YOUR TRX DOLLARS AT WORK
Six young children were killed and four wounded in the jungle village of Pueblo Rico after army troops allegedly mistook them for National Liberation Army [ELN] guerillas as they walked along a trail to their schoolhouse. The teachers accompanying them say they screamed at the soldiers not to fire, and local residents report that no one saw any ELN troops in the vicinity. Families of the slain are demanding a civil trial rather than a military tribunal for the soldiers involued, but witnesses already report threats. Pacifica Radio news, Aug. 17, 2000
PAAAMILITARY BOSS WOOED BY DEA?
Colombia's most feared death-squad leader alleges that DER agents attempted to enlist his outlaw paramilitary gang. Carlos Castaño, leader of the ultra-right United Self-Defense of Colombia, told RCN TU from his stronghold in northern Cordoba prouince on August 9 that he'd receiued a call saying "the DER was opening the doors so that Colombian drug traffickers could surrender to US justice and... it needed a significant force in Colombia that would induce these people to take that decision.” The DER declined to comment on the allegations, which come just weeks after the US approued SI.3 billion in military aid for Colombia. Castaño has admitted receiumg money from drug traffickers, but insists he is "an enemy of drugs.” Reuters, Rug. ID, 20DD
REP. GILMRN: LET US RID FIGHT GUERRILLAS
Citing an incident in which 13 Colombian police officers who had surrendered to FRRC guerrillas after running out of ammo were summarily executed, US Rep. Ben Gilman [R-NY], Drug Uiar hawk and chair of the House International Relations Committee, called for lifting the restrictions on the use of US military aid only for narcotics enforcement. RP, Rug. ), 2000
GLOBAL DRUG UJRR5
RRMENIR BURNS HEMP
Ouer three tons of wild hemp plants were mowed down and burnt in fields near three uillages in Armenia. The operation was part of the Interior Ministry's Hemp
and Poppy E000 program. Boasts the Armenian gouernment's official Noyan Tapan neiu agency: "Thanks to policemen's efforts, areas with wild hemp in the Debed Riuer ualley are being reduced euery year." Noyan Tapan, Rug. B, EDDO
McCRFFREV DOES BEIJING
The US and China will step up Drug War cooperation, Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey announced at a Beijing press conference with Chinese drug-enforcement chief Vang Fengrui. The two pledged to begin sharing information between their law-enforcement and intelligence agencies. The US has a DER official in Beijing, and is seeking to establish a FBI office there. The Drug Czar also uisited Hong Kong, Bangkok and Hanoi. New York Times, June ED, EDOO
THE WAR AT HOME
SOUTH FLORIDfl TRSK FORCE OUT OF CONTROL
The Coral Gables-based South Florida Impact Task Force has seized more than S1H0 million in suspect funds, confiscated 30 tons of cocaine and seuen of marijuana, and arrested 53E people and deported 71 since 1333. Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey cites it as an example of effectiue law enforcement. But critics accuse the task force of racism—inuoluing legitimate businessmen with Colombian customers:
■ Penn Industries, a family-run Oklahoma City auto-parts distributor, had 378,000 in bank accounts seized after Impact noticed Penn's sole Colombian customer had used a money exchange to deposit S£,500. Rfter two months of negotiations and 313,000 in legal fees, Penn got its money back—minus 33,000 for Impact's "legal fees."
• In 1338, Hernon Manufacturing of Orlando, FL, an epoxy maker, had 330,000 seized from its bank accounts after Impact again found a transaction with a lone Colombian client. The money, less SB,000, was returned four months later.
■ That same year, Omega Medical Instruments, a small supplier in Wilmington, NC, had its accounts seized. Impact had found a cash deposit from a Colombian client. Most of the funds were returned early this year.
"There was no due process," Penn's Clay Waterman told US News 6 World Report. "Whateuer happened to innocent until prouen guilty?" DRCNet press release, Rugust E000
POT DETECTION GOES HVPERSPECTRRL
West Uirginia State Police are giumg Ormcon Corp. an opportunity to demonstrate a new aircraft-mounted "hyperspectral" sensor system for automatic detection of marijuana crops. State police boast they will be able to distinguish pot plants from "hemp" with the technology. Ormcon hopes to offer the new "pot-buster" camera through an imaging analysis seruice auailable to gouernments around the world. National Institute of Justice press release,
June B, 2000
KUBBV TRIAL RESUMES
The landmark medical-marijuana trial of Steue and Michele Kubby is set to resume after ouer a year of delays. Steue Kubby, the 199B Libertarian gubernatorial candidate in California, was arrested with his wife in January 1999 after Placer County sheriffs raided their Tahoe home and confiscated 265 marijuana plants, computer records and hardware. The Kubbys, both medicalmanjuana patients, say they worked with the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperatiue to insure their garden complied with legal guidelines under the state's medical-marijuana law. "My wife and I are uictims of those who seek to gut Proposition 215 and punish those behind it," Steue said. NOBML press release,
Aug. 10, 2000
NEW MEXICO PONDERS NEW POLICV
State Health Secretary Alex Ualdez said he thinks New Mexico should repeal its moribund medical-marijuana law and replace it with one modeled on Hawaii's new bill. "It's an ineffectiue piece of legislation," said Ualdez. "Howeuer, something should be put in its place to reduce the pain and suffering that many people in this state are going through." The law was passed in 197B, and more than 150 patients were accepted into a program that distributed marijuana to cancer and glaucoma patients. But in 19BB the legislature stopped appropriating funds for it. State Public Safety Secretary Nick Bakas told the fllbuquerque Journal: "The last thing [a citizen] needs to worry about in his cancer state is that a police officer is going to take him to jail for marijuana." N0RML press release,
Aug. 10, 2000 *