DRCNetDrug Reform Coordination Network


Drug Policy Media Alert:
Court TV and The Economist

Two items of interest:

1. Court TV covering needle exchange trial tonight

DRCNet members who have been with us for over a year may remember that the Chai Project needle exchange program in New Brunswick, New Jersey had been threatened with prosecution by the Governor and the Attorney General. (http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1996/3-19-2.html). The threats came after the program had received very favorable publicity in New Jersey newspapers, publicity which continued in the wake of the threats and subsequent arrests. Gov. Whitman is reputed to have attempted to pressure her own AIDS Advisory Council into not recommending needle exchange (http://www.drcnet.org/guide10-96/underfire.html).

We've just been informed that the trial of Diana McCague and Thomas Scozzare will take place and will be broadcast on Court TV TONIGHT (Monday, 7/28), at 6:30pm EST. Court TV is also likely to air interviews with experts on the topic of needle exchange. They are also likely to air an edited version of the most important excerpts from the trial at a later date.

Prepare for the trial by examining the "Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss Prosecution, online at http://www.lindesmith.org/syrsilb.html. Learn more about the number of lives at stake from DRCNet's Drug-Related AIDS Topics in Depth section at http://www.drcnet.org/AIDS/.

2. The Economist discusses money laundering issue

The 7/26 - 8/1 issue of The Economist features "Cleaning up dirty money", a set of articles describing the damage done to the world's financial institutions by money laundering. The Economist suggests that decriminalization of drugs would solve most of the problem, but goes on to suggest various options for attempting to control the flow of illegal money -- a problem that will continue to some degree, even following decriminalization. The set of articles can be found online at http://www.economist.com/editorial/freeforall/current/index _ld4716row.html, or follow the links from The Economist home page at http://www.economist.com.

One set of options that The Economist doesn't recommend are those advocated by US Senator John Kerry (D-MA), in his new book "The New War", recommending that the US and its allies "wage economic war" against countries that refuse to fight laundering, even to the extent of banning trade. As The Economist points out, "Banning citizens of a few rich countries from dealing with known laundromats would hurt legitimate businesses, while crafty launderers would find ways round the restrictions."

Sen. Kerry has a long history of negativity with regard to drug policy. In 1994, after Gustavo de Greiff, then Prosecutor General of Colombia, published an editorial in the Washington Post calling for legalization of drugs, to break the backs of the cartels, Kerry and the US State Dept. launched vicious attacks intended to stifle discussion of the issue (http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1994/5-7-1.html). The State Dept. pressured the Colombian government into not allowing de Greiff to speak at the 6th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug-Related Harm in Florence (http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1995/5-24-4.html). De Greiff had also passed up a speaking opportunity at Harvard Law School, organized by the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, citing fears that his country might suffer retaliation from the US government if he did, naming Sen. Kerry in particular. A copy of De Greiff's fax is online at http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/silencing/degreiff.gif.

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