US Marijuana Party

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pair faces charges after drug raid nets LSD

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 10:59 AM CST
Staff writer
The Post & Mail, IN

Two Columbia City residents made their first appearances in Circuit Court Monday morning after being swept up in a drug raid Friday.

Dominick D. Lizurej, 23, is charged with dealing in a Schedule I controlled substance, namely LSD, a Class B felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years; possession of a Schedule I controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class B felony; possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver, a Class D felony; and maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony.

He is free on a $100,000 bond.

Amanda A. Wildey, 23, is charged with possession of a Schedule I controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver, and maintaining a common nuisance.

She has posted a $50,000 bond.

Police arrested the pair after an informant allegedly purchased drugs from them. In the raid, police found 6,900 doses of LSD.

Texas man sentenced in two-ton pot bust in Indiana


MARION, Ind. A South Texas man has been sentenced to four years in federal prison on drug charges resulting from an Indiana raid that turned up more than two tons of marijuana.
Raul Resio is the first of eleven defendants from raid near Marion, Indiana, to be sentenced. The 52-year-old man will serve his time in a prison near his hometown of Mathis, Texas, then spend five years on probation.

He was sentenced Monday in federal court in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Court records show police caught Resio and ten others transferring more than 350 bales of marijuana between two trucks at a home in October of 2004.

Wow, four years for two tons? While I think it is wrong for anyone to be branded a criminal for possessing plant material, it's interesting to compare this guy's sentence to what we get in Alabama.
Being caught twice with any measurable amount of pot in Alabama gets you over eight years in prison. The average was six a couple of years ago but it keeps rising. So let's say you had one gram of pot (two-fifths of what a penny weighs), you rolled it into two joints and you were caught with each of them in seperate incidents. Your punishment in Alabama, as measured by the weight of the pot and the resulting sentence, will be roughly four million times as harsh as what this fellow got.

U.S. Helping Colombian Military Cope With Drug War's Legacy

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

Steve Lucas, a spokesman for U.S. Southern Command here, said the United States has a moral obligation to help Colombia deal with its internal terrorist groups, since the United States "is the largest market for cocaine, the flow of which is corrupting their society."

The vast majority of the world's cocaine comes from the "Andean Ridge," consisting of the countries of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, all linked by the immense Andes mountain chain.

Any efforts to help the Colombians also help to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. "In terms of impact on society, illegal drugs could be called weapons of mass destruction," Lucas said. "It's hard to quantify (the impact): crime, affect to families, the increase in the prison population."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Randy "Duke" Cunningham

from Wikipedia

Randall Harold Cunningham, usually known as Randy or Duke, was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California's 50th congressional district from 1991 to 2005. Cunningham resigned from the House on November 28, 2005 after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004. Prosecutors said Cunningham admitted to receiving at least $2.4 million in bribes.

In September 1996 Cunningham attacked President Bill Clinton for appointing "soft on crime" judges. "We must get tough on drug dealers," he said. "Those who peddle destruction on our children must pay dearly." He favored stiff drug penalties and voted for the death penalty for major drug dealers. Four months later, his son Todd was arrested for helping to transport 400 pounds (181 kg) of marijuana from Massachusetts to California. At his son's sentencing hearing, Cunningham fought back tears as he begged the judge for leniency (Todd was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, in part because he tested positive for cocaine three times while on bail). Cunningham's press secretary responded to accusations of double standards with: "The sentence Todd got had nothing to do with who Duke is. Duke has always been tough on drugs and remains tough on drugs."

Parsley-pot ruse gets kids suspended

Daytona Beach News-Journal, FL
Staff Report
Last update: November 29, 2005

PALM COAST -- Two Flagler County elementary school pupils were arrested last week after pretending a plastic bag of parsley was marijuana.

An arrest report by Cpl. Don Apperson, a school resource deputy with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, said the two girls, each 10-year-old pupils at Old Kings Elementary School, were showing classmates a plastic bag with a green leafy substance they said was marijuana.

School officials learned of the alleged bag of marijuana and called the girls into a conference with their parents. The girls admitted they did not have marijuana and said that the bag of parsley, which they brought to school in their book bags, was a prank, the report said.

The girls were charged under a state law that makes it a crime to claim that a substance is a drug -- whether or not the item is intended for sale or distribution, according to Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debra Johnson. They were taken to the Flagler County Inmate Facility and later released to their parents.

The girls were also suspended from school and ordered to attend drug awareness classes.

Similar laws in Alabama:
Imitation Controlled Substances in Alabama Code

Monday, November 28, 2005




TIME: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM








Nall to be a guest on 90.7 FM TONIGHT!

I have been invited to be a guest on The University of Alabama's college radio station 90.7 FM NEW ROCK tonight beginning at 7 p.m.

This show will stream live from the site.

Tune in.


Here's an mpeg of some production material from one of our old Pot-TV news shows.
It's an animated logo with sound effects.
Phone-off-the-hook sound, crowd noise, birdsong, rainforest, Beatles and I think Eugene McCarthy sneaks in there at the end. Sorry, I meant Joseph not Eugene. Big difference.

Economic impact of prison elusive

Facility hardly a tourist attraction

Biloxi Sun Herald

LOST GAP - It's the mid-1990s. The number of inmates in Mississippi's penal system is increasing, and state officials need to build more prisons - or contract with private companies to build more prisons. Meanwhile, Lauderdale County and Meridian officials are looking for ways to improve the local economy and create jobs.

It seemed like a good match. The state needed a place to build a prison and Lauderdale had a readily available work force and land that needed no rezoning.

When city and county officials began putting together a proposal, they hoped the new prison would provide an influx of jobs that would only increase over time.

The Wackenhut Corp., now The Geo Group Inc., won the contract to build and operate East Mississippi Correctional Facility in southwest Lauderdale County's Lost Gap community. The facility accepted its first prisoners in April 1999.

"To the best of my knowledge I have seen no impact that it has made to my business," said David Hamilton, owner of the Best Western in Meridian.

Hamilton also spoke of his personal experience in visiting prison inmates - an overnight stay or a shopping trip isn't usually on the agenda.

"When I went to go visit someone up at Parchman, we weren't going there to spend the night, it was going to be a day trip," Hamilton said.

"We got up early in the morning, went there and then came back. We might have gone to a fast-food restaurant or something, but we certainly weren't going to be spending any time hanging around there."

County collects $10,000 from inmates

By Valerie Schremp Hahn

An effort to reduce costs at the St. Charles County Jail by charging some inmates for their stay has brought in a little more than $10,000 since the program began in May.

The county may have to wait awhile to get the remaining $465,000 or so it has billed former inmates. More than $300,000 of that is in bills going to inmates who went from the county jail to state prison. Their local jail bill will be waiting for them when they get out.

While the money the county has collected is just over 2 percent of what they are seeking, county jail director Col. Alan Stahl said he expected a slow return at the outset.

Marty Robinson, director of the Missouri Public Defender system, says he's not opposed to people who can afford it to pay their way at the jail, but he questions whether the program is cost-effective.

"I think the practical matter is, how do you collect money from people who don't have money? The odds of collecting anything are very low; the odds of it costing you money to recover it are 100 percent."

300 police storm club in hunt for drugs

Lucy Harvey
Yorkshire Post Today, UK

MORE than 300 police officers stormed a Sheffield nightclub as part of a massive drugs raid early yesterday.
Twelve people were arrested during the operation at Niche, on Sidney Street, and a quantity of drugs was recovered from inside the club and surrounding streets.
Armed officers and sniffer dogs were among the hundreds of police involved in the two-hour raid at about 2am. So many officers were drafted in for the operation buses were used to take some of them to the location.
Surrounding roads were sealed off during the raid, and the majority of revellers were searched.
A 26-year-old man, who had been inside with four friends, said: "One minute we were having a good time and the next thing the place was full of coppers. There were bus loads of them. I don't know what they were expecting to find in there.
"We were taken out into the street and searched. It was humiliating. I know the Niche has had a reputation in the past but as far as I'm aware there's been no trouble there for a long time."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Letters to the Press

Asbury Park Press, NJ

Keep profanity off mailings

Before voting this year, I was a bit undecided on my choice for governor and opted to read the 10 candidates' statements on the back of my sample ballot. After perusing seven of the statements, I came across Edward Forchion's, under the Legalize Marijuana Party.

Being a firm believer in freedom of speech no matter what the opinion, I decided to read his statement. The first sentence reads, "The reason I'm running for governor isn't because I think I will win, but for the opportunity running gives me (and anyone who votes for me) to give the "finger' statewide to our Demo-publican Party politicians who wage their lie-based "War on us.' "

Not only was I shocked by Forchion's use of profanity, but more importantly I was appalled that state election officials allowed it to be written on a sample ballot. It's a shame Forchion didn't use more appropriate, thought-provoking expressions, which may have had a greater impact. There was no need to invoke profanity.

I have been told by several people that this filth falls under freedom of speech. Freedom of speech, absolutely. Profanity, no.

Our legislators need to develop some guidelines for election officials that prohibit the use of profanity on a sample ballot or anything else that comes from our state government.

I have written my state senator. Let's be the example for other states to follow and put an end to such a public use of profanity.

Dolores Geiger

Couple accused of having pot near baby

By Bridie Isensee
Brazosport Facts, TX
November 26, 2005

FREEPORT — A boyfriend and girlfriend were arrested Thursday night after police said the couple allegedly put a lighted marijuana cigar within reach of a 1-year-old.

Police arrested Daphanie Smith, 24, of Freeport and Jeffery Ballew, 25, of Freeport on charges of possession of marijuana in a drug-free zone and endangering a child, Police Capt. Richard Miller said. The couple was arrested at an apartment complex in the 900 block of North Avenue J about 10 p.m. Thursday.

While responding to a disturbance call at the apartment, police smelled marijuana and saw a sheen of smoke in the apartment, Miller said. The couple admitted to smoking marijuana, he said. Police also found a marijuana cigar on the coffee table, within distance of the woman’s 1-year-old son, and a pound of the drug in the apartment, Miller said.

Nesmith was being held at the Brazoria County Detention Center on Friday in lieu of bonds totaling $50,000. Ballew was being held at the Brazoria County Detention Center on Friday in lieu of bonds totaling $55,000.


Owners of five Montana pipe shops indicted

Helena Independent Record, MT
By The Associated Press - 11/26/05

MISSOULA (AP) — The owners of five pipe and tobacco accessory shops in Montana were indicted this month for allegedly distributing drug paraphernalia.

In May, Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided The Vault in Missoula, The Grateful Shed in Bozeman and three other shops in Kalispell, Great Falls and Billings. The names of the other shops were not released, and their indictments are sealed.

The agents seized pipes, cash, clothing and business records, forcing at least one of the shops to close.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Van de Wetering said the raid was not part of a nationwide investigation, but he declined to comment on why the five shops were targeted.

‘‘We want to bend over backward to ensure that the people and the five businesses who have been indicted in Montana receive a fair trial,’’ he said. ‘‘Part of that means I can’t comment on why these guys are being indicted and no one else, or why they’re being indicted now and not before. I need to emphasize that they are innocent until proven guilty.’’

In Missoula, the seizure forced David Sil to close The Vault, a small pipe shop he opened about eight years ago.

‘‘It certainly ruined my life,’’ Sil said. ‘‘They took everything, including all records and tax information, employee benefit money, medical expense money, rent money and all operating capital.’’

Sil’s attorney, Martin Judnich, said his client is bewildered by the seizures.

‘‘David Sil was shocked to find out that after more than seven years at that location and without warning or provocation, the federal authorities seized essentially the entire store,’’ Judnich said in a statement.

Bob Holstine, manager of The Grateful Shed in Bozeman, said he also was surprised and perplexed by the raid. He said pipes and tobacco accessories are a small part of the business, which has been in operation for 15 years.

‘‘We’ve only got two glass cases of pipe tobacco stuff,’’ Holstine said. ‘‘But we sell more clothes than J.C. Penney.’’

An arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 1, at which time all parties listed in the indictments are expected to appear.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Murfreesboro firm takes heat over its armor-piercing rifle

The Tennessean, TN
Associated Press

MURFREESBORO — When U.S. soldiers need to penetrate a tank's armor from a mile away, they count on a weapon that evolved from the garage tinkering of a former wedding photographer.

The .50-caliber rifle created by Ronnie Barrett and sold by his company, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., is the most powerful firearm civilians can buy. It weighs about 30 pounds and can hit targets up to 2,000 yards away with armor-piercing bullets.

That kind of power has drawn a customer base of gun enthusiasts, Hollywood actors and Barrett's most loyal buyer, the U.S. military, which has been buying Barrett's rifles since the 1980s and using them in combat from the 1991 Gulf War to the present.

But the powerful gun has drawn plenty of critics, who say the rifle could be used by terrorists to bring down commercial airliners or penetrate rail cars and storage plants holding hazardous materials.

For years, some state and federal lawmakers have sought to limit or ban the gun's sale, asCalifornia did this year.

Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst with the Washington-based Violence Policy Center, says the guns should be more regulated and harder to purchase. The gun can now be bought by anyone 18 or older who passes a background check.

Maybe Mr. Diaz should consider moving to China. My neck of the woods rings with the sound of gunfire year-round. It's the sound of Freedom!

2000 yards? Uh, yeah, that could easily take down an airplane if it hits in the right spot.

Well I didn't know that but I'm glad you told me because I've heard that terrorists sometimes use airplanes and so it's good to know we are prepared.

Congress seeks limits on sales of cold drugs

By Steve Ivey
Chicago Tribune
Washington Bureau
Published November 26, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Congress is poised to pass a new law to restrict over-the-counter sales of some decongestant pills that have been widely purchased by drug dealers to make methamphetamine--the use of which has gone up more than 150 percent in the last decade.

A House measure expected to pass in coming weeks would require stores to keep pills such as Sudafed--which contain pseudoephedrine, an ingredient used in making meth--in a locked cabinet behind a counter. Consumers would be limited to 3.6 grams, or about 120 pills, per day, and 9 grams, or about 300 pills, per month. Purchasers would also have to show identification and sign a logbook.

A Searing Protrait of Abuse


Magbie Experiences Respiratory Distress at [Correctional Treatment Facility] September 24.

[District Fire and Emergency Medical Services] paramedics arrived at approximately 9 a.m. During an interview, one stated that they found Magbie 'unconscious, very sweaty, and sitting at a 45-degree angle in his wheelchair.' His diaper was saturated with 'very dark' urine and his catheter drainage bag was filled with 'tea-colored urine.' One of the paramedics stated . . . that it appeared that 'Magbie had not been cleaned for several days.' His pupils were fixed and dilated. Paramedics could not get Magbie to respond verbally to a 'pain stick' or to ammonia.

Both paramedics stated that the CTF physician they consulted upon arrival informed them that Magbie probably had been in this state for several hours before being noticed. . . . They assessed his vital signs as unstable and determined that he needed to be transported to the hospital immediately. . . . The paramedics stated that they were delayed approximately 20-30 minutes because CTF officials would not let them leave before transport paperwork had been completed and Magbie's blood sugar level had been taken. [CTF physicians denied this when interviewed.]

The paramedics could not get their stretcher into Magbie's cell, and the medical staff did not know how to operate his wheelchair in order to move it into the hallway. Consequently, Magbie was lifted out of his chair and taken out of the room to the stretcher.

One paramedic stated that while they were trying to move Magbie out of the CTF as quickly as possible, a correctional officer was trying to handcuff Magbie.

Jonathan Magbie

* Excerpt from "Special Report: Quality of Care Issues Related to the Custody of Jonathan Magbie," October 2005, by the Office of the Inspector General, Government of the District of Columbia.

This is the 12th column to be written about Jonathan Magbie, a 27-year-old man who was paralyzed from the neck down at age 4 after being struck by a drunk driver. Magbie lived at home with his mother, needed private nursing care at least 20 hours a day and was totally dependent upon others because he couldn't use any of his limbs. He got around in a motorized wheelchair that he operated with his mouth, and his breathing was aided by a tracheotomy tube and an implanted diaphragmatic pacemaker.

Of all the accounts obtained and reported about Magbie's treatment while in custody of the D.C. government, this IG report, which I obtained from a confidential D.C. government source, contains, by far, the most horrifying and disgusting details. It documents incompetence, neglect and dishonesty. And it describes the unforgivably slovenly behavior directed toward Magbie once Superior Court Judge Judith Retchin so inexplicably turned over a quadriplegic to the D.C. Department of Corrections on Sept. 20, 2004.

And why?

Because Magbie pleaded guilty to the possession of marijuana found in his vehicle, which was being driven at the time by his cousin. Magbie, purchaser of the weed, was a first-time offender. Retchin, who the record shows was fully aware of Magbie's incapacitation, nonetheless sentenced him to 10 days in the D.C. jail, to be followed by probation and the payment of a $50 victim's assessment.

Loretta Nall in D.C.

The city got its hands on Magbie on Monday. By Friday, he was dead.

We now know the truth -- or as much as can be learned without a public trial with witnesses forced to testify under oath -- thanks to City Administrator Robert Bobb, who refused to accept an obscenely weak investigative report by the D.C. Health Department's Health Regulation Administration that was issued a few months after Magbie's death.

The IG's 64-page report should be a must-read for Retchin, Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus King and all other judges and magistrates who sentence men and women to the custody of the D.C. Corrections Department. The correctional officers and medical staff who handled -- or, more accurately, mishandled -- Magbie are still in place, drawing their paychecks.

Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), chairman of the D.C. Council's Judiciary Committee, which oversees Corrections, and David Catania (I-At Large), chairman of the Health Committee, which oversees the Health Department, must also read this report. The agencies under their jurisdiction make a mockery of the council's vaunted oversight.

Oh, yes -- the bureaucracy can produce written policies and procedures that make them appear as models of efficiency, as the IG report notes. But noncompliance, as in Magbie's case, is the rule. Those departments are, in truth, peppered with full-strength, trifling workers who get by doing next to nothing, all on the taxpayers' dime. The problem is that most of their supervisors, quality-wise, aren't much better.

This much we now know, thanks to Mr. Bobb and the IG:

The D.C. jail could not provide Magbie with the ventilator he advised both the jail and Greater Southeast Community Hospital that he needed. Magbie was taken to Greater Southeast the first night of his incarceration because of respiratory distress, but the hospital nonetheless sent him back; Greater Southeast staffers "knew there was no ventilator at the jail," the IG reported. No rationale for that decision could be documented.

The CTF and the D.C. jail, despite Retchin's representation in court, were not prepared to accommodate Magbie's medical needs.

The CTF's nurses did not follow doctor's orders, properly document their care or give the full range of treatment and care ordered and required.

There is no documentation that CTF physicians made daily rounds, no physician progress notes for two days of Magbie's incarceration, no up-to-date information on his health, progress, changes or needs.

There is no Health Department oversight of the CTF and jail medical operations, thus allowing both to function "at higher risk for undetected, systemic problems and medical errors that could affect inmate care and health," the report says.

The detailed description of their noncompliance is enough to make the blood boil.

The IG lacked authority to investigate the Superior Court's officers and employees involved with Magbie. Too bad. The court will never tell on itself. So we may never learn the fate of the medical-alert form that Magbie's lawyer filled out about his client's condition as Magbie was taken off to jail after sentencing.

The IG report said a Superior Court official stated that a court employee gave the form to two contract correctional officers who took custody of Magbie. The correctional officer who received the court paperwork stated, however, that it did not contain a medical-alert form on Magbie.

We don't have an independent evaluation of actions by Superior Court judges, officers or employees, who by law are above the city's reach. Don't count on any help from the D.C. commission that oversees judicial conduct and is chaired by William Lightfoot, a personal-injury lawyer and former politician. I'd rather turn to the three blind mice.

Maybe with the Superior Court's congressional protector, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), occupied with his own problems, Capitol Hill will review the court's actions both before and after Magbie's death. Otherwise, the public and Magbie's family will be treated with the contempt that court officials reserve for inquiring minds in the press.

Finally, I would urge a close reading of the IG's page of contradictory statements -- a list of conflicting testimony by witnesses with direct knowledge of the events involving Magbie. Truth, unfortunately, is still taking a beating.

But the tragic and unnecessary death of Jonathan Magbie may have one saving grace: We've finally got the goods on a rotten system.

Magbie Grave

Friday, November 25, 2005

Our Constitution, R.I.P.

You know, if the Bush administration says it can pick up an American citizen off the street, hold him incommunicado, refuse him the right to a trial and refuse to explain what the nature of his crime is, I think this pretty much makes the United States Constitution inoperative. Sure, not many of us are likely to face the problems that Mr. Padilla faces, and for all I know he is a bad guy. But our Constitutional protections are supposed to apply to bad guys as much as good guys. What’s more these dishonest incompetent ideological extremists are almost always hiding something significant whenever they claim to be operating in our national security interests, and you’d have to be an idiot (or a White House reporter or a Fox News anchor) even to be able to pretend to believe them this time. I’m sure when this is over we will find out they are just covering up their own incompetence and dishonesty. But the lack of outcry over this naked police state tactic is one more example of how increasingly hollow are our claims to be an example to anyone of anything, save hypocrisy.

GOP Support for Industrial Hemp

See above link for DPA blog coverage of current hemp issues.

I had no idea that Ron Paul had introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2005.

The shelled hemp seeds are really good. They taste a lot like pecan or walnut. We used them in the fudge this year. The only drawback to that is that the seeds are so tiny. If you could figure out how to make them stick together in clumps I think it would make for more satisfying eating, but they are delicious.

Manitoba Harvest Celebration!
Learn how a combine is used to harvest hemp seeds. Great pictures.

Europe Fails to Tame Drug Problem

Deutsche Welle, Germany

The EU's annual report on the state of the narcotics problem in Europe reveals that cannabis is still the drug of choice of Europe's population -- and demand is increasing.

"Europe remains a major market for stimulant drugs and indicators suggest that the trend in amphetamine, ecstasy and cocaine use continues to be upwards," revealed the 2005 annual report compiled by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Center for Drug Addiction (EMCCD).

But the report also revealed that EU drug decriminalization measures and better treatment programs are showing results. Experts said the shift in EU strategy to prevention, not punishment, has proven to be more effective.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

2003 Bush with turkey

2004 Bush strangles turkey.

2005 Turkey-strangling cancelled this year due to low poll ratings, but Bush bravely soldiers on secure in the knowledge that Cheney has promised him some private time with Barney later in the day.

Mass Drug Raid nets 18

Grayson County News Gazette, KY

Twenty police officers with the Leitchfield Police Department, Kentucky State Police, and the Greater Hardin County Drug Task Force fanned out Monday morning with warrants for 23 people suspected of involvement in drug trafficking and use.

By the end of the day, a 5-month investigation had resulted in the arrest of 10 men and eight women, all processed at LPD, with help from the Detention Center and with Department of Human Resources personnel on hand in case children were involved. Two were, and they were turned over to social workers.

Drug Task Force detectives said the raid covered an area centered on Leitchfield, with some arrests coming from near Clarkson and as far west as Caneyville. All the arrests were in Grayson County.

Police reported controlled buying of meth, oxycontin, crack cocaine, marijuana and hydrocodone during the investigation. Warrants listed 54 felony charges and 10 misdeameanors.

Cop in fatal crash with SUV on way to raid

By David Heinzmann and Charles Sheehan
Chicago Tribune
November 24, 2005

A Chicago police lieutenant whose squad car crashed into a SUV Tuesday night, killing a 56-year-old woman and injuring two others, was responding to calls for backup by tactical officers on a drug raid.

The lieutenant, driving a marked squad car east on 63rd Street, entered the intersection on St. Lawrence Avenue with its lights and siren on at 11 p.m., police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. He struck a Chevy Blazer carrying Betty Salters and three other people, including a child.

Salters, of the 5600 block of South Calumet Avenue, was ejected from the vehicle, police said. The driver of the 1989 Blazer, Cameron Jackson, 24, was cited for driving without a license, without insurance and without safety restraints for a child, police said.

A Grand Crossing District tactical team was working a narcotics investigation in a Chicago Housing Authority high-rise at 6217 S. Calumet Ave. and called for immediate backup, prompting the lieutenant to drive to the scene, police said.

The lieutenant was three blocks from the building when the accident happened, police said. Salters was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where she was pronounced dead. The lieutenant was treated for minor injuries and released.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Brazil's police 'execute thousands'

By Angus Stickler
BBC News, Rio de Janeiro

Hundreds, possibly thousands of people are shot by police every year in Brazil, a BBC investigation has found.

The authorities say it is mainly criminals caught in military-style raids on drug gangs but according to a former senior official, new evidence suggests that many of the shootings are cold-blooded executions conducted by the police.

Former police ombudsman Professor Julita Lemgruber has told BBC World Service's Assignment programme that, in the state of Rio alone, the police killed 983 people last year. The figure is similar for Sao Paulo.

"The federal government should be challenging the various state governments in Brazil about the hundreds of people that the police kill in this country," she says.

Voters reject Brazil gun ban
October 24, 2005
Brazilians recently voted down the government effort to disarm them.

Brazil only slaughters thousands of her children because she lacks a prison infrastructure similar to the one that has been put in place in the United States. Why waste money killing people when you can legally enslave them for 25 cents an hour?

Evacuees' holiday meal stolen

By Laura McAlister
Alexander City Outlook, AL

Hurricane Katrina evacuees at Wind Creek State Park were supposed to sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner today, but those plans had to be cancelled.

The Thanksgiving meal prepared by an Elmore County church was allegedly stolen, according to Wind Creek Superintendent Phil Easterwood.

"Someone went into the church and stole all the turkeys and all the hams," he said Tuesday. "Then they dumped the dressing on the floor and smeared the cranberry on the walls, so of course we had to call off lunch tomorrow for the evacuees."

Wind Creek Start Park is home to about 211 families from the Gulf Coast that were left homeless after Katrina devastated the area nearly three months ago. For many of them, Easterwood said the meal prepared by the church would have been the only Thanksgiving meal they would receive.

He said park officials had notified the families of the meal, but had to spend part of the day Tuesday letting them know it would be cancelled due to an alleged robbery at the church.

"This is just completely disheartening," Easterwood said. "It was all set to happen and because of thieves it caused us to cancel it."

Easterwood said several churches and other organizations have planned Christmas events for the evacuees, but today's lunch was the only thing planned to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

Did cops enter wrong home in drug raid?


DOVER -- The Morris County Prosecutor's Office is investigating misconduct allegations against three officers who went to the wrong apartment here during a pre-dawn drug sweep Saturday.

Joseph Devine, chief of investigations of the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, who was in charge of the operation, said officers apparently went to 28 E. Blackwell Street, Apt. 1. They did not have a search warrant, only an arrest warrant for a Carlos Acevedo-Vral, of 28 W. Blackwell Street, Apt. 1.

"Probable as it may be, it is still unacceptable," Devine said of the apparent address confusion.

The tenant in the "wrong"apartment, Fernando López, 41, complained that three officers, one in uniform and two dressed as civilians, somehow got into his building, knocking on his apartment door, the first door to the right, and ordered him to open the door.

"At first, I thought there was a fire," López said late Monday night.

López said as soon as they came into the apartment, they pushed him against the wall in the kitchen, and the three officers put their guns to his head.

One of them kept him against the wall, his head unable to move, while the other two proceeded into the apartment, searching the closets, living room, bathroom, and the bedroom, where his partner, Pilar Pena, remained in bed, unable to move.

The officers, they said, didn't have a search warrant.

When López managed to see the address on the arrest warrant, pointing out the mistake to the officers, he said, "one officer turned to the other and said, 'Oh, my God.' And as soon as he said that, they left."

López said they never apologized and when he asked for their names, they simply told him to take it up with the Prosecutor's Office.

Running on the coca ticket, FL
By Fiona Smith
The Associated Press
Posted November 23 2005

La ASUNTA · The coca farmers on these steep mountain slopes have long felt their livelihood and Indian identity threatened by U.S.-backed efforts to uproot the crop that makes cocaine. Now they are pinning their hopes on one of their own: an Indian coca farmer who is the front-runner for Bolivia's presidency.

Evo Morales promises that if elected Dec. 4, he will decriminalize all coca farming. That would mean an end to a decade-old crop eradication program that has led to clashes between farmers and soldiers in which dozens have died.

He would also be Bolivia's first Indian president, and his leftist politics -- he's a close friend of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez -- would move yet another Latin American government leftward, following the paths of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

A Morales victory may worry Washington, as well as many governments in Europe, the chief market for Bolivian cocaine. But the cocaleros, as coca farmers are known, are delighted at the prospect.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Former Sherman officer gets eight years for child porn

Team 4 News, TX

DALLAS A 38-year-old former Sherman police officer was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.
William Todd Smithers could have gotten up to ten years in prison.

In April, Smithers pleaded guilty in a Sherman federal court to charges of knowingly possessing obscene visual materials depicting minors in sexual acts.

Prison Worker Charged with Sex Assault


KGMB9 News has learned a worker at the women's prison has been charged with sex assault.

Anthony Clare is a substance abuse counselor accused of having sexual contact with a male inmate while working at Waiawa Correctional Facility in May.

Clare was reassigned to the women's prison while the state investigated. Now that he's charged, the state says Clare will likely be removed from the job and put on leave with pay.

"The policy is that there is absolutely no tolerance for any type of contact with the inmate population of a sexual nature," said public safety director Frank Lopes.

Clare is considered a civilian employee. He's charged with two counts of third-degree sex assault and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Prison guard accused of selling cocaine

The Express-Times, PA

L. NAZARETH TWP. | A Northampton County Prison guard was arrested Saturday morning after he allegedly sold cocaine to an undercover drug task force officer in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Kevin T. Murphy, 49, of the 400 block of Pershing Avenue, Phillipsburg, has worked for the prison for more than 24 years and was being paid $41,617 a year. Director of Corrections Todd Buskirk said Murphy has been suspended without pay pending completion of the investigation, but he would not comment further on the incident.

Police said Murphy arranged to meet the Northampton County Drug Task Force member to sell him one gram of cocaine for $60. The transaction was captured by electronic surveillance and police arrested Murphy as he was leaving the parking lot.

Ghana official arrested in U.S. on drug charges


ACCRA, Ghana (Reuters) -- A member of parliament for Ghana's ruling party has been arrested in the United States in connection with drug trafficking, a U.S. Embassy official said Monday.

The spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Ghana identified the arrested official as Eric Amoateng, a legislator from the New Patriotic Party who previously had applied for and obtained a U.S. visa.

He declined to provide further details.

Deputy Interior Minister Nkrabea Effah-Dartey told local radio Joy FM that anti-narcotics officials told him Monday of the arrest of Amoateng, who had attempted to claim diplomatic immunity.

The radio station said Amoateng was one of two Ghanaian men detained by U.S. police as they dismantled seven crates of pottery that concealed heroine flown from London, England.

A spokesman for the New Patriotic Party parliamentary group told Reuters that Amoateng had been absent from the legislature for nine days but declined to comment on the allegations.

Mexico arrests 'drug cartel head'

By Claire Marshall
BBC News, Mexico City

The suspected head of the drug trafficking gang known as the Juarez cartel has been caught in Mexico City.

Ricardo Garcia Urquiza, also known as "the doctor", was caught with eight aides earlier this month, the attorney general's spokesman told the BBC.

They were arrested in a middle class shopping centre in Mexico City.

Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said "the doctor" was probably one of the most important drug traffickers ever arrested.

He said his arrest was a mortal blow to the Juarez cartel.

Swedish ads urge EU alcohol curbs

By Lars Bevanger
BBC News, Oslo

Sweden is due to launch an advertising campaign to try to convince the EU that Scandinavia's restrictive alcohol policies produce health benefits.

Sweden's state-controlled alcohol retail system is at odds with EU free trade rules.

Sales are restricted by its alcohol retail monopoly - a system of shops with shorter opening hours and higher prices than in most other EU countries.

As a result, alcohol consumption in Sweden is relatively low.

Anyone buying alcohol in Sweden must be prepared to plan ahead and spend a lot of money.

Man convicted in deadly fire caused by marijuana setup


A handyman whose basement marijuana-growing operation resulted in a smoky fire that killed two city firefighters was convicted Monday of two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Daniel Brough, 37, faces three to 12 months on each count when he is sentenced Nov. 29. Jurors rejected two charges of third-degree murder, which would have each carried a prison terms of six to 20 years.

Prosecutor Ed Cameron said Brough caused the fire by placing his marijuana plants too close to a hot light inside a basement closet of his home. Defense attorney William Cannon maintained that the fire started elsewhere.

Fire Capt. John Taylor, 53, and firefighter Rey Rubio, 42, died in the blaze.

"My brother is dead, but I can't hate him," Xiomara Rubio said afterward. However, she questioned why Brough _ who lived with his mother, wife and children _ risked the safety of his own family and neighbors.

"What he did was wrong," Rubio said. "He should have never created that type of situation."

According to accounts from fire officials, Rubio became disoriented in the smoky basement of Brough's house in the Port Richmond section of the city on Aug. 20, 2004.

With his oxygen running out and his equipment blaring a warning alarm, Rubio apparently became entangled amid debris scattered about the small space. Taylor, officials said, sought to rescue Rubio and died at his side.

The jury also convicted Brough of risking a catastrophe and a misdemeanor drug-manufacturing charge, rejecting his testimony that he was growing the marijuana solely for his own use. Brough testified that he was a heavy pot smoker for some 20 years, but kept the numerous fans and other equipment in the closet in working order.

"He was convinced in his own mind that the grow closet could not have been the source of the fire," Cannon said.

The judge revoked Brough's bail after the jury, which began deliberating Thursday, returned with the verdict.

Officer Charged With Prison Pot

North Country Gazette, NY

MALONE---A corrections officer at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County has been charged with trying to smuggle marijuana into the Upstate Correctional Facility in Malone.

Lila Simmons, 33, of Queens, was arrested after she allegedly tried to smuggle about 55 grams or 2 ounces of pot into the state prison on Sunday. She has been charged with criminal possession of marijuana, official misconduct and other charges.

Authorities sort out 110 drug arrests after sweep


Morris County law enforcement officials spent Sunday turning the raw material of the weekend arrests of about 110 people and seizure of 80 vehicles into documentation that could support court cases.

"This is the legal paperwork that resulted from the enforcement activity," said Joseph Devine, chief of investigations for the Morris County Prosecutor's office. "We're trying to connect locations with defendants." He said the vehicles were being processed for possible forfeiture.

Devine said each suspect will have their identification, criminal record and residency checked as part of the processing.

"This was a free-flowing set of distributors and customers," he said. Police used information gathered in previous drug arrests to set up this one, Devine said, and they expect to gather information from this one to make future arrests.

Sunday's activity followed a pre-dawn sweep Saturday in four counties by about 400 police officers that netted several alleged high-level drug distributors and a suspected leader of a drug trafficking network. The sweep, called "Operation Bulldog," continued throughout the weekend, authorities said.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Braggin Rights!! Auburn 28 Alabama 18

At the risk of alienating half of my potential voters...WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!

Soft drugs to be legalized?

MK submits bill to Knesset proposing not to consider use of small quantity of cannabis as criminal offense

Ilan Marciano
Ynetnews, Israel

A short while before going to elections, MK Roman Bronfman (Meretz-Yahad) submitted a bill to the Knesset proposing not to incriminate soft drug users.

According to the bill, which seeks to dramatically change Israel's drug policy, from now on any use or possession of the cannabis drug at a quantity smaller than 50 grams (about 1.8 ounces) would not be considered as a criminal offense.

Through the bill, Bronfman seeks to amend the Dangerous Drugs Order. According to the first amendment, "no criminal procedures will be used against a person who possessed or used the Cannabis drug for self-consumption, and no criminal file will be opened against him."

According to the second paragraph of the amendment, the quantity considered as a self-use quantity will be increased from 15 (0.5 ounces) to 50 grams.

HPD 'hot spot' raid nets nearly 100 arrests

(11/19/05 - KTRK/HOUSTON) - A Houston police task force raid on a cantina in southwest Houston ended in close to a hundred arrests.

The arresting officers were part of Houston's hot spot task force, set up to investigate after-hours clubs. The sting operation started last week when undercover officers went into the same bar on Gessner near Town Park in southwest Houston and ordered what was supposed to be non-alcoholic beer. Lab test proved the beer did, in fact, contain alcohol.

Officers went back to the bar early Saturday morning to arrest the cantina's manager and several patrons. They are facing charges ranging from drug possession to public intoxication.

Mayor Bill White and Police Chief Harold Hurtt set up the task force last year after the death of a Houston firefighter. Kevin Kulow died trying to put out a fire at the El Festival ballroom. The roof collapsed on him. Police arrested three people who were charged with murder.

The task force has a tip line you can call to report any illegal activity at area night spots. That number is 713-308-CLUB.

This is a growing trend across the country: arresting people for drinking in a bar. No kidding

"The War on drugs" and Children of the incarcerated

Book Review
By Nancy Goldstein

Journalist Nell Bernstein’s excellent new book, All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated, documents the endless — and fruitless — cycle of crime and punishment that the mandatory drug sentencing laws of the past three decades have set into motion, and their devastating effect on the very children, families, and communities that they were allegedly created to protect.

All Alone in the World reads as a compelling mixture of damage assessment and blueprint for the future. Using first-hand stories derived from dozens of interviews with children of incarcerated parents, Bernstein critiques policies around arrest, sentencing, visiting, foster care, reentry, and legacy.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Drug Policy and Prison Reform Become Major Issues in Alabama Election

Drug Policy and Prison Reform Become Major Issues in Alabama Election

If you listen hard you can hear a rumbling undercurrent of discontent from the Southern United States about the controversial issues of the failed drug war and the massive negative societal damage it has wrought in one of the poorest and most remote corners of the nation.


Welcome to the buckle of the Bible belt, a place long known for its desire to punish with Old Testament vengeance instead of progress with New Testament kindness, compassion and tolerance.

A place where sin has been confused with crime and as a result almost 30,000 of my fellow Alabamians are rotting away inside the prison system, which was built to hold only 12,000.

A place where the first pot offense is a misdemeanor, but a second is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Current law sends nearly 500 people to prison each year at a minimum monetary cost of $5 million to Alabama taxpayers.

According to the prison commissioner, 80 percent of our folks in jail or prison are illiterate or have a drug problem, which is really no surprise, because in Alabama we spend more to incarcerate someone for smoking a joint than we spend per child in our education system. For instance it costs around $10,000 a year to imprison a pot smoker but only around $3000 to pay a years tuition at the University of Alabama. As long as we are willing to spend more to incarcerate than we are to educate we will always have full prisons as lack of education is one of the major factors in determining who goes to jail.

However, Alabama is also known for her rebellious streak and her strong sense of independence from the federal government. I represent that streak and am on a mission to remind Alabamians of that proud heritage.

Hope springs eternal and even in the Deep South things eventually change.

The winds of change began to blow in Alabama in September of 2002 when the drug war kicked in my front door and hauled me off to jail. That supreme injustice is responsible for my entrance into Alabama's 2006 Gubernatorial Election as the Libertarian Party Candidate.

While some people (sadly many of my colleagues in drug policy reform are included in that bunch) see my candidacy as a joke and think I do not have a snowballs chance in hell of "winning" I beg you and them to look a little deeper and perhaps re-evaluate what the definition of "win" is.

When I entered the political arena in Alabama some three years ago no one was working on drug policy reform. No one was loudly calling for an end to marijuana prohibition.
No one was writing or lobbying their elected officials on that issue. No papers were dedicating their editorial sections to the need for change in the way drug use is dealt with in our state or to the fact that our prisons are filled to bursting with people who got caught smoking a joint.
People in Alabama were scared to death to speak up or to step up and say that what has happened here is wrong. With good reason. Speaking up in Alabama is what got me arrested.

The Pot: Recreational

My emergence on the scene has had a dramatic effect however. After three years of letter writing, protest organizing, media interviews, hitting back at the injustice system and finally throwing my hat in the ring for Governor that wind of change has risen to a howling gale.

Here are just a few of the major breakthroughs my activism and my campaign have brought about.

Members of the third task force on prison overcrowding recently recommended making simple possession of marijuana a misdemeanor no matter how many times you are caught. That is a major change for a state who has handed out 10 year sentences by the bushel for possession of a joint to minorities and poor white people unlucky enough to get caught. It doesn't go far enough if you ask me but it is a step in the right direction, a foot in the door, a leg up.

My campaign calls for outright legalization of marijuana for adults, collecting the taxes from sales and using them to fund a scientific and realistic approach to prevention as well as treatment for people addicted to hard drugs.

Their first move across the drug policy reform chess board is a small one and before it is all said and done we will either meet in the middle and agree to something we can all live with or I will win the election and full sanity will reign in this state.

The Pot: Medical

On 4/20/2005 The Alabama Compassionate Use Act was introduced to the Alabama House Judiciary Committee. I sat in on the hearing and thought I had fallen into the twilight zone. Not ever in my life did I think I would hear black Alabama Democrats extol the virtues of States Rights and white Alabama Republicans voice concern about possibly pissing off the federal government. But that dear reader is what happened on that day.

Rep. Laura Hall (D - Huntsville) is a brave and courageous soul for introducing this incredibly controversial piece of legislation into the Alabama House of Representatives. Ms. Hall's son died in 1989 from AIDS. She believes that he might still be alive today if he could have used marijuana to help him keep his medications down and she is adamant that no other Alabamian suffering from any disease which medical marijuana might help should have to do so.

On that day a subcommittee was formed to study the legislation further and a vote was set for 4/27/05. I am happy to inform you that the Alabama Compassionate Use Act passed out of the judiciary committee on a sharply divided voice vote and is set to come to the house floor sometime in Jan. or Feb. of 2006.

After the Supreme Court ruling Ms. Hall was asked if she would bother bringing the bill back to which she responded, "The U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday against medical marijuana statutes won't dissuade me."
Hall said she would be back with her bill because she believes it gets around problems that the Supreme Court found with medical marijuana laws in other states.

Come early 2006 Alabama is likely to be the 13th state to enact medical marijuana legislation. 13 has always been my lucky number and it will be even more so when it represents our position in the battle to protect the sick and dying from drug war brutality. Finally our rank will be something other that 50th in the list of things that are good.

The Prison Crisis

One cannot work drug policy reform in Alabama without also becoming involved in prison reform. After all, the failed drug war has fueled the prison crisis across the nation and in Alabama people in prison on pot charges have actually died due to lack of medical care. Since when does a pot conviction equal a death sentence in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

I have been working with Roberta Franklin who heads up Family Members of Inmates and is host of The Morning Show which I often co-host as well as The Ordinary People Society headed up by Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, a former inmate who served 10 years of a life sentence for crack cocaine in an Alabama prison. Earlier this year we helped organize a Prison Reform March on Washington D.C. with the November Coalition.

When Governor Bob Riley ran in 2002 one of his promises to the people of Alabama was that he would honor the recommendations of the Sentencing Commission. Those recommendations included making marijuana possession a misdemeanor, treatment instead of incarceration for drug offenders, early release of non-violent offenders and more community corrections and drug courts so that judges would have more options than jail for people who pose no danger to the community.

Governor Riley has failed repeatedly to do all of those things. At one point around 4000 non-violent offenders were released from Alabama prisons but since the laws that landed them there in the first place were not changed many of them wound up back in prison for a failed drug test or for missing an appointment with their probation officer and the number of people in prison quickly rose above those prior to the mass release.

Instead of acknowledging the obvious reasons for this and doing the right thing Gov. Riley has formed two additional commissions/task forces to look at the prison problem and they have all come to the same conclusions. I guess Riley meant he would follow the recommendation of the Sentencing Commission, but neglected to add that he would keep forming them until they told him what he wanted to hear. Unfortunately for Naughty Boy Bob they have all said the same thing.

1. Stop locking up non-violent drug offenders
2. Make treatment and community corrections an option in every county.

On November 16, 2005 their message apparently got through that thick Republican skull of his and Governor Riley announced that he plans to dedicate the first two weeks of the next legislative session to prison reform.

I'll be there every single day to speak for our people who are rotting away in cages.

My campaign platform calls for releasing all non-violent drug offenders from prison and expunging their records so that all of the extra judicially imposed obstacles placed before them are removed. Again I expect a compromise but I have a weapon that my opponents do not have and that weapon might be just the thing to win me the Governor's Office.

In May of 2005, Alabama Attorney General Troy King issued an opinion declaring that people convicted of drug crimes could vote even while incarcerated. He said drug crimes are not crimes of "moral turpitude".
That means that around 8,000 inmates currently in Alabama's prison system never lost their right to vote nor did the tens of thousands who have served time and are now back in society lose theirs.

In about two weeks I will be teaming up with Reverend Kenneth Glasgow to go into the prisons in Alabama and re-registering drug convicts to vote. We will also be contacting former inmates who may not know about this new ruling so that they can also register to vote. Considering the large number of people in Alabama who have been illegally disenfranchised over the years I fully expect their support in next years election. The Republicans and Democrats wouldn't be caught dead soliciting the vote of "prisoners" and you can take that to the bank.


While the Governor and the prison task forces appear to be moving in the proper direction to some small degree they still have it all mostly wrong. It looks as though treatment instead of incarceration is rearing its ugly head. Without my continued push for real reform here is what will happen in Alabama.

Marijuana users will be forced into treatment centers simply because marijuana offenders make up the bulk of drug offenses in this state and there is money to be made in the treatment industry. They will still be arrested, dragged through the court system and forced into treatment when they do not need treatment. That will still be a gargantuan waste of our very limited resources and will take up much needed space for people who do actually have an addiction to hard drugs.

The following proposals are what I vow to push for in the upcoming legislative session and throughout my campaign for Governor.

1. Marijuana should be separated from hard drugs and regulated in a way similar to alcohol and tobacco. There should be no threat of arrest, fines, drug testing or any hardship or any other form of punishment imposed on adults who use marijuana responsibly in the privacy of their own homes.

2. Drug courts and treatment resources should be directed at helping those who are addicted to hard drugs. There exists in Alabama a large group of people willing to pay tax on marijuana. The tax money collected could be used to fund drug courts and treatment for hard drug addicts just as the money collected in tax from the sale of alcohol is used to help fund D.H.R.

3. As for start up funding for drug courts and treatment centers, how about doing what Morgan County recently did on a statewide level?

" Morgan County Commission Chairman John Glasscock said he has identified money needed to start the program.
He said the money will come from the law enforcement fund that the county uses for matching funds for drug task force grants."

As you can see my work in Alabama has raised awareness of the drug policy and prison crisis to a much higher level than previously existed here. While I consider all of the debate about these issues a small win for our side there is still much to do.

A key test for being a viable candidate is raising enough money to get your message out. I'm writing to you for your support. Alabama law allows candidates to receive unlimited contributions in any amount from the public and up to $500 from corporations. Any amount you can give will be appreciated. Raising money now will help add credibility for my campaign.

The campaign itself will advance the drug issue and other causes in my platform. I'm sure no other candidate will raise some of the issues I will be raising. How effectively I can raise those issues depends in part on the level of financial support I can achieve.

And, while I realize the tremendous challenge of actually winning office in this race, if I am merely successful in turning this into a three-way race our issues will get coverage in ways they have never gotten before. And, if we are successful in winning -- an incredible political feat -- then the drug issue and other issues I have been advancing will progress to a new level of political importance. Suddenly, politicians will see these are issues people can successfully run for office on.

Please make a contribution to my campaign. You can do that in one of two ways.

Or if you prefer you may send a check or money order to:

Nall for Governor Campaign
4633 Pearson Chapel Rd
Alexander City AL 35010

Remember that my freedom is also your freedom and together we will gain it across America.

In Liberty,
Loretta Nall
Candidate for Governor of Alabama 2006

Kangaroo meat rebranding launched


A competition has been launched in Australia to find a new way of describing kangaroo meat.

Organisers want to find a name less offensive to diners sensitive about eating a national symbol.

Australia has millions of kangaroos, whose lean red meat has generated a multi-million dollar export industry.

Kangaroo meat is popular in Germany, France and Belgium. Russians have a taste for sausages, but Australia's enthusiasm has always been lukewarm.

This is partly for sentimental reasons. The kangaroo appears on Australia's coat of arms and is one of the country's most recognisable symbols.

Somehow throwing a 'roo steak on the barbecue just doesn't feel right.

Attempts are now being made to combat this national squeamishness.

Australia's kangaroo industry is planning to publish new recipes and develop ready-to-eat marsupial meals and burgers.

They will be promoted as a low-fat alternative to lamb and beef.

Skippy steak?

Organisers are also looking to give kangaroo meat a palatable new name.

Hundreds of suggestions for a new name have already been put forward.

They range from the obvious - including Skippy, the name of an old television series that featured a very sensible kangaroo - to others that will probably make the judges wince, such as Yummy and Kanga.

Up to four million of these unique animals are culled every year under official quotas.

Wildlife activists have described this as a barbaric slaughter.

One campaigner said that turning these beautiful creatures into Russian sausages was a national disgrace.

Distraction frees inmate

Deputy viewing adult sites led to prisoner's escape
Patricia Farrell Aidem
Los Angeles Daily News, CA

VALENCIA - A sheriff's deputy was viewing porn on a hospital computer when an injured inmate escaped his guard last year and fled into a Valencia neighborhood where he beat an elderly man, according to an annual report issued this week by the county Office of Independent Review.

The deputy, who was not named, was fired following the October 2004 incident at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

"Investigators subsequently performed an analysis of the computer's activity for the day and found that the timing and content of the activity suggested a distracted, preoccupied officer who was still logged on when the escape occurred in spite of his assertions to the contrary," according to the report.

The investigation further showed the deputy had been on computer sites with sexual content, prohibited by Sheriff's Department policy. A separate investigation found the same deputy had downloaded porn on his department computer.

LA jail inmate killed after cutting in dinner line

San Jose Mercury News
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - An inmate was stomped to death after he cut in front of two gang members in a dinner line at the Men's Central Jail, officials said.

"They took upon themselves to teach (the victim) a lesson," Sheriff's Capt. Ray Peavy said Thursday of the previous day's killing. "This was a brutal crime."

The attackers spent 10 to 15 minutes beating and stomping the victim's head while other inmates looked on, officials said. The men were among 30 inmates locked in a room to eat dinner while deputies searched nearby cells for weapons.

The inmates were left alone and unsupervised.

Growing concern over growing 'bible'


Here's a debate about what's appropriate and what's not sparked by one woman's trip to a Valley bookstore.

She's shocked by some literature she came across, namely a book about some questionable horticulture.

It's a guide to growing marijuana and it's for retail sale on bookshelves. Nothing illegal about it, though it's enough to raise one woman's brow.

Growing marijuana is illegal. Selling marijuana is illegal. Smoking marijuana is illegal. But Ginger Cochran is angry.

"Outrage," she says. "And I called my mom to throw a fit about it."

A fit about being able to read about marijuana, something she discovered at a recent trip to her local Books-A-Million.

"I stopped in to do a little browsing and was in the gardening section actually looking for a container gardening book," she explains. "Right smack dab in the middle of the shelf was "The Cannabis Grow Bible. Sure enough it was a book on how to grow pot for recreational and medicinal uses."

We stopped in to check it out. And on the gardening aisle, "The Cannabis Grow Bible," just in front a title called "Marijuana Growers Guide."

"Anybody's teenager can walk in there and pick that up," she says. "There's no restriction on the selling of the book."

We called Books-A-Million corporate and were told the person we need to speak with travels from one store to another and the best way to reach her was by e-mail. We did that. As of this publication, we're awaiting word back. Ginger also called. She had more luck.

"She did state to me also that they deliberately didn't carry certain magazines that promoted growing pot or that lifestyle," she says. "And I appreciated her telling me that."

Ginger says she was also told that those books must've ended up on the shelves on accident--placed there after someone ordered the books on-line but never actually picked them up.

Pot-laden truck creates armed standoff

Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times

A marijuana-laden dump truck got stuck in the Rio Grande on Thursday evening in Hudspeth County, leading to a standoff between U.S. law enforcement and what appeared to be the Mexican military, sheriff officials said.

"It's a very serious incident," Hudspeth County Chief Deputy Mike Doyal said.

"We are very fortunate (Thursday) night no one got hurt," Doyal said. "Everyone had the presence of mind not to cause an international incident, or start shooting."

The incident began when Border Patrol agents tried to stop the dump truck on Interstate 10, sheriff's officials said. The truck fled to Mexico in the Neely's Crossing area.

The truck got stuck in the riverbed, and the driver took off running. Agents "started to retrieve the bundles (of marijuana) when the armed subjects appeared," said Agent Ramiro Cordero, a Border Patrol spokesman.

The Border Patrol called Hudspeth County sheriff's deputies and Texas state troopers for backup, both agencies confirmed.

Doyal said the truck driver returned with the armed men, including men who arrived in official-looking vehicles with overhead lights and what appeared to be Mexican soldiers in uniform and with military-style rifles.

The Mexican army is used in anti-narcotics operations. Army officials could not be reached for comment.

The standoff ended when the "soldiers" used a bulldozer to pull the dump truck into Mexico, sheriff's officials said.

Doyal said the bulldozer is kept in the area and is suspected of being used to create makeshift paths across the river.

"The 1,850 pounds confiscated (by U.S. authorities) was probably a third of what was in the truck. The rest went into the Mexican side," Doyal said.

Cordero, the Border Patrol spokesman, described the incident as an "armed encounter with drug smugglers" but would not confirm whether the Mexican military was involved. Investigations into the incident continue.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Toddler removed from home after police find syringes, KS

A 1-year-old girl is in protective custody after police found marijuana and several syringes in her home in the 4200 block of South Hydraulic.

The child's parents, a 21-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman, were taken into custody, police said. Police went to the home at about 4:20 p.m. Wednesday after a caller asked them to check on the child's welfare.

We also had syringes in our home when the law dogs raided. The needles were right there on the windowsill of the kitchen window above the sink. You couldn't miss them.

But the raiders were not interested in these as they were mostly concerned with going through our personal paperwork. It was kind of a mini-data-mining operation.

Of course the needles we had were the ones that we had accquired for the purpose of administering antibiotics to our Nanny Goat who had recently suffered a dog attack. But the Task force didn't know that.

Nanny's rump was messed up pretty bad and the vet said she would probably not be able to reproduce. But no one told Her and Billy that and so they surprised us with a handsome son.

Border Patrol agents charged with conspiracy

Published: Friday, November 18, 2005
Free Press Staff Report, VT

Two U.S. Border Patrol agents were indicted Thursday on accusations that they caught a person with 60 pounds of marijuana, let the suspect go, and concocted a story to explain their actions, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Burlington.

A grand jury indicted Steven Garceau, 32, and Ross Schofield, 33, both of Newport, on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements, according to the release.

The indictment says Garceau and Schofield found an individual who had 60 pounds of marijuana at the Newport City Motel in Newport, according to the release. Instead of arresting the suspect, the indictment alleges, the agents released the individual and then submitted a report that said they found the marijuana abandoned, according to the release.

The agents' actions led federal Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to believe that the marijuana was found abandoned, according to the release.

According to the release, Garceau and Schofield sought cooperation from the suspect. The Border Patrol agents did not falsify the report for their own personal gain, according to the release, but the document sheds no further light on their motives.

"The federal criminal justice system relies on the accurate reports and truthful testimony of sworn law-enforcement officials," Vermont's U.S. Attorney, David Kirby, said in a statement. "Today's indictment should reassure the citizens of Vermont that a federal officer who creates a false report, gives another agency false information, or provides false testimony will be held accountable."

If convicted, Garceau and Schofield face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Hearings for the men in federal court in Burlington have yet to be scheduled.

Medical Marijuana Bill Planned for Next Session in AR House


LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ A legislative committee heard testimony from backers of legal use of marijuana as a medicine for suffering patients because a medical marijuana bill may be introduced next session.

Representative Lindsley Smith, a Fayetteville Democrat, says she may file a bill during the 2007 session to make medical marijuana legal in Arkansas.

The bill would make the drug available to patients who are terminally ill, allowing them to grow and distribute marijuana among themselves for medical use.

Legislators heard testimony that the drug can help cancer patients and the terminally ill. They also heard testimony that marijuana is illegal under federal law.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Drugs charges for Guatemala tsar


Guatemala's top anti-drug investigator, Adan Castillo, has been charged in the US with drug-trafficking.

Mr Castillo, who is accused of conspiring to import and distribute cocaine in the US, was detained after arriving in the country.

His deputy and another investigator were also arrested and indicted.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration said the arrests followed a four-month investigation in the United States and Central America.

'Strong blow'

Mr Castillo was in the US state of Virginia for a training course on how to fight drug trafficking through ports when he was arrested, Guatemalan Interior Minister Carlos Vielman said.

The arrests were "a strong blow to the infiltration of organised crime in the structures of the Guatemalan government", Mr Vielman said at a news conference in Guatemala City.

US officials confirmed the arrest.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Mr Castillo said he was frustrated in his job because corruption in the Guatemalan government made fighting drug smugglers impossible, and that he was ready to quit after just six months in his post.

Guatemala is a major staging post for cocaine that is trafficked from Colombia to the US.

US officials believe 75% of the cocaine that arrives in the US travels through Guatemala.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Riley wants focus on prisons

Montgomery Advertiser
By Phillip Rawls
The Associated Press

Gov. Bob Riley wants the Alabama Legislature to devote the first two weeks of its election-year session to his recommendations for easing Alabama's prison crowding problems. But a Senate leader said other critical topics will be in play as well.

The Alabama Legislature convenes for its 2006 regular session Jan. 10 and can meet for 15 weeks.

"We're going to have a package of corrections reforms," Riley said Tuesday at the governor's mansion.

Riley had considered calling a special session this winter to focus on prison issues, but legislators urged him to wait until the regular session. That's when Riley came up with the idea to devote the first two weeks to prison issues.

House Speaker Seth Hammett, D-Andalusia, said Tuesday he had discussed the idea with Riley "and it certainly deserves to be a priority."

Senate President Pro Tem Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, said Riley has mentioned the idea but they have not discussed it in detail.

"If he wants to make that his focus for the first two weeks, that's good, but that doesn't mean the Legislature will solely address prison issues. There will be other critical issues we'll need to be addressing," Barron said.

Barron said Riley needs to present his proposals soon and begin discussing them with legislators before the session starts if he wants to be successful.

Riley's task force has called for alternatives to incarceration in traditional prisons, including more community corrections and transition centers for prisoners. It also recommended better prison drug treatment programs and approval of sentencing standards for judges that were recommended by the Alabama Sentencing Commission.

Riley and his staff have not yet turned those recommendations into pieces of legislation.

The state Department of Corrections is responsible for 27,623 inmates, with 23,500 of those in traditional prisons or work release centers. The others are in community corrections programs, county jails, federal prisons, or out-of-state lockups, spokesman Brian Corbett said.

The department has become one of Alabama's largest budget expenses, with $305 million appropriated in this year's General Fund budget.

Riley said the recommendations made by his task force, if implemented correctly, should not cause increased costs because it would be cheaper to house someone in a drug treatment program or transition center than in a traditional prison.

Police Pull Front Off House During Raid, OR

PORTLAND -- Police shut down a suspected methamphetamine house Tuesday, thanks to the persistence of neighbors.

Concerned residents of the north Portland neighborhood filed complaints and affidavits, allowing police to get a warrant.

But the front door was blocked by an iron gate.

"Because of the huge metal door, they hooked to it and they pulled it off. Unfortunately, the whole front of the house pulled off, exposing a very big hole in the front," Sgt. Doug Justus told KOIN News 6.

Paul Boerckel, 37, Dawnetta Farlow, 25, and Murray Farlow, 27, were taken into custody and face several drug charges. Police say the suspects are related.

The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
Karl Marx

Deputy Shoots Self in Foot During Drug Raid

Walker Robinson

A Bexar County Sheriff's deputy shot himself in the foot Tuesday night while trying to fight off an attacking pit bull, officials said.

Deputies raided a house on Oak Chase on the northeast side close to 7 p.m. Tuesday. The dog charged at the officers. One pulled his gun to shoot the pit bull and slipped. The gun went off, deputies said.

The officer, whose identity has not been released, was hit in the foot. He was taken to an area hospital for surgery. Investigators said he is expected to recover.

The dog was killed, officers said.

Four men were arrested on drug charges. Officers said they found cocaine and marijuana at the home.

Twelve other pit bulls were taken into custody by animal control, investigators said.

State's former head of high court advocates decriminalizing drugs

Ex-chief justice: Policy overfills prisons
Myrtle Beach Sun News, SC
By Gary D. Robertson
The Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina should consider decriminalizing illegal drugs as it tries to stem the need for additional prisons, a former state Supreme Court chief justice said Monday.

Burley Mitchell, the state's top judge from 1995 to 1999, said the war on drugs in North Carolina and nationwide has been "a total failure" that has filled up prisons.

The money saved if police no longer made arrests and courts no longer handed out sentences could be used to treat drug addicts, he said.

"What if we decriminalized drugs? Then you'd knock out all of the profits of every dealer and more to the point, the big producers," Mitchell said at a Raleigh luncheon crowd interested in prison reform. Drug demand would go down due to lower supplies, and drug-related crimes such as robbery and murder would fall, he said.

Although many people oppose the idea, Mitchell said: "I think it's something that needs to be considered."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Colombian Military Attacks Campesinos

Paramilitaries Continue to Be a Key Arm of the Colombian Government

By Ramón Aceveda
Special to The Narco News Bulletin
November 14, 2005

NORTHEASTERN ANTIOQUIA, COLOMBIA: “Here in the region we are living with the severe violence of the military and the paramilitaries,” stated a peasant-farmer who did not wish to give his name. He continued, “At the moment we are being harassed by the military battalion ‘Demolisher Platoon No.1, Calibio Battalion of the 14th Brigade’, which is under the command of Sergeants Setina and Blanquiceth. The Battalion members present themselves as official military and then the next minute they change their armband and are the paramilitaries. Lately they have been detaining, intimidating, torturing, and assassinating local campesinos (peasant farmers) and community leaders.”

“To the citizens and social organizations of the United States we ask that you stand in solidarity with the Colombian campesino. Military, economic, and political intervention by your government has been devastating to our people. Your neo-liberal economy does nothing but take from the mouth of our children. Your helicopters, weapons, and troops support an oppressive, violent government.”

Loretta Nall in Bogota Colombia August 2004

Loretta Nall inspects coca field in Putamayo, Colombia August 2004

Colombian Citizen enjoys the benefits of U.S. Foreign Aid

Comment from Loretta:
When I visited Putamayo in 2004 the bus we were riding on broke down in the middle of the jungle. It just so happened that it broke down in front of a field of paramilitaries who were training.

You could see the armbands and our tour leaders confirmed that they were the "browns". We were not harmed or even approached as Americans visiting with NGO's are valuable. If we were killed then the US funding which supports the paramiliatries could possibly be in jeapordy.

Normally when a bus breaks down the passengers will (weather permitting) climb out and mill about on the roadside until help arrives. But this was not a normal situation. We were instructed to file out of the bus, head straight down the road on foot and above all to keep our eyes straight forward down the road. Do not turn around, do not look at these people.

After all, the rule of survival is "you were never here, you did not see anything".

I want to thank the leaders of our group who guided us through this difficult situation.

Unfortunately the people of Colombia have no way out.

Photos Of Man Subdued By Police Released

Armstrong On Life Support After Altercation
November 14, 2005

DENVER -- The family of a man beaten during an altercation with Denver police said they may remove him from life support.

Thomas Charles Armstrong, 37, has been in critical condition since the encounter with Denver police early Friday morning.

Police said they received a call at about 1 a.m. about a man in the middle of the street screaming for help at the top of his lungs.

"He was screaming, 'Help me. Help me,' And he was screaming like he was dying or something," said witness Lori Sykes.

As an officer approached the man, the man began to attack the officer, fighting and struggling with him, police said.

As more officers arrived at the scene to help, the man was restrained and quit breathing.

He was rushed to University Hospital, where he has been on life support.

Ironically, Armstrong has been a critic of police and his family claimed he has been a target of police for years because of his criticisms.

According to the watchdog group Denver CopWatch, Armstrong's injuries were the result of excessive force.

"Trained professional police officers should be capable of restraining an unarmed suspect without causing severe head injuries or damage to internal organs," a statement from CopWatch said.

Police said the amount of force used against Armstrong was justified.

"The members of the Denver Police Department are not going to respond to outlandish allegations from those that are pursuing their own agenda and are driven by emotion and speculation," said Detective Virginia Lopez, a police spokeswoman. "It is unfortunate that there has been no talk from anyone about individuals being held responsible for their own actions such as illegal use of extreme narcotics ... and we all know what they can do to a person's rational actions and thinking."

Members of Armstrong's family have urged community members "to support their call for justice and answers" by joining them at a 6 p.m. protest Monday outside the District 2 Police Station in northeast Denver

Nandor will no longer front on cannabis reform

Radio New Zealand
Posted at 7:08pm on 15 Nov 2005

Returning Green MP Nandor Tancozs will no longer speak for the party on cannabis law reform.

The role will instead be taken on by fellow MP Metiria Turei, and Mr Tanczos will pick up the Environment portfolio.

Mr Tanczos, who has been a strong advocate for decriminalising cannabis, has returned to Parliament in the place of the late Greens co-leader Rod Donald.

He says he has become a barrier to cannabis law reform and no matter how moderate or sensible a proposal he put forward on cannabis, people opposed it because they disliked him.

Mr Tanczos says some people could not see beyond cannabis law reform, to other issues he was talking about.

He is expected to be sworn in as an MP on Thursday.

Cannabis drug available in the UK

BBC News, UK

Multiple sclerosis patients in the UK are to be able to get a cannabis-based pain-relief drug from their doctor for the first time, it has been announced.

Sativex has already been licensed for use in Canada to relieve pain in people with MS.

The Home Office has now said the drug can be imported to the UK for individual patient's use.

MS charities welcomed the development as a step towards the drug being fully licensed for use on the NHS.

Shares GW Pharmaceuticals' have jumped by 20% since news of the Home Office announcement emerged.

Arrests soaring amid concerted police effort

By Joe Cantlupe
San Diego Union Tribune
November 15, 2005

WASHINGTON – More people were arrested for marijuana offenses last year than at any time in U.S. history.

More than 770,000 people were cited for marijuana-related violations in 2004, according to the FBI's latest annual uniform crime report. Almost 90 percent of them were charged only with possession.

Federal officials said the local police actions reflect the importance of waging a fight against marijuana as part of the overall war on drugs. The FBI report showed that marijuana arrests have more than doubled over the past 12 years.

Fighting to win in the war on drugs

Step No. 1 in the new battle plan: Legalize marijuana, tax sales

By Trey Caliva/Columnist
Texas Tech Daily Net, TX
November 15, 2005

This column offers good information and good ideas served with a light sprinkling of advocacy of totalitarianism.
"Parents should be involved in their children's drug education and if they chose not to, should be held accountable."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Speakout: Time has come to legalize marijuana

By Jack Woehr
Special to the News
Rocky Mountain News
November 14, 2005

The Rocky Mountain News editorializes that the city of Denver must enforce the state pot law in the wake of the repeal of the city ordinance by voters, as if some profound prinicple were at stake here ("City must enforce state pot law," Nov. 7). In fact, the marijuana laws of Colorado and the United States are a profound negation of American principle.

First, the marijuana laws are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court denied Woodrow Wilson's attempt to extend wartime prohibition of alcohol to the post-World War I era, necessitating the 18th Amendment, later wisely repealed.

Where is the constitutional amendment enabling marijuana prohibition?

Next, the laws were founded and steeped in racism against Mexicans and African-Americans. A perusal of the Congressional Record for 1939 is educational in this regard, albeit shocking to modern sensibilities.

Third, the laws make no sense. Although Mayor John Hickenlooper frets about marijuana as a "gateway drug," all reputable research suggests that much more easily obtainable cigarettes and alcohol are the "gateway drugs" of America's youth. Shall we lock up Hickenlooper himself in a cell with the Coors family?

Finally, the entire drug panic in American life is like a national mental illness. The fanatical element of this vice crusade was instituted by two presidents (Nixon and Reagan) in whose adminstrations the CIA undisputably engaged in massive drug smuggling. This crusade has effectively elevated the laws of contraband above the laws of theft and murder; has institutionalized the suborning of perjury in the federal prosecutorial organs; has chipped away at several items of the Bill of Rights such as the Fourth Amendment; has corrupted the intelligence organs of the world with a wash of easy drug money; has erected narcocracies and terror in parts of Latin America and Asia; all without making much of a dent in consumption.

What sort of inhumanity spawns the belief that the vice of a drug habit can be stemmed by draconian law enforcement? Or that such a practice enhances the safety or comity of our civilization? The religious prohibition of alcohol in the Muslim world has been vigorously enforced since the seventh century, yet millions of Muslims still drink: Is that a model for America? Better to take the money and erect Betty Ford clinics for the poor, and to frown on the vice through social disapprobation, as we do with other vices.

Smoking pot is indeed a vice. It can sap the will and damage the lungs. But overall, marijuana is indeed safer than alcohol, as all but the purchased science of the prohibitionists recognizes.

The acrid smell of marijuana smoke pervades modern American culture. Petty vice will always be with us. Pot just ain't worth the fanatical and hopeless effort to extirpate it. It's time to give up the crusade and legalize marijuana.

Jack Woehr has three times been on the ballot for public office in Colorado on a platform of ending the war on drugs.

Community-Oriented SWAT Teams

Radley Balko

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Gov. Riley reads an edition of the Birmingham News while in-route to a series of meetings in Huntsville. Winter 2003.

Governor Riley

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sheriff warns about dangers of drugs

By Russ Krebs/Tribune Staff
Fremont Tribune, NE

There are no harmless drugs and none of them are safe if used improperly.

That was Dodge County Sheriff Dan Weddle's message to Fremont Middle School eighth-graders this week.

“There is no medical use for LSD. It's a terrorist weapon, it's a mind destroyer.”

Militarizing Mayberry

From the Agitator
Federalized Police continue to abuse Americans in their own homes
Thugs consider teaspoon of herb more important than a woman's heart attack

Riley: Background checks justified

Eufaula Tribune, AL

A Riley spokesman said the recent arrest of a sex offender staying at a FEMA trailer in Eufaula is an example of why they are needed.

According to a Thursday article in The Birmingham News, Riley said recent criticism of the background checks is misguided. Some opponents have argued the background checks violate the civil liberties of hurricane victims.

"I am not about to open up 400 or 500 travel trailers and have a sexual predator in there if I have the capacity or ability to keep it from happening," Riley said, according to The News. "It wasn't profiling. We did it with everyone within that community."

According to Mark Easterwood, director of Alabama's state parks, offenses that would disqualify an evacuee from housing included felony sex offenses, convictions for producing methamphetamines, drug trafficking within the last 10 years and felony drug convictions within the last three years.

28 Oct 2005
By Drug Policy Alliance

Nearly three million people have been displaced from their homes because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many have lost everything. Yet federal laws prohibit these victims from receiving welfare, food stamps, public housing, student loans and other benefits if they have a drug law conviction. People who have lost everything should not be denied public assistance just because they were convicted of a drug offense sometime in their past.