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Democracy Now! February 13, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! February 13, 2002
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 
PZ0450.098
Description: 

Scenes from the drug war: From California to Texas to New Yorks Rockefeller drug law. As the Bush administration releases plans for a stepped-up war on drugs, federal drug agents raid medical marijuana clubs across California. And in the tiny town of Tulia, Texas, more than ten percent of the African-American community were arrested in a drug sting conducted by a single undercover officer with no corroborating evidence.

9:01-9:06 HEADLINES GUEST: ANDREW WHEAT, Texans for Public Justice 512 472 9770 9:06-9:07 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:07-9:20 AS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION URGED THE US TO BE ON THE HIGHEST ALERT" AFTER AN F.B.I. WARNING OF AN IMMINENT ATTACK, FEDERAL AGENTS RAID MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROVIDERS ACROSS CALIFORNIA As the Bush administration urged law enforcement officers and civilians to "be on the highest alert" in the aftermath of the F.B.I. warning of an imminent attack against the US, federal law enforcement agents raided medical marijuana providers across California yesterday. Federal agents raided at least three clubs, in San Francisco, Oakland and Petaluma. According to the San Francisco Independent Media Center, they raided five other sites as well. The Oakland home of long-time cannabis activist Ed Rosenthal, and the Sixth Street Harm Reduction Center in San Francisco, a medical marijuana club, were among the first raids by Drug Enforcement Agency officials. Four were arrested at the center. They face between 40 years to life in prison. The Harm Reduction Center serves about 200 patients a day, all with doctors' recommendations to get the drug. Many suffer chronic pain from AIDS and cancer. The raids come on the very day the White Houses Office of National Drug Control Policy released a new strategy in the war on drugs, aiming to reduce use of illegal drugs 25 percent in five years. The administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Asa Hutchinson, met a hostile audience later in the day at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco as he explained the stepped up drug war. Protesters demonstrated outside his talk on the vision of the DEA, which he called LET'S DON'T PUNT ON THE 3RD DOWN. San Francisco officials say the raid and Hutchinson's simultaneous visit were the latest insults in an ongoing battle between local and federal officials. The Supreme Court said last year that it is illegal to distribute marijuana for medical purposes. But San Francisco law enforcement officials have said their job is to enforce the laws of California, where voters overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana use. Voters in Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have all approved ballot initiatives allowing the use of medical marijuana. GUEST: JUDY APPEL, Drug Policy Alliance GUEST: DON DUNCAN, Alliance of Berkeley Patients LINKS: http://sf.indymedia.org/ http://www.commonwealthclub.org/featured.html#hutchinson http://www.cannabisaction.net/newhome.htm http://drugpolicy.org/ www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/9:20-9:21 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:21-9:40 TULIA, TEXAS: SCENES FROM A DRUG WAR In the tiny town of Tulia, Texas two years ago, 43 suspects were arrested on charges of selling small amounts of cocaine, in the biggest drug sting in local history. All but three of the 43 defendants were black. More than ten percent of the African-American community of the town of 5,000 were arrested in a drug sting conducted by a single undercover officer with no corroborating evidence. In some cases, hometown juries later meted out sentences ranging from 20 years to more than 300 years. In Tulia, set on the high plains of the Texas panhandle, local officials declared the operation a stunning success. In all, 22 of the defendants were sent to prison while others received probation. The undercover agent at the center of the operation, Tom Coleman, was even named by the state aslawman of the year. Coleman based the raid on claims like resident Billy Wafer, a forklift driver, sold him cocaine at a local convenience store. But Wafer's employer testified that Mr. Wafer was at work at the time Coleman said the drug deal took place. But was this operation, once hailed as a victory in the war on drugs, actually a war on blacks? On October 2000, relatives of those indicted joined the ACLU, NAACP and the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice to file a formal complaint with the Department of Justice against the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force, the controlling agency in charge of the drug sting. We turn now to a documentary created by the Emily and Sarah Kunstler for the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice. TAPE: Tulia, Texas: Scenes from a Drug War CONTACT: http://kunstler.org 9:40-9:41 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:41-9:58 FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO TULIA: FEDERAL DRUG STINGS GUEST: RANDY CREDICO, William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice IN STUDIO GUEST: JEFF BLACKBURN, attorney for many of the Tulia, Texas arrestees MUSIC: Medicine Man Bobby McFerrin Were Going Wrong Rotary Connection featuring Minnie Ripperton Embedded Studios: ese and Hipsta with Broke Toes Rezo on guitar www.embeddedmusic.net 9:58-9:59 OUTRO AND CREDITS

Date Recorded on: 
February 13, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
February 13, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
Keywords: 
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Distributor: 
WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. February 13, 2002
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