as many as sixty percent of alcohol-related prosecutions ended in acquittals."
[Jury Nullification; p. 109]
Prohibition (18th Amendment) was confirmed January 16, 1919, and became law in 1920. It was accepted by all states except Connecticut and Rhode Island. It prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of all intoxicating liquors. Consumption, purchase, or possession was not criminalized. The law was repealed on December 5, 1933. (21st Amendment)
"This country thus sensibly acknowledged the inevitable, and took limited steps to eliminate unnecessary damage caused, not by alcohol consumption, but by the laws enacted to prohibit it." [Emp. added]
-State Senator Joseph Galiber
(Commenting on the repeal of Prohibition)
Senator Galiber went on to say:
"Today, no innocent pedestrian is caught in a shootout between alcohol bootleggers; no innocent casual drinker dies from scotch adulterated with wood alcohol by unscrupulous underground distillers; no 'revenuer' kicks down the front door of a citizen's house in search of a forbidden fifth of rye."
[Adopted from Jury Nullification
by Clay Conrad; 1998; p. 111]
* * *
"All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as self evident."
"People like us are We and everyone else is They."
March 6, 1857, Dred Scott decision: Slaves were not free in free states; Congress could not bar slavery from a territory, and; blacks could not be citizens.
January 1, 1863: Emancipation Proclamation issued freeing "all slaves in areas still in rebellion."
December 10, 1869: The first woman's suffrage law was passed in Wyoming Territory.
August 18, 1920: Women granted the right to vote.
December 1, 1955: African-American Rosa Parks refuses to give her seat to white man on bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
August 28, 1963: "I have a dream," speech in Washington D.C. by Martin Luther King.
The first Civil Rights Act was passed on March 1, 1875, but was invalidated by the US Supreme Court in 1883. The second Civil Rights Act was passed on July 2. 1964. The second Act had been pending since 1957.
August 6, 1965: New Voting Rights Act signed.
1982: Equal Rights Amendment defeated after ten year struggle for ratification.
"The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 provided that any person who interfered with the recovery of fugitive slaves, or who rescued or harbored fugitives, could be fined up to one thousand dollars and imprisoned for up to six months. Furthermore, they were liable to the slave owner in the sum of one thousand dollars per slave, for every slave that successfully escaped with their assistance." [Jury Nullification by Clay Conrad. 1998; p. 79] "[Jurors frequently refused to convict those who harbored or assisted fugitive slaves." (id.) Conrad documents that juries would even award the fugitive damages as a further penalty to the slave owner. (The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Lincoln, invalidated the Act. (Ibid.))
13th Amendment: Slavery is abolished. (1865)
The 14th Amendment provided citizenship to everyone born here. (July 28, 1868)
The 15th Amendment insured that every American could vote no matter the race or color on February 8, 1870, Women were added on August 18, 1920. (19th Amendment) 18 year-olds got the vote on June 30, 1971. (26th Amendment)
Despite that these laws were enacted, they weren't always enforced. Citizens had to continuously demand their rights.
It is no longer a crime to be gay. Reversing a 1986 ruling in the sodomy case of Bowers v. Hardwick on June 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Lawrence v. Texas invalidated all laws against same sex acts. Justice Kennedy said of the old standard, "It was not correct when it was decided, it is not correct today, and it is overruled."
[San Francisco Chronicle: June 29, 2003 p. A4]
Justice Clarence Thomas called the old Texas law, "silly."
"First came love, then came marriage... ." Is there a disparity in the law when heterosexuals are allowed to be legally married and homosexuals are not? Are adult American citizens free to pursue the happiness to be recognized as legally registered couples of their choosing?
That was the crux of the matter in 2004 as same-sex couples sought to wed each other and have the moment recorded for the sake of commitment, memory and for assorted legal rights. In short, for the same reasons heterosexuals seek marriage.
But many states had laws specifically prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples and a majority of America was against it as well. Among the reasons the opponents presented were that marriage was ordained by God and God specifically prohibited homosexual activity; that marriage was sanctimonious for the ideal family, that parents meant a father and a mother; that children would be corrupted to become homosexuals if they observed the "unions" or were raised by such.
Proponents dismissed the arguments as outdated, unsubstantiated, and fundamentally unfair. Besides, they pointed out, heterosexuals were divorcing at such a high rate that they were ruining the institution.
Some cities and counties offered the alternative: "domestic partnerships," which entitles the couples to a few rights, like, to qualify for student housing for couples at colleges. Straight couples have chosen this for the additional purpose of testing the relationship.
1. Marriage didn't become a sacrament of the Christian Church until the 12th century. For the first 1,200 years (A.D.) in Europe there were civil unions by town or village government.
[San Francisco Chronicle; February 25, 2004; p. All]
2. During the 1700s and 1800s, married women in the USA "were not allowed to own property, pay taxes or sign a contract. Any money women earned outside the home was to be turned over to their husbands." The "wife became a kind of possession of the husband." [San Francisco Chronicle; February 25, 2004; p. All] That didn't change until the latter half of the 1900s. (id.)
3. In 1948, California became the first state to make it legal for mixed couples to marry. It took another 19 years for the US Supreme Court to make the same ruling. "So until 1967, in many states, a couple of mixed race could not get a marriage license, and if they went to another state and were married, when they returned home they could be arrested.”
[San Francisco Chronicle; February 25, 2004; p. All]
4. In 1979, California's Supreme Court ruled that businesses could not arbitrarily discriminate against gay people.
5. "Every society, every culture, every nation in all recorded history has up until this point at least defined marriage as one man and one woman," said one opponent. [San Francisco Chronicle; February 12, 2004; p. A15]
And that is really the depth of the situation. The majority has long established what it prefers and homos have not been accepted.
6. Vermont accepted civil unions as legal partnerships since 2000, but there are many rights that the couple lacks compared to married heterosexuals.
7. Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands expanded their laws to include same-sex couples. Canada ruled that gays should be allowed to marry. California, Hawaii, New Jersey and many local governments passed laws granting rights to unmarried same-sex couples. [San Francisco Chronicle; February 4, 2004; p. A6]
8. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, about 51% favored allowing gays and lesbian couples to form civil unions with the same basic legal rights of married couples.
[San Francisco Chronicle; March 10, 2004; Al2]
9. 38 states and the federal government refused to recognize same-sex marriages as valid. [Marin Independent Journal; February 22, 2004; p. Al, A15] Ohio signed on against same-sex marriage on February 3, 2004.
[San Francisco Chronicle; February 4, 2004; p. A6]
10. Beginning with the state of Massachusetts, the constitutionality of same-sex marriages became the question of the day. The state Supreme Court stated that differentiating between the classes of people, hetero and homo, for the purpose of exclusion in marriage, though allowing civil unions, put the latter into a second class status, even if the same rights were honored. The Court offered that there would be a type of stigmatism towards civil unions as married couples enjoyed "significant social and other advantages."
"The Massachusetts Constitution does not permit such invidious discrimination, no matter how well intentioned."
-Massachusetts Supreme Court
(Ruling for same-sex marriages)[Oakland Tribune; February 5, 2004; p. NEWS 11]
On February 11, 2004, the Massachusetts Legislature denied two constitutional amendments against gay marriages. One, that would have defined marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman, and the second, a definition of marriage being a heterosexual institution, but would have allowed same-sex couples to form civil unions.
[San Francisco Chronicle; February 12, 2004; p. A15]
(On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriages.)
11. On February 12, 2004, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the city clerk to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Newsom was accused of civil disobedience for ordering marriage licenses to be issued in violation of state law. [Marin Independent Journal; February 18, 2004; p. A1, A71 Although a local judge ordered the city to "cease and desist," mayor Newsom defiantly replied:
"We will continue to do what we've done. There was nothing particularly compelling after today that makes me think that we should back off." (id.)
"Gavin Newsom rejected assertions that he [was] taking the law into his own hands. ’Stated simply, my actions are consistent with California's Constitution. There is no ambiguity in our Constitution when it comes to discrimination. It is prohibited,'" said Newsom. [San Francisco Chronicle; March 19, 2004; p. A1, A2]
4,037 same-sex couples were married in San Francisco in 2004. [San Francisco Chronicle; April 15, 2004; p. B3] The city stopped granting licenses on March 11 in response to a court order. (id.)
12. David Knight, son of Senator William "Pete" Knight (R-Palmdale), married his male lover of 10 years on March 9, 2004. His father was the author of the California law banning same-sex marriage known as Proposition 22 in 2000. California voted the law in with 61.4%. By March 2004, 50% disapproved of same-sex, with 44% in favor.
"Two people of the same sex are not a family. They're not normal."
-Senator "Pete" Knight [San Francisco Chronicle; March 10, 2004; Al2]
13. Dozens of fundamentalist preachers from across California went to San Francisco City Hall on April 14, 2004, and told Newsom to repent or face the wrath of God. [San Francisco Chronicle; April 15, 2004; p. 54]
"Anyone who speaks out against homosexuality is discriminated against. Churches are firebombed."
-Rev. Chuck Mcllhenny
(First Orthodox Presbyterian Church)
[The churches that had been firebombed, authorities concluded, were due to racism, not for being anti-homo.]
14. Rev. Arthur McKay, president of the San Francisco Baptist Ministers Conference, said he resents the comparison made between same-sex rights and the civil rights of African-Americans in the 1950s and 60s.
[San Francisco Chronicle; April 15, 2004; p. B4]
“This is not a civil rights issue, it's a moral issue."
-Rev. Arthur McKay
But another African-American saw it differently. Senator Dianne Wilkerson, reflecting on her experience as a black woman growing up in Arkansas, when the local hospital would not allow her mother to deliver her children, commented tearfully:
"I know the pain of being less than equal and I cannot and will not impose that status on anyone else."
[San Francisco Chronicle; February 12, 2004; p. A15]
15. Then California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out:
"All of a sudden we see riots, we see protests, we see people clashing. The next thing we know, there is injured or there is dead people. We don't want it to get to that extent."
"We cannot have mayors all of a sudden go hand out licenses for various things. In the next city, it'll be handing out licenses for assault weapons. In the next, it'll be someone handing them out to sell drugs."
(Meet the Press; February 22, 2004)
(Responding to SF mayor Gavin Newsom issuing x-marriage licenses. Recognize the hysteria?)
16. Judges were accused of being "activists" and mayors were called "renegades" for supporting gay marriage. [San Francisco Chronicle; March 4, 2004; p. A1, A10] (The commissioner of Portland, Oregon, and the mayors of New Paltz and Nyack, New York, also issued licenses.)
In Multnomah County in downtown Portland, Oregon, the city hall began issuing licenses on March 3, 2004. [San Francisco Chronicle; March 4, 2004; p. A10] "It's like Rosa Parks stepping to the front of the bus," said Jennifer Little-Reece, 34, of Portland. "It's very important to be here the very first day to show people we exist. We're here." (id.) The Portland Oregonian accused the city officials of "mutiny." (id.)
17. President Bush Jr. proposed a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages. If passed, it would nullify any state or local provision that certified the union of same sex couples as a "marriage."
An amendment becomes part of the Constitution if it is accepted by three-fourths, or 38, of the 50 states. Only one time has the Constitution been amended to limit the rights of the citizens, that was Prohibition.
"It's fundamentally wrong on principle, and we've got to have the courage to stand up and say enough, stop!"
-San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom;
February 24, 2004
(In reply to an amendment prohibiting gay marriages)
11 states invoked a ban on gay marriage in 2004.
* * *
Does an adult drug user have the right to buy a product that he or she wishes to consume if that product can give the person a sense of relief or satisfaction? Should the Government decide what relief or satisfaction is, what can give it and who can get it? If the Government prevents licensed physicians to provide this substance, shouldn't it be blamed for unlicensed dispensation? Today, our Government is being blamed for its citizens breaking the law to buy prescription drugs from outside of the United States.
1. "Federal authorities will not authorize the state of Illinois to buy prescription drugs from Canada... because they cannot ensure the safety of those drugs." [San Francisco Chronicle; December 23, 2003; p. A5] "Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois asked Tommy Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, to allow the state to buy drugs in Canada for its employees and retired employees." (id.) "Federal officials say drugs from Canada can carry numerous risks - including false labeling and uncertain ingredients." (id.)
2. Wisconsin's governor urged the government to make it legal for Americans to fill their drug prescriptions in Canada. [San Francisco Chronicle; April 15, 2004; p. A8]
"People are going to Canada whether we like it or not. They are going in bigger and bigger numbers."
-Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (D)
"Wisconsin maintains a web site that helps citizens buy cheaper drugs from Canadian pharmacies. Rhode Island has linked its state-run prescription drug site to Wisconsin's, and Washington, D.C., has asked about doing the same thing." (id.)
The FDA had said it could not guarantee the safety of drugs imported from Canada. FDA Associate Commissioner Peter Pitts compared it to "snake oil." (id.) "Opponents of legalizing drug imports said it would lead to a huge increase in counterfeit drugs in this country." (id.) "Rick Roberts of San Francisco learned he was using a counterfeit anti-AIDS drug when he became aware of a stinging sensation at the injection site." (id.)
3. Elderly Americans take the bus to Canada to buy prescription drugs.
[Nightline/ABC; November 5, 2003]
4. Counterfeit prescription drugs are on the rise.
[Business Week/ABC; January 18, 2004]
5. The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, said he buys Canadian insulin for his 13 year-old son, saving $900 per year.
Springfield, Massachusetts, saved $2 million by buying prescription drugs from Canada in nine months.
[San Francisco Chronicle; May 5, 2004; p. A6]
6. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is a supporter of drug importation. "Minnesota started the country's first state-run Web site that directs consumers to state-approved pharmacies in Canada that sell many drugs more cheaply."
[San Francisco Chronicle; May 5, 2004; p. A6]
These people are buying illegal drugs! The FDA says these drugs could be dangerous, yet no one is being arrested - why? COMPASSION. The users consider the chances of obtaining tainted drugs as an acceptable risk. These users claim they have a need for certain drugs and people connected to them seem to care. They care enough to ignore the law and assist these drug users in buying illegal drugs. Some buy the illegal drugs for the users! This is all very well, but when it comes to MY concern for using drugs, these same people would have me arrested and imprisoned.
Medical marijuana is rapidly being accepted across the nation. Some states, such as California, has voted to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Cities like Oakland distribute it. Other cities have collectives that grow the weed and distribute it - all legally! But some cities have been targeted by the Federal police in enforcing the federal prohibition against "scheduled" drugs.
Similar to the federal prohibition of alcohol 84 years ago, the federal government claims authority under the provisions of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution [Article 1, section 8, clause 3], which regulates INTERSTATE commerce to prohibit the sale or use of certain drugs.
Federal agents raided a state certified marijuana farm in Santa Cruz on Sept. 5, 2002, seizing 167 plants and detaining several group members. The raid was denounced by Santa Cruz officials who responded by distributing marijuana from the steps of City Hall. California's Attorney General Bill Lockyer protested the raid by firing off a letter to US Attorney General John Ashcroft charging that the action by the DEA was a "provocative and intrusive incident of harassment." [San Francisco Chronicle; April 22, 2004; A1, A17] (The DEA did not try to stop the marijuana distribution ceremony.)
A civil action demanding the return of the items was dismissed in December 2002, but a second suit challenged the federal government's authority to interfere with medical marijuana activities that are legal under California law. (id.)
In December 2003, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco found that medical marijuana grown and used by Angel Raich, an Oakland woman, did not constitute "interstate commerce" and ruled that Raich could use marijuana free from federal prosecution. (id.) Relying on this finding, US District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose ruled that the Santa Cruz marijuana farm could grow and distribute marijuana for its patients, expressing no difference between an individual (Raich) and the collective. The applicability of the Commerce Clause is still pending before Judge Fogel in a separate civil action. (The Raich case was appealed to the US Supreme Court.) The implication is clear. The federal government has no authority, no more than they did for alcohol in the 1920-30s, to prevent the manufacture, distribution, and consumption of substances within a state!
Legislation is floating in Nevada to make it the first state to legalize marijuana for all adults.
* * *
"Since men began making laws, the favorite form of repeal is by non-observance. [Civil disobedience] It was in this way that Christianity conquered the Roman Empire. If Christians had obeyed the laws of Rome their religion would have died in its birth. ***It was by this same method that the laws against witchcraft were destroyed."
-Clarence Darrow(Commenting on Prohibition and jury nullification)[Darrow, The Story of My Life; 1931; p. 296]
Jury nullification was also urged during the 1970s concerning criminal trials for defendants who committed acts against the Vietnam War. For example, the "D.C. Nine," who ransacked the offices of the Dow Chemical Company for the use of napalm (United States v. Dougherty ((1972) 473 F2 1113), and the defendants in United States v. Moylan (1969) 417 F2 1002, who did the same to a military draft office. Labor Unions and tax evaders also benefited from "informed juries." So have some well-known defendants who had the sympathy of the community, some who didn't deserve it, as all-white juries reacted to defendants who were certainly wrong. (Roy Brant and his half brother J.W. Milliam tortured and killed 14 year-old Emmett Till in 1955 for whistling at Brant’s wife. Both were acquitted. Medgar Evers, Field Secretary for the NAACP, was shot in the back by Byron de la Beckwith on June 12, 1963. Twice his murder trial ended in hung juries. 30 years later, a third trial finally convicted him.
[Adopted from Jury Nullification
by Clay Conrad; 1998; pp. 179-1821)
Jury nullification became the only hope for medical marijuana users that were persecuted, as in the case of Samuel Skipper in 1993, who was acquitted of two felony counts of marijuana cultivation. "[He contended that as a dying man, he had a basic human right to use the medication most effective in helping him survive." [Jury Nullification by Clay Conrad; 1998; p. 144] Dr. Jack Kevorkian faced several prosecutions for assisting suicide victims. In the case of Thomas Hyde (May 1994), who was suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, Kervokian admitted placing the mask that fed carbon monoxide to the deceased. He was acquitted. (Kevorkian was later convicted of assisting Thomas Youk in 1998 to die. He is currently serving 10 to 25 years for second-degree murder. Youk chose poison to escape the pain of Lou Gehrig's disease.)
Other than "medical" marijuana cases, drug defendants are not receiving jury sympathy. One exception was the cocaine possession case of Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry, "who was acquitted of the most punitive charges because the jurors believed that he was unfairly entrapped by police." [Adopted from Jury Nullification by Clay Conrad; 1998; p. 153]
Author Clay Conrad, researching jury nullification extensively, explains:
"When the defendant has already suffered enough, when it would be unfair or against the public interest for the defendant to be convicted, when the jury disagrees with the law itself, when the prosecution or the arresting authorities have gone 'to far' in the single-minded quest to arrest and convict a particular defendant, when the punishments to be imposed are excessive or when the jury suspects that the charges have been brought for political reasons or to make an unfair example of the hapless defendant, the jury is likely to refuse to convict."
[Jury Nullification by Clay Conrad; 1998; p. 153]
Mr. Conrad lectures that "defense counsel must convince the jury that his case is a case where applying the law according to the court's instructions would be unjust." (p.272) "[M]aking them aware of the draconian penalties attached to a conviction." (p. 273) "Jurors must be given a reason to want to acquit, to want to show the defendant mercy, a reason to share in the defendant's outrage at the injustice he is facing." (p. 274) (For a look at some of the many faces and lives affected by the drug laws read: Shattered Lives; Portraits From America's Drug War by Mikki Norris, Chris Conrad & Virginia Resner; 2000.
[I have met countless inmates imprisoned for drug charges and still this book touched me very deeply. -dm]
And there is The Tallahassee Project; A Glimpse Inside the Shattered Lives of 100 Non‑ Violent Women Prisoners of the War on Drugs a Project of the Committee on Unjust Sentencing. An unnerving portrait of the unfair attack on America's families by the contemptible War on Drugs."
Judges are not obligated to inform juries of their nullification powers and defense lawyers are usually not allowed to tell them. Concerned citizens, therefore, have systematically found ways to put the issue before jury members by leafleting the courthouse, as they too are not allowed to "influence" the jury.
It is not surprising that civilizations regress, such as ours seem to have, with the addition of so many added laws. It is a certainty that every American citizen will break more than one law in their lifetime. The matter has become hysterical. With each year comes new appointees and they all have a personal agenda or they submit laws for notoriety to get their names "on the books." Then there are precedent laws: A kid falling off a bike, becomes The Helmet Law. People hurt in a car crash - The Seatbelt Law. A child recently choked to death on a piece of candy imported from Mexico. That candy is now outlawed. Many laws have good intentions and one could figure that the authors acted out of concern, but some social restrictions are inherently invasive.
The point is, we have way too many laws. FIJA hopes to pass The Fully Informed Jury Act which would require judges to inform the jury of their right to vote their conscience. This may be the only way new laws can be checked by the populace. Most of us are not informed of new legislation passed each year and other times we are misled to what the new laws actually contain. In 1994, California passed the "Three Strikes Law" after the People voted quite strongly for it. One of its supporters was Joe Klass, the grandfather of a young girl named Polly Klass, who was killed by a person with an extensive criminal history. Mr. Klass, who passionately supported the purpose of the law, came out against the form of how it was being used. The intention of the law was to punish ex-offenders who committed a new VIOLENT act with long sentences. The law, instead, punished any ex-offender who committed any offense, even minor ones. The result was harsh and cruel. 25 years to Life. I met one guy while at San Quentin named Curtis who received 50 years for stealing $40.00; 25 years for each twenty dollar-bill.
In 2004, a group known as the Citizens Against Violent Crime proposed an amendment to narrow the criteria of the qualifying new crime to be specifically a serious or violent crime, thereby targeting those the original law was aimed at and avoiding the netting of petty criminals and/or nuisances who were clogging the prisons and causing early releases for others due to over-crowding and cost-saving concerns. Since 1994, 35,000 persons who had not committed a serious or violent crime had been enhanced at a cost to the taxpayers of California of more than $800,000,000.00 per year.
In the seven days before the 2004 election, Proposition 66, as the amendment of the Three Strikes Law was listed, was highly favored for reform at 72%. But it was that last week that opponents, specifically, the Prison Guard union and California district attorneys put together their deceptive counter-campaign. They outright lied, misled, and scared the public with fear-filled commercials that played over and over. Their star spokesman was the Terminator himself, who roared: “Keep them behind bars!”
The proposition lost. Less than 24 hours later, California Gov. Arnold Shwarzenegger told reporters that there needed to be some type of reform of the law! The bastard had just issued a commercial that lied about 26,000 serious offenders that would be released if the amendment had been passed and now he was stating that the law had to be amended! Crazy.
Dr. Larry Dodge and Don Doig, out of Montana, started the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA), a grassroots organization dedicated to informing the public of nullification and why. They have a quarterly newsletter and can be reached at: http://www.fija.org/, Iloilo Marguerite Jones, executive director.
Stealth Juror by Karl Hess. Jury nullification.The right to judge not only the evidence but the law itself.
What else can you do? Speak out.
"[O]ur current policies are complete and utter failures, FLAWED at their very core." [Emp. added.]
-Judge James P. Gray;
[Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed
and What We Can Do About It;
2001; p. 217]
Federal drug-law sentences are longer than the States issue. And there is no Federal parole for drug offenses. Yet, in 1994 the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act [18 USC 3553(f)] provided first-time, nonviolent offenders to be eligible for leniency as well as early release - up to one year - who completed drug treatment. BUT, the offender had to snitch on someone. 21% of defendants chose this way out in 1999. Their average term was 48 months. [Bureau of Justice Statistics: Federal Drug Offenders; 2001]
Almost half of Federal drug defendants convicted during 1999 had no prior convictions.
"Incarceration of drug-using offenders costs between $20,000 and $50,000 per person per year." [Office of National Drug Control Policy; March 2003; p. 4]
"As a society, we became much more punitive and passed all kinds of laws like mandatory minimums, three strikes and you're out and sending juveniles into adult prisons."
(Criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University)
"The cost of fighting crime in the United States, for police, prisons and courts rose to a record $167 BILLION in 2001." [New York Times; May 3, 2004; p. A15] "That is $20 BILLION more than was spent on the criminal justice system in 1999." (id.) In 1982, the total cost was $36 BILLION. (id.)
"As Congress and state legislatures enact more punitive and costly drug control measures, we conclude with alarm that the war on drugs now causes more harm than drug abuse itself."
-Judge James P. Gray[Why Our Drug Laws Have Failedand What We Can Do About It;2001; p. 3]
* * *
Early colonists warned others of savage Indians effectively enough that the two cultures never merged into one society. In fact, the majority of white immigrants took the precaution of isolating themselves behind forts or arresting the natives and placing them in restricted zones. As the native people refused to ingratiate themselves into the white culture wholly, they were ostracized.
As we know, early black immigrants were imported property and treated as slaves rather than fellow citizens.
Homosexual people have been scorned, ridiculed and targeted by robbers, murderers, and bullies (gay-bashing) for years in this country.
People that drink alcohol differentiated themselves from drug users.
This country has been at war, it seems, for ever. There is a constant warning of new enemies all the time. (Nazis, Communists, Marxists, Terrorists) A major portion of American people seem to welcome war. Even though this country had a commitment to never strike first at another country, a 78% majority here supported our rogue president and his fanatical administration to attack a country for reasons that were vague and unsubstantiated. Even after the basis for the attack was later unfounded, upwards of 40% of Americans STILL supported the invasion of Iraq. The President said he would still have ordered the attack! This simply means that a major portion of the people in this country are as nuts as the German people were in the 1930s and 40s. (It should be noted that Germany accused the US of Nazism! and compared Bush to Hitler for the actions against Iraq.) After Bush was re-elected in 2004, England’s Daily Mirror asked:
“How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb?”
Soldiers have to be committed by BLIND FAITH to their Commanders in order to have the necessary dedication that is needed on a battlefield. In addition, it is essential for the people that the soldiers fight for to support the soldiers. It is this chain of solidarity that produces a confident military, and a confident military is a strong military. Family and friends of soldiers provide unwavering support regardless of their personal convictions of war. And other soldiers, from past wars provide additional support to soldiers called up for duty. In all, once the action is called for by the Commander-in-Chief, ideally, it is - WAR!
Dissidents complicate matters in such cases, as their reasons to question the CIC invariably touches the soldiers. And this can cause division in a matter that cannot afford pause. ("Either you are with us or against us.") But if the call-to-war is carelessly made or there is reason to doubt the justness of the matter, it is a duty of the people to voice the concern. As for the soldier, on March 17, 2003, President Bush issued the directive that "war crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished, and it will be NO DEFENSE to say, 'I was just following orders.'" Bush was rephrasing an internationally observed standard. So, it is necessary for the people to evaluate the "orders" rather than blindly obey them.
Though some threats are genuine, Americans need to restrain themselves so that whenever an enemy is declared, the situation is fully evaluated. Too often the majority mindset is that of a mob when confronting a threat. And too often have Americans allowed themselves to be scared of a threat. In the past, the threats were mere ghosts.
Russia was never a real threat, that is, they actually had no interest to war with us. Communism is, say, opposite Capitalism, but it was not the threat we were told it was. (For instance, Vietnam was Communist, that is why the US was in the fight, it remained Communist, it is still Communist, yet today the US trades with both Vietnam and Russia.) The same with Marxism. Open trade with them and the threat is gone! Terrorism is threatening, but that threat can be handled with concessions as all grievances are inevitably met.
TERRORISM has a connotation that implies it cannot be appeased, that it must be violently put down. But most of the terrorist’s actions are because there are sincere causes and issues that are not fairly being mediated. In fact, all the so-called Terrorists consider themselves to be either freedom-fighters or at the least, resistance-fighters. They do not consider themselves terrorists at all! (One of the world’s oldest terrorist groups (35 years) is Ireland’s IRA which has been battling the English with many sympathizers in the US. Although English troops continue to fight this group, we don’t see them leveling Dublin.)
Imprinting these people with the label as Terrorists has resulted in arbitrary warfare. There have been more lives mistakenly killed than planned targets.
"In all cases where a majority is united by a common interest or passion, the rights of the minority are in danger!
-President James Madison
Hysterical people are easily manipulated. FEAR is a common factor for hysteria. It has been said that the War on Terrorism will be with us forever, and the US is now described as "post 9/11," meaning that we now live with the threat of terror everyday. But that is not necessarily true. Opposing governments and armies have reconciled in the past. Mortal enemies have signed truces that have long been held. We might not know who the Terrorists all are, but we do know who they might be representing. Has anyone tried to discuss a truce with al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the rest? (The British government holds talks with the IRA!) And why hasn't our Government tried to talk with them? Before the invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein went on American television and asked President Bush Jr. to talk with him. Saddam offered to answer any and all questions Bush had of him and he requested that he be able to ask Bush some questions as well.
“If the American people-- would like to know the facts for what they are, or as they are, through a direct dialogue, then I am ready to conduct a direct dialogue with the President of the United States, President Bush, on television. I will say whatever I have to say-- about American policy. He will have-- the opportunity to say whatever he has to say about policy of Iraq. And this will be in front of all people, and-- on television, in a direct—uncensored – honest manner. In front of, as I said, everyone. And then they will see what the facts are, and where falsehoods are.
Dan Rather (CBS): Are you speaking about a debate? This - this is new. You-- you are suggesting, you are saying, that you are willing, you are suggesting, you're urging a debate with President Bush? On television?
Saddam Hussein: Yes. That's my proposal.
(Feb. 26, 2003)
Saddam suggested the meeting could prevent US military action. Bush refused.
President Bush told the American people that he would not trust whatever Saddam said to be true. The issue at that time was whether Iraq had chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, or programs to build them. It turned out, Saddam was telling the truth, Bush was the liar. Bush had assured the World, he had proof Saddam did have weapons of mass-destruction.
If our government can be so wrong to attack and kill people relying on the worst of evidence, and have the support of so many Americans, it is almost impossible to expect America to reconsider the less harm of imprisonment of the "other threat" - drug users.
Today, this country is imposing democracy on Afganistan and Iraq. Democracy, per se, is not such a bad ideal, but it does not guarantee a better society. In some cases, even ours, it can be tooled to bad use. That, I must remind you, is why our government is a REPUBLIC!
"Democracy can turn into Anarchy when unscrupulous individuals wish to manipulate it. The popular beliefs of the majority can be turned into a position of committing some injustice against an individual or a group of individuals."
-A. Ralph Epperson [Government 101;
There is a sinister unseen power that has always led people to war. Many of these people are those that would not start a war if they themselves had to go.
Vice President Dick Cheney: "He got one deferment as a student. When students were drafted, he got a second deferment by getting married. When married men were drafted, he got a third deferment because his wife was expecting a baby. Anything to avoid going to Vietnam."
President George Bush: "He admits he went into the Air National Guard to avoid going to Vietnam."
[Opinion article in Marin Independent Journal;May 3, 2004; p. A6]
People that use drugs are still - PEOPLE! Allowing this Government to target them as some type of enemy has conditioned the majority of the people to accept that drug users are a threat and need to be either imprisoned or killed. There is a smaller contingent that feels drug users should be sent to treatment centers. Even drug users themselves, think OTHER drug users should be either arrested or treated for their use.
Drug users are not persuaded to quit using drugs by being punished. It has been urged for years by prominent Commissions and Committees that have studied drug use and the drug laws, that our civil leaders sincerely discuss the issue. When Jocelyn Elders was the Surgeon General during the Clinton administration she suggested it herself - Clinton promptly fired her.
There are countless people asking for decriminalization and/or outright legalization of drug use. The suggestion has been refused.
Legalize This!, The case for decriminalizing drugs by Douglas Husak.
War legitimizes murder. And some wars are actually genocide. Perhaps imprisonment is not as critical as being shot or bombed, but that is a shallow consolation. The taking of one's life or imprisoning a person for life is a loss, nevertheless. As in wars, the wounded need more attention than do the dead. And the burden can be harsher on the victim's loved ones.
Prison is a bad place to live year after year. It not only was bad for me, it was bad for my family. I lost my home and many of my possessions. My friend, Doreen, has tried to keep some of my stuff, but as a single mother of two, she had quite a lot to handle storing my stuff and moving it around. My sisters and mother spent a lot sending me quarterly packages, books, the cost of driving so far to visit me, the collect phone calls, and a hundred favors. It is impossible to not be a burden on the family. There are so many things a person needs that only a free person can do, so the family or friends are always going to be called upon. Of course, they could just refuse, but family and friends rarely refuse. So they are affected by the prisoner's incarceration.
I live with the guilt that I placed this burden on my family and friends, yet, I am resentful that I was imprisoned in the first place. When I used drugs, I was never a burden on my family or friends.
TALENT ON LOAN - FROM HEROIN!
Rush Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated talk-show host, sometimes heard both on tv as well as the radio. His radio audience is in the millions - each day! Uncovered as a drug addict, it was reported that Rush "was buying addictive pain pills by the thousands on the black market."
[Contra Costa Times; Oct. 3, 2003; B3]
"The radio personality had been turned in by his former housekeeper [Wilma Cline], who said she kept him supplied with pills for 4 years." (id) Cline said Rush was "hooked on the powerful prescription drugs OxyContin, Lorcet and hydrocodone" and that Rush "had gone to detox twice." (id.)
His drug-of-choice is a type of opiates used primarily for pain. Also known as "hillybilly heroin," the effects are as good if not better. The "high" is supposedly longer and the price cheaper.
Rush reportedly paid the housemaid/connection $200,000 to keep quiet or else "he would be ruined," he told her. (id.) Well, he wasn't ruined. After 20 days at a some incredible rehab center, he claimed he was cured!(??)
A staunch Conservative, Rush has long been pro-law enforcement, especially when it came to drug users. In 1995 he told his radio listeners:
"There's nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country... And so, if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.”
Drug use - HEROIN at that! - did NOT destroy Rush Limbaugh. His drug use would never have become public had not his connection turned him in. He, his employer, nor his daily fans were adversely affected by his drug use. It was said he had been addicted for the last 5 years. And that, folks, is what I and others have been trying to explain: Some people can actually be fully functional – “The Rush” was, so was I.
It is an injustice when adults are imprisoned for habits that others frown upon. Drug use is simply NOT the sort of personal activity that, alone, deserves to be penalized.
Sometimes, the majority is wrong. Sometimes, the majority plan is the wrong plan.
The drug laws are wrong.., terribly wrong.
“You’ve convinced me, now make me do it.”
-President Franklin D. Roosevelt
DRUG WAR CLOCK: 09:17:15pm
November 28, 2004
Money Spent on the War On Drugs this Year
People Arrested for Drug Law Offenses this Year