Illicit Drug Activity by Country (selective list):
Justin Freeman (former patrol officer): Pot arrests are a monumental waste. Of everything. First you find it. Then you secure it as evidence. Then you handcuff. Then you search. Load. Radio. Transport. Drive time. Disembark. Secure duty weapon. Buzz into the jail. Paperwork. Property log. Ticket. Metal detect.
Then, while the jail is re-searching, fingerprinting, processing, photographing and securing, I’m leaving, going to HQ, into the property room, dime bag into heat seal bag, property form, evidence tape, submission. Then comes the report, with its person tab, property tab, narrative. Then a sergeant reads, sends back, rereads, edits, approves.
The ticket goes to records to be stamped, separated, forwarded. The marijuana goes to the chronically (pun acknowledged) backlogged forensics lab, which must verify the “green, leafy substance whose smell, based on my training and observation, matched that of marijuana” is, indeed, marijuana. They generate a report which is forwarded to me in the event of a trial. The prosecutor has long since gotten my ticket, and set a court date for the accused. A subpoena is mailed; they bounce back as often as they’re delivered.
Suspect shows, pleads not guilty. Trial date is set. I get subpoenaed. There’s a high probability suspect doesn’t show. Prosecutor asks for and gets issuance of an arrest warrant. I leave after ninety seconds, but get paid the minimum for a court appearance: two and one-half hours’ pay. Six months later I pull a car over; our toker is a passenger, whom I must now arrest because of the arrest warrant.
And the cycle repeats.
Bottom line: Though marijuana most likely pales in cancer risk when compared to cigarette smoking, it’s better to play it safe. There are reasons in addition to lung cancer risk (and the fact that it is illegal) to avoid marijuana. Marijuana likely increases the risk of testicular cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, a type of brain tumor, and the risk of leukemia in the offspring of women who use it during pregnancy.
A major downside of the medical use of marijuana is the drug’s ill effects on working memory, the ability to transiently hold and process information for reasoning, comprehension and learning…Marijuana’s major psychoactive ingredient (THC) impairs memory independently of its direct effects on neurons.
The Things that Hate Us, Atmosphere
[Pic via GQ.com]
Lance Armstrong Stripped of Tour de France Titles by USADA | COMMENT: Don’t forget that Marion Jones passed all her blood tests too. The head of Balco (company in steroid scandal) recently said that only fools fail drug tests. The former head of the World Anti Doping Agency recently said that if you fail a drug test, you also fail an IQ test. Drug testing is still far behind drug concealment methods, and many dirty athletes ‘pass’ drug tests.
Besides, Lance Armstrong was found with a banned corticosteroid in his system in the 1999 Tour de France, and synthetic EPO in his urine samples from the 2000(?) Tour de France when those frozen samples were tested with improved methods in 2004. According to a former teammate, he also tested positive for EPO during the 2001 Tour de Suisse. A big part of this investigation was about bribing authorities and the organized cover-up involving the head of the international cycling union.
The guy was a great bike racer, but he is also a cheat.
COMMENT: From the New York Times, with regard to no one going to jail, but this time it’s the banks: Barclays was fined $298 million for laundering money for Cuba, Iran, Libya, Myanmar, and Sudan. ABN Amro Bank was fined $500 million, and Credit Suisse Group was fined $560 million for laundering money for Iran, Libya, and Sudan. Union Bank of California, American Express Bank International, BankAtlantic, and Wachovia have all admitted criminal conduct for laundering of money for drug cartels, and paid the government a cut of their—or is it the drug cartel’s—profits. I think in diamond terms, this is called “blood money.” In all of these cases, nobody went to jail. Source: Robert Mazur, “Follow the Dirty Money,” New York Times, September 13, 2010. [fr. Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?]
Lindsay Lohan morph video
ARTICLE__A Murder Foretold
EXCERPTS__Rodrigo Rosenberg had been born into Guatemala’s oligarchy — a term that still applies to the semi-feudal Central American nation, where more than half of its fourteen million people, many of them Mayan, live in severe poverty. […]
Though his wealth allowed him a desultory life, he was “driven and motivated by his goals,” as a relative put it. When he began his studies at Cambridge, he had spoken almost no English, so Rosenberg informed his professors that he had recently undergone surgery on his vocal cords, and could not yet talk in class; in the meantime, he bought a television and watched it each night with closed-captioning until, after three months, he spoke with confidence. […]
Rosenberg had frequently expressed despair over the violence that consumed Guatemala. In 2007, a joint study by the United Nations and the World Bank ranked it as the third most murderous country. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of killings rose steadily, ultimately reaching sixty-four hundred. The murder rate was nearly four times higher than Mexico’s…The violence can be traced to a civil war between the state and leftist rebels, a three-decade struggle that, from 1960 to 1996, was the dirtiest of Latin America’s dirty wars. More than two hundred thousand people were killed or “disappeared.” According to a U.N.-sponsored commission, at least ninety per cent of the killings were carried out by the state’s military forces or by paramilitary death squads with names like Eye for an Eye. One witness said, “What we have seen has been terrible: burned corpses; women impaled and buried, as if they were animals ready for the spit, all doubled up; and children massacred and carved up with machetes.” The state’s counter-insurgency strategy, known as “drain the sea to kill the fish,” culminated in what the commission deemed acts of genocide. […]
After the peace accord, the state’s security apparatus—death squads, intelligence units, police officers, military counter-insurgency forces—did not disappear but, rather, mutated into criminal organizations. Amounting to a parallel state, these illicit networks engage in arms trafficking, money laundering, extortion, human smuggling, black-market adoptions, and kidnapping for ransom. The networks also control an exploding drug trade. Latin America’s cartels, squeezed by the governments of Colombia and Mexico, have found an ideal sanctuary in Guatemala, and most of the cocaine entering America now passes through the country. Criminal networks have infiltrated virtually every government and law-enforcement agency, and more than half the country is no longer believed to be under the control of any government at all. Citizens, deprived of justice, often form lynch mobs, or they resolve disputes, even trivial ones, by hiring assassins. […]
In 2007, a U.N. official declared, “Guatemala is a good place to commit a murder, because you will almost certainly get away with it.” […]
A young Guatemalan, furious with the government, sent out a message on Twitter that said, “The first concrete action should be to take cash out of Banrural and bankrupt the bank of the corrupt.” Soon afterward, authorities, fearing a run on the bank, stormed his apartment and detained him. Twitter provided a stream of data from a new democratic class of informants and orejas, creating a narrative of unpunctuated fragments from sources known and unknown, verified and unverified. […]
During the Cold War, America had frequently supported Guatemala’s brutal security apparatus. In the nineteen-fifties, the C.I.A. had contemplated an assassination campaign against left-wing Guatemalan targets and disseminated a treatise on the art of political murder: “The subject may be stunned or drugged and then placed in the car, but this is only reliable when the car can be run off a high cliff or into deep water without observation.” […]
“Guatemala’s institutions must be purged from the inside—they need an exorcism.” […]
In the palace, the First Lady was nicknamed “the bulldozer,” for the way that she flattened aides and even the President. A leading human-rights official told the St. Petersburg Times that Sandra de Colom was considered “malignant and malevolent,” and “the head of a parallel power.” (To circumvent the Constitution, which bars the relatives of a President from succeeding him, the Coloms recently filed for divorce, in the hope that she can run in an election, in September.) […]
In 1954, C.I.A. operatives had teamed with the new “scientists” of advertising to overthrow President Jacobo Árbenz—Guatemala’s last left-wing leader until Colom—by creating the illusion of a domestic uprising. Operatives set up a radio station, the Voice of Liberation, which was supposedly broadcast from a rebel camp “deep in the jungle” but, in fact, was transmitted from Miami and often broadcast from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City. The station caused national hysteria by reporting fake news of the government poisoning the water supply and of phantom troops marching on the capital. One operative referred to the scheme as “the big lie.” […]
“Guatemala mocks me: ‘Just as you think you understand, we’ll show you that you understand nothing at all.’ ” […]
BOOK__The Art of Political Murder__Bishop Juan Gerardi, Guatemala’s leading human rights activist, was bludgeoned to death in his garage on a Sunday night in 1998, two days after the presentation of a groundbreaking church-sponsored report implicating the military in the murders and disappearances of some two hundred thousand civilians. Realizing that it could not rely on police investigators or the legal system to solve the murder, the church formed its own investigative team, a group of secular young men in their twenties who called themselves Los Intocables (the Untouchables). Known in Guatemala as “The Crime of the Century,” the Bishop Gerardi murder case, with its unexpectedly outlandish scenarios and sensational developments, confounded observers and generated extraordinary controversy. In his first nonfiction book, acclaimed novelist Francisco Goldman has spoken to witnesses no other reporter has reached, and observed firsthand some of the most crucial developments in the case. Now he has produced The Art of Political Murder, a tense and astonishing true detective story that opens a window on the new Latin American reality of mara youth gangs and organized crime, and tells the story of a remarkable group of engaging, courageous young people, and of their remarkable fight for justice. [kobobooks.com]