Monday, December 31, 2012

The War on Drugs

The So-Called War on Drugs

Page One


Don't miss The War on Drugs, Page Two
The criminalization of marijuana in the United States in the 1930s at the behest of the oil industry and others threatened by hemp, and the maintenance of the criminal status of cannabis to this day by cryptofascist governments, principally the United States, profiting enormously, directly and indirectly, from the "War on Drugs" while callously inflicting, directly and indirectly, major harm upon their citizens, is one of the great contemporary crimes against humanity. How long are we going to let those bastards get away with this?

Just Say No to SearchesJUST SAY NO TO SEARCHES!
Message from Pat Barber, 2002-11-25

The "War on Drugs" is not a recent phenomenon. It is as old as institutionalized religion, and was present already in the 1st Century CE. Here is the Jesus railing against the prohibition of the use of the psychedelic mushroom Amanita muscaria:
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men:
for ye neither go in yourselves,
neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
— Matt., 23:13
The position of the "scribes and pharisees" is exactly like those of present-day anti-drug politicians: They prohibit but do not know what it is that they are prohibiting, except that it involves some material agent, whose possession they are able to criminalize. As regards the experiences (heavenly or otherwise) mediated by the changes in brain chemistry induced by psychedelic substances they are completely ignorant, yet they refuse to allow others to attain those states of mind.

The high-tech industry, from personal computers to Internet entrepreneurs, is full of people who make big bucks, smoke fine weed, and look the other way while thousands continue to be jailed.  Tobacco, alcohol, and crack take an enormous toll, but America has been mesmerized by a remarkable propaganda campaign that has demonized the use of soft drugs such as marijuana and psychedelics.  The war on some drugs is wrong, and it's wrong to be silent about it.  It's time for the digerati to break silence on this issue.— Howard Rheingold, December 1998
Understand? While evil is abroad in the land, as it most definitely is in contemporary America, it is wrong to be silent, to look the other way, as the "good Germans" did during the Nazi persecutions. To ignore (if you do) the evil that is obviously present around you (perhaps because you want to feel good all the time) is to allow it to flourish, to be complicit in such evils as the legal theft of people's homes and cars ("civil asset forfeiture") and the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, who spend years or decades rotting in jail, for the alleged "crime" of smoking cannabis occasionally.

[U.S.] Government Insists on Keeping Reasons for Wilson Raid Secret
The "War on Drugs" is not something that cannot be made to go away. It exists because during the last few decades a comparatively small group of unscrupulous people, addicted to money and power, have lied to and deceived the American people on a massive scale. This evil can be destroyed if enough Americans resolve to understand why it exists and why it continues to exist. There is a political solution; it may take some time to implement, but the first step is to "Just Say Know".

Why the "War on Drugs" Persists

Clearly the unstated aim of the federal government of the United States of America is the attainment of total control of the Earth, including all its material resources and peoples, by economic, political and military means. The achievement of this requires the expenditure of vast amounts of money over several decades. A major part of this money comes from covert U.S. government trafficking in illegal drugs, primarily the addictive drugs cocaine and heroin. U.S.-sponsored world-wide drug prohibition, a.k.a. the "War on Drugs", is primarily a tactic to keep street prices high and profits astronomical, regardless of the huge social and personal damage done. U.S.-sponsored drug prohibition will continue until either the U.S. attains its aim of complete military and political domination of the Earth (which is still some time away, if it ever happens) or the junta which rules the U.S. and which aims at total control is removed from power. Only an alliance of anti-fascist nations, and sustained resistance by people who value their freedom, can prevent the subjugation of the Earth to those intent on controlling and exploiting it. Repeal of the laws, and of the U.S.-imposed international treaties, prohibiting possession and sale of drugs which are presently illegal would remove the enormous profits derived from wholesale illegal drug trafficking and cut off a major source of the money required by the U.S. for the achievement of its aim of total world domination. Obviously the U.S. will never repeal these laws and treaties, so it is up to the other countries of the world to do so, if they value their sovereignty, freedom and cultural tradition.

Covert government by defense contractor means corrupt wars of conquest, government by dope dealer. When the world's traditional inebriative herbs become illegal commodities, they become worth as much as precious metal, precious metal that can be farmed. ... Illegal drugs, solely because of the artificial value given them by Prohibition, have become the basis of military power anywhere they can be grown and delivered in quantity. ... To this day American defense contractors are the biggest drug-money launderers in the world.  Drug War: Covert Money, Power and Policy, p.318.

And, of course, the tactics used by one player in the game can be used by others. Not all the poppy fields are funded by the CIA. To some it will seem that with enough money one can buy control of the entire planet. This is no doubt an idea which occurred to some people long ago. But it takes time to achieve such an ambitious goal. Ethical considerations, of course, do not enter into the calculations. Any means may be used to attain the end. One useful means is the exploitation of the urge humans have to modify their consciousness by eating, drinking, smoking or snorting substances found to produce desirable effects. Humans have done it for ages. Bring in a capitalist socio-economic system and you have a sure way to make a lot of money. Especially if consumer prices can be jacked way up. And the way to do that is to make the possession and use of these substances illegal. Then suppliers become criminals and run the risk of punishment, and so must be financially compensated for the risks they take. The higher the risk, the higher the street price. So make it all very illegal and (try to) corner the market in mind-altering substances, especially the addictive ones (a captive market, so to speak) and voila! the greatest money-making scam in the entire history of the planet! Sufficiently lucrative that with the profits one can buy everyone who needs to be bought: police, judges, customs officers and politicians. Total control! The wet-dream of every fascist dictator — now within the grasp of any sufficiently large, sufficiently well-run, sufficiently immoral organization, such as a government of a country whose wealth has been acquired by war and ruthless exploitation of natural resources and which maintains a military-industrial economy larger and more threatening than that of any other.

MACC awardHow long has there been a "War on Drugs"? Seems forever. (It was announced by Richard Nixon in 1971, but goes back millennia, as we saw above.) And year after year, it just gets crazier and crazier, ruins more and more lives, and drives the U.S. further into the pit of social disaster.  How is it possible that this insanity persists (even though intelligent and rational people have been pointing out for many years how crazy and evil it is)? Read this page (andpage two) for an understanding of what lies behind this monstrosity.

America, with less than 5 percent of the world population, has a quarter of the world's prisoners.  There are six times as many Americans behind bars as are imprisoned in the 12 countries that make up the entire European Union, even though those countries have 100 million more citizens than the United States.  Our jails and prisons have become the 51st state, with a greater combined population than Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota.  Editorial, San Jose Mercury News, 1999-12-31.
In August [2000], the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that the number of men and women behind bars in the U.S. at the end of 1999 exceeded two million and the rate of incarceration had reached 690 inmates per 100,000 residents — a rate Human Rights Watch believed to be the highest in the world (with the exception of Rwanda).  ...  The unrelenting war on drugs continued to pull hundreds of thousands of drug offenders into the criminal justice system: 1,559,100 people were arrested on drug charges in 1998; approximately 450,000 drug offenders were confined in jails and prisons.  According to the Department of Justice, 107,000 people were sent to state prison on drug charges in 1998, representing 30.8 percent of all new state admissions. Drug offenders constituted 57.8 percent of all federal inmates.  Human Rights Watch World Report 2001: United States
The United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world and for the first time in the nation's history, more than one in every 100 American adults is confined in a prison or jail, according to a report released on Thursday. The report by the Pew Center on the States said the American penal system held more than 2.3 million adults at the start of the year [2008]. ...  "Beyond the sheer number of inmates, America also is the global leader in the rate at which it incarcerates its citizenry, outpacing nations like South Africa and Iran," according to the report. Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, criminal justice experts say. The latest report tracked similar findings on the U.S. prison population by the Justice Department and various private groups. A report in November [2007] by a criminal justice research group found the number of people in U.S. prison had risen eight-fold since 1970. The new report said that the national prison population has nearly tripled between 1987 and 2007. — U.S. incarcerates more than any other nation, Reuters, 2008-02-28
At this time the Gulag Archipelago, the scattered islands of prisons in which hundreds of thousands of non-violent people are locked away for half their lives for their opposition to the disgraceful and immoral policies of a tyrannical and dictatorial state, is not in Russia, rather it is in the United States of America.  This is a crime against humanity by which the government of the United States, which trumpets itself as a defender of liberty and democracy, makes itself into an object of contempt in the eyes of the world.
The real problem with drugs in the modern world is that they are illegal.  Put simply, the Drug War exists primarily to support — financially and otherwise — the maintenance of the criminal status of the possession of (certain) drugs so that those (mostly on the payroll of the U.S. federal government) who profit big — directly or indirectly — from the supply of prohibited drugs can continue to do so, at the expense of everyone else, and especially at the expense of the hundreds of thousands of people imprisoned for victimless "crimes".  This is a scandal and a disgrace of the first magnitude.  It will become for the United States of America a source of enduring shame and infamy just as the Third Reich became for Germany.

The Heidelberg DeclarationGerman translation of 
an older version of this page
Stop arresting sick people!We demand:
  • An immediate amnesty for victims of the "war on drugs".
  • The reformulation of national and international agreements
    that hinder decriminalization.
  • An end to the "war on drugs".

Prohibition (1920-1933 R.I.P.) was known as The Noble Experiment.  The results of the experiment are clear: innocent people suffered; organized crime grew into an empire; the police, courts, and politicians became corrupt; disrespect for the law grew; and the per capita consumption of the prohibited substance — alcohol — increased dramatically, year by year, for the next thirteen years of this Noble Experiment, never to return to the pre-1920 levels.You would think that an experiment with such clear results would not need to be repeated; but the experiment is being repeated; it's going on today.  Only the prohibited substances have changed.  The results remain the same.  They are clearer now than they were then. — Peter McWilliams, Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do, p.61.
But the current prohibition is not really an experiment — it is U.S. government policy imposed upon all peoples of the world (by threat of sanctions against their countries) in order to keep the prices of illegal drugs sky-high, thereby ensuring huge profits for the drug lords both within and without the governments of the world (including the U.S. government).

When marijuana was popularized in the 20s and 30s in the American jazz scene, blacks and whites sat down together as equals and shared "joints". The racist anti-marijuana propaganda of the time used this crumbling of racial barriers as an example of the degredation caused by the devil's weed. Harry Anslinger, head of the newly formed narcotics division, warned the middle-class about blacks and whites dancing together in Teahouses, using blatant prejudice to sell prohibition.  Reefer madness was born from the hysteria generated then.  In the early 60s cannabis was once again popularized by poetic nonconformist beatniks.  Pot helped to open the eyes of the youth and change the values of a whole generation of flower children that questioned the value of war and the sanity of global pollution.  In response President Nixon declared a Drug War upon the flower children and the threatening tendencies toward peace and their ubiquitous sacramental incense, marijuana. — Chris Bennett, Lynn Osburn & Judy Osburn, Marijuana in Magic & Religion
It is no accident that those responsible for the current prohibition of marijuana chose the metaphor of war to describe their persecution of a minority.  A militaristic mindset underlies their actions.  The hard-core supporters of the 'war on drugs' like war generally - or more exactly, they love the mass production of weapons (so profitable to them) and are always ready to threaten their use in order to keep large parts of the world economically subordinate and exploitable.

The real problem with drug use is that it is outlawed, and that sends all questions about individual decisions to take drugs to a second remove.  This illegality prevails over other factors.  The epidemic of violence that plagues the US is one direct result of making illegal drugs the most profitable commodity on earth.  Many have died in the 'war on drugs', and even police say it is beginning to resemble the Vietnam War — a war that cannot be won.  Drug Hysteria: U.S.A.The Drug War cannot stand the light of day.  It will collapse as quickly as the Vietnam War, as soon as people find out what's really going on. — Joseph McNamara, former Police Chief, Kansas City and San Jose, and Fellow, Hoover Institution
I'm for truth, no matter who tells it.  I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against.  I'm a human being first and foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole. — Malcolm X

Unquestionably, police power and resources can never eliminate drug use.  Such a goal is impossible.Nonetheless, drug warriors have established and maintained a national consensus that American must become free of drug use.  By accepting an impossible goal and by accepting the idea that it must be achieved through police power, citizens relinquish more and more rights and revenue to police upon demand by Drug War leaders.  Continued acquiescence to these escalating demands should create a police state.
I believe authoritarians are manufacturing and manipulating public fears about drug use in order to create a police state where a much broader agenda of social control can be implemented, using government power to determine what movies we may watch, determine who we may love and how we may love them, determine whether we may or must pray to a deity.  I believe the war on drug users masks a war on democracy.
After all, what is the vision of a Drug-Free America? Millions in prison or slave labor, and only enthusiastic supporters of government policy allowed to hold jobs, attend school, have children, drive cars, own property.  This is the combined vision of utopia held forth by Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, William Bennett, Daryl Gates and thousands of other drug warriors.  News media and "public interest" advertising tell us this is the America for which all good citizens yearn.
— Richard Lawrence Miller, Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State, p. 191.
Peter Webster's review of Richard Lawrence Miller's Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State
Nazi-American stars and stripesThere is a certain difficulty in writing a review of [this book] ... but not because it is a difficult book in any usual sense. On the contrary, it is disarmingly easy to understand the author's every implication. Yet the theme of Mr. Miller's essay, a point by point comparison of the reality of Drug Prohibition in the United States today with exactly analogous situations leading up to Hitler's Third Reich and the attempted destruction of the Jewish people, is certain to repulse the very readers who need most to understand that, indeed, it can happen again.
See also:
  • Neal Smith: Occupied America: A Chronology of Nazi Infiltration and the War On Some Drugs
  • Confessions of an Amerikan LSD Eater
    This covert government involvement in drug trafficking was designed to serve a dual political purpose. On the international level, it provides financial support for covert military operations in the Third World, in furtherance of the strategy of "low intensity warfare" in support of U.S.-based multinational corporations.Domestically, the proliferation of debilitating drugs is used to destabilize the oppressed populations of the inner cities, to counteract potentially revolutionary tendencies, and to provide a pretext for the militarization of domestic law enforcement and the erosion of traditionally protected civil liberties, bringing us a step closer to the monolithic police state that the corporate oligarchs have planned for America and the "new world order."

The Nazi regime in the U.S. is causing its "Jews" to get out while they can.Drug Queenpin or Innocent Victim?
U.S. woman weeks political asylum in Canada

So the federal government has the power to punish sick people using cannabis as medicine, on the advice of their doctors, even in states where medical marijuana is allowed. What the federal government doesn't have, even after this decision, is a good reason to do so. — Chicago Tribune Editorial, 2005-06-07, Pot and the Constitution

Although the use of psychoactive drugs has risks as well as benefits, and there have been casualties, the "war on drugs" (like previous attempts at prohibition) has caused (and continues to cause) far more harm than drugs themselves.  This "war" is a cover for a vicious persecution of people who have been made into criminals for the exercise of their natural right to modify their consciousness in a manner which they deem worthwhile (which humans have been doing for thousands of years).  And this, basically, for the sake of financial gain by a few at the expense of the many.
The "war on drugs" is in part a propaganda war.  The techniques of propaganda were first raised to an art by the Bolsheviks, and were refined and used by fascists of various colors from the 1930s in Europe to present-day America.  The political scientist Leonard Schapiro, writing of Stalin, said:
The true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought reveals itself as a jarring dissonance.
To the extent that the "drug warriors" (the metaphor of a "war on drugs" is itself one of their propaganda techniques) are successful in their propaganda campaign, any support for the decriminalization of drug usage (not to mention any suggestion that some kinds of prohibited drugs may actually have great potential benefit) will be received by the general public as an opinion obviously deranged, deriving clearly from someone of unsound mind (resulting, of course, as the propagandists would have us believe, from their prior drug usage).This propaganda war must be exposed and defeated before there can be any change in the social and legal status of drug usage.  It is also important to understand the real motivation for this "war on drugs", which is not moral righteousness but simply the desire for financial profit.  There is nothing "holy" about this "war".  Speaking out in a rational and civil manner (or simply talking to one's friends) to point out the benefits of some drugs which are now illegal (such as cannabis) and to draw attention to the enormous harm to society resulting from the criminalization of drug usage is a way to defeat this propaganda campaign, even though it will require sustained effort by numerous people.
As an example of propaganda we need look no further than an article about ketamine in Time magazine of 1997-10-20.  Here is a reply to that article:

The U.S. government propaganda about the "war on drugs" disguises the fact (if we must speak of "war" at all) that this is a war on people — people who (responsibly or otherwise) choose to use drugs — or rather, drugs whose use authoritarian governments actively discourage — in contrast to their encouragement of the officially-condoned disease- and death-causing drugs alcohol and tobacco.
In a civilized society, war is a response by the government to a military attack from a hostile power.  In a civilized society, the government does not make war upon its own people.  Viewed from the perspective of the "war on drugs" the United States is no better than some tin-pot dictatorship in which those whom the government disapproves of regularly disappear and the rest live in fear of the same thing happening to them.
In America the "war on drugs" is big business.  Lots of people make a lot of money from it — police, judges, lawyers, probation officers, prison guards, companies that build prisons, companies that provide "security", hand gun manufacturers and many others — including those supposedly "rogue" elements in the government itself (which are hardly "rogue" if they originate from the highest levels of government) that import heroin and cocaine to supply both the inhabitants of urban ghettos and the inhabitants of corporate boardrooms (more cocaine goes up the noses of affluent whites than of poor blacks).  This is one reason why development of a saner drug policy is so difficult in the U.S.  — there are too many people in positions of power profiting from prohibition.
Another reason is that any major revision of the government's prohibitionist position would require it to admit it has been wrong all these years, that it has in effect lied to the people while claiming to provide reliable information and guidance, and that its policies of encouraging the use of dangerous drugs and prohibiting the use of drugs which have few (if any) harmful effects have resulted in enormous suffering and loss of life.  A government which prides itself on being a superpower — and (according to its view of itself) practically infallible — is unlikely to admit voluntarily that it has made a mistake of this enormity.
In Rethinking Drug Prohibition Peter Webster also points out that there are multiple factors sustaining the Drug War:
  • It's a useful tool for politicians seeking to whip up the electorate.
  • It profits the prison industry and even the weapons industry.
  • Legalization would threaten the profits of the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Legalization would threaten the profits of the tobacco and alcohol industries.
  • Users of marijuana and psychedelics are less enamored of material consumption, so legalization would threaten the profits of those promoting consumerism.
  • Drug prohibition facilitates control of the population.
  • Enforcement agencies (police, DEA, customs, etc.) profit greatly from the civil asset forfeiture laws.
  • The illegality and high prices for heroin and cocaine allows the CIA to obtain secret funding for its activities.
  • The Drug War has lead to draconian "money laundering" laws, which are a way for the U.S. to pry into the details of everyone's financial transactions.
  • The Drug War provides an excuse for invasions of South and Central American countries.
  • Following the demise of the Red Threat another scapegoat is needed, and "drugs" (and drug users) are it.
  • The Drug War provides a distraction from the failure of the U.S. government to solve the real problems facing U.S. society (poverty, unemployment, poor health and educational systems, etc.).
  • The Drug War is a tool of racism, providing an excuse to disenfranchise the black population.
  • The DEA is a major bureaucracy and lives from the Drug War, so it's in the interests of the DEA to keep the "drug menace" on the front burner.
  • Puritanism is a major component of the American psyche, and the advocates of drug prohibition appeal to this.
  • For the U.S. govt. to reverse its stance on drug prohibition would mean admitting it was wrong, which it will never do.
Legalize!These are all reasons why the "war on drugs" is entrenched.  But the supporters of the status quo (those who benefit from it in one way or another) may be making a false assumption: that people who know they have a perfect right to use drugs (if they do so without directly harming anyone else) will continue forever to put up with the active repression of their rights (in this and in many other respects) by a paternalistic, dictatorial, hypocritical and corrupt government-military-corporate complex which seems interested only in maintaining them, for its own financial benefit, in a condition of ignorance, fear, impoverishment and economic slavery.

Interview with a Former Underground Chemist

[Drug law reform] runs squarely against the interests of the major organized stakeholders in the more than half-trillion dollar annual global drug market. Their main source of revenue depends on continued global prohibition. With such enormous annual revenues, there is little doubt that these organizations have very firm stakes in regular economies, regular banking, and regular legislation, and not just in Columbia! What we see happening in the US today is that the War on Drugs and related erosion of personal rights and freedoms drive up prices and increase the customer base. It is not too farfetched to suggest that major organized crime, with its power to influence legislation in its interests, is using drug prohibition as a business tool.

By the end of the 1980's it was calculated that the illegal use of drugs in the United States now netted its controllers over $110 billion a year. — Modern Times, p.782.
Where does this money go? The public is supposed to believe that the evil drug barons spend their ill-gotten gains on material luxuries for themselves and their families. But it is impossible to spend that much money on houses, cars, fine food and wine, holidays in France, etc. (and of course they don't have to pay for their drugs). So what really happens to the profits generated by the illegal drug trade?
The most fundamental reason for the long-time continuance of the illegality of (some) drugs is basically that it finances the drive by the U.S.A. for world domination. If that domination cannot be achieved by political and economic means — and since the rest of the world is not stupid it is clear that it cannot be so achieved — then the U.S.A. will attempt to achieve it by military means (it has had a basically military economy ever since World War II and shows no signs of changing). This does not necessarily mean war and overt military conquest. It means acquiring such an overwhelming military superiority that all other nations will be completely intimidated, unwilling to resist the dictates of Washington in anything but the slightest degree. These dictates will lead to a one-world government, with the U.S. "at its core" (to adapt a phrase from NATO's war in Kosovo).
To achieve that overwhelming military superiority requires money. Lots of it. Many, many, billions of dollars. And for many years. This sort of money cannot be raised by taxation alone, not even extortionate taxation (such as is currently practiced in the U.S. anyway). Another source of money is required. That source is the U.S.-government's trafficking in cocaine and heroin (all done in secret, of course). That money goes into the Pentagon's "black budget" — which is, of course, super-secret. Not even most members of the U.S. Congress know how much money the Pentagon actually receives and spends, or where it all comes from. It comes in part from the import and sale of illegal drugs. Only by keeping such drugs illegal can these profits be maintained. And only by pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into military development can the U.S. hope to achieve its aim of world domination.
Illegal drugs will remain illegal until such time as the U.S. government is master of the world (attaining what the Nazis were aiming at), at which time it will no longer need the profits from its drug trafficking. Then maybe we'll be able to smoke a joint in our own home, provided we express no criticism of the Glorious World Government, associate only with people that we are permitted to associate with (family and co-workers), read and watch on TV only what we are permitted to, go only where we are allowed to go and generally do what we are told to do ("Just follow orders, asshole!"). But even that much is unlikely, since probably the only drugs permitted for recreational use will be those which numb the mind, suppress the imagination and restrict thinking. Better to fight now (any way we can) than condemn ourselves and our descendants to a lifetime of ignorance, fear, impoverishment and slavery.

Socio-historical aside:
The basic reason that the U.S. is working toward the attainment of military domination of the entire globe is that America (having been caught unprepared in 1941) basically failed to demobilize at the end of World War II, and retained its wartime economy (both in industrial production and in the organization of industry). It has been on a permanent war footing ever since. Its economy is basically a military economy, and the metaphors in terms of which it thinks of itself are those of permanent warfare (hence the "War on Drugs"). But a society cannot really provide for the long-term welfare of its people if it is continually geared up for warfare, and we see the results. According to some estimates the Pentagon consumes 51% of what the U.S. produces. No wonder there are grave social problems.
A military economy requires a military threat to justify maintaining itself in existence. If there are no enemies at hand then they must be sought out; if none can be found then they must be invented ("Islamic terrorism", "narco-traffickers" and "rogue states"). The U.S. government is mentally ill; the craziness is deep-seated and unfortunately for the American people, who deserve better, there's no short-term solution. It will require either a profound political revolution from within or a military-economic catastrophe (perhaps even total annihilation such as happened to Germany at the end of WW II) to restore the U.S. eventually to sanity.

Officials trying to maintain support for the "war on drugs" seldom acknowledge that drugs (even prohibited drugs) are of many different kinds, but rather lump them all together the better to confuse the issue and to denigrate those who propose saner policies.  While the use of addictive drugs (such as heroin, cocaine and nicotine) carries considerable risk (the antidote to which is information not incarceration), psychedelics (a.k.a. entheogens) such as LSD and psilocybin not only are safe but when used responsibly are a means to psychological and spiritual growth.
One of the best writers on the potential that psychedelics have for spiritual development is the discoverer of LSD himself:
The characteristic property of hallucinogens, to suspend the boundaries between the experiencing self and the outer world in an ecstatic, emotional experience, makes it possible with their help, and after suitable internal and external preparation, as it was accomplished in a perfect way at Eleusis, to evoke a mystical experience according to plan, so to speak.Meditation is a preparation for the same goal that was aspired to and was attained in the Eleusinian Mysteries.  Accordingly it seems feasible that in the future, with the help of LSD, the mystical vision, crowning meditation, could be made accessible to an increasing number of practitioners of meditation.I see the true importance of LSD in the possibitity of providing material aid to meditation aimed at the mystical experience of a deeper, comprehensive reality.  Such a use accords entirely with the essence and working character of LSD as a sacred drug.— Albert Hofmann, "LSD Experience and Reality", Chapter 11 of LSD, My Problem Child
For further information concerning the use of psychedelics as aids to spiritual development see the web site of the Council on Spiritual Practices, where we read:
Throughout recorded history, those inclined towards the sacred have employed a variety of techniques intheir spiritual practices, including prayer, meditation, silence, yoga, martial arts, fasting, plant sacraments,chanting, drumming, and dancing.  Practitioners value these methods in their own right and for the benefits they cultivate in everyday life.  An occasional effect of such disciplines is the direct perception of unity and immediate encounter with the sacred, or primary religious experience.There is a yearning for community, spirituality, and primary religious experience in contemporary Western society.  For many people, spiritual practices are among the most valuable activities in their lives, and in the United States, the free exercise of religion is given the highest legal protection.  Furthermore, a growing body of literature provides evidence that primary religious experience benefits everyday life, teaching deeper understanding and respect for ourselves, for others, and for the balance of nature.  ...
Natural and synthetic psychedelics can thus be a means toward psycho-spiritual development, and the prohibition of their use constitutes restriction of religious freedom.  It is outrageous that most governments deny to individuals seeking a greater spiritual understanding the opportunity to use psychedelics to this end.  It is even more outrageous that individuals who nevertheless seek to widen their experience and knowledge by the use of psychedelics run the risk of spending years locked away in prison.  This is religious persecution, and is as despicable as all the other religious persecutions known to history, especially in the U.S.A., where freedom of religion is — supposedly — legally protected.

The informed use of entheogenic, consciousness-enhancing plants and drugs presents a direct and powerful challenge to any system that seeks to spoon-feed the masses with false ideals of nationalism, racism, sexism or pre-digested religion, and this is precisely the reason they have been criminalized. One does not go back to being led around by the nose once the fullness of one's humanity is realized, nor to eating pap once the full pleasures of eating are learned; besides, we need roughage or we fill up with our own waste. Expanded consciousness is one genie that can't be put back in the bottle and we're better off for it.The cat is out of the bag. Pandora's box lies open. The cover has been blown off the ark of the covenant. Wisdom cries in the streets and shouts from the rooftops, once again trying to make herself heard above the din. Whoever has ears should listen. Whoever has a voice should consider speaking up, for the time of the end is near, as it always is in this brief life.— Clark Heinrich, "Last Word" in Strange Fruit

Millions of us who sampled the psychedelics in the 1960s experienced profound, life-changing spiritual and philosophical revelations that were of incomparable personal value.  These experiences paralleled discoveries made with the aid of sacramental vegetable products by indigenous peoples from all parts of the world since ancient times — discoveries that are enshrined in the sacred scriptures and spiritual traditions of many of the world's religions.The "legal" persecution of those of us who freely choose to follow this ancient and honorable spiritual path — the yoga of light-containing herbs — is ethically indistinguishable from the persecution of witches and heretics, or the persecution of early Christians by the Roman state.Whether or not the use of sacramental vegetable products meets with the approval of the civil authorities — or anyone else — it is a personal matter that clearly deserves the protection of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which promises that the "free exercise of religion" will not be abridged.— Dale R. Gowin, Confessions of An Amerikan LSD Eater

In Drug Control in a Free Society (pages 31-32) J. Bakalar and L. Grinspoon write:
"Members of the Native American Church, an Indian group, are allowed to take peyote in their religious rituals.  Here federal courts have found a fundamental right of the individual that overrides a state interest in suppressing nonmedical drug use; the guarantee of religious freedom in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  In other words, the drug use has to be more than a pleasurable taste or pursuit before the law will allow it.  To refute the presumption that nonmedical drug use is negligent, ignorant, and generally worthless, there must be overwhelming evidence that the drug users know what they are doing, consider it important in their lives, and believe seriously in its intrinsic value.  But even that is not enough.  The courts have made it clear that they will not accept merely individual religious beliefs (much less consciousness expansion) as a justification for drug use, and they have said that they will scrutinize very skeptically the claims of any new organized churches.  The drug must be not only religiously important to its user but also an essential part of a traditional rite with a communal significance.  So far, the exception made for the Native American Church is unique.  It is as though mountain climbing were regarded as generally so dangerous and useless that climbers would be fined and jailed unless they could prove they were making a pilgrimage to a holy site on the peak certified by an established church."
Although in practice it may be necessary to work within the "system" to obtain legal rights to the use of psychedelic sacraments, there should not be any restriction on such rights in the first place.Who do these judges think they are, that they attempt to deny the right of individuals to use plants or synthetic compounds for the purposes of consciousness exploration and personal development? On what basis do they presume to tell us what is or is not good for us? We are the best judges of what is good for us.  We do not have to justify the use of psychedelic drugs for psychospiritual (or any other) purposes before any court.  We have a natural right to change our mood or consciousness anyway we wish, provided we do not thereby cause harm, or likely harm, to others.
Prohibition of the spiritual or psychotherapeutic use of psychedelics by individuals is a fundamental violation of human rights, and no legislation can change this fact.  The criminalization of what every responsible adult has a natural right to do does not thereby negate that natural right.  No matter how many laws are passed in how many countries, making possession or use of drugs illegal, our natural right to use drugs remains undiminished.
Humans have been using psychoactive plants for thousands of years, probably for tens or hundreds of thousands of years.  Humans were using drugs (in plants) to change their consciousness long before any human legal system was invented.  The imposition of authoritarian structures in the form of legal systems, etc., cannot change the basic fact that humans have a natural right to continue an archaic human tradition of sacred plant use, now with the help of modern synthetic chemical knowledge to provide pure compounds and occasionally new ones.
Legalization now!
Legalization now!
The present state of prohibition results from the imposition of the will of a minority (the drug lords, the legislators they buy, those who profit from the prison industry, lawyers, etc.; not to mention the, by now, practically self-funding — by the sale of siezed assets — "law enforcement" agencies that have arisen on the basis of the many asset forfeiture laws) upon a majority (those who know that they have a natural right to use drugs — or who don't think much about rights but just want to use drugs anyway), while the remainder of the citizens are hypnotized by the propaganda campaign they see nightly on TV and read daily (if they read at all) in the mainstream media.The Drug War should have only one outcome — the admission of the present prohibitionists that those who use drugs have a right to do so (all such rights being subject to the condition that the exercise of the right does not constitute a harm to others) and in particular, a legal right.  In other words, the Drug War should have only one outcome — the defeat of those who began it.  This would happen if enough people were willing to stand up and defend their rights.  This may be a vain hope.
As one of the most perceptive writers on drugs, David Lenson, has written:
We must understand that the War on Drugs is a real war, one in which neither side will ever be able to bring the other to unconditional surrender.  No lasting peace can ever come from the will of one side alone.  This war will end as all intractable wars do, when the parties are sick of bloodshed.  There must be a formal cease-fire, to be followed by peace talks.  Let all the diplomatic protocols apply, just as if the enemy were not ourselves.  The silence wrought by the "Just Say No" campaign must be replaced by words, many, many words.  And those words must come not only from police, doctors, sociologists, criminologists, and the usual experts, but from gang members, drug users, drug dealers, and underground manufacturers.  On Drugs (1995), pp.200-201.
If you (and your children, if you have any) are not to continue to live in a tyrannical police state, without freedom or dignity, it is time to stand up, speak out, and make your views known.

Intelligent consideration of the "war on drugs" may lead one to believe that it is inexplicable, irrational and unsustainable.  It is none of these.  It is a rational subterfuge perpetrated for a particular purpose, namely, the profits resulting from the importation and distribution of huge quantities of heroin and cocaine, and those who are behind the "war on drugs" are the same as those who are responsible for the widespread use of these addictive and life-destroying drugs.  Unless they are stopped the "war on drugs" and all its attendant horrors will continue to ruin America.
Just one CIA drug ring, that of Rafael Caro Quintero and Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo based in Guadalajara, Mexico was smuggling four tons A MONTH into the U.S. during the same period! Other operations including Manuel Noriega (Panama), John Hull (Costa Rica), Felix Rodriguez (El Salvador), Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros (Honduras) and elements of the Guatemalan and Honduran military were dealing close to two hundred tons a year or close to 70% of total U.S. consumption at the same time! All of them have been connected to CIA by documentation and testimony which already exists! This coke was smoked, snorted and injected by people of every race and in every state; in the cities and on the farms.
The CIA smuggling cocaine? U.S. covert action organizations responsible for flooding the U.S. with addictive drugs? Farfetched? Far from it — the evidence is now overwhelming.
Put simply, in order to keep making enormous profits, those responsible for the distribution of addictive drugs in the U.S. (and it is not only the CIA) must keep the use of these drugs illegal. Were drug use legalized their profits would disappear overnight.  So how to keep drugs illegal? Simply buy up enough legislators toblock any steps toward revealing the facts of the matter or toward reversal of the present state of prohibition.  The profits of the drug lords, and the corruption of the legislators, makes this possible.
So drug use is demonized, those who use drugs are turned into criminals, and to make it appear that "the authorities" are sincere in their attempts to combat "the drug problem" hundreds of thousands of drug users are arrested and thrown into jail for up to forty years.  Those responsible for this, and for the addiction of millions of Americans and others for the sake of profit, can only be described as evil.
Not only are users of the life-destroying drugs heroin and cocaine caught up in this pogrom but also users of non-addictive life-enhancing drugs such as LSD, THC (marijuana), psilocybin (mushrooms) and MDMA (ecstasy).  The users of such substances are often some of the kindest and most non-violent people you'll ever meet (I've met plenty of them), but for the sake of perpetuating the profits of the drug lords (both American and foreign) many of them have had their lives ruined and most of the rest live in fear of persecution.
It's about time that Americans woke up to the fact that it is the prohibition of drugs which is making possible these profits, is corrupting their government and which is likely (if not corrected) to be the ruin of their country. The information regarding who is profiting from the illegal status of drug usage is available now, and no-one will be able to say, as the "good Germans" of the Nazi era said, "we didn't know."

Just say "Know"!

On 1997-05-22 the late Terence McKenna said, on the Art Bell radio talk show, in response to a caller's question as to why psychoactive drugs are illegal:
Terence McKenna for President!Let me say this ... I mean, I'm a bit of a pessimist on this subject.  Because I take psychedelics so seriously, I can't imagine them ever being really legal unless there's a total social transformation because my analysis of it is, the reason everybody from a Marxist state to a Christian oligarchy to a high-tech industrial democracy can get together and agree that psychedelics are a terrible terrible thing is because the social effects of psychedelics being taken by large numbers of people is a kind of deconditioning from the cultural myths, whatever they are.  It's no knock on any given society, it's just that if people start taking psychedelics, they start questioning what they've been told about reality.  And culture is in the business of keeping you inside a set of predetermined answers to those questions.
Although Terence McKenna had some interesting to say about drug usage (and called for the legalization of all drugs), here he misses the opportunity to point to the profit motive driving the "Drug War".  It is true that psychedelics are de-conditioning agents, and that they lead to questioning of mainstream premises defining reality (and perhaps even contribute to the dreaded questioning of authority — though no drugs are needed for this), but this is not the fundamental reason that the Drug War continues.  The fundamental reason is money.  As stated above, it is the enormity of the profits from the international illicit drug trade that requires drugs to remain prohibited. Nothing much can be done to end the Drug War until this fact is recognized (recognition will come more quickly to those who read James Mill's book,The Underground Empire).  To assert, as McKenna did, that prohibition continues because legislators are afraid of youth questioning authority, suggests that the solution is to reassure and re-educate those legislators so that they see the light.  Such a re-education is certainly desirable, but it will do very little to bring an end to the Drug War as long as the fundamental economic basis for prohibition is not recognized and acknowledged.

In the meantime the insanity continues ...
  • The late Peter McWilliams wrote:
    Prisons ... are filled to capacity and beyond.  In most areas an early-release program has been instituted which, of course, fails to differentiate between prisoners whose crimes had innocent victims [e.g. theft, assault and rape] and prisoners whose crimes did not [e.g. marijuana smokers].  This puts truly dangerous criminals out on the street sooner, giving them extra months, and in some cases years, to rape, rob and plunder.  ...  Due to overcrowding caused by the War on Drugs, prisons (not enjoyable places under the best of conditions) have become intolerable.  Some of them violate the constitutional guarantee against "cruel and unusual punishment." With the overcrowding, any hope of rehabilitation, job placement, counseling, therapy, or achieving any other high-minded goals is completely derailed.  Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do, p.242.
And the carnage continues ...
  • P. B. Floyd: Weighing The Harms
    In 1980, California's prisons held 23,511 inmates or 1 in 1006 residents.  By 1994, about 125,000 were incarcerated, or 1 in 256.  By the year 2000, the California Department of Corrections projects that 1 in 146 people in California will be in prison.  Drug offenses were responsible for 25 percent of the US prison population in 1995, up from only 8 percent in 1980. About 220,000 drug prisoners were held in state prisons in 1995, up 1070 percent from 1980.  ...  Over 70 percent of the arrests have been for possession of drugs, not sale or manufacture.
    Over 200,000 prisoners of the Drug War in the State of California alone — victims of a vicious and depraved pogrom occurring right under the noses of the citizens, most of whom are willing to look the other way, like the 'good Germans' of the 1930s.  As regards state persecution of minorities there is no difference between sending a person to prison for smoking pot and sending a person to a labor camp for being a member of a group which lights candles in memory of deceased relatives on Friday evenings.  In both cases the imprisonment is done by Nazis or those with the mentality of Nazis.And if you think this comparison of drug warriors to Nazis is far-fetched, just take a look at the book mentioned above, R. L. Miller's Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State.  If you read this book you won't be able to say to your children, "I didn't know what was happening."
    Jonathan Blumen: What I Learned From Auschwitz
    The article by P. B. Floyd discusses the following harms resulting from the "war on drugs":
    • Incarceration Boom and Lives wasted in prison
    • Addicts can't get effective treatment
    • Increased AIDS Cases
    • Civil Liberties Lost
    • Increased street and organized crime
    • Waste of billions
    • Third world dictators supported
    Yet this "War" has been going on for twenty years and is still being promoted by the U.S. and other cryptofascist governments despite the massive evidence of its harm.  What is really going on that this can happen?
  • U.S. Prison Population Sets New Record in 1996 [Page removed from Yahoo and also from the Wayback Machine.]
    The U.S. prison population increased by about 55,900 inmates last year, reaching a record 1,182,000 at the end of 1996 and posing new problems with overcrowding, the Justice Department reported Sunday.  ...  The report attributed the increase in the state prison population over the decade to more black drug offenders and more white violent offenders behind bars.  Other factors included ... a sharp increase in the number of people imprisoned for drug offenses. — Reuters, 1997-06-23
  • U.S. Prison Population Slowed in '96 [Page removed by the L.A. Times]
    Counting both prison and jail inmates, more than 1.6 million adults were behind bars as of last June 30, an incarceration rate of 615 inmates for every 100,000 U.S. residents.  That rate of imprisonment put the nation second only to Russia, which had a rate of 690 inmates per 100,000 residents in 1995, the last available figure.  The two countries imprison a far higher proportion of their citizens than any other country in the world. — Los Angeles Times, 1997-06-23
    California's already crowded prisons are projected to add 57,733 inmates by 2003, a 37 percent increase, state officials said Wednesday.The Department of Corrections said the state's adult prisons now house 155,687 prisoners, compared with 66,965 in 1987.  Officials predict that the population will reach 202,855 in 2002 and 213,420 the next year. — Orange County Register, 1997-12-11, page 4.
    No end to this disgrace in sight!
  • U.S. Prison Population Soars in 2003, '04
    The population of the nation's prisons and jails has grown by about 900 inmates each week between mid-2003 and mid-2004, according to figures released Sunday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. By last June 30 the system held 2.1 million people, or one in every 138 U.S. residents.  ... [The] increase can be attributed largely to get-tough policies enacted in the 1980s and 1990s. Among them are mandatory drug sentences, "three-strikes-and-you're-out" laws for repeat offenders and "truth-in-sentencing" laws that restrict early releases.  ... [M]any of those incarcerated are not serious or violent offenders, but are low-level drug offenders — ABC News, 2005-04-25
    It's a rosy future for the prisons-for-profit industry.
  • Gregory Palast: Gilded Cage: Wackenhut's Free Market in Human Misery

  • A Letter to Barbara Bush
  • Noam Chomsky: The War on (Certain) Drugs
  • Lee Rodgers: The Duplicity of the War on Drugs
    Looking at the accumulated evidence that the Contras and the CIA engaged in cocaine smuggling to fund the covert war in Nicaragua, suspicion arises concerning the apparent coincidence that CIA-Contra drug smuggling was contemporaneous with the 'war on drugs'.  From a CIA covert action in Latin America the cocaine has made its way NORTH (ala Oliver North) to the American consumer, who is consistently portrayed as African-American by the mass media, even though the majority of cocaine consumption is by whites.  The disturbing prospect arises that this 'war on drugs' was nothing more than CIA-style psychological warfare which sought to acquire as much as possible of the sum total of our civil liberties while particularly targeting minorities.
  • Daniel Hopsicker: The Secret Heartbeat of America: A New Look at the Mena Story
    I will never, as long as I live, forget our 'Midnight ride to Mena,' seated beside tour guide and American hero Russell Welch.  I'm convinced that what I saw there that night was a fully functional and operational secret government installation.By that, I do not mean a secret installation of the government of the United States of America. Unh-uh.  What I believe I saw, and what I believe exists in Mena, Arkansas today ... is an installation of the secret government that runs the government of the United States of America.And here's what I suspect: that today, long after Oliver North has become nothing but a minor league radio DJ ... and long after the contra war is just a fading memory of yet another minor league war, our government — yours and mine — is going about the lucrative worldwide business of drug production and distribution.
  • Peter Webster: Anatomy of a Fiasco: a review of The Swedish Drug Control System
    As with the understanding of crowd madnesses and ritual persecutions of old, a satisfactory and general theory of our great modern Prohibitionist folly will probably have to await not only the final demise of the madness, but an intervening period of normalization and healing recuperation lasting perhaps several generations.  From the perspective of the distant future, historians may well conclude that the centuries-long phenomenon of Substance Prohibition ... reached its dizzying peak in the late 20th Century as a climactic exaggeration ad absurdum of a long-enduring collective delusion and paranoia.  But even if we could, by virtue of a time machine, read such a theory today, the continued existence of the crowd madness in our midst would certainly preclude any general recognition or acceptance of its validity.Thus, although there now exist a few obscure essays which may someday be seen as harbingers of that still-distant revelation, they will probably have minimal influence on the immediate course of events and we can today do little more than study local details of the Prohibitionist phenomenon and force society to look at the ugly and counterproductive results of its obsession in the ongoing attempt at curing the malady by stages.  There seems absolutely no possibility that a great and general truth about Prohibition, no matter how brilliantly expressed, could today awaken Western Civilization from its present nightmare.  But in the meanwhile, to assist the growing number of individuals who can see the inevitable if distant dawn of a new rationality, a wealth of excellent literature exists and continues to grow at a gratifying pace.  Such literature deals with the "local details" of the Prohibitionist phenomenon in ways which both illustrate its illogic and destructiveness to society, and suggests practical if only provisional tactics and strategy for limiting the ravages of Prohibition and tackling the difficult task of awakening the general public to its complicity and participation in a crowd madness of major proportions.
  • Kristianna Tho'Mas: Opium War: Britain Stole Hong Kong From China
    Governments have been behind the drug trade for a long time.
  • Illicit Lemon Drops Get Boy a School Suspension — from the Los Angeles Times, 1997-11-20:
    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A 6-year-old boy has been suspended for half a day for bringing "drugs" to school: lemon drops bought in a health food store.The fire department and an ambulance were called after a teacher found first-grader Seamus Morris giving the candies to a fellow pupil on the playground Oct. 29, said his mother, Shana Morris.  She said both boys' parents were urged to take their children to the hospital for tests, despite her assurances that the lemon drops were harmless.John Bushey, an administrator at Taylor Elementary School, said the half-day suspension was consistent with the district's drug policy, which treats unfamiliar products as controlled substances.
    Here's the original Denver Post story.
  • How the U.S. Drug War Plays in the European Media
    According to "Juan," the US government is chiefly concerned with getting political and economic advantages from the drug trade ... "Washington uses the DEA to pressure other countries politically." At times, the US permits drug trafficking so that it can get information to use to "blackmail foreign governments."

As the Hopsicker article shows, the U.S. State of Arkansas is one of the murky epicenters of the CIA's smuggling of addictive drugs into America.  Finally some light is falling upon the creepie-crawlie characters in this cesspool.  The case of Dan Harmon is interesting:
  • Dan Harmon Indicted
    He "is charged with running a drug-related 'criminal enterprise' while serving as prosecuting attorney for the state's 7th Judicial District and heading its federally funded drug task force."
  • Dan Harmon Convicted
    Despite the apparent wish of the federal prosecutors to take a dive, the jury convicts.
  • Arkansas Justice
    An editorial from the Wall Street Journal.
  • A Question Regarding Harmon
    "Harmon ran what a lawyer in Pulaski County recently described as 'a reign of terror' in the counties he was sworn to serve.  All of that raises the question of why the man was not stopped earlier."
This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Those interested in the drug scandals of Arkansas can read more on the CIA page and in the selected messages from the CIADRUGS mailing list.

Some people don't really give a damn about corruption in government, couldn't really care less that hundreds of thousands of people are in jail for victimless crimes, and maybe even never use drugs themselves and are unconcerned about the persecution of drug users. To these people I say ... do you know that you have to die one day? Do you understand that this might be a painful process? Do you know that morphine and heroin will relieve the pain, and may be the only drugs that will do so? Do you know that, because of the "War on Drugs" and the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, your doctor will refuse to give you these pain-relieving drugs, unless you can pay, until the last few hours of your life (and maybe not even then)?
The Narcotics Law has achieved one thing for sure: on the pretext that some natural drugs are too dangerous for people to handle, the government has confiscated these herbs and created a protected monopoly for the American Medical Association. The economic motive behind this is very easy to understand: money. Raw opium is 40% morphine. For a morphine-pump that will ease a terminal cancer-patient's excruciating pain, the AMA charges $500 per day, at least a 2,000 percent markup, all to administer a drug that would cost something like $25 per day in a free-market. The DEA effectively rations the amount of morphine that physicians have available to prescribe, meaning the drug is likely to be administered only during the last few hours of life, if at all. They will make you cry, first. You will wait, and suffer when your time comes. I hope you like aspirin. Inquire, I dare you. Another surprise they have in store for you is this: Medicaid and most private insurance plans will not cover the cost of a morphine-pump. It seems the "dangerous" drugs have been placed in those hands that shall intentionally cause us the greatest possible pain and abuse. They got you where it hurts. Do you understand? Dying is painful, and by denying us the right to relieve pain ourselves, by known means, the AMA is making sure that we will not dare to die outside of their care. When the time comes, they shall proceed to administer treatment according to your ability to pay. — Which Drugs are Drugs?
Or maybe not at any price.Still think the "War on Drugs" is no concern of yours? Wait 'til it's your turn to die. But by then it'll be too late for you to do anything about it.

Morphine Remains Scarce for Pain Sufferers Worldwide

A Drug War Reading List
Links to Web Sites Concerning the Drug War

-Caveat Lector-

The Boys on the Track, Mena, Barry Seal and Others as well as the under-rated Dixie Mafia all surround the murder of Carl Wilson. AND guess who shared a meal with Lasater the day before Chandra Levy disappeared? Why Gary Condit, of course. I do hope the FBI investigates that connection but it never does so why would it this time?

Was Carl Wilson "The Man Who Knew Too Much"?
By Henrietta Bowman 08.15.2001


As previously reported in "No Justice for Carl Wilson," the Carl Wilson story is entangled with the Clintonian Arkansas political machine and the Dixie Mafia. It is tied to drugs, and in Arkansas, that inevitably leads back to Mena and to some very powerful people. This will seem a very roundabout tale, but please have
patience. I assure you, it does connect to Carl Wilson.

People previously willing to talk are being intimidated and frightened into silence. Carl Wilson's widow, Tammy, has also been warned to "back off," but unlike others, Tammy Wilson isn't backing.

One person who is backing off was a friend of Carl Wilson -- a man that probably owes his life to Carl because of a warning Carl gave him. It would not be the first time this man lost his courage and he may hold the key to why Carl Wilson was targeted for elimination. Once this man was brave. Perhaps he will find his
courage again.

The man has good reason to be afraid. Just ask Jean Duffey, Linda Ives and Sharlene Wilson (no relation to Carl). This man is John Brown, a former Saline County detective. He investigated the deaths of Kevin Ives and Don Henry. Ives and Duffey know how it feels to be let down by John Brown when it really counted. Initially, the cause of death was reported to be the result of falling asleep on a railroad track in Arkansas on August 23, 1987.

Their deaths at the time were ruled accidental by Clinton-appointed state medical examiner, Dr. Fahmy Malak. Later it would be determined in an independent autopsy sought by Linda Ives through the courts that Kevin died from a crushed skull prior to being placed on the tracks and Don Henry had been stabbed in the back.

An out-of-state examiner said the cause of death was clear: murder by beating and stabbing before they were placed on the railroad tracks. Dr. Malak was exposed as an incompetent fool with a long record of bad autopsy results, yet Governor Bill Clinton supported him, in spite of his being a political liability. The medical examiner, Dr. Fahmy Malak, according to state Rep. Bob Fairchild, a Democrat from Fayetteville, Arkansas "was sort of protected by the governor and the [state crime laboratory] board." Clinton appointed
the board members in his capacity as governor. Dr. Malak's rulings also helped Clinton's mother, nurse-anesthetist Virginia Kelley, avoid legal scrutiny in one patient's death -- while she was defending herself in a medical malpractice lawsuit stemming from the death of another patient.

Brown was a brave man at the time and he ignored all warnings that it would be wiser to leave the Ives-Henry case alone. According to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, author of  "The Secret Life Of Bill
Clinton," it came to a head at a tense closed-door meeting with Robert Shepherd, the man appointed by Bill Clinton to be Arkansas's drug czar. "Shepherd put on his overbearing cop manner and said 'Brown, those two kids are dead. There's nothing you can do to bring them back. Your career will prosper a lot more if you'd concentrate your efforts somewhere else,' recalled Brown. 'I walked to the door, and just as I was leaving I turned and said, 'Guys, unless somebody wants to discuss the big secret with me, and tells
me why everybody wants me to leave this alone, I've got two kids dead and I still consider that murder in Arkansas.' I walked out and thought, 'Oh shit, have I got problems.'

"Brown's career did not prosper. Forced out of the Saline County Sheriff's Department, he was reduced to digging ditches at $6 an hour to support his young wife Karen and two small children. But he never cracked. Once, when I visited him at his home in the country, there was a volunteer providing protection around-the-clock. The man was unarmed, but at least there would be a witness if anything happened. I have no doubt that it was this informal network of friends and supporters that kept him going, and perhaps kept him
alive, through the worst months.

"It was John Brown who finally broke Sharlene Wilson and extracted her confession. He then discovered a fresh witness, a lad who had been out with two friends that night looking for a marijuana patch. The witness had been about sixty feet away, hidden below the bank, watching a group of men talking on the tracks. 'One of them I definitely recognized as Dan Harmon. Then I noticed two more people, Kevin and Don, walking down the railroad tracks.' At first it looked as if Harmon was just talking to the boys, but then a shot rang out. The witness turned and ran."

John Brown is well aware of what happened to the people having information regarding the boys on the tracks. Keith Coney: had information on the Ives-Henry deaths. Keith died in a motorcycle accident July 1988 with unconfirmed reports of a high-speed car chase.

Keith McKaskle: had information on the Ives-Henry deaths and was stabbed to death November 1988.

Gregory Collins: had information on the Ives-Henry deaths and died from a gunshot wound to the face January 1989.

Jeff Rhodes: had information on the deaths of Ives, Henry and McKaskle. Rhodes' burned body was found in a trash dump April 1989. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head and there was some body mutilation, leading to the speculation Rhodes was tortured prior to being killed.

James Milam: had information on the Ives and Henry deaths. Milam was decapitated. The state Medical examiner, Fahmy Malak, initially ruled death due to natural causes.

Richard Winters: was a suspect in the deaths of Ives and Henry. Winters was killed in a "robbery" in July 1989, which was subsequently proven to be a set-up.

Jordan Kettleson: had information on the Ives and Henry deaths. Kettleson was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup June 1990.

Sharlene Wilson, Harmon's former lover, was arrested by Dan Harmon in person. "He yelled, 'Bitch, I told you that if you ever breathed a word about me I'd take you down. You're going to prison, bitch,'
" she said. Regarding her subsequent conviction and imprisonment, Sharlene stated "I'm not proud of what I've done, but if I'm doing time for dope, they should be, too. They've persecuted me. Theytook my house, my family. They've done everything but kill me, and when the time is ripe they may do that."

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard interviewed Sharlene Wilson in prison. " 'Roger had all the pretty girls and drugs and the fast life, and Bill was pretty envious of this,' she said. On one occasion 'Roger the Dodger' came back to the bar and said he needed two grams of cocaine right away. They carried out the deal near the ladies room. The Dodger then borrowed her 'tooter', her 'one-hitter' as she called it, and handed it to the governor.

" 'I watched Bill Clinton lean up against a brick wall. He must have had an adenoid problem because he casually stuck my tooter up his nose,' she said. 'He was so messed up that night, he slid down
the wall into a garbage can and just sat there like a complete idiot.'

"Afterward they went back to the Governor's Mansion and partied into the early hours of the morning. 'I thought it was the coolest thing in the world that we had a governor who got high.' That was not the only time she snorted cocaine with Bill Clinton. She claimed to have been present with him at a series of 'toga parties'
at the Coachman's Inn outside Little Rock between 1979 and 1981. 'I was, you know, the hostess with the mostess, the lady with the snow,' she said. 'I'd serve drinks and lines of cocaine on a glass mirror.'

"People shared sexual partners in what amounted to a Babylonian orgy. They were elite gatherings of ten to twenty people, mostly public officials, lawyers, and local notables, cavorting in a labyrinth of interconnected rooms with women that included teenage girls. Bill Clinton was there at least twice, she said, snorting
cocaine 'quite avidly' with Dan Harmon. She gave a graphic description of the sexual activities that Bill Clinton preferred.

"She remembered seeing a distinctive mole at the base of his stomach. 'It's darned me that he's managed to get elected through all this,' she said. "It's 'darned' a lot of people," I concluded."

"Boy Clinton" author, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. wrote: "Arkansas State Trooper L. D. Brown had just returned from a mission flown to Central America from Arkansas's Mena Airport in late December 1984. The flight was commanded by pilot Barry Seal, an operative with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and a contract employee with the Central Intelligence Agency. Seal was also a legendary drug smuggler, known for having flown hundreds of drug-smuggling flights between 1977 and 1983 at low altitude and in complete darkness.

(1) Now, supposedly, he had gone straight. After parachuting arms into the jungle, Seal landed at a sleepy Central American airport. He picked up two duffel bags and flew back to Arkansas. Brown, seated behind him throughout the flight, was moonlighting as a CIA contract employee. His boss, Governor Bill Clinton, had encouraged and assisted him in his employment at the CIA. Under the assumption that he was being trained for clandestine operations on this flight, Brown was following Seal's instructions. He was merely an
observer, studying the activities of Seal and his crew.

"But during this, his most recent flight, what Brown, a seasoned narcotics investigator, was to learn troubled him deeply. Seal was bringing drugs and money back in the duffel bags. Consequently, as soon as Brown returned to Little Rock he approached Clinton and asked, 'Do you know what they're bringing back on those planes?' Clinton froze. 'They're bringing back coke,' Brown told him. In fact 'they' were trafficking in cocaine, money, and arms. Clinton's response was blase. He told Brown not to worry, adding 'That's
Lasater's deal." At the time Dan Lasater, an Arkansas 'bond daddy' known for his wide-open parties, was a major Clinton supporter. Clinton's occasional attendance at Lasater's parties had presented his bodyguard, Brown, with problems; in addition to young girls, the parties also included plenty of cocaine."

"...Brown was angry after this last flight when Seat showed him cocaine and money that he had just flown into the country. Brown feared that he, a member of the governor's security, was being set up to be blackmailed. Now upon finding out that Clinton knew about the operation, the trooper felt betrayed and a bit stupid. He says that the moment he saw the drugs Lasater's involvement should have 'dawned' on him. 'I'd never seen the governor around coke,' Brown says, 'unless he was around Lasater.' At Lasater's parties Brown would hustle the governor away when the drugs came out. Though he had seen Clinton 'stoned' he had never actually seen him using drugs. Others have, namely two of Clinton's lovers, Sally Perdue and Gennifer Flowers. Both have attested to Clinton's drug use during assignations.

"Lasater has been linked to is the Arkansas Development Finance Authority created by Governor Clinton. In 1994 when Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy resigned owing to allegations that he was accepting gifts from the Arkansas poultry tycoon, Don Tyson. London's Sunday Telegraph published a story based on numerous state and federal police documents showing that Tyson was "under suspicion of drug dealing from the early 1970s until the late 1980s" by such diverse organizations as the Arkansas State Police and the DEA. No charges were ever filed."

Dan Lasater is not a very nice man. Besides his drug running and money laundering, his crooked bond deals and securities trading, he and Roger Clinton's future Pardongate business partner, Senator George Locke, had their own drug deals. The Arkansas State Police stonewalled the investigation. But even this pales beside Lasater's tastes for young virgins. He had a penchant for getting them hooked on drugs and passing them around at his infamous parties as party favors to other powerful men. Lasater also befriended Clinton's
mother. In her autobiography, Virginia Kelley wrote "gangsters were cool and the rules were meant to be bent."

Evans-Pritchard wrote of the Dixie Mafia, "Banned by edict from smuggling drugs, the Italian American Mafia missed out on the most lucrative crime wave of the twentieth century. It was left to others to profit from the $100 billion a year market in cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamines. Those best placed, by geography and criminal tradition, were the loose-knit groupings of the South, known to law enforcement as the 'Dixie Mafia.'

"The term was first coined by Rex Armistead, the Director of the Organized Crime Strike Force in New Orleans in the 1970s. Less famous than the Cosa Nostra, the Dixie Mafia was, and still is, far more dangerous. During a ten year period from 1968 to 1978 when the Italian Americans were in the headlines for a spree of thirty murders, their redneck counterparts quietly dispatched 156 victims.

" 'There wasn't a well from Mississippi to West Texas that didn't have a dead body floating in it,' said Armistead. 'The big difference was the lack of ceremony. It was just 'I'm going to get rid of Ambrose today; I don't need permission; and I go out and do it.' As simple as that. And that's the end of Ambrose. It hasn't
changed much either.'

"Lasater was a player in the cocaine trafficking network of the Dixie Mafia as early as the mid-1970s. Intelligence reports show that the DEA had opened a file on Lasater in 1983 and had assigned him a tracking number of 141475. Lasater was tipped off at once. A source called him in 1983 to inform him that he was listed in the computer as the subject of a DEA probe."

Carl was very aware of the "Friends of Bill" Dixie Mafia tales. What he knew may have very well have gotten him killed.

It is no wonder Bill Clinton became the most unethical presidents America ever had. Before young Billy Jeff moved from Hope to Hot Springs, that grandfather he is always lying about sold moonshine behind the counter in that famous grocery store of his.

Bob Momenteller wrote, "Bill Clinton's mob ties can be traced back to his boyhood in the 1950's and early 1960's. His uncle Raymond Clinton played a key role in boy Clinton's life. His Uncle ran a store front dealership in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where Clinton spent hours hanging around with the big boys. Behind the facade was a thriving full fledge gambling operation, complete with slot machines. Hot Springs became a resort Mecca for many mob leaders at the time, including Al Capone. Gambling in Bill Clinton's hometown
had flourished openly for decades because of the corruption of the local political establishment and the complicity of the state police. Uncle Raymond's operation was backed by the Marcello Mafia crime syndicate out of New Orleans.

"In 1974, Clinton's first bid for public office, Raymond Clinton's $10,000 dollar loan from the Dixie Mafia kept Clinton on the campaign road. Raymond's drinking buddy, druggist and backroom gambling operator, Gabe Crawford, gives Clinton use of his private plane."

And now, finally we come full-circle back to Carl Wilson as I promised you in the beginning of this article.

Confidential sources in the position to know, say Carl Wilson's brother-in-law, John Clark -- who barely knew Carl -- was ATF Special Agent Bill Buford's informant. This same John Clark was a Vietnam veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, had a drug problem, was a known liar and was in trouble with the law on drug charges.

Clark's lawyer, Tom Travis, has a very bad reputation of his own. According to reliable sources close to the investigation, Travis, who is also an immigration attorney as well as a criminal attorney, allegedly smuggles illegal aliens and sells drugs which include crystal meth. He also allegedly has direct ties to Dan Lasater.

Two acquaintances of Carl's have direct drug ties to Dan Lastater. Guess who THEIR attorney is. Bingo! Tom Travis. The old-time hoods used to call men like Travis their "Mouthpiece."

So now you have the entire story and you can see why it is highly unlikely Carl Wilson will at last get justice from our judicial system.

But, there is a Supreme Judge the guilty must someday face and I think it is a safe assumption He will be a hanging judge!

The Kind and Gentle

Henrietta Bowman
Sierra Times
Ranch Hand

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[U.S.] Government Insists on Keeping Reasons for Wilson Raid Secret
by Cathy Frye
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 2001-02-28

The federal government says it shouldn't have to disclose the reasons behind an ATF raid on the home of a Faulkner County resident, according to the U.S. attorney's response to a motion filed last week by the Democrat-Gazette.
The pre-dawn, surprise raid by federal agents and area lawmen left 60-year-old Carl Wilson dead and two officers injured.

Thus far, only the search warrant and a list of what was seized have been made public. Everything else pertaining to the case remains sealed in federal court.

On Feb. 15, the Democrat-Gazette filed a motion asking U.S. Magistrate J. Thomas Ray to make all of the documents public.

In a response filed Monday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Michael Johnson argues that unsealing the case would compromise confidential information related to the investigation.

It also would make public the names of witnesses, and those people might then be subjected to "intimidation, tampering and public inquiries," the response states.

Attorney Jess Askew, who is representing the Democrat-Gazette, replied:

"A man was killed in his bedroom by federal agents, and the press wants to know why they were there. The First Amendment guarantees this access, unless compelling interests require otherwise. Here, there is no on-going investigation of Mr. Wilson to protect, and we see no reason why the First Amendment should not prevail."

The judge's ruling on the issue is pending.

Wilson, who had lived in his rural Mayflower home for the last 18 years, was killed in a shootout with a SWAT team that was trying to serve a "no-knock" search warrant before dawn on Jan. 12.

A no-knock warrant gives police permission to enter someone's home without announcing who they are.

During the 6:30 a.m. raid, which quickly disintegrated into a gunbattle between Wilson and authorities, two officers were injured. One hit his head while diving to avoid bullets. The other was hit in the arm by shrapnel.

Wilson, who was shot at least five times, died in his bedroom.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was looking for a .30-.30-caliber Winchester rifle, according to the warrant. Wilson's widow, Tammy, says her husband had owned the gun for as long as she could remember. The couple were together for 23 years.

Seized from the Wilson home were the Winchester, seven other guns and ammunition, a bong, a pipe, scales, a plastic bag containing a fourth of a gram of "white powder," a large Ziploc bag containing smaller bags of marijuana, a pill bottle of marijuana seeds and burned marijuana cigarettes, according to the ATF's inventory list.

Also taken was a "paper note," which Tammy Wilson says was tacked to the closet where Wilson kept his guns. It read: "If you open this door, the whole house will blow up. Try me — Wilson."

The probable-cause affidavit, which was presented to a judge before the search warrant was granted, would explain why the government wanted the hunting rifle. This document also would offer insight into why ATF agents felt a no-knock raid was necessary.

In its motion, the Democrat-Gazette states: "A civilian was killed and two law enforcement officers were injured during the execution of this search warrant. The public is entitled to know the circumstances and manner in which state and federal law enforcement officials carried out their public duties."

But federal prosecutors argue that unsealing the documents related to the investigation of Wilson won't explain how the raid transpired.

"These sealed documents were created prior to the execution of the warrant," the government's response states. "The manner in which officers obtained the warrant is clear without review of sealed documents."

Tammy Wilson vehemently disagrees.

"They say it doesn't matter why he was wanted, that this doesn't have anything to do with the fact that a shootout occurred? Well, it might not make a difference to them, but it makes a big difference to me."

As for the government's argument that names of witnesses would be revealed if the case is unsealed, Tammy Wilson said, "Well, too damn bad. Let the witnesses come out."

Authorities say they cannot comment on the investigation or the raid until a state police inquiry into the shootout is finished.

That inquiry is ongoing, Special Agent Scott Wall said Tuesday, adding that state police are awaiting reports from the medical examiner. "I would hope they would have already been in by now, but [state Crime Laboratory workers] are backed up."

Once the investigation is finished, the results will be turned over to Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney H. G. Foster, who will then decide whether to press charges, close the case or ask police to investigate further.

Once the case is closed, it becomes public record.

Tammy Wilson is hoping to find some answers within those documents, she says.

"I don't have any vendetta. I don't have a bad heart. I just want to know the truth."

Government to unveil new details of fatal ATF raid


The federal government has agreed to release a more detailed account of the events leading to an Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Bureau raid that left a man dead in his bedroom.

Carl Wilson, 60, was killed in a shootout with federal authorities when they arrived before dawn on Jan. 12 at his rural Faulkner County home. They were searching for an old Winchester rifle.

The documents explaining why the ATF wanted the gun have remained sealed in federal court. The Democrat-Gazette filed a motion Feb. 15, asking that the case file be made public. The government initially objected to the newspaper's request.

But at a hearing before U.S. Magistrate J. Thomas Ray on Friday, prosecutors agreed to unseal the documents. However, they want to redact, or "black out," portions of the file beforehand, saying witnesses and informants need to be protected.

The judge's ruling, expected next week, will likely challenge the constitutionality of the way in which search-and-seizure warrants are handled in the Eastern District of Arkansas. It could eliminate the automatic sealing of all warrants and accompanying documents, and instead require a specific request from prosecutors to keep the paperwork from public view.

At Friday's hearing, attorneys haggled not only over the Wilson case but also the First Amendment versus search warrants -- namely, how much information should remain secret and why.

"We are an open society," said lawyer Jess Askew, who is representing the Democrat-Gazette. "As Justice [Warren] Burger has said, 'People in an open society do not demand infallibility from their institutions, but it is difficult for them to accept what they are prohibited from observing.'"

U.S. prosecutor Michael Johnson, citing concerns about the names of witnesses that appear in some of the sealed documents, countered the newspaper's argument: "The First Amendment is not the sole societal interest at stake here."

The current debate over the secretive manner in which search warrants are obtained and filed in court emerged from what happened in the early morning darkness when ATF agents carried out a surprise raid at Wilson's home.

They were looking for a .30-.30 Winchester rifle, model 94, serial number NRA 8315.

Wilson's widow, Tammy, wants to know why her husband was being investigated. And how, she asks, did the raid turn deadly? Much to her anger, the answers have remained secret.

Until Friday, the only items that had been unsealed were the search warrant and an inventory of what was seized at the Wilson home. Both of those documents had been given to the family at the time of the raid.

Friday, the court unsealed two more documents -- the Jan. 10 application for the search warrant and an exhibit, which was an aerial photograph of Wilson's isolated home.

Still sealed, however, is the probable-cause affidavit, which would explain what kind of investigation the ATF was conducting and why a no-knock raid was necessary.

No-knock raids allow officers to enter a home without announcing themselves. The Wilson raid was to occur "in the daytime," according to the warrant. Federal law defines "daytime" as between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

ATF agents raided Wilson's home at 6:30 a.m. Sunrise that day was around 7:15 a.m.

In documents filed with the court, the Democrat-Gazette argues:

"A man was shot and killed in his own bedroom by state and federal authorities with a federal search warrant, and the press wants to know why the authorities were there. The government seeks to conceal this information. In doing so, the government seeks to avoid accounting to the people for its conduct in this most unfortunate episode.

"By failing to account, the government engenders dark suspicions about its conduct."

In its initial response to the newspaper's motion, the government argued that unsealing the case file would compromise confidential information related to the investigation and make public the names of witnesses involved in the ATF investigation.

They also cited an ongoing investigation into the shootout by state police, arguing that this unfinished inquiry should be grounds for keeping the documents sealed.

The judge said Friday, however, that the state police investigation has no bearing on whether the case file should be made public.

Although prosecutors are withdrawing their objections to unseal the file, they want the names of witnesses and any information that would identify those witnesses blacked out before the documents are made public.

The importance of these witnesses is unclear. Authorities have said their investigation of Wilson ended with his death and that no one else will be charged in the case.

Prosecutors' reasons for requesting that portions of the documents be censored aren't known because the government's response to the Democrat-Gazette's motion also has been sealed in federal court. This situation made arguments at Friday's hearing vague but sharply worded nonetheless.

The judge opened the proceedings by saying he took issue with the wording in one particular sentence of the newspaper's motion. It reads: "What's at stake here is not the fate of a federal investigation into Carl Ray Wilson's hunting rifle, but the people's understanding and acceptance of the exercise of judicial power that permitted these authorities to break down Mr. Wilson's door in darkness and shoot him."

Judicial power didn't kill Wilson -- a shootout with police did, the judge said, adding that he was "personally shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Wilson's death."

But what happened after the warrant was granted "is something that is outside ... the power of this court," Ray said. "Absolutely nothing in the search warrant could be blamed for what happened."

Johnson also was indignant, saying he thought the newspaper had accused the government of "trying to conceal untoward motives."

"I consider that salacious, and I consider that unjustified, to make such an accusation."

Johnson argued that when authorities ask a judge for a search warrant, they have to be candid about why they want one. But not all of the reasons cited should be made public, he said.

Askew disagreed, arguing that once a case is closed, there's no reason to keep anything a secret. Wilson is dead, so there will be no trial, Askew said. Why then, he asked, do witnesses need to be protected? Askew also asked if witnesses had requested or been promised confidentiality.

"People who get involved in giving information to the government ought to know they may one day be identified or end up on the witness stand," he said.

The attorneys also debated the constitutionality of General Order No. 22, which stipulates that all documents pertaining to a search or seizure be kept in a "miscellaneous" confidential file -- unless someone showing "good cause" files a motion with the court to unseal the documents.

Good cause is presumed when a request is made by someone directly affected by the execution of the warrant.

Ray told the lawyers that he sees several problems with General Order No. 22.

"I'm going to be candid," the judge said. "I think [the order] is overbroad in every case. There are aspects of General Order 22 that trouble me greatly from a constitutional aspect."

Information for this article was contributed by Amy Upshaw and Jim Brooks of the Democrat-Gazette.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Jose Guerena Ortiz was sleeping after an exhausting 12-hour night shift at a copper mine. His wife, Vanessa, had begun breakfast. Their 4-year-old son, Joel, asked to watch cartoons.
An ordinary morning was unfolding in the middle-class Tucson neighborhood — until an armored vehicle pulled into the family's driveway and men wearing heavy body armor and helmets climbed out, weapons ready.

They were a sheriff's department SWAT team who had come to execute a search warrant. But Vanessa Guerena insisted she had no idea, when she heard a "boom" and saw a dark-suited man pass by a window, that it was police outside her home. She shook her husband awake and told him someone was firing a gun outside.

A U.S. Marine veteran of the Iraq war, he was only trying to defend his family, she said, when he grabbed his own gun — an AR-15 assault rifle.

What happened next was captured on video after a member of the SWAT team activated a helmet-mounted camera. The officers — four of whom carried .40-caliber handguns while another had an AR-15 — moved to the door, briefly sounding a siren, then shouting "Police!" in English and Spanish. With a thrust of a battering ram, they broke the door open. Eight seconds passed before they opened fire into the house. And 10 seconds later, Guerena lay dying in a hallway 20-feet from the front door. The SWAT team fired 71 rounds, riddling his body 22 times, while his wife and child cowered in a closet. "Hurry up, he's bleeding," Vanessa Guerena pleaded with a 911 operator. "I don't know why they shoot him. They open the door and shoot him. Please get me an ambulance." When she emerged from the home minutes later, officers hustled her to a police van, even as she cried that her husband was unresponsive and bleeding, and that her young son was still inside. She begged them to get Joel out of the house before he saw his father in a puddle of blood on the floor. But soon afterward, the boy appeared in the front doorway in Spider-Man pajamas, crying.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department said its SWAT team was at the home because Guerena was suspected of being involved in a drug-trafficking organization and that the shooting happened because he arrived at the door brandishing a gun. The county prosecutor's office says the shooting was justified.

But six months after the May 5 police gunfire shattered a peaceful morning and a family's life, investigators have made no arrests in the case that led to the raid. Outraged friends, co-workers and fellow Marines have called the shooting an injustice and demanded further investigation. A family lawyer has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the sheriff's office. And amid the outcry in online forums and social media outlets, the sheriff's 54-second video, which found its way to YouTube, has drawn more than 275,000 views.
The many questions swirling around the incident all boil down to one, repeated by Vanessa Guerena, as quoted in the 1,000-page police report on the case:
"Why, why, why was he killed?"

Outside the family's stucco home, a giant framed photo of Guerena in his Marine uniform sat placed in the front bay window, American flags waved in the yard and signs condemning his death were taped to the garage door. The 27-year-old Guerena had completed two tours in Iraq, and a former superior there was among those who couldn't make sense of his death. Leo Verdugo said Guerena stood out among other Marines for his maturity and sense of responsibility. Verdugo, who retired as a master sergeant last year after 25 years in the Marines, placed Guerena in charge of an important helicopter refueling mission in the remote west desert of Iraq.

"He had a lot of integrity and he was a man of his word," Verdugo said. Verdugo, who also lives in Tucson, said Guerena came to him for advice in 2006 about whether to retire from the Marines and apply to the Border Patrol. When Verdugo ran into Guerena and his wife at a Motor Vehicle Department office about a month before Guerena was killed, Verdugo said that Guerena told him that the Border Patrol had turned him down because of problems with his vision and that he had instead taken a mining job. Those who worked with Guerena at ASARCO'S Mission Mine said the man they knew would never be a part of drug smuggling.
"I don't care what the cops say. I don't believe for one moment Jose was involved in anything illegal," said Sharon Hargrave, a co-worker, adding through tears: "They were judge, jury and executioner, and there was no excuse."

Guerena worked as a "helper" at two crushers in the mine, shoveling piles of rocks that fall from conveyor belts and wheel-barrowing heavy debris. "No one in their right mind" would choose this work, which paid about $41,000 a year, if they were bringing in drug smuggling money, Hargrave said. "He was a hell of a worker," she said. "He's got good judgment and I could trust him." She said Guerena talked constantly about his wife and two sons, Joel and Jose Jr., 5, who'd gone to school the morning of the shooting. "I know he was definitely in love with his wife and in love with his kids," she said. Kevin Stephens, a chief steward at Mission mine and head of the miners' union there, said bluntly: "Personally, I think he was murdered, and that is the feeling that is out here."

But the sheriff's office said just because Guerena was a Marine and worked at a mine doesn't mean he couldn't be involved in drug trafficking. "We know from our experiences that good people turn their lives around and do bad things, and this guy was bad irrespective of his honorable discharge as a Marine," said sheriff's chief of investigations Rick Kastigar. He said Guerena was suspected of involvement in a drug operation that specialized in ripping off other smugglers. One tip held that Guerena was "the muscle" of the organization, or in Kastigar's words, "the individual that was directed to exact revenge."

An affidavit supporting the search warrant that precipitated the raid describes the department's suspicions about Guerena in a drug investigation that appeared more focused on his brother, and his brother's father-in-law. Guerena's brother does not have a listed number and other family members have ignored written requests from the AP for comment.

Sheriff's Capt. Chris Nanos, who heads the criminal investigations division and oversaw the Guerena case, said that high-powered rifles and bulletproof vests that were found in Guerena's home after the shooting back up investigators' belief that Guerena was involved in drug trafficking. A shotgun found in the home was reported stolen in Tucson in 2008. In the affidavit, sheriff's Detective Alex Tisch laid out the case against Guerena's family. It details two instances of drug seizures, one in April 2009 in which Jose Guerena was found in a home with other people who had just dropped off 1,000 pounds of marijuana at a separate residence, and another in October 2009 in which a man who had met with Guerena's brother was found with drugs and weapons. Neither Guerena nor his brother was charged. The affidavit also cites two traffic stops of Jose Guerena. The first was on Jan. 28, 2009, when an officer pulled Guerena and two other men over north of Tucson. The officer seized a gun from Guerena, a marijuana pipe from Guerena's cousin and marijuana hidden in canisters of lemonade and hot cocoa that were under the feet of Guerena's friend. The officer arrested Guerena on charges of weapons misconduct, marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. But prosecutors filed no charges against him. The other stop came Sept. 15, 2009, when the sheriff's office pulled over a truck leaving the home of Guerena's brother. Jose Guerena was in the passenger seat and another man was driving. Officers searched the truck and found commercial-sized rolls of plastic wrap that they say are commonly used to package marijuana. No arrests were made.

Tisch wrote in the affidavit that the past arrests of Guerena and members of his family, combined with observations during months of surveillance led detectives to believe that the family was operating a mid-level drug-trafficking organization in the Tucson area.

The investigation is ongoing, the sheriff's office says.
After the SWAT video circulated, people who didn't know Guerena traveled from as far as California to march in protest of his shooting, and an Alaska woman began an online petition calling for a federal investigation of the SWAT team. Hundreds of people across the country have written on several Facebook pages dedicated to Guerena with messages that include, "He fought for our country, now we must fight for him."

The Guereno family's lawyer, Christopher Scileppi, filed a lawsuit on their behalf seeking damages from the sheriff's office, the officers involved in the shooting and other officials. The lawsuit didn't specify how much money the family was seeking, but a notice of claim filed Aug. 9 put the amount at $20 million.
"During this investigation, extremely little evidence, if any, was found to raise even a suspicion that Jose Guerena was involved in any possible drug trafficking ring," the notice says.

Scileppi said the fact that Guerena had been fired at 71 times and hit 22 times was "grotesque," and "almost a caricature of an overly excited group of poorly trained law enforcement agents."

Kastigar sharply disputed that, calling the Pima County SWAT team one of the best of its kind in the nation. "We're not a bunch of country bumpkins in southern Arizona with big bellies and cowboy hats," he said.
The shooting was justified, he said, because Guerena pointed his AR-15 at the SWAT officers and said, "I've got something for you," before they opened fire.

The five SWAT team members who shot Guerena believed that he had fired his weapon first, he said. Subsequent investigation revealed that the gun's safety was on and hadn't been fired. Ultimately, that is not an issue, Kastigar said.

"What reasonable person comes to the front door and points a rifle at people?" he said. "It takes several milliseconds to flip the switch from safety to fire and take out a couple of SWAT officers. I'm firmly of the opinion that he was attempting to shoot at us."

The officers laid down "suppressive" fire because one had tripped and fallen and the others thought he'd been shot.

"You point a gun at police, you're going to get shot," Kastigar said.

The five officers who shot Guerena declined to speak to the AP through Mike Storie, a police union lawyer who represents them and defends their actions.

"Anytime that they are faced with a serious, imminent and deadly threat, they are entitled and justified to use deadly force," he said. "And when Guerena came around the corner and lifted an AR-15 and pointed it at them, that provided the justification."

An independent expert, Chuck Drago, a former longtime SWAT officer for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., police who now does consulting on use of force and other law enforcement issues, said that the shooting itself appeared justified.

"It's a horrible, horrible tragedy, but if they walked in the door and somebody came at them with an assault rifle, that would be a justifiable response," said Drago. "It doesn't matter whether he's innocent or not."
But after examining elements of the search affidavit, Drago questioned whether the sheriff's office truly had probable cause.

"When you back up and look at why they're there in the first place and whether the search warrant was proper, my mind starts struggling," Drago said. "There are a lot of things that don't make a lot of sense."

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